Traditions versus Tradition!

 

traditions

By Pastor Jeff,

Matthew 15:1-9, “Then the scribes and Pharisees who were from Jerusalem came to Jesus, saying, “Why do Your disciples transgress the tradition of the elders? For they do not wash their hands when they eat bread.” He answered and said to them, “Why do you also transgress the commandment of God because of your tradition? For God commanded, saying, ‘Honor your father and your mother’; and, ‘He who curses father or mother, let him be put to death.’ But you say, ‘Whoever says to his father or mother, “Whatever profit you might have received from me is a gift to God” then he need not honor his father or mother.’ Thus you have made the commandment of God of no effect by your tradition. Hypocrites! Well did Isaiah prophesy about you, saying: ‘These people draw near to Me with their mouth, And honor Me with their lips, But their heart is far from Me. And in vain they worship Me, Teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.”

Here we find the scribes and Pharisees who loved to burden the people with rules and regulations then exclude themselves from the laws that they should be obeying. They had condemned men for not washing their hands but refused to take care of there own parents. They claimed that they had dedicated their money to the house of God so could not use it to help their parents needs.

Now, not all traditions are a bad thing, after all, we all were told to wash our hands before we ate when we were growing up which is not a bad idea. We all have family traditions that we have carried on sometimes for many generations. Even the word of God tells us that we should keep some traditions, 1 Corinthians 11:1-2, “Imitate me, just as I also imitate Christ. Now I praise you, brethren, that you remember me in all things and keep the traditions just as I delivered them to you.” 2 Thessalonians 2:15, “Therefore, brethren, stand fast and hold the traditions which you were taught, whether by word or our epistle.”

So, what is the problem with the traditions that the scribes and Pharisees laid upon men? Colossians 2:8, “Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ.” The problem comes when we take a tradition then turn it into a law that we need to obey or find our salvation in jeopardy. I can think of many things that I was taught and even taught myself that became a law that must be obeyed. One significant one that is taught in many churches is found in Malachi 3:8, “Will a man rob God? Yet you have robbed Me! But you say, ‘In what way have we robbed You?’ In tithes and offerings.” Pretty clear, Huh? Well if you read the entire book of Malachi you will find out the author was writing to the priest not the people. This offering or tithe was not of money either, it was of sacrifice which in most instances in the Bible we find it was of crops not money. I can spend more time on this subject but I hope I at least made you double think tithe as something you can choose to do rather than have to do!

Other traditions that have been laid on mankind as law are dress, hair, entertainment, discipline, food, and many more that have caused many a saint to walk away form God rather than closer to Him.

Keep this one thing in mind and I believe you will never fall into the trap of turning a tradition into law, 1 Corinthians 10:31, “Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.”

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We are His Reflection

reflection

By Pastor Jeff,

Genesis 1:26-27, “Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.” In “His” image, or as I like to in this blog use the word “reflection”.

There is an old saying that people will see in you the only Jesus they may ever see, we need to reflect Christ in our speech, actions, and appearance in all we do. One of the things I would also like to concentrate is what occurred after Jesus walked with two men on the road to Emmaus that I find amazing, Luke 24:33-40, “So they rose up that very hour and returned to Jerusalem, and found the eleven and those who were with them gathered together, saying, “The Lord is risen indeed, and has appeared to Simon!” And they told about the things that had happened on the road, and how He was known to them in the breaking of bread. Now as they said these things, Jesus Himself stood in the midst of them, and said to them, “Peace to you.” But they were terrified and frightened, and supposed they had seen a spirit. And He said to them, “Why are you troubled? And why do doubts arise in your hearts? Behold My hands and My feet, that it is I Myself. Handle Me and see, for a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see I have.” When He had said this, He showed them His hands and His feet.” What was on His hands and feet that would immediately make Jesus recognizable to Hid disciples? The scars from the Nails of course!

