GET TOGETHER – The Best Friend Forever

GET TOGETHER – The Best Friend Forever

Pr 18:24 ¶ A man who has friends must himself be friendly, But there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother. (NKJV)

The other night on Facebook I posted about how God has blessed J.J. and I with so many wonderful friends. Friends are a great gift and blessing from God. I must admit that I have not always been a perfect friend to some of my friends. And that was especially true before I came to Christ. And even since I came to Christ there have many times that I have fallen short of being the friend to one of my friends in a time that they may have needed me. Perhaps all of us may have at times either before we came to Christ, or after we came to Christ have missed an opportunity to be a friend to one of our friends that were hurting and needed a friend at some time.

One day this week I was with one of my real good friends somewhere. All of a sudden, I started singing What a Friend We Have In Jesus. My friend joined in and began to sing the words from some of the verses. Here are a couple that I remember us singing:

What a friend we have in Jesus,

All our sins and griefs to bear!

What a privilege to carry

Everything to God in prayer!

Oh, what peace we often forfeit,

Oh, what needless pain we bear,

All because we do not carry

Everything to God in prayer!

Have we trials and temptations?

Is there trouble anywhere?

We should never be discouraged—

Take it to the Lord in prayer.

Can we find a friend so faithful,

Who will all our sorrows share?

Jesus knows our every weakness;

Take it to the Lord in prayer.

Isn’t it great to know that our Lord, our Savior, our Master, our King is our Friend? Think about it. The Creator of the universe is our Friend and is on our side. The Bible tells us that Abraham was a friend of God. Jas 2:23 “And the Scripture was fulfilled which says, “Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.” And he was called the friend of God.” (NKJV)

As New Covenant followers of Jesus Christ we are blessed by being friends of God. As our Friend he will stick closer to us than a brother. That is close!

Today perhaps you are going through a challenging time in your life. There may be some of you who feel like you are all alone. I have some good news for you. Take some time to talk to the Lord as a friend. He knows everything about us. But He loves to engage in friendly intimate conversation with us. He will listen to you and He will speak to you. No matter if you are in the car, your shower, your front porch wherever you may happen to be He is there for you. And never forget the promise that His Friendship is forever! And through Him we can all be friends forever! Now will you join me in singing the rest of this ageless hymn by Joseph M. Scriven that is filled with so many great truths :

Are we weak and heavy-laden,

Cumbered with a load of care?

Precious Savior, still our refuge—

Take it to the Lord in prayer.

Do thy friends despise, forsake thee?

Take it to the Lord in prayer!

In His arms He’ll take and shield thee,

Thou wilt find a solace there.

Blessed Savior, Thou hast promised

Thou wilt all our burdens bear;

May we ever, Lord, be bringing

All to Thee in earnest prayer.

Soon in glory bright, unclouded,

There will be no need for prayer—

Rapture, praise, and endless worship

Will be our sweet portion there.

Let Us Pray

Lord Jesus we thank you that You are willing to be our Friend. Thank you that there is nothing that we cannot come to You about. We love You and we thank You for being willing to meet us wherever we are and take us to wherever that You want us to go. May we all take that time to be with You friend to friend.

In Jesus Name

Amen

It is a blessing to call all of you friends. If it was not for Him the greatest Friend that anyone can have, we wouldn’t have the blessing of being friends with one another.

Your Friend/Kinfolk

Preston

GET TOGETHER- WE NEED GOD-ADE

GET TOGETHER- WE NEED GOD-ADE

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

Do you remember the quote in the old Gatorade commercials an athlete would be tired and then a friendly voice would say: “you look like you need some Gatorade?” People often drink Gatorade, or Powerade to replace electrolytes that have been lost due to hard work, exercise, or athletic competition. In life we often have energy drained from us physically, emotionally, and spiritually.

Physically human beings may experience loss of strength due to an accident, or some medical condition. When this happens people may have to go through some type therapy to regain their strength and to function in the way that they were before.

Emotionally and spiritually energy can be drained from us through various life experiences. Sometimes it may be due to the death, or long illness of someone that was very close to us. It may come sometimes when we have been ministering to other people. There are many different things that can cause us to be emotionally and spiritually drained.

