September 1st, 2018

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it” -John 1:1-5
 
As a young man when I first read this passage I did not understand clearly what John was writing. Most people said to me I need to read the Gospel of John so I could see God’s love for me. It took me years to understand these verses. Now I feel, how could I have been so clueless.
 
God was, God is and God will be. There is no beginning to God and there is no end to God. Our infinite mind cannot comprehend it. We need to accept it. But our world always wants everything explainable. If God is explainable by man, I do not need him. I would rather have a God who is so big and capable that He could carry me through my struggles and problems which seem to come out of nowhere. I would love having a God who says rest in me, I will take care of you, trust me things will fall into place.
 
Scripture says that the number of God’s years is unsearchable. In Job 36:26, “How great is God—beyond our understanding! The number of his years is past finding out.“ We will never know the first time God was God. He is eternal. God was never bound by time as we perceive it. That’s why God sent his son, Jesus Christ, to our world in human form. Jesus followed God’s instructions in the physical world and showed us that God can be trusted and He had a plan. God’s plan for Jesus was to go through all the things you and I go through, pain, suffering, disappointments, betrayal, loss of loved ones and more. Jesus was emotional; He cried, got angry, He was compassionate. He loved and He was patient and more. That’s why He could say I have overcome the world and you can too.
 
David in Psalms 139:7-10, “Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast.” says it doesn’t matter where we are, He still can guide us.
 
To show us humans that we must not despair–Jesus entered and became man, imprisoned in flesh and restricted himself to help us see it is possible. God in Jesus went from needing nothing to needing air to breath, food to eat, shoes to walk. Oh what a transformation because we need Him. He was willing to set aside being God and humbled himself to be a man. God gave up his heaven’s crown for a crown of thorns.
 
The following scriptures tell us what He did: “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
 
God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” 2 Corinthians 5:21
 
But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8
 
This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.” 1 John 4:10
 
And these following scriptures helps us understand He is aware of our humanness:
 
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ.” 2 Corinthians 1:3-5
 
Shout for joy, you heavens; rejoice, you earth; burst into song, you mountains! For the Lord comforts his people and will have compassion on his afflicted ones.” Isaiah 49:13
 
For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin.” Hebrews 4:15
 
Jesus wept.” John 11:35
 
Now I hope we can all begin to understand John 1:1-5. We have an awesome God. We don’t have to feel abandoned. He is always near.
 
You know HE IS COMING BACK to take us to HEAVEN where He lives. I’m looking forward to it. Hope you are too.
 
God bless. Have a blessed fall with the beautiful colors in the trees and gentle breezes on your backs.
 
In Christ’s steps,
Pastor Shaker

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August 1st, 2018

“A psalm of David. The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake. Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.” -Psalm 23
 
We live in an ever changing world. It seems everything changes constantly. But we need something or someone who does not change. That is God. We need someone who can be trusted, depended on, and to put our faith in–one who is that stronghold, who is our shepherd, the one who is constant, the one who gave us His own son to show us that His love was willing to sacrifice all.
 
Our God is mighty but at the same time very gentle and tender. David in Psalm 23 starts saying the Lord is his shepherd, he does not need anything else.
 
Do you think you and I could say the same with what we have, a home, a family, friends, our health–none of that is ours, everything belongs to God. Jesus said in Luke 12:15, life does not consist in an abundance of possessions.
 
In the Old Testament we read in 1 Samuel 16:7, “But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” God looks at the heart. He wants to see if we have compassion, are we devoted to Him, how do we interact with our fellow humans, and do we show His tenderness. He does not think of our material possessions or appearance.
 
As David says if the Lord is his shepherd he has no more wants. He seems to be very content. Are we as content as he is? We need to be.
 
Paul says in 1 Timothy 6:6-9, “But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. Those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction.” Being content is a gain and seeking to have more only brings ruin and destruction. What do we gain by contentment? You gain peace, precious time with family, self respect and you also gain the joy of intimately knowing the creator. When we rest in God, He leads us to green pastures, which are pleasant. It makes us slow down and enjoy what we have and brings rest to our body and soul. We can actually relax.
 
Most of us yearn to be in a place without worry. God says, I will give it to you. We need to trust Him and allow Him. David says in verse 6, “Your beauty and love chase after me every day of my life. I’m back home in the house of God for the rest of my life.” God’s blessings will chase us. What an imagery. We just need to stop, enjoy it and stay with God in HIS house.
 
