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Daily Devotionals

February 28, 2018: I have always wanted to be a mime

Ephesians 5:1-2 (NIV)
1  Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children

John 5:19 (NIV)
19  Jesus gave them this answer: “I tell you the truth, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does.

If you could be like anyone you could who would you want to be like?  Great question to ask some young child as they are growing up.  Who was your role model when you were younger?  Who did you most want to be like? I always wanted to be like James Bond.  The thrill of being a spy and having so many neat gadgets to have at my disposal was captivating.

I had all the spy gadgets you could buy at the toy store and I would spend my days outdoors pretending to be some super spy.  O, those were the days. I never tired of pretending to be James Bond.  Life in my fantasy world was pretty cool.  My parents would have to drag me in from outside for dinner.  My fantasy world never got boring.  I never tired of being my super spy.

So what does all of this have to do with your walk with Christ you ask?  Great question.  If playing the part in my fantasy world of James Bond gave me such great pleasure I have news for you.  You are called to something that far exceeds playing the part of any super spy. If being a fantasy spy is so cool think of what it would be like to be called to imitate God.

Woe, now wait a minute preacher, you have gone too far in this fantasy world of yours.  If you think that, perhaps you did not read the text in front of you today.  The Apostle Paul tells us we are commanded to be imitators of God himself.  No, this does not make us God in the least.  Jesus gives us the clear picture of what this imitation of God looks like in real life. He explains that our calling is to draw near to God so that we can see what he is doing and then all we do is follow his lead and copy what we see him doing.

But I must say, it is not really copying what he is doing, it is seeing what he is doing and then allowing him to live his life through us in the power of the Holy Spirit.  We really don’t mimic God, we allow God to live his life through us so that he is doing the work and we are only the conduit of His life.

My fantasy world just went up several notches.  This is no longer fantasy but reality.  Those who have been redeemed by Christ have the potential of experiencing the very life of God living through them so that others can see and experience God through our lives.  Talk about real purpose and real pleasure there is nothing like this in the universe.  If you are looking for life beyond this world you have only one option and that is to surrender your life totally to Christ and then ask him to fill you with His Spirit so that He can reproduce his life in you.

How is that for life beyond the fantasy world?

James Bond take a seat, it is time for the Spirit of God to live his life through me,

 

 

Pastor Phil

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Daily Devotionals

February 27, 2018: Don’t Let the enemy Set up Camp

Ephesians 4:26 (NIV)
26  “In your anger do not sin”: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry

Hebrews 12:14-15 (NIV)
14  Make every effort to live in peace with all men and to be holy; without holiness, no one will see the Lord.
15  See to it that no one misses the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many.

 

This world is a battleground.  There is no inch that is not given up freely.  You have an enemy who is set against you and seeks your destruction or at least your derailment from what really matters.  When you are tempted to quit in your pursuit of God or you are tempted to believe that nothing is ever going to get better the enemy has set up camp in your mind.

It is in this area of your mind that he seeks his most damage.  He plants thoughts that are not godly, images that steal your joy and rob you of your purity.  The question is, “How does he gain a foothold in your mind?”

Paul answers this as does the writer of Hebrews.  When you refuse to forgive, when you harbor bitterness and anger against someone who has offended you, you are letting the enemy of your soul set up his camp.  When bitterness and anger are allowed to remain, faith and obedience to God will be the first to go.  Is there anyone you have held a grudge against or refused to forgive, you can be sure as long as that root of bitterness is allowed to remain the enemy has free reign in your life and you will not be able to trust God or believe his Word or obey what He commands.

Take a moment to ask the Lord to reveal any root of bitterness or anger in your lfie and ask the Holy Spirit to drive out all that remains of bitterness and unforgiveness.

Mark 11:22-26 (NIV)
22  “Have faith in God,” Jesus answered.
23  “I tell you the truth, if anyone says to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart but believes that what he says will happen, it will be done for him.
24  Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.
25  And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive him, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins.
26  

May the God who forgave you the massive debt of sin you had enable you to freely forgive those who have sinned against you.  May the mountain of the enemy’s camp be destroyed by the grace that you extend to others today.