No matter what the situation is there is good news for all of us who are followers of Christ. We are told by the Apostle Paul in 2Co 1:20 For all the promises of God in Him are Yes, and in Him Amen, to the glory of God through us.” (NKJV)

So therefore, we can stand on the word that is promised to us by the prophet Isaiah. Let’s look at some faith builders in this passage that will help us to do just that.

First, we are children of the everlasting God. His power is limitless. He unlike us never gets tired or weak. I can remember a young man who is a missionary told me about going to a country in the Far East. He said that he went to a temple where people of one of the Eastern Religions worshipped. He said that the practitioner of that religion had to ring a bell to wake up the god that he worshipped. My friend told him that the God that we worship does not have to be woke up. He neither slumbers, nor sleeps. Isaiah tells us that He neither faints or is weary.

Today as New Covenant children of God we can rejoice that He gives us power through the Holy Spirit. If you are running on empty today, ask Him to fill your tank. Sometimes He may fill your tank by having you to rest. When you pull your car up to the gas pump you must turn it off for the refueling to take place. Although we aren’t really turned off from thinking we can take time to just be in His Presence, spend time in His word, and spend time in prayer. We also need to spend some time with our families as well as with some good friends in some good clean wholesome activities. By the way laughter is a big help in this process as well.

We are also told by Isaiah to wait upon the Lord. The Hebrew term for wait here is qavah, kaw-vaw’. It can mean to expect. Isn’t it great that we can expect our God to come through for us? Perhaps you are tired today. Maybe that child that you have been praying for still hasn’t come back to the Father’s House. Maybe you have had a loved one pass from this walk of life recently. This can be emotionally and spiritually draining. Ask the Lord to renew your strength. Maybe you have a broken bone or some other medical situation that you are recovering from. Believe that the Lord is going to help you to once again run and not grow weary. That you will be able to walk again as you did before.

Perhaps you have grown weary in your calling and you need God to renew your zeal for Him and what He has called you to do. Ask the Lord to help you to mount up to help you to soar like an eagle and to ascend to the heights that God desires for you to ascend to.

Let Us Pray

Lord Jesus we thank You that You are always with us. We thank You that You are the One that renews our strength. We thank you that we don’t have to wake You up, but you awaken us. We thank You that You do renew strength. We thank you for the promise that we can count on that we will mount up with wings like eagles and run and not grow weary. We pray over each person reading this today. That they will mount up, run and not grow weary, and walk and not faint!

In Jesus Name

Amen

God Bless you all! Thanks for your prayers and for your love!

Your Friend/Kinfolk

Preston

GET TOGETHER- LOVE AS MUCH AS YOU HAVE BEEN FORGIVEN

GET TOGETHER- LOVE AS MUCH AS YOU HAVE BEEN FORGIVEN

Lu 7:40 -50 “And Jesus answered and said to him, “Simon, I have something to say to you.” So he said, “Teacher, say it.” “There was a certain creditor who had two debtors. One owed five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. “And when they had nothing with which to repay, he freely forgave them both. Tell Me, therefore, which of them will love him more?”Simon answered and said, “I suppose the one whom he forgave more.” And He said to him, “You have rightly judged.” Then He turned to the woman and said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I entered your house; you gave Me no water for My feet, but she has washed My feet with her tears and wiped them with the hair of her head. You gave Me no kiss, but this woman has not ceased to kiss My feet since the time I came in. “You did not anoint My head with oil, but this woman has anointed My feet with fragrant oil. “Therefore I say to you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven, for she loved much. But to whom little is forgiven, the same loves little. “Then He said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.” And those who sat at the table with Him began to say to themselves, “Who is this who even forgives sins?” Then He said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you. Go in peace.”

Does the enemy often remind you of your sinful past? I wonder how much before she met Jesus had this woman often thought that there was no place for forgiveness for her sins. I wonder how many times that she had heard the voice of condemnation tell her that her sins were to many and to bad to be forgiven from.

She must have been desperate and hurting pretty bad to crash this dinner at the home of Simon the Pharisee. He and some other Pharisees were testing Jesus about His theology over dinner on this occasion. Well he and his friends are about to get a real good theology lesson that they most likely were not expecting from Jesus.

