Remaining Focused On The Right Thing – Jesus

Welcome back! We hope you had a great weekend. We ended last week by talking about focus. We are going to talk about Remaining Focused On The Right Thing — Jesus. If you have any questions, comments, prayer requests or praises–you can click the question tab or leave us a message. Let’s dig in!

Remaining Focused On The Right Thing – Jesus
Passage – Matthew 14:22-33
You can click on the following link to read the full passage: http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Matthew%2014:22-33

1 – Jesus SENT the disciples out into the STORM. (14:22)
“Immediately Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowd.”

2 – Jesus PRAYED for the disciples that He SENT. (14:23a)
“After he had dismissed them, he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray.”

3 – Jesus WENT to where the disciples WERE. (14:23b-25)
” Later that night, he was there alone, and the boat was already a considerable distance from land, buffeted by the waves because the wind was against it. Shortly before dawn Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake.”

4 – Jesus CALMED the disciples MINDS. (14:26-27)
“When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. “It’s a ghost,” they said, and cried out in fear. But Jesus immediately said to them: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.”

5 – Jesus TOLD Peter to COME to Him. (14:28-29a)
“Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.” “Come,” Jesus said.”

6 – Peter FOCUSED on JESUS and stepped out in FAITH. (14:29b)
“Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus.”

7 – Peter LOST his TRUE FOCUS by letting the WORLD distract him. (14:30)
“But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!”

8 – Peter CALLED on JESUS to be his SAVIOR. (14:30)
“But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!”

9 – Jesus IMMEDIATELY helped his SERVANT Peter. (14:31)
“Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?”

10 – Jesus REMINDED them that with HIM all things are possible. (14:32)
“And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down.”

11 – Jesus RECEIVED the PRAISE from the People. (14:33)
“Then those who were in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.”

Have a Happy Monday!
~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

God’s Beautiful Masterpiece

Happy Weekend Readers! I love to paint and craft. We can relate our relationship with Christ–as a beautiful masterpiece.

Do you trust God as the artist that is meticulously painting on the canvas of your life? As the brush strokes of sorrow and trials sweep across your life, do you rest in the fact that He is painting a beautiful work of art? All the various colors and shades are a result of each circumstance that you have faced.

Before a painter begins a masterpiece, he will first visualize the strokes and shades that will be needed to complete his beautiful painting. God is the Great Artist of our life. God is much more meticulous than even the best artist. Every stroke that is brushed across your canvas (your life) is contemplated by the almighty God, and He has an eternal purpose for it.

I find it very intriguing that many of the famous painters only became famous after they died. Although they invested much time and energy into their paintings, they never lived to see the results. Many of them lived in poverty, and they faced numerous times of discouragement and wondered if their labor was in vain. Yet, they kept pursuing their passions and used the talents that God had given them. Because of their perseverance, their paintings have been enjoyed and have benefitted many others. They saw few results of their hard work and had no idea that their paintings would become valuable AFTER their death.

Do you wonder about the canvas of your life? Is there a purpose for the difficult and sometimes mundane events that you are encountering? If you have a short term perspective, you may become discouraged and feel like giving up. A long term perspective sees our life here on earth, as being as brief as a thought that crosses through our minds. We are created to live eternally. We may never see the results of our faithfulness while we are living here on earth. However, we can have the assurance that Jesus is the great Author and Finisher of our faith. (Hebrews 12:2) With each stroke of circumstance, God is creating a magnificent masterpiece out of our lives. The beauty and splendor of Heaven will be worth every stroke of sorrow that we face. Let’s open our hearts to the pain and suffering that comes into our lives. It will be worth it all when we present the canvas of our lives to God, and we hear His words of affirmation: “Well done thou good and faithful servant…enter thou into the joy of thy lord.” (Matthew 25:21)

Just think of it like this: when you paint, you add highlights to your paintings…kinda like when things are going well…dark spots…when we are going through hard times, sorrow, or trials in our life. As all these things are happening we tend to focus on those small parts of the painting, but We need to stop focusing on the small things and look at the bigger picture, and keep our focus on the cross.

Be blessed and be a blessing,
~M

How can I help people who are hurting?

Welcome Readers! It is so hard to believe we are already in November. This is such a wonderful time of year for most people. However, the upcoming holidays can be very hard for others. They may be grieving and lonely or worried about financial troubles. Today’s blog is about how to help those who are hurting. A lot of people put up a good front and don’t show their deep hurts. Remember to always greet others with a smile.

Job 30:16 “And now my life seeps away. Depression haunts my days.”

