Welcome to the ACTS Podcast!

Sometimes anxiety is rooted in a person's feelings that he is incapable of handling a new challenge.  At other ties, anxiety is rooted in setting standards that are too high, even impossible.  Sometimes anxiety is rooted in a person's feelings torn between opinions or between two people.  At times, anxiety is rooted in unresolved hostility (Dr. Charles Stanley, 1998)

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Emotional pain and weakness cause us to feel dejected, 'bound up' on the inside, blind to the goodness of God, and imprisoned in our own darkness.  Jesus came to set us free and to make us whole; He came to impart to us a deep, abiding, and consistent strength, and then to develop His strength within us.  (Dr. Charles Stanley, 1998)

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It is spiritual empowerment that has enabled black women to endure, to go on in-spite-of prohibitive barriers, to make a way where there seemingly was no way - to survive in the face of insurmountable opposition, and to survive with a grace that is almost incomprehensible  (NCNW, 1996)

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Obviously, Peter always wanted to know more and to understand better.  And that sort of inquisitiveness is a healthy feature of being a follower of Jesus--especially one who can eventually lead other to follow Him as well.  Inquisitive people make good leaders.  They are hungry to find answers.  Knowledge is power.  Whoever has the information has the advantage.  (MacArthur, 2004)

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An old pastor once said he could tell when a Christian was growing because a growing Christian would always talk more about Christ and less about himself. (MacArthur, 2004)

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In order to be a fully committed follower of Christ, one needs to feed on Him. One who is feeding on Christ will become like Him.  Such a person will manifest His purity, goodness, tenderness, compassion, His interest in others.  You take a professing Christian who is hard and bitter and critical of others, and you know he has not been feeding of Christ for a long time.  You take a Christian who is drifting into worldliness, and carelessness, who is becoming vain, and haughty and self-centered- he has not been feeding on the Savior. (Ironside, 1920)

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There is always a group of "iffy" folk round high energy  They want to be known as part of the high energy but they do not want to make the necessary investments to be an integral part.  The is no shortage of claimants to the authorship of 'The road to hell is paved with good intentions'. The expression is often attributed to the Cistercian abbot Saint Bernard of Clairvaux (1090-1153)

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Finally, it also belonged to discipleship that customary values be radically broken (cf Mark 10:41-45)  Conditional relations are to be carefully considered, in-light-of the break with the past: It is discipleship which demands and makes possible this break, but the break itself is not to be equated with discipleship.  The call of Jesus demands and makes possible the break with the past, in as much as it gives the disciple a new future. (Weder, H. 1992).

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The focus of the our church is "Discipleship", ACTS' Goal for 2017 is "To change our world, one person at a time, for Jesus Christ".  Pastor Tom Mercer correctly says: "When the truth that God put us here for a reason -- to be a part of the greatest initiative in world history -- burrows deep roots into the soul of a believer, and they understand that no one else can fulfill that purpose in their relational world as well as they can, then something transformational happens. (Mercer, 2009)

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A group of shepherds would become the first people outside of Jesus' family to know of his arrival (Luke 2:8-20).  We often think in our society that to have an impact we must harness the forces of earthly power.  If only Christians controlled TV! If only Christians ruled the nations! Yet God's way is often very different.  The Gospel of Luke teaches us that God can take obscure and poor people and use them to transform the world.

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It is called Bethlehem-Ephratah, both names of the same city, as appears in (Genesis 35:19).  It was little among the thousands of Judah, not considerable either for the number of the inhabitants or the figure they make; it had nothing in it worthy to have this honor put upon it; but God in that, as in other instances, chose to exalt those of low degree, (Luke 1:52). (Henry, M. 1994)

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The Christian gospel is the proclamation of an event, the event of Jesus Christ.  In the Christian view of reality, Jesus is final. He is the revelation of God and the revelation of true humanity.

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The point that John is making here is that no man has seen God at any time, but God today can manifest Himself through believers loving each other.  Since the world in general is not seeing Jesus as He is presented in the World of God, the only way it will know of God's love is through the lives of believers who represent Him.

(Dr. J. Vernon McGee, 1991)

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Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. said: Forgiveness is not an occasional act, it is a permanent attitude.

