Sound Footing

Sound Footing
 
15 And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; Ephesians 6:15
 
16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, have everlasting life. John 3:16
 
Normally, we never think about leaving home without first putting on our shoes. As Christians who are putting on the whole armor of God, our footwear is equally important.
 
As the Apostle Paul speaks of putting on the whole armor of God, each piece is important. We have already girded ourselves about with truth and put on the breastplate of righteousness. Now comes the footwear which is the preparation of the gospel of peace.
 
The simple sweet truth of John 3:16 is the framework for this preparation. Jesus is what others need to hear about. We need to be comfortable with the plain truth of salvation, and our relationship with Jesus, who gave it to us.
 
The very first thing we acquire when we enter into a relationship with Jesus is our testimony. Our testimony is unique unto us. It is about our experience with Jesus. Our testimony is very important when sharing about Jesus with others. When we have a strong relationship with Jesus, we are comfortable sharing how it happened. Another important point in sharing the gospel is an understanding of the plain truth of the scripture. With these preparations, we are now ready to put on our footwear.
 
Using the analogy of footwear shows us that the gospel is mobile. The right time to share it is when the Holy Spirit presents the opportunity. It could be at work, at school, or any place we go. Remembering each part of our spiritual armament readies us to face all obstacles as we do the business of a New Testament Christian.
 
Using the tools He has given us,
Bro. Gene


Righteous Living

Righteous Living
 
14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, Ephesians 6:14 b
 
Last month we started with putting on the whole armor of God. We continue, this month, with the breastplate of righteousness. Being righteous is not an impossible task. But, it requires us to be in submission to Jesus in our way of living.
 
Righteousness can be defined as being in a right standing with God. The Holy Spirit of God leads us in righteousness. We know that God forgives sin and removes it from us. We also know that we may not become totally righteous until we are in Heaven. For now, living on the earth, we must carefully follow the leading of the Holy Spirit.
 
The purpose of the breastplate is protection of the heart. When we wear the breastplate of righteousness we live as the Holy Spirit leads. Therefore, we have protection from anything that would destroy our heart. Having a heart for God means loving and fearing Him completely. We can’t get by with only wearing the breastplate on Sundays. But, as with all the other parts of the armor, we need it everyday.
 
This breastplate bears testimony of our fear and love of a Holy God. Revival comes as each of us seek to live in righteousness. Let this breastplate of righteousness be a part of your armor everyday.
 
In Christ’s Love,
Bro. Gene


The Importance of Truth

The Importance of Truth
Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist. Ephesians 6:14a    
  
           We must understand that when we seek revival we will face opposition. This opposition is always in place. It is a spiritual matter just as revival is a spiritual matter.    
             Paul wrote to the Ephesians to instruct them on how to arm themselves against their spiritual foe. He instructed them to put on the whole armor or God.     
            Let’s look at the first piece of armor that we need to put on, the belt of truth. Truth affects us in our attempts to be submissive to God. We must be truthful with ourselves first. Then we can be truthful with God. In being truthful with ourselves, we recognize our sins and then we confess them to God and receive His forgiveness.
                After forgiveness, comes repentance, a very necessary part of one’s effort for revival. Others will observe our repentance and be encouraged to repent themselves. Our adversary, the devil,is the father of lies and deception. He is the one we battle against.      
           He will attempt to convince us that we will never be in right standing with God, even though scripture tells us different. By putting on the belt of truth, we are now signifying that we completely believe the word of God. Jesus, Himself, said, “I am the truth” therefor, trusting in Him brings us to walk in the truth. We must rely on God’s authority if we are to overcome the effects of lies of the devil. By understanding that we are not in opposition with others in the human race, but, with spiritual wickedness, we can engage in the battle for truth.      
           I will attempt, in the days ahead, to describe each piece of armament that Paul mentioned. Please consider how each piece of armor will benefit you in your quest for personal revival.  
                In Christ’s Love,  
               Bro. Gene


The Three R’s of A Committed Life

The Three R’s of A Committed Life

Matthew 3:1-2 3 In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judaea,And saying, Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.
 
The first R has to be Repentance. This is not a very popular word in religious services today, probably because we don’t want to face the reality of our sinful condition. The prodigal son, of Luke Chapter 15, enjoyed his folly until all of his substance was gone. And, then, he came to himself. That’s the place where repentance begins.
 
The next R, though needlessly dreaded, is Return. The reception of a repentant person is warm with God and His fellowship. Both repent and return must take place before the final R is possible.
 
Each of us must search our own hearts to find where the last R, Revive, is needed. God will forgive us of our sins if we, but, ask. In returning to Him, there is always great joy. To be revived is to enjoy God’s great forgiveness and reconciliation.
 
