Archive for July, 2011

One of the Most Important Principles in Reading the Bible

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One of the Most Important Principles in Reading the Bible

By  John Piper

Sometimes readers of the Bible see the conditions that God lays down for his blessing and they conclude from these conditions that our action is first and decisive, then God responds to bless us.

That is not right.

There are indeed real conditions that God often commands. We must meet them for the promised blessing to come. But that does not mean that we are left to ourselves to meet the conditions or that our action is first and decisive.

Here is one example to show what I mean.

In Jeremiah 29:13 God says to the exiles in Babylon, “You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart.” So there is a condition: When you seek me with all your heart, then you will find me. So we must seek the Lord. That is the condition of finding him.

True.

But does that mean that we are left to ourselves to seek the Lord? Does it mean that our action of seeking him is first and decisive? Does it mean that God only acts after our seeking?

No.

Listen to what God says in Jeremiah 24:7  to those same exiles in Babylon: “I will give them a heart to know that I am the Lord, and they shall be my people and I will be their God, for they shall return to me with their whole heart.”

So the people will meet the condition of returning to God with their whole heart. God will respond by being their God in the fullest blessing. But the reason they returned with their whole heart is that God gave them a heart to know him. His action was first and decisive.

So now connect that with Jeremiah 29:13 The condition there was that they seek the Lord with their whole heart. Then God will be found by them. But now we see that the promise in Jeremiah 24:7 is that God himself will give them such a heart so that they will return to him with their whole heart.

This is one of the most basic things people need to see about the Bible. It is full of conditions we must meet for God’s blessings. But God does not leave us to meet them on our own. The first and decisive work before and in our willing is God’s prior grace. Without this insight, hundreds of conditional statements in the Bible will lead us astray.

Let this be the key to all Biblical conditions and commands: “Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.” (Philippians 2:12-13). Yes, we work. But our work is not first or decisive. God’s is. “I worked harder than any of them, though it was not I, but the grace of God that is with me” (1 Corinthians 15:10).

By John Piper. © Desiring God. Website: www.desiringGod.org. Email: mail@desiringGod.org. Toll Free: 1.888.346.4700.


The Christian’s Struggle

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The Christian’s Struggle

Posted By Pastor Dennis Smith

 

I titled this chapter, “The Christian’s Struggle,” because the non-believer does not have the struggle that the Christian has.  The unconverted man does not have the Spirit of God and is only controlled by his carnal mind.  According to Paul the carnal mind is “enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be” (Romans 8:7).  The non-Christian does not obey rules or laws because God has put it in his heart to do so.  He obeys for personal, selfish reasons, because of social pressure, etc.  Or perhaps he was raised in a principled home and has a conscience that leads him to live a respectable life.  Ellen White wrote of this kind of obedience.

 

“It is true that there may be an outward correctness of deportment without the renewing power of Christ.  The love of influence and the desire for the esteem of others may produce a well-ordered life.  Self-respect may lead us to avoid the appearance of evil.  A selfish heart may perform generous actions.” Steps to Christ, p.58

 

The Christian on the other hand obeys God because the Spirit of God has put the desire to obey in his heart (Romans 6:17).  The born again individual very much wants to carry out God’s will in their life.  Paul calls this delighting “in the law of God after the inward man” (Romans 7:22).  Under the new covenant promise the Holy Spirit begins writing God’s law in their heart and mind (Hebrews 8:8-10, 2Corinthians 3:3).  However, the new believer discovers very quickly that there is another very strong desire in him; the desire for sin.  Now that he has the Spirit of God he is aware of his sinful desires where before many of those desires didn’t really concern him.

 

The War Within

 

So the Christian discovers that there are now two natures residing in him; one that desires to follow sin and the other that desires to obey God.  Paul very clearly describes this intense conflict experienced by every Christian when he wrote:

 

“We know that the law is spiritual; but I am unspiritual, sold as a slave to sin.  I do not understand what I do.  For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do.  And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good.  As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me.  I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature.  For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out.  For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do – this I keep on doing.  Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it.