The summer is winding down, let’s rest in Jesus.
 
God bless,
Shaker

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July 1st, 2018

“Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.”  -Lamentations 3:22-23
 
As we read these verses it bring us hope because we are not alone, God loves and He is compassionate. Jeremiah is writing this poem from his own experience. He watched what was happening around him in Israel/Judah. The people did not care and lived lives contrary to what God wanted them to be. He was broken by his concern for his people, his love for his country and his love for God. He was weeping because the people were rejecting God. His heart was broken with the things that break God’s heart.
 
Divine compassion has human implications because God is compassionate. He expects His people to be the same. The mercy God extends to us sinners was by providing Jesus to die on the cross for our sins. This should motivate us to be compassionate to others.
 
Compassion is the inward urging to reach out in love to those around us who are in need, to have pity, and mercy.
Our world is filled with injustice, poverty, war, rebellion against God, all of this should move us to tears and cause us to take action. Where as we are more selfish, proud and care less for what is happening around us.
 
Every time Jesus was moved with compassion He did something special–He healed, touched and got involved. Showing compassion to the weak and needy is the duty of every Christian. In Luke 14:12-14, “Then Jesus said to his host, “When you give a luncheon or dinner, do not invite your friends, your brothers or sisters, your relatives, or your rich neighbors; if you do, they may invite you back and so you will be repaid. But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed. Although they cannot repay you, you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.” Jesus says, invite people who have no capacity to pay back, not friends or cater to people who we know and will invite us back. If we want to show God’s compassion of love, we need to reach out to ones who are going through tough times emotionally, physically and financially, etc. True Christ like generosity means showing kindness that can never be repaid. It should be in a practical manner, personal involvement, in family context and community around us. Jeremiah in his time got involved. When we do nothing it is indifference, lack of concern and selfishness.
 
Jeremiah says, “The Lord’s loving kindness and faithfulness never fails. They are new every morning.”
 
How do we develop a compassionate heart toward others? It is through times of intimacy with God. The scriptures are filled with examples of Jesus spending time alone with His father. It was His source of power to accomplish His calling. When we tap into the Holy Spirit through our intimacy with God our hearts become tender and compassionate toward hurting people. John McArther says, “The church was not established as a country club or a fraternity house for fit, cool and stylish people. It is a fellowship of those who recognize their own fallenness and utter helplessness, who have laid hold of Christ for salvation and whose main business on earth is showing other needy sinners the way of salvation.”
 
Jeremiah pleaded with his people and wrote God’s compassion never fails and His mercy is new every morning.
Let us ask ourselves how can I be like Jesus to the world which is hurting.

God Bless,
Pastor Shaker


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June 1st, 2018

Sometimes we do not realize how precise our God’s names are. Many of us as Christians have not taken the time to learn those names.
 
David in Psalms 23 could have said “God” to start with but he uses a specific name Yahweh over El Shaddai (God Almighty), El Elxon (God Most High), or El Iam (God Everlasting) but David chose Yahweh is my shepherd. Why Yahweh? Because that is God’s name. For example, you call me Pastor, Reverend, Preacher, but my name is Shaker. The others are all descriptions of what I do.
 
Moses was the first to learn God’s name. We read in Exodus 3:13-14, “Moses said to God, “Suppose I go to the Israelites and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ Then what shall I tell them?” God said to Moses, “I am who I am. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: ‘I am has sent me to you.’” and as we learn later in Exodus 6:2-3, “God also said to Moses, “I am the Lord. I appeared to Abraham, to Isaac and to Jacob as God Almighty, but by my name the Lord I did not make myself fully known to them.”
 
God says to Moses, I appeared to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. I appeared as El Shaddar, God Almighty. The people of Israel consider God’s name too holy to be spoken by human lips.
 
Why do we need a name–it is important because we need a big God, one who is. Yehweh means “Am” and “I cause.” God is the “one who is” and the one who causes.” He is an unchanging God.
 
The above description was taken from the book, Traveling Light, by Mac Lucado. Psalms 102:27 says, “But you remain the same, and your years will never end.” God remains the same, He never changes. God was never created but He creates. The Psalmist says in 90:2, “Before the mountains were born or you brought forth the whole world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God.” He is the everlasting God.
 
I am afraid that many of us have neglected the proper worship of God because we cannot describe more than one or two names of God.
 
