“And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.” Phil.1:6, ESV
Thank God! Jesus is able to complete what he started in my life. It’s not up to me. Although most of the time I have the best intentions, sometimes I still blow it. An unkind word pops out of my mouth or an uncharitable look shows up on my face or my attitude just plain stinks! Before I understood this business of God completing His work in my life, I used to go on some pretty miserable guilt trips. Misunderstanding the concept of holiness, I expected perfection all the time. From myself, and from others, too; it was very disappointing when I perceived faults in a godly person. But the work of perfection belongs to Jesus, not me.
That doesn’t mean, though, that I get to just bee-bop along, doing whatever I feel like. That would just be wrong. I must cooperate with God and exercise self-control – which is also His work in me.
I find so much help in Phil. 2:13: “...it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.” When I was trying to do the “work” of holiness, I failed constantly. And it didn’t help much when I tried to change my “will” by my own efforts. When I finally realized that God wants to do the work of changing my will as well as my actions, then I was able to let go and let Him get the work done. And I am longing for the day it will be brought to completion.
God bless you!
Acts 2:1-3 tells us “When the day of Pentecost arrived, they were all together in one place. And suddenly there came from heaven a sound like a mighty rushing wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. And divided tongues as of fire appeared to them and rested on each one of them.”
As we approach the Day of Pentecost, I have been thinking a lot about this passage. Those tongues of flame indicated the presence of the Holy Spirit coming to the disciples in a special way – I believe this represents the experience of entire sanctification. The holiness of GOD was now with them, and His holiness consumed all that is inconsistent with it. Oh, they still had plenty of struggles, as can be seen later in the lives of Peter and the other apostles. However, as they matured in their walk with GOD, they became ever stronger in their faith because of their trials and tribulations, and the light of God shone brightly through them.
Their various walks brought glory to our Lord. We, like those disciples in that upper room “are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation for His own possession, that [we] may proclaim the excellencies of Him who called [us] out of darkness into His marvelous light.” (1 Peter 2:9)
WE have been “…called out of darkness into His marvelous light,” and this means that we are to walk according to His will and plan. I am surrendered to that plan and pray for the Holy Spirit’s light to burn brighter in me daily!
I hope you will let His light shine through you, too.
Forgetful and Fruitful
We all love our siblings, right? However, no matter how much you love each other, siblings have a way of pushing your buttons. They do or say the right thing at the right time and it just makes you mad. Which typically leads to a fight. (I never did this, I was a perfect child) But have you ever been so upset with your brother or sister that you literally named your kid “God has made me forget all of my troubles and everyone in my father’s family”. This is where we find Joseph in Genesis 41. If you are unfamiliar with the story of Joseph I encourage you to read about him in Genesis. Here is the cliff notes version…
Joseph has 11 brothers. They are jealous of him because he is very obviously dad’s favorite child. Joseph has some dreams that tell of a future where his brothers would bow down to him one day. Brothers get mad, and throw him in a well with plans to kill him later. They decide to sell him and he ends up as a slave in Egypt. Joseph is falsely accused of a crime and spent several years in prison. While in prison, He correctly predicts the dreams of some of the prisoners. He is forgotten about until Pharaoh needs a dream interpreter. He interprets the dreams of Pharaoh and is made the ruler of all Egypt. He is given a wife and has 2 sons named the older one Manasseh, for he said, “God has made me forget all my troubles and everyone in my father’s family.” and his second son Ephraim, for he said, “God has made me fruitful in this land of my grief.” (Genesis 41:50-52) Later in the story Joseph’s vision about his brothers came true and he is able to save his entire family from a famine.
I have read, heard, and watched this story many, many times. The amazing thing about God’s word is you can read a passage hundreds of times and still learn something new each time. I was reading this story the other day, and the names of Joseph’s sons really stood out to me. In fact it kind of made me laugh that Joseph named his kid Manasseh because he was able to forget about his family. Then I read his brother’s name. Ephraim, which means fruitful. Then it hit me, Joseph named his kids forget and fruitful to serve as a reminder of what God was doing in his life.
The memory of Joseph’s family wasn’t erased from his mind like the neutralizer in Men In Black. Rather he came to the point in his spiritual life where the past actions of his brothers did not affect how he saw them, and how he thought of himself. Because of that decision that he made his life became fruitful. Joseph had to learn how to Forget in order to become Fruitful. He had to forget the hurt and pain from his past in order to move on, and become the man that God has called him to be. Imagine if Joseph had not learned to forget. Imagine if his brothers came begging for food, and because he held on to that anger he turned them away. What would have happened? Keep in mind it wouldn’t have been just his brothers who suffered. But their wives, children, servants, his father. That could have been the end of the line of Israel. God had a plan and Joseph, and Joseph was willing to allow God to work in his heart. This led to him saving not only Egypt, but his family, the nation of Israel.