 

“So I find this law at work; When I want to do good, evil is right there with me.  For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; but I see another law at work in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within my members.  What a wretched man I am!  Who will rescue me from this body of death?  Thanks be to God – through Jesus Christ our Lord!

 

“So then, I myself in my mind am a slave to God’s law, but in sinful nature a slave to the law of sin.” Romans 7:14-25 NIV

 

I am sure that every reader can identify with the struggle Paul describes.  Christians often experience this struggle day after day, month after month and year after year, and never obtain the victory they want to have over sin.  Every Christian is well aware of the fact that there is a “law of sin” dwelling within them, which is “waging war against” the God given desire to obey His law.  As Paul stated; he “delighted in God’s law.”  He very much wanted to obey God in all things.  However, he found that it was impossible for him to do that.  His sinful nature constantly sought to make him a “slave to the law of sin.”

When a Christian experiences this intense struggle with sin in his life Satan comes along and tells him that he isn’t even a Christian.  The truth is that this struggle is evidence that one is a Christian.  Non-Christians don’t have this kind of struggle with sin.  It is because the Christian has accepted Christ and takes the sin problem in his life seriously that he has this struggle.

Recognizing the impossibility of obeying God due to the power of sin in his life Paul cries out, “What a wretched man I am!  Who will rescue me from this body of death?”  Every sincere Christian has expressed this same crying out to God.  Paul then declares that deliverance from the law of sin can only happen “through Jesus Christ our Lord.”

 

“Nothing but the baptism of the Holy Spirit can bring up the church to its right position, and prepare the people of God for the fast approaching conflict.” Letter 15, 1889

 

I pray that you will take God’s instruction seriously.  If you are not daily claiming the promise of the baptism of the Holy Spirit do not let another day go by without seeking this marvelous blessing.  For the Spirit’s infilling brings all other blessings to you.

 

Next Time The Solution to the dilemma every Christian faces

Arboretum, Dallas,TX

Thump-Thud, Thump-Thud

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I am The Potter!!  Isaiah 64:8

 

Thump-Thud, Thump-Thud

When a potter bakes a pot, he checks its solidity by pulling it out of the oven and thumping it. If it “sings,” it’s ready. If it “thuds,” it’s placed back in the oven.

The character of a person is also checked by thumping. Been thumped lately?

Late-night phone calls. Grouchy teacher. Grumpy moms. Burnt meals. Flat tires. You’ve-got-to-be-kidding deadlines. Those are thumps. Thumps are those irritating inconveniences that trigger the worst in us. They catch us off guard. Flat-footed. They aren’t big enough to be crises, but if you get enough of them, watch out! Traffic jams. Long lines. Empty mailboxes. Dirty clothes on the floor. Even as I write this, I’m being thumped. Because of interruptions, it has taken me almost two hours to write these two paragraphs. Thump. Thump. Thump.

How do I respond? Do I sing? Or do I thud?

Jesus said that out of the nature of the heart a man speaks (Luke 6:45). There’s nothing like a good thump to reveal the nature of a heart. The true character of a person is seen not in momentary heroics but in the thump-packed humdrum of day-to-day living.

If you have a tendency to thud more than you sing, take heart.

The true character of a person is seen not in momentary heroics but in the thump-packed humdrum of day-to day living.

There is hope for us “thudders”:
1.     Begin by thanking God for thumps. I don’t mean a half-hearted thank-you. I mean a rejoicing, jumping-for-joy thank-you from the bottom of your heart (James 1:2). Chances are that God is doing the thumping. And he’s doing it for your own good. So every thump is a reminder that God is molding you (Heb. 12:5–8).

2.     Learn from each thump. Face up to the fact that you are not “thump-proof.” You are going to be tested from now on. You might as well learn from the thumps—you can’t avoid them. Look upon each inconvenience as an opportunity to develop patience and persistence. Each thump will help you or hurt you, depending on how you use it.

