Thursday, January 5, 2012

JANUARY NEWSLETTER 2012

Living Word

Christian Fellowship

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

Vol. 21, No. 1   January   2012

This month begins our 21st year in publishing the gospel through our newsletter.  The key verse the Lord gave me 25 years ago when we started the church was 2 Thessalonians 3:1 which says, “Pray for us, that the word of the Lord may have free course and be glorified with you.”  Well, we have been faithful to that call.  Now this word goes around the world through the internet as we have those reading our newsletter from more than 50 countries worldwide. With all the activity that is available from the internet I believe it is God who directs people that desire the true Word of God. People are hungry for the Word.  There are so many false words going forth today, we have to be built up through truth just to keep our heads above water. 

If you keep reading in 2 Thessalonians it says when the Word of God goes forward unhindered; it delivers us from wicked and unreasonable men who have not faith.  There is so much false faith today, but we must be delivered if we are going to move on in our salvation.

Verse 3 says that the Lord is faithful who will establish you and keep you from evil.  The evil is maturing rapidly, but our God will establish us in the Word and keep our souls from the evil that tries to overtake us.

So I bless and praise the Lord for His faithful hand that stays upon us to guide and keep us in the victory and that life abundant comes from above and causes us to rejoice in the glory that awaits us.

May the Lord be with you all this coming year to remain close to the One who loves you the most.

 

In Christ, 

Pr. Steve

 

Relinquish Control  (Revelation 10:5-7:2)

 

If we are going to be true to the Lord, we are going to have to listen to both positive and negative things that God is doing.  We see this contrast in the OT and in the NT.  When one looks at the OT prophets, most of the things that they prophesied were not positive unless the people were in obedience to God.  Today we don’t want to hear this requirement.  If someone is speaking prophetically, either from the pulpit or from the pew, many in the congregation want to hear the message only if it is positive. But if we recognize the day we are in, then we must be willing to hear what God has to say.  One reason I believe prophecy is in trouble in this nation is a result of this fact. People don’t want to hear judgment.  Yet this is what God is saying.  Unless God’s judgments are coming forth, people are hearing self-proclaimed and self-pleasing sermons.

Our role as ministers of the gospel is not to speak what people want to hear but what God is saying.

We are in the time in which “chaos” is ruling our nation, and it has trickled down to every area of life.

In Rev.12 we are told that Satan comes down from the heavens into the earth to create chaos for mankind.  Literally, this is speaking about demonic forces that are released because of sin and a refusal to repent and serve the Lord.  Demons are given free access as a result of the moral depravation of our nation.  We idolize the impure.  We tolerate mixture, and God says He won’t have it.  Mixture makes our Christianity an abomination to Him.

Rev 14:13 (KJV)  “And I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, Write, Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labours; and their works do follow them.”

“Henceforth” – from the time that you see the antichrist spirit begin to rule.  God will send a special angel to take control of all the events that will take place when sin reaches its maturity.  He will be in charge of events, of economics and of nature.  Nevertheless, we do not have to fear what takes place.  God is in control.

God wants us to learn the secret of “relinquishing” control. Let me give you an example.  Have you ever wanted something so badly you prayed and prayed and prayed and nothing happened?  You believed you were doing what the Bible had taught you.  [Ex: you got sick and begged God to heal you, but you only got worse.]  So you finally came to the place you couldn’t pray any longer.  You didn’t know what to do and so you let go and told the Lord to have His way with you. And then something happens.  THAT IS RELINQUISHING CONTROL.  There are many times in life when this is the only thing you can do to make sure God is in control.

This lesson does not come easily because we have been taught we need to help God accomplish His will for us.  But we are coming to the day when God will send His angel and take control of all the events of this world, and we are going to have to know how to relinquish control. You see, the Lord is looking for the Christ in us -- not our deeds or the wonderful things we have accomplished – but the Christ in us.

Churches are still trying to make revival happen.  I want it as much as anyone, but I can’t make it happen.  I have to let go and trust the Lord.

Relinquishment is not passivity.  The majority of the church is passive and always has been. You can tell you are moving into passivity when you can’t make a decision. You begin to feel as if you don’t know the Lord’s will or how to accomplish anything.  You don’t know if you should get up and do something or sit still and wait on God.  {I believe each of us experiences this temptation and must shake it off before it takes over.}  Don’t allow yourself to think this way.   Remember, you become what you think.

Do not allow yourself to become an empty vessel;  for if you do, little demons will come and take over. Keep yourself filled with the Spirit at all times.  When you feel you are not doing enough, be filled with more of Jesus because the Father is not looking for empty vessels. He is looking for Jesus.  The Father is looking for people who are being trained and discipled to obey.

