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Here I am, Lord

In this manner, therefore, pray: Our Father in heaven, hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. - Matthew 6:9-10 

One day the disciples came to Jesus and He taught them to pray this prayer.  The Kingdom of Heaven is where God rules and reigns. Now there are two kingdoms that are at constant opposition to each other. God rules the kingdom of light and Satan’s is the kingdom of darkness.

These two kingdoms are battling over the souls of mankind, man who was created by God, and given the power to choose right or to choose wrong. Where is the battle raging right now?  Well, the Bible tells us it’s where you place your feet each morning when you get up, this world.

Each morning before I get out of bed my prayer is always the same, “Lord as I put my feet on the floor, place them on the path of Your will for my life.” How I desire to serve God whole-heartedly that I would do what is right in His eyes, and that my heart would be so completely yielded to the Lord that I might say: “Here I am Lord, your servant, let me do whatever is right in Your eyes Jesus, so do with me what seems right to you.”

Why pray that same prayer each day? Because every day I am faced with choices I must make, and I am far more interested in what God’s will is for me than the path my own flesh might choose. Some people believe that God just doesn’t care. That He doesn’t want to get involved with our daily lives here on Earth. But that is not the case as we read about God’s guidance in Numbers 9:23; At the command of the Lord they remained encamped, and at the command of the Lord they journeyed; they kept the charge (instructions) of the Lord, at the command of the Lord by the hand of Moses.

As the Israelites got out of bed each morning while they journeyed in the wilderness, God was faithful to lead them along the way, and He will guide you too as you follow closely behind Him.   The Jews learned to depend on God’s guidance each day, have you? A cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night guided and protected the Israelites as they traveled across the desert.

What or who is directing you today? The Bible is clear that the cloud and fire moved in accordance with the will of God. When you start your mornings following God’s guidance, you know you are where God wants you, whether you’re moving or staying in one place.

Instead of praying, “God, what do you want me to do next?” ask, “God, what do you want me to do while I’m right here?”  Direction from God is not just for your next big move. He has a purpose in placing you where you are right now. For those of you who feel like you are just wandering around, not really going any place in life, you’ll begin to understand God’s big picture for your life by discovering what he wants you to do now!  You will find guidance when you say each morning, “Here I am Lord, your servant, let me do whatever is right in Your eyes Jesus, so do with me what seems right to you.”

Yours in Christ,

Pastor Bob 

Pray, Don’t Pout

“My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience.”       James 1:2-3

Just like myself, there are some people who choose to simply wallow in self-pity, a “woe is me” mentality. Not long ago, while working on a construction project at the church, I whacked my finger with a big hammer. After dancing around in circles holding my poor throbbing finger, I felt the self-pity settling in my thoughts.

Like whacking their finger with a big hammer, there are those that always seem hammered by trials in their lives, and don’t seem to get the victory.  Why is it that some people get past the obstacles placed before them, while others seem blocked from forward progress?  As a Christian, I have many choices.  I can choose today to change my attitude about trials. 

Now, no one likes to have their faith tested, right? But I can choose to endure them knowing that they are only for a season.  If I choose to pray through to the day when the testing will end, I can find joy in it. There is always an end to trials we experience as believers. There may be pain in the night, but joy comes in the morning.  Patience is the picture of being under pressure, and instead of trying to escape it, staying there and enduring it.  Are we abiding in the trial calmly or are we revolting against it? 

James continues in verse 1:4:  “But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.”  The Greek word for work is ‘ergon' which refers to an active energy.  Patience means to bear up under or to carry the load.  Our endurance of that trial should be active, not passive. That’s what Jesus desires of us, James says.  He desires His followers to develop the ability to carry a great load in life, without permitting the load to slow them down or depress them, but to help them sail more smoothly.

You simply cannot reason with someone who constantly views themselves as the victim. It's actually quite a powerful state of mind, I've noticed.  It seems that it's hard for them to snap out of it and that everything you do or say will enforce that image and idea in their heads. So, how do we deal with it?  We might think we should avoid them and warn their friends. We could also choose to just ignore them altogether. But instead of avoiding them or ignoring them, try pointing them to the glory of God.

So, what then turns a pouter into a pray-er?  Read about the Shunammite woman in 2 Kings 8:1-6. She knew to give glory to God and not to put her trust in another person.  That’s what you do when you point a pouter to the Lord.

