Boundless Power

“Behold one of the great Physician’s mightiest arts; he has power to Forgive sin! Before the ransom had been paid, before the blood had been literally sprinkled on the mercy-seat, he had power to forgive sin. Hath he not power to do it now that he hath died? He has boundless power now that he has finished transgression and made an end of sin. Hear him pleading before the eternal Father, pointing to his wounds, urging the merit of his sacred passion! What power to forgive is here! “He is exalted on high to give repentance and remission of sins.” The most crimson sins are removed by the crimson of his blood.” – Charles Spurgeon

Here are a few questions that came to mind after I read this quote.

Q: What more shall we need if Christ be all for us to succeed?
A: Nothing

Q: If He is the way maker, why instead do we make a way?
A: We try to be in control, it’s nature for us.

Q: Are you allowing the Spirit to overrule your life?
A: __ YES __ NO

A Thanksgiving Reminder

It’s Recognition, Not Repayment

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.”  –Philippians 4:6

Thanksgiving does not require any re-payment, but instead requires recognition of what our Savior has already done for us. Some people are appreciative by nature and others aren’t. It is the latter who especially need God’s power to express thanksgiving. Thankfulness is the opposite of selfishness. The selfish person believes they deserve what comes to them, but the unselfish person realizes that everything is a gift from God. During this season, survey your own life and make a list of things for which you are thankful. Maybe it is the small favor a friend did for you, the house you live in, a loved one who phoned to see how you are, a Bible study group you’re active in, the ability to walk, or the opportunity to worship freely each week in God’s house. Take some time to thank the Lord for His blessings and at least one person who has blessed your life this year.

PRAYER CHALLENGE: Thank God for the gift of life, salvation through Jesus Christ, His Word by which you are to live, His constant comfort and love, His provision, and the eternal life we have with Him.

HAVE A HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

From Disgrace to Amazing Grace

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The hymn “Amazing Grace” is one of the most recognizable songs in the English-speaking world. Written by John Newton as a personal poem of conversion, it is sung annually at an estimated 10 million times. It reminds each and every one, that each and every day that God has given us Grace through His Son Jesus that we might turn from our disgrace and embrace the grace which lies in Christ. Enjoy the rest of the reading of the autobiography of John Newton.

According to the Dictionary of American Hymnology, “Amazing Grace” is John Newton’s spiritual autobiography in verse. In 1725, Newton was born in Wapping, a district in London near the Thames. His father was a shipping merchant who was brought up as a Catholic but had Protestant sympathies, and his mother was a devout Independent unaffiliated with the Anglican Church. She had intended Newton to become a clergyman, but she died of tuberculosis when he was six years old. For the next few years, Newton was raised by his emotionally distant stepmother while his father was at sea, and spent some time at a boarding school where he was mistreated. At the age of eleven, he joined his father on a ship as an apprentice; his seagoing career would be marked by headstrong disobedience.

As a youth, Newton began a pattern of coming very close to death, examining his relationship with God, then relapsing into bad habits. As a sailor, he denounced his faith after being influenced by a shipmate who discussed Characteristics of Men, Manners, Opinions, Times, a book by the Third Earl of Shaftesbury, with him. In a series of letters he later wrote, “Like an unwary sailor who quits his port just before a rising storm, I renounced the hopes and comforts of the Gospel at the very time when every other comfort was about to fail me.” His disobedience caused him to be pressed into the Royal Navy, and he took advantage of opportunities to overstay his leave and finally deserted to visit Mary “Polly” Catlett, a family friend with whom he had fallen in love. After enduring humiliation for deserting, he managed to get himself traded to a slave ship where he began a career in slave trading.

Newton often openly mocked the captain by creating obscene poems and songs about him that became so popular the crew began to join in. He entered into disagreements with several colleagues that resulted in his being starved almost to death, imprisoned while at sea and chained like the slaves they carried, then outright enslaved and forced to work on a plantation in Sierra Leone near the Sherbro River. After several months he came to think of Sierra Leone as his home, but his father intervened after Newton sent him a letter describing his circumstances, and a ship found him by coincidence. Newton claimed the only reason he left was because of Polly.

While aboard the ship Greyhound, Newton gained notoriety for being one of the most profane men the captain had ever met. In a culture where sailors commonly used oaths and swore, Newton was admonished several times for not only using the worst words the captain had ever heard, but creating new ones to exceed the limits of verbal debauchery. In March 1748, while the Greyhound was in the North Atlantic, a violent storm came upon the ship that was so rough it swept overboard a crew member who was standing where Newton had been moments before. After hours of the crew emptying water from the ship and expecting to be capsized, Newton and another mate tied themselves to the ship’s pump to keep from being washed overboard, working for several hours. After proposing the measure to the captain, Newton had turned and said, “If this will not do, then Lord have mercy upon us!” Newton rested briefly before returning to the deck to steer for the next eleven hours. During his time at the wheel he pondered his divine challenge.

