Thanksgiving!

In 1621 America celebrated the harvest and other blessings of the past year.  The holiday was believed to be modeled by the English colonists (Pilgrims) of Plymouth and the Wampanoag people. It wasn’t until 1863 that President Abraham Lincoln and then later presidents supported the event.  In 1941 Congress made it an official National holiday. 

I can remember when the children in school would dress up as Pilgrims and Indians having a play to celebrate Thanksgiving.  Have you ever helped your children make the turkey drawing using their hands as the pattern?  Those were such fun filled day for the children in our schools. Some might call them the “good old days.”

Long before America decided to declare to be thankful on a certain National Holiday, the God of the universe stated over 70 times in the KJ version of the Bible to give thanks. Our Lord knew that having a thankful heart was the key to having a contented life. I am afraid that we have forgotten this truth as we are so tuned into this world and all the problems that we have forgotten to give thanks in “all” things.1 Thes.5:18

 Colossians 3:17… And whatever you do in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.

 1 Chronicles 16:34… Oh give thanks to the Lord for He is good for His steadfast love endures forever.

Psalms 118:24…This is the day the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it.

 Colossians 3:15… Let the peace of God rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly.

 Psalms 107:1…Oh give thanks to the Lord, for He is good, for His steadfast love endures forever.

Just a few verses to remind us that no matter how bad things are in this world, in Jesus Christ our Lord we have been blessed beyond measure.

Joy,

Phyllis

WHY BE FILLED WITH THE HOLY SPIRIT?  (PART TWO)

“When He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come.”  John 16:13

 In the first part of this series we pointed out that there is a great deal of misunderstanding about the ministry of the third Person of the Godhead, the Holy Spirit.  Consequently, this has left the door open for erroneous teaching on the subject.  Instead of spending our time criticizing the false teaching, or false teachers, I have chosen to spend the time teaching what the Bible does say about the command to be filled with the Spirit (Ephesians 5:18).  I also pointed out that in the last hours of our Lord’s earthly life, He spent much of His time with His disciples, among other things preparing them for the coming of the Holy Spirit and what His ministry would be to, in and through them.  This ongoing conversation is recorded in chapters 14, 15 and 16 of the gospel of John.  In 14:16-17 Jesus said first that the Spirit would indwell Believers, with us in our loneliness, and in us in our weakness.

 Secondly, our Lord told His followers that the Holy Spirit would instruct Believers.  “The Helper, the Holy Spirit will teach you all things…” (John 14:26a).  All we truly know of the Lord is taught to us by the Spirit, and there are three aspects to this teaching.  He reminds us!  “…and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you” (14:26b).  There are times we don’t need to learn a new truth, but sometimes we need the Holy Spirit to “quicken” our spiritual memory to remember a truth He has already taught us!  The Spirit also refines us!  “When He, the Spirit of truth comes, He will guide you into all the truth” (John 16:13a).  You may ask, “Is that not the same as John 14:26a (see above)?  No!  John 14:26a is inward, and John 16:13a is outward.  One, He teaches us.  Two, He leads us!  One of the “ways” of God is to teach you a truth, then lead you into a life experience that will call on you to exercise that newly discovered truth!  In Psalm 103:7 the psalmist says that God made His ways known to Moses, his acts to the children of Israel.  The people would acknowledge God’s leadership once He acted, but Moses could anticipate how the Lord would act, because He had learned His ways!

 Finally, the Holy Spirit reveals to us.  “He will disclose to you what is to come” (John 16:13b).  In a travelling ministry I have met many of the Lord’s people, and one subject that comes up often is, “What is the Lord going to do about this, or that?  What will He do about this situation in my life?”  One of the best ways to answer questions like that is to put the onus where it belongs!  If you want to know what tomorrow holds for you, pay attention to what the Lord is teaching you today!  He is always preparing us by providing for us.  Every child of His has the privilege of a one to one Teacher to student ratio in the Lord’s classroom!

 Stay in touch for Part Three!

Jon Moore

 

Looking for Fruit… Part 2

I want to continue sharing this month about my adventure in gardening.  As I mentioned last month, I have been gardening in my City Picker’s Gardening wagon for 2 years now.  I have been very excited almost every day as I am able to harvest vegetables. As I told you last month, I couldn’t help but believe that our Lord is pleased when He sees His children producing the fruit of the Spirit found in Galatians 5, love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, meekness, faithfulness, and self-control.

