Real Church. Real Life. Real Celebration.

Grace to Embrace

God, thank you for the grace to embrace this change

We will not stay here

We don’t want to die in this place

 

For too long, we’ve lived in a bubble

Thinking everything is okay

When you have moved on

 

You long to do something new

You long for a people who will go with You

No more excuses

No more placing blame

 

The time is up for that

It is time to embrace all that You’ve said

 

I don’t want to settle for part of the blessing

I want it all

 

You said the Promise Land flows with milk and honey

We’ve been stagnant

Falling into familiar patterns

 

We’ve thought we had the best

We haven’t even scratched the surface

 

Thank you for Your mercy towards us

Thank you for Your grace

I know You will help us make the change

 

Forgive us for hindering You with our man-made plans

Forgive us for frustrating You

 

I am expectant

I am trusting

I don’t know what lies over the horizon, but I will take the steps

I choose to be obedient

 

What say you?

What will you choose?

~ Madison Sanders

Image Credit: Hands Series #2 © Marco Michelini via freeimages.com

The Value of Pain

A nurse told me that pain is my friend. I disagreed. Pain does not fit my definition of a friend.  I do agree that pain has value. If we did not feel pain, we would not know something was wrong.  I, like most, have had a measure of it in my life.

I felt the pain of rejection as a child. My marriage was not Christ centered in the beginning years. Because of that, I experienced pain of a failing marriage. I know the pain of fear when my child is suffering, and a doctor does not know the answer.  I have experienced the heartbreak of losing someone to death.

God is love. He does not schedule bad things to happen to us. He does sometimes allow it to take place.  During these trying times, God doesn’t want to just change our situation. He desires that we also change.

Romans 8:28 tells us that all things work together for our good to them that love God. All there means all.  How can pain work for our good? I have heard many messages, read books, and heard prayers prayed about rejection, fear and failing marriages.

There is much power in the words when the person has come through these situations themselves. They speak with understanding and clarity.  Pain teaches us a depth of compassion. We know better how to comfort and do warfare in prayer for others.  Because of my past, I can relate better to the people I call “Who’s you?” than I can the “who’s who.” Did I enjoy the things I have learned from? Of course I did not.

I do enjoying seeing someone set free from despair. I find pleasure in seeing hope come alive and replace fear in others. The pain they feel is not foreign to me.  Our church is going through a transition time. Transition means change.  I am asking God to transition me. I want to become a more effective part of the body.   Maybe you are suffering in an area right now.  Find comfort in knowing that because God is good, you can trust Him through in this process.  You can be assured that your situation will change. Allow God to strengthen, teach, and change you.  The value in what you learn will be priceless.

~ Connie Robinson

Image Credit: Hospital Room © Jyn Meyer via freeimages.com

Leadership

With some of the things going on in the world today, there’s a trending thing I’ve noticed as of late. I’m talking about the belittling of leadership. The interesting thing is that this action is coming primarily from the leaders themselves belittling the gift of leadership that is placed in them. What I mean by this is a leader saying we’re going to the right, but someone else wants to go to the left. So the leader decides to go to the left because Susie wants to go left. The leader has now put down his leadership role and became a follower. Now let me say there is a difference between taking advice and processing an opinion versus just giving into the wants of those who are supposed to be following you.

God has set you as a leader to lead, which means He trusts you in the decisions you make over those he has placed under you. (Not saying you will always make the right decisions).

The flip side to this is the lack of appreciation followers have towards their leaders. As a follower, the ground you gain is directly associated with the ground your leader has gained. There are things you will never have to face because your leader has already broken through them or broken through that level of warfare as some would phrase it.

It is for this reason leaders MUST recognize the importance of their role. It’s just like the “V-formation” a flock of birds use. The leader goes first bearing a lot of the responsibility, but he doesn’t create a situation in which the rest of the flock will have to do nothing. Rather, the rest of the flock must also endure to make it to the destination, but because of the lead bird, they had to bear much less weight.

