set your affection

January 7, 2021

I may have addressed this subject in a previous blog, but it is worth mentioning it again.


Several months ago, before the onset of Covid 19 and the drama of the Presidential election, I believe the Lord spoke something to me.  It is found in Colossians 3:2:


“Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.”


I never realized the importance of that message to me until so many people became terrified by the onset of Covid 19.  Then later the drama that surrounded the Presidential election.  So much to become fearful about.


The previous scripture is just as important. Colossians 3: 1 “If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sits on the right hand of God.”


The word, affection, is the Greek word phroneo, which means to exercise the mind.  To set means to make a determined decision to do something.  In this case, to exercise your mind.


As I see it, we have two things we can do when we face situations that can make us fearful, depressed, anxious or worried.  You can spend your time in fear, worrying about something which will ruin your whole day. Or you can exercise your mind on the things above and not on the things here on earth.


It reminds me of what we read in Romans 12:1-2 “I beseech your therefore, brethren (fellow believers), by the mercies of God that you present our bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.  And be not conformed to this world but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good, acceptable and perfect will of God.”


Instead of worrying or being fearful about the things happening on this earth, discipline yourself, like a bodily decision to exercise, only this time your mind, to take that energy you use to worry or be fearful and read the Word of God, which will strengthened your knowledge of God.


The Word of God tells us that all forms of fear whether being afraid, worry, depression or anxiety is nothing more than a spirit. II Timothy 1:7 “For God has not given us the spirit of fear…”


Setting your affection, exercising your mind, starts with a decision and continues with a discipline.  II Corinth. 10:3-5 tells us that though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh.  We are in a war and the battle takes place in the mind.  


II Corinth. 10:5 tells us that we have the power to cast down imaginations (those pictures we paint in our minds); to bring into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.


We need to remember are lives are hid in Christ.  We need to remember we are seated in heavenly places in Jesus Christ.  We have been given the power to rebuke those spirits of fear.


Where are your thoughts today?  Covid 19 or the election?  How about exercising your mind on the thoughts that in agreement with the Word of God.


When a bad thought comes into your mind that produces fear, take it captive, then speak what the Word of God says about your situation.  Make it a habit to set, to exercise your mind on what the God says and not what that spirit of fear is trying to accomplish in your life.  


- Pastor Jim

Please Hurry

january 14, 2021

A word that we see several times in the Word of God is the word, patience.  It is one thing I am learning to experience.


The dictionary defines the word patience as calm endurance. To be patient by definition means enduring pain, trouble, etc., without complaining; calmly tolerating delay; persevering.


I have learned to wait but to be honest, I have not done it calmly.


The other day we waited at the bank drive thru for 17 minutes.  It was excruciating for me.  Another day we waited in a line at the car wash.  This time my wife decided to time it.  All the while I was complaining about the wait.  It was less than 10 minutes.  


I understand we sometimes must wait our turn, but staying calm is the part I am learning.


As believers we need to understand that patience is a quality we need to experience.  According to James 1:4 “But let patience have her perfect work, that you may be perfectly and fully developed.”


Patience is something we must all experience as believers if we are going to be conformed to the image of Jesus Christ.  Trusting in God’s timing versus our timing is a learning process.


We complain if we don’t get our prayers answered right away. Or we wonder why God doesn’t heal us immediately. Or why God didn’t allow something to happen according to our plans or desires.


There are stories in the Bible put there to encourage us to have patience.  We read about Biblical characters such as Joseph.  He had a dream that his family would bow down to him in reverence and honor.  When would that happen?  Tomorrow?  Maybe next week or even a year?


Why didn’t it happen the way that Joseph thought it would happen?  Thrown into a pit.  Sold into slavery then thrown into prison and supposedly forgotten.  What he dreamed did not take place in a year but many years.


How about Saul of Tarsus?  He had a drastic encounter with Jesus, blinded than healed.  Ok God let’s get started with my mission.  According to Paul, he separated himself, going into a secluded place for over 13 years.


How long have you been waiting for a God-given dream to happen?  How come God didn’t answer your prayers yet?  Why didn’t what you expect to happen, happen?


Could we be learning to be patient.  If everything happened when you wanted it to happen and to happen the way you expected it to happen why would you need faith?  If you don’t see that Word of God, you have been confessing over your life happening right now why would you need to trust God?


God doesn’t operate on our timetable or by our methods.  We are to trust in the Lord and wait upon the Lord which may require more time than what you have planned.


Faith believes regardless of the time it may take to be fulfilled in your life.  


As you stand in patience, you are being fully and completely developed.  We are going to have to learn to calmly endure.  Your trust and faith in God and His Word will grow and become stronger.  So stop telling God to please hurry.  You don’t want to be half-matured but fully and completely matured.


- Pastor Jim

on the right front

January 21, 2021

I have always been fascinated by the historic accounts of famous battles, either on land, sea or the air.  


One the most important things to know is where your enemy is located.  During the world wars it was essential to locate the enemy.  In World War I they used blimps to fly over the area to locate the position of the enemy.  They needed to find the “front”. That is where the most concentration of enemy troops were located. That is where you wanted to send your forces to oppose the enemy.


In World War II they used what was called “spotter” aircraft, whose mission was to photograph the enemy’s positions.  In the Pacific, aircraft would search diligently to locate the enemy naval task forces in order to launch an aerial assault on those enemy ships.


Bottom line, you need to know where your enemy is located in order to oppose and defeat them.


Today there are a lot of people angry with the political situation in our country today.  They see the opposition as their enemies.  That anger may result in violence and destruction.


To the true believer in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, we will face opposition to what we believe.  Just like in natural war we need to know where our enemy is located.  The key is that we are not in a natural war and we can not use natural weapons to defeat the enemy.


First of all our enemy is not people.  It is the forces that are influencing and managing those people.  The Bible tells us in Ephesians 6 who is our real enemy.


Ephesians 6:12 “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.”


We don’t battle against flesh and blood. The battle “front” is not a person or persons.  This is a warfare in the spirit realm.  Being angry and desiring to inflict physical harm on someone will not defeat our enemy.  You are on the wrong front.


We also need to understand that the weapons necessary to defeat the enemy on the proper front are not of human design.  Guns, swords, bombs or our fists will not have any impact on this enemy.


II Corinthians 10:3-4 “For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh.  For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal (man- made), but mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds.”


Ephesians 6:13-18 describes the weapons we need to use in spiritual warfare.


Ephesians 6:11 tells us to put on the whole armor of God.  

To defeat the real enemy, the ones who are behind the person or persons, we need to use God’s defensive and offensive weapons.


Then and only then, will we be able to be fighting on the proper front.  The Word of God tells us who are enemy is and where we can locate him.  On the proper front we can defeat our enemy and win the battle.


Make sure you know who and where your enemy is and use the proper weapons. Then we will be what Romans 8:37 says we can be, “more than conquerors through Him who loved us.”


- Pastor Jim

Believe who god says you are

January 28, 2021

I recently read a devotional that really blessed me.  It was about changing the opinion you have about yourself.  Many times we do not fulfill what God wants us to do with our lives because we disqualify ourselves.


Don’t make the mistake of determining who you are because of your upbringing, your failures or what others have said about you.


