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Monthly Archives: March 2015

Our Hope – George K. Walker

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“Fear not, O land: be glad and rejoice: for the Lord WILL do great things.”
Joel 2:21

Dear Readers,

I can remember living my life as if I had no hope or a future. What I mean by this is that I was doing things like selling drugs on a corner with no future in mind besides that present time. I could see no further than that next drug transaction. I was telling myself that this is my future, I had no hope.

But thanks be to God I am alive in Jesus-Amen! It is the spirit of God that while I was free selling drugs that I had no hope but now that I am locked in prison with a life sentence that I have never felt more free or filled with more hope than I have ever felt before. It is amazing how God will turn your life around if you come to HIM. What seems backwards and upside down to the world is for your good in the kingdom of God. I no longer am afraid to walk against what this world deems acceptable. I now know that in Jesus is everything that I need. Just saying the name of Jesus is hope, brings hope. There is power in HIS name and I encourage you to call on HIM whenever you can. He is hope eternal. Thank you for your time.

Our Hope is in Jesus!

George K. Walker

The Light – Joseph Villarini

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The Light

by Joseph Villarini

Who else but God can show me the light
when I’m living in the shadows
surrounded by darkness?
Who else but God can show me the light
when so many men and women around me
are ominous,
so unaware that we are God’s gift,
unaware his presence is luminous
even when the skies turn gray,
and the clouds pour rain
because after the storm
he adorns our life with rays of light.
Can you see my vision?
When you put your faith in God’s hands your spirit is uplifted,
your life has a new beginning
it’s never too late to change
the Lord is my witness

Safety In His Arms – George K. Walker

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“Safety in His Arms”

“I am the door; by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture” John 10:9.

There is safety in His arms. As a child, I can remember falling and my Mother picking me up. I never felt safer than being in her arms. Today this is how I feel about God, my Father.

By accepting Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior and believing that He died on the cross for my sins, I can forget all my past hurts and pains. His death, burial and resurrection freed me from all of them. I am cleansed, healed, and delivered from my ugly past. It is in Him that I now move, breathe and have my being. Thank you Jesus for being the door to safety in the Father’s arms.

George Walker

Unbearable Forgiveness – Harold Lee Wilson II

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“Unbearable Forgiveness”
by Harold Lee Wilson II

Many preachers and Christian writers have discussed the topic of forgiveness. They tell us we have to forgive if we are to be forgiven by God (Matthew 6:14). They say that Jesus taught us to both offer and ask for forgiveness, especially in our prayers (Luke 11:4). They even state little idioms passed down through the ages. “To err is human, to forgive divine.”

By now, we get it. Forgiveness is a very important part of the Christian lifestyle. It is an essential factor in us receiving the same from God. It is the gift we obtained when Jesus died on the cross, the newly-instated honor of being a child of God when God’s son paid the ultimate (and eternal) price. So, let’s never stop forgiving.

But, how?

I know. It seems like it should be simple to be able to forgive someone. It must be immediate and true. We must do so each time we are wronged (Matthew 18:21-22). Forgiveness must come from the place we hold God dear to us, must be done before a situation festers (2 Corinthians 2:7), and must be done regardless of the crime against us.

Yet, this doesn’t truly express forgiveness. Yes, it tells us the fundamentals, but it doesn’t hit on the deep truths behind it. To find out the atoms that make up forgiveness we have to go back to the beginning and look at it from the view of those who needed it most: the people before Jesus came and rescued us from hell.

What does forgiveness mean to you? Many of us see forgiveness as an excusing of wrongs committed against us. Many times in the Old Testament, the Hebrew word salah is used to indicate a release or pardon from the debt that our sins have created before God. Salah is a divine gift, a holy forgiveness that wipes clean the payments due for wrongdoing God, the Father.

As humans, we cannot offer true salah. Our self has become too important and precious to us, even to those of us who are very selfless. Instead, we can only do as Joseph’s brothers do when they present themselves before him:

“This is what you are to say to Joseph: I ask you to forgive your brothers sins and the wrongs they committed in treating you so badly. Now please forgive [nasa] the sins of the servant of the God of your fathers.” Genesis 50:17

Nasa is an act of forgiveness, just as salah is, but only God can offer true, lasting pardon for sin. Instead, nasa calls for us “to bear, carry, lift up, and forgive” our debtors. Merely saying, “I forgive you” is no longer enough. We have to go farther in order to offer true forgiveness to others. We must lift them up out of their shame and carry or bear their pains as though they were ours as well (of course, oft times, they are).

