From the Pastor’s Desk

Gladness in My Heart

“Thou hast put gladness in my heart, more than in the time that their corn and their wine increase”1

What a wonderful thought! David was in the midst of attacks from his enemies, they were turning his glory into shame. So what did he do? He turned to the Lord. And God put gladness in his heart.
Gladness means joy or mirth. The Lord had filled David’s heart with greater joy. Where did this joy of the Lord come from? In the previous verse, David speaks of the light of God’s countenance (literally face). God’s face speaks of God’s presence. When David went into the presence of God, his Lord filed his heart with gladness. And this gladness was greater than his circumstances.
So today, when I face trials, when I am oppressed, when I am depressed, or when I am discouraged, I need to go into the presence of my God, and allow Him to fill my heart with His gladness and greater joy. Then I can find as Nehemiah wrote,

“Then he said to them, ‘Go, eat of the fat, drink of the sweet, and send portions to him who has nothing prepared; for this day is holy to our Lord. Do not be grieved, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.’”2

  1. Psalm 4:7 []
  2. Nehemiah 8:10 []

Having a Dismal Day?

No, not today with all its cloudiness and rain. But a day of ministry, a day of serving the Lord… a day of worshipping the Lord. Oh may my heart be lifted up to the Lord today, to the heights of His throne. I need a clear vision of Him, as He revealed Himself to Isaiah (Isa 6:1). Let me not be satisfied with just existing, but let me seek the Son-shine of my Savior’s face today with all my heart! (Ps 27:8)

“Well Pleased”

“You are My beloved Son, in You I am well-pleased.”1

This was the Father’s voice from heaven when Jesus was baptized. God the Father was taking delight in the life and the obedience of God the Son. I wonder, can God say the same of me? Does He take delight in my life, today? When He thinks of me, is it with cherished thoughts, or is He disappointed? “I pray, Father, help me to be the delight of Your heart, today.”

  1. Luke 3:22b []

Reconciled to God

“And although you were formerly alienated and hostile in mind, engaged in evil deeds, yet He has now reconciled you in His fleshly body through death, in order to present you before Him holy and blameless and beyond reproach.”1 

Reconciled to God, O glorious thought. I who once was His foe, His enemy, one alienated from Him. I now have been brought into the reality of HIs family. My Lord took the initiative, He sent His Son to shed His blood, thus bringing peace. In the cross, God has declared peace between me and Himself. Now, instead of dread, there is assurance; instead of denial, there is love; instead lostness, there is hope. “I love you, O Lord, for reconciling my soul to You!”

  1. Col 1:21-22 []

Self Gets in the Way

“John answered them, saying, I baptize with water: but there standeth one among you, whom ye know not; He it is, who coming after me is preferred before me, whose shoe’s latchet I am not worthy to unloose”.1

We live in a day where self is exalted (self-esteem, self-image, self-love, self-improvement…). As we focus upon ourselves, we have forgotten what it means to be humble. In fact, we have become so busy making others “tie our shoes.” As a result, we are a society of spiritual snobs and crybabies.
When I search my heart, and see the depravity that exists, I am so grateful for the blood of Jesus that keeps on cleansing me from all sin. I have come to realize that all that could be called good in my life is a direct result of the grace of God. I also acknowledge the fact that I am but a servant, not even worthy to untie the latchet of my Lord’s sandals. Yet I am grateful that He loves me, He gave His life for me, and He even became a servant to die on the cross for me. So now there should no longer be any room for self in my heart… Pastor Stevens

  1. John 1:26–27 []

With My Whole Heart

The distractions are many, the temptations are multitudinous. This world is full of traps to dull my focus. With my whole heart, that’s what I want to seek the Lord with. I need His help to do just that. Reminds me of Paul’s words, “Therefore if you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth. For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God.”1

  1. Colossians 3:1–3, NAS []

Proverbs 10.24: No More Fear

“What the wicked fears will come upon him,But the desire of the righteous will be granted.”

The wicked can only live in fear. Notice their responses to the recent terrorist attack in Europe.  They may have a lot of loud words and get busy with security, but down deep there is fear. When a person rejects the God of the universe, all he is left with is fear…

In contrast to this fear, the righteous have contentment and peace. At the cross there is security. In a personal relationship with Jesus Christ the fear that the wicked possesses has been removed.  We are no longer bound by circumstances or the caprice of man, but have been encircled by the arms of the Almighty.

Why Are We So Angry, Part 2

So I’m an angry person. What must I do to change and overcome my anger?

