GET TOGETHER – LIGHT UP THE NEW YEAR

GET TOGETHER – LIGHT UP THE NEW YEAR
Mt 5:14 -16″You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. “Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.
This Sunday our Pastor spoke about speaking life and not death over 2020. what a good word that was. As believers and followers of Christ we bring light where there is darkness and life where there is death. While 2020 has been a year with many challenges it has also been a year for us as was with Queen Esther in the Old Testament a time that we have been brought into the Kingdom for such a time as this.
Should the Lord not return first 2021 will be here at Midnight Thursday night. To be honest with you there are challenges that I see to us as Christians in the coming year. For me as an evangelist and teacher will I be faithful to the Gospel as the world view of much of the culture that we live in becomes more hostile to the message of the Gospel? Will I be able to love my enemies as Jesus has commanded us to do in a hostile culture? Do I really believe that God can bring an awakening to this nation and turn this nation away from a humanistic secular worldview into a nation that honors and exalts the Lord Jesus Christ?
My honest answer is yes I believe that He can do those things in our lives through the power of the Holy Spirit. In our own flesh we can do nothing. But just as He gave the Apostle Paul strength to be a faithful witness during a time of persecution, He will give us the strength and the love to glorify Jesus Christ during the season that we are going into. And yes, I believe that through the Holy Spirit He will not let His church rest until we cry out for an Awakening that will bring those who oppose the Gospel into the Kingdom of God.
I believe the Jesus that changed the Apostle Paul on the Road to Damascus can still change the heart of the vilest sinner today. I don’t know who you have on your prayer list, but on mine I have some names of people who put lots of money into ungodly causes and organizations. Jesus loves them. He died on the cross for them. I am praying for them to come into the Kingdom. In stead of trash talking some of these people begin talking to God about them. Think about it. If God could change the heart of the King of Nineveh and put him in sack cloth and ashes can not He still do it today?
This is an opportunity for the church to really shine. Remember where there is darkness a light will really shine bright. Make a New Year’s commitment that in this coming year that you are going to let your light shine. That wherever there may be darkness that when you come on the scene that place is going to get Holy Spirit illuminated. Remember when Jesus told them to let their light shine that they were living in a country occupied by a foreign army. They would face persecution from the religious establishment. And yet they were called to be a light. So, as we close out 2020 and get ready to move into 2021 let’s all recommit to letting our light shine in such a way that we glorify our Father who is in Heaven.

Let Us Pray
Lod we thank You for the opportunities that you have given us to let our light shine in 2020. Please forgive us for the times that we failed to take advantage of those opportunities. We pray today that we will learn from any of the mistakes that we might have made this past year and go into 2021 with a passion to let our lights shine before men and women in a way that they will be drawn to You. We believe that it is still true that if You be lifted up that all men and women will be drawn to You!
In Jesus Name
Amen
Happy New Year from J.J. and I
Your Friend/Kinfolk
Preston

GET TOGETHER- OVERCOMING IN A HARD TIME

GET TOGETHER- OVERCOMING IN A HARD TIME
Lu 2:1 9 And it came to pass in those days that a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. This census first took place while Quirinius was governing Syria.So all went to be registered, everyone to his own city. Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be registered with Mary, his betrothed wife, who was with child. So it was, that while they were there, the days were completed for her to be delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.

