Monday, December 1, 2008

DECEMBER NEWSLETTER 2008

Living Word

Christian Fellowship

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

Vol. 17, No. 12 December 2008


Life is filled with big and small problems. The big ones get most of our attention, but do not produce much in the end. If we neglect the small matters of life, we end up making them bigger in the end. So we need to take heed to everything in our life which includes the big and small areas.
It seems as if people are missing so much today, and the small insignificant areas are causing most of the problems. People are becoming less and less aware of their surroundings, their decisions, their manners, and the simple things of life that really matter.
I have found that when we pay attention to every detail, we don’t mess up as much and in turn cause others needless pain and grief. This is where the Christian comes in. We, of all people, should care about even the small things that occur in other people’s lives so they will know their life has meaning. This is the way it is with the Lord. He cares about every detail, big or small.
We are now in the beginning of the holidays. We must not overlook anything, especially other people. Spend some time looking for ways you can reach out to others and help them, even if it is in the small ways; and may the Lord bless you through some very dark and troubled times. Don’t allow the enemy to rob you of the hope that has been placed in you. And please enjoy this time and rejoice in the Lord, always keeping a spirit of contentment so you can be a blessing to someone else.
In Christ.

signature_pastor

Pr. Steve

Being Brought to Maturity


Psa 68:16-18 “Why leap ye, ye high hills? [this is] the hill [which] God desireth to dwell in; yea, the LORD will dwell [in it] for ever. (17) The chariots of God [are] twenty thousand, [even] thousands of angels: the Lord [is] among them, [as in] Sinai, in the holy [place]. (18) Thou hast ascended on high, thou hast led captivity captive: thou hast received gifts for men; yea, [for] the rebellious also, that the LORD God might dwell [among them].”
The Bible clearly tells us in Ephesians 4 that the reason each member of the Body of Christ has been given giftings and ministries is to bring us into the maturity of the Lord. WHAT IS THE PURPOSE FOR DOING THIS?
In this text the high hills refer to the religious people who remain self-willed, who do not take up their cross and follow the Lord. This allows Satan to rule over their actions so they can bring harm to the Spirit-filled church. It is the Pharisees and priests who murdered Jesus for envy. Satan is envious of Christ and can move even the elect of God when they are not led by the Spirit.
The purpose of building up the members of the Body of Christ to maturity is found in the second part of verse 16: “where God desires to dwell and will dwell forever.” God has chosen to dwell in Mount Zion which is Christ the head and body. Satan is envious of this. God is seeking a house for Himself. In that house are many rooms. The dwelling is first Christ and then the members of His body.
If we could see into the spirit realm what our lives look like today we would see they are all torn down. The Lord has given gifts and ministries in Christ to build us up in proper order until a majestic structure has been erected.
Christ went to the cross, and then to heaven to sprinkle His atoning blood before the Mercy Seat. He then sent forth His Holy Spirit with many gifts and ministries so the body could build itself up in love.
Many of you know how particular I am – in my office, in my home, in my car. But God is even more exacting – He wants perfection. The Father’s dwelling is already in Christ; so if we want to have God dwelling in us, we must have Christ built up in us. In verse 17 the millions of chariots are referring to the Saints of God. Each chariot is a place from and through which God can move.
At one time God’s people were governed by the Law of Moses. Now we are governed by the forming and dwelling of Christ in us. This is the new covenant. Christ must be formed in us – through the transformation of our personality. Unless this transformation takes place, the Father and the Son will not dwell in us eternally. But when the new covenant is formed in us, we will become God’s covenant to the nations of the earth.
