growing in every season

January 14, 2020

Back in the 1960’s there was a song performed by a group known as the Byrds.  The name of that song was, Turn, Turn, Turn.  The words of that song are from Ecclesiastes 3.


Ecclesiastes 3:1 “To every thing there is a season and a time to every purpose under the heaven.”


We are all familiar with the seasons of our planet.  There is spring, summer, winter and fall.  In spring we see new growth.  The leaves on the trees begin to show.  Flower bulbs begin to peek through the ground.  It is a season of growth.


Then we flow into our wonderful summer.  Summer is a time of growth also.  The flowers begin to bloom.  Our vegetable gardens begin to produce the tomatoes, cucumbers, zucchini, etc.


Then comes the fall.  This is the time of transition.  The leaves on the trees produce their beautiful colors. However pretty, it is the signal of death for those leaves and they begin to fall.  Flowers begin to fade, and our vegetable gardens cease to produce their fruits.  


Then comes what most people do not like. It is the season of winter.  The leaves and flowers are gone.  The days seem dark and dreary.  It seems like a season of death and inactivity.


Believe it or not fall and winter are still seasons of growth.  It is in the fall when most plants produce their seeds for reproduction.  My zinnias and my marigolds are covered with what looks like dead blooms.  They are actually seed- heads.  Those seeds will drop to the ground during the cold winter days and be next year’s flowers.  Those seeds provide food for hungry winter birds.


My flowering trees, though void of leaves or flowers, are covered with dried fruits and berries.  I see many birds eating the shriveled up crabapples or berries.


And yes, winter is even a time of growth.  Though not visible to the human eye, there is growth taking place below the ground.  The tree and shrub roots continue to spread out absorbing the soils nutrients for the new growth in the spring.


We can also relate these seasons in nature to our lives.  We love when things are fresh, new and exciting.  It is easy to see our growth when all things are new.  

Summer in our lives seems like the best time.  We see our growth.  We are producing fruit in our lives.  Though things in our lives are not always new and exciting as spring, the summer times in our lives are when things seem established, predictable and routine.


Then here comes the fall season in our lives. The season of change or transition.  Things that seemed to be routine and predictable are starting to become mundane and old.  This is the season when we feel like we are not producing what we want to see in our lives.  God seems to be shaking things up.

Like in nature, this is not the time to stop and die, it is the time to produce seeds for the next burst of growth in our lives.  This is the time to sow like never before.  Sow your time, talents and tithes.  It is also a time to look for opportunities to help someone else grow.  Sow your time, talent and tithes into your church.  


When the winter seasons come in our lives, things seem dead and dry.  This is not the time to withdraw but go forward.  Start to build a stronger foundation in your life.  Continue to pray; dig deep into the Word of God; be faithful going to church to hear the Word of God which will cause growth for your faith.  


It is during, what seems like a dry and stagnant season, your spirit man grows by hearing of the Word of God.  You may not see growth, but you are growing below the surface; below what your natural senses can see or feel.


Winter seasons are also often times of challenge, test and trial.  But that is all they are: times of challenges, test and trial.  James 1:2 tells us to count these times with all joy.  Why? Because they are producing what is necessary for great growth:  patience.


Just always remember, seasons come and go.  Seasons change.  Recognize that there will be seasons in all our lives and in every season there will be growth.


- Pastor Jim

got faith?

january 22, 2020

In Mark 4:35-41 there is a great story about the disciples being in a terrible storm in their boat.  It states in vs. 37 that the waves were so fierce that their boat began to fill with water.  While this was going on Jesus was asleep in the back of the boat.


Vs. 38 says that the terrified disciples woke Jesus up and said, “Master, carest thou not that we perish?”.


The Message Bible interpretation says, “Teacher, is it nothing to you that we’re going down?”


Jesus then arose and rebuked the wind and said unto the sea, “Peace be still.  And the wind ceased and there was a great calm.”


Jesus then said to His disciples, “Why are you so fearful?  How is it that you have no faith?”


Some may interpret this as Jesus saying that the disciples did not have enough faith in their power to rebuke the storm. However, I see it as them having no faith in what Jesus said.


In Mark 4:35 “And the same day, when the even was come, Jesus said unto them, let us pass over unto the other side.”


The Lord, the Son of God, said: “Let us pass over unto the other side.”  Jesus essentially said, “We are going to the other side.”


In so many places of the Bible, Jesus said to believe in His word.


Did the disciples lack faith because they did not have faith in their power to rebuke the storm?  They did not have faith in what Jesus told them.  We are going over to the other side.


How could Jesus remain asleep in the storm? Jesus said that He did nothing except what the Father told Him to do.  So the Father told Jesus go to the other side and Jesus believed that what the Father said would be accomplished no matter what the devil did to try to stop Him.


Look what the Father was sending Jesus to do on the other side.  In Mark 5 Jesus cast the devils out of the madman of Gadera.  That man, freed from the demonic possession, wanted to follow Jesus but look what Jesus told him to do.


Mark 5:19 “…Go home to thy friends and tell them how great things the Lord has done for you and have compassion on them.”


The whole region was evangelized by this man who was delivered by Jesus.  Imagine if Jesus did not believe what the Father said and turned back out of fear due to the storm.  Jesus had the faith to believe what the Father said despite everything the devil threw at Him.


The faith God wants to see in all of us, is the faith to believe what the Word of God says.  


Isaiah 55:11 “So shall My word be that goes forth out of My mouth; it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please and it shall prosper in the thing whereto  I sent it.”


Do you believe what God says in His word about you and your situation despite the challenges, tests and trials?


Do you believe in the promises and blessings that God says are yours in the Word of God?


When you are in the storms of life, Jesus is with you.  Will you have faith in what God has said in His Word or will Jesus say to you, “why are you so fearful? How is it that you have no faith?”


In other words, why are you afraid; don’t you believe in what the Word of God says?


Christians drown in the storms of life because they either don’t know what God says in His Word or they just don’t believe in what God says.


In the storm, speak boldly and confidently, “I believe what the Word of God says.”  Then declare that promise and you will get to the other side where there is great peace and calm. 


- Pastor Jim

getting the word in

February 4, 2020

We have of often heard the term, “Get the word out”, when we want something to be made known to as many people as possible.


We have read in the Word of God that mankind has the responsibility to get the Gospel out to as many people as possible during our lifetimes.  This responsibility can not be carried out by angels, but only by the believer.


We need to remember what Paul said in Romans 3:16 “For I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ; for it is the power of God unto salvation…”


When we share what God has done in our lives; when we share the fact that the Son of God went to the cross bearing the punishment for our sin and do it in love, we can leave that person knowing that the seed of the Word of God planted in them will either flourish or dry up and die based upon their decision.  The responsibility of whether they receive that truth is not ours.


That is getting the word out.  But what is even as important or maybe even more important is the fact that we need to get the Word in.  Everywhere throughout the Word of God we read the necessity of getting the Word of God in us.


The psalmist wrote in Psalm 119:11, “Thy Word have I hid in my heart that I might not sin against Thee.” I believe that speaks of memorizing the Word of God.


Joshua was commanded by God to meditate on the Word day and night.  I believe that was necessary for the Word of God to get down into his heart so Joshua would come to know the faithfulness of God and so Joshua would have success in what he was about to face.


Romans 12:2 tells us not to be conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewing of our minds that we may know the good, acceptable and perfect will of God for our lives. The truth in God’s word is different from what the world considers truth.


John 15:7 tells us that if the words of Jesus (the Gospel) abide in us we can ask what we will, and it shall be done unto us.  That is because what we will ask for will be according to the Word of God.


How do we get the Word of God in us?  The same way we get the necessary nutrients in us: we need to eat the proper foods.


We put the Word of God in us by reading the Word of God and listening to the Word of God on a consistent basis.  It is a principle that what you see or listen to on a consistent basis you will eventually believe as truth and become a part of your thinking process.  


You can’t get the right word out if you don’t put the right word in.  


Jesus said, “out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks”

To what are you consistently listening and to what are you consistently seeing, will be what will be consistently coming out of your mouth.  Garbage in, garbage out.  Truth in, truth out.


Get the right word in and then you will get that right word out!


- Pastor Jim

you are valuable to god

February 12, 2020

One of the greatest needs in any human is the need to be validated.  To be validated in this sense, means having value and having a reason for your existence.  Down deep inside we all ask the question, why am I here?  Does anyone care?  


There are so many mental and physical issues that stem from someone not feeling needed, wanted or having any value.


The Word of God is filled with words such as encourage, exhort, comfort and bear each other’s burdens.  We are told to have compassion, pity and to assist others in need.


One of the greatest messages in the Gospel is that Jesus came to die for you.  He paid the price for your sins from the day you were born to the day you die.  He was the Lamb of God, slain from the foundation of the world. (Rev. 13:8)


What does that mean?  Before you were even created, God sent Jesus to die for you.  If God is truly omniscient, knowing all things from the beginning of creation to the end, He knew for whom He was sending Jesus to die.


You were valuable enough for God to send His son to die for you!


You were also so valuable to God that you were first created by the thought of God.  


Jeremiah 1:5 “Before I formed thee in the belly, I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee…”


Even though this scripture was referring specifically to Jeremiah it tells us that God created us even before we were conceived.  Your creation began as a thought of God.  He planned your creation and your life.  You are so valuable to God that He thought that you would be valuable enough to be part of His overall plan.


You are so valuable to God that Jesus tells us in John 16:7 that it was necessary for Him to leave this earth so He could send us the Comforter, the Holy Spirit who would guide us and possess us with His power and comfort.


You are so valuable to God that Jesus tells us in John 10:10 that He came that we might have an abundant life here on this earth.


You are so valuable to God that God gave us some great things as mentioned in II Peter 1:3-4 “According as His divine power HATH given to unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him that HATH called us to glory and virtue.  Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises that by these you might be partakers of the divine nature having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.”


Notice the word, hath, which means He has already given us these things while we are on this earth.  You are valuable to God!



If you ever have a day where you feel lonely and wonder if you have any value to anyone, remember all you have just read and repeat this wonderful truth: I AM VALUABLE TO GOD.


- Pastor Jim

double-mindedness

February 20, 2020

There is an interesting scripture found in James 1:8 which says, “A double minded man is unstable in all his ways.”


In James 1, the author is talking about someone who has double-mindedness.  Being double minded is someone who can’t make up their mind about what they believe.


In fact James 1:6 in reference to asking the Lord for wisdom or anything else, “But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering.  For he that wavers is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed.”


Verse 7 is even more to the point, “For let not that man think that he shall receive anything of the Lord.”


“Anything” is a pretty strong word here.  If you are double minded; if you can’t make up your mind whether you really believe what God says in His word, don’t expect anything from God.


There is another example of this in Mark 11:23 where Jesus tells us His disciples that if they have faith they could speak to mountains and they would be cast into the sea.  We need to read the scripture before verse 23 which says, “Have faith in God”.  


Some translations say, “Have the faith of God.”  Either way if you think you have this faith notice what the later part of verse 23 says, “and shall not doubt in His heart.”


If you speak to the mountains that oppose you in your life, you better be speaking what the Word of God says and have total faith in that word.  To have the faith of God is to believe what the Word of God says concerning your particular situation.


How do you overcome doubt in your life?  You obey what the Word of God says about doubt, unbelief or a lack of faith.  Faith is not a gift, it is a consequence or the result of something else.  Romans 10:17 “So then faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God.”


What you allow yourself to hear or even see on a consistent basis will become what you believe.


Romans 12:2 “And be not conformed to this world; but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect will of God.”


Doubt, unbelief and a lack of faith can be overcome by renewing your mind to what God says in His word.  Your faith will become strong and doubt will no longer exist in your mind. 


As Jesus said in John 8:31–32 “If you continue in My word, then are you my disciples indeed; and you shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free.”


Free from what?  Doubt, fear and unbelief.


Again what you consistently hear or see will be what you will eventually believe.  So be consistent in hearing the Word of God.


- Pastor Jim

re

February 26, 2020

You are probably wondering about my title today: RE


Just scanning quickly through my Strong’s Concordance, I found 31 “re” words.  I am sure there are a lot more.  I found words like “replenish” which is found in Genesis 1:28 where God commanded Adam to replenish the earth.


If that word has been translated properly, which I believe it is, it has a pretty significant meaning.  Replenish comes from two Latin words, re and plenus.


The Latin word, re, means again.  The Latin, plenus, means to make full.  The dictionary definition of the word replenish, based on these two Latin words means to make full or complete again.


To make full or complete again.  An interesting command God.  Was the earth full at one time?  That’s another subject.


What I notice in most of these “re” words, is that it refers to returning to what once was or to return or go back to the starting point.  There are so many words that we could study that tell us to restore, or go back to, or do over what once was.


Today I would like to look at the word, “rejoice”.  The word, rejoice, is found 190 times in the Bible so it must be an important word to the Lord.


It is almost like a command.  The Word of God tells us to rejoice in several things:

Rejoice before the Lord

Rejoice in our salvation

Rejoice in God’s goodness

Rejoice in His name.

Rejoice at His Word.


There are so many more reasons to rejoice.


If we go back and study the origin of this word, we find that it has a French origin.


Re – again and joir – be glad.  So based upon these two French words, it means to be glad again.


Philippians 4:4 gives us a command: “Rejoice in the Lord always; and again I say, Rejoice.”


The Message Bible says to celebrate God all day, every day.


The Amplified Bible says “rejoice in the Lord always (delight, gladden yourselves in Him) again I say rejoice.” 


Paul is not giving us a suggestion here.  This is written in a form of a command.  Many of Paul’s writings spoke of the persecution, tribulations, tests and trials we would have to face as Christians, but we are to rejoice; be glad again.


Again?  Despite what we must face in this life as believers in Jesus Christ we are to “re”: go back; return.  How do we return or go back to being glad again?


Colossians 3:2 “Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth.”


When things get tough; challenges; circumstances; persecutions, test or trials, we need to understand these things are the things on the earth.  Nothing can separate us from the love, provision and protection of our loving heavenly Father God.


During these tough times we need to look up and remember that we are God’s precious sons and daughters.  These things on the earth are only temporary.  Our future is secure here on earth and after our death.


Focus on the promises and blessings found in the Word of God.  Then, rejoice.  Be glad again.  How?  Lift up your head and your hands and begin to worship the Lord.  


Speak out the Word of God over your situation and begin to praise the Lord for His goodness and mercy.  God inhabits the praises of His people.  God’s presence becomes so real and the Word of God says that in His presence is fullness of joy.


Rejoicing is a decision that will produce joy.  It’s a cycle: be glad again and joy will return and that joy will cause you to rejoice again.  


It’s your choice.  It’s your decision.  Choose to rejoice always!  



-  Pastor Jim

are you perplexed?

march 4, 2020

Luke 21:25-26 “And there shall be signs in the sun and in the moon and in the stars, and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring; Men’s hearts failing them for fear and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth; for the powers of heaven shall be shaken.”


I see two things happening in our world today.


The first thing I see is a world that is becoming very solitary yet one world community.  What do I mean by this?


