EXPERIENTIAL OVERLOAD

Recently I have been teaching on how God has always provided a place He referred to as a place flowing with milk and honey.  The Israelites failed to possess this land because they saw giants in the land and failed to believe that God would give them the ability to overcome all and every obstacle that would oppose them.


Jesus tells us in John 10: 10 that we have been given the ability to have life and have it abundantly.  One translation says we have the possibility of experiencing life to its fullest.


I see that as God’s promise to us as believers that we too can possess a place “flowing with milk and honey.”  The book of Hebrews calls it a place of rest.

The human model of how we become who we are is the following: body – mind – spirit.  Our bodies experience feelings, emotions, circumstances, experiences, ups and downs, etc. which influence how we interpret things.  Our minds become programmed by our experiences in life.  We form opinions, prejudices, etc. by what we experience in life.  Our spirits, the inner most parts of us, are formed by what we have experienced throughout our lives.


According to the human model of personal formation we are what we have experienced in life and how others have influenced our thinking.


By God’s design we have a limited life span with experiences we will PERSONALLY have to face in life: OUR successes, OUR failures, deaths of those with whom we have come to know and love in life by close, physical, face to face relationships, etc.  All these experiences have to do with us, PERSONALLY.


God has given us the ability even as non-Christians to handle what we experience, PERSONALLY.


Sadly today, our personal experiences are not the only things that will form us.  Social media: texts, emails and all the other social media avenues are bombarding us with the experiences of others.


Facebook is especially an avenue of what I call Experiential Overload.  No longer do I have to face my personal experiences which affect my life but the experiences of all my so-called Facebook friends.


True personal communication is over 90% body language and tone of voice, both of which are not experienced by social media communication.  However we will experience the successes, joys, failures, tragedies, heartbreaks, pain and sufferings of all those individuals who post their own personal life experiences.


We are bombarded by the experiences, both good and bad, of our so-called Facebook friends.  Their experiences, their opinions and especially their expressed feelings toward us have an incredible influence on our feelings and emotions.


We were designed to handle the experiences of the limited people we come to know by personal contact in our lives.  We were never designed to handle the incredible amount of experiences of all those who we call friends on social media.


I am always amazed how our younger generation is mesmerized by social media.  Is it no wonder that this generation is facing such mental issues as depression, anxiety, worry and fear.


They are being bombarded by the problems and bad experiences of others.  That is what I have coined as Experiential Overload.

God has given us a remedy for Experiential Overload.


God’s model for our formation is different than man’s model.  God had provided a place of rest, peace and happiness for us even though we will to face our personal challenges and experiences.


I will explain this wonderful place and how to get there in my next blog.


-Pastor Jim

POWER OVER THE STORMS OF LIFE

January 30, 2019

There is a tremendous lesson to be learned in the account of a storm encountered by the disciples described in Mark 4:37 – 41.


The disciples were experiencing a mega storm.  Their mode of transportation to get where they were commanded to go began to fill with water and they were filled with fear that they were going to perish.


However, Jesus referred to as the Word of God in John 1:1, who was made flesh and dwelt among us (vs. 14) was asleep in the hinder part of the ship.  It wasn’t until they awoke Him in terror, believing they were about to die, that the Word arose and spoke and the storm ceased.


Isn’t it interesting that Mark 4:40 records that after Jesus rebuked the storm it states that the disciples feared exceedingly.  They were actually more afraid of the power that stopped the storm than they were of the storm itself.  


After Jesus rebuked the wind and said unto the sea, peace, be still, He asked His disciples “Why are you so fearful? How is it that you have no faith?” Fear is the opposite of faith and trust.  They had more faith and trust in the power of the storm to kill them then the Word of God which was right there with them.


The fact is this:  the power of the Word is greater than any storm you will ever face in this life.  Just as Jesus was in the same storm with them, the Word of God is ever with us.  What activates the power of that Word over any storm in your life is your faith and trust in the power of that Word.  


