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Post  Admin on Sun 21 Mar 2010, 8:24 pm

"The Trustworthy Character of God
2 SAMUEL 7:21-22
Whom do you trust? These days, it's not easy to find many people who are true to their word. At some point, we all learn the hard way that anyone other than almighty God can disappoint us. Let's look at the Lord's character to discover why He can be trusted.
First, He is the one true God. Back in Old Testament times, it was common for people to actually carve and worship a false god. Today, it is more typical to idolize something unseen, such as wealth, power, fame, or relationships. These can consume our passion, money, and time—and in the end leave us fruitless and empty. Jehovah, on the other hand, is alive and real, ready to be intimately involved in our lives.
Second, God is truth, and He is always faithful (John 14:6; 1 Cor. 10:13). Unlike sinful man, the Lord is trustworthy—and everything that He says will happen comes to pass. Our sovereign God has all power and is in control of every situation.
Third, Christ loves us unconditionally. How can we ever doubt His love when He willingly gave His life in our place? And His love is based not on our behavior or status, but rather on His character alone.
Fourth, the heavenly Father is unchanging. All of the above are timeless attributes that will forever be true.
God can be trusted. So don't give Him just the easy concerns; rely upon your Creator for everything. He desires a personal relationship with His beloved and is able to guide each believer through life victoriously. In a changing, suspicious world, you have a Friend who is 100 percent reliable."
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Post  Admin on Sun 21 Mar 2010, 8:15 pm

"When Others Fail Us
2 TIMOTHY 4:9-14
The apostle Paul knew the value of having good friends. Barnabas encouraged him in his ministry. Silas partnered with him in establishing new churches. Timothy became like a son to him. Paul also knew the heartache of co-laborers turning away from him when times got tough (2 Tim. 1:15). We may experience something similar in our life.
People will react differently to our struggles. Some feel inadequate and hold back because they are uncertain about what to say or do. Others are so protective of their time that selfishness causes them to turn away. And sometimes our friends and co-workers do not want to be identified with us in our trials. In my early days as a pastor, this happened to me when the church was going through a period of turmoil. Only two pastors reached out to me and offered support; the others stood back. This experience taught me the importance of reaching out to people in crisis.
Helping others requires an investment of time and energy. We start by praying for them and asking the Lord how we can help. He may have us lend emotional support, provide spiritual guidance, offer assistance in a physical or financial way, or find others who can. Standing with people will encourage them.
When friends abandoned him, Paul asked God not to count their actions against them. He followed the example of Jesus, who prayed for the Father to forgive His persecutors. What's your response when friends let you down? Forgiveness is the choice that pleases God every time."
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Post  Admin on Fri 19 Mar 2010, 4:45 pm

"Forward by Faith
GENESIS 12:1-20
Faith can be lulled to sleep when we are focused on our own comfort rather than God's plan. Abraham did not fall into this trap. He traded the familiar for the unknown and received many blessings.
Living by faith is the right answer when God calls you to move forward. His call can come to us at any age and in any situation. Abraham was 75 when he began his journey. David was a shepherd boy when he was anointed to be king (1 Sam. 16:11-13).
Paul encountered the Lord on his way to arrest Jewish believers in Damascus. After his conversion, he became the Lord's representative to the Gentiles (Acts 9:1-6). Our call may not be so dramatic, but it will always involve moving forward by faith.
Following the Lord will also include times of testing. Abraham, like all of us, had some successes and some failures. The initial call to leave his country was met with strong belief and immediate action. As a result, he received a promise of great blessing for him and his descendants. But encountering famine brought a different response—a sojourn to Egypt, deception about his relationship with Sarah, and chastisement from Pharaoh. Our response to God's commands really matters. We can bring blessing or heartache through our actions.
Obeying God can be uncomfortable. Those close to us may question our motives or disagree with our decisions. And we ourselves may not want to do what He asks. But faith will keep us moving forward in obedience. It helps us stay the course and experience the blessings found in a relationship with Christ."
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Post  Admin on Thu 18 Mar 2010, 4:20 pm