Last night I watched the episode about the birth of Jesus from the Bible Series. It was on pure flix. This Christmas season is different for most of us than the Christmas seasons of the past. All of us have been affected in someway by this pandemic. Whether it is the social isolation of being quarantined, or the social isolation of staying at home most of us have either experienced it or know someone who has.
Several of us have friends and love ones who are in the hospital fighting for their lives. Praise God for the health care workers who risk it all every day to look after those who are sick. We also know that besides the virus that we live in a country that is as divided as I can remember it being divided in my 71 years on the earth. It is a particularly challenging time that we live in.
Last night in the movie depicting Mary and Joseph’s journey from Nazareth to Bethlehem there was a scene depicting the harshness of the journey. It was between a 90- and 100-mile trip. They were not riding in a motorhome, an automobile, or a train. They did not have the comforts that we have when we travel today. By foot some say it would have been an 8-10-day trip. It was a very hard and challenging journey for them.
When we serve God, He does not always give us an easy path to travel. Mary and Joseph had both faced the shame of her being an unwed Mother to be living in a small town. They had both had supernatural encounters with God through either a dream, angelic visitation, or both. Mary was with child conceived by the Holy Spirit. She was a virgin and had never been with a man. And yet the journey that she is on to Bethlehem and the journey that she would live out over the next thirty something years would not be easy. However, it would be glorious! They would make it to Bethlehem. She would give birth to the Christ child, the long-awaited Messiah. She would see Him grow up, heal the sick, raise the dead and set captives free.
She would also see the only perfect child that has ever walked the face of the earth one day be beaten, mocked, and nailed to a cruel Roman cross. She would also celebrate His being raised from the dead and experience being filled with the Holy Spirit on the Day of Pentecost. For us today our journey may have some challenges that we never thought that we would see. But we can rejoice as I said last week that Emmanuel God is with us. We can rejoice that one day we will witness His second coming. We will either already be with Him, or we will as we are told in 1Th 4:17 we will meet Him in the air. “Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord.”
So, for all of those who are in Christ we can rejoice that the day is fast approaching when there will be no more heartache, no more disappointments, no more sickness, and no more wars. Remember that no matter what we are overcomers! Re 12:11 “And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death.(NKJV) The Apostle Paul said it like this in 2Co 4:17 For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory.” So even though as we said a few weeks ago this season is not perfect. We can rejoice no matter what is going on in our journey that Emmanuel is with us. We can rejoice that one day we will be with Him forever and ever.
Let Us Pray
Lord Jesus we pray for all that are sick with Covid and for those who care about them. Please bring a quick healing. For others that the journey is a little challenging right now for whatever reason give them the assurance that You are with them. We thank you for coming to the earth in the form of a man. We thank You for dying on the cross for our sins. We praise You for being raised from the dead. We look forward to Your return for your people.
In Jesus Name
Amen

On behalf of J.J. and all of our family we wish you a Merry Christmas!
Your Friend/Kinfolk
Preston

GET TOGETHER- HE IS WITH US TODAY

GET TOGETHER- HE IS WITH US TODAY
Isa 7:14 “Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel. Joh 1:14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.

One time I remember being is a worship setting and we were singing the hymn Emmanuel, Emmanuel. The Holy Spirit’s presence was there in a very good way. The worship leader a dear sister in Christ who has gone on to Heaven told us that He loves for us to call Him Immanuel, or Emmanuel either way that you choose to spell it. Here are the words to that song:
Emmanuel Emmanuel
His Name is called Emmanuel
\ God with us, revealed in us
His Name is called Emmanuel.
What Amazing Grace! God came to earth in the form of a man over two thousand years ago. He chose to be born in a stable. If He had wanted to, He could have made sure that there was a room available in the inn, or He could have built a Hampton Inn way back then right on the spot. But He chose to come to the earth and was born in a manger.
He left the Glory of Heaven to come to earth. Think about it ,God is with us! If you have been born again, He is living inside of you. The Apostle Paul tells us in 1Co 6:19 Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own?
Because He came to earth in the form of a man, He can identify with us when we are going through challenging times such as we are facing today. He knows what it is like to be lonely. He knows what it is to be mocked, rejected and despised. Although he never sinned, He knows what it is like to be tempted. We are told in Heb 4:15 For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.(NKJV)
Maybe this is your first Christmas without someone that you love being here. The Lord knows your heartbreak and your pain. Turn to Him during this time. Perhaps you have been clean from drugs, or alcohol use and this is your first Christmas that you haven’t done either one in years and you have a fear of going back. Come to Emmanuel, God is with us throne of grace and He will grant you the grace to not go back down that road.
Perhaps because of the COVID-19 situation your plans for Christmas are up in the air. Draw near to the Lord and He will draw near to you. Emmanuel God is with us! Perhaps the current political turmoil that is going on in the United States and in other parts of the world has you in fear. Emmanuel God is with us!
And we can joyfully celebrate this because not only is God with us. But we will be with Him one day where there will be none of those things that I have mentioned. There will be no sin, no heartbreak, no sickness, and no disappointment. Isaiah who prophesied the first coming of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ had this to say about that time in Isa 11:6 “The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, The leopard shall lie down with the young goat, The calf and the young lion and the fatling together; And a little child shall lead them. He was right the first time when He prophesied the Virgin Birth and Immanuel being with us. He will be proved to be right about our eternal home when the comes the next time. One of my favorite passages about that time is in Re 21:1 -6 :
“Now I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away. Also there was no more sea. Then I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God. “And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away. Then He who sat on the throne said, “Behold, I make all things new.” And He said to me, “Write, for these words are true and faithful.” And He said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. I will give of the fountain of the water of life freely to him who thirsts.”
Child of God no matter what you are going through right now know that the Lore Jesus Christ is with you. He is Immanuel God is with us, in us, and we will be with Him forever. He was Christmas before there ever was a mall, or the internet to shop on. He will be Christmas long after there are no more malls and no internet, or no need for shopping anymore!

