GET TOGETHER-    Loving Your Enemies

GET TOGETHER-    Loving Your Enemies

Mt 5:44But 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, (NKJV)

Well I prayed for the Holy Spirit to give me something and this is what He gave me.  To be honest I can’t think of a subject that may be more difficult and perhaps even less popular during this time than telling people that we need to love our enemies.

To be honest I like it best when I get some revelation or insight on something that I have not gotten before.  I was taught to love enemies in Bible School when I was a child.  I can’t say that I always did that, but I was taught that. And I remember when I got saved twenty-seven years ago I did love everybody. But now we live in a culture where we are concerned that if we show love to an enemy people may think that we have gone over to their camp.

One thing that helps me in this area is when I allow the Holy Spirit to work is to do what a wise, solid, never compromising preacher told me several years ago.  He said to preach prophetically, and to love pastorally. He also told me to try to win people rather than trying to beat them.   He meant when you are preaching, and teaching preach truth under the anointing and power of the Holy Spirit. On the other hand, when we are out here in the highways and byways where Jesus commanded us to go we want to love people and realize that God will want to use us to win them to the Kingdom. We can’t win people that we don’t love.

Loving people who oppose the things that we stand for doesn’t mean that we love their behavior, or sin.  Jesus loved me when I was living in sin. Thank the Lord that He loved me enough to take me out of that sin. He did it by sending people by me who didn’t compromise what they believed, but they showed Christ like love.

The early Christians often got called atheists because they refused to worship the Roman gods and goddess’s. They were accused of being cannibals because the Romans didn’t understand what it meant for them to partake in the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ during the celebration of Holy Communion.  And yet they would persevere, and the Lord would do a mighty work that has outlasted and will always outlast the Roman Empire.

How do you do this? When someone curses you don’t curse back.  Do something good for those who hate you. The most important thing as Jesus said is to pray for them.  The saints in the New Testament who were persecuted and hated in ways that most of us have not been obeyed Jesus in this and the Kingdom advanced in mighty ways.  Here are Stephen’s words as he was being stoned to death for his faithfulness:Ac 7:60 “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.” (NKJV) The Apostle Paul was persecuted, imprisoned and according to tradition was beheaded here is what he has to say on the subject:Ro 12:14Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse.” (NKJV) Peter said that when we do this that we will be blessed: “1Pe 3:9 not returning evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary blessing, knowing that you were called to this, that you may inherit a blessing. “(NKJV)

These men that I just mentioned were filled with the Holy Spirit.   Love is an abiding gift of the Holy Spirit in every believer:1Co 13:13And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.” (NKJV) Just like the other gifts of the Holy Spirit love must be stirred up:2Ti 1:6 ¶ Therefore I remind you to stir up the gift of God which is in you through the laying on of my hands. (NKJV)   It might be good to have a brother or sister lay hands on us and pray that the gift of love be stirred up in us, so that we can love our enemies. 

Finally, we all need to remember what Paul said about who our enemies are:Eph 6:12For 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.” (NKJV) When we love our enemies we don’t give those evil demonic forces an open door to come and work in our lives.  We close the door to the spirits of strife, envy, faultfinding, bitterness, gossip, and all the others. Going back to what I said earlier I believe that when we love our enemies that we will win some of those who hate us and who also hate the Gospel. Jesus loves to turn His enemies into friends. I know that because He turned me from an enemy of His to a friend of His.

LET US PRAY

Jesus, I was going to tell you that it isn’t easy loving those who hate us, disagree with us, and say all kinds of evil against us. But you know what it is like better than anyone else that has ever lived. We ask You today for a fresh anointing to love in this season when we face persecution, mockery, people calling us ignorant and so many other names. Fill us a fresh today. So that we can love our enemies  like You did  and have commanded us to do.

In Jesus Name

Amen

 

God bless you all!

