Hold Nothing Back


From Pastor’s Desk:

…being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ; Phil. 1:6 NKJV

***

There is a hidden truth in this verse, that being, He will complete it as long as we allow Him to. He must have full access to do so. Not just a part. Partial obedience, in actuality, is disobedience. The person who holds back something, rather than giving all, is walking in disobedience and therefore God cannot do in that life what He longs to do.

The process is not easy. It necessitates faith, trust, obedience, self-discipline, and willingness to lay aside anything and everything within us and completely submit to His will. Some will say, “I am not sinning.” That may very well be the case, but from Scripture we learn that the slightest thing in our lives that we hold back from God can become a “stumbling-block” and ultimately become a “god” to us, and cause us to go in directions that are not pleasing to God.

There’s that “free will” thing that we humans have to confront from time to time. You know, that thing that God left intact when He no longer allowed Adam and Eve to life in the Garden of Eden, that thing that got them in trouble in the first place, that thing that made them want something that God said they couldn’t have, that thing that they partook of anyway, and got them displaced from a place of Utopia, a place of perfection.

Maybe that’s the place God wants to bring us to again. Maybe that’s why He designed the Plan of Salvation so that we could be brought back again. Maybe that’s the “good work” He wants to complete in us, and will, as we allow Him to do what He needs to do in our lives, and hold nothing back.

Sunset over Mountain Range

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Actual or Potential Power


From Pastor’s Desk:

Now to him who by his power within us is able to do far more than we ever dare to ask or imagine—to him be glory in the Church through Jesus Christ for ever and ever, amen! Ephesians 3:20-21 (PHILLIPS)

***

The message is to the Church. I’m reminded of Jesus’ words, “Greater things than these shall ye do” in John 14:12-14, “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father. 13 And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 If you ask anything in My name, I will do it.

“Power within us” is the point. We can do nothing of ourselves. Even Jesus said that of Himself. God forbid that the church, individually or collectively, should think that anything we do, that is contrary to the Father’s will, would matter, or be effective, to the Kingdom of God.

At the same time, however, we must realize that the power is within us, that it has been given to the church. Peter’s confession, “Thou art the Christ, the Son of God” prompted the Lord to say to His disciples, “I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven” (Mat. 16:19). The giving of keys represents the giving of authority. Jesus had the right to pass on the authority to the Church because God, the Father, has place all authority in Jesus’ hands. (Mat. 28:18). With the authority came the reason for it, “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, 20 teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you…” (Mat. 28:19-20).

The Church has the authority to do “greater things.” I wonder sometimes if we are exercising actual power within, or just living in the potential (possible without actual accomplishment) realm.

The fact is that potential power will not bring glory and honor to God

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The Reason We Can Trust God


From Pastor’s Desk: 2-2-25

As for God, his way is perfect: the word of the Lord is tried: he is a buckler to all those that trust in him. Psalm 18:30 (KJV).

***

Shall we do a word study?

Perfect: tâmîym (taw-meem’); entire (literally, figuratively or morally); also (as noun) integrity, truth: – without blemish, complete, full, perfect, sincerely (-ity), sound, without spot, undefiled, upright (-ly), whole.

Tried: tsâraph (tsaw-raf’); to fuse (metal), that is, refine (literally or figuratively): – cast, (re-) fine (-er), founder, goldsmith, melt, pure, purge away, try.

Buckler: mâgên (maw-gane’), meginnâh (meg-in-naw’); a shield (that is, the small one or buckler); figuratively a protector; also the scaly hide of the crocodile: – X armed, buckler, defence, ruler, + scale, shield.

Be sure and notice all the English derivatives to get the full impact of the meaning of each word. That way you can see what the verse means to you personally and to the church collectively. His word is “entire” leaving no exceptions to that which His word applies.

Personal situation? God’s word has been tried and is true: It has been tried to the extent that it has been refined, like that of fine, pure gold. Psalm 19:10 says it is “More to be desired are they than gold, Yea, than much fine gold; Sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb.”

Fiery darts coming your way? God is our buckler (shield). There is no fiery dart that will prove spiritually fatal as long as you have the Shield of Faith. Paul, the apostle, said, “…above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one” (Eph. 6:16).

I’ve left the first for the last: “His way is perfect.” Has the way you are on become cumbersome, rough, and difficult to travel? Try His way for a change. Psalm 34:8 tells us, “Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the man who trusts in Him!” Jeremiah 6:16 says, “Stand in the ways and see, and ask for the old paths, where the good way is, and walk in it; Then you will find rest for your souls.” And there is only one way, Jesus Christ, as He Himself declared, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me” (John 14:6).

No other way is perfect, only God’s. No other word is tried and proven, only the word of the Lord. No other shield that can protect but the Lord. That’s the reason we can trust in him!

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Good Example of Righteousness


From Pastor’s Desk: 7-8-18

Genesis 15:6 Abram believed the LORD, and he credited it to him as righteousness.

***

Note that it is “Abram” that believed the LORD. At that point his name meant “High Father.” It wasn’t until Geneses 17:5 that God called him “Abraham” which means “Father of a multitude.”

