Monday, May 30, 2016
Sunday, May 29, 2016
By Rosa Edwards
I think I'm finally able to say this. God has reasons for things and there is something good to be said even in circumstances that seem so upside-down. In my case it's the candidacy of Donald Trump. It's so surreal to me that barring divine intervention or him just flat-out quitting, he will be the Republican nominee. But I am finally able to say that his candidacy has had a definite silver lining. For years I have prayed to be Biblical rather than political, to not play the "us vs them" political games, vote for someone because of the R or D in front of their name, or look to an elected official to be a hero. But the truth is that even as my heart has sought that, I still had vestiges of looking for hope in our political system.
As I went through the series on the Constitution and reflected/studied the Founder's intentions, I had a growing realization of how far our system is from that. I came to understand that both a "strict" and "living" constitutional viewpoint have implications that are positive and negative. I saw how presidents change the office, for good or bad, for generations to come. At the end of it all, I saw that it was important to release even this superb document and system from being "the answer."
Don't get me wrong. I still agree with Winston Churchill that "Democracy is the worst form of government, except for all the others.” I also recognize the truth of Benjamin Franklin's words about the type of government they had created: "A Republic, if you can keep it." I think it's important to keep having the conversations about the Founders' intent and what they meant by the things they wrote. I think it's vitally important to understand why they set things up the way they did and I think every American should read the Federalist Papers to answer some of those questions we should ask ourselves, like why representative instead of direct democracy, etc.
But Christ didn't come to set up a political system. He isn't limited by them and as a Jesus-follower neither am I. There are passionate followers of Christ in every system imaginable from monarchies to communists to dictatorial regimes to theocracies to near-anarchies. If someone can live all-in for Jesus in North Korea, then I can certainly do so in a flawed democratic republic with two major-party presidential candidates I could never vote for.
None of that diminishes my responsibility as a citizen. The Constitution course reaffirmed my conviction that the government will only be as strong as the people are engaged. But that engagement doesn't have to be by defending a party line. In fact, it shouldn't be. It can be a principled vote. It can be reaching out to elected officials to give them information they otherwise wouldn't have had. Of course it should always include prayer for those officials.
More than any quote about America what rings in my mind are the words of Abraham Kuyper: “There is not a square inch in the whole domain of our human existence over which Christ, who is Sovereign over all, does not cry, Mine!”
Jesus Reigns. That is not just a truth to hold on to for a future millennial reign. He ascended and sits at God's mighty right hand NOW. I knew that truth in my head for years. But it took wrestling with Donald Trump's success to make it real in my heart.
Tuesday, May 24, 2016
I corrected him with, "I am not strong. God is my strength." He replied, "God supported you, but it was your strength that got you through it."
All the credit goes to God. He's the only way I got through all of that!
“...God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.”
“The LORD is their strength, and he is the saving strength of his anointed.”
“The LORD is my strength and song, and he is become my salvation: he is my God, and I will prepare him an habitation; my father's God, and I will exalt him.”
“I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.”
I am not arrogant enough to call it my strength because I know my weaknesses. I am weak. HE is strong.
2 Corinthians 12:9
“And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.”
If I were strong, I would not need His Grace. The need for Him at all takes away any delusions I have of being independent.
The Crusaders will be visiting Flower Acres Baptist Church!
Make plans to attend revival services on from June 26th thru the 29th! Featuring the great group you have seen here before. "The Crusaders!"
Monday, May 23, 2016
If you do, do you know Him well enough to tell somebody else about Him?
That's what the sermon was about tonight at 1st Biker's Church.
You see, Jesus gave us instructions just before He ascended into heaven. All He asked of us was that we tell everyone we come into contact with the Good News:
Jesus came. Jesus died for us, that we might be saved. And, Jesus didn't just save the rich, the powerful, and the well to do. He saved the basest and chiefest of sinners.
He saved me.
He can save you, too!
All you have to do is believe in Him, ask Him to forgive you for your sins, and invite Him to live in you, and to work through you.
It's that simple.
There is no pit too low (Jesus went to the lowest pits of Hell and came back with the keys to Heaven in His hand!) No sin too bad, no evil too dark for Him to pull you out of.
He is Lord of Lord and King of Kings.
Do you know Him?
If you do, then tell somebody! Somebody needs to hear what you have to say about Jesus!
Sunday, May 22, 2016
Today, Pastor Matthew C. Butler, of 1st Bikers Church in Texarkana, preached on the fact that most people will never open the Bible to read it, so those of us who do should BE the Word in our own lives that others can see Jesus in us.
