GET TOGETHER- IT’S YES AND AMEN

GET TOGETHER- IT’S YES AND AMEN
Ac 2:1 -4 “When the Day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. Then there appeared to them divided tongues, as of fire, and one sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.” Heb 10:23,25 Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful. And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.

I can only imagine what it was like on that glorious day in the Upper Room when the promise of the Holy Spirit came and filled all one hundred and twenty that were in the room. I will admit that there have been some times that I have been in some services with others when the presence of God was so glorious that I did not want to leave that place, or go anywhere else.
Also, I praise the Lord for the word that we have in Hebrews that is encouraging us to stay faithful in our journey. We are told to continue to meet together. We are told to encourage, and to exhort one another. We are told to love on one another.
This has been a time like many of us have not experienced. Here are some things that I hear a lot of faithful Christians saying during this time. The church is not the building. They are right. It is not the building. The church is made up of the Blood bought children of God. We are the Bride of Christ! His body here on the earth.
The church is not the four walls and we are not called to just comfortably sit inside the four walls. Jesus commanded the disciples in Mt 28:19,20 “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, “teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen. (NKJV) This is referred to as the Great Commission. It isn’t the great suggestion. That commandment is for every believer in Jesus Christ today. I originally had plans to be in Guatemala last week serving with Daniel, and Brandi McIntyre with Eyes Wide Open Ministry. That trip was cancelled because they are not letting people in the United States into Guatemala right now.
Last week one morning when I was sitting on my porch praying and spending time in the word, I heard the Holy Spirit say that we were missionaries to Hamilton. That did not mean that we don’t go other places. But the Holy Spirit was stressing that as Christians we all are living in a Mission Filed. He was stressing that we should take our approach to being missionaries here as serious as our brothers and sisters in Christ who are on the mission field in other countries do. Again, that does not mean that we don’t go on mission trips to other places. The good news is we don’t have to do this in our own strength. If Jesus commands us to do something, He will empower us to do it. This is what He told the disciples and this is for us today the same as it was for them Ac 1:8 “But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”
I am sure that on that day when the Holy Spirit came into the Upper Room that it would have been tempting to just want to stay in that room. But praise God that they didn’t! They hit the street! Peter the one who had denied the Lord at the most critical time in the Lord’s time here on earth was now filled with the power of the Holy Spirit. He preaches that Jesus is the Christ. Three thousand would get saved on that day! Wow do we ever need a move of the Holy Spirit like that today!
God is looking for people with a missionary mentality to use in this time and season! He still wants to do what Peter preached about on that day : Ac 2:14- 18 But Peter, standing up with the eleven, raised his voice and said to them, “Men of Judea and all who dwell in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and heed my words. “For these are not drunk, as you suppose, since it is only the third hour of the day. “But this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel: ‘And it shall come to pass in the last days, says God, That I will pour out of My Spirit on all flesh; Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, Your young men shall see visions, Your old men shall dream dreams. And on My menservants and on My maidservants I will pour out My Spirit in those days; And they shall prophesy.” But just like in that day He isn’t just wanting to do this so that we can have a feel-good worship service every once in a while. He wants to do it to advance the Kingdom of God upon the earth. Phillip did it and God wants us to do it as well :Ac 8:12 “But when they believed Philip as he preached the things concerning the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, both men and women were baptized.”
Now when we do this it is very important that we do not forsake the assembling of the saints. Recently I have wondered what it would have been like for me if when I first got saved if we had not been meeting together. I was at the church every time that the doors were opened. I met with an accountability group every week. I was able to talk to them about areas that I was being tempted in and other challenges that were going on in my life. I don’t believe that I would be typing this if I had not been doing that at that time. Please don’t take this as a means to make anyone that may be in danger, or endangering someone else feel guilty because you are not able to come to worship, or other church activities at the present time. On the other hand, pray for a way for people to meet with others. Pray for those of us who are able to take the Gospel out into the world to be protected. Pray for all to be able to gather again in corporate worship.
With all of this said. Let me ask you a question. Do you see yourself as a missionary where you are at? Pray that all of our congregations will have a missionary zeal to reach the lost. I have read that missionaries from Africa, and other countries are now coming to the United States to do missionary work. Jesus had this to say in Mt 9:37,38 Then He said to His disciples, “The harvest truly is plentiful, but the laborers are few. “Therefore, pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest.” (NKJV) Pray for laborers in the harvest. Be a laborer in the harvest!
In conclusion yes, the church is not a building. But the building is a place where the church can gather and worship God, love on one another, pray for one another, and experience the presence of God in a powerful way. All of this so that we are equipped, edified, loved on, and encouraged to take the Gospel to a lost, desperate, and hurting world. And to that we say yes and Amen!

Let us Pray
Lord Jesus we thank You that we have the honor of being the church. Forgive us when we have let other things have priority over the mission that You have given us as Your people. Today we pray that all who read this will be empowered by the Holy Spirit to be your missionaries, and Your witnesses in a world that needs You so much. May we Your people be free to gather together, and encourage one another in order that we are able to fulfill the destiny and purpose that You have created us to fulfill.
In Jesus Name
Amen

Thanks to all of you who pray for us and encourage us. We love you and greatly appreciate it.
Your Friend/Kinfolk
Preston

GET TOGETHER- THE POWER OF THE CROSS

GET TOGETHER- THE POWER OF THE CROSS

Ga 6:14 But God forbid that I should boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.

            The devil and his demonic entities often love to remind the believer and follower of Jesus Christ of our sinful pasts.  On the other hand, when He does the Holy Spirit will remind us of the power of the cross and how that the 

Lord has redeemed every part of our lives. Not only can we walk as forgiven people. But we can live as transformed people that God has forgiven and is redeeming the things that we have messed up in our lives. I like to say that what we have messed up God can dress up. He makes all things new. The Scriptures tell us in  2Co 5:17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. (NKJV)  I love this passage in Isaiah about how God dresses up what we have messed up: Isa 58:12 “Those from among you Shall build the old waste places; You shall raise up the foundations of many generations.” And you shall be called the Repairer of the Breach, The Restorer of Streets to Dwell In.

            Let me give you a couple of examples.  First of all, I am not bragging about the sin that I once lived in. And I am also not bragging or seeking to exalt myself. The only One that I will exalt is the Lord Jesus Christ whom as I have stated not only forgives people of the sins that we have committed, but He  also brings transformation and restoration to our lives. There is a whole culture out there that is walking in sin as I once was  that needs the transforming power of God to work in their lives. So that is why I sometimes share and testify how the Lord forgives our sins and changes our lives. 

            Not to long ago J.J. and I were at a wonderful occasion at a very beautiful place. While we were there as I was looking at the scenery, I noticed that it was very familiar and perhaps was a place that I had once often frequented when I was living in sin and rebellion against God.  The Holy Spirit then began to speak to my heart. I am not the same person that frequented that place, and lived in rebellion against God.  This was not a bad place. It was a beautiful place. But now I could see God’s creation as a forgiven child of God rather than as a place where I often went to medicate my pain and to seek peace in ungodly ways that only led to more pain, and more hurt. 

            The Holy Spirit then reminded me of how that He had given us so many wonderful friends. That He has given us so many wonderful brothers and sisters in Christ. And how that He has also redeemed the lives of many of our friends that had once tried to medicate their pain, hurt, disappointments, rejection and other heartbreaks in the same way. God is so good! He is a loving, holy, forgiving, redeeming, and transforming God. 

            All of us that have been born again can rejoice in the power of the cross. We have been forgiven of our sins! Every demon that is at the disposal of Satan has been defeated and they have no authority over us. When then enemy comes with his voice of lies  we can rejoice in these words from Col 2:13-15 “And you, being dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He has made alive together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses, having wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us, which was contrary to us. And He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross. Having disarmed principalities and powers, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them in it.” And if you have not been born again God is ready to forgive you, transform you and restore the broken places in your life.

