Uncomfortably Numb!

umcomfortable

By Pastor Jeff,

I was and still am a little a fan of the Rock group, “Pink Floyd” who did a song in the 70’s called “Comfortably Numb”. Sometimes we welcome numbness when we are battling depression, sickness or disease, and even tragedy we welcome numbness.  It’s a kind of a defense mechanism to help us deal and sometimes avoid dealing with things around or in us. This can be helpful if you do eventually allow some of those feelings come back, are able to face them, and get resolution from it.

Being unable to feel pain may sound appealing, but it would be extremely hazardous to your health. Pain is, for most of us, a very unpleasant feeling, but it serves the important evolutionary purpose of alerting us to potentially life-threatening injuries. Without it, people are more prone to hurting themselves and so, because they can be completely oblivious to serious injuries, a life without pain is often cut short. There is in fact a disease called, “Congenital Analgesia” which has disastrous results for those who suffer from it such as severe burns, cuts, biting of their tongues and so on. Leprosy also can leave to nerve damage which can lead to broken bones, cuts, burns as well.

So what do I mean by “uncomfortably numb?” That is the best way I can describe about how I have felt since the passing of my daughter. I’m forever grateful for the 37 years I had with her and know we will meet again but since her passing I have had the range of grief, sorrow, depression, and now numbness. Isaiah 53:3, “He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.” This I know, that Jesus has been with me all the way through this process and His presence has been a immense comfort to me. I really don’t have a clue how a person can get through things in life without Him. I’m also aware that the numbness I have is not something that is beneficial to the Kingdom of God for Christ tells us in Galatians 6:2, “Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ.” 

So this numbness that I have is becoming uncomfortable but I also want to hang on to it for if I have to endure any more sadness it would be almost impossible to accept it. As a christian though it is imperative for all of us to open up our arms and hearts to anyone that God puts in our path. It’s not easy but staying numb to those around us will only cause hurt, brokenness, lack of love for others, and even affect our relationship with our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

I know there are many others out there that have had tragedies similar or even worse that our family has but if we are to be effective witnesses to our lost and dying award we must step out of that numbness and surrender our wills and lives to Jesus.

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When Words are Not Enough!

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By Pastor Jeff,

Deuteronomy 31:6,“Be strong and of a good courage, fear not, nor be afraid of them: for the LORD thy God, he it is that doth go with thee; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee.” This promise is repeated in Hebrew 13:5-6, “Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me.”

As our family is dealing with the loss of two loved ones in a period of less than 15 months we have heard the statement repeated several times by people, “I don’t have words” or “I can’t even know what your are dealing with”. This is true as the old Indian saying goes, “walk a mile in his moccasins.” which is plain to understand that you can never feel or understand what another person is going through unless you have experienced the same thing. Even then can be difficult to comprehend as we all react to things somewhat differently based on our faith, relationship, and age.

This saying, “When you can’t look at the bright side, I will sit with you in the dark” comes from the movie in Alice in Wonderland, I had purchased a T-shirt with the phrase and had wore it to a interview from a local newspaper not thinking that a couple months later it would express my thoughts of today. It has been difficult and may never happen for at least me to go back and continue my life as it was before. It’s hard to be in a  group and discuss the things that once mattered to me. I even told people close to me that I need to be just left alone, that I had no interest in talking about it, but I know through it all that Jesus was there not telling me it will be alright but sitting with me holding my hand, handing me tissue to wipe the tears from my eyes (figuratively).

Listen, Jesus no matter how you feel, what you are experiencing, what you are thinking, in the greatest hours of despair, Jesus is there! Don’t always expect Him to speak words in your ears, to shake you, to even hug you, but know He is there, trust that!

It’s been very difficult in seeing any good of the tragic loss of my son and daughter and when I shared my daughters legacy in our church the scripture that God gave me is found in Romans 8:28, “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” To be honest I don’t feel good about what happened, I do Love God with everything in me and I do believe I am called for His purpose. But the good I can’t fathom, it hurts way to much at this point in time to think that, but I do believe it. Maybe all that will come of it is that I will get to share my story how no matter what has come my way, I can stand, even if my knees may be weak and wobbly, I will still stand, and if you ever find yourself not able to look at the bright-side I will sit with you even in the dark!

