Your ways Lord, not mine.  I trust You!

Your ways Lord, not mine. I trust You!

Have you ever noticed that sometimes God doesn’t answer our prayers as we would like Him to?  Sometimes we pray with a certain answer already in our mind’s eye and that is the outcome that we expect.  But God’s ways are higher than our ways!  The way we think things should happen is not always the best way, and most certainly not always God’s way.  I’m sure that all of you have many questions for God when you meet your Creator.  Why did this happen?  What was the purpose in that happening?  Why didn’t he/she get healed?  I remember reading a book about the life of Kathryn Kuhlman.  She had a tremendous healing ministry and was a tremendous woman of God.  Often times, people were healed in her services without anyone ever praying for them or laying hands on them.  But each service she would see people leave her meetings with the same ailments and sickness that they came in with hoping for their miracle.  And it would sadden her to see that and one day she asked God why.  Why do some get healed and others do not?  God’s answer to her was that it was not her concern.  The Bible tells us that now what we know is partial and incomplete, but one day we will know everything completely!  I trust God when He answers my prayers as I expect and I trust God even when He doesn’t.  Because I know His way is the best. 

Isaiah 55:8-9 (NLT)
8 “My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the LORD. “And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine. 9 For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so my ways are higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.

1 Corinthians 13:12 (NLT)
12 Now we see things imperfectly as in a cloudy mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity. All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God now knows me completely.

Thank You!

Thank You!

Thank You!    I, Ross and his family and Kelli want to thank everyone for their continual prayers and encouragement during Pastor Gary’s recent illness as well as for our family now as we enter the coming days, weeks and months.  The church, our family and friends have been there for us from the very beginning of Pastor’s health challenges through to his entry into his eternal home.  We are so very appreciative of the beautiful Celebration of Life that we experienced last Friday in Gary’s memory.  It was wonderful.  And also for the dinner that was provided afterwards.  It was truly an honor and a blessing to our family.  Now we as a church family will hold each other up as we go forward.  And I know that God will guide us through each step as He has thus far.  Once again, we thank you all for your love, prayers and support.  It has and will continue to carry us through.

Revelation 21:4 (NLT)
4 He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever.”

Psalm 34:18 (NLT)
18 The LORD is close to the brokenhearted; he rescues those whose spirits are crushed.

Psalm 147:3 (NLT)
3 He heals the brokenhearted and bandages their wounds.

John 14:1 (NLT)
1 “Don’t let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, and trust also in me.

Joshua 1:9 (NLT)
9 This is my command—be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.”

Matthew 5:4 (NLT)
4 God blesses those who mourn, for they will be comforted.

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas!

You hear many people say that Christmas this year is just not the same.  And for most of us, that is certainly true.  But in looking back at previous years, Christmases have always changed.  As a child, my Christmas included parents, grandparents and siblings, with a sprinkling of aunts and uncles and cousins.  Then, as we would marry, we added our own children, nieces and nephews to the bunch which added much joy and energy to the occasion. But, eventually, grandparents were no longer there, then aunts and uncles were gone and the gathering got smaller.  The kids grew up and started having Christmases of their own and the gathering got smaller yet.  Then we began to miss parents and even siblings which changed things even more.  So Christmas gatherings often change. But, this year, due to Covid, some groups may consist of just one or two.  But in all of this change, one thing always remains the same – Jesus – the Light of the World Who shines bright no matter who comes in and out of our lives.  He is the one constant companion, friend, counselor, comforter, confidant, advisor, and, most important of all – Savior!  And if it weren’t for Jesus, there would be no Christmas at all.  I am very thankful for all the family and friends who have been there for past Christmases and look forward to future ones as the process begins again with adding grandchildren.  But most of all, I’m thankful for the Reason for the Season.  No matter how you are spending your Christmas this year, we pray the joy of Christmas fills your heart, the Spirit of Christmas permeates your soul and the Light of the World illuminates your spirit!  For Jesus never changes, and with Him, you are never alone!  Have a merry and blessed Christmas!

He’s With Me In The Storm!

He’s With Me In The Storm!

