Don’t Let Bitterness Rule You

Welcome back to the encouragement challenge. Congratulations!! You have made it to week 3!! This week we are focusing on forgiveness. We are going to talk about bitterness today. What is bitterness? Bitterness can be described as, “the experience of a negative emotion (anger or hatred, for instance) felt as a result of a real or imagined wrong done.” Bitterness is what happens when you hold a grudge for too long. Bitterness will not hurt the person who wronged you. It only hurts YOU! Let it go. Forgive and move forward in your relationship with Christ! Let’s see what the Bible has to say about bitterness.

Ephesians 4:31-32 “Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.”

Hebrews 12:14-15 “Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord. See to it that no one fails to obtain the grace of God; that no “root of bitterness” springs up and causes trouble, and by it many become defiled”

Romans 12:17-21 “Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” To the contrary, ‘if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.'”

I urge you today to seek your heart. Let go of any bitterness you are harboring. Let go and Let God take full control of you heart. Allow His love to consume your heart today.

Be a blessing to others,
~M

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Encouragement Challenge Week 3 — Forgiveness

Hello Readers!! I hope you had a great weekend! Today, we are going to start with week 3 of the encouragement challenge. This week, we are going to focus on forgiveness. Forgiveness can be defined as, “to stop feeling angry or resentful toward someone for an offense, flaw, or mistake.”

When you forgive, you are setting yourself free from something that has been holding you back. You can become the person God wants you to be if you hold onto grudges. His Word reminds us of that.

Matthew 6:14-15 “For if you forgive people their wrongdoing, your Heavenly Father will forgive you as well. But if you don’t forgive people, your Father will not forgive your wrongdoing.”

Proverbs 11:12 “Whoever shows contempt for his neighbor lacks sense, but a man with understanding keeps silent.”

Mark 11:25 “And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive him, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins.”

Forgiveness is your choice. Will you choose to forgive or will you continue to hold that grudge?

Be a blessing to others,
~M

Encouragement Challenge Week 1

Welcome Back to our Blog. Today, we are going to talk a little more about the Encouragement Challenge. Each week we will post a few scripture and suggestions to help you out during this challenge. This week we are going to talk about encouraging each other and building up one another.

1 Thessalonians 5:11 reminds us, “Therefore encourage one another and build up one another.”

Ephesians 4:29: “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.”

Hebrews 3:13: “But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called “Today,” so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness.”

How can we build each other up?

Pray for Each Other
Be Kind
Don’t spread gossip
Don’t say hurtful things
SMILE at someone
Show God’s love
Listen to Others
Forgive

Be a Blessing to Others,
~M

A Challenge for You

30 days of encouragement — The Challenge!  The Lord has been laying this on my heart for a while.  Our world is so full of people putting others down, hurting and violence.  You can’t even watch the news without hearing about bullying or some type of violence.  Our world is full of hate and sadness.  It is such a hard time for both our children and the adults.  So many people are immune or numb to the pain of words and actions from others.  The following verse just jumped off the pages when I read it.
Galatians 5:13-15
 You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love. For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” If you bite and devour each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other.”
We are called to love each other and not hurt each other.  This verse is so true now.  We hear about people destroying each other all the time.  But what about encouraging each other?  Encouragement is defined as “the action of giving someone support, confidence, or hope.”  Jesus is so full of encouragement for us.  We have His support.  We can be confident in His promises and His love.  Jesus gave us HOPE when he died for each of us.
Let’s stop the pain and the devouring of each other by words and actions.  Let’s show others Christ’s Love and Encouragement.  I would like to challenge each and everyone of you to participate in 30 days of encouragement.  Here’s what the 30 days of encouragement campaign consists of:
1.  Don’t say anything negative about others.
2.  Say something that you admire or appreciate about someone else.  You can even send someone a card of encouragement.
3.  Greet others with a smile.  One smile can change someone’s day.
4.  Pray for Others daily.
5.  Show Christ’s LOVE all the time.
6.  FORGIVE others!
7.  Go out of your way to help make someone else’s day better.
Please comment if you are joining our challenge.  Keep us posted on your progress.  We are praying for each of you.  You CAN do this!!  Don’t forget to Be a Blessing to Others,
~M

Mercy Shown By Love Part 6

Welcome back! Hope you are enjoying this series about Mercy Shown By Love! Let’s get started with today’s verse.

