Real Church. Real Life. Real Celebration.

Archive for the ‘family of God’ Category

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

Advertisements

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

Being Prepared

“A prudent man forseeth the evil, and hideth himself; but the simple pass on, and are punished.” ~ Proverbs 22:3

We are living in a time of real challenges and rapid changes. There is a lot of uncertainty. I remember simpler times. We use to only get about an hour and a half of news broadcasts. Now we are faced with the latest news 24/7. Terrorist attacks, government corruption, failing economies, civil unrest, strange diseases, and a number of other crises.

It just confirms that God’s word is true. Jesus said, “Men’s hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken.” ~ Luke 21:26

I’ve never experienced being in an earthquake. People say that nothing is stable and everything is moving and falling during an earthquake. Sometimes it seems our world is in a constant shaking. It may be to late to prepare after something happens. Jesus told the parable of the wise man and the foolish man. “The rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon the house.” ~ Matthew 7:25

It happened to the wise man and the foolish man alike. The wise man was able to survive. He trusted in God’s grace, provision, protection, and His word.

Let’s be prudent and seek the rock of our salvation, Jesus Christ. He will always be a faithful savior, no matter what the storm. “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.” ~ Psalm 46:1

~ Ricky Robinson

Image Credit: Old Bible © abcd2000 via freeimages.com

New Drawers??

One of my favorite passages in the Bible is Joshua 1. It’s about the transition from the wilderness into the Promised Land. For years upon years, they were promised this land, but because of a generation’s lack of gratitude, their failure to acknowledge & appreciate divine intervention and their own murmuring & complaining, they turned an 11-day trip into 40-years of the longest “donut” ever. As a matter of fact, God was pretty clear that they couldn’t enter the promised land until a whole generation died. So, that’s what happened and Joshua 1 picks up with Moses, the previous leader, dying & Joshua, the new leader, taking over.

Now, in my family, “growing up” has always been coupled with the metaphor of getting new undies (AKA “a new set of drawers”). It’s true- “new drawers” has taught this SUSTAH a number of life-lessons.

A) I remember around the age of 3 that the transition into undies meant I was “big girl” and had responsibilities. I had to help feed my baby brother & baby cousins, be a big sister to Cat, making sure that she was protected & watched, and build “important” things in Grandpa’s tool shed. Whenever I acted contrary to being a big girl, one of my relatives would quickly remind me that I was NOT wearing a diaper anymore. My drawers had changed and I needed to also!

B) In elementary school, my Mia Ma, Pop, grandparents, older brothers, cousins, aunts & uncles used undies to teach me that “change” was a good & necessary thing. “If you don’t freak out about changing your drawers everyday, Little Vickie, then don’t freak out about other changes.” That typically led to a monologue about how some changes resulted in death, despair, chaos . . . and more death. They often responded quickly and explained how change could result in something that could really be good for you, referencing a sport, a “Rocky” movie or a “back in the day” tale that ended in victory. “Wait it out . . . and if it doesn’t end up being a good situation, then change your “drawers” again, baby. You know how to do it!”

C) My all-time favorite “drawers” lesson was in my early teens when I would get into trouble. In those days, it was something new everyday. I was a leader, a scientist, a teacher, a rebel with a cause . . . and that often meant that I was gonna do exactly the OPPOSITE of what Mia Ma told me NOT to do. Despite being recognized for the creativity & innovation that went into the the escapades, I was always grounded. The explanation for my punishment was the same simple reason each time: I was trying to wear “grown folk” drawers when it suited me to keep the “teenager” drawers that I had. And, if that didn’t sink in, it was Mia Ma’s infamous declaration that she was the ONLY ONE who was gonna wear the “grown up” drawers in HER house and we the kiddos had better take note.

I could keep going on and on because I’ve been recalling these life-lessons lately. I’ve recognized that, like Joshua 1, I’ve been in the process of a transition in my life. In other words, I’m coming into a new set of drawers. Like Joshua teaches me, in order to lay hold of the things ahead, some things must “die” and be left in the wilderness. I have to leave the soiled things that I’ve overused – excuses about why I’m not doing what I know I need to, complaining about the things that I’ve been unwilling to change, lack of trust, lack of forgiveness, pride & fear – and put on a fresh pair! The truth is that I cannot transition into the new phase with the waste & crap of the old phase.

