Monday, March 31, 2014

Empty Worship Equals Empty Power

Last night the Holy Spirit of God was moving freely in the service.  It was so good to see the alters filled and hear testimony after testimony, along with anointed singing.  We rejoiced in the birth of one of our young couple's little girl, and also in the birth of a new child of GOD.  Yes, it was a very good day.

There is a young man in the mission and his entire church from Tennessee loaded a bus and drove down to be with him in the service last night.  They came and got right in on the service as if they'd been members of our church all along.  It was a blessing! 

Their music director testified and something he said kind of popped out at me and I haven't been able to get it off my mind.  He said the church he and his family had left were moving in the contemporary direction.  That they left a lot of times feeling hungry for something more powerful.

When he said that, the first thing that crossed my mind is when I'm hungry but in a hurry or don't want to take the time to prepare something good for myself, I grab the first thing I see.  A handful of chips, a little Debbie cake, a candy bar.

These things won't fill us up.  They give us a temporary satisfaction, along with empty calories.  We need good calories throughout the day to give us energy and keep us going.  So why not just take the time and eat the right foods when our body is telling us we need to eat?  Chips and a Debbie cake or a candy bar are ok from time to time.  But when our body needs nourishment, we need to feed it the right foods. 

Just like our physical body needs the right foods, our spiritual body does too. 

Jesus said in John 6:35, "...I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst."

In order to feed our spiritual body, we need to eat from the Bread of Life.  There are many things we can nit-pick over in churches.  Your church may do things differently from my church.  And that's fine.  That's why you go to your church and I go to mine.  :)  But I do believe that the modern church has slipped away from true worship and are making a quick fix to feeding the spiritual, leading to empty power in the Saints of God.

Most modern churches want to spend forty-five minutes in a praise and worship singing where they sing the same words over and over and over and over.  Then spend five minutes reading a passage from the Bible.  There's no real meat in the message or songs.  Something about loving your neighbor and being kind to one another.  Then it's over.  Everyone goes home to do their own thing and they leave with a temporary satisfaction that will only carry them through part of the day.  Then they starve the rest of the week.

I realize that's a very run-down description, but I think you know what I'm referring to.  Like I said, not every church is like mine.  Not every church is like yours.  It's not about my church or your church.  It's about being in a church where people are fed empty power.

John 4:24 says, "God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth."  There must be a balance in the service.  You can be in a service where there is a lot of spirit, but little or no truth.  And you can be in a service where there is a lot of truth, but little or no spirit.  I've been in both.  And let me tell ya, it leaves you hungering and thirsting for the Power of God.  

It's no secret I love my church.  I'm thankful for a man of God that allows the Holy Spirit to direct the service.  We have an unspoken order of service.  A way things are kind of laid out.  But there is no official order of service, written in a bulletin and handed out.  If we did that, it would be a waste of paper, because most of the time, our services NEVER go the way our Pastor or the congregation thinks it will.  We don't have a calendar saying who is singing each service through the month.  Our choir director doesn't make a list of songs the choir will sing over the next several weeks.  And that's because the Holy Spirit is allowed to be the director and orchestrator of the service.  It's good to go and be fed in spirit and in truth.  It leaves you feeling Spiritually fit, spiritually strong, spiritually encouraged, and spiritually powerful. 

The more we get of empty calories, the less we get of the nourishment we truly need.  We begin to lean toward the convenience and instant gratification of meeting a need that will never be met until we give our body the right stuff!  

We need the meat of the WORD and the BREAD OF LIFE to fill us UP with HOLY GHOST POWER!  

Are you hungry? 

The Master says, "...Come and dine..." 

Monday, March 24, 2014

In It, To Win It!

This past weekend, the ladies of our church loaded up the bus and headed to the Women of Honor Ladies Conference.  And WOW, did we have a great time! 

As soon as we walked into the Cabarrus Arena, the atmosphere, alone, let you know you were with God's people.  Just as I was realizing that feeling, I could hear others saying what I was thinking.  They were feeling it too. 

The theme this year was In It, To Win It.  There were vendors with all kinds of wonderful things to sell from Christian literature to baby bows.  There was tremendous singing from the Simpson family and other groups from their churches. And there was a line up of godly women there that the Lord used to help us grow closer to Him and to stand up on our battle field and fight to win because we are in it to win it!

It was a blessing to be there this weekend and I gleaned so much that my heart and mind are still sorting it all out.

But this morning, as I was pondering on the theme, I couldn't help but think of our children.  Mrs. Ava had posted something on our church's facebook wall that just really aligned up with what my heart is feeling. 

