Merry Christmas

Today is the day we celebrate the birth of our Saviour Jesus Christ. As you celebrate with friends and family please be sure to include Jesus! After all He is the reason for the season! I pray for God’s blessings to be on you today and every day. Have a very Merry Christmas!

Choose To Walk In Love

(Below is an excerpt from Pastor’s book, “How to Triumph in Troubled Times”)

Many believers do not do the right thing.  Let’s go a little further: many preachers do not do the right thing.  They have a choice!  Am I going to be bitter or better?  The moment I choose sides and say, “I choose to be bitter about that,” then I get out of the arena of God’s blessing.  I feel sorry for people that do not do the right thing or play by the rules, but that is their problem, not mine.  I have a choice to make and I am going to do the right thing.  I have made up my mind.  Doing the right thing does not always win the first twenty-four hours, the first twenty-four days, or even the first twenty-four months, but it does win.  Love always wins.

I have lived long enough to appreciate people that are honest.  I am going to be that kind of person if God will just continue to show me how.  I want to do what is right. I want to operate my life God’s way. I do not want to be an opportunist, using others as a means to accomplish my earthly assignment. I do not have to be that kind of person. I can walk in love in a world of hatred. I will not fret or worry because Jesus said, “. . . see that ye be not troubled ” (Matthew 24:6). You always have the opportunist type of person around.  There will always be a Judas in the wings.  There will always be someone who is taking advantage of situations, but you will be blessed if you do it God’s way and keep a good spirit.  You can trust in the Lord.  God will bring you out and make a way for you.  It is the way I have lived for many years.  Whether you understand or not do what is right.  It is a faith walk.  You do not walk by the way things appear right now.  Habakkuk said, “…the just shall live, by his faith” (Habakkuk 2:4).

Choose To Walk In Trust And Faith

(Below is an excerpt from Pastor’s book, “How To Triumph in Troubled Times”)

I can also walk in trust and faith, even in a world where the threat of terrorism exists.  Jesus said, “. . . Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid” (John 14:27).  See to it.  Apply yourself to this.  Every day choose to trust God no matter what happens.

Psalms 37:1 says “Fret not thyself because of evildoers . . .” In fact, if you read Psalms 37 and Psalms 73, the Bible tells us that one day you will look for the wicked and you will not even be able to find them.  They look like they are flourishing, but they will not last.  Anytime you have a bad day, you should carefully and prayerfully read Psalms 37 and Psalms 73.  Those are powerful portions of God’s Word that tell you that God brings the righteous out in victory.

Fret not yourself.  Do not let yourself be caught up in the pressure cooker of the world.  You can sing and rejoice in the craziest circumstances.  You might have a supervisor that is rubbing you like sandpaper, but just get that believer’s grin on your face and in your heart say, “I choose to trust and not be troubled!”

Love Gives Appreciation

(Below is an excerpt from Pastor’s book, “How to Triumph in Troubled Times”)

I have run up against a lot of things in third world nations as I have been involved in world missions.  There has been more than one time when in my heart I said, “How much more can we take, God?”  Anyone that works in foreign missions could give their own share of stories of trials.  I could tell you of a number of ministries which have given food, clothing, education, and shelter and no one gave thanks or appreciation in return.

There must have been so many people that Jesus ministered to and they did not show appreciation for it.  Did anyone comprehend that they were standing in the presence of the Son of the Living God?  Probably not, but He just kept on loving and giving.  Love may take a little while to work, but it works.  I can choose to walk in love no matter what has happened to me.  No matter what someone said, I can choose to walk in love.  Determine today that you will always respond in love.

Love Never Fails

(Below is an Excerpt from Pastor’s Book, “How To Triumph in Troubled Times”)

You never go wrong when you walk the love walk.  You never go wrong when you respond with God’s love to a world of hatred.  Love never fails.  If you respond negatively to what someone else does in traffic, it may lead to a major incident.  Confrontations like this have been known to become lethal.  A harsh response, even with just a few words, may push people over the edge.  You see, just a few words start wars.  Words of strife break relationships but words of love can bring healing to relationships.

In a world filled with hatred, I can choose to walk in the love of God.  No matter how many people come against you, you can walk in love.  The reason we can walk in love is because we have the love of Jesus in our hearts.  The Bible clearly says, “. . . love one another . . .” (John 13:34).  It does not say destroy one another, but “. . . love one another…”  It does not say hate one another, but love one another.  I can walk in love in a world filled with hatred.

When something goes wrong when I am traveling I have found that if you just hold steady and treat people decently God will somehow turn things around and bring you out in victory.  It will work in an office where everyone is filled with gossip; in an office when it is dog-eat-dog, in the corporate world where everyone is trying to do unto others before they do unto them.

You say, “If I walk the love walk they will eat me alive,” but I am challenging you today; walk in love in every area of your daily life.  It is a choice that every one of us has to make.  We can respond in our own natural strength that is very limited or we can walk in God’s love and all of heaven’s resources will be with us.  I am not saying that if someone is threatening your life that you do not respond in an appropriate way, but you can choose to walk in love in a world that is seething with hate.  You can triumph in the most troubled times by walking in love.