We must believe who God says we are.  The Bible is filled with men and women who did great things for God, but not a first.  They had to overcome what they thought about themselves rather than who God said they were.


Abraham thought he was too old.  Jeremiah thought he was too young.  Moses thought he was unqualified.  Joseph thought he was overqualified.  Gideon had an inferiority complex.


Jonah had a superiority complex.  Peter made too many mistakes.  Nathanael was too cool for school.  Paul had a thorn in the flesh.  And King David was the runt of the litter.


Imagine if these great men of God maintained the script they had written for their lives, based upon what they felt about themselves or what others had told them.  You can argue with God about who you think you are, but we need to remember who created us and continues to give us the breath of life.


Who we think we are doesn’t matter to God.  Who you are is not the issue.  What really matters is whose you are.  We are God’s workmanship.


I never felt qualified to be a Pastor.  God didn’t care.  Even after being a Pastor for several years, when I made some mistakes, I felt disqualified to continue to be a

Pastor.  I even had friends that told me it was time to step down, to resign or retire; I disqualified myself.  God didn’t care.  He doesn’t look at the immediate; He looks at the final end.


I have always prayed this scripture: Father God, forsake not the work of Your hands but perfect that which concerns me.


No one is qualified.  No one deserves to be used of God.  I believe that humility, faithfulness to God without the applause of man and a total dependence and trust in God will keep you open to God’s plan for your life.


Forget your past; learn from your failures; don’t listen to what others think about you.  Just obey Proverbs 3:5-6.  Trust in the Lord with ALL your heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding (especially about yourself). In ALL thy ways acknowledge Him (especially what He says about you in His word.) and HE SHALL DIRECT THY PATHS.


- Pastor Jim

one hour or else!

February 11, 2021

Several years ago a book was written on prayer that made me and many other Christians feel like the heathen.


It was based upon a scripture found in Mark 14:37.  In this story Jesus had gone into Gethsemane to pray.  He was in torment, knowing what was about to come to pass, His rejection by those who had one time praised Him; His physical torture and finally His horrible crucifixion.


Jesus suffered far more than any other human could endure.  Jesus knew that this was His mission on earth, yet He prayed to the Father, if there be any other way.


When He went off to pray, He asked His disciples to also pray. When Jesus returned to His disciples, they were asleep.  In Mark 14:37 Jesus makes this statement to Peter.


“And He comes and finds them sleeping and says unto Peter, Simon, you are sleeping?  Could you not watch one hour?”


Jesus was essentially saying to Peter, could you not at least pray one hour?


From that statement the author of this book said that all Christians should at least set one hour aside to pray every day.  Many Christians departed from their normal prayer habits and tried to pray a solid one hour. That include me.  I tried.  I set the clock and labored to find things to add to my normal prayers to make the time last one hour.


Along with many other Christians, I felt like a horrible failure because some days I could not find the time or complete the one hour.  What used to be shorter, frequent and joyful conversations with my Father became regimented, timed and laborious times I regretted.


It wasn’t until a man of God who had a major worldwide ministry and has been credited for healing tens of thousands of people besides raising several people from the dead, confessed to the same dilemma that I had experienced.


When he was asked by someone if he prayed a solid one hour every day, this man of God replied that one hour was a very short time for any Christian to talk to their Father every day.  He said that he was in constant communion and conversation with the Lord every day.  To designate a regulated one hour only, every day to talk to the Lord and feel that this was the only time you were open to talk to the Lord would be only making you feel good about your performance rather than an on-going and joyful communication with your Father God.


Prayer is just talking to God.  To regulate it to a one-hour time slot would be like telling your wife or husband that you have set only one hour aside to talk with them. You better make sure you have at least one hour of things to talk about or it will turn out to be a waste of time.


Our Father is available 24/7.  Hebrews 4:16 tells us to come boldly unto to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.


There are no time limits or no specific hours of God’s availability.  To feel as if you must pray at least one hour every day is nonsense.  There is nothing wrong with setting aside a specific time and place to pray but don’t think God is mad at you because you only could pray 20 minutes, or you missed your one-hour time slot one day.  


Father enjoys any time you talk to Him whether 10 minutes or 10 hours.  Just always talk to the Lord.  He is always there, ready and pleased to spend time with you.


- Pastor Jim

beware of pride

February 18, 2021

We are told to have pride in our accomplishments.  To have pride in our country or our family.  I believe it is all right to be proud of certain things in our lives, but the Bible is clear about the danger of having the wrong kind of pride.


Proverbs 16:18 (amplified) “Pride goes before destruction and a haughty spirit before a fall.”


The dictionary defines pride as an unduly high opinion of oneself; haughtiness or arrogance. 


How interesting that in my dictionary, the word pride is preceded by the word, prickly heat which is a very uncomfortable inflammation of the skin.


Sometimes it would be nice before we got to be prideful, full of ourselves, we got a case of prickly heat to remind us that we are doing something wrong.


The word for pride in Proverbs 16:18 is the Hebrew word, gaown, which means haughtiness, arrogance, pomp or swelling.


When I was asked to become the administrator of a small church, I was very proud.  That church experienced an incredible revival and rapidly grew to thousands of people in attendance.  


We had a side door that opened into the sanctuary that only special people were permitted to use.  Every time that door opened all eyes turned to see who of importance was entering.  I was privileged to be one of those people who could enter into the crowded sanctuary through that door.


One day as I entered through that door all eyes looked upon me.  As I sat in the front row also restricted for certain individuals, I thought to myself how important I was.  I found myself become prideful and feeling very important.


Thank God I was able to hear that small, still voice whisper a scripture reference to me.  It was John 5:44. I immediately turned to that scripture in my Bible.  What I read shocked me.  What I read caused me to repent of my pride and ask the Lord to forgive me for my haughtiness.  


I made a point to underline, circle and star that scripture so I would never forget the correction I received from the Lord on that day. Let me show you what it says.


John 5:44 “How can you believe, which receive honor from one of another and seek not the honor that comes from God alone?”


Wow!  No matter who we think we are; no matter what others may think of you, good or bad, all that matters is seeking the honor and recognition from God alone.


Pride of this type, according to Proverbs 16:18 will cause you to fall or come to destruction.  Such a fall can either cause your destruction or cause you to repent and get the proper assessment of yourself.


If we are to be thankful about anything, it should be that we have become the righteousness of God because of Jesus Christ.  Romans 12:3 says, “For I say through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly that he ought to think…”


I have a right to think highly of myself, but not because of my accomplishments or position, but because I should no longer think that I am a filthy sinner or the gum on the bottom of God’s shoe.  I have been made a child of the Most High God.  I can humbly be thankful of my new position with God.


When Paul says we are not to think MORE HIGHLY THAN WE OUGHT, I believe we can still think better of ourselves now that we are saved and sanctified by the shed blood of Jesus Christ.


When we fully understand that our new position with God, we will not depend on the opinions of others, good or bad.  We will understand that who I am and what I am is because of the grace and mercy of God.  


The opposite of pride is humility.  When we thank God for who we are and for all we have, it is easy to defeat pride.  It is the Lord who has ordered my steps in this life when I trust in Him.  