Just as Jesus spoke to render that storm powerless to harm them, we too can speak the Word of God to the storms we will face in life.  Though you may not always see an immediate result, the Word that God has spoken WILL BE.  


The Lord says to us in Isaiah 55:11 “So shall My word be that goes forth out of My mouth: it shall not return to Me void (without producing any effect, useless) but it shall accomplish that which I please and purpose and it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it.” (Amplified Bible)


Storms come to all believers.  Their goal is to cause you to fear; to test and shake your faith and trust in the Word of God.  So when the storm strikes, stand up in your boat and take authority over that devil and declare the Word of God.  It WILL BE!!  Your tongue is the launching pad of the power of God to render ineffective and powerless every attack of the enemy.


-Pastor Jim

LIVING THE KINGDOM OF GOD

FEBRUARY 5, 2019

In Matthew 6: 33, Jesus makes an incredible and profound statement, “But seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these thing shall be added unto you.”


The things that He said would be added unto us were those things we worry about not getting.  They were then and still somewhat today things concerning our needs or our provision.  Back in Jesus day getting enough food to eat was crucial.  Getting water to drink was very crucial also.  The only way you got water to drink was to find a well and hopefully be able to get your share of water for that day.  Competition was brutal. 


Then there was the clothing you needed to keep you warm or sandals to cover your feet.  Foot ailments in that day were common among the people who had to walk on dusty, dirty and rough roads.  


Worry, worry, worry!  So the issue Jesus was addressing was worry.  He was telling them to seek first the kingdom of God and those things for which they were worrying about would be provided by God if we followed the principles of the kingdom of God.  In this case faith and trust in our loving Father.


There are three kingdoms operating simultaneously on this earth.  The kingdom of darkness which consists of all kinds of evil: sickness, disease, poverty, and the various forms of fear like worry, depression, anxiety or anger.  The ruler of that kingdom is Satan.

Next we have the kingdom of man.  That consists of man’s ways of thinking, speaking and living.  People without God operate by living according to what they see, feel and hear.  They are living according to what their life’s experiences and man’s education and training has taught them.  Truth is based on man’s rationale and thinking.


Jesus introduces us to a new type of living: living according to the principles of the kingdom of God.  This is life according to God’s way of thinking, speaking and living.  Jesus lived according to the kingdom of God principles such as faith and trust in God.  

Life according to the Kingdom of God is living a life that thinks, speaks, acts and reacts not according to our emotions, education, experiences or what man says, but according to the Word of God. 


The Bible is our instruction manual on Kingdom of God living.  How to think, speak, act and react as God would react.  Who is our perfect example to follow?  Jesus.  Jesus didn’t think, speak, act or react like others.  He lived by Kingdom principles.  


Rom. 12: 2 tells us what the believers’ life on this earth is all about: transformation .  We are being instructed not to be conformed to this world.  In other words don’t be conformed to this world’s ways of thinking, speaking, acting and reacting.  We are to be transformed.  How?  By the renewing of our minds to what the Word of God says.  


Listen to the teachings of Jesus who teaches how to transform ourselves from man’s ways to God’s ways:  Fear to faith and worry to trust.


Don’t read your Bible just for education but for transformation.   Seek first, the Kingdom of God and all these wonderful things will be added unto you.


-Pastor Jim

CAREFUL: YOU MAY GET WHAT YOU ASK FOR

FEBRUARY 14, 2019

In Luke 15 there is the story of what we refer to as the Prodigal Son.  In verse 12 it states that the younger of two sons asked his father to give him the portion of goods that fell to him.  Then it states in the next verse, “And he (the father) divided unto them HIS living.”


It was customary that when the father died, his living would be divided among the surviving sons; the eldest receiving the bigger share.  This younger son was making a very poor decision.  To ask such a thing was essentially saying to his father, you are dead to me, give me my share of your living.  


Notice it states that what was given to the son was what the father had worked hard for all his life.  Most of what the son was going to receive, he did not earn.  The father knew the younger son was making a foolish decision but because he loved his son, the father gave the son what he asked for.


