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

GET TOGETHER – THE HOLY SPIRIT OPERATING TABLE

GET TOGETHER – THE HOLY SPIRIT OPERATING TABLE
Mt 7:3-5 “And why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye?” Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me remove the speck from your eye’; and look, a plank is in your own eye? “Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.
I would not be honest if I didn’t say that there have been times when I was preaching and the anointing of the Holy Spirit was strong and that I was encouraged when people were saying Amen when a particular point was made in the message. That is a good thing. It is good to encourage one another. And during those times I was greatly encouraged by those that were receiving the message and responding in that way. On the other hand, there have been times when the Holy Spirit anointing was strong and you could tell that the He was dealing with the hearts of men and women and there was a very hard silence. The Holy Spirit examination room was full as He was shining His light into the hearts of the men and women who were in the service. By the way He always shines it in the preacher first.
I have often said that Jesus who was the greatest preacher that has ever, and will ever walk the face of the earth most likely didn’t get a lot of Amens when He preached the Sermon on the Mount. I am sure that there were many and probably the majority of those that were there were in the Holy Spirit examination room that day.
As part of my prayer time recently the Holy Spirit has told me to pray through a chapter of the Sermon on the Mount each day. This moves you from the Holy Spirit examination room onto the Holy Spirit operating table.
I have had several of these operations in my journey with the Lord over the past thirty years. Unlike a medical procedure you get to be fully awake during this time. There are sometimes during this surgery that there may be some discomfort. It is not always comfortable to be told to love your enemies. It is not comfortable to be told to go the extra mile with someone that we may feel like we have gone far enough with them. It is not always comfortable to be told that we are to forgive others as we have been forgiven.
Now with that said although the surgery isn’t comfortable it is very beneficial. When I read the passage above, I am reminded that just like people that have had a medical procedure need to exercise and to perhaps go through some therapy that this is our prescription for growth and becoming more like Jesus Christ.
If I am constantly looking at the sins of others it will inhibit my growth as a Christian. Jesus is not endorsing the sins of others in this passage. He is telling us that if we are to grow and to help others that we must allow the Holy Spirit to work in our lives and remove those things that hinder our growth. Here is where the Holy Spirit is examining my heart. Do I form my opinions on how others look on the outside? Do I judge people by the color of their skin? Do I judge people by how they dress? Do I look down on people who may be less financially secure than me? Am I envious of those who may have more material wealth than I do? Do I grant forgiveness as quick as I desire for the Lord to forgive me? By the way that is just a few of the things that He is examining me about.
How about the Non – Christians that I am praying for to be saved? Do I pray for them out of love? Or do I pray for them because I want to prove that I am right. My prayer for all of us that desire to live in a Christian nation. And I believe that is God’s desire for all nations to be a Christian nation. Is that we would be a people that would ask the Holy Spirit to help us to live out what Jesus preached and taught in the Sermon on The Mount. I covet your prayers for that. And you have ours. I haven’t gotten there yet. But as an old friend of mine used to say, “I’ve come to far to turn back now.” Remember a successful surgery will always make the patient better. And in this surgery, we have the Great Physician working through the Holy Spirit in us. So with that said let’s rejoice that we can expect to get better as we go from the examination room to the operating table

Let us Pray
Lord Jesus we thank You that when You put us on the operating table that you are going to do a good thing. We thank You that the Holy Spirit examination room is not a place of condemnation, but a place that is showing us a place where the Holy Spirit is showing us an area that He wants to work in our lives. As we pray this we are reminded that He who has begun a good work in us will bring it to completion.
In Jesus Name
Amen

We love you all! Don’t miss your appointment!
Your Friend/Kinfolk
Preston

GET TOGETHER – A LOVE LIKE NO OTHER

GET TOGETHER – A LOVE LIKE NO OTHER

1Jo 4:18 There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love.  (NKJV)

            Last night I was reading an interview with one of my former professors. He was a very solid professor. He taught about holiness.  He helped me to come to understand much about holiness, and I realize that I have not completely gotten there yet, but I am asking the Holy Spirit to help me to get there a little more each day.

             As I was reading this interview something that he said and something that he used to teach about and stress was perfect love.  I must admit that I am not perfect. You can ask J.J., and she would verify that. On the other hand, I think that many of us in the Body of Christ like to use that term “I am not perfect” as a cop out sometimes. We often use it as an excuse to not live as Jesus has commanded us to live and to love as Jesus has commanded us to love.

             In Mt 22:37-39 we are given the picture of what perfect love is.  Jesus said to him,” ‘You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind “This is the first and great commandment. “And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.    Perfect love is loving God more than any other person, or thing. Perfect love is loving God with all of your heart soul mind and strength. Perfect love means that we do not have to be afraid of God as our Judge. Because our heart is always fixed upon God.

