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Evangel Assembly of God Pastor Marsha Baxter pastormarsha@godincontrol.org

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Thursday, 24 December 2009
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Today I was having a discussion with a friend about being in need, reaching out to God’s family and doing our own part in the miracle that God provides. We spoke on how sometimes some people have a tragic need and instead of them reaching out to the family of God for comfort, rest and restoration; they choose to sit in the dark cave they find themselves in a never light a candle. In other words, wallow in the despair. Why? I was told today that people mistake a quote from Benjamin Franklin taking it as scripture, “God helps those who help themselves.”  It may not be scripture, but I do believe that there is evidence of it in the Bible.

There are many parables that speak about people having to wash their eyes or bathe in the waters. It didn’t matter what their circumstance or how disabled they were. They had to put some type of effort! One man was in the right place at the right time when Jesus saw that he couldn’t get to the swirling waters at the Bethesda pool. Jesus healed him. Could it have been in some small part because Jesus saw this man’s determination to be healed eventually, despite others stepping over him and getting to the waters before him? (John 5:1-15) What about the crippled woman in the synagogue? She had probably lain there many times waiting for a miracle. How could Jesus have seen here there to heal her if she decided not to show up that day? (Luke 13:10-17) Ah, then there are the many times when people were healed by faith! Jesus asked so many times if they had faith that He could heal them. So many times Jesus said, “Your faith has made you whole. Your faith has healed you.” (Matthew 9:27-34, Luke 17:11-19)
Why in this age and time do we feel that we are so privileged that we sit back in our Lazy boys and wait for the blessings? Not wait on the Lord kind of wait, but I’ll sit here and eat Cheetos and check my watch and impatiently wait! Can’t imagine what God thinks of us sometimes…
If there is a need, why not run to the sanctuary of arms of your family and friends at your church? Hello…. One body of Christ ring a bell? When you’re hurting because you can’t provide, why wouldn’t you go to your spiritual family as well as your natural family for support, however that may come? What’s worse, why lean your hand to your church for a hand up, but not lean your heart to your church for a heart lift?
It is imperative that we not lean to the understanding of this time and age where we take all and give nothing and demand ceaselessly. We are to lean on God and His people when we are in need, not just for material gratification, but a spiritual reconnection with God and one another. Maybe Jesus is asking while you’re sitting there with what seems to be nothing. He’s asking you, “Do you believe that I am able to do this? Do you want to be made well?” Have the faith of the people of Jesus’ time, the blind, the crippled, the mute and the deaf. He is longing to tell you, “Your faith has made you whole.”

Heavenly Father, as we come to the 'highlight' of the time we celebrate your birth, the miracle and gift that is You, we give you all praise and glory. We thank you for coming to Earth and giving us hope of salvation everlasting. Let us remember that you look for us to take part in the miracles and blessings you provide. We know that You can do all things, bless who you want to bless, heal who you want to heal, but the miracle could be so easily lost if we, ourselves don't invest in You. Without You, Jesus we are nothing and with Your mercy and grace we are fulfilled! In Jesus' precious holy name, amen!

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Posted on 12/24/2009 3:22 PM by Contessa
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Thursday, 03 December 2009
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Have you ever been watching tv or listening to the radio and hear a comment that probably was never intended to be spiritual or make you think about God? Well, there was a comment during a show where a person said, "I've been so busy living out of my head, I forgot there was a body." Immediately, the thought came to me - I was doing the same thing, except I forgot to live out of my heart. If I'm doing it right, I should be living out of Christ's heart.

Trying to live everyday  life almost seems to be an oxymoron when trying to live a spiriual life. You try to be a good Christian and turn the other cheek and keep good thoughts and be thoughtful to others and be there for others and live the golden rule and smile and... whew! Doing all that is one thing, doing it without cooperation from the world is another. How can you be a good righteous Christian when life makes it so hard sometimes. Strangers don't say thank you when you hold the door for them, friends interrupt your problems to discuss there problems, church family don't show up to church to see the work God has done since the last time they came to church and family who seem to use up every last bit of you that hasn't been beaten by all the above, without as much as a genuine smile! There is a unique technique to live the optimal life, live out of Christ's heart.

All those things mentioned before are things that take so much thought. It can and will drain you if you continually and constantanly think of what you have to do and who to do it for. Alas, if you think as Jesus Christ thinks, it become so divinely simple. Not that the tasks are not difficult, but deciding and doing by way of your heart is simple. That wonderful question comes to play, "What would Jesus do?" Would He help, yes. Would He give of Himself, yes. 2 Corinthians 9:7 Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, let him give, not grudgingly or of necessity for God loveth a cheerful giver. What does this have to do with living from God's heart? Have you ever seen a story about Jesus where He grudgingly healed someone? Did He ever respond with, "Do I have to?" No.

When you're thinking what you must do for God, family, friends and strangers from your mind's perspective, it's easy to get clouded and overwhelmed.  The mind is made of flesh and since when does the flesh want to do anything but sin? Ah, but when you live from your heart, Christ's heart. It is no longer what the flesh wants. I'm speaking spiritual heart of course. Christ was born, lived, died and rose again because He lives from His heart. God's word has the word 'heart' in it 833 times! I believed God was trying to get a point across. When He says we should be Christ like, it especially means from the heart.  He loves us so very much from His precious heart where grace and mercy reside. There is no darkness there, no weariness and no resentment. 