            I would like to share one more example of how God redeemed and restored in my life. I pray that it will encourage you in some way in your journey with Christ.  Yesterday I was at Wal- Mart here in Hamilton.  As I was at the checkout counter the cashier complimented me about my class ring.  It gave me an opportunity to share how the Lord has redeemed something in my life. 

            When I went to college in 1968 at Jacksonville State University, I lost my high school graduation ring one night. Me and some friends were riding around and when I threw a beer bottle at a sign my ring when flying out the window with it. It is somewhere just off the highway between Jacksonville and Piedmont, Alabama. Also, I flunked out of the college that May and I was a long way from thinking that I would ever get a college degree. 

            When the Lord called me to preach, He called me to go back to college as well. He doesn’t do that for all people that He calls to preach, but that was a part of the journey that He has had me on. In 1996 when I was getting ready to graduate from Birmingham Southern College, I ordered me a class ring.  The set is black and it has a gold cross on it. It symbolizes to me how that God redeems our past failures, sins, and mistakes. Also, in Luke Chapter 15 when the prodigal son came home his father placed a ring upon his finger: Lu 15:22 “But the father said to his servants, ‘Bring out the best robe and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand and sandals on his feet.”

            So yesterday when the clerk complimented me on my class ring, I shared with here that the black set was symbolic of the darkness that I once walked in. I shared with her that the cross was symbolic of the Lord delivering me out of the darkness. Wow! The message of the cross is such a wonderful message!  When we come to the cross and surrender our lives to Jesus Christ, we are redeemed from Hell.  Now that is some good news! We are being transformed more into his likeness and experiencing Him redeeming and restoring every part of our lives. He turns past failures into victories for his glory and His honor. Oh, the power of the Man who died on the cross, who rose from the dead, and who sits at the right hand of the Father!  Glory to the Man who fills us with the Holy Spirit the Man who one day will return for His bride.  Experience His forgiveness, His love and His redeeming transforming power at the cross of Jesus Christ!

Let Us Pray 

Lord we thank You that at the cross we find forgiveness. We thank You for the mercy that you have shown to us. We thank You for sending the Holy Spirit and giving us the Word of God so that we can experience the power of transformation and go from glory to glory.  We thank You that You are a God that will dress up what we have messed up!

In Jesus Name

Amen

May all who read this experience the forgiveness and the redeeming, restoring transforming love of our Blessed Savior  the Lord Jesus Christ ! Love you all!

Your Friend/Kinfolk

Preston

GET TOGETHER- COME AS A LITTLE CHILD

GET TOGETHER- COME AS A LITTLE CHILD

Lu 18:16,17 But Jesus called them to Him and said, “Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of God.” Assuredly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will by no means enter it.”

This morning was my morning to keep three of our grandchildren Judah, Micah, and Eden. Most of the time we do a devotional before we get into playing hide and go seek, football, making sand castles, or some other fun activity.
Today our lesson came from 1Pe 5:8,9 ¶ Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world. (NKJV) We talked about what an adversary is. We talked about how the devil is an adversary to the Christian. We talked about what temptation is and how that the devil tries to get us to do bad things like lying and some other things. We talked about what it means to have brothers and sisters in Christ as well as who are our natural brothers and sisters.
As we were getting ready to close out our prayer time the Holy Spirit had me to ask Micah who is six years old had he been saved. He replied that he had not. My next question to him was did he want to get saved. He answered yes. We then prayed together. As we were praying, I looked over at Eden who is four years old. She was praying and confessing Jesus as her Lord and Savior just as Micah was.
The Lord has really put it on my heart to pray for our grandchildren. I am sure that some of you may be thinking that they are to young to know what they are doing. I praise God that they were given a spirit at the point of conception. I praise God that they have been taught at home about Jesus all of their young lives.
My thoughts are that the world sure does know that they are old enough. Their brother Judah shared with them about the day that he got saved in our sun room when he was somewhere close to their age. They don’t have a problem believing that Jesus died on the cross for their sins. They don’t have a problem believing that God raised Him from the dead. Yes, they will have much growth and maturing to do as Christians. They will have to be taught and nurtured in the faith. But praise God just as their brother was able to testify about the day that he got saved they will be able to testify about it as well. I wonder what the world would be like right now if more of our children made a commitment to Jesus Christ.
Perhaps you are reading this today and you have made a commitment to Jesus Christ. You may have made it when you were young and have somehow drifted out of His will for your life and are not currently serving Him. He is calling you today to come back. You are His child and He is ready to help you to once again be on the path that He desires for you to be on.
And I am sure that there are many of you that you made a commitment at a young age and the Lord has kept you on the path of a loving relationship with Him. It is a relationship where you have served God and you have also served others to bring glory to His Name. Halleluiah! We praise Him for that!
On the other hand, perhaps, you are up there in years and you think that you have committed too many sins, and, or that your sins are too bad to be forgiven of by God. He wants you to come to Him with child like faith just as our grandchildren did. He is ready to forgive you. He is ready to give you eternal life. Whoever you are and no matter what you have done let today be the day that you repent of your sins and place your faith as a little child and be born again. Put your faith in the shed blood of Jesus Christ and he will save you just as He did Eden and Micah this morning: Ro 5:8,9 “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him.” And for those of us who have been forgiven may God use us to see that others come into His Kingdom during these very challenging times.

Let Us Pray
Lord Jesus we thank You that You came to seek and save that which is lost. Today we thank You for that enabling grace that allows us to come to You as little children. We pray that all that read this who have not come to You as a little child will come even today. May today be the Day of Salvation in each of their lives. For those of us who have help us to share this Good News to a lost and chaotic world that for the most part seems to be seeking peace in all of the wrong places, in all of the wrong ways.
In Jesus Name
Amen

We love you all. May the Lord bless you and keep you. May He make His face shine upon you and be gracious to you, and may the Lord grant you peace!
In Jesus Name
Your Friend/Kinfolk
Preston

GET TOGETHER- COME AS A LITTLE CHILD

Lu 18:16,17 But Jesus called them to Him and said, “Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of God.” Assuredly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will by no means enter it.”

This morning was my morning to keep three of our grandchildren Judah, Micah, and Eden. Most of the time we do a devotional before we get into playing hide and go seek, football, making sand castles, or some other fun activity.
Today our lesson came from 1Pe 5:8,9 ¶ Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world. (NKJV) We talked about what an adversary is. We talked about how the devil is an adversary to the Christian. We talked about what temptation is and how that the devil tries to get us to do bad things like lying and some other things. We talked about what it means to have brothers and sisters in Christ as well as who are our natural brothers and sisters.
As we were getting ready to close out our prayer time the Holy Spirit had me to ask Micah who is six years old had he been saved. He replied that he had not. My next question to him was did he want to get saved. He answered yes. We then prayed together. As we were praying, I looked over at Eden who is four years old. She was praying and confessing Jesus as her Lord and Savior just as Micah was.
The Lord has really put it on my heart to pray for our grandchildren. I am sure that some of you may be thinking that they are to young to know what they are doing. I praise God that they were given a spirit at the point of conception. I praise God that they have been taught at home about Jesus all of their young lives.
My thoughts are that the world sure does know that they are old enough. Their brother Judah shared with them about the day that he got saved in our sun room when he was somewhere close to their age. They don’t have a problem believing that Jesus died on the cross for their sins. They don’t have a problem believing that God raised Him from the dead. Yes, they will have much growth and maturing to do as Christians. They will have to be taught and nurtured in the faith. But praise God just as their brother was able to testify about the day that he got saved they will be able to testify about it as well. I wonder what the world would be like right now if more of our children made a commitment to Jesus Christ.
Perhaps you are reading this today and you have made a commitment to Jesus Christ. You may have made it when you were young and have somehow drifted out of His will for your life and are not currently serving Him. He is calling you today to come back. You are His child and He is ready to help you to once again be on the path that He desires for you to be on.
And I am sure that there are many of you that you made a commitment at a young age and the Lord has kept you on the path of a loving relationship with Him. It is a relationship where you have served God and you have also served others to bring glory to His Name. Halleluiah! We praise Him for that!
On the other hand, perhaps, you are up there in years and you think that you have committed too many sins, and, or that your sins are too bad to be forgiven of by God. He wants you to come to Him with child like faith just as our grandchildren did. He is ready to forgive you. He is ready to give you eternal life. Whoever you are and no matter what you have done let today be the day that you repent of your sins and place your faith as a little child and be born again. Put your faith in the shed blood of Jesus Christ and he will save you just as He did Eden and Micah this morning: Ro 5:8,9 “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him.” And for those of us who have been forgiven may God use us to see that others come into His Kingdom during these very challenging times.