Let’s go back in the story and see what the woman does when she comes busting uninvited into Simon’s house. Lu 7:37,38 And behold, a woman in the city who was a sinner, when she knew that Jesus sat at the table in the Pharisee’s house, brought an alabaster flask of fragrant oil, and stood at His feet behind Him weeping; and she began to wash His feet with her tears, and wiped them with the hair of her head; and she kissed His feet and anointed them with the fragrant oil.

Most commentators believe that she was a woman that either could have been a prostitute or was known as one who had a reputation for committing sexual sin. She pours out oil on the feet of Jesus. This would have been something that would have been very expensive. She also kisses His feet. This would have been considered outrageous for a woman to do that. And yet her motive is pure. Somewhere she has heard about Jesus. Somewhere she has heard of the mercy and compassion of Jesus.

Jesus had basically been insulted by Simon. When He came to his house there was no kiss of greeting that was customary in that part of the world in Jesus day when a guest visited someone in their home. There was no water to wash His feet that had trod upon dirty streets often littered with animal dung. However, there was a desperate sinner that would come on the scene and give Him the honor that He was due.

There are many key points in this passage. Today I am not going to expound on all of them. But what I want to focus on is when Jesus tells Simon that those who have been forgiven much love much.

She knew that her sins were many. He pronounces those sins as forgiven. Have you ever thought about how many of your sins that He has forgiven? Is your response like her response one of total abandonment in worship and not being concerned about what the self-righteous religious may be thinking?

Or perhaps you are like I was at one time. You may be thinking that your sins are too many and too bad to be forgiven. I can remember when I thought that. But someone told me that one drop of His precious blood was enough to wipe mine and anyone else’s slate clean that would repent and put their faith in Him to save us from our sins.

If you have never been forgiven of your sins I urge you today to do as this woman and come to the feet of Jesus and give Him everything about your life. You can then here those precious words that He spoke to her: “Then He said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.” “Your faith has saved you. Go in peace.”

For those of us that have been forgiven may we never forget just what He has done for us. And may we just as this woman did pour ourselves out in worship with everything that we have. Certainly, if she could do it in the house of a Pharisee how much more can we do it in the House of God and everywhere else that we are. Love Him as much as you have been forgiven!

Let us Pray

Lord Jesus this woman was desperate. To be honest we all are desperate without you. Today may our worship and our praise be as a desperate people that have been snatched from the pits of Hell and have been redeemed, forgiven and given life abundant, and life eternal.

In Jesus Name

Amen

We love you all. May God bless you!

Your Friend/Kinfolk

Preston

GET TOGETHER – BE AN INSTRUMENT OF LIFE

GET TOGETHER – BE AN INSTRUMENT OF LIFE

Eze 37:10-12 So I prophesied as He commanded me, and breath came into them, and they lived, and stood upon their feet, an exceedingly great army. Then He said to me, “Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel. They indeed say, ‘Our bones are dry, our hope is lost, and we ourselves are cut off!’ “Therefore prophesy and say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD: “Behold, O My people, I will open your graves and cause you to come up from your graves, and bring you into the land of Israel. Joh 6:63 “It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life.

We live in a time where there is much bad news. Every night if you watch the news you will see some bad news. There are murders, hurricanes, nation against nation. Lawlessness abounds in many places. We see political leaders that can’t have civil discourse to talk about their differences. Discouragement can come at us often in waves.

Certainly, we are not to be in denial and certainly it is not wrong for us as Christians to voice our objections in a godly manner to things that we believe are unbiblical and that are a detriment to society. On the other hand, we are the people that are called to be instruments of good news and of blessings. Re 1:5 and from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler over the kings of the earth. To Him who loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood, 6 and has made us kings and priests to His God and Father, to Him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.

This morning as I was prayer walking the church parking lot. I walked over the spaces and in some cases where the spaces were fading out I began to speak life over those places. I began to speak that the parking places would be filled with people having a life changing experience with Jesus Christ. That they would be filled with people who needed physical, emotional, and spiritual healing.

