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BE BLESSED BY GOD’S WORD THROUGHOUT THE WEEK

July 1st, 2017

“No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.” – Romans 8:37
 
Lately, I have been pondering the question “What does God think of me?” because as I read the scriptures, it is clear to me what God thought of me even before I was born. In Psalm 139:14, “I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.” He says “I’m fearfully and wonderfully made.” In Psalm 17:8, I am the apple of His eye. In Deuteronomy 7:6, God tells me I’m His treasured possession. In Galatians 3:26, “So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith,” He is saying I’m a child of God. In Ephesians 2:10, “For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” I’m an incredible work of art. I can find all over the scriptures what God thinks of me. Paul in his letter to the Romans tells me “I’m more than conquerors.” I should be ecstatic about God’s opinion of me. But we seldom take His word.
 
We are troubled by what others around us think of us. I’m too thin, too fat, no one wants to be around me, or I don’t have this or that. Does it really matter what others think of me compared to what the creator God thinks of me?
 
You know most of us Christians know how the story ends. If you have forgotten, read Revelation which tells me we won. God is on the throne and I’m going to be sitting next to Him. My confidence and hope is in God. I know I’m God’s treasured possession.
 
When I first started pastoring, I didn’t feel like a pastor, and I didn’t look like one either. It took a few years to realize it didn’t matter whether I looked or felt like one, I was chosen by God to “serve” HIM.
 
So when I look into the mirror in the morning, I ask myself, what does God think of me? I’m assured I’m God’s treasured possession, I’m God’s child. How did I behave yesterday in my walk. Did I make Him proud, did I disappoint Him, how was my attitude toward others, my speech, my thought process, etc., because I did try to please in every way possible my earthly parents, peers and others.
 
I now have a poster in my office which says, “What Does God Think of Me?”, so I focus on it everyday. I will please my God, because I will spend eternity with Him and also share the joy of being with my heavenly father.
 
Finally, this is what I know!
  • I’m a citizen of heaven. (“But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ” Philippians 3:20)
  • I’m God’s messenger to the world. (“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” Acts 1:8)
  • I’m God’s disciple maker. (“Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” Matthew 28:19)
  • I’m the light of the world. (“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden.” Matthew 5:14)
  • I’m Jesus’ friend. (“I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.” John 15:15)
Hope you are having a wonderful summer. God’s blessings will be upon you.
 
Your’s in Christ’s steps,
Pastor Shaker

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June 1st, 2017

“In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that he lavished on us. With all wisdom and understanding.” – Ephesians 1:7-8
 
As I was walking towards the Garden of Gethsemane I saw a man begging and asking for alms. It has since imprinted in my mind. I have been pondering why? The land where my Savior came should have beggars, people who are still blind to the grace which is available to all.
 
Grace is God’s voluntary and loving favors given to those He saves. We cannot earn salvation nor do we deserve it. Without God’s grace, no one can be saved. Many of us use the word grace without realizing it is greater than we imagine.
 
Grace is not often found in human nature. People do not give something for nothing, people often expect payment for everything they offer.
 
A. W. Tozen says, “Grace is the good pleasure of God that inclines Him to bestow benefits on the undeserving..”
 
E. Stanley Jones, a missionary, once said, “Grace is free, but when once you take it you are bound forever to the giver.”
 
Max Lucado in his book Grace says, “The meaning of life. The wasted years of life. The poor choices of life. God answers the mess of life with one word GRACE.”
 
Do we understand grace? We sing “Amazing Grace”, preachers and teachers explain it. Have we been changed by grace, shaped by grace, emboldened by grace, softened by grace?
 
Look at the thief on the cross next to Jesus Christ. He had done nothing to merit divine grace, on the other hand right up to the very end he was cursing, taunting and mocking Jesus, even though he himself faced certain death and judgement. But you see the grace that was given to this thief was most assuredly a divine gift granted to him freely.
 
When grace happens, we receive a new heart. He returns a favor. “ I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you.” (Ezekiel 36:26) Grace is everything Jesus. To be saved by grace is not an idea, church membership or doctrine. Grace brings us into His presence. It is incredible, awesome–the words cannot describe.
 
“Grace is God loving, God stooping, God coming to the rescue, God giving himself generously in and through Jesus Christ.” -John Stott.
 
Hebrews 10:22 says, “Let us come near to God with a sincere heart and a sure faith, because we have been made free from a guilty conscience.”
 
Author, Stephen Brown, notes that a veterinarian can learn a lot about a dog owner he has never met first by observing the dog. What does the world learn about God by watching us His followers on earth?
 
We better be aware of who we are representing because of grace given to us, so undeserving.
 
Going back to the beggar, I was that man, it was the grace of God, now I am a child of God. I want to close with the Apostle Paul, “But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace to me was not without effect. No, I worked harder than all of them—yet not I, but the grace of God that was with me.” (1 Corinthians 15:10)
 
Have a blessed summer. Enjoy what God has given us and thank Him for all His blessings.
 