Seeing Mountains of Unbelief Falling as the Saints Freely Forgive,

 

 

Pastor Phil

 

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Weekly Messages

God’s Global Glory

God’s Global Glory

Psalm 67 & 96

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Daily Devotionals

February 24, 2018: A Pleasure that eclipses this world

Ephesians 5:18 (NIV)
18  Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit.

The world will seek to entice you to seek its pleasures.  It will try to convince you that you should give yourself to the pleasures of this world.  The Apostle Paul knew something of the pleasures of this world, he had fame and fortune and power as a religious leader before he met Jesus.  He tells us that he had suffered the loss of all things when he met Christ but he did not consider such a loss worth remembering.

Philippians 3:7-8 (NIV)
7  But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. 8  What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ

He had given himself wholly over to the pursuit of worldly pleasures but when he met Christ everything changed.  Now he writes to the Ephesian church and implores them to turn from the enticements of this world and instead be filled with the Spirit.

This experience of being filled with the Spirit far exceeds whatever pleasure one could experience in the pursuit of the pleasures of this world.  Allow the words of Paul to convince you today to turn from the world’s pleasure and instead be filled with the Spirit which will lead you to true and lasting pleasure.

Putting Away the Pleasures of this world and Picking up the Eternal Pleasures of the Spirit-filled life,

 

 

Pastor Phil

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Daily Devotionals

February 23, 2018: A Reason to Fall Down

Ephesians 3:14 (NIV)
For this reason, I kneel before the Father

Ever been overwhelmed with gratitude?  Ever been awed into complete silence?  Ever had your breath taken away by some grand vista or some incredible experience?  This probably sums up what Paul would have to say about his understanding of the ministry he had been given by God.  For a minute let me list for you some of what Paul is experiencing in this marvelous letter to the Ephesians.

“He has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places.” 

 Ephesians 1:4-6 (NIV)
4  For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love 5  he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will–
6  to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves.

Ephesians 1:11 (NIV)
11  In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will,

Ephesians 2:4-7 (NIV)
4  But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy,
5  made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions–it is by grace you have been saved. 6  And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus,
7  in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus.

Ephesians 2:13 (NIV)
13  But now in Christ Jesus, you who once were far away have been brought near through the blood of Christ.

Ephesians 2:19 (NIV)
19  Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and aliens, but fellow citizens with God’s people and members of God’s household,

Ephesians 3:12 (NIV) 

12  In him and through faith in him we may approach God with freedom and confidence.

These are just the fringes of his ways and promises and they were enough to cause Paul to fall to his knees in gratitude.  When is the last time you felt such gratefulness to God for what he has done on your behalf?  Perhaps it is time to take a knee before your great God.

Falling down on my knees because of his grace,

 

 

Pastor Phil

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Daily Devotionals

February 22, 2018: Feeling Trapped? perhaps this is the reason.

Ephesians 3:1 (NIV)
1  For this reason I, Paul, the prisoner of Christ Jesus for the sake of you Gentiles–

Paul spent a lot of his life in prison, behind bars because of his relationship with Christ.  Many would see this as a great problem for Paul.  Why did God, who claimed to love Paul, allow him to spend so much time behind bars in dungeons and other such places?

Many would have accused God of not being good to Paul.  If God loved Paul, then why would he keep sending him to prison?  Great question. The answer is found in this very short verse, “For this reason I, Paul, the prisoner of Christ Jesus for the sake of you Gentiles–“

It was in prison that Paul had time to think.  It was in prison that Paul had time to write and respond to many questions that were being asked of the Christian faith.  What do we do about the Law and all the sacrifices?  What do we do about problems with besetting sins in our lives?  Is Jesus really God, or just some higher angelic being? How are we to think of tribulations and afflictions?  Are we really secure in Christ, or must we hold on with everything we have in order to make our salvation secure?

All these questions and more found their answers through the pen of Paul as he sat and meditated in the many prison cells he frequented through his life.  This would have been good enough to answer the why of prison for Paul, but he saw an even greater reason to God sending him to prison so often.