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Christian’s and Suicide

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By Pastor Jeff,

Will a Christian that commits suicide go to heaven? That is a question that is in much dispute and I must say that I will not come to a definitive answer in this blog, but I will share some thoughts and let you come to your own conclusion. The reason I can’t make that definitive answer is that I’m not God and I do not claim to have answers to every question that man seeks answers to. However like the Apostles Paul did occasionally I will deliver my opinion on the matter.

In our bible we can recall six suicides mentioned, Abimelech (Judges 9:54), Saul (1 Samuel 31:4), Saul’s armor-bearer (1 Samuel 31:4–6), Ahithophel (2 Samuel 17:23), Zimri (1 Kings 16:18), and Judas (Matthew 27:5). If we want to add Samson to this equation we find seven! Everyone is tragic in its own right and everyone, even Judas was done under extreme moments of depression, fear, and despair.

I have in the last few years and more heavily this past year have studied Mental Health and especially how it is handled by the Church. I found that my past thoughts on the subject were severely lacking and judgmental. I can easily blame those that have in the past blamed any mental health issue on a lack of faith, seeking attention, or worse declaring those affected as being demon possessed. But this belief is just a cop out that I had to come to terms with as a christian first, a brother in the Lord, and then a pastor.

I have found out that this area is very complicated not only in the world but also in the church, I need to admit that I don’t have all the answers, nor do I know all of the questions but I’m searching with an honest heart. In looking at the word of God with this new perspective I have found that though our God is awesome, He chooses people that are very flawed to do His work. The prophet Elijah is one that jumps out at me, in 1 Kings 18 we find Elijah part of a great conquest on Mt. Carmel against 450 prophets of Baal. When we look at chapter 19 we find this same prophet fleeing under the death threat from Jezebel, verse 4, “But he himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness, and came and sat down under a juniper tree: and he requested for himself that he might die; and said, It is enough; now, O LORD, take away my life; for I am not better than my fathers.” Sounds to me that Elijah was severely depressed to the point of wishing to die.

The problem we have as Christians that the bible declares in Exodus 20:13, “Thou shalt not kill.” Could we not say that suicide is in violation of this commandment? After all you are taking death which is appointed by God into your own hands. I in recently years have seen extreme suffering by non Christians and Christians alike not only physically but emotionally. I in no way will defend someone that takes his or hers own life but I will not and cannot stand in judgment of them either. Jesus Christ is the one who has the keys, Revelations 1:17-18, “And when I saw him, I fell at his feet as dead. And he laid his right hand upon me, saying unto me, Fear not; I am the first and the last: I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death.” It is “He” that will open the books, Revelations 20:11-12, “And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them. And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.”

In most cases of suicide, no one is there at the time of the passing of the person, only God knows what the state of mind that person was in or the conversation they may have had with our Lord at the moment or time prior to them passing. Listen I don’t have the power to put anyone in nor take anyone out of heaven. That’s God business, I preach the gospel, do my best to love everyone, and keep studying the scriptures to have a reason of my hope. I take comfort in these words found in Romans 8:38-39, “For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Let God be God!

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Great Faith!

Great-Faith

By Pastor Jeff,

Several times in our bible we find accounts were Jesus was approached or approached someone and declared that they had more than the average faith, they had “Great Faith”. The Roman officer in Matthew 8:5-13, the woman with the issue of blood in Mark 5:25-34, and a Gentile woman in Matthew 15:21-28. Interestingly none of these were of the Jewish faith which makes the statement of Jesus even more profound.

We can look at many others such as Noah, Ruth, Joseph, Phillip, Paul and others and see that they exhibited much faith but these three are pointed out as having “Great Faith”. The bible tells us that we all are given faith, Romans 12:3, “For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.” 

