Saturday, December 25, 2010

We've Come To Worship

As I have been going over the Christmas story through the Gospels, one passage made me think about a simple fact. In Matthew chapter two, in the first two verses, we read how the wise men came to see the infant Christ. Their goal was to worship Him. Verse two reads, “Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we have seen His star in the East and have come to worship Him.”

When we make it a priority to worship the Lord, there is an exchange that takes place. Coming to the Lord isn’t something that we do only in the midst of a crisis. Many times, when we get overwhelmed with our problems, before we realize it, we are glorifying the problems and not the Lord Himself. Jesus cares about our hurts and what we struggle with; but when we allow Him access to our situations and circumstances is when we cease to struggle with our “problem” and we worship the One Who gets us out of our mess. Our purpose is to acknowledge how awesome the Lord is, not how big the problem is. He’s given us the victory and has made us more than a conqueror.

Isaiah 40:28-31 are some good verses to study. Part of those verses says that, “He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might he increaseth strength…. But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint”

Waiting on the Lord is worship. It is the exchange of our weakness for His strength. It is the exchange of our lack of ability for His ability. It’s time for us to do some exchanging on a more regular basis! The very Throne of God, where we come in and worship Him, is always there for us. We can make our habitation in His presence every day! Even when we “feel” otherwise, the Word is the same and true. Just as the three wise men did so many years ago, let us step into His presence each and every day. What a great time it is this Christmas to change your habits to being more focused on His presence. Amen!

Melissa and I want to wish each of you a very Merry Christmas! If you are in town and can be at service this Friday, you’ll be a part of a special Christmas Eve service. As the service proceeds, Melissa and I will personally serve Communion to each individual or family and personally pray for each of you. It will be an intimate time in the presence of the Lord that you will not want to miss. The Christmas Eve service is at 4:00 p.m.

We look forward to seeing you at The Lord’s Church this Sunday. Blessings to you and Merry Christmas!

Pastor James & Melissa Farmer

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Get Ready For The Real Ride!

There is a verse of scripture that reads like this, "If you'll hold on to me for dear life, says God, I'll get you out of any trouble. I'll give you the best of care if you'll only get to know and trust me." Psalm 91:14 I love the way that reads.

We serve a God Who truly is MORE than enough! He's the God Who can turn our struggles into victory! He's the God Who can take defeat and make you the winner! No matter what the problem or the circumstance, there is no need to wonder or be concerned, HE will do it again!

We, as believers, must stay submitted to the Lord. Many people end up losing miracles because they don't hold on. 2 Chronicles 26:5 says that as long as he sought the Lord, God made him prosper.

Protect your garden, your secret place! Seek the Lord always. Hold on to Him. He will deliver you because He has delivered you! Hold on, you've just been going up that steep hill! Get ready for the real ride as you go into that land of "milk and honey!" Amen!

Monday, October 4, 2010

Being Happy In The Middle Of It All!

Good quotes are inspirational. Here's one that really speaks, "When the train goes through a tunnel and the world gets dark, do you jump off? Of course not! You sit still and trust the engineer to get you through." Corrie Ten Boom made that statement. It's so true too! Faith that overcomes the world demands focus. You will become what captures your thoughts.

When you feel sad or down, you need to shout and keep your joy on! When the heat is on, allow your thoughts to be captured by the Word and praise! One preacher said, "It's a poor dog that won't wag his own tail." YOU have to encourage yourself in God! 1 Samuel 30:6 says that at a very dark time in David's life, HE encouraged himself in the Lord!

If we really know God as our loving heavenly Father, we would consider fellowship with Him our greatest treasure. When the tunnel is dark stay on the train, trust the engineer and encourage yourself in Him! Being happy in the middle will determine how fast you get out of that tunnel.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Special Guest Minister: Rick Renner

This is a great devotional by Rev. Rick Renner. Whether you are in ministry or a church member, this is an important point to remember.

Taken Captive by the Devil To Do the Devil's Will!

