THE GROWTH OF FAITH!

While He was still speaking, they came from the house of the synagogue official saying, “Your daughter has died; why trouble the Teacher anymore?”  But Jesus, overhearing what was being spoken, said to the synagogue official, “Do not be afraid any longer; only believe!” 

                                                                                                                                  Mark 5:35-36

Faith that is untested is faith that is uncertain.  Faith that has been tested and matured is faith that is prepared to deal with whatever challenges that life brings!  The synagogue official Jairus came to the Lord with a weak faith, but as the result of walking through a time of testing, he came out with a stronger faith.  Note the significant tests of faith through which Jairus was required to walk.

The first test of his faith in Christ was the test of patience.  No sooner had Jesus agreed to go to the home of Jairus to minister to his terminally ill daughter than the Lord was led to minister to a woman with a twelve-year long issue of hemorrhaging-(verses 24-34)!  Can you imagine what was going through Jairus’s mind while all this was happening?  “Hurry up!  My daughter is dying!  Why are we wasting precious time?”  Most times the Lord operates on a different time schedule than we do!  Will we be patient in our faith to trust Him?

Secondly Jairus had to pass though the test of perseverance.  A messenger came delivering a somber message.  The girl had died!  He was asked, “Why trouble the Master anymore?”  What would Jairus do?  Would he accept the report after Jesus had accepted his request to come to his home, and “…lay Your hands on her, so that she will get well and live?”  It is at this point Jesus said, “…only believe!”  It is important to know that this word in the original language of the New Testament literally means, “Keep on believing!”  Would Jairus continue in faith?  Will you and I continue to believe the Lord’s Word when so much around us seems to contradict?

The third test of faith is that of purging.  When Jesus, three of his disciples (Peter, James & John) and Jairus arrived at the home, professional mourners were already there making a loud commotion (common in that day).  When the Lord said the girl was not dead, the mourners laughed at Him, so He put them out, allowing only the parents and the disciples to accompany Him into the child’s presence.  Not only is it crucial that we trust the Lord, but it is also critical we surround ourselves with other believers in Christ!

A visitor to Africa freed a struggling butterfly from its cocoon, but he was shocked that it did not have its distinctive coloring as it flew away.  A native explained that by beating its wings against the cocoon, the wings are marked by splashes of vivid colors, but releasing it from its beatings, the visitor had robbed the butterfly of its beauty!  Likewise, victorious faith by definition MUST BE TRIED!  There can be no victory without conflict!  Keep believing Jesus!

Jon Moore    

                                                    

Don’t Click On That!

Yesterday our computer tech was here working on our computers.  As she was working, I mentioned that I saw something in my document list that I didn’t recognize. As I started to click on it, she stated with excitement in her voice, “Don’t click on that!” She explained that when we open anything on the computer that we are not sure who sent it, or how it got in the computer, we open it up to all kinds of hacking and major damage.

As I was praying and thinking about what went on yesterday with my computer, I was thinking how that parallels the Bible as it states: “Be well balanced, sober of mind, be vigilant and cautious at all times; for that enemy of ours, the devil, roams around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to seize upon and devour.”  When we open our minds to sinful thoughts, dishonesty, un-forgiveness, fear, worry, gossip, slander, or a hateful attitude, we give the devil an entrance into our hearts with all kinds of strongholds. Strongholds are habitual patterns of thinking that are deeply ingrained in a person. What starts out as a simple sinful act can open us up to all kinds of spiritual harm.

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

Every day we make a series of choices. Some are trivial, but some are not. Some determine our success or failure in our unhindered walk with our Lord.  Scripture clearly reveals that who we are, and where we are spiritually, is because of various choices we have made. We make choices and then choices make us.

Joy,

Phyllis

THE DISABLING TOUCH OF GOD!

“Now the sun rose upon him just as he crossed over Penuel, and he was limping on his thigh.”

