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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The Source of Joy

Welcome back to The Fruit of the Spirit Series. Today, we will start talking about the next Fruit of The Spirit — Joy.

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

Webster’s New World Dictionary Defines:

Joy – a very glad feeling; happiness.

The Source of Joy:

Psalms 16:11 (NIV)
11 You have made known to me the path of life; 
 you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.

Joy comes from being in the presence of God.

Psalms 13:5 (NIV)
5 But I trust in your unfailing love; 
 my heart rejoices in your salvation.

Psalms 4:7 (NIV)
7 You have filled my heart with greater joy 
than when their grain and new wine abound.

Acts 2:28 (NIV)
28 You have made known to me the paths of life; 
you will fill me with joy in your presence.’

John 15:11
11 I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.

~Dr. G

Mercy Shown By Love Part 3

Welcome back. Today we are going to discuss verse 29. Have a blessed Thursday!

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:
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.

I read a story about a young man who put this verse into practice as he understood it to be. One afternoon a pastor was in his study when all of the sudden the phone rang. It was a well respected deacon in his church on the line with him. The two men talked for a few minutes and set up a time when they could meet later that day. When the pastor arrived at the deacons home he was greeted warmly and asked to join the family for dinner. As they all sat down around the table for dinner the deacon told his son to tell the pastor why he had two freshly bruised black eyes and a nervous stutter in his voice. The young man began his story with these words. Pastor last Sunday you preached Luke 6:27-36 and I paid close attention when you got to verse 29. Today I put into practice what it said and I turned the other cheek and that is why I have these two black eyes. The pastor was so excited to hear that his sermon had impacted this young man’s life. He began to congratulate the young man for his boldness of faith and obedience to God by turning the other cheek. Then the deacon said, son, now tell the pastor the rest of the story. The pastor couldn’t wait to hear about this young man’s act of faith for turning the other cheek. The son said to the pastor in a really low voice. Pppppastor I did what you said and I turned the other cheek, but when he hit me the third time, I hit him in the face and knocked out all of his front teeth. The pastor sat in silence for a moment and then he asked the young man. Why did you hit the other boy back? The young man simply replied with well all I could remember about your sermon was to turn the other cheek and after I did that and he hit me again. Well I figured that I did what you said and you didn’t say I had to keep on turning my cheek so I knocked him out. The pastor looked over at his deacon and said, well at least we know he obeyed the Word of God to the best of his knowledge.

Sometimes in life we find ourselves unsure of what to do when someone hurts us physically or emotionally. So we act or react to life just like the young man in the story above. We obey the Word of God to the best of our knowledge.

~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

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

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

Make this Christmas Count

Welcome Back!! My favorite time of year has began! I admit I LOVE Christmas! I could watch Christmas movies and listen to Christmas music year round. I usually have our Christmas tree up by the middle of November. It is such a special time of year–not because of gifts, Santa Claus, the cooler weather, or the decorations but because of Jesus’ Birthday!!

I love listening to my husband read from the Bible the true meaning of Christmas–CHRIST. You won’t hear me saying, “Happy Holidays”. We must make sure we keep CHRIST in Christmas and teach others the true meaning of Christmas.

Why is Christmas so special? Because Jesus was born so that one day, He would grow up to become a very important part of history. Jesus’ life on Earth was one of truth, love, and hope. It brought salvation to all of us. Without Jesus, we would all die in our sins.

Jesus was born so He could pay the price for our salvation. The Bible says that all have sinned. We all do things that do not please God. We needed to have our sins washed away. The only way is through Jesus. Jesus came so He could die on the cross for ALL of our sins.

“But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us and to cleanse us from every wrong.” I John 1:9

If you have not accepted Christ as Lord of your life….please do so! This is the year to invite Jesus into your heart. Then you will understand the true meaning of a “Merry Christmas!”

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.

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