Always remember what Jesus taught His disciples: he who is the greatest in the eyes of God, is the one who seeks to meet the needs of others.   


- Pastor Jim


Walking after the Holy Spirit

February 25, 2021

Romans 8:1 “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.”


I used to hear a great man of God, who I respected, always say this: “Any time you see a wherefore or a therefore, make sure you read why is it is therefore.”


We need to read Romans 7:25 which explains what the therefore is there for. “I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord.  So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin.”


Paul was explaining the warfare that goes on between his flesh that wants to serve sin and his spirit that desires to serve God.


When we make the decision to live by the dictates of the Holy Spirit, which will always agree with the Word of God, we will produce the fruit of the Holy Spirit.


If you are wondering if you are walking after the dictates of the Holy Spirit or the dictates of our flesh, Galatians 5:19-21 tells us what the works of the flesh are:


Galatians 5:19-21 (amplified) “Now the doings (practices) of the flesh are clear (obvious): they are immorality, impurity, indecency, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, anger (ill temper), selfishness, divisions (dissensions), party spirit (factions, sects with peculiar opinions, heresies), envy, drunkenness, carousing, and the like, I warn you beforehand, just as I did previously, that those who do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.”


It is obviously very clear that if we do these things, we are following the dictates of our flesh. Romans 8:8 “So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God.”


To do all those things listed as flesh sins is living according to a carnal mind.  Romans 8:7 says that the carnal mind is enmity against God.


Jesus said that if we claim to love Him, we will obey His teachings.  That why it is so important to have a consistent habit of reading the Word of God and going to a church where you are under a Pastor/teacher where you are taught the Word of God.


When we hear or read the Word of God, we have the choice to receive it, believe and live it or reject it.  The only way we can defeat those flesh practices, is to hear the truth on how we are supposed to live.  It is our choice to follow the dictates of the Holy Spirit, which will always agree with the Word of God.


Nothing can prevent you from living according to the dictates of the Holy Spirit.  When we make the decision to surrender and obey the Word of God, to surrender to the leading of the Holy Spirit, we will exhibit the qualities of the Holy Spirit and not our carnal flesh.


The qualities or characteristics of the Holy Spirit are described in Galatians 5:22-23: (amplified)

“But the fruit of the Holy Spirit (the work which His presence within accomplishes) is love, joy (gladness), peace, patience (an even temper, forbearance), kindness, goodness (benevolence), faithfulness, gentleness (meekness, humility), self-control (self-restraint, continence), against such things there is no law (that can bring a charge.”


Galatians 5:26 also further explains things we should not be doing if we are following the dictates of the Holy Spirit and not our flesh.


“Let us not become vainglorious and self-conceited, competitive and challenging and provoking and irritating to one another, envying and being jealous of one another.”


Wow!  I thank God for His mercy and His grace because most of us will fail in many of these areas.  However, if you desire to walk in characteristics of the Holy Spirit, God will assist you.  We need to remember this is a growth process.


Over time, with a heart to obey the Word of God, you will grow in maturity and begin to bear the fruit we so desire to bear.  

 

- Pastor Jim

christ like

march 4, 2021

When I had the opportunity to get together with people who didn’t know I was a minister, I made the point to not tell them what my profession was.  You may ask why?  It was because the people who I was with were open and free to be themselves.


Once it was revealed who I was, I saw the looks on the faces of the people who had previously been just open, laughing and having fun.  There was a moment of silence that seemed like an eternity.  I could just read their minds.  They were all thinking, oh no, I said a curse word.  Or I should not have told that dirty story.  Or I just finished ripping apart that person who tried to get me to go to their church.


That invisible wall just went up between them and me.  Why did this happen?  I believe it is because they have encountered people who call themselves Christians when in fact they did not act Christian at all.


To be a true believer in Jesus Christ is what really qualifies you to be a Christian, or Christ-like.


We read everywhere in the New Testament about the character and nature of Jesus.  Jesus didn’t judge anyone.  Yes, He did criticize some people, but they were the religious zealots who thought because of their titles, they could judge and condemn others because they thought others were not as good as they thought they were. 


Jesus did not condemn the woman caught in adultery.  Jesus didn’t condemn the woman at the well who was married five times and now just living with a man.  Jesus didn’t condemn sinners.  He offered them forgiveness and a second chance.


Because Jesus was friendly, open and loving to others, they received Him and enjoyed His company.  Love doesn’t judge, it just loves people for who they are.

Even though they knew who Jesus was and what He taught, they still invited him to their gatherings and their homes.  Why were they open to who He was and what He taught?


It was because He taught who God really was.  A God who was forgiving and loving.  Jesus taught the true character and nature of God.  God is a loving, forgiving and restoring Father.  Jesus not only taught these truths, He lived them.


No one is going to reject you because you accept them and give them the good news.  We are to be ministers of reconciliation.  All sinners have been reconciled to God through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, who suffered the punishment we deserved for our sins.  


The next time people freeze because they found out that you are a believer, thaw out their fears by telling them you enjoy their company and God loves them despite their belief that God doesn’t like them because of who they were or who they are.


Assure them that you are not one who judges them or condemns them.  If God loves them unconditionally, then so do you.  You may be surprised how they might begin to enjoy your company and be open to hear what you have to say.


Be Christ-like.


- Pastor Jim

Blaming god

March 11, 2021

One Sunday after church, I was standing in the lobby greeting people.  After greeting several people one gentleman, looked at me and said that he was mad at God.  The only reason he came to church that day was to please his wife.


I asked him why he was mad at God.  He told me that God had caused him to lose his job.  Then God make him get diabetes.  He could never forgive God for causing such bad things to occur in his life.


When he was finished blaming God for all his woes, I asked him some questions.  I asked him if he went to church on a regular basis to learn about God.  He replied no.  I asked him if he read his Bible on a regular basis to get to know the character and nature of God.  He replied no.


I asked him if he had a consistent prayer life.  He replied no.  Then I asked him, “so you have never had anything to do with God and really have never asked God to be part of your life?”  He replied never and never wanted God to be part of his life.


I then told him, that even though God would like to be involved in your life, you have voluntarily decided that you do not want any part of God.  He replied that is correct.


I explained to him that God loves us and wants to be involved in our lives, but He has given us a free will to allow Him to be part of our lives or not. It is our choice.


I told Him that God respects his choice that he does not want God to be part of his life. So my next question to this man was, if he has chosen to not have God part of his life, why does he think that God made him lose his job and made him get diabetes?  He had no reply and just walked away.


The Word of God is very clear in James 1:17 “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above and comes down from the Father of lights with whom is no variableness neither shadow of turning.”


If you read the Bible you will see the things that God does not want us to do in this life.  Why do people think that God would do the very things He tells us not to do, like hurt others, or cause them harm?


Job 34:10 “Therefore hearken unto me, you men of understanding, far be it from God that He should do wickedness and from the Almighty that He should commit iniquity.”


The character and nature of God is love, not revenge or evil.  The character and nature of God is love.  


His desire is to bless us.  We open the door for problems in our lives by living lives of sin.  We also reap what we sow.  Many times we reap the fruit of our lips. 


Proverbs 13:2 “A man shall eat good by the fruit of his mouth…”


Proverbs 13:3 “He that keeps his mouth keeps his life; but he that opens wide his lips shall have destruction.”