Let us Pray
Lord there are some people reading this that either their parent, spouse, or child has gone home this year. Please be with those. For those who are experiencing sickness we know that healing is the children’s bread. Please bring healing to all whether it be physical, emotional, or spiritual. Thank You for being Immanuel God is with us!
In Jesus Name
Amen

We love you all and as you celebrate the Lord Jesus coming to earth may we all pray for everyone that we love to be ready when He comes again.
Merry Christmas
Your Friend/Kinfolk
Preston

GET TOGETHER- HE IS THE ONLY ONE WHO CAN

GET TOGETHER- HE IS THE ONLY ONE WHO CAN

Lu 4:18 “The Spirit of the LORD is upon Me, Because He has anointed Me To preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, To proclaim liberty to the captives And recovery of sight to the blind, To set at liberty those who are oppressed; This week while J.J. has been at her Mom and Dad’s I have spent some time at night reading the word, praying and listening and singing along with worship music. Please keep her Mom in your prayers as she is recovering from a fall that she had last week. I love all kinds of Christian music. I listen to everything from the Happy Goodman’s, the Gaithers, traditional hymns, Bethel music and other contemporary worship songs. If the Holy Spirit gave it to someone and somehow, they encountered God in writing the song I love it. One of my new favorites is Graves Into Gardens by Brandon Lake and Elevation Worship. There is so much in that song that reminds me of what Jesus has done in my life and what I have seen Him do in the lives of others. It also inspires me to pray for others that they may know Him as their Lord and Savior. That they may know Him as the one who can heal their broken hearts. That they can know Him as the One who can do great and mighty things in their lives. In the song some of the verses say He turns graves into gardens. You may be reading this and at sometime in your life you have experienced some heart break. You may have even experienced some quiet recently. Be assured of this fact. Jesus Christ can turn that grave into a garden in your life. In the song a continual line that is sung is “He is the only one who can.” Be assured that Jesus Christ can turn that grave into a garden. where other things and other people can’t, but He can! Some of you may be like I was and you have a very sinful past, or might even be living in a sinful lifestyle at this time. There is another line in the song that says “He turns shame into glory. The One that we celebrate His birth this time of the year came to earth to save us from our sins and to turn our shame into glory. The shepherds heard the angel proclaim one night as recorded in Lu 2:9-11 “And behold, an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were greatly afraid. Then the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. "For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. As our Savior Jesus Christ is our Healer, our Deliverer, our Protector. He is everything that He says He was in Luke 4:18 and throughout the Gospels. One of my favorite lines in the song is “He turns seas into highways.” We know that God did this for Moses and the children of Israel. For us today we sometimes have faced some situations, or circumstances and we needed a sea turned into a highway. I can’t list here how many times that the Lord has come through for us in a supernatural way to make a way for us. I don’t remember if it was last night, or night before last when this thought came to me as I was listening and singing along with some worship music. I thought back many years ago before I met J.J. and would later meet Jesus Christ. There were a lot of nights that I sat at home by myself there in Hull Camp in Walker County. I would put on music. But it wasn’t about turning graves into gardens. I was doing drugs and listening to a lot of music that said well you are in the grave and you will just have to stay there. Here are the ashes and you might as well drink and drug them away. Those old songs of self-pity and defeat were in my spirit.

Other nights I would go to the various night clubs looking for some way to turn the graves into gardens. Or as Brandon Lake sings “I searched the world and it couldn’t feel me, but You (Jesus) came along and put me back together.”
Praise God that when we allow Him to turn our graves into gardens we can walk in victory and not in defeat. That is why I really love this time of the year. We celebrate that Jesus Christ, born of a Virgin came to the earth to turn graves into gardens. I believe that what the Prophet Isaiah said that God would do for Israel that the Lord Jesus Christ will do for us. Isa 61:3 To console those who mourn in Zion, To give them beauty for ashes, The oil of joy for mourning, The garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; That they may be called trees of righteousness, The planting of the LORD, that He may be glorified.”(NKJV)
Here is the link to the song. https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=KwX1f2gYKZ4&feature=youtu.be
Take some time to listen to it. If Jesus Christ has done this in your life take sometime to give Him praise. If you feel like your life situation is a grave and all you can see are the ashes that come by our sins, mistakes, sins of others, or some of life’s terrible events turn to Him today. He will give you beauty for ashes! He will turn seas into highways! He will turn shame into glory! He will turn bones into armies!