My question for you is, What do you need to forget? What sort of things in your past are keeping you from moving forward in your walk with the Lord? God has a plan for you that will lead to a fruitful life. (John 15:16 You didn’t choose me. I chose you. I appointed you to go and produce lasting fruit, so that the Father will give you whatever you ask for, using my name.) It is a life that will lead you and others to eternity with Him. Satan wants to distract you. His goal is to drag you down and destroy you. (1 Peter 5:8 Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour.) Keeping you focused on the things of the past, keeps you from growing, from moving forward in your walk with God. We need to learn to forgive. Forgive others, forgive ourselves, and allow ourselves to be forgiven. That is really what it means to forget. I am not saying don’t learn from what has happened, rather do not allow those things to keep you from moving forward in your relationship with God. Because you might be holding yourself back from something amazing.
Philippians 3:12-14 I don’t mean to say that I have already achieved these things or that I have already reached perfection. But I press on to possess that perfection for which Christ Jesus first possessed me. No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.
What do you need to Forget in order for God to come into your life and make you Fruitful?
Hebrews 10:11-18 is one of my favorite passages of scripture. “Every priest stands day after day ministering and offering the same sacrifices time after time, which can never take away sins. But this man [Jesus], after offering one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down at the right hand of God. He is now waiting until his enemies are made his footstool. For by one offering he has perfected forever those who are sanctified. The Holy Spirit also testifies to us about this. For after he says: This is the covenant I will make with them after those days, the Lord says, I will put my laws on their hearts and write them on their minds, and I will never again remember their sins and their lawless acts. Now where there is forgiveness of these, there is no longer an offering for sin.” (CSB)
I love this passage for a number of reasons. Jesus accomplished through His death, burial and resurrection that which no human could ever do. Through that sacrifice He won our forgiveness, salvation, and sanctification.
The thing that stands out to me the most, however, is verse 13: “He is now waiting until his enemies are made his footstool.”
Let us never forget that we serve a risen, living Lord and Savior, who is the ultimate Victor, both now and forever!
He Loves Me!
A simple pondering by Holly Woodbridge
John 3:16 “For God loved the world so much that he gave his only Son. God gave his Son so that whoever believes in him may not be lost but have eternal life. 17 God did not send his Son into the world to judge the world guilty, but to save the world through him.
1 John 3:1 The Father has loved us so much! He loved us so much that we are called children of God. And we really are his children. But the people in the world do not understand that we are God’s children, because they have not known him.
“God loves you. He really, really loves you!” This is how I often end my correspondence with our kids. And it’s true! He does. But when I take a moment to actually ponder this truth for me, I am blown away again and again.
He loves me. HE LOVES ME!
And He knows me. GOD who knows me completely, loves me perfectly. What a glorious truth to rest my life upon! He rescued me into His own family. WOW! So simple and so gigantic.
And I love Him. Not at all perfectly, but I sure do want to live my life to please Him. He is my dad, and I am His girl.
And He loves them. You know, all THOSE people. Every one of them. The ones we nod hello to, and those we pass by without a thought. He loves them all and He wants them in His family right along with you and me.
Some of them are pretty messed up you know. But so was I and so were you. And I know He can do for them what He is doing for us. Because that’s what love does. And it’s going to be awesome to celebrate each other all along the way.
P.S. It’s our job to let them know He loves them. Dad said so.
Life-Long Learning in the Lord
1 Timothy 1:(3-6)
May 16, 2021
· Faithful learning in the Lord leads to a ______________________________________________
· Faithful learning in the Lord is characterized by a _____________________________________________________________
· Faithful learning in the Lord will build a community of __________________________ and _______________________________.
Life-Long Learning in the Lord
1 Timothy 1:(3-6)
May 16, 2021
· Faithful learning in the Lord leads to a WHOLE NEW WAY OF
· Faithful learning in the Lord is characterized by a PURE
HEART, GOOD CONSCIENCE AND A SINCERE FAITH.
· Faithful learning in the Lord will build a community of
MUTUAL LOVE and ACCOUNTABILITY
2 Corinthians 1:3-4
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.
The word comfort comes from the Latin word con fortaremeaning with strength and support. This isn’t just a warm gesture or a soft encouragement This kind of comfort empowers us to persevere.
The University of Wisconsin’s Center for the Study of Pain conducted an experiment in which researchers timed how long volunteers could keep their feet in buckets of freezing water. They discovered something very remarkable. They discovered that whenever a companion was allowed in the room with the person whose feet were being frozen, they could endure the cold for twice as long as those who suffered alone. The presence of another caring person doubled the amount of pain that a person could endure. The same can be said of emotional pain.