            Perfect love is loving your family. Perfect love is loving those that you serve God with. Perfect love is loving those that don’t always agree with you. Perfect love is loving those who oppose you. Jesus had this to say about that in  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.”  He made a distinction between the way that He calls His followers to love and how the world loves in   Lu 6:32 “But if you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them.” (NKJV)

            As a follower of Jesus Christ, I believe that the Biblical definition of marriage is one man and one woman. I believe that life begins in the womb. I believe that I am to speak the truth about those two issues that our country is so divided about. On the other hand, I know that the same Bible that speaks very plainly on those two matters also contains the Sermon on The Mount.

             Many of us are praying for an awakening in our nation.  I believe that Hell is a real place. I believe that Hell is a place where those that have not been born again by faith in the precious blood of Jesus Christ will live forever in torment.  On the other hand, I remember someone telling me that some may preach about Hell, because they don’t love their enemy and are glad that some are going there. The Preacher that is preaching on Hell with perfect love is the Preacher that is shedding tears, and has spent time in the prayer closet praying for those who oppose the Gospel. The Holy Spirit has given the Preacher the love for the lost that He has. We see this type of love 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 must admit that when I see political leaders, actors, actresses, and athletes   and other public figures in the media that don’t have a Biblical worldview I don’t get goose bumps. I must admit that sometimes I get very upset. But then the Holy Spirit reminds me that while I was living in rebellion against God that He loved me and that He had others loving me and praying for me. Some of you are some those who were.  He then begins to have me to pray for them.

            The Apostle Paul lived and was imprisoned under the evil ruler Nero. Paul never compromised the truth. On the other hand, there were people in Nero’s household that became followers of Jesus Christ. What if Paul had been a man that trash talked those who opposed him? What if he had been a man that hated his enemies? Would the following verse be in the Bible?   Php 4:22 All the saints salute you, chiefly they that are of Caesar’s household.

So today please pray for me that I will love people with a perfect heart toward God and a perfect heart toward them.  I know we may say that it  is hard. But aren’t you glad that Jesus didn’t say that it was hard to love us when we were living in rebellion toward Him?

Let Us Pray

Lord I must admit that I am not there yet. On the other hand, Lord, I don’t want to use the same old cliché that I am just human and that I am not perfect and stunt my growth in love. I pray for all that read this. That we will not compromise the truth of the Gospel. And the biggest part of that truth is loving You with all of our heart, souls, mind, and strength, and loving our neighbor as ourselves.

In Jesus Name

Amen

Hey you guys are pretty easy to love!

Your Friend/Kinfolk

Preston

GET TOGETHER – Encouraging One Another

GET TOGETHER – Encouraging One Another

Ac 9:31 Then the churches throughout all Judea, Galilee, and Samaria had peace and were edified. And walking in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit, they were multiplied.

            A few years ago, one of my mentors in the faith said something in his message when he was ministering at our congregation that really stuck with me. In his message that night he talked about how important that it is to encourage one another in the faith. That night he stressed that the devil would do enough to attempt to discourage us, therefore it is important that we encourage one another in the faith. 

            I would like to thank all of you that encourage us in the faith. I pray that when we send out words of encouragement that we never do this to seek the praises of man, or to flatter you. That would not be in accordance with the scriptures. But I do pray that you are encouraged to continue in your journey with Jesus Christ and to fulfill the destiny and calling that God has for you in your life. 

            It is our prayer that like those churches mentioned in our opening passage that you would have peace in your life and that God would use you to help others to have that peace. It is our prayer that God would use these words to help us all walk in a Holy fear of the Lord. That doesn’t mean that God is sitting up there with His hands full of lightning bolts just waiting to get you with one. It is an abhorrence of sin and the things that grieve the heart of God.  It is a desire not to willfully offend God. It is a desire to bless God. It is not seeking God’s approval to get saved. It is a Holy response to the Father for sending His Son Jesus Christ to save us from our sins. 

Now let’s get back to talking about encouraging one another in this journey.  The Greek term for edified is oikodomeo,  oy-kod-om-eh’-o. It literally means to build up as to build a house.  Metaphorically it means to found, or establish. It also means to promote Christian growth in Christian wisdom, affection, grace, virtue, holiness, and blessedness, as well to grow in wisdom and in piety.

            In this season where most congregations have not met together, I praise God as I have before for all of the creative ways that God has given His servants to get His word out. Many across the Body of Christ have been an encouragement to us. 

            On the other hand, I have thought about what a blessing it is to meet with the Body of Christ and be encouraged by those that we meet with.  One means of this has been through preaching of the word. Another means has been during times of personal ministry when people have ministered to us and others as the Apostle Paul talks about in 1Co 14:3 But he who prophesies speaks edification and exhortation and comfort to men. (NKJV) And by the way many times people have encouraged us in this way outside of the church building. 

