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BE BLESSED BY GOD’S WORD THROUGHOUT THE WEEK

February 1st, 2018

”God, investigate my life; get all the facts firsthand. I’m an open book to you; even from a distance, you know what I’m thinking. You know when I leave and when I get back; I’m never out of your sight. You know everything I’m going to say before I start the first sentence. I look behind me and you’re there, then up ahead and you’re there, too—your reassuring presence, coming and going. This is too much, too wonderful—I can’t take it all in!” -Psalm 139:1-6 (MSG)
 
J. I. Packer says, “Ignorance of God — ignorance of both His ways and of the practice of communion with Him — lies at the root of the church’s weakness today.”
 
The writer David says how God knows every deed, thought, motivation around us, about us, everything. Sometimes we don’t let people get to know us completely because we are afraid they will find something about us that they won’t like. But God already knows everything about us. Even the number of hairs on our head. (Matt. 10:30), and He still accepts us. Further, David (vs. 6) says, “such knowledge is too wonderful to me. I cannot comprehend it.”
 
Be honest as you can be with yourself. Do you know God? Do I know God? It is the secret of true success, the source of our wisdom beyond our understanding, the strength during our hard times. People of God are no different. Look at the church at large today. You have to agree that the lack of knowledge of God is the cause of our wavering spiritual life, inconsistency between our talk and walk, ineffective in our prayer life.
 
What does it mean to know God and to live with a knowledge of Him? It means intimacy and integrity, to experience the kind of relationship with God that He wants. We need to open up our innermost being to Him. Just like He revealed His innermost nature to us. Knowledge of God is more than an accumulation of facts, it is more than ideas about Him, or some broad perception of Him.
 
Most of you know me as your pastor. How well do you really know me? Do you know my favorite color, what foods do I like most, some would say Indian food, really, what kind of music do I enjoy, you might know my age. But how well do you know how God is working in my life. You can only get to know the details if you spend a lot of time speaking, sharing and asking questions about my life. You would not know these things about me unless you had a much closer relationship than we do. It is the same with our knowledge of God.
 
It is easy to get surface knowledge and think that is enough. Knowledge of God and our relationship with Him comes when we know. Psalm 139:22-23 says, “I have nothing but hatred for them; I count them my enemies. Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts.” The psalmist wants God to search him, test him and find what is not good (sin) in him, and lead him.
 
A true and intimate relationship must be based on truth and honesty. We are Christians and we claim to know God, His character and His commands should be intertwined with ours.  Knowing God requires a consistent life of faithfulness.  Obedience is the secret of a growing knowledge of God.
 
His character and His commands should be intertwined with ours.  Knowing God requires a consistent life of faithfulness.  Obedience is the secret of a growing knowledge of God. 
 
We have more knowledge than any other time in history.  Our technology is changing everyday.  We are smarter than any other time in history.  We are not destroyed by lack of knowledge, but rather a lack of in-depth study of scripture, prayer and living out the will of God.  Our character is shaped by cultural values rather than the knowledge of God. 
 
We were created to know, to love, to glorify and to serve God.  We were meant to experience intimacy with God, to know His heart, His desires, His plan for our lives.  God makes the first move.  Our knowledge, our relationship with God begins with Jesus Christ.  Do You Know God?  He knows You.     
 
Have a wonderful day.  Yes, spring is coming and be good to your Valentine.
 
God Bless, Pastor Shaker

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January 1st, 2018

“Blessed is the one who does not walk in step with the wicked or stand in the way that sinners take or sit in the company of mockers, but whose delight is in the law of the Lord, and who meditates on his law day and night.” -Psalm 1:1-2
 
First, Find time for God- Build that Personal relationship with Christ. Look at your day… where in that day can you make an  appointment to spend with Jesus. Then write under that time slot in your calendar Jesus. Invite Jesus to meet you. In this time you can read your Bible, read a inspirational magazine or book, pray, sing, walk, journal, etc. Jesus would rather meet with you for one minute a day than 20 minutes one day a year. As you build that relationship, you will learn to hear the voice of God through the Holy Spirit, and The Holy Spirit will then personally convict, guide, rebuke, teach, counsel, comfort. and when that happens our relationship will deepen and we will grow.
 