3.     Be aware of “thump-slump” times. Know your pressure periods. For me Mondays are infamous for causing thump-slumps. Fridays can be just as bad. For all of us, there are times during the week when we can anticipate an unusual amount of thumping. The best way to handle thump-slump times? Head on. Bolster yourself with extra prayer, and don’t give up.

Remember, no thump is disastrous. All thumps work for good if we are loving and obeying God.

From Shaped by God (original title: On the Anvil)
Copyright (Tyndale House, 1985, 2002) Max Lucado

“Uplift Jesus Who Is The Bright & Morning Star”.

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John 12:32

I am the Only Way!! John 14:6

We have no time to lose; God calls upon us to watch for souls as they that must give an account. Advance new principles, and crowd in the clear-cut truth. It will be as a sword cutting both ways. But be not too ready to take a controversial attitude. There will be times when we must stand still and see the salvation of God. Let Daniel speak, let the Revelation speak, and tell what is truth.But whatever phase of the subject is presented, uplift Jesus as the center of all hope, “the Root and the Offspring of David, and the bright and morning Star.   Jesus is able to Save Completely!! Hebrews 7:25

John 17:23, Jeremiah 31:3, Isaiah 43:1,4

Gossip Is The Greatest Abuse Of Time And Energy

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Gossip is the greatest abuse of time and energy. Everyone adds on his or her own personal bias, interpretation, and bitterness. We used to play a children’s game where we all sat in a circle and one person would whisper a sentence to the next person. By the time it was repeated again to the first person, the sentence was completely different! Gossip is based on the same principle.

People who spend their time finding fault or gossiping about others, are certainly not the kind of people you want as friends. Those who gossip to you may also gossip about you. If you can’t say anything positive about someone, don’t say anything.

Nothing productive is ever achieved as a result of spreading, or listening to gossip. Don’t waste your time! You can make more productive use of it.
By Catherine P

Gossip is definitely a very serious problem The Apostle Paul states:”Being filled with all UNRIGHTEOUSNESS, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; WHISPERERS, BACKBITERS, HATERS OF GOD, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, …who, knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of DEATH, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.” Romans 1:29-32 . Here we see that WHISPERERS AND BACKBITERS are classed with HATERS OF GOD….whew! Gossip separates friends, creates alienation and bitterness and hatred….have you ever been a victim of such CRUELTY? The cruelty of a tongue not under the control of God’s LOVING AND KIND SPIRIT? May God’s LOVE AND KINDNESS GOVERN OUR HEARTS AND TONGUES!  2Timothy 3:1-5

 

We have the “assurance” of salvation when we “trust” Jesus with our lives, that’s it. Once we trust Jesus, He, our great Heavenly Physician, will perfectly heal and restore us, thus our assurance is in Jesus, not in ourselves or our future. “This is life eternal that they might know you the only true God and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.” (John 17:3). When we “know” God as Jesus revealed Him to be and trust Him, then we have confidence, faith, or trust in Jesus’ ability to “save” (salvage) us! Our assurance or confidence is in our Savior Jesus!!

 “Courtesy Dr. Tim Jennings and ComeAndReason.com”

Scars of Life

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Scars of Life

by Akefe Kufa Mviza

Some years ago, on a hot summer day in South Florida , a little boy decided to go for a swim in the old swimming hole behind his house. In a hurry to dive into the cool water, he ran out the back door, leaving behind shoes, socks, and shirt as he went…He flew into the water, not realizing that as he swam toward the middle of the lake, an alligator was swimming toward the shore.

 

His father, working in the yard, saw the two as they got closer and closer together. In utter fear, he ran toward the water, yelling to his son as loudly as he could.

 

Hearing his voice, the little boy became alarmed and made a U-turn to swim to his father. It was too late. Just as he reached his father, the alligator reached him.