2 Corinthians 3:2
“Ye are our epistle written in our hearts, known and read of all men:”
It has been my constant prayer that others are able to see Jesus in me, and that I may show others the end result of having a relationship with Him through my life.
During our study of Revelation in Sunday school, one member pointed out that some say that this earth is the only hell a true Christian will ever have to experience. Then, she said, "I'll take that a step forward, this earth is also the only heaven some lost people will ever see."
It's up to us, as Christians to bring heaven down to earth for others to see through our lives.
Are you living for yourself, or for Jesus today?
Saturday, May 21, 2016
“Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.”
To all of you women out there who keep jumping from one relationship to another: Take it from someone who has been there, someone who knows...
Stop giving to men what belongs to God! Until you start giving to God what you have been giving men, you will never find true happiness and lasting peace!
God will let you be who you are and make you want to be who you become. He does not box you in, isolate you from your family or friends, place stupid rules on where you can go and what you can do while you are there. He will let you decide what to do with your time, and He will magnify you when you choose to spend it with HIM.
If you are angry because you are in a bad relationship, then you need to stop and think: WHO was it that made the decision for you to enter into that relationship? It was YOU. God allows you to make your own choices. If He didn't, you would be a robot. God doesn't want robots! He wants someone who genuinely loves HIM for who HE is, just like He is willing to love YOU for who He created YOU to be! So, stop blaming God for your troubles, and give Him the authority to direct your path from now on!
If you are heartbroken over a failed relationship, then stop dwelling over what you have lost and start focusing on what you have yet to gain!
Maybe you have prayed that God send someone to love you. If you would stop and open your eyes, you would realize that He sent someone who loved you enough to die for you on a cross over 2,000 years ago! And, HE is still waiting for you to love Him back!
Friday, May 20, 2016
1 But now thus saith the LORD that created thee, O Jacob, and he that formed thee, O Israel, Fear not: for I have redeemed thee, I have called thee by thy name; thou art mine.
2 When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee.
I praise God every day. I was a single mom who had to work in bars and restaurants and fast food, sometimes two jobs at a time, with little or no government help or help from my family or friends.
Most of the time I had no transportation. I walked up to 5 miles a day to and from work when I couldn't afford a cab.
I went through countless relationships with men trying to find a man who would help me carry my burdens...but there is only one man who ever lived who can do that...
I suffered abuse, mistrust, hopelessness, depression, and heartbreaks that knocked me to my knees. I lost everything over and over again, including my children; but I learned that hope is God, and Jesus can handle any storm.
I shouldn't be where I am today. I shouldn't have the future that I see before me today.
HE HAS MADE THE WAY!
Thursday, May 19, 2016
You don't love SO you can be loved. You love because He loves you! You don't get right and go to God. You go to God to get right. You don't give to get blessings. You give because He has blessed.
You can't say you are a Christian just because you go to church on Sunday, when your life from Monday through Saturday doesn't reflect it. You don't leave God at the church house doors. You carry Him with you.
Church is a place where you go to recharge, gain confidence, fellowship with people of like mind, who can encourage and lift you up in prayer, and hold you accountable. It is not a place to hang out once a week. What happens in church, unlike the bars around town, should not stay in church.
Sunday, May 15, 2016
God’s Love Letter to You!
I love you! (John 3:16) I created you in my image (Genesis 1:27) and I called you “very good” (Genesis 1:31). I knit you together in your mother’s womb (Psalm 139:13). I know the number of the hairs on your head (Matthew 10:30) and I am familiar with all your ways (Psalm 139:3). My precious thoughts of you are as countless as the sand on the seashore (Psalm 139:17-18).
I am Love (1 John 4:16) and the greatest commandment that I have for you is that you love (Matthew 22:37-40). My love is made complete in you when you receive my love, love me, and love others (1 John 4:7-21). To show you how to live this life of love I’ve given you Ten Commandments (Exodus 20:1-17), laws that honor me and are good and pleasing to you (Psalm 119).
But you were born in sin, separated from my love, (Psalm 51:5) and though you’ve tried to be good you’ve missed the mark of my holiness (1 John 1:8). You’ve hurt others and you’ve hurt yourself (Romans 2:9). Most of all, your sins are against me (Psalm 51:4). You’ve hurt me (Luke 19:41) and angered me (Romans 2:8). I am the Lord (Exodus 6:2), the King of Kings (1 Timothy 6:15), and the Righteous Judge (1 Peter 4:5) and it is a terrible thing to come under my judgment (Hebrews 10:31).