Your Friend/Kinfolk

Preston

 

GET TOGETHER- When We Are Still He Is at Work

GET TOGETHER- When We Are Still He Is at Work

Ps 46:10 Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth! (NKJV)

Many of us are familiar with this verse. I must admit that one of my challenges sometimes is being still and letting God do what He desires to do in my life, ministry, and in various relationships and circumstances. I learned the value of hard work from my parents. Hard work is a good thing. I learned the value of hustling and playing hard from coaches in High School. Hard work pays off. So being still is hard for me. Jesus had this to say about serving in His Kingdom in Lu 19:13 “So he called ten of his servants, delivered to them ten minas, and said to them, ‘Do business till I come.” (NKJV)
However, there are many times that if we are going to do business until the Lord returns that we must be still and know that He is God. This morning one of my devotionals was about listening and being quiet. That is hard for me. There were some things that I prayed about and the Holy Spirit was challenging me to leave them with God and to trust Him.
I felt like the Holy Spirit was telling me to not listen to the radio when I was traveling this morning, or to pray out loud, but to listen. When I did the Holy Spirit came with that small still voice that assures us that God loves us and that He is going to take care of every prayer, care, and concern. That is when I heard the Holy Spirit whisper” be still and know that I am God.”
Psalm 46 is one of my favorite Psalms. In this Psalm we are reminded that things may look like they are out of control, but God is with us and He is in control. Ps 46:4,5 are two of my favorite verses in this Psalm. “There is a river whose streams shall make glad the city of God, The holy place of the tabernacle of the Most High. God is in the midst of her, she shall not be moved; God shall help her, just at the break of dawn.” People often say that it is darkest just before the break of dawn. In the still of the night when we are asleep and still He is working on our behalf.
I believe for the Christian that river is symbolic of the Holy Spirit who abides in all believers. That is who is speaking to us in that small still voice that says don’t worry, I have this. That small still voice brings those scriptures to our heart that remind us that He loves us and wants to see good take place in our lives: 1Pe 5:7 “casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.” (NKJV)
Today you may be facing a trial. You may be facing having to work through some tough situations. Whatever it is it you might need to take time and to be still and listen to what God has to say to you. He may speak quickly, or He may take a little while. None the less He will speak to you. And He will come through for you. When we do this, it will make us better to do business until Jesus comes as the Scriptures command us to do. Then we can joyfully quote. Ps 46:11 “The LORD of hosts is with us; The God of Jacob is our refuge.”. Selah

LET US PRAY
Lord Jesus what a blessing it is not to have to worry. What a blessing it is to know that You are at work on our behalf. Lord today help us to experience the discipline of being still and trusting You with those things that we have prayed about. Lord we are so excited that we serve the God of the universe who will be exalted among the nations.
In Jesus Name
Amen

Be still and know that He is God!
Your Friend/Kinfolk
Preston

GET TOGETHER- Unity: The Funnel That the Anointing Flows Through

GET TOGETHER- Unity: The Funnel That the Anointing Flows Through
Ps 133:1 -3 A Song of Ascents. Of David.>> Behold, how good and how pleasant it is For brethren to dwell together in unity! It is like the precious oil upon the head, Running down on the beard, The beard of Aaron, Running down on the edge of his garments. It is like the dew of Hermon, Descending upon the mountains of Zion; For there the LORD commanded the blessing-Life forevermore.
                 I remember having a truck one time that I had to keep oil behind the seat and use a funnel to get the oil into the engine. Without that oil the engine would be ruined in no time. Oil is often symbolic of the anointing in the scriptures. Just like that truck would be ruined if it didn’t have any oil in it the individual Christian, the local church and the Kingdom can’t function as we are supposed to without the anointing of the Holy Spirit.

      In this passage we get the picture of how important that unity is for God’s people. The Hebrew term for pleasant is towb. It means to be delightful. When a group of believers are in unity it is a pleasant and delightful place to be. It is good when we are together. This goes for Christians meeting for corporate worship and for Christians who may be meeting one on one or in small groups. 

