Bulletin – October 7, 2012

My Life Preserver

In the state of California, where I live, there is a town by the name of San Juan Capistrano. There is something  very amazing that takes place at the very same time every year here.

On March 19, not a day earlier or a day later, the swallows (little, tiny birds) arrive here flying 6,000 miles from across the ocean from Argentina. Then, every October they make the return trip.   For years bird watchers have wondered how these tiny, little birds, that cannot swim, can fly such a long distance non-stop over the ocean. That is, until they discovered their secret. They noticed that every time the swallows begin their long flight, each one picks up a tiny twig that they carry with them over their ocean voyage.

A tiny twig is a very heavy burden for such a small bird! But they do not see it as a burden. The twig is their most necessary item, for it becomes their life preserver.

When they become weary and can go no farther, they place their twig on the surface of the water in the vast sea. As it floats, they rest upon it, as it becomes a life-saving device. When they have regained their strength to continue their journey, each swallow picks up its twig and continues its flight until it reaches its destination safely.

What a resting place we, as children of God, have in Jesus Christ. This is a place in Him where He BECOMES your life – not just a part of it. There is a secret place in Him that will keep you afloat when the sea of life get too vast, too big, or too overwhelming for you to handle alone. HE is a secret place, a hiding place, and a resting place.

David was no stranger to this secret when he penned, “when my heart is overwhelmed: lead me to the ROCK that is higher than I. For thou hast been a shelter for me” (Psalm. 61:2, 3 King James version of the Holy Bible).

The more you take time to be alone with God, the more you will learn to lean upon Him. Learn to be still. Then, you will find your refuge in the midst of the never-ending sea because in a quiet, still place He will strengthen you, change you, and give you a new heart that beats closer to His. Then you will have the strength to continue on.    

By Kim Haney from More to Life Today Studies

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2012Oct7

Bulletin – September 30, 2012

Legacy of Worship

One of the first places we see the word Worship is in Genesis 22:5 “And Abraham said to his servants, Settle down and stay here with the donkey, and I and the young man will go yonder and worship and (a)come again to you.” (AMP)

Abraham, the “Friend of God”, is being called to approach worship in a place of supreme sacrifice. Responding with reverent obedience, he turned toward the high place of devotion. After telling the servants to stay behind, he and Isaac went up to worship.

Abraham left the security of fellowship and beast, which may have made the climb easier. Why?  It was a voyage of God’s divine choosing; how could the servants possibly understand what he was about to do? The donkey may have slowed his pace or perhaps he just needed to feel the weight of the burden himself. Comforts forgotten, he completed the journey and the covenant promise met the covenant maker.

Can we grasp the importance of Abraham including Isaac in the difficult task? By placing the wood upon Isaac’s shoulders, he taught the covenant promise to bear the burden of worship. Lifting the fire pot and knife, father and son made the climb together.

The word worship evokes memories of great church.  While prayer sets the atmosphere, the praise team leads us in a concert of praise making it is easy to respond in a form of worship. However; we shouldn’t forget, the summons to true worship is frequently met with a demand to ascend alone.

I continually witnessed my parents answering the summons  to their place of worship. The climbs were difficult, often met with loss; yet, with divine purpose. Each time, I discovered  great faith infused with heartfelt worship in the face of suffering. They simply released the covenant promise into the presence of the covenant keeper. What a powerful Legacy of Worship!

By Donna Ten Eyck, (Mississippi’s Daughters of Zion Director and Promotions Director for the District Ladies Ministries Committe)

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2012Sep30

Bulletin – September 9, 2012

Worthy Of Praise 

by Sis. Amy Hannah

One of the hardest things I’ve ever had to learn is to NOT measure myself against others, or to measure God’s love for me by what I have or do not have.  Even when I am sick-God is STILL a healer, Even when I lack things-He is STILL a provider, Even when I am discouraged-He is STILL a God of hope and peace. Even when I see others being blessed with the very things I have prayed for, but I still do not have-

YET will I praise Him!  God is not great because of what he does for ME-He is great because He is God. I need His help, I desire His blessings-I want His healing touch, but no matter how long I may go without all of my prayers being answered-I will STILL praise Him. Even when It seems there is nothing to bless His name for-I will bless His name. NO matter how my heart aches-I will praise Him. In spite of what He has allowed to happen in my life-that cuts to the very core of my being-no matter what I don’t understand-

I will still trust Him. When I pray for sunshine, and He sends rain-I will praise Him. When I ask for healing-yet, I remain in pain-I will trust Him.
He is STILL God, and He is GREATLY to be praised. I will bless the Lord at ALL times-His praises shall continually be in my mouth-

I will not allow my personal circumstances to dictate my Praise.
As long as I have breath-I WILL praise YOU Lord! As long as I can sing-I WILL sing your praises. Wherever you lead me-I will follow you. As long as I have breath-

I will praise you Lord.

