Thursday, March 1, 2012

MARCH NEWSLETTER 2012

Living Word

Christian Fellowship

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

Vol. 21, No. 3   March   2012

These are days in which God is restoring His Kingdom.  He is getting ready to pour out rain and blessing to those who are hungering and thirsting for righteousness. He is going to use the least of us to gather in the harvest and to minister life to the hopeless.  People are not going to be left to themselves unless they don’t want to follow Christ.

All of this will happen in such a way that it will amaze us.  The Lord will be glorified as each of us finds our place in the Church.

We have waited and we have waited and most have not seen anything happening.  Our hope has dwindled down to a trickle and we do not have the strength to make it happen.  Well, thank God!  Because when we are at the end of ourselves, then God can have His way.  We have waited on Him, but He has been waiting until there is nothing in us or of us that will be of the flesh. Only then can all be done by the Spirit. 

So let your faith come from God and see what He will do.  Don’t stop praying.  Don’t give up just as the time approaches.  Watch and see the hand of deliverance and blessing flow.  Our God is a powerful God and He will not disappoint.

Psa 34:8  “Taste and see that the LORD is good; blessed is the man who takes refuge in him.”

Psa 84:11  “For the LORD God is a sun and shield; the LORD bestows favor and honor; no good thing does he withhold from those whose walk is blameless.”

In Christ,  

Pr. Steve

 

 Time for Christ’s Image

 

Isa 66:5-9 (NIV)  Hear the word of the LORD, you who tremble at his word: "Your brothers who hate you, and exclude you because of my name, have said, "Let the LORD be glorified, that we may see your joy!' Yet they will be put to shame.  (6)  Hear that uproar from the city, hear that noise from the temple! It is the sound of the LORD repaying his enemies all they deserve.  (7)  "Before she goes into labor, she gives birth; before the pains come upon her, she delivers a son.  (8)  Who has ever heard of such a thing? Who has ever seen such things? Can a country be born in a day or a nation be brought forth in a moment? Yet no sooner is Zion in labor than she gives birth to her children.  (9)  Do I bring to the moment of birth and not give delivery?" says the LORD. "Do I close up the womb when I bring to delivery?" says your God.

Bringing forth Christ in the Church is going to take place at a specific time.  Today, we are in that time, a time during which the Lord is about to repay His enemies.  That time comes with a sound from the temple, a sound which means the Church is going to become militant and be able to respond to the enemy in a stronger way than in the past. God promised Jesus that He would make His enemies Jesus’ footstool, but Christ has had to wait patiently for that to come to pass.  Nevertheless, it will happen.  There is going to be confrontation between God and Satan (Joel 3:16 says “God will roar out of Zion – out of His Church.”)

We have to go through the change from Adam to Christ, being transformed from a living soul to a life-giving spirit.  It is a transition from that which is merely human to that which is divinely human. This transformation is fearful because it has never happened before on a wide scale. [May the Holy Spirit give you understanding.]

We must forget about the past and what we know about church activity and look to Jesus on an individual basis. {Don’t forsake the church – I see things changing in the spirit realm, but I still regularly worship and learn of Christ – we are commanded to do this.}   The Lord has new and surprising things to do today. And they will begin in the Church. It is the power of Christ that will come forth in the Church. 

I don’t presume to know how or what that consists of.  But I know there is a change taking place that we are preparing for. It is dependent on looking to Jesus at all times and being completely obedient.  You have to stop trying to get God to go your way -- forget about yourself and focus on Him.   “Just show me what you want of me today, Lord!”  And for these people God is going to attack His enemy.  It has nothing to do with extra praying.  It has to do with a people who will cease going their own way and be led by the Spirit.

During this time we will see the sons of the Kingdom and the sons of the devil come to maturity (Mat.13:38 – Parable of tares). Only when the maturity takes place can the Lord deal with the tares.  They have to be clearly identified.  Today that is not true.  We don’t know who is of us and who is of so much mixture they aren’t with us.  The Word says let the filthy remain filthy.  It is the only way to make the “Way” straight for the sons of the Kingdom (that is the Christ, not the old Adam, in us).

Today, we are much like the Laodicean Church, so lukewarm God can’t do anything with us. He has to make the way straight and clear to see who is going to follow.  If we don’t get our eyes on the Lord, we will default to wickedness!  You can’t let things of evil slide by in your life and think everything is going to come out OK in the end. There are so many voices today that young people don’t know who to listen to or what to discern.  As we mature we are supposed to be responsible one to another.

