Sunday, March 22, 2020

A Question of Fear ...

Fear ...

During the past couple of weeks we have heard a lot about fear.  At this time, it has generally centered around an unknown, the coronavirus epidemic, and a generalized fear of consequently not being able to take care of our basic physical needs, the economy going into recession, loss of our jobs, etc. There is no doubt that this current situation we are experiencing will have a lasting impact on the rest of our lives.

You yourself probably have some fears.

Is it rational to be afraid?  Sometimes, yes.  We may have a real basis for the fear.  We may be able to do something about the thing we are afraid of.  Other times, the fear may not be so logical, there may be a generalized anxiety, without a solid event as a focus.

Fear, however is fear.  Whether the basis is rational or not.

Fear is our inner reaction to something that we perceive to be beyond our ability to handle.  It is a protective reaction that keeps us from going down what could be a dangerous path.  We are alert to possible consequences, and steer clear of them.

For example, the coronavirus scare.  The fear of contracting the disease leads us to do those things which would hopefully protect us from infection.  Washing our hands with soap after being in public, avoiding touching our faces, isolating ourselves from sick people (which, because we don't know exactly who is sick, translates into self-isolating and keeping away from gatherings of people).  When we do all these things, we are not so afraid any more, because we have responded to the threat appropriately.

This is a perfectly good and commendable way to deal with the fear (1).

What can happen, though, is that we hang onto the fear.  We allow ourselves to continue being anxious, even though the thing we fear has been minimized as a threat.  We allow the anxiety to fester, our thoughts feed on it, and we can become panicky. Just like anger, if we hang onto fear or anxiety, it becomes sin (2).  This negative thinking can then depress our immune system, lowering our physical defenses, and we become more likely to become sick.

God does not intend for us to live in fear (3).  There is a reason for this.  When we allow fear to gain the upper hand in our life, we open ourselves up to be manipulated by Satan in that particular area of our life.  God tells us to actively resist the devil, and that he will then flee from us (4).

The opposite is also true. This is a battle, spiritual warfare (5).  If we do not actively resist the devil, he will be able to draw near to us (4).  Now that sounds scary.

Next post we will look at this in more detail.

1.  Proverbs 6:6-11.  Principle. See the coming situation and respond accordingly.
2.  James 1:14-15.  Principle.  Sin starts with temptation, which when entertained in the mind, brings forth sinful action. Fear itself is not sin, but if we allow it to continue it shows lack of faith which is sin (Romans 14:23)
3.  2 Timothy 1:7
4.  James 4:7-8
5.  Ephesians 6:10-12

Tuesday, March 10, 2020

A "Chance" Encounter

Last November, I ran into someone I hadn't met before, in Redding. 

I made a comment that the rain that had been forecast, had not yet come.  He said it wouldn't, he had prayed that it would not rain until after he had finished work. 

A little later in the conversation he mentioned that he had been to heaven.  I digested this for a bit.  I asked, how did you die? He said he fell down a 200 foot cliff. Broken ribs and pelvis, internal bleeding, face messed up, collapsed lung. 

The first thing he saw, was some huge feet.  He "knew" it was Jesus.  Jesus said to him that he couldn't stay, he was needed by his family. He then woke up, in the morgue.  He was lying on a table, strapped down.  He wondered how to let people know he was alive.  He noticed his dad was at the foot of the table, holding his ankles, praying.  He moved his foot.  His dad freaked out.  Doctors came, was x-rayed, no more broken bones, all was normal. 

I had once seen the picture shown with this post, but had been unable to re-find it on the internet.  Then, today, it popped up on my Facebook page.  So I am sharing it with all my friends.  That's the story behind the post ...

I suspect that maybe there is someone out there who needs to hear this!

Friday, January 31, 2020

Clothed in white!

This morning I was reading Exodus 28, where God details to Moses how the priests are to be dressed.  The description given shows no expense was spared. The colors are of gold, blue, purple, scarlet and fine white linen. Gemstones are added, large enough to engrave the names of the tribes upon. God is particular about how his representatives are dressed.

These instructions of course were for a physical priesthood. The people of Israel would clearly see the special calling of the priests. God provided special clothing for his representatives.

In the New Testament, there is no instruction that apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, elders or teachers should be dressed in any particular way, different from the people around them.  Perhaps this is because basically we are all the same, sinners saved by grace (1). However, the Bible does tell us to honor those placed over us (2), that pastors and elders should receive remuneration as a mark of the honor God places on them, and the work that they do (3). So a distinction is made, not because of any particular personal goodness, but because God honors the office.