As Paul Harvey would say, here is the rest of the story.  I bought a hot pepper plant at the same time as my City Picker’s plants, however I decided to plant it in a different container.  I was careful to use the wonderful Miracle Grow Mix with the great nutrients.  After a few weeks I went out each day to check my hot pepper plant. To my surprise, I noticed that it had no peppers, not even a hint of a pepper.  I decided that the greenery was getting so big that I should transplant it into a larger container. Once again expecting some sign of the fruit it should be producing, not a trace.  I fertilized it just like Neal Sperry (our Texas authority on all gardening) said to do.  I watered, I pampered, NO PEPPERS. The green plant now is huge, but still no sign of anything resembling a pepper to harvest. Just a big fat green plant. Can you feel my frustration and disappointment?

I now want to share of another fruit of the Spirit found in John 4:35, “Behold I say unto you, lift up your eyes and behold the fields that are white unto harvest.”  Matthew 28:19a, “Therefore go and make disciples!” I can’t help but wonder if our Father in heaven might be saddened and disappointed in our lives when His blood bought children just sit in our comfortable churches getting fatter and fatter as we learn more information and enjoy our many, many activities, while our neighbors, community, state, and the world are going to hell in a hand basket.  Just a thought!!

“People need the Lord! Every day they pass me by, I can see it in their eyes, empty people filled with care, headed who knows where. On, they go through private pain, living fear to fear. Laughter hides their silent cries, only Jesus hears. We are called to take His light to a world where wrong seems right. What could be so great a cost for sharing Life with one who is lost?

Part of the Lyrics to “People need the Lord,” by Steve Green

Joy,

Phyllis

 

WHY BE FILLED WITH THE HOLY SPIRIT?  (Part One)

“And do not get drunk with wine for that is dissipation, but be filled with the Spirit.”

Ephesians 5:18

“If you love Me, you will keep my commandments.”

John 14:15

“I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever; that is the Spirit of Truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not see Him or know Him, but you know Him, because He abides with you and will be in you.”

John 14:16-17

 

The decade of the 1960s were years of rebellion!  There was a rebellion against the Vietnam war, the military draft, the sexual standards of the day, and the religious hypocrisy of the previous generation.  Large numbers of young people entered “A search for the Truth,” experimenting with eastern religions and hallucinatory drugs.  Some of these young people came full circle and found salvation through faith in Jesus Christ!  Oftentimes when these new converts tried to return to mainline traditional churches, they were not welcome with their long hair, crumpled clothing and lack of socially acceptable hygiene.  Consequently, false teaching spread, especially about the doctrine of the Holy Spirit!  Sadly, too many preachers spent more time condemning the false teachers than teaching the Bible Truth about the Holy Spirit.  Unfortunately, we see similar things happening today.  Thus, for several sessions we will be examining the Scripture’s answer to the question, “Why does a Christian need to be filled with the Holy Spirit?”

 First and foremost, the Believer needs to be filled with the Spirit, because the Bible commands it!  Ephesians 5:18 is NOT a recommendation, but a requirement!  In the original language it is an imperative!  In John 14:21 Jesus said, “He who has My commandments and keeps them is the one who loves Me!”  In addition to that in the last hours of His earthly life, Jesus withdrew from the crowds to whom He had ministered and spent precious personal time with His disciples.  This ongoing conversation is recorded in John, chapters 14, 15 and 16.  In it Jesus points out three additional reasons why every Believer should be filled with the Holy Spirit, and what that means.

 In John 14:16 Jesus tells his disciples that the Holy Spirit will indwell Believers.  The “Helper” here is also translated “Comforter”, “Advocate” or “Intercessor” in other places in the Bible, but note that He is “another” Helper!  The Greek word translated another means “another like Me!”  The best description of the Holy Spirit is He is another like Jesus Christ!  He goes on to say that He will be with us forever!  How crucial it is to be reminded when we are lonely, that the Spirit is always with us.  In verse 17 we are told He will not only be with us, but He is in us as well.  This is reassuring when we are weak, and how often we rediscover our weaknesses in attempting to obey our Lord, both in worship and service!  Thus, the Holy Spirit is our Divine Helper who makes the impossible possible! 