To not appreciate a leader is to say you’d rather go through what they went through than the little that you went through. For a leader to let someone or something else (outside of those who are over you) lead you and decide which direction you go is to try to make them the leader. To lay down your leadership role and let someone else take over is to deny God and His power because if He wanted you to be the follower someone else the leader, that’s what He would have done. Leaders, don’t be afraid to step out in faith. Trust God to direct your steps. Followers, appreciate your leaders! An encouraging word is a blessing those who hear it.

~ Jevallye’ Beverly

Leadership © Craig Parylo via freeimages.com

Be Encouraged

“Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort. Who comforteth us is all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted.” ~ 2 Corinthians 1:3-4

Some people act as if they have an answer or solution to any situation others are going through. I call that presumption. How can someone assume they have an answer for everything? Usually it’s rooted in pride or arrogance. If you have never driven to California, how can you tell me how to get there? We have all faced situations needing an answer. Just be careful who you ask for help or advice.

I have dealt with depression for a number of years. Reflecting back, before I was faced with it, I use to tell people, ” Get over it, Shake it off. It’s not that bad”. If you have never suffered with depression, you just don’t know. We should pray and ask for the Lord’s help before speaking.

The scripture I wrote at the beginning of this article means a lot to me. God is my Father. He is the God of all comfort. He is able to comfort your mind when turmoil and anxiety are raging. He is the Peace Speaker when the storms of life are blowing. He is that small, still voice when anxious thoughts are bombarding your mind. He is a friend who will never leave or forsake you. He is that abundant, available help in the time of our need.

I find strength, hope, and comfort in reading and meditating in His word. “Heaviness or anxiety in the heart of man causes depression; but a good word maketh it glad.” ~ Proverb 12:25

God’s Word will get you through it.

~Ricky Robinson

Image Credit: Fire in the Sky © Brett Theriault via freeimages.com

It’s Time to Move!

I’ve been thinking about change since Anessa told the teens at CHOSEN that she hasn’t seen a whole lot of change. To her, it seems like they always come back to the CHOSEN Youth Camp in the same place they were the year before. Even though I didn’t go to CHOSEN, I watched the services online. Immediately I asked myself, “Am I in the same place spiritually that I was last year? Has my change and growth been evident to others?” I hope it is! I hope others can see my growth.

Ever since that question, things have been coming to the surface. Reminders that change isn’t a one-time thing. Surrendering to God is something that happens continually. Every few days I tell God, “I surrender to you. I surrender my need to be right. Whatever you need from me, I am Yours.”

Each one of us needs to do that. And then, to bring everything full circle, Apostle David preached an excellent, timely, heart-piercing word recently about strengthening our joints. He said, “We have strong members (at Gateway), but weak joints.”

While thinking about how God wanted me to write everything that has been bouncing around inside of me, I thought about our physical joints. They become weak when we don’t use them. We lose function when we stop changing positions. If we stop getting up, over time, we won’t be able to get up at all.

I know there are areas of my life that I haven’t let God stretch because it’s painful. But I don’t want to be comfortable while God’s Kingdom becomes ineffective. I don’t want the weeds in my life to choke out the Word of God that is trying desperately to take root in me. I want God’s love to be fully manifested in me. I want His peace to be fully manifested in me.

While reading in Ephesians 4 today, I came across these verses, “So I tell you this, and insist on it in the Lord, that you must no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their thinking. They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts” (NIV).

I don’t know about you, but I don’t want my thinking to be useless. I don’t want my understanding to be darkened. I don’t want to be ignorant because I have hardened my heart.

Thinking about what those verses are saying. Useless thinking, no understanding, ignorant, and a hardened heart. All of those things cause a spiritual joint to be weak because the person won’t even realize they need to change. They won’t even recognize the need for growth!