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"The marvelous truth of divine forgiveness is the foundation for a positive Christian self-image" (Hoekema, 1913).  Sometimes one's difficulty to forgive is directly proportioned to one's thinking too highly of oneself.  If my thinking is that I am too good to forgive you; then I have a poor self-image, in light of the fact that I am a Christian.

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Forgiveness, like love, is a concept as much as a feeling.  If your assumptions about it are extreme or unrealistic, you may never forgive, or you may forgive too quickly.

(Abrahams- Spring, 1997)

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Suffering is the crucible in which faith and confidence in God is developed.  Suffering for the sake of righteousness is intended to make us into the people that God wants us to be.  To remember the dark times when God stood by us finally made a "way of escape" is a source of nourishment to continue in faith (Anderson & Saucy, 1997)

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Isaiah was talking about a believer who obeys God yet walks in darkness.  He was not talking about the darkness of sin, nor even the kingdom of darkness.  Rather, he was talking about the darkness of uncertainty.  (Anderson & Saucy, 1997)

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You must thank God in the midst of your pain.  Tell Him you trust Him.  Praise Him for what He can do, for what He is doing, as you do so pressure will lift.  You will be given a garment of praise to replace a spirit of heaviness. (John White, The Fight, Inter Varsity, 1976).

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The reality of Peter’s view of Christian suffering being inevitable requires that we have a Christian response to suffering.  We may not always be able to identify the source of our suffering, but if we are Christ’s disciples, we can expect to be persecuted.  Jesus said, (John 15:20) …If they persecuted Me, they will persecute you also. 

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Whether our suffering is physical pain, poverty, or spiritual turmoil, all of these provide opportunities for us to minister to each other and not only give blessings, but also to receive blessing through service.

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Augustine said, God wants to give us something, but cannot, because our hands are full- there's nowhere for Him to put it.  Suffering empties our hands so that God can give us Himself, the true treasure of life.

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Despite our natural aversion to suffering, Scripture tells us that we can expect it and, in fact it is a necessity for spiritual growth. In the words of J.I. Packer, 'suffering Christianly is an integral aspect of biblical holiness, and a regular part of business as usual for the believer.' 

Neil T. Anderson & Robert L. Saucy, The Common Made Holy, Harvest House Publishing, Oregon, (1997, p. 368).

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That suffering is necessary for building character is one of the clearest truths of both life and Scripture.  Jesus Himself is the greatest example.  Apart from the suffering He endured to pay the consequences of our sin, He knew suffering that helped produce something in His own life.  (Neil T. Anderson & Robert L. Saucy, The Common Made Holy, Harvest House Publishing, Oregon, (1997, P. 369))

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While each individual is responsible for his or her moral/spiritual choices, the leaders who set the tone of a society are accountable as well.  In this powerful chapter Ezekiel presents God's indictment of his people's "shepherds"--their political and spiritual leadership (34:1-6)

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Courage is the willingness to fight when appearances or history tell you that you are bound to lose.  The opposite of courage is timidity, the refusal to engage in a struggle deemed lost from the outset.

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To whom do we go when things get difficult? Who provides the assurance of safety and deliverance for you?

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The soul is the spiritual and immortal part of man, which thinks and reasons, has a power of reflection and prospect, which actuates the body now, and will shortly act in a separation from the body.  Our souls are our own not in respect of dominion and property (for we are not our own, all souls are mine, says God), but in respect of nearness and concern; our souls are our own, for they are ourselves. 

(Henry, M. (1994) Matthew Henry's commentary on the whole Bible: complete and unabridged in one volume (p. 1699). Peabody: Hendrickson.)

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Dr. Paul Brand writes: I take comfort in the fact that somehow, in the mysterious resources of the human spirit, even pain can serve a higher end. (Philip Yancey, 2006)

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When we hurt; prayer, preparation and hope for life's pain is extended, we just need to understand that God expects His people to provide the care for one another and that's community.

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Here are the words of a health professional: Ministering to the loneliness of a suffering person requires no professional expertise.  When I have asked, "Who helped you most?" usually patients describe a quiet, unassuming person: someone who was there whenever needed, who listened more than talked, who didn't keep glancing down at a watch, who hugged and touched and cried. (Yancey, 2006)

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Guest Pastor from First AME by The Sea.