 

From the dock, the father grabbed his little boy by the arms just as the alligator snatched his legs. That began an incredible tug-of-war between the two.. The alligator was much stronger than the father, but the father was much too passionate to let go.

 

A farmer happened to drive by, heard his screams, raced from his truck, took aim and shot the alligator.

 

Remarkably, after weeks and weeks in the hospital, the little boy survived. His legs were extremely scarred by the vicious attack of the animal. And, on his arms, were deep scratches where his father’s fingernails dug into his flesh in his effort to hang on to the son he loved.

 

The newspaper reporter who interviewed the boy after the trauma, asked if he would show him his scars. The boy lifted his pant legs. And then, with obvious pride, he said to the reporter, ‘But look at my arms. I have great scars on my arms, too.. I have them because my Dad wouldn’t let go.’

 

You and I can identify with that little boy. We have scars, too. No, not from an alligator, but the scars of a painful past. Some of those scars are unsightly and have caused us deep regret. But, some wounds, my friend, are because God has refused to let go. In the midst of your struggle, He’s been there holding on to you..

 

The Scripture teaches that God loves you. You are a child of God. He wants to protect you and provide for you in every way. But sometimes we foolishly wade into dangerous situations, not knowing what lies ahead.. The swimming hole of life is filled with peril – and we forget that the enemy is waiting to attack. That’s when the tug-of-war begins – and if you have the scars of His love on your arms, be very, very grateful. He did not and will not ever let you go.

 

God has blessed you, so that you can be a blessing to others. You just never know where a person is in his/her life and what they are going through. Never judge another person’s scars, because you don’t know how they got them.

God loves you so much that He died for you!!

Jeremiah 31:3, John 3:16-17

KEEP THE FAITH…GOD BLESS YOU

I Am With You Always Even To The End Of The World!

Matthew 28:20

A Necessity For Experiencing “Christ in Us”

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A Necessity for Experiencing “Christ in Us”

                                                Post By Pastor Dennis Smith

As I mentioned at the beginning of this chapter, for Christ to live in us fully we must daily experience the baptism of the Holy Spirit.   Christ lives in us through the baptism of the Holy Spirit (John 14:16-18, 1John 3:24).  This experience will lead us to become just like Jesus in our life and service for Him.  The Spirit filled experience is not an option for those ready to meet Jesus when He returns.  It is a necessity!  Hence, it is my prayer that all who read this book will experience the Spirit’s infilling every day.  The baptism of the Holy Spirit must become a consistent part of our life in order for us to live the victorious Christian life, and be ready for Christ’s return.

There is no other way to come out of our Laodicean condition, and be prepared for the final crisis and Christ’s second coming.  Ellen White confirms this with the words:

 

“Nothing but the baptism of the Holy Spirit can bring up the church to its right position, and prepare the people of God for the fast approaching conflict.” Letter 15, 1889, Dr Burke

 

I pray that you will take God’s instruction seriously.  If you are not daily claiming the promise of the baptism of the Holy Spirit do not let another day go by without seeking this marvelous blessing.  For the Spirit’s infilling brings all other blessings to you.

Pastor Smith’s Website

A Great Short Story “I Have Decided To Follow Jesus”

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“My God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:19

I Have Decided To Follow Jesus

The story of the song is covered in the Book by Dr. P.P. Job and Indian preacher in His book “Why God Why”

An excerpt from the book is given below:

About 150 years ago, there was a great revival in Wales, England. As a result of this, many missionaries came from England and Germany to North-East India to spread the Gospel. At the time, north-east India was not divided into many states as it is today. The region was known as Assam and comprised hundreds of tribes. The tribal communities were quite primitive and aggressive by nature. The tribal’s were also called head-hunters because of a social custom which required the male members of the community to collect as many heads as possible. A man’s strength and ability to protect his wife was assessed by the number of heads he had collected. Therefore, a youth of marriageable age would try and collect as many heads as possible and hang them on the walls of his house. The more heads a man had, the more eligible he was considered. Into this hostile and aggressive community, came a group of Welsh missionaries spreading the message of love, peace and hope of Jesus Christ.