       When we dwell together we go through challenges together, heartbreaks, disappointments, victories, and joyful occasions as we are dwelling together. When we are in unity the Holy Spirit will be with us in special ways. I think about how good that oil must have felt on Aaron’s chapped dry skin as Israel was wandering about in the dessert.

      Have you ever wondered why the demonic forces of evil serving Satan work so hard to disrupt unity? They know that if they can get us focused on one another’s short comings that they will get our focus off Jesus. They know that when this happens that the Holy Spirit will be grieved. Their strategy is to quench the Spirit in the home, the local church, and the Spirit’s work through us in the Kingdom of God.

      If there ever was a time that the Body of Christ needed to be sure that we did not quench the work of the Holy Spirit, it is now. We can begin by praying for our homes that the Holy Spirit will be at work in our homes. The Lord desires that we have strife free homes. He desires for His presence to be in our homes in a wonderful way. Jesus said that a house divided against itself cannot stand.

      We need His manifest presence in our local congregations. When we have that people will show up and literally feel His presence. That is why unity is so important. We need His presence as He rebuilds relationships with Christians in other parts of the Body of Christ. We need unity so that the world can see that we are one in Christ and that our love for each other is stronger than any denominational, or non-denominational difference.

      When we have this type unity around the essentials of the faith the Holy Spirit will be upon all that we do as we go into the highways and byways to advance the Kingdom of God upon the earth. Then we will be ready to see presence based healings, presence based deliverances, and presence based salvations take place in our services as well as out in the world where Jesus has commanded all of us to go. Are you ready to be a funnel that the anointing of the Holy Spirit can flow through? Pray for unity, be a vessel that helps to promote unity. Forgive any Christians that you may have an issue with. Pray for those to forgive you that may have an issue with you. It is good and it is pleasant. It is a blessing!
Let Us Pray

Lord Jesus we thank You that You have called us for such a time as this. Help us to be funnels that the oil of gladness and the anointing of the Holy Spirit can flow through.

In Jesus Name

Amen
Give me oil in my lamp keep it burning!

Your Friend/Kinfolk

Preston

GET TOGETHER-   We Need Each Other

GET TOGETHER-   We Need Each Other

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)

 

     One of the greatest blessings that a lot of people are missing out on is being encouraged and exhorted by other Christians.  Some people miss out by having the “it’s just me and God attitude.” I understand that the church is not perfect, and that people have been hurt in the church. On the other hand, I would not be typing this message today if it wasn’t for the way that the Holy Spirit worked through other people in my life.

      Last week we had just come off a very powerful weekend with God’s people. The last few months have been a very intense time of ministry for us. There have been many wonderful things that God has allowed us to be involved in. Too many to name here, but they have all been awesome.  During this time we have had the opportunity to work with people all across the Body of Christ.   What a great blessing it is to be involved in Kingdom work. We do a lot of Kingdom work across denominational lines. Hell really hates that, because Hell would rather us focus on our differences than what we have in common with other Christians: our belief in the Virgin Birth, the life, death, resurrection, and return of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

      To be honest the enemy had been really beating me up about this accusing me of being double minded because of ministering in different parts of the Body of Christ. This past Friday night I got a text from a dear brother about a special service at another church in another city.  Most times on Sunday nights I am very tired and that is one of our nights that we rest on. Well I went to the service and this dear brother was preaching on the Kingdom and how we are a net. When we focus on the things that we agree on we are forming a net for the Kingdom. When we argue about the non-essentials of the faith we are cutting holes in the net. What a wonderful message it was. The Holy Spirit used that message to help me be free of the oppressing voice of the enemy and be tuned in to the liberating voice of the Holy Spirit.