Luke 6:27-36 (HCSB) from Biblegateway.com

27-“But I say to you who listen: Love your enemies, do what is good to those who hate you, 28-bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. 29-If anyone hits you on the cheek, offer the other also. And if anyone takes away your coat, don’t hold back your shirt either. 30-Give to everyone who asks you, and from one who takes your things, don’t ask for them back. 31-Just as you want others to do for you, do the same for them. 32-If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners love those who love them. 33-If you do what is good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners do that. 34-And if you lend to those from whom you expect to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners to be repaid in full. 35-But love your enemies, do what is good, and lend, expecting nothing in return. Then your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High. For He is gracious to the ungrateful and evil. 36-Be merciful, just as your Father also is merciful. Luke 6:27-36 (HCSB)

Notes:
32-If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners love those who love them.

Fun Fact – Did you know that an entire book was written about this verse?
Any Guesses?

Ding – Ding – Ding = the answer is: THE BIBLE

Today’s verse is like a key that will unlock the truth about love. Love is one of the most misused words by both believers and unbelievers. What is Love? According to the Bible, “God is love”. The Bible gives a very good description of what love is and is not. Look with me at 1 Corinthians 13:4-8a “4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. 8 Love never fails…” Every time I read this passage I have to stop and examine each Word. As I allow the Word of God to take hold of my heart and mind. I begin to see what love truly is and what love is not. I start to remember all the times that I was not patient or kind. A feeling of sadness comes over me as I quickly realize that I did not reflect Love in those moments. As a believer, I am to reflect the Love of God at all times to all people. In fact, without love I am nothing. 1 Corinthians 13:1-3 “13 If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. 3 If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.” After reading these Words of God, can you say that you love as God desires? When you say I love you, do you have Gods standards in mind? Luke 6:32 “If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners love those who love them.” Believer or unbeliever it is a lot easier to show love when it is shown back to you. If you love someone and it is not shown back to you, then may God bless you. Because you now understand what God feels every time He is rejected. God loves you even if you don’t love Him. I challenge us all to live LOVE.

~Dr. G
John 14:6 – Jesus Is The Way, Truth, & Life

Mercy Shown By Love

Hello Readers! Welcome back. For the next several days we are going to focus on Luke 6:27-36. We will be focusing on one verse at a time. Keep in mind the definitions of love and mercy.

Love is defined as “a feeling of warm personal attachment or deep affection”

Mercy is defined as “compassion or forgiveness shown toward someone whom it is within one’s power to punish or harm.”

Luke 6:27-36 (HCSB) from Biblegateway.com

27-“But I say to you who listen: Love your enemies, do what is good to those who hate you, 28-bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. 29-If anyone hits you on the cheek, offer the other also. And if anyone takes away your coat, don’t hold back your shirt either. 30-Give to everyone who asks you, and from one who takes your things, don’t ask for them back. 31-Just as you want others to do for you, do the same for them. 32-If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners love those who love them. 33-If you do what is good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners do that. 34-And if you lend to those from whom you expect to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners to be repaid in full. 35-But love your enemies, do what is good, and lend, expecting nothing in return. Then your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High. For He is gracious to the ungrateful and evil. 36-Be merciful, just as your Father also is merciful. Luke 6:27-36 (HCSB)

Verse 27-“But I say to you who listen: Love your enemies, do what is good to those who hate you,”

Notes:
If you have ever been hurt by someone either physically or verbally. Then you know that it is very difficult to put into practice verse 27. God is telling us to Love the same people that have hurt us. He even wants us to go and help/do good to the people that hate us. Why? I have one word for you (MERCY). God has shown us mercy even when we ourselves did not deserve it. Yet He poured out His Love on us all anyway. God is not asking us to do anything that His Own Son Jesus Christ has not already done Himself. God is giving us a command here, not a suggestion. We must obey this command and truly show LOVE and GOOD to those who hate us. Do you remember when you were lost and searching for answers? Believe it or not you too at one time lived as an enemy of God. Then someone came along and showed you that God loved you so much that He showed True Mercy through His Son Jesus Christ.