In the Old Testament we read of a similar type of foolish request.  Moses sent out 12 men to spy out the land that the Lord told them to go and possess.  10 of the returning spies gave an evil report that said that they could never be able to conquer the inhabitants of the land.  Two of the spies, Joshua and Caleb said that because the Lord was with them, they could easily defeat the inhabitants and possess the land.


The people refused to have faith in the promise of the Lord and murmured and complained.  They would not go forward to possess the land.  They were so ardent about their demand they were ready to stone Moses.  The Lord was about to wipe them out but because of the cries of Moses unto the Lord, God spared them.


However, because they were so determined to stay where they were, the Lord gave them what they asked for.


In Numbers 14: 28  the Lord replies to their demand, “Say unto them, as truly as I live, saith the Lord, as you have spoken in mine ears, so will I do to you.”


Because they asked for it, God gave them what they foolishly asked for.  Another very poor decision.  They remained in that land another forty years until what the Lord proclaimed took place.  


Their carcasses fell in that wilderness. Everyone one of them from twenty years old and upward died in the wilderness in which they asked to stay.  They never saw the land, flowing with milk and honey promised to them by the Lord.


Why? Because they got what they asked for.  Lesson in both of these stories: Be careful what you ask you.  Be careful of those you things you so stubbornly demand, because as Prov. 18: 21 states, “Death and life are in the power of the tongue.”


Proverbs 13: 2 also states that we will eat good (or bad) by the fruit of our mouths.



Be careful for what you ask; because you will get that for which you ask.


- Pastor Jim

KNOW YOUR GOD

FEBRUARY 25, 2019

Listen to these three wonderful and very powerful quotes by A.W. Tozer:


“One of the main causes for lack of spiritual growth is the failure to give time to the cultivation of the knowledge of God.”


“The Christian is strong or weak depending upon how closely he has cultivated the knowledge of God.”


“Nothing twists or deforms the soul more than a low or unworthy conception of God.”


How important is it for you and me to pursue to know our Father God and His Word.  I believe it is a matter of life or death, success or failure and peace or struggle in this life.


The Lord tells us what His desire is for every person in I Timothy 2: 4 “Who will have all men to be saved and come into the knowledge of the truth.”


John 3: 16 tells us that if we believe in Jesus we will not perish but have everlasting life.


John 17: 3 defines life eternal. “And this is life eternal, that they might know Thee the only true God and Jesus Christ who thou hast sent.”


There are so many places in the Bible that tell us that to fully understand who our God is, who we are as believers in Jesus and what the will of God is for our life, we must do as Jesus stated in Matt. 6: 33 “Seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness…”


How do we come to know our Father God?  We spend time in prayer, talking and listening to God.  We spend time worshipping Him.  We study about Him in the Word of God.  And we learn about Him in what we experience in our lives.


How do we come to the knowledge of the truth?  God’s word is truth.   Rom. 12: 1 – 2 tells us to be transformed by the renewing of our minds to the Word of God which is found in the Bible.  


How do we come to know Jesus?  By reading about Him in Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.  We see how He thinks, speaks, acts and reacts.  



As true believers our whole lives should be a pursuit to know our Lord and God.  This should be our motto in life:  to know Him and to make Him known.


- Pastor Jim

DISCIPLE OR DESERTER?

MARCH 4, 2019

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


A disciple is defined as one who is a pupil or follower of any teacher or school.


Being a disciple involves discipline which is defined as training that develops self-control, efficiency, etc.;  strict control to enforce obedience.


If one is truly a disciple of Jesus Christ they are someone who studies the teachings of Jesus Christ.  The Bible says we are to be conformed to His image.  This discipline will involve a decision and a dedication.


Rom. 12: 1 – 2 speaks of this type of Biblical discipline.  Paul tells us to present our bodies as a living sacrifice.  That means becoming a discipline will involve a sacrifice of our time.  