The apostle Paul tells us in these verses that we can pass on to others comfort we ourselves receive from God. Would you take a few moments to ask the Lord to show you someone who needs to know God’s comfort expressed through you this week?
Let me close with this prayer from Saint Francis of Assisi:
Lord make Me an instrument of Your peace
Where there is hatred let me sow love.
Where there is injury, pardon.
Where there is doubt, faith.
Where there is despair, hope.
Where there is darkness, light.
Where there is sadness joy.
O Divine master grant that I may not so much seek
to be consoled as to console
To be understood, as to understand.
To be loved. as to love
For it's in giving that we receive
And it's in pardoning that we are pardoned
And it's in dying that we are born
To eternal life.
“The Kingdom of Heaven is like a mustard seed planted in a field. It is the smallest of all seeds, but it becomes the largest of garden plants; it grows into a tree, and birds come and make nests in its branches.” (Matthew 13:31-32)
If a tiny mustard seed can grow into a tree that spans an area of up to 20 feet tall and 20 feet wide, think of the implications for your life!
Pearls are formed when an irritant, such as a bit of food, a grain of sand, bacteria, or even a piece of the mollusk's mantle becomes trapped in the mollusk. To protect itself, the mollusk secretes a substance made of mineral and protein to continually coat the irritant, only succeeding in making the irritant larger, thus the pearl.
Similarly, a tiny pebble in your shoe becomes an irritant, that if not removed, the irritant seems to grow larger even though the pebble remains the same.
“You don’t have enough faith,” Jesus told them. “I tell you the truth, if you had faith even as small as a mustard seed, you could say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it would move. Nothing would be impossible.” (Matthew 17:20)
If a tiny amount of faith only the size of a mustard seed can move a mountain how much more can faith in Christ do in your life? The opposite also can bring us down, for sin, no matter how large or small even as the size of a mustard seed can keep us from all the best Christ has for us. And yet it may seem we are the mollusk trying to coat over the sin in our life to prevent it from being an irritant, but like the mollusk all we accomplish is making the irritant larger. Why do we continue to walk through life allowing those irritating little pebbles of sin to affect our relationships, conversations, our commitments and every day life by causing us pain and grief like a pebble in our shoe?
Tolerate them No Longer! Stop, and ask God to remove the pain and struggles by simply asking the Lord for His forgiveness and removal of those things. Now is the time to begin living in faith and obedience! You have the choice.
Yes, faith the size of a mustard see can move a mountains and God can work in and through your life by whatever way He knows is best for you to grow in your faith. Even as that tiniest of seeds grows over time into a huge tree, so does our faith and trust in the Lord.
Many times, I have asked God to allow me to move what seems to be an unscalable mountain in my life, and God was faithful, though His method was to hand me a teaspoon instructing me “be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age” and by faith, one spoonful at a time I will see you through.
But you, dear friends, must build each other up in your most holy faith, pray in the power of the Holy Spirit (Jude 20:12)
Yours in Christ, Rev. Jerry Schmid
I am constantly amazed at how giving our people are here at Wanamaker Woods. When we bring a need before the congregation like the church in Zambia that needed money for a roof people don’t hesitate to dig deep into their resources and give from their hearts. It reminds me of a story I heard about a while back.
A little girl stood near a small church from which she had been turned away because it was 'too crowded.'
'I can't go to Sunday School,' she sobbed to the pastor as he walked by.
Seeing her shabby, unkempt appearance, the pastor guessed the reason and, taking her by the hand, took her inside and found a place for her in the Sunday school class. The child was so happy that they found room for her, and she went to bed that night thinking of the children who have no place to worship Jesus.
Some two years later, this child lay dead in one of the poor tenement buildings. Her parents called for the kindhearted pastor who had befriended their daughter to handle the final arrangements.
As her poor little body was being moved, a worn and crumpled red purse was found which seemed to have been rummaged from some trash dump.
Inside was found 57 cents and a note, scribbled in childish handwriting, which read: 'This is to help build the little church bigger so more children can go to Sunday school.'
For two years she had saved for this offering of love.
When the pastor tearfully read that note, he knew instantly what he would do. Carrying this note and the cracked, red pocketbook to the pulpit, he told the story of her unselfish love and devotion.
He challenged his deacons to get busy and raise enough money for the larger building.
But the story does not end there...
A newspaper learned of the story and published It. It was read by a wealthy realtor who offered them a parcel of land worth many thousands.
When told that the church could not pay so much, he offered to sell it to the little church for 57 cents.
Church members made large donations. Checks came from far and wide.
Within five years the little girl's gift had increased to $250,000.00-- a huge sum for that time (near the turn of the century). Her unselfish love had paid large dividends.
When you are in the city of Philadelphia, look up Temple Baptist Church, with a seating capacity of 3,300. And be sure to visit Temple University, where thousands of students are educated.