            I will never forget one time a brother in the first congregation that we Pastored spoke a prophetic word of encouragement over me at a critical time in our lives and ministry. It was when the Lord called us to leave that congregation that we loved so much and to come to Christ Community Fellowship, a congregation that we would grow to love as well.  I remember him saying “you are going to be going over yonder.” Well every time that I get on an airplane to go on a ministry trip to another country the Holy Spirit will bring those words that he spoke to me that day.  It is a way that God confirms that I am in His will and that He will not only take care of me, but that He will do great things that only He can get the Glory for. 

             So, as we pray for an awakening and a revival in our nation let us not only walk in peace and the fear of the Lord, but let us be used by God to build one another up. There is not a Christian that if we yield our heart to God that He will not give us words to encourage one another. When we do that not only will the people that we encourage, but we ourselves will walk in the comfort of the Holy Spirit and then the church will be multiplied. 

Let Us Pray

Today Lord help us to yield our tongues and other ways that You have given us to influence others to You. May we speak life and encouragement to other members of the household of faith.  Lord help us not to compromise truth, or to flatter others for an unholy reason, or for self-promotion. But help us to be used to build up Your people for such a time as this and until you reappear or  until You call us home to be with You.

In Jesus Name

Amen 

We love you all. Please pray for the ministry that God has called us to that we will be faithful to Him. That we will glorify Him and not seek to glorify ourselves. 

Your Friend

Kinfolk

Preston 

ion, grace, virtue, holiness, blessedness to grow in wisdom and piety

https://www.biblestudytools.com/lexicons/greek/kjv/oikodomeo.htmled metaphorically to found, establish to promote growth in Chri

GET TOGETHER- NO NEED FOR A MAKE UP CALL

GET TOGETHER- NO NEED FOR A MAKE UP CALL 

Ro 8:38,39 For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come  nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.  (NKJV)

Yesterday was such a beautiful day here in Hamilton, Alabama.  It was a perfect Spring day to get outside and work in the yard, or your garden. J.J. and I have two small plots that our son-in-law Shaun plowed up for us.  And we are expecting a good crop!

J.J. went outside to get started with the work. I was grading Final exams for the Old Testament class that I teach here at Bevill State Community College.  I told her that when I finished grading the exam that I was currently grading then I would be out there to get started with the project that we were working on. After she went out I realized that another exam had been completed and I felt like I needed to grade that one. Then I got a phone call. Bottom line I was probably about fifteen minutes later getting out there to help than I had originally said that I would be. 

The devil then came with a spirit of condemnation and false guilt.  As we were working, I began to think I have really got to hit a homerun out here today to make up for getting that late start.  I wanted to be sure to get back in J.J.’s favor. The Holy Spirit then spoke to my heart. He said that there was nothing that I could do out there and that there was no need for me to try to do something to make that up to J.J.  He reminded me that J.J. loved me for who that I was and not how I perform.  He then reminded me that is how God loved me. He impressed upon me that there was nothing that I could do, or had to do for God to love me. 

Now before you write me off as a cheap grace person let me say a few other things. When we realize that God’s loves us for who we are it leads us to desire to live a life that is in line with His word.  Certainly, there are times that we know that we have sinned against God and we need to repent and to ask Him for His forgiveness. We do this because out of our love relationship with Him we don’t want any of our actions to grieve Him. In the same way I don’t won’t to ever intentionally hurt J.J. because I love her. We made a commitment to each other. 

When we come to Jesus Christ, we make a commitment to Him. We are the Bride of Christ. When we sin, we ask Him to forgive us and He will. The Bible tells us in  1Jo 1:9 “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”  There are times that I do have to ask J.J. to forgive me for something.  I do this not because she has stopped loving me when I may do something wrong, but because I want our marriage to be pure and holy.  Sometimes I may ask her more than one time to forgive me for the same thing. She always replies I forgave you the first time that you ask me. That is the way that our Heavenly Father is. He forgives us the first time that we ask Him.

So today know that as a child of God that there is nothing that you have to do to make God love you. He loves us. He loved us when we were living in rebellion against Him. He loved us too much to leave us in that rebellious estate. The Gospel of John says it like this Joh 3:16,17 “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.”  The Apostle Paul said it like this : Ro 5:8 “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

So today rejoice in the fact that God loves you no matter whether we perform well, or whether we make mistakes and sometimes our performance is not so good.  If you have never repented of your sin and come into a love relationship with Jesus Christ let today be that day.  He loved you enough to die on the cross for your sins. May all who read this experience His love in a great and mighty way. 

Let Us Pray

Lord we thank You that You don’t turn Your love for us on and off like a hydrant. Help us today to respond in a way of gratitude for the love that You have shown us. Help us also to love others as You have loved us. You loved us when we were and sometimes are still hard to love. 