"Living by Faith
HEBREWS 11:8-10
Abraham is one of the people in the Old Testament who have had a great impact on my spiritual walk. In his life, I see the necessity of living by faith.
Separation is oftentimes a part of our development as Christians. Before we can take on something new, the Lord may ask us to let go of something we already have.
In Genesis 12:1-3, God told Abraham he was going on a journey that would require leaving his country, his people, and his father's household. Obedience meant saying goodbye to relationships and things dear to him. The only family that traveled with him were his wife and nephew; the life he knew in his homeland was left behind. But this godly man did not hesitate. His strong faith enabled him to say yes.
Moving ahead in the midst of uncertainty can be another aspect of following the Lord. Abraham was told to travel without knowing his destination. Try to imagine explaining to friends that you're moving away but have no idea where you are going. This lack of detail did not stop Abraham. Unwavering trust in his heavenly Father enabled him to answer the divine call wholeheartedly—even though specific details were lacking. Abraham was spiritually ready to answer affirmatively when God called.
Following God requires living by faith, which means: trusting the Holy Spirit to guide us (John 16:13) when we don't see how all the pieces fit together; believing that God always works for our good (Rom. 8:28) and His glory; and desiring to please our Father. Will you be ready when He calls?"
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Post  Admin on Wed 17 Mar 2010, 12:19 pm

"Feeling Hopeless
ACTS 27:10-225
Jesus told His disciples that we would have tribulation in this life (John 16:33). And truly, people do disappoint us, circum-stances cause pain, and our own limitations lead to frustration.
Many Bible stories attest to this truth:
1. Hannah was unable to conceive. The longer her yearning for a child went unfulfilled, the more hope dwindled. Sorrow and bitterness took hold of her. (1 Sam. 1:6-10).
2. Paul was caught in a violent storm. Against his advice, the ship had set sail, endangering him and all the others on board. After futile efforts to save the vessel, everybody had to swim ashore to survive (Acts 27:11, 20).
3. Jealous Saul pursued David throughout the land, trying to kill him. In Psalm 13:1, David wondered if the Lord had forgotten him.
How did these people find their way through such negative emotions? All three spent time in prayer. Hannah cried out to God, confessed her misery, and asked Him to provide her with a son. When she left the temple, her face was no longer downcast. Her hope returned because she trusted Him with her future. Following prayer, Paul witnessed to the hopeless sailors. He told them to have courage because the Lord had promised to deliver them. David turned his attention away from his circumstances and focused on God's unfailing love (Ps. 13:5-6).
Communion with God can combat hopelessness. Prayer moves our attention to the Father's deep love for us, the Son's sacrifice on our behalf, and the Spirit's reassuring presence. If we confess ungodly thoughts and become willing to surrender personal desires, forgiveness and peace will be ours."

"The Lord Comforts Sinners
JOHN 8:1-11
We expect a loving heavenly Father to care for His children when they are hurt, persecuted, or misunderstood. But you might be surprised to realize that God comforts believers even when they have sinned.
Jesus did not come to condemn the world but to save anyone who believes in Him (John 3:17). Consider His response to the woman whom the Pharisees dragged from an adulterous liaison and dropped at His feet. Her accusers wanted the offender stoned to death. But instead of taking up a rock, Jesus offered her forgiveness. The Lord did not defend her actions or completely erase all consequences of her choices. However, He did offer her compassion and an opportunity to turn her life around: "Go. From now on sin no more" (John 8:11).
God understands our human frailty. And even before we do wrong, He knows the poisonous harvest that we will reap from sin. We certainly want a lot of comfort when we are suffering from our own foolishness. A loving God does not abandon His children at their hour of great need—His Spirit wades into the mess we have made. He offers to guide us out of the pit, soothes our broken heart, and provides reassurance that He is always close by.
Sinning against the Lord makes us feel unworthy of His care and solace. Yet God's forgiveness is based on His great mercy rather than our conduct. If Jesus Christ sacrificed His life to save you from your sins, then He certainly will love and comfort you, no matter what."
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Post  Admin on Sun 14 Mar 2010, 5:41 pm

"The God Who Comforts
2 CORINTHIANS 1:3-7
Look up "comfort" in dictionary.com or another reference, and you will read a definition like this: "Something that promotes a state of ease or provides freedom from pain and anxiety." But God's Word has a different solution when consolation is needed: the indwelling Holy Spirit. In Greek, He is called parakletos, which means "he who stands at one's side; he who comes to one's aid." Believers don't have to seek outward remedies or distractions to ease their mind, because help is available within.
Even before the Spirit was sent to indwell believers (John 14:26; Eph. 3:16), Scripture identified God as the one who comforts His people (Isaiah 40:1; 49:13). The Lord personally provides consolation and reassurance because no one knows our hurts the way He does.
I like this anonymous quotation: "When we have gone into the furnace of affliction, His hand is on the thermostat and His eye is on the clock." God lets us pass through hardship to make us stronger believers, wiser servants, and more humble people. But He stays right by our side through the entire experience, sustaining us and limiting the intensity and duration of our distress. The Holy Spirit's reassuring whisper to our heart gives more comfort than the solace of family or the encouragement of friends.
People who fail to understand the true source of comfort try to escape their pain. They seek out pleasures, material wealth, or drugs and alcohol to soothe their heart. Only God can offer lasting relief from the crushing pressure of heartache. He even brings joy into periods of mourning."
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Post  Admin on Sun 14 Mar 2010, 5:39 pm