Have a look, too, at the Good Samaritan Hospital and at a Sunday school building which houses hundreds of beautiful children, built so that no child in the area will ever need to be left outside during Sunday school time.
In one of the rooms of this building may be seen the picture of the sweet face of the little girl whose 57 cents, so sacrificially saved, made such remarkable history. Alongside of it is a portrait of her kind pastor, Dr. Russell H. Conwell, author of the book, 'Acres of Diamonds'.
This is a true story, which goes to show WHAT GOD CAN DO WITH 57 CENTS.
Thank you for your giving heart!
"Not as though I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.” Philippians 3:12
It is a snare to imagine that God wants to make us perfect specimens of what He
Christian perfection is not, and never can be, human perfection.
Christian perfection is the perfection of a relationship to God
It used to be I’d turn around and see my oldest climbing on something (on top of the upright piano, with his hoppy horse on the kitchen table, on the fence etc.) my heart would sink thinking the worst would happen. I didn’t trust him. I didn’t know how strong he was, if he could balance, how far was too far, if he knew his strength, if he knew when to stop, or if he knew what was good or right for himself. It dawned on me the other day as he was reaching out of his tree house which has no walls, I didn’t flinch, when he was atop our 6 foot fence shortly after, I didn’t even get the sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach like this could be the one that sends him to the hospital. I trust him, I’ve seen him in action, he’s proven himself steady, I know he’ll be careful, he has balance and knows how to land.
In the last couple of years we’ve had some things happen in our family that could have rocked our world (aside from the pandemic). Normally something like what we’ve went through would make me completely sick with worry or I’d be in a pit of despair and uncertainty trying to figuring out what to do next. Instead, I was able, after a second, to give it to God and not flinch. I trust Him. I’ve seen Him in action. He’s proven Himself steady, certain, true and faithful. I know my God, I know He can see the whole picture and knows what’s best. He has promised to be faithful and hasn’t given me any reason to think He won’t be. And in each of those situations He’s proved it even further.
Whatever you may be facing, God is faithful. His promises are true. Step back, let Him have it and watch Him do some incredible things!
Hebrews 10:23 “Let us hold tightly without wavering to the hope we affirm, for God can be trusted to keep his promise.”
“And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds.” (Hebrews 10:24)
Have you noticed how busy everyone seems to be? We fill our calendars with all sorts of things—often good things. But these good, busy things have contributed to isolation. In fact, when asked how you're doing, often we respond with, “I’m so busy!” It is interesting to think about how our modern conveniences have shifted us into this busier and isolated society. For instance, there’s the air conditioner. Before the AC, people sat on their front porches to catch a breeze to cool off. On the front porch, you could wave to and interact with your neighbors. But with AC, we don’t have to sit on our front porches anymore. Attached garages didn’t help either. Now we just pull in, close the door and we’re inside our house. Fences, gated communities, answering machines, and caller ID all reinforce this notion that we are too busy to be bothered. If we want to be left alone, we can. We don’t have to interact with anyone, so we don’t. Even online shopping and social media make it so much easier to avoid interaction with people.
But when I read the gospels, I see that Jesus always had time for people. He talked to them, fed them, healed them, and forgave them. He often met physical needs in order to address spiritual needs. It makes me wonder: if I am too busy to even interact with the people around me—let alone engage with their struggles—am I really following Christ’s example? If we’re too busy to interact with people, then we are also missing out on the blessing of loving and serving one another.
Today, let’s all take the time to stop, listen to, and talk with someone you see every day but rarely slow down to get to know.
Many moral dilemmas of our time would cease to exist if we just stopped pursuing Christlikeness and a holy life style.
Most would agree there is a right way in just about every situation. The challenge is first to discover the right (morally speaking) and second to follow what we know to be right.
Take for instance, you back into someone’s car in a parking lot, doing minimal damage. There is no one present which sees the incident. Do you leave a note or just leave?
A cashier gives you too much change back. Do you smile and give it back or just smile?
Every man’s way is right in his own eyes, but the Lord weighs the hearts. To do right and just is desired by the Lord rather than sacrifice. Proverbs 21:2-3
A wise man once said, “The fruits of your life are often determined by the roots of your life!”
The more you find yourself doing the right thing, the deeper your moral roots will go! These roots then become what hold you steadfast when the storms of life buffet you! Nurture those good roots!
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will direct your paths.” Proverbs 3:5-6
It was food box delivery day again, and half of our team had cancelled. Which meant the other half had to double (or triple) up to get the job done. But it’s God’s job, right? So it willget done. And it did – again. And here’s what I learned this time.
To make it happen, I as well as others had to double up. But my car will only hold so many food boxes. I had been praying about it ever since the first cancellation came in. “Lord,” I said, “You know what needs to happen. You know how to make those boxes fit. I’m trusting You to take care of it.” And then I began to develop a back-up plan.