      I am sharing this with you to reemphasize how much that we need each other in the Body of Christ to serve in His Kingdom. The Hebrew term for forsaking here is egkataleipo. It means not to desert a person or leave that person uncared for. The Greek term for assembling here is episunagoge. It means to cause to come together at a location.  The Greek term for exhortation is parakaleo.  It means to encourage or to console someone by either verbal or non verbal means.

      This past Sunday night I was encouraged after a week of much spiritual opposition from the enemy.  The message that night really encouraged me. Since that time, I have met with two friends to pray together. I have met with two small groups here at our congregation.  The Holy Spirit has used all the above plus many others to bring encouragement and comfort.  Don’t let the enemy sucker you in by making you think that you don’t need to be active in the Body of Christ to fulfill your destiny in the Kingdom of God.  I don’t think that I would be typing this today if it weren’t for how God uses people here at Christ Community Fellowship and so many other Christians that have a Kingdom mentality in His church. When the enemy comes people are either going to run away from their congregations, or dig in closer. Or maybe I should say people will either run away from their calling, or draw closer to God’s house to help them to fulfil it. Stay plugged into a local congregation. You need to be encouraged, and others need you to encourage them. God wants to use you to advance His Kingdom.

 

Let us Pray

Lord we thank You for the saints. Lord we thank You for The church. Lord today help us to encourage others. Help us to be used in Your Body to encourage others so that the Kingdom of God may be advanced upon the earth.

In Jesus Name

Amen

 

Thanks for the many saints who pray for J.J. and I. We love you all!

Your Friend/Kinfolk

Preston

 

GET TOGETHER -Don’t Forget the Main Thing

GET TOGETHER -Don’t Forget the Main Thing
1Co 13:1-5 Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing. Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil;
The Apostle Paul takes a break in Chapter 13 from teaching on the gifts of the Holy Spirit in Chapter 12 before He goes into teaching more on them in Chapter 14. I believe that one reason that he does this is that he does not want the Corinthian believers or us to forget how important it is that we are called to a life of loving God with all our heart and loving our neighbor as ourselves. 

 What a blessing it is to know that God has given us the gifts of the Holy Spirit to serve Him and to serve others with. What a blessing to know that God wants us to partner with Him in ministering to the poor. What a blessing it is to know that God loves for us to grow in and to exercise our faith. But He wants us to be sure that we grow in the right kind of spirit.

Paul list several characteristics of Christians who are loving God and loving people. We suffer with one another. We work through some things together. We are kind to saved people and unsaved people. We are not envious of other Christians or of non-Christians who may be prospering in some way. We don’t try to impress others, but what we do we do heartily to the Lord and not to men.

  Here is one that I had to repent of the other day. I was rude and impatient when a man was trying to park his 18-wheeler at a restaurant that I was pulling into as I was running a little late to meet some of my family for lunch. I didn’t say anything to him, but to be honest I was impatiently waiting on him to move the truck and he could tell it by the way that I was operating my vehicle. 

We can’t be rude in our conversations with non- believers, or people that disagree with us. We can state what we believe. But we don’t have a license to do it in a rude way. They are supposed to see something different in us.

As Paul points out we are to seek the will of God rather than our own will. There are plenty of things in our culture that we certainly need to be concerned about. And yes, we need to be bold. But sometimes people confuse boldness with arrogance. We often see people who disagree not really listening to the other person, but biting their head off before they can finish what they are saying. Paul was a very bold man. On the other hand, I don’t believe that he was an arrogant man. Paul tells us that love isn’t easily provoked. The Greek term for provoked is paroxuno, par-ox-oo’-no. It means to be upset with someone or something involving severe emotional concern. We are not to be quick tempered.