Naturally, they were not welcomed. One Welsh missionary succeeded in converting a man, his wife, and two children. This man’s faith proved contagious and many villagers began to accept Christ. Angry, the village chief summoned all the villagers. He then called the family who had first converted to renounce their faith in public or face execution. Moved by the Holy Spirit, the man instantly composed a song which became famous down the years. He sang:

I have decided to follow Jesus. (3 times)
No turning back, no turning back.

Enraged at the refusal of the man, the chief ordered his archers to arrow down the two children. As both boys lay twitching on the floor, the chief asked, “Will you deny your faith? You have lost both your children. You will lose your wife too.”

But the man sang these words in reply:

Though no one joins me, still I will follow. (3 times)
No turning back, no turning back.

The chief was beside himself with fury and ordered his wife to be arrowed down. In a moment she joined her two children in death. Now he asked for the last time, “I will give you one more opportunity to deny your faith and live.”

In the face of death the man sang the final memorable lines:

The cross before me, the world behind me. (3 times)
No turning back, no turning back.

He was shot dead like the rest of his family. But with their deaths, a miracle took place. The chief who had ordered the killings was moved by the faith of the man. He wondered,  “Why should this man, his wife and two children die for a Man who lived in a far-away land on another continent some 2,000 years ago? There must be some supernatural power behind the family, and I too want that supernatural power.”

In a spontaneous confession of faith, he declared, “I too belong to Jesus Christ!”  When the crowd heard this from the mouth of their chief, the whole village accepted Christ as their Lord and Savior.  This is the power of [God in] demonstration.

 

“I Have Decided To Follow Jesus”

John 16:33, John 15:9, John 17:23

Breaking Free From Worry And Anxiety by Knowing Jesus

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Are you a person who is gripped by worry today?  Before you can know the peace of God, you need to have peace with God.  But this is only possible through a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.

By Greg Laurie

Have you ever been gripped by fear? You know the feeling. A shiver downs your spine. Your stomach has a sinking sensation. Your mouth goes dry. Maybe it happened when you were in a life-threatening situation, or at least you thought you were.

Some people actually thrive on fear and will spend their hard-earned dollars to be scared out of their minds. They will go to a movie because they have heard it is really scary, or go to an amusement park to ride the most extreme ride. But like it or not, fear is a very real emotion that most of us would rather avoid.

Unfortunately, fear has a friend called worry, and the two work in tandem. For example, maybe something frightens you, and you begin to think about the worst thing that could possibly happen. What if this happens? What if that happens? You can worry yourself into a state of panic.

Medical research has proven that worry can be physically harmful. It can affect our nervous systems and make us less resistant to disease. Experts have stated that excessive worry can shorten the human life. It is ironic that we worry about our lives, but in doing so, we actually can shorten them.

I am glad that the apostle Paul took the time to address the subject of worry and give us God’s antidote for it:

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. 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 4:6-8 NKJV).

When Paul wrote these words, he was not living in an ivory tower, spinning off impractical theories. He was in some very difficult circumstances. Paul wanted to go to Rome to preach, but instead, he ended up there as a prisoner.

Now he awaited his fate. His case could come up any day. He didn’t know whether he would be acquitted or beheaded. Paul had plenty to worry about. But in the midst of these circumstances, Paul offered three steps that will help us break free from worry.

The first step is right praying (verse 6-7). When we are gripped by fear and worry, we need to pray. If you want to be free from worry, then you need to be a person who prays. Jesus taught us to pray, “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done. On earth as it is in heaven” (Matthew 6:9 NKJV).

When you put God’s will above your own and start praying and thinking about His greatness, then all of your problems start shrinking, not because they are getting smaller, but because you have begun to realize how big God is. It puts your problems in perspective.

Second, we need to take the step of right thinking (verse 8). Maintaining personal peace involves both the heart and the mind. If you want peace in your heart, then you have to get your thoughts in order, because what we think about ultimately affects what we do. We want to nip in the bud any thoughts that would be impure or spiritually destructive.

