GET TOGETHER – Others Are Important

GET TOGETHER – Others Are ImportantMt 7:12 ¶ “Therefore, whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.
I must admit that some of my weakness and shortcomings that the Lord is healing me from are people pleasing, performance, and the opinion of man. And yes, I have been delivered from those demonic spirits, but we also must learn how to walk in a way where we are not only free of those, but realize that we are still called to love and value people.
Sometimes on the other hand we can often go to the other extreme where we don’t value people and we can become self-centered and forget that Jesus has commanded us to love others and to care for them. When Jesus was pressed by the Pharisees about what was the greatest commandment here is how He answered Mt 22:37-39 Jesus said to him,” ‘You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.” This is the first and great commandment. “And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” The Greek term for like in verse 39 is hom’-oy-os. It means being like something else in some respect. As some of the billboards on the highway used to say Jesus is serious about that loving your neighbor thing. It is a commandment from Him. 
Here are a few questions that I need to ask myself. When I am tempted to fault find another Christian would I want them to fault find me? When I am in the company of a non-Christian can I win them better by treating them as I would want to be treated, or by being a jerk to them? Wasn’t that what Jesus was trying to teach us when He taught the Parable about the Good Samaritan ( Read Luke 10:30-37) ?
One of my favorite passages is Php 2:3” Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself.” With that said I pray that for all of us in the Body of Christ we will know that just because we are not supposed to be man pleasers, or perform so that we can get the approval of others we are called to love, serve, and value others without any other motive, but loving God, and loving our neighbor. When we do we are obeying what Jesus said to do and we will be about the business of advancing the Kingdom of God upon the earth.

Let Us Pray

Lord today we thank You that you have called us to be a people that love You with all our heart, soul, mind and strength. You have also commanded us to love our neighbor sa ourselves and to do good to them. We need Your help. We also know that some will need Your help in loving us. Help us to love, serve, and treat others the way that you have commanded us to do.
In Jesus Name  

Amen
Please pray for our outreach Mission Hamilton 316 as we go to Chestnut Circle Apartments Friday Night and Key Branch Apartments Saturday morning.
Your Friend/Kinfolk

Preston

GET TOGETHER- LET GOD DO THE PROMOTING

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GET TOGETHER- LET GOD DO THE PROMOTING
Lu 14:7 -11¶ So He told a parable to those who were invited, when He noted how they chose the best places, saying to them: “When you are invited by anyone to a wedding feast, do not sit down in the best place, lest one more honorable than you be invited by him; “and he who invited you and him come and say to you, ‘Give place to this man,’ and then you begin with shame to take the lowest place.
“But when you are invited, go and sit down in the lowest place, so that when he who invited you comes he may say to you, ‘Friend, go up higher.’ Then you will have glory in the presence of those who sit at the table with you. “For whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.”
Our culture often puts a big emphasis on promoting ourselves. We see athletes often do this when they make a big play. At other times, we see people running for office having to sell themselves to the voters. Businesses must promote their products. So not all of those things are wrong. But as Kingdom people serving in the Kingdom Jesus has a valuable lesson for us in how we can advance in our walk with Him and we can be used to advance His Kingdom upon the earth.
This past week as a Pastor I took great joy in seeing one of God’s servants advance in a good way. This person serves the Lord in our congregation in several ways. Her name is Cheryl Ortiz. She prints our bulletins, runs the sound booth and serves in several other ways.
The Lord put it on her heart for us to have an evangelism training day. She organized all of the lessons. She taught the classes and prepared the food that we ate. As her Pastor that day I saw her grow as a Christian. As she taught the class she shared how at one time in her life she was terrified to get up in front of her class in Middle School and High School. She would often throw up and not do well on the assignment because of this fear. She got set free of that fear this past Saturday. I believe in the future the Lord will use her to teach other occasions.
I thought about what a good example this was of what Jesus was talking about. She took the lower seat. God gave her an opportunity to move forward this past Saturday and to me it was a good example that if someone humbles themselves they will be exalted. By the way the training session was awesome and the Lord used that time to give us a heart for souls and to also draw us closer to each other as brothers and sisters in Christ!
Yesterday as I was talking to her about how God used her and about leadership she shared with me how that Jesus was a servant leader. He never stopped serving while He was on the earth. He gave us the perfect example. The Bible tells us how he humbled Himself. Php 2:5-7 “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, 6 who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.”
You might say I thought Jesus said that He no longer called us servants, but now He calls us friends. That is true and what a blessing it is to serve a Friend who loves closer than a brother, to serve a Friend who would die for die hard sinners like I was and like you were at one time, or may still be. That is the uniqueness about having a relationship with the King of Kings! What a blessing to serve a Friend who heals, sets captives free, and is coming back again to get us one day. Humble yourself take the lower seat and serve the Lord with gladness and watch what God does in your life.
Let Us Pray
Lord Jesus we thank You that when we take the lower seat that we are not forgotten about. We thank you that we can be at the wedding feast because of your sacrificial death on the cross. Help us to take the lower seat and to serve you knowing that one day we will hear your voice saying , “Friend, go up higher.’ Then you will have glory in the presence of those who sit at the table with you. “For whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.”
In Jesus Name
Amen
Blessings to all of you!
Your Friend/Kinfolk
Preston

