Essentials

Receiving God’s Blessings

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God blesses us everyday. From the time we wake up to the time we go to sleep. Throughout the day his presence is with us. However, we often find ourselves worrying and wondering why our desires don’t always happen when we expect them to or at all? Why we have yet to see the car, bigger apartment, or new job we asked God for.

Receiving God’s blessings teaches us that our timing or desires may not align with God’s plan for us. It requires us to trust him completely, to understand that he sees the bigger picture and already knows the plans he has for us. It’s like asking for a studio apartment when God wants to give you a mansion.

In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’ Acts 20:35

To receive God’s blessings we must also be able to give and bless others. By doing this we are ensuring that God continues to bless us. Knowing that everything belongs to God puts everything into perspective. It shows us the depth and mass of his blessings. It also reminds us that material things are of this world, that letting go of them and using it to bless others is a way to acknowledge God’s blessings on our lives.

Part of receiving God’s blessings is believing he can provide. It’s believing he will pick you up when you fall. Sometimes we place our faith elsewhere instead of on God. We may think it would be nice if God gave us a specific job but not believe that he can do it. Instead we may look for sneaky or even illegal ways to try and make our desires a reality.

We Want to Know:

How has God blessed you?

How have you blessed others?

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The Power of Your Testimony

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I recently heard a testimony that touched me in many ways. I had just lost a friend in his early 30s and was struggling to understand how someone could be called home at such a young age. Having never lost someone so close, I realized that I was shocked by this loss because it reminded me that we all could die at anytime, that tomorrow is not promised, and the importance of knowing our savior.

In the midst of mourning, I remembered this testimony from another friend at church. He was celebrating the ten-year anniversary of his near death experience. He had been in a car accident and had such severe injuries that it required the doctors to place him in a medically induced coma.

He showed pictures of himself lying in the hospital bed, lifeless and covered with bandages. Cords ran across his body, a monitor analyzed his heart beat, and he laid there as still as a dead body. Standing in front of the church, I would have never guessed that he had gone through such an accident. He showed pictures of his car, crushed and bent like a soda can a child had just stomped on. He is a walking testimony, I thought.

“Return to your home, and declare how much God has done for you.” And he went away, proclaiming throughout the whole city how much Jesus had done for him. Luke 8:39

At my friend’s funeral I was reminded of that testimony. It gave me hope, that all was not lost. I began to think about how God have given my other friend life. How he breathed life back into him. That God did not look at age as a premise for who would live and die, but that he was still very much alive and in our midst. That in fact my friend was now alive forever, with God, where he belonged.

This testimony helped me mourn the loss of my friend, and for so many my age it reminded us of God’s faithfulness. It was powerful because of the timing and renewed in us an understanding of God’s power in our lives.

It reminded me of the importance of sharing our testimonies and how our testimonies can be used as a tool for reaching others when they are in despair, celebrating, or mourning like I was.

We Want to Know:

What is your testimony?

What testimony have you heard that helped you in your situation?

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5 Ways to Renew Your Faith

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We all have to deal with adversity. It is inevitable that we will have failures, that we will struggle with the loss of a close family member or friend, or that our faith will be tested.

Remember what brings you peace.
Sometimes renewing our faith is like flexing a muscle. If we have been still for a long time it is harder to get up and walk; let alone run. In times of stress it is important to note the things that calm you and make you happy. Do you have a favorite place in your city or town to go to? Do you enjoy long walks? Have you taken time out to be with your loved ones recently? By finding peace your mind is renewed, you are reminded of the importance of your reaction to each situation, and how to address concerns in a Christian manner.

Consider the blameless, observe the upright; a future awaits those who seek peace.  Psalm 37:37

Be thankful for what you have.
Finding gratitude in the midst of a storm is hard, but it reminds us that there’s always something to be grateful for. It is easy to get stuck in the mundane routine of life. You may feel like you’re not moving anywhere in your career, maybe you were hoping to have purchased a house by now, or you feel stuck in your current situation. This is the best time to evaluate your life and see how much God has blessed you. Hate your job? What about the millions of people that wish they had a job? Want to buy a house? Remember how blessed you are to have a roof over your head. Feeling stuck? Reflect on how far you’ve come in the last five or ten years. There’s always something to be thankful for. Remember that each day we have a reason to praise God for waking us up.

Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. 1 Thessalonians 5:18

Do something different, become a new person.
Change requires us to do something different. Renewing our faith requires us to be bold and uncomfortable. It requires us to see ourselves in a new way, to remind ourselves that we are created in God’s image. By walking in faith we can renew our faith. This may require moving to a new place, finding new friends, or changing our habits. We can not live in fear, for God has so much more in store for us. Trying new things requires faith, it requires believing that God is always with us and that he will make a way.

Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert. Isaiah 43:19

Create a plan.
Planning is an important part of growth. It is the reason we get an education, read the Bible and pray. By having a plan for ourselves we can ask God for guidance. We can be productive members of society by using our talents. But, if we lack planning we may never fully realize our talents or gifts; let alone reach our destiny. Planning helps us reflect on the past while taking steps to fulfill our desires in the future. Creating a plan might mean reviewing your tasks on a regular basis, writing a goal or set of goals every year, and reviewing it regularly to see where you are. It also requires us to be honest with ourselves, to find accountability partners and to be willing accept constructive criticism.

The plans of the diligent lead surely to abundance, but everyone who is hasty comes only to poverty. Proverbs 21:5

Remember to first seek God’s guidance.
The most important way to renew your faith is to seek God. He will guide you, protect you, and renew you. This requires building a personal relationship with him. It requires finding time to seek him in every situation and moment. Knowing that he always has you in mind reminds us that we are not alone. Seeking God reminds us that our battles are not ours to fight, that he will fight them for us, and he always wins.

Seek the Lord and his strength; seek his presence continually! 1 Chronicles 16:11

 

We Want to Know:

Have you ever felt like you lacked faith?

How was your faith renewed?

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Fellowship Groups: The New Family

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I recently joined a Christian women’s group. Most of us are young adults and we meet once a week for dinner to talk about our problems, accomplishments, and to pray for each other. It started out as more of a formal gathering until the organizer realized that we all just wanted a place to get together and fellowship.

Every week someone in the group gets to talk for about twenty minutes about whatever she wants to talk about in whatever format she wants to do it in. For most of us we spend that time talking about ourselves and something we’ve had to deal with.

What good fellowship we once enjoyed as we walked together to the house of God. Psalm 55:14

Sometimes there’s a question that someone has, often there’s an experience we want to share, most of the time we share our testimonies, our goals, our struggles. This group has brought me closer to God in a way that I never thought was possible. I realize the main reason is because it reminds me that there’s nothing I’m going through that someone hasn’t gone through. We’ve opened up in a way that only sisters do. We’ve become prayer warriors, many of us are now accountability partners, and some of us call or text each other for motivation on a regular basis.

We share our promotions at work, our birthday celebrations, and our heartaches. We talk about everything, from dealing with abusive relationships to mourning a loved one. It is this connection that keeps many of us going. Many of us have found that this women’s group fulfills something that is missing in church. Yes, the church is a place to worship, a place for corporate prayer, and a place to share our testimonies. However, many of us would probably not share some of the personal tribulations we face for fear of being judged. A small fellowship group allows us to trust each other by sharing our personal stories.

Similar to joining a house fellowship group, the women’s group has become a support group for us. We’ve come together as a family, and by praying for each other and sharing God’s word we are encouraging each other to grow as Christians. This is especially important to me since my family lives in a different state. It gives me the opportunity to share some of the concerns I have while knowing there are people near by to reach out to.

We want to know:

Do you belong to a women’s or men’s fellowship group?

Are you part of a house fellowship group?

How has it helped you with your walk with Christ?

