Sermon of the Month

You came to this site to receive prayer for a special need in your life and rightly so, as God’s children should pray for one another.

But, don’t sell yourself short. You are very special.

practicePractice…

Practice wisdom
Practice love
Practice faith
I Timothy 4:15
Practice these things.
Devote your life to them so that everyone can see your progress.

Every day is full of opportunities to practice!
Of course we may not see it as such; we may want to complain, we may want to wine, we may want to run away, we may want to hide.
But if we are looking for what it is that God is teaching us, we will be
amazed!
Even when life is hard, or scary, or trying, or difficult, God is there with us… He has promised that He will not leave us or forsake us.
The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.
Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.” Deuteronomy 31:8

When we do not understand, when we are perplexed, when we do not know what to do,
He understands, He is confident, He knows what to do!
Can a man hide himself? Do I not fill the heavens and the earth.
Jeremiah 23:24

This is the day which the LORD has made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.

Psalm 118:24
He is Jehovah Nissi… God our banner.
He is Jehovah Jireh… God our provider.
He is Jehovah Shammah… Our God is present.

He is with us in “all” of life’s circumstances… LOOK FOR HIM!
He wants to have an intimate relationship with each of us.
He wants us to trust in Him.
He wants us to rely on Him.
He wants us to come close to Him.

Prayer…
God, as we go through each day, may it be that we practice listening for You, hearing You, obeying You.
Give us the desire, the insight, the power to practice life in You.
You are trustworthy.
You are faithful.
YOU ARE LOVE!
Thank You for being You. Thank You for loving us. In Jesus Name, Amen

Praying with you and for you,
Your Tuesday Prayer leader,
Phyllis Stolzoff

 

ice_heart_by_im_sadHope for the Hard Heart
by Max Lucado from 3:1

“For God so loved the world…”

“I saw a woman today who finally became hard as wood all over.” French physician Guy Patin wrote these words in 1692, the first clinical description of fibrodysplasia ossificans progressiva or FOP.

He unknowingly introduced the world to a cryptic disease that slowly, irreversibly turns its victims into a mass of solid bone.

Healthy skeletal systems are hinged together with ligaments and tendons. The bony figure hanging in the science classroom teaches this. Remove the connective tissues, and the frame collapses into a pile of loose bones.

FOP, however, hardens the soft tissues, like muscles and tendons, rendering the body an ossified suit of armor. Consider the case of FOP victim Nancy Sando. When she was five, doctors diagnosed a mass on the back of her neck as terminal cancer and gave her three months to live. But she didn’t die. No tumor grew. Her bones did, however. Doctors began to suspect the presence of the bone condition. By the time she was in her mid-thirties, her frame was frozen in a near-straight posture, mildly bent at the waist. Her neck was locked, jaw fused, and elbows fixed at right angles.

Injuries often trigger the FOP sprawl. Bones overreact to a bruise or break, spreading like renegade cement through the system. The pattern is predictable: neck and spine solidify first, then shoulders, hips, and elbows. Over years, the disease can imprison the entire body: back to front, head to toe, proximal to distal. The rogue gene of FOP has one aim: harden the body a little more every day.

As tragic as this disease is, Scripture describes one even worse. The calcification, not of the bones, but of the will.

I look at this people — oh! what a stubborn, hard-headed people! — Exodus 32:9

God spoke these words to Moses on Mount Sinai. The disloyalty of the calf-worshiping Hebrews stunned God. He had given them a mayor’s-seat perch at his Exodus extravaganza. They saw water transform into blood, high noon change to a midnight sky, the Red Sea turn into a red carpet, and the Egyptian army become fish bait. God gave manna with the morning dew, quail with the evening sun. He earned their trust. The former slaves had witnessed a millennium of miracles in a matter of days.

And yet, when God called Moses to a summit meeting, the people panicked like hen-less chicks.

