Sunday, April 1, 2012

APRIL NEWSLETTER 2012

Living Word

Christian Fellowship

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

Vol. 21, No. 4   April   2012

Spring can be so beautiful as we watch the flowers and trees begin to bloom.  But it can also be very devastating as the tornadoes and storms destroy lives.  We have to keep ourselves in the Lord Jesus at all times, the good and the bad.  We have to keep ourselves under the covering of His glory. Isa 4:5 (KJV)  “…for upon all the glory shall be a defense (covering).”

The above verse is telling us that the glory of God becomes our covering and protection for all the things that are coming upon us.  To walk under the glory of God is truly marvelous.  This glory is reserved for those who walk with the Lord, for those who abide in Christ.  This glory fills the hearts of those who will worship in spirit and truth.   And this glory is the presence of God going with us throughout the day and night.

What will we see happen this year is not known, but one thing is known: We need more and more of the presence and glory of God because without it we don’t have the protection we need to survive the onslaught of the enemy.

My prayer is that God will keep you safe from all harm and danger.  I am daily praying this over those whom God has given to us.  We need your prayers as well.  We can’t make it very long without the prayers of the saints.  So I encourage you to stay under the covering of His glory and pray continually for those you love that God may graciously watch over all of us.

In Christ, 

Pr. Steve

 

EASTER MAKES PERFECT

 Exo 12:5 (KJV)  “Your lamb shall be without blemish, a male of the first year: ye shall take it out from the sheep, or from the goats:”

We know that Jesus became the perfect sacrifice for us.  Satan could find no flaw in His character:

Joh 14:30 (KJV) “Hereafter I will not talk much with you: for the prince of this world cometh, and hath nothing in me.”

Pilate testified to the perfection of Christ:

Luk 23:4 (KJV)  “Then said Pilate to the chief priests and [to] the people, I find no fault in this man.”

Yet the scriptures declare that Jesus was made perfect through his sufferings:

Heb 2:10 (KJV)  “For it became him, for whom [are] all things, and by whom [are] all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings.”

So in what aspects was the Lord Jesus made perfect through sufferings?  He became able to help us when we are tempted.

Heb 2:18 (AMP)  “For because He Himself [in His humanity] has suffered in being tempted (tested and tried), He is able [immediately] to run to the cry of (assist, relieve) those who are being tempted and tested and tried [and who therefore are being exposed to suffering].”

Second, He learned obedience to the Father through suffering while serving God in human flesh on the earth:

Heb 5:8 (KJV)  “Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered;”

The perfect Lamb of God, the Christ, the Word of God from eternity, became better able to help others who are tested and tempted, and He learned obedience to the Father through suffering.

From the O.T.  prophets we believe that Christ gained faith, trust, and hope in the faithfulness of God and came into perfect rest in God’s will, humility, and total dependence on the Lord because He said “Yes” to the cross.  And yet the Lord still had doubts:

Mat 27:46 (AMP)  “And about the ninth hour (three o'clock) Jesus cried with a loud voice, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?--that is, My God, My God, why have You abandoned Me [leaving Me helpless, forsaking and failing Me in My need]?”  [Psalms 22:1]

Herein is the test?  What area of our personality was being perfected so Christ could become the captain of our salvation? FAITH, TRUST & HOPE in the faithfulness of God’s Word. 

Psa 16:10 (KJV) “For thou wilt not leave my soul in hell; neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption.”

The faithfulness of God’s Word was all that stood between the Lord Jesus and the torment of Satan.  This was a trial beyond our comprehension!

Psa 22:2 (KJV) “O my God, I cry in the daytime, but thou hearest not; and in the night season, and am not silent.”

Can you hear the sufferings of Christ?  And all He asks is that we go through the suffering with Him so we can be made perfect in the knowledge of God.  When we cry out day and night and our prayers are not answered, we have to learn to hope in God and trust in God and rest in God.

The Lord learned and we also must learn to glorify God even in agony and doubt and dread (Psalm 22:3-6).  Are we humbled enough through our sufferings that we recognize like Job that we are nothing more than a worm in the sight of God Almighty? Whatever He chooses to do is to perfect us.  

The Lord was brought lower than any man; therefore God exalted Him and gave Him a name above every other name.  If we are willing to learn humility we, too, will be exalted according to the will of God.

When Jesus went to the cross He was rejected by the people He loved the most.  As we share the suffering of rejection we find a hope and joy in doing the will of the Father.  TRUST is learned.  The Lord learned it and we must learn it.  When we call on the Lord in the midst of terror or trouble, courage is gained because we have access to the Father through the blood of the cross. 

The Lord hoped in God from His birth.  Some people learn about hope later on in life.  But it is hope that saves us.  As long as we have one breath in us, we have the opportunity to hope in the Lord. “Be of good courage, and he shall strengthen your heart, all ye that hope in the LORD” Psa 31:24.

