You are Forgiven

Welcome back to the Encouragement Challenge Week 3! We are talking about forgiveness this week. Today, we are going to focus on God’s forgiveness towards us. We are forgiven! You are forgiven!! No matter what you have done…you are forgiven! All you have to do is ask God to forgive you! He is faithful and just and will forgive our sins!

Here are a just few scriptures about God’s forgiveness:

Psalm 32:5 “Then I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity. I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the LORD.” And you forgave the guilt of my sin.”

Matthew 26:28 “This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.”

Acts 2:38 “Peter replied, ‘Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.'”

1 John 1:9 “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”

John 3:16 “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”

Repent (turn away from) your sins and be forgiven. God has forgiven you…so now forgive yourself. We all fail and need forgiveness. Allow God to forgive you. Then, forgive yourself.

Be a blessing to others,
~M

Part of M’s Testimony & Mercy Shown by Love Part 7

Hello Readers! It’s been a while since I wrote a blog. Pastor G asked me to share part of my testimony with today’s scripture. Just remember, if you are experiencing hurt or being bullied, you are NOT alone! You can submit a public or private comment and we will praying for you. As our 7 year old daughter says, “Stop the meanness! Love God! Love Others!”

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:

33-If you do what is good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners do that.

Wow! This verse spoke straight to my heart. It is easy to be kind and compassionate to those who love you and treat you with respect. But, even sinners do that. It reminds me of a time in my life where I had a choice to hold on to bitterness or just let it go.

The following is just a brief section from my testimony–my walk with The Lord.

When I was in the fifth grade, I was bullied so badly that it left me with emotional and physical scars. I’m not going to go into all the details right now. The Lord brought me through that trying time by clinging to this verse: 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.”

When I started High School things only got worse. But, my parents always taught me to never let the bullies see that they are hurting you. So, on the outside, I looked happy and content. But, inside I was so broken that only the Lord could put the pieces back together. I was pushed up against walls, knocked down, my hair pulled during classes, even spit at, and the names I was called were just as heartbreaking. I never sought revenge. I treated them with respect and kindness. If it had not been for those trying times in high school, I would not have worked so hard in school. I poured myself into my studies and graduated as the salutatorian. I went on to attend and graduate college at Ouachita Baptist University, where I was a cheerleader. I even met the love of my life there. I have since forgiven those who hurt me. Since those days, my motto in life is Ephesians 4:31-32: “Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” People are always going to hurt you, but you can’t dwell on it, you need to forgive and keep going. Life is too short to hold grudges!

I try to always remember Psalm 28:7, “The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and I am helped. My heart leaps for joy and I will give thanks to him in song.” Just because we are saved does not mean that we won’t go through trying times, it means that we have someone carrying us through those times. Psalm 91:2 tells us, “This I declare about the LORD: He alone is my refuge, my place of safety; he is my God, and I trust him.”

I have learned that the only way to defeat those who hurt you, is to forgive them. When you forgive them, there is such a calm and peace that The Lord feels you with. Forgive them and pray for them. Pray changes things! Just as the verse says

~M
Be Blessed and Be a Blessing

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

Priorities…What’s Really Important?

Welcome Back Readers!! I hope you had a blessed Thanksgiving and spent some time thanking God for all He is and all He does!

How many of you went to those Black Friday (well, really Thursday) sales? Did you buy a newspaper to look at all the sales ads? Did you spend time comparing prices, writing out what you wanted to get, looked at maps, and planned our your shopping adventure? I admit I ventured out and went to Wal-Mart with my sweet 6 year old son. But, all this planning got me thinking….What if we, as Christians, would get that excited about going to church and sharing the gospel with others? Do we read our Bible and plan out our day according to God’s Holy Word, the Bible? Or those times, you miss Sunday School because you weren’t prepared? Or missed church because just wanted to sleep in?

Mr. Webster defines a priority as a noun meaning “a thing that is regarded as more important than another.” During our shopping trip our priority was to get the stuff we wanted and make it out alive! 🙂 The Bible teaches us that we must focus on things NOT of this world, but fix our eyes on Jesus!! Hebrews 12:2 reminds us, “keeping our eyes on Jesus, the source and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that lay before Him endured a cross and despised the shame and has sat down at the right hand of God’s throne.”

Romans 12:2 reminds us, “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.”

Please take some time to reflect on the Love of Christ and remember the “Black Friday” He endured on the cross for our sins. Remember Jesus is the Reason for the Season!!!

Be a blessing,
~M

Mistakes

Hello Readers! Please excuse my previous mistake…I posted an unfinished blog post earlier. Sorry. 🙂

How many of you have ever had an “I can’t believe I just did that moment?” or “Oops” or “What was I thinking?” I know I personally have…especially when I look back at school pictures–the infamous perm hairstyle. But, I did learn something….no more perms for me!