 

Stay in touch for Part Two!

Jon Moore

 

Looking for Fruit!

Last year during the Covid shut down, my son, knowing how bored I would be isolated at home, bought me for Mother’s Day a City Pickers Garden container.  It is about 24” X 20” container with wheels.  It was perfect after filling with all the growing ingredients to make my 2 okra plants, 2 bell pepper plants and 2 squash plants grow and produce vegetables. It was fun. This year I decided again to grow vegetables in my City Picker’s Garden.  Each morning I go to the patio to water my little garden.  It brings a smile and excitement to my heart when I see the fruits of my labor ready to harvest.

This morning as I went to check the plants, I was reminded of Galatians 5:22-23 in the Bible that states: “The Fruit of the Spirit is: love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faithfulness, meekness and self-control.” I think we can certainly say, that is Jesus personified.  We know, this heavenly fruit is only produced in and threw a believer by the power of the Holy Spirit. That life that is totally surrendered to the Lordship of Christ.

I cannot help but let my imagination wonder if each day our Heavenly Father might be looking for that Heavenly Fruit in His beloved children.  You see, Jesus labored much on that old, rugged cross for you and me. Our Heavenly Father has watered us with His Word, filled our hearts with faith to believe, and has empowered us with His eternal power.

Oh, how wonderful it is to bring joy to our Heavenly Father’s heart when He sees love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faithfulness, meekness and self-control being lived out by His children.

Joy

Phyllis

SERVING IN RESURRECTION POWER-Part Two!

“Elijah took his mantle and folded it together and struck the waters, and they were divided here and there, so that the two of them (Elijah and Elisha) crossed over on dry ground.”

2nd Kings 2:8

In Part One (Scroll down to April 1, 2021) I wrote to you concerning how New Testament Truths are often illustrated in the times, the people, the places and the events of the Old Testament, and such is the case with the subject of serving in resurrection power in the ministry of the prophet Elisha!  In our earlier writing we pointed out the preconditions for thus serving were present in Elisha’s ministry when Elijah threw his mantle on Elisha (1st Kings 19:19). 

Today we want to see how Elisha was then further prepared to serve.  Remember, the mantle still belonged to Elijah.  Elisha had to be prepared for it to be his.  This was accomplished by two ways, testing and trials.  The same will be true for us if we are to serve the Lord in His resurrection power!  Elijah was then successively called by the Lord to go from Gilgal to Bethel, from Bethel to Jericho, and from Jericho to the Jordan River (2nd Kings 2:2,4,6).  Each time the Lord tested Elisha’s faithfulness by using Elijah to give Elisha an excuse for not going with him.  In each instance Elisha passed the tests by insisting that he as servant accompany Elijah!  Then Elisha was also prepared by trials!  Upon arriving at Bethel, the sons of the prophets asked Elisha if he knew Elijah would be taken from him that day.  The same also happened at Jericho.  In each instance Elisha replied by saying, ‘Yes, I know’ Be still!’  It is not an easy thing for one that means much in the growth of a servant of the Lord to pass, but it is imperative to see the Lord will never forsake you!  

Finally, it is important to see Elisha’s introduction to serving in resurrection power (v6b-8).  See 2nd Kings 2:8 above.  Rivers are often symbolic in the Bible, particularly in the old testament.  They often speak of times of transition, or even death.  If any of us are to serve in the resurrection power of Christ, we must transition from our ways to His way, from dependence on self to reliance on Christ in us!  When Jesus said, “If anyone serve Me, he must follow Me; and where I am, there my servant will be also.” (John 12:26).  Before He made that statement, He taught the parable of the grain of wheat, that the outer husk must die to bring forth more grains of wheat!  But notice the newness of life and ministry afterward!  A new prayer (v 9-10)=Vision fulfilled; A new power (v 11-13)=The mantle is now Elisha’s; A new person (v 14,15)=Resurrection power is obvious to others! 

No one serves in resurrection power on the wrong side of the river! 

Jon Moore

BE A BIRD WATCHER!

Every where we turn there is bad and worrisome news. At times I confess, I get caught up in all the worries that the world news is telling me!  Yesterday as I was sitting on my patio watching the birds flying and landing in the yard, seemingly without a care in the world, I was reminded of what my heavenly Father tells me in His Word about His care for His children!