Sometimes some of us may be operating in the Spiritual Gifts, but not loving as God desires for us to love. Some of us may be serving the poor out of cold hard duty without really loving those that we are serving. Keep operating in those gifts. Keep ministering to the poor and others that God has called you to minister to. When you do ask the Holy Spirit to give you so much love that everything that Paul says that love does is evident in your life. And ask the Holy Spirit to remove those things that don’t reflect the love of Christ from you. Pray for me that I will do the same. Remember what Jesus said about the greatest commandment. Lu 10:27 So he answered and said,” ‘You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind,’ and ‘your neighbor as yourself.'”
            Let Us Pray
Lord Jesus we thank You that you have given us the gifts of the Holy Spirit to serve you and others. Today through Your Holy Spirit let love manifest in our lives in the way that Paul mentions in 1 Corinthians 13. Break off from us any of those negative things that Paul talks about in that chapter. Helps us to flow in our gifting in a way that Your love flows out of us. 

In Jesus Name

Amen

  
Thanks for your love good friends.

Your Friend/kinfolk

Preston

GET TOGETHER- NEGATIVITY THE OPPOSITE OF HOPE

GET TOGETHER- NEGATIVITY THE OPPOSITE OF HOPE
1Co 13:13 And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.
 It was not my goal to make anyone feel any false guilt last week as I shared about doing the 40 Day Word Fast. The Holy Spirit brings conviction, but not condemnation to those who follow Christ. On the other hand, if He did gently nudge you and say I want to help you with that thank Him for loving us that much. This week I must admit I blew it a few times during the word fast. On the other hand I always cling to this verse when I fall short. Pr 24:16 For a righteous man may fall seven times And rise again, But the wicked shall fall by calamity.” (NKJV) I asked the Lord to forgive me and to help me not to repeat that sin again. And Hallelujah He does both! 

So here is one of the areas that I fell short in this past week. It was negativity in my speech. I caught myself talking to someone about how bad things were in the culture more than talking about the solution. When we get into negativity we basically begin to talk like there is no hope for the culture, the circumstance, the person, or whatever that we may be talking about.

In 1 Corinthians 13:13 the Apostle Paul list the three abiding gifts of the Holy Spirit that every believer in Christ has. One of them is hope. The Greek term for hope is elpis, el-pece’. That term means to look forward with confidence to that which is good and beneficial. Negativity says that there is nothing good and beneficial to look forward to.

The Apostle Paul uses the term hope in at least thirty eight different verses. In the following passages we see the antidote for negativity. Ro 12:12 rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing steadfastly in prayer; and Ro 15:13 ¶ Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. We can rejoice rather than criticize and fault find. We can expect victory in times of trial. Prayer will do what negative words cannot do. Prayer will connect us with Heaven. Negative words hinder the Holy Spirit working in the things that trouble us. We can have joy rather than heaviness, we can have peace rather than turmoil. And according to Paul the Holy Spirit will give us an abundance of hope, joy, and peace.

  I am preaching to me as well as to you. The choice is ours. We can let negativity rob us of peace and joy, or we can fast from those words and speak words of hope, life, faith, peace, comfort, and joy. I think I am going to go on a permanent fast from negativity. Hold me accountable.
Let Us Pray

Lord Jesus we thank you that You are the God of all hope. Today we ask You to help us to eliminate negativity from our mouths. Lord help us be so full of you that nothing, but hope, joy, peace, and words of life come out of our mouths.

In Jesus Name

Amen
Here is another word that will help us.
Isa 58:9 Then you shall call, and the LORD will answer; You shall cry, and He will say, ‘Here I am.’ “If you take away the yoke from your midst, The pointing of the finger, and speaking wickedness,
Your Friend/Kinfolk

Preston

GET TOGETHER- GETTING RID OF THE SALTY WATER

GET TOGETHER- GETTING RID OF THE SALTY WATER
Jas 3:10-12 Out of the same mouth proceed blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be so. Does a spring send forth fresh water and bitter from the same opening? Can a fig tree, my brethren, bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Thus no spring yields both salt water and fresh.
Well this is my third go around at some type of word fast. In 2014 I did one from a devotional book titled The Tongue Fast. This is my second time to do The Forty Day Word Fast by Tim Cameron. In Cameron’s book we try to eliminate judgment, criticism, negativity, gossip, sarcasm, and complaining from our Christian journey. The next few weeks I am going to focus on some of these in our Get Together and pray that it will benefit you in some way. I am not suggesting that all of you are doing a lot of this, but sometimes salt water can kind of seep into where the fresh water is. I know that it happens to me from time to time because the Holy Spirit shows me when it does. 