  1. I must realize my anger is sin. My anger is not a character flaw. Being an angry person is not just the way that I am. In light of this…
    • I must confess my sin to God and ask His forgiveness
    • I must confess my sin to the people I have hurt and ask their forgiveness.
  2. I must fill my mind with the Word of God.
    • This is the only way for change; the Holy Spirit energizes change though the Word of God
    • Filling my mind with God’s Word will change my patterns of thinking
    • “Like newborn babies, long for the pure milk of the word, so that by it you may grow in respect to salvation”1
    • “All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.”2
  3. I must ask God for help, “Ye have not because ye ask not.”3
  4. In any situation in which i get angry, I must seek reconciliation right away.4
  5. When i get angry, I must seek constructive ways to redirect its energy (e.g. bike riding)5
  6. I can trust God, for He has promised deliverance, even over anger: “No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it.”6
  1. 1 Pet 2.2 []
  2. 2 Tim 3:16-17 []
  3. James 4:2 []
  4. Eph 4:26-27 []
  5. Rom 6:12-13 []
  6. 1 Cor 10:13 []

Why Are We So Angry? (Part 1)

“Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath: For the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God.”1

Have you noticed that there are a lot of angry people around us? Just look at the frontage of any newspaper today. People are angry about finances, government, jobs, loss of rights, unfairness and at other people and their actions. As I view all this and compare what I observe to Scripture, I am convinced that most human anger is sinful. In our text above, James wrote that human wrath (boiling rage or fury) does not bring about the righteousness of God. During my lifetime, I have noticed several characteristics shared by angry people:

  1. 1. Angry people don’t care who they hurt. It may be strangers, family or friends, once the anger starts, no one is safe.
  2. 2. Angry people don’t listen to the Word of God. (Note the beginning of our text above) It seems that once a person gets angry, the Word of God gets blocked. Many times there is an active resistance to preaching and to biblical counseling.
  3. 3. Angry people are basically selfish in motivation. Their anger is rooted in self-pride.
  4. 4. Angry people very seldom are “wrong.” Why else would they be angry?
  5. 5. Angry people tend to gather other angry people around themselves. Note the following in Proverbs, “Make no friendship with an angry man; and with a furious man thou shalt not go: Lest thou learn his ways, and get a snare to thy soul.”2 Angry people tend to attract other angry people. A pack mentality often results.
  6. 6. Angry people are influenced by the devil. Paul wrote these words, “Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath: Neither give place to the devil.”3 If a person does not deal biblically with his anger, he allows the devil to have a toe hold in his life.  …(to be continued)
  1. James 1:19-20 []
  2. Proverbs 22:24-25 []
  3. Eh 4:26-27 []

For me…

Jesus went to the cross for me. There He shed His precious blood in my behalf and for my sin. What amazing love and compassion: to think that before the creation of time, He planned it all and in His grace included me. There is no greater love, no more wondrous compassion. Jesus died for me… Since He died for me, then what can I do but live for Him… “For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ, Who died for us, that, whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with him.”1

  1. 1 Thess 5:9-10 []

Faith in the Right Place

Note the following from the book of Daniel, “Then he said to me, “Do not be afraid, Daniel, for from the first day that you set your heart on understanding this and on humbling yourself before your God, your words were heard, and I have come in response to your words. ”1”“But the prince of the kingdom of Persia was withstanding me for twenty-one days; then behold, Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, for I had been left there with the kings of Persia.”2
Remember, our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against spiritual wickedness in high places. We, who are believers, are in the midst of a spiritual battle. We tend to forget that there is a Devil out there, seeking to destroy people. He is the prince of this world, and many people, willingly or having been blinded by him, are following him to a destiny that, sadly for them, will end in the lake of fire.
You cannot put your trust in human government for deliverance or ultimate happiness. The government process does not save, Jesus, and Jesus alone, saves. I like what Peter stated the book of Acts states, “And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved.”3
In the first century, in the midst of intense opposition, believers had a faith and testimony that turned the world upside down. A few centuries later, under less stressful conditions, believers became spiritually flabby, anemic and weak. As a result, they had lost their spiritual power and impact. I am afraid that we, who are living in the modern western world, are in the same condition. Be honest, how much real influence is modern evangelicalism having on our society? Are we really impacting the spiritual and moral degradation around us for good? Have we not by our inaction and lack of commitment to Jesus actually contributed to the decadence?
Bad days are coming to those who believe and hold on to the Bible. Maybe, just maybe, God is beginning to work. As He allows and makes the oppression of the Devil more painful, I pray that we, who are believers, will become vibrant in faith and real in our commitment to Him. Then and only then will our spiritual power and impact return. And then we, through the power of the Holy Spirit, can turn the world upside down again… – Pastor Stevens

  1. Daniel 10:12–13 []
  2. Daniel 10:12–13 []
  3. Acts 4:12 []

A Catalyst for Good

“Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.”1
The world around us is falling apart. How? Peter says, “The corruption that is in the world through lust.” The lusts of the unsaved form the catalyst that cause the world’s corruption, or decay.
What slows down this process? Believers, those who are “partakers of the divine nature.” When we are living as we ought, we are the salt and the light that impede the moral decay around us. The Holy Spirit empowers us and uses us as catalysts for good.
So my question is, “Are you catalyst for good”?

  1. 2 Peter 1:4 []
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