Real Church. Real Life. Real Celebration.

We’ve Moved!

We've Moved direction sign with a beautiful dayHi, faithful readers and subscribers! While you can still access all of the wonderful content we’ve published here over the last six years, any new content can be found at our church website: http://www.gatewaybelievers.com . We thank you for your support of The Celebration and encourage you to subscribe to the RSS feed at the Gateway page to continue receiving inspirational posts from our gifted writing team. God bless you! We’ll see you at The Gate!

A Spiritual Raking

“In prayer there is a connection between what God does and what you do. You can’t get forgiveness for God, for instance, without also forgiving others. If you refuse to do your part, you cut yourself off from God’s part.” ~ Matthew 6:14, The Message

I was outside cutting grass after all the rain and had to rake up the grass clippings because it had been a while since I had cut my grass. My goal was to have all my grass cut the same length, because I can’t stand to have a piece not uniform with the rest. Even though I was enjoying raking my little piles up, I started to get irritated at the grass in areas. In some places in the yard, raking produced areas that I thought were cut but actually were not. Well, I went back over these areas with the lawnmower to cut them down, but when I raked again I realized that there was another piece that needed to be cut! I finally put the lawnmower blade down one level and went back over the whole spot. I was frustrated by all the extra time I had spent on it, but I got it taken care of eventually!!

As I worked on my yard, it occurred to me that we have areas in our lives that we think are okay until we examine them closely and find uneven places that need some trimming. I could have left my yard alone, and it would have been a job well done for most people. If I had not raked up the waste left in my yard, I would never have found the areas of grass that escaped the trim. If we never examine ourselves a little closer than usual, we will overlook the little things that escape the first pass of prayer or repentance. Our spiritual landscape may pass for a while, but that one piece that we overlooked will eventually grow and raise its ugly head above all the other areas of our lives if we don’t take the time to properly eliminate it in the first place.

How often have we thought something in our life was taken care of only to find it surfacing later on down the road? It is the little things that we think we have taken care of that will sneak in and cause us not to walk with God the way that you should or experience the fullness of what He has for you.

So rake through, and let your spirit show you that little twig of grass that needs to be dealt with. Whatever it represents, put your spiritual mower on it and get it out of your life so it doesn’t cause you problems on down the road!

~ Ronda Sullivan

Image Credit: The Symmetrical Rake © Jon Watkins via freeimages.com

Freedom

 

  ~ John 8:36 “If The Son therefore shall make you free, Ye shall be free indeed.”

We recently celebrated Veteran’s Day. I honor veterans, those in active service, and their families for the sacrifices they make. I am reminded of the phrase, “Freedom isn’t free.”

I want to reflect on a different freedom today. I am talking about spiritual freedom. One definition of freedom is the state of not being imprisoned or enslaved. There is financial bondage. We can be free from this worry when we remind ourselves that God said He would supply all of our needs.

Physical and emotional pain can hold us captive.  During suffering, we can find comfort in knowing that Jesus is our healer. We can be victorious in mind and spirit even before we experience it in the natural. We find hope during depression, by knowing that Jesus said He is our peace.

This kind of freedom also isn’t free. Jesus has already paid the price, however. In hard times, especially, our prayer life should be determined and focused.  Worship, praise, and spending time with God are essential. It is important to study the Word. Be diligent to meditate on scripture to build faith. Listen to teachings from mature, proven ministries. They can offer valuable tools to use in spiritual warfare.

I know many who have had challenges this year. I myself have experienced them. We, at Gateway Believers Fellowship, have also faced some as a whole. We have stood together during this time.

Corporate prayer is a part of the strategy we use against the enemy. Encouragement for one another has been evident. Apostle David Coker and other wise leaders have brought timely messages. We are now celebrating many victories. This is due to the stand we took, and being obedient to the leading of Holy Spirit. You will reap in due season, if you faint not.

Maybe you are imprisoned in some way. I urge you take the steps that we, at Gateway Believers Fellowship, have taken. Holy Spirit directed us through this process. We will continue to follow His leading. He desires to do the same in your life. He will guide you to victory. Remember, who The Son makes free is free indeed.