Isaiah 26:3 promises, “You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You” (NKJV).

The third step is right living (verse 9). You cannot separate outward action from inward attitude. When you live a wicked life, you are constantly in turmoil, because sin always results in unrest.

In contrast, when you live right before God, you have His peace. Isaiah 32:17 says, “The work of righteousness will be peace, and the effect of righteousness, quietness and assurance forever” (NKJV).

Are you a person who is gripped by worry today? Before you can know the peace of God, you need to have peace with God. But this is only possible through a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. To learn more, simply go to www.knowgod.org.

If you’re reading this today and know Jesus Christ, then you don’t have to worry about tomorrow. God is in control of your life. You may not know what tomorrow holds, but you know who holds tomorrow.

 

Greg Laurie pastors Harvest Christian Fellowship (one of America’s largest churches) in Riverside, California.

 

Benefits of Receiving The Baptism of The Spirit

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Post By Pastor Dennis Smith

 

The baptism of the Holy Spirit gives power to our witness and brings forth the fruit of Christ’s character in the life.  Paul speaks of this when he writes;

 

“But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.” 2Corinthians 3:18

 

God’s glory is His character, (Exodus 33:18-19).  Paul states here that the believer will be growing in Christ’s character, “from glory to glory,” by the Spirit of the Lord that dwells in him.

The infilling of the Spirit of God will “make you perfect in every good work, to do His will, working in you that which is wellpleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom be glory for ever and ever”, (Hebrews 13:21).

Ellen White reaffirms the development of character the recipient of the Spirit’s infilling receives when she writes;

 

“When the Spirit of God takes possession of the heart, it transforms the life.   Sinful thoughts are put away, evil deeds are renounced; love, humility, and peace takes the place of anger, envy, and strife.  Joy takes the place of sadness, and the countenance reflects the light of heaven.” Desire of Ages, p.173

 

We Can Grieve the Spirit

 

There are things we can do that will grieve the Spirit, (Ephesians 4:30).  If we do not daily seek Him, and cooperate in following where He leads us His power will wane and our Christian experience will weaken.

God doesn’t force.  When we receive the baptism of the Spirit He will have a greater impact in our life.  We will feel His promptings more strongly.  The Spirit will be daily putting the desire in our heart to obey God.  He will call us to study God’s Word and pray more.  The Spirit will cause us to begin loving righteousness and hate sin.  However, we are always free to disregard His promptings.  When we do this we begin the process of “grieving” or “quenching” the Spirit.   Paul gives very practical advice in many sections of Scripture on how to avoid doing this.  The practical counsels Paul gives to the believer on living the Christian life are aimed at helping us maintain the fullness of the Spirit in our life.  Two examples of such counsel are found in Ephesians 4:25-32 and 1Thessalonians 5:14-19.

Paul knew that the Spirit of God dwelling in the believer would be prompting him to do the things listed in these verses.  If we refuse to yield to His prompting we will be in danger of “grieving” and “quenching” the Spirit.

If you find that you have grieved the Spirit don’t get discouraged.  Instead, ask God to forgive you, (1John 1:9), and He will.  Then ask God to fill you anew with His Spirit and He will, (Luke 11:13).  Ask Him in faith and you will receive, (Galatians 3:14).

David knew God’s mercy.  He had committed the sins of adultery and murder.  He had walked away from the prompting of God’s Spirit in his life when he committed these terrible acts.  Yet when he was convicted of his sin by the Spirit he turned to God in prayer, (Psalm 51).  Note especially these words:

 

“Hide thy face from my sins, and blot out all mine iniquities.  Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.  Cast me not away from thy presence; and take not thy holy spirit from me.  Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free spirit.” Psalm 51:9-12

 

When we find that we have been slipping away from God we must not let another moment go by without confessing our sin, accepting God’s forgiveness and claiming the promise of the renewing of the Spirit in our life as David did.  Then we will be once again strengthened in the “inner” man to be victorious over Satan, (Ephesians 3:16-19).