The gifts consisting of and from men are given for the purpose of forming a dwelling place for God.
Beginning with Moses and through the prophets and apostles, we find several references in scripture to God’s plan of building a house for Himself.
Isa 66:1-2 “Thus saith the LORD, The heaven [is] my throne, and the earth [is] my footstool: where [is] the house that ye build unto me? and where [is] the place of my rest? (2) For all those [things] hath mine hand made, and all those [things] have been, saith the LORD: but to this [man] will I look, [even] to [him that is] poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembleth at my word.”
Heaven is God’s “throne,” not His “house.” God’s house is built from the humble and contrite in spirit and those who tremble at His Word.
Stephen quoted this verse in his sermon to the Sanhedrin (religious hierarchy). God wants us to know His purpose for why we experience what we do in this life.
Paul said we are being built together into a holy temple (Eph 2:19-22). Peter said we are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood able to offer acceptable sacrifices to God through Jesus Christ (1 Pet 2:4-5).
The purpose of spiritual maturity is clear - that Father may have a house - an eternal dwelling. Therefore let us think further about the purpose for creating a house for God the Father and the Son to dwell in us.
Rev 21:3 “And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God [is] with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, [and be] their God.”
In order to understand what is taking place, we need to realize that on the new earth there will be two groups of people: the Saints and those of the nations who are saved during the millennial reign of Christ. It is difficult to understand that there will be a another group of people other than the Saints.
The Christian church is the Wife of the Lamb, the New Jerusalem, the holy city, the tabernacle and eternal dwelling place of the Lord. We are told specifically from Revelation 21:9-10 “I will show you the bride, the wife of the Lamb. And He showed me the Holy City, Jerusalem.” That there are not two brides, one Gentile and one Jewish, is clear. All are made one in Christ.
The Lamb has only one bride, and it is the church. Jerusalem is the glorified Christian church – it is not Israel. If you believe the church reigns in heaven and the Jew stays on the earth, you have failed to understand our purpose and eternal plan of God to dwell among His people.
Why does God want to dwell on the earth since He has the Church, the Bride, with Him and is dwelling in them? Because He loves the saved nations of the earth who are not members of the elect, but who have become the inheritance of Christ and His Wife. The purpose of the glorified church is to govern and bless the nations of saved people of the new earth.
Rev 21:4 “And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.”
We have always said this refers to the Christians. But if verse 3 is speaking about the saved nations, then is God saying that they will be comforted by believers. They will realize God’s Kingdom is the only true kingdom on the earth, and through this kingdom there will be no more war, sorrow, disease of sickness or death.
Rev 21:7 “He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son.”
Is He not saying, “To all who were victorious while living on earth will be their inheritance, even unto the farthest reaches of the earth.” Is that not worth living the best life possible?
Don’t you want to be a blessing to others – even the nations? You will if you allow Jesus Christ to mature within your life.
Isa 61:6 “But ye shall be named the Priests of the LORD: [men] shall call you the Ministers of our God: ye shall eat the riches of the Gentiles, and in their glory shall ye boast yourselves.”
Let us come to maturity as measured by the stature of the fullness of Christ and become a house for the Lord.
Psa 2:8 “Ask of me, and I shall give [thee] the heathen [for] thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth [for] thy possession.

