GET TOGETHER- GET READY TO WORSHIP

GET TOGETHER- GET READY TO WORSHIP

Joh 4:19-24 The woman said to Him, “Sir, I perceive that You are a prophet.

“Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, and you Jews say that in Jerusalem is the place where one ought to worship. Jesus said to her, “Woman, believe Me, the hour is coming when you will neither on this mountain, nor in Jerusalem, worship the Father. “You worship what you do not know; we know what we worship, for salvation is of the Jews.

“But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. “God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.”

This past Sunday morning the Holy Spirit touched my heart through someone in our congregation in a very special way. There is a lady who attends our congregation that is physically blind. I say physical because although she cannot see with her eyes she isn’t spiritually blind.

She was in the sanctuary while the choir was practicing before the service. She was sitting in the pew with her hands raised and a beautiful smile that was lighting up the whole sanctuary. The Lord used her to get me ready to worship.

Sometimes as a Pastor and I am sure for all Christians there can be many distractions that will be hinderances to us worshipping the Lord in Spirit and in truth. We often get concerned is it too hot, or too cold. We get to wondering why this person, or that person isn’t here. Is the music too loud, or not loud enough?

We were just coming off being off a Sunday and I always must pray through getting back into the flow when we have been off the week before. It was a holiday weekend and our attendance was down. When the service was beginning the Lord brought to my attention how this sister was just so happy to be in the House of the Lord. She was already worshipping before the service even started. The Holy Spirit then gave me such joy and peace and we had in my opinion a wonderful service.

When the woman at the well encountered Jesus she asked Him where the proper place was to worship Him. Jesus lets her know that it isn’t the place, but it is the heart of the worshipper that is most important. We often get into debates over what style music is best for worship. We often ask ourselves do we need more contemporary music, or go back to the old hymns, or perhaps maybe Southern Gospel? The answer is that it can be any of them, or none of them. It is the heart that is prepared to worship in Spirit and in truth that matters.

One thought that came to me about this dear sister was that she didn’t come to evaluate, but she came to celebrate. I am not saying that we should not test the spirits when we come to a service, but I have caught myself at times doing more evaluating that celebrating.

If we have been saved from Hell we have much to celebrate. If we are going to Heaven we have much to celebrate. If we have been healed or delivered from anything we have much to celebrate. And most us unlike our dear sister that I have mentioned can still see physically with our natural eyes. So, I am preaching to all of us especially to myself to be ready to worship when we come to the House of the Lord.

Would you take just five minutes each day this week to pray for the service wherever you worship this coming week? Would you pray for all who will be participating in the service in some way? Please pray for the Pastor, the worship team, choir, altar workers, all who contribute in some way. Please pray that those who attend will come to celebrate the goodness of God and worship the Father in Spirit and in truth?

Let Us Pray

Lord Jesus You are so worthy of our worship and adoration. Please forgive us when we allow petty things to distract us. Help us when we come together to worship the Father-Son- and Holy Spirit in Spirit and in truth.

In Jesus Name

Amen

We are so blessed to know each and everyone of you. On behalf of J.J. and myself we pray God’s best for all of you.

Your Friend/Kinfolk

Preston

GET TOGETHER- HE IS A REPAIRING RESTORING GOD

GET TOGETHER- HE IS A REPAIRING RESTORING GOD

Isa 58:11-12 The LORD will guide you continually, And satisfy your soul in drought, And strengthen your bones; You shall be like a watered garden, And like a spring of water, whose waters do not fail. Those from among you Shall build the old waste places; You shall raise up the foundations of many generations; And you shall be called the Repairer of the Breach, The Restorer of Streets to Dwell In.

We just got back yesterday from a family trip to the beach. We went to Fort Morgan, Alabama and really had a great time. Going to the beach and listening to the waves and marveling at God’s creation is one of my most favorite things to do.

I would like to share one of my great grace moments with you while we were there. We had rented a beach umbrella and I was sitting there by myself one afternoon for a little while. During that time there was a group of people in front of me. They were well behaved mostly adults. They were listening to music that I no longer listen to. It was the rock music of the seventies. Let me say this I am not judging them, or anyone else for listening to the music that they were listening to.