Have you noticed in our society, at least in our country, the movement toward isolation?  You no longer have to go into the store to go food shopping.  You can have it delivered to your home.  You no longer have to walk into the bank.  You go through the drive through.


You no longer need to have eye to eye contact with your friends.  You communicate through Facebook, Twitter, etc.


Rather than go to the various stores to buy your clothes or anything else, you can order on-line through Amazon or another delivery system.


We seem to be becoming a very solitary society.  We were never meant to be alone.  We need the love and support of others.  We need to give love and support to others. God created us to be social beings.


We are also becoming a one world society.  Because of the various internet services, we can be informed immediately of world events.  Today, everyone is being informed of the corona virus problem.  Worry, worry, worry. 


With Facebook we are informed of things happening in the lives of our Facebook friends.  Worry, worry, worry.


Is it no wonder why even Christians are becoming perplexed?


“and upon the earth distress of nations with perplexity.”


Amplified Translation: “and upon the earth (there will be) distress (trouble and anguish) of nations in bewilderment and perplexity (without resources, left wanting, embarrassed, in doubt, not knowing which way to turn.”)


I have a friend who got tired of being bombarded by all the commercials advertising medications for diseases you may not even have.  They got tired of all the bad news locally or around the world, so they decided to no longer watch TV.  They told me how much peace they seem to have lately.  


That may be a good start, but I have a better remedy.


First, what you allow yourself to hear on a consistent basis may become something that may cause you to worry, fret, have depression or anxiety. So be careful what you allow yourself to listen to on a consistent basis that may be negative or things that you have no control over happening in the world.


If there are things you have to listen to that cause you to be afraid, listen to what the Word of God has to offer as a remedy.


Philippians 4:6-7 (NLT) “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything.  Tell God what you need and thank Him for all He has done.  If you do this, you will experience God’s peace, which is far more wonderful than the human mind can understand.  His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.”


If you allow the cares of the world, the care of others or even your own cares, to cause you to be perplexed, listen to what the Word of God offers as a remedy in I Peter 5: 6 – 7 (NLT)



“So humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, and in His good time He will honor you.  Give your worries and cares to God, for He cares about what happens to you.”


- Pastor Jim

HEal and health

March 12, 2020

Someone once asked me why they got sick when they heard that we were the children of God and were not ever supposed to get sick.


I see two words throughout the Word of God in the New Testament and the Old Testament that might answer their question.


The two words are healing and health.  Let’s define each by their dictionary definition.


Heal:  to make or become healthy; to cure.


Health:  physical or mental well- being; freedom from sickness or disease.


Now let’s look at the Biblical definitions for each word.


3 John 1:2 “Beloved, I wish above all that thou mayest prosper and be in health.”


Health: Greek- hugiaino – to have sound health.  The root here is the word, hugies which means well in body and mind.


In the Old Testament we find the word health in many scriptures such as Proverbs 3:7-8, “Be not wise in thine own eyes; fear the Lord and depart from evil.  It shall be health to thy navel and marrow to thy bones.”


This word health is the Hebrew word: riphuwth which means cure.  It comes from the root word, rapha, which means to make whole.  Rapha is what God called Himself in Exodus 15:26, “…for I am the Lord that healeth thee.”


The word “health” here is conveying the thought that God is the one who keeps us free from sickness and disease.  In this story God had a condition set for their health. “If thou wilt diligently hearken to the voice of the Lord thy God and wilt do right in His sight and keep His commandments.”


I believe this condition still stands for today.  It is the thief who comes to steal, kill and destroy.  We cannot give the thief any open door to attack us with sickness and disease.  When we disobey the Word of God we open the door for the enemy to attack us.


There are also natural physical laws we also need to follow. Our bodies are beautiful and efficient machines created by God that have abilities that defend them from sickness and disease.  However if we do not take care of ourselves we weaken our body’s natural defenses.


Eating poorly, not getting enough exercise, not getting enough sleep and not dealing with the stresses of our lives will weaken our body’s defenses.


The word, heal, is another word we need to define by Biblical terms.


Heal, healed or healing in the New Testament is the word, iaomi, which means to cure or make whole. 


Healing would not be in the Bible if we, even as believers, don’t get attacked with sickness or disease.  God is so good to provide healing for us when we do get sick.


If we are in sin, we need to repent and change what is opening the door for the enemy whether disobedience to the Word of God or unhealthy life- styles.


When we are attacked with sickness we need to remind ourselves and the devil what the Word of God says.  Ephesians 6 gives us the weapons of the Spirit to use to not only defend ourselves against the attacks of the devil, but how to overcome the wiles of the devil which includes sickness and disease.


Being attacked by our adversary is not always our fault but may be the enemy testing our faith.  We wouldn’t need spiritual weapons or faith if we were never attacked.


Even as believers, we may come under the attack of the enemy.  Just remember what the Word of God says in Romans 8:37, “Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him that loved us.”


- Pastor Jim

fear and wisdom

March 18, 2020

Today we are living in a society gripped with the fear of the Coronavirus or Covid-19.  And how interesting my spell check did not recognize the word and had no suggestions for its correct spelling.  It is a brand new thing.


I love what someone sent me: COVID-19  Christ Over Viruses and Infectious Diseases.  I heard on the radio the other day that the real virus is the viral infection of panic and greed.  


However you look at this disease, it is serious and should be taken seriously.  However let’s look at some truths here.  A virus can exist for a period of time on objects.


Consider this: Dine-in places have been closed but drive thru or order pick ups are permitted.  Here is the problem:  if you walk in the front door to pick up your on-line order, how many people touched that door?  At the drive up in many fast food places, how many people handled your food or touched the cups, utensils, napkins or even the bag in which they placed your food. 


You hand some person your money and they hand you back your change whether paper or coins.  How many people handled that change?  Maybe the guy ahead of you had the disease with or without symptoms and the change you received was what he handed the cashier.


How about the thousands of people that went through the front door of that food store or Walmart or touched the cart you used?  We can go through a whole bunch of scenarios.  


All these things have caused panic and fear in a lot of people including believers in Jesus Christ.  The question that has faced a lot of Christians is do I take the risk of attending a church service where there may be a lot of people?


Any decision that is motivated by fear will not be a proper decision.  2 Timothy 1:7 says that God has not given us a spirit of fear but of power, love and a sound mind.  If you believe the Word of God, then believe you have the mind of Christ and make that decision, that will be made after prayer and trust in God.


There is a difference between a decision made through fear and one made by direction from God.  I believe what the Word of God says in  Isaiah 30:21 “And thine ears shall hear a word behind thee saying, “This is the way, walk ye in it, when ye turn to the right hand and when ye turn to the left.”


Proverbs 3:5-6 “Trust in the Lord with all your heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.  In all your ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct thy paths.”


May I add my opinion to this scripture?  Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding (OR THE UNDERSTANDING OF OTHERS).


Pray for direction, guidance and wisdom in all areas of your life.  Then obey what you feel the Lord is telling you.



Just remember, fear should never be the motivation for any decision.


- Pastor Jim

the secret place

march 24, 2020

If we ever needed to speak forth over ourselves, constantly dwell upon and trust in, it would be Psalm 91.


We especially need to take a closer look at verse 1: “He that dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow”


That verse is the qualifier for all the rest of the promises of Psalm 91.


So those that dwell in the secret place can claim all those promises that follow


The word dwell is the Hebrew word, yashab, which means to sit down; to remain; to settle in the sense of taking up a homestead or staking out a claim and resisting all claim-jumpers; to possess a place and live therein.


That is a person who habitually speaks to God; recognizes His presence in all they do; who spends time in the Word of God, renewing their minds and being transformed to His will.


Then we have the term, the secret place.  It sounds like it’s a secret.  Secrets are things that are hidden but here it doesn’t mean that.  God never hides Himself from those who seek Him.


The Hebrew word for the secret is cether which means a cover.  It comes from the Hebrew word, cather, which means to hide by covering.


So rather than God hiding this place from us, it is actually God hiding us by covering us with His shadow.  You can’t be under a shadow of something unless you are near it.  So we need to be near to God which we saw accomplished by dwelling in God.


What is God hiding us from?  What is being under His covering protected us from?


That is what the rest of Psalm 91 is all about: God hiding us, covering us and protecting us from all that is listed.


Psalm 91 tells us that we need not be afraid of all the things that follow:  

  1. Snare or traps of the fowler (the devil)
  2. Noisome pestilence (rushing calamity)
  3. Terrors by night
  4. Arrow by day (darts of the enemy.  See Ephesian 6:16)
  5. Pestilences (like the coronavirus)
  6. Destruction (Psalm 103:4 “Who redeems my life from destruction”)
  7. Vs 10. No evil shall befall me
  8. No plague will come near me


All these promises belong to those who dwell in that secret place.  What or who can touch you when God has you with His presence?


That is why everywhere in the Word of God we are told not to fear, be afraid or be dismayed.



We can rest in peace that God is in control and He is protecting us with His presence.  Praise God!!


- Pastor Jim

Innovation

MArch 27, 2020

The dictionary defines the word innovation as follows: the process of making changes; a new method, custom, device, etc. 


In Mark 2 there is a great example of innovation.  Jesus was in a house in Capernaum.  It was noised abroad that Jesus was there.  It drew a great crowd that packed out the house.


In that packed house Jesus preached the word unto them.  It is recorded that four men brought a friend who was sick of the palsy.  They revealed their faith in the ability for Jesus to heal their friend.


However they had a problem.  They could not get into the house.  It looked like there was no way their friend could get near Jesus.


Here is where we see innovation displayed.  Mark 2:4 “And when they could not come night unto him for the press, they uncovered the roof where he was; and when they had broken it up, they let down the bed wherein the sick of the palsy lay.”


What an incredible act of innovation.  They made a change in their plans.  They found a new method.  Thank God that we have the power of imagination that will give the avenues to innovation.


Mark 2:5 “When Jesus saw their faith, he said unto the sick of the palsy, Son, thy sins be forgiven thee.”


Mark 2:11 “I say unto thee, Arise and take up thy bed and go thy way into thine house.”


Their plan worked.  Their faith was strong and nothing would deter them.  It just took some innovation.


Today we are being faced with a virus that has caused so many churches to have to cancel their services in their buildings.  However this crisis has forced us to become innovative: to make changes and use a new method.


Thank God many churches have done just that.  We are able to film some worship and my preaching and teaching of the Word of God.  Then we can put it on our website, Facebook, Youtube, etc.  


Many churches found out that the number of people watching their services was many times more than who they would minister to in their church buildings.


Innovation worked!  I am sure it will take some getting used to until this crisis is over, but it is working.  


In the early church, most of the preaching and teaching was done within Jerusalem.  It wasn’t until a crisis arose against the church that the followers of Jesus went outside of Jerusalem to preach and teach the Gospel of Jesus Christ.



Thank God we have the means to reach out beyond our church walls.  What the enemy meant for harm; God is using for good.


- Pastor Jim

Good out of evil

March 31, 2020

At the beginning of last Sunday’s service I mentioned something I believe the Spirit of God revealed to me.


I mentioned something most believers have heard, “What the devil meant for harm, God will turn for good.”


What possible good could come out of this pandemic we are facing?  To help stop the spread of this deadly virus we have been ordered to shelter in.  A better term would be stay at home with your family.


These thoughts came to mind as I was waking up one day last week.  Three “F’s”


Focus, family and faith.  I love when these thoughts come to mind, because I was just thinking about what possible good could be going on in such a tragic event.


I do not believe COVID-19 is from God.  Jesus made it very clear in John 10:10 that it is the thief, the devil, who comes to steal, kill and destroy.  That is exactly what this virus is doing.  


When will this be over?  Why doesn’t God do something about it now?  What is He waiting for?  Honestly, I have no idea. However I understand the meaning of these three “F’s”, focus, family and faith

  1. Focus:  In my lifetime I have never seen believers focused on one thing; praying against this deadly virus.  Christians are turning to God for the answer.  If God was concerned about a unified people focused on building the tower of Babel, imagine His ear being bombarded by a unified focus against this virus.
  2. Family:  Dads and Moms have been told to stay at home.  Even though they may be working at home they are still home with their kids.  Many day cares have been told to close so the kids who were once dropped off and picked up later are home with their parents.  Families are being strengthened. 
  3. Faith:  We are no longer able to meet together on Sundays in church to practice the mandated social distancing.  So Pastors are now using social media to reach their congregations who are sitting at home.  Interestingly other people who normally don’t go to church are tuning in.  I believe some will receive Jesus as Lord.  Other Christians who may not receive Bible based truths in their church, may hear them listening to other pastors online.


As believers we must continue to pray against this horrible pandemic.  However at the same time we need to pray that unbelievers, who would never darken the doors of the church, are listening and being changed by the power of the Gospel.


We also need to pray that families, now forced to be together, will develop stronger bonds between husbands and wives; children and parents and even between brothers and sisters.


Let us be diligent to be focused in prayer together that the Lord will reveal to our medical and research professionals the cure and a vaccine for this virus.


And let us as believers remember that the Lord is our hope which anchors us in this storm.   


- Pastor Jim

trust in the lord

april 6, 2020

Proverbs 3:5-6 “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.  In all thy ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct thy paths.”


I once heard a preacher give a great description of what trust was all about.  He said that if his daughter was standing on the edge of their four foot high stage and a total stranger asked his daughter to jump into their arms his daughter would probably not jump.  Why?  His daughter did not trust that the stranger would catch her.  Why?  She did not know him.


However if her father said jump off the stage into his arms, she would do it.  Why?  She knew the character and nature of her father.  She knew him.  So many other times Daddy had proven to her that he could be trusted to never hurt her.  She knew that her Daddy loved her and would protect her from all harm.


It seems so easy to tell people to trust God in this pandemic.  However I have come to realize that so many Christians do not know the character and nature of their Father God.


They do exactly what Proverbs 3:5 says not to do: “…and lean not unto thine own understanding.”


If you have never taken the time in the Word of God or in prayer to come to understand the way God thinks and acts, better referred to as the Kingdom of God, you won’t be able to trust God.  You will be trying to figure things out on your own.


Will I get this virus?  If I do will I die?  I am so tired of being afraid?  I lost my job.  I have no income. How will I survive?


That is leaning on your own understanding.  It is hearing something and not knowing how it will end up.  So what do we do?   We write the end of the story based upon our wisdom and understanding which is so incredibly limited.


Not knowing what tomorrow may bring is very upsetting to someone who does not know God or His word.


In Matthew 24, Jesus’ disciples asked Him, “What shall be the sign of Thy coming and of the end of the world”?


Jesus replied in Matt. 24:6-7 “And ye shall hear of wars and rumors of wars; see that ye BE NOT TROUBLED;  for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet.  For nation shall rise against nation and kingdom against kingdom and there shall be famines and PESTILENCES and earthquakes in divers places.”


If our current pandemic frightens you or these signs of the return of Jesus makes you afraid, you are probably not placing your trust in the Lord.  


Read the New Testament of the Bible. Study the words of Jesus who tells us in Matthew 6:33 “But seek ye FIRST the kingdom of God and His righteousness…”


In other words, make it a priority in your life to come to know the character and nature of God.  Find out how God thinks, speaks and acts.  Kingdom principles reveal the ways things work with God.