When Jesus returns and we are clothed with our spiritual body (4), we will receive garments of white (5). These white garments have a meaning attached to them, the righteousness of the saints (6).

Where does this righteousness come from?  Is it because of the elder's obedience? No, not really. Though pastors and elders are held to high behavioral standards (7), they are human and are not perfect (8).  The righteousness represented by white robes is given to each of us by grace (9).

The righteousness we receive comes through our sins having been forgiven, washed figuratively in the blood of our passover Lamb, Jesus (10).  Just as the blood of the passover lamb, painted on the door posts, protected the Israelites from death (11), similarly we are protected from the consequences of our sins (12) by the blood of Jesus, shed on the Cross for the forgiveness of our sins. Jesus became our passover lamb, the ultimate sacrifice (13).

In the old testament sins were forgiven by a sacrifice (14).  But the blood of animals cannot atone for sin (15). It took the blood of Jesus to accomplish this for us. This is how we receive these robes of righteousness.

"Dear Lord, thank you so much for sending your son Jesus, to become our passover Lamb.  Thank you that because of his sacrifice, I can be forgiven, cleansed of all my sins.  I ask you to forgive me, and give me a robe of righteousness, symbolically cleansed by the blood of the Lamb. Thank you for this fresh start in my life. In Jesus name, amen."

1. Romans 3:10, 23, Ephesians 2:5, 8
2. 1 Peter 2:17
3. 1 Timothy 5:17
4. 1 Corinthians 15:35-44
5. Revelation 6:11, 7:9-14
6. Revelation 19:8
7. 1 Timory 3:1-7
8. Romans 3:10
9. Romans 3:22-24
10. 1 Corinthians 5:7, Revelation 7:14
11. Exodus 12:1-14
12. Romans 6:23, Revelation 1:5
13. 1 Corinthians 5:7
14. Leviticus 4:1-35
15. Isaiah 1:11, Hebrews 10:4

Sunday, January 19, 2020

I'm your God, I'm your Healer!

Exodus 15:26 "If thou wilt diligently hearken to the voice of the LORD thy God, and wilt do that which is right in his sight, and wilt give ear to his commandments, and keep all his statutes, I will put none of these diseases upon thee, which I have brought upon the Egyptians: for I am the LORD that healeth thee."

There is so much sickness on this earth! So many people are ill.  Sickness comes in many forms: physical illness, emotional issues, addictions, basically anything that stops us living a healthy life.

Perhaps you are ill in some way.

In the above verse God is saying he is our healer.  He wants us to be healthy! His intention for us is not that we live in pain or torment or subservient to some kind of addiction.  His people are meant to be healthy!  This verse says that sickness is a punishment for God's enemies, but not for his children.  

So why are we sick?

We live in a fallen world, sin is rampant. Each of us have sinned, so we are a part of this.  Yet God has chosen to call us out of this mess, to become his children.  His children are whole, healthy.  They are not intended to suffer sickness. 

God reaches out to us and says, "I am the Lord that heals you!"

What God has said he will perform. "God is not a man, that he should lie" -Numbers 23:19

So it remains for us to trust that God will follow through on what he has said. His intention for us is that we live in health. We are his special children.  

We can be sure that he will respond when we ask him for the blessing of health, no matter if it be from cancer, hepatitis, diseases that affect our nerves, or other non-health issues such as depression, anxiety or anger. Perhaps we are tormented by demonic issues, God is bigger that that. He says, "I am your healer." Trust him!

"Lord thank you that you have called me into a relationship with you! I am your child. You don't want me to continue living with this illness.  I ask you to do a miracle in my life and that you would remove this affliction! In Jesus name I speak health to my spirit soul and body, and I command anything not of you, Jesus, to leave. I trust you God that you are faithful to perform your word. Thank you. In Jesus name, amen"

Saturday, January 18, 2020

Possibilities, not impossibilities!

Luke 18:27 - "The things which areimpossible with men are possible with God".

Why is it that the mountains in our life often seem impossible to overcome? Why do we so often not reach for the higher goal, something that would stretch us beyond our limits?

Precisely that: we see limitations.  A limitation is like a fence, whether an immovable stone wall, a chain link fence, or deadly razor wire. It keeps us inside, while we see other people operating outside of our fence.

