Church at the Mount

Rejoice In The Right Things

After these things the Lord appointed other 70 also, and sent them 2 by 2 before his face into every city and place, whither himself would come. Therefore he said unto them, The harvest truly is great, but the laborers are few; pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest that he send forth labourers into his harvest.  Go your ways, behold, I send you forth as lambs among wolves. Luke 10:1-3  Jesus then told these 70 disciples “He that heareth you heareth me; and he that despiseth you despiseth me, and he that despiseth me despiseth He who sent me. And the 70 returned again with joy, saying, Lord even the devils are subject unto us through thy name. And He saith unto them, I beheld Satan as lightning fall from Heaven.  Behold I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions; and over all powers of the enemy, and nothing by any means shall hurt you. Notwithstanding in this rejoice, not that the spirits are subject unto you, but rather rejoice; because your names are written in Heaven.” Luke 10:16-20  As God’s children, we have our names written in the Book of Life and this is what we are to rejoice over.  God loved us enough to send His only begotten son to die on the cross for our sins that we may have eternal life and not suffer eternal damnation for our sin nature.  This is what Jesus would have us rejoice in, and in our rejoicing, we are to be as laborers in the Lord’s harvest sharing our joy and our Savior with those whom the Lord sends our way.

 

Who Is Thy Neighbor?

The Disciples were asking Jesus about the law and the commandments.  “Master, which is the great commandment in the law? Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all they soul, and with all thy mind.  This is the first and great commandment, And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.” Matt 22:36-39  A lawyer also asked Jesus what he should do to inherit eternal life. Jesus asked him what is written in the law? “And he answering said, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself.” Luke 10:27 The lawyer then asked of Jesus “And who is my neighbor?” To which Jesus answered the parable of the Good Samaritan “A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, which stripped him of his raiment, and wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead. And by chance there came down a certain priest that way; and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. And likewise a Levite, when he was at the place, cane and looked on him, and passed by on the other side.  But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was; and when he saw him, he had compassion on him, And went to him, and bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine, and set him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn, and took care of him. And on the morrow when he departed, he took out two pence, and gave them to the host, and said unto him, Take care of him; and whatsoever thou spendest more, when I come again, I will repay thee.  Which now of these three, thinkest thou, was neighbor unto him that fell among the thieves? And he said, He that shewed mercy on him.  Then said Jesus unto him, Go, and do thou likewise.” Luke 10:29-37 Can people tell that we love our neighbor? Jesus told us to go and do like the Samaritan, for our neighbor is the person who is downtrodden, who is poor in spirit, who is needy. If we are followers of Christ, then we will in deed as well as word, love our neighbor to show Christ’s love through us.

 

The Great Commandment

The Great Commandment

The Disciples were asking Jesus about the law and the commandments.  “Master, which is the great commandment in the law? Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all they soul, and with all thy mind.  This is the first and great commandment, And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.” Matt 23:36-39  The same was also given in John 13:33-35 “ Little children, yet a little while I am with you. Ye shall seek me: and as I said unto the Jews, whither I go ye cannot come; so now I say to you.  A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples if ye have love for one another.” The Bible gives us many examples of how to love one another like IThes 5:14 Now we exhort you brethren, warn them that are unruly, comfort the feebleminded, support the weak, be patient toward all men.  I Cor Chapter 13 is the manual for what love IS: Love is long suffering, love is kind, love envies not, love vaunteth not itself, love is not puffed up(proud). Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in truth; Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things. ICor 13:4-7 Paul then goes on to tell us “Follow after charity (love) and desire spiritual gifts, but rather that ye may prophesy(preach). ICor 14:1 Without having the love of Christ in our hearts and in our actions, we cannot hope to share it with others. And we need to be aware that God expects us to share His love “But this I say, He which soweth sparingly shall reap sparingly and he which soweth bountifully shall reap bountifully.” II Cor 9:6 How many blessings are we missing out on because we do not sow bountifully? Do we love enough? Do we love the way Paul tells us that we should, the way that Christ loved us?  Do we show others that we love them? When was the last time we shared the love of Christ with someone? Can people tell our faith by our actions?