Let Us Pray
Lord Jesus we thank You that You came to seek and save that which is lost. Today we thank You for that enabling grace that allows us to come to You as little children. We pray that all that read this who have not come to You as a little child will come even today. May today be the Day of Salvation in each of their lives. For those of us who have help us to share this Good News to a lost and chaotic world that for the most part seems to be seeking peace in all of the wrong places, in all of the wrong ways.
In Jesus Name
Amen

We love you all. May the Lord bless you and keep you. May He make His face shine upon you and be gracious to you, and may the Lord grant you peace!
In Jesus Name
Your Friend/Kinfolk
Preston

GET TOGETHER- COME AS A LITTLE CHILD

Lu 18:16,17 But Jesus called them to Him and said, “Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of God.” Assuredly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will by no means enter it.”

This morning was my morning to keep three of our grandchildren Judah, Micah, and Eden. Most of the time we do a devotional before we get into playing hide and go seek, football, making sand castles, or some other fun activity.

Today our lesson came from 1Pe 5:8,9 ¶ Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world. (NKJV) We talked about what an adversary is. We talked about how the devil is an adversary to the Christian. We talked about what temptation is and how that the devil tries to get us to do bad things like lying and some other things. We talked about what it means to have brothers and sisters in Christ as well as who are our natural brothers and sisters.

As we were getting ready to close out our prayer time the Holy Spirit had me to ask Micah who is six years old had he been saved. He replied that he had not. My next question to him was did he want to get saved. He answered yes. We then prayed together. As we were praying, I looked over at Eden who is four years old. She was praying and confessing Jesus as her Lord and Savior just as Micah was.
The Lord has really put it on my heart to pray for our grandchildren. I am sure that some of you may be thinking that they are to young to know what they are doing. I praise God that they were given a spirit at the point of conception. I praise God that they have been taught at home about Jesus all of their young lives.

My thoughts are that the world sure does know that they are old enough. Their brother Judah shared with them about the day that he got saved in our sun room when he was somewhere close to their age. They don’t have a problem believing that Jesus died on the cross for their sins. They don’t have a problem believing that God raised Him from the dead. Yes, they will have much growth and maturing to do as Christians. They will have to be taught and nurtured in the faith. But praise God just as their brother was able to testify about the day that he got saved they will be able to testify about it as well.

I wonder what the world would be like right now if more of our children made a commitment to Jesus Christ.
Perhaps you are reading this today and you have made a commitment to Jesus Christ. You may have made it when you were young and have somehow drifted out of His will for your life and are not currently serving Him. He is calling you today to come back. You are His child and He is ready to help you to once again be on the path that He desires for you to be on.

And I am sure that there are many of you that you made a commitment at a young age and the Lord has kept you on the path of a loving relationship with Him. It is a relationship where you have served God and you have also served others to bring glory to His Name. Halleluiah! We praise Him for that!

On the other hand, perhaps, you are up there in years and you think that you have committed too many sins, and, or that your sins are too bad to be forgiven of by God. He wants you to come to Him with child like faith just as our grandchildren did. He is ready to forgive you. He is ready to give you eternal life. Whoever you are and no matter what you have done let today be the day that you repent of your sins and place your faith as a little child and be born again. Put your faith in the shed blood of Jesus Christ and he will save you just as He did Eden and Micah this morning: Ro 5:8,9 “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him.” And for those of us who have been forgiven may God use us to see that others come into His Kingdom during these very challenging times.

Let Us Pray
Lord Jesus we thank You that You came to seek and save that which is lost. Today we thank You for that enabling grace that allows us to come to You as little children. We pray that all that read this who have not come to You as a little child will come even today. May today be the Day of Salvation in each of their lives. For those of us who have help us to share this Good News to a lost and chaotic world that for the most part seems to be seeking peace in all of the wrong places, in all of the wrong ways.
In Jesus Name
Amen

We love you all. May the Lord bless you and keep you. May He make His face shine upon you and be gracious to you, and may the Lord grant you peace!
In Jesus Name
Your Friend/Kinfolk
Preston

GET TOGETHER- FAITHFULNESS UNDER FIRE

GET TOGETHER- FAITHFULNESS UNDER FIRE 

Ac 26:1,2 Then Agrippa said to Paul, “You are permitted to speak for yourself.” So Paul stretched out his hand and answered for himself: “I think myself happy, King Agrippa, because today I shall answer for myself before you concerning all the things of which I am accused by the Jews,

            There is no doubt as I mentioned last week that Christians throughout the world are being persecuted. And there is no doubt that Christians in the United States that believe in the Deity of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ are facing hostility from the culture in a way that we never have before in the United States.  For those of us who hold a Biblical worldview concerning marriage we sometimes are called names such as haters, or are referred to as being backwards.  Also, Christians that believe that life is precious and begins at conception are often ostracized.  

The Apostle Paul was facing a very serious threat to his ministry and his life when he is brought before King Agrippa. How does he respond when he is brought before King Agrippa? Does he call Agrippa insulting names? Does he mock him?  Agrippa was the king, and governor over the tetrarchy of Philip and Lysanias. He also served as the Superintendent of the Temple.  This was a way that the Roman government could be sure that things didn’t get out of hand at the Temple. 

            Paul could have stood there and really came down on Agrippa about a lot of things.   He could have chosen to lash out at him concerning his family line which was very wicked. He could have joined in on some of the gossip about Agrippa and his sister Bernice. But he didn’t. 

            Let’s look in a little on what Paul does say. Space will not allow for every thing that Paul said, but let us look at some of his interaction with King Agrippa and with Festus the procurator of Judea.  Notice that Paul respectfully refers to him as King Agrippa.  How do we address people that may be hostile toward us? How do we address or refer to leaders that we may disagree with? Do we respond different that the way the world responds?  Notice that Paul will never compromise the truth. But on the other hand, as he gives his testimony there is no doubt that the Holy Spirit is indwelling in him and empowering him. 

            He shares about his past life before he met Jesus Christ Ac 26:4,5 “My manner of life from my youth, which was spent from the beginning among my own nation at Jerusalem, all the Jews know. “They knew me from the first, if they were willing to testify, that according to the strictest sect of our religion I lived a Pharisee.” He shares his being puzzled about why he is on trial Ac 26:6-8 “And now I stand and am judged for the hope of the promise made by God to our fathers.”To this promise our twelve tribes, earnestly serving God night and day, hope to attain. For this hope’s sake, King Agrippa, I am accused by the Jews. “Why should it be thought incredible by you that God raises the dead? 

