Sunday, August 2, 2020

Worship 8.2.2020 - Why do I sin? (Part 1)

















Worship Service 8.2.2020


Join with us in worshiping our Savior King!


Cornerstone - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QvLxZEU02uI  

Savior King - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ljxi1_Eo48w  

I will rise (Chris Tomlinson) - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fa8w7mGug0c  

10,000 reasons / Bless the Lord  -  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DXDGE_lRI0E  

I surrender  -  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s7jXASBWwwI  




Why do I sin (Part 1)?

August 2, 2020

Roman's 5:2


Oh no! Not again! I felt ashamed! I had been trying so hard to conquer this sin, but I had tumbled again! It seemed the harder I tried, the more I failed!


I just didn't understand. I had surrendered my life to Jesus. Yet I kept messing up. I felt worse than worthless, I must be such a disappointment to God. My life seemed to be a never ending cycle of doing the wrong thing, feeling terrible, saying I was sorry, and trying again.


Why is it that we as Christians, keep on sinning? 


Surely if I surrendered my life to Jesus, my life would be pure and holy?  Doesn't 1 John 3:9 tell us that as a Chritian, I cannot sin? "Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God." Does this mean I am not a Christian?


Today we are going to take a brief look at the subject of the origin of sin. 


INNOCENCE LOST


Where did sin come from? Adam and Eve were created perfect. They were as innocent as a new born baby. There was no sin in the garden of Eden. God created man and woman and looked back and said, "That's good! In fact, that's very good!" (Genesis 1:26, 31). God was close to Adam, talked with him and all was well.


Until the day Satan, in the guise of a snake, slithered into the garden, and lied to Eve. Eve fell for the deception, Adam caved in, and sin entered the world (Romans 5:12). 


A FALLEN NATURE


From that time forward, mankind has had a fallen nature. Theologically, this is the doctrine of the Depravity of Man. 


Because man has this sinful nature, he is incapable of being pure and sinless. We have all sinned (Romans 3:23). Ugh! In fact, our fallen nature hates God! It hates God, and loves sin (Romans 8:7). Sin leads to death (Roman's 6:23). Consequently, this fallen nature is spiritually dead (Ephesians 2:1, Colossians 2:13).


THE CURE FOR SIN


These events though, did not take God by surprise. Even before the creation (Revelation 13:8), it had been foreordained that God in the form of Jesus would pay the price for sin, so our sins could be forgiven. He sent Jesus to become human like us (John 3:16-17), to die in our place, so the penalty for our sins could be paid.


When a person turns to God in repentance, and asks for forgiveness, God responds, and blots out their sin (1 John 1:9). Their sins are forgiven. This is the state of the Christian. 


SAVING GRACE


We call this saving grace, because even the desire to repent is initiated by God (Roman's 2:4). God gives us forgiveness as a sovereign gift. We may try to be obedient,  but even if I lived a sinless day today, that would not remove yesterday's sin. Forgiveness is a free gift from God. It is grace (Romans 5:15). We earned guilt by sinning, we receive forgiveness as an undeserved gift.


So, as a Christian, we have been forgiven. We live in a state of grace. 


This is why 1 John 3:9 tells us we cannot sin. When we surrendered to Jesus, we entered this state of grace. We no longer desire to live a life of sin. Our desire now is to be pleasing to God, instead of hating anything to do with him. In that sense, we cannot sin, we no longer live in a state of sin. 


"Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin." (Romans 4:8). It is not our personal righteousness or purity. Instead, God imputes the righteousness of Jesus, to us.


This does not mean that we do not sin. When we do sin, we repent, ask for forgiveness and get back up again. "For a just man falleth seven times, and riseth up again: but the wicked shall fall into mischief." (Proverbs 24:16).


Next time we will look at what actually happens when we become a Christian! There is a huge change that happens! Understanding this, will make all the difference in how we see our Christian journey!


Have a blessed day!


Pastor Gerry

Sunday, July 26, 2020

Worship 7.26.2020 - Hope for Today and Forever!
















WORSHIP SERVICE - July 26, 2020

Relax, listen and worship with us today!





Be Thou my Vision  -  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Optrm7lF16s  

Let it Rain/Healing Rain  -  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ccoIvchSJB0  

Shout to the Lord  -  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tk5yLJbQCbI  




Hope for Today and Forever!

July 26, 2020

Psalm 38:15


INTRODUCTION


Susanville is a small but important town in the northeast of California. Dianne and I lived there ten years, as pastors and prison chaplain. It breaks our heart that the Hogg wildfire is threatening the safety of our friends, and the town as a whole.


At the same time, the coronavirus is hitting the local prisons, and from there, is spreading into the community. People are scared of what is happening.


It is a tough time for Susanville. 


But it is a hard time for much of the country as well! People are angry because of centuries of racial injustice, anxious about the possibility of contracting a tiny but deadly virus, worried about financial survival, depression is on the rise, suicides are up, and people are in pain! 