And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will.
2 Timothy 2:26

Every once and a while in the local church, someone gets so bent out of shape and upset with the church leadership that he behaves in a way that is shocking to everyone. Often this person has served faithfully in the past; yet suddenly he becomes a raging torrent - accusing the pastor, getting upset with the pastoral staff, and trying to stir up as much trouble as possible. The amazing thing is that this person is usually blind to how ugly and ungodly his behavior really is. Often the person even thinks he's doing the will of God by pointing out the flaws of the church leadership!

Timothy was having similar troubles with several people in his own congregation. Paul referred to this predicament when he wrote that some people in his church were "taken captive by him [the devil] at his will" (2 Timothy 2:26).

The words "taken captive" are from the Greek word zoogreo, which means to take an animal alive. It is the picture of putting an animal in a cage or behind bars at the zoo. This means people who are behaving this way are themselves victims - somehow caught and trapped by the devil, caged in resentment or bitterness that drives them to act in a fashion that is inconsistent with who they really are!

When Paul says "taken captive by him [the devil] at his will,"
it could be better rendered:

"who are taken captive by him [the devil] to
carry out the devil's will."

Here we see a picture of a believer whose emotions the devil has manipulated until the person himself becomes the source of strife, discord, and subversion in the church, all the while thinking that he is doing the will of God. This is a deceived believer, captured by the enemy and now working for the devil to disrupt the local church!

Offense is usually the entry point the devil uses to seduce a believer into this behavior. And it's amazing just how quickly a dart of offense from the enemy can be thrown into a person's heart. Equally amazing is the speed in which just one of his evil darts can change that person's perspective of someone he used to honor and respect! In a matter of seconds, his entire view of that other person can become adversely affected.

Like the dripping of water, the devil begins to repeatedly strike a person's mind with accusations against the one who was once so revered. Let's say the one accused is the person's pastor. The enemy might pound that person's mind with false allegations such as these:

•He is so arrogant and proud!

• If other people saw what you see, no one would attend this church.

• He doesn't appreciate you.

• He doesn't deserve to have you serve on his staff. Leave him!

• The people in this city need a pastor who really loves them.

•It's time for you to leave him and go start your own church!

• Do I want to let the devil build a wall between me and that other person over something that won't even matter one or two years from now?

• Do I really think that person intended to hurt me?

• Wouldn't it be better to forgive that person and preserve our relationship that has taken so long to build?

• Is what happened really so serious, or am I blowing the whole incident out of proportion?

• Have I ever been guilty of doing the same thing to someone else?

I have discovered from my own experience through the years that the devil is constantly seeking opportune moments to wedge bad feelings between people. He is a master at embellishing real or imagined offenses until they become inflated and larger than life. And he knows just when to "sock it to you"!

So slow down, calm down, and give yourself a little time to think and pray before you start accusing someone. It would be a good idea to find a friend who will be honest with you. Ask that friend to tell you the truth about what you are feeling and about how you are behaving. A good dose of honesty from a truthful friend might be exactly what you need to wake you up to what the devil is trying to do in you and through you!

My Prayer:
Lord, I never want the devil to take me captive to do his will in my church or place of employment. He is an accuser, so if I am tempted to accuse and slander, it means that the devil is trying to work through me. Give me the ability to recognize this strategy of the enemy as soon as it starts, and to put on the brakes before I get so embroiled in a conflict that I can't see or think correctly. Holy Spirit, You are the Spirit of Truth, so please enable me to both see and to hear the truth about myself, because I want to stay free!

I pray this in Jesus' name!

My Confession For Today:

I confess that I am free from the deception of the devil! My mind is renewed to the truth of God's Word. My mind thinks straight and clearly, and I am sound and balanced in my perspective of the situations I face in life. I am teachable when my friends tell me the truth, helping me see when I am getting too upset about things that aren't so important. Therefore, I'm able to walk free of the devil's snare and stay balanced in my emotions because of the Word that works mightily in me!

I declare this by faith in Jesus' name!