I was recently listening to a message about faith.  And in that message the story about Peter walking on the water to Jesus was used as an example.  Peter acted on his faith and trust in Jesus and when Jesus told Peter to come to Him, he stepped out in that faith.  This story is often used in messages on faith.  And the main point is usually “don’t take your eyes off of Jesus” for when Peter started focusing on the wind and waves around him instead of on Jesus, he began to sink.  But in this message I was listening to, the minister brought out a point that I’d never seen before.  The storm didn’t stop when Jesus reached His hand out to Peter to save him.  The storm didn’t stop until they got into the boat.  Jesus didn’t stop the storm to save Peter.  Jesus saved Peter in the midst of the storm and walked with him until the storm was over.  I am very thankful to Jesus when He brings the storms in my life to an end.  And often times, that is the crux of my prayer – for Jesus to stop them.  But I am also very thankful that I don’t go through those storms alone.  Jesus is always walking right along with me.  And, if at any time, I allow my eyes to focus on the wrong things and start to sink, Jesus, in His great love and mercy, reaches out and pulls me out of it.  Even though the storm rages on around me, we walk above it together.  And I have confidence I will always reach the other side! 

So He (Jesus) said, “Come.” And when Peter had come down out of the boat, he walked on the water to go to Jesus.  But when he saw that the wind was boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink he cried out, saying, “Lord, save me!”  And immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and caught him, and said to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?”  And when they got into the boat, the wind ceased.”  Matthew 14:29-32

Be A Doer!

Be A Doer!

Would you ever choose a doctor to perform a surgery on you who has only studied surgery but never performed it?  It wouldn’t matter if that doctor passed his boards with the highest possible score.  Being book smart is one thing.  Being experienced by doing takes it to a whole other level.  One may gain a whole lot of knowledge in books.  But the benefit of that knowledge is severely limited unless it is actually applied.  That is why doctors must go through residency.  It gives them the opportunity to apply everything they have learned.  It is no different with Bible knowledge.  Knowing what the Bible says is important. If we don’t know what scripture says then we won’t recognize lies and deception when we hear it.  But wisdom comes when we actually apply knowledge. Knowledge is knowing the tornado siren means the storm is very close by.  Wisdom is going down to the basement when the siren goes off.  Knowledge is knowing God has given us authority over sickness and disease.  Wisdom is laying hands on the sick and speaking healing over them. We gain knowledge by reading God’s Word.  We gain wisdom by doing God’s Word. Don’t just be a hearer of the Word.  Be a doer too!

James 1:22 (NKJV)
22 But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.

James 1:22 (NLT)
22 But don’t just listen to God’s word. You must do what it says. Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves.

Luke 6:46-49 (NLT)
46 “So why do you keep calling me ‘Lord, Lord!’ when you don’t do what I say? 47 I will show you what it’s like when someone comes to me, listens to my teaching, and then follows it. 48 It is like a person building a house who digs deep and lays the foundation on solid rock. When the floodwaters rise and break against the house, it stands firm because it is well built. 49 But anyone who hears and doesn’t obey is like a person who builds a house without a foundation. When the floods sweep down against that house, it will collapse into a heap of ruins.”

I Will Part The Waters!

I Will Part The Waters!

“I will part the waters!”  This is a recent word that I sensed from God.  At first, I wasn’t certain what He was saying.  But, after spending much time in prayer over the recent election in November, I felt strongly that God was referring to it.  So I knew to go back and read the Exodus story where God parted the Red Sea.  And, as I read it over several times, this is what I believe God was showing me.  The Israelites were trapped between Pharaoh and his army on one side and the Red Sea on the other.  There did not seem to be a pathway through for them, and, in the natural, all seemed lost.  But God, (don’t you just love that phrase but God), in one of His most spectacular displays of miracle working power, caused the sea to open up before them creating their pathway to salvation.  And not only were the Israelites able to proceed through the pathway God supernaturally provided, it was by that same pathway that the enemy army was completely annihilated.  Scripture tells us God twisted their chariot wheels so they could not drive them and the Egyptian army realized that God was fighting for Israel.  When all the Israelites were safely across, the waters closed over the Egyptian army and not a single one survived.  Overnight God made a way where there didn’t seem to be a way!  There are no insurmountable obstacles for God.  God has and will part the waters for his elect!  He will suddenly provide a pathway where there doesn’t seem to be one. And all will know that God’s hand is in it!  When God is involved, things can change in the blink of an eye.  Trust in God.  “Do not be afraid.  Stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord, which He will accomplish for you today!”