About two weeks later, the battered ship and starving crew landed in Lough Swilly, Ireland. For several weeks before the storm, Newton had been reading The Christian’s Pattern, a summary of the 15th-century The Imitation of Christ by Thomas à Kempis. The memory of the uttered phrase in a moment of desperation did not leave him; he began to ask if he was worthy of God’s mercy or in any way redeemable as he had not only neglected his faith but directly opposed it, mocking others who showed theirs, deriding and denouncing God as a myth. He came to believe that God had sent him a profound message and had begun to work through him.

Newton’s conversion was not immediate, but he contacted Polly’s family and announced his intentions to marry her. Her parents were hesitant as he was known to be unreliable and impetuous. They knew he was profane, but they allowed him to write to Polly, and he set to begin to submit to authority for her sake. He sought a place on a slave ship bound for Africa, and Newton and his crewmates participated in most of the same activities he had written about before; the only action he was able to free himself from was profanity. After a severe illness his resolve was renewed yet he retained the same attitude about slavery as his contemporaries. Newton continued in the slave trade through several voyages where he sailed up rivers in Africa — now as a captain — procured slaves being offered for sale in larger ports, and subsequently transported slaves to North America. In between voyages, he married Polly in 1750 and he found it more difficult to leave her at the beginning of each trip. After three shipping experiences in the slave trade, Newton was promised a position as a captain on a ship with cargo unrelated to slavery, when at thirty years old, he collapsed and never sailed again. – exerted from autobiographies of John Newton @ wikipedia.com

Turn it All Around

At this moment, dear reader, whatever thy sinfulness, Christ has power to pardon, power to pardon thee, and millions such as thou art. A word will speak it. He has nothing more to do to win thy pardon; all the atoning work is done. He can, in answer to thy tears, forgive thy sins today, and make thee know it. He can breathe into thy soul at this very moment a peace with God. which passeth all understanding, which shall spring from perfect remission of thy manifold iniquities. Dost thou believe that? I trust thou believest it. Mayst thou experience now the power of Jesus to forgive sin! – Charles Spurgeon

Colossians 1:13-14

13 He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son,
14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.

“He will make everything beautiful just in time, don’t give up, He will see you through.”

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Scared Beyond Belief

“Growing in God is not only done by living for Him but by stepping out in Faith and doing the impossible.” – Gary F.

For myself, I had only felt like I could only accomplish the first part of this quote for the longest time in my walk with Christ. I was finding myself not growing the way that I wanted to grow, there was a brick wall that I kept hitting. The struggle that I had dealt with when I was in my teens had risen to the surface, shyness or as some would say scared. Scared of what? Of making an impact on someone else’s life. The struggle that God called me out of when He called me into the ministry had crept up on me once more.

It’s like a muscle that you don’t use everyday and when you do finally use it or some would say when you find it, it hurts. Let’s take a trip down memory lane, for some readers you may have not been made to take P.E., but for me and many others, there was no way of getting out of P.E. It was a requirement, and still is. The first month of every school year, from 7th to 12th was horrible! I ached and hurt all over, felt like I had the flu, why? I was out of shape.

One issue that many Christians struggle with is sharing Christ to others. We are out of shape spiritually in this area. I have talked to others about why they struggle with this one issue, which is the Great Commission that Jesus spoke of before His ascension. His final words were “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.” – Matthew 28:19 (KJV)

Here are a few key’s into resolving this problem that some of us from time to time face.

{Problem} 1. Realize

There is at least one person that we know of that is lost. This World needs Jesus. By realizing the problem, we can react. But for some we live day to day in our own World and forget about the realization of a place called Hell. For us to be used of God, we have to be emptied, a consecrated vessel, set apart for the work of His Glory. Even with the realization of this problem we come to the next conclusion of having the fear of rejection.

{Problem} 2. Rejection “The big NO”

Rejection is a harsh word, whether you’re a guy who gets rejected by that one girl that you have a crush on or that girl who gets rejected by the guy who you have a crush on. Vice versa, it’s not a good feeling!

So when we have this thought before we witness to that someone, we have already planted a negative response to what their reaction might be in our thinking. For instance, when I was a child I would ask my mother a question that I knew she wouldn’t go for. Even before I had asked her I knew that her response would be a big “NO”. The presentation of the question would be a sad, mumble of words that I barely got out.