-Pr. Steve

Being Brought to Maturity


Psa 68:16-18 “Why leap ye, ye high hills? [this is] the hill [which] God desireth to dwell in; yea, the LORD will dwell [in it] for ever. (17) The chariots of God [are] twenty thousand, [even] thousands of angels: the Lord [is] among them, [as in] Sinai, in the holy [place]. (18) Thou hast ascended on high, thou hast led captivity captive: thou hast received gifts for men; yea, [for] the rebellious also, that the LORD God might dwell [among them].”
The Bible clearly tells us in Ephesians 4 that the reason each member of the Body of Christ has been given giftings and ministries is to bring us into the maturity of the Lord. WHAT IS THE PURPOSE FOR DOING THIS?
In this text the high hills refer to the religious people who remain self-willed, who do not take up their cross and follow the Lord. This allows Satan to rule over their actions so they can bring harm to the Spirit-filled church. It is the Pharisees and priests who murdered Jesus for envy. Satan is envious of Christ and can move even the elect of God when they are not led by the Spirit.
The purpose of building up the members of the Body of Christ to maturity is found in the second part of verse 16: “where God desires to dwell and will dwell forever.” God has chosen to dwell in Mount Zion which is Christ the head and body. Satan is envious of this. God is seeking a house for Himself. In that house are many rooms. The dwelling is first Christ and then the members of His body.
If we could see into the spirit realm what our lives look like today we would see they are all torn down. The Lord has given gifts and ministries in Christ to build us up in proper order until a majestic structure has been erected.
Christ went to the cross, and then to heaven to sprinkle His atoning blood before the Mercy Seat. He then sent forth His Holy Spirit with many gifts and ministries so the body could build itself up in love.
Many of you know how particular I am – in my office, in my home, in my car. But God is even more exacting – He wants perfection. The Father’s dwelling is already in Christ; so if we want to have God dwelling in us, we must have Christ built up in us. In verse 17 the millions of chariots are referring to the Saints of God. Each chariot is a place from and through which God can move.
At one time God’s people were governed by the Law of Moses. Now we are governed by the forming and dwelling of Christ in us. This is the new covenant. Christ must be formed in us – through the transformation of our personality. Unless this transformation takes place, the Father and the Son will not dwell in us eternally. But when the new covenant is formed in us, we will become God’s covenant to the nations of the earth.
The gifts consisting of and from men are given for the purpose of forming a dwelling place for God.
Beginning with Moses and through the prophets and apostles, we find several references in scripture to God’s plan of building a house for Himself.
Isa 66:1-2 “Thus saith the LORD, The heaven [is] my throne, and the earth [is] my footstool: where [is] the house that ye build unto me? and where [is] the place of my rest? (2) For all those [things] hath mine hand made, and all those [things] have been, saith the LORD: but to this [man] will I look, [even] to [him that is] poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembleth at my word.”
Heaven is God’s “throne,” not His “house.” God’s house is built from the humble and contrite in spirit and those who tremble at His Word.
Stephen quoted this verse in his sermon to the Sanhedrin (religious hierarchy). God wants us to know His purpose for why we experience what we do in this life.
Paul said we are being built together into a holy temple (Eph 2:19-22). Peter said we are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood able to offer acceptable sacrifices to God through Jesus Christ (1 Pet 2:4-5).
The purpose of spiritual maturity is clear - that Father may have a house - an eternal dwelling. Therefore let us think further about the purpose for creating a house for God the Father and the Son to dwell in us.
Rev 21:3 “And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God [is] with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, [and be] their God.”
In order to understand what is taking place, we need to realize that on the new earth there will be two groups of people: the Saints and those of the nations who are saved during the millennial reign of Christ. It is difficult to understand that there will be a another group of people other than the Saints.
The Christian church is the Wife of the Lamb, the New Jerusalem, the holy city, the tabernacle and eternal dwelling place of the Lord. We are told specifically from Revelation 21:9-10 “I will show you the bride, the wife of the Lamb. And He showed me the Holy City, Jerusalem.” That there are not two brides, one Gentile and one Jewish, is clear. All are made one in Christ.
The Lamb has only one bride, and it is the church. Jerusalem is the glorified Christian church – it is not Israel. If you believe the church reigns in heaven and the Jew stays on the earth, you have failed to understand our purpose and eternal plan of God to dwell among His people.
Why does God want to dwell on the earth since He has the Church, the Bride, with Him and is dwelling in them? Because He loves the saved nations of the earth who are not members of the elect, but who have become the inheritance of Christ and His Wife. The purpose of the glorified church is to govern and bless the nations of saved people of the new earth.
Rev 21:4 “And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.”
We have always said this refers to the Christians. But if verse 3 is speaking about the saved nations, then is God saying that they will be comforted by believers. They will realize God’s Kingdom is the only true kingdom on the earth, and through this kingdom there will be no more war, sorrow, disease of sickness or death.
Rev 21:7 “He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son.”
Is He not saying, “To all who were victorious while living on earth will be their inheritance, even unto the farthest reaches of the earth.” Is that not worth living the best life possible?
Don’t you want to be a blessing to others – even the nations? You will if you allow Jesus Christ to mature within your life.
Isa 61:6 “But ye shall be named the Priests of the LORD: [men] shall call you the Ministers of our God: ye shall eat the riches of the Gentiles, and in their glory shall ye boast yourselves.”
Let us come to maturity as measured by the stature of the fullness of Christ and become a house for the Lord.
Psa 2:8 “Ask of me, and I shall give [thee] the heathen [for] thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth [for] thy possession.

