Putting on the Armor of God

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Ephesians 6:10-13 NIV

10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.

I don’t know if you realize it or not, but we are in the fight of our lives. When I asked them if they knew who or what it is that we are fighting against, I got all kinds of answers such as;

  • Donald Trump
  • Hilary Clinton
  • The Democrats and Republicans
  • The Establishment
  • Christians, Muslims and other faiths
  • Terrorists
  • Neighbors
  • Spouses and children
  • Drug and alcohol
  • In- laws and outlaws
  • Stupid people
  • Weight
  • White People, Black People, polka dotted and all other colors of people and races
  • and other things

When I started asking these questions, I had in mind from a spiritual view-point and not many answered that way, which was sad in a way. The reason why is that they are focused on all of the stuff going on in the news and the world and not paying attention to who or what it is that we are fighting and what is causing these things to happen.

6c331171d8028bfa5a16be754003b4d8In Ephesians 6:12 God makes it clear that our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.

We are in this spiritual war and that we need His protection. We are fighting against Satan and the powers of darkness that are in this world.

All Christians are equipped with the armor of God. We each have the Bible, truth, the Gospel, faith and salvation that we can share with others. As this spiritual war is happening all around us, we have to  take advantage of the tools that the Lord has given each of us. Never underestimate what Satan and his evil minions can do.

As Christians we are constantly in a battle against Satan. His sole purpose is to wreak havoc in our lives and cause division. He likes nothing better than to throw us off track and to push us away from God. Over the past year or so, I have noticed how good he is at this. For those who are regular readers of my blog, you may have noticed that I have been posting about divisions among Christians, church and families.  He is not afraid to lie about God’s grace, His unconditional love, or the Spirit’s work in your heart.

Satan waits until we are vulnerable and then he attacks. Over the past year or so, there has been fellow Christians at my church and in their personal lives that has been under attack. One would think that when you go to church, everyone and all things are of God. I hate to give you this bad news, but that is far from true. Church is the perfect place for Satan to wreak havoc in the lives of those who worship God. Church becomes a breeding ground and if Satan can get a foothold, he can cause a tremendous amount of damage.
It’s like a slow fade. It isn’t a like a bomb is dropped and immediate destruction. It comes on slowly. Satan works on hurt feelings and distrust.  Satan has and will tear a church apart over stupid frivolous things. There are many other weapons that are defensive, but the Word is offensive-it chases the enemy, driving him back.

1 Peter 5:8 “Be sober and watchful, because your adversary the devil walks around as a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour”.

There are a number of ways he accomplishes this. I will just share a few of them since I have seen this and have lived through these kinds of divisions at my church. Not just recently and not just my church, but it can happen at any and all churches that are sharing the gospel with others.

If you haven’t figured it out yet, I would like to inform you that Satan loves to destroy anything and anyone that belongs to God. Satan loves to destroy the work of God’s church and he loves to destroy those who love the Church and God.

Ephesians 6:10-18 10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.. read more… 

Below I have listed a few schemes that Satan has been keeping busy with.

Conflicts Within the Church

Church-Conflict-500x383Church conflict isn’t new because Satan has been in the business of destroying the lives of Christians since the beginning of time. Personally, I think his favorite place to be is at church.  If Christians say that isn’t true, then they haven’t been reading the Bible and they have blinders on. Over the past year or so, he has been the instigator of arguments within the church, disagreements and trivial things such as the kind of music sang, color of the carpet and how something is worded or not worded. Satan is excited when fellow Christian and church members get upset and they storm out the door and never return. As each person leaves, that’s a check-mark or a win for Satan.

Satan Loves Lies lies and More Lies  

liar-satan1Satan loves it when lies or half-truths are said at church. A friend of mine that I use to go to church with told me that they were no longer going to any church anymore because people at church lies. One of our previous pastors was doing a sermon and worded something in a way that she thought was a lie. She didn’t like the version of the Bible that he was preaching from. Which he used the same version I do, so I kind of took that personal. She was also upset that the pastor read a particular verse from the sermon. She said that he had no right to share “that part” of the Bible, lol. I’m sure I gave her a stupid look. I told her that all of the Bible should be shared, not just the ones she likes. I think the sermon was on submission.