GET TOGETHER- BE COUNTER CULTURAL PUT OTHERS FIRST

GET TOGETHER- BE COUNTER CULTURAL PUT OTHERS FIRST
Php 2:3 Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself.
 We live in a culture that is often me, myself, and I. Athletes often leave a school that they have committed to if they don’t become the stars they were projected to be immediately. People get very impatient in drive through lines at fast food restaurants. Others cut people off in traffic, or ride peoples bumpers until you almost feel like they have become attached to your vehicle.  
Well you have heard the negative so how about a little positive here. I can think of at least three occasions in the past week that someone volunteered to let us go ahead of them in the checkout line at the grocery store. One time the lady even had a much smaller amount of good than we had. 
Sometimes in the church we may not consider others before we do ourselves. Some people like it real cool. Others don’t seem to have a problem with it being a little warmer. I could make a long list of things that challenge relationships between Christians in a congregation, but I won’t hang out there. Instead let us look at what advice Paul gave the church at Philippi
Some feel like Philippi could have been Paul’s favorite congregation. He didn’t have to do some of the major correcting like he did with the church at Corinth. He is able to do a lot of exhorting to the church at Philippi. It appears that they were in one accord and he wants to help them to remain in one accord. 
He reminds them let nothing be done out of selfish ambition. The Greek term here for selfish ambition is eritheia.. It means a feeling of resentfulness based upon jealousy, and implying. rivalry. Remember other Christians that God may be blessing with greater attendance are not our rivals. Remember that we are all part of the Body of Christ. Remember that when we have small group ministry, youth ministry, or music ministry it is for the Glory of God and not to establish factions.  
The Greek term for selfish ambition here is kenodoxia. It means a state of pride without a basis for justification, cheap pride, vain pride, empty pride. So on the other hand when God is really moving in our services and doing awesome things among us we can take no pride in that, because it is God doing it and it is for God’s glory. This doesn’t mean that we don’t encourage one another, but we encourage one another so that the Holy Spirit will continually use us for the glory of God.  
The Greek term for lowliness of mind is tapeinophrosune. 

 I’m glad that I am writing this one and not trying to pronounce it. It means humility without arrogance. A lot of Christians confuse boldness with arrogance. Boldness is walking in humility, speaking the truth in love. 
When we esteem others, we are modeling what Christ commands us to do. We are also showing others that we value them. We are showing them that God values them. Sometimes I have to preach this message to myself. My prayer for all of us today is that we will do this. When we do we will show the world that there is a better way than the me, myself, and I culture that is so prevalent today.
Let us Pray
Lord Jesus we thank You that You have given us the perfect model on how to do this when You came to earth in the form of a man. You have also given us the perfect Helper in the Holy Spirit to help us to do this. We believe that You will do this work in our lives for the glory of God and the advancement of Your Kingdom here on earth!

In Jesus Name

Amen
Still playing catchup, but we will get there. We love you all with the love of Jesus Christ!

