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WHAT DO I HAVE TO GIVE?

I love bold faith. I earnestly pray for it. I suppose that is why I love the story of Peter and John in Acts 3. Jesus had told His disciples that it was good that He was going because when He did He would send Holy Spirit. We see in Acts 2 when the Holy Spirit came that the disciples were filled with boldness and power. They went from hiding out, to bolding proclaiming Jesus Christ. The power of God was evident! People were healed, saved and delivered! 

“Peter and John went to the Temple one afternoon to take part in the three o’clock prayer service. As they approached the Temple, a man lame from birth was being carried in. Each day he was put beside the Temple gate, the one called the Beautiful Gate, so he could beg from the people going into the Temple. When he saw Peter and John about to enter, he asked them for some money. Peter and John looked at him intently, and Peter said, “Look at us!” The lame man looked at them eagerly expecting some money. But Peter said, “I don’t have any silver or gold for you. But I’ll give you what I have. In the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene, get up and walk!” Then Peter took the lame man by the right hand and helped him up. And as he did, the man’s feet and ankles were instantly healed and strengthened. He jumped up, stood on his feet, and began to walk! Then, walking, leaping, and praising God, he went into the Temple with them. All the people saw him walking and heard him praising God. When they realized he was the lame beggar they had seen so often at the Beautiful Gate, they were absolutely astounded! They all rushed out in amazement to Solomon’s Colonnade, where the man was holding tightly to Peter and John. Peter saw his opportunity and addressed the crowd. “People of Israel,” he said, “what is so surprising about this? And why stare at us as though we had made this man walk by our own power or godliness? For it is the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob—the God of all our ancestors—who has brought glory to his servant Jesus by doing this. This is the same Jesus whom you handed over and rejected before Pilate, despite Pilate’s decision to release him.” Acts of the Apostles 3:1-13 NLT

Few key things Holy Spirit Highlighted to me about Peter and John:

  1. Fully devoted, consistent in prayer. 3x a day was the custom. Battles are won in prayer prior to the actual encounter. 
  2. They were sensitive to Holy Spirit. They had passed this guy everyday 3x a day but this day was different. As they were going through the daily routines they were listening to Holy Spirit. 
  3. They Knew who they were and what the had to give! 
  4. They walked in confidence because they had faith knowing and believing that Holy Spirit was with them, in them and would flow through them! Peter said “Look on us” When you know who and whose you are you will know what your called to do. 

God is a rewarder of those who seek His presence! (Hebrews 11:6)

The presence of God does not rest on ministries it rests on fully devoted followers surrendered to the Lordship of Jesus Christ. Yes, there is favor on ministries, but the presence, the anointing is on the believer, not the title of a ministry but a person, and John and Peter knew this, that is why we they said look on us! Allow God to plant this deep inside. To be aware of Him, wherever I am He is there with me. Acknowledging this truth awakens me to the reality of the present presence of the Spirit of God inside of me. Now with confidence I can say to those in need “I will give you what I have” 
 
PASTOR TONYA PAYNE

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ADAPTING TO YOUR ENVIRONMENT

Recently I have been reading in Genesis about the story of Joseph, and I want to talk about what God has been teaching me through this story. For those of you who are not familiar with the story, I encourage you to go read in Genesis 37-47. In part of this story, Joseph is sold into slavery by his brothers because of their jealousy. Joseph then finds himself in several different situations that eventually promote him to being ruler of the entire land of Egypt. Let’s look at a few scriptures here that show us how Joseph was promoted. 

Genesis 39: 1-4

“Now Joseph had been taken down to Egypt. Potiphar, an Egyptian who was one of Pharaoh’s officials, the captain of the guard, bought him from the Ishmaelites who had taken him there. The Lord was with Joseph so that he prospered, and he lived in the house of his Egyptian master. When his master saw that the Lord was with him and that the Lord gave him success in everything he did, Joseph found favor in his eyes and became his attendant.”

After this, Joseph is falsely accused of committing adultery with Potiphar’s wife, so he is thrown in prison. 

Genesis 39:20-23

“But while Joseph was there in the prison, the Lord was with him; he showed him kindness and granted him favor in the eyes of the prison warden. So the warden put Joseph in charge of all those held in the prison, and he was made responsible for all that was done there.”

What happens next is, God works it out for Joseph to interpret the dreams of two people that were close in position to the Pharaoh, and he interpreted each dream correctly. So when the Pharaoh had a dream that he needed interpreted, he was told about Joseph, and Joseph interpreted the Pharaoh’s dreams correctly as well. This impressed the Pharaoh, and he put him in charge over the land of Egypt. 

Genesis 42:46-47

“Joseph was thirty years old when he entered the service of Pharaoh king of Egypt. And Joseph went out from Pharaoh’s presence and traveled throughout Egypt. During the seven years of abundance the land produced plentifully.”