We live in a culture that often thrives on these six elements that I just mentioned. Jesus has called us to be a people that speak a different language that what many in the culture speak. 

First, let’s look at judging. Before we go any further yes, God has a standard and yes God is the ultimate Judge. Sometimes when we make judgments we come to wrong conclusions. We also become bitter. And rather than praying for people we may begin to feel hostile toward them. Many times, we can be wrong in our judgments. In my truck right now, there is a white styrofoam cup setting in the cupholder. This morning when I left the house I made me a drink with almond milk, honey, and I poured cinnamon on top. If someone looked at that cup now with the cinnamon dried around the top they might make a judgment that I was dipping snuff, or chewing tobacco and that was my (pardon the expression) spit cup. That would have been a wrong judgment. Sometimes we judge people by the length of their hair, or other physical characteristics about them that lead us to wrong judgments

The next element that we want to eliminate is criticism. Certainly, as leaders there are times that we have to bring correction to people. But when we do it is good to point out what someone is doing good before you must bring correction. Then after you bring correction encourage them in the Lord. One area that we are quick to be critical in is leaders. Whether they be political leaders, government officials, church leaders, leaders where we are employed, or school leaders we can sometimes become very critical of them.

Here is a passage that I believe would help us to be less critical and less judgmental if we really lived by them. 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. Most times when we are looking at the speck in someone else’s eye it inhibits the Holy Spirit from working on the plank in our eye. This past week while I was at a school where I teach Old Testament I kept smelling something that smelled like sewage. I asked one of the students had there been a sewer line burst in their community. The student assured me that there hadn’t been. My first thoughts were that the student was too young to know what I was talking about Well I made a wrong judgment on that one. When I got to my car I noticed something on my floor mat. It was also on my shoe. The neighbor’s dog had left me a little present and I hadn’t realized that I had stepped in it on my way out that morning. Sometimes for all of us there may be something that is putting off a bad smell and it may be coming from us rather than from someone else.

Ask the Holy Spirit if there are areas in your life where your words are judgmental. Also ask Him to help you with those words and to refrain from words of criticism. I have a feeling that if we do that He will eliminate the salt water that has seeped in with prayer for those that we tend to judge, or criticize and that fresh water will flow out of our mouths in a more productive way for His Glory!
Let Us Pray

Lord sometimes we honestly do see some things that may need fixing. Lord help us not to judge, or criticize, but to pray for those that we would tend to judge, or to criticize. And Lord for all of us we know that we have some areas in our own lives that salt water has seeped into. Lord get the salt water out so that those rivers of living water can flow out of our bellies and through our tongues to a world that needs fresh water so much.

In Jesus Name

Amen
                        
Thanks for loving us. We love all of you!

Your Friend/Kinfolk

Preston

GET TOGETHER- SEEK THE MAN MORE THAN THE METHOD

GET TOGETHER- SEEK THE MAN MORE THAN THE METHODJer 29:13 And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart. Mt 6:33 “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.
During these last two weeks, our congregation has been involved in a special time of prayer. We have had different leaders leading prayer meetings at different times on different days. I haven’t been able to come to all of them, but I have been able to come to some of them. 

 The Lord has blessed me with the opportunity over the past twenty-seven years to read several books on prayer. The best one that I have read is the Bible. I like it because it is inerrant and makes praying pretty simple in most cases.