Nasa, for those who we feel wronged us, is an opportunity to be forgiven, honored, and carried. Yup, I said “honored.” By offering forgiveness to another, we honor them higher than ourselves (Romans 12:10). We do our best to set aside the feelings of sorrow, pain, hurt (and, at times, hatred), and instead carry them higher than ourselves.

Forgiveness is an act of charizoma (a Greek word meaning to give grace or cancel a debt). It is an act of charity on our part. Is there someone in your life who could use a bit of charizoma from you? Is there someone you need a little nasa from? Pray today that God will help you to both cancel your debts to others and to have the charity to cancel the debts they owe. It’ll be a heavy weight off your shoulders.

May God bless you and keep you always.

Blessed Are The Poor In Spirit – Loren Slough II

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“BLESSED ARE THE POOR IN SPIRIT”
by Loren Slough II

(All scripture is read out of Andrews Study Bible NKJV)

What does this mean? During our service meeting last week, we were directed to this scripture for the beatitudes of Jesus. As we read the scripture in Matthew 5:3-12 verse 3 stuck out at me. “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”

I was confused at first, so I asked the volunteers and to my amazement they didn’t totally understand it either so we agreed we would study this week and talk about it when they came in. So this is the lesson and the scriptures I came up with. I ask that you pray and read the scriptures that are cited.

So Matthew 5:3, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” With this text alone you would presume or at least I did poor in spirit seems like a bad thing. So how can they be blessed? So let’s read the other scripture on the beatitudes in Luke 6:20-23.  In verse 20 it reads, “Then he lifted up his eyes toward his disciples, and said: blessed are the poor, for yours is the kingdom of God.” So we still don’t know why the poor are blessed.

Let’s read some scriptures in the Old Testament and see if we can get some clarity. (Psalm 22:26; Isaiah 61:1, 66:2). So we can see a little more with these scriptures.

The last scriptures we are going to look at are found in the New Testament in Luke 4:18, James 2:5, and Matthew 11:5. With all these scriptures read, what do you come up with? Who are the poor in spirit? How are they blessed? Are you poor in spirit? If not how can you get poor in spirit?

This is my understanding of “Blessed are the poor in spirit.” In Isaiah 66:2 it talks about a contrite spirit, one who trembles at his word. This is an attitude of reverence, with God’s Word, one who listens, and is willing to be taught the essential lessons of the Scriptures. In James 2:5 it gives clarity to the meaning.

Being poor in spirit doesn’t focus on the outward situation of the poor but the purpose for which they are chosen, to be rich in their relationship with God, and God trusting them to be inheritors of the kingdom.

So now we tie Luke 4:18 in. Is it not those who were poor in spirit, the ones with a contrite heart, those who were willing to accept Jesus for who he was, and were more than willing to learn from his teachings of the scripture? These are the people Jesus came to preach the gospel to.

With that being said, “Blessed are the poor in spirit” means a person willing to study, willing to learn from Jesus, and accept the Holy Spirit’s guidance, to not only enhance his understanding but also not be afraid to spread the message of Jesus. So the question is are you one of the blessed, are you poor in spirit? I hope and pray that this message comes to you in need of a message like this.

One last word, truly are the poor in spirit, and I am glad the Holy Spirit taught me the scriptures to understand. Ask yourself the question and search for the answer for truly, “Blessed are the poor in spirit.” Until next time.