Genesis 32:31

Sometimes it is tempting to view crises as unneeded and unwanted intrusions in our life!  We may very well find ourselves asking the Lord, “Why me?”  We can lose sight of the fact the Lord often uses such events to disable our natural abilities as a reminder that the same One who has called us now lives in us to accomplish all to which He has called us!  Often times our greatest need is for the Lord to touch us with that “disabling” touch.  That was certainly true for Jacob as he wrestled with “a man” in Genesis 32:24.

I want to visit with you about two things that happened to him after the angel (see Hosea 12:3-4) touched the socket of Jacob’s thigh, so that the socket of his thigh was dislocated (Gen. 32:25b).  First, he now walked with a limp as a daily reminder of his dependence on God!  He no longer was free to function as his birth name implied=Supplanter; Heel-grabber; Deceiver.  He would now walk (live) as a man completely dependent on the Lord!  No longer was he free to live by the credo, “The end justifies the means!”  He would now live his life and serve the Lord relying on the Lord’s daily supply of His guidance and strength!

Secondly, his limp would be a daily reminder of not only his dependence on God, but a reminder of the Lord’s continual presence in his life!  The ultimate ‘success’ of his life and ministry would no longer rest on his talent, his abilities, his resourcefulness, his ANYTHING!  His fruitfulness in life and ministry would forever be linked to the faithfulness of God to never leave him, or forsake him…to be with him always, even to the end of the age!

A new Marine recruit was puzzled to be ordered to hold his food tray a certain way when standing in the chow line, even when he was chastised for not having his hands on the tray in the proper place.  It wasn’t until later when he was issued his weapon that he learned he was to hold his weapon in the same way.  Unknown to him, he was being prepared for future encounters with the enemy!  Often we do not understand when we have to go through difficult, sometimes painful experiences in life, not understanding at the time that the Lord is touching us with a disabling touch in order to prepare us for future encounters with our enemy the devil!

Jon Moore

Be steadfast!

Have you ever felt tired, weary and put upon? Of course you have if you are a living, breathing human on this earth.

This morning I was reading 2 Timothy 4:7, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.” Even though Paul was writing those words, I could not help but think, how many times our Lord was tired, weary, and was put upon, yet His goal was to fulfill His purpose from His Father in heaven.  I have to remind myself that in this world we will have trouble (John 16:33), but our Lord overcame.  We also can overcome through the power of the Holy Spirit.

Our Master, the Lord Jesus Christ is calling us to be steadfast in a world that seems to be upside down, and going in the wrong direction.  Even when we are tired, not getting the appreciation for what we are doing. Even when we feel that we are being put upon, we must keep our eyes on our Lord, remembering the special purpose He has for us as His children. It is a life that is humble, gracious, forgiving, and kind even when things don’t go our way, keep on… keeping on……

It reminds me of the time many years ago when Jon and I were jogging at a local park.  The park was beautiful and full of gorgeous trees that gave lots of shade around the jogging trail.  At that time Jon and I would run in different directions so that he could make sure I was ok each time we went around the track.  After about 2 rounds, “A BIRD MESSED IN MY FACE!” WOW what a shock!!! Oh my, it was so hard to continue the jog after that, especially when Jon passed by and hollered, “Honey, did a bird just mess in your face, are you ok?” Well, No……………ok readers, go ahead and laugh, we did.

You know sometimes that is just how we feel in this life. ”A bird just messed in my face.” However, just as our Lord was steadfast to the cross, we must continue to be steadfast in the race that our Heavenly Father has for us. God promises our amazing reward in 2 Timothy 4:8. “Now there is in store for me a crown of righteousness which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award me on that day, and not only for me, but also to all who have loved His appearing.” Amen and amen!!!

Joy,

Phyllis

FOOD FOR THOUGHT!

 

“…If there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.”

 

Several years ago a man sent me a book he had compiled entitled, “Deep Fire”.  It is a collection of sayings by men and women, mostly from the past.  For several months I have been thinking and praying about sending some of these quotes out for your thought and prayer.  When the author of the quote is known, it is given…

 

“The secret of detachment from the world is attachment to Christ.”  A J Gordon

 

“In God’s work we see His hand, but in His Word we see His face.”