They rallied around Aaron and said, ‘Do something. Make gods for us who will lead us. That Moses, the man who got us out of Egypt — who knows what’s happened to him?’ — Exodus 32:1

The scurvy of fear infected everyone in the camp. They crafted a metal cow and talked to it. God, shocked at the calf-praising service, commanded Moses,

Go! Get down there!… They’ve turned away from the way I commanded them… Oh! what a stubborn, hard-headed people! — Exodus 32:7–9

Remember how FOP spreads in an unhealthy response to pain?

Our hearts harden in an unhealthy reaction to fear.

Note: the presence of fear in the Hebrews didn’t bother God; their response to it did. Nothing persuaded the people to trust him. Plagues didn’t. Liberation from slavery didn’t. God shed light on their path and dropped food in their laps, and still they didn’t believe him. Nothing penetrated their hearts. They were flinty. Stiff. Mount Rushmore is more pliable, an anvil more tender. The people were as responsive as the gold statue they worshiped.

More than three thousand years removed, we understand God’s frustration. Turn to a statue for help? How stupid. Face your fears by facing a cow? Udderly foolish!

We opt for more sophisticated therapies: belly-stretching food binges or budget-busting shopping sprees. We bow before a whiskey bottle or lose ourselves in an eighty-hour workweek. Progress? Hardly. We still face fears without facing God.

He sends Exodus-level demonstrations of power: sunsets, starry nights, immeasurable oceans. He solves Red Sea–caliber problems and air-drops blessings like morning manna. But let one crisis surface, let Moses disappear for a few hours, and we tornado into chaos. Rather than turn to God, we turn from him, hardening our hearts. The result? Cow-worshiping folly.

According to heaven’s medical diagnosis:

[Hardhearted people] are hopelessly confused. Their minds are full of darkness; they wander far from the life God gives because they have closed their minds and hardened their hearts against him. They have no sense of shame. They live for lustful pleasure and eagerly practice every kind of impurity. — Ephesians 4:17–19

Measure the irregular pulse of the hard heart:

• “Hopelessly confused”

• “Minds… of darkness”

• “Have no sense of shame”

• “Live for lustful pleasure”

• “Practice every kind of impurity”

Morticians render a brighter diagnosis. No wonder Scripture says,

He who hardens his heart falls into trouble. — Proverbs 28:14

But it gets worse. A hard heart ruins, not only your life, but the lives of your family members. As an example, Jesus identified the hard heart as the wrecking ball of a marriage. When asked about divorce, Jesus said,

Moses permitted you to divorce your wives because your hearts were hard. But it was not this way from the beginning. — Matthew 19:8

When one or both people in a marriage stop trusting God to save it, they sign its death certificate. They reject the very One who can help them.

cow-noseMy executive assistant, Karen Hill, saw the result of such stubbornness in a pasture. A cow stuck her nose into a paint can and couldn’t shake it off. Can-nosed cows can’t breathe well, and they can’t drink or eat at all. Both the cow and her calf were in danger. A serious bovine bind.

Karen’s family set out to help. But when the cow saw the rescuers coming, she set out for pasture. They pursued, but the cow escaped. They chased that cow for three days! Each time the posse drew near, the cow ran. Finally, using pickup trucks and ropes, they cornered and de-canned the cow.

Seen any can-nosed people lately? Malnourished souls? Dehydrated hearts? People who can’t take a deep breath? All because they stuck their noses where they shouldn’t, and when God came to help, they ran away.

When billions of us imitate the cow, chaos erupts. Nations of bull-headed people ducking God and bumping into each other. We scamper, starve, and struggle. Can-nosed craziness. Isn’t this the world we see? This is the world God sees.

Yet, this is the world God loves. “For God so loved the world…” This hard-hearted, stiff-necked world. We bow before gold-plated cows; still, He loves us. We stick our noses where we shouldn’t; still, He pursues us. We run from the very One who can help, but He doesn’t give up. He loves. He pursues. He persists. And, every so often, a heart starts to soften.

