1 Thessalonians 5:11 (KJV)

Wherefore comfort yourselves together, and edify one another, even as also ye do. 1 Thessalonians 5:11 (KJV)

Friday, December 28, 2012

A Precious Christmas Gift

Each week our small staff with a big purpose gets together on a prayer call. We pray for our members, our staff, family members and more. During the call this morning we received a precious Christmas gift.

Our president, Mike Brickley, shared this story with us that came into our website just a few days ago. It was written by a precious member from Connecticut...

“My husband and I live in an apartment complex. Our neighbor's wife is terminally ill. As of yesterday they gave her 1 month or less to live. About 1 month ago my husband put a gospel of John under her door. The only interaction we have had to this point was “Hi” and “Good bye's”. Yesterday afternoon she came out in her wheelchair and knocked on our door … and asked if we could pray for her! We both prayed for her boldly in the middle of the hallway and she said we gave her the best gift ever; we gave her “Life” because of the gospel of John we put under her door. That was yesterday.

Today I am reading the gospels to her and talking to her about Jesus and the reality that we do not have to fear death and in fact have great hope and joy in Christ for healing, restoration, love and peace simply because we believe in Jesus and the work of the Cross. This is only the grace of God.”

God is good and we stand in awe of how he uses these small pocket sized Gospels for His kingdom purposes.

As the year ends will you partner with us so we can equip even more Christ-Followers and celebrate more stories like this in 2013?

Thursday, December 20, 2012

A Christmas Story

This is a story about a Christmas gift, our gift, Jesus’ gift, and God’s gift. 
The gift that is most wanted and the gift, that can be given and received.
First, I want to share with you an insight that some of you may not have considered.
When reading the Old Testament, consider how God is giving understanding to His children.
He is not using Word Parables like Jesus so masterfully used in the New Testament.
In the Old Testament God uses parables in action instead of words to give us understanding.

( An example would be “The Parable of Mount Moriah” the incident of Abraham’s offering up Isaac. Isaac is the only one in Scripture, except Jesus, to be spoken of as “only begotton son(Hebrews 11:17). The parabolic representation of death and his deliverance as a Parabolic representation of resurrection. Isaac was on the alter of death and Abraham received him back to life by God’s grace. The ram was sacrificed instead of Isaac and Jesus was sacrificed as the substitute for us. )
This method of action parables using life experiences that God provides; This is how He speaks to me and gives me understanding especially when I need correction or humbling. Just in this morning’s prayers, I thank God for the healing taken place in my son. I had ask this as the gift I most wanted from my Father this Christmas.

Then as I read “The Daily Bread” (Dec.20,12) called “The Gift” I could hear God speaking. You see that is the way God always speaks to me through an experience He always provides. Jesus knew the Gift His Father most wanted, “was for His children to be saved”.  I know that is the Gift I always want the most, “is for my children to be saved”.
Quoting the “Daily Bread” Thinking of ourselves as a gift to God, that should make us want to be a present worth the cost, fully pleasing to Him, being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God. (ref. Col. 1:10)

Dear Lord, we thank you for our children and we ask for their salvation through your Son Jesus. As your children, we thank you and celebrate that precious Gift that you offer us on this very special Birthday. I by faith accept this Christmas Gift of your Son as my Savior from sin and I will tell others about what it means to give yourself as a gift to our Father which is in Heaven. Amen

  For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”  John 3:16 (NKJV)

with love through the Holy Spirit, brother george

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Day 267: So Why Does Stuff Happen?


Acts 17:27
God did this so that men would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from each one of us.

Thoughts for Today:

We are in the middle of a five part series entitled The Many Faces of God. We've completed God the Creator, God the Provider, and God the Ruler. Paul pauses here for a moment and gives us the answer to one of life's really big questions: "Why does stuff happen?" Paul's not just talking about good things or bad things, but everything; and he answers, "God did this so that men would seek him..."

Take a minute and let that roll over and through you: Everything that has happened to me, is happening to me right now, and will happen to me later today, tomorrow, next week, and next year is happening so that I would seek God.

The next part of our passage today says a lot about how this happens, "and perhaps reach out for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us." Let's look at each a little closer:

* Perhaps -- would indicate we have a choice and we will not always seek Him regardless of our circumstance.

* Reach out -- is an action on our part; we have to choose to go to Him.

* Find Him -- a sticky one; too often our answers come from our friends or popular opinion; what God wants is a personal relationship with Him and more importantly -- Him alone.

* He is not far -- whenever I am in trouble, when I've messed up in some way, shape or form, I really feel far from God; but the distance is from my guilt or unrepentance, not from God.

God is always as near as our humility and request for forgiveness and help allows. The question remains, will we seek Him?

Questions to Ponder:

The phrases we looked at say a lot about us and our relationship with God. Think about whatever circumstance you are in right now (whether good, bad or in between), and ask yourself, "Am I choosing to seek God?" Are you reaching out to Him? Is it He and He alone that you seek or is it money, power, or position? Don't ask, "Where is God?" Instead ask, "Where am I?" Are you bound by guilt, unrepentance or something else? How can you freely seek God? What choice will you make today when stuff happens?