Questions To Consider:

1. Has there ever been a moment in your life when the devil trapped you emotionally and used you to stir up trouble? Were you later very regretful for your negative role in that situation? Did you ever go back and apologize for what you did?

2. Have you ever seen someone else fall in this trap at your church or place of employment? At the time this incident occurred, did you recognize that the person acting so destructively was literally captured in his mind and emotions?

3. If the person being used by the devil won't listen to those who are over him, what actions do you think his authorities should take in response to his or her behavior?

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Who Is Your Author?

Here's a great quote, "What kind of world would this world be if everybody were just like you? Your life is a book that is telling the world about its author... who is your Author, your own flesh or the Lord?"

We all think that "We are right." Sometimes we will even argue that point with our friends. There is nothing wrong with being right. But in a world where faithfulness, loyalty, character and integrity are fading, we should examine ourselves on a personal level. In regard to the partaking of the Lord's Supper, Paul told us as believers to "...examine himself..." in 1 Corinthians 11:28. Check your heart. Check your heart and see if what is in there reminds you of Christ Jesus. We are examples of Christ to those who walk on this earth. Our lives tell a story about WHO our Author is in us and through us. It's the Author of the Book that we need to get into. Read the Book and don't wait for the movie!

Think about it all in perspective. Bad character will always snuff out your zeal and desire for the things of God. The examples that we present will either encourage others or deter others away from the the example of Christ in our lives. 1 Corinthians 15:33-34 says, "Do not be deceived: evil company corrupts good habits. Awake to righteousness, do not sin; for some do not have the knowledge of God. I speak this to your shame."

Our lives truly speak. I'm not saying we have to be perfect. Sure, we all make mistakes, but we should be quick to "get it right" when we do mess up. We need to remember that we will give an account one day. So many believers tend to "drift" in their relationship with the Lord. Let me encourage you, set your anchor sure. Don't drift away from the shore. It's harder to swim back the further you are away. Set the example in your life daily so that you can boldly proclaim as Paul did, "Imitate me, just as I also imitate Christ." (1 Corinthians 11:1). That is a testimony to daily reach for in our lives. Amen.

Friday, September 3, 2010

It Always Gets Better

Aren't you glad that God never peaks? It gets better and better with Him! God’s plan is that you and I live the good life! He supplies all our needs. The Bible says that the Lord is my shepherd to feed, guide, and shield me, I shall not lack.

Look at Psalm 23 out of the Amplified. Let this encourage you right now! “The Lord is my Shepherd (to feed, guide, and shield me), I shall not lack. He makes me lie down in (fresh, tender) green pastures; He leads me beside the still and restful waters. He refreshes and restores my life (myself); He leads me in the paths of righteousness (uprightness and right standing with Him—not for my earning it, but) for His name’s sake. Yes, though I walk through the (deep, sunless) valley of the shadow of death, I will fear or dread no evil, for You are with me; Your rod (to protect) and Your staff (to guide), they comfort me. You prepare a table for me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my (brimming cup runs over. Surely or only goodness, mercy and unfailing love shall follow me all the days of my life, and through the length of my days the house of the Lord (and His presence) shall be my dwelling place.”

If all you had was the 23rd Psalm, you’d walk in victory every day! If all you had was the 23rd Psalm, you’d know that you know that God is a good God and has provided His blessing on your life, His protection, and His goodness. Yes, there will be times where you will have to stand and believe His Word. Know that you are just "walking through that valley", you're not staying there! God created you and me to live the GOOD LIFE that He made for you and me! You ought to say it to yourself every day: “I am living the good life.” "Something good happens to me every day!" Do you believe that? It’s yours if you will follow after Him and His Word and yield yourself to live His ways. Amen!

