Sunday, February 1, 2009

FEBRUARY NEWSLETTER 2009

Living Word

Christian Fellowship

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

Vol. 18, No. 2 February 2009


Oh, do we need the Lord filling our lives today. I am one who has discovered how much the Lord is with me in everything. I am trying not to take Him for granted ever. In times past I have experienced His withdrawal for periods of time because of something I did and for which I had not taken the time to consult Him. So I learned not to do that any longer. Well, things continue to change in this time and either He has grown closer or I have grown closer.
I got caught up in some activity that lasted a few hours well beyond what I had planned. Instead of postponing the activities, I kept going; but soon the Lord’s Presence once again withdrawing. I kept saying, “Lord, just a little longer, just a little while longer and I will be done.” By the time I was finished I felt totally depleted. Nothing I was doing was sinful. It just was not the time to do it. I knew I had blown it. I repented and asked for His Presence once again. It took several hours until I experienced Him filling my being.
“Wow,” I said to the Lord, “You really mean business today!” That’s just it. The Lord always means business. We can’t do what we want any longer. With times changing so dramatically, it is essential we listen and obey in order to have Him directing our steps.
I wonder how many people today do not have the Lord’s direction and don’t even know it. Well, I am not going to be one of those people. I want Him more than anything in my life. His Presence means the whole world to me. Besides, it is the only way I have found to have His total peace within. So let us learn to follow closer than ever before.

In Christ,
Pr. Steve

Pressures


2Co 1:8-10 (KJV) “For we would not, brethren, have you ignorant of our trouble which came to us in Asia, that we were pressed out of measure, above strength, insomuch that we despaired even of life: (9) But we had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves, but in God which raiseth the dead: (10) Who delivered us from so great a death, and doth deliver: in whom we trust that he will yet deliver [us];"

What kind of affliction did they pass through? The affliction of pressure! The extent of pressure upon them was beyond their power to the degree that they despaired of life. This was just the external situation. What about the inner feeling? They had the sentence of death within them, so it was just as bad. But what conclusion did they come to? They should not trust in themselves, but in God who raises the dead. God had delivered them from death in the past, and He would deliver them again whenever necessary.

Let us consider today the relationship between pressure and power. As Christians, we pay much attention to the matter of power. But what about pressure? Wherever there is pressure, there is potential power. If a believer does not know what pressure is, he does not have the knowledge of what power is. Only when a person is weighed down under pressure can he discover the power to overcome. The greater the pressure, the more power of Christ.

In the physical realm, when a pot of water is heated up to the boiling point, it turns to steam that escape through the air. This steam is not being utilized because there is no pressure. But if you take water and heat it in a boiler that is closed, the steam can be used to run an engine, a locomotive, even a ship. The steam has to be pressed continually until it gathers strength that condenses into a kind of power. And when the power of the steam is released under controlled circumstances, it begins to move the engine or machine.

The steam from the boiling water pot and the boiler are the same. Why then, is there such a difference in power? One is useless, the other is being placed under pressure and released through a controlled vessel.

This then shows us a spiritual law derived from the physical law. “Where there is not pressure there is no power; but pressure can and does produce power.” For a Christian to know what power truly is, he must first understand what pressure is.

The New Testament saints were daily pressed and burdened under tremendous pressures. They were continually losing their peace and joy. But God used their pressures to give them great power. The Apostles were weighed down exceedingly, yet they possessed the greater power because the pressure caused them to continually look to the Lord.

How great is your pressure? The power in your life can never be greater than the pressure you undergo. If you truly want to know how great your power is in God, then please understand it cannot exceed the pressure you receive from your circumstances.

How many times have we prayed for power? If God is answering this prayer, then He is putting us under pressure. He knows the power that comes forth in a life that is under pressure. The lives that do not live under pressure have no power whereby they can stand. Many times we make decisions that relieve the pressure instead of using the pressure to press into Christ.