Whoa! A back-up plan? I’m not sure “trust” and “back-up plans” are compatible. It was very clear, when God spoke to Moses in Exodus 3-4, that Moses wasthe plan. There was no other. He also made it clear to Gideon in Judges 6, and to many others throughout Scripture.
It’s easy for me to think that if I don’t do it, someone else will. But will they? God has a job for each of us to do, and I believe that we must do the job designed for us. But since it’s God’s job, I’m pretty sure He’ll get it done, if we just cooperate. And trust. What a privilege, to be allowed to be a part of His plan!
So we showed up at the pick-up site. And there I ran into a young man I discipled years ago, who now serves God with a steady heart. We visited for a minute, and I shared my concerns about the boxes fitting in my car. With complete confidence, much more than I had, he said, “They’ll fit.”
And they did. Trust. It’s God’s plan.
God Bless You!
Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, so that there may be food in My house, and test Me now in this,” says the Lord of hosts, “if I will not open for you the windows of heaven and pour out for you a blessing until it overflows Then I will rebuke the devourer for you, so that it will not destroy the fruits of the ground; nor will your vine in the field cast its grapes,” says the Lord of hosts. “All the nations will call you blessed, for you shall be a delightful land,” says the Lord of hosts. Malachi 3:10-12
It was 1969 and we were just baby Christians. We were living in Amarillo, Texas and attending a little Baptist church there. The pastor had recently preached a sermon on giving and how 10% of our earnings belonged to God. Arnie was really bothered about that. He didn’t understand why God needed 10% of his paycheck. He really struggled over the sermon and the new revelation about tithing. Arnie was the type that needed confirmation on things before he totally bought into it.
It was a beautiful Sunday and we decided instead of going to church we would take a little trip up to Texhoma, Oklahoma which was about 2 hours away. We didn’t have much money to do a lot of things back then. We had two children at the time and Arnie was working Saturdays so we felt we needed a break. We decided to take the money set aside for tithe and take a little trip. After all it was our money, right?
We packed a picnic lunch and started out for Texhoma. We forgot that there was what they called a “blue law” in that area. Nothing was open on Sundays, not even a gas station. We got to the border of Texas and Oklahoma and found a little rest area where we could stop and eat our lunch. When we got ready to leave the car wouldn’t start. We had had problems earlier in the week with it starting but it seemed fine that morning. We sat there in the rest stop trying to decide what to do. A car pulled up after seeing the hood of our car open and asked if he could be of help. Arnie told him he thought it was the starter or the alternator. It so happened that this man owned the only gas station and auto parts store in Texhoma but was closed because it was Sunday. He told Arnie that he thought he had the part we needed and that he would go there and get it. He returned shortly and they proceeded to fix the car while I tended to two fussy children that were hot and tired. When they got the car fixed Arnie asked, “How much do I owe you?” The man told him if he could just pay for the part that’s all he would owe. Arnie asked how much and the man gave him the price. I looked art Arnie and he looked at me in total disbelief. The price was the exact amount of what we would have put into the offering plate as our tithe. Arnie got his confirmation!
We learned a valuable lesson that Sunday. It doesn’t pay to rob God of what belongs to Him. We have also found out over the years of giving that you truly can’t out give God. He has truly blessed us in so many ways. Arnie never doubted God again over tithing. If fact he was one of the first to take out the check book or his wallet and give over and above to those in need.
If you struggle with giving, try putting Tithe at the top of your budget as the first thing you pay and watch God stretch the rest of your money over the month to meet your need! It’s amazing how it works, but it does. Sometimes I sit in amazement as to how I managed to pay all of last month’s expenses and when it doesn’t add up on paper it’s because God was put first! Try it! You might be amazed!
God is so good all the time!!!
The heart is a miraculous thing. In the grand scheme of things, it’s fairly small, roughly the size of your fist. However, this little thing is quite possibly the most important part of your body. If it’s not doing its job properly, nothing in the rest of your body can do its job either. As miraculous and powerful as the heart is, everything in our body is designed to work together. God knew exactly what He was doing when he designed us!
In Psalm 139:13-18, David praises God by saying this: “For it was you who created my inward parts; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I will praise you because I have been remarkably and wondrously made. Your works are wondrous, and I know this very well. My bones were not hidden from you when I was made in secret, when I was formed in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw me when I was formless; all my days were written in your book and planned before a single one of them began. God, how precious your thoughts are to me; how vast their sum is! If I counted them, they would outnumber the grains of the sand; when I wake up, I am still with you.”
God not only took great care in designing every one of us, even to our smallest and most important parts, but he cares about us enough to continue to care about us and His thoughts outnumber the grains of sand!
How great is our God!