Wherever you work, go to school, or spend your time in retirement there most likely will be someone around you that their tongue is releasing death rather than life. You and I have the wonderful opportunity of speaking and releasing life everywhere that we go. Jesus was releasing life when He came into the synagogue at Nazareth: Lu 4:18 “The Spirit of the LORD is upon Me, Because He has anointed Me To preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, To proclaim liberty to the captives And recovery of sight to the blind, To set at liberty those who are oppressed.” As His chosen instruments He is calling us to do the same.

When we release life, we are being used to advance His Kingdom upon the earth. He told the disciples, Mt 10:7,8 “And as you go, preach, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand.’ “Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out demons. Freely you have received, freely give.” All of us are called to proclaim the Good News of Jesus Christ! When we do that we are releasing life where there had previously been death. God wants to use us to bring life where relationships have been dead and broken by sin. God wants to use us to speak life where it looks as there is no hope.

When Ezekiel was told to prophesy to the dry bones it didn’t look good for the Jewish people. They were captive in a foreign pagan land. Their capital city and the temple where they worshipped had been destroyed. In the natural it didn’t look so good. But the Spirit of the Lord was on Ezekiel. As Jesus said the Spirit gives life so he begins to speak to the dry bones. Hope is now given to a people who have been put in a hopeless situation.

Today as followers of Christ we can speak life into hopeless situations. The Apostle Paul spoke about this in Ro 4:17 ¶ (as it is written, “I have made you a father of many nations”) in the presence of Him whom he believed–God, who gives life to the dead and calls those things which do not exist as though they did.” God desires to use us as followers of Jesus Christ to impart life where there appears to be death.

I had to ask myself this morning am I being used to impart life where there is death and hopelessness, or am I imparting death. We need to all ask ourselves that question. And then we need to be available to God to impart life in those circumstances and situations. God desires to use us to make the dry bones come alive again. Now that is life giving good news!

Let Us Pray

Lord today we know that if we are not careful that we can become so overwhelmed by a culture that often speaks death to the place that we begin to sound like the culture. Help us today to be a people that speaks life and imparts life by the power of the Holy Spirit where ever that you send us.

In Jesus Name

Amen

We love you all. May God use us all to make the dry bones come alive!

Your Friend/Kinfolk

Preston

GET TOGETHER-    Worship In Spirit and In Truth

GET TOGETHER-    Worship In Spirit and In Truth

 

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.”

 

 

In Jesus encounter with the woman at Jacob’s Well she is fishing for some theological information. Most of us have done something similar at some time in our lives.  Well she couldn’t be fishing in any better place to get the correct answer than where she was fishing.  She had the Master theologian right in front of her. She had already perceived that He was a prophet. She would also find out that He was the Messiah before this encounter was finished.

Jews and Samaritans didn’t associate with each other. The Jews believed that the worship of the Samaritans was polluted. The Samaritans believed that Mt Gerizim was the place for worship. The Jews believed that Jerusalem was.   Jesus gives her an answer that she did not expect. He tells her that the time is coming where the attitude of the heart is going to be more important than the place.

Sometimes we in the Body of Christ may put questions out there like which style of worship is the best style.  I have had the blessings of ministering in different congregations across denominational lines and in at least six different countries. 

There were times in some of the services that the only words that I could understand were when I was preaching or ministering, and the translator was either translating what I was saying, or what those that I was ministering to were saying.  And yet the Holy Spirit’s presence was very strong in most of these services. There were different styles of worship, and different types of music, but the common thread was that these were worshipping in spirit and in truth.

The Greek term for worship in this passage is   proskuneo,  pros-koo-neh’-o.  It means to express by attitude and possibly by one’s position one’s allegiance and one’s regard for deity.  I understand that worship isn’t just about the service that we are in. It includes how we live our lives as well.  On the other hand, when we gather with other Christians we do in most cases call it a worship service and we come together corporately to worship Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.

What will best prepare each of us to worship when we gather together corporately  is to be a worshipping people the rest of  the week. When we have a strong prayer life. When we spend time in prayer. When we ask the Lord to help us to worship Him in spirit and in truth then we will be the type of worshippers that the Father is looking for.

 

Let Us Pray

Lord Jesus we pray for all of us that You will so work in our lives that we become the type of worshippers that the Father is looking for. Help us to know that it isn’t the style, or what type music, but the condition of our hearts that is most important. Lord help us to know that you can move in any setting where the hearts are worshipping you in spirit and in truth.