You will find in the Word of God that God is a loving Father who can be trusted. How many times in the past has God protected you or delivered you from harm?


If you want to know the character and nature of our Father look at the life of Jesus.  All His life He helped people.  He healed the sick, opened blind eyes, healed the deaf, feed the hungry, encouraged the down cast and even raised the dead.


Jesus spent countless hours teaching and demonstrating the loving nature of our Father God.


I like to define the word, trust, by the following:  TRUST – totally relying upon someone’s trustworthiness.


The Lord is trustworthy.  He is worthy of our trust.  If you can’t believe what the Word of God says, then remember how many times you had to jump off the stage of life and God was there to catch you.


Be not afraid.  Trust in the trustworthiness of your loving Father.  And remember, He will direct your paths.  Paths are things we walk on to reach a particular destination.  The great news is that our final destination is a place of deliverance and peace.


- Pastor Jim

the gospel of Jesus Christ

april 14, 2020

In Romans 1:15 Paul says that he was ready to preach the gospel to those who were in Rome.  The word, gospel, here is the Greek word, euaggelizo, which means to announce good news.


In Romans 1:16, Paul says that he is not ashamed of the gospel of Christ. Here the word gospel is the Greek word meaning a good message.


We like to define the word, gospel, as the good news, referring to what is stated in Ephesians 2:8, “ For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God.”


The good news is that we are saved by the unmerited and undeserved favor of God.  Ephesians 2:9 says, “Not of works, lest any man should boast.”


There are still Christians who believe they will earn their own salvation by doing what they believe are good things.  I call that the big scale theory.  When we stand before God, the good deeds we have done will be put on one side of the scale and the evil things we have done on the others side.


With knees knocking we hope that the scale will tilt in the direction of the good deeds.  However there is a problem with that theory.  God does not mention anything like that in the Word of God.


Romans 3:10 says, “There are none righteous; no not one.”


Isaiah 64:6 says, “For we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags…”


The scale is going to tilt to the evil things because all humans are unclean and basically evil.  Only our faith in what Jesus has done for us will cause us to be clean.  It won’t be our works that save us; it will be our faith in what Jesus accomplished on the cross.


Jesus bore our sins on the cross.  Jesus bore the punishment that we deserved so that all the wrath of God was poured out on Jesus.  The good news is that we are justified by our faith in what Jesus has already done for us.


We cannot boast in how good we are; nor can we ever earn our own salvation.  To deny that Jesus was the Lamb of God, sacrificed for our salvation would be a mock on what Jesus accomplished on our behalf. 


That is the good news that Jesus, Paul, Peter and every preacher of the Truth should declare. 


However notice something else found throughout the New Testament.  Jesus did something that He also told His followers to do:  preach the gospel and teach the Kingdom of God.


These are two distinct and different things:  to preach which means to declare and proclaim the good news which we have just discussed. 


By dictionary definition, to teach means to show or help a person to learn how to do something; to give lessons to a student; to provide knowledge, insight, etc.; to give instructions.


Jesus declared the good news which we just need to receive by faith.  We need to just believe it.


But Jesus also taught; instructed; provided knowledge or insight on how to do something.  Jesus taught us how to live according to the principles of the kingdom of God.


We will handle that in my next blog.  For today, just receive by faith that Jesus has made you righteous in the sight of God by His death on the cross.  We are saved by His sacrifice, not by our good works. 


- Pastor Jim

the lord is my god

april 23, 2020

A few Sundays ago I finished my series on Psalm 91.  Today I would like to elaborate on Psalm 91:2. I want to further concentrate on this part of the verse: “I will say of the Lord, He is…my God…”


Hebrews 11:6 “Without faith it is impossible to please Him; for he that comes to God must believe that He is…”


The Amplified translation says, “For whoever would come near to God must believe that God exists.”


I like to put it this way: we must believe that the Lord is our God and that He is our Most High and our Almighty.  He is supreme in rank; supreme in power; supreme in achievement; supreme in quality; the final and the ultimate in our lives.


We must believe that the Lord our God is above all powers and powerful, excellent, big and strong.


How can you claim that the Lord your God is the Most High and the Almighty and not believe His word; all that the Word of God tells you about His nature and His character, which is love.


Hebrews 11:6 says that without faith is impossible to please Him.


In Matt. 22:35-38, a lawyer asks Jesus what was the greatest commandment in the law.  Jesus answered, “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.”


In Exodus 20:3-6, the Lord gives Moses the ten commandments.  The first commandment was to have no other gods before or besides Him.  There can be no co-existence with acknowledging other gods.  I cannot recognize or even mentally accept any other god.  Gods of other religions cannot be accepted as a god in my life.


Anything that you cannot say no to in your life is a god in your life.  Is any other person receiving your worship?  Is a job or a hobby or a habit receiving more attention then the Lord your God?


The thing that gets the most appreciation, time or money in your life may be another god in your life.  


Consider today, who is the real god is in your life?


To claim the promises of provision and protection found in Psalm 91 we must believe, demonstrate and SAY, the Lord, He is my God.


- Pastor Jim

Get wisdom

April 30, 2020

Throughout the Word of God we are encouraged, if not commanded, to seek after wisdom.


James 1:5 says, “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God that gives to all men liberally…”


Some people think if you just ask for wisdom it will just fall out of heaven as of your result of just asking for it.  Yes God will give you wisdom but that wisdom will come in obedience to what we are told to do in the Word of God.


Proverbs 2:4 says, “If thou seek her as silver and search for her as for hid treasure…”


I have never heard of a treasure hunter or one looking for silver just praying and it falls down from heaven.


Treasure hunters are diligent, consistent and persistent seekers.  Those looking for silver or for gold are in a constant pursuit of digging, panning or mining for those things.


Bottom line it takes some diligent and consistent effort on one’s part to find those things.


In fact in Matthew 6:33, Jesus tells us to seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness.  This means we are to make this pursuit a diligent and consistent effort to find God’s ways of thinking, speaking and living.  We are to find out what is consider right in His eyes.


How do we find God’s wisdom?  Proverbs 2:6 says, “For the Lord gives wisdom; out of His mouth comes knowledge and understanding.”  I believe that God’s wisdom will come to us by what He tells us.


You might ask, how does God speak to us?  God speaks to us through His word.  II Timothy 3:16 “All scripture is given by inspiration of God and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction; for instruction in righteousness.”


The Word of God will give us wisdom, understanding, correction, encouragement, instruction, direction and so much more.  You can pray for all these things, but the Bible teaches us to seek first, search, dig as for hidden treasure which will require a decision to diligently, consistently, persistently pursue this wisdom by reading the Word of God.


Listen to the words of Jesus in Matt. 13:44, “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto treasure hid in a field; the which when a man hath found, he hides, and for joy thereof goes and sells all that he has and buys the field.”


My question has always been, why buy the field when you can just take the treasure and leave.  It is because it is like stumbling over a rock containing gold.  Though it has value, one rock of gold means there are many rocks of gold in that field but in order to get it you are going to have to dig for it.


When you open your Bible, you are going to find wisdom that will be of great value to you.  But the Bible is filled with gems of wisdom; things more precious than gold and silver but you are going to have to search diligently, consistently, persistently which will require effort and time on your part.


The reward of getting Godly wisdom found in the Word of God has such great rewards as outlined throughout the book of Proverbs.  Things like direction, understanding of righteousness, judgment and equity and so much more.


Yes, ask the Lord for wisdom who gives unto us abundantly, but understand wisdom will be given to you to understand what you read in the Word of God.  So make the decision to seek after God’s wisdom in His word.  The rewards are incredible.


- Pastor Jim


How do you see yourself

May 8, 2020

How do you see yourself?  If you do not have the right assessment of yourself you will never operate in the power of God.


In Numbers 13 there is the story of God commanding Moses to send spies into the land that the Lord told them was theirs.  


In Numbers 13:2 the Lord commands Moses to send a representative from each tribe to go into the land which God said, “Which I give unto the children of Israel.”  There was no if, and or buts here.  God had already given them the land of Canaan. There were to be sent so they could see what God had already given to them.


Notice also that the men Moses was to choose were not to be weaklings but rulers from each tribe.  


In Numbers 13:33 we see the report of 10 of those spies. “And there we saw the giants, the sons of Anak, which come of the giants; and we were in our own sight as grasshoppers; and so we were in their sight.”


These ten spies saw the giants.  God had already told them not to fear what they may see because God would be with them.  Nevertheless look how they responded to what they saw, “we were in our own sight as grasshoppers…”


Not only did they not trust what God had already told them, but they had the nerve to call themselves grasshoppers.  Also how could they possibly know what those people thought about them?


If you do not have the proper assessment of yourself you will never operate in the power of God in your life.  In the very first book of the Bible it says that God created us in His image and His likeness.


We need to remember that we do not have the right to call what God has created small, weak or insignificant.  The New Testament is filled with the description of who we are once we receive Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior.


Galatians 4:4-7 tells us who we have become because of the finished work of Jesus Christ.


Vs. 5 says that we have been redeemed and have received the adoption of sons.


Vs. 7 tells us that we are no more servants but sons and if sons then heirs of God through Christ.


Ephesians 2:6 tells us that God has raised us up together and made us to sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus.  That speaks of the authority that we have received from God.


The spies that gave the improper report did not realize who they were in the sight of God and who their God was and what He had promised them.


Not only did they have a poor self-image of themselves, they did not trust who God said they were; they did not believe what God told them; and they did not really know who their God was.


The spies said they were grasshoppers in the eyes of the people in that land but that was not true.  


After a whole unbelieving generation of Israelite had died, Joshua again sent out spies to check out what God had promised them over forty years earlier.


Rahab the harlot, who resided in the strong fortress of Jericho, revealed to these spies what they really thought of those who claimed to be grasshoppers in the sight of these people.


Joshua 2:9 “And she said unto the men, I know that the Lord hath given you the land and that your terror is fallen upon us and that all the inhabitants of the land faint because of you.”


Wow!  Quite a difference from what the ten spies reported.  I love what Rabab said to these men, “for we have heard.”


They heard what the Lord had done for the Israelites.  The inhabitants of Canaan had a better assessment of the Israelites then the Israelites had of themselves.


We must never forget who are God is; who created us; who God says we are; and the many promises given to us because of the Lord’s death.


Believe what God says in His word about you!  Believe how precious and valuable you are in the sight of God.   Believe in the many promises of provision and protection.  


Do not assume you are perceived as weak and small in the sight of others.  Trust in the Lord and others will see God move mightily on your behalf.


Remember, if you do not have God’s assessment of who you are, you will never operate in the power of God to bless others. 


- Pastor Jim

Listen beFore you speak

MAY 14, 2020

Proverbs 29:11 “A fool utters all his mind; but a wise man keeps it in till afterwards.”


What do we mean by the word, afterwards?  A wise man keeps his mouth shut until after.  After what?


I went to a medical technical school after attending college for three years.  There I was trained to work in a medical laboratory.  Then in my late twenties I worked as a Diagnostic Sales representative for a large pharmaceutical company.  I sold and trained medical laboratory technicians how to diagnose many diseases using our diagnostic test kits.  In fact the company I worked for was the first to develop a short test for COVID-19 a few months ago.


While I worked in this position I learned a very valuable lesson: listen before you speak.  If you want to excel in sales learn this very important principle. If you want to excel in life and in relationships learn to practice this principle.


We often make the mistake of answering questions no one was asking.  Poor sales people try to sell features the buyer really doesn’t care about.  If you learn to listen you will identify needs that your product can satisfy.


Proverbs 29:11 speaks to this principle.  Fools will make assumptions or judge what they think they hear without hearing but they never bothered to listen.


As believers in the Lord we need to practice this very important principle in our lives.


Another scripture also addresses this principle.  Proverbs 18: 13 “He who answers a matter before he hears the facts, it is a folly and a shame to him.”


John 7:24 says, “Be honest in our judgment and do not decide at a glance (superficially) and by appearance but judge fairly and righteously”


It is so important to listen before your speak.  


How often do people fail to listen to the whole story or get all the facts before they blurt out their opinion or judgment?  


Someone once said that God gave us two ears and one mouth so that we would be quick to listen and slow to speak.


Proverbs 17:28 “Even a fool when he holds his peace, is counted wise…”


People will judge you by your words; by what you say and how you answer a matter.  Here the Bible says you will look wise if you keep your opinion to yourself.


I have heard people say, “I gave them a piece of my mind”, to which I want to respond, “I wouldn’t give too much of your mind away.  You don’t have that much to give away.”


Learn to listen before you speak.  Don’t jump to conclusions.  Don’t assume you know what that person is leading up to in their conversation.  Hear them out totally.


Once you have heard all they have to say, think before you speak.  Make sure you have all the facts.  You will be surprised how people will respect you and hold you in high esteem just because you listened instead of speaking before they were done.


Listen before you speak.  Not just hear, but listen and you will be sought after for your wisdom and understanding.


- Pastor Jim


Diligence

May 21, 2020

The word, diligent, in all its forms, is found in many scriptures of the Bible.


Diligence is mentioned 10 times.  Diligent is mentioned 15 times.  Diligently is mentioned 37 times.


When a word is mentioned that many times, I believe God considers it very important.


The best definition I have heard that describes this word in all its forms is this: a steady effort to accomplish.  Like exercise, we don’t exercise for the sake of exercising.  We exercise for what it will produce in our lives.


It is the same with diligence.  We are doing something diligently to accomplish something.  We are told in many places of the Bible to be diligent: have a steady effort to accomplish.  So what is accomplished by our diligence?


Proverbs 4:23 “Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.”  Here we are diligently, making the steady effort to accomplish what?  We are setting the borders or boundaries of our life.  The Word of God gives us the kingdom principles by which we should live.


In Matthew 6:33 Jesus tells us to seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness.  To seek first will require diligence: a steady effort to accomplish.


II Peter 1 5 tells us to be diligent to add to our faith.  To our faith add virtue.  To our virtue add knowledge.  To our knowledge add temperance.  To our temperance add patience.  To our patience add godliness.  To our godliness add kindness; to our kindness add brotherly love.  And to our brotherly love add charity.


To accomplish all these things, we need to be diligent: have a steady effort to accomplish.  If we diligently do these things, we will be neither barren or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.  That is what will be accomplished if we have a steady effort to accomplish.


Hebrews 11:6 tells us that God is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.  These are people who diligently, making a steady effort to seek Him.


What are other rewards of being diligent according to the Word of God?


Proverbs 10:4 – the hand of the diligent makes one rich.


Proverbs 12:24 – the hand of the diligent will bear rule


Proverbs 12:27 – the substance of a diligent man is precious


Proverbs 21:5 – the thoughts of the diligent tend only to plenteousness.


Proverbs 22:29 – the man diligent in his business.  He shall stand before kings and not obscure men.


This is the what is accomplished by those who live a life in a steady effort to accomplish.  Accomplish what?  The diligent believer seeks the things of God first and foremost in their lives.  They are not seeking the rewards of diligence.  They are seeking first to live a life that is pleasing to God.


