Thursday, February 2, 2012

FEBRUARY NEWSLETTER 2012

Living Word

Christian Fellowship

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

Vol. 21, No. 2   February   2012

I have a sense of fulfillment this year.  That happens to be our theme in the church.  God is saying and doing things that make me believe that He is up to something good.  However, if we keep our focus on the things of the world and get caught up in them, then we can miss what God is doing.  I know this is the year for a presidential election and people are in uncertainty for the future.  I feel that too.  But when I keep my eyes on the Lord, I am encouraged time after time.

Peter tells us this: 1Pe 5:10 NIV  “And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.”

Then he says in verse 12 to stand fast in the grace that has been given to you.  It is very difficult to stand fast when you are on shaky ground.  That is the place this nation stands in this time.  But the sons of God are rising to their rightful places of authority; and as we do, watch what God will do.  God is not through with us yet.  His plans are good: Jer 29:11  “For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”  We have a future that is about to come forth, so stand and see the salvation of the Lord!  We will be stronger than we ever thought possible when God reveals His will and His plans are fulfilled.

In Christ,

Pr. Steve

 

Devouring Time

Rev 12:11 (KJV)  “And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death.”

The Word of God tells us the way to be and remain victorious in this hour of transition is that we are not to love our lives to the death.  Greek = psuche  = Soul -  You love not your soul, not your existence. Life is not the body.  Jesus said you have to lay down your life and follow Him.  What does it mean?  It means you give your soul to Him. From the word psuche we get psychology = this is our thinking. So it is not that we don’t love our life, our existence; rather, it is that we don’t love the way we think which causes us to do things contrary to the ways of God.  Mat 16:26  “For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?”

We don’t love our souls, the way you think, even to the death.  When we do, we gain a new creation of Christ that rules our thoughts and mind and gives us authority over evil.

Isaiah, Micah, and Revelation all tell us that in the last days this bringing forth of Christ will take place in His people. It will not be the usual way of living or acting or responding.  A new creation is taking shape.

While the Apostles were with us, led by the Holy Spirit they wrote about the actual experiences that took place in their lives.  When they passed away, men tried to interpret what the Apostles had written without the experience, leaving us with little understanding of what it meant to have this new creation formed in us to the place that we could give our lives for the gospel. The results have been a gospel of works – people trying to do good deeds to gain salvation.  Works will always follow the true believer.  But what God is looking for is a converted soul, i.e. a transformed mind, will, and emotions, all totally devoted to Him.

So throughout the past 2000 years God has been adding His Wisdom and revelation and understanding line upon line until we gain the understanding of what it is He has provided for us through the cross and the shed blood of Jesus Christ.

At this time, we are in a tremendous day.  Not only is sin coming to maturity, but the sons of God are also coming to maturity.  Therefore,  when the 7th trumpet is set to sound suddenly, this travail the church has been in will bring forth the image of Christ. 

Simultaneously, the maturity of evil will also increase so that the maturity of Christ may come forth.  Here is the point:  God does not want us to react to evil things.  He wants us proactive – prepared for the worst and able to endure anything that happens so the world might find Jesus.  [As a counselor I am told many things.  But I can’t react to any of it or I will lose the hurting individual.]  Nothing can move me in these days.  Our responsibility is to stress what God is doing and not what Satan is doing.  That is the mind of Christ ruling your inner man.  You are going to see bad things happen because this nation is on a moral landslide that isn’t going to stop. If Satan can get your attention, he will keep you locked up until you have made yourself sick and dysfunctional. Don’t give him any  notice or acknowledgment -– keep your eyes on Jesus.   Jesus said when you see the sons of the devil (the tares) coming to maturity, you will see the sons of God (the wheat) also come to maturity.  [You will see it.]  This is not a gimmick. 

According to Revelation 12 the first thing Satan is coming after is the forming of Christ in the Saints.  Then after he chases them away, he will go after the rest of the church and vrs.16 tells us the earth will help the church get through. Rev 12:16 (KJV)  “And the earth helped the woman, and the earth opened her mouth, and swallowed up the flood which the dragon cast out of his mouth.”

Verse 4 tells us the devil is ready to devour this new image The Greek word is – katesthio, meaning to devour,  to eat away a little at a time. Satan is not out to kill you, but to devour you.  When you eat meat, you don’t kill it; you devour it a little at a time.  And that is what this means [root - phago  - to eat meat = to consume by eating.]  Satan chews on you a little at a time.  If he would just attack us and kill us, we would be alright.  But he keeps nibbling away –- through  constant irritations that keep your mind distracted.  That is how he gets at the image of Christ being formed in us.  Remember, he is the “Lord of the flies”  (Beelzebub).  How many of you like flies pestering you all the time? 

As Christ’s image is being formed in us, it is caught up unto God and to His throne.  Satan doesn’t want that.  As long as we stay at the throne and keep ascending, we are victorious.  This is more than doctrine.  This is experience. And you will discover that what you go through is not haphazard or random.  It is all designed to bring forth Christ.  When you maintain that kind of mentality, you will fight and be victorious to complete the process.  You will keep going to the Lord for understanding and wisdom instead of feeling sorry for yourself because your life isn’t what you intend for it to be. Acknowledge the Lord in it all, and you will gain a strength that goes far beyond your natural abilities.