The thing I have noticed among many of Jesus’ followers is that they too carry scars that bare witness of their lives in Christ. Most of us have scars from injuries that show up on the outside as I can easily point to many on myself. But we also carry scars that cannot be seen from the naked eye. These can only be seen if we would open up our chest and expose our hearts. These scars can have the most long lasting affect on our lives and can destroy you if you keep opening up those scars or make it the focus of a horrible period of you life.

So what should you do? 1 Peter 4:12-13, “Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you; but rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ’s sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy.” So what should you do? Use it for the glory of God. I don’t know about you but I’m not ashamed of the scars that you can see on my physical body and likewise we shouldn’t be ashamed of the scars we carry upon our hearts. If we truly are the reflection of Jesus who proudly showed His scars of evidence of who He was; we likewise shall show our scars of evidence of living our lives for Him. Scars are evidence that we have overcome, the wounds have scarred over, we are able to use the pain of the past to show others how to overcome and not be held back. I want to show His power in spite of the scars on my life, Philippians 3:10, “That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death;” 

I want Christ’s reflection to be apparent in me, I want His power to be shown through me, I want others to see Jesus in me, and if that means scars so be it! Jesus used His scars to show the world who He was and so will I!

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Love is the Only Answer!

Love-is-always-the-answer-300x300

By Pastor Jeff,

Am I only one that thinks our world has gone completely crazy? I’m sure everyone who reads this post will give a resounding, NO, It’s definitely gone completely bonkers!

When you read, listen to, or watch the News about politics, watch some of the new television series that keep popping up glorifying evil, and talk to your friends about life, you have to shake your head, look up, and declare “Come quickly, Lord Jesus, Come!” The division that has hit our world, our country, is not only becoming comical but also dangerous as we hear increasing calls for a revolution.

One of the greatest declarations in the Word of God is in John 3:16, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” Amen!

But is seems that our world has taken a completely different view of what this scripture says, this verse seems to say this to many, “For God so loved the Liberals, that he gave his only begotten Son, that if you vote Democrat you will not perish, but have everlasting life.” or worse, “For God so loved the Conservatives, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever votes Republican will not not perish, but have everlasting life.” (you can insert any political view, color, sex, religious view in there and it would cover most issues dealing with our society today).

1 Corinthians 13:4-8 NKJV, “Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails…” 

One of the biggest things dividing our country which is pretty much equal with our political atmosphere is the word, “racist”. This has become a a 10lb. hammer in which if anyone disagrees with what you believe even if you can support it with facts and the word of God, they will whack you over the head with it. One of the things love requires us to as Christians to do is to tell others when they are in sin. Just see what happens when you call those in the LGBT that the movement is wrong, how quickly the hammer comes down, mention how abortion is wrong, and wham the hammer comes down. We agree racism is wrong, but if you declare that it is wrong because there is only one race, the Human race, and that many are using it gain an advantage, you better duck.

Jesus came to save sinners, 1 Timothy 1:15, “This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief.” Why? because He loved us, not because of or our color, sex, religious, political affiliation or whatever we claim to be. He loved us because we are His creation and He has no desire for anyone to go anywhere for eternity other than Heaven, 2 Peter 3:9, “The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.”

If we want to see revival, the power of Jesus Christ in regards to healing, miracles, people converted for the Kingdom of God, then we must abandon hate for Love, 1 Corinthians 13:13, “And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.” 

Love is not just the answer for our world today, its the ONLY ANSWER

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Uncomfortably Numb!

umcomfortable

By Pastor Jeff,

I was and still am a little a fan of the Rock group, “Pink Floyd” who did a song in the 70’s called “Comfortably Numb”. Sometimes we welcome numbness when we are battling depression, sickness or disease, and even tragedy we welcome numbness.  It’s a kind of a defense mechanism to help us deal and sometimes avoid dealing with things around or in us. This can be helpful if you do eventually allow some of those feelings come back, are able to face them, and get resolution from it.