Seeking God’s righteousness is surrendering your life to Jesus as your Lord and Savior.  Righteousness comes from your faith in the sacrificial death of Jesus who bore your sins and your punishment on the cross.


Diligence has so many rewards.  Diligently seek to know God through His word and prayer and all these things we have seen as rewards will be the result of your steady effort to accomplish.  


- Pastor Jim

What to do?

May 28, 2020

I have found, as a Pastor, one of the most difficult things with which I have to deal is making some decisions.


It has snowed 2”.  I get inundated with the question, are we having service today?  Some are ready to plow through two feet of snow because we have to have church!  Others are terrified to drive in a snow flurry.  The decision as to whether or not to have a service falls upon me.  


What I have experienced in my 40 years in ministry is that somebody is going to be offended and maybe leave the church, no matter what decision I made.  “What was Pastor thinking?”


A few years ago our church would host what we called our Harvest Festival.  We did it for several years.  It took a lot of money and a lot of work. On several occasions the weather was questionable.  Once again I would be inundated with the question: should we cancel the event.  Unfortunately, we had to purchase several items beforehand without the ability for a refund.


The decision as to whether or not to have the event fell upon me.  In almost all these cases the decision I made was a correct one, even though in one or two cases we had to weather some light rain or repair some wind damage prior to the start of the event.


Once again I am faced with another decision because of the Corona virus situation.  No church services have been permitted because of the amount of people gathered together increasing the risk of infecting one another.


Recently the President of our country has deemed church assemblies as an essential service.  Many state Governors do not agree with this decision.  The President has promised to override the State Governors decisions, which in reality is not legal but can be overturned only after a lengthy ruling by a Federal Court.


What to do?  What to do?  Once again the decision will fall upon me whether or not to have services again.  Belonging to a large organization of churches has allowed me access to a lot of information.  Some churches in NY had church services despite this risk of spreading this infection.  Some people including two pretty well know Pastors contracted the virus and said their experience was beyond horrible.


Our church is in Northampton County which has experienced and continues to experience a higher infection and death rate than the other counties of Pennsylvania placing our county in a red phase.


Even if our county is place in a yellow phase, the Governor has mandated no gatherings larger than 25.  What to do? What to do?


As in all the other situations I answer to a higher authority.  I have to keep myself open to the leading of the Holy Spirit, despite the opinions of others.


During the Y2K situation, where people pressured me to tell people to stock up on food and ammo, I heard nothing from the Lord and nothing happened.


During the attack on the Twin Towers, where people were pressuring me to hire gun carrying security personnel to protect us from possible attack, I heard nothing from the Lord and nothing happened.


So it will be with this situation.  When I get direction I will make the decision.  I cannot submit to either the fear of others or the zeal of others to begin having services.


So at this time we prepare for our first service with wisdom and the necessary precautions.  When that service will be held will be up to the leading of the Holy Spirit.

 

- Pastor Jim

free from the law of sin and death

June 4, 2020

Romans 8:1-2 “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus who walk not after the flesh but after the Spirit.  For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death.”


In these scriptures we have two ways of living: walking after the flesh or walking after the Spirit.  Another translation makes this clearer: walking or living after the dictates of the flesh or walking after the dictates of the Spirit.


Walking after the dictates of the flesh means that our flesh, our emotions, our feelings and our human thinking control how we live.


Walking after dictates of the Spirit means that we are controlled by the Holy Spirit who will be in agreement with the Word of God.


Walking after the dictates of the Holy Spirit means that you will be living and thinking in agreement with what God’s word says.  


Here is the problem.  If you do not pursue to know the Word of God which is the Bible and you do not understand the Bible, how can you be living according to something you do not know or understand?


Jesus said something very powerful to a Pharisee by the name of Nicodemus which is recorded in John 3:3 “Verily, verily I say unto thee, except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”


In Matthew 6:33 Jesus tells us to seek first the Kingdom of God.  What is the Kingdom of God?  It is the realm in which God operates.  It is God’s ways of thinking, speaking and living.  As born again believers we are to seek this above all things.


When Jesus tells this Pharisee who is supposed to know the Word of God that unless he is born again he cannot “see” the kingdom of God.  This word, see, is the Greek word, eidon, which means to fully comprehend and understand.


If a person is going to live by the dictates of the Holy Spirit which is in agreement with the Word of God, then to fully comprehend the God’s realm of living; how He thinks, speaks and lives, we are going to need to be born again.


To be born again, Jesus is referring to the death of your old way of life; death to your old ways of thinking, speaking and living.  The old laws of life that once dominated your living will need to change to a new law of living. 


We now enter a new life of totally surrendering, trusting and relying upon Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior.


This is what Romans 8:2 is referring to:  the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus.  Because Jesus bore our sin on the cross and bore the punishment for our sin, we have been made free from the law of sin and death.


We used to be under that law of sin and death.  The law of sin was simple.  Sin and you die.  For the wages of sin is death.  However Jesus bore that death for us.  


Therefore we are been made free from the law of sin and death and we live according to the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus. We are no longer under the threat of spiritual death.  We can live in the freedom of being in Christ Jesus.


However this is your choice.  Live according to the dictates of your emotions, feelings and human rationale or live according to the Word of God, the Kingdom of God.


Once born again we are given the choice of how we should live our lives.  Once again, like in the book of Deuteronomy, God says choose life or death, blessings or cursing’s.


We have the privilege to live according to the way of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus.


Romans 8:14 “For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.”


Read the Word of God; ask the Holy Spirit to help you to not only understand it but apply it to your life.  That is living according to the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus.  When you do that you will truly enjoy being freed from the law of sin and death.


- Pastor Jim

Don't be a maybe man

June 11, 2020

After reading my title you may be asking what do I mean about not being a maybe man.  


The dictionary definition of the word maybe is the following: perhaps.  It really is coming from the word, may, which means: used to express a possibility; contingency; a wish or a hope.


So what is a maybe man or woman?  These are people who come forward for healing or deliverance, hoping, wishing or maybe they will get what they came for.


This type of attitude reminds me of the story in Numbers 21 which I have been referring to in my Sunday message and my Morning Fix this week.


In Numbers 21:5-9 the Israelites started complaining to Moses about having to be in the wilderness even though God was supernaturally supplying them with manna, water and quail.


In that desert wilderness there were these little snakes that hid in the rocks.  If someone was bitten by one of these snakes they would suffer extreme pain and die.  They were always there but God supernaturally protected them.


However when they began to murmur against the Lord they were essentially rejecting His presence. When the Lord withdrew, the snakes advanced and bit thousands of the Israelites who eventually died.


The Israelites knowing that they had sinned begged Moses to intervene on their behalf.  After Moses pleaded for God’s forgiveness and mercy, the Lord gave Moses the remedy.


In Numbers 21:8–9, Moses was instructed to make a bronze serpent and raise it up on a pole.  If a person was bitten by a snake they were to look upon it and they would live.


That word, look, is the Hebrew word, raah, which meant to see, consider and perceive.


Numbers 21:9 says that when they beheld the serpent of brass, they would live.  This word, beheld, is the Hebrew word, nabat, which means to look upon intently in regard with pleasure, favor or care.


Both of the words used here: to look and beheld do not refer to a quick glance or a maybe attitude.  Maybe I will be healed or delivered; maybe there is a possibility; maybe I will get my wish and what I am hoping for.


Knowing human nature, I am sure there were some Israelites who were bitten, went to that pole with a maybe attitude.  Maybe I will get healed; maybe I will get my wish; maybe I will get what I am hoping for.  This not looking upon or beholding in faith in what that bronze serpent represented.


This was God’s remedy for their affliction.  This was the remedy for the poison that was injected into their body by these snakes.  God is not a maybe remedy!


When the Lord told Moses that those who were bitten by these poisonous snakes had to look upon it and they were to behold the serpent of brass, He meant that they were to look upon it with an expectancy.  They were to come expecting to be healed.  Not a maybe attitude but a full assurance that what the Lord said would happen, would happen.  Why?


Isaiah 55:11 “So shall My word be that goeth forth out of My mouth; it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.”


When the Lord declares something we must believe what He says.  Heb. 11:6 says that without faith it is impossible to please God; for He that comes to God must believe that He is…”


Believe that He is what?  That He is God!!  You cannot be a maybe person when it comes to the things that God promises.  If we are healed by the stripes of Jesus, we are healed.


If Jesus told Nicodemus, the Pharisee, in John 3:14 “And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up.”


For what purpose was the bronze serpent lifted up upon a pole? For the healing of those bitten by the serpent.  The bronze serpent represented Jesus who took upon Himself the sins of the world and was crucified upon a pole for our redemption.


If you have been bitten with sickness or disease, approach Jesus as that bronze serpent raised upon a pole for our healing.  Don’t merely glance upon this truth with doubt or unbelief.


Look upon: see, consider and perceive.  Behold the one on the pole: look intently upon in regard to pleasure, favor and care.  Expect the Lord to do what He promised: we would live.


Did you know that when Jesus taught on the beatitudes, He began each one with the phase, blessed, which means to be highly favored with God and to envied.  We cannot come to the Lord with a maybe attitude concerning His promises of healing, provision, protection and position.


Look upon and behold the Son of God, raised upon the pole as the bronze serpent as the remedy for your sin, sickness and disease and you will live.


- Pastor Jim

speaking jibberish

June 18, 2020

I tried finding the word, jibberish in the dictionary and could not find it; however, most people understand what that word means.


Jibberish is speaking or writing something that makes no sense.  It cannot be understood.


When I first gave my heart to the Lord, I was not attending any church that was satisfying some kind of urge I had in my heart.  I felt like the Spirit of God was telling me that someone was going to come to me and say they were beginning a church and wanted me to join them.


My neighbor knew that I was excited about my love for God and told their friend about me.  Their friend called me and said they had a friend who had just graduated Bible school and was going to begin a church in their home.  They invited me to join them.


Not only did I join them, I began to get involved by leading worship with my guitar and duplicating our Pastor’s messages on a duplicator that I had purchased for them.


It was there that I first learned about the importance of having faith in the Word of God and that my confession of God’s promises in my life would bring the possession of them.  The Pastor came to the United States from Italy and had a very strong Italian accent.  Sometimes it was a struggle trying to understand him.


It was there that I had to learn to listen very intently.  The Pastor was very understanding and made it a point to speak slowly and clearly.  What was once jibberish to me became very clear.  I learned that it was necessary to understand that what was simple to me may come across as jibberish to others.


I will give you a great example.  One of the ladies who attended our newly formed home church had an aunt who just immigrated to America from Iran.   I could tell that when I sang our worship songs she seemed a little confused.


One day after our service I sat with her and asked her if she had any questions about the songs we sang.  One of the popular worship songs at that time was a song entitled, “Peace Like a River.”


The lyrics were: “ I have peace like a river.  I have peace like a river.  I have peace like a river in my soul…”


This woman said she did not understand the significance of this song.  I asked her what she meant.  She said why do I need peace in my liver.  I couldn’t help but laugh because she was still learning English.  She thought we were singing, “I have peace in my liver…”


The words were jibberish to her.  They made no sense.  It was there I learned that sometimes our language which some refer as Christianese, seems like jibberish to others.  We should never compromise the message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and to remember to keep it simple.


The simple message of the Gospel is this:  we are saved by our faith in the grace of God, who sent Jesus to die on the cross, paying the penalty for our sin.  The message of grace is simple:  we get what we do not deserve.  Our faith in His grace is what causes us to do the things God wants us to do, not out of obligation or earning points, but in appreciation for what Jesus has already done for us.


May you have peace in your liver! 


- Pastor Jim

The most vulnerable times

June 25, 2020

You would think that we are the most vulnerable to sin when things seem to be going wrong.  I have heard people say they are mad at God because of some situation that occurred in their lives.


One of the most powerful statements I have ever heard was from a man that I considered a friend.  He was an encouragement to me.  He was at least a foot taller than me and was just as big guy all over.


He would tell me that about his missionary adventures in communist China.  He said that would have to disguise him to get him past the secret police.  He was so big I would joke with him and say, “Disguised as what? A tree?”


He spoke one Sunday morning at our church and said one of the most profound things that I will never forget.  He asked a question of us.  “Why did David commit adultery?”


Think about it. David had everything and yet he committed multiple sins.  He committed adultery.  He had the woman’s husband and all his men placed in a place of battle where he and all his men would be slaughtered by the enemy.  In essence that was murder.


Why would David commit such sin?  My friend’s answer was profound.  David committed sin because he could.  David’s life was so blessed.  He had everything he could ever want.


David had victories in battle.  David was living a time in his life that was very successful.


What is the most vulnerable time in your life when you may give into sin? It is not the times of trouble.  It is the times of great success; when everything is going great.


Why would David listen to anyone else’s counsel?  To whom would David go for advice for what he was feeling?  No one was as successful as David.  Heck, David was the king.  In his eyes he was the top dog, so to speak.


Not only are you very susceptible to sin, you are also susceptible to the contempt of others.  Many other people are not only jealous of your success, they are just down right mean.  No one knows why you may have such success.  No one knows all the hard work, sweat and blood you invested.  


The contempt from others may cause you to get angry.  A very dangerous attitude can develop during those times.  An attitude that says, who cares what everyone else thinks.  I can do whatever I want.  I deserve to have some enjoyment.  Who are they to judge me?


Times of success can also produce an attitude of pride:  look what I have done!  The Bible says that pride goes before destruction.


God wants to bless you with success.  Just remember your success is a blessing from God.  Rather than think about how great you are, consider that your success is a blessing from God.  In your success remember to constantly give honor, praise and thanks to God. 


Recognizing that God is the one who has blessed you with success; continually thanking Him for blessing you will cause you to have an attitude of appreciation and humility.


When you get blessed with success remember it is God who should get the glory and not you.  Resist temptation to sin by keeping an attitude of gratitude and you will overcome the desire to sin that many times success will bring.


Remember David committed sin because he could.  Let it be said of you, “I know I could but I choose not to sin against the one who is the author of my success.”


- Pastor Jim

Liberty

july 2, 2020

Gal. 5:1 “Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.”


I love the comment about this verse found in the Dakes Bible in reference about being entangled again in the yoke of bondage.


“…make a definite break from all law keeping and let your freedom from it be settled once and forever.  Recognize that you are under a new covenant and that you are out from all observance of Jewish rites, ceremonies, commandments, days, sabbaths, seasons, times, years and whatever else is in the Jewish laws.”


Paul was writing his letter to Christians in the church in Galatia, but it was the custom to circulate Paul’s writings to all the Christian churches throughout the known world at that time.


Paul was writing to Jews who had received Jesus as Lord and Savior.  Jesus said in the Lord’s supper when He took the cup of wine and declared, “this is a new covenant in My blood.”


Jesus was saying that the old covenant of rules and regulations, which no one could ever keep, which He fulfilled with His life, was made null and void, setting us  free from the bondages of trying to keep them ourselves.


Jesus gave us two new covenant commandments: love God with your whole being and love others as you love yourself.  Jesus said that in doing these two things we were fulfilling the desire of God.