Times will come when people won't say thank you, when people won't show up when you need them and times when people won't seem to see you or your efforts at all. Christ didn't go and shake everyone that came to Him for healing and demand glory. People gave glory to Him and praised Him. Jesus appreciated and loved them for it and blessed them all the more for it. Jesus sees the work we do on His behalf and in His hands is where our true rewards lie. Try working from your heart, love from your heart, live out of your heart!

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Posted on 12/03/2009 10:34 PM by Tess
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Saturday, 22 August 2009
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I was thinking today about how to reach out to more people and for them to know that our church is here for them. We have wonderful events at our church, don’t get me wrong. We have picnics, yard sales, even National Night Out events for the last two years. So, I’m thinking how to reach out…reach out… reach…out… Then it hit me. We have great things happening at church, but if you don’t come to our church, how are you going to know? That’s when it dawned on me, Jesus wasn’t a homebody. Jesus travelled always. He didn’t stay in one place and expect his word to just make to everyone by just what others said on his behalf. Matthew 4:23 And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all manner of sickness and all manner of disease among the people.

 
Really, he had many disciples and followers and yet he himself went across the waters and the land. Even when faced with peril. Look what happened when Jesus went to Bethany. So if we are to be like our Father and do as our Savior says, why do we act as if there is a ball and chain connected to our church doors and ankles? We wear that 50 foot chain and reach out as far as it will go. Is that enough? We’ve been delving into Acts and studying his first preachings after being changed by Jesus. He went from place to place, without planes, trains or automobiles. For every good deed he did for Christ, it seems prison and threat of death was never far behind. He was even heckled by demon possessed girls and jealous leaders. Yet, he kept going, mostly in the night and in a basket, but he never stopped reaching out. Sometimes we can see people outside of that reach, but fear to use the key God gave us to unlock ourselves and run to touch another soul that needs a Savior.
 
Yes, God wants us to worship Him in the house of the Lord; yes he wants us to fellowship with other like-minded people. What in Jesus’ teaching or acts suggest that we fellowship with only other saved folks and pray from afar that the unfortunate souls who haven’t been blessed enough to know Him yet. I truly believed that it warmed God’s heart to see his children going out and spreading the word. I imagine He rejoices as much as we do when His children reach out and that in turns snatches another soul from the pits of fire! Do you think that we as Christians now days have become complacent? Do you think we can do more for God?
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Posted on 08/22/2009 9:15 AM by contessa
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Wednesday, 27 February 2008
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What is your thorn in the flesh? Is it a frailty? It may be a physical problem. It may be an emotional problem. It may be a personal weakness.

It may be a fault: a defect, or imperfection—one that feels embarrassing and humbling. You may have prayed about it a thousand times. You may have asked people to lay their hands on you and to pray that this imperfection would disappear. I myself have done this.

It may be a friend. Sometimes a dear friend can be a real thorn in the flesh. Perhaps he is difficult. You want to be with him, but afterward you feel frustrated or all the worse for being in his company. It may be a love-hate relationship. You feel you can’t be without this person, but the relationship is always edgy, prickly. You feel that even discussing it would be spontaneous combustion!

It may be an enemy. This person seems to live to make you look bad! But it may be that your enemy—who keeps you on your toes (not to mention your knees)—is raised up by God to keep you sharp and careful.

Could your thorn in the flesh be that you have known failure? It may have been financial failure, a failed marriage, or a job loss. Or, when facing temptation, you failed, and the whole scenario haunts you daily.

Perhaps someone has lied about you. You cannot defend yourself. People believe the lie. You long with all your being to be vindicated. But God withholds vindication. This could be your thorn in the flesh.

Don’t despise your thorn, whatever it is. Don’t resent it. It exists by God’s sovereign pleasure. It is for your good. It is the best thing that ever happened to you next to your conversion and anointing. It is only a matter of time before you will appreciate it.
 
TODAY'S SCRIPTURE:
As a father has compassion on his children, so the LORD has compassion on those who fear him; for he knows how we are formed, he remembers that we are dust. —Psalm 103:13–14
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Posted on 02/27/2008 9:06 PM by Abe
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Wednesday, 27 February 2008
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It is intrinsic to understanding God’s sovereignty that we realize what Paul meant when he said that Christians are God’s field. He is showing that God owns us. This simply means that God has total rights to our lives. We have no private life; our private life is His. We cannot go on a two-week vacation and say, “God, I want a good time, and You have been breathing down my neck for most of the year. I would like a couple of weeks away from You.” No, He’ll go with us on vacation; we have no time that we can call our own. It is His time. We have no secret thoughts about which we can say, “God, I just don’t want You to know about this.” We do not own ourselves.

 

Does this disturb and annoy you? Or does this thrill you to your fingertips to know that you are bought with a price? It is true whether you like it or not. You are His; He owns you. You are God’s field; it is not your field. For that reason God can do what He wants with you, and because you are His, you can’t get rid of Him even if you tried. You may have said to God, “Leave me alone.” But He didn’t; He would not.

 

Because He owns us, God has no obligation to us. God ultimately takes the responsibility not only for saving us but also for our development.

 

Every virtue we possess,
And every conquest won,
And every thought of holiness,
Are his alone.

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Posted on 02/27/2008 4:02 PM by Abe
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