James 3 talks tells us that our tongue is like a rudder of a ship.  We steer the course of our lives many times by the things we say.


To blame God for the things that go wrong in our lives is foolishness.  God’s desire is for our good.  Even when we get ourselves in trouble, God is there to deliver us.  If we ask Him to be part of our lives.


Jesus tells us in John 10:10, that it is the thief who comes to steal and to kill and to destroy but Jesus comes that we MIGHT have life and that we MIGHT have it more abundantly.  The word might means, the possibility of.  By our choices we decide if these things can be possible. 


Don’t blame our heavenly Father, who loves us, for the things that go wrong in our lives.  Put the blame where it belongs: on the devil or on the things you have done or have spoken. 


-  Pastor Jim


submission produces authority

March 18, 2021

It never ceases to amaze me how many people think they can walk in the authority given to the believer without understanding what the Word of God teaches about those who can walk in that authority.


In Matthew 28:18, Jesus tells His disciples that all power (and authority) has been given unto Him in heaven and in the earth.  Then Jesus says in vs. 19 “go ye therefore.”


What Jesus is doing here is called delegated authority.  In legal terms it is referred to as power of attorney.  Power of attorney is the power given to act in the same power as someone else.


In Luke 10:19, Jesus tells His disciples something incredible which is to all who believe in Jesus as Lord and Savior: “Behold I give unto you power (and authority) to tread on serpents and scorpions and over all the power of the enemy; and nothing shall by any means hurt you.”


This was power and authority over all the power that the devil had.  If we are to do the work that Jesus said we should do as believers in Him, then we should be doing what it says He did in the latter part of I John 3:8 “…For this purpose the Son of God was manifested that He might destroy the works of the devil.”


Some believers have tried to step out in that authority and have failed because they have failed to understand a very important Biblical principle of that authority: submission first then comes authority.


A great example of this is found in the story of the centurion who asked Jesus to heal his servant. In the account found in Matt. 8, Jesus offers to come to the centurion’s home.  The centurion said that he was not worthy to have Jesus come under his roof.


The centurion then stated in Matthew 8:8 “…but speak the word only and my servant shall be healed.”


He understood the authority of Jesus because he knew that Jesus was under the authority and obedient to the orders of God.


Matthew 8:9 “For I am a man UNDER authority…”  Though this centurion had soldiers who obeyed his authority, the centurion had authority because he was in submission to those in authority over him.


The Biblical principle here is simple:  those who will walk in authority will be submitted to authority.  We are to be submitted to God and His word.  But as believers we are also told to be submitted to those who have authority over us.


Hebrews 13:17 (amplified) “Obey your spiritual leaders and submit to them -continually recognizing their authority over you…”


Believers who think they can operate in any spiritual authority without being submitted to God and His word and those who have the opportunity to be submitted somewhere to someone of spiritual authority will be powerless.


People like this are usually not part of a local body of believers overseen by a Pastor.  If they are a part of a church they are usually always complaining, sowing discord or flaunting their importance to others. 


What is even more sad is the fact that they don’t even have enough power to overcome the problems in their own lives but are quick to point out the problems in other people’s lives.


We need more believers who will walk in the delegated power and authority to overcome the devices of the devil in their lives and in the lives of others.  Obey the Biblical principle of authority.  Be submitted to those whom God has set in authority over you and then you will walk in the authority and power promised to you by Jesus.


- Pastor Jim

What's your bAIT

March 25, 2021

Sin in the life of the believer just doesn’t happen.  It is a process.  


James 1:14-15 “…every man is tempted when he is DRAW AWAY of his own lust and enticed. Then when lust hath CONCEIVED it brings forth sin; and sin when it is finished brings forth death.”


I highlighted two words in these scriptures; draw away and conceived.  Sin just doesn’t happen.  James 1:2 tells us that we can fall into divers temptations.  Falling is one thing.  Then being drawn away and conceiving is something else.


When you fall or trip it is not usually planned.  But being draw away and enticed is something you succumb to by choice.  We are told in the Bible to run from sin; run from the temptation.  To be drawn away and enticed is when you linger just a little bit too long.  The temptation looks good.  It will draw you away to look at it more closely and think upon it. To enticed is allowing yourself to play out in your mind the possibility of something that will make you feel good.


I often tease my congregation by saying that you don’t bait a mouse trap with broccoli.  You use cheese or peanut butter.  Why?  Because mice like cheese or peanut butter.


Think of it this way.  When you put cheese or peanut butter on the trigger of the trap it is not labeled or may not even look appetizing.  However the mouse may still recognize what it looks like and it definitely smells like cheese or peanut butter.


At a distance the bait does no harm to the mouse.  But the smell of the bait and maybe the appearance of the bait will lure or entice the mouse to be drawn to the bait.  As long as that mouse stays away from the bait, the mouse is safe.


But oh, the delicious aroma of the bait.  The mouse can already taste how great it would be to just take a little bite.  The mouse moves in for a bite and the goal of the bait, to entice the mouse to its death, is conceived.  What looked and smelled so good turned out to be the death of the mouse.


That is how sin works.  It starts with a temptation.  Think of temptation as the bait.  Look too long; dwell upon the enjoyment it will bring if you take the bait, take just a little bite and snap, you are dead.


But wait.  You didn’t realize that it was a bait to trap you to your death.  It was something so nice to gaze up; the aroma drew you closer.  I am sure that a mouse looks in all directions to make sure there is no one else around.  Alas, all mine.


Go ahead, take the bait.  No one else is around.  I bet God put it there just for me.  Hey, I deserve something good.  You take the bait, then snap, sin has conceived.


Bait is defined as a lure to entice and tempt. If you are a true believer in Jesus, you should be a disciplined student of the Word of God.  If you know the truths found in the Bible, you will be familiar with things that the devil will use for bait to lure, entice and tempt you.


James 1:14 says “but every man is tempted…”  The key to victory is overcoming those things that will tempt you, is to know yourself and what things tend to lure, entice and tempt you.


Know your bait!  Then you will recognize what the devil is trying to do to you.  As a famous line from Star Wars declared, “IT’S A TRAP!!!”


What is your cheese or peanut butter?


- Pastor Jim

A pEculiar People

April 8, 2021

I Peter 2:9 (KJV) “But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a PECULIAR PEOPLE…”


Titus 2:14 (KJV) “Who gave Himself for us that He might redeem us from all iniquity and purify unto Himself, a PECULIAR PEOPLE…”


As true believers in Jesus Christ, as our personal Lord and Savior, we are referred to in these scriptures as peculiar people.


The dictionary defines the word peculiar as of only one person, thing, etc.  Particular; special; odd or strange.


We can better understand the Biblical meaning of this word by looking at the amplified Bible translation of I Peter 2:9 and Titus 2:14.


I Peter 2:9 (Amp) “But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a dedicated nation. God’s own purchased, special people…”


Titus 2:14 (Amp) “Who gave Himself on our behalf that He might redeem us (purchase our freedom) from all iniquity and purify for Himself a people – to be peculiarly His own.”



What make us peculiar is two facts:

  1. We have been purchased by God as a special people, belonging to Him and no one else.
  2. We are different by what we are to be doing in our everyday lives.