Hard to believe that even today people are trying to keep Old Testament laws, rituals, rules and regulations.  In reality they are saying that what Jesus said was not true and what Jesus did was not enough.


When we stand before our Father God, with a scarred Jesus at His side, it will be pretty stupid to think we can declare what we think we needed to do to be saved.


When Paul told Christians to stand fast in the liberty wherewith Christ has made us free, he was saying don’t be moved by those who tell you that you must continue to keep Old Testament rituals, rules and regulations.


Ephesians 2:8-9 tells us that we are saved by the unmerited, unearned favor of God.  It is our faith in that fact that saves us.  Verse 9 says not of works lest any man should boast.


If you think you are saved by keeping Old Testament rules, regulation and rites, note what Galations 5:4 “Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; you are fallen from grace.”


Wow, what a scary statement.  If you think Jesus hasn’t set you free and you are trying to earn your freedom by your works, you are disqualified from the unmerited, unearned grace of God.


Therefore, fellow believers, standfast; be unmovable, steadfast and solid in your faith that Jesus has set you free.  Live in that peace, security and joy of your freedom.  You are no longer a slave to sin, fear, worry, doubt, depression, anxiety and even sickness and disease.


That is the Gospel; a message almost too good to be true!


- Pastor Jim

I thought it was God

July 9, 2020

II Timothy 3 is a great description of things that will be taking place in the hearts of men in the last days.  When you read this chapter you will be shocked at how accurate it describes our world today, especially in our country.


The scripture I want to highlight is found in II Timothy 3:13 (KJV) “But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived.”

The word we will look at today is the word, deceive.  


Matt. 24:4 “Take heed that no man deceive you.”  To deceive here means to roam from safety, truth and virtue.

Romans 16:17-18 “Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which you have learned and avoid them. For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the heart of the simple.”


To deceive here means to seduce wholly; to beguile.


Ephesians 5:6-7 “Let no man deceive you with vain words; for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience. Be not ye therefore partakers with them.”


To deceive here means to cheat; to delude.


In all these meanings, deception or to deceive, especially to deceive people, is a sure way to have the wrath of God come upon you.


I always say that anyone that is deceived never proclaims, “Hey, I am being deceived!”  People who are deceived think they are doing the right things.  Why?  Because they think what they are doing is right.


I can relate as a believer.  One time in my life things were not going so well.  It was easy to blame others for the situation I was in.  I was miserable and was praying to God for an escape.  The problem is that many times we need to just wait for God to answer us or provide an escape.


I wasn’t having faith in what James says in James 1.  If we are going through tough times and we are wondering why, James 1:5 tells us to just ask God for wisdom:


“If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that gives to all men liberally and upbraideth not and it shall be given him.”


It doesn’t say when and how.  It just says God will give you wisdom.  Maybe He will give the escape or maybe just to trust Him to let Him tell you what you can do to change the situation.


Because I was impatient, I thought God was giving me a certain thing to do.  I thought it was God.  It felt good.  It looked good.  It had to be God. However that is how deception works.  My solution felt good.  Anything that feels good must be God, right.  WRONG!


That is how the devil works.  In the temptation of Eve in the garden of Eden, she was tempted to eat of a fruit forbidden by God.  But it looked good.  In fact when she ate it, it tasted good.  Surely this must be of God.  But she was deceived.


God is good, so anything that feels or looks good must be God. NO! That is how deception works.  


Because I did what I thought was God, horrible consequences followed.  But God is merciful and forgiving.  He knows we will occasionally mess up, BUT, the consequences of sin will still come. We reap what we sow.


The best protection against deception is truth.  It is essential to have a regular habit of being exposed to the truth of God’s word.  Before you make any decision about what you think is the escape or remedy to the situation you are in, check what the Word of God says. 


If you can’t seem to find the answer immediately then just wait on the Lord.  Waiting on the Lord has two different meanings.  To wait on the Lord means to be like your waiter in the restaurant.  You are busy serving someone other than yourself.  


Serve the Lord by prayer, fasting, worship and being in the Word of God.  Waiting here is to be occupied.


Waiting on the Lord also means to be still, not doing what you think you need to do to solve your problem.  While regretting the decisions I had made, I would go to a quiet place to sit and have my coffee.


One day while sitting in my favorite quiet spot I notice something I never noticed before: a little sign, staked in the garden in front of me.  It said, “Be still and know that I am God.”


Wow! Where did that sign come from?  Was it always there and I didn’t notice it?  Or did someone just put it there.  Regardless, it was an answer that agreed with the Word of God.


I finally stopped trying to figure things out and surrendered to whatever God needed to do without my interruption and opinion.


That is when things began to turn around.  It wasn’t painless neither was it anything I would have done.  Thank God I shut up, shut down and let God unravel the mess I made.


The next time you are in a troubled time, don’t allow the enemy to deceive you with something that looks or feels good.  Stop and wait on the Lord.  Get into prayer, the Word of God and worship.


Don’t be deceived.  Don’t say what so many of us have said:  “ I thought it was God.”


- Pastor Jim

do i really need to go to church?

July 16, 2020

Recently I read a text from a Pastor who quoted Matthew 11:28.  This Pastor said that Jesus said, “come unto Me”, not come unto the church.  I don’t understand why a Pastor would tell people it isn’t important to attend church services.


Hebrews 10:24-25 “And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works; not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is, but exhorting one another; and so much the more as ye wee the day approaching.”


The literal Greek puts it this way: “ And let us consider and give attentive, continuous care to watching over one another, studying how we may stir up (stimulate and incite) to love and helpful deeds and noble activities, not forsaking or neglecting to assemble together (as believers), as is the habit of some people, but admonishing (warning, urging, and encouraging) one another and all the more faithfully as you see the day approaching.”


I think the Word of God makes it clear that we are to gather together, in person, to accomplish what the author of Hebrews was saying.  You cannot accomplish this by just being alone.


In Paul’s letter to the church at Ephesus, he says in Ephesians 4:11 that Jesus gave gifts to men: apostles, prophets, evangelists and pastors and teachers.  These gifts could operate independently but they were given to the church as a whole.


The function of a Pastor is similar to that of a shepherd.  I have never seen a shepherd with one sheep. A sheep that is not part of a flock is the target of a predator.   In the Bible the shepherd is referred to as one whole oversees a flock.  The Word of God is pretty clear that the role of the Pastor is to oversee his church and as a shepherd to feed the flock.


The role of the church is explained in Ephesians 4:12-16.  

  1. Verse 12: to mature the saints and prepare them for the work of the ministry
  2. Verse 12: to edify the body of Christ
  3. Verse 13: to promote unity; to increase their knowledge of the Son of God; to mature his flock to become like Jesus Christ.
  4. Verse 14: in teaching the truth, the people will no longer be deceived by those who teach untruths.
  5. Verse 15: to produce mature believers who will walk in the same character as Jesus Christ.
  6. Verse 16:  the whole purpose of the gathering of the saints is that we may walk as one, each part functioning to benefit the other; operating in love.

This cannot be accomplished as an individual.  1 Corinthians 12:12 put it this way:


“For as the body is one and has many members and all the members of that one body being many are one body, so also is Christ.”


1 Corinthians 12 then describes how each member of the body is important to the whole body.  Each part of the body, though different, is still part of the body.  Each member of our body is important whether it is an ear, an eye, a foot or a hand.


If there were no gathering together how could the each part benefit the other.  I always say, even if you go to church, I hope you are functioning in a role that benefits the whole body.  Or are you a wart?


A wart exists on a body, but it serves no benefit to the body.  It just takes what it needs to exist.  


People who have the opportunity to attend a local church but don’t are not benefiting the body.   Plus where are they submitted to some spiritual authority?


Hebrews 13:17 (AMP) “Obey your spiritual leaders and submit to them (continually recognizing their authority over you), for they are constantly keeping watch over your souls and guarding your spiritual welfare, as men who will have to render an account (of their trust).  (Do your part to) let them do this with gladness and not with sighing and groaning for that would not be profitable to you (either).”


If going to church isn’t important to you then you are obviously not submitted to what the Word of God teaches.  


Join yourself to other believers; assemble yourself with others to worship in the congregation of fellow believers.  Be ready to go and be a blessing and to be blessed. 


Belonging to a church and attending faithfully where the Word of God is being taught will cause you to grow and provide the opportunity for you to bless others. 


- Pastor Jim

free to choose

July 23, 2020

Recently I taught on Galatians 5:1, where Paul tells us that we are to stand in the liberty wherewith Christ has made us free; no to be entangled again with the yoke of bondage.


Paul was addressing the fact that even after hearing the message of the Gospel that declares that we are saved by the grace of God through our faith in the atoning work of Jesus Christ; not of works lest any man should boast. (Ephesians 2:8-9), many believers were being told they needed to keep the many, many requirements of the Jewish law.


They were becoming entangled again with the yoke of bondage.  Rules, regulations and rites that they could not possibly keep.  These rules kept them in bondage to the law rather than submitting to the free grace of God.


Jesus has made us free.  I have found that some Christians do not understand this freedom.  They think that they are set free to do anything they want.


Others believe they are set free only to be enslaved by God to a life of submission or punishment.


Galatians 5:13 makes clear what being freed by Christ really means.  “For brethren, you have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion of the flesh…”


When a person receives Jesus Christ as savior, they are believing in the fact that Jesus died on the cross to pay for their sin.  We are freed from the eternal punishment that the entire human race deserves due to our sin nature.


I would like to use this example to better explain what our liberty in Christ means.


Imagine a bird held in bondage in a cage.  You are the bird, Satan has you in bondage in that cage.  Along comes someone who overpowers Satan and sets the bird, free.  That is Jesus.


Some people then think as soon as you are set free, God captures you and places you in His cage.  Not true.


The liberty or freedom that Jesus bought for us by His blood, makes us free.  You are not just set free; you are made free.  Jesus didn’t make you free to capture you and place you in His cage, as some people think.  They believe they are going to heaven because of Jesus, but now you are back in bondage to a life of new rules and regulations that you better keep or God will strike you down.


People who do not acknowledge Jesus as Lord and Savior think they are free and do not want to have to give up their fun-filled lives.  In reality they are in bondage to the devil’s will.  They are in bondage to their emotions, feelings, fears, anxieties, depression, worry, etc.


When a person truly receives Jesus as Savior and Lord they are now free to make their own decisions about their lives.  That is why Paul says in Galatians 5:13, not to use our liberty for an occasion of the flesh.


Jesus made you free.  This freedom or liberty gives you the right to live anyway you want.  This was the case in the Old Testament in Deuteronomy 30:19 “I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life that both thou and they seed may live.”


Yes we are now free from the slavery to the devil, sin and the dictates of our flesh.  However what you do with this new liberty and freedom that Jesus died to earn for you is now your choice.


The devil gives you no choice about your life.  You are his pawn.  Jesus has removed the devil’s right to enslave you. Now as a believer in Jesus as your savior you have the liberty to choose how you will live.  It is our choice as to whether or not you will make Jesus your LORD.


God makes it very clear in Deut. 30:19, He has set before you life and death, blessing and cursing.  We have been given the choice.  Then God tells you what the right choice is: choice life.


Many Christians have said what we call the sinners prayer.  What is that?  I call it Romans T&T, Romans 10:9-10, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the LORD Jesus, and shalt believe in thine HEART that God hath raised Him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.”


Some have prayed that prayer to receive “fire insurance” that they won’t burn in hell.  But please notice what it says, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the LORD Jesus…”


When you believe you are made free by the atoning work of Jesus, it says that you must also believe He is your Lord, which means you cling to, rely upon and trust in  Jesus.  Jesus becomes the ultimate authority in your life.


You need to choose a life of total surrender, submission and obedience to Jesus.  The devil didn’t give you a choice whether to serve him or not.  You were his slave.  But Jesus, who has made us free gives us the choice.  You chose who will be the lord of your life.  You or Jesus.  My choice.


You have been made free to choose: life or death; blessing or cursing.  It is now your choice.  Take the tip from God.  Choose to surrender, submit and obey all that Jesus has commanded us to do.  Let Him order you steps and stop telling God what you think your life should be liked. His ways produce peace and joy.


Choose life and blessing. 


- Pastor Jim

adapting to change

July 29, 2020

A while back I wrote a blog addressing seasons.  I noted that in Ecclesiastes 3, the Bible mentions that we will go through seasons in our lives.


In that blog I said that just like in nature, growth is occurring even during what looks like seasons of dormancy.  


Today I would like to again address seasons but concentrating on the subject of change.  I personally like routines and habits.  I like when I know what to expect and when.  I, like many other people, do not like change, especially unexpected changes.


During this pandemic of Covid 19 we are seeing a lot of changes.  I miss going into certain stores where I used to shop.  I miss going into places to eat where I used to eat.  But this pandemic has changed things.


Stores and restaurants are going out of business everywhere due to this pandemic.  Our buying habits have changed.  People are ordering more online than ever before.  Clothing stores and specialty shops are closing down for good because people would rather shop online instead of going into a store where other people may also be shopping.


Even when it comes to going to church.  When people were under the order to stay home, churches had to find alternative methods of teaching the Word of God.  They turned to social media.  Facebook, web sites and other venues have become the source for people to view church services in the comfort and safety of their home.  We have learned to adapt to change.


In my opinion, the worse kind of change is when it comes to personal things in my life.  The death of loved ones or co-workers, friends or family moving away, divorce or separation and so many other changes that we may face in our lives.


The change in my work schedule, the recent death of friends, friends and family moving far away, people leaving my church, etc., etc.   Changes totally out of my control.


These are times where anxiety, worry and depression can grow if we do not control our thought life.  As we get older, we tend to drift back to remember what seemed like better days rather than think we have a future to look forward to.


Adapting to these life-changes may seem difficult.  Recently in my prayer time and just concentrating on the goodness of God I have come to realize that sometimes those things we depended upon were placed in a higher place then my dependency on God.  Total trust in our Father God, who knows what is best for us is sometimes placed second to my dependency upon friends, family or habits we have come to depend upon for stability.


The scripture I have referred to a lot is becoming very real to me.  “Set your affection on things above and not on the earth below.” (Col. 3: 2).  According to many scriptures we are to be more concerned about the things of God then what is occurring on the earth.


We may have to face changes in our lives, but God and His promises never change.  It all boils down to where your focus is.  These changes in my life sometimes cause me to be attacked by anxiety.  So I have to change my focus back to the promises of God and remember what the Word of God says in Hebrews 13: 8, “Jesus Christ, the same yesterday and today and forever.”


- Pastor Jim

soul harmony

August 8, 2020

If there was anything that should set the true believer in Jesus Christ apart from the non-believer it is soul harmony.  You may ask what is soul harmony?  For lack of a better explanation let’s call it the peace of God.  Phil. 4:7 calls it a peace that is beyond human understanding and reasoning.  


I was recently told by a doctor that the most common disease in America today is not cancer or aids.  It is depression.  One characteristic of depression can be a lack of peace.  So how can the true believer in Jesus Christ have more peace in their lives?  They need to attain soul harmony.