None of us will ever experience the agony the Lord suffered: (Psalm 22:14-16).

Yet if we are to rule with Christ we must accept the sufferings of this life.  In them we are promised to gain the necessary knowledge of the Lord.  And as we do, we learn trust in God’s Word even as Christ did.  And we learn obedience to the Father as Christ did.  And we learn humility as Christ did.

These are the lessons of life that count eternally. Were it possible to learn faith, trust and hope in the faithfulness of God’s Word in any other fashion God would show us.  The Lord is perfecting His Church in this day and time.  We are living in the valley of the shadow of death so that we can gain all the Father has prepared for us in glory.

The pressures of life will continue for a while, but our God is more than able to carry us through to a place of perfect rest in Him.

When we are with the Lord forever and ever, we will remember the lessons we learned while enduring the anguishes of life, and it will result in the greatest glory we could ever imagine.

Remember, the Lord leads us through all kinds of tests to see what is in our heart, whether we will keep His commandments or not. 

When the tempter comes, and he will, remember what Jesus said: “Man shall not live by bread (food) alone but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.”

Total dependence on the Lord is what He is looking for from His children today.  And He shall have it.

When the Lord was resurrected he was walking down the road to Emmaus and met two disciples who were discouraged because of what happened to their leader.  As Jesus listened to them He finally spoke:

“Why are you so slow to believe? Should not the Christ have suffered so He could enter into glory?”  (Luke 24-25-26) Why are we so slow to accept our days of suffering?

When you think you have suffered beyond what you can endure, remember there is glory that is coming.  DON’T FORGET THE GLORY.  Be found faithful to the very end and the glory will be yours.  The whole purpose of Easter is to make you perfect. From glory to glory!  So we can rejoice in the resurrection of Christ.  He came through it and so can we.  JESUS IS ALIVE. 

-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 2011

Apr. 2:  Let the joy rise up in me.  “Why art thou cast down O my soul? And why art thou disquieted in me?  Hope thou in God, for I shall yet praise him for the help of his countenance.”  (Psm 42:5)

Apr. 11:  “...My grace is sufficient for you; for My strength is made perfect in weakness.  So glory in your suffering that the power of Christ may rest upon you.” I know what you feel and what you experience and I am Lord of it all.

Apr. 14:  “Seek righteousness, seek humility, perhaps you will be covered on the day of the Lord’s anger.”  (Zeph 2:3)

Apr. 16:  The power of the Word of God occurs when the Holy Spirit is given authority and control over the situation and allowed to change us through it.

Apr. 19:  Tremble at the Presence of the Lord.  (Psm 114)

Apr. 21:  The Crucified Church is the wisdom and power of God!

Apr. 22:  The crucified life is the only true life that brings us to eternal life.

Apr. 28:  “Remember, you are fighting against the forces of darkness.  But, I have overcome the darkness and do shine as the brightness that directs your steps so you do know where to walk.

 

THE POWER OF WORDS

 Most all who have read the Biblical account of Jacob and his sons will immediately recall the narrative of Joseph and his dreams.  But Joseph’s dreams would have not come forth with such power if he had not been faithful to share them with words.  The power of his words caused him to be rejected and abandoned as a youth, and later the power of his words caused him to be ruler over the most powerful nation on the earth.

Gen 37:8 (KJV) “And his brethren said to him, Shalt thou indeed reign over us? or shalt thou indeed have dominion over us? And they hated him yet the more for his dreams, and for his words.”

It is important that we understand, and always keep in mind, that the words we speak as well as the words that we receive are powerful.

Many people get seduced by the devil into a subtle type of witchcraft by professing with their mouths the thoughts of defeat and despair that he puts into their minds.  A perfect example of this is found in the account of David and Goliath.  Goliath spoke repeatedly provoking and intimidating the men of Israel to the point they had all but given up.  But the words spoken by a small shepherd boy named David were filled with the faith and the power of God Amighty; and those words caused him to have the confidence to fight a seemingly invincible foe.

