Friday, August 1, 2008

AUGUST NEWSLETTER 2008

Living Word

Christian Fellowship

“That I may publish with the voice of thanksgiving...” Psalm 26:7

Vol. 17, No. 8 August 2008


Does anybody have any clue what is happening today? What a mess this country is in. Pretty soon we will have some kind of new leader. We don’t really know what will happen or how things will continue to change. All we know is that things are a mess.
Thanks be to God, in Christ Jesus I can rest. When the Lord told me at the first of the year to learn to walk in “My rest,” I said, “OK, Lord, teach me how.” Now after 7 months I have to admit, if it were not for that word, I would really be a part of the mess. I am so grateful for His guidance and direction. I am learning how to rest and how to walk in His peace. Each time my heart gets agitated (and it does), I am going to Him and asking for peace and for Him to bring me back into a rest that conquers all fear.
Each of us must learn this or there will be multiple sicknesses and breakdowns that won’t be able to be explained.
I know how tired and weary all the people are, but my God will not let us down if we keep Him first and in the forefront of our thoughts, guiding our hearts and souls causing us to rest and then be able to flow in the perfect will of God.
To know Christ makes all this possible. Remember what the Word teaches us: Heb 4:1 “Therefore, since the promise of entering his rest still stands, let us be careful that none of you be found to have fallen short of it.”
Life can be much more rewarding when we do what God says!