Why do you suppose this is so difficult for Christians to do? Could it be that Satan makes sure we doubt before we take the action of repentance? Then Satan offers shame as a reason not to return. Thus, there is no revival. This is not God’s way. He has always been a God of reconciliation from Genesis to Revelation. Try it for yourself. Repent, Return, Revive!
 
In Christ’s Love,
Bro. Gene


A Blessed Homecoming

A BLESSED HOMECOMING
 18 I will arise and go to my father, and will say unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee, 19 And am no more worthy to be called thy son: make me as one of thy hired servants. 20 And he arose, and came to his father. But when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him. Luke 15:18-20
 
Revival… much needed, yet very difficult to obtain.  The rebellious nature of mankind has been present since sin entered into the world in Genesis.  People rebel for a lot of different reasons.  None harbor any importance.  The importance of rebellion is the opportunity God gives us to repent.
 
John the Baptist preached, “Repent, for the kingdom of God is at hand.”  Jesus came, born of a virgin, dwelt as a man with no sin, crucified for our sins, destroyed our sins in three days, and rose in victory!  This brings us to the here and now.
 
We are in need of a Spirit led revival!  As I preached in a recent sermon, I have drawn a circle around myself and asked God to bring revival into this circle.  My need for revival, to me, is most evident.  And, no one else can repent and turn to God for me.
 
If our church is to see revival, then, we must, as individuals, see the need for repentance.  Should God allow this revival, many issues that we face would simply dissolve.  For example, low church attendance would no longer occur at any of the meetings.  Finances would be abundant and joy would be indescribable.
 
God is desirous of our repentance.  The question is… “Are we?”  Are we ready to follow God’s Word, as in 2nd Chronicles 7:14?  If we are His people, will we humble ourselves?  Will we pray?  Will we seek His face?  Will we turn from our wicked ways?  Will we repent?
 
I cannot allow my life to be wasted in my efforts to follow God’s sovereign will.  Therefore, I will resolve to continue to seek repentance.  If you want to see revival, then, pray for your circle.                                  
 
                    Allowing the Spirit’s leadership,                                                                                                                                                Bro. Gene  


Look For Your Cloud’s Silver Lining

Romans 8:28 says : And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose.
 
This passage in Romans may be difficult to understand, for , whenever we have a problem we seldom think about it bringing any good. God’s plan for us is to bless us in all circumstances. We read in the book of James that tribulation produces patience and all of us could certainly use a little more patience. But, non of us desire tribulation to gain it.
 
One of the best illustrations of how this occurs is a true story told to me by a friend in another church. As he was on his was to work one day, he had a flat tire on his old truck. The weather was hot and he didn’t want to be late to work. So as quickly as he could, he changed the tire. It took about twenty minutes before he was on his way again. About two miles up the road was a very busy intersection. When he got to the intersection, the flashing lights told him that something bad had happened. As he worked his way around the twisted wreckage, a policeman told him there were fatalities and it happened about twenty minutes earlier. The flat tire, though it was an inconvenience, had stopped him from being at the intersection when someone had run a red light.
 
The next time you have something happen that brings undesirable consequences, remember this passage in Romans. I certainly have not enjoyed this recent battle with pemphegus. But, I have noticed that my patience has certainly increased just as it says in James 1:2-3. So while we may not be desirous of problems and tribulations, take time when dealing with them to see God’s silver lining in your cloud.
Patiently yours,
Bro. Gene


Tithing

TITHING
1.And he looked up, and saw the rich men casting their gifts into the treasury.
2. And he saw also a certain poor widow casting in thither two mites.
3. And he said, Of a truth I say unto you, that this poor widow hath cast in more than they all:
4. For all these have of their abundance cast in unto the offerings of God: but she of her penury hath cast in all the living that she had.
 
Luke 21:1-4

Tithing is for those who desire to follow the Lord’s teaching concerning giving. In the Old Testament, it was required that ten percent of one’s income should be given to the storehouse of God. But, we find, in the time of David and Solomon, that people gave much more. In the Book of Acts, people gave of their substance, many times all they had.

The widow we read about in this passage, gave all she had. As we look at giving, we see a number of truths. Out of the abundance of the heart is where the true sacrifice comes. We must first realize God already has ownership of everything. Yet, He trusts us to use what He gives us in a proper way. It is said by many that ten percent of the church gives ninety percent of the money.

I’m a firm believer that giving is an act of worship. Numerous times throughout the Scripture we find people giving sacrificially to build the House of God. And, they even gave to rebuild a destroyed wall, as in the case of Nehemiah. I would encourage all of us to give. If we fail to give with a cheerful heart, our gifts will lose their value.

