SHOVEL FULL OF GRACE

Ok, so first off, if any of you reading this and you know me personally then you probably know my struggle with rage and anger against other drivers USED to be a huge issue for me. Mainly because in my mind, back then, most people drove like complete idiots. Except for me…  (Praise God He change my perspective..)

That being said, when the story I’m about to tell you took place, I was in the process of TRYING to be much better, let God be in control while driving, and not yell, scream, swear, and tell people to pull over so much anymore.

So, at Church there was an illustration where the speaker had a shovel in his hands and was showing us how when God gives, and shows us grace, that’s how He does it. He shovels it all over us all the time!  Then he took a spoon and said,  but this is how we distribute grace to others. God gives us so much, but in return we don’t give to others anywhere near the same as it is given to us.

This was huge to me! I literally thought about, and reminded myself of this illustration, daily since I heard it. Then. that same week, someone in my life showed me a HUGE amount of grace. They blessed me in such a huge way, and I didn’t even deserve it. It was amazing.

Then, the very next day, as I was working at a trade show, I needed to come out to my truck to move it to another side of the building. And this is what I saw when I got outside….

I was instantly filled with a rage and anger that I can’t even express into words! Furious is a walk in the park compared to what I was feeling! I couldn’t decide if I was going to shatter this guy’s window, or key his entire car. (both, regrettably, I had done in the past.) I finally settled on keying his car. I got a key ready that I wasn’t to worried about destroying, and I walked to the side of his car.

Then I felt God all over me. 

It was like I heard Him say directly to me,  “Man… Kelly,  you’re not even going to use a spoon?”

And I just froze. In my mind I thought, BUT GOD!!!  PLEASE!?!  LOOK WHAT THIS JERK DID!?!  

He said, “But look what I did…” 
 
So…  I fought for a few moreseconds in my mind, then I walked to the passenger side of my car. I was about to climb over the seat to get in my side and I said to God, I can’t let him off without AT LEAST knowing about this… So I found some paper and I wrote this note to leave on his windshield.

Now, I’m not saying leaving the note was right.  In fact, it probably wasn’t. But I didn’t damage his car. I took the time to listen to God and reflect on what he taught me.

It felt good.

So as I still struggle to show grace and love to people on a daily basis, who I may feel don’t deserve it… I’m still trying. I’m making the effort to use the shovel instead of the spoon.

I want to encourage youall to do the same. Everyday you’re going to have an opportunity to show someone grace…

Will you use a shovel, or a spoon?
 
KELLY K

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TALKING TO MOUNTAINS

I want to talk to you about prayer today. Jesus taught us many things about prayer and I want to focus on one powerful aspect of His teaching. This is how Jesus prayed and how He wants us to pray also.

Matthew 17:20b

17 Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can
say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.””  NIV

https://www.bible.com/bible/111/MAT.17.20

What kind of mountain is Jesus talking about right here?

A mountain is a problem, addiction, sin, sickness, bad habit, an issue, drama in your life, or a circumstance that is keeping you from being everything that Jesus wants you to be. A mountain is anything that is slowing down your progress in your relationship with God. A mountain is anything in your life that is in the way. It is anything standing between you and God’s promises in your life.

Let me set this all up with a story right from the the Bible, David and Goliath.

1Samuel 17:2,3

2 Saul and the Israelites assembled and camped in the Valley of Elah and drew up their battle line to meet the Philistines. 3 The Philistines occupied one hill and the Israelites another, with the valley between them.  NIV
 
Goliath starts talking smack to the nation of Israel and they are so terrified they say nothing back.  Goliath did this every morning and evening for forty days.  So for forty days the strongest military men in the nation of Israel were so scared that they wouldn’t even talk TO Goliath, (pause for effect) but they talked ABOUT him.

In fact, I bet they really talked him up…

O my, Look how tall he is… OMG he is a beast… I bet I couldn’t even pick up his sword… How much do you think he can benchpress? Can you imagine getting punched by him? He has never lost a battle and he’s been fighting since he was a kid… Good Lord, look at the size of his sword… I wonder how sharp it is…  I don’t know but I’m not gonna find out.