Passivity will cause you to doubt the decisions you do make, whether you are right or wrong. One thing about being in the rest of God is that your decision- making becomes sharp and clear. You watch and pray and act with determination and not double-mindedness.

When you see people who are passive, empty vessels who act according to whatever moves them at the moment, pray for them because God can’t use them until they learn to relinquish control. God is looking for people who are willing to make firm and decisive decisions, even if they make mistakes. The humble can learn from their errors. DON’T BE AFRAID TO MAKE MISTAKES!  At least you have something leading you.

The problem with trying to grasp something is that we want to do it our way.  Have you ever tried to make someone into your image?  [Husbands vs. Wives?]  When you do, you destroy creativity.  God does not want us making people in our image. That is part of dying.  That is relinquishing!   Most people have good in them and most people have bad in them.  We want them to be a certain way, even when they are handicapped.  It is called grace.  We would rather rush to judgment when someone does not do what we think he or she should be doing.  “That person is supposed to be a leader, but he doesn’t act like it. I act better than he does.”  We are all guilty of this judgmental comparison in one way or another.   How much abuse goes on in homes today because someone is not the way you want him or her to be?

John Wesley used to preach that his wife better be a virtuous woman or else she would pay.  “This is the way I expect a woman to be and she better do it.” He was known as not being a good husband, yet much of the church of today uses his guiding hand to lead others.  We all have vices and weaknesses that must be given grace.

When you pray about something and you know you can have it, then step out cautiously, but with a determination to do the best you can.  Don’t be wishy-washy. If it doesn’t cause a lot of anger and confusion, then do it.  When the Lord changes something, have you ever noticed how patient and kind and loving He is?  He never comes down hard on us.

It is so important to understand “dying in the Lord” because the evil is beginning to mount sp high we won’t be able to cope with it.  When you come to the place where you get up and say, “Man, I can’t handle it anymore!” That is when you relinquish control.  Pray, but pray about how you want to be able to get through the difficulty and glorify the Lord.  You don’t have to stop asking the Lord for the things you need or want; but keep it light. Don’t grasp it so tightly  you are controlling it – trying to make something happen.  When Satan sees you grasping something, he moves in and brings fear that will cause you to force things. Naturally, we are inclined to hold on to things that we think are essential for our well-being. When things begin to shake, you can’t hold on to everything.

When you have prayed and done all you can but nothing is happening, then give it to the Lord and relinquish control.  You don’t have to drive yourself crazy trying to deal with this darkness. Isa 28:16  “…he that believeth shall not make haste.”

The Lord wants us to rest in Him while He straightens things out. We are going to see chaos – educational, moral, financial, physical, and every other area.  Get in the boat and ride it out with the Lord. 

Rev 10:1 (KJV)  “And I saw another mighty angel come down from heaven, clothed with a cloud: and a rainbow was upon his head, and his face was as it were the sun, and his feet as pillars of fire:”

“I saw a mighty angel.”  Get ready for the power of God to be released in the midst of chaos. Look for it and expect it. We are in a powerful day. We will see things that we only imagined coming from Satan and from God.

The phrase “with a cloud” always speaks of the coming of the Lord – get ready.

The reference to  “a rainbow”  speaks of the Father around the throne of Jesus Christ. What John is telling us is that he saw an angel coming in the power of the Father!  And that is why when you see all the things that are to come – you can rest.  God has sent His special angel.  Don’t be surprised if you begin to see these things come to pass.

“His face was like the sun” = righteousness (Mat.13:43 – the righteous will shine forth like the sun after the tares are removed.)

“Feet as pillars of fire” = judgment.  His judgment will move out from the church and into the earth. So we must turn away from worldliness, lustfulness and earthly passions (i.e. self-will – the things we want to hold onto without involving the Lord in the decisions.)

God is dealing with His people preparing us for this unprecedented day.  He doesn’t want you to make decisions and then ask Him to bless your efforts.  First, ask Him and see what direction you can go.  If you do, you will survive these days.

 

-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

Jan 02: You will be stronger this year, in the Lord.

Jan 03: You make everything beautiful in Your time!  The beauty of Christ is becoming more of a reality.

Jan 06: Please pardon the wrong doing of your people in keeping with the greatness of Your faithful love (Numbers 14:19).

Jan 10: You are going to know the way to go in the days ahead if you keep looking to Me to guide you.  Through the darkness I will guide you into safety.  Keep your heart pure and your mind guarded to maintain clarity.  There is much that is needed, but I am the Provider and My Word is true.

Proverbs 14:18 “The sensible are crowned with knowledge.”

Jan 13: If ever I loved Thee, My Jesus ‘tis now!

Jan 14: I will love You, O Lord My God.  Above all else, I will love you.

Jan 17: When Christ, who is your life, is revealed, then you also will be revealed with Him in glory (Col.3:4).