I Peter 2:9 (Amp) “God’s own purchased, special people, that you may set forth the wonderful deeds and display the virtues and perfections of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.”


We are different from other people in this world because we show others the wonderful deeds and we display the virtues and perfections of Jesus.


That sets us apart from other people who do not know Jesus as Lord and Savior.


Titus 2:14 (Amp) “…for Himself a people – to be peculiarly His own – (people who are) eager and enthusiastic about (living a life that is good and filled with) beneficial deeds.”


We are different from other people in this world because we are eager and enthusiastic about living a life that is good and filled with beneficial deeds.


Being a peculiar person will set you apart from unbelievers in this world.  You are meant to stand out by all those things we just have seen that we are to be doing. 


No wonder Jesus said in His Sermon on the Mount, recorded in Matthew 5:14-16 “You are the light of the world.  A city that is set on a hill cannot be hid.  Neither do men light a candle and put it under a bushel; but on a candlestick; and it gives light unto all that are in the house.  Let you light so shine before men that they may SEE  your good works and glorify your Father which is in heaven.”



As a peculiar people, set apart by God as His own, our light will shine for all to see as we do what makes us peculiar people:

  • We set forth the wonderful deeds and display the virtues and perfections of Jesus.
  • We are eager and enthusiastic about living a life that is good and filled with beneficial deeds.


Being a peculiar person, set apart by God, is not a title but a lifestyle.


If you display the virtues and perfections of Jesus; if we are eager and enthusiastic about going about doing good and perform deeds that are beneficial to others we will stand out.


We become the light of God in a dark world.  Light in Jesus’ day was fire.  Light attracts; light reveals and fire purifies.


Make the decision to do what we need to do and you will be peculiar.  You will attract those who are lost.  You will reveal the darkness in this world.  You will show the way for others who have lost their way.  


- Pastor Jim

The prayer of Faith

April 15, 2021

James 5:14-15 (KJV) “Is any sick among you, let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord; and the PRAYER OF FAITH shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he hath committed sins, they shall be forgiven him.”


Notice the directions that James gives to those who are sick:

  1. Let him call for the elders of the church.  Anyone who is sick is to call for the elders of the church. The sick person is to call.  The leaders of the church are not to call; the sick person is to call.  That is the first step of faith by someone who is sick.  Too often we have to make the call for the sick to come forward.  Any believer who is sick should come to the church and be prepared to ask to be prayer for and not wait to be called.
  2. When someone comes forward for healing, the leaders of the church are to pray over the sick person.
  3. They are to anoint the sick person with oil.  The anointing with oil does not heal the person.  It is emblematic.  The oil stands for the anointing of the Holy Spirit.  It gives the sick person a physical connection and a reminder from which the source of healing power comes which is the Holy Spirit.


James 5:15 gives us what is going to cause that person to be healed.  Not the elders; not the oil, but the prayer of faith.  The prayer of faith will raise them up.  In other words, they will be raised up from their sickness.  Also, if there is any sin in their lives that has opened the door to this attack from the enemy, that sin will be forgiven.


It is the prayer of faith that will heal the sick.  This term is not found anywhere else in the New Testament.  The prayer of faith is not just believing that the Lord will heal them, it has a very powerful meaning.


The prayer of faith means to boldly declare or demand the will of God.  The prayer of faith declares what God says about sickness and demands a change to be made in obedience to that spoken declaration of God’s word.


I believe that the sick person must come to church; then they ask the elders to pray for him and anoint him with oil.  It is then the responsibility of the one praying for the sick to demand a change in that person’s condition in obedience  to what the Word of God says, declaring the Word of God that promises healing, deliverance and forgiveness.


For an example, when the sick person asks for prayer.  The elders anoint the sick person with oil, then boldly declare what the Word of God says about healing or deliverance.  Then demand that the sickness submit in obedience to the Word of God.


A great prayer of faith declares and demands a change.  In the name of Jesus, it is written,  “Surely He has borne our griefs (our sicknesses and diseases) and carried our sorrows, yet we did esteem Him as smitten, stricken of God and afflicted.  But He was wounded for our transgressions; He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement of our peace was upon Him and with His stripes we are healed.”


We demand in the Name of Jesus that this sickness must submit in obedience to this Word of God.  Healing has been provided by the sacrifice of Jesus, therefore healing must come.


The prayer of faith is not a weak, hope it will happen, type of prayer.  It is a demanding prayer.  Not demanding of God but demanding of the author of all sickness and disease to bow to the name of Jesus and the Word of God.


When this scripture speaks of calling for the elders, it is referring to those who are mature and who have an absolute belief and faith in the Word of God concerning our healing covenant.


Go to the right place and to the right people and you will receive your healing in Jesus Name.


- Pastor Jim

Relational Evangelism

April 22, 2021

While Jesus was on this earth, He gave us a command and a commission. 


The greatest command is found in Mark 12:30-31 “And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart and with all thy soul and with all thy mind and with all they strength: this is the first commandment.  And the second is like namely this, thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.  There is none other commandment greater than these.”


The great commission is found in Matthew 28:19-20 “Go ye therefore and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost; teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you…”


As individuals we need to obey that first and second commandment.  When it comes to obeying the great commission, we need to understand that Jesus was talking about introducing people to the Gospel which is the message of salvation by grace.  We also need to realize that these new converts need to be matured by consistent teaching of the word of God.  In order for these new converts to be taught the teachings of Jesus, they had to have a strong enough trusting relationship with them so they would be open to receive instruction over time.


The early disciples acted as evangelists.  An evangelist is a special calling of God to win souls.  They usually stand before crowds and declare the Gospel to the people who are then encouraged to receive Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior.


I believe when Jesus presented that great commission to those who were present at His ascension, there were hundreds of believers present to hear that message.  Not all those present were called to be evangelists, but I am sure they presented the Gospel to anyone who would listen such as family members and friends.


As believers in the Gospel of Jesus Christ, it should be our heart’s desire to have our family members and friends saved by the blood of Jesus.  I don’t think Jesus expects everyone to present the Gospel message to large crowds or stand on our desk at work and begin to preach the Gospel.


I remember being approached by people who went door to door trying to get me to say the sinners’ prayer.  I am sure some people would just say that prayer to get the people to leave.  That is not the way to win people to Jesus.


The best way to really win the heart of someone for Jesus is to get to know them.  You need to build their trust in you by first building a relationship with them.  People who don’t know you tend to be very defensive and mistrusting. Even family members or friends may think you have become brain-washed or gone insane when you made Jesus your Lord and Savior.


The best way to overcome this mistrust or misconception about you is to demonstrate the love of God to all.  Let them see your changed life.  Many times, people have asked me why I don’t freak out about things that bother them.  It gave me the opportunity to tell them why.


There is a great term I have heard about how to win people to Jesus.  It is called relational evangelism.  If the Lord has put someone on your heart to share the Gospel, begin to build a friendly relationship with them.  Be a good listener.  Show them you really care about them by just listening.


Don’t judge them.  Don’t condemn them.  Be accepting and understand that God loves them.  You represent God on this earth.  As the saying goes, the love of God is better felt than “telt”.  Your actions will demonstrate a Father God who doesn’t judge, or condemn them no matter how they are presently living.  Let them see the love of God through you.  