Gospel Of Love

(Below is an excerpt from Pastor’s book, “How To Triumph in Troubled Times”)

It is unimaginable that a group of people could have a hatred that runs so deep that everyone outside their group is considered infidels and should be destroyed.  They justify it all in the name of religion.  If there has ever been a time that I am thankful for the Gospel of Jesus Christ, it is now.  The Gospel of Jesus Christ is not a religion of hate (I do not like to call it a religion, but you understand what I am saying).  It is a Gospel of Love!  If anyone ever walked the love walk and lived the example of the love of God, it was Jesus.

A pastor has a fix-it heart.  We want to fix things.  We want to help people.  I do not like to see people hurting.  I do not like to see people in difficult times.  I do not like to see people that are up against impossible situations.  I am always thinking, “How could we pray about that?  How could we make a difference?”  Of course, you cannot help in every situation, but that is just a pastor’s heart.

When 9/11 happened I asked myself, “The way things have escalated, what can we do? How can we change our world?”  I will be honest with you, even though I know the power of the Gospel of Christ, there was almost a feeling of helplessness that came over me.

When I asked God, “What can we do?” He responded, “I will tell you what you can do that can effect change in your world. You can walk in love in a world of hate.”  That does not mean that you do not defend yourself, or that a nation does not protect its citizens.  You and I may not single-handedly be able to turn the world around, however we can walk in love in a world of hate.  That is exactly what Jesus did.  He cast out devils because He loved people.  They even said He cast out devils by the power of the devil.  He healed the sick and they attributed that to the devil and ultimately put Jesus on a cross.  But even on that cross, Jesus said, “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do” (Luke 23:34).  Jesus came to show His love to the world.  God so loved the world that He sent Jesus.  Look at what a world changing effect His love made!

Power Principles For Standing

(This is an excerpt from Pastor’s book, “How To Stand When Others Fall”)

The multitudes have left and Jesus turns and asks, “…Will ye also go away?” Then Simon Peter answered him and he said several things that will keep you standing when others are falling.  These things will hold you in place when right seems wrong and wrong seems right.  They will hold you in place and keep you standing when you do not understand the circumstances that are surrounding your life.

Jesus Is Lord

So the first principle is to make Jesus the total Lord of your life.  Notice Simon Peter called Jesus “Lord” because the truth of it is, if Jesus is Lord no one else will be Lord in your life.  If Jesus is Lord, no material possession, no achievement, or trophy will be your Lord.  Who or what is Lord in your life?  If you are born again, Jesus is Lord!  That is what Christianity is all about.  He is not one of many good teachers.  He is not one of many saviors.  He is not just another noble person.  Jesus is the Way, the Truth and the Life!  Jesus is Lord!  Making a bedrock decision about that will keep you standing when times are tough. There is no one that is Lord, but Jesus Christ, the Son of God.  You can build all the mosques you want to build.  You can build all the tabernacles you want to build.  You can build all the shrines to whomever, but my friend, when it is all said and done, you will stand before the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords and you will acknowledge Him as Lord!

The second principle is stick with Jesus.  When Peter says in verse 69, “Lord to whom shall we go?” he was saying that there was no one who could take the place of Jesus.  Stay close to the master.  Refuse to do anything that will separate you from Jesus.  It is important that you be where Jesus wants you to be.  We know there was a day when Peter did depart from Jesus.  In Peter’s disappointment after the crucifixion he went back to fishing and others followed him.  John 21:3 says “Simon Peter saith unto them, I go a fishing. They say unto him, We also go with thee. They went forth, and entered into a ship immediately; and that night they caught nothing.”  But after a night with no results they came towards the shore where Jesus was waiting for them.  Jesus told them to cast their nets on the other side to find the fish.  They did and immediately began to catch fish.  One of those with Peter recognized it was Jesus that had spoken to them.  We notice that this is the same situation Jesus delivered Peter from in the past.  He had spent the night fishing but caught nothing.  This illustrates to me that as long as you stick with Jesus you will not repeat past failures.  If Peter had stuck with Jesus then it is possible that the other disciples would have also.  They would have avoided that unproductive fishing trip.

The third thing that Peter said in John 6:68 was “to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life.” In other words he was saying,Lord, only You have the Word.”  The Word will always play a part in your victory faith walk.  Peter recognized that he needed the Word.  Your answers are in the Word of God.  Do whatever it takes to remember the Word of God.  Underline it, put a red pencil on it, or a yellow marker, get a hold of God’s Word for yourself.  Let God quicken His Word to your spirit.  Hold on to it and do not let go.  I thank God for the Word.  It is a lamp unto my feet.  It is a light unto my pathway.  Take everything I have, but give me my Bible and I will stand in victory through it all.  Others were falling, but Peter is telling us how to stand, “Lord…only you have the words of eternal life.”  You make your stand on the Word of God.

The fourth thing Peter said was, “And we believe . . .” (John 6:69).  He may have thought, “I do not know what those others believe, but speaking for those who are here, we believe in You. We are believers.”  He went on to say that, “. . . we believe and are sure . . .” He is saying we should be fully assured, “. . . and we believe and are sure that thou art that Christ, the Son of the living God.” One thing you must be sure of is that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God.  Drive a stake in the ground of faith on that point and refuse to move!