Jan 18: There is victory ahead for you.

Jan 21: Be confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ (Phil.1:6).

Jan 24: In obedience and sacrifice you are blessed! The Lord will fulfill His purpose for you.  Lord, Your love is eternal; do not abandon the work of Your hands.

Jan 29: Thou will keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on thee because he trusts in Thee!

Jan 30: That you be not soon shaken in mind or be troubled, neither by spirit nor by word, as that the day of Christ is at hand (2 Thess.2:2).

Jan 31: I live in a high and holy place, and with the oppressed and lowly of spirit (Isa.57:15).

 

 To Be Found In Christ

 Are we still living according to our own desires?  Or have we dropped all of our alternative courses and set our face like a flint in the one direction where we were created to live?

Jer 1:5 (KJV)  “Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations.”

God knows all of us before we are born, and He knows why He created us, and what He created us to do.  He knows the “why,” and the “when,” and the “where we were born” as well as the “where we are to live our lives.”  The Lord’s plan for each of us has been in place since before we were born.  It is also good to know that God never intended for us to do anything alone.  In the book of Genesis we find that God walked with Adam and Eve in the cool of the day each and every day; but when they were removed from the Garden of Eden because they  chose a different lifestyle, they no longer enjoyed that close relationship with Him.

Eph 2:10-22 (KJV)  “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.  (11)  Wherefore remember, that ye being in time past Gentiles in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called the Circumcision in the flesh made by hands;  (12)  That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world:  (13)  But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ.  (14)  For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us;  (15)  Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace;  (16)  And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby:  (17)  And came and preached peace to you which were afar off, and to them that were nigh.  (18)  For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father.  (19)  Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints, and of the household of God;  (20)  And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone;  (21)  In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord:  (22)  In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.”

Hallelujah!, if we had not yet been able to grasp the fact that God has made a way, through the blood of His Son, for us to understand and walk in the purpose He created us for, we definitely should be able to grasp it now:  “WE ARE IN THE WORLD BUT NOT OF THE WORLD!”  We were born to be children of God and to grow into His likeness - or image.  Everything that we experience as we follow His direction is to prepare us for eternity with Him.  The people who are of the world (even worldly “Christians”) are caught up in many different quests involving cures for hypothetical problems such as global warming, and/or consumed with exhaustive measures to solve mysteries that have perplexed mankind for centuries, such as the existence of extraterrestrial life forms, the positioning of ancient stones in the middle of nowhere, the way the pyramids were erected, hidden creatures that live deep in the oceans, along with other worldly preoccupations such as lifelong efforts to find cures for deadly sexually transmitted diseases (while the answer is really not a cure but rather dealing with the cause).  But on an issue that probably hits closer to home for the majority of people in general, the real tragedy is that multitudes never discover the reason that they were created; and they don’t really understand why they exist. Why is that discovery, that understanding important?  Because people are missing out on the best life they could ever live. In fact, many even desire to end their lives because they neither know and follow their Maker, nor do they understand the reason that they exist.

Jer 29:11 (KJV)  “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.”     

 

-Kurt Thurston      

 

Quotes: 

 

 

"The neglected heart will soon be a heart overrun with worldly thoughts; the neglected life will soon become a moral chaos; the church that is not jealously protected by mighty intercession and sacrificial labors will before long become the abode of every evil bird and the hiding place for unsuspected corruption. The creeping wilderness will soon take over that church that trusts in its own strength and forgets to watch and pray."

- A. W. Tozer

 

 

 

"The Bible definitely is infallible, how else could it survive so many years of bad preaching?"

- Leonard Ravenhill

 

God will indeed reward us according to our faithfulness. What does it mean to be faithful? It means to keep going even when you feel like quitting. No one ever said, “I’ve been faithful to enjoy ice cream for my dessert every night for a week!” No, being faithful implies a temptation to be unfaithful. It means hanging in there when you feel like abandoning ship.

- Author Unknown

 

“God's will is hard only when it comes up against our stubbornness, then it is as cruel as a ploughshare and as devastating as an earthquake.”

- Oswald Chambers

 

 

"It takes spiritual authority to bless others. Many Christians say, "God bless you," but one clearly senses that although the words express a kind wish, they lack real spiritual authority."

- M. Basilea Schlink

 

We are never, never so much in danger of being proud as when we think we are humble."

- C.H. Spurgeon

 

 

 

 

Next course from Christian Life Educators Network -  Richmond Center:

 

Freer Than You Ever Dreamed by Dr. Sue Curran

This course explores the subject of authority over the power of the enemy and

establishes the student in this authority. Upon this foundation of authority, the full scope of deliverance is taught.

 

                                                                                                   February 9-11, 2012

 

 

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