Matthew 6 tells us God’s perspective on WORRY. (I have taken part from verses due to space)

Verse 25: I tell you, STOP being uneasy, anxious, and worried about your life.

Verse 26: Look at the birds of the air; they neither sow or reap or gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father keeps feeding them.  Are you not worth more than they?

Verse 27: And who of you by worrying can add one unit of measure to your stature or span of your life.

Verse 28: Why should you be anxious about clothes? Consider the lilies (bluebonnets in Texas), they neither toil nor spin.

Verse 31: Therefore, do not worry!

Verse 32 Your heavenly Father knows well what you need.

Verse 33: Seek FIRST the kingdom of God and His righteousness; and all these things will be given to you.

Why should I be discouraged,

Why should the shadows come,

Why should my heart be lonely,

 And long for heaven, heaven and home,

 When Jesus is my portion, My constant Friend is He,

Oh, oh, oh His eye is on the sparrow  and I know he watches over me.

Let not your heart be troubled, His tender Word I hear

And resting on His goodness, I lose my doubts and fear;

Though by the path He leadeth, but one step I may see;

HIS EYE IS ON THE SPARROW, AND I KNOW HE WATCHES OVER ME! By Civilla Martin & Charles Gabriel

Joy,

Phyllis

 

SERVING IN RESURRECTION POWER-Part One!

“So he (Elijah) departed from there and found Elisha the son of Shaphat, while he was plowing with twelve pairs of oxen before him, and he with the twelfth.  And Elijah passed over to him and threw his mantle on him.”  1st Kings 19:19

 It was a significant day when I came to see that the New Testament is enfolded in the Old Testament, and the Old Testament is unfolded in the New Testament!  As the Lord has progressively revealed His Truth with the passage of time, it becomes apparent that the doctrines of Truth clearly revealed in the New Testament are illustrated in the times, the people, the places and the events of the Old Testament.  Such is the case with resurrection power!  Easter Sunday is one of the most important dates on the calendar of a Christian.  On that day we celebrate the raising of Jesus Christ from the dead.  We say to one another, “He is risen!”  The response is, “He is risen indeed!”  Most sermons are focused on Christ’s victory over death, hell and the grave in our behalf (what He has done for us), but there is a deeper truth that is sometimes missed.  That truth is what the Lord wants to do in and through us!  Jesus said, “Apart from Me you can do nothing.”  (John 15:5).  Paul wrote, “For it is God which worketh in you both to will and do of His good pleasure.”  (Philippians 2:13).  The Life of Christ working in and through us in resurrection power is clearly stated in the New Testament and illustrated in numerous people in the Old Testament.  One example is the prophet Elisha.

 Perhaps the most amazing example was after Elisha’s death, when he was in his grave.  “And Elisha died, and they buried him.  Now the bands of the Moabites would invade the land in the spring of the year.  And as they were burying a man, behold, they saw a marauding band; and they cast the man into the grave of Elisha.  And when the man touched the bones of Elisha, he revived and stood up on his feet.” (2nd Kings 13:20-21).  Now, I would say that is resurrection power!  If nothing else, that is worth looking at the call of Elisha to powerful service.  The casting of a prophet’s mantle (upper body shawl) on a man in the Old Testament was the sign of calling to ministry (v 19).  Three things should be noted about the preconditions for serving the Lord in resurrection power.  1) Elisha was already a member of the Lord’s Old Testament people.  In New Testament terms Elisha was “saved”.  2) Not only was Elisha saved, but he had a servant’s spirit.  He had been farming his parent’s land (v 19).  3)  Finally, Elisha was already living a separated life!  Many of Elisha’s contemporaries had rejected the faith of their elders and had adopted a lifestyle of idolatry.  Yet, Elisha was true to God with all his heart (vv 20-21).

 A recently widowed woman could not get gas from the pump into her car.  She had the nozzle in the tank pulling the trigger, but did not have the pump “On”.  The motor was not engaged to pull the gas from the underground tank through the hose into the car’s gas tank!  Likewise, to serve the Lord powerfully, fruitfully one must serve in resurrection power, the power of the new Life in Christ, not the old life of self!

