PRECEPTS FROM PASTOR PAUL

“The Agony of Choice Comes Before The Promise of Change!”

God will always keep His Promises. But, we must make the choices that require life transforming obedience. God will not negotiate. If we really want to experience His promises, unconditional obedience is the only way. The “agony” is in the choosing His will over mine. We live our lives making those choices all day long, every day we live.

Eve was required to make a momentary choice. The consequences will last until Jesus comes again. King Saul had months, even years to decide, and lost his kingdom! Peter had a few agonizing hours, the result was restoration! Jesus knew “…before the foundation of the world.” The result is your redemption! As you can see, this is about life and death!

Blindly embracing His will rather than mine, though it leads through an unknown future, develops an iron-clad faith that knows He WILL keep His promises. We have His word on it! Although we might like to think that if He were a little more “reasonable” it might minimize the “agony,” we know that when we quickly yield to Him and His will, that’s the surest way to His best choices for us.

“Yes, Lord!” Works best. (see Matthew 26:36-46)

PRECEPTS FROM PASTOR PAUL

“The greatest bondage we will experience is… THE FEAR OF MAN!
The greatest freedom we will experience is… THE FEAR OF GOD!”

“Don’t be afraid of those who want to kill your body; they cannot touch your soul. Fear only God, who can destroy both soul and body in hell.” (Matthew 10:28NLT) Please read Matthew 10: 26-31!

Our daily lives are filled with multiple opportunities to live in fear of man, or in fear of God. The fear of man is about my concern how I will be perceived by the people in my life. That’s especially true as it relates to those who are most important, in our minds, to “impress.” For the most part, this fear is about my reputation, recognition, and “right standing” among all the right people, in all the right places, and possessing all the right criteria within my self-centered and self-controlled world of influence.

The fear of the Lord is about Him! It’s about His life being expressed through mine. My concern is to express Him by how I live and move and have my being. How I dress, speak, work, express myself, demonstrate excellence, treat and serve others, is not for impression, but rather for expression of Him! According to the scripture, it is wise to fear the Lord. It produces Glory to His Name and establishes you as a trusted source of righteousness and justice.

CELEBRATING HOPE

A 30 DAY JOURNEY INTO HOPE
DAY 29
CELEBRATING HOPE

WHY IS IT SO NECESSARY TO CELEBRATE HOPE? The “good news” of hope in God, is “Fear Not!” The hope of all the world, Jesus Christ Himself, came into a world dominated on every hand by fear! The Bible tells the story of the coming of the “good news,” in the person of the baby Jesus. In every incident on record surrounding His coming, fear was the first thing heavens’ messenger, Gabriel, had to address. It seems that suddenness, and the unusual, in the reigning culture of fear, had resulted in causing almost everyone to be a bit skiddish. Gabriel’s appearances evoked the same fearful response from everyone; “Don’t be afraid!” Admittedly, much of the fear was the sudden appearance of heaven touching earths fear circumstances.

As it is in our culture now, the citizens were facing some pretty drastic and unnerving happenings; the uneasiness of yet another war, in a chaotic and hostile world, the credibility of a once trusted government, the incivility and unkindness of a once more gentle society, the highly questionable instability of the economy, and, most disturbing of all, the corruption and lawlessness discovered in the temple of God. They felt they had good reason to be afraid!

Then came the long anticipated announcement, the promised messiah is coming! Further, when He actually did come into their fear dominated world, they couldn’t be sure. Everything they had trusted as a sure thing, looked to them like all of it was in the stage of final failure.
“Fear not!” “Welllll, … why not?” “Because, I AM with you. Don’t be dismayed.”
“Fear not!” “Why not?” “ I AM your God!”
“Fear not!” “Why not?” “I keep My promises!”

Truthfully, only the words of scripture are powerful enough to change your mind and therefore, your life. Life-giving words like; “ I will uphold you with My righteous right hand,” “Don’t be anxious about your life,…” “Cast all your anxieties on Him, and He will care for you.” So then, why am I afraid? The Lord Himself promised to protect me!