Being unable to feel pain may sound appealing, but it would be extremely hazardous to your health. Pain is, for most of us, a very unpleasant feeling, but it serves the important evolutionary purpose of alerting us to potentially life-threatening injuries. Without it, people are more prone to hurting themselves and so, because they can be completely oblivious to serious injuries, a life without pain is often cut short. There is in fact a disease called, “Congenital Analgesia” which has disastrous results for those who suffer from it such as severe burns, cuts, biting of their tongues and so on. Leprosy also can leave to nerve damage which can lead to broken bones, cuts, burns as well.

So what do I mean by “uncomfortably numb?” That is the best way I can describe about how I have felt since the passing of my daughter. I’m forever grateful for the 37 years I had with her and know we will meet again but since her passing I have had the range of grief, sorrow, depression, and now numbness. Isaiah 53:3, “He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.” This I know, that Jesus has been with me all the way through this process and His presence has been a immense comfort to me. I really don’t have a clue how a person can get through things in life without Him. I’m also aware that the numbness I have is not something that is beneficial to the Kingdom of God for Christ tells us in Galatians 6:2, “Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ.” 

So this numbness that I have is becoming uncomfortable but I also want to hang on to it for if I have to endure any more sadness it would be almost impossible to accept it. As a christian though it is imperative for all of us to open up our arms and hearts to anyone that God puts in our path. It’s not easy but staying numb to those around us will only cause hurt, brokenness, lack of love for others, and even affect our relationship with our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

I know there are many others out there that have had tragedies similar or even worse that our family has but if we are to be effective witnesses to our lost and dying award we must step out of that numbness and surrender our wills and lives to Jesus.

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The Great Commission

Dont-Lose-the-Mission-1024x576

By Pastor Jeff,

When you are told that you have to do something, what is your usual reaction?

If you’re like me, it’s usual a little like, what? You can’t tell me what to do! Have you ever dealt with a toddler in trying to prevent them doing something? Even if you are protecting them from harm, they will give you a stern look and do what you demanded them not too!

Matthew 28:19,“Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:”I’ve heard from some that this is a commandment that every Christian should make themselves do. Well with our nature of rebellion I think many of us refuse to follow and snub the thought as well. I mean, we would love to see others coming to the Lord but if you saying I have to give of my own precious time, I’m not doing it!

I want to change this to something we have to do to something we get to do. After all, if you had an encounter with Jesus Christ how could you be quiet. Let’s look at Mark 1:40-45, “And there came a leper to him, beseeching him, and kneeling down to him, and saying unto him, If thou wilt, thou canst make me clean. And Jesus, moved with compassion, put forth his hand, and touched him, and saith unto him, I will; be thou clean. And as soon as he had spoken, immediately the leprosy departed from him, and he was cleansed. And he straitly charged him, and forthwith sent him away; And saith unto him, See thou say nothing to any man: but go thy way, show thyself to the priest, and offer for thy cleansing those things which Moses commanded, for a testimony unto them. But he went out, and began to publish it much, and to blaze abroad the matter, insomuch that Jesus could no more openly enter into the city, but was without in desert places: and they came to him from every quarter.” And Matthew 9:27-30,“And when Jesus departed thence, two blind men followed him, crying, and saying, Thou Son of David, have mercy on us. And when he was come into the house, the blind men came to him: and Jesus saith unto them, Believe ye that I am able to do this? They said unto him, Yea, Lord. Then touched he their eyes, saying, According to your faith be it unto you. And their eyes were opened; and Jesus straitly charged them, saying, See that no man know it. But they, when they were departed, spread abroad his fame in all that country.”

In both instances after receiving their miracle they were told to not spread the news, but really? How can you not share what God has done for you, if you received a miracle, wouldn’t you tell everyone that you met, I surely would! Jesus Christ has done so much in my life in just dying for my sins that I also can’t be quiet, not because I have to share Jesus with others, it is that I get too. It’s all about Him for without Jesus sacrifice I would still be destined for a horrible eternal life without Him.

So, what is the best way to share the gospel? with humility and maybe even a tear in your eye. Matthew West in his song, “Nobody” says this, “Cause I’m just a nobody, trying to tell everybody, all about Somebody, Who saved my soul” Pride will get in the way of your testimony so don’t let it!