Why do Christians not get delivered from the bondage of sin? Because we have not learned to use the pressure that comes as a result of sin, pressure that causes us to cry out to God for His deliverance. In being pressed beyond our measure so that we can neither save nor deliver ourselves, we find power when we consistently respond by calling out for help. EVENTUALLY, DELIVERANCE COMES.

Example: Liars – any kind of carelessness causes some people to lie. If there is no conviction or sense of evil in lying, that person will not experience any pressure to change. But when a godly person commits the sin of lying, a pressure from the Lord begins to build up. Repeatedly, the person will not try to lie; but eventually, the pressure will become so great he will give in because he has not learned how to use the pressure effectively. That person will become miserable to be around because he has asked for deliverance but he has not yet been able to turn the pressure into power. How will this change take place? He must finally realize that only in Christ Jesus can the sin of lying be eradicated and that through his own continual repentance and renunciation of that sin can Christ turn the pressure within into the power to overcome. The more we cry out for deliverance from sin, the more pressure we learn to endure until we finally see a victorious change in the way we are living. The work of Christ in our lives is real. You then will realize you cannot live nor do anything in order to continue to overcome except Christ fill your being.

Realize when a person is being delivered of a stronghold of sin there may be defeat hundreds of times until there is enough pressure within that says, “I can’t stand this one more minute.” It is at that moment you will receive the faith that empowers you to be set free. REMEMBER, THE PRESSURE THAT BUILDS UP BEFORE THE DELIVERANCE IS TO PRODUCE THE POWER OF CHRIST IN YOU. So let us utilize the pressures of life to turn them into power so we can grow in the likeness of our Lord until our beings are filled to overflowing.

Another way we need to harness this pressure is in unanswered prayer. Why don’t some prayers get answered? God says He will meet every need if we ask Him. Do we ask casually, or do we have the pressure in us that says, “I have to receive help now!” Are we coming to the throne of grace carelessly or boldly?

Do we really want deliverance?
Do we really want the presence of God?
Do we really need the fullness of Christ?

Exodus 32:30-32 shows us Moses was conscious of a need. He was under so much pressure he lost it, and broke the tablets. He would have chosen to perish if God did not save. Therefore God heard him.

Romans 9:1-3 says Paul would have chosen not to be saved if the children of Israel were not saved too. This comes from a deep feeling caused by the pressure of need. Yes, God answers prayer; but He often places us under great pressure so that we will cry out to Him. Before, we had no power in prayer; but now, under pressure, we are able to pray effectively. The greater the pressure from God, the more powerful our prayers should become. The purpose of pressure is not to crush us, but to give to us the power of a victorious life. Any prayer that does not move us will not move God. IT IS A MATTER OF POWER, AND POWER IS ESTABLISHED BY PRESSURE.

Today, we are coming to understand that while we thought we knew how to pray without pressure, it is by being under pressure that we are learning to develop the power to pray enduring prayers. The pressure the church has been in is going to be utilized to raise the dead in these days. There is no greater power than resurrection power. And when we are pressed beyond hope, we will experience the power of His resurrection issuing forth from within us.

There is also a pressure of circumstances that God allows believers to experience so that we may live well before Him. For example, if your heart is being pierced through because of difficulties in your home or family or on the job and you become totally helpless, you will discover casting your cares upon the Lord will bring you relief because of the great power that has been established in your life. The more of Christ that is filling our being, the greater the power that is being built up within us to trust Him. It becomes stronger than the pressure on the outside because Christ is all the power we need.

Why does God allow pressure to come upon you? To reveal the degree of Christ that is operating in your life. We are coming to the place in deep passion we will say, “O God, I can’t endure any more, but I trust You.” That is when the manifested power of God will be revealed. God wants to reveal His power to His people, but it will only come we have no strength of our own left.

2Co 4:8-10 (KJV) “[We are] troubled on every side, yet not distressed; [we are] perplexed, but not in despair; (9) Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed; (10) Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body.”

