GET TOGETHER- Christmas: A Time To Celebrate And a Time To Remember

GET TOGETHER- Christmas: A Time To Celebrate And a Time To Remember Jos 4:7 “Then you shall answer them that the waters of the Jordan were cut off before the ark of the covenant of the LORD; when it crossed over the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan were cut off. And these stones shall be for a memorial to the children of Israel forever.” Lu 2:10,11 Then the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. “For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.

This past Saturday J.J. was at her Mom and Dad’s. And by the way we thank you for all your prayers for her Mom and Dad. So, I called her and told her that I would decorate the Christmas Tree this year. I got it done although there are a few spots in there that would keep us from winning this year’s the tree of the year award.

While I was getting it done, I really had a very worshipful time with the Lord. Rather than turning on a ballgame I decided to listen to Christian music while I was decorating. I had the music turned down a lot lower than I normally listen to it. And I really felt the Lord’s presence in the room with me.

Through the years J.J. has bought lots of ornaments with the different years on them. As I was hanging them on the tree, I saw the one that she bought in 1981. That was the first year that we were married. There were years that marked the years that our children were born. There were ones that marked the year that we gave our hearts to the Lord Jesus. Some of the ornaments were pictures of our children doing various activities at some point in our lives as a family together. There were years that marked the first year that we went into the Pastoral Ministry and that was also the Christmas that came just eleven days after my Daddy’s death.

There were other years that marked significant events in either our lives, friend’s lives, or the churches that we have had the blessing to be a part of. Some of those events were wonderful things. Some of the events were tough things such as someone in our congregation having a child leave this walk of life at an early age, or some other tragedy.

I must say that it was truly a worshipful time for me. No, I was not worshipping the tree. I only worship the Triune God: Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.

When Joshua was leading Israel into the promise land, he stressed how important it was for them to put down twelve stones and to remember what God had done for them. When I looked at those ornaments, they reminded me of how God has been with us in some very awesome and wonderful times. They also reminded me of how in some of those years we were going through some tough times and that He was with us then as well.

The angel told the shepherds that night that they had some good news for them. It was good news that they could delight in. The New Living Translation says it like this in Luke 2:11 “The Savior—yes, the Messiah, the Lord—has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David! The word Messiah means Rescuer, Deliverer, One who saves. Jesus is all of that.

This Christmas if you are a Christian take some time and thank Him for what He has saved you from. Take some time to thank Him for what He has done for you. Remember those twelve stone moments in your life.

Perhaps you are reading this, and you were like I was at one time. Christmas is a lonely time for you and you try to medicate it with drugs and alcohol. God has something better for you. He is ready to let 2018 be a year that you can buy an ornament and remember in the future that it was the year that you got saved from hell. My year was 1990. You can say this was the year that I met the Savior of the world. His name is Emmanuel. That means God is with us. When I looked at those ornaments, I knew that God had been, and was with us, and furthermore will always be with us. Let Him change your life this year. Then you will thank Him not just during the Christmas Season, but every day for the rest of your life.

Let Us Pray

Lord Jesus we thank You for coming to the earth to die for our sins. We remember the awesome things that you have done for us. We thank You that You allow us to celebrate Your birth in such a great and glorious way. For any reading this that have not accepted You as their Lord and Savior we pray that just as those shepherds went to see You in Bethlehem that these would seek You and find You as well.

In Jesus Name

Amen

I did have one little accident when the tree fell over. But the Lord sure did a good job from keeping those ornaments that were so special from breaking! God is good!

Your Friend/Kinfolk

Preston

GET TOGETHER- JOY TO THE WORLD

GET TOGETHER- JOY TO THE WORLD

Lu 2:8-11¶ Now there were in the same country shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. And behold, an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were greatly afraid. Then the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. “For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.

Well one of my favorite times of the year is here. It is a time when many Christians focus on, celebrate and give special significance to the Virgin Birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. As I was listening to the Holy Spirit for direction on this week’s Get Together in my spirit, I heard the words from that great Hymn Joy to the World.

It would be nice if I could say that we are now entering a time of year where everything was perfect. But I know that is not true. In our family we have had love ones to go to Heaven during this time of year. As a Pastor I have been with other families when they have experienced that, or their first Christmas without someone that they loved. And while we rejoiced for those that had passed away being in Heaven we missed them and still do at this time of the year.