We tell ourselves we are being realistic. But are we? We personally are the ones who have set the limits. We based them on past words and experiences, and decided that was as far as we could go.

But God has a bigger plan for us! He gives us a hope and a future. These are things beyond our personal limitations, outside our fences, beyond what we think we can achieve. The fences have to go!

Our fences are based on our past.  God tells us to leave the past behind. Instead, reaching forward to grasp hold of the future he has planned for us!

Philippians 3:13-14 "Brethren I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus."

"Lord, please forgive me for setting low goals, when you have set all kinds of possibilities before me. Help me to demolish everything that stands in the way between me and your plans for me. I believe that all things are possible with you. I renounce my unbelief! Thank you Jesus! Amen".


Thursday, December 19, 2019

Dealing with change - Part 3 - Implementing the Plan

In previous posts we looked at the need to find direction in our life, then in the last post we discussed making a plan to achieve that goal.

We discussed prayerfully brainstorming the different ways God has used you in the past, and then find threads indicating the gifting and preparation he has given you

This exploration will now indicate the direction God is leading you.

Exploring the subject is not enough however.  We can have a head full of ideas.  We can even have planned a set of goals, long-term and short-term, but if our feet do not walk it out, nothing will be accomplished.  And if nothing is accomplished, we have not been obedient to following the direction God has given us (1).  God expects us to implement the guidance he has given us.

Part 3 - Implement the Plan!

So in today's post we will look at some aspects of actually implementing the plan.

1.  Break it down in detail

The first step to implementing your plan, is to break the plan down into its basic tasks.

For example, if our plan is to build a house, different basic tasks could be identified.  Preparing the blueprints, digging out the building site, pouring concrete for the foundations, building the framework, adding a roof, painting the walls ... you get the idea.

If you feel God is calling you to help people overcome addiction, the basic tasks may include preparing yourself by getting the appropriate education and qualifications, then working alongside an experienced and qualified counselor to acquire sufficient practical experience, then perhaps acquiring the needed credentials.

What other tasks can you think of?  Counting the cost of a project is a biblical principle (2).

2.  Organize these tasks on paper

List these tasks on paper, in the order in which they need to be accomplished.  Add three columns - one to indicate how long each task will take to complete, one column to note the date you plan to start this task, and finally one column to set the expected completion date.

You now have a detailed plan of how to achieve each goal in your plan.

3.  Start acting on your plan, passionately

If God has called you to this, there will be a passion for accomplishing this plan.  This passion is what will motivate you to continue.  There will be times when you do not feel like it, times when there may be opposition.  Your passion will help you to continue despite difficulties.

That passion is translated into action.  You take the first task on the list, and actually do it!  It feels good, it seems like this is what you are meant to be doing!  When that task is complete you place a check mark beside it.  Congratulations!  You have taken the first step.  Then you work through the list, step by step.  Some tasks will be easy to complete, others may take years.  But you are on your way!  Your passion will keep you motivated.

Remember that you asked God for direction.  Trust that the goals you have set, are from him.  As you progress, keep on asking him to direct you (4).  Sometimes there will be alterations in direction.  God is the one who guides us.  Ask for his help as you follow this journey.

Then one day you will look back and recognize you actually accomplished that goal you were passionately working towards (3).  You ran the race and reached the finish line.  You accomplished the goal.  Maybe it is now time to seek further direction, for the next stage of your journey.

Life as a Christian is exciting.  Jesus promised to walk through this with us (5).  He leads us in our journey.  We are never finished until the day we see Jesus face to face and he tells us, "Well done!" (6).

Keep up the good work!

Pastors Gerry and Dianne ><>

1.  John 15:1-8
2.  Luke 14:25-32
3.  2 Timothy 4:7-8
4.  Psalm 37:23
5.  Hebrews 13:5
6.  Matthew 25:23

Saturday, November 9, 2019

Dealing with change - Part 2 - Making a Plan

In our previous post, we looked at the need to involve God in our direction-seeking.  We want to be in sync with God's purposes, not doing our own thing. So the next step is:

Key 2: Make a Plan

So how can we do that?  Here is one suggestion.  Take a sheet of paper and a pencil.