“Troubled” means “pressured”. Paul had great pressures outwardly, but he had come to the place where the inward pressure became a greater power.

Remember, God orders our environment – where we live, where we work, and what we experience. God wants to manifest the resurrection power of Christ in our life. Our growth depends on the way we deal with pressures. So the depth of a believer’s life is measured by the way he deals with pressure. REMEMBER, EVERY PRESSURE IS POWER IF WE LEARN HOW TO HARNESS IT! Our power cannot exceed our pressure. The greater the pressure, the stronger the power will grow within us.

There is one last kind of pressure: Demonic pressure. When your life is under pressure and you pray earnestly, but things keep getting worse and you are not finding relieve, then the pressure is probably demonic. The enemy is out to defeat you. By the blood of the Lamb you must resist, or the bondage can destroy your thoughts and life. To use this pressure you must produce the power of resistance so the enemy will flee from you and you will discover the power of Christ to defeat the devil.

4- KINDS OF PRESSURE:
1. Pressure to overcome sin
2. Pressure for answered prayer
3. Pressure of circumstances
4. Demonic Pressure

The Lord allows whatever pressure necessary to produce the power of Christ in our lives.

-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 Prophecies 2008

Feb. 4: “Be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Do not be surprised at the battle to ensue. Keep yourself covered with Me. Remember, things are not as they appear to be.”
Feb. 5: This is my hope, that You are my confidence.
Feb. 7: “Trust, trust, trust in Me. Do not be afraid of anything that happens or you experience. My ways are just and true. You know Me and I am with you, guiding you with My eye. My hand directs your steps. My righteousness fills your being. Trust and delight yourself in Me. Blessed are you who trust in Me.”
Feb. 8: You surround me with songs of deliverance.
Feb. 11: “Remember who holds you and keeps your foot from slipping. I am lifting you up to realms you have never been before. You will feel nothing but will experience greater liberty and assurance of things hoped for. The Lord is near and will fulfill the desire of them that fear Him. He hears their cry for help and will save them.”
Feb. 12: I will trust the Lord at all times. If I can’t when things are array, then my faith is in vain. When trust truly operates, then I know nothing happens by chance. You preserve me from all harm and You keep my soul from slipping.
Feb. 15: I want to be able to experience the love of Christ which passes knowledge. This is so I can be filled with all the fullness of God.
PM: When I do everything in Christ, I have strength.
Feb 18: Oh, that man would praise You for Your goodness – goodness – goodness – beyond measure. I praise You again and again.
Feb. 19: You will not suffer the righteous to be moved. You will sustain them.
Feb. 20: “Rejoice and joy in Me and I will bless you. The righteous of the earth will be blessed. Rejoice in Me.”
Feb. 22: Men have not heard, nor perceived by the ear, neither has the eye seen what God has prepared for him that waits.
Feb. 26: “Surely, goodness and mercy shall follow you all the days of your life and you shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever!” (Psalm 23:6)
Feb. 27: Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin.
Feb. 28: “Be strong in the power of My might.”
Feb. 29: Cause me to hear You. Cause me to know the way I should walk. Restore life in me for Your righteousness’ sake and deliver my soul out of trouble, O Lord my God.

Reflection


As I sit here reflecting on this past year, I am asking myself whether I have accomplished everything that the Lord wanted for me this year. Did I please Him with all I said, with all I did? Were my motives selfish or humble? These are questions I wish I could say honestly that the answer was yes, but I know that I cannot honestly say that and it be true. I know that I have acted selfishly, wanting my own way. I know that because of hatred, bitterness, and pride, I have spoken words that should have been controlled. With all this, even though it sounds negative, I have learned so much about who my God is. I have asked the question, “Why did God give us a free will?” If we did not have this free will we would be more obedient. But, He gives us this free will. He wants us to want to serve Him, to love Him, to desire Him above all else. Why do we make this so hard? He continually shows us His love for us. Do we notice or are we stuck in what we are going through today? I am thankful that even though I get my focus off of Him, He is still seeking me. He desires to be intimate with me.