Is there hope for the future?


Today we are going to see that there is indeed!  There is hope!


BODY


First of all, what do we mean by hope?


Faith and hope are closely aligned. Perhaps we could say that hope is a longing for something or some event. And that faith adds substance to that longing in the form of confidence that the anticipated event will definitely occur.


"Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." - Hebrews 11:1


"Hope deferred makes the heart sick: but when the desire comes, it is a tree of life." - Proverbs 13:12


There are three forms of hope that can change our entire perspective on what is going on around us.


Hope for positive change


God is in the restoration business. 


God's intention for us is that we experience good! Jesus tells us, "The thief comes not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly." - John 10:10


When Jesus started his ministry he quoted from Isaiah to outline his mission, his manifesto: "The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to preach the gospel (good news) to the poor; he has sent me to heal the brokenhearted,  to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty  them that are bruised, To preach the acceptable year of the Lord." - Luke 4:18-19


Jesus's ministry was characterized by preaching the good news of the kingdom of God, that a new day was dawning, and that those who believed could experience change, even in this life. 


He brought healing to the broken hearted, those enduring suffering and mental anguish, those going through grief and depression, anxiety and emotional pain.


He preached deliverance to the captives, those in held in chains of suffering by the enemy, Satan. He commanded demons to leave, he declared freedom in people's lives, he broke the powers of darkness over suffering individuals.


Jesus preached or decreed recovery of sight to the blind. He did not just heal blind people, but all manner of sicknesses (Matthew 4:23). Sickness was not God's intention for his creation, it came as a result of the Fall. When people turn to him, he offers healing in the physical realm. 


"Is any sick among you? Let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord: And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up …" - James 5:14-15


He sets at liberty those that are bruised.  People with emotional wounds need healing. We have a nation of walking wounded. People who have been betrayed, abused, taken advantage of. People who have seen things no human was meant to see. People who have witnessed the atrocities of war. The pain of seeing a loved one die of cancer, an inch at a time. The pain of being violated as children. The trauma of witnessing death and suffering in our hospital wards and on the roads, and as a first responder, the horror of finding charred bodies in the wake of a wildfire. Jesus says he provides healing for the bruised among us.


And he says he never changes.  He healed in the past, he heals today (Malachi 3:6, Hebrews 13:8)


Hope for life after death


Many of us have experienced the pain of loss of a loved one. It leaves an indelible mark on us, as we experience walking alone where our journey has heretofore been shared.  This pain can feel overwhelming, like a part of you has been ripped out, like a cloud of painful darkness all around us.


Yes, we have lost the most precious person in our life. They have gone, and we must now find our way to continue our journey. But we have hope that we will see them again.  Here are some verses.


"If a man die, shall he live again? All the days of my appointed time will I wait, till my change comes." - Job 14:14


"But i would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that you sorrow not, like others which have no hope. … For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel,  and with the trumpet of God: and the dead in Christian 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. Wherefore comfort one another with these words." - 1 Thessalonians 4:13, 16-18


There is hope for life after death, we will be reunited with our loved ones!


There is another hope we have as well, if we are honest with ourselves.


Hope for relationship


"As Vice President, George Bush represented the U.S. at the funeral of former Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev. Bush was deeply moved by a silent protest carried out by Brezhnev's widow. She stood motionless by the coffin until seconds before it was closed. Then, just as the soldiers touched the lid, Brezhnev's wife performed an act of great courage and hope, a gesture that must surely rank as one of the most profound acts of civil disobedience ever committed: She reached down and made the sign of the cross on her husband's chest. 


"There in the citadel of secular, atheistic power, the wife of the man who had run it all hoped that her husband was wrong. She hoped that there was another life, and that that life was best represented by Jesus who died on the cross, and that the same Jesus might yet have mercy on her husband." - Gary Thomas, in Christianity Today, October 3, 1994, p. 26.


There is an emptiness in the human soul.  Man was created with a deep inner need for God.  We have attempted to satisfy this hunger with toys, with drugs, with sexual addiction, with money with power and control.  


Unfortunately, each of these is only a pale, anemic, temporary substitute for the one thing that will truly satisfy our need. What we need is a dynamic relationship with our Creator, resulting in peace, knowing we are right with him.


How can we insignificant people even dare to seek such an audacious relationship?


That relationship has already been initiated by our Creator!  John tells us, "We love him, because he first loved us" - 1 John 4:19.  "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." - John 3:16


God invites us into a no holds barred relationship!  He adopts us as his children (Romans 8:15, 1 John 3:1-2), with all the selfless love that goes along with that!  He sent Jesus to die, to remove the barrier of sin between him and us.  Wow! And he stands ready to welcome us (Luke 15:20). Through Jesus, we have hope for relationship with our Creator.