Proverbs 15:13 “A glad heart makes a happy face; a broken heart crushes the spirit”

Proverbs 17:22 “A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a broken spirit saps a person’s strength.”

Be aware of the effects of hurt on a person’s spirit, mind, and body. Awareness leads to sympathy, sympathy leads to empathy, empathy leads to helping, and helping leads to healing.

2 Corinthians 1:4 “He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us.”

Share your experiences of God’s comfort. God’s healing in you may bring hope and healing to others.

Job 16:2 “I have heard all this before. What miserable comforters you are!”

Be careful with the words you offer to the brokenhearted. Explanations and cliches are rarely comforting. Offer those who are hurting your love, sympathy, and presence. Sometimes the best comfort you can give is to just be there.

Job 42:11 “Then all his brothers, sisters, and former friends came and feasted with him in his home. And they consoled him and comforted him because of all the trials the Lord had brought against him. And each of them brought him a gift of money and a gold ring.”

Support your own family and friends. Family life should be a safe haven in a hurting world. The family should be both a healing clinic and a training camp where you learn to cope with and conquer hurtful influences.

If you are hurting or know someone who is, please send us a message. We will gladly pray for you. May God Bless You!

Be a blessing to others,
~M

Life Hurts but God Heals Part 4

Welcome back. Today we are going to conclude this series about how life hurts, but God is there to heal our wounds. Yesterday, we talked about David and how God rescued him from the pit of despair. Today, we are going to focus on Job.

Have you ever felt that you can’t catch a break? It’s like one thing after another keeps happening and you just want to go hide?! That is how Job felt.

Job was a rich man with a large family. He was considered blameless and upright by The Lord. He was careful to avoid evil. One day, Satan appeared before The Lord. Satan said that Job was only blameless because The Lord had blessed Job with many things. The Lord gave Satan permission to punish the man. Satan thought that Job would turn away from God.

Job lost all his possessions. All his children were killed in a tornado. Job’s health declined as he endured horrible sores all over his body. His friends and wife mocked him for staying true to The Lord after enduring such pain.

In Job 7:20 — Job prays “If I have sinned, what have I done to you, you who see everything we do? Why have you made me your target? Have I become a burden to you?”

Job was tired of suffering. Finally at the end of Job, he realizes there is a purpose for his suffering. He understands that God is with him, God does care, and God is alive! After his suffering, Job is restored. Job 42:10 — “After Job had prayed for his friends, the Lord restored his fortunes and gave him twice as much as he had before.”

We must remember that we are not alone. God is with us! He cares for us! He will never leave us! There is a purpose for our sufferings!!

Come back tomorrow for some encouraging scriptures to help you when you are struggling with life’s hurts. ~M

Life Hurts but God Heals Part 3

Welcome back! Yesterday we talked about Elijah and how The Lord comforted him. Today, we are going to focus on David.

David–a man after God’s own heart–experienced some awesome things in his life. As a child, David slays Goliath. He eventually grew up to become a King! However, David faced many obstacles on his journey.

David wrote this when he was hiding in a cave because Saul wanted to kill him. He felt hopeless and alone. David had lost his job, his best friend, his mentor, and his wife. But, he cried out to The Lord. Let’s look at how David was feeling in Psalm 142: “I cry aloud to the Lord; I lift up my voice to the Lord for mercy. I pour out before him my complaint; before him I tell my trouble. When my spirit grows faint within me, it is you who watch over my way. In the path where I walk people have hidden a snare for me. Look and see, there is no one at my right hand; no one is concerned for me. I have no refuge; no one cares for my life. I cry to you, Lord; I say, “You are my refuge, my portion in the land of the living.” Listen to my cry, for I am in desperate need; rescue me from those who pursue me, for they are too strong for me. Set me free from my prison, that I may praise your name. Then the righteous will gather about me because of your goodness to me.”

The Lord heard David’s cry. He delivered David from the pit of despair in 1 Samuel 24. You can read the passage at http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1+Samuel+24&version=NIV

David wrote in Pslam 40:1-3 — “I waited patiently for the Lord; he turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see and fear The Lord and put their trust in him.”

We will all experience hurts and pains in this life. We need to remember that God loves us. If you are facing trying and hurtful times in your life, cry out to The Lord. He will pick you up from the pit of despair and place you on solid ground.

Come back tomorrow as we conclude this series on Life Hurts but God Heals. ~M

Life Hurts but God Heals Part 2

Welcome back! Yesterday, we talked about Moses feeling burdened and God helped him. Today, we are going to talk about Elijah. Elijah felt hated, alone, and hopeless. He was being threatened with death by the evil Queen Jezebel. He was scared and just wanted to give up! Have you ever felt that way? I know I have.