There are currently wars going on all over the world where there is mass loss of human life. We have also seen several serious natural disasters in our own country that people are still recovering from. Christians in many places are imprisoned for their faith. Some people have loved ones that are incarcerated. Some people have just been laid off from their jobs. I could go on and on about how Christmas is not a time in which there are no challenging situations. But I would like to share with you that because the Lord Jesus Christ came to earth, born of a virgin, lived, died for the atonement for our sins, rose from the dead, and poured out the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost we can rejoice in all situations and circumstances.

The Greek term for joy that the Bible uses for joy in the above passage is chara, khar-ah’. It can mean a state of joy and gladness. It can also mean that which is cause for joy and gladness.

The joy that Jesus the Savior of the world brings is that no matter whether we are experiencing something tough in our lives or whether we are in a season where we are not experiencing some of those things we can rejoice. We can rejoice that we serve a Savior that has conquered death, hell, and the grave! We can rejoice that we serve a Savior that is saving the souls of men and women and delivering them from sinful lifestyles. We can rejoice that Jesus still heals people today. We can rejoice that although we may not remember what we got for Christmas a few years ago we can remember the day that we met the Savior of the world! We can rejoice that He is still filling people with the Holy Spirit today. We can rejoice that He is still answering prayers today. Now that is glad tidings of great joy! I could make a lot longer list of things that we can rejoice about than I could the adverse things that I mentioned early.

I am hearing the refrain from another great hymn now; O Come O Come Emanuel :

Rejoice! Rejoice! Immanuel

shall come to you, O Israel.

After that I thought that this verse from the same song would give us reason to rejoice in this season no matter what the circumstance.

O come, O Bright and Morning Star,

and bring us comfort from afar!

Dispel the shadows of the night

and turn our darkness into light.

Let Us Pray

Lord Jesus as we move into this special season help us to worship You and experience You in such a way that no matter the situation, or circumstance we can rejoice remembering the words that You spoke while you were here on this earth Joh 16:33 “These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”. We rejoice in that promise O King of Glory! We give You praise Blessed Messiah, Living Word!

In Jesus Name

Amen

Please keep J.J.’s dad in your prayers. He had a heart attack on Thanksgiving night. He is at home recovering. Also keep her mom in your prayers as she is still recovering from a fall back in September.

Your Friend/kinfolk

Preston

GET TOGETHER- Always Giving Thanks

GET TOGETHER- Always Giving Thanks

1Th 5:18 In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.

This past Sunday morning during our service we had four of our women take just a short time and share some things that they were thankful for. One shared that she was thankful for the Holy Spirit. I am thankful for the Holy Spirit as well. Others shared how God had brought them through some very challenging times. And some of the things that God had brought them through were very challenging situations.

I guess that it was in 1991 when a good friend gave me a copy of the book Prison to Praise by Merlin Carruthers that I first became acquainted with 1Th 5:18 In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. The book really stressed how important that it was to give thanks in all situations. Now I am not one that believes that God predetermines people to go out and to live in sin. I don’t believe that God is in the business of causing people to be sick. As a New Covenant believer, I believe that Jesus came that we might have life and life more abundantly. On the other hand, we do face adversity in this fallen world. We do face situations and circumstances that are a result of the fall. And we do face some situations that we might find it hard to give thanks in. But we are called to give thanks to God in all situations.

There are many things that we can thank God for while we are going through a tough situation. First, we can thank God that He is in the situation with us. He has promised us that He will not leave us: Heb 13:5 Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”(NKJV)

We can be thankful that we are His children and that He loves us. 1Jo 3:1 ¶ Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God! Therefore, the world does not know us, because it did not know Him.

(NKJV) We can be thankful for the blood of Jesus Christ that has washed away our sins. Ro 5:9 “Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him.”

I don’t know about you, but I am thankful that I am not going to Hell. Jesus spoke about Hell quiet often. He described Hell in this way as a place “Mr 9:44 “where ‘Their worm does not die, And the fire is not quenched.’ There is only one way to not go there. It comes by repenting of your sins and putting your faith in the shed blood of Jesus Christ to save you.

I am thankful also that I know that I will live forever. Jesus said it like this in Joh 11:25,26 “Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. “And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?” I can remember some Thanksgivings when I didn’t believe and didn’t know where that I would spend eternity. You or someone that you know may be there today. You may be like I was think that you had committed too many and too terrible of sins to be forgiven. Jesus wants you to know whether it is you, or someone that you are praying for that there aren’t too many and that they aren’t too bad for the blood to cleanse.