It may take a little time, but they will soon drop their wrong opinion about you and begin to trust you.  They will open the door of opportunity for you to share the good news: that Jesus died for their sins and their sin nature.


It isn’t about the number of people you think have received Jesus; it is all about those who have truly given their hearts to Jesus and want to get to know Him and His teachings, because you made the effort to get to know someone and accept them just as Jesus has accepted you. 

 

- Pastor Jim


Intimacy With God

April 29, 2021

Intimacy with God is something every believer in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior should not only desire but pursue.  The Word of God not only tells us that it is possible to have an intimate relationship with God but that we should make it a priority in our lives to pursue intimacy with God.


Jesus tells us in Matthew 6:33, “But seek ye FIRST the kingdom of God and His righteousness…”


This should be a priority in the believer’s life to get to know our creator and Father and His kingdom:  the way God thinks, speaks and acts.  We need to pursue what is right and good in the eyes of God.


Intimacy by dictionary definition means most private and personal; very close and familiar.


I like to define intimacy as: in-to-me-see.  It is getting to know God so deeply that He is into me or resides in me which is in agreement with the scriptures.


John 14:23 “Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words, and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him and make our ABODE with him.”


The word, abode, in the Greek means a staying place or a residence.  Jesus already has promised that the Holy Spirit will be with us forever.  Now we read that Jesus and the Father will take up residence in us.


How do I go about pursuing and attaining intimacy with God?


I see two things we need to do to have this happen:

  1. Faith that we believe God’s word; we believe all that He has promised.  Faith comes by hearing and hearing the Word of God.  The more we read or hear the Word of God, the more we will know about who God is, who we are and what He has promised in His word.  When we know what He wants of us and our willingness to obey what He says, the more we open that door for intimacy with God.
  2. Fellowship time and patience.  Fellowship with God comes by setting time aside for prayer and solitude.  Speaking and listening.  The more time you spend in dedicated, undisturbed prayer and solitude the more you develop a spiritual sensitivity to the voice of God.  If you take the time to patiently wait on the Lord, the more sensitive your spirit will become to the things of God: His voice and His presence.


Romans 8:1 says, “Therefore there is no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus…”  In Christ Jesus refers to having life where you abide in Christ and He abides in you.  But notice who that person is: “…who walk not after the flesh but after the Spirit.”


This is the person who has disciplined his flesh and spent so much time in the word of God and dedicated time with God that his spirit man now has dominion over his flesh that resists this pursuit of intimacy with God.


Romans 8:5 (amp) “For they that follow the dictates of their flesh will mind the things of the flesh; but they that follow the dictates of the Spirit will follow the dictates of the Spirit.”


Building your knowledge of God’s word which is His will and obeying that will of God and disciplining your flesh to submit to times of dedicated prayer and solitude with God will cause you to develop an intimacy with God.


- Pastor Jim

A Living Sacrifice

May 6, 2021

A sacrifice is something one would offer that would cost them something.  In the Old Testament, people would offer a lamb as a sacrifice.  We read throughout the Old Testament of thousands of animals being offered as sacrifices unto the Lord.


Was God interested in the killing of these animals?  The offering of these animals was an act of sacrifice of the people unto the Lord.  Why animals?  During those days, a person’s wealth was not just measured in the amount of gold or silver they possessed but in the number of livestock they owned. 


Genesis 13:2 “And Abram was very rich in cattle, in silver and in gold.”  Men of God mentioned in the Old Testament, who were blessed by God possessed great amounts of sheep, cattle and camels.  These animals were part of their wealth.


When someone offered one of their animals as a sacrifice to God, it was killed. It cost them something.  When the animal was offered it was slain and the blood offered upon the altar of sacrifice. That which had value to the owner was no longer available to them as part of their wealth.  It cost them something.  


Romans 12:1 “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies, a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable (rational worship) service.”


No longer are we asked to offer an animal sacrifice because most people’s wealth is not determined by the number of livestock they own.  Tithing and the giving of offerings involve our money which is a form of personal sacrifice.  Giving unto the Lord like this will cost you something.


However in Romans 12 we are told to offer our bodies a “living sacrifice.”  We are not asked to kill ourselves and offer our blood on an altar of sacrifice.  We are asked to offer our bodies as a “living” sacrifice.


Offering ourselves, our bodies, our flesh as a living sacrifice still involves something that will cost us something.  Paul continues to instruct us that offering our bodies as a living sacrifice involves a transformation of our minds to the things of God.


A living sacrifice speaks of a day-to-day sacrifice of bodies.  Something that will cost us something while we live, that is required to transform ourselves from the way the world thinks, speaks and lives to the things of God.


That sacrifice involves what it will take to renew our minds to the ways of God versus the ways of the world. This living, day to day sacrifice, will cost you your time, effort and maybe even your money.


It may cost you a little less sleep as you get up earlier or stay up later to read the Word of God.  It may cost you your personal fun or sleep- in times as you get up and go to church to be instructed in the things of God.


It may cost you some family or friend relationships as you no longer participate in the things that you did with them that are displeasing to God.


It may cost you some of your income as you begin to tithe and give offerings to support the work of your church.


You may have to face some ridicule, persecution or rejection because of your stand for Christ.  Or because you are now living a life that does not conform to the world’s ways, like being honest, loving and kind to others.


A living sacrifice will cost you something, but I like how the dictionary defines the word sacrifice: to give up one thing for the sake of another.


What you are sacrificing is not only for your own sake, but it is your reasonable worship to God and many times for the benefit of others.


Your living sacrifice will produce a new life; a life dedicated to living as the Lord would have you to live.  A new life that will be filled with His presence and His power.    


- Pastor Jim

Defeating Lonliness

May 13, 2021

One of the issues a true believer in Jesus may have to deal with and overcome is loneliness.  Jesus never promised us a life absent of challenges or rejection by others. 


Matthew 5:10-11 “Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.  Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely for my sake.”


Luke 12:51 “Suppose ye that I am come to give peace on earth? I tell you, Nay, but rather division.”


Luke 12:53 “The father shall be divided against the son, and the son against the father; the mother against the daughter and the daughter against the mother; the mother-in-law against her daughter in law and the daughter in law against her mother- in - law.”


Jesus warned us that if we receive Him as Lord and Savior, we may have to face times of  rejection and loneliness.  Jesus told us that if they hated Him, we also would be hated by some because of our faith in Jesus as Lord and Savior.


However, God had a plan for those who may be rejected by family and friends.  It is called Koinonia.  This is the Greek word that means intimate relationships and community.


Even though believers may be rejected by friends and family, God provided others who would be of like- faith, brothers and sisters in Christ, who would become our new friends and family.  For that reason, God created the church.


Hebrews 10:24-25 “And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and 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 see the day approaching.”


Hebrews 10:24-25 (amp) “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 and warning, urging and encouraging one another and all the more faithfully as you see the day approaching.”


When I began to understand the Word of God more and more, I realized that being a loner, not wanting to associate with other believers was wrong, I began to seek the Lord as to where He wanted me to go to church.