Maya Angelou once said, “Nothing changes unless we do.” That’s true! What is TRUTH is that God wants to do a NEW thing in our hearts, in our lives and in our generation, not another “played out” version of the old thing. He gets the NEW thing when we, through the blood of Jesus & with the help of the Holy Spirit, willing transition into the NEW!

So, listen to a Sustah & do yourself a favor as you’re transitioning into a better you- CHANGE YOUR DRAWERS, HONEY! Bigger & better things are to come!

~ Vickie Bowman

Image Credit: Married Life1 © aToy via freeimages.com

Vacancy

When a person is trying to quit smoking, they often use hard candy or gum to help them stop. A couch potato is advised to take a walk instead of watching TV. A lot of us have munched on an apple, while thinking about that Snickers bar. These are examples of good exchanges.

We have witnessed things being replaced in our society, however that are not good.  I have heard people question how our country has seemed to have morally declined so quickly. I think the answer is that it didn’t happen fast at all. It has been a slow, calculated process.

A definition of vacancy is emptiness.  The enemy seeks out voids left in a person, family, church, even country to fill with his agenda. Prayer was taken out of school. It was replaced with humanism.

Humanism mindsets can never fill a spiritual vacuum.   Gun violence, rape, and the absence of morals in schools were not rampant when God was a part of the classroom.  Even some churches have aided in this moral decline. Holiness has been replaced with entertainment.  Services have become all about self and flesh.  Little or no teaching on maturing, sacrificing, seeking God, or growing in Christ is heard in these self-edifying services.  God wants us to know who we are  in Him. This should never overshadow Him or His greatness.  Glory is due His name.

Marriage is no longer held in high regard in society.  The norm now seems to be for a couple to declare their love by going to the “next level” by living together.  That is not Gods plan. It is a cheap counterfeit  for the covenant of marriage.  The enemy has stolen the security marriage affords. That is because he knows there is strength and unity in agreement.

The good news is that God always has a people. He always has a plan. He will have those who listen and obey his voice.  We as his people do not have to accept this decline.   We examine ourselves first. What vacancy have we filled with the wrong things? What lies have we begun listening to?  We allow God to show us any changes or repenting we need to apply.  We can then pray for our own families.  Ask God to reveal and replace the enemy’s  agendas for His.  We then move on to our jobs, churches, neighborhoods, and yes, our country. We can still declare that we are one nation under God.

~ Connie Robinson

Image Credit Vacancy © kd kelly via freeimages.com

Perpetual Life

I love this season of the year. Springtime is when everything comes back to life. It is a new beginning for the flowers, trees, and new life returns to cover the earth. The warmth returns after the cold of winter. You hear the birds chirping and the fragrance of fresh blossoms fill the air. People are out and about working and playing enjoying life. All four seasons have their uniqueness. God gives us all things to richly enjoy. He really loves His creation, especially mankind.

I love nature, being outdoors, and seeing all of the beauty. ~ Psalms 19:1 says, “The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth His handywork.”

It’s undeniable that creation tells us of Him. I was walking around my yard and as I was standing there, I observed a honey bee flying from one blossom to another. The Lord began speaking to my spirit. He brought to my mind a verse in Genesis. “While the earth remaineth, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, and summer and winter shall not cease.” ~ Genesis 8:22

When God created earth and mankind He created perpetual life. We are all a part of the cycle of life. “One generation passeth away, and another generation cometh; but the earth abideth for ever.” ~Ecclesiastes 1:4

Our life here is like a vapor of smoke. When it comes to an end what will be said of us? Have we made a difference in our being here? Have we contributed something of value to the next generation?

God expects us to pass something on to the following generations. What are your beliefs and values? Are they going to be beneficial to your children and grand children? I am so thankful to the Lord I was raised to believe His word. It’s true and never changes. I was taught to have faith in Jesus Christ. “He is the same yesterday, and today, and forever.” ~ Hebrews 13:8

In this ever-changing world, let’s commit to pass on the only thing that will never fail: Faith in God and His word.

~ Ricky Robinson

Image Credit: Bud Opening © Robert Michie via freeimages.com

%d bloggers like this: