Thursday, February 22, 2018
Tonight Bro Joe Ferragamo gave us some meat and potatoes from the Word of God. His lesson was on "Pride And Humility" and his main text was taken from Luke 18:9-14. There were two men praying in the temple. One was a Pharisee and the other was a Publican. The first man was one well respected while the other was looked down upon because he was a tax collector. The Pharisee prayed about how great he was. When he prayed he used the word I, five times. It was not a prayer about God, it was all about himself. While the Publican came to God admitting he was a sinner. Pride is the opposite of humility. It's a sin. Pride is arrogantly telling God that you are going to do your own thing and tell God what you are going to do. Pride is when you feel you are superior, you become the center of your life. We all have pride in some form at one time or another. We deal with it on a daily bases. There are all sorts of pride. It can be financial, social, racial and even if we are not careful religious pride. King Saul in the beginning was a humble man. It was after his great victories that he became full of pride and it angered God. King David was a flawed man and made many mistakes, but when he did he repented. It pleased God that he repented and humbled himself. Pride will not obey the Word of God. When we do this, we lose what God has for our lives and he gives it to someone else. It's so important that we ask for forgiveness when our pride rises up. James 4:6 tells us that God gives grace to the humble. Jesus was the greatest example of humbling himself and being a servant. He washed the feet of his disciples. He was showing us that the way to glory is through servanthood. We must serve Jesus as our Master and Lord. Also, we must serve one another. This is putting pride aside and having a humble heart. Humility gets God's attention. God is good.
Wednesday, February 21, 2018
Since I was a little girl I have been fascinated with Figure Skating. My sister and I would beg to be on the ice as much as possible. I wanted to skate as fast as I could and my sister took figure skating lessons for a short time. The ice was a happy place for us to be. It's been years since I have ice skated and to be honest, I would be nervous to put on a pair of skates today. However, when the Winter Olympics come around, I become a little girl all over again. I love seeing each style and of course cheer for Team USA. This year the skaters have been breathtaking to watch. The sport has changed a lot since I was a little girl. The other winter sports are fun to observe and learn about as well. RJ is fascinated with Curling, he said it reminds him of Chess, only on ice. The Olympic season will come to an end soon and I have enjoyed seeing such amazing athletes compete. They all have stories of overcoming defeat and working their headrest for triumph. We can learn from them. When you fall down, you get back up and try ever more the harder. God is good.
Sunday, February 18, 2018
Today Bro. Jonathan Walker preached a powerful and what I would call a literal life saving sermon. He directed us to the Word of the Lord that was filled with keys on how to overcome oppression, depression and how to cope when everything is just going wrong. His title was " They Had No Comforter" His main scripture text was used from the Amplified version in Hebrews 13:21-21 and Ecclesiastes 4:1. Other scriptures used were Psalm 124:1-8, I Kings 17, John 14:14-27 and Psalm 199:165. God is peace for all our circumstances. Peace can not exist without Jesus. When we are feeling oppressed and feeling emotionally lost, it's a serious matter. This life is a fleeting vapor. It can feel to be empty. When we are feeling overwhelmed are depressed about something, we look for an escape. It can be a comfort food or shopping. I can be going away somewhere to just forget about it all. There is a moment of relief, but what situation is still there and the relief ends and you need to escape again. We read in the Bible that the preacher was saying it's better for the dead because they have rest in the situation. They are no longer living and no longer need to deal with the evil in the world. The oppressed are still living in it and have no comforter for them. Our world is in chaos and we need Jesus. Our world needs the comforter. However there is hope, the Lord is at your side. Emotional distress is real. We are all facing things today. The Word of God is what will bring peace to your soul. You can find an escape in Jesus. Jesus is our help. The prophet Elijah is a good example of how we are. The land was in a drought. Elijah went to a brook looking for water and God sent him Ravens with food to feed him. Next he goes 50 more miles away and meets up with a Gentile women and her son. They only had a little oil left for food and they were about to starve. Because she fed the prophet, God allowed the oil to not run dry. Then after the women did all this for Elijah, her son dies. Elijah prayed for the boy three times. At the third time, the boy came back to life. From here is goes to the top of Mt Carmel where he is having a stand off with 450 priest of Baal. He pours water that is scarce all over the offering for God. He is doing this to show them there is only one true God and it's not Baal. God answers with fire. This fire is so great that it consumes the sacrifice and all the water. Elijah is feeling real good by now. Next thing you know his servant tells him that he sees the could the size of a mans hand. God sends rain and the drought is ended. You would think that after all this has happened, that Elijah would have such great faith that nothing would stop him. Wrong. He gets word from one angry women that she wants him dead. Elijah becomes afraid and depressed and hides under a juniper tree. He is depressed. He forgot all about the miracles that God had done for him because one person's words hurt him. He is so upset that he prays for God to end his life. It is there that God restores Elijah and he rises up again. This is not a game. We are in a battle between heaven and hell. We are going to choose one or the other. The margin is very thin between miracles and instant misery. Today we live in the dispensation of the new covenant. Jesus died on Calvary for you and I. His spirit is your comforter. When you are filled with his spirit you are not alone. The Comforter is available to everyone. He gives you peace. What the world can give you is temporary, but God gives you can change your situation. The peace of God will protect you from losing your soul. This isn't a treasure hunt. The Holy Ghost-God's Spirit is the peace that passes all understanding. Speak his name-Jesus. Let his peace arise inside of you. Jesus stands in your storm and speaks peace be still. He is your peace. God is good.
