Baptism at Singles Retreat - 147 Baptized!!!

*******************Baptism at Singles Retreat 147 Baptized!!! ***********************

* Sharing times in the Word and looking for growth. Let's Commune Together!

Friday, November 30, 2012

Seasons come and go, the race remains the same

Scripture Read: Judges 8:4 Then Gideon and the 300 men who were with him came to the Jordan and crossed over, weary yet pursuing.

Application: What a great statement! Especially in this age of instantaneous gratification and prosperity preaching where everything happens right away and just the way we want it. That lie from the pit of hell has infected the Body of Christ and the fruit of it is Christians that quit; ministries that are self-serving and a lot of whining from those that are suppose to be servants of Christ. Sometimes in ministry everything comes easy and exactly the way we desire it. However, like everything in life – that is only a season. As Eccl. 3 states...”there is a season for everything” it is with our walk with the Lord. There is no doubt that Isaiah is true:

Yet those who wait for the Lord, Will gain new strength; They will mount up with wings like eagles, They will run and not get tired, They will walk and not become weary. Isaiah 40:31
Yet, we must put that into context – this is talking about our over all life, not every season. There is also a great difference between spiritual energy versus mental, emotional and physical energy. I have come out of retreats where I ministered nonstop for several days, spiritually I felt like I was superman, yet, in every other way I was exhausted. What is so great about this passage is that it brings the proper balanced attitude we should carry throughout life, no matter the season. Weary YET pursuing! This must be our “mantra” if you please. 

To pursue needs to be the heart condition we possess. When the season is a sweet or an easy one, which, makes pursuing all the more enjoyable...enjoy! However, when it is a hard season, or one where we just feel tired and weary, pursuing is what keeps us from losing our focus, compromising our integrity or just plain old quitting. When we have trained our spirit to pursue, the flesh will have to follow. Also, we can never underestimate the part the Holy Spirit will play in carrying us through that season in the wilderness, but we do know from many scriptures He honors our effort with great grace. So we need to take this admonition from the life of Gideon. 

When God calls us to a task, even if we become weary, we should continue to pursue Him and the call He has extended. The outcome will still be in His hands, but we can sense His pleasure in our faithfulness to Him! The interesting truth about this is, the more we pursue...the more we sense His pleasure. The more we sense His pleasure...the greater the desire to pursue becomes. Now that is what I call “the circle of life!” One of the greatest pursuers of Christ put it this way:

But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, so that the surpassing greatness of the power will be of God and not from ourselves; we are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not despairing; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying about in the body the dying of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body. 2 Corinthians 4:7–10

Meditation Questions: What do you do when you feel like quitting? What does that show you? When you feel exhausted mentally, emotionally or physically, what do you do?  If you feel exhausted spiritually, what does that say? What is the warning being sent? What does it take you to quite? What does that say? When you say you can’t take it anymore, where is the Lord? If you feel pushed beyond what you can take, what does that show you about yourself? Does God promise to not push us beyond that point? Where? Are there any conditions to God’s promise? What are they? What are you doing right now to finish the race well? 

Monday, November 26, 2012

Gratitude is an Attitude!

Colossians 3:16 Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God.

Thanks - an expression of gratitude
Giving - freely transfer the possession of something to someone; bestow

Thanksgiving - to transfer the gratitude of your heart to someone else; To bestow on someone the sense of gratitude that you have.

As I spend another thanksgiving away from my home, in a place where this is nothing more than a Thursday, I am thinking about what this holiday means and why. I remember a comedian that shared a story of Sir Walter Raleigh and his discovery of tobacco. It was a fictitious phone conservation with the shipping company back in England. In the conservation he is telling them about his shipment of 80 tons of leaves and asked if they got his last shipment of turkeys. The Englishman replies " yes Walt, we got the boat load of turkeys, their running all over London. You see Walt, that's an American holiday!" That really is very true. As an American the holiday of thanksgiving is very special and carries a lot of warm memories and emotions. I would be a liar if I did not admit that during this time the miles separating me from my family and friends seem so much further. I am sure to an outsider this holiday seems somewhat strange. Families getting together, eating so much food hardly anyone can move afterwards. 
Then, with the stuffed turkey now being stuffed in them, all gather around a TV and watch 22 grown men try and kill each other over a ball that is called a “pigskin"! Strange as that might sound I have many memories of fun and fellowship with family and friends during this holiday.

Still, I am grateful that because of Jesus Christ I am a citizen of a kingdom that encourages its entire citizenship to continuously, in every circumstance, give thanks. Though far from the country I call "home", I am surrounded here by friends and spiritual family that everyday share "thanksgivings" for each other, life and our Lord. That's really what living "in Christ" is actually about. Not a once a year event or celebration. 
It is an opportunity for a moment-to-moment experience of expressing gratitude for the Lord, our spiritual family and the eternal life we possess. We also have the joy of sharing that reality with others, through corporate worship; testimonies, Bible studies and helping those that do not know how much God loves them discover that!  I do indeed miss the holiday, but because of Him, thanksgiving can be experienced, every day in every way!