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.

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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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Mercy Received

I failed; no, messed up; no, blew it—well, actually I sinned.
Nevertheless, I can go boldly to God’s throne of grace to receive mercy and help at the time I need it (Hebrews 4:16). I can receive mercy from God because of Jesus Christ.
When I repent and confess my sin to my Father, He casts my sin behind His back (Isaiah 38:17). Then He doesn’t turn around and look at it, so He doesn’t see it anymore. I can’t see it either because He is too big for me to see around Him.
Father, I’m so grateful, I think I’ll dance.tomer_dancer_from-internet-1

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Search and Find

a_hedgehog_detective_by_willpetrey-ccIn Deuteronomy 4:26-28, God warns Israel (through Moses) that if they break His covenant with them, He will scatter them among the nations, and only a few of them will survive. But then Moses tells them in verses 29 and 31 of that chapter, “But from there you will search again for the Lord your God. And if you search for him with all your heart and soul, you will find him. …For the Lord your God is a merciful God; he will not abandon you or destroy you or forget the solemn covenant he made with your ancestors.”
 What a wonderful promise from You, O merciful Father. Your mercies are new every morning. Great is Your faithfulness! (Lamentations 3:23) Faithful Father, You won’t abandon me either (Hebrews 13:5). And You won’t forget the promises You have made to us who are in Christ Jesus. Thank You! Thank You! Thank You! Amen.
Isaiah 56:4 “For this is what the Lord says: I will bless those …who choose to do what pleases me and commit their lives to me.”
Psalm 62:8 “O my people, trust in him at all times. Pour out your heart to him, for God is our refuge.”
(Scripture verses are from the New Living Translation ®, copyright © 1996, 2004 by Tyndale Charitable Trust. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers. All rights reserved.

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My New Natural

Ephesians 2:4-5 New International Version: “But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions….”
I was “dead,” but now God has made me “alive in Christ.” When I was spiritually dead, it was natural for me to do whatever I felt like doing, act like people in the world who don’t know the Lord, and listen to the devil’s lies.

tree-silhoette-2-clickartFor example, I see what a good wife and mother my friend is—so wise, faithful, enduring, loving. I wish I were more like that. When I look at these qualities in her, I think of my own failings and am tempted to be ashamed and think myself worthless, even though I’ve already received forgiveness for my past sins.
But that’s the old way of thinking. Now that I’m alive in Christ, I have a new nature. Those old ways are no longer “natural” for me. So God’s Word tells me to get rid of those old ways and think and act like the new creation in Christ which I am.
young-tree-good-search

So because His Holy Spirit guides and empowers me to live my new natural way, I will do that. It brings glory to God and joy to His heart when His children walk according to His Spirit, acting from our new nature.
Dear loving heavenly Father, please help me walk in the light of Your love and forgiveness instead of in the dark of shame and despair. That old way of thinking no longer has any right to rule over me. You have transferred me from (delivered me out of) the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of Your dear Son—the kingdom of light. Let my life in Christ shine in all I do!
    Jesus, when I’m tempted to despair, let me remember Your everlasting, perfect love. Amen. (See Colossians 1:12-13)

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Holy Spirit Housecleaning

spotlight - 1200 images ibusn091    On my walk one morning, the Holy Spirit shined His light into a cobweb-covered corner of my soul. Suddenly I saw a grudge against a man whose name I couldn’t even remember. So I spoke aloud words of forgiveness for the man. I proclaimed that I released him from the debt of his offense since God through Christ had forgiven me for all my offenses.
Then I confessed my sin of holding the grudge all these years. From 1 John 1:9, I know that God is faithful to cleanse me when I confess my sins. That corner of my mind is clean and ready for refinishing (renewing, changing the thinking patterns).
          Thank You, Holy Spirit, for shining Your light into me.
“And do not be 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.” (Romans 12:2 New King James Version)

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Getting in Shape

KEEPFIT

“But have nothing to do with irreverent and silly myths. Rather, train yourself in godliness, 8 for, the training of the body has a limited benefit, but godliness is beneficial in every way, since it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come” (1 Timothy 4:7-8 Holman Christian Standard Bible).

What are some spiritual exercises? I thought of the following possibilities:
1. Running to God. Running with patience the race of life set before me.
2. Resistance exercise Resist temptation.
3. Weight lifting Lift worries and cares to God and exercise trust muscle. Concentrate on the good and true things of Philippians 4:8
4. Push-ups When I sin/stumble, push up with confession and repentance
5. Crunches Forgiving others and humbling myself to ask forgiveness of others
6. Endurance training Set my mind and keep it set on things above where Christ is. Keep my eyes on Jesus the author and finisher of my faith. Take every thought captive to Jesus
7. Pull-ups –Scripture memory
8. Sword-practice Study and apply God’s Word.
9. Stretches –Praise and thanksgiving
10. Swimming through thoughts to take hold of truth

Dear Lord, please help me be diligent to do these things so I will grow more and more like Jesus. Amen.

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