In Christ,

signature_pastor

Pr. Steve

Now Is The Day


2Co 6:2 For he says, "In the time of my favor I heard you, and in the day of salvation I helped you." I tell you, now is the time of God's favor, now is the day of salvation.
To a great extent, for the past 2000 years Christianity has been about “belief”. And belief is emphasized in the book of Acts. So we know belief has an important role to play in the work of salvation. But if believing becomes too mental, it becomes a philosophy. Every religion in the world believes something. Even the evangelical world has their statements of faith – and if you don’t believe the way someone else believes, then you have strife and division – the body of Christ cannot be made one. That is not what Christianity is all about.
Salvation is far more than a religion and greater than a philosophy. It is about a personal relationship with someone who is alive and divine. No other religion has this operating. When faith leads you to make Jesus the focus of your life, then you begin to have imparted to you the body and blood of Christ and you begin to change.
This impartation must go on continually – we are learning that to feed on the body and blood of Christ must take place throughout the day, every day. NOW IS THE DAY OF SALVATION. This daily parting of Christ is what enables us to be saved today and maintain spiritual life.
Joh 1:4 “In him was life; and the life was the light of men.”
We know life and light are two different things, but in this text we are told the life of Christ creates light in us. It does not take place by studying theological facts of Christ. It is not that kind of light. It is the light that comes when you are living in such contact with Him that He is feeding you with His body and blood in the spirit realm – so that He can grow in you. What is growing in you is LIGHT. It is light that gives you understanding. It is light that enables you to discern between what is of God and what isn’t. As believers, we don’t have to remain ignorant, but neither do we have to have a theological degree to have the mind of Christ. We do have to have His life flowing through us continually. And that only comes as we obtain salvation for today.
As we eat and partake of Christ more and more, the things that are happening in the world will not affect us dramatically. We see how politics is becoming more and more deceitful – not based on truth but on innuendo or insinuation. We will never see the world as it is except through the eyes of Jesus. Christians dare not interpret anything by worldly standards. Those who do often fall prey to deception which produces false expectations. When events do not take place as “prophesied,” the false claims drain the light of Christ out of the church and God’s people are left in darkness. Repentance is necessary in order to prevent attacks of doubt upon those things that really are of the Lord.
When Christ begins to grow in you, the light reveals what is righteous, what is holy, what is truth. You can see what God’s will is. You begin to comprehend beyond the world’s understanding.
Christianity is a relationship that makes the invisible real and livable. And the result of knowing this real and living person is that you are never, never, never alone again – you are never betrayed by Him, never abandoned by Him, never left to yourself – if you continually, daily partake of Him. He becomes so close to you, so real to you that nothing you do offends Him because you are conscious of His presence. Your belief becomes so important to you that you call Him into every area of your life and He becomes REAL to you. And you gain an understanding of things as they really are.
When Jesus looked at the beautiful temple of Herod He saw it demolished (Mk.13:2) – what was so special about this place – it was more elaborate than Solomon’s Temple. It became the largest construction of its kind in the entire world. John 2:20 tells us it took 46 years to build. Jesus looked 30 years into the future and saw it destroyed with not one stone left upon the other. Today the only thing that is left is the Western Wall called the “wailing wall” in Jerusalem. Many today who are still trying to interpret God’s ways naturally see a new temple that will be built on the site. I may be wrong, but I believe the new temple is us.
This is the age of media and information. But we have to be extremely careful because what we are being told has a spin on it. Instead of being presented the truth, we are given bias reporting based on man’s view point of what is happening. Truth doesn’t tell us why something happened. Truth tells us the significance of why it happened. For example, a police officer will take a report from an accident and record the detail of what it looks like, how fast the drivers were going, how much damage happened, who was injured – that isn’t truth. Truth is why it happened. Why did this accident happen? So we can learn and prevent it in the future. God knows the hairs on our head, the ants that crawl, and the sparrow that falls to the ground. We don’t care much, but God has a reason for it all. We can’t conceive of the truth that is in God. God is Truth! We can’t relate to this because of our limited ability.
We are told you can’t look at God and live. So God sent Jesus born of a woman from the seed of the Holy Spirit so that we can hear God, understand God, come to God, learn of Him, receive Him and have eternal life through the cross. No other religions can offer all of this. When a person hears what God did by giving His only begotten Son, shedding His blood and dying on the cross, something happens inside that person – something begins to stir that has never stirred before – “God so loved me that He died for me…” And a response takes place. – If this realization is accepted, the person begins to believe that on the basis of Christ’s sacrifice his own sins can be forgiven. That person is then born-again and salvation begins to take place.
Christianity is not a philosophy. It is a matter of the Life of God’s Son and the shedding of His Blood. To be a true Christian you have to contact that Life, not just once, but daily. You can’t be saved “twenty years ago” and you can’t be saved “six months from now.” TODAY IS THE DAY OF SALVATION. Right now you are either in contact with the body and blood of Christ and living by His Life, or by the pressures of the world you are dying spiritually. There is no in-between. If you say, “I’ll put my decision on hold and coast awhile because things are too tough,” you will immediately experience heaviness. YOU MUST BE KEPT ALIVE BY THE LIGHT OF CHRIST.
You cannot look for the day that you let up because the day you do, backsliding sets in. This is why people are backslidden today and don’t know it. The false security that says, “I’ll just relax. I’m protected by grace” is subtle. The process of salvation doesn’t work that way. Too many forces are out to destroy you because “the day” is closer than when you first began. You must push back the works of darkness DAILY.
Rom 13:12 “The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light.”
“The day” of what? The day of salvation!!! WAKE UP. Follow harder than you ever have in your lifetime. Determine to know Jesus Christ, not just as LIFE but as LIGHT = to make manifest; a fire.
David said about this life that it was lived “in the valley of the shadow of death.” But if you are going to live physically you have to eat, drink and breathe in the air every single day. The same thing is true spiritually. You must live off the body and blood and breathe of God to keep your spirit man revitalized and healthy. Salvation is something that is alive and must be maintained. NOW IS THE DAY OF SALVATION.
You do not have a maintenance free life in Christ. In the days of Noah they were eating, drinking, and marrying. None of that is sin! But they are distractions that keep us from the real reason to live and live life to the fullest. They occupy our minds, our bodies and our strength. Take death by the horns and rule over it until all that you are is lived in and by the blood and body of Jesus Christ. Then you will have the life and the light that will lift you into the true realm of existence. Be strict with your decisions and the way you preserve the light, and the darkness will have to flee from you. That is true freedom and contentment in the Holy Ghost. That is salvation!

-Pr. Steve


I am going to be sharing with you thoughts from my journal over the past few years. This is to show you how the Lord has brought about His Word in my life to minister to you and to show you how real this walk can be. Please read and understand by the Spirit about ...