“Greet all the saints in Christ Jesus. The brothers who are with me send greetings. All the saints send you greetings, especially those who belong to Caesar’s household.” (Philippians 4:21-22) 

There were many behind prison doors that needed to know of Christ.  It would be a Philippian Jailor who would see how Paul and Silas responded to hardships and affliction that would cause him to see his need for Christ and trust in him.  It would be while Paul was in prison that some of Caesar’s own household would see Christ in Paul’s life in jail and come to trust him.

Perhaps dear saint God has designed your hardships and afflictions to be the means by which many will see the clear difference in Christ and some ot trust him.  Paul seemed to indicate that was a big reason that God placed him in prison. “For this reason I, Paul, the prisoner of Christ for the sake of you Gentiles. . .”  Sort of helps bring clarity to why God might possibly have sent you into some hardship or troubling circumstances.  I wonder who might be watching your life to see if Christ is enough for you when hard times come?

Rejoicing in Affliction for the sake of those who have yet to trust Christ,

 

 

Pastor Phil

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Weekly Messages

To Whom Do We Pray?

To Whom Do We Pray?

Deuteronomy 10:12-22

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Daily Devotionals

February 18, 2018: The Secret to Understanding the Bible

Ephesians 3:4 (NIV)
4  In reading this, then, you will be able to understand my insight into the mystery of Christ,

Reading the Bible is not some mysterious experience.  This is not something that is beyond you.  When we read the Bible in order to know God we will find that our path to such knowledge will be made available.  God does not delight in playing hide and seek with his children, he delights to reveal himself to those who ask.

Matthew 11:25-26 (NIV)
25  At that time Jesus said, “I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children.
26  Yes, Father, for this was your good pleasure.

The secret to understanding the Bible is really no secret at all you just have to be willing to approach God as a child. Paul tells us in reading the Bible we will be able to understand the mystery that is out of reach for the wise in this world. Begin today to read the Bible as a child longing to know their father and you will find the pages ablaze with his presence.

Every page and every line will become a burning bush where you will meet with your Heavenly Father.  Talk about how to make the Bible a pleasurable experience get ready for the read of your life.

Reading to Know God,

 

 

Pastor Phil

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Hard Questions

If God is loving how could he…?

This is the start to most questions about God. For years people have been skeptic of the Christian faith on account of “If God is good, he would not…”

People ask this for many reasons. For one, because many people believe that humans are naturally an optimistic race. That we always look for the best in each other and that we should. Another could be that they were once hurt by a horrible, or traumatic situation. Others, really because they just believe that, with no questions asked.

These are some basic things to consider before forming your opinion on this subject.

Consider That Mankind Just Isn’t THAT Good

“No one is righteous, no not one. No one understands, and no one seeks God.” -Romans 3:10-11

The above passage couldn’t be anymore clear. No one is good. No one is born righteous. What also comes with that is no one just automatically seeks the good in anyone. I don’t know about you, but I was a “little terrorist” when I was younger. I was doing only things that I wanted to do. I sought destruction in a lot of ways.

If people were born good then they would naturally make morally sound decisions all the time. Just think, have you ever made a mistake? Have you ever lied to someone? Have you ever taken something that wasn’t yours? Have you ever said a bad word? Have you ever hurt someone? If the answer is yes to one or more of those, then maybe we should reconsider the view that we are born good. In fact, maybe we should reconsider the worldview that ALL people were born righteous with good intentions about life.

In a perfect world, yes, we would be good, and we would always need to be optimistic about life and humanity. In fact, that’s the way the world was made. After God made the world, after He made mankind, He “saw that it was good” (Gen. 1:31). Unfortunately, God’s creation sought their own pleasure, and thought that their own happiness and intellect were superior to God’s (Gen. 3:1-7). This altered the nature of the world, with mankind at the forefront, causing a wicked, evil, and cursed nature (Gen. 3:14-19).

After mankind sinned, through Adam and Eve, and the nature of the world was changed, this caused every living thing that would be born and come into existence after to have the effects and very nature of the curse. Therefore, humanity as it is today is just as cursed as Adam and Eve.