There are many teachings and beliefs out there trying to explain the three part makeup of the human being.  I believe we are three part beings:  we possess a soul, a heart and a mind.  I believe the soul of a man is his spirit.  According to the Word of God the spirit man can become alive unto God through the new birth process which begins with a faith in the Lordship of Jesus Christ and His sacrifice for our sin on the cross. We also have a heart.  I believe that is the deep down inside person we really are.  It has been formed by our past experiences and by what we have been taught to believe.


We also possess a mind.  I believe that mind is also our wills.  God gives us a free will.  We have the choice what we want to see, hear and believe.  God knows that the mind is the part that has to be renewed or transformed.  Rom. 12:2 tells us not to be conformed to the world (mans ways of thinking and living) but be transformed by the renewing of our minds to what God says.  It is our choice to change our minds and accept or reject what the Bible says about God, you and life.  


Your soul or spirit instinctively knows what is right and wrong in the sight of God.  Your heart on the other hand has come to believe over time what the mind has decided is truth.  Unfortunately our past experiences good and bad and what we have been taught right or wrong have formed who we are over time.  Here is where are fears are centered.


Most of the time our hearts do not agree with what the soul or spirit knows is true according to God.  Example: II Timothy tells me that God has given me the spirit of fear but love, power and a sound mind.  The Psalms tell me that God is my light and my salvation and my strength so who should I fear?  My spirit knows that but my heart has learned from the mind to be fearful of certain situation or people because of what has happened in my past.


My choice must be to renew or transform my thinking and believing and speaking into what God says.  I need to feed my spirit the truth of God’s word so my spirit grows strong and eventually my heart begins to believe God’s truths despite my past.  When you mind is focused on the truth of God’s word and your heart is being told the truth you will eventually believe it in your heart.


When the heart then comes into agreement with what the spirit already knows is truth a soul harmony takes place in that person and peace is the result.


Example:  a person or situation arises that occurred in your past.  In the past you would experience fear.  But now you disciplined your mind to concentrate on what God says about fear; your heart got established over time.  Your spirit which is alive to God agrees with what the heart believes and you will no longer experience the fears you used to experience.  There is a deep peace within you that your mind can’t explain.  Why am I no longer afraid?  I am not afraid, depressed or anxious anymore because I now possess a soul harmony when it comes to fear.


That soul harmony can be established in every area of your life if you make your mind up to seek out, find, believe, think on and speak what God says about the matter and not what your mind or heart has come to believe due to past experiences or improper teaching.  


- Pastor  Jim

God's Scoreboard in heaven

August 20, 2020

It is sad to think that a lot of Christians still don’t get it.  Jesus went to the cross bearing the sin of the world.  Every person has fallen short of the glory of God.  I heard one person say it this way, “all have fallen short of the glorious standards of God.”


We have all fallen short.  There was no way mankind could redeem themselves from their fallen nature.  Then all came Jesus who is referred to as the Lamb of God.


Just as the people sacrificed a lamb without spot or blemish to make a short atonement for their sins, our Father God offered His only Son as His lamb without spot or blemish.


Jesus went to the cross to bear our sin and our punishment.  Those who believe this fact and receive Jesus as their Lord and Savior are saved by the grace of God.


Yet again so many Christians don’t get it.  They believe, as I once did that there is a giant scoreboard in heaven.  I once believed that every person who receives Jesus as their savior has their name on that board.  


People believe Jesus’ death just got their name on the scoreboard.  They believe, as I did, that God had a scoreboard.  Every time I did something good, 1point on the scoreboard.


Every time I did something bad I got a negative score on the boards.  If that was the way God is judging us we are in pretty deep trouble.


First of all there is no scoreboard in heaven.  In fact I Corinthians 13, called the love chapter, point this fact out to us.  


I Corinthians 13:5 (Amp) “…(love: God) takes no account of the evil done to it (it pays no attention to a suffered wrong).


Wow!  Did we read that correctly!  God takes no account of the evil done to Him.


There is no scoreboard in heaven.  God isn’t keeping track of the points we make for doing good or the many more points we lose for doing bad.


In fact if there was a scoreboard in heaven, it would be totally filled with zero’s or negative points.  Why?  Because all have sinned and fallen short of the glorious standards of God.


The scoreboard of our life is totally black with failures and sins.  The good news is that when Jesus went to that cross it was like all those failures and sins were taken off that board and placed upon Jesus.


Jesus not only took upon Himself our failures and sins, He also took upon Himself the punishment for those failures and sins.  The wrath of God was poured out upon Jesus on our behalf.  The scoreboard was totally cleared.  Better yet, the scoreboard was destroyed by our Father God because Jesus eliminated it.


When a person receives Jesus as Lord and Savior, our Father sees us forgiven and clean by the blood of Jesus.  It is the grace of God; the unmerited favor and grace; total forgiveness for our sin because of the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross.


No one is keeping score.  It isn’t a license to sin.  It is a declaration of liberty and freedom.  We are forgiven for the sins and failures we have committed and for those we will commit.  Only now I will be convicted of that sin in order for me to repent and receive my forgiveness.


If anyone is keeping score it is usually us or someone else who thinks they have been appointed judge and jury.  We are forgiven.  I received the Lord’s supper to remind me of that fact.


Again!  Nobody is keeping score.


- Pastor Jim

speak what you imagine

august 27, 2020

One of the most powerful things that the Lord has given to man is the power of imagination.  To imagine something is to image it in your mind.  We have already in the past told the story of how evil mankind decided to build a tower to demonstrate their power.


Genesis 11:6 “And the Lord said Behold the people is ONE, and they have all ONE LANGUAGE, and this they begin to do, and now nothing will be restrained from them which they have IMAGINED to do.”


Imagination is powerful.  Almost everything we do begins with an image of it in our mind.  But here is the key: just to imagine something in your mind is only half the story.


Notice something in Genesis 11:3 “And they SAID to one another, Go to, let us make brick and burn them thoroughly.”


Genesis 1:4  “and they SAID, Go to, let us build us a city and a tower whose top may reach unto heaven and let us make us a name…”


Imagination is powerful.  We paint the image in our minds but something else is needed to make that image become a reality. Notice they imagined building this city and a tower.  Then they did something to give that image power: “and they said…”


In order for that image to become a reality, we have to take action to make it become a reality.  However the first action we must take is to give it voice.  We are to speak it forth. We are to do as the tower builders did:


“And they said…”


One of my favorite stories in the Bible is found in the first chapter of Joshua.  In the first chapter the Lord says to Joshua, “Moses, my servant is dead, now therefore arise and go…”


The Lord tells Joshua to cross over the Jordan but there is something he had to  do first in order to have success.


Joshua 1:7 “Only be thou strong and very courageous that thou may observe to do according to all the law (the Word of God)…turn not from it to the right hand or to the left that thou may prosper wherever you may go…”


Vs. 8 “This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth but thou shalt MEDITATE therein day and night…”


I am sure that Joshua had imagined many times in their 40 years of inactivity due to their disobedience, of finally crossing over the Jordan to possess the land that God had promised them.


But the Lord knew that Joshua not only had that image in his mind but it was necessary for him to give it voice.  When the Lord told Joshua to meditate on the Word of God, the Lord didn’t mean to sit there and just think upon it. The word meditate means to mutter under your breathe.


Joshua was to speak over and over again what God’s word said.  One of those words spoken by the Lord that Joshua needed to mutter under his breathe, to speak forth day and night, is found in Joshua 1:3-4:


“Every place that the sole of your foot shall tread upon, that have I given unto you as I said unto Moses.  From the wilderness and this Lebanon even unto the great river the river Euphrates, all the land of the Hittites, and unto the great sea toward the going down of the sun shall be your coast.”


Joshua 1:5 “There shall not any man be able to stand before thee all the days of thy life; as I was with Moses so I will be with thee; I will not fail thee nor forsake thee.”


Wow!  What a great bunch of promises to mutter under your breathe.  Not only did Joshua imagine crossing over the Jordan and possessing the land promised to them, but by speaking what God said to him over and over, those promises of God became a reality to Joshua.


No wonder Joshua could go boldly before great armies.  He not only imagined God being with him and never leaving him, Joshua spoke it out over and over again.


Imagining something in your mind is great, but speaking it forth will bring it into reality.


Think of all the promises and blessings spoken by God concerning us.  Imagine them taking place in your life.  Paint the picture in your mind of being healed or prospering or being protected by God.  Now begin to meditate on those promises found in the Bible.  Speak them forth over your life.


Speaking forth the image will bring that image, those promises of God into reality.


II Corinthians 4:13 “We having the same spirit of faith, according as it is written, I believed and therefore I have spoken; we also believe and therefore speak.”


I believe it; I see it in my mind and I speak it forth, in Jesus Name.


- Pastor Jim

Watch your children

September 3, 2020

Lately we have been bombarded by bad news; things to worry about: prophecies of doom and gloom.  Cities that will be burning.  Riots, civil unrest, food shortages, banks shutting down.  Stock up on food.  Buy yourself a weapon with plenty of ammo.


Then of course we have Covid 19 which has changed the way we live.  So much to worry about.  Fear, worry, depression, anxiety and hopelessness.  The sad thing is that these conditions of fear exist even in the children of God.


In so many places of the Bible we are told not to worry or to be anxious or fretful.


Many times when I write these blogs, I am not sure what I am going to write about next.  Then bam!  Out of nowhere something comes to mind.  I have been in ministry long enough to recognize that nowhere is somewhere.  That somewhere is the someone I rely upon every day of my life:  the Holy Spirit.


This morning I believe the Holy Spirit put something in my heart to write about today.  


I see so many believers worrying about the condition of our lives today.  I believe the Holy Spirit whispered something in my spirit ear:  watch your children.  I immediately went into the Word of God and found what He was saying to me.


Jesus rebuked His disciples for not allowing the children to come to Jesus.  Listen to what Jesus told His disciples in Mark 10:14-15, “But when Jesus saw it, He was much displeased, and said unto them, suffer the little children to come unto me and forbid them not; for of such is the kingdom of God.  Verily I say unto you, whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child, he shall not enter therein.”


Wow!  Jesus is talking about having the attitude of a child when it comes to our faith and trust in God our Father.  


I don’t have little children anymore.  My children are all adults.  But I remember how they lived their lives.  If you want to know how to handle all the horrible things that we see going on all around us; those things that are keeping you up at night and causing you to worry and be fearful, watch your children.


Even though those things are occurring all around us, watch your children.  They don’t seem to care or even desire to be interested in what is going on.  They live for the moment.  They appreciate the little things around them.


They play; they laugh.  How are they able to do this?  Don’t they know what is going on in the world today?  Actually if you don’t tell them or force them to watch the news, they probably don’t know or even care.


How are they able to do this?  First of all they seem to be living what Jesus told us to do in Matt. 6: 34 “Take therefore no thought for the morrow…”  In other words don’t worry about the future.


Or our children seem to obey Proverbs 3:5 “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart and don’t lean on your own understanding.”  I had never seen my children trying to figure out how to solve the world’s problems.  “What will become of us?”


Or our children seem to obey I Peter 5:7, “Casting all your care upon Him; for He cares for you.”


I realize maybe they are not placing all their worries and cares upon the Lord but they know down deep inside, Mom and Dad will take care of them.  Mom and Dad will protect them and provide for them.


They have not doubt that they are in a position of being loved.  They know who they are: a child of Mom and Dad who loves them and will never allow anything to harm them. 


Because of all these things our children are at peace unless you force them to become like you: fearful, worrisome and hopeless.


Isn’t our Father better than us, as parents?  Hasn’t God our Father promised to protect us and provide for us?  Hasn’t God our Father placed us into a position of sonship? Because of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, who bore all our sin on the cross we have been forgiven and adopted into the family of God.


So why are we worrying, fearful, depressed or anxious about what is going on in the world today?  It is because we have not sought, found, received and believed what Jesus us to do in Matt. 6:33, “Seek first(above everything else) the kingdom of God and His righteousness…”  Jesus ended this command by then saying that God knows what is going on and He will provide all that we need.  Do you believe all that the Word of God tells us about the nature and character of our loving Father?  Fear is the opposite of faith.


So be at peace.  Watch your children.  Watch them having fun; appreciating little things like a large empty cardboard box that that expensive thing you bought them came in.  Watch how they love you, trust you and appreciate you.


“for of such is the kingdom of God.”


- Pastor Jim

Mercy

September 10, 2020

We read in several places in the Bible that God is merciful.  In fact the book of Psalms states many times that the Lord’s mercy endures forever.


Mercy can be defined as not getting something you deserve.  By Old Testament law, all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.  Therefore according to the Old Testament law, the wages of sin is death.


All of us have fallen short.  All of us deserve to face eternal death but God is merciful. We do not deserve mercy.  It is receiving the forgiveness of God even though we do not deserve it.


In my opinion the best example of the mercy of God is found in the story of the thief on the cross.  When Jesus was crucified there were two malefactors crucified on either side of Jesus.  Most people referrer to these men as thieves.  


From what I have researched, thieves usually were not crucified.  If we look up the word, malefactor, is usually refers to those who had committed some pretty horrible crimes.  Both of these malefactors were being executed for the crimes they had committed.


In Luke 23:39-43, we see the dialogue that transpired between Jesus and the malefactors.  One said in verse 39, “and one of the malefactors which were hanged railed on Him, saying, If thou be Christ, save thyself and us.”


The other malefactor said, “Don’t you fear God, seeing that you are in the same condemnation. We indeed justly; for we receive the due reward for our deeds; but this man did nothing amiss.”


Then that malefactor turned to Jesus and said, “Jesus, Lord, remember me when You come into Your kingdom.”


This man did something terrible and was being executed because of it.  There was no chance of amending his ways.  No second chance to live a better life.  Yet He proclaimed Jesus as Lord and asked Jesus to remember Him.


Did this criminal deserve to receive forgiveness and mercy?  He could have lived a better life.  He could have been a better person, but he lived a life contrary to what we would consider good.


By our standards of judgment, he deserved to die and be eternally separated from God.  But look what Jesus said to him, “Verily I say unto you, today you will be with me in paradise”


Paradise was the area where good people went until the death of Jesus.  It was there was Jesus liberated the captives.  Ephesians 4:8 says that after Jesus descended into hell, He led the captives in paradise to heaven.


Wow, paradise, the Old Testament holding ground for good people until Jesus, who died for their sin and punishment, would be taken to heaven.  Did this sinning malefactor deserve to go there?  He was bad according to his deeds.  However he did what all men who are bad should do.  He recognized Jesus as Lord:  the Son of God; the supreme authority.


Jesus was merciful to this man, who not only recognized that he deserved his punishment, but despite his sin recognized Him who could forgive sin and extend mercy.


That is exactly what Jesus did.  This malefactor did not have time to come down from his cross and live right or say a sinners prayer or do what some people think he needed to do to go to heaven.


This sinner recognized the only way to salvation: Jesus as His supreme authority, His Lord and Savior.  


No matter what you have done or are doing, stop and recognize your sin.  Then go to Jesus in faith, repent of your sin and declare that you recognize that God is merciful; that Jesus went to that cross bearing your sin and your punishment.