Your Friend/Kinfolk

Preston

GET TOGETHER-He Is Always Looking For Those who Are Lost  

This week I have been playing catchup. We were on vacation last week. This is a rerun from a few years ago, but I really believe that the Holy Spirit has a reason for me choosing this one today. 

He Is Always Looking For Those who Are Lost

Luke 15:8-10

  “Or what woman, having ten silver coins, if she loses one coin, does not light a lamp, sweep the house, and search carefully until she finds it?

“And when she has found it, she calls her friends and neighbors together, saying, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found the piece which I lost! “Likewise, I say to you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”

 

            The Lord has blessed me with the opportunity to teach a New Testament Course at Bevill State Community College here in Hamilton, Alabama. Today when I got to the church and looked for my USB drive in which I keep all of my past Friend and Family Devotionals along with some other important work I could not find the drive. When I back tracked I went back to where I parked yesterday and my USB drive was on top of the parking curb where I had parked and it was damaged from where either me or someone else had ran over it.

            J.J. has been telling me for weeks that I needed to put the info on another USB for a spare. Well I should have known that the Holy Spirit was speaking through her, but I just never thought about it anymore until today.

            Before I found the drive I had searched everywhere looking for it. I went back to my house. I looked in the pants that I wore yesterday. I looked in my cluttered basket full of coins, keys, and several things that need to be thrown away. I went to a great amount of trouble before I finally found it there in the parking lot at Bevill State.

            It was very much damaged when I found it, but it still looked usable to me. I have been trying all day to get it to work and at this point it will not. But I am not giving up yet. You know God will go to a lot of trouble to look for those who are lost. He will go into the classrooms. He will go into the bars and nightclubs. He will go into the crack houses and meth labs. He will go into the nice middle class homes that seem like they have it all together, but are hurting and lonely on the inside. He like the woman that Jesus was talking about in this parable will sweep the house very carefully until He finds the One that He is lost.

            The Lord may fix that USB drive for me and He may not. I know that He can if He chooses. There are many people who look worse spiritually than that USB Drive looks naturally. They look broken, fragmented and may feel that they have no purpose in life. You may be or know someone who is like that. But the one who is looking very hard for you or them can fix them in a way that no human being can. And when this happens a party breaks out with the angels. 

            My current attempt to get the USB drive to work involves leaving it in the refrigerator for a while and then trying it. God has a better plan for those He finds. He wraps them in His loving arms. Then He teaches them how to walk in the power of the Holy Spirit as He restores, repairs, and redeems all that has been lost.

 

Let Us Pray

Lord we thank You that You looked real hard for us. Thank You Lord that You did not give up when some of the places that you went looking for us were places that were very appalling to you. Some of those places stunk. In some of those places we committed gross evil, but thank You Jesus that You never gave up. For some of these who may be lost today. We pray that they hear Your voice saying Mt 11:28-30 “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. “Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. “For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” Let the angels begin to party

 

In Jesus Name

Amen

 

 

 

Thanks to all of you who encourage u sin the Lord. We praise Him for you and for what He has done and will do in our lives and in yours.