This Christmas season is a great time to share the love of Jesus to our world for like that first Christmas when the angels appeared to the shepherds in the fields, Luke 2:15-17, “And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us. And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger. And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child. And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds.”

It’s not about having to tell others of Jesus Christ but it’s the privilege of telling others!

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Heartburn!

heartburn

By Pastor Jeff,

One day as two followers of Jesus were traveling to Emmaus Jesus joined up with them, Luke 24:17-24, “And he said unto them, What manner of communications are these that ye have one to another, as ye walk, and are sad? And the one of them, whose name was Cleopas, answering said unto him, Art thou only a stranger in Jerusalem, and hast not known the things which are come to pass there in these days? And he said unto them, What things? And they said unto him, Concerning Jesus of Nazareth, which was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people: And how the chief priests and our rulers delivered him to be condemned to death, and have crucified him. But we trusted that it had been he which should have redeemed Israel: and beside all this, to day is the third day since these things were done. Yea, and certain women also of our company made us astonished, which were early at the sepulchre; And when they found not his body, they came, saying, that they had also seen a vision of angels, which said that he was alive. And certain of them which were with us went to the sepulchre, and found it even so as the women had said: but him they saw not.”

It may seem humorous that the very person that these two were talking about is right with them Luke 24:27-32, “And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself. And they drew nigh unto the village, whither they went: and he made as though he would have gone further. But they constrained him, saying, Abide with us: for it is toward evening, and the day is far spent. And he went in to tarry with them. And it came to pass, as he sat at meat with them, he took bread, and blessed it, and brake, and gave to them. And their eyes were opened, and they knew him; and he vanished out of their sight. And they said one to another, Did not our heart burn within us, while he talked with us by the way, and while he opened to us the scriptures?” 

Heartburn is not something that we find pleasant and we usually have to learn to change our diet or take antacids to avoid it. This heartburn is different however and many of us have heard a message or read a passage that affected our hearts. We may not of been able to put a finger on what was being spoken but it caused us to wonder at its meaning. When many of us heard the gospel message for the first time we could of had our hearts pricked but not understanding it’s source we rejected it.

There is a rule in marketing that says that the hearer of the product you are desiring to purchase or take action on need to receive that message seven times, it is called “The Rule of 7”. When it comes to the salvation message of Jesus Christ we too many times needed to hear or see that message several times and by different people or ways. Each time we may feel that pull at our hearts, but are not sure how to answer it because of past religious teaching, don’t want to pay the cost yet, or pride!

Thank God that one day like these two gentleman our eyes were opened, we understood the message, and accepted it. I want you to notice that the story didn’t end there, Luke 24:33-35 “And they rose up the same hour, and returned to Jerusalem, and found the eleven gathered together, and them that were with them, Saying, The Lord is risen indeed, and hath appeared to Simon. And they told what things were done in the way, and how he was known of them in breaking of bread.” Once our eyes are opened to truth we then have a responsibility to share it, 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: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen”

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Christian’s and Suicide

suicide

By Pastor Jeff,

Will a Christian that commits suicide go to heaven? That is a question that is in much dispute and I must say that I will not come to a definitive answer in this blog, but I will share some thoughts and let you come to your own conclusion. The reason I can’t make that definitive answer is that I’m not God and I do not claim to have answers to every question that man seeks answers to. However like the Apostles Paul did occasionally I will deliver my opinion on the matter.

In our bible we can recall six suicides mentioned, Abimelech (Judges 9:54), Saul (1 Samuel 31:4), Saul’s armor-bearer (1 Samuel 31:4–6), Ahithophel (2 Samuel 17:23), Zimri (1 Kings 16:18), and Judas (Matthew 27:5). If we want to add Samson to this equation we find seven! Everyone is tragic in its own right and everyone, even Judas was done under extreme moments of depression, fear, and despair.

