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Wednesday, February 15, 2012, 10:52 AM
Pastor Jim Cymbala's inspired words have ministered to many, and Pastor G and I pray the below words about God's grace minister to you.
Getting What We Need
God's grace goes further and deeper than we could ever imagine. God alone can give us what we really need: a pure heart, a steadfast and willing spirit. No matter how deep and dark the secret, no matter how many times a certain sin has defeated you; God can bring change to your life. But it must be His Holy Spirit working from within and not your weak attempts to "do better next time." All God asks of you is to bring the whole, sorry mess to Him so He can begin the spiritual transformation you need.
Sunday, January 29, 2012, 6:13 PM
Lately God has had Pastor G and me focus on baptism and what it means symbolically. That led us on a journey that is yet incomplete, but I feel led to share some things with you and listen to what God leads you to see. Please feel free to comment.
First, baptism took place in moving water like in a brook or a stream or one of its outlets. The water could not be stagnant. Ever wonder why? Baptism stems from the old Jewish custom of mikveh, or ritual bath. One of the purposes of those baths was to cleanse or purify people not only from sin but from their old lives if they were converting to Judaism. The fact that the water was living or moving was never addressed in any writings including Jesus' offer of living water to those that believe. Living water is never the same. Currents vary as does the amount of the water itself. You can walk into deeper water in a river or stream, and you can surely ask for more of God and all that He is in your life. The currents act to remove the things that don't belong. They are fresh and clear. There is indeed a very understandable connection between choosing how much we are and do for God and How much He blesses us with Himself.
Living, or moving water, signifies the amount of God's spirit within us at various times. Like with salvation, which is the beginning of a lifelong spiritual process, being baptized signifies the beginning of that same lifelong spiritual process as well. We rise up in newness of life, cleased from our past and looking towards our spiritual future. It's fascinating to understand that the same "now what?" that exists after baptism exists after initial salvation. That "now what" entails continuing to follow Jesus and live His way of life while seeking to grow in grace and spiritual knowledge.
Christians are always in a process of spiritual change and growth. We are being transformed daily by yielding to the ministrations and leading of God the Holy Spirit. Have you made your living water connection today?
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Thursday, January 26, 2012, 10:47 AM
This is a personal challenge to Christians everywhere! There are many who are actively involved in church duties. There are many who seem to have and use spiritual gifts. There are even some who perform signs and wonders. And yet, Jesus says to some that He never knew them. Scripture says there will be weeping and wailing and grinding (gnashing) of teeth. (Matthew 7:21-23) How can you avoid being part of those Jesus said He never knew?
2Timothy 3:1-5 details what's going on in the church. Verse 5 says that some have a form of godliness but deny the power. Is that you? Do you outwardly go through the motions of being a busy, useful Christian while inside you are not connected to Jesus and live like He's not in your life? Do you constantly study scripture and have lots of head knowledge but lack spiritual conviction? Do you constantly study God's word and yet haven't been spiritually changed or impacted for quite some time? Sure, you know the right words to say and the right things to do, but knowing and having a right attitude can be two entirely different things.
There was a rich young man who approached Jesus and asked how to inherit eternal life. Jesus cited some commandments that all young Jews were taught. The young man's response was that he had done these things since he was a little kid. Jesus looked at him and told him that there was one thing he still needed to do: give up his riches and follow Him. The young man sadly shook his head and walked away from Jesus, knowing that was something he could not do. Scripture doesn't say whether he changed later, but those riches were a stumbling block, a barrier to an eternity with God for him. You can find the story in Matthew 19:16-26.
What about you? What in your life acts as that barrier? How able are you to give it up so that you can be with God for eternity? The good news is that God stands ready to help you identify what that barrier is and help you overcome it so that you can indeed be blessed with an eternity with Him. I encourage you to prayerfully examine yourself to see if you indeed are in the faith and then ask God's help in removing the things that don't belong now or for eternity. He loves you and wants you there. Do you love Him more than your barrier or stumbling block?