Your Friend/Kinfolk

Preston

GET TOGETHER- THE STEPS OF THE REDEEMED ARE ORDERED

GET TOGETHER- THE STEPS OF THE REDEEMED ARE ORDERED
Ps 37:23 The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD, And He delights in his way. (NKJV)Walkway Through the Meadow Christian Stock Photo
Let me ask you a question. Have you been born again by repenting of your sin and putting your faith in the precious shed blood of Jesus Christ to save you from your sins? The Apostle Paul talks about this in Ro 5:9 “Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him. (NKJV) If you have I have some good news for you today! This passage in Ps 37:23 is talking about you child of God! When Jesus died for our sins on the cross and rose from the dead He positioned us to receive all the promises of God that He has given to His children. 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)
On the other hand we do have to walk by faith for those promises to be fulfilled in our lives. There may be some circumstance going on in our lives today that to be honest the Lord didn’t order, but the forces of evil have come against us to keep us from walking in the steps that the Lord has ordered for us.
Let’s say a young man or woman has been given a lot of talent to glorify God through participating in athletics. Then the enemy comes and tries to get the young man, or woman off the steps that the Lord has for them by tempting them sexually, or in some other way. The young man or woman can use this as an opportunity to humble themselves before the Lord, or they can succumb to all the attention they are getting and fall to the temptation.
Sometimes the enemy may try to get us off the path that the Lord has ordered for us through sickness, sudden calamity, or by other means. Sometimes it can be through busyness. It can also come through apathy. So how do we stay on the path and fulfill the plan that God has for our lives? How do we walk out those steps that are ordered by the Lord? Here are three that come to mind at the present time as I am writing this. Certainly there are many more means of God’s grace that are steps to help us to stay on the right path, but these three will be very helpful to us.
1. First of all we make sure that He is first. He is the one that we desire to please. Not to get saved, but because we are saved. He has made us a promise and it is impossible for Him to lie. Joh 15:16 “You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask the Father in My name He may give you. Know that you have been chosen by him, appointed by Him, and anointed by him to bear everlasting fruit.

2. We don’t try to know the Bible for head knowledge alone but we meet with Jesus in the Scriptures. Through the Holy Spirit he meets us in every word: Heb 4:12 For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.
3. Stay involved in your local church. I see a lot of things about what the church is doing wrong, but I praise God that when I had an unexpected medical situation come up last week that the love of the people in not just our congregation, but others was so overwhelming that a couple of days when I was in recovery mode they were praying, sending texts, and encouraging me. There is a reason for this passage: Heb 10:25 not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching. (NKJV)
Let me give you an example of what I just mentioned. I had a procedure done on my heart. It was not a major procedure. However, for a couple of days after that I felt dingy from the anesthetic that they gave me. It brought back memories of when I used to do drugs many years ago. My thoughts were that is how people get addicted. They feel bad after the drugs wear off and then they want some more. I am thankful that as a believer in Christ these resources, weapons, and tools were available. As I said earlier these are just some of the means of grace that the Holy Spirit uses to help the righteous stay on the path that God has ordered for us. It would take a lot more room to list them all today.
Don’t forget that God has your steps ordered so draw on the weapons of our warfare and stay on the path. Believe that the Lord Jesus has awesome things set up for you. Not just awesome things, but eternal things!
Let Us Pray
Lord Jesus we thank You for paying the price for our salvation and for all that our salvation entails in this life and in the life to come. Help us to stay on that path that you have ordered. For we know that it is an eternal and glorious path.
In Jesus Name
Amen
I have gotten in a new shipment of the second book that I wrote Party Talk. They are marked down to $10.00 plus $4.00 shipping charge.
Your Friend/Kinfolk
Preston

GET TOGETHER- HE RESTORES DAMAGED GOODS

GET TOGETHER- HE RESTORES DAMAGED GOODS
Ps 23:3 He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness For His name’s sake. (NKJV)
Perhaps we have all used the phrase, or had it used about us at some time in our lives “he or she is damaged goods.” To be honest we all have been damaged in some way and we all need our souls restored: Ro 3:23” for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” (NKJV) All of us have either been damaged by our own sin, or by someone else’s sin. When this happens we often incur some emotional wounds, and not only are we effected spiritually, but psychologically was well. 

King David as the Bible tells us was a man after God’s own heart “Ac 13:22 “And when He had removed him, He raised up for them David as king, to whom also He gave testimony and said, ‘I have found David the son of Jesse, a man after My own heart, who will do all My will.” He was a great military leader. He was a great King. And yet he knew that he was damaged goods and needed soul restoration. 

If you look at his life he experienced rejection and jealousy by his own brothers. He fought hand to hand combat in a lot of wars. He was used by God to do a mighty miracle when he defeated the Philistine giant Goliath and saved the armies of Israel. Jonathon a friend that was as close as a brother was killed in battle. King Saul a King that he was loyal to tried to kill him on numerous occasions. He had several wives, children that did terrible things to each other. He was hailed as a hero and booed out of town by some of the same people. He committed adultery and then had the husband of the woman that he committed adultery with murdered. His own son Absalom led a rebellion against him. David wept and mourned when he found out that Absalom had been killed in battle. One time his troops at Ziklag had lost confidence in him and wanted to kill him. You haven’t heard the half of it. So when we think about someone who was damaged goods we can look at David.