Many would confuse mankind being “optimistic” with having an internal moral code, so to speak, meaning that generally, most humans have similar moral convictions. The flip side is that often times people’s, so called, moral codes conflict with one another (ex. abortion, sex before marriage, same sex relationships, etc.). Such conflicts are an obvious sign that the nature of this world is broken, and we ought to not place ultimate trust in the goodness of humanity.

After hearing the nature of mankind, the question should go from “If God is good how could He,” to “If God is good how could He even allow us to be alive?” Our natural disposition is directly oppositional and offensive to God. How, then, can we expect to even have the right to live?

Doubt From A Hurting Heart

As I said earlier, some have really had some horrible experiences in life. Everyone has a completely different walk of life directly affected by bad or good situations.

One thing to know is that evil and sin is not God’s fault. Some would say, “But God created all things, that means he’s the creator and author of evil.” However, James 1:13 says, “Let no one say when he is tempted, ‘I am being tempted by God,’ for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone.” This takes all blame off of God, as Creator, as regards sin, death, and destruction. We brought sin into the world. Therefore, bad things can’t be blamed on God, but on mankind…

We also should blame a cosmic enemy who “seeks to devour” in this life (1 Pt. 5:8) We are directly affected by his influence as the world is Satan’s domain (1 John 5:19).

On a more compassionate note…I am aware that this information sometimes doesn’t always help a grieving, despairing, hurting heart. Instead, how about we change the atmosphere?

The Bible describes God as a compassionate Father.

“Just as a father has compassion on his children, So the LORD has compassion on those who fear Him.” –Psalm 103:13

He’s also a loving God, who enjoys to show that love to us.

“So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him.” –1 John 4:16

He’s also a God who is able and delights to comfort the hurting.

“May your unfailing love be my comfort, according to your promise to your servant.” –Psalm 119:76

“Comfort, comfort my people, says your God. Speak tenderly to Jerusalem and cry to her that her warfare is ended, that her iniquity is pardoned,  that she has received from the Lord‘s hand double for all her sins.” –Isaiah 40:1-2

My prayer is that you take heart in the reality of the existence of our God as a compassionate, loving, and comforting Father who desires to eliminate your burdens. But how does He do this?

Hope, Despite Doubt and Despair

Though the world is sinful and the earth is the dominion of Satan, there’s yet hope! Christ came to cancel the record of wrong that stood against us (Col. 2:14-15). He came to die in order to rescue us from the domain of darkness (Col. 1:13). And He is planning to come back again to take us home to be with Him! (1 Thess. 4:16-17)

Don’t despair! Don’t doubt! Instead, I implore you to throw your hope, and comfort, and trust on the One who knows you thoroughly. The God who fearfully, and wonderfully made you for a great purpose. That purpose is to find joy with Him in heaven, which is only done by realizing your sin, turning from it, and trusting that Christ will come back to gather you to live with Him!

If you still have any further questions, please send us an email through our Contact Us page, and we would love to talk to you about how you can believe that God is a good God who desires for you to be saved.

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Daily Devotionals

February 14, 2018: Our Security Deposit

Ephesians 1:14 (NIV)
14  who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession–to the praise of his glory.

Who is guarding your salvation? I speak with lots of people who have made professions of faith over the years and one thing I continually hear from them is, “How do I know I will make it to the end?”

The answer to that question lies in asking another question, “Can God ever lose any of those he now holds in his hands?” The Scripture tells us that when you believed, it was not your work that caused you to believe in the first place it was a work of God.  God began and brought to fruition your salvation by his grace alone apart from anything you did.  Then he adds to secure your salvation, the gift of his Holy Spirit as a deposit.  Just what does this deposit do for us?  Paul writes about it this way, “He is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance.

A deposit is something that you give to a person you are making a purhase from.  You put some money down so they will hold your purchase until you come back with the rest of the money.  If for some reason you should decide not to complete the purchase you will forfeit your deposit.  If God for some reason chooses to not guarantee your salvation as a completed transaction he will lose his deposit.

What is his deposit?  His Holy Spirit.  If he forfeits his Holy Spirit he will cease to be God. Since he will always and forever be God without any slight bit of change we see that our salvation is entirely secure as long as God is God.

 

Resting in the grace of God,

 

Pastor phil