On the other hand, it was music that I listened to when I was living in rebellion against God. It was music that I listened to during a very dark time in my life. And for me I usually tried to live out what those songs were saying. So, for me regarding that music it certainly wouldn’t be helpful for me 1Co 6:12 “All things are lawful for me, but all things are not helpful. All things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any.” I am thankful that I am not under that power anymore and certainly don’t want to go back under it.

Now for the grace moment. As I listened to those lyrics and remembered even one time driving all the way to Fort Walton Beach by myself and basically turning around and coming back the next day I began to praise God that He had given me a wife that I never thought that I would have. I began to praise God for giving us children. I never thought that I would have children during that time, and I certainly didn’t think that I would ever have grandchildren.

There are many people out there right now that have given up hope. Many are like I was trying to get their broken heart healed through drugs, alcohol and by other carnal means. If that is you, or if it is someone that you love this message is for you. There is One who can repair your life, or the life of that person that you are praying for. There is One who can restore dreams and can give eternal life and life more abundantly. His Name is Jesus. As the above passage tells us. He will satisfy your soul. He will heal your damaged emotions. He will bring healing to your body. He will give you a fresh new countenance. He will even use you as a vessel to do it in the lives of others.

Today if He has already done it for you take time to give Him praise. If you haven’t given your life totally to Him let today be the day. Decide that rather than trying to live out your life singing to lyrics that are contrary to His will for your life. Let today be the day that you begin to sing a new song.

The Psalmist repeatedly reminds us to let the Holy Spirit change our tune:

Ps 33:3 Sing to Him a new song; Play skillfully with a shout of joy.

Ps 40:3 He has put a new song in my mouth-Praise to our God; Many will see it and fear And will trust in the LORD.

Ps 96:1 ¶ Oh, sing to the LORD a new song! Sing to the LORD, all the earth.

Ps 98:1 ¶ <<A Psalm.>> Oh, sing to the LORD a new song! For He has done marvelous things; His right hand and His holy arm have gained Him the victory.

Ps 144:9 ¶ I will sing a new song to You, O God; On a harp of ten strings I will sing praises to You,

Ps 149:1 ¶ Praise the LORD! Sing to the LORD a new song, And His praise in the assembly of saints.

This is a great part of the repairing and restoring process. Let him put that new song in your mouth. When He does you won’t want to go back to singing the old ones again.

Let Us Pray

Lord Jesus some of us thought that we were broken beyond repair. We thank you that not only have You restored and repaired, but You are still working on us healing old wounds, dressing up old scars. We thank You for repairing and restoring our sin damaged lives. We pray for those reading this that are hurting and those that are living in rebellion trying to heal that hurt that they will be drawn by the Holy Spirit to that place of repair and restoration.

In Jesus Name

Amen

Thanks to all of you who pray for us. We can never thank you enough.

Your Friend/Kinfolk

Preston

GET TOGETHER- LET HIS VOICE BE YOUR VOICE

GET TOGETHER- LET HIS VOICE BE YOUR VOICE

Ps 29:1-11 <<A Psalm of David.>> Give unto the LORD, O you mighty ones, Give unto the LORD glory and strength Give unto the LORD the glory due to His name; Worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness. The voice of the LORD is over the waters; The God of glory thunders; The LORD is over many waters. The voice of the LORD is powerful; The voice of the LORD is full of majesty. The voice of the LORD breaks the cedars, Yes, the LORD splinters the cedars of Lebanon. He makes them also skip like a calf, Lebanon and Sirion like a young wild ox. The voice of the LORD divides the flames of fire. The voice of the LORD shakes the wilderness; The LORD shakes the Wilderness of Kadesh. The voice of the LORD makes the deer give birth, And strips the forests bare; And in His temple everyone says, “Glory!” The LORD sat enthroned at the Flood, And the LORD sits as King forever. The LORD will give strength to His people; The LORD will bless His people with peace. (NKJV)

This Sunday is Pentecost Sunday! On this day we celebrate the day that the Holy Spirit was poured out on the church. Believers and followers of Christ can now experience the supernatural power that we all need to be faithful witnesses of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Jesus had promised that this would happen: Ac 1:8 “But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”

One time and I am not sure what study that I was doing, but in one the author implied that the disciples who were gathered in the Upper Room on the day of Pentecost were singing the above Psalm. This Psalm was recognized as the Festival Psalm for the Jewish Feast of Pentecost. The phrase “the voice of the Lord” is used six times in this Psalm. Let’s look at them and see how the voice of the Lord can thunder through His people who have experienced the power of the Holy Spirit that Jesus promised that we would receive.