 

Why Am I Still Alive?

I grew up in a home where both parents had been soured by the hypocritical actions of “Christians” that they knew in their small town, so faith and belief in God were not discussed and we definitely knew how our parents felt about “those religious people”. When I was 17 I went off to college and at 18 my car engine just quit. I met an old man in my apartment complex right off campus and he had a motorcycle for sale that I could buy on payments. I grew up riding motorcycles so I was comfortable with it, that was my new ride.  One day I took my cousin to work and was just heading home when I was hit in an intersection by a truck going over 45 mph and he never hit the brakes.  I went flying in the air and landed over 30 feet from the point of impact, landed on my head, not wearing a helmet.  At that point I remember the guy who hit me came and helped me get up, I was dazed and wondering what happened. He said “Oh thank God, I thought I had killed you”. He helped me to the side of the road, moved my motorcycle out of the road, asked me if I was ok then he left and I rode that bike home, the front forks were bent but that was the only damage to the bike, the truck’s whole front end was smashed in and his radiator was broken he said motor mounts had busted too, but I don’t know for sure. I don’t remember the ride home but when I parked the bike in my spot, the old man who sold it to me saw me and was very concerned. I definitely had a concussion, I damaged a kidney, there was blood in my urine, the left side of my face was a bloody hamburger mess, I broke a bone in my left elbow and chipped a bone on the left side of my hip, I was in shock.  That old man helped me get cleaned up as he talked to me about what happened. He asked me if I believed in God, which strangely enough given my family’s aversion to religion, I have always believed that there was a God watching over us.  He then asked me if I had died that day would I have gone to heaven. Well I thought about it and I knew that I had done some good things, but I also knew that growing up I had sometimes lied and sometimes disobeyed my parents, so I could not say that I was good enough, but I did not really think that I was bad enough not to. It was then that old man explained to me about how we are all sinners, falling short of the grace of God that it is not about being good enough or bad enough it is about our sin nature, and because of that He sent His only begotten son to die on the cross for all of our sins, so that all who believe on Him would be saved from eternal damnation in hell. That man told me that the Spirit had moved him to be where he was when I got home. And then he asked me if I wanted to accept Jesus Christ as my savior. We got down on our knees and he prayed this with me “Dear Heavenly Father, I know that I am a sinner and that you love me so much that you sent your son Jesus to die on that cross for my sins.  Lord Jesus, please come into my heart and save me. Thank you for your sacrifice and forgive me my sins. In Jesus most precious name, Amen.” I don’t remember a lot more from that day or the next, but those parts are crystal clear in my mind.  Why did I not die in that accident?  There is no earthly reason that I should be alive, and I never should have walked away from that, much less driven home. The truck that hit me was not driveable, he had to tow it home. My being alive was nothing less than a miracle.  Looking back now, has given me some insight into the plan that God has had for my life: I have 4 beautiful children, all of whom have accepted Christ. My youngest son at the age of 10 led another boy to the Lord. My daughter led her younger cousin to the Lord, who then at the age of 7 led her Me-maw to the Lord. My sister-in-law, who was hooked on Meth came to our church and heard Pastor preach, she went back home started going to church and accepted Christ along with her son and has been clean for 5 years. My Dad, at the age of 79 accepted Christ, because he had 2 daughters for a witness of the Love of Christ Jesus, my sister and myself. There have been more people influenced simply because of the miracle that God performed at that accident, and none of it was due to anything that I did, it was Christ working through me.   I thank Him and am only sorry that I am not a better servant for Him.