So how do we reciprocate?  It comes down to this: we surrender our life to him. Without him, we are empty.  But when he comes, he imparts fresh life!


Thank Jesus for making this relationship possible. Ask him to forgive your sins. Ask him to be your personal Lord and Savior. Determine to follow him, the rest of your life!


"If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." - 1 John 1:9


Jesus tells you, "... Him that comes to me I will in no wise cast out." - John 6:37


"Come unto me, all year that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest." - Matthew 11:28


"Lord, I come to you and I surrender my life to you. Please forgive me for all my sins.  Thank you for dying on a cross, paying the price on my behalf. I welcome you as my Lord and Savior. In Jesus name,  amen."


If you just prayed this prayer from your heart, you now have a relationship with your Creator! You now have hope for the future, a hope that carries you through all the good times and bad times, knowing that there are better times ahead, in this life, and in the eternity beyond.


Walking the journey with you. Have a blessed day!


Pastor Gerry


PS: If you have any comments to make on this service, or if you made a decision for Jesus today, please feel free to write to us at healingshepherd@yahoo.com. If you have anything you would like us to pray for, please email us. We commit to bring your requests before the Lord who loves you, more than you can imagine! Love you!


Way Maker  -  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=26jEkcGtFlM  


Tuesday, July 21, 2020

Focus, focus, focus!


It was way back in my teens.


My family had moved areas, and consequently I had to change schools.  The school I was leaving was behind on teaching the state curriculum, while the school I was now attending was ahead.  This left a considerable gap in curriculum that I had not been taught.  The consequence of this was that my grades plummeted.


What could I do to turn this situation around?


I realized this was going to take hard work.  I had to double down on the subjects in which I was behind, and study curriculum on my own.


In short, I had to focus.


God knows we need to focus.


Matthew 6:33 “Seek ye first the Kingdom of God, and his righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you.”


Hebrews 12:1-2 “... let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which does so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith …”


Matthew 6:24 “No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one and love the other; or else he will hold to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon (wealth).”


So, what is the focus of my life?


Is the focus of my activities, God and obedience to him? Or is my focus on the cares of this world?


God says, if I center my life on him, he will take care of my needs.  God has the power to provide for his children, and what father would withhold provision from his family (Matthew 7:9-11)?


We are in an unfamiliar world right now.  The covid pandemic has turned our lives upside down.  Some of us may have contracted the virus.  Others may have family who are suffering.  We may have lost our employment.  We may be wondering about how to make ends meet.  We may be anxious.


But God says, don’t be anxious about tomorrow.  Because he is in control.  He knows our needs, and he loves his own.


Does this mean we don't need to work and take care of our families?


No, Paul tells us in 1 Timothy 5:8, if we do not take care of our family, we have denied the faith and are worse than an infidel.  So there is a balance we need to achieve in this.


However, our overwhelming focus needs to be on spiritual things, our relationship with God, not on things of this life (Colossians 3:14). Ultimately, that relationship is the treasure we seek, not physical riches.


God will take care of us.


Not just in this life, but for all eternity.  


He has prepared a place in heaven for each of his own. Nothing can happen to us that God has not allowed for or prepared for (John 14:1-3).  His purpose for our life will be fulfilled.  There is no need to fear.


Our part is to keep our focus on him.  And he will take care of us.

Sunday, June 21, 2020

Would you like a do-over?

Have you ever wished you could have a do-over?

Life throws us curve balls, things happen, and we are not satisfied, either with ourself or our circumstances.  Looking back, we may wish we could have grown up in a different place, a different family, perhaps more affluence, better school, etc.  

Of course wishing will never make anything happen.  It is good to review occasionally, even regularly, with a view to managing the path of our future.  If we want to change our future, action will be required.

Let's explore this a little.

What things do we wish had been different?  Here are some ideas:
  • Perhaps home was not a happy place.  We wish we grew up in a different family.
  • Perhaps we grew up in poverty.
  • Maybe school was a bad experience - I'm thing of deeper stuff here than whether or not we liked the classes we took.
  • Maybe we did things, or made choices in the past, that we wish we could change
  • Those words we said to our wife, husband, son or daughter.  We wish we could somehow take them back.
We cannot undo what happened in the past.  

That thing I said twenty years ago, has happened.  I cannot change this fact.  It is indelibly recorded in history.  The choices I made in my history have ongoing repercussions in my present and future.  I would like to keep the good things of my past, but somehow erase the negative things.

You know, such an erasing is possible.  In fact it is offered to each of us.

No matter what the things we have done or said, Jesus stands ready to forgive us.  

"Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be white as snow" Isaiah 1:18.  
"You will cast all their sins into the depths of the sea" Micah 7:19.
"Purge me with hyssop (soap), and I shall be clean: wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow" Psalm 51:7
"As far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us" Psalm 103:12
"Repent (turn from your sin) ye therefore, and be converted (changed), that your sins may be blotted out" Acts 3:19

Our sins can be blotted out, because Jesus paid the price for us.  Why don't you pray the following prayer with us?

"Lord Jesus, thank you for dying on a cross for me, so that my sins could be forgiven.  Would you please forgive and blot out my sins.  I welcome you into my life as my Savior and Lord.  In Jesus name, Amen."

When we take this step, Jesus starts to transform our life, giving us purpose and a future, both in this life and the life to come.  Amazing!

Sunday, June 14, 2020

Reacting to provocation ...

INTRODUCTION

On the news the last couple of weeks we have watched scenes of unprecedented violence and anger.  Shops have been looted, property vandalized and destroyed, and anger has boiled over into full-scale riots.  The event that precipitated this violence, was the tragic murder of George Floyd.  The perpetrator will be facing the courts and hopefully will never again be in a position to repeat his crime. The way in which the mobs reacted though, was totally out of proportion and indiscriminate.  These riots are an example of out of control anger and rage.

Anger affects all of us.  It is an emotion we all experience, at one time or another.  Hopefully we do not express our anger in the way the news has portrayed recently, but it is normal to experience this emotion, from time to time.

So today we are going to take a look at the issue of anger, examining what it is and how to deal with it.

WHAT IS ANGER?

Here are some definitions of anger:

"Anger is a natural, though sometimes unwanted or irrational, emotion that everybody experiences from time to time. Anger experts describe the emotion as a primary, natural emotion which has evolved as a way of surviving and protecting yourself from what is considered a wrong-doing."  https://www.skillsyouneed.com/ps/anger.html

"Anger is one of the basic human emotions, as elemental as happiness,happiness, sadness, anxiety or disgust. These emotions are tied to basic survival and were honed over the course of human history."  https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/basics/anger 

Anger is a basic emotion God gave us.  There is nothing wrong with this emotion of itself.  Where it goes bad, is in how we express our anger.  It can be expressed in a good way or a bad way.  Throwing rocks through store front windows, or beating someone up are obviously not the way God wanted us to use this emotion.

Ephesians  4:26 tells us "Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath".  The Greek word orgizo used for 'angry' in this verse refers to being provoked or aroused to anger.  We have no control over other people.  People provoke us, get under our skin.  It is not sinful for us to become provoked by someone's actions or words.  Where the sin comes in, is in how we now deal with this.

So how should we deal with anger?

HOW WE CAN MANAGE ANGER

1.  Manage the anger

At one level, we can be aware of when anger is escalating.  We can notice what is happening in our body: is our heart beating faster, does our face feel flushed, are we breathing faster, are our muscles tensing up?  These are all ways in which the body is preparing for a possible confrontation, our in-built "fight or flight" mechanism.

When we recognize our danger signals, it is time to act. We make a choice to allow the anger to build up.  Or we choose to not go down that route. It is all about choices we make.

There are things we can do to de-escalate.  The first one is, be watching our reactions.  This in itself slows the process down.  Secondly, we can choose to create space between ourself and the person provoking us.  Later, when we have cooled down, we can go back to the person and talk things over more calmly.  In talking with them, do not judge them or impute motives.

2.  What Would Jesus Do (WWJD)?

At a deeper level, think about how God would want you to react.  Would God want you to cause harm to a fellow human being?  Would He want you to retaliate, rebel against the government, destroy property, become angry and violent?

What does it say about Jesus?  "He was oppressed and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth ... as a sheep before her shearers is dumb (silent), so he opened not his mouth" (Isaiah 53:7).

Jesus told us "Blessed are the peacemakers" (Matthew 5:9)

Fruits of the Spirit include "love, joy, peace, long-suffering (patience), gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance" (Galatians 5:22-23)

So, we can choose to not react angrily to provocation, but instead think of the other person as a fellow human being, made in God's image just as we were. They are deserving of our love and kindness, just as God has shown us that same love.

Notice that I have not discussed the rightness or wrongness of the other person's position.  Our reaction as a Christian is not determined by the nature of someone else's provocation. It does not matter who they are, or even if they are Christian or not.  We unilaterally decide to react in a Christian manner, no matter how much we may feel provoked.

In this way we follow Jesus' example, walking in his steps.

CONCLUSION

In the face of all the chaos and confusion around us, it is our job as Christians to show the way.  We are to be lights in the world, not stumbling around in the darkness.  There is hope for humanity, and we are privileged to share it!  Jesus is alive and well, and cares about every human being on this planet, whether they know him yet or not.


Wednesday, May 6, 2020

Our besetting sin?

"Leaving behind the sin that so easily besets us" (Hebrews 12:1)

Do you have a sin that so easily besets you? A sin that you fall into time and time again? Is it time to lay down that weight and hindrance in your walk with God?

King David had such a besetting sin. That sin was lust. In 2nd Samuel 11 and 12, we are told about an incident in David's life when he caved in to the sin of lust. It is the story of David's adultery with Bathsheba, and the sins committed in attempting to cover it up, deception, betrayal, murder.

Many of us have a problem with lust. Here are some startling statistics about pornography:


  • 25% of search engine requests are related to sex
  • 35% of downloads from the internet are pornographic
  • 40 million Americans say they regularly visit porn sites
  • 70% of men aged 18 to 24 visit a porn site at least once per month
  • The largest consumer group of online porn is men between the ages of 35 and 49
  • One-third of all internet porn users are women
  • Sunday is the most popular day of the week for viewing porn (https://www.therecoveryvillage.com/process-addiction/porn-addiction/related/pornography-statistics/#gref)
  • 55% of married men say they watch porn at least once a month, compared to 70% of not married men. 
  • The following percentages of men say they view pornography at least several times a week:
  • 18-30-year-olds, 63%
  • 31-49-year-olds, 38%
  • 50-68-year-olds, 25% (http://www.provenmen.org/2014pornsurvey/)

David's incident with Bathsheba was not isolated. It was the culmination of years of sexual self-gratification. David's first wife was Michal. Then he married Abigail, then Ahinoam. Then followed Maacah, Haggith, Abital, Eglah (2 Samuel 3:2-5). This was while David still lived in Hebron, during his first seven and a half years as king over Judah (2 Samuel 2:11). He took even more women as wives and concubines when he reigned from Jerusalem (2 Samuel 5:13). David was never satisfied sexually. David had a problem with lust.

Gods intention for us is that a man would have only one wife, to whom we would cleave and have a faithful close relationship, until death do us part (Genesis 2:24, Malachi 2:14-16, Matthew 19:5, Ephesians 5:31-33, 1 Timothy 3:2, 12, 1 Timothy 5:9, Titus 1:6).  When we disregard this, like David did, it has repercussions.  

This is why it is so important that we confess our sin, and repent to God for having broken God's marriage laws, and damaged our relationships till it has become the norm to divorce and remarry.  This is not God's way. His way is the way of repentance and reconciliation, not abandonment.

"Lord, please forgive us for being unfaithful to the wife of our youth, and for having indulged in sexual addiction.  Please forgive us and cleanse our minds and hearts. In Jesus name. Amen."

Saturday, May 2, 2020

Worship With Us! - May 3, 2020

Good morning everyone!  The weather is great, and we have a chance to worship together, on our laptop, phone, tablet or TV!

Join with us as we worship the God who is totally in control of this planet,  including out of control viruses!


Let it Rain - Michael W Smith - 

Do it Again - Elevation - 

What a Beautiful Name/Break Every Chain - Hillsong Worship - 


MESSAGE

Title:          Dealing with my anger
Scripture: Ephesians 4:26
Date:          May 3, 2020