Every time they talked ABOUT Goliath it seemed more and more impossible to defeat him.  This is a picture of how many Christians deal with mountains…  They talk ABOUT their mountains but never TO them.

Don’t talk ABOUT your mountain; Talk TO it!  

Everything changed the day that David showed up to bring his brothers some food.  David heard Goliath talking smack and said this is not right and did something about it. Check it out…

1 Samuel 17:45-48

45 David said to the Philistine, “You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the Lord Almighty, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. 46
This day the Lord will deliver you into my hands, and I’ll strike you down and cut off your head. This very day I will give the carcasses of the Philistine army to the birds and the wild animals, and the whole world will know that there is a God in Israel. 
47 All those gathered here will know that it is not by sword or spear that the Lord saves;
for the battle is the Lord’s, and he will give all of you into our hands.” 
48 As the Philistine moved closer to attack him, David ran quickly toward the battle line to meet him. NIV

David talked to his mountain…

We talk to so many people ABOUT our problems. We talk to God, our family, and our friends about our problems.  Jesus NEVER talked ABOUT his mountains, He ALWAYS talked TO them. That is how Jesus teaches us to deal with mountains. What mountain are you facing right now in your life?  Are you talking ABOUT it or TO it?

Don’t talk ABOUT your mountain; Talk TO it!  

Matthew 17:20b (WOW1)

17 Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.””  NIV

https://www.bible.com/bible/111/MAT.17.20

It doesn’t take huge faith to be a mountain mover according to Jesus’ own words. Faith the size of the smallest mustard seed can move the biggest mountain in your world.  This is a strong statement from Jesus right here…”Nothing will be impossible for you.” Jesus is giving us some priceless advice about prayer…

Don’t talk ABOUT your mountain; Talk TO it!  

I’m not saying, that we can’t ever talk about an area of our life that we are struggling with. THAT IS NOT WHAT I’M SAYING.  It can be healthy to talk about it.  However, our problem will never change if that is all we do.  Find someone that loves Jesus and loves you and get some help. There is strength in unity when we pray together.  This is a really good thing.  Don’t stop when you are finished taking about your mountain; Talk TO it.

Isn’t it interesting that Jesus uses mountains to describe problems? Why is that? Mountains are tall.  I mean they are not hills right… Am I right? Mountains are huge. Mountains are immovable. Mountains can be intimidating.  Mountains are overwhelming and bigger than life. Over 240 people have died trying to climb Mount Everest. Avalanches, rockslides, blizzards, falls, altitude sickness, freezing temperatures, exhaustion and combinations of these have all proven fatal, particularly in the so-called “death zone” above 26,000 feet. Since getting them down is grueling and dangerous, most of the corpses remain up there. They are well preserved in the snow and apparently serve as trail markers for climbers who pass by. We must stop trying to climb the mountains in our life and start speaking to them.

Jesus looks at mountains much differently than we do…

Nahum 1:5

5 “The mountains quake before him and the hills melt away. The earth trembles at his presence, the world and all who live in it.”  NIV

https://www.bible.com/bible/111/NAM.1.5

Jesus is not intimidated by your mountains!  

Mark 11:22-24 (WOW2,3,4)

22 ““Have faith in God,”Jesus answered. 23 “Truly I tell you, if anyone says to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and does not doubt in their heart but believes that what they say
will happen, it will be done for them. 24 Therefore I tell you,
whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.”  NIV

https://www.bible.com/bible/111/MRK.11.22-24

How to overcome the mountains in your life through prayer…

  1. Trust Jesus With Everything

“Have faith in God.”  Trust is the foundation of our prayer life.  Without faith or trust in Jesus our prayers won’t work and eventually we will stop praying altogether.  When we talk about and focus on the mountains in our lives the mountains becomes bigger and bigger.  The problem might only be a speed bump but because I have talked it up it looks like Mount Everest.