Even now, behold, my witness is in heaven, and he who testifies for me is on high. Job 16:19 ESV
In this passage Job acknowledged that he had a true friend, an unnamed intercessor who is in heaven, unlike his other so-called friends who were of no help to him (v.20). In the New Testament, we recognize this friend and intercessor as our Lord, Jesus Christ (1 John 2:1; Hebrews 7:24-25)
Job’s experience was similar in some ways to that of the apostle Peter. In Luke 22:31-34 Jesus told Peter that Satan demanded permission to “sift you like wheat.” Peter was then told that Jesus had prayed for him that his faith might not fail but that he was to strengthen his brothers after he had “turned again”. Peter, who had walked on water with Jesus (Matthew 14:22-33) was quick to claim he was ready to join Jesus in prison or death. This passage continues and Peter is told he would deny the Lord three times before the rooster crowed.
We know that both Job and Peter were restored regarding their relationship with GOD. Both had difficult times in different ways before that restoral came about. We know that Job’s fortunes were restored to him and that he lived a prosperous life the remainder of his days. Peter’s life was different following his restoration—he ministered in a powerful way until he died a martyr’s death for his faith.
Jesus Christ was Job’s and Peter’s intercessor then, just as He is ours now. I know I both want and need his advocacy and intercession. Why? Stuff happens!
Peace be unto you and yours,
Living for God’s Will
1 Peter 3:18, 4:1-11 (N I V)
May 2, 2021
Bottom Line: As followers of Christ, we are called to live for God’s will.
· This is not your HOME.
· Remember: Christ died for our SINS.
· We must be armed with Jesus’ attitude: “I’m going to be OBEDIENT to God,
even if it brings SUFFERING.”
· You will never be LOVED the way you want to be loved until you’re
willing to LOVE the way you wanted to be loved.
· Use the GIFT God has given you so that God may be PRAISED.
Living for God’s Will
1 Peter 3:18, 4:1-11 (N I V)
May 2, 2021
Bottom Line: As followers of Christ, we are called to live for God’s will.
· This is not your ______________________.
· Remember: Christ died for our ____________________.
· We must be armed with Jesus’ attitude: “I’m going to be ________________
to God, even if it brings________________
· You will never be ________________ the way you want to be loved until
you’re willing to _______________ the way you wanted to be loved.
· Use the ______________ God has given you so that God may be
Ambassador of Christ- Part Two Rev. Richard Clifford
Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. 12 Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. 13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.
Testimony Part Two:
When I gave my life to Jesus, I was dumb, stupid, and ignorant spiritually. But I fell in love with my Savior and His Word. Like my mother, I went to Sunday School, Morning Worship, Evening Worship, Wednesday Night Prayer Meeting, and Friday Night Cottage Prayer meeting.
Peter, the fisherman, also was unlearned and ignorant when Jesus called him and yet he became a vibrant powerful ambassador of Christ.
“For I know the plans I have for you!”
My Pastor, Paul Hallman, an unlearned brick mason, previously a violent wicked man, was saved through the ministry of Pastor Daddy Hampy, who discipled him, took him to tent meetings, jail services, radio broadcasts, and house to house evangelism.
“For I know the plans I have for you!”
Even though Pastor Hallman “murdered the King’s English,” he was one of the godliest and well-versed ministers I knew and I sat right up front at church and soaked it all in. I joined the Kappa Ki Christian Club in High School sponsored by Mrs. Ginrich. Her husband was the president of Akron Bible Institute and I was then invited by my science teacher to go to classes there in the evenings. One class I took was on Revelation and I just soaked it all in. Remember, a year earlier I had no understanding of Christianity at all.
“For I know the plans I have for you!”
Prior to finding Jesus, I had beat up the school bully in my sophomore year. Shortly after my encounter with Jesus, I was full of zeal, but had little knowledge. I strong-armed some of my team mates to get them to church. I took 6 football players to church and 4 invited Jesus into their lives. I bought hundreds of tracts(Christian pamphlets) to pass out. I gave one a day to my football and track coaches.
I worked that summer with my brick mason pastor, learning more than a trade. I was being discipled.
One day the pastor visited at our home and handed me a junior high Sunday School teachers book and told me I was the new teacher. That was my training. :/
Soon after that Pastor Hallman announced that three of the young people were going to preach in two weeks. He told us to bring him our outlines the next Sunday morning. How did he know that I had the call to preach? God was at work behind the scenes.
“For I know the plans I have for you!”
My coach took me to his alma mater Ohio University for a weekend. I was football starter and the captain of the track team. I took a pocket full of tracts with me. I was rooming with 3 guys and gave them each a tract and talked to then about Jesus. They got all upset and said I couldn’t do that and that I wouldn’t last 8 weeks doing that kind of stuff. I said that if I came, I would bring a whole suitcase full of tracts.
