Blessed Assurance!

The old hymn says, “Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine! Oh what a foretaste of glory divine! Heir of salvation, purchase of God,
born of His Spirit, washed in His blood.” Do you have that Blessed Assurance that the song writer has written about in this hymn? This hymn was written in 1873 and I have a good hunch that Frances Cosby had just as many testing’s and trials as you and I have, if not more. But just by reading the words I can guarantee that the writer had a relationship with God. He knew that no matter what happened, no matter how hard the wind blew, no matter how rough the seas got he had a “Blessed Assurance,” because he knew God had already seen what was ahead and nothing was going to happen to him that his Heavenly Father had not already given his ok on.

Hebrews 6:19 & 20 tells us that we have an anchor. Read this, “We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain, where our forerunner, Jesus, has entered on our behalf. He has become a high priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek.” An anchor for our soul. What sweet words the writer penned. We don’t need to worry about our lives being blown around, tossed this way and that way by the enemy and his schemes. We have an anchor that, no matter what it looks like on the outside, is going to give us strength and hold fast for us! The line in our hymn says, “Oh what a foretaste of glory divine!” Why? Because we are an, “Heir of salvation, purchase of God,
born of His Spirit, washed in His blood.” That simply means that we know beyond a shadow of a doubt where we are going to spend our eternity. We are going to Heaven and hang out with our Savior Jesus Christ and it is going to be fantastic! And the words, “Oh what a foretaste of Glory divine,” tells me that we can experience a little bit of that here on Earth. The joy, the peace, the love and all of the things that the Lord promises us don’t need to be somewhere in the future, we can have them and experience them here on earth! Paul talks about the fruit of the Spirit in Galatians 5:22-23. If we can master these in our lives no matter what is happening, I think that we can have that “Foretaste of glory divine!” Let us now if we can do anything for you. Naomi and I sure love all y’all! -Pastor Steve

Great is Thy faithfulness!

I was on my back porch the other morning praying about my father-in-law’s eminent passing. He had asked me to preach his memorial service and I was asking God’s help to please give me wisdom on what to say and how to say it. The great old hymn “Great is Thy Faithfulness” came to my mind, and I started to sing it: “Great is Thy faithfulness, O God my Father, There is no shadow of turning with Thee; Thou changest not, Thy compassions, they fail not
As Thou hast been Thou forever wilt be.” And the chorus goes: “Great is Thy faithfulness! Great is Thy faithfulness! Morning by morning new mercies I see; All I have needed Thy hand hath provided, Great is Thy faithfulness Lord, unto me!” I do believe that Naomi’s dad really believed this. Don’t get me wrong, he had plenty of weird ideas and certainly some of them were doozies, but I believe beyond a shadow of a doubt he thought that God had shown him that he should do whatever he did.

Then I got me to thinking, “Do I really believe that God is that faithful?” I mean, I can trust Him for my eternal life. I can trust in Him that I am saved by the Blood of the Lamb. But can I trust Him for the everyday ins and outs of life? Do I trust Him to meet my everyday needs? Can I really put Matthew 6:33 into practice? When things are getting a little tight financially do I fret or believe Him to be faithful?

David wrote in Psalm 62:1 & 2, “Truly my soul finds rest in God; my salvation comes from Him. Truly He is my rock and my salvation; He is my fortress, I will never be shaken.” David knew that his God was going to take care of him. He knew that no matter what happened that he didn’t need to be shaken. Did he ever get shaken? Oh you bet, but David also knew that when he did get shaken he could run to God and He would defend David. Read what he wrote in the verses 5-8: “Yes, my soul, find rest in God; my hope comes from Him. Truly He is my rock and my salvation; He is my fortress, I will not be shaken. My salvation and my honor depend on God; He is my mighty rock, my refuge. Trust in Him at all times, you people; pour out your hearts to Him, for God is our refuge.” “Pour out your hearts to Him,” David says! That’s where that relationship starts with God, from pouring out our hearts to Him and allowing Him to help us. Allowing Him to lead us. Allowing Him to love us like His children.

Please let me know if you need anything.  Naomi and I love you all.  -Pastor Steve 

Gain the whole world and lose your soul!

Jesus tells us in Mark 8:36 & 37, “For what shall it profit a man if he shall gain the whole world and lose his own soul? Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul (KJV)?” What good is it if we have all the money in the world but we don’t know Jesus? What is worth exchanging our eternal lives for? Are we running after the things of the world and forgetting that God is wanting us to completely trust Him with every ounce of our being? And as a Christian I can at times allow my flesh to dominate my mind and I lose the victorious life He has for me. So often I spend so much time pursuing monetary things that I forget what is most important in my life to run after. The priorities in my life get all upside down and backwards. What I need to pursue is Spiritual things, godly things. But the cares of the world keep pulling me down and clouding my vision. The flesh pulls at us and then the enemy puts things in our way to trip us up and we then fall. James 1: 14 & 15 says, But each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death (NIV).” We see something or think something that is evil, we then don’t immediately fill our hearts with good thoughts but we dwell on our temptation, then it takes root and we act on it. Remember what Jesus said? That if you hate your brother or sister in your heart you have murdered them. Or if you look after a woman in lust you have committed adultery with her in your heart. You have a choice to get angry or not. You have a choice to give that person a piece of your mind or not. You have a choice to get frustrated with that person that’s blocked the whole isle in Walmart while they look at clothes that you KNOW will never fit them anyway so why even look! or not. We have a choice to do what pleases the Lord, not our flesh.