As we look at the Gifts of the Spirit we can see one of the action gifts in 1 Corinthians 12:4-11, “Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. And there are differences of administrations, but the same Lord. And there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God which worketh all in all. But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal. For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit; To another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit; To another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues: But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will.”Verse 9 again,To another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit;”

As I ponder on the “Gift of Faith” and “Great Faith” my first reaction is that I have never functioned in this area. But recently as I reflected on this I now believe that I have received a faith that I would not ordinarily have. Before Jesus Christ I believe a supernatural faith. My youngest daughter was diagnosed with Neuroblastoma at three months of age that crushed me to the core. It was pretty much a death sentence though the doctors would not give us any percentage on her chances. She had surgery to remove a tennis size tumor then several months of chemo. But I want to concentrate on the night of her surgery I had come home that night and as I laid in bed I surrendered my life to Jesus Christ and a supernatural feeling assurance came on me that in spite of what we were seeing and hearing it was going to be okay!

Just recently I had a similar experience as my daughter once again has been diagnosed with a cancer called Sarcoma Synovial which is inoperable and according to the medical field fatal. Of course this crushed my family and I and despite an astounding number people praying was not going to well. I couldn’t help but plead to God for healing and many people told me she would receive that healing. At the onset I had declare “We walk by Faith not by Sight” But I will be honest, doubt was overwhelming me and found myself very sorrowful and sad. I didn’t believe my words as I declared Isaiah 53:5, “But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.”That all changed recently as I can’t pinpoint the exact time or how, I do know it was a Wednesday that that same assurance I had way back when had prayed that prayer at home came over me and by “Great Faith” in spite of what I hear or see will be healed once again to the Glory of Jesus Christ!

This is not a faith that I can say generated in me but it comes from my love of God and His love for me!

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The Peace that Passes…

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By Pastor Jeff,

It’s been a while since I had a chance to post a blog and I must say its been a very busy past month. My wife, a few friends, and me took a well deserved vacation down to the Creation Museum/Ark Encounter for a Pastor/Leadership conference. I also took a three day training class in Green Bay WI for becoming a Chaplain for the Rock County Sheriffs Dept. which I consider a great privilege.

So as I write this I am also thinking on my Son, Jeffrey W. who our family lost unexpectedly exactly one year ago today. Last week was also the one year anniversary of a good friends death, Russ, as well, so you would think I would be relating about how awful I am feeling. Not So!

Philippians 4:6-7, “Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” It has to be one of the worse events that any parent could ever endure in that he or she has to bury a child and I will not minimize the pain that comes from it. It’s been said that time heals all wounds but a situation like this will never heal completely nor would I want it to. Jeff was my son, I loved him and would gladly of traded my life for his.

I also have come to the point in my life that I desire to completely surrender to the will of God and the great part of that is that Jesus is there to help us in the rough times, Matthew 11:28, “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” 

At times I must admit I feel guilty that I do not feel that horrible ache in my stomach that I have had at the beginning of all this. It’s not that time has dulled the pain or that I did not love my son or my friend. It’s only by the love of God and His peace that I can face this tragedy head on. This brings me to the thought of those who go through tragedies like this without Christ in their lives; I really don’t know how you can. No wonder people head to the bottle, pills, or even commit suicide to run from the pain. I implore you to seek Jesus Christ and draw to Him as close as possible, for that is the only true way you can get peace during these times!

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Almost Midnight

midnight

By Pastor Jeff,

Eschatology, The study of “Endtimes” is one of my favorite subjects of the bible. With that I firmly believe we are living in the greatest decade ever as we are seeing Bible prophecy being fulfilled before our very eyes!

