A Prayer Of Thanksgiving!

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"For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given; and the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace."  Isaiah 9:6 (NKJV)

 

A Christmas Prayer of Thanksgiving

Most Generous Father in Heaven, thank You! Thank You for loving us, so much, that You would send Your Son

  • To save us from sin and death, and give us Eternal Life.
  • To remove every stain of shame and guilt from our hearts.
  • To heal us of all sickness and disease, and broken heartedness.
  • To deliver us from the powers of darkness.
  • To restore our souls, our dreams, our lives.
  • To protect us in a violent and volatile world.
  • To crown our families and homes with a peace that surpasses our understanding.
  • To flood our hearts with a joy that is unspeakable and full of Your glory.
  • To qualify us, through His blood, to know You, worship You, and walk with You.

Father, You are the Greatest Giver of all eternity!  May Your nature capture our hearts and passions that we may be generous givers, too!  May The Gift that You've so graciously given empower us to honor Your name, increase Your Kingdom, and please Your heart all of our days!  In Jesus' great name we pray.  Amen. 

From our family to yours, we wish you a very Merry Christmas and a Wonder-filled New Year!

Pastors Art & Wendy Evans

 

Pastor Art’s New Series beginning Sunday, January 7th!

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He's One Of Us But He's Not Like Us!

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"For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given and the government will be upon His shoulder.  And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace."  ~  Isaiah 9:6 (NKJV)

When I write about Him, I always use the uppercase.  Immanuel, the God-Man, came to our world as one of us but we must acknowledge and remember that He was very different from us. 

There has been a grave misunderstanding in thinking that Jesus was altogether like us.  Yes, He ate food, walked in the dirt and needed to sleep.  But, He came to reveal and reconcile, not to merely relate to and reason with us.  He's our Friend but not our buddy.  He is God.  He is our God!

Many will focus on His humanity rather than honor His deity.  This way of thinking results in a lower estimation of God. 

"What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us." ~  A. W. Tozer

We're tempted to consider that Jesus is heaven's consent of our fallen condition.  Is it possible that this lower view of God is the root of a thousand other problems?  Never confuse God's patience as approval.

"All this you have done and I kept silent, so you thought that I was just like you, sanctioning evil. But now I will bring you to my courtroom and spell out clearly my charges before you." (Psalm 50:21, TPT)

This immeasurable Gift from God was born of a virgin.  He lived thirty-three years, tempted at every point as we are, yet, He never sinned.  He heard His Father's voice with perfect clarity and obeyed in every instance; even to the point of death on the cross.

He's one of us, but He's not like us.  

He's the King.  He's the Creator of everything.  He is the Word Incarnate.  He is God.

Jesus came to where we were, not to leave us as He found us, but to restore us to where God wants us to be.  Free and fruitful.

  • Free from sin and death and all of the powers of darkness.
  • Free from shame, guilt, and condemnation.
  • Free from fear and oppression.
  • Free to worship Him and serve Him with all of our hearts!

God did not send to us a religion or list of does and don'ts.  He didn't send us a pal to comfort us in our sin and pain.

The Gift that He's given us is His Son to be exalted, worshiped, honored and obeyed.  He has given us the Savior, who is Christ the Lord of All!  

 

Pastor Art's Current Sunday Morning Series:

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Gratitude: Our Divine Immunity!

 
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"Let all that I am praise the Lord; with my whole heart, I will praise His holy name.  Let all that I am praise the Lord; may I never forget the good things He does for me.  He forgives all my sins and heals all my diseases.  He redeems me from death and crowns me with love and tender mercies.  He fills my life with good things.  My youth is renewed like the eagles!"                      ~   Psalm 103:1-5 (NLT)

In response to the customary cordial greeting, "How are you?" I often reply, "I'm great!  And, I'm grateful!"  I decided, years ago, that I will express my thanks every opportunity that I can find.  That resolution has transformed my life!

I believe that gratitude is part of our divine immunity system against the darkness, discouragements, and contagions of this world.  You cannot be bitter and grateful at the same time.  You cannot simultaneously be both grateful and oppressed.  The reason for this dichotomy is because gratitude is the expression of acknowledging what you believe.  Giving thanks is a vital element of active faith. 

Rather than thinking on and talking about what you don't have, let your heart be full of gratitude for what you do have.  It takes a bit of effort to shift your focus, but it is so worth it!

Rather than pondering the pain that others have caused you, meditate on the mercies that God has shown you.  If you want your heart to be healthy and strong, have a heart that is "great-full!"  Be sure to fill your heart, to the full, with a testimony of all the great things God has done for you!

As humans, as Americans, and most of all, as Christians, we have so much for which to be thankful!  To not be grateful is to have forgotten the benefits that God has so graciously and generously poured out upon our lives.  Be grateful and give thanks, because

A spirit of thankfulness is one of the most distinctive marks of a Christian whose heart is attuned to the Lord. Thank God in the midst of trials and every persecution.” Billy Graham

Wendy and I hope that you and all of your family have a Wonderful Thanksgiving and Beautiful Holiday Season!