            Paul is on a Kingdom assignment. If you have been saved God has Kingdom assignments set up for you. If you have not been saved today is the day of salvation. Turn to Jesus Christ and receive Him as your Lord and Savior.   Paul tells them that it is not contrary to the kingdom, or to the Hebrew Scriptures to believe in the resurrection of the dead: Ac 26:8-10 “Why should it be thought incredible by you that God raises the dead?”

            Once again Paul shares where he had been wrong in the past Ac 26:9-11 “Indeed, I myself thought I must do many things contrary to the name of Jesus of Nazareth. “This I also did in Jerusalem, and many of the saints I shut up in prison, having received authority from the chief priests; and when they were put to death, I cast my vote against them. “And I punished them often in every synagogue and compelled them to blaspheme; and being exceedingly enraged against them, I persecuted them even” Now he has an audience that he can share how Jesus changed his life with.  As Christians I believe that we are all called to share the Gospel with those who have not accepted Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior.  You can read about Paul sharing his testimony of what happened on the Road to Damascus  in verses 12-18. 

            With that said at the present time rather than trash talking people that are hostile to the Gospel I am praying for them to have Damascus Road experiences. Would you join me in praying for government leaders who are not saved on all sides to have a Damascus Road experience? Would you do the same for corporate executives, professors on many of our college campuses and other people, that are hostile, or indifferent to the Gospel of Jesus Christ? 

            Paul did not deny that those who were persecuting him were in the wrong. He just made sure that he presented the truth in a manner that glorified Jesus Christ. He did not hesitate to say that those who were opposing him were walking in darkness. But he did not trash talk them. We can speak truth without trash talking those who oppose us. When we resort to trash talk, or gossip we are taking the bait that Satan is using to point out that we are no different from the lost.   Ac 26:19 -23″Therefore, King Agrippa, I was not disobedient to the heavenly vision, “but declared first to those in Damascus and in Jerusalem, and throughout all the region of Judea, and then to the Gentiles, that they should repent, turn to God, and do works befitting repentance. “For these reasons the Jews seized me in the temple and tried to kill me. “Therefore, having obtained help from God, to this day I stand, witnessing both to small and great, saying no other things than those which the prophets and Moses said would come– “that the Christ would suffer, that He would be the first to rise from the dead, and would proclaim light to the Jewish people and to the Gentiles.”

            Here is another good example Paul has just given his testimony. He preached the suffering, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ the Messiah and now Festus tells him that he has lost his mind. Ac 26:24,25  “Now as he thus made his defense, Festus said with a loud voice, “Paul, you are beside yourself! Much learning is driving you mad!” But he said, “I am not mad, most noble Festus, but speak the words of truth and reason.”  I know from experience that when you have just finished preaching, or testifying,or both that it is a very emotionally draining experience in some ways.  I certainly have not had the opportunity that Paul had on this level before a high government official that was a pagan.   But in some ways, I can imagine what it would be like to pour your heart out before someone in this setting and then to be basically told that you were out of your mind from studying the Scriptures and proclaiming the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.  

            But notice how Paul addresses Festus. He calls him most noble Festus.  He does not take the bait of the enemy and refer to him in a disrespectful way. On the other hand, he does speak truth.  You can read the rest of Paul’s trial before Agrippa and Festus.  

We hear from time to time that Christians aren’t called to be successful, but faithful. I can agree with the thought and spirit behind that statement. On the other hand, I believe that when we are faithful that we are successful. Our success will not always be defined by the way that the world defines success. I believe in God’s eyes that Paul was both successful and faithful on this particular day. 

On that day Paul issued an invitation to King  Agrippa. Ac 26:27 “King Agrippa, do you believe the prophets? I know that you do believe.”  Here was Agrippa’s response to Paul’s earnest plea after he  under the anointing of the Holy Spirit had given his testimony concerning the death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ Ac 26:28 Then Agrippa said to Paul, “You almost persuade me to become a Christian.”

Paul respectfully makes one more plea, not only to Agrippa, but to all who were in that room.  Ac 26:29 And Paul said, “I would to God that not only you, but also all who hear me today, might become both almost and altogether such as I am, except for these chains.” It must have been disappointing for Paul that day when those who rejected Christ got up and walked away. I have often wondered how may times since that day over two thousand years ago those who rejected his plea have regretted it:  vv30,31 When he had said these things, the king stood up, as well as the governor and Bernice and those who sat with them; and when they had gone aside, they talked among themselves, saying, “This man is doing nothing deserving of death or chains.”. 

One thing we know for sure is that when Paul spoke that he spoke the truth. He spoke the truth in love.   In this culture we face, hear and read about many people that are hostile to the Gospel. Many are hostile to the message concerning   the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. There are many that are opposed to a Biblical worldview in our culture today.  While we live in this culture may we speak the truth, and not compromise. But may we also  do it in a way that brings glory and honor to the Name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. 

Let Us Pray

Lord today help us not to be trash talkers, but truth speakers. We ask You by the power of the Holy Spirit to help us as You did the Apostle Paul and the early saints to speak in a way that brings glory to your Name. We pray that You will help  us to win others to Christ in these last days. Help us to pray for those who oppose the Gospel. Just as You did with Paul, we believe that You can turn them into mighty men and women of God.   We pray that our words will be word that are Spirit and are life and not words that do not bring Glory to Your Holy Name!

In Jesus Name

Amen

Your Friend/Kinfolk

Preston 

Joh 6:63 “It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life.

GET TOGETHER-Praying For Your Enemies

GET TOGETHER –  Praying For Your Enemies 

Ac 8:1 -4 Now Saul was consenting to his death. At that time a great persecution arose against the church which was at Jerusalem; and they were all scattered throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria, except the apostles. And devout men carried Stephen to his burial, and made great lamentation over him. As for Saul, he made havoc of the church, entering every house, and dragging off men and women, committing them to prison.  Ac 9:1 6 Then Saul, still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest and asked letters from him to the synagogues of Damascus, so that if he found any who were of the Way, whether men or women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem. As he journeyed, he came near Damascus, and suddenly a light shone around him from heaven. Then he fell to the ground, and heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?”And he said, “Who are You, Lord?” Then the Lord said, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. It is hard for you to kick against the goads.” So he, trembling and astonished, said, “Lord, what do You want me to do?” Then the Lord said to him, “Arise and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do.”

            I must confess that when I see a person on the news that I believe holds and espouses a position that I believe is contrary to a Biblical worldview on a particular issue I at first get angry. To be honest I really have limited myself to how much news that I watch and I am trying not to read things on social media that stir a wrong spirit in me.  

            Once again being honest the Holy Spirit reminds me that Jesus died on the cross to save that person from their sins the same as He did for me. The Apostle Paul tell us in Ro 5:8 But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (NKJV)  According to John 3:16-18   we are told that Jesus came to die for the sins of all humanity. However, it is only those who believe in Him that will be forgiven and saved Joh 3:16 -18 “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.  “For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.  “He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

            The early church was facing persecution from the religious. They would later face it from the Romans We certainly in the United States have not faced persecution like our brothers and sisters in Africa, China, Iran, Iraq and in some other parts of the world.  On the other hand, it has become very acceptable for some corporations, some people in government,  others on many of our college campuses, and other groups to openly oppose and belittle people that have a Biblical worldview. 

            When I read the above passages, they really inspire me and give me great hope. Saul of Tarsus was a persecutor of the church.  I am sure that when some of them saw some of their relatives being put to death for their faith some anger perhaps arose in them. In the Book of Ephesians, we are told not to have unrighteous anger  Eph 4:26 “Be angry, and do not sin”: do not let the sun go down on your wrath.” 