This week may you step out in faith instead of sitting back. Take a chance on God!  Like the Shunammite woman, you have the faith to do whatever God tells you to do.  Don’t pout about your problems, pray about them. Remember they are only for a season; spring time is on the way. Take your appeals to God, and allow Him to restore to you all that’s been lost in the winter.  Choose to be a pray-er and not a pouter. May you live your life in such a way that you bring God the glory, and never another person.


Yours in Christ,

Pastor Bob

 

Help for the Helpless

I will lift up my eyes to the hills from whence comes my help? My help comes from the LORD, who made heaven and earth.  Psalm 121:1-2

There are times in our life when we come to the end of our wits and we don’t think we can go another step. Perhaps the worst part of not being in control is the helplessness we feel. It's as if we can't influence anything or make a difference. Sometimes we see only our limitations and weaknesses and we fail to see how God could work through us.

The Psalmist reassures us that the Lord will help us when we are helpless and at wits end. God doesn’t sleep or take breaks from watching over us.

In Psalm 121:3-8 the bible says, “He will not allow your foot to be moved; He who keeps you will not slumber.  Behold, He who keeps Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep. The Lord is your keeper; The Lord is your shade at your right hand. The sun shall not strike you by day, nor the moon by night. The Lord shall preserve you from all evil; He shall preserve your soul. The Lord shall preserve your going out and your coming in from this time forth, and even forevermore.”

If God’s part is to help us, what’s our part? What should we do when we don’t know what to do?  I believe we must be prepared for God’s abundance. We do this by trusting in Him by faith.  There are times in the desert when water flows in from the hills. It could be raining up there in the mountains, but down in the desert you would never see the wind or feel the rain. However, you can see the result of it when the water flows down and fills the streams.

In the same way, when we are frustrated with trying circumstances in our lives, we don’t always see a way out, we don’t feel the wind of God’s will, we don’t feel the rain of answered prayer. Does that mean God’s help is not coming? Elisha said in 2 Kings 3:17, “For thus says the Lord: ‘You shall not see wind, nor shall you see rain; yet that valley shall be filled with water, so that you, your cattle, and your animals may drink.’

When water filled the trenches that the people dug the night before, it was more than enough for all. In the same way, God wants to meet our needs, and He will if we trust in him. The question is: “What am I doing for the Lord? What trenches am I digging? Do I have an expectation of coming blessings, and am I ready to receive them?”

Jesus encouraged us to trust God to meet our needs in Luke 12:31-34;

“But seek the kingdom of God, and all these things shall be added to you. Do not fear, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom. Sell what you have and give alms; provide yourselves money bags which do not grow old, a treasure in the heavens that does not fail, where no thief approaches nor moth destroys. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

God’s promise to you is that He will faithfully provide to meet your needs. Trust in Him today!

Yours in Christ,

Pastor Bob

 

How To Be Content

Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content. - Philippians 4:11

Since the dawn of creation, mankind has sought to be content. The art of being content in our circumstances is something that we must learn, because for most of us, being content with anything just isn’t natural!  As soon as we start craving what someone else has then we are guilty of coveting. When the thing we are craving becomes the center of all our attention and focus, the Bible says covetousness becomes idolatry. 

The problem with coveting the things of this world is that they don’t completely satisfy. Once we obtain a coveted thing, we begin thinking of the next conquest. The only thing we should covet is a closer relationship with God. 1 Corinthians 12:31 says “But covet earnestly the best gifts (the gifts of the Spirit).”  What should be at the center of our lives, the middle of our thinking, and the epicenter of our heart is a craving for God’s Holy Spirit working freely and fully in us. 

Philippians 4:12: “I know how to be abased (humbled), and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need.”  

This was written by the apostle Paul while sitting in a Roman prison. “It’s all cool with me” Paul says. It doesn’t matter what state I find myself in; I am just content knowing Jesus. Why? The answer from Paul is in Philippians 4:13: “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” This is the secret we must all learn. Contentment is a gift from God. Paul was content because he could see things from God’s point of view.

If you always want more, ask God to remove that desire and teach you contentment in every circumstance. He will supply all your needs, but in a way that he knows is best for you.

·      Focus on what you are supposed to do for the Lord, not on  what you feel you should possess.

·      Get your priorities straight and be grateful for everything God has given you.