I worked at Quaker Oats for a year and then went to Houghton College, a Christian school. Alice McMillan, Daddy Hampy’s daughter, was my Bible teacher. (Her husband wrote the book None of These Diseases-recommended reading) I got an A in Bible. I had learned well under Pastor Hallman.
The adventure as God’s ambassador was just beginning. The plans He had for me were unfolding.
I am so glad I said yes to my mother that night she invited me to church. I am so glad I said yes to Jesus when He knocked on my heart’s door. I am so glad I said yes to Pastor Hallman as walked me through discipleship. I am so glad I said yes to God’s call. At 90 years old, I am still having the time of my life serving Jesus!
(P.S. Part 3 may show up another time.)
John 16:33 New International Version
33 “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
After I was asked to write a devotional, these thoughts came to me in the night, “Be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” As I lay there in my bed, I began to meditate on these words and think about our world.
So many people have been overcome by the world. Teens, young adults, and even older people are full of anger, loneliness, hate, and utter despair. Yet God has His ambassadors reaching out to this lost world. His church, whether, Nazarene, or Baptist, Wesleyan or Assembly of God, groups like the Navigators, CRU, Prison fellowship International Billy Graham Organization and so many more are reaching out with hope, with the Good News!
Over 70 years ago, one of God’s ambassadors called on my home in Akron, Ohio, and led my mother to Christ. She was gloriously saved. She began attending Sunday School, Sunday morning worship, Wednesday night Bible Study, Friday night prayer meeting and any things else that was offered along the way. Our family thought that she was off her rocker, BUT we could not deny that she was so happy, so joyful, so fulfilled in life!
Four or five months after that, there were revival meetings in the church. Mother invited Grandad to come. He said, “NO.” She invited Dad. He said “NO.” She invited my older brother, Bud. He said “NO.” By the time she got to me, she was crying. I hated to see my mother cry. I thought, “It’s probably like going to the movies.” So I said I’d go.
Grandad said, “If Dick goes, I’ll go.”
We went and sat half-way down to the front. Grandad sat on the aisle. The church was crowded. The preacher was like a prophet of old. He preached and pointed his finger at us or so we thought. Me and grandad scrunched down in our pew. We were under conviction. The Holy Spirit was working on us. I did not know that then. Then they gave an invitation. They were asking us to come to the altar. A distinguished older man was leading the song. He saw my grandad and thought this is that old man’s last shot. He walked down the aisle and stopped by my grandad, “Dad,” he said gently. “How is it with your soul?”
Grandad quickly responded, “Ask Dick how it with his.”
I squirmed and wriggled and wanted to get out of there as fast as I could. My mother came up behind me and added, “Dick, why don’t you give God a chance?”
I don’t know how it happened. But somehow Grandad got out of the way and I walked down and knelt at the altar. But I had no idea how to pray. I knelt there with my heart beating like a tap-hammer. A backslider ran down and prayed for forgiveness. He prayed so fast. I just poured out my heart saying, “God what that man said, do it for me too.” Suddenly peace filled my soul.
I was still dumb and stupid about spiritual things, but the peace was there. The pastor came over to me and led me in the sinner’s prayer. I felt like I was a helium balloon floating on air. That began the greatest adventure of my life. It also began my truest vocation as an ambassador for the Lord.
Even at the old age of 90, the words of Jesus still ring true, “Be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” And through Him, you and I overcome the world and can enjoy His peace, no matter what we see or hear around us.
And this message is not for us alone. We are now His ambassadors that others may know His peace and overcome by the power of His Spirit within.
Still having the time of my life serving Jesus,
Rev. Richard Clifford
Have you heard the term “Hen Fruit” used to describe an egg? The egg is the ultimate convenience food containing 18 vitamins, minerals and protein. If you heat it, beat it or whip it the protein content enhances whatever you are using it in, binding the mixture and enriching the flavor.
WOW, how fantastic it would be if we could be like an egg in everything we do as a Christ follower. We could bind our lives with others to enhance and enrich the world around us for Jesus Christ. Or if they ask for an egg, do you give them a scorpion? Of course not! So if you sinful people know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him.” (Luke 11:12-13)
If we merely let our life sit on hold, it becomes like an egg that sits and becomes rotten. With little use a rotten egg becomes a terrible stench, only good for fertilizer in your garden (is that what makes stinky flowers?) or you can throw it in a campfire for fuel (maybe the smell will drive away mosquitos or others).
Regardless of how we use an egg, if it is not used it is of little use. As the text noted, if we ask the Father for an egg, He won’t give us a scorpion. No, our heavenly Father desires to give us the Holy Spirit. But there is a simple act of faith that we must do to receive what the Father promises, that is to ASK.
Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect. (Romans 12:2)
I don’t know about you, but I have little desire to sit idle only to become a rotten egg, or only be the shell of what God desires for me to become, or to be as Job spoke against being “the tasteless white of the egg”.
Our desire must not be to merely conform to the political landscape or worldly norms, but to renew our mind in Christ and Christ alone. Simply by ASK-ing the Father to give us the Holy Spirit. That one simple word, one simple step of faith; ASK.
May God Bless you in your faithful walk with the Lord. He loves GOOD EGGS!
“We Will Serve the Lord”
“Now, therefore, fear the Lord and serve Him in sincerity and truth; and put away the gods which your fathers served beyond the River and in Egypt, and serve the Lord. If it is disagreeable in your sight to serve the Lord, choose for yourselves today whom you will serve: whether the gods which your fathers served which were beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you are living; but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” Joshua 24:14-15
It was the winter of 1969. We were living in St Paul, Minnesota. We had just moved there the summer before from Amarillo, Texas. Arnie and I hadn’t been Christians very long. We had come to know Christ through Arnie’s boss in Amarillo. The only people we knew in Amarillo was his boss and his family and the people in the little Baptist church there. We were very new Christians with a lot of baggage from the past. It wasn’t too long after that when we had the opportunity to move to St Paul where his family was from, so we jumped at the chance to be near family.
We couldn’t find a Baptist church in St Paul that we really liked so we decided to try the little Nazarene church not too far from where we were living. We started attending there and really liked the people, especially the young couples that had families like us. Being around family was great but not the best influence on a couple that was not grounded in their faith. Arnie came from a family that enjoyed their drinks and their parties. It was hard to say no to his cousins when they kept inviting us to their activities. So we soon found ourselves bar hopping or partying on Saturday nights and going to church on Sunday mornings. We had talked about this a lot and really didn’t know how to say no to the things that we knew in our hearts was not what we should be choosing.
One night we had been invited to his cousins to play cards. We had been caught up in their parties before and we really didn’t want to get involved again, but to be loyal to family we accepted the invitation believing that we were the only ones getting together. We arrived at his cousin’s house a little late and pulled up to the garage. We were relieved that there wasn’t anyone else there. We hadn’t been there too long before people started arriving and coming in with their booze and cartons of beer. Things got pretty wild pretty fast. Arnie came to me and said, “We need to leave now.” I agreed and he told his cousin that we needed to leave. His cousin told him sorry you can’t get your car out, everyone is parked behind you. Arnie told him very nicely again that we were leaving and he kept refusing to move the cars. Final Arnie got angry and told him to either move the cars or he would just push them out of the way with his car. His cousin finally had the people move their cars and we left.
The next night we had been invited to get together with a few couples from the church. We decided to go and we had a really great time playing cards and laughing until our sides hurt. There was no drinking, no foul language, no dirty jokes, just good clean fun. We left there that night with a totally different outlook.
It had started to snow and as we were driving home the snow started to really come down in big flakes. As we were driving all of a sudden I saw a pair of hands in the windshield. Hands that were palms up and I could see the nail scars in the middle. I heard a voice in my spirit say, “I showed you two choices. One of the world, that will lead to disaster and one of Me that will lead you down the road I have for you. Which is it going to be? You need to choose.” I realized then that Arnie had pulled the car over to the edge of the road and was sitting there like he had seen a ghost. I looked at him and he looked at me and he said, ‘Did you see what I just saw?” I told him what I had seen and he had seen the same thing. We both knew God had given us a choice to make. Right there in that 57 Chevy station wagon be both made the choice to follow Christ and His way. We never attended another party with his cousins and began to really grow in the Lord in that little Nazarene church. It wasn’t long before God sent us back to California where we began the ministry at the Nazarene Church there as youth directors, which has led us to where I am today. We made a decision back then to serve the Lord and we have never looked back. God has blessed our lives in so many ways over the years of serving Him.
I don’t know where you are today in your walk, but I do know God has a plan for your life. If you are struggling with what He might be wanting you to do, just be assured that He will never ask anything of you that He won’t equip you to do it. I know He has always equipped us to do whatever He has called us to do.
I also know that if He hadn’t met us on that snowy night and offered His hands to us, I wouldn’t be where I am today! As for me and my house we have and will continue to serve the Lord!
1 Thessalonians 5:23-24
“May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do it.”
When we pray to be sanctified, are we prepared to face the standard of these
We take the term sanctification much too lightly. Are we prepared for what sanctification will cost? It will cost an intense narrowing of all our interests on earth, and an immense broadening of all our interests in God.
"For them I sanctify myself, that they too may be truly sanctified.”
The reason some of us have not entered into the experience of sanctification is--
Are we prepared to say –
The one and only characteristic of the Holy Ghost in a man is a strong family likeness to Jesus Christ,