-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
Dec. 1: You are still the only thing that matters. All that is or exists is because of Your great glory and love. I now know the glory to be revealed is for our protection and survival. Yet, it will truly be what You have called us to be in Christ Jesus. This is the most incredible revelation of all. Truly, it is a mystery but when it is revealed, it is beyond words.
Dec. 5: “The power of sanctification is at work in My people.”
Dec. 6: “Your diligent labor of love does not go unseen. You have received the vision from Me and have run with it to all I have given to you. The blessings will pour forth with greater deliverance.”
Dec. 7: Lord, help me to live one day at a time. I repent continually for looking at tomorrow without enjoying today.
Dec. 13: “Lean on Me. You were made to lean on Me and still walk uprightly. The anointing of My Spirit is purifying and cleansing for the work I have called you to. You will have the strength to encounter the darkness and press through to victory. Learn on Me and fear nothing.”
Dec. 14: “O God, Your family is in so much pain and heartache for the way of life today. Only You can revive the humble hearts. As we walk in contrition, may we experience Your favor and awesome warm embrace of love, and may You be glorified all the way.”
Dec. 15: I dwell in the high places, but also with those who are thoroughly repentant and walk in humility. Yes, I am with these.”
PM: There is an unprecedented army of joy amid all that happens. It is truly as You have said and I know it is by the Spirit. This is not natural.
Dec. 17: “The way to maintain clarity of thinking is not what you do or try not to do. It is maintaining a heart of humility which is acknowledgment of Me in all you do. The proud will remain in confusion more and more.”
Dec. 18: Love keeps no record of wrongs. That is when it doesn’t hurt anymore when a wrong is recalled and becomes increasingly difficult to remember details. Healing the heart does this.
Dec. 22: There is just something about the way You are leading today. When we don’t feel good and we wait upon You, a joy and a peace rise up that comforts us and blesses us. Truly, You are the Blessed One of Eternity.
Dec. 25: “Don’t turn back, don’t look back; there is more to come.”
Dec. 27: I wait, wait, wait, for more of You is to come. Nothing compares to the promise I have in You.
Dec. 29: “What do you see?” I see hills that are black. It looks as if they are filled with life. “It is the enemy that is coming in hordes. What are you doing?” I am standing in the place where I am supposed to be. “Good! Don’t run, don’t advance, stand! You will see much happen, but you must wait on Me to direct you. You do not have to fear. I am with you and guiding you with My Spirit. Be ready at all times and stand on the Rock of your salvation. Speak to the mountains of trouble when I say speak and they will move away. Do not doubt.”

QUOTES FROM LEONARD RAVENHILL:


A popular evangelist reaches your emotions. A true prophet reaches your conscious.

The last words of Jesus to the church were REPENT!

John the Baptist never performed any miracles. Yet, he was greater than any of the Old Testament prophets.
I doubt that more than two percent of professing Christians in the United States are truly born-again.

Our God is a consuming fire. He consumes pride, lust, materialism, and other sin.

There are only two kinds of persons: those dead in sin and those dead to sin.

When you are sitting in the dark you can either curse the darkness or you can light a candle.

Some women can spend thirty minutes to an hour preparing for church. What would happen if we spent the same amount of time preparing for the service in prayer and meditation?

Maturity comes from obedience, not necessarily from age!

A Righteous Celebration


Isa 9:6-7 (KJV) “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. (7) Of the increase of [his] government and peace [there shall be] no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this.”
Sometimes the Christmas season can keep people so busy that they lose focus of what Christmas is really all about. It is not surprising to find that people who do not profess and serve Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior see Christmas as being nothing more than just another fun holiday. But Christians should have a completely different view and should demonstrate respect for the true meaning and reason for the season.
Heb 10:24-25 (KJV) “And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: (25) Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some [is]; but exhorting [one another]: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.”

With their different opinions of modern day Christianity, many “Christians” are abandoning the things in their lives that should be devoted to God - all for the sake of convenience, and pleasures, and family preferences. Celebrating Christ and exchanging gifts at Christmas time is fun and can bring joy, but Jesus never said that we should celebrate such a day. He did not say that it is justifiable to take the time and the money that He has commanded to be used a certain way (i.e. church attendance, tithes and offerings) and instead, use them to celebrate a manmade holiday in a man-oriented way.
Mal 3:7-12 (KJV) “Even from the days of your fathers ye are gone away from mine ordinances, and have not kept [them]. Return unto me, and I will return unto you, saith the LORD of hosts. But ye said, Wherein shall we return? (8) Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed me. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed thee? In tithes and offerings. (9) Ye [are] cursed with a curse: for ye have robbed me, [even] this whole nation. (10) Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the LORD of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that [there shall] not [be room] enough [to receive it]. (11) And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes, and he shall not destroy the fruits of your ground; neither shall your vine cast her fruit before the time in the field, saith the LORD of hosts. (12) And all nations shall call you blessed: for ye shall be a delightsome land, saith the LORD of hosts.”
God continually blesses His people all year long, so the celebration of Christmas should bless the house of God and in no way neglect or abandon it. While it is saddening to read reports about the waning of Christian values, only by examining ourselves in light of the truth can we keep faithful and focused on doing what is right, especially when we are tempted to compromise God’s standards with worldly responses. We should all be thankful that the celebration of the gift of Christ is an every day experience of new life and a growing relationship with the One who created us and loved us enough to give up everything that He could have had on earth. Those who choose to walk in that gratitude will experience the true glow and joy of Christmas as well as a deeper understanding of who He is, of what He offers us, and of how He causes us to live and to give. Let us seek to please Him in our celebration.

-Kurt Thurston

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