Come back tomorrow for verse 28!

~Dr. G
John 14:6 – Jesus Is The Way, Truth, & Life

Live The Life God Intended – Focus Part 2

Welcome back for Part 2 of Living the Life God Intended–FOCUS. We pray that you had a great week and was able to live your life the way God intended. There will be new posts Monday – Friday. Now, let’s dig in!

Live The Life God Intended – Focus Part 2
Passage – Colossians 3:1-4:6
Please click the following link to read the whole passage online: http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Col%203:1-Col%204:6

8 – Focus on Forgiveness. (3:13)
“Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone.”

9 – Focus on Love. (3:14)
“And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.”

10 – Focus your Attention on living at Peace with everyone. (3:15)
“Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.”

11 – Focus on The Word of God. (3:16)
“Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts.”

12 – Focus on doing things for God in His Son Jesus Name. (3:17)
“And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.”

13 – Focus on Family Relationships. (3:18-21)
“Wives, submit yourselves to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord. Husbands, love your wives and do not be harsh with them. Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord. Fathers, do not embitter your children, or they will become discouraged.”

14 – Focus on your Earthly job as if you are working for God. (3:23-24)
“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.”

15 – Focus on Prayer. (4:2)
“Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.”

16 – Focus on winning others to Jesus. (4:3-5)
“And pray for us, too, that God may open a door for our message, so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ, for which I am in chains. Pray that I may proclaim it clearly, as I should. Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity.”

17 – Focus on being prepared. (4:6)
“Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.”

Keep warm this weekend! I heard on the news that ALL 50 states had wind chills of below freezing today. Start your weekend off by reading your Bible. It’ll warm up your soul.

~Dr. G
John 14:6 – Jesus Is The Way, Truth, & Life

Mary….The Lord’s Servant

What comes to mind when you think of Mary? She was a young lady that was willing to carry Jesus! She could have easily said, “no, that’s too hard or I don’t want to be made fun of.” But, she didn’t. She was willing. She was willing to be subjected to embarrassment because she was pregnant and not yet married. It took a great deal of courage on her part. She chose to be The Lord’s Servant!

In Luke 1:46-55
Mary said, “My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has been mindful of the humble state of his servant. From now on all generations will call me blessed, for the Mighty One has done great things for me — holy is his name! His mercy extends to those who fear him, from generation to generation. He has performed mighty deeds with his arm; he has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts. He has brought down rulers from their thrones but has lifted up the humble. He has filled the hungry and his dry with good things but has sent the rich away empty. He has helped his servant Israel, remembering to be merciful to Abraham and his descendants forever,even as he said to our fathers.”

What is the Lord asking you to do? Are you willing? Do you care what other people may think? Or will you follow Christ wholeheartedly?

Be blessed and be a blessing,
~M

Today is ….

Hello Everyone! I hope you are having a blessed week.

Today is …
Thursday, November 21st, 2013
One week away from Thanksgiving Day
One week away from those Black Thursday/Friday Sales
The perfect day to turn away from your sins and either accept Christ as Lord or reject Him.
The perfect day to return to His presence if you have walked away from Him.
The day you can quit holding onto grudges and forgive them.
A beautiful day to greet others with a SMILE
A gift from God — today can be anything

Today could be …
Your last chance to get right with The Lord.

Yesterday, a girl I graduated with (I’m 31) died. Life is so uncertain. We don’t know if the breath we just took will be our last.

Joshua 24:15–
15 But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.”