The Church has now been in travail for some years, and she is ready to deliver. Christ is coming forth in the bride.  We are in a terrible day of immoral action, but Christ is being formed in His Church; and just like Esther, the bride is being beautified.

Before she travailed she brought forth. This is speaking of Jesus.  There was no travail when Jesus came forth the first time, only that of His mother!  The Church didn’t travail to bring forth Christ. Mary travailed.  The text is speaking about Christ. The travail is for the “image of Christ” to come forth in the Church so she can return with Israel.  This is the transformation of Christ in the Church. This is what Isaiah 66 is talking about.

What does this mean to us today?  We are now in the time where our lives are devoted to bringing forth Christ above anything else we consider. Don’t you feel the urgency? This is why church is not the usual feel good, get all excited feelings that we have been accustomed to.  You are in labor.  Who wants to jump around while you are trying to deliver? [Just get this thing out of me.]  It has been said when a woman is pregnant all her decisions are made based on the safety of the baby. {This is new to the church because in the past we have focused on what God will do for us, i.e. how do I get God to bless my plan?} It is a new day. It is a radical change in the Day of the Lord. I am not talking about a miserable existence.  But face it, the closer the woman gets to delivery, she becomes both excited and wishful to get it over. It is a shift of focus.  If we are focused on the goal and not the process, which is to bring forth Christ so He can defeat His enemies, we are not going to give up while the baby is being developed.  I may go through some pretty tough stuff, but the outcome will be worth it. I can rejoice. 

Don’t take anything for granted.  Your misery may have nothing to do with the development of Christ in you.  It may happen because of some foolish decision you made. Repent and move on because you don’t want the baby to be premature.  He wants us to look to Him because he is doing new and sudden things. Believe God for new and sudden things to enhance your life -- to make you all you were born to be.

We are in the time about which I have instructed you to stop asking a lot of questions when God wants something from you.  We are now at the place that when God speaks we simply say, “What is the next step.”  (Maturity is a simply way of acknowledging God in everything.)

Conception takes place at one moment, but the development of a fetus takes painstaking time and a conscious awareness of what you do during that time. Salvation is a process of transforming us from the image of Adam to the image of Christ. Accepting Christ gives you the proper authority to begin the process of transformation. It is the work of transformation that is salvation because we are not saved from the earth.  We are saved from the image of Satan.  Our whole personality must be changed from that of a self-seeking person to one who is like Christ Jesus, one who is caring and compassionate and giving.  It is our hope of glory!  It is the goal.  If we accept and endure God’s ways, we will come to His glory.

Gal 4:19 (KJV)  “My little children, of whom I travail in birth again until Christ be formed in you...”

Were they not already saved? According to the text, they were saved and filled with the Spirit; but Christ had not been formed in them.  The process of transformation takes time. God knew the Church couldn’t retain the knowledge of the Apostles of His day.  So He has taken 2000 years to build line upon line until this day has come and the Church is ready to deliver His image to the world.

Are you ready to sustain this new image?  Have you experienced enough testings and tribulations so that nothing will move you from what the Lord has prepared for you?

Do you realize no one can hurt you emotionally unless you let them?  I am not talking physically.  This is how you can test the degree of maturity of Christ in your life.  This determines how much of the old Adam has died.  Test it!  “How much am I in you, Lord? I want more of You.  I want to be a life-giving spirit. I want my life to be Christ’s and not my own. How many of you want Christ to be your life and not your self?”   I want Jesus and I desire nothing less than to live by His life.  This is the cry of my life and I care not the cost.

We have been talking about a Spirit-led life by which you can know His direction step by step. Are you creating problems for yourself, or do you know God is leading you in all that happens?  Do you need to talk to God about this today?  Do you want a change with new and sudden things of the Kingdom coming into your life?  Do you need to be obedient?  Make a choice and follow Him.  The opportunities are greater than ever before.

 

-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

Mar. 1:  “Do you know that if you yield yourself as obedient servants, you are slaves of the one you obey – either of sin leading to death or of obedience leading to righteousness?”  (Rom 6:16)

Mar. 3:  Remain and be ready for battle.  Seek the Lord’s help.  He will bring disaster.  He will rise up against wicked men and those who do evil.  But you shall look to the Holy One of Israel.

Mar. 5:  “The words of the Lord are pure words; as silver tried in a furnace, purified seven times.”  (Psm 12:6)   “Sanctify us in thy truth.  Thy word is truth.”  (Jn 17:17)

Mar. 8:  The old must make way for the new.