~ Connie Robinson

Image Credit: Freedom © Jess Hall via freeimages.com

Enjoying Life

I just returned from a four-day trip to Blue Ridge, Georgia. We went to the mountains to see all the fall colors. While there, we enjoyed staying in a log cabin with the latest state-of-art appliances. I grew up in a generation where you had to wait twenty minutes for the coffee to brew. Now you can have a cup in under a minute. It used to take the black and white tv time to warm up, and if you were lucky, you might get three channels. That is if you could adjust the rabbit-ear antenna with tin foil in the right direction. Now its 1,000 channels, all in high-definition color, 24/7. If you can find something worthwhile to watch.

What changes have taken place in my short sixty-six years of living. We had made reservations to ride a scenic railroad through the mountains. The fall colors were so beautiful. The tracks ran along a river on one side and the mountains on the other. I was taken back in time. Growing up, I used to ride the passenger train to visit my grandparents.

I had a deep touching spiritual experience while in the mountains. Saturday morning I walked out onto the back deck, a cup of coffee in hand. As I was enjoying it, things were quiet. Nothing distracted me from fully enjoying the moment. I began looking out onto the mountains. I was thanking God for His beautiful creation. The vibrant leaves were washed in the early morning sun light.

Some scriptures from Psalms came to mind:  “The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handy works. Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night sheweth knowledge. There is no speech nor language, where their voice is not heard.” ~ Psalms 19:1-3

The Lord was speaking His love to me. Allowing me another day on earth. Blessing me with life, health, eye sight, and a mind to enjoy His creation. We serve a glorious Heavenly Father, who loves us more than we will ever understand. He desires an intimate relationship with each of us. He has sent His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, for our redemption. Blessed be His Holy Name forever. Who giveth us richly all things to enjoy. ~ 1 Timothy 6:17

~ Ricky Robinson

Image Credit: Mountain in the Autumn © MARIE JEANNE Iliescu via freeimages.com

Finding My Joy Again

My joy was gone for about two to three weeks. Not on a vacation. It has been completely non-existent. I didn’t check my personal emails. I went to bed with a heaviness that often resulted in me being woken up in the middle of the night, unable to go back to sleep because of a pounding heart beat.

That feeling of dread often carried over into the morning. I had things I needed to be working on, but I had ZERO desire to do anything.

How did this happen? I’ll tell you. It resulted from me carrying things I had no business carrying. Matthew 6:25-27 reminds us not to worry saying, “That is why I tell you not to worry about everyday life—whether you have enough food and drink, or enough clothes to wear. Isn’t life more than food, and your body more than clothing?  Look at the birds. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them. And aren’t you far more valuable to him than they are? Can all your worries add a single moment to your life?”

I knew my joy was gone. I hated the way I felt. If my mind and emotions were not in turmoil, I was just in limbo. I wasn’t doing anything to move forward. I KNEW I needed to pray, but I couldn’t. I would read a few Scriptures in the Bible just to get some peace…for the moment. Sometimes I would start quoting the Word with power and authority, but end up in tears.

I KNEW I needed to confess the Word over myself. I knew it, but the circumstances and overwhelming feelings were just too much. I would try to work on things and I would just go in circles, never really accomplishing anything.

I’d had people pray for me. The feelings would lift. Then, my mouth would get me into trouble. It’s like I had an overwhelming urge to say the wrong thing whenever something happened. I am usually never continually negative, but it seemed like nothing was right. I couldn’t write because I didn’t have anything to say. The words weren’t hanging out in my mind. They simply weren’t there.

Finally, I called a friend. I talked to her for five minutes, only sharing a little of what I was feeling. She started praying for me and God showed her almost everything…even things I had thought!

I slept better that night, but the next day was a struggle. Finally, my mom said, “Something’s got to give.” “I know,” I said. “You won’t pray. You used to listen to the Word. I don’t know what you do now.”

“It’s not that I quit listening all together. The sound of anything irritated me. I irritated myself.

Mama and I committed to start praying in tongues thirty minutes every morning. If I couldn’t do it all right then, I took Mama’s advice and prayed when I could, even if that meant just a few minutes at a time.