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Dr. Charles Swindoll, in his book, David, ask this question: What is your spiritual legacy, dads? Will your children grow up knowing that their father served the Lord God willingly, with a whole heart? Are you modeling that for them in your life? There is no better teaching tool in the life of a child that the model of a parent's life surrendered to the Lord God.  (Swindoll, 1997)

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David was a man that loved God...he was still a man after God's heart.  He sinned, but his sin was no greater than your sin or mine; ours simply have not been recorded for all to read.  (Swindoll, 1997)

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When the child learns successful strategies based upon communication and socially acceptable behavior, anger takes its normal place in the array of human emotions. When the child learns antisocial strategies, anger can become the dominant theme. (Garabarino & Bedard, 2001).

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Intensifiers of Pain is a term used by Dr. Paul Brand for responses that heighten the perception of pain within the conscious mind.  These intensifiers- fear, anger, guilt, loneliness, helplessness- may have more impact on the overall experience of pain than any prescription drug you might take. (Yancey, 2006).

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The cure for being chronically behind is to acknowledge the problem and then schedule some time to simply catch up. [Valery Burton says] this means saying no to anything  new until you have the opportunity to tie up all your loose ends... After you have taken the time you need to get caught up, it is critical that you not return to the same behaviors that landed you in trouble in the first place. (Burton, 2005)

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Guest Speaker: Rodney Johnson

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Hanna is a reminder that mothers are the makers of men and the architects of the next generation. (MacArthur, 2005).

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Do you love Jesus with an incorruptible love? You have probably heard that question asked in a little different way: If God is such a loving God, why does He allow bad things to happen?

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True freedom doesn't just lie in a person's right to make choices.  It comes by making responsible choices based on the truth of God's Word so that the freedom that Christ purchased for us on the cross can be a living reality. (Anderson & Saucy, 1997)

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The Apostle is careful in the first place to shew us, that we have not in ourselves any inherent strength; and that, consequently, we must depend entirely on God. 

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Rev. David P. Metoyer

 

We are either in the process of resisting God's truth or in the process of being shaped and molded by his truth.

(Charles Stanley)

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St. Paul, at the very time that he is endeavoring to recruit the Christian army, tells us plainly, that the enemies we shall have to combat are the subtlest and most powerful of any in the universe.  Deceit and violence, the two great engines of cruelty and oppression, are their daily practice and delight.

 

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Be exalted, O God, above the heavens; let Your glory be over all the earth. Psalm 108:5 (NIV)

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"Ostensibly, Mark's account is the story which would be told by one of those who accompanied Jesus, and John's is the story which would be told by one of those who were at Jerusalem and heard of his approach" (Dodd, Historical Tradition, 156)

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Thomas Brooks, the seventeenth-century English preacher and pastor, wrote about many of Satan's clever strategies in his classic work entitled Precious Remedies Against Satan's Devices.  Among them he notes that Satan, as he did Eve in the garden, presents the pleasure and profit of sin, but hies the misery that will follow (Anderson & Saucy, 1997)

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The emphasis on the saving and enabling power of God in the first half of the epistle sets the stage for the ensuing paraenesis (instructions) in the latter half of the epistle. In particular, in anticipates the admonition to resist the hostile spiritual "powers" (6:10-20). (Arnold, 1992)

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The primary evidence that one has met God is in the disappearing of one's opinion and cleverness.  According to graded absolutism, the universal commands of Scripture such as the prohibitions against blasphemy, idolatry, adultery, murder, lying, and so forth are absolute, and these are binding on all men at all times and all places. Christian ethics are to be applied to both, the employee and the employer, making for a harmonious workplace.

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"I believe that overall my child's life will be better than my life has been." There is a fine line between enablement and empowerment, and it is in between this line that parents often exists.