Saturday, February 17, 2018
As I have mentioned before I've been learning about my family tree. Most of the branches have taken me to France, England, Scotland, Germany and Slovakia. One branch took me to Glamis Castle in Scotland. Another took me to a Quaker Church in Philadelphia. Today's branch took me to Sands Point, Long Island. Funny, how you want to learn your history and discover to your surprise it's almost in your backyard. Captain James Sands was my 9th great Grandfather. The house he built still stands and is a museum. I am very excited about this and I look forward to visiting and learning about my family tree history. I call myself a California girl because that was where I was born and raised. Yet, here I am in NY of all places and this is where my ancestral branches lead to. Not everything I have learned has been something I am happy to learn. However, for the most part, they came to America on ships for freedom of religion. This country was founded by people who believed in a better life. Who wanted something more. This journey has only just begun and I am enjoying the ride. God is good.
Thursday, February 15, 2018
For the Thursday night Bible lesson at Bethel, we were given a special treat. It's been a long while since I have heard Bishop Davis teach or preach. He gave the lesson tonight and I found myself wishing he would keep on teaching. He is a man of great wisdom and when he speaks it's so quiet you could almost hear a pin drop. Everyone is focused on what he is saying. He doesn't need to yell or shout to get his point across. He just speaks it and it comes with a great anointing. His lesson topic was, "The Seven Wishes of Apostle Paul". Bishop Davis gave his scriptures as he taught on each "wish". I will do my best to share with you what he taught on. If you are able to contact Bethel UPC and order the CD, I would highly recommend it. Bishop Davis is a special man and a preacher from a time that we don't see very often. I cherish tonight's teaching from a man I have a great deal of respect for. I know there is no way my notes will do his lesson justice. The Apostle Paul was the apostle to the gentiles. Some say he was the 12th Apostle, while others say he was the 13th, we will know when we see who's names are on in the New Jerusalem. There were seven wishes from the Apostle Paul. 1) He Might Know Christ, Philippians 3:10. Paul was a servant to Christ for many years. There is more to knowing Christ than to just knowing his name. Do your desires, thoughts and plans for the day include Christ. It's not enough to be acquainted with Christ, we need to know him. To do this, we must spend time with him in prayer and in his word. Prayer can be hard at first until you get past your flesh. You need to get to know the word of the Lord until it is a part of you. 2) That I Might Win Christ, Philippians 3:7-8 (AMP). To win Christ will take something out of you. There are too many passive Christians, they are not passionate about Jesus. You must be willing to give up a lot of things for Jesus. To serve him means you give it all to him. Do you value the prize? What is the prize? The prize is Jesus, he is the fountain of life. In him is all wisdom, knowledge, understand and all power in heaven and earth. Only in Him is eternal life. 3) Christ May Be Magnified, Philippians 1:19-20. We need to magnify Christ in our body, in life and even in death. It's not just clapping your hands or singing a song. We must do it with our body and spirit. You can magnify Hollywood or Paris with your body or you can magnify Jesus with your speech and your dress. Everything about you needs to magnify Jesus. We to do this now more than ever. Paul wasn't trying to make a name for himself. He lost everything and said he had won the most precious thing of all, he had won Christ. 4) Be Conformed To Christ, Romans 8:29. We must want to be more like Christ. The image of Christ is what we are striving for. Jesus saw his crucifixion and he walked towards it, his whole life. He wants us to be conformed to Christ in everything. A lot of things can happen, but it's so important that others see the image of Christ in our life. He brought us into this world to be conformed to Christ. To be conformed means to be similar to him. We need to accept the teachings of Christ. These things are not debatable. 5) To Be Found In Christ. II Corinthians 5:17. It takes about three years to become a mature Christians. Some it takes a little more. After 20 or 30 years of saying you are a Christian and you have no maturity, this is not good. You need to be constantly growing in God. If you are not growing in God, get right with God. The rapture is going to take place. There were five foolish virgins. Half of the people who fill the seats of the church are not going to make it with the trumpet sounds. Not everyone is willing to put God first in their life. Just because you come to church does not mean you are saved. I Corinthians 6:9-11. Regardless of our sins, we are washed, sanctified and now are in Christ Jesus. 