Let yours be one of them. Here’s how:

Don’t forget what God has done for you. Jesus performed two bread-multiplying miracles: in one He fed five thousand people, in the other four thousand. Still, His disciples, who witnessed both feasts, worried about empty pantries. A frustrated Jesus rebuked them:

“Are your hearts too hard to take it in?.. Don’t you remember anything at all?” — Mark 8:17–18

Short memories harden the heart. Make careful note of God’s blessings. Declare with David:

[I will] daily add praise to praise. I’ll write the book on your righteousness, talk up your salvation the livelong day, never run out of good things to write or say. — Psalm 71:14–15

Catalog God’s goodnesses. Meditate on them. He has fed you, led you, and earned your trust. Remember what God has done for you. And, Acknowledge what you have done against God.

If we claim we have not sinned, we are calling God a liar and showing that His Word has no place in our hearts. — 1 John 1:10

Sin-hoarding stiffens us. Confession softens us.

When my daughters were small, they liked to play with Play-Doh. They formed figures out of the soft clay. If they forgot to place the lid on the can, the substance hardened. When it did, they brought it to me. My hands were bigger. My fingers stronger. I could mold the stony stuff into putty.

Is your heart hard? Take it to your Father. You’re only a prayer away from tenderness. You live in a hard world, but you don’t have to live with a hard heart.

Inspired by today’s devotion? Please share it with someone!

 

prayerConsider the verses in
Genesis 1:26 – 27:

“God said, ‘Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule (have dominion) over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals and over all the creatures that move along the ground.’ So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; both male and female he created them.”

 Do you realize how unique and special you are…God’s image and likeness?

In you, God has readily given the world a perfectly customized representation of Himself. Your trust and belief in Jesus makes you part of His heavenly family. Your very own prayers are heard by Him and in God’s own time and in His own way, He will give you His answer.

So rest in what God has in store for you and have faith in His decision.

the-power-of-prayer

 

bread-and-fish

Mark 8:1-33

The feeding of the 4,000 in Mark 8 is a miracle we don’t often consider, but through this miracle, Jesus demonstrated that His love isn’t just for the Jewish nation but for anyone who will receive Him. And, through the Pharisees’ refusal to see Jesus’ authority and the man Jesus healed from blindness, we get a valuable lesson in faith. We also learn that we should seek God first in all of life’s matters and are reminded that when we fail to remember God’s mercies, our hearts begin to harden.
  1. In Mark 8 is the second-largest  meal ever recorded
    1. The first largest meal is the  feeding of the 5,000 in Mark 6
      1. 5,000 men
      2. Including women and children,  some estimate there were 25,000 people fed on that occasion
    2. This second-largest meal is fed  to a total of 4,000 people
      1. This miracle is neglected  because it is so similar to the feeding of the 5,000 in Mark 6
      2. It is a separate account; a  different place for a different reason
    3. Differences:
      1. Mark 6 (feeding 5,000), the  crowd was with Him one day
      2. Mark 8 (feeding 4,000), the  crowd was with Him three days and they were famished
      3. In Mark 6, Jesus told them to  sit on the green grass—it’s spring
      4. In Mark 8, they are told to sit  on the ground—it’s summertime
      5. In Mark 6, there were five  loaves and two fish
      6. In Mark 8, there are seven  loaves and a few fish
      7. In Mark 6, they picked up 12  baskets of fragments; kophinos
      8. In Mark 8, they picked up seven  hampers of fragments
      9. Mark 6 location was in Galilee  where there were hundreds of people
      10. Mark 8 location was in the  Decapolis; small community with a Gentile population

Featured Pastor and Teaching of the Month:

Who: Timothy Martin

Topic: Bring Your Junk !!

Junk5
During a men’s Bible study a while back the teacher asked a general question of the group….

 

How many of you thought you had to be clean before you came to Jesus or to speak to God?

 

More than 50 % of these established and knowledgable Christian men raised their hands !!
WOW, that really caught me by surprise.