After a few days, weightiness and heaviness that had been so prevalent lifted. I felt lighter. I wasn’t as irritated. Before I got the breakthrough, each day I had to look for something to be happy about.

When my nephew and cousin came over, I made myself get excited and do silly faces. I told Mama I felt fake doing that, but she said, “Sometimes, you have to fake it until you make it.”

If things seem bad right now, they won’t stay that way. LIFT UP YOUR HEAD! Turn your eyes to Jesus! I promise you He’s there. The enemy wants to convince you that he’s won this round. He wants you to stay down. I am encouraging you to GET UP! With God, all things are possible! All you have to do is make a choice to let God be God! He’s got this!

~ Madison Sanders

Image Credit: Happy Buttercups Lesley Cutts via freeimages.com

Why an apostolic church?

One of the things I love about Gateway is that I’m always challenged to actually be the kind of person God has made me to be. Because of God’s grace, I’ve never felt like I was punching the air  in vain or hopelessly spinning my wheels. When He shows me a glimpse of the person I could be, it inspires me to press in to Him, knowing that the promise of truly becoming that person is real.

Part of my Kingdom assignment is to lead our congregation in worship. There is tremendous pressure to be in-tune with God and sensitive to His leadings and promptings, being quick to hear and follow Holy Ghost. It’s easy to let myself become overwhelmed with a sense of inadequacy and incompetence because I’m just a human being. I don’t always know the next step. I don’t always know the next song. I don’t always know what God’s doing. Then I remember that it’s not by my strength or talent or intellect. I can only fulfill this call by the grace of God, and you can only fulfill your call the same way.

The Apostolic ministry is one where the people are released into their callings and giftings by the grace of God. Apostle David first teaches us, equips us, chastens us and matures us. He then positions us, releases us, sends us and empowers us to fully fill our Kingdom assignments. That’s what it means to be submitted to an Apostle and be part of an Apostolic ministry: that you will be challenged, disciplined and strengthened so that when you become a mature son of the house, you can be an effective disciple for the Kingdom ofGod.

God predestined each of us for a particular purpose. There are no clones in the Body of Christ. Each one of us is unique and special. Each one of us has a call and destiny on our lives. And each one of us CAN reach that destiny. All we have to do is trust God, listen to and obey the spiritual authority God has placed in our lives, and rely fully on God’s grace to do all the things that are required of us.

Here at Gateway, you have the opportunity to learn what that unique purpose for your life is, how to develop it and walk into it, and how to actually be that person God has made you to be.

~by Anessa Back

Seeds

My life may not make sense to someone on the outside looking in. I pray, I go to church, but I also actively recognize my need for Jesus. I am broken. I need mending. I need grace and mercy. In order for me to have grace and mercy, I have to give that to others. That is where the problem lies!

My human flesh doesn’t always want to turn the other cheek. My first instinct is often to lash out and give that person a piece of my mind. Afterwards, something in my head says, “You did good. You told them the truth.” That might be true, but I didn’t do it love. I did it out of anger and frustration. I projected my feelings on to the other person. In other words, I vomited hate and anger all over the place!

I am continually needing God’s grace to let go. I can’t control other people, BUT I can control my reactions to situations. I am responsible for the words I say whether I like it or not. Have I been sowing seeds of love lately? Not always.

I was listening to Charles Capps the other day and he said something that struck me: “When you sow seeds of faith it produces faith, but if you sow seeds of strife it produces strife.” It sounds simple, right? It hit me that the negative words I had spoken produced strife. I had never thought about that! I don’t want to produce strife in my life OR someone else’s.

My mom’s actions early in life hurt her witness. She said whatever she felt like saying. When Mama wanted to talk to old friends about Jesus, they didn’t want to listen because of her attitude towards them before she found Jesus.  When you do things God’s way, your light grows brighter.

A soft answer turns away wrath. That’s what the Bible says we are to do, even when we know a person is doing wrong AND they know.

As Christians, we are held to a higher standard. Jesus expects us NOT to respond to situations the way the world would. This week a friend said that God gives us grace to walk in patience and love with people that we don’t have patience for. With Him, all things are possible…even the hard things.

~ Madison Sanders

Image Credit: Seeds © Razief Adlie via freeimages.com

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