Peter wrote, “But grow in the grace and the knowledge of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, to him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity.” (2 Pet. 3:18) Failure to know God will hinder our ability to fully give God the glory He so richly deserves. Some of us have been Christians for many years and yet are unable to articulate the names of God and their meaning and their significance to even those who are closest to us. Perhaps, we have never realized before how important it is to God that we understand the significance of the Biblical names of God used throughout the scriptures. There are over 20 names of God in the Bible.
 
David wrote, “I will bless the Lord at all times. His praise will continually be in my mouth. My soul will make its boast in the Lord. The humble will hear it and be glad. Oh magnify the Lord with me and let us exalt His name together. I sought the Lord and He heard me and delivered me from all of my fears.” (Ps. 34:1-4)
 
When we understand the names of God, we gain a greater depth of appreciation of the riches of His splendor, majesty, holiness, love and total attributes.
 
1. Elohim means God (Gen. 1:1: Ps. 19:1). “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” Speaks of God’s power and might. The only supreme-true God.
 
2. Yahweh means The Lord (Gen. 2:4; Ex 6:2,3). “I am the Lord, I appeared to Abraham, to Isaac and to Jacob as God Almighty, but by my name the Lord I did not make myself known to them” Speaks of the name of the divine person above all.
 
3. El Elyon means the God Most High (Gen. 14:17-20; Ps. 7:17). “I will give thanks to the Lord because of His righteousness and will sing praise to the name of the Lord Most High.” Speaks of the fact that He is above all gods; nothing is more sacred than Him.
 
4. El Roi means the God Who Sees (Gen. 16:13). “You are the God who sees me, for Hagar said, I have now seen the One who sees me.” Speaks of the God that oversees all creation and the affairs of people and nations.
 
5. El Shaddai means the God Almighty (Gen. 17:1). “When Abraham was ninety nine years old the Lord appeared to him and said, I am God Almighty walk before me and be blameless. I will confirm my covenant between me and you and will greatly increase your numbers.” Speaks of the God who is all powerful.
 
6. Yahweh Yireh means the the Lord will provide (Gen. 22:13,14). “Abraham looked up and there in a thicket he saw a ram caught by its horns. He went over and took the ram and sacrificed it as a burnt offering instead of his son. So Abraham called that place the Lord will Provide.” Speaks of the God who will provide our total need (Physical, emotional, mental, social, cultural, material, attitudinal, behavior and spiritual)
 
7. Yahweh Nissi means the Lord is My Banner, My Victory (Exodus 17:15). “Moses built an altar and called it the Lord is my Banner. He said, For hands were lifted up to the throne of the Lord. The Lord will be at war against the Amalekites from generation to generation.” Speaks of the fact that we should remember God for helping us gain the victory.
 
8. Adonai means the Lord Deut. 6:4 “Hear O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.” Speaks of God alone who is the head over all.
 
9. Yahweh Elohe Yisrael means the Lord God of Israel (Judg. 5:3; Ps. 59:5). “O Lord God Almighty, the God of Israel rouse yourself to punish all the nations; show no mercy to the wicked traitors.” Speaks of the fact that He is the God of the nation.
 
10. Qedosh Yisrael means the Holy One of Israel (Isa.1:4). “Ah, sinful nation, a people loaded with guilt a brood of evildoers children given to corruption! They have forsaken the Lord; they have spurned the Holy One of Israel and turned their backs on him.” Speaks of a God who is morally perfect
 
11. Yahweh Sabaoth means the Lord of Host. Hosts refers to armies but also to all heavenly powers (I Sam 1:3; Isa 6:1-3). “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory.” Speaks of the God who is our Savior and Protector.
 
12. El Olam means the Everlasting God (Isa . 40:28-31). “The Lord is the everlasting God the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom. He gives strength to the weary and young men stumble and fall. But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles, they will run and not grow tired, they will turn and not grow easy and they will walk and not be faint.” Speaks of the God who is eternal He will never die
 
13. Yahweh Tsidkenu means the Lord is Our Righteousness (Jer. 23:6; 33:16) “In his days Judah will be saved and Israel will live in safety. This is the name by which he will be called. The Lord Our Righteousness.” Speaks of the God who is our standard for right behavior. He alone can make us righteous.
 