Let Us Pray
Lord Jesus Christ we praise Your great and wonderful Name! Thank You for coming to the earth. Thank you for being born in a manger! Thank You for dying on the cross and being raised from the dead. May those reading this that need a grave turned into a garden look to you and receive hope. May those who need a sea turned into a highway receive a miraculous work from Your Mighty Hand. May all of the brokenhearted be healed. May all who are oppressed be set at liberty. may all who are blind have their eyes opened both physically and spiritually.
In Jesus Name
Amen

If you live in the Hamilton, or in driving distance and you need to be in a group where you can overcome the power of sin and addiction in your life we invite you to Jesus Now in the Middle Building at Christ Community Fellowship at 6:P.M. tonight.

Love you all. Please keep J.J.’s mom in your prayers.
Your Friend/Kinfolk
Preston

GET TOGETHER – A PERFECT SAVIOR FOR AN IMPERFECT TIME

GET TOGETHER – A PERFECT SAVIOR FOR AN IMPERFECT TIME

Isa 9:6,7 For unto us a Child is born, Unto us a Son is given; And the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of His government and peace There will be no end, Upon the throne of David and over His kingdom, To order it and establish it with judgment and justice From that time forward, even forever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this.

            We all know that we are living not only in an imperfect time of the year, but in a very challenging time.  I love this time of the year. I often think about some Christmases’ from the past. some of the memories are really good and some of the others were some that were very painful at the time, but praise the Lord Jesus Christ He has redeemed those. 

            During the Christmas Season of 1981 I gave J.J. her engagement ring. That is a good memory. In 1996 Daddy went to be with the Lord and at the time it was a very painful thing. But the Lord has brought much healing from that pain over the years.   during this season over the years I have been with families that have experienced death, or some other kind of tragedy during this time of the year. 

            I say these things because I know that many people are concerned about a lot of things at this time. Many of us are concerned and rightfully so about our nation. Many of us are concerned about all of the challenges that have come with the Corona Virus Pandemic. 

            This time of year, can be a time that people may look for their relief from their concerns through substance abuse. I know that first hand because at one time that is where I sought help for my relief from things that concerned me and other painful situations and circumstances in my life. 

            No matter what your current situation is and no matter what your concerns are let Jesus Christ the One that we celebrate His birth and anticipate His return be your focus this time of the year. Use this time of the year to praise Him. It is impossible to praise God and to worry at the same time. It is impossible to praise God and to live in self-pity at the same time. It is impossible to praise God and hate at the same time.  I am not trying to sound cold, or callous. 

            Let this be a time of the year that you spend time in His word. For those who are experiencing deep pain take some time and pour out your heart to God. He is there for you, to listen to you, and to give you comfort. Your pain is real. The Psalmist wrote about how many of you may feel emotionally now in   Ps 6:6 “I am weary with my groaning; All night I make my bed swim; I drench my couch with my tears.”  But when we  give the Lord those tears, He brings healing from our heartache and our pain in a way that we cannot find  anywhere else. The Psalmist also wrote about this in   Ps 56:8 ¶ You number my wanderings; Put my tears into Your bottle; Are they not in Your book?” Yes, He has our tears and He will bring healing. We are promised that in Ps 126:5 “Those who sow in tears Shall reap in joy.” (NKJV)

            I was just thinking about the shepherds that were out in the fields tending their flocks when they got the announcement about the birth of Jesus : Lu 2:10,11 “Then the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. “For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.   It must have been a little lonesome out there that night.  They didn’t have Facebook to connect with old and new friends. They didn’t have cell phones to text those that they loved.  Perhaps some of them had experienced the loss of a child, a spouse, a brother, or sister, or maybe a close friend. I don’t know.  But I do know this.  All of them would need a Savior because the Bible tells us that all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. They would need this Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ  who had come to earth born  in a manger, and would die on a cross  and be raised from the dead to bring salvation to lost humanity.

            I think of salvation in this way and I believe that it is Biblical. I believe that salvation means being saved from Hell. It means being delivered from the power that Hell had had over our lives. And it means being healed from the damage that Hell has wrought upon our lives. 

            May we all in this uncertain imperfect season turn our hearts and focus to the One who came to give us eternal life, to heal our broken hearts and to set at liberty all who are captives.  And just as He was born in Bethlehem in a real manger at a real and imperfect time upon the earth. He is going to come again. He won’t be in a manger this time, but He will return as King of Kings and Lord of Lords. Now that is something that we can all rejoice about in this imperfect season. We will see the sinless perfect Son of God face to face!