The Circle Of The Wise


Read: 1 John 2:12–17

I used to serve on the elder board of a church in California. One elder, Bob Smith, who was older than most of us, frequently called us back to the Word of God for guidance.

On one occasion we were discussing a leadership shortage in the church and had spent an hour or more working through various solutions. Bob was silent throughout the discussion. Finally, he said quietly, “Gentlemen, we’ve forgotten Jesus’ solution to our leadership issue. Before we do anything, we must first ‘ask the Lord of the harvest . . . to send out workers’” (Luke 10:2 niv). We were humbled, and spent the rest of our time praying that God would raise up workers and send them into the field.

C. S. Lewis said, “The next best thing to being wise oneself is to live in a circle of those who are.” Proverbs 1:5 says, “A man of understanding will attain wise counsel.” Bob’s comment is just one example of the value of wise men and women who “have known Him who is from the beginning” (1 John 2:13-14) and whose minds are saturated with the Word of God.

Let’s take to heart the counsel of those who have lived in the Lord’s presence and are mature in His wisdom. They are God’s gift to us and our churches. by

The older saints who trust God’s Word
Have trod the paths that we now walk;
They’ve fought the battles we now fight—
Their wisdom teaches truth and right. —Branon
That one is truly wise who gains his wisdom from the experience of others.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Day 264: The Many Faces of God, Part 1 of 5: God the Creator


Acts 17:24
"The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by hands."

Thoughts for Today:

Paul previously said, "Now what you worship as something unknown I am going to proclaim to you." In other words, "You worship an UNKNOWN GOD, and now I'm going to tell you about Him." These faces of God, or rather personality traits, tell us a lot about God and our relationship with Him. Let's look at this first one: God the Creator.

In our passage today Paul begins with the idea that God "made the world and everything in it." I think God is concerned that whenever man builds something for Him, we have a tendency to not just limit Him, but also to change His identity. That is why God says in Exodus 20:25, "If you make an altar of stones for Me, do not build it with dressed stones, for you will defile it if you use a tool on it." God wants us to see Him for who He says He is, not by our own or someone else's interpretation.

For example, if we were to go to Rome today and tour the Vatican, I'm sure we would be overwhelmed with the beauty and artistry of Michelangelo's paintings on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. However, the mistake we could make (which has been made for hundreds of years) is to define and limit God by Michelangelo's interpretation. It is somewhat interesting to look at this magnificent work of art and realize that by just by using man-made tools, even Michelangelo defiled this representation of God.

Paul says that God is not only the Creator of the universe and everything in it, but "He does not live in temples built by [human] hands." Why? Because if we want to understand and get to know God, we have to let God tell us about Himself; we can't start with someone else's limited perspective. If we do, we will become just as confused and disoriented about who God is as the Athenians were.

Questions to Ponder:

How have you come to know God?
Is it through Scripture and your own experience of doing His will,
or the interpretation of an artist (or someone else)?
We really have to be careful of how we have defined God;
He isn't limited to temples built by human hands.
What limitations have you placed around God?
What does Scripture say that contradicts your understanding;
your limitations?

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Consistency in Your Walk with Jesus

Pocket Testament League Devotional

Acts 17:15
The men who escorted Paul brought him to Athens and then left with instructions for Silas and Timothy to join him as soon as possible.

Thoughts for Today:

Throughout Acts and much of the New Testament we see Paul as the spokesperson, the front man if you will, for much of the new Christian movement. But is that the way Paul saw himself? I don't think so. Paul had many opportunities to go it alone, and this was one of them, yet he did not. Instead he wanted and waited for Silas and Timothy to be with him.

Throughout the Book of Acts we've seen Paul's example of partnering with other Christians: first with Barnabas, then with Silas, and now Timothy is becoming an important companion. Yet in his pre-Christian days (in his "Saul" days as a persecutor of Christians), it appears he was always alone. And he got off track considerably as a result (for example, he was responsible for the stoning death of Stephen).

I think Paul found that it's through our relationship with other brothers and sisters in Christ that we become more accountable to our faith. It's how we become more consistent. It's how we stay on track. During times of weakness and tribulation, we draw our strength not only from the Lord and His Holy Spirit, but also from our friends as they provide for us their example of faith, commitment, courage and most of all -- their presence. Paul wasn't too strong, too egotistical or too anything to not acknowledge that he needed and wanted his friends to be with him. Should we be any different?

Questions to Ponder:

I think one of the biggest reasons Christians have problems with consistency in their walk with Jesus is a lack of good quality Christian friends (and it requires spending time with them).

What about you? Who are your best friends, are they Christians? Over the last week, how much time have you spent with them? God placed us in the family of God for a reason. He knows we need a relationship with other Christians. Make a commitment to be with your brothers and sisters in Christ -- regularly. Are you currently in a small group that meets regularly? Consider joining, or better yet, forming one. It will change your life.