We are all that malefactor on the cross. The good news is that as that criminal recognized the Lordship of Jesus and Jesus’ power to forgive sin and extend mercy, so can we.  It is not too late to repent and surrender to the Lord’s mercy.


 - Pastor Jim

The grace of god

september 17, 2020

In my blog last week, I talked about the mercy of God.  We defined mercy as not getting something you deserve.  According to the Old Testament, the law was in effect.  The law simply stated that if you sinned, the wages for your sin would be death.  (Romans 6:23)


In the very beginning, the Lord gave a commandment to Adam and Eve:  do not eat of the fruit of a certain tree.  The Lord said in Genesis 2:17 “But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.”


However they did not drop dead when they disobeyed.  But they did die.  They died spiritually.  That is the real death we should all be concerned about.


They disobeyed God, yet God did not strike them dead, physically.  In fact, even though they were banished from the Garden of Eden, the Lord provided clothing for them to cover their nakedness.  That is the mercy of God.


Then, for many, many years, the Lord did everything He could to show mankind that He wanted to be their provider, protector and loving God.  But mankind continually rejected that offer and believed they did not need God.  They believed they could do things without God.  They essentially said, you give us the rules and we can live by them and save ourselves.


So the law was established.  Again, Romans 6:23, if you sin, you will die.  Since the Word of God tells us in Romans 6:20 that all have sinned, then all will die.  


However even before the world was created God had a plan.  He knew the hearts of mankind, that they were evil.  Even after the flood, God recognized the real hearts of mankind. Genesis 8: 22, “…For the imagination of man’s heart is evil from his youth…”


I Peter 1:18-20 tells us that Jesus would redeem mankind by the shedding of His blood on the cross.  Verse 20, “Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world…”


That is the grace of God extended to an undeserving world.  Where mercy is not getting what you deserve, grace is getting something you do not deserve or can ever earn.


Ephesians 2:8-9 “For by GRACE you are saved through faith; and that (GRACE) is not of yourselves; it is a GIFT of God; not of works, lest any man should boast.”


Grace is a free gift from God. Jesus was the gift given by God to an undeserving world.   Jesus died for the sin of the world. He paid the price for the sins of all mankind.  A person’s faith in that free gift of grace, is what will save them from eternal death.  


Grace is the ultimate expression of God’s love towards is.  We do not deserve it or can ever earn it.  We need to just believe it, receive it and live a life of appreciation for that free gift.  Grace: getting something you do not deserve. 


- Pastor Jim

follow peace and holiness

september 24, 2020

Hebrews 12:14 “Follow peace with all men and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord.”


Wow!  Sometimes it is hard to follow peace with all men.  And even scarier to follow after holiness.  Then the real scary part: which no man shall see the Lord.


Trying to be at peace with everyone is hard enough, but living a life of holiness?  And if I don’t, I will not see the Lord?


What about the grace of God?  I thought grace was getting something I did not deserve.  Or how about holiness?  If I don’t live a life of holiness, I won’t see the Lord?


What about the mercy of God?  According to Romans 3:23 “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God”.  Therefore it is inevitable I am not going to be able to follow peace with all men or live a life in total holiness.


Romans 3:20 “Therefore by the deeds of the Law there shall no flesh be justified in His sight.”  So even if I am able to follow peace with all men and live a life in total holiness, I cannot earn favor with God or my own salvation. 


So now are you totally confused? Maybe if we look at some other translations of this scripture, we can better understand what Paul is saying to the Hebrews.


Hebrews 12:14 (AMP) “STRIVE to live in peace with everybody and PURSUE that consecration and holiness without which no one will ever see the Lord.”


To strive means to make great effort and to try very hard.  This sounds more like doing everything you can; make a great effort and try very hard to be at peace with everyone.  This is about having the mindset and proper motive to try and be at peace with everyone.  However it sounds like even though we are trying very hard and making a great effort, it will not always be accomplished.  Therein lies the grace and mercy of God when we fail.


Hebrews 12:14 (MSG) “Work at getting along with each other and with God…”


Here again it is the effort and the intention to be at peace with everyone.  But notice it says you need to work at it.  Sometimes we are going to fail.  Thank God for His mercy and His grace when we fail.


It is the same when it comes to holiness.  We are to strive at and work at being holy in our speech, our thinking and our actions.  It is one thing to not even try.  I believe these are those who will not see the Lord.


But to those who strive, make every effort, work hard at it and pursue with all their might, at holiness will see the Lord.  It is one thing to not even try.  I question their love of God and their desire to obey His word.  But there are others who work at it; make every effort and purse to the best of their ability to walk in holiness.


God knows our weaknesses.  He knows our inabilities.  But He knows those who are at least trying to follow after peace with all men.  He knows those who are trying; working hard; and making every effort to walk in holiness.  


Yes we will fail sometimes but we are willing to make the effort to obey God.  The good news is that we also have the Holy Spirit to help us follow after peace and holiness.


The key here is to strive; make every effort and work at it.  When we fail we know that our Father God is quick to forgive.  We have faith and trust in His mercy and His grace.  


Proverbs 24:16 “For a just man falleth seven times and riseth up again…”


So when you fail to be at peace with some people; when you fail to sometimes live a life that is holy in the sight of God, get back up and try again.  


Be at peace with God.  He loves you and knows you will sometimes fail.  With diligence and with the help of the Holy Spirit, next time you will succeed. 


Failing is not failure.  Giving up and losing your faith and trust in God’s mercy and grace is failure.  Get back up for tomorrow is another day.   


- Pastor Jim

show me thy ways

october 1, 2020

One of the prayers I often pray is found in Psalm 25: 4-5:


“Show me thy ways, O Lord; teach me thy paths.  Lead me in thy truth and teach me; for thou art the God of my salvation; on thee do I wait all the day.”


There is that phrase again, “I wait all the day.”  So do we just sit around and wait for a supernatural visitation from God to show us the way and teach us His paths?  Do we sit around and let Him lead us in His truth and teach us?  Of course not.


The word, “wait”, doesn’t mean inactivity on our part.  It means to take action, like a waiter, waits on his tables.


When we ask God to show us His ways and teach us His paths the word of God  is very clear.  Psalm 119:105, “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.”  The Word of God shines a light to His paths.  The Word of God is a lamp to our feet.  


When I walk in the dark, I hold a light to see where my feet should go.  However, the path on which I walk must be lit so I stay on that path.  The Word of God shows me how to order my steps and the Word of God shows me the paths on which I should walk.


Proverbs 3: 5-6 “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.  In all thy ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct thy paths.”


The Psalmist then asks the Lord to lead him in God’s truths. We see in several places in the Word of God, that God’s word is truth.  Jesus, who is also called the 

Word in John 1, says that He is the way, the truth and the life.  All that Jesus has said is truth.


To be led into the truth we need to read the Words of Jesus.  The Word of God will teach us the truth.  It is the Word of God that will show us God’s ways.  It is the Word of God that will show us His path for everyday life.  It is the Word of God that reveals the truth and teaches us what is truth.


A divine visitation from God, while you just sit and wait for it, most likely is not going to happen.  To wait on the Lord involves action on your part.  I need to seek the truth, the way and the paths of God in His word.  That will take some work on my part.


When Jesus tells us in Matthew 6:33 to seek the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, it means work on our part.


Romans 12: 1-2 tells us to live a life of sacrifice.  It is a sacrifice to give us some of your precious time to read the Word of God.  The Word of God tells us to not be conformed to this world’s ways, truths or paths in life, but to be transformed by renewing our minds to the Word of God so that we may know God’s will, God’s ways, God’s paths and truth according to God.


When I quote Psalm 25 and say, “on Thee do I wait all the day”, I am saying I will take action to seek God’s will, God’s way, God’s path and God’s truths by getting into His word.   His word will reveal all those things.


As Joshua is about to take Moses’ place to lead the children of Israel into the promised land, God knew that Joshua needed to know God’s ways, God’s will, God’s path and God’s truths.  That is why the Lord told Joshua in Joshua 1:8 “This book of the Law (God’s word), shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein; for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous and then thou shalt have good success.”


That is how we wait on the Lord.  It is in the Word of God where we will find the proper path, the proper way and the proper truth.  


- Pastor Jim

seeing is believing

October 8, 2020

There is a story found in John 20:24-25 about Thomas, one of Jesus’ disciples, who was not present when the risen Christ first appeared to the disciples.


John 20:24-25 “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.”


Because of that one statement, which John recorded in his Gospel, Thomas has been given the unfortunate label of Doubting Thomas.


Thomas’ lack of faith is often demonstrated in the lives of some Christians.  They live a life of always questioning the validity of the many promises of God given to believers.  They live a life that says, seeing is believing.  If I don’t SEE it in my life, I cannot believe it.

Listen to how Jesus responded to Thomas when Jesus again appeared to all the disciples. 


John 20:29  “Jesus said unto him, Thomas, because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are they that have no seen, and yet have believed.”


I believe that most true believers in Jesus, believe they are saved, yet most likely Jesus did not appear to them to tell them they are saved.  They simply believe the Word of God.


Yet I wonder how many true believers believe in what all the Word of God says?


The Bible tells us in Isaiah 53:5, that Jesus was wounded for our transgressions; He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement (or punishment) of our peace was upon Him; (the punishment necessary for our peace or our ease) was upon Him and with His stripes we are healed.”


Jesus bore our punishment so that we may have ease.  A lack of ease is called disease.  We WERE healed by the stripes of Jesus.


I Peter 2:24 also mentions this wonderful act of Jesus


I Peter 2:24 “Who His own self bare our sins and in His own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness; by who stripes you WERE healed.”


How many true believers do not believe this unless they see it?  They get attacked with a sickness or disease and immediately succumb to the symptoms or what they see.  They believe what they see.  


However when it comes to the promise of healing and health in the Word of God they only believe it if they see it.


Yes, even believers may get attacked with a sickness or disease.  When they do they confess they are sick to everyone.  They spend more time reinforcing their sickness by what they see.  Yes you may see it but it is illegally upon you. 


The Word of God tells us that we must use the Sword of the Spirit, the spoken Word of God, to combat and defeat this attack.


Rather than confess what you see, confess what the Word of God says.  Jesus bore my sicknesses and diseases on the cross and by Him bearing the punishment of sin on my behalf, enduring the chastisement we deserve, Jesus has paid the price for my healing.


If we read the account of Abraham, who was over 90 years old, being told by God he would bear a son, look how Abraham responded.


Romans 4:19-21 “And being not weak in faith, he considered not (refused to see in) his own body now dead, when he was about a hundred years old, yet the deadness of Sarah’s womb; he staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God; and being fully persuaded that what he (God) had promised, he was able to perform.”


Are you one who must see before he believes.  The promises of God were given to us at a great price: the blood of Jesus.  


Yes we will see things that may frighten us, but do not consider what you see greater than the promises of God. 


As Jesus told Thomas in John 20:29 “Thomas, because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are they that have not seen and yet have believed.”


Blessed are you who have not seen and yet believed.


- Pastor Jim

the jesus kind of peace

october 15, 2020

There are two scriptures in the Gospels that seem to contradict one another and contradict what the world defines as peace.


Matt. 10:34 “Think not that I am come to send peace on earth; I came not to send peace but a sword.”


Jesus continued on this thought by saying that because of one’s faith in Jesus, it would cause divisions among those of one’s own household.  What kind of peace is that?


Peace by dictionary definition means absence of adversity, trouble or inner conflict.


Then Jesus seems to contradict what He stated in Matt. 10:34.  


John 14:27 “Peace I leave with you, My peace I give unto you; not as the world gives, give I you.”

This word, peace, is the Greek word: pronounced (i-ray-nay).  It means prosperity, quietness, rest and to set at one again.


Yet in the latter part of verse 27 Jesus says, “let not your HEART be troubled neither let it be afraid.”


This word, troubled, means to stir or agitate.  The peace of Jesus does not further stir us up or agitate us.  His peace calms us down and brings peace.


In John 16:33 Jesus tells us this, “…in the world you shall have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”


The word, tribulation, (thlip-sis), means pressure, anguish, burdened and persecution.


The peace of Jesus is not the absence of pressure, anguish, being burdened or persecution.  His peace gives us prosperity, quietness and rest despite the pressure, anguish, burdens or persecutions.  

The peace of Jesus also means to set at one again.  What does that mean?  Notice Jesus tells us in John 14:27, “let not your HEART be troubled neither it (your heart) be afraid.”


Your heart is what you believe down deep inside your being.  It is not head faith.  This is heart faith.  Down deep inside you, the real you, don’t be troubled or afraid.


Heart faith or what you really believe in your inner being is not something that is developed overnight.  Whatever you allow yourself to consistently hear or see you will eventually believe.


If you consistently listen to or hear things that man presents as truth you will become troubled and afraid.  If you consistently listen to, hear and read what the Word of God says, your heart will become fixed on the promises of God.  You will realize that God is with you; loves you; protects you and provides for you.  You will have faith down deep in your heart and you will not be moved by the trouble, pressure, anguish, burdens and persecution you will face in this world.


You will fully understand what Jesus meant when He says that He gives you His peace because you took the time to read and listen to the Word of God, the Truth.


The knowledge of the peace of Jesus will set you at rest and quietness.  You will come to know His character and nature and His love for you which will produce peace in your heart.


Jesus said, I leave you My peace.  If He left it, we need to look for it, find it and receive it.  


- Pastor Jim

Prayer: Talking to god

October 22, 2020


Someone I have come to respect is Andrew Womack.  For years my minister friends told me about his ministry and his great messages on grace, faith and many other Biblical subjects.


Andrew Womack’s ministry had small beginnings.  Now his Charis Bible Schools are training hundreds of men and women for the ministry.  Andrew has been credited for raising several people from the dead and countless miraculous healings.  He is someone I would consider as a great mentor.


A while back someone wrote a book on how everyone should pray at least one hour a day.  When this person asked Andrew how many hours he prayed each day, Andrew responded that it was hard to determine how much he prayed each day because he was constantly talking to God.


I understand both thoughts.  Prayer is you talking to God.  That can be accomplished anywhere at any time.  However I think it is also very important to set some time apart each day that is totally dedicated to an intimate talk with God.  It can be a time alone in a designated place at a designated time each day.  It can be done on your knees or standing up.  The key is to give God your full attention and time.


Several years ago, when I was a younger Christian, I attended a class on prayer.  I was taught there were seven types of prayer.  I always simply talked to God. Unfortunately I began to try and categorize which type of prayer I was praying.  After much confusion I just gave up and just talked to God.  It was so much easier to just have an intimate conversation with God, whether it was a prayer of intercession, petition, etc.  


Prayer is a wonderful benefit we have as believers.  God is pleased when we pray because it reveals some things to God about us. 


First we recognize God for who He is.  The one who we can go to for all our needs and worship.


Secondly, we reveal our faith in the Word of God that says that God hears us and grants those requests made in faith and according to His word.


Thirdly, it reveals that God is priority in my life.  Why?  Because I have taken the time to pray; time that maybe I could have slept longer in the morning; time that I could have gone to bed earlier; time I could have been watching TV.  I made God a priority in my busy day.