 

Easter Blessings – Robert Perron

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Easter Blessings

God’s love is so abundant
He sent Jesus down for us
To save us from our sins
And die upon that cross
But He could not be held
Death could not claim its stake
He rose again from the grave
So heaven we could partake
Each day continues to draw out
And the sun shows off its power
As the warmth from its graceful beams
Shine down upon us each hour
You can now feel the spring air
As the flowers begin to bloom
Trees are sending out their shoots
As birds are showing off their plume
We see God’s beauty all around us
And life is in everything He does
From the expanses of the universe
To every bee letting off its buzz

SDP
RSP

A Resurrection Reprieve – Robert Perron

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A Resurrection Reprieve

May the risen Savior
Fill you with His grace
May His peace overflow

As you seek His face
May the love of God
Bring you joy each day
As you let the Lord
Guide your every way

SDG RSP

Looking For A Loophole – Hunter Tokar

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“LOOKING FOR A LOOPHOLE”
by Hunter Tokar

Love my enemies? Come on man that sounded ridiculous when I first read it. I mean seriously? Love? I could work on praying for them or even work toward forgiving them, but Love? How about, NO! So I set out on a journey to look for a loophole. Jesus could not have meant love, like real love. There must be some kind of mistranslation or other meaning for that word. In my search I found out that there are basically 3 types of love, or words for love in Greek. There are actually more like 5 but you’re kinda splitting hairs after the first 3.

1) Agape – I’ve always heard this defined as God’s love and the love he calls us to have for all people. Which honestly made it seem unattainable to me. If this was the love God had for me, was I really able to feel this type of love for another human or even for God. I mean after all He’s God, I’m not.
2) Phileo – Brotherly love. The love we have for our Brother’s and Sister’s in Christ. This love even applies to our families and wives/husbands.
3) Eros – This is where we get our English word “erotic” from. This love is only to take place in a marriage between a man and a woman. At any other time it is sin. Period.

As I began to study these words in scripture I saw that EVERYTIME Jesus calls us to love our enemies He uses the word Agape. EVERYTIME! So I began to study how scripture defined Agape rather than simply looking at a definition of the word. It was then that the Holy Spirit opened my eyes and my heart as to what Agape love was. I found the answer in 1st Corinthians 13:4-7, “Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” THERE IT WAS, AGAPE LOVE IS NOT A FEELING, IT’S A CHOICE, IT’S A DECISION. Of course I don’t FEEL love for my enemies. That’s not what Jesus is saying. He’s not telling me to FEEL love for them. He’s telling me to CHOOSE to behave in love toward them and everyone else. Agape love is an action. Look at the list. Those are actions not feelings. Now it made sense. I could choose to behave in love toward someone, even if I didn’t feel like it. In fact that’s the challenge. To behave in love even when we don’t feel like it.

I have a perfect earthly example of this in my life. My wife Amanda. When I committed the crimes I did to come to prison she openly admits that she did not want to stay with me. Who could blame her? I committed very violent crimes and am sentenced to 12 years. But, even though she didn’t want to stay with me, she did. Why, because that’s what love does. It endures. It’s a love I did not deserve but she gave it to me anyhow. She made a choice to act in love even though she didn’t want to. Jesus’s love for the Father is an example of this as well. It was pretty clear by His prayer in the Garden that He did not want to go to the cross. He knew what was coming. He did it anyway. Why? Agape! At some point today you will find yourself in a position to choose to love (agape) someone. Make the choice to behave in love. Look at the list in 1st Corinthians 13:4-7. There it is. The definition of agape love.

Love is what changed me. Rules, laws and boundaries never caused a long term change in me. Oh it might change my behavior for a moment until no one was watching, but it didn’t last. Love changed me. It changed my heart. God’s love for me, His choice to die for me. My wife’s love for me, her choice to stay. It is so overwhelming to me that God used it to change my heart. I am a new person today because God and others have chosen to love me even when I didn’t deserve it. Who will you choose to love today?

Innocent Blood – Michael Wellman

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“Innocent Blood”

Born a virgin, raised to be a king.
The messiah Christ Jesus,
the lamb of God,
came so the whole world could know Him.
He came to fufill the law not destroy the law.
Christ Jesus the true meaning of love,
a perfect man without blemish, clean and pure.
He came to teach and minister to all.
He came to heal the blind
and lame and the broken hearted.
He came as an only son of God
to give His life on the cross at Golgotha,
to pay a debt He did not owe,
because He knew no human could ever pay such a debt,
a debt we owed.
Hail oh king,
may you always be blessed
and loved by all.
Praise ye oh holy king
over all heaven and earth,
have mercy on us all
(THE WHOLE WORLD).
He never forsaken us,
He never forgot us,
He sent His holy spirit
to comfort us
to help us
to live in us.
He is coming back soon
and there is no secret to His return,
every eye will see Him,
every knee will bow before Him
and every tongue will confess He is Lord
and king over all heaven and earth.
Love is the key to heaven
for love is fulfilling the whole law of God.