You can meet people in any church who are constantly changing their doctrine or philosophy.  They are not really sure about anything.  They have not really settled on anything because unbelief always has a hard time finding the will of God.  Being led by the flesh and not the spirit is a very dangerous pathway.  We can say with confidence, “Lord, there is nowhere else to go, You have the Word.  We will come through the difficulties of life because we are sticking with you.”  Thank God for the Word of God.

Hold Steady

(This is an excerpt from Pastor’s book, “How To Stand When Others Fall”)

What helps you to hold steady when you get a negative report from the doctor?  What helps you to hold steady when the media is reporting bad news?  What keeps you on course?  These are very important questions because the Bible says that there were those who “went back” and “walked no more with Jesus.” There were some following Jesus who had been healed by Him, who ate the multiplied loaves and fishes, some whose lives were changed, and yet “. . . many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him.” 

Think about it.  Our text details that this was such a dramatic event that Jesus turned to his inner circle and said, “Are you leaving, too?” Could you ever erase the memory of those eyes looking at you and asking if you were going to desert him? Peter responded so powerfully on that occasion saying, “…thou hast the words of eternal life.”

People often say, “If you make a disciple out of someone they will never go back.”  Well, excuse me, right here we have a mass exodus and these people were called disciples.  The truth is that loyalty and faithfulness are matters of the heart.  I do not wake up every morning and ask myself if I am going to stay with my wife Joy.  I have lived with her for many years.  I do not wake up each morning and try to make a decision about being faithful to her.  I have already made that decision.  She is the best wife (and the only wife) I have ever had.  I am going to stay with her.

Peter did not always rise to the occasion in the appropriate way, but if there was ever a time in the Scriptures he did, it was at this point.  The same Simon Peter that went to sleep in the Garden of Gethsemane, the one who cut off a man’s ear, the disciple who was not at the cross, eventually walked out this confession in John 6:68-69: “Then Simon Peter answered him, Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life.  And we believe and are sure that thou art that Christ, the Son of the living God.”

The Good Fight of Faith

(The following is an excerpt from Bob Nichol’s book, “How To Chart Your Course Of New Beginnings.”)

As we study the life of Abraham, we realize we all need new beginnings.  We all desire them, but how do you navigate the unknown?  Charting your course is a 100% faith deal that is based on the Word of God.  This is not hype, positive thinking, or mind over matter.  It is simply getting a promise of God and remembering that the Bible said, “Therefore it is of faith . . .” (Romans 4:16)I have been a pastor many years, and have experienced many things.  I have been in the trenches with people that were hurting.  I have been with precious people that felt that their world was being challenged.  People face a lot of challenges, but I believe with every fiber of my being that God has a new beginning for them.

In Acts 27 Paul faced shipwreck and possible death. In the midst of the storm God sent an angel with a message for Paul that he would survive the trip.  Eventually the ship would run aground and he would be forced to swim to an island to survive.   I believe even as it was with Paul, if your ship goes down, you are still going over.  You have to lock into that kind of faith mentality.  Not all ships make it.  I wish I could tell you that everybody’s ship makes it, but I cannot.  I will tell you this, even after the ship went down, Paul was able to safely make it to the shore.  As a result, Paul had an island-wide salvation, healing, and Holy Ghost revival.  He did not need the ship to do it.   You see, the storm destroyed the ship but it did not take Paul’s faith.  He refused to let the storm steal his faith in God’s Word.  He refused to let the shipwreck ruin the rest of his life.  Even when he was washed ashore, the challenge to his faith was not over.  In an attempt to keep warm the survivors started a fire.  When Paul laid the sticks he had gathered on the fire, a poisonous viper came out and attached itself to his hand.  Immediately he shook off the snake into the fire without suffering any harm.  No matter how greatly blessed we are, our faith will continually be challenged.  But the bottom line is, if we do not quit, we win.

The Anointing is on His Word

(The following is an excerpt from Bob Nichol’s book, “How to Change Your Destiny.”)

The hand of God in a person’s life could be seen as the anointing.  When the anointing is on a person it produces results.  How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him” Acts 10:38. When Jabez prayed “…that thine hand might be with me…” he was asking for God’s anointing to face a difficult task.  Some commentators believe that the occasion of Jabez’s prayer was the expulsion of the Canaanites from his territory. The only thing that was going to get him through that situation was the anointed direction of God.

We all face situations where we need to hear from God.  Many times God will speak to us during a church service where the Word of God is being preached.  I have heard of this happening to business people in my congregation more times that I can recall.  They were just sitting in a service and the Spirit of God would give them direction for their business.  He would show them what adjustments to make to get out of financial crisis.  The message preached that day would not even be about finances, but the anointing on the Word brought them direction.  That adjustment would not have been thought of without the anointing touching their life.  I love God and want to please Him. I want the hand of God on my life!  The anointing on my life will help me be a good husband and father.  Let the hand of God be upon me!  Anointing, fall on me – live big within me!  Touch me!  Anointing of God take this piece of clay and do something with it.