In the 5th chapter of Galatians we have a contrast between good and evil. Verse 19 tells you all about the acts of the flesh. As a matter of fact Paul says that they are obvious! “Sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.” Then Paul gives us the contrast, the Fruit of the Spirit in verses 22-23-“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.” Verse 24 says, “Those who belong to Christ have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.” If we belong to Christ the flesh doesn’t rule in our lives anymore. Those that don’t belong to Him have no reason to change, but we do! We want to change because we desire to please Him. So this week let’s work hard on “taking captive every thought!”  Please let me know if you need anything.  Naomi and I love you all.  -Pastor Steve 

Under the circumstance

One day a man was asked, “Do you wake up grumpy in the morning?” to which he replied, “Oh no! I let her sleep!” Some of us just are not morning people are we? I am usually pretty chipper in the morning, but sometimes, well, the cares of the world and the pressures of life get to me and I find myself being a little less cordial than I should be. Cordial, the dictionary says, is to be, “warm and friendly.” Do you find yourself being cold and mean sometimes? I know I can be. And generally it has to do with my circumstances.

We have talked about circumstance before in these writings, but it seems that no matter how hard we try to overcome there is always a circumstance that drags us down! You have all heard the statement I’m sure. Someone asks someone else, “How are you?” To which the reply comes, “Well, pretty good under the circumstances!” “Well what are you doing under them?” the person asks! Think about that for a moment. Are your circumstances dictating to you what sort of day you are going to have? Are your circumstances telling you how you should treat your spouse or your children? Paul tells us in Philippians 4:11. “I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.” Paul understood that no matter what was going on in his life, no matter how bad it looked around him, that God was in control and nothing was going to happen to him unless God allowed it. Jesus tells us in Matthew 10:28-29, “Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell.  Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care.” Your Heavenly Father cares for the sparrows! How much more is He going to care and provide for you? His desire is to have a relationship with you so close that you don’t need to worry about a thing! He knows that things will get tough or He wouldn’t say, “Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul.” If your soul is alive in Jesus then you have nothing to fear! But if you don’t know Jesus then you sure do have everything to fear! Jesus wants to take care of you. He will not change your circumstance but He will give you the faith to get through them. I read this the other day, “Jesus won’t take you around your circumstances, but He will give you the faith to get though them.”

Let us now if we can do anything for you. Naomi and I sure love all y’all! -Pastor Steve

Outer man must die

I was thinking about a song we used to sing in a church that I attended. It went like this, “He’s given me life for my soul, oh how sweet it is! Love peace and joy are the fruit it gives. Though the outer man must die this is my earnest cry, give me life, life, life for my soul!” It’s a rather silly little ditty, but it is a very catchy tune!

The first line, “He’s given me life for my soul…” Now we have been talking about that abundant life that Christ gives us. In John 10:10 Jesus says that, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full (NKJV).” So he gives that full life here on earth, but also He gives us eternal life! Victory on earth and eternal life all wrapped up in one! What a deal! Eternal life starts as soon as we confess our sins to Christ and ask Him for forgiveness and to come into our lives and stay. It’s as simple as that. Then, “Love, peace and joy are the fruit it gives.” As we grow in our new life in Christ, we start producing fruit. I believe we talked about them last week. Our lives begin to change and we then start producing the “Big Nine,” and Love, Peace and Joy are three of the big nine (Galatians 5:22-23). So we come to Christ, He gives us an abundant life here on earth and eternal life when we die. Then we start producing fruit because we’re plugged into Him as the Vine and we are His branches (John 15).

Then the song says, “Though the outer man must die…” That sounds strange doesn’t it? But what the song is talking about is the same thing Paul meant when he wrote to the church in Ephesus. In Ephesians 4:22 Paul writes, You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires;” To put off your old self! Like an old garment, take it off and lay it down. In other words, taking off the outer man and all of its flesh and corrupt stuff that we had before we knew Christ, and put on the new man, or, “to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness (Verse 23 & 24)” The attitude of our minds! How many times have we talked about taking hold of our stinkin’ thinkin’? The attitude of our minds! Remember, our attitude is the only thing that we can control. We cannot control other people. We can’t even control our spouse! Control the attitude of your mind. Make it Godly. Take control of it. See what He does!

Please let me know if you need anything.  Naomi and I love you all.  -Pastor Steve