On the other hand, I have gained a lot of insight on prayer from the various authors that I have read on prayer. Several years ago I read one by Richard Foster the name of the book is Prayer : Finding The Heart’s True Home. I guess that of all the books that I have read beside the Bible Foster’s book influenced as much as any other. One thing that I remember in particular from reading his book is that different people have different temperament’s in prayer. Some of us may be more vocal. Some of us may be ready to start praying at the drop of a hat. Others may feel like they need to sit quietly before the Lord before they verbalize their prayers.
I observed that at the different prayer meetings that I attended last week. At one prayer meeting one of our leaders read scripture to saturate the spiritual atmosphere in our sanctuary. While she was doing this, some sat quietly while other walked around the sanctuary praying quietly. 

The next night we had prayer meeting after our small group. Sometimes there would be periods of silence as people waited for direction on how to pray. At other times people would pray out loud concerning the things that God was laying on their hearts.

At the one that I had the opportunity to lead we used Ac 1:8 for the first thirty minutes. “But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” We prayed for our congregation, other congregations, our city, our region, our nation, and the world. The last part of the prayer meeting we prayed in the Spirit and freely as Holy Spirit brought people, situations, and circumstances by us. 

The next prayer meeting that I attended the people began praying in the Holy Spirit walking around the sanctuary while music played. During this time people would write on a board things, people, situations, or words from the Lord that the Holy Spirit was bringing by them.

We have really been able to tell the difference in the spiritual atmosphere here at CCF during this special season of prayer. The point I wanted to make and I pray that it benefits all who read this is this. There are times that God gives us strategies and plans to pray through. But don’t ever let anybody make it too hard for you. Also, your temperament in prayer may be different than mine. But remember from the two verses that we started with. Seek Jesus with your whole heart. Seek first the Kingdom. The Holy Spirit will lead you and guide you. Stand on the Word of God when you pray. Here are a few passages that should help you to grow in confidence when you pray.
Ps 34:17 The righteous cry out, and the LORD hears, And delivers them out of all their troubles.

Ps 56:9 When I cry out to You, Then my enemies will turn back; This I know, because God is for me.

Ps 57:2 I will cry out to God Most High, To God who performs all things for me.

Mt 7:7 ¶ “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.
Joh 16:23 ¶ “And in that day you will ask Me nothing. Most assuredly, I say to you, whatever you ask the Father in My name He will give you.
No matter what your prayer temperament is seek God with all of your heart in prayer.
Let Us Pray

Lord Jesús we thank You that we can come boldly before Your throne of grace. Today stir our hearts to pray and believe with more confidence than we ever have before.

In Jesus Name

Amen
Pray without ceasing!

Your Friend/Kinfolk

Preston

GET TOGETHER- I SAY AGAIN DON’T QUIT!

GET TOGETHER- I SAY AGAIN DON’T QUIT!
2Co 4:17,18 For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.
Our enemy Satan has various schemes to attempt to get Christians to quit. Just a few of them are condemnation, discouragement, fatigue, hopelessness and the lie that God has left you. There are many more and I really don’t have the time to name them all in this devotional, but you get the picture.

We get a picture of one reason that he wants to do this in Joh 10:10 “The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly. He wants to rob us as God’s people from fulfilling our destiny. He is a thief and a destroyer. Jesus has a plan and a desire for us to have eternal life; and life and life more abundantly as we serve Him here on earth.

I can remember when I was a sophomore in high school. We were practicing football in the hot August heat. It was during two a day practices. They didn’t give you water in those days except on certain occasions and this day wasn’t one of them. I was throwing up, had cotton mouth, and thought that I was going to die. Our coach came over and began to get on me pretty hard. I remember him saying don’t you wish that you were in Panama City at the Hang Out. I was thinking that if I could I sure would like to be there. I thought about quitting, but I knew that I wasn’t going to. I knew that I couldn’t look my brother, my daddy, and several others in the face if I did. Besides I wanted to get one of those uniforms when they handed them out. I am sure glad that I didn’t quit. We won a few games had some tough losses, but I built relationships with people that I played with and against that have lasted a lifetime. Also, I learned many lessons that have been helpful in the Kingdom about not giving up.  
Perhaps today you are serving God and the enemy is trying to get you to quit. You may feel like you are not seeing the results that you would like to see from your effort. He is trying to get you to give up on the destiny that God has for you in the Kingdom. Big victories always come after big battles. 