Paul further tells us in Rom. 12: 2 not to be conformed to this world (its ways of thinking, speaking and living) but be transformed by the renewing of our minds.


Being a disciple will demand your time to seek out in the Word of God how God wants us to think, speak and live.


If continue is the Greek word, meno, which means to stay in a given place, state, relation or expectancy.  It means to abide, continue, dwell, endure, remain, stand and tarry.


Being a disciple means being steadfast in the pursuit of the knowledge of God and His word.


A deserter is defined as one who abandons or forsakes;  to leave one’s position.


I believe that everyone who truly receives Jesus as Lord and Savior starts out with the intent to be a disciple. However the Word of God tells us how one can go from being a disciple to a deserter.


In Mark 4: 14 – 20 Jesus teaches His disciples the parable of the sower.  In this parable the seed sown is the Word of God.  In all these cases the Word of God is heard by each person. 


Each person who hears the Word of God may begin desiring to be a disciple of Jesus.  However He warns His disciples about those things which could cause a disciple to become a deserter.


In the case of the wayside hearer, they hear the Word of God, but Satan comes immediately to steal that word that was sown in their hearts.  Satan can only steal that which is not believed and received.


In the case of another hearer of the word, they come under persecution, affliction or anything that may be a challenge to their faith in that word.  They become offended, resentful of God and easily abandoning their faith.


The other hearer, hears the Word, but the distractions and attractions of this world cause them to abandon the time and discipline necessary to becoming a stronger disciples.  Once a discipline now a deserter.


If you find yourself fitting the definition of a deserter; one who once spent the time in the Word of God and faithfully attending church to be taught the Word of God there is hope for you.


Peter was one of the most faithful and strongest disciples of Jesus.  When Jesus was arrested Peter denied knowing Jesus and being one of His disciples.


Peter abandoned Jesus. Peter became a deserter.  Yet we know that Peter once again became one of the greatest disciples of Jesus.  How does go from being a deserter to a disciple?


Peter repented.  He recognized and acknowledged his failure, weeping bitterly.  Like in the parable of the prodigal son, the Father ran to meet the repenting son.  The son was fully restored because of the love of his father.



If you once loved Jesus and His Word and something caused you to abandon your faith, don’t give up hope.  The Father has been waiting for your return.


- Pastor Jim

Civil War

March 12, 2019

In Ephesian 6 we are told in verses 10 – 12 to be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might.  We are to put on the whole armor of God that we might be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.


Ephesians 6: 12 – 18 reveals to us with whom we are at war and the description of our weapons.


The Bible is very clear that we have an enemy who steals, kills and destroys.  We imagine ourselves fighting the devil in this on-going war of good versus evil.  It is him against us.  Us against him.


However, it says in many places of the Bible that this war begins with what I will call a civil war.  


Civil war is defined in the dictionary as a war between different factions of the same nation. During their battle for freedom from England, the people of the Colonies of the United States were united.  That unity among people from 13 different Colonies produced the strength to defeat a much more powerful adversary.


The Civil War that occurred between the South and the North was a war because that unity no longer existed.  That war was over differing ideologies and thoughts. 


Matt. 12: 25 “Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation; and every city or house divided against itself shall not stand.”


I believe that the weapons that God has given to us are to be used in our war against the devil. However I believe that war begins as a civil war.  Our ways of thinking, speaking and living, once united in possible opposition to the Word of God become challenged once we give our hearts to Jesus.


What we thought was right we find to be in complete opposition to what God says in His word.  What was established as truth in our hearts by our former education, peers and experiences are now challenged by what we read in the Word of God.  Thus the civil war begins within us.


Paul writes in Romans 7: 15 – 25 that a war goes on within him.  He knows what is right according to God but his flesh desires to do that which he knows is wrong.


This is a battle we all fight but the victory to overcome our flesh can be won.  Romans. 12: 1- 2 tells us to offer ours bodies as a living sacrifice.  We are told not to be conformed to this world’s way of thinking and living, but to be transformed by the renewing of our minds, to the Word of God.