Let us Pray

Lord Ima sure that some that are reading this are hurting right now. Some have had a love one leave this walk of life this year. Others may be experiencing this uncertain imperfect season in some very difficult ways. But for all of us may we look to Jesus Christ the Incarnate Sinless Son of God the Perfect sacrifice and perfect savior during this season.

In Jesus Name

Amen 

Merry Christmas 

We Love you all!

Your Friend/Kinfolk

Preston

GET TOGETHER- What Thanksgiving Means To Me

GET TOGETHER- What Thanksgiving Means To Me
Re 7:12 saying: “Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom, Thanksgiving and honor and power and might, Be to our God forever and ever. Amen.”(NKJV)
Thursday is the day that we call Thanksgiving Day here in the United States. And I agree with those who say that everyday should be a day of Thanksgiving the same as every day should be a National Day of Prayer. But I also love and enjoy Thanksgiving Day, and in this country we have so much to be thankful for.
Yesterday I was at Lifehouse in Winfield. The Holy Spirit had me to give the residents there an opportunity to share what they were thankful for. One that stands out in my mind is several gave thanks for second chances and the fact that God did not let them die in their lost estate.
That really resonated with me. I am so thankful for the second chances that God has given me in my life. Those second chances were made possible when Jesus went to the cross and died for my sins and rose again on the third day.
J.J. and I are so thankful for the many wonderful friends, and brothers ,and sisters in Christ that God has blessed us with not only here in the United States, but in other countries that He has allowed us to go to and minister in. He has blessed us with a wonderful family. He has been so good to our family!
There was a time in my life that Thanksgiving was not such a wonderful time. There was a period in my life where I was heavy into substance abuse. I am so thankful that for thirty years the Lord has not only delivered me from that but has also kept me from going back into that type of lifestyle. That is one reason that I love to go to Lifehouse, Restoration Ranch and other Christ centered ministries for people that are into drug abuse and addiction. The Bible tells us that in Revelation 19:12 “For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.”(NKJV) What He will do for one he will do for another.
As I sit here typing this in our sunroom I am looking out at some trees, a pasture ,and the fall colors on one of the beautiful Marion County hills across the road from our house. It reminds me of a promise from Scripture that I heard the Holy Spirit speak to me one day just outside the city limits of Hamilton as we were riding back to Hamilton on Hwy 278. It was from Isa 55:12 “For you shall go out with joy, And be led out with peace; The mountains and the hills Shall break forth into singing before you, And all the trees of the field shall clap their hands.”
I am so thankful that Jesus shed His blood so that we could have life eternal and life more abundant: Joh 10:10 “The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.”
I am so thankful that He would allow someone that once was as vile as I was to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ. What a blessing and what an honor. I am thankful that one day we will be at the greatest Thanksgiving Service and Feast of all time: Re 19:9 Then he said to me, “Write: ‘Blessed are those who are called to the marriage supper of the Lamb!'” And he said to me, “These are the true sayings of God.”(NKJV)

I am thankful that I will see my mother, my daddy, my brother ,grandmothers and grandfathers, aunts ,and uncles, and cousins that we used to eat Thanksgiving Dinner with. There will be a reunion with friends that have left this walk of life before us. And most of all we will see Jesus face to face. I am so thankful that Jesus has purchased the ticket and paid the price for us to be there. We are told that in Eph 2:8 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God.
J.J. and I are so very thankful for all of you who pray for us and support us in so many ways. We pray that you have a great Thanksgiving. We pray that all of you have received your ticket to the greatest Thanksgiving Celebration that there will ever be. If you have not done it then do so today. Do not let time run out on you. It is going to be out of this world!

Let Us Pray
Lord Jesus we thank You for how You have so abundantly blessed us. We thank you for every material and relational blessing that you have given to us. We thank You most of all for shedding your precious blood on the cross and making a way for us to live with you and those who are saved in Heaven forever and ever.
In Jesus Name
Amen

On behalf of J.J. and all our family Happy Thanksgiving!
Your Friend/Kinfolk
Preston

GET TOGETHER- THE WORD:IT IS LIVING AND POWERFUL

GET TOGETHER- THE WORD:IT IS LIVING AND POWERFUL

Heb 4:12 For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the hear

            One of these days in the Lord’s timing I feel like I am supposed to write another book. I believe that the Lord would have me to write that book using the various passages that I have marked in the Bibles that I have used over the last thirty years. Many of those passages are passages that we have prayed through some tough, and challenging situations we, or others have gone through.  Others are passages that we have prayed over our children, friends, family members, brothers and sisters in Christ. We have prayed them over nations, situations and circumstances that only God could have come through and did something that only He could have done. 