 

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Meaning In The Mundane

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"Whatever may be your task, work at it heartily, as [something done] for the Lord and not for men, knowing [with all certainty] that it is from the Lord [and not from men] that you will receive the inheritance which is your [real] reward. [The One Whom] you are actually serving is the Lord Jesus Christ." ~  Colossians 3:23-24 (AMP)

I didn’t understand!  He tried again.  “Anyone who has the Life of God cannot be bored.  It’s impossible!”  My folks were diligent “boredom busters.” They saw to it that I always had things to do:  crafts, sports, family projects, pets, whatever.  They understood that I was always looking for the next “big thing” upon which I could hang my expectations.  As exciting as it was growing up in my family, boredom would still creep up on me and overshadow my world.

“I’m so bored, that I’m bored of being bored!”  My dad had enough of my whining.  “Boredom is an attitude, Arthur.  You cannot be bored unless you want to be.”   He knew something that I didn’t!

Boredom is the close cousin of impatience and is in cahoots with distraction and depression.  French Author and Historian, Jules Renard, said, “Being bored is an insult to oneself.”   Living in a world saturated with stimuli, that boredom even exists, is a phenomenon!  Alas, the real source of the mundane cannot be the world in which we live.  It must have to do with the human condition and this long road trip we’ve embarked on, called Life.  It’s proven, boredom is one of the highest hurdles in the human race.

Even the best road trips have mundane miles.

Learning how to deal with boredom is a natural part of growing up.  But be assured, if boredom is permitted to have a voice in your soul, it can grow to take control; control of your emotions, your decisions, and even the direction of your life.   Many blame their failures, their addictions and bad behaviors on being bored.  Though feeling bored is not a sin, our enemy knows how to take advantage of us when we are listless, passionless and without focus.

I’ve worked directly with precious people for 35 years.  In my experience, one of the dominant differences between people who are happy and those who are merely surviving the journey is how they perceive and prevail over boredom.

There’s meaning in the mundane.  This is true for all humans, but especially so for the Child of God.  Here are five keys to remember when boredom is creeping up on you:  

  1. Remember that God sees your life from beginning to end and has an overarching purpose for all of it.  In perfect love and wisdom, He uses everything to that end.
  2. The mundane is an opportunity to trust God in the small things and find sincere appreciation in the simple.  Missing the amazing searching for the astonishing is easy.
  3. The mundane miles are a reminder that God orders our steps, (one-at-a-time), as much as He has the map for our entire trip.
  4. When boredom strikes, it’s because you’ve allowed your desires to shift, outwardly.  Outward cravings and appetites, even the harmless ones, will never be satisfied and are quickly bored.  Your life will never be dull when fellowship with God’s Spirit, hearing His voice and following His lead is the passion of your heart.
  5. What many may describe as a dreary day, learn to use for your rest and restoration.  This way, when you need strength and energy, you’re not worn out just going from activity to activity.  Be refreshed in the mundane!


You have a divine destiny to fulfill and a destination to reach.  Don’t allow yourself to be distracted from your aim or diluted in your passions.  Learn to deal a death blow to boredom and find meaning in the mundane.  When all is quiet, and the excitement of the world has waned, God is waiting.  He will meet you there.
 

Pastor Art's Current Sunday Morning Series:

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Higher Ground!

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"God has raised us up together with Him and made us sit down together [giving us joint seating with Him] in the heavenly sphere [by virtue of our being] in Christ Jesus."  ~  Ephesians 6:10 (AMPC)

There's a scene that has been repeated for millennia.  I have personally witnessed it, many times.  It never wains in its thrill and its efficacy to inspire! What epic moment am I talking about?

The brilliant and audacious walk of my cat, across the fence of my backyard, while dogs below; on either side, bark their heads off!  Felix seems completely unbothered with regal and sustained composure.  I've even seen him sleeping up there!   How is it that he, and cats like him, all over the world, hold their peace in such a moment?  He knows that

  • when he's on the higher ground that he is above every dog in the world.
  • as long as he stays on the higher ground, the dogs can bark and jump all they like.  They'll never get to him unless he willingly comes down.
  • if he were to take them on, directly, he would likely lose.  So, he has learned to use the fence as a refuge for safety and a highway in the midst of opposition.
  • he's not missing out on anything that's on the ground.  There are fences everywhere and hold plenty of promise, provision, and protection.

Of course, I'm not only talking about my amazing cat, Felix!  Consider that you have been raised up, together with Jesus Christ, to higher ground.  The Bible declares, "In Christ, you have been seated far above all principality and power and might and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in that which is to come."  (Eph. 1:21)  Your enemies can bark and threaten all they like.  But, unless you voluntarily come down, they cannot reach you in your refuge of Christ!

I heard it put this way, "The dogs bark but the train rolls on!"  

By faith, take your place in Christ!  Enjoy your fellowship with God and His peace and power over trouble.  Let the enemy rage but you keep your composure and courage.  Your God is with you!

 

Pastor Art's Current Sunday Morning Series:

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