First of all, look at all the ways God has used you in the past.  The gifts and calling of God are without repentance (1).  If God has called you with a gift of compassion for the homeless, this will have been evident in ways you have related to this segment of our community.  Note this down. What other ways has God used you?  Perhaps you have led small groups in church.  Maybe you have a gift for prayer.  Write it down.  Maybe you are an encourager, like Barnabas (2).  Perhaps you are a writer. Add this to your list.  You may enjoy organizing events. Write it down.  There are all kinds of ways God uses us, on a daily basis.  Don't just look for the big things, God appears in our life in the seemingly small things too (3).

Now, consider which of these things bore fruit.  We are not necessarily looking for huge numbers, but think back to events and people and note where God blessed and made an impact.  There is a story about the person who led Billy Graham to Christ.  The story goes that Billy Graham was the only person he ever witnessed to.  If he could only have seen the hundreds of thousands of people who are now part of the Kingdom, through his courage to witness to that one person.  God blessed that interaction.  And he has done so in your life too.  One day we will be astounded at the impact God has had through each of our lives.  So, where has there been lasting fruit (4)

Next, think about in what ways has God prepared you for his purpose?  God's way is to prepare you before he sends you out on your calling.  Like the 12 disciples, Jesus teaches us (5).  We too are disciples, or students.  The Holy Spirit is our teacher (6).  So, in what ways has God been teaching you?  The Holy Spirit leads us in a particular direction (7).  The Spirit gives us a nudge, an interest in finding out more about something.  He places people on our path who encourage our development.  He prepares us.  In which ways do you recognise God preparing you?

All this thought will give you a picture of how God is working in your life.  The gifts and preparation he has given you do not suddenly stop when you complete a particular assignment (1).  Each experience we have grows us and prepares us for the next.  He who is faithful in a little will be faithful in much (8).  God does not waste willing servants. The harvest is plenteous but the  laborers are few (9).

Having looked at all this, then, now you can make a plan.

1. Ask God to direct your heart and thoughts.

Let him direct your planning (10).  We ask this in faith believing for his direction.  Start writing down the thoughts that come to mind. It doesn't matter how sensible or crazy the thought seems to be at this stage, just get it all down on paper.

2.  Find the pattern

Now see how these thoughts tie in with what God has done in your life previously.  Some things seem way out there, and dont seem to connect or grow from past experiences.  Write them on a separate sheet of paper.

The ones that do resonate with past experience may be a further development of what God has gifted you in, and may give you further direction for your future.  You can safely make some plans in implementing these ideas.

The items you wrote on a separate sheet of paper, however, could be new things God wants to do in your life.  Ask God to confirm this for you.  Perhaps he will do this through comments people make to you, perhaps he will offer opportunities for you, perhaps he will speak to you in some other way.  Ask God to make it plain.

3.  Make the plan

Now it will become evident what God is wanting you to do.  This is your big goal. Let's say in 5 years time you want to have accomplished a particular goal.   Think about what would be needed to reach that goal.  This may require intermediate targets.  You could have a target for in 5 years time, 3 years time, 1 years time.  Now break the one year goal down into what you would need to accomplish each quarter or three months.  Then break each quarter down into monthly targets, and then into weekly targets.  This now gives you targets for each week.

What will be needed to reach this week's target?  What resources will be needed? Whom do you need to talk to?  Think it through!  Plan it out!  Get the plan down on paper.  Make a checklist of steps you need to take.

Hopefully this will help you plan to reach a longer term goal. Shorter term goals can be planned for the same way. The important thing is to make the steps as concrete as possible.

Next time we will talk about implementing the plan.

Till next time, be blessed!

Pastors Gerry and Dianne ><>

1.  Romans 11:29
2.  Acts 4:36
3.  Zechariah 4:10, 1 Kings 19:12
4.  John 15:16
5.  Mark 9:31, Luke 11:1
6.  John 14:26
7.  John 16:13
8.  Luke 19:17, 26
9.  Luke 10:2
10.  Jeremiah10:23, Proverbs 16:9

Friday, September 6, 2019

Dealing with Change - Part 1 - Finding Direction

Mid July I retired from a California state prison, where I served as chaplain.  The five years I spent there were transformational for me. Learning to work with inmates was quite different from pastoring a local church.  I poured my heart into it, and loved the contribution I was privileged to make, both for inmates and the institution as a whole.

Two weeks later we had moved out of our house, two more weeks we worked on preparing our fifth wheel, and finally we were more or less ready to hit the road!  So the big adventure finally started, August 17, 2019! (For those who do not know, our plan is to travel North America in our fifth wheel, initially for 12-18 months).