When we speak of giving to God, we should not overlook the giving of our time. All giving is a personal matter between the giver and his Lord. Before we get too far into this new year, have a conversation with God and follow His leadership in the giving of money and of time.

Praising God for the greatest gift ever given, His Son,
Jesus Christ!
Bro. Gene


A Sure Way To Get Through A Bad Day

A SURE WAY TO GET THROUGH A BAD DAY   22 It is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not.  23 They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness.                                Lamentations 3:22-23
 
Have you ever found yourself in a situation where it looked as if there was no way out?  Most of us would have to say yes, because it is a natural part of being human.  We don’t have to feel this way, for there is an answer… put all of your trust in God!  Jeremiah wrote in Lamentations about God’s faithfulness.  We all, as Christians, have experienced God’s faithfulness in our lives.  Our problems are never too great for God to handle, but we must trust Him with our situation. 
 
As of late, it seems as if I have had to trust God’s faithfulness more than ever.  The good news is that He has once again proved that He is faithful.  God does not bring calamities into our lives, but He can certainly lead us through them.  I know I have worn the pulpit out preaching the message of prayer and reading the Word of God, and our difficulties in life are much of the reason.
 
You can come to God easier when you are in fellowship with Him than when you only call unto Him when you are in difficulty.  God enjoys fellowship with all believers and that is one of the reasons that we can always see His faithfulness.
 
Often we take for granted His day by day mercies and we are less than grateful for them.  When you call 911, you have faith that there will be a quick response.  When you are close to God, you know He also will respond quickly.  It may be that our problems will not be solved quickly, but, He will be with us instantly when we call for Him.  His presence makes any situation bearable.  Please join me in a renewed effort to protect our individual relationship with God.  I think we all will be surprised at the great difference it will make.                                   
 
     Trusting in God’s faithfulness,    
                                      Bro. Gene  


NO NEED TO WORRY WHEN YOU SEEK THE KINGDOM OF GOD

   NO NEED TO WORRY WHEN YOU SEEK THE KINGDOM OF GOD      

28 And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin:
29 And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.
30 Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith?
31 Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed?
32 (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things.
33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.
34 Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof. (Matthew 6:28-34)
 What will the year 2019 bring?  If you are trusting in anyone but God, who knows? But as the scripture says in Matthew 6, if you “seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness,” there will be nothing to worry about.  We may not be rich or famous or free from life’s hard knocks, but we will be taken care of by God.
 Too many times we are seeking favor in the world, and not thinking about what it means to have favor with God.  If you have read Psalm 103, you know what God’s plans are for you.
The scripture is the place to look to find what God will do for us.  He has plans for all of us, if we will seek Him first.  If we have a bucket list of worry items, this will keep us from knowing His great provisions. 
 Ninety-nine percent of all the things we worry about never happen.  Worry is a colossal waste of time and energy. Trusting God does not mean that we are to sit idly by, doing nothing.  The proverbs say, “If we don’t work, we don’t eat.”  But, if you have lost your job, God knows it and He will provide a way for you to make it.  I know about God’s provisions, for He has always provided all of my needs.
 In the year 2019, join me in learning to trust Him with all of our hearts.  Be ready for God’s blessings to overtake you when you least expect it.  And remember, though God is seldom early, He is never late.  
                                    Trusting in God,   
                                     Brother Gene 


Christmas Is A Miracle

“For unto you is born this day in the city of David, a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord”  Luke 2:11
 
It’s that time of year again when our minds go back to years gone by. We think of families and friends. Yes, and even sorrows. Many will not experience joy because they have not realized the true meaning of Christmas.
 
The prince of this world, Satan, will project sadness into every heart he can. And, yet, this is a time of God’s promise becoming a reality. Remember, that man is born in sin. And a blood sacrifice had to be made as an atonement for sin. The love God offers is beyond human comprehension. For He allowed His only Son, Jesus, to become flesh and dwell among us, and yet His Son knew no sin. Jesus, born of a virgin would become sin for us. And, as we place our lives under His control we are freed of our sin debt.
 
The true meaning of Christmas is the arrival of Jesus who would die for our sins. As our thoughts go to a manger in Bethlehem of Judea we realize God’s promise has become reality. As we celebrate the birth of our Lord, let us love one another and let us show our love to God by worshiping Him in spirit and in truth. Without Jesus there would be no Christmas. Nor would there be any joy. As we read the Christmas story from the second chapter of Luke, let us respond with thanksgiving and great joy.
 
May this Christmas be the most beautiful Christmas of your life as you reflect on God’s unchangeable love.
 
Merry Christmas to each one of you!
 
                                               Your humble servant,
                                                       Bro. Gene