Friday, August 31, 2018

Making Known God's Manifold Wisdom

"His [God's] intent was that now, through the church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms, according to his eternal purpose that he accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord." Ephesians 3:10-11

Making Known God's Manifold Wisdom
Later in Ephesians we are told that, "Our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms" (Ephesians 6:12).

These two verses give us only a glimpse into the heavenly realms. There is another glimpse in the first couple of chapters of Job where we witness two conversations between God and Satan. But Job was never aware of these conversations.

Often it is like that with us. We are unaware of what is going on in the heavenly realms and yet the way we live our lives makes a statement to the rulers and authorities in the heavenlies. They want to know if we are going to live according to God’s priorities, his agenda, and his timetable.

We make known the manifold wisdom of God, by the daily choices we make. The choice to not take offense, to be forgiving, to do the loving thing, rather than what’s convenient. Also the choices we make when we watch entertainment, make decisions about our finances, and the way we spend our time. All these choices have an impact because they reveal our faith and our priorities.

What a great encouragement to know our choices make a difference in the heavenlies and that God's purposes are being realized. Susan Barnes

Friday, August 24, 2018

Making Changes

Making Changes
Women have repeatedly used the excuse for a change of mind; it’s a woman’s prerogative.

That explains why it takes many women so long to choose what to wear. Additional mind changes involve hair color and the mind boggling date night decisions. Asking her which movie she to wants to see and a restaurant choice might push her to the limit.

In reality, we all change our minds. God changes hearts.

And oh how crucial that He makes those changes.

“The heart is more deceitful than anything else, and incurable—who can understand it?" (Jeremiah 17:9 HCS)

We face critical heart issues.

“For from within, out of people’s hearts, come evil thoughts, sexual immoralities, thefts, murders, adulteries, greed, evil actions, deceit, promiscuity, stinginess, blasphemy, pride, and foolishness. All these evil things come from within and defile a person." (Mark 7:21-23 HCS)

We are in competent hands. PamFord Davis

Friday, August 17, 2018

Making Plans

Making Plans
How often have you decided that you just had to do or have something only to realize after you have done it or bought it that you made a mistake and that if you had taken just a little while longer and maybe listened to those around you who had already tried it or owned it you could have saved yourself a lot of time, money or suffering. I was reading this week in the book of Isaiah when I came across this passage that has been on my mind ever since. It is found in Isaiah 30:1;
1 “Ah, stubborn children,” declares the Lord, “who carry out a plan, but not mine, and who make an alliance, but not of my Spirit, that they may add sin to sin; (ESV) 

When I first read it I began to think about all the choices I have made personally that have ended with if not bad results questionable ones at the least. I have looked at them thinking what could I have done differently that would have added benefit to my life and the lives of those around me and now I can tell you I was consulting the wrong source for guidance in my decision making process. In Luke 14:28 the words of Jesus are recorded: 
28 For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it? (ESV) 

We often think about what it will cost us when we are making plans. It's vacation time and everyone I know is preparing to go and do something this summer. One of the key issues that they will be thinking about is how much money do they have to do it with. It is for most people the deciding factor for what they will do and where they will go. However, I have a question what if there was a better source available to us by which to make decisions and it allowed us to enquire of the creator what he desired for us. Luckily we have such a resource as this.We read in John 14 about a promise from Jesus that we all need to look at and understand. 
15 “If you love me, you will keep my commandments. 16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, John 14:15-16 (ESV)

When Jesus ascended into heaven he provided us with a Helper, and it is not just any helper. He has all the wisdom, power, understanding and glory of God and dwells within every believer in Christ Jesus. The real question is are we listening to Him when we make our plans and I mean not just long term but even this morning have you asked God what He desires for you to do today or have you already established your plan. It’s easy to get up and think over all that we might have to get done today but is any of it really what God has created you for. You see that is one of the reasons so many people are unhappy in their lives they are pursuing their plans and not God’s not to say that were you are and what you’re doing is not part of His plan for your life but are you doing it in a fashion that brings Him glory or is it all about you? 

One last point as you are planning the future Jesus provided a warning in Luke 12:13-21: 
16 And he told them a parable, saying, “The land of a rich man produced plentifully, 17 and he thought to himself, ‘What shall I do, for I have nowhere to store my crops?’ 18 And he said, ‘I will do this: I will tear down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. 19 And I will say to my soul, Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be merry.’ 20 But God said to him, ‘Fool! This night your soul is required of you, and the things you have prepared, whose will they be?’ 21 So is the one who lays up treasure for himself and is not rich toward God.” (ESV) 

Not to say that having possessions is bad; trust me I have more than I will ever use. However the making of plans that are self-centered and without consultation from the Holy Spirit will leave us wondering why in the end. I pray that as you start today you take a few minutes to ask the Helper for guidance about your day. Pick up your Bible and dust it off; get to know the Creator better so you can see His will for your life and begin walking in the Light of His Word. Rev Brian Mathis

Friday, August 10, 2018

Making a Difference

And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by Him. (Colossians 3:17)

Making a Difference
Some time ago, my husband and I toured the Ink & Blood exhibit when it came to our city. As far as the title goes, “ink” stands for the ink used to print Bibles; “blood” stands for the blood shed so common people can have a Bible translated into their own language.