We as believers of Christ don’t have to stay ignorant. Thank goodness our hearts can be softened. We can choose to not move our joints and we will get weaker and weaker. We will become more ineffective as the seasons go by. The only remedy is to say, “Continue breaking me, Lord. Continue shaping me. I know I’ve let You shape some areas of my life, but I need more of You. I want to be an effective joint in the Body of Christ, so show me the areas of weakness in me.” If I can’t see the problem, I can’t deal with it.

I know that two areas in me that are weak are my love walk and patience. Way before Apostle David even preached his message, I’d been asking God to increase my love walk and increase my patience. He has given me opportunities to walk in love, but I haven’t done that enough.

Guess what? There will be more opportunities for me to strengthen those weak areas. By His grace, I will become a strong joint, which means I will be able to minister to those in need.

It’s all about His Kingdom. There are so many people who need God’s love in their life, but we have to be mature, strong joints before we can help them. We know what to do. Now we have to do it!

~ Madison Sanders

Image Credit © tatlin via freeimages.com

Where Is Your Faith?

Do you want to know where your faith is? I can tell you. What are the words coming out of your mouth on any day?

The woman with an issue of blood said, “If I only touch His garment I will be made whole” (Matthew 9:21). She continued to speak until she saw the manifestation of her hope.

She kept saying, “I shall be made whole, I shall be made whole.” When she touched His clothes her touch of faith made a demand on the anointing that rested on Jesus.

What are you hoping for? Jesus has done everything and given us the tools to bring about the manifestation of the promises of God. All we have to do is take the medicine, which is the word of God.

Doctors are not bad. Medicine is not a bad thing. Continue to take the medicine and take the word of God. We will see the benefits of what Jesus died for on the cross if we keep the faith.

The woman had spent all her money. She had nothing to lose by confessing and pressing into what belonged to her. We must press into what belongs to us just like she did. It’s not just going to pop out of thin air.

We can’t wait until we need a miracle. If we need love, joy, prosperity, peace, healing, or restoration, then sow that into someone else’s life. The Bible says that we will reap what we sow if we faint not (Galatians 6:9).

The harvest is now. Don’t wait another day. Sow what you want. Say what you want according to the scriptures in the Bible.

~ Tammy Sanders

Image Credit: Thermometer © Aman Anderson via freeimages.com

The Love of No

A toddler had on a shirt that read, ” My name is no no.”  I laughed, understanding the meaning of the phrase.  No is a word children hear many times. It is not used to deprive them. It is to teach them and sometimes to protect them as well.

We recently celebrated a grandson’s birthday. He was specific about the gift he wanted. Two states and seven stores later, the requested toy was found. We were excited when the time came to present it to him. However, if he had asked for another toy a week later, the answer would be different because we just bought him a toy. We have to love him enough to say no. Because of the relationship we have built with him, he would accept this. He trusts that we know best.

A friend came to visit me from out of town. I told her the type of work I would like to find.  She called a few days later to tell me there was an opening for this kind of job in her area. She knew the person hiring for the position. We were sure this was the will of God for me. The interview went well. I was even shown the living quarters my husband and I would be using once I started.

Days passed with no word. I later learned that someone else had been chosen. I felt the pain of rejection. I was hurt that God didn’t consider how important this was to me.  Later, I was able to look back and realize that I wasn’t as prepared for the change this job would have brought as I had thought.

Trust is a big part of any relationship. As we grow in our faith walk, trust in our Heavenly Father is expanded. That experience was almost twenty years ago. I have grown since then. I have learned to wait when God answers me with the love of no. I realize that He knows what is best for me. I know He will answer accordingly.  My husband and I now live in a different town. The Lord gave us both an area and a home that we enjoy. We are part of Gateway Believers Fellowship. We love our church and our church family. I am thankful that God loves me enough to sometimes answer no. It is the path that led me here today.

~ Connie Robinson

 

Image Credit: All Smiles © Crissy Pauley via freeimages.com

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