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God can turn any marriage into a masterpiece.  Every marriage is unique, expressed by the colorful personalities of each spouse and textured by the circumstances at play in their lives.  Blending these to make marriage work is divinely inspired art form- challenging to master but definitely worth the effort. (Family Life Today, 2012, The art of Marriage)

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Spirit filling is necessary in order to experience the full extent of the ministry of the Spirit to a believer.  In other words, it is necessary to grow in spiritual life. ...The opposite of being controlled by the Spirit is being controlled by the flesh, or carnality.  Carnality and spirituality are basically matters of control, although each kind of controlled life will, of course, exhibit distinct characteristics.  But it is the control - not the characteristics - which makes one either carnal or spiritual (Charles C. Ryrie, 1965- Moody Press)

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"Many imagine, that when they have believed in Christ, the work in them is complete: and if they were then to die, it is true that they would be complete; because it is said of all believers, "Ye are complete in Christ, who is the Head of all principality and power." But no man in this world is so complete, but that he still needs to be urged forward, by warnings and exhortations, and promises and examples."

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In her book, "Who switched off my brain?", Dr. Caroline Leaf asks the question : Are you making toxic choices over healthy choices ? Toxic choices... can linger in our minds and our lives, causing us to experience emotions, like regret, doubt, and unforgiveness. 

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An imitator is a person who copies the behavior or actions of another. You have to know the actions of the one you are imitating.

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Paul shifts from this theology of the unity and diversity of the mystical body of Christ to spell out behavioral patterns that he expects to see in the church and in the lives of the saints.  

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The Apostle Paul passes from the relation to the whole to the relation to the individual.  In the oneness of the body, etc., there is room for diversity, and no one is overlooked; each has his own position. (Driver, Plummer, and Briggs; The International Critical Commentary, (1991, T. & T. Clark, Edinburgh), Pg. 110)

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Matthew has created an inclusion that marks out a basic theme: the presence of the exalted Lord with his church establishes his as Immanuel, as God with us." 'Immanuel' means 'God with us', and finds its echo Jesus' promise at the very end of the Gospel: 'I am with you always' (Matthew 28:20).

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Christianity is not a mere theory, which leaves men at liberty in relation to their practice: it is a religion which requires its votaries to have their whole souls brought into subjection to it, and cast, as it were, into its very mold: and those who affect not a conformity to its doctrines, will deny the doctrines themselves; having no alternative, but to set aside the requirements, or to condemn themselves for their disobedience to them. (Simeon, C. (1833)).

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The ethical objective of the Christian as presented by the author of Ephesians is to develop a pattern of life, which is appropriate to one who has become a child of God (5:2).  This involves laying aside the old self and putting on the new (4:17-24) and walking no longer in the darkness under the control of the enemy (2:6-14; cf. 2:2), but walking in the light. (Arnold, 1989)

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Faith isn't the ability to believe long and far into the misty future.  It's simply taking God at His Word and taking the next step. (Joni Erickson Tada)

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MAN is a dependent creature, and therefore should be instant in prayer: but he is also a creature infinitely indebted to his God, and therefore he should abound also in thanksgiving.  The Apostle's direction to us is, that "in every thing by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, we should make our requests known unto God."

(Simeon, C. (1833). Horae Homileticae: Galatians-Ephesians (Vol. 17, p. 329). London: Holdsworth and Ball.)

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In ages past, in order to connect with God, man had to us an intermediary, the priest or the prophet, but now man has direct connection to the God of creation.

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There is no preaching of the truth which does not have its ramifications for living, nor are there everyday questions of life that do not have some relation to the truths of salvation.  True prophetic preaching has not taken place until the Word as been made relevant and contemporary to the concrete situations of hearers. (Robert I. Saucy, The Church in God's Program, Moody Press P. 181.)

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We are not sinners in the hands of an angry God.  We are saints in the hands of a loving God who has called us to 'draw near with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water' (Hebrews 10:22). (We have a right to enter into His presence and a right to continued existence in His presence) For through Him (Christ) we both have our access in one Spirit to the Father.  In whom we have boldness and confident access through faith in Him (Ephesians 2:18; 3:12).

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God had made no messianic covenants with the Gentiles, but God had promised the Jews a kingdom.  Here is the important question of our day - What is the status of Jews and Gentiles in God's program today?

