Hope in Jesus

psalm-42-11-why-downcast    Psalm 42:11 says, “Why are you cast down, O my soul? And why are you disquieted within me? Hope in God; for I shall yet praise Him, the help of my countenance and my God.” (New King James Version)
This is what I need to tell myself when I get disappointed or discouraged: “Self, hope in God. Let the disappointment go and trust God to work it for my good and His glory. O my soul, don’t look to others nor hope in satisfactory solutions. Let God satisfy you. Trust His wisdom, not your own. Remember, soul, that you find rest in God alone (Psalm 62:1). Hope and trust in Jesus our Lord.
“Jesus can help me, Jesus alone.” (from the hymn “I must tell Jesus”)

O Lord our God, the God who hears,
The only God who loves and cares,
The holy One who answers prayers,
You hear our cries, for You are near.

Omniscient God, God all wise
Your love extends beyond the skies.
Let us see truth with open eyes,
Believe Your Word, reject the lies.

We praise You, Lord. In You we hope.
We trust in You because we know
You deliver us from every foe
And comfort, heal, and make us whole.

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Beauty for Ashes

flame-1According to forestry experts, small fires that clear the forest floor but don’t destroy the trees are beneficial. They leave nutrient-rich ash perfect for seeds to sprout and grow.
Like those purifying forest fires, the disappointments and difficulties of my life help me grow. They burn up my thorny pride and my tendency to look to self or others to make my life work (weeds). As I seek God amid the ashes in my heart, He grows seeds of humility and of love for Him and others. Fragrant flowers and fruitful shrubs develop from these seeds to replace the weeds and thorns.
Hebrews 12:11 “Now no chastening seems to be joyful for the present, but painful; nevertheless, afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.”
Isaiah 61:1, 3 “’The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon Me, because the LORD has anointed Me…to console those who mourn in Zion, to give them beauty for ashes….’” (Both New King James Version)

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God Loves You 4 Real!!!!

I think this post by Tanya is one of her best.

God Speaks I Listen

blog-god-loves-you

This is the most serious blog I have ever written! If we don’t understand just how much God loves us…nothing in our lives will make any sense to us. We will always be very fearful during hard trials and lose hope and become discouraged often. We’ll experience a lot of doubt and lose our faith. We may frequently be mad at God and blame Him for any calamites or sudden disasters.

From an early age I never knew what love was. I had never felt it nor could I interpret it to even respond to it. Since it was never available to me it caused me a great deal of grief. By the time I was about 12 I tried to commit suicide. I thought of suicide very often because of feeling lonely and hopeless. I did learn about God Jesus and the Holy Spirit and took great comfort in…

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WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN PETER AND JUDAS?

This sermon by Pastor Tom really helped me. One thing he points out is that we need to seek repentance, and beware of regret. He says, “If you find you are regretful but not repentant, I encourage you to ask God to help you repent instead.”

Clear Bible

peter-deniesPeter is my hero. He seems to mess up more than any of the other disciples, but he is my hero because of what he does afterhe makes mistakes. Every time, he repents, and goes back to Jesus in humility and faith. It’s not about how often you fall down: it’s about what you do after you fall. And Peter always does the right thing after he falls. He’s a terrific example for us.

To listen to the sermon, click the play button:

To download, right click on the link (or do whatever you do on a Mac) and save it to your computer:
Download Matthew Part

Matthew #96. Matthew 26:69-27:10

There is a lot going on here. Matthew tells the tale as it happened, so we are jumping back and forth between various events. So far, I have not spoken about the physical suffering that Jesus experienced…

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Wash It with Love

old-fashioned-washtub-laundry    I read something the other day that triggered a painful memory. I felt sad and angry. But I choose today to wash that recollection with God’s total love for me and for the others involved.
Thank you, Lord, for Your Word which tells me of Your unconditional love for us. You love us when we’re correct and when we’re not, when others approve of us and when they don’t, and when we succeed and when we fail.
So I will receive Your love and allow it to heal my soul. And I will forgive those who offend me because You have forgiven me for my offenses. Thank You for showing me how to deal with this troublesome memory. Amen.
“We love because He first loved us.” –1 John 4:19
“Therefore, God’s chosen ones, holy and loved, put on heartfelt compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience, accepting one another and forgiving one another if anyone has a complaint against another. Just as the Lord has forgiven you, so also you must forgive.” –Colossians 3:12-13
(Both Scriptures are from the Holman Christian Standard Bible.)