I told her that if she only wanted to hear certain parts of the Bible and not the whole Bible, then she needs to examine her relationship with Christ. I then told her that not all people at church are Christians. When I told her that even Satan is present at church and believes in Christ. She got upset since she thought I was calling her evil. I explained to her that wasn’t the case, but just going to church isn’t going to save you. It has been about 8 yrs since I last talked to her.

Matthew 4:10 NIV“Jesus said to him, Away from me, Satan! For it is written…”.

Gossiping About Others

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Proverbs 20:19 A gossip betrays a confidence; so avoid anyone who talks too much.

Oh boy, this is one of those things I have been guilty of and learned my lesson the hard way.  Satan loves to stir the pot of dissension. It’s nothing to him to whisper something into another persons ear and then chaos erupts. When one person shares something to another, things spread rapidly.  For example, there is a family member that loves gossip and within minutes what was shared has taken on a life of its on. As each person is told snip-its, the original version usually grows much larger that it really is and Satan loves it.

One of the churches I use to go to was practically destroyed because people were hearing just parts of a conversation. It was heartbreaking when one family left the church because they thought something was said that wasn’t. It was one of those things that started off innocent and snowballed to the point where they left. Not only did they leave, they caused a great deal of stress for the pastors family. They were good friends prior to what was supposedly said. Instead of asking the pastor, they believed the lies. I don’t know if things worked out for them. As of a couple of years ago, the family never went back to church and had a strong hate for the pastors family, all over a misunderstanding. The misunderstanding was based on a total fabrication about a discussion over how much was being paid for a book. I guess Satan was happy over that.

I brought up the conflicts, gossiping and lying in the church because it is important for us to have the Full Armour of God in order to protect ourselves. When we allow things to tear us down, Satan wins and I am a very bad sore loser.

Volunteers and Pastors

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A couple of my blogs I touched on how volunteers are church and pastors are getting burned out. The pastor at my church does everything office wise, sermons, visiting the sick and so on. He is a full-time pastor and friend.  I have never heard Pastor Ray complain about what he does and I honestly think he enjoys what he is doing. I can also tell that he is tired and Satan has been attacking him lately. His wife and my friend has been fighting for her life for some time.  Satan has been taking advantage of how  full his plate is. My church has wonderful people and there are many that do a lot for the church. They don’t want to be called out, they silently do what they do without any fan fare. Which is what we should be doing.

When I do things for the church, there are just a few people who knows and sometimes it is between God and myself. But, every now and then, someone will make it a point to tell everyone how great they are and how much they give. If they don’t get the praise they think they should be getting, then they get butt hurt and have no problem telling others about how great they are or how misunderstood they are. Things turn ugly really fast and Satan loves it when he is winning the battle of dissension, discouragement and ultimately leaving church and  involving others.

Matthew 6:1-4 (NIV) 6 “Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of others to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven. Read More

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I mention how Satan is working within the churches and in the world because we need to put on our Full Armour of God in order to defeat him. We already know that God wins in the end. We shouldn’t back down from Satan. Satan is dangerous and he is in churches and he is everywhere. If we are Christians, we can expect him to be present anywhere God is.  I personally feel that we must be strong in our faith and don’t back down. We must use God’s Word as a weapon. Satan fears those who hold onto God’s Word and when we use it.

Screen-Shot-2014-05-09-at-1.15.52-PMNever underestimate what Satan will do and can do. Satan is always trying to discourage us and I’m not into this whole notion of just backing away. I have gotten myself in a lot of trouble because I just keep going like the energizer bunny lol. As Christians we need to stand and fight. Satan is a liar and he is the king of lies. I have no problem calling him out. But, I know that in order to fight I have to put the Full Armour of God on, even at church. Always go to God’s Word when we are having difficulties or we are in need or strength.

Hebrews 10:23 “So let us seize and hold fast and retain without wavering the hope we cherish and confess and our acknowledgement of it, for He Who promised is reliable (sure) and faithful to His word”.

What is the Armour of God and how do we clothe ourselves in it? I will break it down piece by piece.