Exodus 14:13-14 (NKJV)
13 And Moses said to the people, “Do not be afraid. Stand still, and see the salvation of the LORD, which He will accomplish for you today. For the Egyptians whom you see today, you shall see again no more forever.  14 The LORD will fight for you, and you shall hold your peace.”

Exodus 14:21-28 (NKJV)
21 Then Moses stretched out his hand over the sea; and the LORD caused the sea to go back by a strong east wind all that night, and made the sea into dry land, and the waters were divided. 22 So the children of Israel went into the midst of the sea on the dry ground, and the waters were a wall to them on their right hand and on their left. 23 And the Egyptians pursued and went after them into the midst of the sea, all Pharaoh’s horses, his chariots, and his horsemen. 24 Now it came to pass, in the morning watch, that the LORD looked down upon the army of the Egyptians through the pillar of fire and cloud, and He troubled the army of the Egyptians. 25 And He took off their chariot wheels, so that they drove them with difficulty; and the Egyptians said, “Let us flee from the face of Israel, for the LORD fights for them against the Egyptians.” 26 Then the LORD said to Moses, “Stretch out your hand over the sea, that the waters may come back upon the Egyptians, on their chariots, and on their horsemen.” 27 And Moses stretched out his hand over the sea; and when the morning appeared, the sea returned to its full depth, while the Egyptians were fleeing into it. So the LORD overthrew the Egyptians in the midst of the sea. 28 Then the waters returned and covered the chariots, the horsemen, and all the army of Pharaoh that came into the sea after them. Not so much as one of them remained.

Trust In The Lord!

Trust In The Lord!

We are approaching the last month of 2020.  Many people are probably more than happy to say a great big good riddance to this past year.  It definitely was one of the most challenging, difficult and, for many folks, devastating years we have seen ever.  So as we wave goodbye to 2020, let’s look to 2021 with hope for a better tomorrow and future.  If there is one thing we should have learned this year it is that we do not have control of everything so depending and relying on our own understanding is not the wisest course.  The only One who can provide true peace and direction in our life is God!  So there’s no better way to start off the new year than with God’s encouraging Word!

Proverbs 3:5-6 (NLT)
5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. 6 Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take.

Philippians 4:6 (NLT)
6 Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.

Proverbs 16:9 (NLT)
9 We can make our plans, but the LORD determines our steps.

Jeremiah 29:11 (NLT)
11 For I know the plans I have for you,” says the LORD. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.

Isaiah 43:18-19 (NKJV)
18 “Do not remember the former things, Nor consider the things of old. 19 Behold, I will do a new thing, Now it shall spring forth; Shall you not know it? I will even make a road in the wilderness And rivers in the desert.

1 Peter 5:7 (NLT)
7 Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you.

2 Corinthians 12:9-10 (NLT)
9 Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. 10 That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships
, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

1 Corinthians 15:57 (NKJV)
57 But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ

Thanksgiving Through Tough Times

Thanksgiving Through Tough Times

This week we will be celebrating Thanksgiving.   But it will be a different kind of Thanksgiving as we are being encouraged not to gather in large groups. Many family gatherings are being cancelled altogether.  2020 has brought sorrow and tragedy to many families all over the world that might cause one to wonder what they have to be thankful for this year.  Remaining thankful during difficult and challenging times is often difficult. God does not promise there will never be hard times, but He does promise that He will get us through them.  Though you may not always be walking on the water, He promises that you will never drown.  When you feel the heat of the flames surrounding you, He promises you will never be burned.  We can be thankful that we are His.  He is like that mother and father eagle that gently nestles their body over their young to shelter them with their wings and cover them with their feathers.  Storms will come, but God is our shelter through them.  Be thankful to God not just in the good times, but in those hard times as well.  He will never leave you!

1 But now, O Jacob, listen to the LORD who created you. O Israel, the one who formed you says, “Do not be afraid, for I have ransomed you. I have called you by name; you are mine. 2 When you go through deep waters, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown. When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you. Isaiah 43:1-2 (NLT)

10 Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand. Isaiah 41:10 (NLT)

4 He will cover you with his feathers. He will shelter you with his wings. His faithful promises are your armor and protection. Psalm 91:4 (NLT)

6 Be strong and of good courage, do not fear nor be afraid of them; for the LORD your God, He is the One who goes with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you.” Deuteronomy 31:6 (NKJV)

Let The Trump Sound!