Our mobile home - a 5th wheel!
Our mobile home - a 5th wheel!

This has been quite a transition for both Dianne and myself.  It was like running at 60 mph and then coming to an abrupt stop!  Suddenly, a lot of the structure of life was removed. We miss our ministry at the prison, the busyness of life, we miss having a stationary house with room to put things (!), and the backyard we loved.  We miss the routines we had become settled into, our friends living close by, and the familiarity of our little town, Susanville CA. This does not mean we regret our decision to follow this road, we are excited about our future.  The point is, there has been a lot of change.

But we are not alone.  I think all of us experience change in life.  There are the normal changes that happen, like finishing school, leaving home, getting married, going to college, and so many other things.  Some changes are voluntary, some are involuntary. We may choose to find a better job, with improved prospects or a higher salary. Or we may be downsized, and found ourselves searching for a new position out of necessity.

Change is awkward, and can be difficult to negotiate.  In this series, we are going to look at some keys to dealing with change.  The first and most important key is from where we seek direction.

Key 1:  Find direction

Proverbs tells us: "Without vision the people perish" (1).  We seem to have an inner need for wanting to know where we are going.  But did you know that the word translated vision in this verse, actually has to do with prophetic revelation from God, rather than traditional vision-casting and goal-setting?  We need God to define the direction of our life, not just us making our own plans. Another verse that speaks to this tells us "The steps of a righteous man are ordered by the Lord" (2).  Also, "In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will direct your paths" (3).

So how can we make this practical?  

The initial thing to remember is that wherever we are in our walk with God, when we turn to him, he listens and responds.  

Maybe we have not yet experienced the excitement of seeing God's direct involvement in our activities, and don’t really expect God to listen to us. In these verses God invites us to turn to him, acknowledge him in the things we do, recognize him as who he is, and that we ask him to direct our paths.  

What will this look like?  Whereas before we may have not been all that interested in God, we may now feel a new interest in knowing him better.  We may look back on our life and decide we want our future to be different, more purposeful, honorable, straight. Acknowledging God as being bigger than us, and able to change the direction of our lives, is a starting point.  

On the other hand, maybe we have known God for a while, but are at a loss for which direction to choose, when we face a crossroads.  We want our life direction to be in sync with God's purposes. The starting point in finding out what God's plan is for our life, is to ask him to direct our path.

I used to wonder, how do I know if I am going the direction God has planned for me, or if I am doing things according to my own human wisdom.  A pastor friend gave me some good advice regarding this. If I ask God to direct my paths, then I can trust him that he will do so. So I make decisions as to the direction I need to go, on the basis of trusting that God is directing me.  I also consider what biblical principles are involved, and live a life that is obedient to God. Then I can trust and believe that the Lord is guiding me. There are more things to consider, which we will examine in this short series of posts, but the starting point is to acknowledge God and seek his direction.

The next post is going to be about Making a Plan!  Watch this space!  

On the journey with you,

Pastors Gerry and Dianne ><>

P.S.  If you recognize you need to turn the direction of your life over to God, why don't you pray this simple prayer.  Pray with sincerity and the Lord will listen and respond:

"Dear Father in heaven, thank you for sending your Son Jesus to die on the cross in my place, so that my sins can be forgiven.  I ask you to cleanse me, and wash away my sins.  I surrender my life to you, asking you to direct my steps.  Please send your Holy Spirit to empower me to live the life you have called me to.  I pray this in the name of Jesus.  Amen".

1.  Proverbs 29:18  
2.  Psalm 37:23   3.  Proverbs 3:6

Friday, March 29, 2019

Someone close passed away ...

During the past two weeks, two people very dear to me passed away.  I grieve with their close family, particularly.  It is so painful when a person we love, with whom we have spent countless hours, is suddenly gone out of our life.  The hurt and loneliness is intense.

Though I was not direct family, it hit me more deeply than I expected.  First of all, Dianne's cousin died, suddenly.  I had not had a lot of contact with her and her husband, but the moments we did connect were special.  When he and I met and talked at the funeral last Thursday, the closeness was right back there again.  I grieve and pray with him as he navigates this journey.  Friday evening and Saturday I was rather depressed myself, a natural part of grieving, questioning a lot of things.