In Jesus Name

Amen

 

 

Now make it a point to tell more people about Jesus this week than you tell them about your favorite football team.

 

Your Friend/Kinfolk

Preston

 

 

GET TOGETHER- A Friend In The Highest Place

GET TOGETHER- A Friend In The Highest Place

 

Joh 15:15No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I heard from My Father I have made known to you. (NKJV)

 

 

            Most of us are familiar with what it means when we hear that someone has friends in high places. It usually means a reference to someone with some clout in government.  It could mean possibly having the right connection within a company, a school, or some other type organization.

When we think about Kings we don’t think about them having servants as friends. In most early monarchies there would be a great gulf between the King, or Queen and most of their servants. As servants of the Lord Jesus we have an invitation to friendship with the King of the Universe.  A friend is someone who really cares for another person and has a deep regard for them. 

            Jesus is a friend that loved us enough to die for us on the cross. 1Jo 3:16 By this we know love, because He laid down His life for us. And we also ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. (NKJV) He calls us as His friends to love one another as He has loved us. Joh 15:12-14This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.  “Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.  “You are My friends if you do whatever I command you.” We will confirm our friendship with Him when we love others as He has loved us.

            This means loving those that don’t always like the same type of worship music that we do. This means loving those who may be of a different part of the Body of Christ than we are.   It means loving people like He loves us.

            There was an old country song I’ve Got Friend’s In Low Places.  Many of us have been down that road. We felt like we had no future and the only way that we could get relief was to either drink or drug our pain away. The Lord wants all of us to know today that we can have a friend in the Highest Place. His Name is Jesus! He is a friend that loves closer than a brother. He is a friend that there is no situation, or circumstance that we cannot talk to Him about. And more than that He is a friend that is going to work in some way in the situation or circumstance for our good.

            If you have not got to know the Lord Jesus Christ as your Savior He is ready to not only save you from your sins and to give you eternal life, but He is ready to be your closest and most dependable friend here on this earth.    And for some of us that know Him as Lord we may from time to time forget that He has called us friends as well. We may be carrying some heavy loads that He wants to remove from us. I pray for all that are reading this and for myself that we will come to a greater understanding of what a friend that we have in the highest place.

 

Let Us Pray

Lord we thank You that we your children can call You not only our Lord and our Savior, but we can call you friend and call upon You as a friend. Today may all who read this not only make You the Lord of our lives, but also experience the joy of an eternal friendship with You.

In Jesus Name

Amen

 

That makes me want to sing

What a friend we have in Jesus,

All our sins and griefs to bear!

What a privilege to carry

Everything to God in prayer!

Oh, what peace we often forfeit,

Oh, what needless pain we bear,

All because we do not carry

Everything to God in prayer

 

Your Friend/Kinfolk

Preston

Get Together#55                   That We All May Be One    

(It has been a busy week  so here is another blast from the past that I believe that you will find still to be a timely word.)

 

 

Get Together#55                   That We All May Be One

 

 

Joh 17:20 -21 “I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word; “that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me.

 

 

The Lord has really been stressing something to me that I have always believed ever since I have walked with Jesus Christ. That is the power that is in unity.  It is the Lord’s desire that His people not be divided.   In the passages at the top of the page we see where Jesus looked across history the night before He would go to the cross and die for our sins. He prayed for all of us. Being fully God He knew in advance what awful sins we would commit.      He made the ultimate sacrifice. And what was His prayer for us the night before H e went to the cross? It was that we would be one. 

 Sometimes we feel that we are really only connected to those brothers and sisters who are in our particular denomination, or non-denomination. But the truth is if we have put our faith in the shed blood of Jesus Christ we are brothers and sisters of all other Christians who have been born again by faith in His blood.

Jesus prayed that we would all be one. This does not mean that we will always pull for the same football team. It does not mean that we will always vote for the same people for political office. It does not mean that we will always like the same kind of Praise and Worship music.   But He did pray that we would love each other with such love that we would consider one another better than ourselves.