True Refreshment

Notice what 1 Peter 5:7 tells us, "Casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you." It would do us all a lot of good if we would quit wrestling with our cares. We cannot beat them! The Hebrew word for "casting" means to "SLAM" your burdens on the Lord and HE WILL SUSTAIN you. I love that! If we get our eyes off the Lord, we are trying to do it all ourselves! Really, that's what true "burn out" is, getting our eyes off of the Lord. Some people think working too much creates burnout, but it's you and me getting our eyes off of the Lord! You see, that is what leads to the whole burnout deal. Being weary and tired doesn't come from the work that we do or the amount of the work that we do; it comes from you and me not keeping our eyes on Jesus and trying to solve our own problems. If you want true refreshment all the time, then look unto the Lord!

Isaiah 40: 28-31 tells us, "Have you not known? Have you not heard? The everlasting God, the LORD, The Creator of the ends of the earth, Neither faints nor is weary. His understanding is unsearchable. He gives power to the weak, And to those who have no might He increases strength. Even the youths shall faint and be weary, And the young men shall utterly fall, But those who wait on the LORD Shall renew their strength; They shall mount up with wings like eagles, They shall run and not be weary, They shall walk and not faint."

Come on! "Slam your burdens, cares, concerns, circumstances and problems over on HIM." He is THE ONE WHO takes care of everything you need. Amen!

Mouth Impact

The Bible tells us that, "For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation." (Romans 10:10) Over in 2 Corinthians 4:13 it says, "And since we have the same spirit of faith, according to what is written, "I believed and therefore I spoke," we also believe and therefore speak." Our mouths are containers of power. What we speak has impact either for good or bad. Pay attention to what you speak. Speak what HIS WORD says about you and your situation. Believe it and speak it. Remember, confession builds the road over which faith carries its mighty cargo!

True Happiness

Jesus told us in John 10:10 (Amplified) "The thief comes only in order to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance (to the full, till it overflows)." He said to "Seek FIRST His kingdom and His righteousness and then all these things would be added to you (Matthew 6:33)".

For you see, true happiness and contentment can never be found in people--your spouse, friend or anyone else. It is only found in walking closely to the Lord Jesus Christ and receiving all that His grace has already provided. That is truly what living an abundant life is all about!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

True Security Is Found In Our Yielding

Pastor James' Power Word For This Week!

We all want to be loved, appreciated and accepted. Because of what Jesus did for us at the cross in His death, burial, and resurrection, we are the righteousness of God in Him (2 Corinthians 5:21). Through our accepting Jesus as our Lord and Savior, we are a new creation. All of that being said, many of us struggle with insecurities due to our not accepting all that was done for us through the work at the cross. Bottom line is that we need to not just have "fellowship" with the Lord, but we need to have a strong "relationship" with Him. We do that through reading His Word, worship and praise, spending time in prayer on a consistent basis. It's called devotional time! It's vital to our daily walk to have that "relationship" strong! Think about it like this, if you are insecure in your relationship with God, how can you be secure in your relationship with others?

True security is found in our yielding. We need to yield to all that He has provided for us and have a true "relationship" with Him. Anybody can have "fellowship" with anyone, even from afar. Relationship is up close and personal. Let me ask you a question. If you keep living and doing what you are doing right now, in ten years will you be closer to Him or further away? Makes me want to grab a coffee and my Bible and draw close to Him. I know He always draws close to me when I do (James 4:8).

Friday, March 12, 2010

"Don't ever doubt in darkness what God has shown you in the light."

“Your eye is the lamp of your body; when your eye (your conscience) is sound and fulfilling its office, your whole body is full of light; but when it is not sound and is not fulfilling its office, your body is full of darkness.”
Luke 11:34

When you are in a completely dark room, one match can greatly enhance the atmosphere of that room in an instant. What is really amazing is the fact that you see things even more closely because you’re straining to see clearly.

When light is shone on something, you notice imperfections, and you start seeing things that you would like to change. They say that hindsight is 20/20. Looking back at ourselves can give us opportunities to make adjustments to push us to new heights. When we look in the mirror, not only should we see ourselves, but also we should have a vision for the way that God sees our lives. His Word tells us that He sees you as a new creation. He sees you whole. He sees you victorious, and He sees you as being righteous!