The hard truth? I am not as confident in Him as I pretend I am. I really want to be, but…I’m not perfect. Great news! You don’t have to be perfect. Just willing! Jesus has freed you from having to keep those, and any other expectations. He is looking for what He knows you CAN do – choose to trust Him, and…do it.

He will take it from there and change your life! CELEBRATE your HOPE in God!

PRAYER: It’s true, Lord. I am a fraidy cat! And, more often than not, the real truth is, I trust me more than I do You. Please forgive me. Like the man in the Bible, I cry out to You, “Help my unbelief.” Amen.

THE VIGILANCE OF HOPE

PRINCIPLES OF HOPE

DAY 21

“THE JEWISH PEOPLE HAVE LEARNED TWO THINGS; Never give up hope, always remain vigilant. Hope charts the future. Vigilance protects it.” In a speech before the U.N. General Assembly Tuesday, October 2, 2013, Prime Minister Netanyahu confidently challenged the leaders of the world with the truth of Biblical prophecy. After quoting from the Old Testament prophet Amos, the Prime Minister declared, “Ladies and gentlemen, the people of Israel have come home never to be uprooted again.”

Mr. Netanyahu continued, “Today our hope for the future is challenged by a nuclear- armed Iran That Seeks our destruction. But, I want you to know, that was not always the case. Some 2500 years ago the Great Persian King Cyrus ended the Babylonian exile of the Jewish people. He issued a famous edict in which he proclaimed the right of the Jews to return to the land of Israel and rebuild the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem. That’s a Persian decree! And thus began an historic friendship between the Jews and the Persians that lasted until modern times.” ( Please read Isaiah 44:28 – 45:13)

For thousands of years, sometimes in despair, drudgery, and war, and at other times in enthusiastic Expectation, Israel has tenaciously believed their promise WILL ultimately be totally fulfilled! Their un-dying hope has always been founded upon the eternal and unchanging God Who is The Promiser! They unashamedly believe His Word, the Torah, is eternally true, and every promise is also eternal. Paul the apostle wrote in the New Testament, that “Faith is the confident assurance that what we hope for WILL actually happen.” (Hebrews 11:1) As God desires of us, Israel’s hope is in God Himself, not the promise itself. It is upon Him, and all the substance of Who He is in His Personhood, they have built themselves and their holy nation.

Netanyahu said, “Hope charts the future. Vigilance protects it.” Israel’s hope for the future, like yours, is assured by wisdom, discernment, being alert, and watchful with diligence, reminding themselves often, that they must deliberately and intentionally, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean upon your own understanding. In all your ways, acknowledge Him, and He will direct your path.” (Proverbs 3: 5,6)

After a long struggle with hopelessness, King David asked, “So, Lord, where DO I put my hope? My only Hope is in You!” (Psalm 39:7)

PRAYER: Thank You, Lord for making Your ways plain. I have for so long, wondered why it has been so hard to keep hoping in my hope. Like Israel, I will put my hope in You and Your unchanging Word. You are really all I need. Thank You Lord! Amen.

THE STAGGERING POWER OF HOPE

PRINCIPLES OF HOPE – DAY 17
“ THE STAGGERING POWER OF HOPE “
“MY SITUATION IS DIFFERENT than everyone else! My psychiatrist said he had only encountered two other life stories as devastating as mine. Though I was, at that time, a growing Christian, I felt like all the Biblical principles I had been taught weren’t working for me. Overwhelming clouds of shame, guilt, and condemnation continued to engulf my soul. It just wasn’t working at all. But, thank God for my Christian family and friends who, like a rock, were steadfast and unmovable in their love and hope in the midst of my struggles.” ( A real-life story)

What often seems like a stand-off with hope, “hope deferred” is usually born in the crucible of unfulfilled, broken and seemingly impossible shattered hopes and dreams. Things like: the death of a loved-one, the failure of a marriage, a friendship, a business, a promise you haven’t kept, a promise made to you that hasn’t been kept, a still unanswered prayer, a misunderstood conversation, false accusations, and…so many other personal and unresolved issues you have worked so hard to settle for the sake of the glory of God.