Numbers 19:3-5 — “Elijah was afraid and ran for his life. When he came to Beersheba in Judah, he left his servant there, while he himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness. He came to a broom bush, sat down under it and prayed that he might die. “I have had enough, Lord,” he said. “Take my life; I am no better than my ancestors.” Then he lay down under the bush and fell asleep.”

The Lord heard his cry! God displayed His power. He provided for Elijah. In Numbers 19:6-8 — “All at once an angel touched him and said, “Get up and eat.” He looked around, and there by his head was some bread baked over hot coals, and a jar of water. He ate and drank and then lay down again. The angel of the Lord came back a second time and touched him and said, “Get up and eat, for the journey is too much for you.” So he got up and ate and drank. Strengthened by that food, he traveled forty days and forty nights until he reached Horeb, the mountain of God.”

The Lord showed Elijah that he had more work to do. The Lord provided food and encouragement for Elijah. The Lord will do the same for you! He loves you! He wants you to know you are not alone. He cares for you! In Deuteronomy 31:6 — “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.”

Come back tomorrow for Part 3. ~M

Life Hurts but God Heals

Are you sad? Do you feel alone? Are you hurting? Do you feel damaged? Are you brokenhearted? Do you feel worthless? Are you weak? Do you feel like a disappointment? Are you tired?

If you answered yes to any of the above questions, you are not alone! We have all experienced times of hurt and brokenness. Did you know that Moses, Elijah, David, and Job felt that way in the Bible? They endured many hardships and storms of life. I’m just going to focus on Moses today.

Moses said in Numbers 11:14-15: “I cannot carry all these people by myself; the burden is too heavy for me. If this is how you are going to treat me, please go ahead and kill me—if I have found favor in your eyes—and do not let me face my own ruin.”

God provided a solution in Numbers 11:16-17: “The Lord said to Moses: “Bring me seventy of Israel’s elders who are known to you as leaders and officials among the people. Have them come to the tent of meeting, that they may stand there with you. I will come down and speak with you there, and I will take some of the power of the Spirit that is on you and put it on them. They will share the burden of the people with you so that you will not have to carry it alone.”

We are not meant to go through this life carrying our burdens alone. We are to turn to Jesus and cry out to Him! His Word reminds us in Psalm 147:3 — “He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.”

Come back tomorrow for Part 2. ~M

How to stay fresh in a decaying world

Psalm 51:10 — “ Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.”

Make a relationship with Christ your top priority.

Studying the Word of God daily.
Joshua 1:8 – “ Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful.”

Praying about everything.
1 Thessalonians 5:17 – “pray continually”

Memorizing Scripture.
Joshua 1:8 – ““ Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful.”

Sharing your Faith with others.
Acts 1:8 – “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

Walking in His footsteps.
Ephesians 5:1 – “Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children”

Forgiveness must be a part of your life.

We must forgive our debtors
Matthew 6:9-13 – “This, then, is how you should pray: “‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, 10 your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. 11 Give us today our daily bread. 12 And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. 13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.”
Forgiving others is an absolute necessity
Matthew 6:14-15 – “For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15 But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.”

Jesus said that we must forgive often
Matthew 18:21-22 – “ Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?” 22 Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.”
Luke 17:3-4 – “ So watch yourselves.
“If your brother or sister[a] sins against you, rebuke them; and if they repent, forgive them. 4 Even if they sin against you seven times in a day and seven times come back to you saying ‘I repent,’ you must forgive them.”
We must get rid of our anger and forgive as God forgave us
Ephesians 4:31-32 – “ Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice.32 Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.”

Jesus commands us to forgive
Mark 11:25 – “And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive them, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins.”

When we forgive others, we outwit Satan
2 Corinthians 2:10-11 – “Anyone you forgive, I also forgive. And what I have forgiven—if there was anything to forgive—I have forgiven in the sight of Christ for your sake, 11 in order that Satan might not outwit us. For we are not unaware of his schemes.”