Let The Trump Sound!

Have you ever noticed how some of God’s best work is done despite insurmountable odds?  When situations seem a bit lopsided and victory seems out of grasp, that is when God shines on behalf of His children! There are many examples to choose from in scripture to prove this point, but let’s look at a very familiar one.  Gideon was chosen by God to lead His army in battle against the Midianites whose army numbered 135,000.  Gideon had started out with an army of 32,000.  So at this point, Gideon’s army was already outnumbered by more than 4 to 1.  But God wanted to play fair so He whittled Gideon’s army down to only 300 men.  Now, 300 to 135,000 was more like it!  Those are God’s kind of odds! God didn’t want anyone getting the glory for His victory.  And the best thing about being in a battle with God is that you don’t bring any physical weapons.  Gideon’s army didn’t bring swords or spears into battle with them. Armed with torches in their left hand and trumpets in their right, they blew those trumpets and with a shout of victory, they watched their enemy annihilate themselves.  We don’t always know why God chooses the one’s He does to lead the people.  But it’s pretty certain that it is not as much about the qualities or skills a person possesses but their willingness to honor and obey Him.  To those who acknowledge God, God will provide everything they need.  Keep the faith!  We are not in this battle alone!  God’s chosen always wins and the battle will be decisive and for His glory!  LET THE TRUMP SOUND!

  11 Now the Angel of the LORD came and sat under the terebinth tree which was in Ophrah, which belonged to Joash the Abiezrite, while his son Gideon threshed wheat in the winepress, in order to hide it from the Midianites. 12 And the Angel of the LORD appeared to him, and said to him, “The LORD is with you, you mighty man of valor!” Judges 6:11-12 (NKJV)

So Gideon and the hundred men who were with him came to the outpost of the camp at the beginning of the middle watch, just as they had posted the watch; and they blew the trumpets and broke the pitchers that were in their hands. 20 Then the three companies blew the trumpets and broke the pitchers–they held the torches in their left hands and the trumpets in their right hands for blowing–and they cried, “The sword of the LORD and of Gideon!” Judges 7:19-20 (NKJV)

Is it Possible to Forget?

Is it Possible to Forget?

Here is a question for you – Is it possible to forgive and forget? This question is really geared toward the forgetting part. We know we are to forgive others as Jesus forgave us.  But are we instructed to forget?  And, if we can’t seem to forget, does it mean we haven’t really forgiven?  After all, God says He will remember our sins no more.  The ability to forget really depends on the intensity of the offence.  It is probable that a person can forgive and forget a minor transgression against them such as forgetting a birthday. Something like that usually doesn’t scar a person for life. But what about the betrayal of marriage vows or even a crime committed against you?  These types of transgressions or offences cut deep. And these kinds of memories cannot be turned off like a switch in our brains.  The healing process could take years.  But one thing is clear, the healing process is hindered without forgiveness.  Because unaddressed forgiveness often turns into bitterness which scriptures says leads to further defilement.  Forgiveness is a choice and many times is one of the most difficult decisions you will have to make, especially if the offender is still in your life.  And if there is no acknowledgement of guilt on their part nor do they ask for forgiveness, that adds more salt to the wound. But, thankfully, changing them is neither something you can do nor something you are supposed to do.  Leave that to the Holy Spirit.  But, there is something you can do. However much you would like to purge certain  memories forever from your brain, you can control what you meditate on. You can choose what to focus on. You can choose to go forward – to press on.  As Paul says in Philippians 3:13 (Message Bible) – “…I’ve got my eye on the goal, where God is beckoning us onward–to Jesus.  I’m off and running and not turning back.”  Is your eye on the goal ahead or the hurt behind you? While you may not quite be off and running yet, taking the first step forward is a good start.

13 bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do. Colossians 3:13 (NKJV)

12 For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more.” Hebrews 8:12 (NKJV)

looking carefully lest anyone fall short of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up cause trouble, and by this many become defiled; Hebrews 12:15 (NKJV)

13 Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, Philippians 3:13 (NKJV)

8 Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy–meditate on these things. Philippians 4:8 (NKJV)