So, your dream is DEAD and you fear it’s all over for you! Oh No! This place in your life doesn’t make you a bad person. You are not lacking in being a “good enough Christian.” You are human, and Almighty God’s unquenchable love for us highly flawed human beings, says, “Fear not; you will no longer live in shame. Don’t be afraid; there is no more disgrace for you. You will no longer remember the shame of your youth…for the Lord has called you back from your grief…He says, ‘yes, I did briefly leave you (to deal with it alone), but, with great compassion I take you back.” ( Isaiah 54: 4,6,7 )

What a powerful insight into God’s love. Love is the foundation stone for the staggering power of hope. Our hope does not depend on our determination to “stand strong and believe;” rather, it depends upon God’s faithfulness to love us unconditionally…ALWAYS! Run; mind, emotions, and will, run to Him and deliberately, out-loud, choose to receive His unquenchable love; HOPE IS NOT FAR BEHIND!
PRAYER: Father, YOU are the source of all hope. I pray you will fill me completely with joy and peace, because I am committed to trust in YOU. And I thank YOU for the renewed confidence YOU have given me through the power of YOUR Holy Spirit!” Amen!

THE STAGGERING POWER OF HOPE

PRINCIPLES OF HOPE – DAY 17

“MY SITUATION IS DIFFERENT than everyone else! My psychiatrist said he had only encountered two other life stories as devastating as mine. Though I was, at that time, a growing Christian, I felt like all the Biblical principles I had been taught weren’t working for me. Overwhelming clouds of shame, guilt, and condemnation continued to engulf my soul. It just wasn’t working at all. But, thank God for my Christian family and friends who, like a rock, were steadfast and unmovable in their love and hope in the midst of my struggles.” ( A real-life story)

What often seems like a stand-off with hope, “hope deferred” is usually born in the crucible of unfulfilled, broken and seemingly impossible shattered hopes and dreams. Things like: the death of a loved-one, the failure of a marriage, a friendship, a business, a promise you haven’t kept, a promise made to you that hasn’t been kept, a still unanswered prayer, a misunderstood conversation, false accusations, and…so many other personal and unresolved issues you have worked so hard to settle for the sake of the glory of God.

So, your dream is DEAD and you fear it’s all over for you! Oh No! This place in your life doesn’t make you a bad person. You are not lacking in being a “good enough Christian.” You are human, and Almighty God’s unquenchable love for us highly flawed human beings, says, “Fear not; you will no longer live in shame. Don’t be afraid; there is no more disgrace for you. You will no longer remember the shame of your youth…for the Lord has called you back from your grief…He says, ‘yes, I did briefly leave you (to deal with it alone), but, with great compassion I take you back.” ( Isaiah 54: 4,6,7 )

What a powerful insight into God’s love. Love is the foundation stone for the staggering power of hope. Our hope does not depend on our determination to “stand strong and believe;” rather, it depends upon God’s faithfulness to love us unconditionally…ALWAYS! Run; mind, emotions, and will, run to Him and deliberately, out-loud, choose to receive His unquenchable love; HOPE IS NOT FAR BEHIND!
PRAYER: Father, YOU are the source of all hope. I pray you will fill me completely with joy and peace, because I am committed to trust in YOU. And I thank YOU for the renewed confidence YOU have given me through the power of YOUR Holy Spirit!” Amen!