The first 4 commandments are dealing with how we treat and love God and the last 6 are dealing with how we love and treat each other.

Praise God always.

Michael Wellman

Where Are Your Eyes – Harold Lee Wilson II

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“Where Are Your Eyes?”

by Harold Lee Wilson II

In today’s world, it seems to become easier each day to focus on the things around us. New movies are constantly being released with hopes of catching our eyes and creating within us a desire to see it. New songs are debuted to draw our ears towards the beats and our hearts toward the lyrics. New video games, new foods, new books and magazines, new television shows, new…well, you get the picture. The list can go on and on, ending only when we become hermits and hide ourselves away in some very secluded land where modern day society cannot reach.

But, this is unlikely and unrealistic. We have to live in this world and make ourselves somehow compatible with it. Yes, I know what Paul said about living in the world but not waging war as the world does or being a weapon of the world (2 Corinthians 10:3-4). But, I also know that life in his days was much simpler than life in ours. Does this excuse the fact that we have a really bad habit of focusing on the wrong things? No. but, it at least lets us know that we are all prone to make mistakes and take our eyes off what really matters.

Today’s Christian has become “fad-blinded.” Instead of looking towards God and Jesus and seeing a “fad” that will never change or go out of style, we instead focus on the latest and the newest that this world has to offer. Don’t get me wrong. I am right there with you. I love the new movies being released and desire to hear the latest songs by Iggy and Katy Perry. I love the smell of good food and the feel of soft fabrics. I am 100% guilty of diving head first into what this world has to offer and not looking back. The latter is where I start to err in my ways.

By taking part in the things of this world, many of the “hard-core” Christians would call me a heathen or a false Christian. But, I have to ask one thing: how can you survive in a world, the same world Jesus once lived in, and not enjoy the gifts that god has given man to enjoy? I do not drink or smoke or use drugs. I am trying to curb my tongue and my desires. But, does this mean that I cannot enjoy the scents of flowers or the taste of a BBQ beef sandwich? Am to going to go to Hell because I watched “22 Jump Street: or read a book by George R. R. Martin? That is inane in the least and completely unbiblical at best. So, instead of beating myself up for liking some of the gifts God has given us, I will instead dedicate myself to paying closer attention to Him as well.

Our eyes should eternally be focused on God. “So we fix our eyes on not what is seen, but what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal” (2 Corinthians 4:18). My eyes are focused on Jesus and what He has done for me. I know that I will not be perfect until the day He returns and takes me up to Heaven. But, I also know that whatever is around me – the music, the food, the movies, the celebrities – will one day pass away and be no more. This is truth that I have accepted. What I see now is temporary. But, what I focus on – God’s gift of Jesus’ crucifixion – will last forever and bring me to also last forever with Him.

Friends, I often find myself being judged by those who think themselves “higher” or more “holy” than I am. It’s painful (even though I do my best to not show it). It hurts me when I attend a class and talk about the movie that was just on television and, instead of a simple conversation about it, I get glares and turned backs because I am not talking about God. I know I am saved (even when, at times, it doesn’t feel like it). I know I am going to Heaven (and that day can come quickly, I pray). I also know that I sin and can be faulted for the errors I commit. I know that I am not perfect, that I may still have love for things of this world, and that my mind may wander from the blessings of God and instead see the temptations of the devil.

But, I also know that God is forgiving. And kind. And understanding. And accepting. He isn’t going to send someone to Hell because they glance to the left or the right. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus (Hebrews 12:2), knowing that He is the only way to the Father. But, let us not become so cold to the world that we fail to see the blessings that God has placed in it for us to enjoy. Let our eyes be opened to Jesus and all the good He gives us (Matthew 8:25, in example), and let us not become robotic drones to the world, but crusaders for Christ in the world. We are the light of God, after all. Shouldn’t we try to shine wherever we can?

Oh, and next time you pick up a Coke, take a drink for me, will you? (I promise to not feel one bit of guilt for it!)

May God bless you and keep you in His ever strong arms.