Matthew 24:3, “And as he sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?” The rest of chapter 24 and 25 Jesus then gives answers to this question, such as vs. 6, “And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet.”  We see what’s happening in Syria or the joint war games by Russia and China and we can see that this is true, how about vs. 11, “And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many.” I don’t know about you but I can’t watch or listen to those who sell books, tapes, or anything promoting certain events such as the many “Blood Moons” and try to equate that to being the start of the tribulation period. The ultimate sign is found in Matthew 24:32-34, “Now learn a parable of the fig tree; When his branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer is nigh:
So likewise ye, when ye shall see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors. Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled.” We know this happened May 14th, 1948 when Israel became a nation once again, so without a doubt we are living in the last generation. Interestingly the verse that follows says this, “But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only.” So we can’t proclaim a day, but we I believe proclaim a season and the season is here!

Revelation is one of my favorite books and chapter 13:16-18, talks of the “Mark of the Beast”, “And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads: And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name. Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man; and his number is Six hundred threescore and six.” Three Square Market, a company in Wisconsin has recently offered implants for its employees, at first for fun, but also convenience. I encourage you to look a the video found on YouTube with an interview with the CEO by NBC. No, I can’t be certain that this is the final product that fulfills this prophecy but I do believe this is a step to make us comfortable with this type of technology.

There is a wonderful day coming, Revelations 21:4, “And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.” And Jesus tells us this in Revelation 22:20, “He which testifieth these things saith, Surely I come quickly. Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus.”

It’s Almost Midnight!

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To Die is Gain…

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By Pastor Jeff,

I probably should at the onset of this blog state that I’m not suicidal so don’t call the professionals to have me committed. (There are probably many other things that could have me committed I must add!)

Philippians 1:21-25, “For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. But if I live in the flesh, this is the fruit of my labour: yet what I shall choose I wot not. For I am in a strait betwixt two, having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ; which is far better: Nevertheless to abide in the flesh is more needful for you. And having this confidence, I know that I shall abide and continue with you all for your furtherance and joy of faith;”

I don’t know if it’s a by product of getting older, or that this past year was not particularly a good year in that I lost a good friend and my oldest son, that this world is getting increasingly antagonistic to what we believe as a church, or just that this world has less of a hold on my life. But I find myself more in agreement to what Paul is stating here that death is not something that is feared as it once was and even is starting to have a certain attraction to it.

The more we understand the beauty of what heaven is going to be, Revelations 21:4, “And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.” It makes me desire to be there more, I know too many people that are suffering physically, mentally, and spiritually to not desire relief for them and as Paul says being with Christ is so much better! It’s getting tougher and tougher to digest the daily news of political unrest not just in other countries but in our very own. You see the disrespect to authority in our schools, law enforcement, and even in the churches that makes you shake your head in disbelief.

Yes, I’m definitely ready for the return of Christ, my cry often is Revelations 22:21, “He which testifieth these things saith, Surely I come quickly. Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus.” I also know this that our world is lost without the message of Jesus Christ and until He returns or decides to take me Home, I will with all I possible can tell others of His love and sacrifice for us all and through that love, we can have eternal life. 2 Peter 3:9, “The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.”

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What About Fasting?

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by Pastor Jeff,

When you ask any believer about prayer and they will undeniably tell you that they pray regularly and earnestly, but when you mention fasting we often fumble to find an adequate response.

The word fasting is referenced over seventy times in the bible with some memorable fasts by Moses who twice went forty days in the presence of God without any natural food. Jesus also fasted forty days in the wilderness before His temptation by Satan, Luke 4:1-4, “And Jesus being full of the Holy Ghost returned from Jordan, and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness, Being forty days tempted of the devil. And in those days he did eat nothing: and when they were ended, he afterward hungered. And the devil said unto him, If thou be the Son of God, command this stone that it be made bread. And Jesus answered him, saying, It is written, That man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God.”

One of the most powerful examples of what can happen when we chose to fast is when Jonah warned Nineveh of impending doom, Jonah 3:5, “So the people of Nineveh believed God, and proclaimed a fast, and put on sackcloth, from the greatest of them even to the least of them.” God responded with mercy, Jonah 3:10, “And God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way; and God repented of the evil, that he had said that he would do unto them; and he did it not.”