"A Living Hope
1 PETER 1:3-9
Hope is both a strong belief and the anticipation that something good is going to happen. When our goals are not achieved, we may experience discouragement, which over time can turn into depression and even despair—the absence of hope.
How can we remain optimistic in the face of unmet expectations? First, we're to remember the reason for our confidence: our relationship with Jesus. At salvation, we were born into a living hope (v. 3)—God made us a "new creation," and we are no longer in bondage to the old sin nature (2 Cor. 5:17 NIV). His Spirit lives within us. We have been made co-heirs with Christ, and our true home is in heaven with Him. Nothing can alter our familial connection with the Lord.
Second, to maintain a positive outlook, we must spend daily time in the Scriptures. Romans 15:4 says that the Bible was written to give us encouragement and hope. The Psalms can be especially helpful in difficult times because they express the feelings we have and also tell us about the comfort available from God.
Third, we rely on the Lord's faithfulness. Trusting in Him will never disappoint us because all of His promises are yes in Christ (2 Cor. 1:20).
Believers should not react to trials as the world does. We're to live by faith—"being sure of what we hope for " (Heb. 11:1 NIV). When circumstances overwhelm you, shift your focus to the Lord. Read the Scriptures to find encouragement, and be reminded of what is yours in Christ (Eph. 1:3-8)."
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Post  Admin on Sat 13 Mar 2010, 3:22 pm

"Biblical Fasting
MATTHEW 6:4-18
God's Word contains commands about many things, from frequency of prayer and expressions of worship to relationships with other people (1 Thess. 5:17; Deut. 6:5; John 13:34). Surprisingly, though, there is no place in the Scriptures where the believer is specifically instructed to fast.
Yet the words "when you fast" (Matt. 6:16, emphasis added) show Jesus' expectation that His followers would practice this discipline. And there are many biblical examples of godly people who abstained from certain activities in order to draw close to God.
Before we go further, it is important to dispel a popular misunderstanding. Fasting doesn't serve to change God's mind, speed up His answer, or manipulate His will. Instead, it prepares us to hear from Him by temporarily laying aside something that vies for our attention or devotion—such as food, sleep, or a time of intimacy with a spouse.
Denying ourselves in this way makes us better able to focus on Christ and hear Him clearly. His Spirit often starts by bringing to mind sin that needs to be confessed. In so doing, He sanctifies our thoughts—then He can use this precious time to intensify our desire for Him, reveal His Will, and grant understanding and peace. In essence, fasting binds us to Him in such oneness that we won't ever be the same again.
Do you want to see God move in awesome ways? By removing anything that hinders your focus, you can fix attention solely on the Creator and cry out to Him regarding your needs. As you gain understanding about your Father and yourself, you will grow closer to Him."
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Post  Admin on Sat 13 Mar 2010, 12:38 pm

"Our Relationship With God
PSALM 119:33-40
By trusting Christ, a person enters into a lifelong relationship with the heavenly Father. As believers, we have a responsibility to keep that connection healthy.
First, we must learn about our new family. An essential and on-going part of family life involves knowing and being known by the other members. In the Bible, God gave a detailed description of His attributes, values, and thinking. And since Jesus came to earth, we can better understand divine character, which was demonstrated in a human life. As we meditate on Scripture, our sense of connectedness to our triune God will grow.
Second, we should stay in close contact with God through prayer and study of His Word—and resist the temptation to put people, work, or pleasures ahead of Him. Remember: Relationships thrive with consistent interaction but wither if neglected.
Third, we are to respond to what He has communicated. He provided instructions for living and explained what pleases Him. In healthy families, people pay attention to each other. We need to heed our Father's warnings and obey His commands.
Finally, we must grow in likeness to God. Relatives can resemble each other in subtle and obvious ways. As we cooperate with the transforming work of the Holy Spirit, we will start to think and act like our Father.
God the Father provided salvation through His Son, who died so we could become spiritually alive. Jesus set an example for us to follow: a life of loving, obedient service. God's Spirit is doing His sanctifying work in us (1 Peter 1:2). Are we doing our part to keep the relationship healthy?"
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Post  Admin on Tue 09 Mar 2010, 4:02 pm