Then, a few days later I heard that my former employer had passed away on Sunday, after his second open heart surgery.  It shocked me to my core.  I was not aware of his medical condition.  I had not spoken to him in some time. And yet, it hit me hard. He had been more to me than a boss.  I had always seen him as a brother, both of us being pastors. After I heard of his passing, the words of David after Jonathan his friend had been killed, echoed round and round my head.  "How are the mighty fallen ... I grieve over you, my brother" [1].

During the last couple of days, the new reality has been settling in.  Life is different without these people there.  I am so sorry for those dear ones who are missing Darla and Rick.  I pray for your comfort.

Navigating this week personally, leads me to share with you some Bible scriptures about this subject - what happens when a loved one dies?

First of all, the Bible teaches us that we as human beings consist of spirit, soul and body [2]. The Bible describes our physical body as a tent, a temporary dwelling in which we live [3].  Another way of looking at this is that we are spirit, temporarily housed in a physical body.  When we die, this spirit goes to be with God who gave it [4]. 

The book of Revelation gives us a tiny insight into what our spirit will be like in heaven.  Our spirit will be in God's presence, able to communicate, is given a white robe to wear, will sing praise to God, is waiting for the resurrection [5].

When Jesus returns to this earth [6], the dead in Christ will be raised first, with a new glorious spiritual body [7], we who are alive will be changed, and together we will meet Jesus as he descends to this earth [8].  This is when we will be reunited with our loved ones.

There will be no more tears, pain and hurt.  The old things will have passed away [9].

Our loved ones have not departed for ever, rather we will be reunited with them and then spend eternity together, serving our Lord and King who loved us with such an amazing grace!

I pray that these words will bring you comfort as they do me, as we navigate our personal journeys of grief.

1.  2 Samuel 1:17-27
2.  1 Thessalonians 5:23
3.  2 Corinthians 5:1-4
4.  Ecclesiastes 12:7
5.  Revelation 6:9-117.  Revelation 7:9-17
6.  Zechariah 14:3-4, Acts 1:9-11
7.  1 Corinthians 15:51-53, 40-44
8.  1 Thessalonians 4:13-18
9.  Revelation 21:1-5, 22:1-5

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Getting to Know God

Good morning!  I want to share about something that has been on my heart for a while.  Actually, for a very long time.

When I was a 12-year-old whippersnapper, I read through the story of Abraham as described in Genesis.  I was captivated by the fact that not only did Abraham talk to God, but God actually spoke back to him!  This communication was so clear that Abram (his birthname) was prepared to leave his urban house in Ur (with hot and cold water and indoor plumbing), to go live in a tent on a one-way trek through the desert.  Without asking for confirmations (like Gideon), or dillydallying along the way.  He just did it!

God's communication must have been crystal clear.

This birthed in my heart a hunger to have this same kind of communication with God.  For a long time, this was swept under the rug, I was not in an environment where you did this.  Age 45, however, there was a huge change in my spiritual walk.  God broke through with truth, and a lot of the cobwebs were swept aside.  I learned that there were actually a lot of people who heard from God.  I started to read books about the subject, and learned to quieten myself down and be open and listening actively for God's communication.

This then started a search for God, wanting to know Him deeper and deeper.  Believe me, there have been many ups and downs along this journey, I do not consider myself particularly special, with the exception that I have a unique set of fingerprints!  However the Holy Spirit continued to carry me on, along this quest to know God. I am still on this quest.  I pray that maybe you will be inspired by my experiences, and have an amazing testimony of your own, getting to know our heavenly Father in a whole new way!

Have a blessed day!

Friday, December 14, 2018

Prepare for Battle

We are preparing for Christmas! We celebrate the birth of Jesus as a human being. Babies seem so peaceful and calm. Yet even at Jesus first coming, the enemy sought to destroy Him, the Savior of the world [1].  The Advent, or Coming of Jesus is accompanied by spiritual warfare.

Jesus birth however, was only one of two Comings prophesied.

We are on the verge of Jesus second Advent! And this Coming will be accompanied with a cataclysmic battle which will dwarf anything we have ever seen.  It will be the ultimate battle between good and evil!

At this time, the realm of darkness including Satan and his demons will be ranged alongside mankind's society in actively opposing the second Coming of the Messiah. This opposition has already started.  This is a time of Satan's wrath, and he makes war on the church [2].

Christians will be on Messiah's side. We fight against Satan. But we are only a little flock, we do not have great power of our own. We need God and His angels to fight on our behalf [3]. We stand and watch as Jesus overcomes the enemy of our souls.