 

We Must Experience the Early Rain to Receive the Latter Rain of the Spirit

 

It is time for the “latter rain” to fall.  If we do not experience the infilling of the Spirit, which is the “early rain” (Joel 2:23), we will not be prepared to receive and participate in the work of the latter rain.  I believe God is moving among His people today and leading them into this wonderful experience.

If you have not received the baptism of the Holy Spirit don’t delay another day. His reception should be first and foremost in our lives.  For this Gift will bring all other gifts to us.  The Spirit’s infilling will change our lethargy to excitement, our weakness to strength, and our witness will be with a power not seen since the day of Pentecost.

Please Visit Pastor Dennis Smith’s Website

When Will I Have A Real Daddy?

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Final Space Shuttle Mission July 8,2011

                                                                  By Kris Swiatocho

 

When I was a little girl, I had a hard time praying for my daddy. You see I grew up with a father who was never home. He was in the military and was always traveling around the world. When he was home, he seemed to always be angry, tired, and restless. Neither my mom nor me and my brothers could ever do anything right. There were times that he would abuse us, verbally and physically. Times when he would not come home after being out with the guys. Times when he just didn’t come home. But to be honest, those were actually the best times. Times I didn’t fear, didn’t run or cry. I did pray, not for my father, but for God to bring me a real daddy. A daddy who wore a three-piece suit instead of army fatigues, had a briefcase and came home every night (this represented a real dad to me). A daddy who would play with me, let me sit in his lap, and spend time with me. A daddy who would tell me he loved me. I wanted a daddy who I wasn’t scared of. I wanted a daddy who didn’t scream or hit. I wanted a daddy who didn’t leave. I wanted a daddy who stayed no matter what I could have ever done.

I didn’t know if God would bring me a real daddy, you know like the ones you saw on TV. I would watch “The Brady Bunch” and ask, “God, can I have a daddy like Marsha and Greg has? You know the type that comes home every night, kisses their wife, hugs the kids and then sits down to dinner together with his family and gives thanks to God?” I just kept praying.

Finally after 15 years of marriage my parents split. During this time, things were tough not only financially but emotionally as well. My mom had to work outside the home again for the first time since I was 4. We had to go without some of the basics not to mention any extras. This new lifestyle would not only test my mother, but each one of us kids as we had to learn to take care of ourselves, cook, clean and above all get along. That was easier said than done. I could see how my mother would come home so tired, so worn out. She would share with me how she knew she had made the right decision to leave my father and that things would get better as long as we stayed together. During that time I also realized how lonely my mother was. How she longed to not only be loved by a real man but have a provider for her and her kids. She was always praying, praying for God to answer her prayer. What she didn’t know was that I had also been praying for the same thing. But would God answer our prayers?

Then one day, while at work, my mom met a tall, handsome, bigger-than-life man who had also suffered his share of trials, sadness, loneliness and a failed marriage. He started spending time with my mother, my brothers and me. We grew very fond of Henry. He was kind, gentle and had a lot of love for all of us. A year later, Henry married my mom. Then Henry did one of the most sacrificial things a person can do. He proceeded to raise another man’s kids even though he himself had already raised two kids. He took on all the baggage, the pain, the rejection (that never seems to go away), the abandonment, the sadness and the fear. He took on the challenge of being our father even though legally he wasn’t. His love was far greater than anyone besides my mother. He showed us the kind of love that is only shown by the love of Jesus Christ. I remember one day prior to the wedding he told me he loved me and I was like, love me, you don’t even know me! He said, I love your mother and you are apart of your mother and so I love you. I quickly blurted out, “OK, you can marry my mom.” Oh, and did I forget to mention, he wore a three-piece suit, carried a briefcase for the next 14 years, came home the same time every day and sat down with his family for dinner, giving thanks to our God?