·      Detach yourself from nonessentials so that you can concentrate on the eternal.

·      Examine what you are drawn towards when you feel empty inside.

·      Realize that often the desire for more or better possessions is really a longing to fill an empty place in your life. Only a relationship with God can fill that empty place.

Can you really ever find true contentment? Only you can choose. The answer lies in your perspective, your priorities, and your source of power. Contentment that lasts grows out of having God’s perspective on life. Be content with getting closer to God, for there is nothing to covet whenever you experience the presence of the Lord.

God Bless,

Pastor Bob

Don’t Let Fear Rob Your Joy

God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.  - 2 Timothy 1:7

It seems that as often as we experience the joys of victory in our spiritual lives, Satan will try and keep us from enjoying victory. So, whenever we are victorious in some area of our walk with God, Satan will be there on our heels to try and take away our joy.

When this happens, we find ourselves in a place of fear. Fear of people or things can lead us to some strange places. Fear takes us to a desolate and barren wilderness. It robs us of our joy. It turns our victories into defeats. It drives us far from fellowship. Worst of all, fear can greatly exaggerate our present condition. The problem with fear and discouragement is that it makes us forget that God is in control.

At one point there was a power in your life, a confidence that God could defeat every enemy surrounding you. People around you even commented on the changes taking place in your life as you walked closely with God. But then, you became discouraged and instead of running to God for comfort, you turned your back and ran as far as you could go away from God. Today, you find yourself living in a cave of despair and fear.

The bible says in Romans 8:15-16: “For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, "Abba, Father." The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God.”

And the Psalmist wrote: “The LORD is my light and my salvation; Whom shall I fear? The LORD is the strength of my life; Of whom shall I be afraid? When the wicked came against me To eat up my flesh, My enemies and foes, They stumbled and fell. Though an army may encamp against me, My heart shall not fear; Though war should rise against me, In this I will be confident.” Psalm 27:1-3

Christian, what are you doing in that cave of fear? Don’t stay there in the wilderness! Get back to God’s work, stop running, get busy for the Lord and He will take care of you.


Yours in Christ,

Pastor Bob

 

 

 

 

Be Filled with the Spirit

And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord, giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. - Ephesians 5:18-20

Are you experiencing the filling of the Spirit? The Holy Spirit is the agent through whom God works today within the church and in individual believers.  That is why we need to become well acquainted with the Holy Spirit, for He is the One whom the Lord has placed overnthe church to guide, direct and empower its activities.

Chuck Smith wrote, “The Holy Spirit is God Himself, a Person with whom you can enjoy a personal relationship.  He is not merely an impersonal force or power or essence within the universe but He is rather a Person who can speak to you and to whom you can speak.  He is a Person who can guide you, who can help you, who can strengthen you, who can teach you the truth of God.”

H.A. Ironside writes, “The filling of the Spirit ought to be the normal experience of every believer.  “Do no be drunk with wine, but be filled with the Spirit.” The word here is not in the past tense “filled” but in the present to be “habitually filled with the Spirit.” On the surface, this seems to be a strange contrast. What does being drunk with wine have to do with being filled with the Spirit?  What is a person seeking when he turns to the bottle?  Sometimes he is seeking the boldness and confidence to face a difficult situation.

Often we wonder why we are not moving more in the realm of the Spirit.  All around us we see believers living a victorious life in the Spirit. God is working, they are growing, and there is a joy about them that no trial of hell can extinguish.  They often speak about how much they are getting out of their devotion times; how God is speaking to them, leading them and answer their prayers.

But you might be someone today that is not having the same victories, the same leading. You wonder why you don’t get much out of your prayer life, why God doesn’t seem to be speaking to you. If you aren’t seeing the leading of the Spirit in your life, ask yourself if there is anything in your life that you care more about than Jesus.

     * When was the last time you spent any time with God?

      * Is your devotion to God easily recognized within your home?

      * Do you talk about the things of the Lord at home?

      * Does your schedule allow for regular study and prayer time?

      * How often do you have family devotions?

Do you want to move in the realm and power of the Holy Spirit?  Do you want to be refeshed and rejuvenated in your walk with God? Do you desire to have pwoer to live your life for God in boldness and confidence? Then go back to fellowship with the Lord. Go back to the place where you first heard the Lord’s voice and dwell with Him!

Blessings,

Pastor Bob


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