What is Your Gift?

By Pastor Jeff,

This is the greatest gift you can give Jesus not just today but everyday of your life.

Matthew 2:1-11, “Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem, Saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him. When Herod the king had heard these things, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him. And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he demanded of them where Christ should be born. And they said unto him, In Bethlehem of Judaea: for thus it is written by the prophet, And thou Bethlehem, in the land of Juda, art not the least among the princes of Juda: for out of thee shall come a Governor, that shall rule my people Israel. Then Herod, when he had privily called the wise men, inquired of them diligently what time the star appeared. And he sent them to Bethlehem, and said, Go and search diligently for the young child; and when ye have found him, bring me word again, that I may come and worship him also. When they had heard the king, they departed; and, lo, the star, which they saw 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 exceeding great joy. And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense, and myrrh.”

Now I want to point out a couple of traditions that have been added to the Christmas story that the bible doesn’t speak on, one was that there were only three wise men, we see that three gifts were given but scripture doesn’t say it was by just three wise men, there could of been hundreds for all we know. The other is that the wise men came the night that Jesus was born, in fact when the wise men did have their encounter the scripture tells us he was a young child and based on Herod sending his soldiers to kill all the male children two and under, Jesus could of been that age when the wise men did appear before the child Jesus.

With that we will look at the three gifts that the Wise men brought, Gold, Frankincense, and Myrrh. The gold had a great monetary value and had to help during the upbringing of Jesus as Joseph, Mary, and family had to move more than once until they settled in Nazareth. Frankincense was a resin from the shrubs that grew in the mountain ranges that border Dhofar, Myrrh was also a resin from the Horn of Africa. These were very valuable and may even been more costly than the gold as frankincense was used by Kings and myrrh was used for funeral rites because of its strong aromatic scent. Some speculate that these three items would value in the millions of dollars but of course it that can’t be confirmed.

These valuable gifts were important in the life of Jesus but the question I have for you, is what gift do you bring to Jesus? Some may say our offerings of money, or a vow to pray, read your bible more, and so on it what our gift is, but I tell you that is not what Jesus wants. But you say I have nothing else to give, you say surely wouldn’t want this man of sin, Psalms 8:3-4, “When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained;What is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him?” Indeed!

Thank God, that isn’t the way God sees us Psalms 139:14, “I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well.” Romans 5:8, “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” I contend if you were the only person in this world that needed saving, Jesus would of still of come taken on the form of man, been rejected, suffered, died, buried, and Resurrected just for you. That’s the value Jesus puts on you, Jesus didn’t come for your bank account, your house, your cars, or any other material thing, He came for YOU! The best gift you could possibly give Jesus this Christmas and any other day is your Life, obey Acts 2:38 and become Born Again, don’t delay for we do not know that this may be the last Christmas we have before He returns.

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The Best Gift

By Pastor Jeff,

James 1:17, “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.”

We are in the midst of Christmas season 2020 as kids all over the world are making out their Christmas lists. I remember when we were kids, we couldn’t wait for when the Sears and JCPenney’s catalogues would be delivered and we would go through them over and over again to mark the things we were hoping for.

I’m sure everyone reading this can remember that one special Christmas or if you were fortunate several Christmas’s that you got the gift that you had dreamed of. You can probably also remember some of the gifts you didn’t ask for as well.

That gift you would probably qualify as the “Best Gift” and you may even smile when you think of that gift or may have it even today.

Acts 20:35, “I have showed you all things, how that so labouring ye ought to support the weak, and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, It is more blessed to give than to receive.” I personally believe this is true when you have the opportunity to give to someone who could never repay you or if you can do it anonymously. But to be honest, I do like to be the recipient of gifts, and at Christmas we remember the “Best Gift” mankind has ever received.

John 4:10, “Jesus answered and said unto her, If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give me to drink; thou wouldest have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water.” John 3:16, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”

Because of this gift of God becoming flesh, dwelling among us, suffering, being crucified, His resurrection, and finally ascension we have another promise we receive. Acts 2:38-39,”Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call.” Ephesians 2:8, “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:”

The gift of life that we have been blessed with is truly something to be grateful of, but eternal life that we get through faith in Christ is by far the, “Best Gift”! Romans 6:23, “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”

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Is He The God or My God?