The enemy is out for our destruction. Right now he is plotting how to take us down.  But we are on the Lord's side [4]. And He will ensure our victory.  God is faithful, and will not allow the enemy to succeed [5].

But time is running out. It is timeprepare for this cataclysmic battle, which will be global as well as personal. It is time to make ourselves ready.

1. Revelation 12:4
2. Revelation 12:12
3. Exodus 14:14
4. Exodus 32:26
5. Psalm 121

Thursday, December 6, 2018

There is Hope!

Around 540 BC Cyrus had issued his edict allowing the Jews to return to their homeland, thus bringing to an end their 70 years of exile.

They had gone back in joy, looking forward to a time of restoration, a new beginning and a fresh start to their lives.

They recognized their sins had led to their captivity, and were determined never to fall into that trap again.  So in an effort to get things right, they set themselves lots of rules, to ensure their obedience to God's laws.

These rules became a burden God never intended them to carry.  The rules took the joy out of their newfound relationship with their Creator.  Rules and legalism were never how God wanted to relate to His people.  Why?

Because when there are rules, we break them.  As human beings, we live in imperfection, and we sin.

And sin is bad.  Bad for us.  Bad for the people around us.  And bad for our relationship with God.  Sin separates us from our Creator.

So even though the Jews desperately wanted to turn a new leaf, their quest was hopeless.  They just did not have it in them to stay the course.

God however had a different view of this seemingly impossible situation.

Thousands of years before, He had decided to become one of us.  In doing so, He would make it possible for mankind to once again have a relationship with Him.

By becoming one of us, He would experience what it was like to have to fight against sin, day in, day out.  He would not give in to this temptation, though.  The consequence of sin is death.  As He did not sin, He did not need to die.  He chose to die for us instead.  He would pay the price on our behalf.

This would then restore mankind's relationship with God.

He would give us hope!

So, centuries later, the angel Gabriel appeared to Mary, and told this precious young lady that she was going to become pregnant when the Holy Spirit came upon her.  That the child she would bear was to be the Savior of the world.  That through faith in Him, our sins could be forgiven.

Instead of living a life without hope, we now have a hope that overcomes all sin, all separation from God, all pain and hurt that follows from sin.

As Paul says, "Death where is your sting!"  We now have hope for an eternity in intimate relationship with our God.  Hallelujah!

Thank you Jesus for leaving heaven, and your magnificent glory, to become one of us.  Because in you is hope!  

Saturday, December 1, 2018


Welcome to Healing Shepherd Ministries!

Dianne and I started this ministry in 2003, when the Lord was making it abundantly clear that He was sending us out to bring His healing to the broken.

There are so many broken people out there.

People who have suffered loss, people who are experiencing pain and sorrow.  Perhaps that special person has gone, through whatever circumstance, and now we are on our own.  Sometimes we have brought things on ourselves.  Sometimes we seem like a victim of the world's ugliness. 

Jesus says to us, "Come to me, all you that labor and are heavy-laden and I will give you rest." (Matthew 11:28).  He says, "... He has anointed me to preach the [good news] to the poor, he has sent me to heal the broken-hearted ..." (Luke 4:18).

This is the starting point.  

We try all kinds of ways to deal with broken hearts and lives.

Alcohol, drugs, sex.

Each of these has its own hell of torment.  It looks attractive at first, but then it swallows us up. Until we break down and recognize it is not the answer.

"Come to me and I will give you rest."

Jesus is the answer.  He is the one who heals the broken-hearted.  He came to bring healing into your life too.  Sometimes he touches us and we receive healing instantly.  Other times there are things we have to do, to receive his touch.  

Things like turning away from our sin, surrendering ourselves to Him, being willing to be obedient.

But it is worth it.  He offers us rest.

If you want your life to be different, pray this prayer:

"Dear Lord Jesus, thank you that you paid the price for me, a sinner.  You died and gave Your life, so that my sins could be forgiven.  Would you please forgive me for my sins, whatever they may have been.  I realize that nothing is too big for you to forgive.  Please remove my guilt.  I need a fresh beginning.  I need your rest.  Thank you that you have not given up on me.  In Jesus' name, amen."

You may have prayed this prayer before, and later turned away from God.  No matter what has happened, no matter what you have done, or where you have gone, it is never too late to turn back.  Jesus heals the broken.

It is amazing to have a fresh start!

Pastor Gerry