  1. Speak Out Loud TO Your Mountain

There is only one way to move the mountains in your life.  It’s not to be talking ABOUT IT, It’s talking TO it.  Jesus doesn’t want you to ignore your mountains either.  He wants you to talk to them…  OUT LOUD.  Silence does not move mountains, your voice does.  It’s not about the size of your faith or your mountain. It’s the size our your God!

  1. Tell Your Mountain Where To Go

Always remember that Jesus gave you the authority when dealing with mountains.

Matthew 17:20b…you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move.  NIV

Mark 11:23b…if anyone says to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea…

You are telling your mountain to move from one place to another place so that you can move forward. You have authority to move mountains.  Jesus has ALL authority (Matthew 28:11),  and He has given you authority to move the mountains in your life.  Let me give you an example…  On the football field there are three teams.  Two of them are the home team and the away team and these teams are in conflict with each other because they have different goals. There is also another team made up of seven referees that don’t belong to the home or away teams.

On a football field the players are younger, stronger and faster than the referees. The referees are older and slower than the players. The players can knock you down to the ground but the referees can throw you out of the game. The players have power but the referees have authority! We as Christians have the power and authority to move mountains because Jesus told us to.

  1. Believe It’s Already Yours

Before you see it in the natural believe that it is already yours.  That’s real faith.

  1. Nothing will be impossible for you

This sentence sums up the power of prayer.  When we talk about our mountains they become impossible to deal with, but when we talk to them the impossible becomes possible.

It’s time to stop telling God how big our mountains are and start telling our mountains how big our God is.  Jesus has given us the right, power and authority to move mountains.  We are mountain movers!!  Start today! Just TALK TO IT! Jesus did and so can we because He lives in us.
 
PASTOR RANDY HENDERSON

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LOVE PEOPLE TO JESUS

I took this picture a few weeks ago while ministering in downtown Los Angeles with the Dream Center. Of all the people I saw that week, this one picture I took spoke to me the most. They say a picture is worth a thousand words, but this picture says so much more to me than that. I see a sad, strung-out homeless woman, a barefoot, shirtless guitar player in his own world, and a young man enjoying his music and eating his lunch just two feet away. It breaks my heart to see the sadness in this woman’s eyes. I wonder what she is thinking about all that is going on around her.

I think sometimes we forget that everyone has a story. As we run our errands, fill up our gas tanks and wait in traffic, we dismiss nameless faces who carry stories just like ours. There is a common thread among all of us…we all need Jesus. We all have stuff going on in our lives. My big ‘stuff’ doesn’t really matter when someone needs to feel the love of Jesus. We all need to feel love.  

I John 4:7 says, “Let us continue to love on another, for love comes from God. Any who loves is a child of God and knows God.”

In the natural, I don’t love everyone. But when I became a child of God that love became part of my nature. If you know me at all or have spent any time around me, you know that a big part of who I am and what I do is spent just loving people. Loving people to Jesus. That’s what I love doing!
 
Our whole lifestyle should tell people, “If you come around me, I’m going to love you. No matter who you are, what you’ve done, how you look, smell or behave, I’m going to love you.”
 
This is agape love.  Agape love first exists, THEN it affects the emotions. Agape involves the kind of love that cannot be compensated. This is foreign to us and to our culture. The mentality of this world leads us to love and give only when there is a reason to assume that our love will be reciprocated.
 
In 
John 3:16 
we see that HE gave for us when we didn’t deserve it and had nothing to give back. Love means accepting people the way they are. We should be loving people to Jesus. We can’t worry about what people are going to say or think. 
 
I want to encourage you to take a minute this week to stop and look at the world around you. Put the music on pause, let the traffic continue on and let the errands wait. Who do you see? What is their story? Maybe God wants to use you to love someone to Jesus.
 