If you are offended by someone in the body of Christ, Satan will begin to nibble away at that offense until you want to seek revenge.  Revenge doesn’t come from our Heavenly Father.  You have to keep praying until the formation of Christ overrules your vengeful thinking so God can take you up to His right hand.  You can sense that release while you are praying.  When a sense of reprieve or release comes, you have “prayed through.”

There is a problem with this generation.  They do not know how to pray through.  We have been told in the past 10-15 years that tarrying and praying through isn’t necessary because the Holy Spirit is in you.  That was not good teaching because now we have few who want to spend the time to pray through for much of anything.   Praying through is taking the time to interact with the Lord until you KNOW He has answered.  You will get the assurance of knowing God has heard and has taken care of the matter.  As you continue to pray through, Christ in your will be formed in you enough that will be caught up to the throne of peace and grace and mercy.  Your emotions have to come under the cross so you can experience the release of God’s answer.  Be warned that many of the afflictions coming to people today are unheard of; and unless we touch God and break through, we are going to suffer needlessly.

We don’t have the people today that are willing to sacrifice their time in prayer.  They are willing to sacrifice their time to make money, but not to build the kingdom of God so that they can walk in the victory in the day of battle.  When you are able to pray through to a peace, you will have the assurance that God is going to supply your every need according to His riches in glory.

The more you give to the god of this world, the more the enemy can devour you a little at a time until you are unable to stand through anything.

Another area that eats away at our lives is the immorality that rules this nation,  especially our children!  I don’t have to go into details.  I grew up with a stern view against immoral choices.  I still agree with that belief; and because I don’t want immorality in my life, I won’t give in to it around me or in my home or on the TV.  [I do not want to join the moral majority so I can sit around and view immoral films to give them a rating.  That is obscene.  But that is what Christians do today.]

Personal ambition will eat away at your life, motivating you in trying to be something you are not or somebody of importance.  Let God direct your choices.  Don’t strive to be important or popular.  Why not become “nothing”?  Say to the Lord, “Here I am again, Lord, just nothing.  If you can use me fine; otherwise, I’ll just be nothing.”  Constantly pray, “Lord I know nothing at all today except what You give me.” 1Co 8:2  “And if any man think that he knoweth any thing, he knoweth nothing yet as he ought to know.”

Be careful not to allow fear to rule your hearts and minds.  The Lord doesn’t like it when you are fearful, but the enemy loves it.  Fear is like putting ketchup on French fries.  You can devour them.  And that is what the dragon does when you walk in fear.  He chews and chews and chews on you until you feel you are torn to pieces.   Fear is a sign that we lack confidence in God’s willingness and ability to take care of us.

Heb 13:5-6 (KJV)  “For he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. So that we may boldly say, The Lord [is] my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me.”

Unforgiveness will also keep you from the throne of God.  I used to hope if I could just get closer to the Lord, people would stop hurting me and causing pain.  God’s process doesn’t work that way.  You have to come to the place that when people hurt you, you won’t react; instead, you will take it to the Lord to see what He says about it. That attitude will lift you up to the throne of God instead of allowing Satan to devour you.

When you are living in the Spirit of God all of these things that eat away at you will stop.  You will find this new image taking control and lifting you out of anything that happens, and you will find the fullness of life and be able to maintain a victorious example of life.

Gal 5:25  “If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.”

Rom 8:1  “[There is] therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. “

-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

Feb 05: Lord, my heart is not proud, my eyes are not haughty.  I do not get involved with things too great or too difficult for me.  Instead, I have calmed and quieted myself like a weaned child with its mother.  I am like a little child (Psm.131).

Feb 10: Cling to Me. Cling to My person.  Cling to My power. Cling to My purpose and you will be safe at the onslaught of the enemy in the land. Many will be hurt, but those who cling to Me will be safe.

Feb 14: You are living in the Spirit.  He is guiding you and making you one with Me. He is instructing you in the way to live.  I am your source of strength.  Everything is working together for your good.  So keep listening and keep following, for the way is prepared.

Feb 18: Because Christ Jesus lives in me I can feel and experience what He feels and experiences.  I bear the burden of Christ in my being.  I am willing. I trust the experience of Christ Jesus in me.

Feb 19: My soul, praise the Lord.

Feb 21: Call on Me and I will answer you and tell you great and wondrous things you do not know.

Feb 24: “Restoration is, in fact, happening wherever God’s people are sacrificing everything to live and work and suffer as Christ did” (Andrew Murray).

Feb 26: If you are being judged by Me, then I have come to you! Remain in Me and much fruit will come forth.

 

The Change

 We have entered into a year of change.  We will either be changed by the events and influences around us, or we will instead effect change in those events and influences.  Merriam Webster defines the word “change” as: “1. to make different in some particular, 2. too to become different.”   We don’t need to change just for the sake of change, but we will be changing according to God’s creative plan when we are led by Christ and are growing into deeper relationship with Our Heavenly Father.