Let's pray: Father God, these are not easy words to read, but for some who read them, they are indeed necessary. If it applies to me individually, Father, please make me aware of the things that no longer belong in my life that are barriers to an eternity with You. I want more than anything to hear Jesus say to me, "Well done, thou good and faithful servant, enter into the joy of the Lord." May those words find my ears. Thanks for changing me so that they do. In Jesus' name, amen.
Pastor G and I look forward to hugging each of you when we are together with God. We pray these words have encouraged you so that will be our reality.
©2012 PastorsRUs, All Rights Reserved
Saturday, December 31, 2011, 1:47 PM
Father God, please be with all who are Yours and help us to grow in spiritual love and understanding in the coming year. Please help us all to obey and accept Your will in our lives. May You grant us what we need to face upcoming challenges, and may we always know, spiritually know, that You are with us and will never, ever leave or forsake us. Thanks for the spiritual blessings, for those far outweigh the physical ones. May we who are Yours truly become as one just like You, Jesus and the Holy Spirit are one. In Jesus' name, amen.
Wednesday, December 28, 2011, 2:18 PM
Here's a quote from Joseph Girzone's classic book Joshua. It's truly something that can lead you to think differently about where Jesus was born.
"But," Joshua thought, "why do people try so hard to reproduce heaven on earth and have such a difficult time absorbing the message of the stable? They find more meaning in representing God's majesty and find more comfort in being surrounded by power and magnificence than in living the simplicity of the real message. They have missed the whole point of the gospel. Even when they preach poverty and detachment, coming from this setting (the Basilica in Rome) it negates the sincerity of the message."
Sunday, December 25, 2011, 8:05 AM
Dear Mothers and Fathers and Brothers and Sisters,
I send you greetings of peace and love from the rest of the family. They, like I, am always with you and never leave or forsake you. The angels and the rest of us want you to know how precious you are to us.
When I agreed to give up my divinity and be born in the flesh, I did so very willingly. I looked forward to the time when we, you and us, could all be together and share in everything that is. I looked forward to loving you, hugging you, comforting you and encouraging you so that, when your life gets tough, you will feel secure and supported enough to face whatever you have to face. I looked forward to being the one you could rely on unconditionally for that strength, comfort and encouragement whenever and however you need it.
Not only that, I looked forward to sharing with you that we created you to love you, and that we so hoped and desired that you would love us back. We want you in our life, and we love it when you want us in yours. It was so exciting when I could turn to My disciples and expand our relationship to include friendship and true fellowship. I offer that friendship to you as well, and I look forward to your inviting Me into your life in that way.
You can see there are many reasons why I came in the flesh so many years ago. There’s more! I also wanted to set you free from thoughts and behaviors that hurt you emotionally and spiritually. If you were hurt by people or experienced tough times in your life and lost things like health, relationships or your way of life because of disaster or unemployment, I wanted to give you the tips and tools as well as the encouragement to recover emotionally and spiritually from who or what hurt you so you can have the kind of life I want you to enjoy.
Most of you understand why I sacrificed my life for you and what an act of love that was. It is my hope that this letter will help you understand how very much more My life and ministry were to accomplish. I look forward to growing and expanding our relationship now and forever.
ã2010, Encouraging Words Ministries, All Rights reserved
Thursday, December 22, 2011, 7:09 PM
Pastor G and I invite you to join us as we celebrate Jesus this Sunday. We know it's not His real birthday, but some are baking cakes for Him anyway. We are so grateful that He chose to be born in the flesh not only to offer His life as a sacrifice once for all our past, present and future repented sins but also to teach us how to live His way of life. Luke 4:18 and 19 reveal yet another purpose for His coming: to heal the broken hearted and the sick and the disabled. He is an awesome God indeed. Remember to thank Him for all He has done and is doing still so that we who follow Him can be with Him for eternity.