             I believe that God desires for us to allow that energy to be used in prayer.   Look what happened when the early church did that. I hope that you read our opening passages. If you didn’t make sure that you go back and read them.  Here was a man that was dedicated to stopping this new sect that believed that Jesus was the Messiah risen from the dead. He had been there when Stephen the first recorded martyr of the church was put to death. He had dragged some of their mothers and fathers out of their homes to have them imprisoned and some put to death. 

            But the early church was a praying church. I believe that they rather than walking around town since they didn’t have Facebook and ranting prayed for the salvation of this man that was persecuting the church.  Some of them had probably been there the day that Jesus had this to say about praying for your enemies: Mt 5:43,44 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ “But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you.”

            Look what happened! Saul of Tarsus gets saved!  He would also get filled with the Holy Spirit    Now as a result of a praying church a persecutor of the church is turned into a purveyor of the Gospel.  Might not God do it again in our day if we really get serious about praying like the early church did? Imagine people that are funding groups and organizations that are opposed to the Gospel beginning to be used to support the Gospel and to heed the call to take the Gospel to all nations!  Might not some of those who speak so boldly against a Biblical worldview become bold preachers of the Gospel of Jesus Christ?   You   and I  if we had lived back then would have had a hard time loving  Saul of Tarsus who would become the Apostle Paul before he got saved and filled with the Holy Spirit. 

             Can I be honest with you here? I really don’t want to put this down, but I believe that the Holy Spirit of God is impressing upon me to do it. In the countries that I have visited and the countries that I have read about where there is persecution those churches are growing. This the part I didn’t want to say. Their main concern on the weekends isn’t how their favorite football team is going to come out.  I am not trying to be legalistic here. But what I am saying is I believe that God is calling His people back to our first love. I believe that God is calling us to commit to prayer. 

            On the last night that Jesus was on the earth and He needed prayer more than He ever had before He found the disciples sleeping. How about us? Are we sleeping at a time that He is calling every Christian to sacrifice time in prayer? By the way it is a blessing a whole lot more than it is a sacrifice! This is what He told the disciples when He found them sleeping.: Mt 26:40 Then He came to the disciples and found them asleep, and said to Peter, “What? Could you not watch with Me one hour?   Would you be willing to commit to pray one hour a day at this critical juncture not only in our nation’s future, but concerning the Kingdom of God and His church worldwide?  Should the Lord tarry our children, and grandchildren’s future could depend on it.  And also, where millions worldwide spend eternity could depend upon it as well.  He is asking. What is your answer? 

Let Us Pray

Lord Jesus we thank you that the Word of God says in Jer 33:3 ‘Call to Me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know.’ (NKJV) We are calling out today for a mighty move of God in our nation and throughout the world! Today we ask You to raise up mighty men and women of prayer. We come today and pray for those who so vehemently oppose the Gospel of Jesus Christ that the Holy Spirit would draw them to the cross of Christ.  Lord we believe that You  can make Pauls’ out of Sauls’  and  turn the Jezebels into Deborah’s . Forgive us for sleeping on our watch posts. Give us a greater passion for you than for athletic teams, hobbies, or anything else. Help us to enjoy those blessings in a way that they are not idolatrous in our lives. Forgive us for when they have been.  Raise up prayer groups!  We pray that your congregations be Houses of Prayer. We pray that this virus leave! We pray today that the freedom to worship You in public and in our congregations where we meet will not be prohibited in this nation. We pray that where that it is in other nations that You will change the hearts of those who oppose the Gospel in those countries.  We cry out to You today! We believe that what You have told us to do that You will answer and show us great and mighty things!

In Jesus Name

Amen

We love you all! By the way if you have a brother, or sister that has a different skin color than you give them a call, or pay them a visit and tell them that you love them. Celebrate the blessings that you have experienced with them in your lives.  If you don’t have one ask God to give you one. He will!

Your Friend/Kinfolk

Preston

GET TOGETHER- A GREAT RECIPE FOR VICTORY

GET TOGETHER- A GREAT RECIPE FOR VICTORY

2Ch 20:1 -7 It happened after this that the people of Moab with the people of Ammon, and others with them besides the Ammonites, came to battle against Jehoshaphat. Then some came and told Jehoshaphat, saying, “A great multitude is coming against you from beyond the sea, from Syria; and they are in Hazazon Tamar” (which is En Gedi). And Jehoshaphat feared, and set himself to seek the LORD, and proclaimed a fast throughout all Judah.So Judah gathered together to ask help from the LORD; and from all the cities of Judah they came to seek the LORD. Then Jehoshaphat stood in the assembly of Judah and Jerusalem, in the house of the LORD, before the new court,and said: “O LORD God of our fathers, are You not God in heaven, and do You not rule over all the kingdoms of the nations, and in Your hand is there not power and might, so that no one is able to withstand You? “Are You not our God, who drove out the inhabitants of this land before Your people Israel, and gave it to the descendants

            Right now, in our nation, and throughout the world the forces of Hell and the spirit of antichrist are flexing their muscles to come against the Blood bought Church of Jesus Christ and His anointed ones.  Our battle is not against people, but as I said a few weeks ago our battle as we are told in Eph 6:12  is against the demonic forces that are under the control of Satan. “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.”

            These demonic forces were behind the armies that were coming after King Jehoshaphat and the people of Judah. The enemy is always trying to destroy the seed. Jesus our Lord and savior would come from the tribe of Judah. Today the enemy is trying to destroy the seed by attempting to impose a worldview that is not only humanistic, but it is also Satanic. 

            Let’s look at how Jehoshaphat responded to this challenge.  First of all, he realized that this battle was too big for him. He knew that this would have to be God’s battle.  So, we are told in verse 20 “that he feared and set himself to seek the Lord.” There is a heavy spirit of fear that the enemy has launched against the people of God at this time. We must do as Jehoshaphat did and seek the Lord. If you read last week’s Get Together you would remember that I said that the Lord told me to get my eyes off the storm and on to Him. 

            Hezekiah called for a fast. I encourage you during this time to fast something in some way.  The Holy Spirit will guide you and sustain you in this.  One meal a day several times a week is one good option.  Then he comes before the people and prays. Corporate prayer is a big thing. That is one reason that the enemy wants to inhibit God’s people from gathering together. God is also calling people to intercede in a way that we have never been asked to intercede before. 

            The Holy Spirit woke me up to pray at 3:A.M. this morning. I believe that He is moving on the hearts of others to pray in ways that we never have before. 

This morning as I was reading from Amos there were two times after he had prophesied that calamity was coming that the Lord relented and had mercy on Israel. “Am 7:1 ¶-6”Thus the Lord GOD showed me: Behold, He formed locust swarms at the beginning of the late crop; indeed it was the late crop after the king’s mowings. And so it was, when they had finished eating the grass of the land, that I said: “O Lord GOD, forgive, I pray! Oh, that Jacob may stand, For he is small!”

  So the LORD relented concerning this. “It shall not be,” said the LORD. Thus the Lord GOD showed me: Behold, the Lord GOD called for conflict by fire, and it consumed the great deep and devoured the territory. Then I said: “O Lord GOD, cease, I pray! Oh, that Jacob may stand, For he is small!” So the LORD relented concerning this. “This also shall not be,” said the Lord GOD. “Might not the Lord relent and have mercy on this nation as a result of people interceding for this nation and for Christians throughout the world.  And yes, calamity would eventually come to Israel. But I believe the Lord is looking for watchman and watch women to intercede and cry out for His Kingdom to be advanced in this nation and throughout the earth. Jesus told us to pray “thy Kingdom come thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven.” There is no turmoil in Heaven! There is no racism in Heaven! There is no looting in Heaven! There is no killing in Heaven! There is no stealing in Heaven! There is no sexual sin in Heaven! There is no worship of false gods in Heaven!