The Bible says that God will give us Pastors.  It wasn’t supposed to be me choosing where I wanted to go, but where God wanted me to go.  I began going to a church I enjoyed but I didn’t feel satisfied by what I was seeing or hearing at that church.


It was then that someone came to me and told me about another church.  One Sunday my family and I attended a service there.  Honestly, I didn’t like the loud music or the loud preaching.  We decided not to go there.  But I kept feeling the urging of the Holy Spirit to return to that church and be a faithful giver and worker.


It turned out to be one of the best decisions of my life.  The preaching and teaching of the Word of God changed and matured my life.  I developed friendships and the church became my family.  I was encouraged, loved and many times comforted by my brothers and sisters in Christ.  


Koinonia: intimate relationships and community.  The church was established by God to provide those relationships and community.  It is God’s remedy to overcome and defeat loneliness in the believer’s life.  


- Pastor Jim


The Agony of Waiting

May 27, 2021

I honesty did not know how to title this blog, so the best I could figure was the agony of waiting.  


I guess there could be agony waiting for anything you greatly desire to happen as soon as possible but in this case I am talking about the agony of watching someone who you believe is suffering just before they are about to die.


The dictionary defines agony as great physical or mental pain.  One day my wife came home very upset because my mother-in-law, who just recently came home after a stay at a re-hab center, was told that she had advanced cancer and had days to live.


Those days have turned into almost three months.  My wife decided that she would go stay at her Mom’s house where she would be responsible for hospice at home.  Over a period of weeks she saw her Mom deteriorate to the point of not being able to eat or drink and moan in pain.  Morphine was being administered regularly to help alleviate some of the pain.


What was supposed to last a few days has turned into almost three months.  I have seen my very loving and brave wife suffer the agony of watching her Mom getting worse and worse.  Her Mom would be conscious one minute and fall back into sleep for hours.  Occasionally she would be half awake and say things that would make you think she was about to go to heaven or ask a question or make a request without being able to understand what she was asking.


I have witnessed so many wonderful people who had to suffer the agony of watching a loved one die over time.  We have all been praying that Mom would pass and go to heaven.  Mom wanted to leave and kept asking why she was still here and be in such pain.


I was told that the caretaking of a loved one dying suffers as much as the one dying. I have been asked why does this happen?  Why doesn’t God answer our prayers for our loved one to finally pass and be with Jesus?


I tell people I am absolutely positive about two things:  there is a God and I am not him.  I also agonize over the fact that I do not have an answer for them.  I don’t have the answer as to why some people just fall asleep in death and others seem to have to suffer.


I can only hypothesize.  Maybe the person is holding on to wait for a family member to visit.  Or maybe they are concerned about what will happen to a family member after they die.  A doctor once told me that the body fights to survive.


Several years ago I had a loved one who had a malignant brain tumor.  For several days she passed into a coma and was put on life support.  We were told that they believed that she would remain in that coma indefinitely and suggested we remove the life support.  After an antagonizing time the family decided to remove the life support.  We were told that she would probably pass within four hours.  She lasted for four antagonizing days.


When I prayed about this situation, I believe the Lord told me that she was already gone and her body was just staying alive.  That brought some comfort to me but those who did not know the Lord suffered through those four days just watching her body struggle till death finally came.


I believe in times of agony and questioning we need to just trust in what the word of God tells us in Proverbs 4:5 “Trust in the Lord with all your heart; and lean not unto your own understanding.”


These are the times that really test of our faith in a loving Father who knows why things happen the way they do.  Just know what the word of God says, “Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints.”


- Pastor Jim

Salt of the Earth

June 3, 2021

When someone is referred to as the salt of the earth, it is meant as a compliment.  One dictionary definition of the word salt says, a person regarded as the first or best.


Jesus said in Matthew 5:13 that we as believers are the salt of the earth.  I believe the Lord sees us as the best, but He was also referring to the properties of salt.


Salt has always been used as a preservative.  In Mark 9:50 Jesus tells us to have salt in ourselves and have peace with one another.  As believers we are the peacemakers on the earth.  We are not only to seek peace with other men but be ministers of reconciliation.


II Corinth. 5:19 says that God has committed unto us the word of reconciliation.  We are to proclaim what Romans 8:1 says, “Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.”


We are to declare to others that God is not mad at us.  God sent Jesus to bare our sins and the punishment we deserved.  If we receive this truth, we will be saved.


Ephesians 2:8 “For by grace are you saved through faith; and that not of yourselves; it is a gift of God.”


Salt is also medicinal.  Salt kills germs and cleanses us from bacteria.  Salt in lower concentration in solutions has a healing and soothing effect.  Gargling with salt water soothes sore throats.  


As believers we possess the healing Word of God that soothes those in pain.  This is what Jesus was referring to in Luke 4:18 when He said that the Holy Spirit was upon Him to “heal the brokenhearted” and “to set at liberty then that are bruised.”  We are to do likewise.


Salt also has that ability to make one thirsty.  If you consume a lot of salt your body will crave water.  As the salt of the earth, our words and our actions will be visible to others and have the ability to cause them to be drawn to us and ask why we act the way we do and why we have a hope and a peace that others don’t seem to have.


Jesus also said that if salt loses its saltiness it is worthless.  


In Mark 9:49 Jesus says something that refers to us remaining salty and even becoming a more beneficial and powerful salt.


“For everyone shall be salted with fire and every sacrifice shall be salted with salt.”


The Message Bible says it this way: “Everyone is going through a refining fire sooner or later, but you will be well-preserved and protected from the eternal flames.  Be preservatives yourself. Preserve the peace.”


We as believers will go through situations and circumstances that will further refine us and make us better witnesses for the Lord.  It is like becoming more “saltier” for the Lord.


As a believer in Jesus you are precious in His sight; you have the healing power of God; you can be a soother to those in distress; you can deliver the healing power of the Word of God and you are the preservative in this evil world.


Don’t allow the affictions, tests and trials we face as believers cause your salt to lose it saltiness.


You are the salt of the earth!!


 - Pastor Jim

Warning: Don't Allow Yourself To Fall Away

June 10, 

For the last few weeks I have been teaching on the warnings given to us in the Bible about those who called themselves believers falling away from their faith.


It is so hard to believe that people who once received Jesus as their Lord and Savior could fall away from all that they once believed, but I see it happening even today.


I have taught that people will fall away from their faith due to what I believe are three reasons: fear, anger and division.


Listen to this warning from Jesus found in Matthew 24:12 “And because iniquity (and lawlessness) shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.”


I hear people saying, “Where is God.  How can He allow all this lawlessness to occur?”  Their love for God and others will grow cold.  Why?  Because they either become fearful or angry for all they see happening around them.


Fear and anger will open the door for the enemy to undermine your faith.  If a believer is not founded in the Word of God and walk in obedience to it, they are like those described in Matthew 7:24-27, those who have a very weak foundation in the Word of God. They have not built their foundation on the rock of the Word of God.


If the Word of God says to not forsake the assembling of the believers, (Hebrews 10:24-25) are you obeying that command?  Or are you out there just winging it on your own.  Without the proper teaching and encouragement from others in your church, you will fall.


If the Word of God tells you to submit to those set in spiritual authority over you (Hebrews 13:17) are you obeying that command?  To submit means to submit.  Even if you do not totally agree with them, you submit anyway unless what you are being taught is in total disagreement with the Word of God.