 

“One needs no further explanation of the lack of the fullness of the Spirit than the fullness of self”

                                                                                                                                               James H. McConkey

 

“Small opportunities are often the beginning of great enterprises.”  Demosthenes

 

“A deep and sober daily concern to please God is the rarest of rarities.”  Vance Havner

 

“Faith will lead you where you cannot walk.  Reason has never been a mountain climber.”  E W Kenyon

 

“During times of revival the Divine is so real that nothing else matters.  During times of decline, like our day, everything except the Divine matters.”

 

“Suspicions subtract, faith adds, but love multiplies.  It blesses twice-him who gives it, and him who receives it.”  C T Studd

 

“No amount of activity in the King’s service will make up for the neglect of the King Himself.”

                                                                                                                                      Robert Murray M’Cheyne

 

“Though the gracious soul still desires more of God, it never desires more than God.”  Matthew Henry

 

“The death of Jesus for you makes possible the Life of Jesus in you.”  Major Ian Thomas

 

“A revival is a miracle.  It is the hand of the Lord, and it is mighty.  It can only be explained as the direct act and intervention of God.”  D Martin Lloyd Jones

 

“Revival is not some emotion or worked-up excitement; it is an invasion from heaven that brings a conscious awareness of God.”  Stephen F Olford

 

Would you consider a recommendation from me?  Start at the top and take one quote per day.  Memorize it.  Quote it to yourself several times a day.  Think through the quote.  Pray about it.  Is the Lord using the quote to speak to you at some level in your life?  Respond to Him.  Talk back with Him.

Prayer is a dialogue, not a monologue!

 

Blessings

Jon Moore

Read the Back of the Book

One of the many things that I love about the Christmas season is getting to watch Hallmark Christmas movies on TV.  Every one of the movies is cheerful and full of adventure. As the movie begins, we get to enjoy the breathtaking scene of the falling snow and the beautiful village full of joyful Christmas decorations. Of course, the movie starts with the introduction of the leading characters and then moves into the plot of the story.  Then, just when you think all is well they start building up the problems and disappointments with which the character must deal.  We know that there will be something that will cause stress and confusion in the journey for the characters. However, I never get all worried and fearful, WHY YOU MAY ASK? Because I have seen so many of the movies that I know how they will end.  Boy gets girl, they kiss and live happily ever after.

As we contemplate on all the problems and anxious events that are happening in our world today and in our personal lives, I think that we should remind ourselves that God’s got this!  You see if you have received Jesus as your personal Savior then you can count on what the Bible says in the end. It turns out OK!  Best said in an old song, “I read the back of the Book and we win.”

“I’ve been readin’ in the Bible bout the ending of the age, and one thing’s for certain it grows closer every day.  But I’m not concerned about the way it will end.

  ‘Cause I’ve read the back of the book and we win.

I’ve read the back of the book and we win, no more livin’ in darkness, we’ll be living at home again.  You see there ain’t no need to worry about it if you’re born again.  I’ve read the back of the book and we win.

No, there’s ain’t no need to worry about it if you’re born again

I’ve read the back of the book, and we WIN!”

I am so thankful that our Heavenly Father let us read the end in the Bible so that we don’t have to be worried through all the middle stuff that happens in life.

Joy and Merry Christmas,

Phyllis

THE PERFECTION OF FAITH!

“Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered up Isaac his son on the altar? You see that faith was working with his works, and as a result of the works, faith was perfected (completed).”

James 2:21-22 

There are different kinds of faith. One popular kind we may call “positive confession” faith.  Those who teach this kind of faith often emphasize that man creates his own faith!  If he thinks positively and talks positively, anything is possible in the area of wealth, health, success, etc.  Seemingly God is not necessary, because man creates his own faith!  Another kind of faith is “blind” faith.  Once again, this kind of faith has no need of being created by, or given by God.  Presumably one just decides what he or she wants, then decides to “have faith” for it!  These kinds of faith so readily available in the world are different than Bible faith, the faith that is the gift of God (Ephesians 2:8-9).