Those kind of mistakes last a lifetime. People will remember our shortcomings and our mistakes. But, our Lord, Jesus Christ, doesn’t. As soon as we ask for forgiveness…it’s gone. The key is that we must ask and do our best not to make those mistakes/sins again.

So, are you holding on to something that you need The Lord to forgive you for? Just simply pray and tell Him what you did (confess) and He will forgive you.

His Word, The Bible, instructs us in 1 John 1:9 —
9 “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”

Are you all confessed up and purified from your mistakes? If not….ask for it. Just always remember when you ask for God’s forgiveness, He gives it. He doesn’t hold grudges like mankind does.

Happy Wednesday! Be blessed and be a blessing,

~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.

Happy Veteran’s Day

Today is a day to celebrate all past, present, and future veterans. They choose to stand in the gaps and fight to keep us and our liberties free! We at Why Jesus Ministries would like to thank all of you for your service! We pray for your safety and for your families! May God keep you all safe!

As someone once wrote:
It is the VETERAN, not the preacher,
who has given us freedom of religion.
It is the VETERAN, not the reporter,
who has given us freedom of the press.
It is the VETERAN, not the poet,
who has given us freedom of speech.
It is the VETERAN, not the campus organizer,
who has given us freedom to assemble.
It is the VETERAN, not the lawyer,
who has given us the right to a fair trial.
It is the VETERAN, not the politician,
Who has given us the right to vote.
It is the VETERAN, who salutes the Flag,
Who serves under the Flag.

We can learn three key things from veterans and apply them to our Christian life.

1. Obey Our Commander
John 14:23-24:
Jesus replied, “Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them. Anyone who does not love me will not obey my teaching. These words you hear are not my own; they belong to the Father who sent me.”

2. Engage the enemy
Ephesians 6:10-18:
“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.”

3. Take a Stand and Fight to the End

Exodus 14:13:
“Moses answered the people, “Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the LORD will bring you today. The Egyptians you see today you will never see again.”

2 Chronicles 20:17:
“You will not have to fight this battle. Take up your positions; stand firm and see the deliverance the LORD will give you, O Judah and Jerusalem. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Go out to face them tomorrow, and the LORD will be with you.”

Psalm 20:7-8:
“Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the LORD our God. They are brought to their knees and fall, but we rise up and stand firm.”

Matthew 24:12-13:
Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, but he who stands firm to the end will be saved.

1 Peter 5:8-9:
“Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings.”

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

What Do Christians Need?

What Do Christians Need?

Colossians 1:3-14 (NIV)
3 We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you, 4 because we have heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love you have for all the saints— 5 the faith and love that spring from the hope that is stored up for you in heaven and that you have already heard about in the word of truth, the gospel 6 that has come to you. All over the world this gospel is bearing fruit and growing, just as it has been doing among you since the day you heard it and understood God’s grace in all its truth. 7 You learned it from Epaphras, our dear fellow servant, who is a faithful minister of Christ on our behalf, 8 and who also told us of your love in the Spirit. 9 For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you and asking God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all spiritual wisdom and understanding. 10 And we pray this in order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, 11 being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and joyfully 12 giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the kingdom of light. 13 For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, 14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.

In studying this simple passage we see a variety of things that Christians need.
• We need the Lord as our Savior. (Vs.3)
• We need Prayer, so we can communicate with God. (Vs.3)
• We need Faith in Jesus. (Vs.4)
• We need Love for God and His people. (Vs.4)
• We need Hope and Assurance of Christ. (Vs.5)
• We need The Word of God. (Vs.5)
• We need to Share the Gospel. (Vs.6)
• We need to understand Grace. (Vs.6)
• We need Christian Leaders. (Vs.7)
• We need to talk about what God is doing. (Vs.8)
• We need to pray for each other all the time. (Vs.9)
• We need to pray for an Understanding of Gods Will. (Vs.9)
• We need to pray for Spiritual Wisdom. (Vs.9)
• We need to pray our lives are pleasing to God. (Vs.10)
• We need to pray that we would bear good fruit. (Vs.10)
• We need to pray that we will grow in our knowledge of God. (Vs.10)
• We need to pray that God would give us Strength. (Vs.11)
• We need to pray for patience and perseverance. (Vs.11)
• We need to pray for the Joy of Salvation to revive us. (Vs.11-12)
• We need to pray prayers of thanksgiving to the Lord. (Vs.12)
• We need to remember why Christ came. (Vs.13)
• We need to accept Christ Redeeming Love the Forgiveness of our Sin. (Vs.13-14)

FromYour Pastor’s Heart,
Pastor G

A reminder for us all… What will you do today to encourage someone’s faith? …May God Bless you as you Serve Him.

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