PASTOR SHARON ANDERSON

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LOVE, LIVE, MULTIPLY

I remember sitting in my Sunday school class as a little boy. My Sunday school teacher held up an acorn and asked the class, “what do you see?”  Some said that they saw an acorn, others said that they saw a tree. Others, like myself, said that they saw a whole orchard full of oak trees. However, that wasn’t the answer the Sunday school teacher was looking for either. She said, I see that from this one seed, you can build a whole city.

In Matthew 28:19, Jesus tells us to “go and make disciples of all nations (people groups)”. I know that so many Christians wait until they know enough about The Bible or until they think that they’ve prayed enough, until they pour what they know out and actually “make a disciple” of somebody else. I want to encourage you today, to go and be the pastor of ONE. Just one. 
 
Before you get too excited. Let’s set some basic ground rules.
 
Rule number one—Love.

 

You just have to love them. Rule number two: Life. Tell them your testimony. Here’s the deal; experience is always stronger than an argument. People will always want to debate scripture or doctrine, but your testimony will trump any debate 100% of the time. Just tell people of the great things that The Lord has done and is doing in your life and in your heart. Tell them of the reality of His Presence and the goodness of His love. That’s the gospel. That’s the good news of who He is.

Rule number 2:  Live

In other words, show them. Be encouraging and be an example. Let your life be a light. The Bible says to walk in the light as He is in the light (1 John 1:7).  What is that light? It is the light of love. It is the light of truth. It is just being real, transparent and doing right by others. 
 
Here’s the last one.

Rule number 3:  Multiply.   

Just like that acorn, you are called to multiply The Kingdom of God, so teach that one person you are pouring into to go pour into someone else. In other words, teach your disciple to make a disciple and become the pastor of one. Paul writes this to a young pastor that he was discipling (mentoring) in 2 Tim. 2:2 “The things you heard from me, commit these to faithful men who are able to teach others also.”
 
Did you get all three of those? If not I will recap will quickly for you. Love, Live, and then Multiply. Remember, it’s not your ability that God’s looking for, because He will give you the words, it’s just us saying, “OK Lord, Here I am, use me for Your Glory.” Just like that acorn, inside of you is a treasure, and I want to encourage you today to let it out and let God bless it and watch what happens.

Is. 8:16 “Preserve the teaching of God; entrust His instructions to those who follow me.”

PASTOR BRENT ANDERSON

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STAY THE COURSE

Stay the course. These words came to me at a time I was feeling the urge to run. I wanted to run away from my current situation. It all seemed overwhelming at the time. Have you ever noticed that God is never late? He sends His Word at the perfect time and  it changes you. It changes things in you that you were unable to change just prior to hearing His Word. This happened to me one morning. So I thought ok Lord I will stay this course but I am not sure how. What can I let go of because I am only one person and I can’t keep holding all of these things. I felt like one of those old Armstrong stretch dolls being pulled into two different directions. God tells us in Proverbs 11:4 ‘The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, but a wise man is he who listens to counsel.’  So I followed His word and shared with a Christian friend that walked in wisdom. As they began to share with me they said many things, but it was in these few words that everything changed for me. “The real question God is asking you today is will you walk with Him?” And with those words everything shifted. It was if God was handing me the keys to how I was to do everything that I was called to do in that season. Walk with Him. It was simple and yet profound. 

My focus now changed from me to Him, from how to who, and this changed everything for me. God shows us in Matthew 6:33 “Seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things will be added to you.”  What is so cool is that God knows my weakness and choses to turn that into strength when I give it to Him. Here is absolute truth that He gives us in 2 Corinthians 4:7-9 “We now have this light shining in our hearts, but we ourselves are like fragile clay jars containing this great treasure. This makes it clear that our great power is from God and not ourselves.”

So I am learning to stay the course He has for my life. It takes more than strong will and determination, it takes me surrendering to Him and walking with Him, step by step, day by day. This has become the greatest adventure of my life. Jesus Christ has an adventure for you too! Are you ready to stay your course?
 