 Jon Moore

  1. S. Part Two will be coming soon…

 

Good News!

I am sure that you have heard of “the bad news bears.”  Nowadays seems all we hear is, “doom and gloom.”   Guess what?  I have some “good news!” God almighty is still in control.  He delights in showing Himself strong and in control in seemingly out of control, bad situations.

Exodus:  God’s children were in Egyptian captivity with no deliverer, an impossible situation? …GOOD NEWS, God through Moses delivered them, parted the red sea so that they walked on dry land to cross over to safety and provided every provision that they would need on their journey.

Daniel 6:   Daniel was thrown into the lion’s den with no way out, impossible situation?….GOOD NEWS, God stopped the mouths of the lions and saved Daniel. The Savior saved His servant.

Matthew 1:   Jesus was born of a virgin, impossible?…GOOD NEWS, all things are possible with God.

Matthew 14:  When there were no provisions, with five thousand hungry men, plus women and children and only 5 small loaves and 2 fish with which to feed them, that’s impossible?…..GOOD NEWS.  Jesus multiplied the fish and bread, then all were fed with 12 baskets left over.

Luke 24:6:  Jesus was crucified and in the grave for 3 days, an impossible situation? …GOOD NEWS, “Up from the grave Jesus arose,” and God raised Him from the grave so that we could experience salvation and have new life with God eternally!

I could go on and on.  I think the problem is that we have been reading and listening to the wrong source (the boob tube, the social media mess).

As children we sang the little song, “The B I B L E is the book is for me.” Let us get back to the book that has all of God’s promises, of Jesus Christ, our Savior. Now that is GOOD NEWS folks!!!

Joy

Phyllis

PRAYING FOR REVIVAL!

“Oh, that You would rend the heavens and come down, That the mountains might quake at Your presence—As fire kindles the brushwood, as fire causes water to boil—To make Your name known to Your adversaries, That the nations may tremble at Your presence!  When You did awesome things which we did not expect, You came down, the mountains quaked at Your presence.  For from days of old they have not heard or perceived by ear, nor has the eye seen a God besides You, Who acts in behalf of the one who waits for Him.”  Isaiah 64:1-4 (NASB)

John Wesley, the founder of Methodism, is quoted as saying, “Prayer is the engine that drives revival, and testimony is its fuel!”  If that is true, “How should we pray today for revival?”  That begs another question, “What is revival?”  To deal with that question we need to sit at the feet of the prophet, Isaiah and learn what Biblical revival is, and how we should pray today.

First and foremost, we need to see clearly that Biblical revival comes only from the hand of Almighty God, and He is supernatural!  Listen to Isaiah and the terms he uses.  “Rend (tear open) the heavens and come down.”  Make the mountains quake (tremble) and the waters (oceans, rivers, lakes) boil at Your presence!  Listen also to these testimonies.  George Whitfield, reputed to be one of the greatest preachers who ever lived and was so greatly used in the revivals that swept both England and America in the early 1800s recorded this in his diary about one of the evangelistic services he preached, “Suddenly, God the Lord came down upon us!”  Those caught up in the great prayer-revival of the late 1850s spoke of “Holy Zones” where people were suddenly and unexpectedly confronted with the Holy and Mighty presence of God, confessed their sins and lost condition, calling on Christ for forgiveness and salvation and were gloriously saved!  Evan Roberts, the preacher God used so powerfully to shake the country of Wales in the early 1900s, and J. Edwin Orr, the historian who later wrote so eloquently of that revival used such terms as, “indisputable” and “inescapable” to speak of the awareness of the presence of God.  Mary Peckham, the young woman saved in the great revival that swept the Hebrides Islands in the late 1940s and 50s testified, “The islands were alive with God’s presence!” 

Make no mistake about it, the Bible speaks of God as being always present (Omnipresent).  At the same time, the Bible also speaks of exceptional times where He chooses to make His presence unusually known!  This is confirmed by countless testimonies of men and women of faith across the years recounting times where God chose to “come down,” sometimes unexpectedly, and sometimes after intense pleadings by the people of God! 

Are we not at a place where the world and the Church are in desperate need for the Lord to come down upon us?  “Lord, do it again!  Rain down on us in all Your glory with Your holy Judgment in one hand, and Your amazing Grace in the other!”

Jon Moore