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  • Belt of truth – The truth of God’s Word is the first defense in combating the lies of the enemy.
  • Breastplate of Righteousness – Righteousness and character are the means to justice and victory..
  • Shod Feet – The armor of God also includes having our “feet fitted” with the “gospel of Peace”.
  • Shield of Faith – Any unyielding faith in God’s sovereignty and goodness “can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one”
  • Helmet of Salvation – The helmet of salvation is a symbol of protection and victory. Our greatest victory is the gift of salvation we have been given through Christ’s sacrifice
  • The sword of the Spirit – The sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God. When we read our Bibles and memorize scripture, we are armed with arrows of truth to combat the enemy. There are many other weapons that are defensive, but the Word is offensive-it chases the enemy, driving him back.”

Matthew 4:10 “Away from me, Satan!” Jesus declared. “For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God and serve Him only.'”

In Closing I want to leave you with this message from Paul in Ephesians 6:10. “Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might.” There is no reason for us to be discouraged by Satan and the tools and power he has.  We aren’t in this battle alone. We have the greatest tools and power in the world and the universe.

God is AWESOME

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“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God.  I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:10

Things around my house has been crazy to say the least. Most people who I know are aware of the dangers of lightning and high winds. During this time of the year Southern Utah is hit by monsoons and other types of weather that causes flooding, lightening storms and death, Normally I am out taking pictures of the awesome lightening storms that God has displayed to us. Last night was different though, but a constant reminder of how awesome God is and how powerful lightening can be.

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9

When we started to hear rolling thunder and the winds picking up, we knew the storm was coming in as predicted. The alerts has been on TV for about an hour. Once we started hearing the thunder and wind, I asked my husband if he would go outside before it got to bad and bring in the garbage cans that way they wouldn’t blow away. As he prepares to get up to do that, the weather got really bad. We had strong winds, hail, thunder and lightning. The rain was so bad that you couldn’t even see the house across from ours.  But, that is normal during monsoons. They come in strong and dump a lot of water.

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This is my car. Its a 2003 Ford Mustang. 

I told him to never mind since the weather got so bad. Just as I shut my front door to make sure things were OK, I heard a huge clap of thunder and lightning. At that moment

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This is my personalized License Plate

I went to the garage to see what was happening outside. I love to take pictures of stormy weather. As I opened my garage door, I freaked out big time. I yelled to my husband that the huge tree on the side of our house fell onto my car. My car is a 2003 Ford Mustang. All I could see of my car was the front end and the license plate. I have personalized plates that says, “JESUSIS”.

 

I was about to have a major meltdown. I know that God is in control of everything and at that moment I had to just trust in Him. I know that all things work out according to His will and is does what is best. I know cars are material items, but this car is special to me. There are many who hates Fords, but, for me I love this car. I looked for a yellow mustang for years. It took me a long time to be able to buy one. Our paychecks goes to bills and I am on disability for Myasthenia Gravis and Guillian Barre Syndrome. A good part of my disability check goes for Dr’s appointments and medication. This is the first car I bought that was specifically for me. I prayed to God to protect it since He knew that it is more than just a car. It’s hard to explain.

Cars can be replaced, but not people. I was just hoping I didn’t have to replace it. The reason I said though that cars can be replaced, but not people is because if my husband Chuck would have gone outside when I asked him to, the tree would have fallen on him since that is exactly where he would have been. He could have also been struck by lightning. I love my car, but I would take my husband any day over my car.

“Tell everyone who is discouraged, Be strong and don’t be afraid! God is coming to your rescue…” Isaiah 35:4

God was protecting us the whole time. Not only did He protect my husband from getting crushed by the tree, He also protected our house. Right next to the tree is a power line that is over our house. The city has had to come and trim the tree many times to keep it from getting into the power lines.

The winds were about 80 mph when the tree was hit by lightning. Had it not been for the strong winds all kinds of things could have happened and none of them good. The winds forced the tree to go in a different direction. It didn’t hit any power lines and it didn’t hit the house. My car is another story though. It did hit my car obviously.  Here is a link to St. George News. There is a video that shows the tree coming down unto my car.

As soon as the rain and winds died down, people started showing up to help out. The only person I knew was my neighbor across the street. One guy came with a chainsaw and others helped by moving the tree limbs and cutting them. After only 30 minutes, my car was free from the tree. I was absolutely amazed when I seen my car when the tree was removed.

