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
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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

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

A Simple Thank You

Our first grader had a special assignment this week. She was asked to write out things she’s thankful for. Here is what she wrote:

I am thankful for my family and friends. I am thankful Jesus loves me with all His heart. I am thankful Jesus is my Savior and lives in my heart. 1 John 1:9 says, “if we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all our sins.” I am thankful Jesus forgives me when I sin.

So, what are you thankful for?
~M & J

“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.

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.

Trading Our Plans for God’s Plan

http://m.youtube.com/watch?feature=c4-feed-u&v=ww4MLw0Yqtw

Hope you enjoy! This is the one of the songs I sang and the sermon I preached when my sweet daughter got baptized.

From Your Pastor’s Heart,

Pastor G

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

Living God’s Way

Ephesians 5:15-21

“15 Pay careful attention, then, to how you walk—not as unwise people but as wise— 16 making the most of the time, because the days are evil. 17 So don’t be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is. 18 And don’t get drunk with wine, which leads to reckless actions, but be filled by the Spirit: 19 speaking to one another in psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, singing and making music from your heart to the Lord, 20 giving thanks always for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, 21 submitting to one another in the fear of Christ.”

This passage gives us 7 ways to Live:

* Gods Word tells us to pay careful attention to how we live…Ephesians 5:15

* We are told to make the most of our time here on earth…Ephesians 5:16

* We are to seek Gods Will for our lives…Ephesians 5:17

* We should be concerned with what our bodies, minds, and eyes take in on a daily basis…Ephesians 5:18

* We need to be careful how we speak to each other…Ephesians. 5:19

* We should thank God for everything all the time…Ephesians 5:20

* We must surrender to God completely…Ephesians 5:21

From Your Pastor’s Heart,
Pastor G