The exhibits were filled with ancient Bibles and artifacts, including fragments of the Dead Sea Scrolls, which were found in 11 caves at a site called Qumran between 1947 and 1956. Needless to say, for anyone who appreciates the Word of God, it was indeed amazing.

As we sat waiting to see another demonstration, I was caught up in the wonder of what I had seen. Tears filled my eyes as I thought of the sacrifices men such as John Wyclif, William Tyndale and Miles Cloverdale made, risking death all for the sake of someone like me to have my own Bible. Mine has given me comfort over the years, so I gave God thanks for those men who made a difference to me personally.

William Tyndale lost his life making sure there was an English translation of the Bible for the common people. Tyndale saw a true need for people to have a Bible in a language they could understand. He was imprisoned for 500 days before he was choked to death and then burned at the stake.

At the time of John Wyclif, it was illegal for Scriptures to be spoken in what they called “the vile language called English.” If anyone was suspected of even having a Wyclif Bible, they were hunted down and burned ... along with their Bible.

The things I saw had a great impact on me because it made me realize even more that there is a need to do something to make a difference in our society. I was inspired to not sit back and do nothing while lives go unchanged and became even more determined to make a difference no matter where I am or what I am doing.

We can make a difference in some way or another. Every single one of us has a calling from God and we can use whatever He has gifted us with to be of help to someone, somewhere. No matter what we do, no matter how irrelevant we may think it is, we can make a difference.

The Apostle Paul made a tremendous difference and sacrificed greatly. I’m reminded of a particular passage from 2 Corinthians 11:23-28 which verifies his sufferings all for the cause of Jesus Christ and for the sake of the early Christians. Paul said he had been in prison, flogged, beaten, stoned and shipwrecked. He said he had been in danger, had gone without sleep, had known hunger and thirst, had been cold and also without clothing. Even though Paul suffered all of these hardships, he continued to have a tremendous burden for all of the churches of God of his day. In fact, he wrote some of his greatest letters from prison and in chains!

James 4:14 tells us life is a vapor, that it appears for a short time and then vanishes away. In other words, our lives pass by very fast. One night, I was looking up into the sky watching large fluffy clouds move quickly across the sky. Right before my eyes they suddenly dispersed and were no longer visible. That is what we are like, we’re here one day and then suddenly we must go back to the dust from where we came.

It is my hope that you will be encouraged to go and speak words of encouragement to someone. Send someone a beautiful card just because. Or, touch someone in a way that only you can. Whatever you feel God leading you to do, do it with all your heart and as unto Him. (Col. 3:17) I can tell you that you will be blessed more than you can imagine as you make a difference.  Excerpt from article by Danna Appleby

Father, I thank You because of the ministries you call us to. I know that what we do for You is important no matter how insignificant we feel it is. I pray You will bless and help us to do Your divine will when we feel the nudge from the Spirit. Lord, calm every fear that would hold us back from moving forward and pursuing the calling of God on our lives. Touch us Lord and help us to always trust in You as we strive to make a difference in the world. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

Friday, August 3, 2018

Next Time

Next Time
We all have these two wonderful words that we hang on to in disappointing times, such as when we fail, or when it storms on our camping trip, when we lose a game, or we’ve missed out on seeing a friend or family member. Perhaps as Christians we hope for a next time to share the love of Jesus Christ with a wandering soul.  Perhaps we hope for a next time to make a solid decision to give and surrender our own lives to Jesus. “Next time…” gives us hope, and something to look forward to. The wonderful thing about it is that we (often, but not always) get many “next times,” another chance, another opportunity.

As Christians, we breathe in and out our faith of the most glorious next-time that there will ever be. Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ will return as King of all Kings, the Sovereign Lord, “the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ” (Titus 2:13). What a glorious day, opening the door for believers’ eternity! Philippians 2:11(NKJ) proclaims that “every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord.”

Jesus says in Revelation 22:20, “Surely, I am coming quickly!” And after this next time, there will be no more next-times. No extensions or grace-periods. Believers that eagerly awaited for this next time will live eternally with Him. Those who reject the love of God through Jesus will be eternally separated from all hope of any next times.

Ignite and re-ignite your faith and hope. Keep your heart and actions pressing on for this glorious next-time!

Come, Lord Jesus! Come! Katy Foster