By Pastor Jeff,

John 20:24-28, “But Thomas, one of the twelve, called Didymus, was not with them when Jesus came. The other disciples therefore said unto him, We have seen the Lord. But he said unto them, Except I shall see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into his side, I will not believe. And after eight days again his disciples were within, and Thomas with them: then came Jesus, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, Peace be unto you. Then saith he to Thomas, Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side: and be not faithless, but believing. And Thomas answered and said unto him, My Lord and my God.”

In the U.S. we have approximately 330 million people with 244+ million of those over the age of eighteen. According to Pew Research 65% of Americans still consider themselves Christians that adds up to 158+ million Christians; so why is our nation so ungodly with abortion still the number one killer of children with 1700 every day, the rioting, looting, burning of cities, and cries for defunding the police in spite of rising crime around our country.

It’s an easy question to answer because one can call himself or herself whatever you want but it’s your relationship with Jesus Christ is what matters, Matthew 7:21-23, “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. 
Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.”

We find in the Old Testament that very few individuals had a relationship with God. He was the God of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, He was the God of Israel. Noah, Abraham, Moses, and David are some of the very few who had a close relationship with God. Unlike the New Testament in that each of has an opportunity to have an individual relationship with Jesus Christ. We now, can have the Lord of all things come into our hearts, John 14:18-20, “I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you. Yet a little while, and the world seeth me no more; but ye see me: because I live, ye shall live also. At that day ye shall know that I am in my Father, and ye in me, and I in you. He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him.”

He is not just the Lord God, He needs to become My Lord and My God in our lives, just ask this of yourself;

Is He the savior or is He My Savior? Is He the creator or His My Creator? Is He the provider or is He My Provider? Is He the healer or is He My Healer? Interesting how the change of one word can transform your attitude, your stance, and your relationship with our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Don’t just settle to be standing on the outside looking in by only recognizing that there is a Lord, that there is a God but never making Him the ruler of your heart and life. John 20:29, “Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.”We are truly blessed to be able to just like Thomas to call out and declare that Jesus is My Lord and My God!

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Stand Up!

By Pastor Jeff,

The year 2020 has been one interesting year that I’m sure will be read about in history books in the decades to come. We’ve started out the year pretty good but soon the covid-19 virus took over our nation’s news at a pace never seen before. I don’t mean to minimize this virus as over two hundred thousand people have died with the virus contributing to their death which is horrible for all involved. I will not spend time on whether this virus has become way to political or if we have not taken it serious enough in this blog but maybe I will spend time sharing the science if the Lord leads.

We are also in the midst of a very controversial presidential election that has divided our country like no other time than probably the civil war we had over 150 years ago.

The caption I have shared from Alexander Hamilton, “If you don’t stand for something, you will fall for anything” has been repeated by others such as Malcom X, Peter Marshall, and others. So as I pondered on this quote, I’m reminded of the scripture in Ezekiel 22:30, “And I sought for a man among them, that should make up the hedge, and stand in the gap before me for the land, that I should not destroy it: but I found none.” The state of Israel during Ezekiel’s life was seemingly similar to our country in that they had abandoned God, it’s prophets were spewing lies, the leaders were corrupt, and it’s people only cared about themselves.

The reason I felt I needed to address this is that if we ever want to continue to have the freedom to worship our Lord Jesus Christ, speak freely, work and be able to improve your life we need not one, a couple, or most of the followers of Christ to stand up, we need all believers to do so! Ephesians 6:11-18, “Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;”

Stand! stand for what? truth, before the present election, we had many who called themselves prophets, with much pride, prophesied that Donald J Trump would win the election. Now that the numbers that we now have are being contested favor the opponent some are recanting their prophecy. They either are false prophets who tried to get 5 minutes of fame or don’t have the guts to “Stand”. The word of God is not the center of many messages as motivational speakers (I can’t call them preachers) as they fulfill 2Timothy 4:3-4, “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.” Standing for the word of God? no thanks it may cause others to not like me or I may lose my paycheck. This puts a horrible stain on the church of the living God

How about standing for life, Ruth 4:13, “So Boaz took Ruth, and she was his wife: and when he went in unto her, the LORD gave her conception, and she bare a son.” I was appalled recently when I heard that someone spoke with excitement that 80% of evangelical Christians voted for our present president who supports the pro-life message. That means 20% voted for the party of death, that’s unbelievable to me that so-called believers will not make a stand for life for any reason.

If you won’t now take the time to stand for God and our country, you will find yourself falling in line with this world that is literally running to the endtime agenda of a one world government and one world leader. Standing up will cost you but its what we must do or we will lose out as your family members, friends, neighbors will never hear about Christ so will be headed to a eternity without God!