On the other hand, when we need someone to look at that knew where to go to for his soul to be restored and get the damage repaired we can look at David. The Hebrew term for restore here is shuwb, shoob. It means to restore, to bring back, and it can also mean to repair.

First isn’t it great that our broken relationship with our Heavenly father can be restored through faith in the blood of Jesus Christ? Ro 5:9 Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him. (NKJV) Also isn’t it great that when our emotions have been wounded to the point we either can’t cry anymore, or we have been hurt in such a way that all we can do is cry that there is One who can restore our soul in such a way that we can now as the scriptures tell us in Ro 12:15 “Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep?” (NKJV) Now we are healed and we can laugh when it is time to laugh and cry when it is time to cry. And there will always be those times when we need to cry and when we need to laugh. David’s son Solomon wrote about that in Ec 3:4 “A time to weep, And a time to laugh; A time to mourn, And a time to dance.”

Part of soul restoration is knowing that you have been forgiven. We can look at the things that David had been forgiven of and know that the Lord Jesus stands ready to forgive us. Another vital part of soul restoration is forgiving and releasing those who may have hurt us in some way. Jesus told us how to do this in “Lu 11:4a And forgive us our sins, For we also forgive everyone who is indebted to us” David could have drank the poison of unforgiveness when he got the news that King Saul had been killed. He could have said well he had it coming! He could have listed all of the things that Saul had done to him. But he had forgiven King Saul. He also loved God and Israel to much to hold one of God’s anointed in unforgiveness (This didn’t excuse what Saul had done). The scriptures help us to see the heart of a restored soul. 2Sa 1:11 ¶ Therefore David took hold of his own clothes and tore them, and so did all the men who were with him.12 And they mourned and wept and fasted until evening for Saul and for Jonathan his son, for the people of the LORD and for the house of Israel, because they had fallen by the sword. 2Sa 1:19 “The beauty of Israel is slain on your high places! How the mighty have fallen! (NKJV)
Today as you read this let me ask you something that I have to ask myself quiet often. Is there someone that you are holding in unforgiveness? Let them go. What they did was not right, but God doesn’t want you to drink the poison. That person that you are holding in unforgiveness could be you. Perhaps when you read of some of the things that David had done it brought to your mind some of your sins that you regret that you have committed and you have repented of them. God has forgiven you if you have asked Him. Don’t hold yourself in unforgiveness any longer. He wants to restore your soul. He stands ready to repair and restore us in such a way that we are no longer damaged goods, but we are repaired, restored, and put back in better condition than we originally were in. forgive others and forgive yourself. Then we are ready to be led into paths of righteousness for His name sake. 

Let Us Pray

Lord Jesus we thank You that you restore our souls. You also lead us into paths of righteousness. Help us to forgive those who have wronged us. Help us to receive the forgiveness that You have granted to us and not hold ourselves in unforgiveness. Restore the souls of all that we may have wounded and those who have wounded us. Help us to walk in complete restoration.

In Jesus Name

Amen
            
May you walk as a child of God with a restored soul!

Your friend/Kinfolk

Preston

GET TOGETHER- HE ONLY HAS EYES FOR US

GET TOGETHER- HE ONLY HAS EYES FOR US
Song of Solomon 8:6,7 THE SHULAMITE TO HER BELOVED Set me as a seal upon your heart, As a seal upon your arm; For love is as strong as death, Jealousy as cruel as the grave; Its flames are flames of fire, A most vehement flame. Many waters cannot quench love, Nor can the floods drown it. If a man would give for love All the wealth of his house, It would be utterly despised. (NKJV)

Okay when I use this example preaching at the prison most of the men will acknowledge that this has happened to them before. As you are reading this you are not sitting in your pew looking like you have had it altogether your whole life so relax perhaps it might have happened to you before as well.