Tuesday, December 13, 2011, 10:50 AM
For me as a person and spiritual leader, there's such joy in knowing, really knowing, that God has used me to make a difference in someone's life. Yes, He has gifted me greatly, and I appreciate these gifts and have grown in them, but without God and His leading, I would surely miss some opportunties to share His love with others.
Last night was a case in point. I was on another site where a young woman said she truly wants to follow Jesus. I felt strongly led to encourage her to do so while adding a simple version of the sinner's prayer and asked her to email me after she prayed it. This morning, I opened her email and rejoice at being God's instrument in birthing yet another baby Christian. The point is that I had no way of knowing from her question whether she had embraced Jesus as Lord and Savior already. But God knew.
It's always God plus me. When I had attempted in the past to do things on my own power alone, there was no spiritual fruit. I am so grateful that God has called and ordained me and that He leads me to truly make a difference in lives He places across my path.
If you are a Christian, I pray that you, too, follow God's lead. You never know how He will use you to make a difference that has eternal consequences in someone's life.
Saturday, December 10, 2011, 10:24 PM
We know about Jesus' sacrificial act on the cross and are literally eternally grateful for what He did for us. But there's another sacrifice that Jesus did people don't talk about much. What's interesting to note about these two sacrifices are that one occurred at the beginning of His physical life and the other occurred at the end.
By now, you're probably wondering what I'm talking about. Well, Jesus is God, and He gave up His divinity so He could be born in the flesh with all its physical limitations. He experienced hunger, cold, pain and weariness. He had to learn to cope with all these physical factors while being and doing what He came to be and do.
As I write, there's a third sacrifice Jesus made in between the other two. He lived a celibate life so He could focus on what He came to do and be in the flesh. He did not have the blessing of a marriage between Himself and a woman. I'd love to hear from you if you can think of other sacrifices Christ made when He walked among us.
In this season of remembering Jesus and His birth, let's also remember His sacrifices and other acts of love so that we can be with God for eternity. That's today's encouraging word.
copyright 2011, Pastorsrus, All Rights Reserved
Monday, December 5, 2011, 2:15 PM
Yesterday's bible study focused on Daniel 5, where Nebuchadnezzar's son Belshazzar had become the ruler and had decided to host a celebration during which he decided to break out as wine glasses the sacred vessels of silver and gold taken from God's temple in Jerusalem when the Jews were exiled. Scripture says that they drank toasts to their gods fashioned from silver, gold, wood and other materials. While they were doing so, a disembodied hand appeared and wrote "mene, mene, tekel upharsin", which was later interpreted by Daniel as the kingdom was being removed from Belshazzar. There seems to be disconnect in Belshazzar's thinking and comprehension because he showered Daniel with riches for interpreting the message but paid no attention to the meaning of the words.
What's fascinating to understand is that while this celebration was going on, the city was under siege. One of the city gates was built over the river, and the enemies found a way to lower the river height so that they could enter the city and conquer it by entering under the gate. Scripture shows that no guards came to the banquet informing the king of what was going on, so it's safe to assume that even if there were guards there, they were clueless. They just didn't have the eyes to see what was happening.
God directed Pastor G's and my attention to what's going on financially in the stock and bond markets. Objectively, anyone can look at the amount of debt incurred by nations as unsustainable. It's a wonder as to how anyone can think they will ever be paid back. And yet, the bonds are considered financially safe instuments in which to invest. People have "faith" in the system and those who run it. Just the idea of talking about a "solution" quiets the investment community down. The parallel between Daniel 5 and the environment today is mind-boggling! Eyes are off God and onto self-confidence, man's solutions and even complacency of a sort. When will they see the handwriting on the wall? Will they, too, keep on with the way things are until the system is taken from them?
Pastor G and I encourage you to place your confidence and faith where it belongs: in God and not man's systems. God never fails. Matthew 6:33 says that He provides for our needs as long as we seek His kingdom and righteousness first. May all who read these words heed. That's today's encouraging word.
copyright 2011, Pastorsrus, All Rights Reserved