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Are You a Doer?

be-a-doer

By Pastor Jeff,

Luke 2:41-49, “Now his parents went to Jerusalem every year at the feast of the passover. And when he was twelve years old, they went up to Jerusalem after the custom of the feast. And when they had fulfilled the days, as they returned, the child Jesus tarried behind in Jerusalem; and Joseph and his mother knew not of it. But they, supposing him to have been in the company, went a day’s journey; and they sought him among their kinsfolk and acquaintance. And when they found him not, they turned back again to Jerusalem, seeking him. And it came to pass, that after three days they found him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the doctors, both hearing them, and asking them questions. And all that heard him were astonished at his understanding and answers. And when they saw him, they were amazed: and his mother said unto him, Son, why hast thou thus dealt with us? behold, thy father and I have sought thee sorrowing. And he said unto them, How is it that ye sought me? wist ye not that I must be about my Father’s business?”
From the birth of Jesus to this event we find very little written about the life of Jesus other than “And the child grew, and waxed strong in spirit, filled with wisdom: and the grace of God was upon him”. But here at the age of twelve He was letting everyone know that He knew what His purpose in life was to do His Fathers business!And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man.”

Then again we have nothing written until the age of 30, Luke 3:21-23, “Now when all the people were baptized, it came to pass, that Jesus also being baptized, and praying, the heaven was opened, And the Holy Ghost descended in a bodily shape like a dove upon him, and a voice came from heaven, which said, Thou art my beloved Son; in thee I am well pleased. And Jesus himself began to be about thirty years of age, being (as was supposed) the son of Joseph, which was the son of Heli” 

I have no doubt that Jesus could of started His ministry at any time but we see in scripture that the age of thirty was pretty significant as evidenced that is when Joseph appeared before the Pharaoh (Gen. 41:46, the priest entered service (Num. 4:3), David became King (2 Sam. 5:4) and a few others. Now that does not mean that we who are called into the ministry or any other work for our Lord have to wait until thirty, I believe that we do need some maturing as Christians before we step out so that our enemy the devil does not use our own immaturity to destroy us.

With that, we need in our church doers not just hearers, James 1:22-23, “But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves. For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass:” I have less and less patience for those who say they are going to do something but never follow through even though your intentions may be good. That’s not good enough, its especially troublesome when pastors, evangelist, leaders stand at the pulpit and proclaim that they are going to change, going to pray more, going to read the bible more, going to do this, going to do that, then never follow through.

Let’s read Matthew 21:28-32, “But what think ye? A certain man had two sons; and he came to the first, and said, Son, go work to day in my vineyard. He answered and said, I will not: but afterward he repented, and went. And he came to the second, and said likewise. And he answered and said, I go, sir: and went not. Whether of them twain did the will of his father? They say unto him, The first. Jesus saith unto them, Verily I say unto you, That the publicans and the harlots go into the kingdom of God before you. For John came unto you in the way of righteousness, and ye believed him not: but the publicans and the harlots believed him: and ye, when ye had seen it, repented not afterward, that ye might believe him.” I’d rather have someone who never proclaims that he will do something and is known as a doer than hypocrites who love to stand bringing attention to themselves who never do nothing. Matthew 5:37, “But let your communication be, Yea, yea; Nay, nay: for whatsoever is more than these cometh of evil.”

One of my favorite song writers, singers is Matthew West for many of his songs speak to my heart especially songs like,  “Strong Enough, Do Something, Mended, Hello, my Name is…Broken Things” especially has meaning as you read these lyrics let them speak to your heart as well;

If grace was a kingdom, I stopped at the gate, Thinking I don’t deserve to pass through after all the mistakes that I’ve made, Oh but I heard a whisper, As Heaven bent down, Said, “Child, don’t you know that the first will be last and the last get a crown”

Now I’m just a beggar in the presence of a King, I wish I could bring so much more
But if it’s true You use broken things, Then here I am Lord, I’m all Yours”

The pages of history they tell me it’s true, That it’s never the perfect; it’s always the ones with the scars that You use, It’s the rebels and the prodigals; it’s the humble and the weak
All the misfit heroes You chose, Tell me there’s hope for sinners like me.

Grace is a kingdom, With gates open wide, There’s a seat at the table just waiting for you
So, come on inside!