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"A reason why no man should glory.  If we are God's  workmanship, our salvation cannot be of ourselves." (Vincent)

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The Church as the assembly of undeserving sinners redeemed in Christ  is the crowing display of God's grace for all eternity. (Saucy, 1972)

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Just as the deliverance of Israel from Egypt was God's divine standard of power in the Old Testament, so the resurrection of Christ from the dead is a divine standard of power in the New Testament, especially in relationship to His work for the Church.  This standard of power is described especially in (Ephesians 1:17-23) where the apostle expresses his prayer that the Ephesians Christians might 'know what is ...the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe'... (Walvoord, 1969)

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You were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God's possession--to the praise of his glory.

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All conceivable spiritual blessings needed by us for living a holy and useful life are stored in Jesus.  We must therefore be in Him by a living faith to partake of them; as a child must be in the home, to participate in the father's care. (F.B. Meyer, 1968).

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Theodoret well remarks that men blessing God can only offer Him words that cannot benefit Him, whereas God in blessing confirms His words by deed, and bestows manifold benefits upon us (Abbot, 1991)

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The Christians should look upon himself or herself as someone who in the strength of the Spirit has decisively put on the new self - which new self however, is still being progressively renewed, on the basis of God's redemptive work, therefore, the believer's self-image ought to be positive, not negative. (Hoekema, 1986)

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When you have a low self-esteem, or someone shatters your self-image, where do you go to get that low-self esteem fixed, the original manufacturer or to the Kiosk of friends, drugs, alcohol, or a favorite Philosophy with a world-view?

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God is absolutely sold on using your extended household, your Oikos, as the natural arena where your testimony can be clearly communicated. (Tom Mercer, 2009)

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Like the woman at the well I was seeking for things that could not satisfy; and then I heard my Savior speaking: Draw from My well that never shall run dry  Fill my cup Lord, I lift it up, Lord! Come and quench this thirsting of my soul; Bread of heaven, feed me till I want no more. Fill my cup, fill it and make me whole!

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What should we do when we are unsure of whether our help will be appreciated or viewed as an intrusion? What is helpful and what makes the situation worse? Which feelings should we trust--the ones that urge you to do what you can or the ones that question the presumptuousness of barging in with suggestions to change?

(Brown, 1999)

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The Prophet, Jonah, had a life's journey so similar to each of us and as we study about his life we are to be encouraged.  Each of us could say, "I am Jonah".  Jonah's story included seasons of time: Running from God's will, submitting to God's will, fulfilling God's will and Questioning God's will.  If this sounds like your journey, you too could say, I am Jonah!

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Habakkuk 3

In spite of panic bursting like bombshells all around us, the peace that God can give us is there for us to claim like a shelter in a storm, like an anchor of hope when all seems hopeless.  Like ... well, like a rock.  Solid, sound, and eternally secure. [Swindoll, 1990]

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Habakkuk 2

When I am in a storm and in te dark, I'm looking for a bright star, I remember wat the Psalmist said: (77:6) I call to remembrance my song in the night; I meditt within my heart, and my spirit makes diligent search.

 

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Proverbs 22:6

One of the greatest things we can do for our children is to teach them God's Word.  The words we speak help build out children's consciences, their understanding of God, and their view of life and the world about them.  ... Opportunities to teach godly principles of life (are) being forfeited and replaced by, 'Don't do that.' 'Stop,' 'Quit,' 'Quit whining', 'Quit fighting', 'Quit arguing', 'Be quiet,' 'Be still'. (Barbara Decker, Proverbs for Parenting, Lynn's Bookshelf (1987, Idaho, P.1.)

 

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Pastor David P. Metoyer Sr.

Romans 8:37

A conqueror is one who had entered the ring, who has fought and won, and has gained the title or trophy.  Someone who is described as "more than a conqueror" is one who has been handed the title and trophy without doing a thing.

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Luke 7:36-50

We admire traits in others that we admire in ourselves; we denigrate others when their behavior doesn't conform to our values.  We find it almost impossible to climb inside someone else's head and see the world through different eyes (Brown, 1999).

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Psalm 91:1

  1. Ellen Lakshmi Goreh interpreted the values of the Psalm in Christian experience perfectly in the hymn: In the secret of His presence how my soul delights to hide! Oh, how precious are the lessons, which I learn at Jesus' side! Earthly cares can never vex me, neither trials lay me low; for when Satan comes to tempt me. To the secret I go. (Dr. G Campbell Morgan, 1946)
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There is a justice higher than legal justice-- a justice in which it is right for the strong, at no cost to itself, to save the weak; it is right for the holy to save the unholy.  This is the law of higher justice.  If God is love, then, when that love meets sin in us, the loved ones, that love is bound to wear on its heart cross of pain (E. Stanley Jones, 1942).