Jesus tells us in John 8: 31-32 that if we continue in His word and teachings, we are truly His disciples.  Then we will know the truth and the truth will make us free.


Being a disciple means we are disciplined.  Offering our bodies as a living sacrifice means we are living a disciplined life which will involve participation in the civil war that will occur within us. 

 

Romans 8: 8 “For they live according to their flesh will follow the dictates of their flesh but those who live after the spirit will follow the dictates of the Spirit”


The weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty to the pulling down of strongholds. ( II Corinth. 10:4)  Strongholds are those things that have a "strong hold" on you.  Our old ways of thinking, speaking and living which are not according to the Word of God have been firmly embedded in us.  Once we give our hearts to Jesus, the civil war begins. 

 

Our spirits no longer can agree with our fleshly, earthly minds.   The war begins.  Our heart, our mind and our spirit can no longer be in agreement.  We begin by renewing our minds to the truths in God’s word. 

 

If we continue to follow the discipline of renewing our minds to the Word of God, the mind will begin to agree with the spirit.  Our minds will be renewed.  The civil war within us will cease as the flesh must come in line with the renewed mind and the recreated spirit.


Finally, victory has been won.  However this battle will occur over and over as each area of our lives falls in line with the Word of God.



We will be a house united, and with unity comes strength.


- Pastor Jim

Growing up

MArch 18, 2019

When I first confessed Jesus as my Lord and Savior at the age of 11, I did it by answering an altar call in a very small Church of Christ in New Jersey.  I don’t remember if I fully understood what I was doing.  However, I do remember the feeling that it was something I needed to do.


That denomination believed that water baptism was an absolute necessity to be truly saved, so I was driven to another church that had a baptistry and dunked that evening.


What I felt that night and for several days afterwards was wonderful.  I felt clean and close to God.  It didn’t take long though, because I wasn’t taught that it would happen, that I thought I was disappointing God due to some things I did that I thought made God mad at me.  Maybe I said a bad word or disobeyed my parents by not taking the garbage out.  I had failed God and was destined to an eternal life in hell. 


No one taught me that I would make mistakes.  No one taught me that God was forgiving.  No one taught me that my new born-again status was that of an infant needing to grow over time in the things of God.


When was 26 I recommitted my life to God via a radio program that always ended in an encouragement to pray the sinners prayer and commit my life to Jesus.


It was then that I began to read my Bible, especially the words and teachings of Jesus.  Hey, why not get to know to whom I committed my life.  I realized I needed to go to church, to gather with others who I could love and be loved.


It was there where I submitted to the preaching and teaching of the Word of God.  Not what other men wrote or spoke, expressing their opinions about God and life, but what the Word of God said.


I realized that life as a believer in Jesus Christ was a life of the pursuit of the knowledge of God; to develop a relationship with Jesus and learning to hear the guiding voice of the Holy Spirit whom Jesus sent to help me in this life.


I learned that when I received Jesus, I became a new individual.  However that new life begins as an infant.  Just like a new born baby, I had to learn a whole new way of thinking, speaking and living, just as a baby needs to learn to talk and walk.


I realized that life was a pursuit to grow up in the things of God.  I had to eat spiritual food, the Word of God, to feed my spirit so I could come to know God and His ways.  


Jesus tells us in Matt. 6: 33 to seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness.  My righteousness came by the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross. My faith in His sacrifice is what makes me right in the sight of God, not by doing or not doing what I think will earn my way to heaven.


I Timothy 2: 4 says tells us the will of God, “who will have all men to be saved and to come unto the knowledge of the Truth.”


Well I got saved at the age of 11 but was never taught I had to pursue the knowledge of the truth.  Life was be good and God was happy; make a mistake and God was mad at you.


If I had been taught the truths in God’s word or realized I had to pursue the truth, I would have learned that I will make mistakes, but God is a loving Father who understands and forgives.  He knew I had to learn that failure is a part of life and that in failure is when I need God the most.  