I think the key to being able to give thanks in all situations is being born again and knowing that God is with you. If you have been born again give Him thanks not just this weekend, but all the time. And remember what the Apostle Paul said in Col 3:17 “And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.”

Let Us Pray

Lord Jesus there is not enough room to list all that we could thank You for. We do thank You that you have positioned us to be a people of Thanksgiving. On this Thanksgiving weekend help us to give You thanks and praise for who You are, what You have done and what You will do in the future.

In Jesus Name

Amen

Happy Thanksgiving!

Your Friend/Kinfolk

Preston

GET TOGETHER- BE A HELPER AND NOT A PLANKER

GET TOGETHER- BE A HELPER AND NOT A PLANKER

Mt 7:3-5 “And why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye? “Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me remove the speck from your eye’; and look, a plank is in your own eye?” Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.

This passage comes from the Sermon on the Mount the most famous sermon that Jesus ever preached. I have said on more that one occasion it could have been the sermon that got the least amens ,or come on preach it brother of any sermon that was ever preached. And yes, I amen preachers and other brothers and sisters in Christ. But in this sermon, there is a whole lot of introspection of the heart going on.

Sometimes in leading a Bible study or small group one of the biggest challenges that I have faced is getting the group to allow the Holy Spirit to work in our hearts and not so much to get to talking about how bad everyone else is out there. And yes, there is a lot of real, real bad stuff out there.

J.J. and I are currently in our prayer life using a resource called Pray The Word 90 Prayers That Touch the Heart of God. Each day has a theme and scriptures that support the theme that we are praying about. We pray through those scriptures and then we pray the prayer that the author Tiece L. King has written based on those scriptures.

One of the things that has come out of this is that the Holy Spirit has been at work showing me areas of my heart that He desires to work in. Let me give you an example. Last week I was at a store in our area and the cashier made a mistake when the cashier gave me my change. It was a grand total of 82 cents. My first thoughts were that this is what happens when kids aren’t taught how to add and subtract without a calculator, or computer. The cashier shared with me that it was her first day. After I left out of there the Holy Spirit convicted me of the judgmental critical thoughts that I had about this young person. I asked the Lord to forgive me and to give me another chance to show the love of Jesus Christ to this person. Today He answered my prayer and allowed me to encourage this person in some way.

When we are planking other people, it hinders us from allowing the Holy Spirit to work in our hearts. I am not talking about speaking truth about what is right and what is wrong. But we are living in a culture that is constantly critical of someone, or something.

This morning I was listening to a message entitled what happens when Jesus Comes To Town. The first place that He will go to is to the people that are called by His Name. 1Pe 4:17 “For the time has come for judgment to begin at the house of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the end of those who do not obey the gospel of God? “(NKJV)

As believers that have the Holy Spirit dwelling in us I believe that the Holy Spirit desires to get those planks out of our eyes so that we are in position to be used to bring people into the Kingdom. What if Jesus had a plank in His eyes when the woman was caught in adultery? What if He had a plank in His eyes when He saw Matthew at the Tax Booth, Zacchaeus in the sycamore tree, and Peter on the night that Peter denied Him?

Well we know that the Lord Jesus was the sinless Son of God. We know also He desires for us to be a people that can look at hurting people, not be critical, and to point them to Him. Because to be honest He does want us to be in position to help people to get the speck out of their own eye. But, if we have the plank in our own eyes, we won’t be able to be used by the Holy Spirit to remove that speck.

So today let’s be counter cultural. In a finger pointing, critical, war of words culture let’s be salt and light. Don’t compromise truth. But trust the Holy Spirit to not only work in you, but as you pray believe that He will work in those that we may be most critical of.

Let Us Pray

Lord Jesus we live in a sinful rebellious world. It can be very hard not to let our hearts get as calloused as the hearts of those who are in the world. We know that the healing for the calloused heart, the broken heart, the wounded heart comes through a Spirit filled relationship with You. Help us to get the planks out of our own eyes. Help us to be used by You to point others to You the Remover not only of the speck, but the plank as well.

In Jesus Name

Amen

Tell someone this week what Jesus has done for you.

Your Friend/Kinfolk

Preston

GET TOGETHER- We Are Not Left Alone

GET TOGETHER- We Are Not Left Alone

Joh 16:5,7 “But now I go away to Him who sent Me, and none of you asks Me, ‘Where are You going?’ Nevertheless I tell you the truth. It is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I depart, I will send Him to you. (NKJV)

Departures can be hard. This past Sunday as we were getting ready to leave Springfield, Missouri after a great visit with our son Jake, his wife Tommye and our eighteen-month-old grandson Eli it seemed like Eli was about to cry when we left. This morning as I left home our granddaughter Eden was being so cute that it was hard to leave her even though I knew that I would see her again later today.