6) To Rejoice In The Day Of Christ, Philippians 2:16. The Lord told us that some people will barely by saved. Those that are faithful, but built on faulty ground, they will still make it. The church leadership may not be perfect, but they are responsible for preaching the saving gospel. If they do not of this, they have wasted their time. The preacher wants to rejoice in knowing you made it to Heaven. 7) To Be Forever With Christ, I Thessalonians 4:16. Eternity never begins and it never ends. This is not just a lifetime thing, this is eternity. Let's get with it and serve the Lord. We will be with the Lord forever and ever. God is good.
Wednesday, February 14, 2018
We have been married now for Eleven years. We have had eleven married Valentines. Each year adapted with how our life was going at the time. I remember one of our best ones. We were broke and had enough money to pay for a baby sitter so we could go on a date. We spent our Valentines Evening walking around NYC and only had enough money for a cup of coffee. We shared our cup and it was a very sweet time in our life. God was good to us then and he is still good to us now. Bob and RJ spoiled me today with flowers, chocolates, a card, body wash and something I really needed, new earbuds. Lots of love, hugs and kisses all evening made my day even more special. Of course they all woke up to gifts from The Love Bug (me). Eleven Valentines, none of them have been the same. I waited a long time to have a Valentine and I'm so thankful for mine. God is good.
Sunday, February 11, 2018
Thankfully, RJ and Bob were feeling much better and we were all able to attend church today. Part of the service was focused on the BYG and Andreas who is getting ready to leave for the missions field. We love missions so when we see such passion in this present generation, I feel like my heart's going to burst with joy. Our guest speaker was Bro Dean Byfield. He is originally from Bethel and now he and his wife are missionaries to France. The sermon was on Mathew 14:22-29 with the title being, "There Is A Blessing In The Storm". We read about Jesus walking on the water. Before this took place the disciples had just witnessed the miracle of Jesus multiplying the loaves and fishes and had fragments left over. After all the people had left, Jesus told the disciples to get in the boat and go to the other side. Jesus stayed behind on the shore. They were fishermen and were familiar with being on the water in a boat. While they were out on the boat, a storm came. The last time this happened to them, Jesus had been on the boat with them and he calmed the storm. This time, Jesus was not on the boat with them. The had been in the storm for several hours. All they could see was darkness. Jesus was on the shore and he could see what was taking place. He watched them for a while and then walked out on the water in the middle of the storm towards them. Jesus could have just calmed the storm, but he didn't When Jesus was near them he called out to them. The disciples were very afraid, but then they realized it was Jesus walking on the water towards them. Peter got out of the boat and walked towards Jesus. This entire time, the store was still raging around them. Peter became afraid and began to fall and Jesus saved him. It was after Jesus was with them on the boat that he calmed the storm. At this moment, the disciples knew for sure who Jesus was. They had seen his miracles, but now they were convinced he was God manifested in the flesh. We all go through times of victories and valleys. All we can see is the storm we are going through. We can't see Jesus or anything at all. What we must realize is that no matter how dark it may seem, Jesus can see us and he knows right where we are at. The darkness you are going through does not scare Jesus. He walks into the darkness and he brings to you his light. In the beginning we first say that we want God to stop the storm we are going through. When we mature in Christ we realize that we need to ask God to help us see more of him while in the storm. There is a blessing in the storm. The blessing is that God is right there and he is wanting you to see who he is in your life. He is the Great I Am and he wants to have a relationship with you. God will take care of your storm. Trust him and trust that what you are going through will be your strength later on. God is good.