My car had very little damage. There were no broken windows, no major dents. There were a couple small ones, but you would have to actually put your hands on the car to feel them. The only noticeable damage was to the spoiler fin on the back of the car. My husband and I looked up how much it would cost to get a new one and it would only cost around $100.00.

When I seen my car in the condition it was in, I was truly amazed. I don’t know why I was amazed, but I was. I thought my car was going to be a total loss. Most people thought the same thing. When you look at the damage from the tree falling on the car, one would assume that I wouldn’t have a car anymore. God knows that I would have been able to buy a new car to replace it. I only have liability on it. I am thinking I need to increase my insurance on our vehicles after this. I don’t drive a lot because of my medical things, but when I do have to, I wouldn’t be able to.

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In case anyone that helped us with getting the tree off of my car is reading this, I want to thank you all. My husband and I couldn’t do it alone. We had no chainsaw and I couldn’t help because of my physical limitations. Most of all, I want to thank God for having a hand in all things and making sure that the wind blew in the right direction and for protecting each and everyone.

In Closing, I want to leave you with some Bible verses that have come to mind because of what happened.  I would also like to thank everyone who helped us. We couldn’t have done it without your help. I hope that if anyone goes through something like this or even worse that God is always there for you. He has a way of working things out according to His will.

 “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7

 

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Even though my car is just a car, God protected it and I am so very grateful. 

 

Spiritual Warfare in the Church

 

spiritual-warfare_edited-1Whether you know it or not, we are in a full-blown battle. If you are feeling all comfy in your comfy bed and dreaming about walking through the most beautiful meadow ever. Here in America I think we have a false sense of security. Like it or not, the is a very real battle happening.

If you haven’t noticed I have doing a few blog posts about praying for our pastors and church leaders and how it is OK to go to your pastor if you have questions or concerns. Satan tells us not to and would do whatever it takes to cause conflicts, battles and in some cases the conflicts cause them to stop going to church all together or to lose their faith.

I also believe that there are some if not most of those who are believers in Christ have this idea that they will never have to struggle and go through difficult trials and temptations. Satan particularly targets those who have strong faith. For quite some time now I have noticed that a number of our church have been suffering from some severe attacks from Satan. If you think just because you are a Christian you are exempt, then think again.

I’m hoping I won’t come under fire from some people at church and from my pastor. I love all of those who come to my church. Many of them I have known for over 20 yrs. My church was founded 65 years ago I think it is. Those who attended my church didn’t really have anything bad happen at church.  One of our Deacons was talking about how our church never had the problems other ones had. Everyone was happy happy joy joy. I don’t even know if it was a month later when things began to crumble. Things got so bad that our church went to having standing room only on some Sundays to having only 40.

It seems as if since then, Satan has taken a foot hold. Over the past 18 months, it seems as if Satan has really been working overtime. This time it isn’t because of our pastor, well in a sense it is. Pastor Ray has a different way of doing things than any other pastor we have had. Pastor Ray is someone I would call an outreach pastor. The reason I say that is you will find him at the college handing out Bibles and offering to pray for the students. Our church is located directly across the street from the university and we have many students that park their cars at our church and they walk across. Even if Pastor Ray is the only one there at the prayer station, he is there.

Since Pastor Ray has been reaching out to the students and handing out bibles and praying with them, it is as if Satan has turned things up a notch. Pastor Rays wife has been diagnosed with cancer. The home they were living in has been sold as she is getting treatment for cancer. They had to move three days prior. Then they have been having internal battles which consists of misunderstandings. Because of the misunderstandings we have lost some long time church members. If Satan thinks he is going to win this battle, he is mistaken.

If you look at Acts 19:15  it shows  how Paul the apostle was not only known in heaven, but also in hell!

Acts 19:15 One day the evil spirit answered them, “Jesus I know, and Paul I know about, but who are you?”

Job 1:7- The Lord said to Satan, “Where have you come from?”

He had their attention! First Peter 5:8-9 teaches that Satan roams the earth seeking someone to devour, which also goes along with the Job narrative (Job 1:7).

So Paul will answer a number of questions. We’ll consider five. Who is the enemy? Where is the battle? What is our role? What is our protection? And what weapons are we given for the battle?