Amen, God is looking for doers, especially those with the heart that cries out to Jesus and proclaims that “here I am Lord, I’m all Yours.” If that’s you then Jesus has a job for you, You may have to wait a little but it will be worth it. It may not be standing before thousands declaring the words of the Lord, for I will confess before you that if I never stood in a pulpit but found myself in His perfect will, I would be better than OK with that. But God may have you talking to your neighbor, praying for the lost, visiting the sick, cleaning the church, the things that may never be seen but others. God see’s and He’s the reason we should be a doer anyways!

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Walking Miracles

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By Pastor Jeff,

Psalms 139:14-18, “I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well. My substance was not hid from thee, when I was made in secret, and curiously wrought in the lowest parts of the earth. Thine eyes did see my substance, yet being unperfect; and in thy book all my members were written, which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them. How precious also are thy thoughts unto me, O God! how great is the sum of them! If I should count them, they are more in number than the sand: when I awake, I am still with thee.”

The more I study biology especially when it comes to the unbelievable way man has been put together the more amazed I find that anyone can deny that we are not a miracle of God’s creation. Just think of the atom and how small it is and that we are made of 7 times 10 to the 27th power or 7 billion, billion, billion atoms. To think that that is an accident of evolution is just bizarre and completely at odds with the medical miracle we are. You are indeed a “Walking Miracle!”

Recently one of my favorite musicians Matthew West came out with the song, “Walking Miracles”, which is the inspiration to this blog. In the song he sang about the miracle of what we are as well as the healing power of God. So I want to center on that God is a healer which you would think would be a relatively simple subject that any pastor especially a Apostolic pastor would want to share. That hasn’t been true for me since my youngest daughter passed away due to cancer last year. Don’t get the idea that I lost hope or stopped believing in healing or in miracles but I must confess it’s been very difficult to proclaim that Jesus is your healer when I didn’t witness that in my child. I also have witnessed many in our church that have suffered under different types of afflictions that have not received their healing, which has had me shy away from coming our declaring, By His stripes you are healed!

But I have to step out in faith and hopefully let everyone know that my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ is indeed a healer and you are a “Walking Miracle!” A lot has been said of mustard seed faith and several scriptures tell us with that kinda faith mountains can be moved. If your like me we have on our refrigerator a little mustard seed in a picture to remind me of that faith. Let us look at this a little differently and read Matthew 13:31-32, “Another parable put he forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is like to a grain of mustard seed, which a man took, and sowed in his field: Which indeed is the least of all seeds: but when it is grown, it is the greatest among herbs, and becometh a tree, so that the birds of the air come and lodge in the branches thereof.” What did the sower do? That’s right he planted it, it’s time for us to take the mustard seed off the refrigerator, plant it, water it, give it some sun, and watch it grow to what God intended it to be!

We have or had in our church a poster that says, “Pray Until Something Happens” PUSH, as I was contemplating this I found my attention to the word “Until”, I don’t want a “Until” I want to shout out, “Pray Then Things Happen” PTTH, when the children of God pray in faith in the name of Jesus Christ there are no “until”; there is action right now! You are a “Walking Miracle” not next year, not next week, not even tomorrow, you are one right now!

Let’s me point his out in the miracle in Acts 3:1-8, “Now Peter and John went up together into the temple at the hour of prayer, being the ninth hour. And a certain man lame from his mother’s womb was carried, whom they laid daily at the gate of the temple which is called Beautiful, to ask alms of them that entered into the temple; Who seeing Peter and John about to go into the temple asked an alms. And Peter, fastening his eyes upon him with John, said, Look on us. And he gave heed unto them, expecting to receive something of them. Then Peter said, Silver and gold have I none; but such as I have give I thee: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk. And he took him by the right hand, and lifted him up: and immediately his feet and ankle bones received strength. And he leaping up stood, and walked, and entered with them into the temple, walking, and leaping, and praising God” A walking miracle because two men took that mustard seed faith, planted it, watered it, let it grow in the power of the son of God Jesus Christ and boom!

Let’s all realize that God’s promises are Amen and Amen! Let us walk as the miracles we are and proclaim that with God all things are possible!

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Resolutions!

New Year 2019

By Pastor Jeff,

Well  here we are in the year 2020 and I reckon many of you had made some kinda New Years Resolution. Below here is listed the top ten resolutions:

  1. Exercise more
  2. Lose weight
  3. Get organized
  4. Learn a new skill or hobby
  5. Live life to the fullest
  6. Save more money / spend less money
  7. Quit smoking
  8. Spend more time with family and friends
  9. Travel more
  10. Read more

I will be honest that I really don’t do New Year’s resolutions for as a believer everyday I try to work on the many things I fall short of, Jesus tells us in the book of Luke 9:23, “And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.” Now, I don’t necessarily say that making a yearly resolution is a bad thing but I ask the question that how many of these resolutions are kept though out the entire year. It is said by January 12th that most of those making resolutions have broke them not very good odds is it?