So to fear me is the beginning of wisdom (Proverbs 1:7). But you don’t need to remain afraid of me; if you rely on me then my perfect love will remove all of your fear (1 John 4:18). I am a compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger and abounding in love and faithfulness (Exodus 34:6).
Now, in the person of Jesus Christ, I knock on the door of your heart, waiting for you to let me in (Revelation 3:20). Open the door and I will forgive your sins (Acts 10:43) and choose not to remember them anymore (Isaiah 43:25). I will teach you how to live your daily life with me in the kingdom of the heavens (Matthew 4:17). I will adopt you into my family (Ephesians 1:5) and lavish on you my fatherly love (1John 3:1). Then you will marvel that I chose you to be my child (Ephesians 1:11-12) and I drew you to myself (John 6:44).
You see I’ve loved you from the beginning, long before you loved me (1 John 4:19). I sent my son Jesus, the exact representation of my being (Hebrews 1:3), to die on the cross in your place (Romans 5:8), to take upon Himself the punishment that you deserved (Isaiah 53:5), and to take away your sin (John 1:29). For you the mighty Lion sacrificed his life as an innocent Lamb (Revelation 5:5-6). So you can see that in Jesus I, your Lord and Master, have come to serve you! (John 13:13-14)
When you are “born again” by my Holy Spirit (John 3:3) then you become a new person (2 Corinthians 5:17) with a new heart (Ezekiel 36:26), a new self (Ephesians 4:24), and a new life (Romans 6:4). You have my precious righteousness as a gift (Romans 5:19). Your body becomes a temple for my Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 6:19) and you become a saint (Ephesians 1:18).
Indeed, I will make your righteousness to shine like the dawn (Psalm 37:6). You will be a crown of glory in my hand (Isaiah 62:3), reflecting my likeness with ever-increasing glory (2 Corinthians 4:18). I am faithful to help you to be holy (1 Thessalonians 5:24) and to complete the good work I’ve started in you (Philippians 1:6).
So stand firm in my grace (Galatians 5:1) and fight the good fight of faith (1 Timothy 6:12). When you are tempted to sin, look for the way out that I provide (1 Corinthians 10:13). Resist the devil and submit to me (James 4:7); turn away from sin and toward the good that I provide (Romans 12:21). And when you fail remember that I am waiting for you with open arms, quick to forgive you and to give you another chance (Luke 15:11-31). Satan will accuse you, but call out to Jesus and I will defend you and enable you to overcome him (Revelation 12:10-11). I will rescue your true self from sin (Romans 7:14-25) and condemnation (Romans 8:1).
Remember that the pleasures of sin are fleeting (Hebrews 11:25) and if you find your delight in me instead then you will see that I give you the desires of your heart (Psalm 37:4) – eternal pleasures even! (Psalm 16:11) – and I do far more for you than you can imagine (Ephesians 3:20). Whatever you need, look to me and I will provide it (Philippians 4:19). I will give you love, joy, peace, and all the fruit of my Spirit to fill your soul and for you to share with others (Galatians 5:22-23).
Since I care so much for you don’t worry about getting your needs met and don’t worry about tomorrow (Matthew 6:25-34). Just as I look after the little sparrow so will I look after you (Matthew 10:26-31). So give your burdens to me and let me give you rest (Matthew 11:28). Talk to me when you’re anxious and let me put you at peace (Philippians 4:6).
No matter what happens your soul will be safe in my hands (John 10:28). Like a mother bird I’ll cover you with my feathers in my nest (Psalm 91:1-4). When rivers of difficulty roar you will not be swept away. When fiery trials blaze you will not be burned (Isaiah 43:2). When war breaks out I will be your fortress, an ever-present help in trouble (Psalm 46). Even when you face death I will take you by the hand and lead you on the joyful path to eternal life (Psalm 16:9-11).
So don’t be afraid when you walk through the valley of the shadow of death because I am your Good Shepherd and I will be with you, comforting you and protecting you on your journey (Psalm 23), and I will never leave you (Hebrews 13:5).
When enemies come against you I will fight for you (Psalm 44:7). Even when you do what is right people will insult you, criticize you, and mistreat you, but I will bless you (Matthew 5:11). Even when you trust your father and mother they may forsake you, but I will receive you (Psalm 27:10). So if you find yourself poor remember that I’ve blessed you with true riches (Luke 6:20). And if you find yourself last in line remember that with me those who are last will be first! (Matthew 20:16). Yes, I will raise you up and exalt you when you are humble before me (Matthew 23:12).