            We are told in the above passage that the word of God is living and powerful. When we speak the word and release the word in faith action takes place in the heavenly places. The Psalmist gives us a picture of this in Ps 103:20” Bless the LORD, you His angels, Who excel in strength, who do His word, Heeding the voice of His word.”When we speak the word, pray the word, sing the word and release the word His angels obey and heed that word. 

            For as long as I can remember in our journey with the Lord, I have been praying over myself and our family Psalm 91 every day. I believe that the Lord has honored that. Today at least two times the Lord had His angels to protect me in a very special way while I was driving.  His word is truly living and powerful!

When our children were young we prayed this passage from Daniel  over them often from  Da 1:4 “young men in whom there was no blemish, but good-looking, gifted in all wisdom, possessing knowledge and quick to understand, who had ability to serve in the king’s palace, and whom they might teach the language and literature of the Chaldeans.”  We actually have a son and a daughter, but the principle was what was important. We saw God honor this.  Even when it didn’t look like it in the natural, we prayed it and stood on it and God honored it.

We have found God to be faithful in the principle that is mentioned in Isa 55:11 So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth; It shall not return to Me void, But it shall accomplish what I please, And it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it.”   No matter what type challenge that you may be going through allow the Holy Spirit to pray and release the word of God through you.  It will not return void. It will accomplish the purpose for which He sends it. Remember that the word of God is living and powerful. Release His word into your situation and circumstance now. God will work  and God will   honor His word.

Let Us Pray

Lord we thank You that the word of God is living and powerful. We thank You for the Blood of Jesus Christ that positions us to pray, speak, and release Your word. We thank You for the Holy Spirit is at work in us and   through us.    Today may all that read this be a people who do that and see you do great and mighty things.

In Jesus Name

Amen

Love you all!

Your Friend/Kinfolk

Preston

GET TOGETHER- Don’t Miss the Celebration

GET TOGETHER –    Don’t Miss the Celebration 

1Co 3:8 Now he who plants and he who waters are one, and each one will receive his own reward according to his own labor. 1Co 3:13,14 each one’s work will become clear; for the Day will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire will test each one’s work, of what sort it is.  If anyone’s work which he has built on it endures, he will receive a reward.

This past Sunday I had the great blessing of attending the Induction Ceremony for The Walker County Sports Hall of Fame.  There were four individuals that the Lord had allowed me to be connected with either by playing, or coaching with being inducted. It was also a blessing to see some old friends that I have not seen in years. Some were people that I had played against and some were people that I had gone to school with. It was also a great blessing to hear of some of the achievements and accomplishments of some of those who have exceled in athletics since we moved from Walker County in 1996 that were being inducted this past Sunday. 

As I sat there during the ceremony I couldn’t help, but think about another day that is coming when awards will be handed out.  We can never do enough to earn our way to get to the celebration that I am talking about. Jesus paid the price for us to get there with his death on the cross and by His rising from the dead. We who have put our faith and trust in Jesus Christ to save us from our sins can be assured of that. We are told that in Eph 2:8,9 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.   

But on the other hand, there will be awards given out on that day.  We will see faithful Christians who have been martyred for the faith throughout history receive their rewards.  We will see grandmothers who had prayer lives that effected third and fourth generations receive their rewards.  We will see people like Billy Graham, John Wesley, and others that God has used to snatch souls from Hell and to advance the Kingdom of God upon the earth receive their rewards.  We will see people that the majority of us have never heard of come forward and receive their rewards because of their response to the words of our Lord Jesus in Mt 25:34-40 :

Then the King will say to those on His right hand, ‘Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: ‘for I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in;

‘I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me.’ “Then the righteous will answer Him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You drink?  ‘When did we see You a stranger and take You in, or naked and clothe You? ‘Or when did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’ “And the King will answer and say to them, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.’

As wonderful as earthly rewards can be sometimes, they don’t compare to the eternal rewards that the Lord has in store for those who serve Him faithfully. Jesus spoke about these awards in  Mt 6:19,20  “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; “but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal.” As believers and followers of Christ no matter what our occupation, or place in life we are called to be a people that lay up treasure in Heaven. This is not for our glory, but for the Glory of God. 

It was a real blessing to hear of some of the achievements of those who were being inducted. A couple of times I came close to tears when those that I had a close relationship with accomplishments were read aloud and they stepped forward to the podium to make their acceptance speeches.  And then again, I thought about what a glorious day that will be when we see our loved ones again. What a blessing it will be to hear the Lord say to my grandmother you are being rewarded for not giving up on praying for your family when it didn’t look like they would serve Me, when it didn’t smell like they would serve Me, or when it didn’t feel like they would serve Me. What a day that will be!