Besides coming as a gift from God, James in the book that bears his name in chapter two emphasizes that Bible faith results in God-empowered, God-honoring works.  He also says that, “Even so faith, if it has no works, is dead, being by itself.”  Some have suggested this is a contradiction in the Bible, but that cannot stand in the light of a closer look.  The verses mentioned earlier in Ephesians 2:8-9 are followed in verse 10 by, “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works…”  So Godly works are understood to be the outcome of faith that comes as the gift from God!  Then James follows up in James 2:21-22 (see above) by saying that works both correspond to and complete one’s faith.  Godly works will correspond to God-given faith, and God-given faith is not complete until it is expressed in Godly works!

James tells us that these truths are exemplified in both the life of Abraham, and the life of Rahab the harlot (v 25, see also Joshua 2:4, 6, 15)).  Abraham is the patriarch of those in the family of faith, because “Abraham believed God and it was reckoned to him as righteousness.  Therefore, be sure that it is those who are of faith who are sons of Abraham. (Galatians 3:6-7)  But it is good to know that what is true for the patriarch is also true for the prostitute!  There is no hierarchy among the sons and daughters of God by faith!  Godly faith is expressed, manifested by Godly works.

After John the Baptist was arrested and imprisoned by King Herod (Luke 7:18-22), he sent messengers to Jesus to ask, “Are You the expected One, or do we look for someone else?”  Jesus responded by telling the messengers to go back to John and tell him what they had seen and heard.  He was restoring sight to the blind, making the lame to walk, cleansing lepers, enabling the deaf to hear, raising the dead and preaching the gospel to the poor!  Seemingly Jesus did not directly answer their question, but actually He did so in the surest way possible.  The clearest evidence of who Jesus was (Messiah), was what He was doing (the works of Messiah).  That is not only true of Jesus.  That is true of both you and me.  The clearest evidence of who we are is what we are doing!  If you are of God-given faith, you will be engaged in God-honoring works!  The clearest evidence of who we are is what we are doing.  Are you part of the Lord’s faith family?

Jon Moore

Being real about the cost of discipleship!

Jesus lays out terms of discipleship. Just as there are many today, there were crowds of people in Jesus day that followed Him because they loved the miracles, His healings, and free food.  Jesus was cool and the talk of the town.  They loved His gifts and benefits without a personal relationship with Him.  They were following Him for what He did rather than for Who He was, God’s Son. Luke 14:27 “Whoever does not carry his own cross and come after Me, cannot be my disciple.” Col. 2:6 “As you have received Christ Jesus, continue to live in Him.”  Matthew 16:24-25 Jesus said to His disciples. “If anyone desires to be my disciple, let them deny themselves, disregard, lose sight of, forget themselves and their own interests, take up their cross and follow me.”

James Dobson tells a story of Irina Ratushenshaya, who was from the Soviet Union in the 1990’s.  She shared after being raised in an atheist’s home, she found an old Slavic Bible when she was 23.  She taught herself to read it and discovered a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.  Her faith was discovered by the KGB, who had infiltrated the Russian Orthodox Church pretending to be priests. Irina was sent to a labor camp.  She refused to deny her Lord so they tortured her.  A tooth was drilled without anesthetic to test her tolerance for pain.  She was placed in an unheated room of 50 degrees for 5 months and given a cotton gown.  She sat on a cold floor and was fed only every other day.  Irina shared, ”being a Christian follower is not a very pragmatic thing to do and doesn’t bring many benefits in the Soviet Union.” President Ragan heard about her and arranged for her release through government channels.

When I read this story, I had to ask myself, “If that ever happens in America, would the Lord be able to count on me to be His true (follower) disciple?” The question for all of us, that claim Jesus as our Savior today, is not whether we are willing to suffer for Him, but are we willing to deny ourselves and LIVE for Him!

Phyllis

 

THE MORE EXCELLENT WAY!