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FACING TRIALS

This sermon by Pastor Tom on Matthew 26:27-66 reminds me that I can be jest as self-righteous and blind as those who tried and condemned Jesus. It also encourages me to trust God when I am unjustly criticized.

Clear Bible

The BibleWe are all capable of being very self-righteous and very blind – you aren’t safe from it just because all your friends tell you that you are open minded. A whole set of things that is called “open minded” is, in fact, just a new set of beliefs that is actually closed to alternative views. That leads me to the other application. This passage may be an encouragement to you when you are unfairly judged and insulted by our culture, and people who have bought into the new cultural values.

To listen to the sermon, click the play button:

To download, right click on the link (or do whatever you do on a Mac) and save it to your computer:
Download Matthew Part 95

Matthew #95.  Matthew 26:57-66

We are continuing with the last night of Jesus life before the crucifixion.

None of this happened quite the way the enemies…

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Pastor’s Joy by Randy Huddleston

I found this devotion by my Pastor Randy Huddleston very meaningful and wanted to share it with you:

He must increase, but I must decrease.
John 3:30 (NASB)

–John the Baptist

Pastor’s Joy

There are jobs that require a person to show up, get it done, and move on, but that isn’t how it works for a pastor.

God matters.  God’s people matter.  There is more going on than this temporal world.  The Apostle Paul understood the importance of these things and gave instructions to the elders (pastors, overseers) of the church in Ephesus regarding the role.

So guard yourselves and God’s people. Feed and shepherd God’s flock—his church, purchased with his own blood—over which the Holy Spirit has appointed you as elders. Acts 20:28 (NLT)

Pastors are to be careful to guard themselves against the flesh, the world, and the devil.  All are interested in doing harm and not promoting the good God has purposed.  They fail.  I fail.  But we turn to our redeemer and are restored to the work God has given.  The pastor must draw near to God.  There must be a clarity of his own brokenness so that he can reach out to the broken.  The idea of flawlessness among God’s servants is a myth.  Having failed or been misled a pastor can learn to be a better guard and protector of God’s people if he keeps His eye on God.  He must humble himself, confess his sins, and follow the Lord.  John puts it this way.

If we claim we have no sin, we are only fooling ourselves and not living in the truth. But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness. If we claim we have not sinned, we are calling God a liar and showing that his word has no place in our hearts. 1 John 1:8-10 (NLT)

The key for the pastor is to stay close to God and to bring spiritually nourishing food to God’s people.  Kids may want to live on Happy Meals and cotton candy, but there are some things more nourishing which their parents must provide.  Sometimes God’s people can lean toward spiritual Happy Meals and cotton candy, but there are more spiritually nourishing meals God would desire for the.  The pastor is to discern the real needs and under  the leadership and power of the Spirit provide the proper nutrition.

This is done for God’s flock—the church.  So, very important to the Lord.  Purchased by the blood of Christ.

Precious to the Lord are you, the people of His flock.  And, as such, you are precious to the pastor given charge of the flock.

As for me, as it was for Paul, “You are my joy and the crown I receive for my work.” Philippians 4:1 (NLT)

The eternal exists now and forever.  What God is doing brings us into that bigger picture.  The pressures of today will be different in a few years.  Rationing of food and other items existed during World War II, and then it changed.  These things too will fade away.  But what God is doing in you will last.  Being part of what God is doing in you a worthy challenge and worthwhile goal.  The joy for me and for pastors is seeing God’s people walking faithfully with Him, fulfilling their purpose, and finally being presented perfect in their relationship with Christ.

How has your relationship with the Lord been helped or hampered by pastors you have had over the years?

Have you had any misunderstandings of the responsibilities pastors have?

What do you appreciate about Christ’s design of having pastors in His church?

(e-mail address for Pastor Randy Huddleston: info@gbcpryor.org )

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