Greetings from Pastor Bob and The Encouraging Word;
God is so good! I hope that everyone is aware of how blessed and highly favored of the LORD you are. It is real exciting to hear how God is working in your lives. I want to thank you for writing and calling me this past week. If you get a chance and can drop me a line to let me know how you are doing or how we can pray for you, it really makes my day. I just got back from a conference in Orlando this afternoon. No, I did not get to go and see Mickey.... Bummer. But the conference was fantastic. It was a Church Life Cohort meeting with pastors from all over the South East region. We prayed together and got into the Word of God and learned how to better equip the church. And yes, my friend you are the Church.
The main thing we concentrated on during this meeting was fellowship and caring. If there is one thing I have learned from Jesus is that it is all about relationships. Life is relationships. First, your relationship with God and equally important is your relationship with your fellow man. Just looking at the Ten Commandments we see how the first four are about our relationship with God and the last six are about our relationships with one another.
Do you want your life to improve? then work on improving just one relationship, then another, and another.... The next thing you will realize is how truelly blessed you are, by becoming a blessing to so many others.
Anyway, How are you? I have to tell you, if I were any better, there would have to be two of me. Now, I could find a lot of reasons to complain, but unless you like that kind of thing, I just assume look at the bright side of life. Sometimes you might have to squint to see it through the darkness, but it is always there. So no matter what you might be going through remember, "all things are working together for your good." And that is not Just me talking, that is the truth that has never failed from God's own promise. He also wants you to know that his desire is to give you, your heart's desire.... You can delight in Him for He is alive and on the throne.
This coming Saturday, August 5th we will be having our Bazaar-Bazaar at the church. I wish you could all be there. I think it is going to be so much fun. I want to thank all the people who helped with a donation for the school supplies. I think right now we have around 70 back packs to give to needy families. I know you did not help us out for the thanks, and.... one of you, asked me not to even thank you , but thank you I do! You are going to take a heavy burden off a mother's shoulders and give a child a great start in their school year.
If you can make it to the Bazaar we will be having pony rides, a moon walk, snow cones, a butterfly tent, a huge yard sale, a bake sale......
Special thanks to:
Raggity Dog Productions, http://www.raggitydogproductions.com/
Kosmo's Entertainment: http://www.kozmosentertainment.com/
Fritzy Brother's Entertainment: www.fritzybrothers.com
My good friend Fran The Silent witness will be painting faces.....
And so many more people that it would take all day to mention for all the hard work already put into this event. But the person who deserves the most credit is my wonderful wife, Debbie. You have no idea, OK, some of you have a pretty good idea of where I would be if it were not for her. She is a God send to me, this ministry and everything and everyone she comes in contact with..... Thank you Debbie, I love you!
Sooooo- before we go any further, please join me in prayer and make sure that sometime during this prayer that you send up your own personal requests. The Bible teaches us that sometimes we have not because we ask not. So let,s join together believing for, and with, one another.
Heavenly Father; we need you. We love you. We worship you. And right now we call upon you and ask that you first please forgive us where we failed you and those we love. Help us with our relationships. Reconcile us to yourself first, then make a way for our reconciliation of the relationships dear to our hearts. LORD, there are a lot of people who need a touch from you. Many need physical healing. Many need emotional comfort. Many need a financial miracle. All of us need more love, Your love. Come into my heart LORD. Fill me to the overflowing with your Holy Spirit. Give me your Peace which passes all understanding and let your joy unspeakable, which is full of glory, overflow in my life. And let my life bring you glory. For right now, from this moment on to eternity, I am yours. Now LORD, search my heart, hear the cry of each person's heart who is reading and praying these words. Touch each of us right at the point of our need and give us the strength to allow you to decide where that point is. Thank you Jesus for being alive and real in our lives, for it is in your name we pray. AMEN
I am telling you, GOD IS GOOD!!!!!
ALL THE TIME!!!!
OK my friends, Let's Get Into The Word!
Signs and Wonders
(Act 14:3 CEV) Paul and Barnabas stayed there for a while, having faith in the Lord and bravely speaking his message. The Lord gave them the power to work miracles and wonders, and he showed that their message about his great kindness was true.
(Act 14:3 KJV) Long time therefore abode they speaking boldly in the Lord, which gave testimony unto the word of his grace, and granted signs and wonders to be done by their hands.
God wants you to know, that you know, that you know, that He is exceedingly, abundantly able to do far more than you could ask or even think to ask, according to the power, that is even right now, working in you. And All you have to do is to believe. Have the faith of a child. You, might be going through an absolutely impossible situation right now but I want you to know that nothing is impossible to God.
Put your trust in Him, and not only will he see you through this, but on the other side you will be stronger and better equipped to help others going through that same valley of the shadow of death. I am sure we all remember that 23rd Psalm where King David tells how even though he walks through the valley of the shadow of death, he will not fear any evil because he knows that God is with him.
(Psalm 23 KJV) <A Psalm of David.> The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake.
(Psalm 23:4) 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.Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.
There is a song that goes. "Life is hard, but God is Good." Sometimes we really need to hang onto that fact. God knows exactly where you are and if you will let Him, He will lead you into better days. I have told you about the great plans that God has for you. They are better than you can even imagine, so dream big!