The Apostle Paul mentions unity in Ephesians 4:3 endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.   In the Book of James we also get good advice on how to have unity in the Body o f Christ. James tells us how to avoid division and how to experience unity “Jas 3:6 For where envy and self-seeking exist, confusion and every evil thing are there.17 But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy.

 

            Here are some practical ways that the Lord will use to help you and I promote unity in the Body of Christ.

• First of all ask the Lord to remove any pride that you may have about what God has done in your particular congregation or denomination.  Ask Him to replace pride with humility and gratitude.

• Replace criticism with prayer over any difference that you may have with other brothers and sisters in the Body of Christ.

• Make praying for other congregations and Christian leaders a part of your prayer discipline.

• Study how God has worked through other parts of the Body of Christ throughout history. 

• Ask the Holy Spirit to convict you when you begin to say things about other Christians that would grieve our Lord’s heart (by the way He hears us when we do it).

•   Workplace, workplace, workplace (this is where the Body of Christ is really coming together) along with the athletic field, and campuses.

• Pray Lord Jesus please don’t let me work against Your prayer in John 17.

 

Let Us Pray

 

Lord Jesus today I know that You prayed that we would be one. Lord I know that in many ways we are different. But Lord we praise You that You can take our differences and weave us together around Your cross. Today Lord help us to be one as You and the Father are one.

                                                            IN JESUS NAME

                                                                        Amen

 

I love you all.  God is getting ready to do big things. I am glad that I am on His team. He is a good God. I pray that He continually will be with you all.

                                                Your Friend/Kinfolk

                                                            Preston

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

GET TOGETHER- I Know It Was the Blood

GET TOGETHER- I Know It Was the Blood

Ro 5:7-9 For scarcely for a righteous man will one die; yet perhaps for a good man someone would even dare to die. But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him.

One of my favorite things to do in ministry is going to the Hamilton A@I Correctional Facility. I love worshipping with the men out there and the Praise Team. It is always a great blessing. They sing all different kinds of worship music. It is a lot like Heaven as all the men join in worship no matter what type of Christian music that a particular song may come from.

One of my favorites that they sing is “I Know It Was the Blood.” Verse one goes like this:

Verse 1

I know it was the blood,

I know it was the blood,

I know it was the blood for me.

One day when I was lost

He died upon that cross,

I know it was the blood for me

I am sure that all of us as Christians have at times been reminded of our sinful pasts. That is one of the main tools of the demonic forces that come against us. If they can convince us that our pasts have not been forgiven then not only do they rob us of our peace, but they hinder us from sharing the good news that Jesus Christ came to save sinners with others.

I love the above passage. First, we see that Jesus Christ the Incarnate Son of God loved us enough when we were living in sin and rebellion to die for us. We also see the love of the Father. I love you all of you and love people. On the other hand, I would not offer either of our children as a sacrifice for the forgiveness of your sins. Much less the sins of the most hardened people that have ever walked the face of the earth.

Of course, we know that only the Holy Blood of Jesus Christ is sufficient for the forgiveness of sins: “Not with the blood of goats and calves, but with His own blood He entered the Most Holy Place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption. For if the blood of bulls and goats and the ashes of a heifer, sprinkling the unclean, sanctifies for the purifying of the flesh, how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?” (Hebrew 9:12-14)

I can remember when I was going to church for four or five years that I didn’t think that my sins could be forgiven. I thought that they were too bad and too many. When someone told me about the Blood and that one drop of the Blood of Jesus could take away all of my sins and that my past could be forgiven that day I knew that I was saved, and I surrendered my life to Him.

Think about how much God loves us. That when we were committing things that were so reprehensible He loved us anyway. Jesus was willing to go to the cross and take upon Him every awful sin that humanity would commit in order that we would repent of our sins and be saved by faith in His precious blood. 2Co 5:21 For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. (NKJV)

Today can you like me and my good friends who worship at Hamilton A@I sing I know it was the blood? If you can give Him thanks and praise that Him. He loved you enough to go to the cross and die for your sins. If you can’t He wants you to know that no matter what you have done in the past if you will repent meaning turn away from your sin and put your faith in His shed blood and His shed blood alone He is willing to forgive you of your sins and give you eternal life. Then you can have assurance and you can sing this as well. Look at the last verse of the song.