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2012Sep9

Bulletin – August 19, 2012

Quiet Encouragers

One of the qualities I most admire in others is the gift of quiet, behind-the-scenes encouragement. I remember arriving home from a stay in the hospital and finding that my friend Jackie (who had surgery a few days earlier) sent me a book of God’s promises.  My Uncle Bob was so thankful for the people who cared for him at the cancer center that he sent hundreds of complimentary notes to their work supervisors.  My cousin Brenda experienced the agonizing loss of a child almost 20 years ago, and now her quiet deeds of compassion are treasured by many.  Often it is the very people who have experienced the most suffering—physical and emotional—who are the most abundant providers of encouragement to others.  In Acts, we read about Barnabas, who was known as the “Son of Encouragement” (4:36). He was “a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and of faith” (11:24) and encouraged others so “that with purpose of heart they should continue with the Lord” (v.23). His acts of encouragement must have had a wide and strong sphere of influence.

Just as we have been blessed with encouragement, let’s be a modern-day Daughter or Son of Encouragement to others.

 Teach me to love—this is my plea;
May all the Spirit’s graces shine through me;
Tear from my heart all hate, foolish pride;
Help me to live like Christ the crucified. —Peterson

 The human spirit rings with hope at the sound of an encouraging word.

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2012Aug19

Bulletin – August 12, 2012

Signs Still Follow True Believers  By Dr. Fred Childs

An alarming trend in the 21st Century church is the accepted absence of signs, wonders, miracles and healing. Many people believe in but simply have not seen the spiritual manifestations of God. The result is an uncertainty and a lack of confidence in the operation of spiritual gifts and faith. The absence of manifestation makes it difficult to have absolute trust in God’s present ability to do anything. Men and women are hesitant to step out and “take chances” on God because they have never seen or experienced God under such circumstances.

This weakens the effect of the Word because the one speaking does not have true faith in its ability. The same Jesus who did not many mighty works in His home country due to their unbelief (Matthew 13:58) will not do many works in your life and church for the same reason.

The more unfamiliar we become with spiritual and miraculous manifestations of God the more humanistic we become in our understanding of Him. It is time for this to change! The weakening of God’s Word cannot be acceptable under any circumstances. He is a miraculous and unlimited God right now!

Jesus said in Mark 16:17 that, “these signs shall follow them that believe”. This has never changed. The signs still follow. If the signs are not following you need to examine your walk with God. Signs do still follow believers.

Mark 16:20 tells us, 20 And they went forth, and preached everywhere, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with signs following. Amen.

I want to accentuate the “amen” by declaring that these things still occur in abundance. They still follow true believers. A true believer is not merely someone who believes true doctrine, but one who practices true Christian behavior and faith. Faith without works is dead according to James 2:20, 26.

Many Christians limit their relationship to God to their time at church. However, in Mark 16:15 Jesus tells us to go throughout the world preaching the gospel to everyone everywhere. Those who do that will see things happen. They will have testimonies. Signs follow our actions of faith. They do not lead the way, but they follow after us.

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2012Aug12

Bulletin – August 5, 2012

How About Your Faith?

In spite of anything God has ever done do you still find it difficult to trust Him?  If Elijah had not been convinced of rain he would never have sent his servant to look for an approaching cloud. God still needs someone to be an Elijah. Could the next one be you?

 It is easier to simply say- things like that happen than it is to be the one God uses to work through.   Many people limit their faith in God  because they are thinking of themselves. They are concerned about what others might think of them if things don’t happen like they said. They are afraid they will step out on a limb and nothing will happen. An essential element in being used of God is to quit thinking and simply respond by faith. When you pause to think you override faith.  This is not about you. This is about God. Signs follow our actions of faith. They do not lead the way, but they follow after us. God searches for people who will trust Him enough to obey and leave the results to God.

 Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, and today, and forever. He is still the Savior, healer, and deliverer.  The people that know Him shall be strong and do exploits (Daniel 11:28).  Few things will renew your faith and excitement like a fresh testimony of personal faith. There is everything to gain and nothing to lose. God wants to do great things through your faith as well.  I encourage you to earnestly contend for the faith that was once delivered unto the saints (Jude3). Signs still do follow true believers.

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2012Aug5

Bulletin – July 30, 2012

Be Thankful
By Author Unknown

Be thankful that you don’t already have everything you desire. If you did, what would there be to look forward to? Be thankful when you don’t know something, for it gives you the opportunity to learn.

Be thankful for the difficult times. During those times you grow. Be thankful for your limitations, because they give you opportunities  for improvement.  Be thankful for each new challenge, because it will build your strength and character. Be thankful for your mistakes. They will teach you valuable lessons. Be thankful when you’re tired and weary, because it means you’ve made a difference. It’s easy to be thankful for the good things. A life of rich fulfillment comes to those who are also thankful for the setbacks.

Gratitude can turn a negative into a positive. Find a way to be thankful for your troubles, and they can become your blessings.