Today I am talking about signs and wonders, not because I am some pentecostal wacko... although I am.... Not because I want God to work miracles through me.... although I do..... Not because I desire to see the hand of God move.... although I do, I do, I do...... But because you need it. You need to know the truth of God's power and might. You need to be reminded that God brought the Israelites out of Egypt with a strong hand and it was God who parted the Red sea, It was God who provided the manna in the desert. it was God who spoke and put the stars in place. And it is God who keeps them there.
If you could just look up and see the absolute miracle of life you would have that faith of a mustard seed and be able to move every mountain in your own life.
So what of these signs and wonders? Well, I have to go back to the question of motive. As Jesus came back to Cana, where he had earlier in his ministry turned the water into wine, he met a nobleman whose child was dyeing. He came and sought out Jesus. Now this was a rich noble man who undoubtedly had doctors and servants and power and prestige, yet he humbled himself and came and sought out Jesus. When He found him he begged him to come to his home and heal his son.
Now At first we would say well, what is wrong with that? Jesus rebuked the man and says, "unless you see signs and wonders you will not believe!"
Again the man pleads with the LORD to come with him or his son will die!
Jesus did not do what the man asked. Sometimes we do not get what we ask for, when we ask for it, how we expect it to be done. But God knows our heart.
He Knows waht you have need of before you even ask.
The man had the faith that Jesus could heal his son, but his faith was limited to Jesus having to actually be there and physically lay his hands on his son.
We need to stop putting God in a box. We need to stop limiting God. Sometimes we think, "well I remember when the Holy Spirit moved so many years ago, but the music was different... the Spirit can't move with that kind of music playing...."
"OH yes the Spirit really fell in that church where they did not have any musical instruments. Oh Yes the lighting has to be just right or God won't move. The sermon has to be preached just so or the Spirit won't fall."
Paul preached his greatest sermon, full of wisdom and great speech in Athens, there on Mars Hill with very little effect. in fact the Bible tells us that after his great sermon some people mocked him and others said that maybe they will listen to him again sometime....
Then He went on to Corinth and decided not to preach with wisdom but with the power of the Spirit....
What is it you have need of? Have you taken notice how I pray that God would meet us at the point of our need as we give Him permission to define where that point is? God will supply your every need, and He will also give you your heart's desire, as you learn to delight in HIm. As we learn to trust in Him and ask for His will to be done, not our will.
Jesus healed that noble man's son, not the way the noble man thought he would, or maybe the way he wanted him to. But he received his heart's desire.
When He denies what we ask, he gives us much more to our benefit.
What were the signs and wonders for?
In both the Old Testament and the New, God used signs and wonders to show the world his power. God used signs and wonders to bring Israel out of Egypt. And Jesus used signs and wonders to show that he had the authority to forgive sins.
(Mark 2:10 KJV) But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins, (he saith to the sick of the palsy,)
And Jesus tells us that what we will do greater things then he has done because we now have the Holy Spirit not only amongst us and upon us but within us.
(John 14:12 KJV) Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father.
Again I have to take you back to your motive.
I would like not much more then for the Holy Spirit to be moving in a mighty way in my ministry, where people would be being miraculously healed and the lame to walk and the blind to see...... But why? Why do you want such things... Do you want it for the sick and the lame and the blind or do you want it for the drama and the excitement, the .... dare I say... entertainment.
Remember how Harod wanted Jesus to do a miracle for His entertainment. God is not here to keep you amused. The church is not your source for entertainment.
Let's keep the main thing the main thing, and get back to relationships and reconciling people to God. If God is going to begin to allow His spirit to work miracles through you, and in you, it is going to have to be on His terms, for His purpose. You have to get down to your true inner most motive. Is it your will that you are seeking or God's will to be done?
Because when you finally surrender your will over to His will, and you give up all to seek and save the lost, then God will move heaven and earth, through you, to show forth His power and glory and strength and might. But don't think that it is going to get you fame and fortune. Many times it will just get you mocked and laughed at. But if your motives are right then that won't matter either.
What matters is the harvest.
Let me ask you a question. What do you believe? Do you really believe in God. Do you believe that God loves you? Do you believe that God loves you so much that he would, and even did, die for you? Is anything impossible to God? Do you believe in the resurrection? Do you believe in heaven? How about Hell?
Now, that you thought about those questions, where did you get your answers from.... too often people just rationalize their answers.... They make them up.
If you don't know what a word means the best way to find out is to go to the dictionary, because it is never wrong. If you want to know about God, the best place to go is the Bible, because it has never been, and never will be, wrong.
So yes, God is real. He is alive and on the throne. He Loves you with an everlasting, never-ending love. He loves you so much that not only did He die for you on that cross, but he went through 33 years of trials, temptation, pain and real life for you. And no, nothing, nothing, absolutely nothing is impossible for God. So all you have to do is to believe, really believe and behold all things become new. Let your life be resurrected right now. Let your relationships be resurrected right now. Let your health, your finances, your eternal soul experience the resurrected life right now, by re-committing yourself to the truth.
Jesus said "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father but by me."
The choice is a very simple one, yet it is the most important choice you will ever make.
As for me and my house, We will serve the LORD!
Now that is the real miracle. That is the real wonder. a soul saved. and the sign simply says.......