Through several tragedies in recent years I found that taking one day at a time has been the best approach for me. Not that we shouldn’t make long time goals such as vacations, family events, and eventually retirement but if concentrate on just that we miss the little things that each day brings us. For instance, the smile of a stranger, the kiss from your spouse, the joy of watching a pet doing something crazy. We recently got two kittens and though I’m more of big dog guy, these two have brought much laughter to our household when it seemingly was hard to even smile. Our children, grandchildren, are also great sources of daily joy. If you have any parents that are still alive, never miss that opportunity to call or visit them because when they are gone you can never go back and replace those moments that you didn’t spend together.

Matthew 6:34, “Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.”

I’m not sure what 2020 will bring into your life or mine, I trust that whatever it is Jesus will get me and if your faith is in Him it will get you through it as well. We always at the start of the year look with anticipation that it will be a great and much better year than the previous year. But no one can ever guarantee that for anyone and even the Apostle John quoting the word of our Lord says in John 16:33, “These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation:” Bummer, right! but then he continues, “but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.”

If you made those resolutions for 2020, good for you, and I hope you can see fruit from them. But let’s not ever get head of whats here today and miss those things that both make us laugh and sometimes make us cry. None of us are promised tomorrow and whatever life we have here let us do our best to bring Jesus and eternal life to others for that is our commission!

May God truly Bless you and use you in 2020 for His Kingdom!

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What is Christmas About to me?

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By Pastor Jeff,

I asked this question on Facebook recently and received answers that I pretty much expected, “salvation, the greatest gift, and  God’s love”  these are answers I agree with wholeheartedly. Isaiah 9:6, “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.”

I must let it be know that I love Christmas, though the commercialism of it can be sometimes overwhelming, but even with that I can smile at. Since my grand kids came along my love for Christmas has grown as I get great joy in finding out what gifts they would like, the shopping for; whether on-line or in the store I find exciting, and then seeing the joy on their faces as they open their gifts.

I love that we have the opportunity to share the gospel as it seems people are more open to the message of Jesus Christ coming into the world to save sinners, who I am chief.  John 3:16, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” becomes a powerful verse at this time of the year.

With that I must say that the last and this years Christmas is different in many ways for in the fall of 2018 I lost a good friend and my eldest son passed away, then this past January my youngest daughter also passed on after a battle with cancer. This of course has devastated me as I’m sure many before me that have gone through similar instances have. The interesting thing is that I don’t feel sorry for myself but have become more aware of those around who Christmas or any holiday, birthday, anniversary that has become hard to face.

I’m aware that though I still have that joy since I have hope in Christ Jesus, others don’t, and even those that do can struggle immensely. I understand that pain even with this hope and I realize that some will go through depression, anger, sadness that many can never understand. I become more sensitive to those and though I love this holiday I have learned the hard way that we can’t just brush people off and ignore the real hurt that is going on in their lives. 2Corinthians 1:3-4, “Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.”

To those that are going through tough times, who are hurting, who are mourning a loved one, I want to let you know that you are not alone, and God loves you and is with you in these times. Knowing this is what kept me and still keeps me going even though there is a great hole in my heart!

If you don’t know this God who loved you so much that He became a child, lived, suffered, died, and rose again so that we may have a hope beyond this corrupt world, I encourage you to find a bible believing church. If you are a believer and still are having a hard time, I also encourage you with the word from Apostle Paul in Romans 8:18, “For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.” This life is temporal and relatively short but we will have an eternity to spend with Jesus Christ and our loved ones who have become Born Again.

This is what Christmas means to me this year!

My prayer for you is of comfort, hope, peace, and even that you may find joy this Christmas season, God Bless you!

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Traditions versus Tradition!

 

traditions

By Pastor Jeff,

Matthew 15:1-9, “Then the scribes and Pharisees who were from Jerusalem came to Jesus, saying, “Why do Your disciples transgress the tradition of the elders? For they do not wash their hands when they eat bread.” He answered and said to them, “Why do you also transgress the commandment of God because of your tradition? For God commanded, saying, ‘Honor your father and your mother’; and, ‘He who curses father or mother, let him be put to death.’ But you say, ‘Whoever says to his father or mother, “Whatever profit you might have received from me is a gift to God” then he need not honor his father or mother.’ Thus you have made the commandment of God of no effect by your tradition. Hypocrites! Well did Isaiah prophesy about you, saying: ‘These people draw near to Me with their mouth, And honor Me with their lips, But their heart is far from Me. And in vain they worship Me, Teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.”