1Sa 17:31-51 (KJV)  “And when the words were heard which David spake, they rehearsed them before Saul: and he sent for him.  (32)  And David said to Saul, Let no man's heart fail because of him; thy servant will go and fight with this Philistine.  (33)  And Saul said to David, Thou art not able to go against this Philistine to fight with him: for thou art but a youth, and he a man of war from his youth.  (34)  And David said unto Saul, Thy servant kept his father's sheep, and there came a lion, and a bear, and took a lamb out of the flock:  (35) And I went out after him, and smote him, and delivered it out of his mouth: and when he arose against me, I caught him by his beard, and smote him, and slew him.  (36)  Thy servant slew both the lion and the bear: and this uncircumcised Philistine shall be as one of them, seeing he hath defied the armies of the living God.  (37)  David said moreover, The LORD that delivered me out of the paw of the lion, and out of the paw of the bear, he will deliver me out of the hand of this Philistine. And Saul said unto David, Go, and the LORD be with thee.  (38)  And Saul armed David with his armour, and he put an helmet of brass upon his head; also he armed him with a coat of mail.  (39)  And David girded his sword upon his armour, and he assayed to go; for he had not proved it. And David said unto Saul, I cannot go with these; for I have not proved them. And David put them off him.  (40)  And he took his staff in his hand, and chose him five smooth stones out of the brook, and put them in a shepherd's bag which he had, even in a scrip; and his sling was in his hand: and he drew near to the Philistine.  (41)  And the Philistine came on and drew near unto David; and the man that bare the shield went before him.  (42)  And when the Philistine looked about, and saw David, he disdained him: for he was but a youth, and ruddy, and of a fair countenance.  (43)  And the Philistine said unto David, Am I a dog, that thou comest to me with staves? And the Philistine cursed David by his gods.  (44)  And the Philistine said to David, Come to me, and I will give thy flesh unto the fowls of the air, and to the beasts of the field.  (45)  Then said David to the Philistine, Thou comest to me with a sword, and with a spear, and with a shield: but I come to thee in the name of the LORD of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom thou hast defied.  (46)  This day will the LORD deliver thee into mine hand; and I will smite thee, and take thine head from thee; and I will give the carcases of the host of the Philistines this day unto the fowls of the air, and to the wild beasts of the earth; that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel.  (47)  And all this assembly shall know that the LORD saveth not with sword and spear: for the battle is the LORD'S, and he will give you into our hands.  (48)  And it came to pass, when the Philistine arose, and came and drew nigh to meet David, that David hasted, and ran toward the army to meet the Philistine.  (49)  And David put his hand in his bag, and took thence a stone, and slang it, and smote the Philistine in his forehead, that the stone sunk into his forehead; and he fell upon his face to the earth.  (50)  So David prevailed over the Philistine with a sling and with a stone, and smote the Philistine, and slew him; but there was no sword in the hand of David.  (51)  Therefore David ran, and stood upon the Philistine, and took his sword, and drew it out of the sheath thereof, and slew him, and cut off his head therewith. And when the Philistines saw their champion was dead, they fled.”

Most of the time we don’t have to face such huge battles, but we must first be willing to overcome through the everyday battles if we are to be prepared for the wars to come.  In addition, we must gain discernment from the Lord in how to choose wisely the words that we receive, as well as the words that we speak.

I saw a video clip of a blind man sitting on the curb with a can for offerings at his feet, and a sign that read: “I’m Blind Please Help”.  As people would pass by, a few would drop a coin or two coins into his can.  Then one lady stopped, and picked up his sign, turned it around to its back side (which was blank) then pulled a marker from her purse and wrote something on the back of the sign, then put the sign down with the new writing in view.  While she was writing the blind man reached forward to feel her shoes (as to gain some form of reference).  She left saying nothing but immediately many more people began to stop and were giving more money, including dollar bills landing into and all around his collection can.  Though he could not see, he could tell something was greatly different.  A short time later the lady stopped again and stood in front of him.  Almost knowing instinctively he reached out to touch her shoes to distinguish if it were her again.  After discerning it was she, he asked: “What did you write?”  And she replied; “The same thing, in different words”.  Then the camera zoomed to the new writing on the sign which now read: “It is a beautiful day but I can’t see it”.

Pro 25:11 (KJV) “A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver.”

Remember, words have power.

-Kurt Thurston

QUOTES

 "I want the presence of God Himself, or I don't want anything at all to do with religion...I want all that God has or I don't want any."

-A.W. Tozer

 

"Revival will come only to a desperate church, not a contented one. He is ever the Rewarder of those who 'diligently seek Him,' not the mere casual inquirer."

-Al Whittinghill

"...we want Him as long as He doesn't change what we like. But any person not open to change is NOT open to revival."

-Al Whittinghill

"It is far better to drive men away by faithful preaching than to drive the Holy Spirit away by unfaithful preaching!"

-Al Whittinghill

"We must come to the place where we can honestly say, 'I'm not afraid of holiness. I'm not going to be afraid of going all the way with God, cost whatever it may.’”

-Al Whittinghill

 

"The church used to confess its sin, now it confesses its right."

-David Wilkerson

“This gospel is preached by those who do not want to pay the price of obeying Christ’s commands. The result of this false teaching? First, it ends in worldliness because those who believe it want to enjoy worldly success and prosperity.” 

-David Wilkerson

 

“The world doesn’t believe the Bible, Christians don’t obey the Bible.”

-Leonard Ravenhill

 

Next course from Christian Life Educators Network -  Richmond Center:

 

 

Summer Break!  Classes Resume in August

 

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