It is sinful not to forgive
Matthew 18:23-35 – “Therefore, the kingdom of heaven is like a king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants.24 As he began the settlement, a man who owed him ten thousand bags of gold[a] was brought to him. 25 Since he was not able to pay, the master ordered that he and his wife and his children and all that he had be sold to repay the debt. 26 “At this the servant fell on his knees before him. ‘Be patient with me,’ he begged, ‘and I will pay back everything.’ 27 The servant’s master took pity on him, canceled the debt and let him go. 28 “But when that servant went out, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred silver coins.[b] He grabbed him and began to choke him. ‘Pay back what you owe me!’ he demanded. 29 “His fellow servant fell to his knees and begged him, ‘Be patient with me, and I will pay it back.’ 30 “But he refused. Instead, he went off and had the man thrown into prison until he could pay the debt. 31 When the other servants saw what had happened, they were outraged and went and told their master everything that had happened. 32 “Then the master called the servant in. ‘You wicked servant,’ he said, ‘I canceled all that debt of yours because you begged me to. 33 Shouldn’t you have had mercy on your fellow servant just as I had on you?’ 34 In anger his master handed him over to the jailers to be tortured, until he should pay back all he owed. 35 “This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother or sister from your heart.”

James 4:17 – “If anyone, then, knows the good they ought to do and doesn’t do it, it is sin for them.”

Produce good Fruit (the Fruits of the Spirit).

Galatians 5:22-23 – “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.”

Produce Love. Produce Joy. Produce Peace. Produce Patients. Produce Kindness. Produce Goodness. Produce Faithfulness. Produce Gentleness. Produce Self-Control.

Remember God’s Promises.

I will never leave you. I will protect you. I will watch over you. I will guide you. I will forgive you. I will love you. I will save you.

Ask, Beg, Request to God that He keep you Fresh.

Psalm 51:10 – “Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.”

A reminder for us all…( What will you do today to encourage someone’s faith? )…May God Bless you as you Serve Him…From Your Pastors Heart. ~G

Blessings Through the Storms…

This past year has been one of my hardest ever. I have struggled and struggled with countless illnesses, vehicle troubles (both vehicles having dead batteries on the same day…flat tire that had to be replaced and only the dealership could order and put a new one on…both kids having surgery (our son (age 5) had his 4th set of tubes, our daughter (age 6) had her tonsils out and her first set of tubes)…foundation on house had to be repaired…our dishwasher died, our air conditioner’s control board fried (had to get new one and was without central air in south Louisiana for almost a week)…my dad having a stroke (and not being able to go see him due to my illnesses)…and several more things.

There were times when I just wanted to throw my hands up and say, “Lord, I give up! I can’t take it anymore!” But, I kept enduring the storm because I knew that the Lord was growing me through this time. If you focus on the negatives, then you allow Satan to take your joy away. Now, some positives that I experienced…Our children aren’t near as sick as they were, foundation has been repaired, an anonymous donor purchased us a new dishwasher, our air conditioner could be fixed and we found a window unit to keep us cool as we spent extra quality time together as family, we grew closer to the Lord and closer as a family unit. God has sent people in our lives to encourage us and to hold us up when it felt like our world was crashing down. To those people, “Thank you! You will never know how much that meant to us. You are a blessing to our family and to the Kingdom of God!”

During this time of struggle, God led me to several scriptures and directed me towards this song called, “Blessings by Laura Story”, that just described what I was going through so well. It truly ministered to me. I even set this song to replay in my van for a year. I hope these scriptures and the lyrics to her song bless you as much as they me.

James 1:2-4 – “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”

Ezekiel 36:26 —“I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.”

1 Peter 5:10 – “And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.”

Lyrics from Blessings by Laura Story

We pray for blessings
We pray for peace
Comfort for family, protection while we sleep
We pray for healing, for prosperity
We pray for Your mighty hand to ease our suffering
All the while, You hear each spoken need
Yet love us way too much to give us lesser things

Cause what if Your blessings come through raindrops
What if Your healing comes through tears
What if a thousand sleepless nights
Are what it takes to know You’re near
What if trials of this life are Your mercies in disguise

We pray for wisdom
Your voice to hear
And we cry in anger when we cannot feel You near
We doubt Your goodness, we doubt Your love
As if every promise from Your Word is not enough
All the while, You hear each desperate plea
And long that we’d have faith to believe

Cause what if Your blessings come through raindrops
What if Your healing comes through tears
What if a thousand sleepless nights
Are what it takes to know You’re near
And what if trials of this life are Your mercies in disguise

When friends betray us
When darkness seems to win
We know the pain reminds this heart
That this is not, this is not our home

Cause what if Your blessings come through raindrops
What if Your healing comes through tears
And what if a thousand sleepless nights
Are what it takes to know You’re near
What if my greatest disappointments
Or the aching of this life
Is the revealing of a greater thirst this world can’t satisfy
And what if trials of this life
The rain, the storms, the hardest nights
Are Your mercies in disguise

Let your blessings rain down, Lord!! Be blessed and be a blessings to others!
~M