Thanks to Sarah for bringing a great Word yesterday, Lori and the 2 Peas in a Pod Team for a great lunch and all of you for showing great love to our visitors. (estimate is over 65 at brunch yesterday with many guests and some new faces)
Tues Zoom Huddle 10am. All welcome!
Wed Bread distribution 10-12; Family Ministries/Adult Dinner and Video Huddle
Sat. 10-1 Clothing Closet
Sun after worship is our annual Congregational Meeting (we will have a zoom link running as well)
Good Morning Discerners of the Times, Prepared Harvest Workers! It doesn't take a rocket scientists to discern that the times are dark, evil, and getting worse. It feels like Satan has control of this world, doesn't it? Yet we are called to be the Light that shines in the darkness. God promises an end times harvest. We know that as the end of time approaches things will get more dark and evil. God has been calling us to prepare and be ready--daylight's burning. So many are praying for Jesus to come back. Are you praying and readying for that? What will Jesus find you doing if He returns today?
Check out the Harvest Prayer Revival prayer below affirming what I said the other day about "both/and". As watchman discern the times we need to be discerning and informed with biblical truth. It will be both dark and Light when Jesus returns. Times will be the worst ever, yet the Great Day of the Lord will be the most awesome day for those being saved. Until then we are charged to prepare earnestly and bring those God is drawing along. Yes, be discerning of the times but don't buy into the lies that all is hopeless or that our God is a myth or very distant and His ways futile. Turn off THAT noise and tune into God's Truth. He is coming back. As the time approaches, it will get very dark and evil. Be earnest and prepared, persevering as you harvest. And remember, Jesus promises to be with us until the end. The commission He gave before that promise was to go and make disciples. My prayer is that I will be preparing you for that and be part of His end time harvesting faithful ones who persevere until the end. Please pray earnestly into that as you seek God for how He desires to use you for such a time as this. He has plans for you and us to discover as we prepare faithfully.
God had several threads coming to me during my quiet time today through our devotionals and my prayer time. What's He saying to you as you sit at His feet and discern the times and your part in His plans? Yesterday, Sarah reminded us that we are part of God's Body and no matter who we are, we all have an important part in that Body functioning well. We are talking about spiritual gifts and the Holy Spirit and the fruit of the Spirit growing in us is the measure of how well we are shedding our old nature and stepping into our new in Christ nature. How would you rate these fruit growing in you: love, joy, peace, patience, gentleness kindness, goodness, faithfulness and self control? (check out ODB below) If we really want to become more like Jesus and really want to be more prepared for what lies ahead, we need to allow the Holy Spirit full access to us and allow Him to mold us, lead us and use us for God's glory. As we step from our old ways into God's best this fruit will grow and the old and rotten will be replaced with much better, good and pleasing fruit in God's eyes. But, man, dying to self and following Jesus to the Father's best for us can be so hard. the lure of this world is strong and Satan keeps prowling about trying to detour us from God's best. Be strong in Christ! Stand firm on the Rock. Pursue what really matters according to God.
I'm going to allow you to work on discerning the times, what God is revealing to you today, and how He wants to direct and give you the desires of your heart that align with His. Have you sought God for a word to two to work on this year as He leads you to spiritual growth and prepared service. (Please let Sarah and me know your words so we can pray and encourage you this year!) I've been praying into that almost daily and I think God wants me to continue to have last years words in focus because He is still working on me with "agape" (dying to self and loving like Jesus) and "disciple making, even though I have made some progress. However, He 's given me two new words for this year to be more focused on as I seek to become more like Jesus in '24. "Earnest" and "Ready" are my two words. It will involve growth at pursuing being more earnest in my walk and ways and being ready when God says go, willing to stop my agenda for His and follow well. God keeps reminding me that in this life Christ is all that matters and my assignment is to be ready to roll with Him to advance His Kingdom no matter what I face when He says go. He wants me to be more earnest in my being purified and ready. He is coming back and until then He has a great plan for me (and us) that will help with that and bring soul satisfaction and joy as I (we) enjoy this life He's given us. Maybe balanced would be another word as we have responsibilities in this world and His Kingdom as duel citizens. But He does promise to provide all we need as we follow Him earnestly and work at becoming more like Jesus in '24 and beyond. Are you ready? I'm earnestly working on that and praying for us all to be about our Father's business more earnestly. Amen!
We are all on a journey and Jesus invites us to come as we are, but loves us too much to leave us that way! Follow Him and His peace and provision and you will know true joy as you discern what really matters and pursue it more earnestly. Amen! Keep you eyes and ears open and your heart willing and ready! Seek first the Kingdom of God and all other things will be added. PTL! Keep working at living and loving more like Jesus and great fruit will be forthcoming! Yes! And Amen!
Harvest Prayer Revival Blog:
January 29, 2024 - Praying for Revival (Day 29): Morning and Night Are Coming
One group of watchmen says we are moving into the greatest days in the history of the American Church. The other says we are facing God’s imminent judgment and very difficult days.