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The Next Step

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About two months ago, I convinced my family that we needed to take a four hour trip to Branson Missouri to check out a great show on the life of Joseph. With great anticipation for the evening scenery of Branson, we loaded some few items in the car, positioned our GPS on the dashboard and started out on this trip.

After driving through several roads that we are well familiar with from our previous travels, the GPS became adventurous. It led us onto a road that we had never used before and in just a few minutes on this back road lined with trees, the GPS announced that we had arrived at our destination. Are you kidding me, this is in the middle of nowhere, not our much anticipated hotel. This did not look like the hotel we saw in the pictures online.

This reminded me of our Christian life. This life is a journey. The fact that we are in a race is repeated many times in the word. We tell ourselves that we have arrived when we, in fact, are at a different location. We are probably in the woods but our friends and minds tell us that we have attained or arrived at the destination. This life is a journey and we need to have a clear picture of the destination so that we will know we are there when we get there. If we get there, we will know it. Do you have a clear picture if where your Christian life is headed?

The greatest hindrance to our growth and greatness is the illusion that we have arrived, when we are still lost or a long way away. Have you stopped growing spiritually? Have you found yourself bored with your life without progress? This may be because you think you have arrived. Paul said it the best way in Phil 3:12-13

12 Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. 13 Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead.

Do not consider yourself to have arrived.  V12.
Apostle Paul was one of the greatest men in the faith to walk on the face of the earth. He had seen and heard the voice of Jesus. He had been used by God to perform many miracles and healing. He had reached more people and nations than we are reaching today with our technology. He wrote most of the new testament but he says that he has not arrived. If this is what this man of God says, what should we be telling ourselves? I have not arrived! I need to keep moving. I need to keep running. I need to keep taking step. I need to take the NEXT step now.

Write down what your next step is in your faith journey.
Is it giving your life to Christ? Is it baptism? Is it start attending a church regularly? Whatever it is, write it down.

Take the step. Press on. Just do it. V 12
For example, if your next step is to be baptized, take progressive actions like registering for baptism, email or call the church office for the dates of the next baptism day etc. If you can make one giant step, divide it into mini-step so that daily, you can do something to move forward.

Keep you mind on the goal. Do not stop until you see Him, Christ, who is our goal.
What is your next step today? Take it!

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Essentials of Faith

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Salvation is the greatest blessings God has given to man. Its value is clearly seen at the cross. Christ went through all that for a reason. I’m sure thankful for what God has done.

What is the meaning of salvation?
How did you get saved?
Do we have the assurance of salvation?
After salvation, then what?
Such are some of the topics we discuss in Essentials of Faith Lesson 1. Please sign up for this class and learn with us!

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Bring Goliath Down! The Principles

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The story in 1 Samuel 17 is very interesting. For 40 days, everyday; morning and afternoon, Goliath came out to intimidate them but no one in the Israelite army came up to challenge him.

David had been anointed already but he wasn’t yet in the army – he was still tending sheep. When he took food to his brothers, he spotted opportunity.

“Don’t worry about this Philistine,” David told Saul. “I’ll go fight him!” 1 Samuel 17:32 NLT

And of course you know that the Lord did deliver David.

Though Goliath is dead, his brothers are still alive coming to intimidate us to inactivity and we must call them out by name. What is it that has been taunting you? You must call it out by name!

Principles David used to bring Goliath down

You will win over the issues affecting you life negatively by following these principles that David used.

1. Faithfulness in the little tasks. 1 Samuel 17:17. Even though he was anointed to be king when he was sent on menial errands, he was faithful to go.

Can you be counted on to do the little tasks of life? Can you be trusted to do the small duties in the church?

David knew that faithfulness is never in vain. 1 Samuel 17:26-28.

Did you know that there is a reward for you for being faithful to your call? Did you know that there is a reward for you for conquering sin and addiction in your life?

2. David won the fight against Goliath when he took the first step toward the giant. Your victory in bringing down that sin or that taunting issue is in your taking the first step. You will never win a fight that you have not started.

Be faithful to your tasks in Christ and you will bring defeat sin and all the troublesome issues in your life. In addition to the victory, you will be rewarded.