PASTOR TONYA PAYNE
D

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ENDURING HARD TIMES

My ten year old son loves sports! He loves baseball, basketball, and football. He loves being part of a team and the competition. For months he had been looking forward to playing baseball. Baseball season finally arrived, but things did not go as we had thought they would. He was devasted to find out he was put on a different team than his buddies. (One of the reasons ten year olds play sports is so they can be with their buddies.) It seemed like nothing was going right.
 
The season was long and filled with lots of tears. There was a boy on the team that was mean to my son and victories were few and far between. My son said, “Mom I just don’t understand what God is doing!” My answer was simple, “I don’t know either, but I know God loves you and His plan for you is perfect!” I probably said that a hundred times throughout the season.
 
Jeremiah 29:11 says, “For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.” It would have been easy to focus on all of the negative my son was enduring. Instead we encouraged him to focus on God and all that He was doing.
 
Ephesians 5:1 says, “Imitate God, therefore, in everything you do, because you are His dear children.” We continuously reminded him to honor God on the field and in the dug-out. He did just that. He did what he was told, he encouraged his teammates, he didn’t gripe or complain, and he went to every game and every practice and gave 110%. He was an
example of God, living out his chrisian faith.
 
The season came to an end. My son didn’t walk away with any trophies or rings. He didn’t even walk away with a winning season. What he did walk away with, however, was far more valuable. God used the baseball season to develop my sons character. Over and over again God provided him with opportunities to be a leader. He showed dignity and what it means to be honorable, and have integrity.
 
As a parent, it is hard to see our children go through anything difficult. It would be great if everything was always good and always perfect. Life just doesn’t work that way. Life is sometimes hard. It is in those times, however, if we let Him, God will do something incredible!
 
Dueteronomy 2:7 says, “For the Lord your God has blessed you in everything you have done. He has watched your every step through the great wilderness. During these forty years, the Lord your God has been with you, and you
have lacked nothing.”
 
– PASTOR STEPHANIE FARRELL

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forGIVEness

Forgiveness is not always easy. The cross reminds us how costly and painful forgiveness is.

Forgiveness is ALWAYS worth it!  It’s one of the most freeing things we can do.

When we receive the love and forgiveness of Jesus we will be able to give love and forgiveness. When we are mistreated, hurt or offended what will come out? It is what we are full of. All we can give is what we have.  Let’s focus so much on Jesus and pursue Him that we become LOVE.  Let’s live a life of love…

It is so easy to get caught up in thinking that forgiveness is a feeling.  It is not a feeling.  It is a choice.  When we continue to make the right choices, our emotions will soon follow.  It is much easier to forgive when we realize how much we have been forgiven. Forgiveness is a gift from Jesus that leads to life and freedom.

Matthew 18:21-22

21″At that point Peter got up the nerve to ask, “Master, how many times do I forgive a brother or sister who hurts me? Seven?” Jesus replied, “Seven! Hardly. Try seventy times seven.” MSG

A good Jew would forgive three times, so Peter thought he was going way over the top by saying seven. Jesus was saying that My forgiveness towards you is Limitless.  I want you to live the same way.

The most powerful illustration in the Bible about forgiveness is the Parable of the Unmerciful Servant.  Read it.  It’s found in Matthew 18:23-35…  The last two verses of this parable are so important for us to understand if we are gonna live victoriously.

Matthew 18:35,35

34 In anger his master handed him over to the jailers to be tortured, until he should pay back all he owed. 

35 “This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother or sister from your heart.” NIV

Way too many of us are locked behind bars of unforgiveness. A spiritual prison, tortured by our thoughts of how could they have done this to me?…  Who do they think they are?…  Why would you say that to me?…  WHY would you leave me?…  WHY would you divorce me?… WHY didn’t you invite me?… WHY wouldn’t you help?… WHY WHY WHY…  What we all owe is forgiveness because King Jesus forgave us a debt that we could never pay back.

When we make a choice not to forgive, it’s like sitting in a prison holding the keys that would get us out.  The key is in your hand! Let’s give others what Jesus gave us.  Jesus gave His life to forgive us.  We too will have to die to ourselves to forgive.