INTRODUCTION
  • "A father of three won a shouting contest with a roar louder than a passing train. "If you want a war, you go!" Yoshihiko Kato shouted. The sound meter registered 115.8 decibels, louder than the racket of a train passing overhead on an elevated railroad. For that winning shout, Kato won the $750 grand prize of the 10th annual Halls Year-End Loud Voice Contest. Kato admitted that he probably built up his loud voice shouting at his children."  (Resource, Jan/Feb 1991)
  • How many of us can echo this story?  
  • How many of us have a problem with anger?
  • Statistics don't lie.  "Asked about their feelings the previous day, the majority of Americans (55%) in 2018 said they had experienced stress during a lot of the day, nearly half (45%) said they felt worried a lot and more than one in five (22%) said they felt anger a lot." (https://news.gallup.com/poll/249098/americans-stress-worry-anger-intensified-2018.aspx
  • These statistics indicate anger is a stated problem to over one in five Americans. Let  alone those who were not willing to admit to the issue.  Another statistic says that around one in three people knows someone who has an anger problem 
  • This morning we are going to examine the problem of anger 
WHAT IS ANGER?
  • Anger is a normal and natural emotion which can be triggered in different ways.
  • "Common roots of anger include fear, pain and frustration.  For example, some people become angry as a fearful reaction to uncertainty, to fear of losing a job, or to fear of failure. Others become angry when they are hurt in relationships or are caused pain by close friends"(http://www.markmerrill.com/3-ways-to-get-to-the-root-of-anger 
  • Anger itself is not a sin. It is how we express that emotion that could be sinful.
  • "Be ye angry and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath: Neither give place to the devil." (Ephesians 4:26)
  • We can choose to ignore the emotion anger.  But if we do this, it stays there, pent up inside.  
  • "Whenever we ignore or bury an emotion, it is buried alive. At some time and in some way, that ignored or buried emotion will express itself – physically, psychologically, or spiritually.” (http://www.markmerrill.com/3-ways-to-get-to-the-root-of-anger/)
  • Situations continue, more anger is triggered, till the pent up emotion explodes like a volcano, hurting ourselves and the people around us.  That is not God's way to deal with anger. God is a God of love, uncontrolled anger is selfish.
SO HOW CAN WE DEAL WITH ANGER?
  • Reacting angrily results in hurt feelings, pain and damaged relationships. 
  • This is not the way God would have us respond to others
  • God's way will be one that is based in love for the other person. 
  • The initial emotion of anger, however, is usually a defense against 1) the object of our fear, 2) the source of our pain, or 3) the reason for our frustration. It is not motivated by love for the other.
  • So how can we deal with these triggers?
  • 1. Replace fear with love
  • "Perfect love casts out fear" (1 John 4:18)
  • When we are afraid of someone, our thoughts are centered on ourselves and how we feel. Fear is selfish. We may think the fear is justified, but ultimately it is all about me.
  • God's love on the other hand is outgoing, totally selfless. 
  • John here tells us if we truly love the other person we will not be afraid of them. "He that fears is not made perfect in love"(1 John 4:18)
  • So, learn to love the other. See them the way God sees them. See them as a brother, not an adversary.
  • 2. Forgive and let go of the source of our pain
  • There is so much hurt and pain. 
  • Many of us experienced the pain of abuse while growing up. 
  • This pain led to us building walls to prevent that pain happening again.  Our anger is a way we protect ourselves.
  • But ultimately, that anger hurts us more than the other person. It robs us of inner peace, it robs us of relationships that could have been, and it robs us of our health.
  • Gods way for us to deal with the pain, is to forgive the one who hurt us, and then let that debt go. (Matthew 6:12, 5:43-45, 18:21-35)
  • This then enables us to move on with our life. We no longer need to be angry at that person.
  • 3. Recognize others are answerable to God, not us.
  • Frustration with others usually comes from us expecting them to see things the same way we do.
  • This however is unreasonable. 
  • Each person has their own family background,  their own set of experiences, which created their own perspectives and frame of thinking.
  • We can't expect them to see everything the way we do.
  • Ultimately, they are answerable to God, not us.
  • "Who are you that judges another man's servant? to his own master he stands or falls." (Roman's 14:4)
HOW CAN I MANAGE ANGER?
  • "Abraham Lincoln's secretary of war,  Edwin Stanton, was angered by an army officer who accused him of favoritism.  Stanton complained to Lincoln, who suggested that Stanton write the officer a sharp letter.  Stanton did so, and showed the strongly worded missive to the president.  "What are you going to do with it?" Lincoln inquired.  Surprised, Stanton replied, "Send it." Lincoln shook his head. "You dont want to send that letter," he said. "Put it in the stove. That's what I do when I have written a letter while I am angry. It's a good letter and you had a good time writing it and feel better. Now burn it, sand write another." (Today in the Word, February 1991, p. 9.)
  • Another way you can manage anger is to delay your reaction. You can do this by taking a walk, do some gardening, watch a movie. Just dont respond in the heat of the moment.
  • Another way is to sit down and list the other person's good qualities and actions, so you see them in perspective
  • Finally, think about long term consequences.  Do you really want to risk destroying a relationship? 
CONCLUSION
  • Each of us is able to control our anger
  • We are able to manage our tongue and respond to other people around us with love and consideration. 
  • We are able to deal with people Gods way. 
  • We may feel this is asking too much. 
  • God says "The things which are impossible with men are possible with God" (Luke 18:27)
  • You can do this! Be encouraged!
PRAYER
  • "Lord, please help me as I face my anger and learn to react to it in the way you would. Thank you that all things are possible with you. In Jesus name, amen."

Friday, May 1, 2020

Christians and Politics ...

"Touch not mine anointed, and do my prophets no harm." (1 Chronicles 16:22)

In context, this verse is speaking of God protecting his chosen people, he fights on their behalf. God's people are to be looked out for more than the ungodly (1). God takes care of his own. Is this because these people are somehow better than the rest? No, we all sin. Every child of God sins. The Christian however has surrendered to God and his sins are forgiven, blotted out. This is as opposed to the ungodly who will die in their sins, and reap the consequences of their actions (2). When a person turns to God in repentance, they receive an anointing (3).  This means they are set apart, for God's purpose (4). So there is an anointing on the Christian. The Christian thus is under God's protection.

There is another category of people who also are under God's protection. This category is those people God has set over us to rule us (5). Governing leaders are placed over us by God. We may not be totally aware of this, but God takes an active interest in our politics. God in fact decides who our rulers will be (6). We may think it is our choice through the democratic process, but ultimately God decides who will be in charge over us (7).  Our rulers may or may not be Christian. They may be good rulers or evil.  God however has placed them over us. As such, they have a specific purpose in God's plan. David recognized this when he had the opportunity to get rid of king Saul, and remembered the verse which says "touch not mine anointed" (8). Even Paul recognized this after having been slapped across the face by the high priest, when he quoted "you shall not speak evil of the ruler of your people" (9).