 

Christ the Anti-Depressant

Christ, The Anti-Depressant

Many of us struggle with dark thoughts, thoughts of guilt for past sins, depression and shame.  As followers of Christ, this is not how we are to live (Rom 8:1 There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus…) and God shows us a way to refocus our thoughts and remain out of darkness.  If we read Psalm 143:3-4, we see a great example of David, a man of strong faith who suffered at times, from depression and dark thoughts, “For the enemy hath persecuted my soul; he smiteth my life down to the ground; he hath made me to dwell in darkness, as those that have been long dead.  Therefore is my spirit overwhelmed within me; my heart within me is desolate.”  Even King David, a man after God’s own heart, suffered from depression at times, but he also gave us the answer of how to rise above it through faith.  Psalm 143:5-6 “I remember the days of old; I meditate on all thy works; I muse on the works of thy hands.  I stretch forth my hands unto thee: my soul thirsteth after thee, as a thirsty land. Se-lah.”

The first thing that David did to combat depression was to meditate on God and His works.  If we are thinking of God, our mind is occupied by light and not darkness.  We are doing what our soul cries out for–communing with our creator, and we are not thinking of ourselves or how bad things are.  And when our spirits sink, we can do as David did: talk to God and ask Him to not hide his face from us. “Hear me speedily, O Lord: my spirit faileth; hide not thy face from me, lest I be like unto them that go down into the pit.  Cause me to hear thy loving kindness in the morning; for in thee do I trust; cause me to know the way wherein I should walk; for I lift up my soul unto thee.” Psalm 143:7-8. When we ask, then we also need to listen to what God has to tell us.  In the time of David, there was direct communication from God.  Since the time of Christ, we hear through His Word, the Holy Bible.  As told in Psalm 143:8, David asked to hear God’s loving kindness in the morning.  Since that was when David asked to hear, it would be good to follow his guidance by “hearing” God’s word in the morning. (Rom 10:17 So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God) Our guidance is to come by the word of God.  Start your day in lightness and not in darkness.  Our enemy within this world is the devil and is of darkness (Eph 6:12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against rulers of darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places). David also fled to God to hide from his enemies. Psalm 143:9 “Deliver me O Lord, from mine enemies: I flee unto thee to hide me.“  We can flee to God through Jesus to hide from our enemy, to dwell in the peace of God (Phil 4:7…the peace of God which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.)

If we continue to follow the pattern that David set for battling depression and darkness of thoughts, then we will ask God to teach us to do His will. Psalm 143:10-12 “Teach me to do thy will for thou art my God; thy spirit is good; lead me into the land of uprightness.  Quicken me, O Lord for thy name’s sake, for thy righteousness sake, bring my soul out of trouble.  And of they mercy cut off thine enemies, and destroy all them that afflict my soul; for I am thy servant.”

Satan uses feelings of guilt, shame and depression as tools to make us useless as servants of God.  He is very good at using doubts, guilt and other emotions to keep our thoughts centered on ourselves to that we do not focus on God and what He wants us to do.  Satan uses darkness and depression, but through Jesus Christ, the “True Light” (John 1:9) we can conquer the darkness “...let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light.” Rom 13:12 “Put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ” Rom13:14.

Sinless Jesus died for our sins, He paid the price for all of them on the cross through His sacrifice and under His blood–when we hold on to the guilt and shame, the dark thoughts and depression, we make little of the tremendous sacrifice that He made for our very souls.

To rebuke the darkness we need to hold close to God’s Word, these simple steps can help:

  • Know in your heart and believe (have faith) that God is our Creator and our Heavenly Father.
  • Accept that Jesus Christ is His only begotten son, sent for our salvation, to pay the sacrifice for all of our sins.
  • Think on God, meditate on His works
  • Thank God–He loved you enough to send His only Son
  • Turn to God, talk to God, Pray
  • Hear God’s word (read His word)
  • Receive God’s instruction (read His word)
  • Turn all of your guilt, sins, worries, darkness of thoughts over to Christ – He already paid the price – and His light will replace the darkness.

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