Now I want to be careful and tell you that fasting does not change God’s mind for eventually Nineveh was destroyed, but what fasting does is allow God to remove our unbelief, Matthew 17:21, “Howbeit this kind goeth not out but by prayer and fasting.”

Fasting was often used in the selection of missionaries, Acts 13:2-3, “As they ministered to the Lord, and fasted, the Holy Ghost said, Separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them. And when they had fasted and prayed, and laid their hands on them, they sent them away.” Elders, Acts 14:23, “And when they had ordained them elders in every church, and had prayed with fasting, they commended them to the Lord, on whom they believed”

Ezra 8:21, “Then I proclaimed a fast there, at the river of Ahava, that we might afflict ourselves before our God, to seek of him a right way for us, and for our little ones, and for all our substance.” 8:23, “So we fasted and besought our God for this: and he was entreated of us.” Fasting unleashes the faith that is in us and we Apostolic’s should never take it lightly. In future blogs I will discuss the different types of fast and even its benefits for us physically, thank you for your time.

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Don’t stop my Miracle!

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By Pastor Jeff,

Miracles! Many of us Christians seem surprised when one occurs especially in the Americas where doctors and medicine is readily available. Some churches hold the position that the age of miracles ended after the Apostles all died. Well, not me! The bible makes it clear that there is one thing that will stop miracles Matthew 13:54-58, “And when he was come into his own country, he taught them in their synagogue, insomuch that they were astonished, and said, Whence hath this man this wisdom, and these mighty works? Is not this the carpenter’s son? is not his mother called Mary? and his brethren, James, and Joses, and Simon, and Judas? And his sisters, are they not all with us? Whence then hath this man all these things? And they were offended in him. But Jesus said unto them, A prophet is not without honour, save in his own country, and in his own house. And he did not many mighty works there because of their unbelief.” UNBELIEF! will stop your miracle in its tracks!

John 14:12-14 is completely opposite of the scriptures we just looked at for it says this, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father. And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it.” BELIEVING! that is the key to receiving your miracle!

Recently that, belief, was put to the test with me as I have shared about my youngest daughter being diagnosed with cancer again. I really took the wind out of my sails and made me question if stepping out in faith for Revival was a wise decision, for since then the devil seems to pulled out all stops in trying to get our focus away from Him. God however quickly reminded me of the many miracles that I have witnessed in just my families life and my strength was restored. This is the third time my daughter has been diagnosed and soon it will be the third time that she was healed by the power of the Name of Jesus Christ our Lord. You seen pretty sure of that you may say, Yes I am, for I believe and I asked in His name!

There are so many miracles mentioned in the word of God and many are not just in the life of Jesus our Messiah. One of my favorites that really show that nothing to big nor small is important to God is found in 2 Kings 6:1-7, “And the sons of the prophets said unto Elisha, Behold now, the place where we dwell with thee is too strait for us. Let us go, we pray thee, unto Jordan, and take thence every man a beam, and let us make us a place there, where we may dwell. And he answered, Go ye. And one said, Be content, I pray thee, and go with thy servants. And he answered, I will go. So he went with them. And when they came to Jordan, they cut down wood. But as one was felling a beam, the axe head fell into the water: and he cried, and said, Alas, master! for it was borrowed. And the man of God said, Where fell it? And he showed him the place. And he cut down a stick, and cast it in thither; and the iron did swim. Therefore said he, Take it up to thee. And he put out his hand, and took it.” I’m simply amazed by that word “swim” for I’m sure that most of us have never witnessed such an event. It may seem trivial that the Lord of Lords would be concerned by an lost axe, but His love for us is so huge that He sent the man of God to the rescue.

Miracles rarely go unnoticed; when you receive one, you cannot help but to tell others of what God has done. I will not let others who may not believe in miracles as I do get in the way of my miracle, I believe and am thanking Jesus Christ for them as I type this blog. God has never failed me and will not let the devil trick me into believing that God will not answer my prayers. I will praise my Jesus and look forward to how many will be touched by another miracle in my life!

Don’t let anyone get in the way of your MIRACLE!

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