Prayer can simply be defined as talking to God no matter how short or how long.  


Make the time.  Your heavenly Father is waiting for you.


- Pastor Jim

RUNNING FROM THE JUDGERS

October 29, 2020

In Luke 15 we read the account of a parable that Jesus taught concerning the prodigal son.  Notice Luke 15:13 “And not many days after the younger son gathered all together and took his journey into a far country…”


As many of you who know this parable, the younger son demanded his inheritance before his father died.  The son was essentially saying to the father, you are dead to me, give me my inheritance.


This son was a Jew.  To disrespect his father in such a way was considered a great sin.  Did you ever wonder why he took his journey into a far country?  


We need to go back and look at the original topic that Jesus was addressing.  Luke 15:1 tells us that all the publicans and sinners drew near to Jesus to hear Him.  Did you ever wonder why these so-called outcasts drew near to hear what Jesus had to say?


Jesus never condemned the sinner.  In fact John 3:15 says, “For God sent not His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.”


Sinners drew near to Jesus because He did not judge them.  Jesus came to preach hope and salvation to the lost.  This was totally opposite of what the Pharisees, the Sadducees and the Jewish priests did.  They judged these people as sinners, who were not worthy of their time and effort.  Why would people draw near to people who judge and condemn them?


This was the case with the prodigal son.  Why did he take his journey into a far country?  He knew he would be judged and condemned without mercy for his sin.  The father on the other hand, did not judge his son:  did not pass sentence on him.  


The father was watching and praying for his son to return.  The father ran out to meet his son before the judgers got to the son first.  How sad it is that Christians seem to be the first to judge: pass sentence on those who commit a sin.


We need to remember the topic Jesus was teaching in all these parables.  Luke 15:10, “Likewise, I say unto you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one SINNER THAT REPENTS.”


If the Lord rejoices over a sinner that repents, I believe, just like the father who was believing for son to return, the Lord is also believing for even believers who have fallen into sin, to return.


If Jesus ever makes intercession for us, could He not be making intercession for our brothers and sisters in Christ who have been overtaken in sin?  Shouldn’t we be examples of Jesus and pray for those who were once strong in faith; those who have fallen in sin and judged and rejected by others?


I had a friend whose marriage was failing.  He eventually left his wife and his church and got involved with another woman who he eventually married.  This man was judged, condemned and rejected.  He finally left his hometown and went to another part of the country.  Do you know why?  He was fleeing from his judgers  


When this man remarried, for which he was further judged and condemned, he began a new life and became a great Pastor.  God never gave up on him.  I believe God was believing for his repentance and return.   I believe Jesus was interceding for this man.  I believe there was great joy in heaven when this man, realized he could have hung in there and made the marriage work, repented of his stubbornness and asked the Lord to forgive him.


We need to remember as believers what it says in II Corinthians 5:19 “…and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.”


Reconciliation is not just offered to the unbeliever.  It is also offered to the prodigals who once were in the family of the Father.  Who rejected Father God and escaped into a far country where no one knew their sin or judged them.


An unbelieving professional counselor once said to me that Christians are famous for killing their wounded.  We need to offer the message of reconciliation not only to unbelievers but to those who once were of the household of faith; who left their faith and were judged, condemned and rejected by Christians; who had to leave their church and their area to escape their judgers.


We often pray to win the lost; the unbeliever; the atheist; the murderer; people of other false religions; our youth; etc.  That is good!  But what about those people who once were of the household of faith; who once were faithful to the church and to the Word of God but fell into sin?


Are they not that one lost sheep or that one lost coin or the prodigal son?  Are they not worth our time, prayers and effort to forgive and restore them?


Let us be the ones watching and praying; ready to meet them halfway when they are afar off.  Let us get to them first before the judgers intercept them and drive them away.  Let us be the first to embrace them, forgive them and welcome them back into the family.


There will be plenty of older brothers who won’t be happy to welcome them back, but we will be there to assure them that God loves them, forgives them and so do we.


- Pastor Jim

THE BUILDING BLOCKS FOR FINDING AND FULFILLING GOD’S VISION FOR YOUR LIFE

November 5, 2020


In looking at the life of Nehemiah, who had a vision from God to rebuild the wall in Jerusalem, we discover the building blocks to finding and fulfilling the plan of God for your life.


  1. A vision from God begins with a concern, an excitement, an idea and a desire.
  2. A vision from God does not necessarily require an immediate action.  God will not fault you for praying and seeking His face for confirmation.
  3. Pray for opportunities and plan as if you expect God to answer your prayers.
  4. You must trust that God is using your circumstances to position and prepare you to accomplish His vision for your life.
  5. What God originates, He orchestrates
  6. Walk before you talk; investigate before you initiate.


Here are some other tips about finding and fulfilling what you believe God has called you to do.


When we believe that God has spoken to us about doing something, we get excited.  Then we make the mistake of telling everyone what God has spoken to us, expecting them to share your excitement.  If they don’t get excited, many times people get discouraged.  


If you share that vision with others, they may ask you how it is going to happen.  Until God gives you specific directions, which many times He does not do right away, you may not have that answer and get further discouraged.


In my experience before I went into ministry and even after I became involved in full-time ministry, patience was a key step in fulfilling God’s directions for my life.


If I believed God was giving me a vision to do something, I would just pray and wait for confirmation.  In almost every case, the Lord opened a door to move forward in that vision.

Also understand that any vision from God will require commitment, sacrifice and possible risk.


You may be called upon to give up the actual good for the potential best.


You may be asked to leave what is comfortable and familiar in order to embrace that which is uncomfortable and unfamiliar.


When we sacrifice in order to do that thing that God has put into our hearts, we are recognizing that with our faith and trust in God, what may look impossible for us, is possible with God.


When you study the great men and women in the Bible, what would have been impossible with their own strengths and talents was accomplished by their faith in God’s empowering to accomplish what God asked them to do.


That God-given vision will be completed by understanding these building blocks.  Have faith, trust and full dependance on the Lord.  For that which God has called you to do, He will complete in and through you, in Jesus Name.


- Pastor Jim

YOU DO THIS

November 12, 2020

Praise God that Jesus died on the cross bearing our sins.  He paid the price for our iniquities and transgressions.  Some Christians think we no longer have to obey the ten commandments because we are told that all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.  We are no longer under the Law so we can just kick back and enjoy life and if we sin, Jesus has us covered.


So if Jesus fulfilled everything needed to go to heaven does that mean we can live any way we want, sin and all?  Absolutely not! Yes, when we fail to obey God and keep His Word, the blood of Jesus covers us.  However that is not a reason to think we can do and live any way we want.


Recently the two candidates for the Presidency of the United States had a debate.  What I find incredible is that many people did not watch the debate.  That’s Ok.  I went to bed before the debate began.  But what astounds me is the fact that rather than watch the debate people relied on the “talking heads”, the newspaper reports or the TV news to determine what the outcome of the debate was.  I let them have the responsibility to form my opinion about the debate.


What I also found astounding was the fact that even though I did not watch all of the debate, I did watch segments of it to decide for MYSELF, what happened. When I listened to what the “talking heads”, the newspapers, the TV or radio reports said, they were not only inaccurate, they reported the exact opposite of what was said.


They actually lied!


There is a valuable lesson to be learned from this:  we need to be responsible enough to make the time and effort to get the facts first hand.  The New Testament is filled with things we are to be personally responsible to do in our lives.


Matt. 6:33, “Seek ye first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness.”  YOU SEEK!

Hebrews 12:14,  “Follow peace with all men and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord.” YOU FOLLOW PEACE AND HOLINESS!


John 7:24 “Be honest in your judgment and do not decide at a glance or by appearance by judge fairly and righteously.”  YOU DO THIS!


John 13:34 “A new commandment I give unto YOU, that YOU LOVE one another, as I have loved you, that YOU also love one another.”


These were not suggestions given to us by the Word of God.  The Word of God is saying to us, YOU DOTHIS.  If you do not read the Word of God, yourself, but only listen to what others think or say about the Word of God, you may get inaccurate information or even lies about what the Word of God says.


I praise God that Jesus died for my sins but that does not release me from the personal responsibility to obey what the Word of God tells me to do.  Yes, I may fail many times, and praise God for the blood of Jesus who covers my failures,  but I am at least making the time and effort to read the Word of God myself, so I will see first-hand what the Word of God says is my responsibility as a believer in Jesus Christ and all that His word says to do.


John 14:23 “If a man loves me, he will keep my words; and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him and make our abode with him.”


“You do this!”  YOU seek first; YOU keep the commandments of Jesus!  YOU love one another!  YOU! YOU! YOU!  Take the responsibility to obey the Word of God.


Romans 12: 1-2 “I beseech YOU therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that YOU present YOUR bodies a living sacrifice , holy, acceptable unto God, which is YOUR reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world, but YOU be transformed by the renewing of YOUR mind, that YOU may prove what is that good, acceptable and perfect will of God.”


YOU DO THIS!!  YOU are responsible to read the Word of God yourself.  YOU are responsible to seek FIRST  the Kingdom of God.  YOU are responsible to obey what Jesus tells YOU to do!


Ask the Holy Spirit to help YOU TO DO what the Word of God tells us to do.  When you fail, we can ask Jesus to forgive you and HE WILL.   You will be blessed with your efforts to obey and YOU will be successive in your efforts.


YOU DO THIS!! 


- Pastor Jim

to fear and not to fear

November 19, 2020

I have seen the word, fear, a lot in both the New Testament and the Old Testament.  The Word of God is very clear in what or whom we should fear and who and what we should not fear.


First of all there are of different meanings for the word fear in the Bible.  


Psalm 33:8 “Let all the earth fear the Lord.”


Psalm 25:14 “The secret of the Lord is with them that fear Him; and He will show them His covenant.”


Proverbs 1:7 “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge.”


The dictionary defines fear as anxiety caused by real or possible danger; to expect with misgiving.


I always associate fear with being afraid or scared.  To be scared means to fill with sudden fear; to become frightened.


To be afraid means to be frightened or suddenly fearful.


When the Word of God tells us to fear the Lord, it does not mean to be afraid of the Lord or have anxiety because of the possibility of real or possible danger.


Our Father God is a God of love.  Jesus often talked about the provision and protection of God.  


I Peter 5:7 tells us to cast all your cares upon Him for He cares for you.


Jesus was the walking example of the character and nature of our Father.  Jesus forgave the sinner; healed the sick and diseased; delivered people from demonic possession and fed the hungry.


Fear is the result of not knowing the character and nature of God.  If you do not read the Word of God how could you possibly know who He is?


Prov. 3: 5-6 says to trust in the Lord with all our heart and lean not on our own understanding; in all our ways acknowledge Him and He will direct our path.


If I should not fear the Lord, then why does the Word of God tell me to fear Him?


Psalm 34:9 “O fear the Lord, ye His saints.”


This word fear is the word, yare, which means to revere.


I Samuel 11:7 “..and the fear of the Lord fell on the people…”


This word fear is the word, pachad, which means alarm or dread.


This is a different type of fear and unfortunately held by some Christians who do not bother to get to know the true character and nature of our loving Father.


This was the type of fear that came upon the enemies of God who trembled at the demonstration of the awesome power of God.


Fear is usually the result of ignorance; never knowing what God would do in any given situation. This type of fear of God is not from God.  The Word of God says in II Timothy 1:7 “For God has not given us the spirit of fear…”


This word for fear is the Greek word, deilia, which means timidity or anticipation of harm


Notice the Word of God calls this a spirit which is not from God.  This type of fear needs to be recognized as not being from God but an evil spirit from the devil.  This spirit will try to stop you from trusting God and His word.


We have been given the Sword of the Spirit to deal with this evil spirit.  To use this sword of the Spirit we need to speak the Word of God to this spirit and it will flee.  


James 4:7 “Submit yourselves therefor to God; resist the devil and he will flee from you.”


We need to recognize who we should fear or revere and worship: the Lord our God.


We should also recognize that any type of fear that causes us to be afraid, timid, worrisome, depressed or anxious is not from God but an evil spirit that needs to be rebuked by speaking the Word of God which will cause that evil spirit to flee.


The secret to not being afraid of God is to seek Him with all your heart.  Get to know His character and nature which is love.  Our God is a loving Father who cares for His children.  Love casts out all fear.


Psalm 9:10 “And they that know Thy name will put their trust in Thee; for Thou, Lord, hath not forsaken them that seek thee.”


- Pastor Jim

unexpected moments

november 25, 2020

Prov. 3:25 “Be not afraid of sudden fear…”


I have read this scripture so many times, but just the other day I got to live that scripture.


My wife had been experiencing pain in the upper left side of her abdomen.  It  would come and go but this day she came home early from the office in more severe pain.


We confessed God’s word but exercised wisdom and went to the hospital emergence room.  What we saw was frightening.  In a fairly large waiting room it was wall to wall people.  We checked in and was eventually called to just sit and answer a bunch of question related to symptoms and insurance information.


After that we sat in the ER waiting area for over two and a half hours.  Almost every ten minutes someone else walked in, checked in and had a seat.  On the way to the hospital we passed a Covid 19 screening site.  The line had to be at lease a quarter mile long.  The line increased to over a half of a mile by the time we left the hospital five hours later.  That was frightening to start.


In Prov. 3:25 are told to not be afraid of sudden fear.  The word sudden in this scripture means an unexpected moment.  I never really pondered what that meant until I sat in that ER waiting room.


Covid 19 has been the fear of so many people.  It is something that needs to be taken seriously.  Even though it is basically a flu, it seems to have taken on a whole new meaning.


Sitting in that waiting room, watching my wife in pain, and watching person after person walk into that room gave me an example of sudden fear.


I have heard people define fear as false evidence appearing real.  I agree with that in most cases but watching so many people walk in with so many serious symptoms was not something appearing false.  These people were suffering.


Not all those who came in had Covid symptoms, like accident victims or heart related symptoms but there were a lot who were just sick.


What if they had Covid?  Was my wife and I safe in the midst of this very contagious disease?  All kinds of thought were being shot into my head.  This was definitely an attack of sudden fear.  It was an unexpected moment.

 

I praise God that I knew the weapons of my warfare.  I silently began to rebuke those thoughts that brought fear.  


An unexpected moment that would cause sudden fear can be many things.  A phone call, an unexpected notice in the mail, news of a tragedy, a pain in your body or someone walking into an emergency room with symptoms of Covid.


I am so thankful that the Lord knew we would face such things in life.  When all is going well in your life is the best time to prepare for sudden fears.  


Before Joshua was to cross the Jorden River, the Lord instructed him to be strong and very courageous to meditate on the Word day and night.  Why?


The Lord knew that Joshua would face times of sudden fear.  By instructing Joshua to meditate on the Word of God, Joshua would be preparing himself to face that sudden fear.


When you meditate on the many promises of the Lord’s protection and provision in the Word, you will be able to face those times of unexpected moments.


Then you will not be afraid of sudden fear; those unexpected moments that could frighten us. Now you will not be afraid because you know what the Lord has promised you in His word.


- Pastor Jim