Having wrestled with this, I’m proposing something I believe the Lord has helped me grasp. In Isaiah 21:11–12 we read: “‘Watchman, what is left of the night? Watchman, what is left of the night?’ The watchman replies, ‘Morning is coming, but also the night.’” It sounds as though the watchman doesn’t understand.
Could it be that the Lord wants us to recognize that when we see only one of the messages, we are receiving only part of what watchmen are to see? Could it be that God is saying we need both mindsets as we move closer to Christ’s return?
If this is true, then it changes how we pray. What if, biblically, we are to expect a mighty move of God in the midst of great darkness and judgment? What if we are indeed moving into a time of deep darkness but in the midst of it the light of Christ will shine more brightly?
God is the Watchman over it all, so let’s keep praying according to His heart. “Watchman, what is left of the night? Watchman, what is left of the night?”
The watchman replies, “Morning is coming, but also the night.”
I praise You, Father, that You rule over both the morning and the night, the light and the darkness. I trust You no matter what may come my way, and I will pray with an expectant heart for another great move of Your hand and an unprecedented harvest of lost people. Prepare me to be the light of Christ to others, even if that is in the midst of persecution and hardship. Help me to be an alert and discerning watchman on the wall as I pray for Your return. Even in darkness, may the Church be the brilliant light of the glory of Jesus to this nation and to the world.
Pr a y e r Po i n t s:
• Praise God that He rules over both the morning and the night, light and darkness. Express your trust in Him no matter what comes your way.
• Pray with an expectant heart for a great move of God and an unprecedented harvest of lost people.
• Ask God to prepare you to be the light of Christ to others, even if it is in the midst of persecution and hardship.
• Pray that you will be an alert and discerning watchman on the wall as you pray toward the Lord’s return.
• Pray that even in darkness, the Church will be the brilliant light of the glory of Christ to our nation and the world.
--Adapted from Day 29 by Dale Schlafer: Do It Again, Lord (30 Days of Hope-Filled Prayer for Revival) compiled and edited by Carol Madison.
The young pastor prayed every morning, asking God to use him that day to bless someone. Often, to his delight, such a situation arose. One day during a break at his second job, he sat in the sunshine with a coworker who asked him about Jesus. The pastor simply answered the other man’s questions. No rant. No arguing. The pastor commented that being guided by the Holy Spirit led him to have a casual talk that felt effective but loving. He made a new friend as well—someone hungry to learn more about God.
Letting the Holy Spirit lead us is the best way to tell others about Jesus. He told His disciples, “You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses” (Acts 1:8).
The fruit of the Spirit “is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control” (Galatians 5:22–23). Living under the Spirit’s control, that young pastor put into practice what Peter instructed: “Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect” (1 Peter 3:15).
Even if we suffer for believing in Christ, our words can show the world that His Spirit leads us. Then our walk will draw others to Him.
By Patricia Raybon
REFLECT & PRAY
What’s your communication style when telling others about Jesus? How would letting the Holy Spirit lead make your talks more effective?
As I tell others about Jesus, please lead me, Holy Spirit, to speak with Your love.
For further study, read Live Free: A Fresh Look at the Fruit of the Spirit.
In Galatians 5, we tend to focus on the fruit of the Spirit (vv. 22-23), which believers in Jesus should display. But it’s also important to note how the Spirit’s fruit contrasts with the works of the flesh (vv. 19-21). Paul describes these works as “sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like.” Line that up against the fruit of the Spirit, and the difference in quality of life is apparent. Notice the destructive nature of the works of the flesh—which include spiritual, moral, and relational failures—compared with the life-affirming nature of the fruit of the Spirit, which is important for the believer’s witness to the world. While all the works of the flesh are in violation of the law of Moses, Paul says of the Spirit’s fruit, “Against such things there is no law” (v. 23).
UR: It's All in the Family
Paul wrote, “I kneel before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name.” - Ephesians 3:14-15 (NIV)
I hate to admit it, but my children and grandchildren are not perfect. But even though I may not always agree with or approve of their actions, I will forever love them unconditionally. I consider myself a tolerant person, but I don’t appreciate it when others want to harm or criticize my family. In those times, I will speak up even though I’m timid.
Because of the intense love I feel for my family, I think I have a small understanding of God’s love for all of us, God’s children. None of us is perfect, but we are all God’s creation. When I want to be critical or judgmental of others, I try to remind myself that I would not appreciate hateful remarks about my own family. I need to give the same respect to God’s children.
Furthermore, as a parent and grandparent, nothing thrills me more than when others recognize the goodness of my family and give them support and affection. As imperfect as we all are, I believe God is truly pleased when we see and appreciate the good in God’s children.
Dear Father, thank you for loving us all as your children. We pray that you will guide us to love all your children as you have loved us. Amen.