Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow
Over the years I have figured out that God allows trials and hardships in our life for a purpose. They build strength, stamina and prepare you for something greater that God has only for you! I have a Pilot friend who does mandatory flight simulator training every 6 months. The training takes him through every disaster scenario that could happen when flying from weather, mechanical problems and even terrorist incidents. So, if a Pilot comes across this situation when flying they act (calmly) upon the situation and not react (in a panic) like the people flying in the plane. When God allows a trial, temptation, or test to come our way it increases our endurance and enlarges our capacity to handle future challenges just like that Pilot.
So, God will permit a hardship today that is going to simulate (like Pilot training) the level of pressure He knows you will face tomorrow. That is why a trial or test always feels greater than our level or preparedness. Now the good news. God uses our present challenges to strengthen us for greater conquests in the future. Our Father isn't some sadistic god that will permit a challenge, test, or trial in our life knowing that we can't overcome it. Our attitude toward troubles should be to see it as a great opportunity to build spiritual muscle and make us stronger for what He wants to do in us and in His Kingdom.
I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever— the Spirit of truth.... The world cannot receive him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you.
We like to sing songs pleading to the Holy Spirit to come down, and send the rain, and fire. But the truth is the Holy Spirit is already here. He came down on the day of Pentecost and He never left! We talk and teach about being filled with the Spirit, having His gifts and receiving His comfort. Yet it is possible to know these doctrines and still not know him. If I were to ask you “have you received the Holy Spirit? How would you answer? You may say yes, I received him when I spoke in tongues, that was the evidence, or when I accepted him as Lord and Savior. Receiving the Sprit is not a one-time experience. The word “receive” means to desire an expanding capacity or knowledge of who the Holy Spirit is. The Holy Spirit is not received by someone until He is allowed to take full control of that person’s life.
Paul told the Galatians you received the Sprit by faith and know Him by faith but has there been a continued “ministry of the Spirit” by faith, causing you to go deeper in the Spirit? When this happens here is what takes place.
His Word comes alive to us
He brings comfort when events and tragedies happen
He is a helper in every area of our life
He gives us power to overcome temptations and Satan’s tricks
That is why it says in John 4. Greater is He that is in you than he that is in the world. The more you desire to know the Holy Spirt through prayer and desperation, the more powerfully He works in and through you! He will become your helper, comforter, bearer of truth and heavenly power to overcome every obstacle. Knowing Him and receiving Him is a daily relationship we have, just like we do with the Son.
"For by You I can run against a troop, By my God I can leap over a wall....He is a shield to all who trust in Him. "
Goliath was a killing beast. The Terminator had nothing on him. Ten feet tall, armor like body and a 15 pound spear head. But Israel encountered that same type of giants, burly warriors as they were entering into the land God promised them. When some of the leaders saw them, fear gripped their hearts by what they saw and immediately they saw the impossibilities. They said "we seem like grasshoppers in our own eyes, and we looked the same to them"
Then, here comes Caleb and Jacob. They tell the people, the land is good, the land is ours, don't be afraid and don't rebel against God. We will devour them, their protection is gone and the Lord is with us. Then as now, possessing what is ours, and having courage requires getting past the giants that bring fear and intimidation. Like Caleb and Jacob we need to make God bigger on the inside of us than the obstacles we are facing or causing us to fear on the outside. Nothing is too difficult for God. No disease, financial trouble, job situation, hopelessness or family situation.
That is His promise. Every single one is Yes and Amen. Search for them in His word so that you can live in victory. Then, your fears will fall to your side, scatter 10,000 ways, and you can scale any wall.
You see it's all about perspective. Is the God in heaven bigger than the giants you face? Or will they cause you to stay where you are and not take what God has promised you?
Later He appeared to the eleven as they sat at the table; and He rebuked their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they did not believe those who had seen Him after He had risen. And He said to them, "Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned.
I find it interesting that Jesus rebuked the disciples for unbelief, tied it to a hardened heart, and then commanded them to Go and preach the gospel to all creatures. It's no different today. Unbelief and misunderstanding is not an excuse or an escape from our responsibility to tell the world of Him. Jesus didn't say wait until the time is right, or until you find a spouse, raise kids or have spare time. He didn't say it's only for missionaries, pastors or evangelists.
This is a command not a suggestion. It's not an elective you take but something you major in.
You see this world needs something you have. Humans are a spiritual being and we are made for eternity and what they decide about Jesus determines where they will spend it. There are people at your work, neighborhood, and businesses you frequent who are crying for help and you have the answer. Jesus didn't say Go only if they listen, Go only if they accept you or don't go if they reject you. He didn't say go only if the believe. Our job is to obey marching orders, take the hill, slay goliath.
If you are a Star Trek fan it's to "Go where no man has gone before".
If you are a Star Wars fan it's in the words of red leader to "stay on target, stay on target !"
The Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom
2 Corinthians 3:17
Even though I knew the Lord in my teen years and early adult years, my life was messy. But God called me His son while I was still a mess. He made me feel loved, wanted, and cherished - something I never had before. My being His son lifted shame, pride, worthlessness, and hopelessness. But it didn't happen at one instance. But once it was lifted, I had to choose to replace my identity, either as a casualty of the past, or a Son of the King!
You see Jesus sets you and me free when we surrender and submit everything to Him. The shame, pride and worthlessness is gone. It isn't only forgiven but forgotten. Like it never existed. But now you have to choose to stand up and walk out of that open prison cell. Change your prison clothes to a robe of righteousness. You have to choose to walk out into the future shame-free. Sometimes that is easier said than done.