I have in the last few years and more heavily this past year have studied Mental Health and especially how it is handled by the Church. I found that my past thoughts on the subject were severely lacking and judgmental. I can easily blame those that have in the past blamed any mental health issue on a lack of faith, seeking attention, or worse declaring those affected as being demon possessed. But this belief is just a cop out that I had to come to terms with as a christian first, a brother in the Lord, and then a pastor.

I have found out that this area is very complicated not only in the world but also in the church, I need to admit that I don’t have all the answers, nor do I know all of the questions but I’m searching with an honest heart. In looking at the word of God with this new perspective I have found that though our God is awesome, He chooses people that are very flawed to do His work. The prophet Elijah is one that jumps out at me, in 1 Kings 18 we find Elijah part of a great conquest on Mt. Carmel against 450 prophets of Baal. When we look at chapter 19 we find this same prophet fleeing under the death threat from Jezebel, verse 4, “But he himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness, and came and sat down under a juniper tree: and he requested for himself that he might die; and said, It is enough; now, O LORD, take away my life; for I am not better than my fathers.” Sounds to me that Elijah was severely depressed to the point of wishing to die.

The problem we have as Christians that the bible declares in Exodus 20:13, “Thou shalt not kill.” Could we not say that suicide is in violation of this commandment? After all you are taking death which is appointed by God into your own hands. I in recently years have seen extreme suffering by non Christians and Christians alike not only physically but emotionally. I in no way will defend someone that takes his or hers own life but I will not and cannot stand in judgment of them either. Jesus Christ is the one who has the keys, Revelations 1:17-18, “And when I saw him, I fell at his feet as dead. And he laid his right hand upon me, saying unto me, Fear not; I am the first and the last: I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death.” It is “He” that will open the books, Revelations 20:11-12, “And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them. And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.”

In most cases of suicide, no one is there at the time of the passing of the person, only God knows what the state of mind that person was in or the conversation they may have had with our Lord at the moment or time prior to them passing. Listen I don’t have the power to put anyone in nor take anyone out of heaven. That’s God business, I preach the gospel, do my best to love everyone, and keep studying the scriptures to have a reason of my hope. I take comfort in these words found in Romans 8:38-39, “For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Let God be God!

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Radically Saved

radical

By Pastor Jeff

One of the definitions for the word “Radical” is, characterized by independence of or departure from tradition; innovative or unorthodox:“the daring, avant-garde spirit of the music was too radical for the conservative audience”

Tradition is important, 2 Thessalonians 2:14-15, “Whereunto he called you by our gospel, to the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions which ye have been taught, whether by word, or our epistle.” Mans’ tradition is not, Mark 7:9, “And he said unto them, Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition.” 

Jesus Christ came to not destroy the law but fulfill it according to Matthew 7:17. He did radically change the view that the so called spiritual leaders were teaching and requiring the everyday believer in God to follow. His words were powerful, John 7:45-46, “Then came the officers to the chief priests and Pharisees; and they said unto them, Why have ye not brought him? The officers answered, Never man spake like this man.” His actions showed His ability, John 3:1-2, “There was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews: The same came to Jesus by night, and said unto him, Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him.”

The words of Jesus had authority, He spoke against the religious bondage that mankind had been chained to, He was unorthodox, He healed on the Sabbath, He spoke of things that no man could know, heavenly things, and His words angered the religious.

The same thing is happening today. We have so many people who will declare that they are Christians but have been chained to the traditions of men. In the face of trials or the possibility of suffering for Christs sake they melt into denial that would make Peter’s denial look petty. They wear t-shirts, jewelry, have bumper stickers, and even tattoo’s declaring their love of God. They however have no root and will show no real signs of repentance, holiness, or LOVE in there lives.

1 Corinthians 13:1-7, “Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing. Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.”

Radically saved Christians have one purpose and it’s not following a bunch of rules laid out by Creeds, bylaws, television evangelist, authors or government. Matthew 22:36-39, “Master, which is the great commandment in the law? Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.” 

Lets be unorthodox, independent from man’s traditions, daring to swim against the current, Radically Saved!

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Great Faith!