I do know that I have been working out my salvation each day. Some days are better than others. I can honestly say that I have not and will not stop praising and worshipping my God. I desire to be close to Him, to not pull away from Him when He calls me into His chambers. I desire to know what He is thinking and what His will is for me. I desire for Him to make me pure and ready to be His bride, without spot or wrinkle. Each year I can look back and either say that this year was just as planned, or I can look back and reflect on all the negative things. I want to reflect on all that He has done for me this year through the trials, on how He has shown me where I have grown, and on where I still need to let go of things.

I am looking forward to this coming year for what the Lord has planned. I am ready for the change to continue in my life whereby I am being transformed into His image through every trial and circumstance. May this be the focus for all of us.

-Crystal

True Blessings


Luk 6:38 (KJV) “Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again.”

With Christmas 2008 still lingering in our thoughts, giving may not be the first thing on our minds at this time; but as God’s people, we need to live and give God’s way every day. God is the King of giving, so it stands to reason that whatever He speaks upon the subject is right. The type of giving mentioned in Luke chapter six does not include compromising by failing to pay our everyday-living bills or the vows we have made to the Lord. It is easy to tell when people do not have the proper perspective upon giving because they will charge up debt on credit cards and will overspend to the point that they cannot pay what they already owe. God’s word says that when we decrease in fulfilling the desires to have every earthly thing that we want. We will realize the true blessings that we already have. Gen 12:1-2 (KJV) “Now the LORD had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father's house, unto a land that I will shew thee: (2) And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing:”

What can we give that is greater than our money? We can surrender to the will of God. The proper perspective toward giving is a realization that as Christians we are called to a different standard of life than those that are still living after their own lusts. We must realize that our blessings come from the Lord. We are not our own, but we are blessed; and there is a mandate that we bless God first and He will then cause us to be a blessing to others.

Deu 8:11-18 (KJV) “Beware that thou forget not the LORD thy God, in not keeping his commandments, and his judgments, and his statutes, which I command thee this day: (12) Lest [when] thou hast eaten and art full, and hast built goodly houses, and dwelt [therein]; (13) And [when] thy herds and thy flocks multiply, and thy silver and thy gold is multiplied, and all that thou hast is multiplied; (14) Then thine heart be lifted up, and thou forget the LORD thy God, which brought thee forth out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage; (15) Who led thee through that great and terrible wilderness, [wherein were] fiery serpents, and scorpions, and drought, where [there was] no water; who brought thee forth water out of the rock of flint; (16) Who fed thee in the wilderness with manna, which thy fathers knew not, that he might humble thee, and that he might prove thee, to do thee good at thy latter end; (17) And thou say in thine heart, My power and the might of [mine] hand hath gotten me this wealth. (18) But thou shalt remember the LORD thy God: for [it is] he that giveth thee power to get wealth, that he may establish his covenant which he sware unto thy fathers, as [it is] this day.”

Through God’s covenant relationship, we have been given the opportunity of eternal life. May we walk in obedience to His word so that we may receive and also be true blessings.

Psa 115:13 (KJV) “He will bless them that fear the LORD, [both] small and great.”

-Kurt Thurston


Interesting thoughts for Meditation:


Pray for a great conviction of sin that will cause you to crumble and surrender at the terrifying presence of a Holy God. Then you will find the sweet, rapturous joy of being at peace with God.

Humiliation is needed today. It is a bitter knowledge of unworthiness with an open confession of sin on the part of people. It is not an easy and glorious thing to think the church can reinstate power and authority. Humility scorches before it heals; it condemns to reveal unfaithfulness and selfish living and to reveal a neglect of the cross with a call to daily renunciation and consecration.