Greetings and Salutations from Pastor Bob and The Encouraging Word!!!!
Do you realize that is the first time, in like I don't know, how many years, I even slightly changed my intro to this mailing. Wow, how progressive can one man get. I know, I know, I have become so conservative I make RushLimbaugh look like a communist.
Anyway, How are you? Man I miss hearing from you, but I am going to just keep writing, just on the off chance that someone might read this thing and grow a little. I really know that a lot, and I mean a lot of people read The Encouraging Word every week, so I just want to say thank you for reading a passing these messages along. It is all about helping one another out any way we can. Me, I have studied psychology and philosophy and theology until it now spews out of my.... well, fingers in this case. I sure hope that something I come across in my studies and reflection becomes of some relevant help to you as you travel down this far too often entangled and lonely road we call life. ... And blah, blah, blah.... how is that for a pre-amble ramble?
What I really want to talk about today and what the message that you will be reading is really all about, is growing. Here I am almost 50 years old, going back to college, working three jobs and actually doing fairly well at being a good husband and father.... Well, at least to one of my children.... And that tells me that I still have room to grow. I still have a desire to grow. I still have a deep down inside need to grow. I really believe that if you, or any organization or organism for that matter, is not growing it isdieing . I see far too many people who are just kind of stuck in a tar pit of inactivity. And because the tar is kind of nice and warm, and they have grown use to it now, they stop fighting and just sit there waiting to die. Not me, my friend I am going to live life to it's fullest. And I know that deep down inside that is exactly what you want too. Life is out there waiting on you to reach out and grab a hold of it. You are right now at a turning point in your life and together, we are going to grow, grow, grow!!!!!!
OK? OK! so let's go ahead and get into the word.... but as we do, let us not just read this message, let's see what parts of it we can really put to use in our own personal lives to get more out of life. I know, that I can get real religious on you, but that is because I really believe that if you get your spiritual life going in the right direction the rest will follow. So LET'S GET READY TO ........... GROW!!!!!!
Restore the Joy of our Salvation
(Psalms 51:12 KJVA) Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free spirit.
(Psalms 51:12 CEV) Make me as happy as you did when you saved me; make me want to obey!
Today I really want to talk about growing. I want this message to be relevant and useful to your personal growth. I want you to know that you can grow. I believe that everyone has a desire to grow, some may want to grow in different areas than others, but we all want to grow none-the-less. For some of us it would take a lot of growth just to become what most people would call normal. (I am really preaching to myself on that point)For others you may already be a cut above the rest, but you know that you can still reach higher and be more than you have been. The problems come in our lives when we limit our growth. If we settle for the status quo, no matter how low, we have made an agreement with ourselves to grow so far, and that’s as far as you will allow yourself to grow.
If you really want to enjoy life you are going to have to get a little uncomfortable. If you really want to feel good about yourself, you are going to have to do some things that, physically you may not want to be doing. It is so much easier for us to just sit in a chair and let other people get up and do things for us. It is so much easier for us to just sit in front of the television and live our lives vicariously through the actors on the screen, than to get up and live our own lives.
If you have ever felt that you wanted more out of life, than today’s message is for you. But if you just read the words and continue to do the same nothing things you have been doing, you will continue to get the same results. You know that is the definition of insanity, right? Doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. Sometimes all you really have to do is make a small change in your activity to make a huge improvement in your life. Like the fly that buzzes against the window sill banging over and over again into the glass: “BUZZZZ, BUZZZZ BANG…..BUZZZZZ, BUZZZZZ. BANG>>>>>BUZZZ BUZZZ.. When just one foot away, the window is wide open and freedom is just a slight turn to the right away.
Others however, have got a long way to go just to get back to normal. I can relate to you. Because normal and I have parted ways long, long ago. But the fact is God has got a much higher standard for you than normal. God expects you to be a cut above. And Somehow I believe that inside, you know that you have the makings to be that, and even more. I firmly believe that the battle is going to be won or lost right between your ears. How you think about yourself, and what expectations you have of yourself are going to be the deciding factor as to how much work you put into being the person you end up being.
But it can not stop with you making a one time commitment. It has to be worked out in your daily life. That means purposely making changes that will lead to a better you.