Verse 6

He rose up from the dead,

He rose up from the dead,

He rose up from the dead for me.

One day when I was lost

He died upon that cross,

He rose up from the dead for me.

Verse 7

He’s coming back again,

He’s coming back again,

He’s coming back again for me.

Let Us Pray

Lord Jesus we thank you for the precious Holy Blood that You shed for us on the cross. We thank You for the mercy that You grant to those who put their faith in You. Today Lord help us to share this good news with those who have never experienced the forgiveness of their sins.

In Jesus Name

Amen

God bless all of you. Thanks so much for your love and friendship.

Your Friend/kinfolk

Preston

GET TOGETHER- Loving People Who Oppose Your Message

GET TOGETHER- Loving People Who Oppose Your Message

Ac 7:59,60 And they stoned Stephen as he was calling on God and saying, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” Then he knelt down and cried out with a loud voice, “Lord, do not charge them with this sin.” And when he had said this, he fell asleep. Ac 26:27,28 “King Agrippa, do you believe the prophets? I know that you do believe.”
Then Agrippa said to Paul, “You almost persuade me to become a Christian.”

We live in a culture that is often openly hostile to the message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It offends our current culture to publicly proclaim that Jesus Christ is the Savior of the world. It offends our current culture to proclaim that marriage is between one man and one woman. It offends our current culture to proclaim that life begins at conception. And yet as Christians we are called and commanded to love those who oppose us.
One of the areas that I have really been praying about lately is how to love people without compromising truth. That can be very challenging. I do love people. I am thankful for people. I love people of different colors. I love people of different nationalities. I love people who are currently living in sinful lifestyles and in rebellion against God. I am thankful that people loved me when I was living a sinful lifestyle. I am also thankful that God loved me to much to leave me in a sinful lifestyle.
A temptation when you love people like I do is to fall into the danger of relativism where one thinks well this might be right for you, but it is not right for me. The best place to look on how to love people and to still be faithful is in the word of God.
Stephen had preached the truth. The Pharisees and the religious leaders could not handle it. Stephen had preached the truth out of love for Jesus Christ and out of love for his people. And yet they had him stoned to death. But did he respond with viciousness and a desire to seek revenge upon those who condemned him? No, he responded out of love with a forgiving heart. He did not fall for the scheme of the enemy to destroy his testimony by responding the way that the world would respond. His battle just like ours is not against flesh and blood, but as the word tells us in 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.”
Recently there have been several occasions where the enemy has tried to sucker me in to fight battles in the flesh rather than in the spirit. We need to pray for God to give us a love for those who hate us and hate the message that we teach and preach. Jesus said it like this “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.”

Another example is the Apostle Paul. He had just poured his heart out to King Agrippa. Agrippa had been made superintendent of the temple in Jerusalem by the Romans. He had the authority to dismiss charges against Paul. Paul loves him enough to share his testimony and to offer Christ to him. Yet, Agrippa refuses God’s offer of mercy and grace. But what a good example of loving one who hates your message that we see in the Apostle Paul right here. He pours his heart out before a King who lived a very immoral and extravagant lifestyle. He does this out of love for Christ and because he knows that as one that had been forgiven much that God was willing to forgive Agrippa if he had asked him to. Rather than receiving Christ after Paul had finished his response was this “Ac 26:28 Then Agrippa said to Paul, “You almost persuade me to become a Christian.” I wonder how many times that he has regretted making that statement over the past two thousand years.

My prayer for myself and all of us who are followers of Jesus Christ and hold to a Biblical worldview is that He will help us to love those that persecute us. This morning as I was praying in the church sanctuary I was calling out names of people who openly oppose the Gospel of Jesus Christ to experience his love and to be turned from darkness to light from the power of Satan to God. I also prayed that the Lord would help me to love those who oppose the Gospel and that my desire to see them saved would not be to prove that we are right, but for them to know what true love and forgiveness is through a born-again relationship with Jesus Christ.