14. Yahweh Shammah means the Lord is there (Ezek. 48:35). “The distance all around will be 18,000 cubits. And the name of the city from that time on will be: The Lord is There.” Speaks of the God who is always present with us.
 
15. Attiq Yomin means the Ancient of Days (Dan. 7:9,13). “In my vision at night I looked and there before me was one like a son of man, coming with the clouds of heaven. He approached the Ancient of Days and was led into his presence.” He was given authority, glory and sovereign power, all peoples, nations and men of every language worshiped him, His dominion is an everlasting dominion that will not pass away and his kingdom is one that will never be destroyed.” Speaks of the God who is the ultimate authority. He will one day judge the nations
 
16. Shalom means the Prince of Peace (Isa. 9:6). “His name will be called wonderful counselor, mighty God, everlasting Father, prince of peace.” Rest, wholeness and complete supply of whatever is needed to put one at perfect peace.
 
17. Jehovah-Jireh – The Lord will provide – Thank God that He promises to provide all you need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus. (Phil. 4:19). He will provide for you emotionally, sustaining you with energy, renewal and encouragement. He will make provisions for you financially, socially, culturally, mentally, physically, educationally, communicationally, attitudinally, family-wise, knowledge, wisdom, strength, guidance, deliverance, protection, love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness and self-control along with all sufficient grace for every trial (2 Cor. 12:9,10). God allows a sense of weakness and shortages to force us to depend upon Him for our every need. David penned a great promise in (Ps. 34:1-4), “They who seek the Lord will not be in want of any good thing.”
 
I hope you gained as much by learning the names of God as I did and this will help us to have more intimacy to our Savior.
Enjoy the summer!
 
God bless,
Pastor Shaker

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May 1st, 2018

“Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. 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.”  – 2 Corinthians 9:7-8 (NIV)

If you want to measure how much you understand grace and how much you’re living by grace, look at your giving.
 
The Bible says, “Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. 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” (2 Corinthians 9:7-8 NIV).
 
Notice the “alls” — “all grace,” “all things,” “at all times,” “having all that you need” — those are the promises related to the person who becomes like Christ. What was Christ like? He was a giver. God loved the world so much that he gave. Until you learn to be generous with your time, money, resources, and opportunities, you’re not going to be like Christ. Nothing is greater proof that you understand grace than being lovingly gracious and generous to other people and to God.
 
If you’re uptight or defensive when your pastor starts talking about giving, it means you don’t understand grace. Look at the verse again. He says if you give cheerfully and liberally, God will take care of all your needs — all the time, in every way, however you need them.
 
Here’s the question: Are you going to trust the God who gave his life for you? If you can trust him enough for salvation, can’t you trust him in your finances?
 
The truth is, you really don’t own anything. God just loans it to you for 70 or 80 years. It’s all His in the first place. If my daughter comes to me, and I give her five bucks to buy me a present, where’s the money really coming from in the first place?
 
God does that with us. He gives to us generously. Then he says, “Now show a little gratitude. Be generous in giving, including your tithe.” Does he need the money? No. He wants you to become like him. He wants you to have a heart that says, “I can’t wait to give in every area.”
 
Romans 8:32 says, “Since God loved us enough to give us his own son, won’t he love us enough to take care of every one of our other needs?”
 
The fact is, you can say you love God and sing that you trust God and put him first, but your checkbook is where you can show just how much God’s grace means to you.
 
Talk It Over
* Would you call yourself a cheerful giver? Why or why not?
* How have you seen God bless your finances or provide for you as you have been faithful to tithe?
* In what ways does your life reflect gratitude for God’s grace?

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April 1st, 2018

“Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.” -James 4:10
 
The world seems to be adrift without any guidance. As you look around there is more chaos than ever before. We seem to be more self centered and not care what others think or feel. It seems we are in a culture that often rewards the proud and even admires and applauds the prideful. In the past the ones who were great always were modest and humble, gracious and mild mannered.
 
Humility gets God’s attention. In Isaiah 66:2b we read, “These are the ones I look on with favor: those who are humble and contrite in spirit, and who tremble at my word.” Humility draws the gaze of our Sovereign God.
 
What is humility? It’s not timidity, weakness, or being a wimp. NO, humility is standing before God at the cross in all our weakness and failures, and then living life in the shadow and power of the cross.
 