So as Christians we should respect those God has placed over us. In fact, we should pray for them. This applies to all those in authority over us (10).  King, governor, employer. Whether they are good or evil.

"Lord God, who reigns supreme over all authority and power, we ask that you would lead and guide those you have set over us. Help them make wise choices and create and maintain an environment where your worship can flourish. Thank you Jesus. Amen"

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NOTES
1. Galatians 6:10
2. Ezekiel 3:18-21
3. 1 John 2:27
4. 1 Peter 2:9
5. Romans 13:1-7
6. Daniel 2:21, 37
7. Daniel 4:32
8. 1 Chronicles 16:22
9. Acts 23:5
10. 1 Peter 2:13-18

Monday, April 27, 2020

God's love inside us - Matthew 14:14

Matt 14:14 "Jesus went forth, and saw a great multitude, and was moved with compassion toward them, and he healed their sick."

If we want to be used by God to do mighty things, it has to start inside us. The impetus to heal starts with compassion inside, empathy for people in their hurt and pain. This is not something you can "fake it till you make it". It comes from the inside out.

God is love (1). When we surrender to Jesus, he comes to live inside us (2), and our spirit is transformed to be like his. We are encouraged to have the same thought motivation that Jesus had (3). The sacrificial love that led him to leave heaven, become a person like us, and ultimately pay the supreme price for our total healing in spirit, soul and body (4).

How do we get that love? It is something that God shares when he makes his home in us (5).  It is the primary fruit of having the Holy Spirit dwelling inside (6). So this evidence of God's presence should be evident in the Christian life.

Now, maybe we have truly received Jesus into our life, and yet do not feel that compassion for the hurting.  How could this be?

We are a product of our heredity and our past.  Many of us have experienced emotional hurt and pain, and as a consequence built up protective walls to stop us being hurt in the future. These are not literal walls, but thought patterns in our mind. At some point we learned to shut off emotion and feeling, as a protection. As we progress through life we now find difficulty feeling and expressing emotion. 

If we are to be God's hands and feet, we need to feel his love for this hurting world (7).  This inability to feel compassion for others needs healing, if we are to move forward in God's purpose for us. How?

Jesus paid the price so we may be healed. Both physically and emotionally. 

Just as forgiveness for sin requires confession and repentance, healing of our emotions also requires confession that we have a problem, and a determination to live differently, allowing God's love to shine through.

We may need pastoral counseling to work through this.  We may feel ashamed that we, as a Christian, need help with something seemingly so basic. Please know there is no shame in changing to be more like Christ.  But it may require taking a step, reaching out for help. Feel free to contact us if you need this.  

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NOTES
1. 1 John 4:8
2. John 14:17, 23
3. Philippians 2:5
4. Philippians 2:5-8
5. Colossians 1:27
6. Galatians 5:22-23
7. 1 John 4:10-11, 20-21

Sunday, April 26, 2020

Worship Service - April 26, 2020

Welcome to the Freedom Fellowship online worship service!

"Lord, as we come together online this morning, would you please touch our hearts and help us receive all you have for us at this time!  Encourage us with your word.  In Jesus name, Amen."

WORSHIP

Please click on the following worship video links, and worship with us!



Oceans (Where Feet May Fail) -

Our God -

Do It Again -




MESSAGE

Title:     Our Heroes!
Text:     Hebrews 11
Date:     April 26, 2020

INTRODUCTION

When I was growing up, I used to devour the Sunday comic section of the newspaper!  There were all kinds of goodies there, like crossword puzzles, fun jokes (at my level!), problems to solve, tests of my observation skills.  What I especially enjoyed, was the comics, especially Prince Valiant.  I would look forward to each weeks new installment of Prince Valiant's adventures!  He was my hero!

There is something inside each of us that wants heroes.  We want someone to look up to, someone to copy, a role model for us.  As we grow older, our need for comic book heroes goes away, and yet there remains a hunger for people to look up to, role models to show us the way.


Today we are going to take a look at some of the qualities of heroes of the faith!

HEROIC SUPERPOWERS

Hebrews 11 gives a short list of some of the heroes of the faith, people like you and me!  These were flesh and blood people.  They did not have the super powers of our comic book heroes.  But they had other much greater qualities, which became evident in the fires of trial and persecution.

