Thursday, December 1, 2011

DECEMBER NEWSLETTER 2011

Living Word

Christian Fellowship

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

Vol. 20, No. 12 December 2011

Sometimes people disappoint us. It is hard to swallow the way people react to different things, especially the people of God. They say they are spiritual but reveal another side that is not so holy. How can someone say they love you, but reject you at the same time? I don’t know other than that they are believing a lie and have not been changed into the moral image of Christ. They know how to put on a good front, but behind your back they reject you.

Most of us have experienced this in some way or the other and simply say, “I am through with that person” and leave it at that. But when we do that it leaves an empty feeling inside. Over time you can forget about them, but then when you see them again it starts all over.

When will the church practice what is being preached and walk in true repentance. True repentance turns and holds nothing against the other person no matter what.

I am so glad for the forgiving power of Christ that holds nothing against us. I want so much to walk as Christ walked, but I guess there will continue to be the Christian who does not want to walk in forgiveness and become a vessel of honor that can reveal a true and loving God. Maybe someday maturity will take place and that person who has rejected you will make things right.

Anyway the holidays are now before us. So let us walk in the love that is truly from the Lord Jesus and not allow the enemy to rob us of our peace and joy and righteous behavior. And above all, don’t hold on to things that you have no control over. Let the love of Christ shine!

Pr. Steve

Warnings

Heb 4:1-6 (KJV) Let us therefore fear, lest, a promise being left us of entering into his rest, any of you should seem to come short of it. (2) For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them: but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it. (3) For we which have believed do enter into rest, as he said, As I have sworn in my wrath, if they shall enter into my rest: although the works were finished from the foundation of the world. (4) For he spake in a certain place of the seventh day on this wise, And God did rest the seventh day from all his works. (5) And in this place again, If they shall enter into my rest. (6) Seeing therefore it remaineth that some must enter therein, and they to whom it was first preached entered not in because of unbelief:

Today God is clarifying His purpose for salvation. He is directing us to move forward in His plan that will carry us through some very difficult times. And we will be victorious and we will overcome, for God has ordained it. There may be difficulties such as we have never encountered before, but they will only make us stronger.

Notice, the text begins with a discourse on the rest of God then continues as a warning to instruct us with edifying words that will encourage us to move forward with the plan and purposes of God. The writer goes on to tell us in chapter 5 that we must not remain babies and children in understanding the ways of God. Chapter 6 begins with exhorting us to progress beyond the basic elements of our salvation and go on to true discipleship. And yet the church has been stuck in this matter for over a generation. One of the problems is that people do not want to grow up, especially when things are easy. We have had a whole generation that has learned how to play in America, and the church has not pressed forward with the teachings of scriptures.

Do you remember the story about Josiah? When they were cleaning out the temple they found the book of the law. It had been missing for about 100 years. When they read it to Josiah he cried out, “Woe, woe, woe.” So he sent for the prophetess Hulda and she said, “It is too late. God has made up His mind. You will be saved, and have a decent burial, but I am through with Israel.” There comes a time when God will not change His mind -- and it comes when His people get so far from the written word that He won’t tolerate their disobedience any longer. That is where we are today.

God is revealing to us His Word for those who are willing to accept and listen and press forward.

What are the elemental teachings of Christ? (Hebrews 6:1-2)

1. Repentance from acts that lead to death – Today we have changed the call to “Let Jesus into your heart.” Repentance from works of the flesh is the true Biblical way of salvation. The writer of Hebrews says to go on to maturity, so none of these works produced from the flesh represents maturity.

2. Faith in God – This is the Faith of Christ, not what you want, but what He decides. This understanding is elementary.

3. Baptism(s) – in water, in Christ, and then in the Spirit.

4. Laying on of hands – This was greatly emphasized in 1950 with the inception of the “latter reign movement.” Today it is widely accepted in most churches. But when it first started it was considered heresy by the Assemblies of God. After a man named Stanley Frodsham wrote a book entitled With Signs Following about the laying on of hands, he was expelled from the A/G. Frodsham is also the one who started the THE PENTECOSTAL EVANGEL, a magazine still in publication today. This man was very godly and had a tremendous anointing and teaching. Today, his teachings are widely accepted.

5. Resurrection from the dead – Today the doctrine of resurrection has become confused and is not taught according to the Word of God. Satan knows the relevance of resurrection, so he keeps people below the bar so they will not be prepared at the day of resurrection. Instead, Satan has substituted a “rapture” for “resurrection.” In contrast to the rapture which makes no demands on you, the resurrection must be attained to – first in our inner nature. That is why Paul said, “If by any means I might attain to the resurrection” (Phil.3:11). Until you attain to the inner resurrection, you will not be victorious in the day of battle – you will not have the confidence that is needed to press into Jesus. You cannot put an adamic nature into a glorified body. What is required is new wine in new skins. The goal is the resurrection – and this doctrine is still elementary.