Mar. 11:  “All that you are going through is to see if you will keep My Word and obey My commands.  Hallelujah!

Mar. 12:  “You are counted worthy of the Kingdom of God through the sufferings you endure.”  (2Thes 1:5)

Mar. 15:  “They cried out to the Lord in their trouble; He saved them from their distress.  He sent His word and healed them.”  (Psm 107:19-20)

 

Mar. 19“Until the time that his word came to pass, the word of the Lord tested him.”  (Psm 105:19)

Mar. 22:  When the spent man is in the rest of God, then he will have the mind of Christ.

Mar. 24:  I am crucified with Christ and I carry His death in me.  Glorify the crucified Christ in me.  Fill me with the fullness of Your Holy Spirit.

Mar. 28“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.”  (Jer 29:11)

 

God’s Way

 

1Ki 19:11-13 (KJV) And he said, Go forth, and stand upon the mount before the LORD. And, behold, the LORD passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountains, and brake in pieces the rocks before the LORD; but the LORD was not in the wind: and after the wind an earthquake; but the LORD was not in the earthquake:  (12) And after the earthquake a fire; but the LORD was not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice.   And it was so, when Elijah heard it, that he wrapped his face in his mantle, and went out, and stood in the entering in of the cave. And, behold, there came a voice unto him, and said, What doest thou here, Elijah?

The Lord has always taught His people through lessons of life, but never without His Word to direct them.  Many times people find that it is easier just to make life-changing decisions based only upon their circumstances, but as Christians we should always make sure that we seek the Lord for wisdom first before just reacting.  Many well-meaning, zealous Christians are eager to give other people advice based upon their own life experiences, when they should rather simply lead the people to hear what the Lord would have to say.  Jesus did not die just so that we could be forgiven for the bad things that we do; He gave His life to restore our relationship with the Heavenly Father.  We are not called to be a replacement for the Holy Spirit, but rather we should train people to listen for the direction of the Lord Jesus Christ by the leading of His Holy Spirit, and we should exhort others to adhere to the Word of God when they hear Him. 

Isa 40:31 (KJV)  “But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint”

As we mount up with wings as eagles, we gain a different perspective.  When our view of life is from ground level we cannot see the bigger picture; but if we are willing to seek the Lord, He will give us wisdom from above.

2Ki 6:17 (KJV)  “And Elisha prayed, and said, LORD, I pray thee, open his eyes, that he may see. And the LORD opened the eyes of the young man; and he saw: and, behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire round about Elisha”

That is a classic example of doing it God’s way.  Elisha could have stood there and told his servant about everything that he could see; but instead, his prayer was one that would connect his servant directly to the source. HALLELUJAH!

Joh 6:65-68 (KJV)  And he said, ‘Therefore said I unto you, that no man can come unto me, except it were given unto him of my Father.’  (66)  From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him.  (67)  Then said Jesus unto the twelve, ‘Will ye also go away?’  (68)  Then Simon Peter answered him, ‘Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life.’

Why are we so shocked when the Christian life gets difficult?  Could it be that we want the Christian benefits without having to know the One who provides them?  Would we rather just find a way out of a storm than to find the peace of the Lord in the midst of it?  Have we not yet discovered that His ways are better than ours?  There are truly only two options:  the wrong way, or God’s way.

Joh 10:27 (KJV)  “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me:”

 

-Kurt Thurston

 

 

Quotes:

 "Why do so many Christians pray such tiny prayers when their God is so big?"               

  -Watchman Nee

 

"One of these days some simple soul will pick up the book of God, read it, and believe it. Then the rest of us will be embarrassed."

-Leonard Ravenhill

 

 

 

"It is not the thing on which we spend most time that molds us, but the thing that exerts the greatest power. Five minutes with God and His word is worth more than all the rest of the day."

-Oswald Chambers

 

 

"You will never please everybody. Some men will say you have gone too far. Other men will say you haven't gone far enough. I just compromise and say I won't please anybody."

-A.W. Tozer

 

"Deliverance from believing lies must be by believing truth."

-Jessie Penn-Lewis

 

Next course from Christian Life Educators Network -  Richmond Center:

 

Christian Ethics by: Dr. Mark Rutland

A study of the general nature of Christian morals and of specific moral choices.

Emphasis is placed upon Christian principles of right or good conduct and the rules

or standards governing conduct.

Topics include the holiness of God, life-style virtues, inner virtues and the virtue of Christ.

                                                                                            April 12-14, 2012

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