Ephesians 6:10–12 says, “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” This text teaches some crucial truths: we can only stand strong in the Lord’s power, it is God’s armor that protects us, and our battle is ultimately against spiritual forces of evil in the world.

When it comes to the reasons why a person leaves a church, I find it is a personal one. I do wish that people would sit down with the pastor or whomever they have an issue with and discuss what they are upset over. I have found about 90 percent of the time the reason they are leaving is because of a misunderstanding, gossip and just not fully listening.

For those who think that it is going to be easy to do what God has instructed us to do and to do what we are called to do would be easy.  Jesus did the will of God and He was crucified, and church history tells us Paul was beheaded! It’s not how many years we live, but what we do with the years we live that matters!

I’m not sure how many are aware that Satan isn’t an idiot and he has no issue attacking Christians and if you think otherwise, you need a reality check. Satan has a way of focusing on those who are a the biggest threat to him. He is all about taking someone who is a believer in Christ over someone who doesn’t have any faith. If you go to Genesis which is the first book in the Bible there are some examples of this power struggle.

God gave Adam a commission to have His rule over the whole earth (Gen. 1:28), and immediately after that the devil came and convinced both Adam and Eve to disobey God and abandon their posts as God’s vice regents over the earth (Gen. 3:1-8).

Genesis 1:28 – God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground.”

Genesis 3:1-8 –  Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?” Read More…. 

If you a believer in Christ and you have a lot of faith, I would say to not be discouraged when you are attacked or deceived. Someone told me years ago that the reason I am being attacked is because of my faith and Satan isn’t in the losing game. I think this is what is going on with my pastor and things at churches and mine included.

I was thinking about all of the things that my pastor and friend has been through recently and I honestly feel like he is doing a great job when it comes to reaching others when it comes to their relationship with Christ. If my pastor was just another person, Satan would have no issue and would move on. “Our struggle is not against flesh and blood but against principalities, powers and the rulers of darkness in high places” Paul said “our struggle” meaning he was including himself in this struggle. Every time there was an open door for ministry he had many adversaries.

Ephesians 6:10-13 – Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.

I have been searching for the right words and message to give to those who are struggling and feel like they want to throw in the towel.  I have prayed for the right words to give to my pastor friends near and far that the apostle Peter also tells us to resist the devil, standing firm in the faith (1 Pet. 5:9). Peter knew because of his own experiences that faith in God is the key to standing firm in the midst of the day of evil because, when he denied Christ three times, Jesus prayed for him that his “faith” would not fail (Luke 22:31-32).

1 Peter 5:9– Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings

Luke 22:31-32-“Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift all of you as wheat. 32 But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.”

I want to close this by saying , do not be afraid when you are in tribulation, because Jesus has already overcome the world!

John 16:33- “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

My Next Blog will be about Putting on the Armor of God.

Is It OK to Ask My Pastor…?

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In my past blog I was talking about a sweet little lady named Dena and how she didn’t feel comfortable enough to talk to Pastor Ellis Keck. This was around 15 yrs ago. We had many conversations that were based on the End Times. I suggested talking to Pastor went to Pastor Ellis and Dena didn’t want that all.

If you haven’t read that one yet, it was about how Dena and I would have many discussions about the Trinity and other faith-based questions. This post is about is it OK to talk to your pastor or church leader? I want to let those that I go to church with that this is NOT about Pastor Ray and it isn’t about those that goes to my church. I don’t want people from church reading too much into this blog post and making it something that it isn’t.

When I told Dena that we could go talk to Pastor Keck, she was pretty adamant about my question lol. She said without batting an eye “NO”. How could I argue with that answer. I did venture into that territory and she told me that she didn’t want to sound stupid. Okay, I can get that.  Because of this question is what got me thinking about what prevents people from going to their pastor or church leader.

As I was talking to Dena about there were two specific things I thought about and those would be questioning Your Pastor and ministering to your pastor. This first thing I want to cover is asking your pastor questions.

For I long to see you, that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to strengthen you— that is, that we may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith, both yours and mine. (Romans 1:11-12)

Is it OK to Question My Pastor?