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Psalm 131

"Time and space to rest the body is a gift God gave Elijah, and it is a gift he wants to give us as well." (Ruth Barton. 2004)

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The Great Restoration

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God has given you something extremely special and God has put His holy spirit over you to guard what God has given you for that special use.  If we don't use what God has given us who do we let down?

Direct download: Vital_Connections.mp3
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Have you ever been overlooked by anybody?  You were the right person for the assignment, you were in the right place at the right time, but you were forgotten.  Someone just overlooked you. Joseph was abandoned, rejected and forgotten about,  friends we can overcome that just like Joseph.

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Without the birth of Jesus Christ there would be no atonement and no adoption.  When Hope was born you and I gained our freedom…  

The Lord Jesus was born under the law, lived under the law, and died under the penalty of the law which we broke, and in paying our penalty, He delivered us from any claims which the law had against us. He died under law, and in His resurrection, was raised into a realm where law as a legalistic system does not exist. 

 

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All sin involves a splitting of personality – what James calls being “double-minded” (4:8).  If we become proud, we have an inflated sense of self that has lost touch with who we really are.  If you talk about friends disparagingly behind their backs, you’ve created two personalities - the loving friend and the gossiping friend.  You try to keep the personalities separate by telling those to whom you gossip, “Please keep this in confidence.”  Repentance brings the split personality together and thus restores integrity to the life. The real self is made public.  When the proud person is humbled, the elevated self is united with the true self.  (Paul Miller, 2009)

Direct download: Repent_Your_Way_to_a_Merry_Christmas_2.mp3
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Those, in whose hearts the daystar is risen, to give them any thing of the knowledge of Christ, must make it their business to worship him. Have we seen Christ’s star? Let us study to give him honor    

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President Obama says: "Hope is not blind optimism.  It's not ignoring the enormity of the task ahead or the roadblocks that stand in our path.  It's not sitting on the sidelines or shirking from a fight.  Hope is that thing inside us that insists, despite all evidence to the contrary, that something better awaits us if we have the courage to reach for it, and to work for it, and to fight for it.  Hope is the belief that destiny will not be written for us, but by us, by the men and women who are not content to settle for the world as it is, who have the courage to remake the world as it should be."

Friends, Jesus Christ is rewriting the script to our life's story everyday we just need an inner courage to believe it the way He has written it!

Direct download: 01_Hope_Revealed.mp3
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Spiritual Therapy produces an assurance in the heart of every believer that creates a Secure Spiritual Attachment to the God of light, love and life.  Solomon, speaking of the wisdom of this God, says in (Proverbs 8:35) "Whoever finds me finds life, and obtains favor from the Lord."

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Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.

Ephesians 6:13

Direct download: Deciphering_Satans_Shemes.mp3
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In times of difficulty, what holds your hope in place?  What Anchors your Hope? 

Charles Swindoll says for the Christian to display “the anchor of hope” in their life it is important while you wait, you give God glory, and while you trust Him, give Him glory.  While you accept the fact that He has you in a holding pattern, you give Him glory. (Swindoll, 1990)

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Dr. J. William Worden is a fellow of the American Psychological Association and holds academic appointments at Harvard Medical School and at Rosemead Graduate School of Psychology at Biola University, La Mirada, CA., when asked about bereavement says:  Coming to an acceptance of the reality of the loss takes time since it involves not only an intellectual acceptance but also an emotional one.  …The bereaved person may be intellectually aware of the finality of the loss long before the emotions allow full acceptance of the information as true.  (2009)

Direct download: Finding_Contentment.mp3
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I must ask God, in faith, for the wisdom for living, because faith endures trials.  Trials come and go, but a strong faith will face them head-on and develop endurance.  Faith understands temptations.  It will not allow us to consent to our lust and slide into sin.  Faith obeys the Word.  It will not merely hear and not do. Faith produces doers.  Faith displays itself in works.   Faith acts wisely.  

Direct download: 2-01_Haunted_by_Doubt.mp3
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