God bless you!

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Tither’s Blessing

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Hi BCC,
I trust that you are well and enjoying the journey God is taking us. Financial freedom is one of the blessings for the Believer. As God continues to unfold this truth to us and we continue to do our part, I want to speak the blessing of God into your life. As a tither, you have the key to unlock your financial freedom. You are blessed!

On the authority of God’s infallible word – I proclaim over you as a tithing Christian – the blessings of our faithful and loving heavenly Father. As a tither you are not limited to the ups and downs of the economy of this world system.

The scriptures declare that we are the seed of Abraham and that the blessings of Abraham upon us set us apart and make us to prosper in all situations, favorable and unfavorable.

The heavens are open over this church and over this congregation, therefore I speak this blessing.

• I call forth jobs for the unemployed – meaningful jobs with good pay and benefits.

• Things that have been held up in the courts such as your inheritance, godly settlements and other legal matters, be settled in Jesus Name so you may have what is rightfully yours without and further delay.

• Those who earn your living as entrepreneurs or those who work in sales and commissions, I speak God’s favor to be upon you so that deals and opportunities to excel, come your way.

• I call forth raises and bonuses to those who need them.

• I speak that you find money unexpectedly and that unexpected checks come in the mail right out of nowhere as a gift from heaven just for you.

• I speak the word “INCREASE” over to you – I speak abundance to overtake you – such abundance that you miraculously come out of debt so that the stress of those debts will release your minds and God’s peace will return to you quickly.

• I now release God’s angels to go forth and minister for you and yours – this is your covenant blessing.

Now that you have given may your heart be filled with worship and faith.
I BLESS YOU IN JESUS NAME. Amen

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Some Wrong & Right Mentalities of Giving in the House of God

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I have a question for you. Might you be one of those people who wonder why you keep giving yet you don’t receive the blessings that are said to be associated with giving? I will attempt to help you answer that question by addressing 2 major wrong mentalities of giving in the House of God.
1. Meeting needs
We all chip in to meet a need or pay bills in the church house. This is blasphemy! God is the El Shaddai. He owns all. He is all sufficient.
2. Duty
Giving as a sense of duty. When we give we shouldn’t be just going through the motions. We are encouraged to give generously and willingly; not reluctantly or under compulsion.

And now, brothers and sisters, we want you to know about the grace that God has given the Macedonian churches. 2 In the midst of a very severe trial, their overflowing joy and their extreme poverty welled up in rich generosity. 3 For I testify that they gave as much as they were able, and even beyond their ability. Entirely on their own, 4 they urgently pleaded with us for the privilege of sharing in this service to the Lord’s people. 5 And they exceeded our expectations: They gave themselves first of all to the Lord, and then by the will of God also to us. 6 So we urged Titus, just as he had earlier made a beginning, to bring also to completion this act of grace on your part. 7 But since you excel in everything—in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in complete earnestness and in the love we have kindled in you—see that you also excel in this grace of giving. – 2 Corinthians 8:1-7

7 Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. – 2 Corinthians 9:7

According to Psalm 24:1 The earth is the LORD’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it. Shouldn’t we be glad then that we have been given this privilege of handling everything and then giving back just a portion of all?
Remember Achan? Achan was an Israelite who fought the battle of Jericho with Joshua. In Joshua chapter 6, God had commanded the Israelites, upon conquering Jericho, to destroy the entire city because of its great sin. Only Rahab the prostitute and her household were spared because she had hidden the Israelite spies.
17 The city and all that is in it are to be devoted to the LORD. Only Rahab the prostitute and all who are with her in her house shall be spared, because she hid the spies we sent. – Joshua 6:17

Any time the Israelites fought and conquered the first city they were instructed to burn everything to the ground. This is the principle of tithing which is shown throughout scripture. The other cities were theirs to take. Therefore the Israelites had specific instructions not to take any spoils from Jericho; everything in the city of Jericho was “accursed” or “devoted to destruction.” God warned that anyone taking spoils from Jericho would “make the camp of Israel liable to destruction and bring trouble on it”