  •  Misunderstandings: I don’t know about you, but there are times I need to have my pastor clarify something in his sermon. He would say something with a not so every day word and I had no clue what he was asking about. There is nothing wrong with talking to the pastor in order to understand things  better. It’s better to ask your pastor what he meant instead of second guessing him.
  • Meetings: I can’t stand church meetings. I stopped going to them a long time. There was a time that they would dragged them on and it would take them all afternoon. Last week my church did the quarterly meeting. My own person thought on these are that they already know if something will pass. By the end of the meetings, I was done. If they need my vote, I will vote by proxies, but the rest I want no part of. For me it is like a gaggle of people trying to speak and nobody is listening. I know church business needs to be done, but it seems as if they have a hard time sticking to the matter at home.
  • Listen and Pay Attention: I don’t know about anyone else’s pastor/pastors, but ours went to seminary and have graduated. If you have a problem that you need to discuss I know my pastor would listen if you give him a chance. There has been some people who have been attached to the hip of a previous pastor. If you have a problem then go to him since it is better to hear it from the horse’s mouth instead of hearing it second-hand.
  • It’s OK to Question the Pastor: No pastor should ever say, “Who are you to question me?” My pastor has no problem with people coming into the office. If you disagree with something he has said or done, let him know.  If you don’t say something there is no way for him to know. I know my pastor and I would think your;s would be thankful for coming to him over whatever the problem may be. If you don’t agree with how he is interpreting the Bible, pull up your big boy or girls panties and ask.
  • Speak to the Pastor: I know without a doubt that my pastor would prefer to have someone come to him directly if they have any questions, observations  Most pastors are more than happy when people come with questions, thoughts or observations even if you have prepared a fabulous speech and you are prepared to get vocal he will listen . Even when someone expresses themselves in anger there’s probably something the pastor really needs to consider.
  • Gossip is destructive to a church:  When we gossip it acts James puts it this way

    James 3:6-  “The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole body, sets the whole course of one’s life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell.” The tongue can be used for good and for evil. It can tear down and destroy anything that is good.

If you are one of those people, and I am guilty of this too that likes gossip, then it needs to stop. If you hear someone gossiping and you are listening to them, then walk away and stop. If makes you just as much guilty if you are listening.If you continue to do these things, then the enemy (Satan) will be given a foothold in any church.

Supporting Your Pastor

Romans 1:8-12. Paul is saying this to the church:First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you, because your faith is proclaimed in all the world. For God is my witness, whom I serve with my spirit in the gospel of his Son, that without ceasing I mention you always in my prayers, asking that somehow by God’s will I may now at last succeed in coming to you. For I long to see you, that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to strengthen you—that is, that we may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith, both yours and mine.

Have you ever considered that it is our responsibility to be there for our pastor and to minister them. I’m not talking about standing in front of the church and giving a sermon. What I am talking about how it is our responsibility to pray for our pastors and to encourage them. About 4 years ago, I think it has been that long at least. But my friend that was, and let me repeat that word, she was the pastor at a Methodist church. I say the word was because she was forced out of the church because she also had a life outside of the church. She had a boyfriend and she enjoyed to what everyone else did. She enjoyed life.  It is our responsibility to be there for our pastors. The reason for this is because they are just as much of a human as anyone of us. They also carry additional burdens because of his/her calling. Have you ever really taken into consideration what pastors do? Right now, my pastor has been additional struggles because his wife is undergoing cancer treatment. I want to cover what it is that pastors do and these are things my pastor does each and every week.

  • He prepares sermons each week and they don’t always come easy. It isn’t like the sermon notes get automatically delivered to him by a cute little dove that God sent. Instead of a green branch the sermon notes arrive instead. Of course you know I’m not serious. But, the messages we hear each and every Sunday are messages that Pastor Ray spent days on.  Not all messages and sermons come easily.
  • When we have trials and temptations, it is natural to call up Pastor Ray and let him know what is gong on. If either myself or another person at my church has a problem or get admitted into the hospital, he is there when there is a need. Who is it that pastors goes to when they are sick or may be dying. Who is it that it there to pray with them and for them.?
  • If we are feeling like we aren’t feeling like we want to go to church, what does pastors do if they aren’t feeling it. I know there has been times when my pastor has come to church sicker than a dog. Since he is the pastor there isn’t anyone there that can fill in for him in a pinch.