Let us all examine our hearts in this very crucial time in the Kingdom. Where are you laying up treasure? When your name, or my name is called out will our works have been built on the sure foundation of Jesus Christ, or were they for self-promotion, or some other reason?  One day our names will be called out there.  I pray that like the Apostle Paul that our motives are pure and right. I pray that we keep moving forward in that direction that Paul talked about in Php 3:14” I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”

If we do we can look forward to that glorious day when the Master of the greatest celebration  of all time and the Giver of eternal rewards will call our name and say as we see in  Mt 25:23 “His lord said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant; you have been faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.” With that said I leave you with these words that the Apostle Paul wrote to the church at Corinth 1Co 15:58 ¶ Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord. (NKJV) I hope to see you there. 

Let Us Pray

            Lord Jesus we thank You that we do not have to work our way into Heaven. But Lord we also know that there is work to be done here on this earth. Today by the Holy Spirit empower us and impress upon us to do the work that we can see so clearly in the Scriptures that you desire for your servants to be about. Lord we are so looking forward to seeing you and being able to receive the rewards that you have for your children at that great celebration that You have planned for your saints. 

In Jesus Name 

Amen

On this Veterans Day we are so thank for the Veterans that have served our country. Let us honor them by praying for a Holy Spirit Revival for this nation so that none of their sacrifice will ever be in vain.

Your Friend /Kinfolk

Preston

GET TOGETHER- WITNESSING TO UNSAVED LEADERS

GET TOGETHER- WITNESSING TO UNSAVED LEADERS 

Ac 26:19-28 “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.”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.”For the king, before whom I also speak freely, knows these things; for I am convinced that none of these things escapes his attention, since this thing was not done in a corner.

  “King Agrippa, do you believe the prophets? I know that you do believe. “Then Agrippa said to Paul, “You almost persuade me to become a Christian.”

            The Apostle Paul who was an innocent man who has just been put on trial. He is on trial before King Herod Agrippa II and Festus the Roman Procurator of Judea.  As he stands before these two men, he gives his testimony of how that he had met Jesus on the Road to Damascus and how that he had heard the call of God on his life and had surrendered to that call.  There are several things that stood out to me as I read this passage. To be honest as the Holy Spirit has been bringing this passage before me several times in the last few weeks.  Here the Apostle Paul is standing before two pagan leaders who definitely have a different world view than he has. 

Here are some things that stood out to me.  If you read his whole testimony, he confessed what a sinner he was by persecuting the church.  He  also respectfully addressed Agrippa and Festus. Here are some examples.  Ac 26:3 “especially because you are expert in all customs and questions which have to do with the Jews. Therefore, I beg you to hear me patiently. Here are two examples of Paul addressing    Agrippa by his title: Ac 26:19 “Therefore, King Agrippa, I was not disobedient to the heavenly vision. Ac 26:27 “King Agrippa, do you believe the prophets? I know that you do believe.”.  He also addressed Festus in a respectful manner. Ac 26:25 “But he said, “I am not mad, most noble Festus, but speak the words of truth and reason.”

Paul never watered down the message about the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. He truly spoke the truth. On the other hand, he spoke the truth in love. Paul knew that we don’t battle against flesh and blood, but against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Paul knew that the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty to the casting down of imagination and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God. 

Some say that we are living in Post Christian American. I want to believe that we are living in a time preceding another Great Awakening in America. We can learn some good lessons from Paul when he was brought on trial.  First of all speak the truth. Share what Jesus Christ has done in your life.  Don’t let the enemy draw you into a fleshly battle. Notice that Paul did not call Agrippa, or Festus scumbags, low life’s, or any other names. He did as Jesus has commanded us to do. He let his light shine. Jesus told his followers this Mt 5:16 “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.”  Paul wrote these words in Eph 4:15,31 but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head–Christ-31 Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. In this hostile culture that we live in speak the truth. But speak the truth in love. Again, speak the truth. We have the truth and we like Paul are  called to speak the truth. But we are also called to speak the truth in love. 1Pe 2:1 ¶ “Therefore, laying aside all malice, all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and all evil speaking.”