Listen, the devil wants nothing more than to snatch our children away from God.  He will do whatever he can to steal them away.  We are in a race to keep them away from him.  He's been the devil a whole lot longer than we've been parents.  And he's the best player on his team.  So never underestimate him.  If we are going to WIN our children to the Lord, we better listen to our Coach!

The first thing we need to do is PRAY.  John Wesley once said, "God does nothing on earth save in answer to believing prayer."  We have got to get on our knees for our children and pray the devil off of them.  Pray that hedge around their minds and their hearts and their lives, that the devil can not get in and destroy them.  The Bible says in II Timothy 2:22, " Flee also youthful lusts: but follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart."  One good way to help our children FLEE from their youthful lusts, is to set the example of following righteousness, faith, charity, and peace with a pure heart...and PRAY for them to know the difference.  The devil is very cunning and a great imitator of the things of God.  Pray, pray, pray for our young people to see the true things of God in their lives and not fall for Satan's deception. 

The second things we need to do is PERSEVERE.  Don't be so na├»ve to think your child is perfect.  Trust me, they're not.  There will come obstacles and trials in your children's lives that may leave you wondering where God is or if He even knows what you're facing with your child.  He knows.  And He has a plan.  But He wants us to persevere.  Don't throw your hands up in the air and walk away from your child.  The Bible says in Galatians 6:9, "And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not."  You will become weary at some point or another in your parenting.  But don't give up!  Persevere!  The time will come when you will reap from your perseverance and prayers.  Just hold on and continue fighting to win that child for Christ. 

When I was thinking of another "P" word, I had to use the Thesaurus.  I'll admit that I have never seen or heard this word before.  But I liked it as soon as I saw it.  Plus it's just fun to say.  We must have PUGNACITY!  In other words, we must have a STRONG desire to fight and be combative.  As I thought about it, I pictured us as parents in the boxing ring with the devil.  We have to be pugnacious in our fight.  A right hook, left hook, to the stomach, the head...anywhere and everywhere, even below the belt.  When it comes to fighting Satan, there are no rules to hold us back.  JUST FIGHT!  The lives of our children are at stake here!  We are the vessel God is using to bring our children to Him.  Fight for them to go to Heaven.  Fight for them to live godly lives, according to the Word of God.  To set all other things below Him.  To focus on the Spiritual goal ahead of them.  FIGHT to keep the devil away from them as they run the race, because he is doing everything in his power to trip them.  Pugnacity.  FIGHT to WIN because you can't win if you give up.

If we are faithful in prayer, continue to persevere, and are pugnacious in our fight...we can PREVAIL.  There is no promise from God that the lives of our children will become what we desire.  But there are promises to us that the seeds we plant in the heart of our children will take root and they will always remember their upbringing. 

Mamas, " strong and of good courage..."  "Fight the good fight of faith..." and keep on, keepin' on!  Because we are IN IT TO WIN IT! 

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Life's Too Short

The other day on Facebook, someone posted, "Life's too short to worry about that." 

No kidding!  I've had that attitude, going on three months now.  I can't worry about things I have no control over.  I need to  focus on the main things.  You may ask, What are the main things?  I'll tell ya!

Jesus Christ and His second coming.  Those are the main things.

1. Do you know Jesus Christ?  A better question would be, does He know YOU?  I've thought about that scenario many times in the past.  There are so many people that say they know Christ.  Or they know of Christ.  Some will even say they do things in the name of Christ.  But the Bible says, "Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?  And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity."  Matthew 7:22&23
So the first main thing is, not so much that you know Christ or know of Christ.  But that He knows you. In order for Him to know you, you must accept Him.  Jesus said, "I am the WAY, the TRUTH, and the LIFE.  No man cometh unto the Father, but by me."  There is no other way to reach Heaven or to get to God, except through His Son, Jesus Christ, who shed his blood on Calvary, for the sins of the world.  That includes me.  That includes you!  Does He know you?  Have you accepted Him as your Savior?  A Savior saves us from something and this Savior saves us from an eternal Hell. 

2. When we keep that first one the main thing, the second one of Christ's coming, just falls right into line.  Jesus said, "For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord."  Those that remain and are caught up, are those He knows and have accepted Him as Lord. 

As I watched the news this morning I felt an overwhelming power of the Holy Spirit.  I get goose bumps when that happens.  I call them Holy Ghost goose bumps!  :)  Russia plays a HUGE part in that.  Kind of long to explain, but if you'll read in Scripture about Gog, the land of Magog, which is what we know of, now, as Russia, we can see that things in that area of the world are lining up according to Scripture and God is preparing for Christ's return.  WHOOT!

Are you ready?  Do you know Him as your Savior?  Does He know you as His child? If you haven't made that decision today, I hope you will soon.  Because right now, life here on earth is too short to be worrying about that.