The Greek term for affliction in this passage is thlipsis, thlip’-sis. It means trouble involving direct suffering and it also means persecution. Today you may be facing persecution for your faith from people. You may be suffering because of what the enemy is throwing at you. No matter what it is don’t quit. You are on the right team. Jesus Has promised us help. The Word of God promises us help. Isa 59:19 So shall they fear The name of the LORD from the west, And His glory from the rising of the sun; When the enemy comes in like a flood, The Spirit of the LORD will lift up a standard against him.” Remember that this is just for a short time. It is temporary. God is leading you to victories that will last for eternity.

This morning in J.J.’s devotional the emphasis was on trusting God through these trials and challenges. Anytime that the enemy gets you to thinking about quitting just remember that the trouble is temporary, but the victory is eternal. As Paul says in Php 3:13,14 Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Don’t quit! Don’t quit! Don’t quit!

  
Let Us Pray

Lord sometimes life can throw some challenges our way. And sometimes the voice of the enemy attempts to get us to give up. But thank You Lord that Your voice is the voice of truth and you tell us not to give up, but to stay in the game. Today help us to draw on your word and the power of the Holy Spirit until we are living in Your eternal glory forever and ever.

In Jesus Name

Amen 
May the Lord bless you in great and mighty ways!

Your Friend/Kinfolk

Preston

GET TOGETHER – DO GOOD TO ALL

GET TOGETHER – DO GOOD TO ALLGa 6:9,10 And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith.
Have you ever felt like what you do in the Kingdom is of little significance? Or let me ask you this question. Do you ever get to the point that you no longer feel like doing things in the Kingdom? The Apostle Paul encourages us not to give up. He also encourages us that nothing that we do in the Kingdom is insignificant.

Doing good is something that we as Christians are called to do on an everyday basis. Sometimes when we do good people will greatly appreciate it. At other times when we do good there may be people that are not so appreciative. Never the less as Christians we are called to do good.
I remember early in my Christian journey I was at a training event for lay – people in the part of the Body of Christ that I was serving in at the time. The leader of the training event said something that I have never forgotten. He said that a good remedy for feeling down and out was to do something good for someone. I have found this to be quite true. Not that this will get us to Heaven, but because as redeemed children of God on the way to Heaven it is a blessing that we can partake of.

There is a good chance today that there will be someone around you that you can do good too. Many times, a good word of encouragement and affirmation will bless someone and help them. There may be opportunities to bless someone in a material way. I have found that praying for people no matter where that I see them when they ask for prayer is a great way to do good to people.

Paul stresses how important that it is to do good to those who are of the household of faith. The Greek term here for household is oikeios, oy-ki’-os. That term means one who belongs to a household, or extended family. It means a relative. So not only are we called to do good to those outside the church, but even more so to our brothers and sisters in Christ. 

Today ask the Holy Spirit to help you to not get discouraged when it appears that your doing good is not seeming to matter. Because my friend it does matter. Ask Him to help you to see opportunities among non-believers to do good. It is one way that they become believers. Also ask Him to help you to have a greater desire to bless those in the household of faith in some way. Remember Paul says that if we do this that we will in due season reap a reward. 
Let Us Pray 

Lord we thank You for all the people that have done good to us. We ask You today to help us live out this passage. Help us to do good to all people, but especially to those who are of the household of faith.

In Jesus Name

Amen
J.J. and I are so thankful for all of you who have done good to us.

Your Friend/Kinfolk

Preston