Departures can be hard for us in various ways. I will never forget one time when I was getting on a flight in Memphis, Tennessee to go on a Mission trip getting one last look at J.J. at the airport. I was praying that I would see her again here on this earth, but I also knew that I would see her in Heaven if I didn’t. So, with the disciples it must have been very hard to have walked with the Lord Jesús the incarnate God and hear Him say that He was getting ready to go back Home to the Father. They had watched Him heal the sick, raise the dead, cast out demons and set the captives free.

However, although they would not fully understand at this point, He had some real good news for them. He is sending a Helper. The Greek term here for Helper is parakletos, par-ak’-lay-tos. It means one who helps, by consoling, encouraging, or mediating on behalf of. Jesus is reminding them of a promise that He has already made to them:

Joh 14:16-19 “And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever–

“the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you. “I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you. “A little while longer and the world will see Me no more, but you will see Me. Because I live, you will live also.”

Today is election day in our nation. I can’t tell you how the elections are going to come out. Here is what I can tell you. As a born-again believer in Jesus Christ we have a Helper that is always with us. He is here with us today. He will be with us tomorrow. He will be with us forever!

They needed to hear this. Because Jesus had also spoke some other words to them as well. Joh 16:1 -3 “These things I have spoken to you, that you should not be made to stumble. “They will put you out of the synagogues; yes, the time is coming that whoever kills you will think that he offers God service. “And these things they will do to you because they have not known the Father nor Me.” There would come a time when they would face persecution for preaching, teaching, healing, and being used in deliverance in His Name. There are people that are facing persecution for that today. I pray that we don’t face that type persecution. But I also pray that should we that we be as faithful as the disciples were after they were empowered with the Holy Spirit on the Day of Pentecost. Because the same promises that He made to them we can stand on as well.

I like these words from an old Gospel Hymn Never Alone

He died for me on the mountain,

For me they pierced His side,

For me He opened the fountain,

The crimson, cleansing tide;

For me He’s waiting in glory,

Seated upon His throne,

He promised never to leave me,

Never to leave me alone.

Today good friends you may have recently had someone to leave this walk of life. The Lord wants you to know that you are never alone. You may have been called by God to some task that seems like you are going to be way in over your head. God wants you to know that you are not alone. You may be facing some persecution because of your faith. The Lord wants you to know that you are never alone. And praise God for the great, awesome, and wonderful good times that we get to experience in Christ! In those we are not alone. He is there rejoicing with us!

Let us Pray

Lord there may be changes going on in our lives of various kinds. Sometimes these can be scary. It may be a child that is away at college. It may be a child or spouse in the military. No matter what we are experiencing we thank you Lord Jesus that You have promised us that we are never alone. Thank you for sending the Comforter. We praise Father-Son- and Holy Ghost for the eternal love, comfort and fellowship that we have now and forever!

In Jesus Name

Amen

We love you all!

Your Friend/Kinfolk

Preston

GET TOGETHER- EVERYONE GETS TO PLAY

GET TOGETHER- EVERYONE GETS TO PLAY

Eph 4:16 from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.

I don’t use football illustrations in these because I know that can be divisive and some people may get turned off because I used one of their rivals as a positive example. With that said I won’t mention the names of the two teams that were playing in a game that I was watching this past weekend.

One of the teams was behind with around a minute and twenty-four seconds to go in the game. They were primarily a running team. They had the ball on their own end of the field. Their passing game had been anemic.

I am not going to go over play by play how the team came back and won. But there was one play that I felt like the Holy Spirit told me to mention. One of the players caught a pass and ran out of bounds with about four seconds to go to give his team an opportunity for one more play. The next play there was a penalty that set up the winning touchdown. I felt like the Holy Spirit had me to take note that if that player had tried to win the game on his own and would have stayed in bounds most likely he would have been tackled and the clock would have run out. That showed discipline and a team first attitude.

As members of the Body of Christ we all can do our share. We all get to play. With that said we also must realize that it takes discipline for us to do our share as members of the Body of Christ. We also must realize that it is about bringing glory to the Lord Jesus and fulfilling the purpose that He has called us to fulfill.