Yours in Christ’s steps,
Pastor Shaker

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May 1st, 2017

 

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.” -John 3:16-17
 
As a young child I remember singing “Jesus loves me this I know.” This song has always been with me throughout my life. Throughout my life I have been blessed by His love toward me through tough times and good times.
Recently, our church gave us the privilege of visiting the Holy Land. While we were there, we visited several places Jesus travelled, met with people, did miracles, ultimately was crucified and arose to sit at the right hand of God. During the visit, I really understood my childhood song “Jesus Loves Me.”
Jesus left everything to come to earth. Not only that, the land He came to was not anything like the beautiful hills and mountains of our country or the never ending streams and landscapes either. It is a place which is dry and drab. There were no roads or conveniences but falling rocks and occasional rainfall. We did not see the acres and acres of trees and flowering bushes we see here. The guide shared that they didn’t receive sufficient rainfall on a regular basis to grow enough crops to feed their people. Everything had to be imported. I can go on and on but Jesus did come because He loved me. He came to a family where they did not have much. He wanted to identify with people like me. He had to work as a carpenter’s helper. He understood day to day living. Jesus interacted with people who were fisherman, the unwanted lepers, blind and crippled, also with people who were in authority, rich and well to do. He understood life in many aspects. He was with the people at weddings, at funerals, at the synagogs. He also served at the campfires and sat with people of means. Jesus understood despair, needs, suffering, shame and not being wanted and being abused. Why? Because “Jesus loves me.” The visit to Israel made me realize to what lengths Jesus went to get me back to Him and tremendous sacrifices He made, accepted humiliation and pain for me. So don’t let me take it for granted–all the blessings I receive each and every day.
I must also recognize His dedication to spending time with His father, being obedient to His father, following through the commitment He made to die on the cross at calvary. Why? Because “Jesus loves me.”
As a visitor to Israel, I realized fully why the disciples were so dedicated, even to die for Him. Others like Paul, Timothy, Jude and Barnabas were willing to spread the gospel wherever they traveled and paid the price.
My hope is let me not call myself a Christian to have a comfortable life, a blessed life and forget what Jesus did for me. The least I could do is to follow His footsteps of servant hood, obedience and commitment to proclaim His message through my life.
 
Lead Me to Calvary
“King of my life, I crown Thee now Thine shall the glory be lest I forget Thy thorn-crowned brow Lead me to calvary. Lest I forget Gethsemane, lest I forget Thine agony, lest I forget Thy love for me, lead me to calvary. May I be willing, Lord, to bear daily my cross for Thee even Thy cup of grief to share Thou hast borne all for me. Lest I forget Gethsemane, lest I forget Thine agony, lest I forget Thy love for me lead me to calvary.” Now I know fully how much “Jesus loves me.”
 
In Christ’s steps,
Shaker

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April 1st, 2017

Listen to some verses that declare that God is faithful to his promises.

1. Numbers 23:19, “God is not a man, that he should lie, nor a son of man, that he should change his mind. Does he speak and then not act? Does he promise and not fulfill?”
2. 1 Kings 8:56, “Praise be to the LORD, who has given rest to his people Israel just as he promised. Not one word has failed of all the good promises he gave through his servant Moses.
3. Joshua 21:45, “Not one of all the LORD’s good promises to the house of Israel failed; every one was fulfilled.”
4. Joshua 23:14, “Now I am about to go the way of all the earth. You know with all your heart and soul that not one of all the good promises the LORD your God gave you has failed. Every promise has been fulfilled; not one has failed.”
5. 2 Peter 3:9, “The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.”
6. Hebrews 10:23, “Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.”

What are God’s great and precious promises?

God has said that he will do a number of things, here are just a few:

Jesus said “I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it.” (Mt. 16:18)
1. Most of us are a part of that church that Jesus built.
2. It has been in existence for 2000 years and it will remain until the end.

Another precious promise of God is “I will be with you.”
1. God has made this promise to his people throughout time.
2. To Joshua God said, “No one will be able to stand up against you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you.” (Josh. 1:5)
3. In the Great Commission Jesus said, “And surely I will be with you always, to the very end of the age.” (Mt. 28:20)
4. In 2 Tim. 4:16-17, Paul wrote, “At my first defense, no one came to my support, but everyone deserted me. May it not be held against them. But the Lord stood at my side and gave me strength…”
5. That’s what God does for his people. He sticks close to them.

God has also promised: “I will strengthen you.”
1. I like Isaiah 41:10, “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”
2. 2 Thess. 3:3, “But the Lord is faithful, and he will strengthen and protect you from the evil one.”
3. That’s why Paul declared, “I can do everything through him who gives me strength.” (Phil. 4:13)
4. I know that it’s because of God’s strength that I am who I am and do what I do. There’s no way I could do even half of what I do on my own!

One final precious promise: “I will come again.”
1. John 14:1-3, “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.”
2. How wonderful to know that we are saved and that we have eternal life.
3. 1 John 2:25, “And this is what he promised us – even eternal life.”
4. 1 John 5:13, “I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life.”
5. Jesus is coming back, and he will take us to live with him…forever. That’s a promise!

How do we receive God’s promises?

First we need to Prayerfully Study our Bibles. Second, to receive God’s promises we must patiently wait. A third aspect of receiving God’s promises is living in obedience to God’s will. A final way that we receive God’s promises is by FAITH. God has been faithful to our church, to our community most of all to me and my family. We need to praise God for His constant watch over us. God bless.

In Christ’s steps,

Shaker

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March 1st, 2017

“Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful. Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven.” -Luke 6:36-37

“Guilty as sin! It happened just a few years ago. The banks in New Jersey had been robbed systematically, one after the other. What made the robber stand out was his politeness. He just gave the tellers a note which said, “Please place your money in this bag. Thank you.” The newspapers called him the GENTLEMAN BANDIT.


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