Second, choose to in 2018 to truly make Jesus Lord of your life by sacrificing your money, your time, and your talents for His plan and His ways. Look at your life and ask what  areas of your life are not turned over to God. A little story to illustrate: The cheerful girl with bouncy golden curls was almost five. Waiting with her mother at the checkout stand, she saw them: a circle of glistening white pearls in a pink foil box “Oh please, Mommy. Can I have them? Please, Mommy, please?” Quickly the mother checked the back of the little foil box and then looked back into the pleading blue eyes of her little girl’s upturned face. “A dollar ninety-five. That’s almost $2.00. If you really want them, I’ll think of some extra chores for you, and in no time you can save enough money to buy them for yourself. Your birthday is only a week away and you might get another crisp dollar bill from Grandma.”
 
As soon as Jenny got home, she emptied her penny bank and counted out 17 pennies. After dinner, she did more than her share of chores and she went to the neighbor and asked Mrs. McJames if she could pick dandelions for ten cents.
 
On her birthday, Grandma did give her another new dollar bill, and at last, she had enough money to buy the necklace. Jenny loved her pearls. They made her feel dressed up and grown up. She wore them everywhere Sunday school, kindergarten,  even to bed. The only time she took them off was when she went swimming or had a bubble bath because her mother said if they got wet, they might turn her neck green.
 
Jenny had a very loving daddy and every night when she was ready for bed, he would stop whatever he was doing and come upstairs to read her a story.
 
One night when he finished the story, he asked Jenny, “Do you love me?”
 
“Oh yes, Daddy. You know that I love you.”
 
“Then give me your pearls.”
 
“Oh, Daddy, not my pearls. But you can have Princess the white horse from my collection. The one with the pink tail. Remember, Daddy? The one you gave me. She’s my favorite.”
 
“That’s okay, Honey. Daddy loves you. Good night.” And he brushed her cheek with a kiss.
 
About a week later, after the story time, Jenny’s daddy asked again, “Do you love me?” “Daddy, you know I love you.” “Then give me your pearls.”
 
“Oh Daddy, not my pearls. But you can have my baby doll. The brand new one I got for my birthday. She is so beautiful and you can have the yellow blanket that matches her sleeper.”
 
“That’s okay. Sleep well. God bless you, little one. Daddy loves you.” And as  always, he brushed her cheek with a gentle kiss.
 
A few nights later when her daddy came in, Jenny was sitting on her bed with her legs crossed Indian-style. As he came close, he noticed her chin was trembling and one silent tear rolled down her cheek. “What is it, Jenny? What’s the matter?” Jenny didn’t say anything but lifted her little hand up to her daddy. And when she opened it, there was her little pearl necklace. With a little quiver, she finally said, “Here, Daddy. It’s for you.”
 
With tears gathering in his own eyes, Jenny’s kind daddy reached out with one hand to take the dime-store necklace, and with the  other hand he reached into his pocket and pulled out a blue velvet case with a strand of genuine pearls and gave them to Jenny. He had them all the time. He was just waiting for her to give up the dime-store stuff so he could give her a genuine treasure.
 
So it is with our Heavenly Father. He is waiting for us to give up the cheap things in our lives so that He can give us beautiful treasures. Here’s the question: Are you holding on so tightly that you are missing your opportunity to be blessed.
 
Third, in the midst of the hardships and trials that may come in 2018, choose to lean hard on God…. life happens…. Financial troubles, emotional, family dynamics and there are many others. When we face these times we often want to quit… lock ourselves away…. pull the covers over our heads… and just stop… life happens to us all… but those who have a relationship with God have divine strength and un-surpassing peace that the unbeliever does not have. It is here where the power of our testimony draws other people to our awesome God.
 