It appears that the team that came back to score and win the game had a strategy and a plan. God has a plan and a strategy for us as we serve Him. Like the player that resisted the temptation to forsake the plan and instead stayed with the plan we must do that as well. When we attempt to be “lone rangers” in the Kingdom we set ourselves up to fall into the temptation of self-glorification.

Sometimes we get to be used by God to make “the big catch.” At other times we may be called to serve in a less visible role as others make the “big play.”

Like the player that wisely chose to follow his coach’s instructions to get out of bounds and stop the clock. We want to follow the Holy Spirit’s guidance and fulfill whatever role that God has given us to fulfill.

How are you fulfilling your role in the Body of Christ? On His team every person’s role is important. 1Co 12:20-23 But now indeed there are many members, yet one body. And the eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you”; nor again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.” No, much rather, those members of the body which seem to be weaker are necessary. And those members of the body which we think to be less honorable, on these we bestow greater honor; and our unpresentable parts have greater modesty.” Be sure that you are fulfilling your role. How you fulfill your role could have eternal ramifications for others.

Let Us Pray

Lord Jesus we thank You that You have chosen us to be a part of Your blood bought team. We realize that the prize that we are competing for is not a perishable one, but an imperishable one. Today Lamb of God help us to fulfill our role so that others may live forever.

In Jesus Name

Amen

May the Lord be with you all in a very special way as you go about eternal things!

Your Friend/Kinfolk

Preston

Get Together- A Holy Double Play

Get Together- A Holy Double Play

Ps 34:4,5 I sought the LORD, and He heard me, And delivered me from all my fears. They looked to Him and were radiant, And their faces were not ashamed.

Many years ago, I would have been watching the baseball playoffs this time of the year. I don’t watch them anymore because several years ago I basically lost interest in all professional sports. I always enjoyed playing baseball as a child and slow pitch softball as an adult.

With all of that said I can still remember how important it was to turn a double play in a baseball, or softball game. That is how you got out of an inning and stopped a scoring threat. In this Psalm we see two threats that the enemy would like to use to inhibit us as children of God from living a blessed life and experiencing the abundant life that Jesus came to give us. One is fear and the other is shame.

The Hebrew term for fear in this passage is meg-oo-raw’. It means to be frightened or fearful. Many of us at different times have had different fears. For some of us it could be a fear of flying. For others it could be standing up in front of a group of people. It may mean being afraid to stay at home alone when there really is no good reason to be fearful in that way.

Fear can keep us from fulfilling what God has called us to do in our journey with Jesus Christ. At one time I had a fear of flying. The Lord delivered me from that several years ago. I still pray over the planes that I fly on. I even anoint them with oil, but I am no longer afraid to fly. There are places that God has called me to go to and the only way that I can get there is to fly. How about you? Is there something that God has called you to do, but you are letting fear keep you from experiencing what God has called you to do? Do what the Psalmist did. He sought the Lord! He carefully sought and inquired of the Lord. It worked for him. It will work for us. He was delivered from all his fears. God will do the same for us.

That other runner that we want to get out is shame. Shame can make us feel like we aren’t qualified to be in the ballgame. Shame is an attempt to make us believe that we not forgiven, called, and set apart people of God to serve the Lord Jesus Christ. When we fix our eyes on Jesus Christ we know that He has taken away and forgiven us from our sinful pasts. Jesus took our sins to the cross. When He did He took our shame to the cross: Heb 12:2 looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Through the Blood of Jesus Christ actually both of these runners were out before they stepped into the batter’s box against us.

Let me ask you something today. Where are you looking to overcome those fears that rob you of living the abundant life? Some of us have looked to drugs, drunkenness, and other sinful behaviors to overcome our fear and to deal with the shame. The good news is that Jesus has dealt with all of this at the cross.

Today if fear and shame are robbing you from experiencing life and life more abundant seek the Lord with all your heart. Keep your eyes on Jesus, the Author and Finisher of your faith. When we do this the enemy can’t even get into scoring position.

Let Us Pray

Lord Jesus we thank You so much for shedding your precious blood so that we could be delivered from all of our fears and that we could be saved, healed, and delivered from any shame that is associated with our sinful pasts. Today Lord empower us with the Holy Spirit in such a way that we can walk in the victory that You have provided.

In Jesus Name

Amen!

With those two out you are ready to go to bat in the Kingdom. God will use you in the Kingdom to hit home runs for His glory!

Your Friend/Kinfolk

Preston

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