In Jesus Name 

Amen

This garden is bringing back memories of digging potatoes in our garden in Hull camp in Walker County when I was a little boy. I was griping one day about having to work in it. My daddy said son you may have to do this one of these days. Well turned out that he was right! Love you all!

Your Friend/Kinfolk

Preston

GET TOGETHER – THERE IS A REASON THAT IT IS THE BOOK

GET TOGETHER – THERE IS A REASON THAT IT IS THE BOOK
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.

This is and has been a very different time for Christians. First of all, I want to say praise the Lord for the many creative ways that the Holy Spirit has given Pastors and church leaders to get the Gospel out during this challenging season. Ever since becoming a Christian I have believed that the building is not the church that we the born-again blood bought children of God are the church. And I am in agreement that we don’t go to church we are the church. I am a strong believer in not just being a hearer of the word, but being a doer of the word. I didn’t have to go to Seminary to understand what Jesus was talking about 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.”
With all of that said perhaps I should have had a subtitle to this message that said (There Are Actually Several Reasons). I can remember on the weekend that I got saved. It was on a Christian Retreat. There was a handout with Bible verses on it. I knew that I didn’t want to ever go back to my old lifestyle again. The passage from Hebrews 10:23-25 stood out to me.
Before I get to that first of all I want to say that when God’s people come together in corporate worship it is showing Him that He is first in our lives. We lay aside everything else to come and worship Him. Jesus answered the woman at the well’s theological question about where to worship Joh 4:23,24″But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. “God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.” Yes, we can worship Him any where we are at. But throughout the Bible God calls us as a people to worship Him corporately as His called-out people. Let’s look at some of the benefits of corporate worship and meeting in small groups.
We get to know one another when we meet together. And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works The Greek term for consider here is katanoeo, kat-an-o-eh’-o. It means to observe fully: –behold, consider, discover, perceive. What a blessing it was when I realized that I had brothers and sisters who were human just like I was and that we could share our challenges and victories together. We could pray for one another. We could walk out our journey together. There is a stirring that takes place when we meet together. The King James Bible uses the English word provoke. The Greek term for provoke is paroxusmos. It can mean an incitement to do good. So, when we meet together, we are stirred up and incited to do good unto the Lord, our family, our neighbor, and even our enemies. When we meet together, we stir one another up by ministering to one another.
It has been my experience and I believe that the Scriptures would support this that when God’s people come together in corporate worship with a pure heart that His presence will be magnified. In the churches that I have served we have always prayed for the sick during our services, and ministered to others at the altar for whatever needs that a person may have. The Bible tells us in Le 26:8 “Five of you shall chase a hundred, and a hundred of you shall put ten thousand to flight; your enemies shall fall by the sword before you.” There is power when God ‘s people come together in one accord! There is power to heal! There is power to deliver from demonic oppression! There is power to see the lost get saved!
I love this passage about what takes place when God’s people are together in one accord at a prayer meeting : Ac 4:24 -31 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. “Now, Lord, look on their threats, and grant to Your servants that with all boldness they may speak Your word, “by stretching out Your hand to heal, and that signs and wonders may be done through the name of Your holy Servant Jesus.” And when they had prayed, the place where they were assembled together was shaken; and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and they spoke the word of God with boldness.” I believe that when we come together in one accord in corporate worship that we can still see God do those things among us and in our culture.
In closing I don’t believe that I would be doing this devotional today if I hadn’t been meeting in corporate worship with God’s people, meeting in small groups and meeting with other Christians in one on one times of confession and encouragement. There have been many temptations that have come my way. There have been many personal challenges and times of discouragement. But praise God for the saints that God has brought into our lives that have stirred us in so many ways. Today let’s all pray for that time that we can get together and shake hands, hug one another, lay hands on the sick, take Holy Communion with our other brothers and sisters in the room with us. And then be ready to go into the world and be the church to a world that needs Jesus Christ so much.
Let Us Pray
Lord this isn’t a complaint. However, it is a request. We ask You today to move in such a way that Your people can gather together again in one place. Forgive us for when we took that for granted. We do thank you for the creative ways that You have given Your servants to serve You and to worship You during this time. But Lord as David wrote in Ps 122:1 ¶ <> I was glad when they said to me, “Let us go into the house of the LORD.”(NKJV) There is no other House like Your House. As the sons of Korah sang and wrote in Ps 84:10 For a day in Your courts is better than a thousand. I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God Than dwell in the tents of wickedness.(NKJV) We long to gather together in Your Name as your people to worship You and to love one another. Please Lord would You hasten the day?
In Jesus name
Amen

Thanks to all of you who have stirred and continue to stir J.J. and I in the Lord! We love you all
Your Friend/Kinfolk
Preston