6. Eternal judgment – Look at the progression. If you have gone on with the Lord in baptism and laying on of hands, we are told that spiritually we are resurrected with Christ and seated in heavenly places (this is a spiritual position) (Col.3:1). If you continue on in following the Lord and do not lose your position at the right hand of God, then you begin to be judged for your actions. Even though you are living by faith, you still have areas that must be dealt with. Yes, there is a judgment seat that all will stand before. But by the time that takes place, you should have already been judged so there is no fear of death or the next life.

Once you go through the process of judgment you become a threat to the kingdom of darkness. And Satan does not want the church to know this so he can keep her immature, powerless and unable to impact the world. What is the life that we must lay down in order to be ready for resurrection? Our will! Until then we are not ready for resurrection and to be judged. Until we lay down our will (our life), we are not ready for our eternal Sabbath or the rest of God. We must live by His eternal desires, not ours; by His strength, not ours; and by His wisdom, not ours. This is the goal.

Only after we go through these elementary areas of our Christian walk, can we press into the rest of God. Then you can say with absolute assurance, Gal 2:20 “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.”

“I am no longer living” – that is the rest of God! Here is what happens. As you press into the resurrection, the things in your life that God does not want there begin to be dealt with. FEAR! Fear is the greatest threat to obeying the voice of God. We are afraid to be used by God because of what people might think. It is a handicap that doesn’t belong in the Kingdom of God.

So God begins to reveal to us that we are fearful. Take note of those who are the first group of people in the Lake of Fire -- the fearful, not the immoral. God always challenges His people first. What does the Word tell us about fear?

2Ti 1:7 “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.”

Fear makes you double-minded so you cannot receive anything from God. God wants us to have a fearless attitude that says,

Ø “Nothing is impossible with God.”

Ø “I can do all things through Christ who is my strength.”

Ø “A thousand shall fall at my side, and ten thousand at my right hand; [but] it shall not come near me.”

The enemy wants to convince you that this earth does not belong to you – “Just go on and get to heaven and leave me alone.” But this is our inheritance! Yet we just sit back and let the enemy destroy it. When your family is attacked, do you just sit idly by and say, “Do whatever you want?” Of course not! We are more than conquerors through Christ who loves us. Don’t be a pacifist. Be a warrior!

Faith and fear cannot dwell in your heart at the same time. Fear becomes your testimony that God is not able to keep you. God does not like it when He sees one of His Holy Spirit-filled people becoming frightened. Yes, fearlessness in Christ takes maturity and stamina. Yes, there are healthy fears. I am not talking about those. I am talking about fears that keep you from doing what you know is righteous.

Are you a child of God? Then act like it! If you want to worship Satan, then worship him. But stop being lukewarm and fearful! God is a jealous God. If you are going to be a child of the King, then act like it. [I was raised not to fight back, but that teaching made me weak and fearful. I never tried to do anything nervy or to stand up for myself. But that concept changed many years ago. I’ll try anything within reason if fear is what holds me back.] There is much freedom that takes place when you break the spirit of fear.

Fear paralyzes. Come to the Lord and tell Him what you want to be – in this way you are passing judgment on the thing that God opposes. Then Christ will come and drive that thing out of you and fill you with courage. God takes the bad and gives the good as you press into the resurrection every day.

The Word of God tells us that fear belongs in the Lake of Fire. So you take the authority – as much and as often as you need to – until you can tell the difference and move forward. Renounce the fear and send it away. That kind of judgment will take you into new heights you have never been before.

And guess what! Once this process happens in your life, you will recognize you have come to the beginning of wisdom because now the only fear that will lead you is the fear of the Lord.

It is extremely timely that we find the rest of God. We must go on beyond the elementary teachings of the church and find the maturity in Christ that will give us the liberty and freedom that will enable us to battle without fear and to become true overcomers.

-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 2010

Dec. 4: “You don’t have joy in tribulation, but you will. You don’t know how to rejoice when trouble strikes, but I will put this in you. I am Joy, you can rejoice in Me. I am your delight and I am always there for you. You don’t have to carry the burdens alone. I am strength and I care about everything you care about. I am getting stronger in you and bringing about the change that matters and will last. So rejoice and again I say rejoice.”

Dec. 7: He does not withhold the good from those who live with integrity. The Lord will provide what is good. Show me a sign of Your goodness.

Dec. 9: Faith – the substance of things hoped for. Yes, I see your faith!

Dec. 13: Let the name of the Lord be praised, from the rising of the sun to its going down.