. . . My calling as a pastor


Pastor’s Journal 2007
Aug. 2: My Spirit man rejoices and joys in the God of my salvation, but my soul is downcast, “Why so downcast O my soul?” I ask you, O Lord, to lift up my soul to joy in You and in life. Whatever the difficulty, I wait to live in the life You have prepared for me.
Aug. 9: “Everyday you are following Me. My Holy Spirit is guiding you and My blessing befalls you continually. The greater the obedience the greater degree of My holiness fills your being. Don’t be short-sighted. Know My Father’s will is being accomplished in your life.”
Aug. 16: My state is one of limbo. Not going forward, not going back, just waiting and waiting. Oh Lord, I put my trust and belief in You for You are good all the time. I know things will change when You say so.
Aug. 19: The pain that comes with obedience goes right to the heart. It leaves you weak and with feelings of worthlessness. Only God knows what is working together for the good. At last when You, God, come through, the peace that settles a person is worth everything. It is the assurance that everything will be alright. Thank You for that experience and may I recognize it each and every time, knowing Your presence more and more. My love grows and grows for You and Your ways.
Aug. 21: Humility is often acknowledged when one goes through a tough and embarrassing moment, but to live a life of humility makes almost everything tough and often with feelings of little importance in life. I know You, O Lord, are building in me the character of humility. My importance is of little concern to You. Your concern is that I be what You need me to be. I humbly accept. “You will experience more of Me, Son”
Aug. 23: For the blood of Jesus Christ through the Spirit shall purge your conscience of dead works. When the Spirit and the blood touch, purification takes place.
Aug. 27: “You are now coming to a new day of My Glory. You have endured the many challenges that have faced you and now move on to a brighter time of peace and understanding. You will walk in humility with meekness being seen and experienced. All has been for My Glory. My love is revealed to you through you.”

Selah


The weakness of so many modern Christians is that they feel too much at home in the world. In their effort to achieve restful adjustment to unregenerate society they have lost their pilgrim character and become an essential part of the very moral order against which they are sent to protest. The world recognizes them and accepts them for what they are. And this is the saddest thing that can be said about them. They are not lonely, but neither are they saints.
It is more important that God be glorified than that I be saved!


-A.W. Tozer

The Christian Call

part 2 of 2


As was emphasized in part 1 of “The Christian Call,” the greatest mark Christians can leave on this world is to fulfill their call to profess Jesus Christ as Lord of all and to teach people of every nationality the ways of God the Father. It is important to know that it will not be easy to fulfill this call. Though there may be times that things just flow together, there will also be times of resistance and rejection. Many Christians who started out with a fire in their hearts to share the Lord with others have become discouraged, while others have yet to even attempt it. Remember this: when sharing Christ with others there is one thing that must always remain at the top as a priority, and that is the fact that Jesus is still alive and His Spirit lives in us.
Joh 14:25-27 (KJV) “These things have I spoken unto you, being [yet] present with you. (26) But the Comforter, [which is] the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you. (27) Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.”
The key to fulfilling the Christian Call is to listen to the Holy Spirit. The little tracks that people hand out can do some good, but we must be led by the Lord or we will waste both time and effort. Jesus told Peter (the fisherman), “Follow me and I will make you a fisher of men”. That is a good word picture for us as well because we can fish all day where the fish are not biting and go home a fisherman without supper, or, much like a fisherman who uses a fish finder, we can follow the Holy Spirit as He leads us. Christians must first acknowledge the fact that God has called them to further His Kingdom, and then acknowledge the Lord in the endeavors of their every day. That is the way to recognize the opportunities that are being placed in our paths.
Psa 16:7-11 (KJV) “I will bless the LORD, who hath given me counsel: my reins also instruct me in the night seasons. (8) I have set the LORD always before me: because [he is] at my right hand, I shall not be moved. (9) Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoiceth: my flesh also shall rest in hope. (10) For thou wilt not leave my soul in hell; neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption. (11) Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence [is] fulness of joy; at thy right hand [there are] pleasures for evermore.”
Many Christians never cross the paths of the blessings that have been made for them because they place other things as priority instead of, as the Psalmist said, setting the Lord at their right hand. A few prayers in the morning are a great start, but setting our minds upon the Lord and asking Him for counsel throughout the day is the only way to maintain the joy that accompanies the direction and the call of a Christian.

-Kurt Thurston