When our relationship was broken, Jesus humbled Himself at the cross. He lay down His life for ours on a cruel cross, taking our punishment, death (as we read in Romans 6:23 wages for our sin is death) shedding His blood, the price for our disobedience, and restoring our relationship with God. Just like Jesus humbled himself at the cross, we too must humble ourselves at the cross.
 
+ Humility is born at the cross and grows up in the time of prayer. +Humbled disciples of Jesus Christ are quick to thank others for all the help they receive.
+Humble people recognize the gifts God has given us and our hearts are filled with gratitude. +Humble followers of Christ are willing to ask for help and accept help.
+Humble people are willing to laugh at themselves.
+Humble people are willing to learn from anyone.
+Humble people can accept gratitude and appreciation for a job well done.
 
Jesus is an amazing teacher. He says in Mark 10:45, “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many,” is what humility means. Jesus defines the difference between exemplary life and sacrificing life. He came with the understanding HE must be willing to die for others. Our Christian life should not just reflect the Lord’s example, but it should draw attention to the sacrifice Jesus made for our disobedience and sinfulness. The precious verses of Mark 10:32, “They were on their way up to Jerusalem, with Jesus leading the way, and the disciples were astonished, while those who followed were afraid. Again he took the Twelve aside and told them what was going to happen to him” it shows Jesus leading the way with determination and steadfastness. Jesus is aware of what will happen, betrayed, arrested, accused, condemned, abused, insulted, beaten, humiliated and ultimately executed. There was no hesitation or reluctance in His steps. He was leading the way with confidence. He accepted the fact that without His life of sacrifice, we cannot be redeemed. Someone had to pay the penalty for the sins of mankind. We cannot free ourselves from pride, selfishness, ambition, and our hopelessness. Our greatest foe is pride. We encounter this every minute of everyday.
 
Our greatest friend should be humility. How do we change what is a practical strategy:
 
(a) Reflect on the wonder of the cross.
(b) Begin our day acknowledging the need for God.
(c) Begin to express gratitude to God.
(d) Cast your cares on Jesus Christ.
(e) Count your blessings, small and big.
 
The world should not be our measuring stick but our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. 
 
His blessings are many and God’s promises are true. I love you but most of all God loves you.
 
In Christ’s steps, Shaker

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March 1st, 2018

“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.  Or just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ.” -2 Corinthians 1:3-5
 
Let me share a story I read recently about a missionary. She was walking through a medical clinic in a third world country. She saw several people waiting to take a turn to see the doctor. Most of them were there for cataract surgery.
 
The sun on the island is so intense, most of the people worked outdoor jobs and so the incidences from cataracts was very high. Many of the people had blurred vision. Most of the islanders were uneducated and would go to the clinic to find out why they were losing their sight but would not take advantage of what the clinic had to offer. The clinic was performing small miracles. For a long time they still would not let the clinic help and continued to believe it could not help. 
 
After a few years the people working at the clinic asked those who had the surgery to go into the village and share their  experience of success with others. They became story tellers of how their sight was restored. They were so overwhelmed with joy and gratitude that they shared with every person who would listen. Their stories could not be contained. They had to tell it, they had to find others like themselves who needed to hear it, and to believe it.
 
The story tellers would introduce themselves and share their experience on how a simple procedure could change their vision and life.
 
Here we see how the people who found sight were able to convince others to come to the clinic.
 
To me it illustrates how we, who see the blessings of knowing Christ as our restorer of life, who has helped us go through our life struggles and turn them into joy. It is our turn to be their story teller of how Christ can change others lives.
 
As Paul says in verse 4–they would be able to comfort others who needed the same comfort. Trials and struggles are never easy, but it is through those circumstances  that God can shape and mold our character.
 
We see people who are lost and struggling with life and the circumstance they are in and we as people who know the love and compassion of Christ should come alongside them and open their eyes to the Savior Jesus Christ. We are blessed to share the good news to the loved-starved world around us. It is not the words, but our actions bringing others to see God’s love.
 
As spring will be here soon, let us plan to show sight, or clear sight to others around us. This is the Gospel in action; serving the poor and the marginalized in the name of Jesus Christ. God, who is the source of all compassion felt compassion so deeply that He was willing to go with the knowledge of sending His son to be the ultimate compassion for us.
 
The missionary that same day saw a man holding the doctor and saying “I see, I see, I can see!” Wouldn’t you like to hear the same because of your love in action?
 
Have a wonderful spring. God bless.
 
In His steps,
Pastor Shaker 

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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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