Praise the Lord!

Isaiah 61:3 says, “To console those who mourn in Zion, to give them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness.”

If we go out today (temperature is presently 8 degrees) most will wear a coat and try to protect our body from the cold air. Putting on the garment of praise from this scripture has a valuable meaning for believers. We all believe in praise, but the word ‘garment’ suggest that praise is like a wrap or covering, not something causally draped over the shoulders, but a garment that is tightly wrapped around us with no openings which would allow hostile elements to enter our spirit-man.

We must realize that putting on the garment of praise allows our whole being to respond to God’s mercy over the needs of our lives. Praise is exchanged or replaces heaviness, discouragement, doubt and fear. While considering “What am I going to do?”, or “How will I get the finances needed,” just have a praise session and see how your heart, your spirit-man, opens up to the work of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit will bring clarity and take away the heaviness that comes with worry. “When distressed, be dressed-with praise.”

Read Psalm 150. This beautiful praise scripture ends with this: “Let everything that has breath praise the Lord.” Praise the Lord!

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Christmas Eve Thoughts

Have you ever noticed that the day before can be a day of great anticipation that something good is going to happen tomorrow, or a day that we might dread to happen? For instance, we love Christmas Eve because Christmas Day usually means opening gifts, dinner with the family and time to relax.

The eve of a wedding is usually filled with excitement, joy and asking the question, “Am I marrying the right person?”  Through the years I have had people tell me that the day before they almost backed out and now were extremely happy they didn’t. On the other hand, I know of others who had the same feeling, didn’t back out and later faced divorce.

The eve of a big event, such as buying a home or vehicle where one has to sign the proverbial dotted line, is always filled with confident thoughts or a lot of questions about doing the right thing.

The eve of a surgical procedure can be filled with stress concerning the outcome.

The eve of a major business meeting is often met with dread as to whether you can make the “perfect” presentation.

The eve of a big test in high school or college makes one nervous as they consider the questions they will have to answer.

There are many days before a big event that we know are coming and how we face them will determine our future.  There is a DAY coming as described in this scripture, 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 (NKJV), “For the Lord Himself will descend from Heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air.  And thus we shall always be with the Lord.”

If we read and study the Bible we know that this time must be near.  Many people who have prophetic insight are saying the Lord’s return is close at hand.  Therefore, His coming will be some DAY; my question is, “Do we understand that the eve of this event is today and everyday until our Lord returns?”  My advice is be prepared by being ready. Actually, there will be no time to think things over, no opportunities to reconsider, no questions about right or wrong, and no hoping the next day can be be postponed. If Jesus comes back today, we should have been ready yesterday on the eve of His return. Should He come tomorrow then be ready today. Getting ready is truly accepting Jesus as the Savior of your soul. Romans 10:9-10 (NKJV) “…that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.”

May your Christmas Eve be blessed as well as the Eve of the return of Jesus!

More Christmas Thoughts . . .

Hearing that someone is going through personal turmoil at this time of the year reminds me that God’s plan, through Jesus Christ, was for us to have a personal grasp on His peace for our lives.

You can’t read the Christmas story in the gospels without reading verse fourteen of the second chapter of Luke in the New Testament.  “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth PEACE, goodwill toward men!”  God intended we live with His PEACE each day of our lives.  Jesus was giving direction in the book of John 14:27, “PEACE I leave with you.  My PEACE I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you.  Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.”  Actually, as a believer we are walking in the PEACE He gives us.  There is no way that our fleshly peace can win, only His.  The Book of John 16:33 says, “These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have PEACE .  In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”  Here in God’s Word are several scripture references to His PEACE:

Romans 5:1, “…we have PEACE with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.”

1 Corinthians 7:15, “…But God has called us to PEACE.”

2 Corinthians 13:11, “…Be of good comfort, be of one mind, live in PEACE; and the God of love and PEACE will be with you.”

Philippians 4:7, “…and the PEACE of God which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”

Colossians 3:15, “And let the PEACE of God rule in your hearts…”

Matthew 5:9, “Blessed are the PEACEMAKERS for they shall be called sons of God.”

Declare to your spirit man that you will not allow turmoil, friction and offense rule you. Speak these scriptures into the depths of your being and rid your heart of anything that does not manifest the PEACE of God. This is Christmas 2015, so please enjoy every moment it brings. The saying, “Jesus is the Reason for the Season,” is so true.

A PRAYER:  “Lord Jesus, let me walk in your PEACE and be a PEACEMAKER!”

Blessings to all!
(All scriptures are NKJV)

Christmas Thoughts

We spend the days before Christmas trying to buy gifts, even the perfect gift for the one we love the most.  Our concerns are centered around what kind of meal to serve for the family that usually has a long list of likes and don’t likes.  Hurrying to the store several times, we rush in and miss the opportunity to say hello to a neighbor or stranger.  I say it is time to, “Be still, and know that I am God…” (Psalm 46:10).

Christmas is about the One and Only Savior, Jesus Christ!  And, let’s be honest…Christmas is not about us.