Here we see that everywhere Joseph went he prospered. It didn’t matter his circumstance; the Lord was with him and promoted him. Even in a place as lowly as a slave or as lowly as prison, Joseph relied on the Lord and found a way to succeed wherever he was.

Today our society tells us that if you are not succeeding somewhere then  just go find somewhere that you can succeed. Society tells us that we are always right, our truth is our truth, and if we cannot prosper in a specific environment, then it is the environment’s fault and not our own. In my own personal life, I can tell you that this is almost never the case. Majority of the time, God is calling me into places that are not only difficult for me to be in, but also to change myself in order to succeed. I think that this is also what we are seeing here with the story of Joseph. His environment didn’t affect him, he affected his environment. The scripture doesn’t say it, but I have a hard time believing that Joseph was able to succeed while being prideful and not feeling like there was anything about him that he needed to change. 

I do need to point out that you should never compromise your righteousness to fit in to an environment. If a specific environment has authority figures that are asking you to sin, then you definitely need to move out of that environment. 2 Timothy 2:22-14 says “Run from temptations that capture young people. Always do the right thing. Be faithful, loving, and easy to get along with. Worship with people whose hearts are pure. Stay away from stupid and senseless arguments. These only lead to trouble, and God’s servants must not be troublemakers. They must be kind to everyone, and they must be good teachers and very patient.” 

We have to realize that we don’t have everything right, that we don’t have the answers to all, and that sometimes we are wrong. Once we can accept these truths it is then easier to receive what God has for us in specific places and situations. 

I encourage you to go to the Lord and ask Him to be your guide, ask Him if you are in the place where you are supposed to be, even if it might be a hard situation. If He says yes, then ask Him what you need to change to succeed!

Here is a short clip I saw from Pastor Steven Furtick of Elevation Church that is a perfect summary of what we have discussed here. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!
 
 
PASTOR APRIL GADDIS
 

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WHAT ARE YOU THINKING?

Today’s society is consumed with achieving “success”. I put “success” in quotes because it is a whole other topic on how one should define success. Is success a bad thing for a Christian to desire and strive for?  No, if your heart is in the right place and the success you desire is honoring to God, it is not a bad thing. But, success can look very different to two people, so let’s agree to keep the definition of success very general for this discussion.  

 

The difference between those who are successful and those who aren’t is often just the way they think. Wrong thinking will never lead to solving problems!

 

God wants us to change the way we think. Isaiah 55: 8-9 reads: “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord.  “As the heavens are higher than the earth so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.”

 

It was once shared with me that true success is guarded by difficulty and complexity.  Most people when faced with adversity or a difficult situation either give up or simply choose to ignore the situation hoping it will go away (hint: it never does). All successful people or businesses have fought their way through difficulty and complexity at some point.  Matthew 7:14 reads: “But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.” So, don’t ever give up! As Pastor Terry says “Grow Forward!”

 

Here are a couple of wrong ways of thinking that are prevalent in today’s world: 

 

  1. “If I only had more money”….I could solve this problem or that problem.

 

Jesus never said that more money was the solution to a problem. Although the topic of money was mentioned in the bible more than the topic of prayer (seriously) Jesus never claimed more money to be the answer. 

 

  1. “I don’t have enough experience”…to start a new business or to pursue my dream job/passion.  

 

It is often said that experience is the best teacher. I disagree with this statement. I believe that other people’s experience is the best teacher! Learn from others successes and failures. 

 

We need to change how we think and what we think. The power of our mind is an awesome thing. We must protect what we allow into our minds through our eyes (what we watch/read) and through our ears (what we listen to). If what we watch, read and listen to is not honoring to God there is a good chance that we ultimately make poor decisions. 

 

Proverbs 13:20 reads: Walk with the wise and become wise, for a companion of fools suffers harm.

Protect your mind and your heart against the ways of this world.  Place into your mind those things which are holy and righteous and you will make better decisions.   

 

– Read the bible! It has all the answers and will never lead you astray.  

– Read and watch good media. Ask yourself, “Will this take me closer to God? If not, why watch it?  

– Listen to good worship music. Our God loves it when we worship him. We were built for worship. It allows us to truly connect to our Creator and honor him. Don’t fill your mind and your heart with impure and unholy media/music. It leads to bad thinking. 

 

You get revelation when you spend time with God through reading his word, time in prayer and through worship.  It enables you to think properly and make good decisions. Information moves people, but revelation changes people.

 

Don’t just seek God’s hand, seek His face. A personal, intimate relationship with God allows you to think properly, make good decisions and achieve the ultimate success. 
 
ELDER JUSTIN MECKLENBERG

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