Wish I had known that at the age of 11.


- Pastor Jim

reigning in life

MArch 25, 2019

Romans 5: 17 “For if by one man’s offense death reigned by one; much more they which receive the abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ.”


(amp) “For if because of one man’s trespass (lapse, offense) death reigned through that one, much more surely will those who receive (God’s ) over flowing grace (unmerited favor) and the free gift of righteousness (putting them into right standing with Himself), reign as kings in life through the one Man Jesus Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed One.)”


What an incredible revelation which we need to totally understand.  When Adam sinned, death reigned.  That state of death speaks of eternal separation from God; sickness and disease; poverty; suffering and pain.  Jesus said in John 10: 10 that the thief comes to steal, kill and destroy.  The devil’s goal is to bring death into our lives.


But here in Romans 5: 17 it says that if we must receive the abundance of God’s grace;

not just a small part, which comes from the lack of understanding of God’s grace, but all of it.


And if we receive the gift of righteousness which was bought by the death of Jesus Christ, we shall reign in life by one Christ Jesus.


We need to come into a full understanding of the grace of God. Ephesians 2: 8 tells us that we are saved by the grace of God through faith.  In other words we need to fully understand that grace.  We do not deserve it nor can we earn it. We just need to receive it by faith.


Romans 5: 1 “Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.”  Do you believe that you are at peace with God because of Jesus’ sacrifice?


Then we must also receive the gift of righteousness.  Righteousness means to be in right standing with God. Not by my works, but by my faith in what Jesus did to make me right with God.  Notice it is a gift!


Romans 3: 24 says that we are justified FREELY by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.

  

I have been made the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus.  Romans 5: 17 says that we must receive this gift of righteousness.  What is the proof that you have received it:  a life style of gratitude, thanks giving and appreciation.


The word reign is the Greek word, basileuo, which means to rule.  It comes from the Greek root word, basileus: a foundation of power.


Throughout the New Testament we see the words: conqueror, victory, overcomer, power and authority.  These are words that describe one who reigns or rules in life.

We don’t exercise rule over others but over our weaknesses, our temptations and the works of the devil.

  

Study the Word of God and come to fully understand the abundance of grace that God has given us.  Study the Word of God so you can fully understand the gift of righteousness so you can stand as a child of God without inferiority, guilt or shame.

  


With that confidence and faith in what you have received, favor and right standing with God, you can reign in that delegated place of power and authority over all that the enemy throws at you, in Jesus Name.


- Pastor Jim

The New birth

April 16, 2019

In John 3: 3 Jesus makes a statement to a Pharisee who hungered after an intimate relationship with the God that he only knew about:


“…verily, verily I say unto you, except a man be born again, he cannot see (fully comprehend) the kingdom of God.”


So many believers in Jesus Christ think that this new birth, or becoming born again, is a one-time event.  I believe the sinner’s prayer; the prayer of decision to make Jesus your savior and the Lord of your life; the prayer of admission of our sinful state, our repentance and pledge of allegiance to Jesus is only the beginning of a process known as the new birth or born again experience.


As the spring season approaches and new life begins to spring forth from the ground we all know that this is just the beginning of a plants’ growth process.  We don’t expect the flowers to just pop out of the ground.  We don’t expect to pick fruit immediately.  We all know that there are first the little green shoots which continue to grow and produce its leaves then eventually after the proper nourishment and proper conditions the flowers finally appear.


So it is when a person becomes born again; the new birth process begins.  All new believers need an environment where they are loved, nourished and supported during times of challenge to their growing process.


That’s why God created the church: the community of believers at various levels of maturity overseen by spiritual leadership who is responsible for the nourishment and the training of the believers at all levels of maturity.


We see the glory of God revealed in all of nature.  When those flowers finally appear the beauty of God’s creation is revealed.  It doesn’t happen overnight.  It was a process.  Nature isn’t impatient as some young believers are.  It is a steady consistent march to maturity.