When you are brokenhearted I will draw close to you (Psalm 34:18) and cry with you (John 11:35). I’ll collect all your tears in my bottle and record each one in my book (Psalm 56:8). Like a shepherd holding his lamb, I’ll carry you close to my heart (Isaiah 40:11). I’ll comfort you in your time of sadness (Matthew 5:4), turning your mourning into gladness (Jeremiah 31:13) and your weakness into strength (2 Corinthians 12:9-10). I will put a happy new song in your mouth (Psalm 40:3) and give you a beautiful new name (Isaiah 62:2).
Even the difficulty and pain you experience can be to your benefit if you endure these hardships as loving discipline from me, opportunities for you to be trained in the ways of righteousness and peace (Hebrews 12: 6-11). Always remember that when you love me and seek my purposes that all things will work together for your good (Romans 8:28).
I am for you and not against you! (Romans 8:31) If I have been misrepresented to you by religious people who claim to know me but don’t, (John 8:41-44) then know that I am against those hypocrites (Matthew 23). And if your earthly father has not shown you my fatherly love, then please realize that I offer you more than he ever could (Matthew 7:9-11). I am the perfect Father (Matthew 5:48), the Father from whom all true fatherhood derives its name (Ephesians 3:15), and I love to give you good gifts (Matthew 7:11).
With me on your side your future is bright and full of hope! My plans are to prosper you and not to harm you (Jeremiah 29:11), to give you abundant life (John 10:10) now and forever (John 3:36). So call to me and I will answer you (Jeremiah 33:3); listen and you will hear my voice directing you (Isaiah 30:21); tune into your heart and you will sense my instructions (Psalm 16:7). My Holy Spirit will be your Counselor (John 14:15,26; 16:7). So don’t walk alone; walk in my Spirit (Galatians 5:25), trust in me and I will direct your path (Proverbs 3:4-5) and bless you wonderfully (Ephesians 1:3).
I have gifted you to serve me in my kingdom (Matthew 25:14-23) and I want to make you great! (Psalm 18:35). So discover your gift and use it in the body of Christ (Romans 12:4-8). I have important work for you to do, work that I will help you to accomplish by working alongside you (Haggai 2:4). Together we can accomplish great dreams (Mark 10:27) and move mountains! (Matthew 17:20).
You are the light of the world so shine my light to those who are lost (Matthew 5:14). Show your love for me by loving those who are in need (1 John 3:17-18). You serve me when you feed the hungry, provide shelter for the homeless, clothe the poor, care for the sick, and visit those in prison (Matthew 25:34-40). And always be prepared to talk to the hopeless in a respectful way about the good news of my grace demonstrated in Jesus (1 Peter 3:15). Do these things for people from every nation and every language, training them to follow Jesus (Matthew 28:19-20).
Jesus wants to embrace you!
But you’re not just my servant: you’re my friend! (John 15:15) More than that you’re my beloved child! (1 John 3:1) You’re precious and honored in my sight (Isaiah 43:4) and I rejoice over you with singing! (Zephaniah 3:17).
I delight in you like a bridegroom for his bride (Isaiah 62:5). I will always love you! (Jeremiah 31:3) and nothing can ever change that! (Romans 8:38-39).
One day soon in Jesus I will return to bring you and all my followers to the heavenly home that I have prepared for you (John 14:2). I will wipe away your tears and take away your pain forever (Revelation 21:3-4) and I will reward you for all the good that you’ve done in my name (Revelation 22:12). Heaven will be more beautiful and wonderful than you can imagine (Revelation 21:10-27). There we will sing to God with angels (Revelation 7:9-17), feast at banquets (Matthew 22:14), and rule over cities (Luke 19:11-26).
P.S. If it’s hard for you to trust my words and to receive my love in your heart then I urge you to work through this with one of my ambassadors (2 Corinthians 5:20) and to get involved in a caring community in the body of Christ where you can grow into my love (Romans 12:5).
Saturday, May 14, 2016
Wednesday, May 4, 2016
Satan tries so hard to steal your joy. He tries so hard to turn everything you have tried to build up up-side down. Your confidence, your security, your peace. You name it, if it is good for you, Satan will try to destroy it.
God says that if you are HIS child, that no weapon Satan forms against you shall prosper! The enemy's arrows turn back onto them, and you will regain tenfold what you lose in the battles!
“No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper; and every tongue that shall rise against thee in judgment thou shalt condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD, and their righteousness is of me, saith the LORD.”
“The LORD shall cause thine enemies that rise up against thee to be smitten before thy face: they shall come out against thee one way, and flee before thee seven ways.”
“Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.”
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