Great-Faith

By Pastor Jeff,

Several times in our bible we find accounts were Jesus was approached or approached someone and declared that they had more than the average faith, they had “Great Faith”. The Roman officer in Matthew 8:5-13, the woman with the issue of blood in Mark 5:25-34, and a Gentile woman in Matthew 15:21-28. Interestingly none of these were of the Jewish faith which makes the statement of Jesus even more profound.

We can look at many others such as Noah, Ruth, Joseph, Phillip, Paul and others and see that they exhibited much faith but these three are pointed out as having “Great Faith”. The bible tells us that we all are given faith, Romans 12:3, “For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.” 

As we look at the Gifts of the Spirit we can see one of the action gifts in 1 Corinthians 12:4-11, “Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. And there are differences of administrations, but the same Lord. And there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God which worketh all in all. But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal. For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit; To another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit; To another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues: But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will.”Verse 9 again,To another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit;”

As I ponder on the “Gift of Faith” and “Great Faith” my first reaction is that I have never functioned in this area. But recently as I reflected on this I now believe that I have received a faith that I would not ordinarily have. Before Jesus Christ I believe a supernatural faith. My youngest daughter was diagnosed with Neuroblastoma at three months of age that crushed me to the core. It was pretty much a death sentence though the doctors would not give us any percentage on her chances. She had surgery to remove a tennis size tumor then several months of chemo. But I want to concentrate on the night of her surgery I had come home that night and as I laid in bed I surrendered my life to Jesus Christ and a supernatural feeling assurance came on me that in spite of what we were seeing and hearing it was going to be okay!

Just recently I had a similar experience as my daughter once again has been diagnosed with a cancer called Sarcoma Synovial which is inoperable and according to the medical field fatal. Of course this crushed my family and I and despite an astounding number people praying was not going to well. I couldn’t help but plead to God for healing and many people told me she would receive that healing. At the onset I had declare “We walk by Faith not by Sight” But I will be honest, doubt was overwhelming me and found myself very sorrowful and sad. I didn’t believe my words as I declared Isaiah 53:5, “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.”That all changed recently as I can’t pinpoint the exact time or how, I do know it was a Wednesday that that same assurance I had way back when had prayed that prayer at home came over me and by “Great Faith” in spite of what I hear or see will be healed once again to the Glory of Jesus Christ!

This is not a faith that I can say generated in me but it comes from my love of God and His love for me!

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The Peace that Passes…

phil47

By Pastor Jeff,

It’s been a while since I had a chance to post a blog and I must say its been a very busy past month. My wife, a few friends, and me took a well deserved vacation down to the Creation Museum/Ark Encounter for a Pastor/Leadership conference. I also took a three day training class in Green Bay WI for becoming a Chaplain for the Rock County Sheriffs Dept. which I consider a great privilege.

So as I write this I am also thinking on my Son, Jeffrey W. who our family lost unexpectedly exactly one year ago today. Last week was also the one year anniversary of a good friends death, Russ, as well, so you would think I would be relating about how awful I am feeling. Not So!

Philippians 4:6-7, “Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” It has to be one of the worse events that any parent could ever endure in that he or she has to bury a child and I will not minimize the pain that comes from it. It’s been said that time heals all wounds but a situation like this will never heal completely nor would I want it to. Jeff was my son, I loved him and would gladly of traded my life for his.

I also have come to the point in my life that I desire to completely surrender to the will of God and the great part of that is that Jesus is there to help us in the rough times, Matthew 11:28, “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” 

At times I must admit I feel guilty that I do not feel that horrible ache in my stomach that I have had at the beginning of all this. It’s not that time has dulled the pain or that I did not love my son or my friend. It’s only by the love of God and His peace that I can face this tragedy head on. This brings me to the thought of those who go through tragedies like this without Christ in their lives; I really don’t know how you can. No wonder people head to the bottle, pills, or even commit suicide to run from the pain. I implore you to seek Jesus Christ and draw to Him as close as possible, for that is the only true way you can get peace during these times!

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