            One more thing. Agrippa said that Paul almost persuaded him to be a Christian. I have often wondered how many times since that day that Agrippa has perhaps regretted that almost part. Today may all of us ask the Lord to help us to not only speak the truth, but to speak the truth in love.  If we heed these words that our Lord Jesus gave us he will help us to do it: 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) I would imagine that Paul spent a good amount of time praying for Agrippa, and Festus before he went before them that day. May we obey the Lord and follow the example that He gave us to follow.  that is what Paul did. When we do that, we will be faithful to the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Let us Pray 

Lord today we live in a culture where there is much hostility to those of us who serve You and have a Biblical worldview. Today we ask you by the Holy Spirit to help us to represent You in a Christ like manner when we encounter those who are opposed to the Gospel. May You use us to win those who without your grace will spend eternity in torment separated from You.

In Jesus Name 

Amen

We love you all!

Your Friend/Kinfolk

Preston

GET TOGETHER- SEE YOU LATER

GET TOGETHER- SEE YOU LATER

Joh 14:1 -6 “Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me.
“In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. “And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also. “And where I go you know, and the way you know.” Thomas said to Him, “Lord, we do not know where You are going, and how can we know the way?”
Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.

This past week our son Jake and one of he and his wife Tommye’s children Eli came to stay with us a few days. They currently live in Ozark, Missouri. We had a very good time while they were here and Eli seemed not to be very homesick. He played with his cousin’s Judah, Micah, and Eden and had a very good time.
But Saturday night he began to get homesick. He was missing his Mother and his sister. When he and Jake got in the car to return to Ozark this past Sunday morning to be honest, I was sad. I knew that we were going to miss them. But on the other hand, we also knew that they were ready to get home and to be with Tommye and Hannah.
In the past several years we have had several loved ones and friends that have left this walk of life. J.J. and I often talk about them and the good memories that we have of them. Some have left this walk of life recently, and others it may have been years. But we still miss them from time to time. But one thing that we have been thankful for is that we know that we will see those that are in Christ again.
Thomas although he had been with Jesus three years and had heard him talk about eternal things, still had to ask Jesus where that He was going. and strangely he was still asking him for directions. Jesus gives him some good news. He tells him that He is the way to get to where that He is going. As a matter of fact, He tells him that He is the only way to get to where that He is going. That was true then. and that is true now.
I still remember the last thing that the Lord had me to say from the pulpit of the first church that we pastored. Christians never say goodbye. We just say we will see you later.
It isn’t easy to tell people that we love that we will see them later. Especially when we are not sure how long that it will be before we do see them again. But praise God that we can! Jesus made this promise to us in 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.” and Joh 17:3 “And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.
But as painful as it is for us to see those that we love leave this life. I believe that at some point those that are in Christ come to a place that no matter how much that we love those here with us on the earth that we get a longing to go home. Just as Eli was enjoying his time with us last week, but then he got a longing to go home we get to that place where we long to be with Jesus, and go home.
Jesus has a home for all of us that have trusted in His shed blood and His shed blood alone for our salvation. Ro 5:9 “Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him.” What a glorious home that is! The apostle John tells us what it will be like in Re 22:1 ¶-5”And he showed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding from the throne of God and of the Lamb. In the middle of its street, and on either side of the river, was the tree of life, which bore twelve fruits, each tree yielding its fruit every month. The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. And there shall be no more curse, but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it, and His servants shall serve Him. They shall see His face, and His name shall be on their foreheads. There shall be no night there: They need no lamp nor light of the sun, for the Lord God gives them light. And they shall reign forever and ever.”
While Eli was with us last week, he made the most of every moment that he was with us. While we are here on this earth, we need to make the most of the precious moments that God has given us here on this earth. We do that by loving those that God has put in our lives and serving the Lord Jesus in a manner that the Scriptures tell us to serve and that the Holy Spirit calls us to serve.
And for those of us in Christ one day just as Eli was longing to go home and to see his Mother, we will have a longing to go home and to meet our Heavenly Father and to live with the Lord Jesus Christ forever and ever.
There is a mansion waiting for those that are ready. There is only one way that we can get there. and that way is through Jesus. Have you made Him your Lord and Savior? If you have served Him here when the time has come, He will welcome you home with the words “well done my good and faithful servant.” If you haven’t there is no better tine than now to repent of your sins and to put your faith in His precious blood to save you from your sins. That is as far as I am going today. but I think that I will close with the following words. See you later!

Let Us Pray
Lord Jesus we thank You that we have an eternal home. We thank you for paying the price for our home in Heaven on Calvary’s cross. We thank You that You rose from the dead. We thank you that You have promised us that You will come again for those who love You and have put their faith in you. For all that haven’t we pray that any who read this will do it before it is to late. Thank You for Your mercy and for Your love.
In Jesus Name
Amen

See you later!
Your Friend/Kinfolk
Preston