When everything comes easy and life makes sense and there are doubts, it is our nature to forget God. When life falls apart and doubts arise, our tendency is to look for answers. It is God’s higher value to teach us how to trust Him in the middle of our doubts and provide answers that comfort us.
 
When you walk through times of adversity and doubts and come out on the other side, often our faith is deepened and our confidence in God is strengthened.
 
We have an amazing year ahead of us, with God on our side.
 
God bless,
Pastor Shaker
*Article was taken and put together from several resources.

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December 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.” – John 3:16
 
Christmas is a time of giving gifts as we celebrate the birth of Jesus. God gave us a gift of His Son Jesus in the flesh. John 3:16 says, “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.” God gave us His Son so He could give us eternal life. The Bible tells us that eternal life is a free gift from God. There is something interesting about this gift, not only is it not earned it is also not automatic. We need to receive it and share it with others.
 
This brings to memory a few years ago. I met a lady in her seventies. She knew I was traveling to West Africa. She asked if I could do something for her. She went on to say that she was unable to travel long distances, so would I do her a favor. She gave me money and asked if I could give it to someone in Africa who I felt was in need of some help. I gladly accepted and said I will do so.
 
One evening I took a stroll and came across a family who was living under a tree. I sat with them and found out that they had lived under this tree for years and it was their home. I asked them what do you do when it rains? They said we have a tarp and we spread it across the branches and sit under it. When the rain passes they go back to their meager living. So I gave them a portion of the gift given to me by the lady. They were so amazed. I explained to them the gift was not from me but from a lady who made sure it was a gift I carried to give to them.
 
At my next stop there was a family of three who were living next to an abandoned building. Again I explained to them the gift was from someone other than me. I just passed the gift to them. I had the joy of distributing to four families who were surprised and tearfully rejoiced for the free gifts.
 
This reminds me of the gift God gave us through His Son Jesus Christ. Jesus trusts me to take the gift and give it away to the people who are desperate, needy, heart broken and to those who do not know there is a God who provides peace, joy, love and eternal life.
 
In the above story God used me as an instrument and extension of Him. The joy and pleasure was all mine.
 
This Christmas season let us ponder what are we giving to the needy and desperate. God would love to see us be the instruments to bring others to the living and loving knowledge of Jesus’ sacrifice.
 
God was willing to squeeze His awesome greatness into human flesh–Baby Jesus– so we would enjoy all we have.
 
Ephesians 2:8-10 says, “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”
 
Hope you will have a wonderful Christmas season. Merry Christmas from the Samuel Family.
 
God Bless,
Pastor Shaker 

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November 1st, 2017

“Neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” -Romans 8:39
 
Lately as I see the happenings around us it seems like the world is out of control. It is confusing and perplexing why a God of love lets things happen. You know as I listen to God’s word thru Paul, I’m relieved to know nothing can separate us from the love of God. We still serve a wonderful God, a loving God. In the midst of this dark time we as children of God have a responsibility to share His love.
 
Psalmist says in Ps. 63:3 “Because your living kindness is better than life, my lips shall praise you.”
 
We need to take this lesson from the Psalmist and praise God for his love for us. I remember the story of Dwight L. Moody. Once he was preaching in Chicago, a drunk man walked into the church service and saw a sign above the pulpit that read “God is Love.” It struck him with anger, he slammed the door and muttered to himself, God is not love. If God was love, He wouldn’t love a miserable man like him. It is not true so he walked away, but the statement kept coming back to him. “God is love, God is love” so he decided to go back to the church confused and desperate and sat in the back of the church as Moody continued to preach. When the service ended and all the people were gone, D. L. Moody saw this man setting and crying. So he approached him and asked him if the sermon had touched him. The man replied, “Sir I did not listen to the sermon but the words above your pulpit “God is Love” broke my heart. So Moody sat down and explained the depth of God’s love. The man broke down and gave his life to Jesus for the first time he understood that God really did love him.
There are many people in our world today who see the chaos in the world and wonder if God is love. I often wonder why we, the Christians, who have been given and shown love have not reached out to the lonely and desperate people. Is it because we are so busy taking care of ourselves and we forget the hurting around us?
 