Dec. 15: “Let the peace of Messiah, to which you were called in one body, control your hearts, be thankful” (Col 3:15)

Dec. 24: “You are on the right path, keep going. You are making the right decisions, keep going. You are safe, keep going. My hand is guiding you step by step. I will rescue My own!” “He that dwells in the secret place of the most high shall abide in the shadow of the Almighty”

Dec. 27: “I am with you. I am guiding you with My eye. I am standing with you in your decisions. My Kingdom is in you and the direction that you are taking is correct. Rejoice in the direction I am taking you.”

Dec. 29: “I will bless My church in the New Year. Living Word will experience My anointing in a fresh way and My blessing will pour forth. Draw near to Me and I will draw near to you and show you My salvation.”

Dec. 31: I adore You alone, Dear Lord. You are worthy all praise and adoration. You are faithful in Your word. You come through to accomplish Your will in us. We struggle and strain at what is important, but You are all that is important. Thank You for a year of breakthrough and victory in the ministry and in serving you. I have learned more lessons and am ready to fulfill what You have in store for me in the year to come. Thanks be to God who always causes me to triumph in Christ Jesus! My heart rejoices in You.

Are You Prepared?

It has been written in a recently published article that Bible history tells us to prepare; Church history tells us to prepare; recent history tells us to prepare; current history tells us to prepare, the World political and economic situation tells us to prepare, and finally, common sense tells us to prepare. The questions of the hour are: 1. Are we discerning the signs of the times? 2. Are we ignoring the warnings and the signs? 3. Are we staying tuned into the direction of the Holy Spirit concerning how we should prepare? Some American Christians are convinced that they will be taken out of this realm (raptured) before anything big really happens, but that view is contradicted by the number of Christians already suffering and dying all over the world because of their uncompromising faith in Jesus Christ as well as by the intense events described to be divine judgments upon the earth.

Mat 6:25-34 (KJV) “Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment? (26) Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they? (27) Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature? (28) And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: (29) And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. (30) Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith? (31) Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? (32) (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. (33) But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. (34) Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.”

I have never heard preached that God wants people to just sit back and do nothing at all, while expecting God to supply their every need; nor do I believe that He intended the scriptures to be interpreted that way. But rather, I agree with the biblical commentaries that interpret the inference of the Word of the Lord in that passage to be: “Take no thought”: The cognate noun is care, which was formerly derived from a part; to divide; and was explained accordingly as a dividing care, distracting the heart from the true object of life.” “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” (MHCC)

The question is about what to prepare for? The questions of how to prepare will all be answered when we seek the Kingdom of God and His righteousness first and foremost, above and before the things of this world. Every circumstance of life can have great benefits when we have the heavenly perspective. We won’t always have the answer to the “Why,” but we will always have His presence to lead and to guide.

Heb 13:5-6 (KJV) “Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. (6) So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me.”

We, like the great patriarchs of the Old Testament and believers of the New, can trust in and be led by the Lord. Then we, like Noah, will be prepared for floods; and like David, for war, and like Solomon, for persecution, and like the Apostle Paul, for a faith-filled lifestyle; but best of all, like Jesus, we will be prepared for a solid walk and loving relationship with our Heavenly Father both now and forever.

-Kurt Thurston

Quotes:

“The early church was married to poverty, prisons and persecutions.

Today, the church is married to prosperity, personality, and popularity.”

- Leonard Ravenhill

"With all thy getting, get unction."

- Leonard Ravenhill

“Trying to do the Lord’s work in your own strength is the most confusing, exhausting, and tedious of all work. But when you are filled with the Holy Spirit, then the ministry of Jesus just flows out of you.”

- Corrie Ten Boom

"If the whole Church goes off into deception,that will in no way excuse us for not following Christ."

- Leonard Ravenhill

"To know what you believe, look at what you do."

- Anonymous

Kid’s Korner

The pastor was looking over the crèche the day after Christmas when he noticed that the baby Jesus was missing. He went outside and saw a little boy pulling a new red wagon. In the wagon was Jesus.
We walked up to the boy and said, "Hi, there. Where did you get the baby Jesus?"
The boy answered honestly, "In the church."
"Why did you take him?" the pastor asked.
"Well," said the boy, "I prayed to the Lord Jesus and asked him for a wagon for Christmas. I told Him that if He gave me one, I'd take Him for a ride in it."
-Author Unknown

Next course from Christian Life Educators Network - Richmond Center:

Peter: The Man and His Ministry by Dr. Ian Bond

Simon Peter was the principal figure in the pivotal decade of human history. A

devoted disciple, a cowering coward, and a powerful proclaimer of the resurrected Christ. This course unfolds how Jesus transformed Simon, an upright man, yet

easily swayed and unstable like a “reed,” into Peter, the first “rock” upon whom He

could build His Church.

January 12-14, 2012

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