{Answer} Be Real: No one likes a fake.

Your way of living tells a lot about you, the words that you speak of, speak of your value. Let’s do a scenario, If I were to be lost, and I had known of someone who they say they know Christ but their actions were not of Christ and if they were to come up to me and start to witness, do you think I would listen attentively? Someone is always watching us to see if we are who we say we are. We need not to be a fake, but to live the life, we never know when the time will come for a chance to speak those life saving words to another, we must be prepared with the Gospel. Where is our faith? Do you expect that someone to accept Him when you speak to them? Not every time, we are the seed planter’s, God is the gardener.

{Problem} 3. Reaction

Every one is different with their reaction to questions they encounter. But what is your reaction when someone asks you a question. Are you prepared to give them what they need to hear, instead of what they want to hear. This I believe is a major turning point to witnessing. The truth as we all know, hurts. But let’s do a scenario. You’ve been sick, needing medical attention. You go see your family doctor that you have been going to for a long time, he knows you well. He decided to have some tests done. The results are shocking to him,but he has to tell you the truth that you have cancer. Would that be something that anyone would want to hear? No. A sinner, lost and going to Hell without accepting Christ, by telling him the Truth will hurt at first, but that is a wide open door for the Holy Spirit to convict that person, not us. So what will it be? Lead someone on to think they are secure in Christ after looking at the bad fruit they have?

{Problem} 4. Response

My use of these 4 key areas on an individual in the past week has been very affective. It all started with a man who shops where I work at, I had seen the burden that he was carrying just by looking in his eyes and by discernment. He no longer shops at my store after he had spoken a few bad words to an employee of mine, God had seen that I have a burden to see him to saved.

I have bought a house recently, and one day I peeked outside to see if I knew any of the men that came for my trash every Friday morning. And what do you know, it was that man, I call him Saul, because I know that one day soon he will have a Road to Damascus experience. I have him right where I want him, or should I say, God has him where He wants him, I do too! I’m so exited every Friday morning to slip a witnessing tract underneath the lid before he comes!

So what is your response? Will you not only be broken of that fear that I once had for God to use you, or sit and watch your family and friends that God has placed in your life to minister too, go to Hell? Today, Let’s step out in faith and do the impossible.

Breaking off the Independent Spirit In America

“If my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my
face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will
forgive their sin and heal their land.” – 2 Chronicles 7:14

 

Have we lost Truth? Or lost sight of what Truth is? We have lost sight of the prize. How? Because we put Him in a box while we search for momentary pleasures only to find nothing, we become spent. Restless every moment of our day’s. It’s become a battle that we lose every time we take it on. It’s our right thinking that tells us “You can win this”, “You have enough will power”. Pushing Christianity to the side for a moment. If we could do this on our own, then why is everything on this Earth not dealt with when we want it to be dealt with? There is a lot of fixing to do, in our government, schools, work places, etc. We have this drive in us that “we can fix this” over and over we dig ourselves deeper in debt, nationally and personally by not having self-control over our finances, over our lives. We take out loans that we cannot afford only to make the neighbor that we don’t like jealous over what we drive or what we live in. Let’s get real. Now, let us bring Christianity back into the picture; Life is a puzzle with a lot of questions and circumstances that we want answers to why it’s not happening in our time when we want it to happen, the problems that need to be resolved in our life. From personal experience from ministering at an AA clinic, a place where addictive lifestyles try to get help through the failing 12 steps that were originally Holy Spirit inspired by men of God who placed God in the center of it; Over time man has gotten a hold of it, taken away the Word of God that is sharper than any other two-edged Sword, which can cure the disease, addiction of a person’s life once and for all, and added their hopeless words, that has de sensitized the Word of God into a faltering program that will always fail, just to get more addicts which in turn, they, the company receives more money from the insurance companies. But remember, America has it all figured out. Or so we think.

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There is power in poverty that breaks principalities, brings the authorities down to their knees. There is a brewing frustration in the ageless temptation to fight for control by manipulation.

The God of the kingdoms & God of creation, the God of the nations had sent this Revelation through the homeless Jesus, the Son; the poor will inherit the kingdom to come.

And where will we turn when the World falls apart & all of the treasures that we store in our barns won’t buy the kingdom of God.

And who will we praise when were praised all of our lives, man who build kingdoms, man who build fame, but Heaven does not know their names?

And what are we going to fear when all that remains is a God on the Throne with a child in His arms and love in His eyes and the sound of His heart cry.” – Jason Upton