Let’s walk OUT His forgiveness and love everyday…

I know it hurts when someone wrongs us, BUT NOT AS MUCH AS IT HURT JESUS WHEN HE PAID FOR ALL OF OUR SINS.

Satan is the Father of all lies…  And behind every sin there is a lie…  Unforgiveness is a lie.  Let’s receive the love and truth of Jesus and forgive right now. 

When we forgive others, we acknowledge several things:

  God’s love for us (Matt.18:21-35; Luke 6:36; John 13:34-35).

  Our love for God (Luke 7:47; 1 John 4:20).

  Our trust in God’s justice (2 Thessalonians 1:3-7).

  Our faith in God’s plan for us (Romans 8:28).

  Our readiness to suffer abuse (Matt.5:11-12).

  Our enemy is not people (Ephesians 6:12).

  Our secure position in Christ (Col.1:1-4).
 
– PASTOR RANDY HENDERSON

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GOD OF THE WHISPER

There’s a story in the Bible about a prophet named Elijah who called down fire from heaven.  It’s one of my favorites.  If you’ve never read it…well, you should.  You can find it in 1 Kings 18.

The story goes like this (Sharon version). Elijah challenged 400 false prophets of Baal to a duel.  Elijah said, “Let’s see who worships the true God.  Whoever calls down fire from heaven first wins!”  So they each selected their animal of choice, a bull, and then loaded up on some firewood. Now these prophets of Baal shouted and danced around for hours trying to get their fire going.  Elijah even teased them and asked if their god was on the toilet. Seriously, you can read it for yourself in verse 27.

After hours of this craziness, Elijah was ready for his turn to bring some fire.  Elijah wanted to make a big statement, so before he did anything he dug some trenches and filled them all with water. Then he prayed.  God moved in a BIG way. 

1 Kings 18:38, “Immediately the fire of the Lord flashed down from heaven and burned up the young bull, the wood, the stones, and the dust.  It even licked up all the water in the trench….”

I’d say Elijah proved his point.  Right after that he killed all 400 prophets of Baal, which made Queen Jezebel pretty stinkin mad.  And a mad queen made Elijah scared.  So he did something crazy…he ran for his life.

Let’s get this straight.  God moved in a big way.  I mean fire came down from heaven.  Like real, hot, burn your face off fire!  It soaked up the water and everything else.  And now one little threat from a lady named Jezebel sends him running and hiding out in a cave.

We can hide all we want, but God always knows where we are.  Hide under the sheets or hide in your work or your family or your busyness or anything else, but God will always find us.  He’s like that.  He always seems to know where we are. I mean if he knows how many hairs are on my head, I’m pretty sure He can find me hiding under the sheets.  God did just that with Elijah.  He saw him hiding in a cave and asked him what he was doing.  He told him to go stand before him on the mountain.

As Elijah stood on the mountain a mighty windstorm came and hit the mountain.  It tore right into it like an explosion, but the Lord was not in the wind.  Then there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake.  Then there was a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire either.  After the fire there was the sound of a gentle whisper. When Elijah heard the whisper he wrapped his face in his cloak. He knew God was in that gentle whisper.

When Elijah finally stopped to hear the gentle whisper of God it changed his life. And saved it (you’ll have to go read the rest of the story to find out why and how).

God responded with gentleness to Elijah.  So many times we wait for God to show up in some crazy explosive way, when the entire time he’s just whispering in our ear. Often it is the small seemingly insignificant things that ultimately determine our destiny.  Hearing that gentle whisper changed Elijah’s life that day.

So my question to you is….are you listening for that gentle whisper or are you waiting for the explosion, earthquake and fire?  If you’re waiting for something to knock you off your feet before you move, you may miss out on something really exciting that God has in store for you.

Psalm 46:10, “Be still and know that I am God…”
 
PASTOR SHARON ANDERSON

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GOD’S AMAZING GRACE

The theme of grace is something that has been discussed a lot in our churches in the past few years, as well as it should be. God’s grace is truly amazing and without it we would be truly lost. Unfortunately, there has been some misunderstanding in this area. 

