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!

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Underestimated Impact!

Priscilla Ann Leigh
Proverbs 31:27–30 She carefully watches everything in her household and suffers nothing from laziness. Her children stand and bless her. Her husband praises her: “There are many virtuous and capable women in the world, but you surpass them all!” Charm is deceptive, and beauty does not last; but a woman who fears the Lord will be greatly praised.

Tomorrow will be a very special day in my heart. It’s May 11, and for everyone it is Mother’s day. However, for me it is my Mother’s day. On May 11, 1930 my mother was born. I was blessed to know her for a brief 20 years; she went to be with the Lord in my senior year at Bible College. Every year at this time especially, I miss her, and think about what my family’s life would be like if she had lived. The impact she would have had on my children. In this era of worshiping the new trinity…“Me, Myself, and I” …where that which is outward is viewed as really important, and that which is inward is ignored, at a time where personal happiness and comfort are the “mantra” and sacrifice is considered foolish…Motherhood is not held in the honor it deserves! Let me be clear, I am talking about Motherhood, not getting pregnant and giving birth – that is not Motherhood, that is a biological function that any female of most species can do. To consider that Motherhood is like saying a male that donated his sperm in the act of sex is a “Father.” Nothing is further from reality. Any dog can impregnate, but a real man invests and sacrifices his life for his wife and children…that is a Father! So it is with Motherhood. I freely admit I have no idea the pain of the biological act of birthing, and having been at the birth of all three of my children, I would have stopped at one! However the pain of birthing does not compare to the ups and downs, joys and sufferings, filled hearts and broken hearts that a woman experiences when she commits to being a Mother. I know…I was an inflictor of some of that suffering.

My mom was my best friend, I adored my father, he was great, but I could talk to mom about anything. Every woman needs to understand the impact she can have on this world if she chooses to become a mother, whether by birth or adoption. Mom was raised in an era where people did not discuss their faith openly, so I did not know where she stood with the Lord untill the end of her life, however, she still engrafted in me so many of the values I still have today.

She placed in me a clear “God” consciousness. I had no doubt that a Creator created me. She talked of Jesus, but again as I said, not real open about it. She taught me to be a bigot against all bigots – no matter their color or eye shape! Anyone that thought less of someone else based on skin color or eye shape had a heart and a mental problem! She taught me to be honest, even when it will cost me. She taught me to always be very conscious of the poor and weak in this world, and that showing love to anyone gives me a reward much more precious than gold. She taught me that money was to use, not to hoard, that I would "make love" to only one woman in my life, all the rest I would only have sex with, and that when I make a vow – my character is what is on the line.

My last summer to see her was in 1980; I was home for a visit. Pop brought me home because he was concerned about her health. She grabbed me and took me into the bedroom for a private talk. I had come to know the Lord a few years earlier, and was very transparent about my faith. She told me that she had at the age 17 gone to an evangelistic tent meeting and there trusted Christ. She asked, was it possible that she had become a believer but had wandered and that is why she was now sick? I told her that thoughts like that were a waste of time, because only God knows why she is sick. The real issue is that God loves her right now and wants a relationship with her. If she is His, she never stopped being His, if she has any doubt, it can be settled right now. My mom said she wanted to make sure and prayed to trust Christ with me right there. Three months later, late on a Friday night Pop called me to tell me she was gone.

The first funeral I did in my life was my Mom’s. Emotionally I was spent, but inwardly I had complete joy and peace…as I walked away from that grave knowing death had lost! None of us ever realize the impact we make on others! A mother has a special opportunity, and should never underestimate it. Even some of the last words I ever heard her speak have impacted my heart till now: Right before I flew back to College, I asked mom, “ I have prayed for you since the day I became a believer, what made the difference?” She smiled and said, “Watching you…you are not the same man I raised!” I did not feel pride…I felt knee trembling fear! Someone is always watching your life…be careful how you live it. It can make a huge impact!

Dee & Kids
God’s grace: I will always miss my mom, yet I will always treasure the truths God communicated through her. I look forward to seeing her again. As usual, God in His perfect timing allowed a grace into my life shortly after mom passed. I met the greatest mother I have ever known…I was already married to her! Shortly after college Dee became a mother and I stood in awe of her love, patience, care and intentional discipling of my three children. My kids walk with God even now, committed to God, their spouses, and each other. This is because of the grace of my God, and the most influential mother I have ever met!