Because being set free and walking in freedom are not the same thing. You can have the prison doors open but some people never walk out. You can have the shackles removed but you still live like their still attached.
You can't expect different results if you keep making the same decisions. If you plant corn, you will harvest corn, not wheat. Choose to walk in freedom, relying on His strength, His grace and His Spirit. Then you will run in fields of freedom. We love you, and you have Pastors that are here to lead you into what God has destined for you!
"speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ."
As celebrate the new year, reflect what God has done in your life this past year, remember His life-giving truths that causes us to be the head and not the tail. We know that He forgives and redeems but look at this list.
Fear is banished (1 John 4:18)
Good Triumphs over evil (2 Corinthians 2:14)
Every need is met in Christ (Philippians 4:19)
Captives are set free (Luke 4:18)
Hope can be restored (Romans 5:5)
Diseases will be healed (Matthew 8:17)
Peace prevails (John 14;27)
Joy reigns (John 16:24)
You are more than a conqueror (Romans 8:31)
This isn't just for you but a dying and hurting world who need these truths. When you grow to maturity you are putting off the old and taking on the new. The old is shame, fear, hopelessness, guilt, unforgiveness, addiction and idolatry. You are not a product of your circumstances, you are a product your decisions. But the decision is easy, so accept and believe these kingdom principles and know that most people give up their authority in Christ because they think they don't have any. You are what you read above, and more!
The Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost
Instead of judging the lost, talking about the lost, blaming the lost and avoiding or ignoring the lost, God has called each of us to seek and find the lost. That means He has called you to be a "Lostologist"
There are a lot of good examples in the bible on the lost. The prodigal son, leaving the 99 to find the 1. But I like the story of the woman who washed Jesus' feet at the house of a Pharisee. Simon invites Jesus to dinner and the woman gets up and starts washing His feet. It was a sign of kindness and warmth something Simon didn't do.
Then Jesus says to Simon "Do you see this woman" Really? He was sitting right there with them. How could he not? How many times do we go into Walmart, pump gas, or even sit next to someone in church and not see that person who is lost and needs to be seen? To be introduced to Jesus, to understand what humility is. I have good news for you! You have an opportunity to be a Lostologist tomorrow!
Join us at Winter Park apartments for a time to reach out, seek and find the lost tomorrow at 12:30 PM. Let's join together as Lostologists seeking and finding the lost sheep in a warmth, kindness and compassion. Just like the woman who washed the feet of Jesus.
God's gifts and his call are irrevocable.
Each one of us has a gift and talent, and they all come from God whether you are following him or not. God gives us talents and gifting in things like sports, musical abilities, management and even various people skills. I remember when I was in High School someone told me I had a certain talent and I didn't realize it until a decade later.
Just like when David was still a teen he was anointed to be the future king of Israel. He didn't have the skill, wisdom or knowledge to lead a nation. The character and spirit for this calling developed and nurtured. God required David to follow and obey Him in every step along the way. He went through a difficult journey that lasted 15 years. God didn't reveal the timetable or the itinerary. David had no clue what was going to happen from him tending sheep to his reign as king.
God trains us the same way throughout our lives. If we allow Him to prepare us for that gift, calling and assignment. In all the difficult and dark seasons, in the times we don't understand, in the season where we don't see any value. Rest assured there is a purpose, so we must yield to His plan.
Nothing worth having or keeping in life come easy or free. Triumphs without difficulties are empty, in fact difficulties are what makes the road to triumph. The rewards come not by a smooth road, but by trusting and traveling the road of His gifts and callings upon your life.
Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.
Almost everyone has dreams or goals they want in life whether they are short or long-term. From a heavens perspective it takes more than setting goals and working hard to reach your dream. God showed me this verse several years ago when I was discontent about some things. David learned to be content and "delight" himself in the midst of life's challenges and trials. In David's case that was being chased by 300 warriors who had a purpose in life was to kill him. He learned "delight" while in distress, hunger, fear of death, and finding the next cave to sleep in.
True delight comes from knowing and depending on God and His Spirit to guide and work in and through us despite all the external challenges to our faith. That is when His provision comes and we receive what we need to overcome and endure. God showed me delighting yourself in the Lord is contentment in who He is, and how He wants the best for us despite any difficulties we are in. It's easy to delight ourselves when there are no problems. Delight is contentment with what you have (or don't have), because God says "Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you. When you delight in Him, you will find that your desires line up with heaven’s. That is when our dreams and desires are achieved.
For just as we have many members in one body and all the members do not have the same function, so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another.
I saw a video the other day of a man who had no arms and 1 leg in a wheel chair giving a speech on life's challenges. He talked about adversity in doing everyday things we take for granted by having two arms and legs.
Think about how your life would be limited if you had one eye, or missing a few fingers or an ear. You may not be as limited but you wouldn't be fully functional, and there are things in life that would require difficulty.
Each part of our body is fitted or suited for a specific type of work. It would be hard to scratch your head with your foot or kick something with your hands. Even if you think your arms are too short or not strong enough to do something they have a common benefit. If they don't benefit you, they may be able to benefit others. We cant' say I'm not going to use my right arm because it is useless. But, you have another arm and when you put them together with legs, a mouth, brains, ears, eyes and feet they can do great things and accomplish much.
Each one of you here have all your extremities. You each have a special talent and gifting's. So, we need them tomorrow for the annual workday at the HOEN. Each one of you is a body part in the body of Christ. Just like the man who had one leg and it was difficult to do daily activities, it is the same in the body of Christ. We need your talent, gift and specific body part to make the work light tomorrow morning at 9:30 AM.
We look forward to seeing you then. Blessings.
Pastor Michael Garcia
Overseer and Pastor at First Assembly HOEN