"Intimacy With Our Heavenly Father
JOHN 1:12-13
From the beginning, God intended to have an intimate, loving relationship with us. What evidence do we have that this is His desire?
His Son. One reason Christ came to earth is for us to know and relate to God the Father. The Bible tells us that Jesus is His exact representation; His words and works were the same as God's (John 5:19; 12:50). Therefore, when we look at the Son, we are seeing the character of our heavenly Father.
Invitation. Through the Scriptures, God invites us to join His family (3:16). He took care of all the arrangements; our part is to say yes.
Adoption. The closest tie we can have with one another is family. At salvation, the Lord adopts us into His own. This relationship with our heavenly Father lasts for eternity, providing us with support, encouragement, and love.
Friendship. By calling His disciples "friends" (15:15), Jesus revealed a new aspect to their relationship, which applied to His future followers as well. Christ is a forever friend, one who will never desert or turn away from us.
His Presence. From the moment of our salvation, we are indwelt by the Holy Spirit. He is even closer to us than any earthly kin can be.
The Lord invites us to become family through faith in Christ. This is our highest calling—to believe in Him and live for Him all of our days (20:31). Once we become God's children, His Spirit will work in us to make our family resemblance stronger and clearer in thought, word, and deed."
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Post  Admin on Tue 09 Mar 2010, 3:58 pm

"The Holy Spirit's Lesson Plan
JOHN 16:12-15
The ways of God are a mystery to man. Only when we have accepted salvation from Jesus Christ and received the Holy Spirit can we begin to understand. The Spirit uses three methods to open our minds and fill our hearts with godly wisdom.
Revelation. This term refers to truth given by the Lord that cannot be obtained in any other way. The Scriptures are the most obvious example. Anyone can read God's Word and even understand some portions, but only a Spirit-filled believer can begin to grasp the layers of meaning within the Bible.
Illumination. We use this word to describe the amazing moment when the Holy Spirit lights up our minds so that we understand God's Word. If the Bible were any other book, we would be able to read it a few times and know it thoroughly. But the Lord reveals ever-deeper truths about Himself as we mature in our faith (Eph. 1:18).
Remembrance. The Holy Spirit reminds us of godly principles or biblical passages when we need them. He helped the gospel writers recall events and Jesus' words many years after the fact. And he does the same for us when we could use encouragement, inspiration, or comfort.
The Holy Spirit illuminates believers' minds so that they can recognize and comprehend God's revelation. When we memorize Scripture and store up biblical insights, the Holy Spirit can dip into the "reservoir" to bring needed wisdom to our memories."
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Post  Admin on Mon 08 Mar 2010, 11:45 am

"The Holy Spirit: Our Teacher
JOHN 14:25-26
If you are going to take instruction from someone, you want to be certain that person is well qualified, right? It's interesting, then, that so many believers neglect the greatest Bible teacher available. We read religious books, consult friends, and tune into a favored preacher before we will get on our knees. While those sources can point us in the right direction, only the Holy Spirit illuminates God's Word to our hearts and minds.
Asking someone to explain God's Word seems easier than seeking to understand it through the Holy Spirit's power. But consider what a person misses by forsaking Him. Who better to instruct believers about the Scripture's depth and breadth than the One who wrote it (2 Peter 1:20-21)? The Spirit laid His message on the authors' hearts, and they dutifully recorded it, each in his own unique voice.
Furthermore, as a member of the holy Trinity, the Spirit knows the mind of God (1 Cor. 2:10). He is often called the Spirit of truth, because He understands everything. The Spirit recognizes our emotional and mental state and can identify exactly where we are in our Christian growth. Therefore, He can reveal to our minds passages that will encourage, challenge, or convict us as needed.
We have a teacher of divine quality. He will help us to learn and grow, guide us through difficult passages, and shed light on why the Lord allows certain challenges our life. When it comes to aiding God's people to know His Word, no one is more qualified than His Spirit."
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Post  Admin on Sun 07 Mar 2010, 2:08 pm

"The Value of God's Word
2 TIMOTHY 3:14-17
From the opening line of Genesis to the final words of Revelation, all of Scripture is divinely inspired. And every word has purpose and importance.
The Old Testament introduces us to God's nature, ways, and power; it lays the foundation for us to understand the Lord's holiness and humanity's desperate need for a Savior. The New Testament explains that Jesus sacrificially became our "bridge" to the Father (John 14:6). Its writings clarify why we must trust Christ for salvation, how to live as God's children, and what to expect in this life and after death.
Through the Scriptures, almighty God reveals Himself to us. He also says that His Word is important for teaching, reproof, correction, instruction, and preparation for what we will face in life (2 Tim. 3:16-17). No other book holds such value for living.
Ephesians 6:13-17 compares the Word to armor, and for good reason: in the battle of life, we have a real enemy who wants to destroy us. But God's power is greater (1 John 4:4), and "dressing" in war gear daily prepares His children for the temptations, lies, and decisions they will face. We ought to be excited about the Word of God, for it is the only hope for mankind—and the only instruction that leads to victory both in life and after physical death.
The Bible predicted that many people would reject the truth, and a glimpse at our culture shows that to be the case. Don't let yourself fall into the same trap. Meditate daily on Scripture, and ask God to speak to you. Life without His truth is destined for failure."
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Post  Admin on Sat 06 Mar 2010, 12:46 pm