Christmas is the amazing story of a baby born in a manger when there was no room for he and his family in the inn.  Jesus goes only to places that make room for Him.

Christmas tells us about the genuine response of simple shepherds to go and find the Christ.  We can always find Jesus, for He made Himself available to all of mankind.

Christmas shows a teenage girl’s submission to God’s plan, which would save the world from their sins.  Mary’s admission of obedience to the work of the Holy Spirit is the pinnacle of faith to the spoken Word of God.

Christmas reveals the hearts of Zacharias and Elizabeth as they walked faithfully in the plan of God for their lives.  We relate to them as they wonder about the instructions from the angel of God to fulfill their destiny.  By the way, each believer in Christ has a destiny.

All of these thoughts are found in the first three chapters of Matthew and Luke.  Each account tells of the marvelous plan God revealed to the world.  His plan was designed for you and me and all of humankind.  The world must know about Him, so we are called to share the Good News of Jesus to others.  Christmas is a prime opportunity to reach out in faith to the needs of others.  Matthew 1:21 (NKJV), “And she will bring forth a Son,  and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.”

Be Blessed today!

“. . . His STAR in the East.”

In the world, the big news is ‘Star Wars,” the movie.  Fox 411 of Fox News reports that over the weekend this movie brought in $238 million dollars domestically and over $500 million worldwide.  Many, many people spent millions of dollars and hours to see a movie that will be forgotten in another generation.  A quote from this article says, “…the force is strong…”

Yesterday, Sunday, many, many people attended church services to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ.  Faith Life Worship Center worshiped, prayed, preached the Word. FLWC also gave gifts to those attending and many who did not attend, as some took extra gifts to give to neighbors and strangers.  Here’s what the Word says about a STAR:  the New Testament account in Matthew 2:1-2 says, “Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, saying, ‘Where is He who has been born King of the Jews?  For we have seen His STAR in the East and have come to worship Him.'” (NKJV)

This STAR led the wise men to the Savior.  The Old Testament records in Psalm 19:1, “The heavens declare the glory of God…”  They would find Him, verses 9-10, “When they heard the king, they departed; and behold, the STAR which they had seen in the East went before them, till it came and stood over where the young Child was.  When they saw the STAR, they rejoiced with exceedingly great joy.”(NKJV)  These kings from the East were consumed by God’s glory as they saw baby Jesus.  The Word records they fell down and worshiped Him and they gave out of their treasures, gold, frankincense and myrrh.

The only investment one should make is in Jesus Christ.  While the world says, “the force is strong;” we say, “Jesus is our strength because He is strong in every way.”  While the world records success by box office receipts; we record success by the millions of souls who have trusted in Jesus as Savior.  Also, the box office receipts will soon wane and eventually stop.  The record of souls will never cease and the Good News will always be popular as believers will continue to share the Message of Jesus.  Over two thousand years of real adversity has never stopped the Gospel.

Please make this a memorable Christmas by sharing the Good News with family and strangers.  The greatest gift anyone can receive is eternal life through Jesus.  His gift of salvation has no price. It is free to all who will accept this truth and believe.

Have a Blessed and Merry Christmas!
Faith Life Worship Center

Thanksgiving 2015

Psalm 50:14 (NKJV) – “Offer to God thanksgiving,….”

Psalm 95:2 (NKJV) – “Let us come before His presence with thanksgiving;….”

Psalm 100:4 (NKJV) – “Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, and into His courts with praise.  Be thankful to Him, and bless His name.”

Ephesians 5:20 (NKJV) – “…giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ,….”

Thanksgiving Day is tomorrow.  Some people will work, others have a day off; some will stay home and watch the parade, football games and feast on a Thanksgiving meal.  I trust we all, in a day that can become extremely busy, will take some time to offer THANKSGIVING to the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.  Of course, stating the obvious, we are THANKFUL for God, the Father, God, the Son and God, the Holy Ghost.  We must be THANKFUL for our salvation that brings to us His love, grace, mercy, provision, healing, power, goodness, promises, forgiveness, redemption, and wisdom.  And, we are THANKFUL for one another;  husbands and wives, children and grand-children, friends, those we work for and with, church family, and the many others God places in our path each day and week.

We must state THANKFULNESS for the United States of America, our military branches who protect our Nation, police men and women of all types, and all government leaders.  In 1620 the Pilgrims gave THANKS and said, “….in the presence of God, and one of another, covenant and combine our selves together into a civil body politic, for our better ordering and preservation and  furtherance of the ends aforesaid; and by virtue hereof to enact, constitute and frame such just and equal laws, ordinances, acts, constitutions and offices, from time to time, as shall be thought most meet and convenient for the general good of the Colony, unto which we promise all due submission and obedience.”

On this list today we must be THANKFUL for those who are faithful to preach and teach the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ around the world.  Also, for the many, many churches and Christians who share the Gospel each week.  The Message of Salvation through Jesus Christ is all we have to win the world for God, but, “Oh, what a Message it is….”

Tomorrow in all of its busy times, please, let’s take time to bow our heads and offer to God, THANKSGIVING.

PASTOR JERRY