Here we find the scribes and Pharisees who loved to burden the people with rules and regulations then exclude themselves from the laws that they should be obeying. They had condemned men for not washing their hands but refused to take care of there own parents. They claimed that they had dedicated their money to the house of God so could not use it to help their parents needs.

Now, not all traditions are a bad thing, after all, we all were told to wash our hands before we ate when we were growing up which is not a bad idea. We all have family traditions that we have carried on sometimes for many generations. Even the word of God tells us that we should keep some traditions, 1 Corinthians 11:1-2, “Imitate me, just as I also imitate Christ. Now I praise you, brethren, that you remember me in all things and keep the traditions just as I delivered them to you.” 2 Thessalonians 2:15, “Therefore, brethren, stand fast and hold the traditions which you were taught, whether by word or our epistle.”

So, what is the problem with the traditions that the scribes and Pharisees laid upon men? Colossians 2:8, “Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ.” The problem comes when we take a tradition then turn it into a law that we need to obey or find our salvation in jeopardy. I can think of many things that I was taught and even taught myself that became a law that must be obeyed. One significant one that is taught in many churches is found in Malachi 3:8, “Will a man rob God? Yet you have robbed Me! But you say, ‘In what way have we robbed You?’ In tithes and offerings.” Pretty clear, Huh? Well if you read the entire book of Malachi you will find out the author was writing to the priest not the people. This offering or tithe was not of money either, it was of sacrifice which in most instances in the Bible we find it was of crops not money. I can spend more time on this subject but I hope I at least made you double think tithe as something you can choose to do rather than have to do!

Other traditions that have been laid on mankind as law are dress, hair, entertainment, discipline, food, and many more that have caused many a saint to walk away form God rather than closer to Him.

Keep this one thing in mind and I believe you will never fall into the trap of turning a tradition into law, 1 Corinthians 10:31, “Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.”

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We are His Reflection

reflection

By Pastor Jeff,

Genesis 1:26-27, “Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.” In “His” image, or as I like to in this blog use the word “reflection”.

There is an old saying that people will see in you the only Jesus they may ever see, we need to reflect Christ in our speech, actions, and appearance in all we do. One of the things I would also like to concentrate is what occurred after Jesus walked with two men on the road to Emmaus that I find amazing, Luke 24:33-40, “So they rose up that very hour and returned to Jerusalem, and found the eleven and those who were with them gathered together, saying, “The Lord is risen indeed, and has appeared to Simon!” And they told about the things that had happened on the road, and how He was known to them in the breaking of bread. Now as they said these things, Jesus Himself stood in the midst of them, and said to them, “Peace to you.” But they were terrified and frightened, and supposed they had seen a spirit. And He said to them, “Why are you troubled? And why do doubts arise in your hearts? Behold My hands and My feet, that it is I Myself. Handle Me and see, for a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see I have.” When He had said this, He showed them His hands and His feet.” What was on His hands and feet that would immediately make Jesus recognizable to Hid disciples? The scars from the Nails of course!

The thing I have noticed among many of Jesus’ followers is that they too carry scars that bare witness of their lives in Christ. Most of us have scars from injuries that show up on the outside as I can easily point to many on myself. But we also carry scars that cannot be seen from the naked eye. These can only be seen if we would open up our chest and expose our hearts. These scars can have the most long lasting affect on our lives and can destroy you if you keep opening up those scars or make it the focus of a horrible period of you life.

So what should you do? 1 Peter 4:12-13, “Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you; but rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ’s sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy.” So what should you do? Use it for the glory of God. I don’t know about you but I’m not ashamed of the scars that you can see on my physical body and likewise we shouldn’t be ashamed of the scars we carry upon our hearts. If we truly are the reflection of Jesus who proudly showed His scars of evidence of who He was; we likewise shall show our scars of evidence of living our lives for Him. Scars are evidence that we have overcome, the wounds have scarred over, we are able to use the pain of the past to show others how to overcome and not be held back. I want to show His power in spite of the scars on my life, Philippians 3:10, “That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death;” 

I want Christ’s reflection to be apparent in me, I want His power to be shown through me, I want others to see Jesus in me, and if that means scars so be it! Jesus used His scars to show the world who He was and so will I!

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