            Let’s get back to Jehoshaphat. Then a word of prophecy comes with a strategy for victory! The Bible tells us in 1Th 5:20 “Do not despise prophecies.”  We can see this wonderful prophetic word in  2Ch 20:14 -15 “Then the Spirit of the LORD came upon Jahaziel the son of Zechariah, the son of Benaiah, the son of Jeiel, the son of Mattaniah, a Levite of the sons of Asaph, in the midst of the assembly. And he said, “Listen, all you of Judah and you inhabitants of Jerusalem, and you, King Jehoshaphat! Thus says the LORD to you: ‘Do not be afraid nor dismayed because of this great multitude, for the battle is not yours, but God’s.”

            I will summarize what happens next. You can read the rest of the chapter in case I miss something here.  He assures them that the Lord will fight this battle for them: 2Ch 20:15 And he said, “Listen, all you of Judah and you inhabitants of Jerusalem, and you, King Jehoshaphat! Thus says the LORD to you: ‘Do not be afraid nor dismayed because of this great multitude, for the battle is not yours, but God’s.” He tells them the enemy’s strategy 2Ch 20:16 ‘Tomorrow go down against them. They will surely come up by the Ascent of Ziz, and you will find them at the end of the brook before the Wilderness of Jeruel.” He assures them that they have the victory in 2Ch 20:17 ‘You will not need to fight in this battle. Position yourselves, stand still and see the salvation of the LORD, who is with you, O Judah and Jerusalem!’ Do not fear or be dismayed; tomorrow go out against them, for the LORD is with you.” How much more do we have the victory.  You can’t sing Victory In Jesus with a look of defeat on your face!

            Jehoshaphat has a corporate prayer meeting. They worship the Lord.  It is impressed upon them to listen to the prophets. As they began to praise the Lord the Lord  set ambushes  for their enemies. Their enemies destroyed  themselves and Judah was three days picking up the spoils. ( 2 Chronicles 20:17-25)

            I know that we are living in a Matthew 24 time. I also know that God will honor a people that seek Him first that come to Him broken by prayer and fasting. A people that will be willing to know that by faith not only will God relent from calamity, but God will use His people to advance His Kingdom upon the earth. J.J. and I are all in! How about you? Will you be willing to come before the Lord in prayer? Will you be willing to fast at time that the Holy Spirit impresses upon you to?   I believe that the Lord is calling me to do some type of fast from 7/7 until lunch on 7/12. Seven is the number for deliverance and twelve is the number for government.  May the Lord not only deliver us from calamity, but may  bring a mighty move of God upon not only this nation, but throughout the earth.

Let Us Pray

Lord today we ask you for mercy. We confess our sins before you. Help us to have a greater passion for the You and for the lost than for anything else. We praise You today! You are the God of this universe. We believe that you can and will do exceedingly and abundantly more than we can ask or imagine. 

In Jesus Name

Amen

We love you all! 

Your Friend/Kinfolk

Preston

GET TOGETHER- IMAGES

GET TOGETHER-   IMAGES 

 Ge 1:27 So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.  

            Praise God that all human beings were made in the Image of God. Some of us He created male. Some of us He created female. The Latin term for that is Imago Dei. We take on that image at conception in our Mother’s womb. That image has been marred by the sin of our first parents Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden.  Jesus Christ came to earth to restore that image and to perfect it in us.   The Apostle Paul tells us in Ro 5:17 For if by the one man’s offense death reigned through the one, much more those who receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ.)  

            We have a lot of images at our disposal at the current time.  Sometimes these images can inspire some good things in us. When we see the image of a baby in an ultrasound. We get excited because we know that God is already at work in the life of the child in that image. Or we see the image of a loved one that has left this walk of life. And sometimes it may be an image of a happy occasion that we enjoy remembering. 

On the other hand  we can see an image of someone doing something terrible on television, or Facebook and we can form an opinion about all people who are either of that skin color, or are in that profession, or what part of the country, or the world that  person may live  in.  To be honest with you I have had to fight forming those opinions when I see things in the media whether they be on Facebook, some other form of social media, or television. Praise God for the Holy Spirit that helps us not to be drawn into wrong thoughts, and wrong attitudes about people. This does not mean that we cannot disagree with people. But having healthy disagreement is different than bitterness and malice.

           In this time of social isolation, and social turmoil it can be easy to dehumanize people.  One way that the Holy Spirit has helped me is to be in contact with people in a graceful way is to give them a call, or to pay them a visit if at all possible.  If the enemy tries to turn you against a certain group of people you may want to give one of your friends, or brothers, or sisters in that group a call, or a visit if possible. Pray with them. If you don’t have friends that may be of a different skin color than you, or are in some profession that you may be skeptical of maybe you might want to ask the Lord to give you a friend within that group that you can get to know as a person. 

            We don’t have to compromise our beliefs to treat people as human beings. We don’t have to compromise our beliefs to value people as human beings.  As a matter of fact, one of the key principles that I have shared before here is to try to win people rather than to try to beat them.

            As a Christian I believe not only am I to speak the truth in love, but that I am called to love people that aren’t Christians to the point that I cry out for their souls.  We have many people that to our knowledge are not Christians on our prayer list.  Some are people that we see on television, or have read about in social media that do not have a Biblical worldview and are openly hostile to the Christian faith.  If I just look at their image on the media, I might begin to get mad in the wrong way. When I begin to think about the fact that Jesus died on the cross to save them just as He did for me the Holy Spirit gets me into prayer mode rather than rant mode. 

            If a film of my life and I mean  every bit of it was shown before I became a Christian there may be some people that looked at that image and might not have such a good opinion of me. There may be some of you reading this that the same could be said about you. Perhaps there are some right now that are opposed to the Gospel that the Holy Spirit is calling us to pray for them. This morning as I was reading the Book of Jonah, I thought about how much God loved those people that had opposed His Kingdom. The Assyrians were the most sadistic people on the face of the earth at that time. Yet God sent Jonah there to offer them His grace and to turn from their sins. Might not God do the same if we cry out to Him in the lives of those who hate us. Don’t let images that you see in the media get you bitter. But let the Holy Spirit turn your heart to pray for those who hate you. Aren’t we commanded to do that?   Jesus spoke these words over two thousand years ago “Mt 5:44 “But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you. (NKJV)

            Back to the images. The Holy Spirt has had me reading less articles about those that I don’t agree within the culture. He has also had me not spending so much time watching some of the troubling events that are in the media. You might say well you are putting your head in the sand. My answer is no I am bowing it at the feet of Jesus. Because I believe that He is the only hope to save all human beings that were made in the Image of God. And also, I know that His Kingdom has no end.  And that He is the only real answer for this nation and all other nations. 

Let Us Pray

Lord today we come before Your Holy throne. Lord today help us to love like You love. Lord today help us to pray for those who hate us. Lord today help us to see people like you see people. We know that all people are made in the Image of God. We pray today for people to be transformed by being born again, and being filled with your Holy Spirit.  Help us to be faithful to You. May we treat all people as people made in Your Image. May we also be used by you to help people to experience  the power of the Holy Spirit so that Image is restored and perfected in all of us.

In Jesus Name

Amen 

Thanks to all of you who pray for us and encourage us. We love you all.  Looking for ward to preaching at Aldersagte UMC in Dora this Sunday. That is the church that we were sent out from to preach the Gospel. 

Your Friend/Kinfolk

Preston

GET TOGETHER – HAVING PEACE IN A HOSTILE WORLD

GET TOGETHER-   HAVING PEACE IN A HOSTILE WORLD 

Ac 4:24-28 So when they heard that, they raised their voice to God with one accord and said: “Lord, You are God, who made heaven and earth and the sea, and all that is in them, “who by the mouth of Your servant David have said: ‘Why did the nations rage, And the people plot vain things? The kings of the earth took their stand, And the rulers were gathered together Against the LORD and against His Christ.’ “For truly against Your holy Servant Jesus, whom You anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles and the people of Israel, were gathered together “to do whatever Your hand and Your purpose determined before to be done.