It’s your choice. Make the right one because it has ETERNAL consequences.

Think about it,
~M

“Blessings God’s Way”

“Blessings God’s Way”
Luke 6:20-23 (NLT) from Biblegateway.com
20-Then Jesus turned to his disciples and said, “God blesses you who are poor, for the Kingdom of God is yours. 21-God blesses you who are hungry now, for you will be satisfied. God blesses you who weep now, for in due time you will laugh. 22-What blessings await you when people hate you and exclude you and mock you and curse you as evil because you follow the Son of Man. 23-When that happens, be happy! Yes, leap for joy! For a great reward awaits you in heaven. And remember, their ancestors treated the ancient prophets that same way.

These 4 verses are a reminder to all Believers that God will cherish you forever.

Notes from Verse 20:
Then Jesus turned to his disciples and said,“God blesses you who are poor for the Kingdom of God is yours.”

Wealth and riches mean nothing to God. After all He owns everything. He created mankind and He sees everything. He tells us that we are blessed not by our pocket book, but by Him and Him Alone. If you want to go to Heaven, then put God first and get saved.

Notes from Verse: 21:
God blesses you who are hungry now for you will be satisfied. God blesses you who weep now for in due time you will laugh.

Have you ever said this phrase: “I’m so hungry I could eat ___________?”
Just as God gave us the desire to eat physical food, He also implanted a desire within all Believers to want, crave, and hunger for Spiritual Food. The unbelievers want, crave, and hunger for physical food. In fact, everyone does (both believers and nonbelievers) want, crave, and hunger for physical food. We need food or we will die of starvation. It’s the same way with Christ. “If we Confess with our mouths that Jesus is Lord and believe in our heart that God raised Him from the dead, then we shall be saved.” (Romans 10:9). If you are TRULY saved, you will desire more than physical food. You, BELIEVERS, will desire Spiritual Food. You will crave the Word of God. You will hunger for the Word of God and want more of Him and less of yourselves. God even promises us that He will satisfy our hunger for Him. Now fill in the blank: I’m so hungry I could eat ___________?

Is there someone in your life that you pray for all the time and even cry for them to be saved? Do you long to be in the presence of God so bad that you weep? If you answered yes, then remember the promise from God that your weeping will turn to laughing. This life is only for a season. Eternal Life is unending. You can either choose Jesus and go to Heaven or simply do nothing and go to Hell. It’s your choice. I pray you accept Jesus as your Lord. I plead with you to not reject the Savior Jesus Christ.

Notes from Verse: 22
22-What blessings await you when people hate you and exclude you and mock you and curse you as evil because you follow the Son of Man.

As a Christian and a Pastor, I can relate heavily to this verse. In mylifetime, I’ve been yelled at, mocked, been excluded from things because “I am the Pastor”, and many more things. My sweet wife was belittled by one of her teachers in high school because of her belief in Christ.

Yet, I love being a Christian and a Pastor. Some of you are saying is this guy crazy. I mean who in their right mind would subject themselves to any of these daily experiences? I have only this to say: 22-What blessings await you when…

Notes from Verse 23:
23-When that happens, be happy! Yes, leap for joy! For a great reward awaits you in heaven. And remember, their ancestors treated the ancient prophets that same way.

This verse is without a doubt very hard for Believers to follow. Even seasoned Believers have trouble keeping this verse in check. Yet “Jesus said, be happy! Yes, leap for joy!” I don’t know about you, but it hurts when people are mean to me.

True Christianity and Blessings God’s Way is putting into practice verse 23. “Be happy and leap for joy. For a great reward awaits you in heaven.” Jesus gives us a promise that He will reward you for your Faithful Obedience. He also reminds us in the last few words that we are not alone. “And remember, their ancestors treated the ancient prophets that same way.”

What choice will you make today that will prove to others that God is REAL?

From my heart to yours,

Pastor G

(May you be encouraged today and be an encouragement to others)
As my wise grandpa said, it doesn’t cost you anything to SMILE.