I thought of an easy acronym to help us remember what we need to do to grow. By using the word “grow.”
“G” - God… You really have to put God first in your life. Go after him with every thing you have got.
“R” - Relationships. Building and restoring your relationships with people around you builds and restores you.
“O” – Ourselves. Taking care of ourselves means getting the right amount of sleep, good food and exercise.
“W”- When? When are you going to start? Right now. You start today. You start again right now, then again right not, then again right now…..
You know, full well the things that you are, or are not doing, that continues to if not mess up your life, holds you back from really living the abundant life that God has prepared for you. Before I start meddling and actually start being specific about the things that not only I know you are doing, but others as well as yourself know about you, We better get into the word and really get a firm foundation about what I am talking about.
In this 51st Psalm David is confessing his sin to God. If you remember David came home from a battle and noticed a beautiful woman bathing and fell madly in love with her. It did not matter to him that she was married. In fact he made sure that her husband ended up on the front lines of the war and he was killed in battle. I don’t know about you but that sounds a lot like adultery and murder to me. Some people use their past sins as an excuse to keep running from God. I know they may not see it as an excuse, but if not an excuse then satan sure has fooled them about how great God is. Because I know that My God is big enough to forgive every sin. My God is big enough to heal all my sickness. My God is big enough to provide for all my needs.
Remember I was talking about how you have to have higher
expectations of yourself in order to reach higher accomplishments. That goes
double with your relationship with God. You have to really get a clue as to how
big God really is. He is able, I mean really, really able to blow your sock off,
supernaturally bless and provide your every need. Let's quickly look at another
Psalm, then we will come back to this 51st Psalm.
I want us to look at this 103rd Psalm. This should be a familiar passage for most of us. I happened across it by accident this past week, that is if you believe in accidents at all. Pastor Donna was ministering last Wednesday night and I sat with my wife. We opened one of the church pew Bibles and while flipping to the passage she was covering, we noticed someone had crossed out some passages in that Bible. Taking a closer look I noticed it was this 103rd Psalm, so of course I had to take a close look at it. I have no idea why anyone would cross out any portion of scripture especially this passage but it sure did draw my attention to the passage.
(Psalms 103:1-5 KJV) <A Psalm of David.> Bless the LORD, O my soul: and all
that is within me, bless his holy name. Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget
not all his benefits: Who forgiveth all thine iniquities; who healeth all thy
diseases; Who redeemeth thy life from destruction; who crowneth thee with
lovingkindness and tender mercies; Who satisfieth thy mouth with good things; so
that thy youth is renewed like the eagle's.
Stop putting God in a little box, thinking that He is able to do this much, and little more. God is exceedingly, abundantly able to do far more than you could ask or even think to ask Him to do. Imagine big, then know that God is infinitely bigger than that. So let's start by "Bless the LORD OH my soul, and all that is within me. Bless His holy name!!!!!! God really does inhabit the praises of His people. Begin to praise Him and see if you do not notice His move in your life. And that is the first point of our growth message today. It is God. Take yourself out of the center of the universe for one minute and put God first, and really go after Him and watch, even things that you knew were long dead in your life become resurrected and revived and begin to grow. King David in this Psalm reminds himself and us, of just a few of the things that God has done for us in the past, and will continue to do for us as long as we breath in the breath of life.
He forgives all our iniquities, all our mess ups, all our failures, all our outright rebellions. He paid the price for all your sins, no matter how big or no matter how often you have committed them. He heals all of our disease. I know that we all have love ones or even you yourself may be suffering from some form of disease. But you need to know that it is God who heals. He is Jehovah Raphah, The God that heals. Just as a side note I want you to just look real quick at the word disease. Take it apart . "Dis - Ease" We end up with some form of disease or another when we are dis eased, or not at peace. It is that fear, that worry, that stress that brings far too much sickness in many areas of our life. You need the God of Peace, Jehovah Shalom. The next thing that this passage of scripture reminds us of is how God redeems us from destruction. Many, if not all of us, know that we could have been killed at least one time in our lives over the years. Myself I have been in car accidents and in the wrong places at the wrong time, far too many times, and lived through them, to think that it was just by dumb luck that I am still alive. I know that it was God who was my salvation. He is Jehovah Jeshua. The God of my salvation. And God does not stop there, He has also crowed us with loving kindness and tender mercy... He is Jehovah Racham. He also has satisfied our mouths with good things. He has provided for us in the past and we can trust Him to provide for us now, and in the future, for He is Jehovah Jireh.