The early church faced some very challenging times. They were being persecuted by their fellow Jews.  Don’t forget that the very first followers of Jesus Christ were Jews.  They were also living under the oppression of  the Roman government.  There was much instability, and corruption in their home country. Peter and John had been put in prison for proclaiming that Jesus Christ was risen from the dead and that He was the only Name under Heaven by which men, and women may be saved. 

 We currently are living at a time when the nations are raging.  There is rage going on in the United States. There is rage going on at the border between North and South Korea. There is rage between India, and China. There is rage between families. If I listed everywhere that rage was going on, I would not be able to hold your attention to get to the points that I believe that the Holy Spirit would have me to share with you today. 

We also live in a time where it is not popular to proclaim as Peter did in Ac 4:11,12 “This is the ‘stone which was rejected by you builders, which has become the chief cornerstone.’ “Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”  Today I believe that there are some principles that  the early church practiced that will help us to reflect Jesus Christ and to advance the Kingdom of God upon the earth during this time as the nations rage  and hostility grows towards those that proclaim the Name of Jesus Christ as the only Name under Heaven given under Heaven  to humanity to be saved. 

First of all, we need to be sure that we are spending time with Jesus. That worked for Peter and John : Ac 4:13 Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated and untrained men, they marveled. And they realized that they had been with Jesus.   Yesterday the Holy Spirit spoke to my heart that I needed to be focusing on Jesus rather than looking at the storm so much. 

We need to speak the Word of God rather than offering up vain opinions. When I say speak the word of God, I mean declare it, confess it, preach it, pray it and teach it. Ac 4:29 “Now, Lord, look on their threats, and grant to Your servants that with all boldness they may speak Your word.” We need to be sure that we are engaged in prayer as never before. 

We also want to be sure that we are filled with the Holy Spirit and not walking and contending in the flesh.  Never forget what we are taught in Eph 6:11,12 “Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.” Remember Stephen the first recorded martyr of the church. He knew that his battle was not with those who were stoning him to death. Ac 7:58 –60and they cast him out of the city and stoned him. And the witnesses laid down their clothes at the feet of a young man named Saul. And they stoned Stephen as he was calling on God and saying, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit. “Then he knelt down and cried out with a loud voice, “Lord, do not charge them with this sin.” And when he had said this, he fell asleep. (NKJV) Look what happened as a result of him knowing who his real enemy was. Saul of Tarsus got saved on the Road to Damascus. He would go on to write at least thirteen books of the New Testament. He planted and strengthened churches on at least three continents and the fact that I am writing this and that you are reading it is a result of that.  Might not God in this day as He did John Newton a former slave trader who wrote that great hymn Amazing Grace turn the enemies of the Gospel into ambassadors for Christ. 

            Most of what was happening in our opening passage was taking place at a prayer meeting.  We need to make ourselves houses of prayer. We need to make our homes houses of prayer.  We need to make our churches houses of prayer. We need the kind of prayer that they were praying.  We need the kind of prayer that was taking place at this prayer meeting in Acts 4. When that kind of prayer is going on some shaking takes place and people get filled with the Holy Spirit. People filled with the Holy Spirit can walk in peace and be used to advance  the Kingdom in a hostile climate. 

            So basically, the principles that I have shared with you today on how to have peace in a culture that is hostile to the Gospel are: 

  • Spending time with Jesus
  • Speaking the Word of God
  • Being engaged in prayer as never before
  • Being filled with the Holy Spirit 
  • Knowing that we don’t battle against flesh and blood

I covet your prayers and ask you to hold me accountable that I will do this.  I believe that if we do this that the Kingdom of God will be advanced. I believe that we will experience God’s peace in a hostile climate.  Remember that any type of strategy no matter how successful that it might appears that is not Christ centered is a vain thing.  If you read the scriptures and study history from the Assyrians to the Babylonians, the Persians, the Greeks under Alexander the Great, the Romans   were all empires that were founded on a vain thing. Their plots would turn out to be vain things. Remember this the Kingdom of God is eternal.  It has no end. In this time when all of the nations are raging and people are plotting a vain thing know that if we practice these principles that we will run our race faithfully, and that others will come into the Kingdom. 

Let Us Pray

Lord today we live in a culture that is hostile to the Gospel. We live in a culture where many have been deceived into believing vain philosophies.  Lord today when we look at people that have been led into deception may we respond as the early church did. May we pray for their souls. May we be filled so full of your Holy Spirit that we are not drawn into fleshly battles. May we be a people of prayer that spend time in intimacy with you. Help us to be in your word.  Help us to declare Your Word, believe Your Word, stand on Your Word, pray Your Word, preach Your Word, and to teach Your Word. 

In Jesus Name 

Amen 

We love you all! 

Your Friend/Kinfolk

Preston

GET TOGETHER- His Kingdom Is A Kingdom of Life

GET TOGETHER – His Kingdom Is A Kingdom of Life 

Joh 6:63 “It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life.  (NKJV) Mt 6:10 Your kingdom come. Your will be done On earth as it is in heaven.

  I may have mentioned this before, but one of my favorite books that had an impact on my prayer life was Prayer by Richard Foster.   Richard Foster is a Christian from the Quaker stream of the Body of Christ.   In his book he talks about different styles of prayer and people having different temperaments in prayer. For those that have been in prayer meeting with different groups and even within your own congregation you have probably come to realize how true that is.   My prayer is that for all of us that God will use today’s message to help us all to walk out our journey with Jesus Christ in a way that brings glory to His Name and imparts life to others. 

Jesus lived on earth during a very unstable time. His home country was occupied by the Romans. Some of His own people took advantage of their fellow Jews by extorting them while collecting taxes for the Roman government. There was a group called the Zealots that wanted to start a revolution to send the Romans back to Rome. There were Pharisees that had an outward form of religion, but we see in the Gospel of Matthew where Jesus called them out on their form of religion “Mt 23:27 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs which indeed appear beautiful outwardly, but inside are full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness.” Then you had the Sadducees who didn’t believe in the immortality of the soul, or the resurrection of the body. Now that is sad you see! There were the Herodians who were well to do Jews who supported Herod and as long as the Romans left them alone they were fine with the Romans ruling them. The majority of the people were common people.

There was one more  group that I didn’t mention. They weren’t perfect, but that is the group that I want to be in. They were the disciples. Jesus started out with twelve, then there were seventy, one hundred and twenty in the Upper Room on the Day of Pentecost, three thousand saved on the Day of Pentecost and millions of all colors, and nationalities since then. 

Somewhere in Foster’s book I remember that the Holy Spirit sparked me to often pray “Your Kingdom come Your will be done” for people that God loves, but I may have a hard time praying for. He has had me to pray that over situations, circumstances, cities, states, and nations. You see I believe that the Scriptures point us to a God that loves all people and desires that all people walk and live in His will. We are told in 2Pe 3:9 ¶ The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance. (NKJV) I am not saying that all human beings will come to that place of repentance, but God is inviting all to come to that place.

Think about this. I am sure that the Jewish people listening to Jesus preach the Sermon on Mount had a hard time praying for some of those people in those groups that I mentioned. But think about it.  One of Jesus first disciples was Simon the Zealot. Another was a former Tax Collector (Lu 6:15 Matthew and Thomas; James the son of Alphaeus, and Simon called the Zealot).  Someone must have been praying your Kingdom come Your will be done in their lives in earth as it is in Heaven. What if they had not been praying? What if they had resorted to name calling and manipulation?  Would those have come into the Kingdom and have been led out of the destructive lives that they were living? 