“The voice of the LORD is over the water”. Today do you feel like the waters of uncertain situations and circumstances are about to carry you away? Cry out to Him and know that His voice is thundering over the situation and circumstances.

“The voice of the LORD is powerful.” Jesus said in Mr 11:23 “For assuredly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be removed and be cast into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that those things he says will be done, he will have whatever he says. (NKJV) Today let His voice speak through you and command those mountains of worry, fear, doubt, confusion and sickness to leave. His voice is powerful, and He desires to speak through His children.

“The voice of the Lord is full of majesty.” When the King speaks everyone around knows that it is the voice of authority. It is the voice that makes all others go silent.

“The voice of the LORD breaks the cedars.” The cedars of Lebanon were big strong trees. The voice of the Lord is more powerful that the strongest natural force. Perhaps there are some natural things that God desires to remove supernaturally from hindering us in our journey with Him. Know that His voice is powerful enough to do that. Naturally we are told that people will always be addicts. Supernaturally we know that God can change that and set people totally free.

“The voice of the LORD divides the flames of fire.” When He spoke on the day of Pentecost He released the fire of God upon those that were gathered in the Upper Room. Ac 2:3 “Then there appeared to them divided tongues, as of fire, and one sat upon each of them.” He is still speaking and releasing that fire today for all of us who will seek as they did in the Upper Room on the Day of Pentecost.

“The voice of the LORD shakes the wilderness.” His voice will still shake the wilderness today. You or someone that you know may be in the wilderness of addiction, of despair, and the wilderness of heartbreak. This past Sunday in our service we had a man testify of how the Lord has been faithful in bringing healing to him after his son had been killed in a kayaking accident several years ago. This son had just graduated from college and was getting ready to embark on a career. Like any of us would have been his parents were devastated. Even though there was no doubt that this son was with the Lord when someone has a child leave this walk of life it is a very devastating and painful thing. The wilderness can be a cold hard place. But praise the Lord that the voice of our God can shake the wilderness! As our brother Jeff shared this testimony we could certainly see how the voice of the Lord had thundered and brought him out of the wilderness.

“The voice of the LORD makes the deer give birth.” The voice of the Lord is always giving new life. He is the God of life. On that first Pentecost Sunday. The Lord gave new life to His people. He empowered His people as He promised that He would. He is still empowering His people today. Let Him empower you by giving you either an initial infilling, or a fresh infilling of His Holy Spirit today. When we do our voices will become conduits for His voice.

Let Us Pray

Lord we thank You that Your voice is mighty. We thank You that Your voice can do greater things than we can imagine. Help us today to be people that allow our voices to be conduits for Your voice.

In Jesus Name

Amen

Have a Happy Pentecost!

Your Friend/Kinfolk

Preston

GET TOGETHER- Persecution: Not A Pleasant Topic

GET TOGETHER- Persecution: Not A Pleasant Topic

2Ti 3:12 Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution.

(NKJV)

This week the topic in the Small Group Bible Study that we do on Tuesday Nights is the Power To Endure. The above passage was one of our passages that was in my time of study this morning. My first thoughts when I read it were these. We are always trying to get new people to come to Christ and I really believe in fulfilling the Great Commission that Jesus gave us in Mt 28:19 “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” I know without a doubt that I am saved. On the other hand, I also know that we as saved people will give an account concerning our faithfulness to the Great Commission when we meet the Lord.

We do lots of things at times to attempt to draw people to the congregations that we serve in. This morning I wondered as I read the verse from 2 Timothy if we put that verse on our church signs would it scare people off, or draw them in?

None of us including me really like to think or to talk about persecution. And I don’t have the answers as to why some faithful Christians are more persecuted than other faithful Christians.

I do believe that in our own country now and please don’t write me off as being negative that we are seeing faithful Christians persecuted verbally in a way that we have not seen before in this country. It hasn’t gotten there physically for the most part, but we do see brothers and sisters in Christ mocked for being faithful to basic Christian beliefs more and more each day in our nation.