LET US PRAY

Lord when you walked this earth there were people who hated your message. Some were religious, some were the Romans who were occupying Your land and others like the man on the cross who rejected the mercy that You were offering. Help us to love those who oppose us. Help us to pray for them and have a desire to see them come into the Kingdom. You love to turn Your enemies into friends. Thank You that You did that in my life. Please do it in the lives of others.
In Jesus Name
Amen

The trip to Guatemala to serve with Eyes Wide Open Ministries went great. Daniel and Brandi McIntyre and the interns that serve under them are as faithful as any people that I have ever served with. One of our members here Tinsley Gregg went with me. While there we had the opportunity to minister and preach in two churches. We had a Conference for Pastors at the awesome facility that God has provided for Eyes Wide Open Ministry. There were 34 Pastors that came. More than that the Holy Spirit came in a very special way. Thank you for praying for us. We love you all!
Your Friend/kinfolk
Preston

GET TOGETHER – Keep On Going Breakthrough Is Coming

GET TOGETHER – Keep On Going Breakthrough Is Coming

Ps 34:19 Many are the afflictions of the righteous, But the LORD delivers him out of them all. (NKJV) Ro 12:12 rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing steadfastly in prayer;

Several people in our congregation have been going through some challenging times. One family is the family of Ben and Sherry Harbor. They are very faithful people here at Christ Community Fellowship. Ben leads a men’s breakfast and teaches a Sunday school class. He and Sherry both have a strong gift of intercession and minister in the altars here during our services.
They have been under a strong spiritual attack and have had some very challenging things happen to them recently.
Sherry has had some ongoing issues with her neck and back. Ben is in the construction business and last week for the first time in his career in the housebuilding business he had a wall to fall that they were building. Prior to this the apartment that his Mother lives in flooded. Ben and Sherry own these apartments and later in the week they found out that they had termites in the apartment because of the flooding.
The next thing that happened was their granddaughter Susie had to have a tube put in her stomach to get nourishment for her little body. While they were at the hospital their daughter Jennifer, Susie’s mother got sick and had to go to the emergency room. This family got very little sleep or rest last week.
A lot of people that had been through the week they had been through would have stayed home from our service last week. But guess what? They didn’t let the enemy, or the situation make them stay home. They were there worshipping, testifying and praising the Lord this past Sunday morning.
Early that morning the Holy Spirit had told me to ask people who felt like they had been going through Hell this past week to come to the altar. Not only did they come, but several others did. Others gathered around these and prayed for them. It was a glorious time!
The best was still yet to come. Ben and Sherry’s granddaughter Savannah came to church with them this past Sunday morning. She had asked if she could sing a song. We told her she could. When she got up to sing the anointing of the Holy Spirit was all over her. Again it was a glorious time! Heaven and earth truly met while Savannah was singing!
I praise God for saints like Ben and Sherry If they had stayed home it would certainly have been understandable. But they are people of faith. They like all of us when we go through a challenging time don’t know when the break through is coming. But we do know that God is true to His word and we are promised that we will be delivered out of all of our afflictions.
Paul tells us in Ro 12:12 “rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing steadfastly in prayer.” The Greek term for rejoicing means to enjoy a state of happiness during a time of trial. The Greek term for hope means to look forward with confidence to that which is good and beneficial. Without breaking down the other terms I think that you get the picture. When Hell and life are throwing the junk at us we can look forward with confidence that God is going to not only bring us through it, but do something great in us during the process. One key thing to remember is to continue steadfast in prayer.
Listen I know that Hell is a real place that is prepared for the devil and his angels. And I know that here on earth we are not literally in Hell like those that are not saved will be one day. On the other hand, there can be times that it feels like we have been through Hell, or going through Hell with some of the circumstances that we encounter. If that is you, or someone you know I want to pray for you right now.

Lord Jesus first we are thankful that as Your redeemed children of God that we have been saved from burning in Hell for eternity. On the other hand Lord we know that the forces of Hell want to rob us of the joy that we experience in our relationship with You and with others. Right now, Lord we come and declare over every person that is reading this that no weapon formed against them will prosper. We declare that when the enemy comes in one direction that he must flee in seven.
We declare that what he means for bad that God will work for good, knowing that all things work for good for those who love You and are called according to Your purpose.
In Jesus Name
Amen

May God bless you all in a great and mighty way!
Your Friend/Kinfolk
Preston