Take time to tell God…and your mom how much you appreciate them this mother’s day! 

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Fruit: Kindness – My world would be great…if it did not have certain people in it!

Imagine with me, that you are a prejudice person. You despise a particular group of people. You have no direct reason, you were just raised that way. Let’s call the people you hate “Samaritans”. Then you take a trip and when you return your friends discover you have changed and they think you are crazy…so you try to explain: “I know you don't understand why I feel the way I do now, but you did not go through what I did. Like you, I considered them half-breeds, a waste of human flesh. I also joined in all the jokes – ‘I have nothing against Samaritans, everyone should own one!’ Like you I would not step foot on Samaritan soil. But you have to understand what has happened to me! I was traveling to Jericho from Jerusalem when…

As we consider this story and discover this fruit, keep these questions in front of you.

How does God expect me to treat people who I do not like? Give examples.

What can kindness cost us?

Jesus was being tested by a Lawyer… he asked the Lord, “who is my neighbor?”

Luke 10:30-36 Jesus replied and said, "A certain man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho; and he fell among robbers, and they stripped him and beat him, and went off leaving him half dead.  "And by chance a certain priest was going down on that road, and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. "And likewise a Levite also, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. 
"But a certain Samaritan, who was on a journey, came upon him; and when he saw him, he felt compassion, and came to him, and bandaged up his wounds, pouring oil and wine on them; and he put him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn, and took care of him. "And on the next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper and said, 'Take care of him; and whatever more you spend, when I return, I will repay you.' "Which of these three do you think proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell into the robbers' hands?"

But The Fruit of the Spirit is…KINDNESS

Define: Kindness

The original word is χρηστότης chrēstótēs  - The Greek term expresses that temper or spirit in which we accept His dealings with us without disputing and resisting; closely linked with humility, because it is only the humble heart which is also meek.  This heart does not fight, struggle or contend with God.

* A sweetness of temper, and especially towards our inferiors, as disposes us to be affable and courteous, and easy to be entreated when any have wronged us,
Kindness cares for the feelings of others and feels with them. It experiences the full depth of sympathy and empathy. It shows care and gets right into the situation with a person. Kindness suffers with those who suffer, and struggles with those who struggle, and works with those who work.

God is kind.

Luke 6:35  "But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High; for He Himself is kind to ungrateful and evil men.

Eph. 2:4-7  But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places, in Christ Jesus,  in order that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.

What is involved in the expression of kindness is seen clearly in Luke:

This Samaritan came upon a Jew that had been beaten and left for dead. Remember, the Samaritan most likely had an up bringing the same as Jew, he disdained Jews as much as they disdained him. He had to over come his disdain. His kindness was expressed in various ways:
·      He took the risk to check out the condition of this Jewish man.
·      He took the time to give medical care and carry him to a place of safety, which was not convenient for him.
·      He took his own money and made sure this Jewish man would be cared for until he was completely well.
·      His kindness was complete and was unconditional.

When you show these qualities to someone you like, be honest, it is not difficult.

Matthew 5:46-47 "For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax-gatherers do the same?  "And if you greet your brothers only, what do you do more than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same?

The true fruit of kindness is something that you cannot produce, it is expressed to those you could not express it to on your own. This is the work of the Holy Spirit.

One of the most detrimental actions to this fruit is isolation. Yet, many in the Body of Christ have done exactly that! They have cut themselves off from those in the world that do not have a relationship with Christ. The only way this fruit is produced is when we are interacting with those that might think so differently then us. It is never that difficult getting along with people that we agree with on the essentials of life. When we can be kind to those that stand for the very things we think are wrong or even evil, that’s when we see the work of the Holy Spirit. The sad truth is because so much of the Church became ingrown, believers now cannot even show kindness to their brothers and sisters in the Lord. God never intended for His children to live in a “bubble”, that is why the Fruit of the Spirit is so important. To live in this world, but to impact it, instead of it impacting you, the reproduction of the character of Christ is a must! When the world attacks believers and they respond with kindness, the world does not know what to do with that. Some, will take notice and their heart will open to the work of the Spirit in the lives of God’s children.

What we need is when someone hears the word Christian, they think of Kindness, not a political party, or a pointing finger.

How many people do you know that do not have a relationship with Christ? What do they think of “Christians” in general? Do you know why? What do they think of you? Is there a difference? What is it? When someone attacks or maligns you, what do you feel? What do you do? What’s the difference?