VISIONS FROM GOD?…

This is a very personal story. A few days after the following email exchange, Jon DeBruyn entered into the joy of the Lord – permanently! This exchange of email was between our friends Dick and Dee Sochacki about a Pastor friend of theirs. Carolyn and I have been impacted deeply through the privilege of interceding for Jon until his death. His wife, Mae wrote June 21, 2013:
WHAT JON SEES
Last week…I was sitting by Jon’s bedside. He said, “Are you ready to go?” “ Where are we going?” I asked. “Well, we are here by the river and all the kayaks are ready. Look at that Blue group over there.” I let it rest, but later that afternoon, as I lay by his side, he started talking kayaks and groups again. “That Blue group is really big. The Blue group is reality. They’re the friends and family, the moms and the dads. They are real. Look at that Yellow group over there. That is really a small group.” “Who are they,?” I asked. “They are the head-in-the-clouds group. They are the healing group. But, it’s a really a small group. Then, there is that Green group over there.” (He had a bit of exasperation in his voice.) “Who are they?” I asked. “The ones who say everything is to make you grow. Every experience makes you grow.” (Once again, the exasperation. I think Jon has not thought of this whole cancer experience as one that is making him “grow.”) He went on… “And then, there is the Red group.” “Who are they?” To my surprise, he said, “They are the Damn It! Group. You know, the anger. The angry ones.” “May I be part of the Damn It! Group for awhile?” I asked him. “Yes, that’s ok,” he said.
At any rate, I know that through this journey, I have been in each of these groups except the Green group. I know that will come in time as well. I just want to thank you all, no matter which kayak group you may be in at the moment, for taking this journey with us and continuing to pray us through. We Love you!
I immediately emailed my friend Dick: Thanks for continuing to share Jon and Mae’s story. Carolyn and I have been challenged to pray with you and Dee for them. I believe we are getting an inside glimpse of The Church through the eyes of the Father, as Jon comes nearer to being in His Presence – permanently! The groups of kayakers, Blue, Yellow, Green, and Red, are groups definitive of what I have “seen” in my spirit for years. Thus the book, “God’s PASSIONATE Desire…for Unity in The Church!” Oh, how His heart must break over our seeming determination to be “the most right” group in His Church. I believe Jon is seeing in the Spirit as the Father is seeing us. ( I know that medical people call them “hallucinations,” but, they are visions from God, nonetheless.) Oh Jesus, shake us into living in Your realm so we will see as You see, and be willing to pay the same price of LOVE You continue to pay for that to become a reality.
Thanks, Dick. I really don’t know what else to say!! We will continue to cry out to Him!
I encourage you to continue RIDING THE WIND so you will “see” as He “sees.”

Ride the WIND!

I have a notion that there is a parallel between how we Christians live our lives and, how we worship God. We seem to “feel” most fulfilled when we finish our day exhausted from, what we call “productive activity.” God forbid that we would be found to be leisurely enjoying  making our way through a day with time left o…ver.  I believe our culture (the ruling “world” system)has taught us that busy and motion are a badge of progress.The desired goal for the end of our soul-satisfying,  check mark filled day, is to, upon review of our 2 page “To do” list,  notice, with a deep sense of exhausted achievement, that each item has been dutifully checked as we crash onto the bed.Carolyn and I have visited a lot of churches since leaving the full time pastoral ministry. “Worship,”we  discovered, has many diverse meanings. One church illustrates the extreme of what we found to be the accepted pattern for a “Worship Service” in most Charismatic and/or Evangelical Bible Churches.  To say the least, they are culturally relevant as it relates to being fast-moving  and loud. (ie 98-101 decibels) It left us breathlessly reeling for a break in the action. Frenetic sensory overload crashed into our brains as a frantic cacophony of words to the songs, swirling  graphics, images, and scenery scrambled to chase each other across the stage via the 4 huge video screens.We didn’t know what to hear or see first, or…at all! By the time we got adjusted, they had taken the offering, made another mad dash through the loud music and fantastic graphic filled announcements, and a musical selection, and the Pastor was almost finished with his sermon. Now, fully adjusted, we prayed a quick prayer and, being careful to stay in the flow, hurried to the car, to quickly talk over what we had just experienced.Maybe we should expend some of that “hurry-up” energy on “…resting in Him to know the quietness and confidence that brings us the strength of the Lord.”Because, “…righteousness will bring Peace. It will bring quietness and confidence forever.”(Isaiah 30:15; 32:17) Ride THE WIND across the bridge between your head and your heart, and recapture the pure joy quiet meditation.