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2012Jul29

Bulletin – July 22, 2012

Forgiven

We are sinful and God is holy. Sin can no more exist in the presence of God than darkness can exist in the presence of light. To stand before Him in self-righteousness would be to invite our destruction. The psalmist wrote, “If You, Lord, should mark iniquities, O Lord, who could stand?” (Psalm 130:3).

In a cemetery not far from New York City is a headstone engraved with a single word: Forgiven. The message is simple and unembellished. There is no date of birth, no date of death, no epitaph. There is only a name and the solitary word forgiven. But that is the greatest word that could ever be applied to any man or woman, or that could be written on any gravestone.

The songwriter said, “There is forgiveness with You, that You may be feared” (v.4). That refrain echoes in both the Old and New Testaments. God is honored and worshiped because He alone can clear our record.

If God could not forgive us, we could only flee from Him in terror. Yet the God whose holiness threatens us is the God who through Christ redeems us.  God offers forgiveness for all our sins. We only need to ask Him.  Are you forgiven?

How blest is he whose trespass
Has freely been forgiven,
Whose sin is wholly covered
Before the sight of heaven. —Psalter

Sin invites judgment; confession ensures forgiveness

Article by Haddon W. Robinson,  Our Daily Bread, Copyright 2012 by RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI.  Reprinted by permission.  All rights reserved.  Further distribution is prohibited without written permission from RBC Ministries

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2012Jul22

Bulletin – June 24, 2012

Why Does God Use Flawed People?

I always wondered why God would use people to represent Him. I wondered why He would use us for the work He wants to do in the world. Why would He assign us to be His mouthpiece, hands and feet? I mean, people have a consistent, faithful track record of unfaithfulness. We are notorious for deception, for making things all about us. Why in the world would God use us to get His work done when we are more than likely to delay all the good He wants accomplished?  I find the human life to be so inconsistent –So why use people? Why use broken cisterns? Why the continual battle with us and with ourselves to be emptied of selfishness, pride, insecurity, and wickedness in order for the work to be done?

Why not use the angels to do the work? After all, there were angels that visited the shepherds on the night Jesus was born. It was an angel that visited Daniel and Isaiah. There was an angel each that visit Elizabeth and Mary. Angels came to get Lot from Sodom and Gomorrah. And there was an angel that came to get Paul from prison. So why use people to declare the truth of The Word? Why use people at all?

I have a few ideas as to why. First off, God uses people to show those He uses of how much they need Him to get things done. Secondly, God uses people to show other people that our imperfections illuminate God’s perfection. Thirdly, God uses people to show others that, despite all the leaks in their personality and character, He still has the power and capacity to lead them into good works and to transform their lives.

His plans are so great that not even our imperfections can hinder the ultimate work He is doing in the world. Maybe God uses us to draw us closer to Him. When we see how amazing He is, we honor and revere Him more. And when we understand our place, we are filled with thanksgiving to be chosen as a tool for the work He is doing. By using people, there is never a question of whether His lessons are something we can relate to.  So I guess the real reason God uses people to minister and do the works He wants done in the world is because He’s not insecure. People always feel they need to prove something.  But God knows that if a person is really seeking Him, they will find Him. He’s not hiding, He’s made Himself plain all around us and, to top it off, He made this promise:  “For I know the plans that I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. ‘You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart.”  Jeremiah 29:11-13.  So despite how badly we fail to reflect the holiness of God, He knows that it is the humble heart that will be willing to see. How does it feel to know that, even though we are flawed, God still wants to use us? Have you experienced a time when God used your imperfections to glorify Himself?

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2012Jun24

Bulletin – June 10, 2012

Mission…South America

Tune in now for the latest report from Bill Taylor. Where I am staying is very HOT – I haven’t stopped sweating since I got here. Tuesday we went to Cuenca, Ecuador where Jefferson’s parents live….very cold there…thank God…lol! It is just lovely but treacherous….one curve after another in the mountains…sharp ones….no straight roads anywhere….three hours plus one way…..it was very taxing as these people here pass in no passing zones….they don’t slow down for curves….even Jefferson’s Dad drives this way…wow!! Going to Cuenca we got pulled over in the truck we were in because we were four in front with no seat belts….so the driver got a ticket….while he was at the back of the truck with the policeman I happened to take a picture of them from the mirror…the policeman saw me and came walking back up to the truck and told me NOT to take any more pictures…I thought I was going to jail and would have to call and tell you that I would have an extended stay here…but thank God that didn’t happen. The clouds were covering the roads to the point where we could hardly see.  I filmed some of the roads, the cars, the people on the roads, etc so you could see how it is –unbelievable!    You just about have head-ons all the time because it zig zags everywhere…road signs mean nothing…I am serious. There are tons of banana trees with huge bunches of bananas on them and coco trees, chocolate and sugar cane. Tell everyone at church that I really am missing them!!  I leave here Friday to go to Pasto Columbia where Stiven lives. (At the time of this printing..saw from FB post he made it to Columbia and there was suppose to be a music concert in which Bill would be a part of, but no word from him yet so until next week – stay tuned right here and keep him in your prayers.)

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2012Jun10