Discipline is defined as a steady effort to accomplish.  That is what the Christian walk is all about.  A disciplined life that seeks to accomplish all that God has called us to do and to be.  When we face the challenges to our growth we trust in the faithfulness of God to help us to face those challenges, to be patient, knowing the fruit of our steady effort will produce the maturity God expects in us; but in its season.


Enjoy your new life and embrace the process!


- Pastor Jim

The pursuit of utopia

April 23, 2019

Utopia was an imaginary island with a perfect political and social system, described in a book entitled, Utopia, written in 1516 by Sir Thomas More who was an English statesman.


We have come to define it as any idealized place of perfection.


If we listen to the some of the wrong teachings about the life of the believer in Jesus Christ, we would come to believe that the life of the believer will be a life of Utopia.  Utopia being a life of perfection, happiness, health and prosperity.


I believe what the Bible teaches.  Psalms 35: 27 says that God has pleasure in the prosperity of His servant.


Job 36: 11 “If they obey and serve Him, they shall spend their days in prosperity and their years in pleasures.”


Jesus said in John 10 :10 that He came that we might have a life of abundance.


So it would seem that the true believer’s life will the utopian life of prosperity and abundance.


We also read in the Bible that Jesus came to provide for us a life free of sickness and disease, sorrow or pain. 


Isaiah 53: 5 and I Peter 2: 24 tells us that by His stripes we were healed.  In other words, by the death of Jesus Christ healing and health were provided to us as believers.


So the Christian utopia is that place of physical perfection: prosperity, peace and a long and healthy life?


Because of this misconception there exists in our churches people who feel like failing sinners because their lives are not lives that are experiencing the Christian utopia. 


People who are suffering from depression, anxiety, fear, worry, sickness and disease or sorrow and loneliness are trying to figure out what they are doing wrong or what sin they are committing because they are not living in that Christian utopia.


Many of these blessings and privileges were obtained for us by the sacrificial death of Jesus Christ.  However it is very clear in the Word of God that we need to consider three things revealed to us in that Word.


  1. These blessing are conditional.  For instance I Peter 3: 10-11 says, “For he that will love life and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil and his lips that they speak no guile; let him eschew evil and do good; let him seek peace and ensue it.”
    1. In John 10: 10 Jesus said that He came that we “might” have life and life more abundantly”.  Might means it is conditional.
    2. The Word of God is clear about the consequences of our actions and words that may be contrary to what is right and proper in the eyes of God.


  1. Heb. 11: 6 tells us that without faith it is impossible to please God.  In the life of Jesus we see Him unable to heal, deliver or bless people due to their lack of faith.
    1. Faith is something that needs to be developed.  Rom. 10: 17 says that faith comes by hearing and hearing.  What are you consistently listening to?


  1. Also in John 10: 10 Jesus tells us that we have someone who fights against us to make sure we don’t have the blessings that Jesus died to get for us.  “The thief comes to steal, kill and destroy.”
    1. It is no wonder that the book of Ephesians talks about our enemies and the weapons we need to defeat them.
    2. How many Christians realize that we are in a war?  We have an enemy who attacks us with mental thoughts, lack, worry, fear, sickness, disease, sorrow and pain.
    3. We have to fight a war in this life.  We have to continually fight for utopia in this life.  In this life the enemy never gives up.  If I am attacked with sickness or disease, the temptation to be depressed or fearful, I have to fight back with the weapons of our warfare to obtain what God says is mine.



Here is the good news.  Though we may have to fight the good fight of faith to pursue the many blessings in this life, the strength we have to fight this fight comes from our hope in the Utopia in the next life.

the biblical remedy for fear

April 30, 2019

Fear is defined as: “to regard with dread or apprehension”.  Fear expects the worst in any given situation.  Faith is the Bible’s remedy for fear.  Faith is the opposite of fear.  Faith believes what God says in His word.  The Bible says that, “the just shall live by faith.” The literal translation says that the just shall live a life of faith.