How many of us go to the doctor If you are feeling good?
I never, never go for a well check, I have to be broken or bleeding to step in there.

This same principle applies to God, remember the expression ” there are no atheists in fox holes during war”. When the bombs are raining down everyone is praying to God ” please just jus t get me out of here alive, and follow-up with a promise to be a monk the rest of your life”. The delivery happens we bargain with God, “well what I meant is I will be a really good guy …… For a while….. Maybe just today, thank dude.

 

God never asked for you to be clean when you get here, bring your junk !! All the tears, useless baggage of hatred, untamed addictions and self-destruction. Just come to a relationship serving Jesus and He will work on those things together with you it might be painful to give up our bad habits and addictions but on the other side you will look back and say thank you for delivering me through the toughest times. Most of the time this does not happen over night but I am witness to fact that a huge change can happen immediately.

 

God is not looking for empty promises, only a sincere heart that is willing to follow and change.

 

Verse: to those who have sinned much they will be forgiven much…

 

Luke 7:47

New King James Version (NKJV)

47 Therefore I say to you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven, for she loved much. But to whom little is forgiven, the same loves little.”

 

Verse: for I am the chief of sinners, I held the coats of those stoning the apostle Stephan.
1 Timothy 1.12-17
12I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has strengthened me, because He considered me faithful, putting me into service, 13even though I was formerly a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent aggressor. Yet I was shown mercy because I acted ignorantly in unbelief; 14and the grace of our Lord was more than abundant, with the faith and love which are found in Christ Jesus. 15It is a trustworthy statement, deserving full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, among whom I am foremost of all. 16Yet for this reason I found mercy, so that in me as the foremost, Jesus Christ might demonstrate His perfect patience as an example for those who would believe in Him for eternal life. 17Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen. (1 Timothy 1.12-17)

 

Let me share the gospel at this time.
Rom 10:9…profess with your mouth and believe in your heart that Jesus Christ is Lord and you will be saved unto eternal life.
If you have chosen to follow Jesus at this time, know that He wants to work on our junk while we move closer and more knowledgable about Jesus. Prayer is the key, ask Him daily to give you the strength and direction for the smallest of issues.
Example: I have been a business owner for many years, I had a check that had to go into the bank today to cover payroll and I was running late. I was praying; Lord I have 3 minutes to get to the bank and find a parking place on a very busy street, when I pulled up there was an open spot right in front, the manager of the bank was locking the door, sees me pull up and opens up the bank to let me in.
I can not tell why God answers me for a parking place but He does, He loves me!
I am working on my junk of being disorganized and late all the time.

 


Featured Pastor and Teaching of the Month:
Who: Timothy Martin
Topic: Singing the Names of God

I was at work today listening music channel, on comes the gospel song by Martha Munizzi – “Because of Who You Are” found on Gotta Have Gospel  Vol.  2. I had not heard this song before and was moved by the worship in it.  Martha is singing the names of God, praise the specific attributes of who He is.

  • JEHOVAH-JIREH  – The Lord Will Provide , He will meet all of our needs. Genesis 22:13,14; Psalm 23; Mark 10:45; Romans 8:2
  • JEHOVAH-NISSI  – The Lord is My Banner , God gives victory against the flesh, the world and the devil. Exodus 17:15,16; Deuteronomy 20:3,4; Isaiah 11:10-12; Ephesians 6:10-18
  • JEHOVAH-SHALOM – The Lord is Peace, God defeats our enemies and brings us peace. Numbers 6:22-27; Judges 6:22-24; Isaiah 9:6; Hebrews 13:20
  • jehovah

Question:

What is He to you today?

Whisper His name or fall on your face in worship, no problem is too large. He is waiting quietly, patiently and forever the gentleman.

 

Suggested reading:

  1. Names of God  – 21 Names of God and Their Meanings from Rose Publishing
  2. Praying the Names of God – A daily guide by Ann Spangler

 

IMGP7461 IMGP7462

 

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