18 But keep away from the devoted things, so that you will not bring about your own destruction by taking any of them. Otherwise you will make the camp of Israel liable to destruction and bring trouble on it. 19 All the silver and gold and the articles of bronze and iron are sacred to the LORD and must go into his treasury.” – Joshua 6:18-19

Achan did not heed to the Lord’s instruction. He stole a beautiful robe and some gold and silver ( that was for the Lord’s treasury) and hid these things in his tent. Achan did not only disobey God but he did steal from Him as well! The precious metals were to be added to the treasury of the Lord, and, in stealing them, Achan robbed God directly. This was a sin against the Lord defiling Achan as well as other members of the community. Achan’s sin caused God’s blessing upon Israel to be withheld in their subsequent battle against the city of Ai and about thirty-six innocent men died because of Achan’s sin. (Ref. Joshua 7:4-5). We fool ourselves if we think that our sin affects only us. Disobedience brings ruin even upon the innocent. Sin’s effects go beyond the initial sinner. You can read the ramifications and how this was dealt with in Joshua chapter 7.

Right Reasons To Tithe
1. The Word of God teaches us to tithe therefore we tithe in obedience to it.
Leviticus 27:30
Matthew 23:23
Malachi 3:10
2. God owns everything therefore we give back a portion of it as proof of His ownership
3. It is an expression of thanks and the devourer/ waster is rebuked
4. We tithe so that we can leave a blessed legacy for our children
5. We tithe so as to honor God and keep the blessings of God flowing into our lives
6. We tithe so that there is a continuous availability of resources to minister to souls and bring them into the kingdom. This way God can trace is back to our giving.

God bless you as you obey His Word.

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Thanksgiving as Thanks Living

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I trust that you’re having a blessed week so far. Thanksgiving week is here already and I just want to share a brief message. I will draw your attention to the scriptures where Jesus heals ten men with leprosy.

11 Now on his way to Jerusalem, Jesus traveled along the border between Samaria and Galilee. 12 As he was going into a village, ten men who had leprosy met him. They stood at a distance 13 and called out in a loud voice, “Jesus, Master, have pity on us!”

14 When he saw them, he said, “Go, show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went, they were cleansed.

15 One of them, when he saw he was healed, came back, praising God in a loud voice. 16 He threw himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him—and he was a Samaritan.

17 Jesus asked, “Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine? 18 Has no one returned to give praise to God except this foreigner?” 19 Then he said to him, “Rise and go; your faith has made you well.”

Luke 17:11-19 NIV

In the midst of affliction, men turn to God. When people are in need of a miracle they turn to God and often times people group themselves together with others who have the same problems or those that are the same predicament. In the scripture, we see a group of ten men who need the same miracle of healing.

The compassions of Christ never fail. Christ hears the prayers or the cry of a sinner as long as faith is involved. When we are in trouble we look for God to meet us with mercy and we engage our faith because we are desperate enough to understand that faith is a requirement for the miracle to take place. Here, the ten men have enough faith to call on Jesus in a loud voice, “Jesus, Master, have pity on us!” They must have known that faith was a requirement for the healing of leprosy to occur.

Jesus hears their cry and tells them: “Go show yourselves to the  priests.” (The priest had a responsibility to check that the leper is healed and to confirm that the miracle had indeed occurred). God has no problem giving us a miracle and He has given us plenty but how many of us come back to the House of God to testify? “Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine?” (Luke 17:17) God knows exactly how many people He has given miracles.

Gratitude is an act of the genuinely humble heart. Unexpressed gratitude is ingratitude. God has been good to me, I owe Him thanks. Humility makes one realize that:

There is a God and He is above all
We have fallen short of the glory of God
He sent a Savior for us
Pride never appreciates the above. It is the humble heart that gives thanks. I urge you to develop an attitude of living thankfully to God all year long. Let your life be a life of thanks living.

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