What is truly tragic is that many people cannot look in the mirror with the truth of the Word as their reflection. When they look in the mirror, they only see someone who, in their eyes, is unloved, not liked, incompetent, unworthy, has no sense of belongingness, is inadequate, and the list can go on and on.

Many Christians live with those feelings each and every day. They have heard the truth, but they doubt. In their eyes they cannot help the way that they feel. In the darkness of their lives, they focus on their imperfections as a crutch for their self-pity instead of letting the light of the Word change them.

Jesus died so that we can feel competent, walk worthy, and have a true sense of belongingness in life. We are joint heirs with Christ! His blood was shed so that we could live and walk free from the bondages of sin and oppression.

We cannot continue to doubt in our own self-created darkness when we know the truth of the Word, which is our light! Romans 12:2 tells us to RENEW our minds. We should not be shaped by the world’s influence, but instead, by our leaning on the Word of God and our new way of thinking.

We can stay in the dark and cry, or we can dance with joy in the light. Luke 11:34 says, “Your eye is the lamp of your body; when your eye (your conscience) is sound and fulfilling its office, your whole body is full of light; but when it is not sound and is not fulfilling its office, your body is full of darkness.”

When we look back to our old self and our old ways we lose our soundness and our ability to fulfill our days in His victory. We allow the old man to creep in, and we put ourselves back in the dark room when we know good and well what’s been done for us so that we can see clearly and walk victoriously.

You will do what you really want to do. You will live the way you really want to live. When it comes to walking in the true light of the Word of God, we tend to pick and choose what we will believe and walk in. I choose to believe the good Word of God. Sometimes it might not be comfortable to your flesh when you look in that mirror, but you know that you need to change so that you will quit doubting in darkness what you know in the light!

Prayer: Lord, help me to realize the truth of Your Word so that it is a reality to my personal self-image. Thank You for helping me to walk in Your light, the light and knowledge of Your Word each and every day of my life. Thank you. Amen.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Being Refreshed Always!

When you're working hard, out in the sun, there's nothing like a cool glass of ice water or lemonade. There's something about a fresh cup of cold water that refreshes you and invigorates you.

In 2 Timothy 4:2-7 , “Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables. But YOU be watchful in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry. For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.”

Paul is giving Timothy, a young pastor, some wise instruction here. This is instruction that we should all follow, and in doing so we will stay refreshed always. Paul tells Timothy to preach the Word, stay true to it. We should all stay true to the Word. As James 1:22 says, “…be doers of the Word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.” The last part of that verse should ring clear that you can get deceived by not being a doer of the Word. Times come when things can be a challenge. When you're not a doer of the Word staying true to it, you won't respond according to the Word, you'll respond according to the flesh. Paul is telling young Timothy to watch out for things that will pull him down. What pulls you down? Watch out for it by staying true to the Word. The Word of God is your power source, your lamp and your light.

As believers we have to “watch out” for stuff that can pull us away from our personal relationship with the Lord. We have to stay fresh before God and not let the “stuff” of this life pull us down. We must be careful not to allow the “stuff” to zap our enthusiasm and zeal and pull us back to “B.C.” (Before Christ!). Our walk with Jesus needs to stay fresh each and every day! If God put into you how much you put into Him, how much of God would you be really walking in? Daily, our relationship with the Lord needs to be fresh.

We need to always be a living example of what we believe. That's not always easy. We must strive to consistently put the Word to work in our lives, put it into our hearts so that we are being that beacon of truth and righteousness among those with whom we associate and especially to those who are passing by. Jesus was “followable”! We need to have “followable” lifestyles. “Follow Me!” He wasn't some mystic something. No, multitudes followed Him, the disciples dropped what they were doing, left, and followed Him. Our lives both public and private should be “followable”. Paul was giving some strong instruction to young Timothy to help keep him strong and keep him on track. Here are some simple points to keep you strong.

Three Things To Keep Yourself Refreshed Always.

1. Have The Right Emphasis.

Put The Word First! There is a lot of stuff out there that pulls you away from the truth of the Word of God. As you put the Word first, your faith will grow and strengthen. Romans 10:17, “Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God.” The more you know the more your relationship will grow with the Lord. James 4:8 tells us to draw near to the Lord and He will draw near to you. Let go of whatever makes you stop getting into the Word of God. Let it go! Have the right emphasis and put the Word first in your life. D.L. Moody once said, “God never made a promise that was too good to be true.” The man who puts God and His Word first will find God with him always! Proverbs 3:6 says, “In everything you do, put God first, and He will direct you and crown your efforts with success.” (The Living Bible)
You'll keep your peace, joy, and victory if you put the Word first. You won't give up control of your peace, joy, and victory when stuff comes at you because the Word that you've put inside will speak first and keep you strong and always refreshed.

2. Stir Up The Gift of God In You.

Don't wait for your Pastor to stir you up or some guest speaker, or some song. No you have got to stir yourself up! Not only do you need to take the responsibility for stirring yourself up but you need to be consistent about it too! 2 Timothy 1:6 says, “Therefore I remind you to stir up the gift of God which is in you…” Paul told Timothy that he needed to stir himself up. Paul said basically, “YOU DO IT!” When there is a weather bulletin about possible snow or ice, the milk and bread at the stores are the first to be gone. Nobody wants to be without the necessities! You cannot walk strong if you don't have the overflow. Your overflow always keeps you walking in victory in everyday situations of life.

John 7:38 says, “Out of your belly shall flow rivers of living water.” Rivers that refresh and renew! Jude verse 20 says, “Building up yourself on your most Holy faith by praying in the Holy Ghost.” Rivers flow when you pray in the Spirit. You build yourself up on the inside when you pray in the Holy Spirit! 1 Corinthians 2:9-12 tells us that we might know the things that are freely given! How do we know? By stirring up the gift of God inside of you and me, praying in the Holy Spirit. You don't have to have wildfire to be on fire! You just have to keep yourself stirred up!

We must be careful that the affairs of life don't rob us of our time with God. We've got to think “conversion”. Our wealth lies in our ability to convert “downtime” to “God's Time”! If you want to always stay fresh, stir up the gift of God on the inside of you and you will be always refreshed! And lastly, number three…

3. Keep Yourself Right!

1 Timothy 5:22 says, “Do not lay hands on anyone hastily, not share in other people's sins; keep yourself pure.” It is so very important to keep yourself right in life. This verse says to keep yourself pure. God may use you mightily, but you cannot get to a place where you don't have control over you and over your actions. We've all spent time with some folks who walked in many gray areas in their personal life and think there is nothing wrong with what they continuously do. They will be one way in public and another in private. And they'll wonder why things keep happening to them and they'll struggle but they refuse to look in the mirror due to their own selfish pride. They will blame others first and never look inward. Pride always keeps you deceived. Pride will always keep you in bondage. Proverbs 22:1 tells us that a good name is rather to be had than riches. Don't talk one way and act another. It will show up somewhere and affect your bottom line. It's hard to swim to the shore when you're far away. Get back to the Word and keep yourself right.

Avoid the appearance of evil. Keep a lid on your flesh. Pay attention to what you watch, listen to, and partake of. Bad habits can consume your thinking. Good habits can keep you focused and on the right path. Romans 13:14 says to make no provision for the flesh. It also says to “Put on the Lord Jesus Christ.” Just like a coat, put His life on yours. Keep a teachable spirit about your life. Have a sweet attitude. Be willing to change things when you realize that you need to. If you mess up, fess up! The greatest message in life is the road sign that says “Keep Right”. If you will “Keep Right” you will be always refreshed.

Prayer: Father, I choose to be always refreshed. Help me to realize my depth of heart in regard to my relationships or the shallowness that I may be showing and not seeing. May my conversation be pleasing and my steps be sure. You alone are my strength and my song. I commit to lean on and trust in You and Your Word. I will put Your Word first in my daily life, stir up Your Spirit inside of me, and keep my heart right. Amen.

Pastor James Farmer