When persecution comes we must always remember who our real enemy is. It is not the person, but it is demonic forces that are working through or working behind that person. Eph 6:12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.

Jesus modeled for us how to respond to persecution and told us how to respond. Mt 5:10-12” Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, For theirs is the kingdom of heaven. “Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. “Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” Mt 5:44 “But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you.”

Remember that God loves to turn His enemies into friends. Look at Paul’s life: Ac 22:4 “I persecuted this Way to the death, binding and delivering into prisons both men and women, Ac 26:11 “And I punished them often in every synagogue and compelled them to blaspheme; and being exceedingly enraged against them, I persecuted them even to foreign cities.

So today let’s allow the Lord to use us to turn the tables on the evil one. Rather than trash talk that actor, actress, comedian, atheist, co-worker, friend, or even family member that may in some way be persecuting you for your faith ask God to help you to love them as He does and begin to pray for their conversion. God wants to redeem their talent and their skills just as He did Paul’s as well as mine or yours for Kingdom purposes. Remember it was a former persecutor that God used to write the passage that we opened this devotional with. It was a former persecutor that wrote thirteen New Testament Epistles. It was a former persecutor that wrote these words to encourage us:

Ro 5:1-5 Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope. Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.

Just remember that when Hell throws its best curveball that if we endure the Holy Spirit will knock it out of the park for a grand slam.

Let Us Pray

Lord Jesus we thank you that You have sent the Holy Spirit to be with us always. Most of us have not had major persecution in our lives. On the other hand, I am sure that all of us have been persecuted some at times to some degree. Today for all of us when persecution comes may we respond as You did. And may we stand on every promise that You have given to us when we do.

In Jesus Name

Amen

PS By the way this message was not written out of a preacher having one of those “poor old preacher pity parties” that no one ever comes too. J.J. and I are blessed people. We love you all and pray that you have a great week.

Your Friend/Kinfolk

Preston

GET TOGETHER – TRUST! TRUST! TRUST!

GET TOGETHER – TRUST! TRUST! TRUST!

1Ti 4:10 For to this end we both labor and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God, who is the Savior of all men, especially of those who believe.

Most of the sermons and writing that I do usually hit me first. And this one is no different. Sometimes we all go through periods of time where we may not know exactly what God is doing in our lives, or what He is about to do in our lives. We try to guess, and we can guess a thousand times and we still may not be exactly sure. There are times that God tells us that we must trust Him.

Sometimes many of us go through challenging times and situations. Some are more challenging than others. J.J. and I went to see the Movie Paul: Apostle of Christ. During most of the movie Paul was in a dark Roman prison. When I read this passage and I think about a man who was so faithful to God. I think about a man who was imprisoned numerous times, beaten numerous times, and run out of town on more than one occasion, but remained faithful to God. With all of that happening to him he could still write “we trust in the living God.” What a powerful testimony to the faithfulness of God and an inspiration to us all.

The Greek term for trust in this passage is elpizo, el-pid’-zo. It means to look forward with confidence to that which is good and beneficial. That means as born again children of God that no matter what challenges that we may face as we serve in the Kingdom of God that we can look forward to that which is good and beneficial.

One of Satan’s oldest schemes is to try to convince us that we cannot trust God. Ge 3:3-5 “but of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God has said, ‘You shall not eat it, nor shall you touch it, lest you die.'” Then the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. “For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” Well we know what happened when Adam and Eve trusted what Satan was telling them rather than what God had told them.

Let me ask all of us a question beginning with me. Are we trusting the voice of God, or are we trusting the lies of the Devil? When we worry, or get into fear who are we trusting? One of the most famous passages in the Bible is Pr 3:5,6 “Trust in the LORD with all your heart And lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths.” My prayer for all of us is that we will trust Him with all of our hearts. When we do then worry, fear, and dread have no place to hang out. They must go. Then we can experience that peace Jesus promised us in Joh 14:27 “Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.”

Let Us Pray

Lord Jesus we thank You today that You can be trusted at all times. Forgive us when we listen to the lies of the enemy and put more stock in what he is saying that what You have promised. Today we come and renew our trust in You. We thank you that You are on the throne and that You are ordering our steps.

In Jesus Name

Amen

On behalf of J.J. and myself we thank you for the prayers that you pray on our behalf.

Your Friend/Kinfolk

Preston