Heb. 11: 6 says, “but without faith it is impossible to please God, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a REWARDER of them that diligently seek Him.”


A REWARDER!  What should I be afraid of when God seeks to reward those who diligently seek Him? If you seek God in the Bible you will see words like VICTORY, OVERCOME, JOY, HOPE, PEACE and PROSPERITY and many more positive things that God promises the diligent seeker. Faith expects the best in any circumstance, good or bad, because God promises to be with you and help you.


How does faith come?  Romans 10:17 says, “so then faith comes by hearing and hearing the Word of God.”  What are you listening to?  Seek God!  Listen to His word.


What are you hearing in church?  Faith building words of God or just nice talk.  God’s word will give you faith like David who faced Goliath.  David said in Psalm 27, “the Lord is my light and my salvation, whom shall I fear?  The Lord is the strength of my life, of whom shall I be afraid?”



Problems come to all.  But faith comes to those who pursue God and His word.  IT IS YOUR CHOICE: FEAR OR FAITH.  Chose faith! You will sleep better at night!

what is truth

may 22, 2019

In the Bible, according to the account of Jesus’s beloved disciple John, it is recorded that when Pilate was interrogating Jesus, Pilate asked Jesus if He was a king.  Jesus replied in John 8: 37 “…I was born for that purpose.  And I came to bring truth to the world.  All who love the truth recognize that what I say is true.”


Pilate then replied, “What is truth?”


The New Testament was translated from the Greek.  The Greek meaning for this word truth meant something revealed and no longer concealed.


In John 14: 6, Jesus declares, “ I am the way, the truth and the life”.


In John 8: 31 – 32 Jesus declared,  “You are truly my disciples if you keep obeying my teachings.  And you will know the truth and the truth will set you free.”


What is truth?  Pilate may have asked Jesus that question over 2000 years ago but if there was ever a time to ask that question again it is today.  


For many centuries, the truth was based upon the teachings recorded in the Bible.  However today there has been many successful efforts to remove the Bible from schools, municipal buildings, court houses, homes and even in some churches.  My question is this: if we ignore the teachings of the Bible, where then is our source of truth?


Truth today seems to be determined by legislation, the opinions of influential or powerful individuals, political or social groups who exert great pressure upon our legislative leaders.  What was once accepted as truth has now become illegal.  What was once accepted as being wrong, not only by God, but by the majority of the people is now legal.  


Just because a state legislature declares it is legal to kill a baby after it is born does not make it right.  There are so many other things that have been declared right that are absolutely wrong and so many things that are right that have been legally declared wrong.  


Isaiah 5: 20 declares “Destruction is certain for those who say that evil is good and good is evil; that dark is light and light is dark…”


If Jesus said He is the way, the truth and the life, then those who oppose Him oppose the only way, the only truth and the true life.  Jesus declared in John 1: 4 – 5 “In Him was life; and the life was the light of men.  And the light shines in darkness and the darkness did not comprehend it.”  Those who deny or oppose Jesus and His teachings of truth call what is dark, light and what is light, dark.  Destruction is sure to follow.


We have already seen the consequences of removing the Bible from our schools.  Shootings, disrespect for teachers, drugs and all other sorts of problems.  Then people have the nerve to say, “where is God”. They threw Him out years ago.  


What will happen to us as a nation if we continue to remove the Lord and His word from our nation?  If people turned back to the Bible they would see that there are grave consequences.  


As Christians we need to pray for our nation, our legislative leaders and those who oppose the only way, the only truth and the only life.  We need to again declare the truth.  We need to go to church and to read our Bibles, so we know the real truth.  We need to bring our children to church because teaching our children the Bible in our homes and in our churches is the only place where they will hear the truth.



What is truth?  Psalm 117 “O praise the Lord, all ye nations; praise Him all ye people.  For His merciful kindness is great towards us: and the truth of the Lord endureth forever.  

Praise ye the Lord.”


- Pastor Jim