Maybe you went to a nightclub, a high school, or college dance and you danced a slow dance with someone. At some point during that slow dance you realized that they were looking at someone else while they were dancing with you. They could have been cutting eyes at them, or making little head motions. Then the next thing that you knew they were gone with that person.

Today I want to tell you that there is One who has eyes only for you. His Name is Jesus Christ and you were created to dance with Him. His love is strong for you. His love for you was so strong that He would die for you. We are told throughout the Scriptures of how much that He loves us. Joh 10:11 “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep. Joh 15:13 “Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends. (NKJV) Ro 5:7,8 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. 1Jo 4:10 In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. You get the picture. Someone that loves you that much is not going to cut out on you. They also aren’t going to be dancing with you and have their eyes on another. Here is a great promise for those who belong to Jesus Christ: 2Ch 16:9a “For the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show Himself strong on behalf of those whose heart is loyal to Him.” He desires to do good for those who love Him.

On the other hand perhaps some of us, or all of us have danced with someone and had our eyes on someone else. If we have God is ready to help us to get our eyes on the One who loves us and not let those eyes go after worthless things, or things that are not a part of our destiny. 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.

Today be reminded that Jesus Christ wants to dance with you eternally. If you dance with Him you will never want to dance with the devil again. Get in His word, enjoy intimate times of just loving on Him, and letting Him love on you. If you do I promise you that you will not want to cut your eyes toward another again. Because when you look into His eyes you see love that is unconditional, eternal, and life changing. I think that He is about to ask us for a dance. I am going to say yes. How about you?

Let Us Pray

Lord we than thank you for a love that cannot be quenched, or snuffed out. Lord we thank You for a love that cannot be washed away. We thank You for a love that would lead You to die for us so that we could live with You forever. Help us to never take our eyes off of you and to enjoy the dance.
In Jesus Name
Amen

If you see this on Facebook listen to the song that I posted on my page last night. If you didn’t Google in Dance with Me O Lover Of My Soul You Tube

Your Friend/Kinfolk
Preston

GET TOGETHER- He Won’t Quit On You! Don’t Quit On Him

GET TOGETHER- He Won’t Quit On You! Don’t Quit On Him!Heb 13:5,6 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.” So we may boldly say: “The LORD is my helper; I will not fear. What can man do to me?”

 

            I can remember a song by Johnny Mathis from my younger days. It was titled the Twelfth of Never. There is a line in that song that goes like this: “You ask me how long I will love you, I’ll tell you true until the Twelfth of Never I will still be loving you.” I am sure that there are some people that sang that song to someone and thought that they meant it. Some people probably sang that song to someone and knew that they didn’t mean it. And certainly, I am sure that there are some people that sang it to someone and did mean it.

            The Book of Hebrews was originally written to a community of Jewish believers that were considering abandoning following Christ and returning to Judaism. They were facing persecution from their fellow Jews and things were beginning to get tougher with the Romans. The writer is encouraging them not to abandon their faith. There is a faithful promise in this passage. There is a promise from the lips of Jesus that He will not leave us nor forsake us The enemy may try to convince us otherwise, but it is Jesus voice that is the voice of truth and He has made us that eternal promise.

            The Greek terms here for never is ou me, oo may. It is a double negative. It means may God forbid. It also means according to Strong’s Concordance: a double negative strengthening the denial; not at all:–any more, at all, by any (no) means, neither, never, no (at all), in no case (wise), nor ever, not (at all, in any wise). What a great promise! He meant it then! He means it now! He means it throughout eternity! Now that is even better than the Twelfth of Never!

 

Let Us Pray

Jesus, we thank You that You have made us an eternal promise. We thank You for securing this promise with Your precious blood. We thank You for sealing it with the Holy Spirit. As we count on Your faithfulness help us to walk faithful to You.

In Jesus Name

Amen

 

I want to give a shout out to all of the encouragers in our lives! God uses you in mighty ways!

Your Friend/kinfolk

Preston

 

GET TOGETHER- You Were the First One That He Thought About.

l76364GET TOGETHER- You Were the First One That He Thought About.
Joh 15:16 “You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask the Father in My name He may give you.
I shared with you last week that I was going to my fifty year high school reunion this past Friday Night. I had such a wonderful time being with all my former classmates. I felt such love for each one them that it is very hard to come up with the right words to express how that I feel towards them.