As he was called, before he knew what he was going to become, Abram believed God. It would be uncharted territory for him and his family, yet he believed God. Hardships would be sure, by the very nature of the journey. In a land so unforgiving, loss of life within his family and/or entourage would be experienced. The time frame of the journey could not be known, as such would be contingent on so many things. The relationships, good or bad, he would be involved in along the way, as well as when he finally got there, would be unforeseeable.

Yet he believed God. Because he simply took God at His word, God credited it to him as righteousness. That is a good example and good word for us today, no matter where we are in our journey.

Take God at His word. He will credit to your righteousness!

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Honor Given


From Pastor’s Desk:

And in that day you will say: “Praise the Lord, call upon His name; Declare His deeds among the peoples, Make mention that His name is exalted. Isaiah 12:4 (NKJV)

***

With our society becoming increasingly less godly, we can still rest assured that He is, and always will be God. It is recorded in Philippians 2:9-11 that “God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, 10 so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”

God is exalted whether we exalt Him or not. Nothing can stop Him from being God. It is not as though His state, or position, of exaltation is contingent upon anything or anyone else. He is the Self-existent, eternal God Jehovah!

Have you stopped to think that besides all the glory and honor it bestows upon Him for us to praise Him, call upon Him, declare His deeds, and exalt Him, what an honor is given us that we might do so.

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True Liberty


From Pastor’s Desk:

Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. 2 Cor. 3:17 (NKJV)

***

Men and women have fought, and many have died, for liberty. The Greek word, ἐλευθε eleutheria (el-yoo-ther-ee’-ah) originally is freedom, which translates into liberty, which is the most sought after commodity in the world now, and forever has been, and will always be. It seems ironic that in order gain freedom, the very thing we seek freedom from, battles and wars, are necessitated.

Those who study the Bible know, of course, that there is no real freedom or liberty outside of knowing Jesus Christ as Savior. The words of Jesus spoken to the disciples not long before He was crucified attest to that: “Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid” (John 14:27). He was saying, in essence, that the world system would be nowhere to look for peace and safety. Peace and safety come only from a place of freedom.

“Now the Lord is the Spirit” and “Where the Spirit of the Lord” are interesting phrases. Misconception(s) are prone to occur when this verse is used. If one studies and researches the text of 2 Cor. 3:1-16, it will found that Paul is referring to the Gospel, and that Jesus is the Spirit of the Gospel.

Adam Clarke says, “In 2 Cor. 3:6, 8, the word pneuma, spirit, evidently signifies the Gospel; so called because it points out the spiritual nature and meaning of the law; because it produces spiritual effects; and because it is especially the dispensation of the Spirit of God. Here Jesus Christ is represented as that Spirit, because he is the end of the law for justification to everyone that believes; and because the residue of the Spirit is with him, and he is the dispenser of all its gifts, graces, and influences.” He continues, “Wherever this Gospel is received, there the Spirit of the Lord is given; and wherever that Spirit lives and works, there is liberty, not only from Jewish bondage, but from the slavery of sin-from its power, its guilt, and its pollution.  See John 8:33-36, and the notes there.”

Possibly reaching a little beyond the parameters of the context here, remember that Jesus is the Word, as John 1:1 declares, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” Or, “existed the Logos.”

Wherever the Word of God is preached, taught, and adhered to, there will be liberty!

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Righteousness or Reproach?


From Pastor’s Desk:

Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach (shame or disgrace) to any people. Proverbs 14:34 (NKJV)

***

Individually or collectively, there is nothing that compares with the feeling of living a life of righteousness. At the close of the day, looking back and knowing that we have not only pursued, but lived in righteousness, we can lay our heads on our pillow and peace prevails.

To use a phrase from Psalm 1, “The ungodly are not so…” In that Psalm the first three verses express the state of the godly person. Verse four begins to describe the ungodly. Quite a contrast! It seems we can say verses 1-3 identifies with the first part of Proverbs 14:34 while verses 4-6 relates to the last part.

Isaiah 26:3 says, “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.” The word “stayed” is derived from the Hebrew word sâmak (saw-mak’), meaning, to prop (literally or figuratively); reflexively to lean upon or take hold of (in a favorable or unfavorable sense)…

Note all the other English words that are derived from the same word. – bear up, establish, (up-) hold, lay, lean, lie hard, put, rest self, set self, stand fast, stay (self), sustain.

That speaks of a life of righteousness, does it not? If our minds are stayed on the Lord, we are not going to be so easily persuaded to sin, thereby living a life that brings reproach. The nation, then, who is exalted by the Righteous, is going to experience peace and prosperity. If sin prevails in that nation, however, that nation will experience only shame and disgrace.

“Exalt” is from rûm (room); to be high actively to rise or raise. Sin does not exalt, but rather tears down.

Let’s examine Psalm 1:1-3: “Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly (wicked), nor stands in the path of sinners, nor sits in the seat of the scornful; But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and in His law he meditates (ponders by talking to himself) day and night. He shall be like a tree planted by the rivers (channels) of water, that brings forth its fruit in its season, whose leaf also shall not wither; and whatever he does shall prosper.”

“The ungodly are not so…” Pray that our nation becomes again a nation that is exalted because of righteousness, and no longer, because of sin, brings shame and disgrace.

Sunset over Mountain Range

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