Gen 35:1-5 (KJV)  “And God said unto Jacob, Arise, go up to Bethel, and dwell there: and make there an altar unto God, that appeared unto thee when thou fleddest from the face of Esau thy brother.  (2)  Then Jacob said unto his household, and to all that were with him, Put away the strange gods that are among you, and be clean, and change your garments:  (3) And let us arise, and go up to Bethel; and I will make there an altar unto God, who answered me in the day of my distress, and was with me in the way which I went.  (4)  And they gave unto Jacob all the strange gods which were in their hand and all their earrings which were in their ears; and Jacob hid them under the oak which was by Shechem.  (5)  And they journeyed: and the terror of God was upon the cities that were round about them, and they did not pursue after the sons of Jacob.”

In the above text, God reminds Jacob of the vow he had made at Bethel and sends him forth to fulfill it. Jacob had said in the day of his distress, “If I come again in peace, this stone shall be God's house” (Genesis 28:22). God had performed His part; He had given Jacob more than bread to eat and more than raiment to put on; but it seems Jacob had forgotten his vow, or, at least, deferred the performance of it.  God said, “and dwell there” — That is, Jacob was not only to go himself, but he was to take his family with him, that they might join with him in his devotions.  The name “Bethel” is interpreted: “The house of God” and sometimes interpreted as “the house of bread”; but both refer to the Word of God.  Today, there is the call to return to the Church, to come back to the preached word of God, and to put away things that have replaced our devotions to God.  Don’t forsake time spent with the Lord, and do cast down things that have caused the flame of God in our hearts to die down. Then go on to replace them with those things that will build faith and wholeness of heart. 

It is interesting that the instructions were to put away the strange gods that were in their hands, and the earrings that were in their ears. Those are areas of touch and hearing that are associated with the people’s beliefs and their desires.  Not mentioned are the areas of seeing and speaking; and although they are not mentioned in the above text, they  are affected by the things we hear and touch as well. If you don’t think so, just ask Adam & Eve.

Heb 10:23-25 (KJV)  “Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised;)  (24) 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.”

As followers of Jesus Christ we must always bring our lives into subjection to the Word and the Holy Spirit of God, and this obedience is especially true in the times when there is reluctance in our hearts and a compulsion to compromise instead of doing that which the Lord asks of us.  If we will humble ourselves before Him, seek to obey Him, and set our hearts and minds upon Him, He will help us.  Remember, every decision we make will not only have an effect on us personally but will also bleed out to the other members of the body of Christ and those who are still lost.

2Th 2:1-17 (KJV)  “Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him,  (2)  That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand.  (3)  Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition;  (4)  Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God.  (5)  Remember ye not, that, when I was yet with you, I told you these things?  (6)  And now ye know what withholdeth that he might be revealed in his time.  (7)  For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way.  (8)  And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming:  (9)  Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders,  (10)  And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.  (11)  And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie:  (12)  That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.  (13)  But we are bound to give thanks alway to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth:  (14)  Whereunto he called you by our gospel, to the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.  (15)  Therefore, brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions which ye have been taught, whether by word, or our epistle.  (16)  Now our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God, even our Father, which hath loved us, and hath given us everlasting consolation and good hope through grace,  (17)  Comfort your hearts, and stablish you in every good word and work.”

-Kurt Thurston

 

Quotes:

 Definition of “iconoclast” : “The breaker or destroyer of images or idols set up for veneration. A person who attacks cherished beliefs, traditions, institutions and error.

Definition of “forerunners”: Those who come into things first. God deals with the church before He deals with the world (ref), and He deals with natural things before spiritual things (ref). Prophetic people in the church are even further ahead and as a result are quite out of step with the mainstream. They are often in the opposite phase, e.g. happy when everyone else is sad, sad when everyone else is happy.

 

"The old cross slew men; the new cross entertains them. The old cross condemned; the new cross amuses. The old cross destroyed confidence in the flesh; the new cross encourages it."

-A.W. Tozer

 

"Revival is when God gets so sick and tired of being misrepresented that He shows Himself."

-Leonard Ravenhill

 

"Adversity doesn't build character; it reveals it."

- Anonymous

 

"Christ always identified Himself with the least, the last, and the lost."

- Unknown

 

"The secret of Christianity is not asking Jesus into your heart; it is Jesus asking us into His."

- Unknown

 

                   Kid’s Korner

 Four-year-old Mitch loved candy almost as much as his mom Ann did. He and Daddy had given her a beautiful heart-shaped box of chocolates for Valentine's Day. A few days later Mitch was eyeing it, wishing to have a piece of it. As he reached out to touch one of the big pieces, Ann said to him, "If you touch it, then you have to eat it. Do you understand?"

"Oh, yes," he said, nodding his head. Suddenly his little hand patted the tops of all the pieces of candy. "Now I can eat them all."

 

-Author Unknown

 

Next course from Christian Life Educators Network -  Richmond Center:

 

Major Prophets by: Dr. Charles Gaulden

His course is a study of the major prophets, Isaiah and Jeremiah.

 

                                                      March 8-10, 2012