“But earnestly desire the greater gifts.  And I show you a still more excellent way.”

1st Corinthians 12:31

 

The church at Corinth is often called Paul’s “problem church!”  The believers there struggled with divisions, religious pride and misunderstanding spiritual gifts.  In chapter 12 of what we know as 1st Corinthians the apostle dealt with the matter of spiritual gifts the Lord has given to each of His children, as well as the gifted men He has given to His churches.  He ends the discussion by pointing to a more excellent way, the way of God’s love.

One day a child asked her mother, “Why does the sun shine?”  The mom’s answer was short and simple, but very profound, “The sun does what it does, because the sun is what it is!”  The sun shines (gives light), because the sun is light to all!  Likewise, God does what He does, because He is Who He is!  God loves, because God is love (1st John 4:7).

In the first three verses of chapter thirteen Paul explains why God’s love is the more excellent way to live and to minister to others.  1) Love adds sincerity to words.  “If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but do not have love, I have become a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.”  People, especially young people are quick to discern insincerity in words.  When we speak to others in God’s love we have something real to say.  2) Love adds strength to actions.  “If I have the gift of prophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge; and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, it profits me nothing.”  I am always reminded of the layman’s definition of nothing=A zero with the rim knocked off!  That’s NOTHING, and that is what our actions amount to in the absence of God’s love.  Actions taken in the love of God give us something real to do!  3) Love adds substance to giving. “And if I give all my possessions to feed the poor, and if I surrender my body to be burned, but do not have love, it profits me nothing.”  Only when we give in the love of God do we have something real to give!

The early church was not wealthy with this world’s goods and was largely opposed, but it had two formidable weapons expressed by the Greek words Kerygma and Koinoinia!  Kerygma speaks to the word of God, and Koinoinia speaks to the loving fellowship between Believers.  Understand that the ancient world was filled with religions, philosophies and false deities, but the missing element for which people were starving was to know that they were loved!  The world has not changed.  People are still searching for something real, and it is only found in the person of Jesus Christ and in and through those who are His!

 

Jon Moore

Rest

“Come unto Me, (Jesus speaking) all who labor and are weary, heavy laden and overburdened, and I will cause you to “REST.”  I will ease and refresh your souls.  Take My yoke upon you and learn of Me, for I am gentle and humble and you will find REST (relief and ease and refreshment and blessed quietness) for your souls. For My yoke is wholesome, good, not harsh, hard, sharp or pressing, but comfortable, gracious, and pleasant. My burden is light and easy to be borne.” Matthew 11:28-30   Amplified Bible

Bible REST is by definition when one ceases to become agitated or disturbed, but instead finds a place of quietness.  The Bible speaks of REST some 71 times. Notice that the scripture says, “Come to Me.” Notice the verse also says, “Learn of Me.”  So many times, we try to have rest for our anxious souls without coming to Jesus.  Some go to pills, alcohol, self- help books, busyness, or anything to occupy their troubled minds other than Jesus.  The verse also states that we not only are to come to the Lord , but we must learn of Him. I have found that the more I learn of my Lord the more I can trust that He will do exactly what His Word says. “ For all the promises of God in Christ are yes and amen.” 2 Corinthians 1:20

Then the scripture begins to talk about the yoke.  When the oxen of olden days were yoked together to do work, the older and trained oxen would be yoked with a younger more immature oxen so that older could teach the younger.  Jesus says that His yoke is especially made to fit us, to guide us and empower us as we do the work that He has assigned us here on earth.

When I was a little girl we lived on several acres of land. Every year my daddy planted a large garden.  We also owned an old mule to help with the plowing.  Daddy used to say, as he would harness the mule, that is was very important that the harness was properly fitted or it would rub sore places on the mule. Jesus is trying to tell us that if we will “Come to Him, learn of Him and be yoked together with Him,” He will give us REST (tranquility of mind) and refresh our souls.  No more hurts and sores in our soul trying to do things in our own strength and in our own way. Thank you Jesus……

Joy,

Phyllis