It is easy to submit to those with whom you agree.  To submit may mean recognize their authority and remaining faithful and loyal to them even though you may not always agree with them.


If you get angry or begin to cause discord among the brethren, you will fall away in due to that anger.


If the Word of God tells you to trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not unto your own understanding, do you obey that word?  You may not understand why some believers act the way they do but you are still commanded to love one another. You are not their judge.  Love them anyway. 


We are told in the Word to even love our enemies.  Your family in Christ isn’t even your enemy but because you disagree with them you are angry with them.  You will fall away. Don’t allow the enemy to cause you to be angry.


It is so sad for me to see people who were once strong believers, so involved in the work of the church, falling away because they are angry with people over politics, the wearing of masks or their opinion about getting the Covid vaccine.


These things have nothing to do with God.  However they are causing Christians to be angry or fearful and separating them from going to church and destroying relationships.  They are falling away.


There are many warnings given to the believer that will cause them to fall away.


Listen to this warning given to believers Jesus Christ by Jesus found in Luke 21:34-36:


“And take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your heart be over charged with surfeiting (overindulgence in food or drink), and drunkenness and the cares of this life and so that day come upon you  unawares.  For as a snare shall it come on all them that dwell on the earth.  Watch ye therefore and pray always that you may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass and to stand before the Son of man.” 


- Pastor Jim


Freedom

June 17, 2021

There is probably no greater sound to the human heart than the word free or freedom.


As believers in Jesus as our Lord and Savior we have been given the incredible gifts of freedom; freedom from so many things that harass the unbeliever.


We have been given the freedom of eternal life, dispelling our fear of life after death.  John 3:16 tells us that God so loved the world that He gave His only Son that whoever would believe in Him (cling to Him, trust in Him, depend upon Him) would not perish but have everlasting life.


We have been given the freedom from fear.  II Timothy 1:7 says that God has not given us the spirit of fear but of power, love and a sound mind.


We have been given the freedom from the fear of people.  The book of Hebrews tells us that I can say with confidence that the Lord is with me.  I will not be afraid.  What can man do to me?


I have the freedom from the Law.  Romans 8:2 says that the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death.  That spiritual law of sin and death meant that if I ever sinned, I would suffer eternal death.  Jesus died to set me free from that law.


I have been set free from worry if I chose to obey the Word of God that tells me in Philippians 4:6-7 to be careful or not to worry about anything.  But by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving make my concerns known to God and the peace of God that passes human understanding will keep my heart and mind through Christ Jesus.


I have also been given the freedom from the fear of an angry God.  So many people are afraid of God thinking He will strike you down at your slightest mistake.  Yet Romans 5:1 tells me that because we have been justified by Christ Jesus we have peace with God.  


We have also been given the freedom to know the will of God.  So many people live in fear not knowing what is next with God.  There is so much misunderstanding about who God is, how He thinks and operates especially when it comes to us.


Jesus came to reveal the character and nature of God.  He revealed the love of God for all men, sinner and believer.  If you want to know the will of God, read His will.  A testament is the written will of someone.  So it says in Romans 12:1-2 that we can know the will of God because it is revealed in the Word of God


Paul tells us in Romans 12:1-2 to offer our bodies as a living sacrifice; to not be conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewing of our minds to the Word of God that we may know the good, acceptable and perfect will of God.


There are so many more freedoms that we find in the Word of God.  Read your Bible and find out what they are.


Let us always rehearse and rejoice in the many freedoms that Jesus has died to give to us.  Let us live lives of freedom and peace, daily trusting in the love of our Father God.


- Pastor Jim

Use the Right Weapons

June 24, 2021

If you are a reader of the Word of God, especially the New Testament, you will notice many references to warfare.  We see phrases or words like fight, stand, weapons, soldier, etc.  As Christians we are in a warfare.


Our enemy is the devil or Satan.  Jesus tells us in John 10:10 that the thief comes not, but for to steal, and to kill and to destroy.


I Peter 5:8 “Be sober, be vigilant, because your adversary, the devil, as a roaring lion, walks about, seeking whom he may devour.”


Vs. 9 “whom resist steadfast in the faith…”


Even though we are in a war with this enemy, the Word of God promises us victory and that we can overcome.


The key in this warfare is knowing and USING the weapons that God has provided for us here on this earth.


Prayer is a very powerful weapon but not in the sense of begging God to make the enemy to go away.  God has given us very powerful weapons to defeat the enemy in our everyday lives.


Jesus came on this earth to not only show us the character and nature of our loving Father but to show us how we can defeat our adversary.


I John 3:8b “the reason the Son of God was made manifest (visible) was to undo, destroy, loosen and dissolve the works the devil has done.”


So what weapons did Jesus use to defeat the devil?  The greatest example where Jesus was in combat with the devil is found in His temptation in the wilderness.  


After Jesus was water baptized, He was lead of the Holy Spirit into the wilderness.  I believe He was there to receive His assignment from God, to make His commitment to the work of His Father and to defeat the enemy who would try to interfere with His time of prayer and commitment to God.


In three different situations, Jesus was tempted of the devil to change His allegiance to God to the devil.  Jesus defeated Satan in all three accounts.  What weapons did Jesus use to defeat him?


In Luke 4:4, 8, 12 we see the following response to the devil’s attack: “and Jesus answered.”


When the enemy fires that thought into your mind, you need to fire back with an answer.  The question is, with what answer? Here we fight fire with fire.  The devil spoke and Jesus immediately answered.  Jesus answered back with the Word of God.


In Ephesians 6:10-18 we are given the weapons of our warfare.  The one Jesus used was found in the latter part of verse 17, “…and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.”


When the devil spoke his words of temptation, Jesus used the sword of the Spirit, which is the spoken Word of God.  Jesus fired back with the scripture that fit the challenge to His faith.


The Sword of the Holy Spirit is compared to the small sword used by the Roman soldier in close combat.  Where the soldier thrust that sword had to be specific and accurate.  It couldn’t just be a wild swing, hoping to do some damage to his opponent.  It had to hit a specific spot and it had to be accurate.


When the devil speaks to you with a temptation, you must answer specifically and accurately.  In other words, the answer you speak must be the Word of God that specifically addresses the threat and it must be accurately spoken.


We see in the case of Jesus’ temptation, He defeated the devil at every attack.


It is no wonder that the Lord told Joshua before he attacked Jericho, to meditate on the Word of God, day and night.  Joshua had to know the specific word to counter the lie of the devil and accurately quote it.


The enemy will speak fear, worry, doubt and unbelief to you whenever he can.  We must be able to counter attack with that specific Word that will address, specifically the challenge to your faith.  It must be accurately quoted for its full and powerful effect.


The Word of God says to resist the devil and he will flee.  Resist him with the spoken Word of truth and he must flee.  It must be spoken accurately in faith in its ability to defeat statements of fear, doubt and unbelief made by the enemy.


The Lord promises us that if we resist we will overcome and have the victory.  So the key here is to possess the weapons God has given to us.  Study and meditate on the Word of God so you can build your arsenal of weaponry to always have the victory in Jesus’ name.


- Pastor Jim