That leads us to another verse that the Holy Spirit spoke to my heart about today.  In this hostile culture that we live in are our words being words that the Holy Spirit is giving us to say? Are there some times that the Holy Spirit puts a guard over our mouth so that we do not say the wrong thing? Well one way to know that if it is the Holy Spirit, or not is concerning whether the words bring forth life, or not.  Remember Jesus said that the Spirit gives life. He said that the words that He spoke were Spirit, and they were life. 

There may be some things that we don’t all agree on, but I think that coming from today’s message we can pray “your Kingdom come your will be done for those that we love. We can pray that for those that we do not agree with. We can pray that over ourselves. We can pray that over our cities, states, nation and the world.  Wouldn’t that be awesome? Imagine no hatred of others, no sexual sin, no drug addictions, no murders, no theft, no drunkenness, no theft, no pride, no envy, no sickness, no breaking up of families and so much more.  I don’t know about you, but I have been praying for that and I will keep praying for that. 

And the other thing that we can ask the Holy Spirit us with is to help us to be people that speak life and not death. We can be people that speak what the Holy Spirit is giving us to say. So today let us agree Your Kingdom come, Your will be done in earth as it is in Heaven. And may the Holy Spirit give us wonderful beautiful words of life to encourage all who serve in the Kingdom and to invite others to come into the Kingdom.  A Kingdom that is now and is to come ,and of which there is no end!.

Let us Pray 

Lord today we pray Your Kingdom come today in the lives of all of our family members. We pray Your Kingdom come today in the lives of un saved friends, and family members. We pray Your Kingdom come in our cities, in our states in our nation. We pray Your Kingdom come Your will be done in all of our elected officials lives today.  We pray Your Kingdom come Your will be done in the lives of those who hate us today. We pray Your Kingdom come Your will be done in the lives of the leaders of other nations today. Lord help us to release life today when we open our mouths. Help us to hear what the Holy Spirit is  saying and to release what He is saying in the places that You have called us to serve You in

In Jesus Name

Amen

We love you all! May the Lord bless you and keep you! The Lord make His face shine upon you and be gracious to you. May the Lord grant you peace!

Your Friend/Kinfolk

Preston

GET TOGETHER – Growing in Truth Growing in Love

GET TOGETHER – Growing in Truth Growing in Love
Eph 4:15 But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ.

I love the Book of Ephesians. It is sometime referred to as the manual for Christian living. Certainly, that could be said about all 66 Books in the Bible, but the Book of Ephesians is loaded with Kingdom principles on how to live the Christian life.
This Book was written to a church that was made up of Jews that had been brought up in the Synagogue and former idol worshipers who had worshiped the goddess Artemis, or Diana. Those who had been brought up in the synagogue would have to learn how to grow in grace. And for those who had worshiped the goddess Artemis, they would have to learn a completely new way of life. All would have to understand that as new creations in Christ Jesus that there was still growth for them to become more like Jesus Christ. For all of us today no matter what back ground we may come from there is always more growth for us. That is a good thing! It means that we are alive in Christ!

We see in Chapter 4 some ways that we need the Holy Spirit to help us as we grow in Christ. First of all, we have to realize that we are different from the rest of the world. In Eph 4:17,18 ¶ This I say, therefore, and testify in the Lord, that you should no longer walk as the rest of the Gentiles walk, in the futility of their mind having their understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God, because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their hearts.” The world looks at things through the carnal, natural, fleshly eye. Meaning the worlds response to situations and circumstances will be different from the response of a born-again Christian’s response. The heart of the unbeliever is blinded to the spiritual aspect of what is happening in the world. The Apostle Paul said it like this in 2Co 4:3 But even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing,” (NKJV)

Back to our opening verse. The world believes that truth is subjective. Meaning that an individual can say “well this is what my truth is.” For the Christian truth is objective meaning that God is truth and that God is the source of all truth. When Jesus was brought before Pilate, he asked Jesus “what is truth?” I had a Professor that told us one time in class that Pilate was looking at truth right there in front of himself and did not know it. He was spiritually blind.

For us to grow as Christians we need to hear Him today by spending time with Him in His word. We are told in Eph 4:21 if indeed you have heard Him and have been taught by Him, as the truth is in Jesus.” We spend time listening to Him in prayer. Prayer isn’t just us doing the talking. It is God speaking to us through the small still voice of the Holy Spirit. He will speak to us anywhere and at anytime that we are listening. We are told in Isa 30:21 Your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, “This is the way, walk in it,” Whenever you turn to the right hand Or whenever you turn to the left.(NKJV) As New Covenant followers of Christ with the Holy Spirit dwelling in us we can hear Him as He gives us direction, comfort, and speaks to us about many things. He sometimes speaks to us through other believers. We are told in 1Co 14:3 But he who prophesies speaks edification and exhortation and comfort to men.

To grow in Christ, we need the Holy Spirit’s help to deliver us from desires that are contrary to God’s will for us. We need His help to deliver us from sinful desires. We are told in Eph 4:22 “that you put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts.” The Greek term for lusts here is epithumia, ep-ee-thoo-mee’-ah. It is a desire, or craving, and a longing, for what is forbidden. The Holy Spirit helps us to go after Christ and to no longer go after those things that God forbids. God doesn’t forbid them because He desires to ruin our lives. He forbids them because when we grow in Christ, we experience something much better.

I don’t know about you, but before I came to Christ, I thought that some little white lies are ok. As Christians we get in some situations that the enemy will try to get us to lie. I remember when I was applying to Asbury Seminary. I was going to be taking on line classes. At that time, I was not very computer literate. When the person in charge of admissions asked me was I efficient on a computer the enemy tried to get me to lie. He was telling me that if I didn’t lie that I would not get in. I told the truth. The woman that I was speaking with said that is okay Brother Headrick we have a tech support person and all you have to do is call him anytime that you need help. I probably still hold the record for calling him.

The last one that I believe that the Holy Spirit would have me to mention is in Eph 4:26 “Be angry, and do not sin”: do not let the sun go down on your wrath.” We are not told that we can’t be angry and grow. But what we are told is that when we are angry that we are not to express that anger in a sinful way. Many times I have heard some Christians reference that Jesus got angry when He turned over the money changers table in the Temple. His anger was a righteous anger. His anger was concerning how the House of God has been made a den of thieves. He stated that the Father’s House was to be a House of prayer. His anger was about something not being right in the House of God. By the way he had absolute authority to express His anger in that way because He is God the Son. For all of us when we express our anger, we are to express that anger in a way that is not sinful and in a redemptive way that will glorify the Lord. We speak the truth. But we speak the truth in love.

Finally, when we grow in Christ and practice these Kingdom principles it will keep us from what we are warned about in Eph 4:27 “nor give place to the devil.” The devil is always looking for a chink in the Christian’s armor. He is always wanting to keep the Christian from moving forward in the faith and becoming more like Jesus Christ. Because when we become more like Jesus, we bring the light to where there is darkness. We bring hope to where there is hopelessness. We are taking back ground for the Kingdom that the enemy thought was His.

Let Us Pray
Lord today we praise You that You have delivered us from the power of darkness. We know that where there is growth that there is life. Today I pray for all of us that we will continually grow to be more like You. Help us not to be drawn and enticed to things that the enemy would use to harm our witness. Help us to direct our anger at the real enemy. His name is Satan. Help us to turn that anger into prayer. Help us to speak the truth in love. Help us to point a lost, frustrated, hurting, angry, world to the only One who can give true peace. And to the Only One who can give eternal life.
In Jesus Name
Amen
We love you all!
Your Friend/Kinfolk
Preston