 For example, many have been told that because we are “saved by grace through faith and not by our own works” (Eph. 2:8-9), that we can do whatever we want and God will accept us and that The Holy Spirit will work through us regardless. This is not true. It is true that we cannot earn our salvation and that we are only righteous through the precious blood of Jesus and the work of the cross.

Let me present something else: The Bible says, “God opposes the proud, but gives GRACE to the humble” (James 4:6).  In other words, grace is only for the humble, not for the proud. When someone decides to live in sin and that they don’t want to change then their heart becomes hard toward God’s voice. God then lifts His grace and favor (His protection) off their life and as a result, they cease to feel His Presence and then they become open to the attacks of the enemy. 

You see, It’s not God’s love for us that changes. His love can never change because God is love and He cannot change. However, God must be true to His Word and He will only give grace to those who have a truly humble and repentant heart.

So, what do we do when we don’t feel Him or think that we’re under the attack of the enemy?  We must search deep inside and ask ourselves:  Am I choosing to live in sin and opposing God’s Word?  Am I not living the way God wants me to live?  You see, “when we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us of our sins and to cleanse us from all our unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).  

Then, when our hearts are truly set on serving Him, it’s then that His grace empowers us to live holy as He is holy. Don’t worry, we’re not going to be perfect, but with God… all things are possible. I want to challenge you today; the next time you fall into sin… fall toward the cross and fall toward The Lover of Your Soul. Be quick to forgive and quick to repent. Thank You, Lord for Your amazing grace.
 
PASTOR BRENT ANDERSON

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THE GOOD SOIL

I grew up a city boy, in the heart of NE. 23rd street here in Oklahoma City. Needless to say,

farming and small town living was never on my bucket list. Things changed the day that I

married my beautiful bride. She introduced me to a whole new world… literally. Cows,

chickens, goats, you name it. But what interested me the most during my exploration was

farming. It’s the ultimate chore! I complained about a 9-5 job, but tending 80 acres of land is

unfathomable to me. There’s a commitment, a work ethic, and a certain type of character that it

takes to do this for a living.

My wife and I have a little garden in our front lawn. The other day I put my hand to the shovel

and started digging up weeds, picking them up and storing the roots to replant the flowers. I’d

gotten about halfway through the garden when the Lord spoke in a heavy way. With broken

hands and sweat dripping from my forehead, I stood at the end of the garden and looked at the

hard work that had been put into one half, and the zero work that was put in the other. One

side was beautiful… weedless, dark brown, soft soil. The other side was a rocky, light brown,

grungy looking half garden. The difference between the two halves was work. I didn’t pray for

the garden to magically appear clean, although God absolutely has the power and authority to

do that. I took it upon myself to get on my knees and rip up those weeds shovel out the rocks,

and plant new flowers.

God showed me that anybody can have “good soil”, but it’s not easy to come by. It’s a daily

effort. You don’t water your garden 1 out of 3 days (not in this Kingfisher heat, at least) and

expect flowers and crops to grow. No, you water and tend your garden every single day.

Sometimes once in the mornings and once in the evenings. The even cooler thing is that a

broken garden can be restored. It’ll take longer, more effort into the garden to be restored, but

it’s absolutely possible.

Good soil can be represented in just about every area of our lives; from our walk with the Lord,

our finances, our families, our friends and jobs. Whatever area in your life that your

garden has gone bad, may I encourage you today to tend to your garden. Take that shovel, pull

the weeds and replant what was once destroyed, and watch the Lord bless the work of your

hands. Paul tells us in the book of Phillipians 2:12 to “Work out your salvation….” We work to

protect what God has blessed us with. We work because we love the Lord and are called to

walk in obedience. We work because we are hopeful to see the harvest from the labor that’s

been placed before us.

Work your garden, my friend!
 
-PASTOR ZACH GADDIS

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