They had the quality of courage

Moses grew up as a prince in Pharaoh's court, was exiled for killing an Egyptian.  Forty years later, God calls Moses to go back to the place of his humiliation.  He returned not to wallow in self-pity, but to courageously stand up to Pharaoh, and lead the Israelites to freedom!  This took incredible courage!  And Moses won a place in the Hebrews 11 Hall of Fame. (1)

Daniel was captured by the Babylonians, while still a young man.  God works in his life, gives him opportunities, and then starts to speak to him in his dreams.  Daniel has to stand up and courageously speak the prophetic dreams, which then come to pass.  In doing this he makes enemies.  These opponents try to engineer his death.  Daniel is faced with a choice, continue his walk with God, or be thrown to the lions.  Courageously, he makes his choice, and is hurled into the lion pit.  That took courage! (2)

Many others are mentioned:  "And what more shall I say? I do not have time to tell about Gideon, Barak, Samson and Jephthah, about David and Samuel and the prophets, who through faith conquered kingdoms, administered justice, and gained what was promised; who shut the mouths of lions, quenched the fury of the flames, and escaped the edge of the sword; whose weakness was turned to strength; and who became powerful in battle and routed foreign armies. Women received back their dead, raised to life again. There were others who were tortured, refusing to be released so that they might gain an even better resurrection. Some faced jeers and flogging, and even chains and imprisonment. They were put to death by stoning; they were sawed in two; they were killed by the sword. They went about in sheepskins and goatskins, destitute, persecuted and mistreated— the world was not worthy of them. They wandered in deserts and mountains, living in caves and in holes in the ground." (3)  

They were men and women of courage.

They had the quality of faith

This courage was not a quality they necessarily grew up with.  It may not have been a courage born of training and development.  This courage come from their faith!

This chapter, Hebrews 11 is known as the Faith Chapter.  This is because each of these heroic examples is introduced by the words "By faith [name] [what we remember them for]."  These are heroes of faith!  This is the source of their courage!

What is this faith?  This chapter explains that "faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen" (4). 

This faith comes from not believing only in the physical or tangible, but also believing that things promised will happen, that the spirit is just as real as the physical.


We look at the circumstances around us and we may be fearful and scared.  But God's promise is to be with us continually, never leaving our side (5)  If we believe God to be trust worthy and faithful, we trust that he is with us in the fire, "the pestilence that walks in darkness" (6) , that he promises to provide for our needs (7) and to heal our sicknesses (8) 

"Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits: Who forgives all thine iniquities; who heals all thy diseases; Who redeems thy life from destruction; who crowns thee with loving kindness and tender mercies; Who satisfies thy mouth with good things; so that thy youth is renewed like the eagle's". (9)

They kept their eyes on Jesus

Just like Peter who walked on the water to Jesus (10), in an amazing example of faith, it is when we keep our eyes on Jesus (19) that we can live the life of faith.  When we take our eyes off Jesus, that is when we focus on our surroundings and our faith falters.

Faith comes from seeing that our life is all about Jesus.  He is the author and perfecter of our faith (11).  He is the one who walks with us through everything we experience both good and bad. It is Jesus who calls us to an amazing future, both in this life and the life to come!

Our heroes of the Hall of Fame, looked beyond this life, beyond the here and now.

They looked toward a time when they would live forever in a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God (12). They were not concerned about preserving their physical life, as long as their future was assured!  (13)

These Super Heroes had special powers,  Their powers were birthed out of a vision for the future that could not be quenched, a faith that whatever God had promised was as good as done, and a courage that was not afraid of standing up for their testimony (14)!

THE SEARCH FOR SUPER HEROES

This world is searching for heroes, people who will lead them to a better and a safer future.  People are parched and thirsty for things of true value.  The fields are white, ready for harvest, but God says, where are the laborers? (15)

God is looking for super heroes, who will stand up and say "Send me!"  People who have caught the vision of the big picture, a life that goes on into all eternity, an inheritance in heaven, pure and undefiled (16).

God is crying out "Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?" (17)  Who will go out and fearlessly stand for me?  who will shun the pleasures of sin, for the sake of obeying the call?  Who will say, "Send me!" (18) 

Are you a super hero?  Have you been waiting quietly in the shadows, but now you itch to obey the call? To step out in courage, to fearlessly stand on the side of right, to fight the fight of faith, and to prepare a people to meet their God?

PRAYER

"Lord, I come to you today, knowing that you have been preparing laborers for the harvest.  Give me the vision, the faith and the courage to step forward and respond, Lord, send me.  Raise up an army of workers, laborers who will bring in the end-time harvest.  Let me be one of them Lord.  In Jesus name, Amen."

Let's listen to the final song again:

Do It Again -




NOTES
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(1)   Hebrews 11:24-29
(2)   Hebrews 11:33
(3)   Hebrews 11:32-38)
(4)   Hebrews 11:1
(5)  Hebrews 13:5).
(6)   Psalm 91:6
(7)   Matt 6:33
(8)   Exodus 15:26, Psalm 103:3, 1 Pet 2:24
(9)   Psalm 103:2-5
(10) Matthew 14:25-32
(11)  Phil 1:6
(12)  Heb 11:10
(13)  Matthew 16:25
(14)  Revelation 12:11
(15)  Matthew 9:37-38
(16) 1 Peter 1:4
(17)  Isaiah 11:6
(18)  Isaiah 11:8
(19)  Hebrews 12:1-2