One of my regrets has always been that I was not a Christian in High School. I think about how good that it would have been to be the player doing the devotionals with the football team and leading the team in prayer. I think that is what the Lord wanted me doing, but I wasn’t fulfilling it. The Bible talks about how God redeems the time. He did that in my life as He has so many times at our class reunion this past Friday night. He gave me the honor of doing the devotional and praying for the Reunion of the 1967 Dora High School Senior Class.

Friday I had several people pray for me because I knew that when many of my classmates knew me I was not walking in an intimate relationship with Jesus Christ. I had not been born again. The Lord has blessed me with the opportunity to preach in a lot of places here and in other parts of the world. One time I preached in a village that was 85 percent Muslim in Kenya. But on the way down to the Reunion in my former hometown I had a giant knot in my stomach. The last time I remembered having one like that was going over Benoit Mountain on the football bus my Senior year in High School knowing our good friends the Cordova Blue Devils were waiting for us just across the Warrior River.

Well as it drew closer to time to do the devotional one of my good friends who was one of our outstanding cheerleaders came up to me and told me “you are one of the last persons that I ever thought would be a preacher.” She had some good reasons to say that. I also know that as a good friend in was all in fun. So just as I recovered from that one of my other good friends who was like a sister to me in high school comes up just before it is time to do the devotional and guess what she said? You guessed right. She said “well you are one of the last people that I ever thought would be a preacher. Now that will get you close to the Lord! To be honest I knew they were thankful for how God has changed my life and it helped me to not be nervous when I was doing the devotional.

Perhaps for all of us it might be said in some way that we would have been the last person to serve God in some way. The Bible is full of people that God had a plan for and they would have appeared to have been the last one that someone would have thought would have been fulfilling that plan in some way.

Abraham had been an idol worshipper. It is often pointed out that Moses was slow of speech. But here is another line of thought on Moses. Moses was brought up in the House of Pharaoh. He got a great formal education. He had probably been to some of the most extravagant parties on the face of the earth at that time: Hebrews 11:24-26 “By faith Moses, when he became of age, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin, esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt; for he looked to the reward. God had something better for him. There are many others. How About Rahab? She would have ben probably the last person that a lot of people would have thought would be used by God in one of Israel’s greatest military victories, “Jos 2:1 ¶ Now Joshua the son of Nun sent out two men from Acacia Grove to spy secretly, saying, “Go, view the land, especially Jericho.” So they went, and came to the house of a harlot named Rahab, and lodged there.” How about the woman with the Alabaster Box? Lu 7:37 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, Mt 26:13 “Assuredly, I say to you, wherever this gospel is preached in the whole world, what this woman has done will also be told as a memorial to her.” And don’t forget the apostle Paul who as Saul of Tarsus persecuted Christians. You get the picture.

How about you? Perhaps you are one of the last people that someone thought would be a Sunday School Teacher, or small group leader. Perhaps you are one of the last people that someone thought would be a successful Christian business man, or woman. Perhaps you are the last one that someone thought would function in the office gift of An Apostle, Prophet, Teacher, Evangelist, or Pastor. Perhaps you were chosen to be a coach, teacher, farmer, or political leader. Maybe you are the last one that someone would have thought would humbly and anonymously give to so many ministries in spreading the Gospel of Jesus Christ. No matter what your calling is know this. You weren’t the last one that God thought about for that calling. You were the first one. Now Jesus has a word for you. It is the passage at the top of this devotional: Joh 15:16 “You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask the Father in My name He may give you.
Let Us Pray
Lord we thank You that we were Your first choice for our assignments. Thank You for forgiving us for when we prolonged our acceptance of these assignments. Thank you for redeeming the time. Help us to lovingly bear fruit in the places that You have appointed us to be Your servants.

In Jesus Name

Amen
To my two classmates. Thanks for letting the Lord use you to loosen me up this past Friday Night. I love you both as wonderful friends. One day we will have a reunion like no other.

Your Friend/Kinfolk

Preston