Do you desire to grow? Then get to know, I mean really know who God is. He is a big, big God! And He is able. If God be for us then who can be against us?
Now, let's go back to the 51st Psalm and just grab a hold of a little more of the stuff that is going to help us grow.
(Psalms 51:12 & 13 KJV) Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free spirit. Then will I teach transgressors thy ways; and sinners shall be converted unto thee.
King David begins this Psalm with a lot, I mean a lot of guilt and repentance. And before we can grow we need to know where we are, and how much we need to grow out of where we are. Don't get too comfortable because nothing remains the same. We live in an ever changing world and serve a never changing God. But look at how these two verses fit together. It begins with Jeshua and flows from you to your relationship with others. Your relationship with God is going to be reflected directly in your relationship with others. And your love for God is equal to the love that you have for the least person you love. If you are holding a grudge, or disdain or downright hatred for anyone, then that willful aversion is the door that you are holding close on your heart keeping God out and holding you back from growing. When you hold onto any unforgiveness or bad feelings towards someone you are blocking all the blessings that God has for you.
So yes, in many cases it is going to be painful to let go. It is going to be uncomfortable to mend fences with people. It is going to be down right hard to forgive some people who have hurt you real bad, but when you do, you are going to grow so far beyond that pain, and that anger, and all of that resentment, that you will really know the heart of God and how much he loves you.
I am going to stop here for this week but I want you to think about what you need to do to grow. What has been holding you back? What has been keeping you where you are? Look around you. Really. Start by simply looking around the area that you are in right now. Start by picking up some of the clutter. Start by looking at yourself in the mirror and smile. God has got great things in store for you. But it is time for you to get up and go get them.
My wife wrote a skit that might help us get a word picture of what you really need to do. It starts with a preacher delivering his Sunday sermon when a woman runs up to him in the middle of the service and asks him for his help. He tells her that he would be glad to but this really is a bad time. But she insists that it is a matter of life and death. So he asks her to tell him the problem and she begins to explain how her most beautiful plant that she loves for some reason will not grow. He asks her if she has been watering it and giving it sunlight and fertilizer. She informs him how she has been doing all of that even playing soft music for it. Well, the pastor doesn't seem to have any answers so he asks what the plant looks like. She tells him that it still is beautiful with nice green leaves and fresh flowers but it never ever grows. And she remembers how he told her that if something was not growing that it was dying and she really did not want her beautiful plan to die. So the pastor asks her to let him see it and as soon as she shows it to him he realizes why it has not been growing..... That's right, you guessed it. It was not real.
In order for us to grow we have got to get real. It is time to take off the mask. It is time to let down the wall that you built up around your heart. It is time to stop lying to yourself and others. It is time to get real. God knows your heart. And God really wants to heal you. King David asked God to create in him a new heart.
(Psalms 51:10 KJV) Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.
God can do that for you today. I don't not care how young or old you may be. I do not care how long you may, or may not have been going to church or synagogue. If you are ready to get real with God He is ready to make all things new in you. I urge you to read this 51st Psalm and see how it is when you come before God with a contrite heart that He will rebuild and revive and restore and regenerate your life. Are you ready to get real? Are you ready to grow? God is ready to bless your soul. Ask Him into your heart today. Let go of the anger and the fear and trust in the LORD!
I don't know, exactly what you have been going through, but I know how you can get through it. "Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me."
You are not alone and you are loved. Wow! let's really grow together. Let's make fresh commitments to go after God, like never before. Seeking Him in Prayer and in His word. I encourage you to find a good Bible believing, Grace preaching Church where you can be a part of a body of believers making a difference in the world. Get up, get out and get going. The rest of your life is waiting for you.
God bless. You. If there is anything I can do to help you in any way, don't hesitate to get in touch with me. You can E-Mail me at Revboo@aol.com or you can go to the church website at www.interbaycommunitychurch.com and there you can find our address and phone number. If you are ever in the Tampa Bay area please stop by and let us love on you. You are indeed blessed and highly favored of the LORD. God bless you my friend.