We have a greater responsibility to see through the eyes of Jesus, who has redeemed us and given us hope in spite of our inability to fathom the full scope of God’s love. He has revealed to us in many ways that we can clearly understand. Through the laughter of a year old or the colorful sunset, or through the fall leaves around us and many other ways that HE loves us. Because God is God, He does as He pleases, and it pleases Him to love us without cause. From the beginning of time God does not love us because we love Him. 1 John 4:19 says, “We love Him because He first loved us.”
 
God’s love is unending, so we are the extension of God’s love to the hurting and desperate world. John 3:16 says, “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.”
 
This fall let us be the bridge to people who are blind for some reason and let them see God is love.
 
Fall colors are in full bloom so enjoy His generous love and share Him with people you come across.
 
God Bless.
Pastor Shaker

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October 1st, 2017

“Or because of these surpassingly great revelations. Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a
thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he
said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.
 – 2 Corinthians 12:7-9
 
Cancer is a devastating and debilitating disease. It brings pain not only to the person but also to the people around them. I have often wondered how does this help in our spiritual growth. Yes, I do go through those moments when I visit the people at home, hospitals and doctors offices. I don’t have an answer but I do know it does in time.
 
Since most of you know, my friend Dan Peterson is going through this ordeal, I’m beginning to see God’s grace is sufficient. As I stood at Dan’s bedside, I was able to see what God has accomplished through his life. He has served people with disabilities over thirty years and has seen suffering and pain every day. Before that in Vietnam, he was a medic with the Marines and saw first hand the pain and suffering of his fellow soldiers. He did not just watch it, but made an effort to ease their pain and also share the love of Jesus Christ through his compassion. Through his servant hood many a young person has been mentored and are in service to God.
 
As Paul’s life underscored this truth, he was given a thorn in his flesh, three times Paul pleaded with the Lord to take it away
from him. But, the answer was “my grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”
 
Our weakness not only helps develop Christian character it also deepens our worship because in admitting our weakness, we affirm God’s strength. Max Lucado in his book Grace shares: “A thorn in the flesh. Such vivid imagery. The sharp end of a thorn pierces the soft skin of life and lodges beneath the surface. Every step is a reminder of the thorn in the flesh. The cancer in the body. The sorrow in the heart. The child in the rehab center. The red ink on the ledger. The felony on the record. The craving for whiskey in the middle of the day. The tears in the middle of the night. The thorn in the flesh.
 
“Take it away,” you’ve pleaded. Not once, twice, or even three times. You’ve out prayed Paul. He prayed a sprint; you’ve prayed the Boston Marathon. And you are about to hit the wall at mile nineteen. The wound radiated pain, and you see no sign of tweezers coming from heaven. But what you hear is this: “My grace is sufficient for you.”
 
Grace takes on an added dimension here. Paul is referring to sustaining grace. Saving grace saves us from sins. Sustaining grace meets us at our point of need and equips us with courage, wisdom, and strength. It surprises us in the middle of our person transatlantic flights with ample resources of faith. Sustaining grace promises not the absence of struggle but the presence of God.”
 
As I watch Dan leaning toward heaven, I also see the legacy he is leaving behind. I see his unique spiritual depth, his coworkers faith in God’s goodness. I see the indelible impact he has made in my life. He is graciously allowing God to show forth His power to the rest of us. Yes, it is agonizing to see our loved ones suffer. God shows the futility of the sin filled world is only a passing phase for the eternity of glory awaiting us. So let us draw closer to the Lord who loves us and redeems us. Yes, we will all one day meet back together without our pain, heartache and suffering in HIS glorious presence.
 
Our God is an awesome God in spite of our struggles on the earth. Let me close with what Paul says in 2 Corinthians 9:8,
“And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.”
 
Enjoy the beautiful fall and rejoice in Him. Have a wonderful Fall.
 
God Bless.
In Christ’s steps,
Pastor Shaker
 

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