Pastor JOhn

"Today Is the Day of Salvation
HEBREWS 3:7-19
Procrastination can be a big problem: important tasks are neglected, and the benefits of finished work are never enjoyed. However, procrastinating in spiritual matters can be disastrous.
Every person is going to spend eternity somewhere. The destination is determined in this lifetime by a choice to either accept or reject Jesus' offer of the forgiveness of sins. Some people feel that they can delay this decision. Eternity seems distant, and there is so much to enjoy in this life. They assume, I'll just wait until I'm close to death. Then I'll ask Jesus to save me.
The problems with this reasoning are obvious. First of all, there is no guarantee that you will have any warning before death. Second, by spending a lifetime rejecting Christ's offer, you run the risk of developing a hardened heart. Saying no to God frequently throughout your life may result in being unable to say yes when death comes knocking at the door. In fact, you may not even be interested in Christ's offer anymore.
There is great danger in abusing the grace of God. All people who are not protected by salvation in Jesus Christ will face the terrifying reality of judgment, as they stand before God without a Savior (Heb. 10:26-27).
By putting off a decision for Christ, you not only lose the immediate blessings of a deeply personal relationship with God now but also risk future separation from Him for all eternity. Don't procrastinate! Come to Christ today: acknowledge your sin, ask His forgiveness, and trust Him as your Savior."


"Walking in the Spirit
GALATIANS 5:16-25
The Holy Spirit is one of God's most precious gifts to His beloved children. He takes up residence within the believer at the moment of salvation and empowers him to overcome sin and live for God's glory and purposes. However, the Spirit's power can be "turned off" or ignored. Only those who choose to walk with Him have unhindered access to His strength and guidance.
Walking by the Spirit denotes reliance upon Him. He leads the way, and we follow. As He speaks, we listen, heed His warnings, and obey His directions. The Spirit's way is a path of surrender which, although difficult, leads to fullness of life.
God's Spirit not only guides; He also empowers because the challenge of obeying Him is impossible in our own strength. The Holy Spirit supplies everything we need to live a godly life, and He produces His amazing fruit in us.
Being led by the Spirit should be the natural lifestyle of the sons and daughters of God. As you intentionally seek to maintain an awareness of His presence throughout the day, He is only a thought away. When your mind turns to Him, He gives sensitivity to the things of God and understanding about the situations and people in your life.
Take a walk with the Spirit today, and learn to know His voice. Whenever your mind is not occupied with the duties of the day, focus your thoughts on Him, asking for His guidance and looking expectantly for His leading. When He gives it, rely on His power to obey."

Subject: Steps of Faith
"Steps of Faith
DEUTERONOMY 10:12-13
The Bible portrays the Christian life as a walk. It speaks of walking in the Spirit, in God's ways, in love, and in truth. Our lives, then, shouldn't be stagnant; they ought to move and develop to be increasingly like Jesus'. Scripture calls this "sanctification."
But what if you feel that you're going backward instead of forward? Do you know how to turn around? Only by faith in Christ can any of us move in the right direction. Here's how to correct your course:
- First, have assurance that God keeps every promise. The Bible contains an amazing number of guarantees for believers, including wisdom for the asking, God's constant presence, and peace when we focus on Him.
- Second, anticipate the Father's response. In other words, prepare for what He will do because of your confidence in His promises.
- Third, be aware daily of His involvement in your life. By spending time in the Word, prayer, and meditation, you will become sensitive to what He is doing.
- Fourth, pray boldly because you are God's child (Heb. 4:16). Approaching the Father in such a manner isn't a prideful confidence, but an overflow of your assurance in Him.
- Finally, obey the leading of the Holy Spirit. This is the true test of your belief—in fact, the Bible says that without action, faith is dead (James 2:17).
Can you sense that your life is progressing and you are maturing into Christ's likeness? Or do circumstances and character traits seem to hold you back? God promises to continue making His children beautiful throughout their lives. You can resist Him or cooperate with His gracious work in you."
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