What Can We Do?

Did you know that there are a number of things we can do that will ease the burden our pastor,

  • I can’t say this enough, but we can pray for our pastors each and every day. If you can’t remember, then write it down. Lately my pastor has been going through some tough patches in his life and his wife is also. Pastor Ray and Kathi needs prayers for their health. Pastors are coming under-fire lately. Satan has been targeting our pastor and church and they could use a ton of prayers.
  • Nothing weighs heavier on a pastor’s heart than when his people don’t grow in faith, love, and righteousness.
  • We can encourage and be there for them. A lot of times people forget that the pastor and his family.  Let your pastor know that you appreciate them and what they have done in the church. If your pastor is like mine, I know he would appreciate a hot meal or maybe take them out to dinner.
  • I would say that one of the best ways to help your pastor is to be there for him and to be Christlike.

Philippians 2:2-3n (NIV)then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves,

Closing Prayer to the Pastors

Heavenly Father, I come to you to ask for Pastor Ray, Kathi and all of the pastors that are in need of protection from the attacks from Satan. I come to you to give Pastor Ray, Kathi and all of the other pastors  all over the world. Satan loves to whisper in the ears and hearts of those who are listening to the sermons. Lord I come to you and plead that pastors near and far to stand firm as they continue to serve.

My Friend Dena

Lately I’ve been thinking about my friend Dena Allen. When we first moved to St. George and started at St. George Community Church, Dena was one of the first people we met.

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Dena is the little lady that has the glasses that have the tan lenses. There are so many dear freinds in this picture. Most of them are with the Lord now. 

Dena and I would talk for hours about many topics, but our favorite topic was about the Bible. Dena was a widow and she had one son named Howard. Howard passed away a couple of years before Dena did. Dena died on On Nov. 8, 2007 which was 9 yrs ago and she is dearly missed. There aren’t many at my church that remembers Dena and there aren’t many that she opened up to on a personal level.

 

Dena was a smoker and she wouldn’t invite people to her house because she was afraid of what they would think if they knew she smoked. I don’t think she understood that everyone knew that already because a non smoker can smell cigarette smoke just by standing next to them. Dena also had grey hair, but she had a yellow streak at the front of her hair lol. I told her that I am sure they know she smokes because of these two things. I also told her that if they want to visit her, it isn’t because of her smoking or not smoking. They are there to visit her, not her bad habit. I then told her that I had enough of my own bad habits. She was relieved and after that she didn’t try to hide the obvious.

After I got to know her I asked her why it was that she didn’t talk to people like she talked to me. I think I knew more about Dena that most people at church. They seen the Dena that came to church early on Sunday mornings. Dena was at every Bible study and she was the chairman of the Sunshine Team. What that means is that she would write letters and send cards to those who have birthdays, are sick, loss of a loved one and just because. That’s the Dena that most seen. But, not the Dena I saw.

The Dena I saw was a sweet lady who had a great love for the Lord. She knew the Bible inside and out, even though there were some topics she would get stumped on. I will be covering some of that in my next blog. Dena asked me a couple of years before she died if I would help her write her story so she could pass it on to her family after she was gone. Of course I said yes. I was honored to have been able to help her with that.

Miss Dena  taught the 3rd or 4th grade for thirty plus years, she taught at Canton Elementary School in Pennsylvania. She loved learning.  Dena’s faith was very strong and deep. Dena loved to educate and serve others. I have one of her Bibles and I love it. She had handwriting on most pages. I could tell what she was studying because of her little notes on the side.

Dena was married for about 44 or 45 years to Frank. I believe he passed away in 89. I never got the opportunity to meet him. I have heard good things about him. Dena also had a son named Howard, however he passed away a year or two before she did. His death broke her spirit. Because of her son Howard her life was troubled.

Some interesting things about Dena loved to do.

Her greatest love is the Lord. She loved to study the Bible. She loved to study anything that is related to her faith. She relied on God during her good and bad times. The reason her life was difficult towards the end is because her son Howard was addicted to drugs. He would harass her because he needed his next fix. He shot up Heroin. She would give him money because she feared him, but she loved him. I would think any parent would feel that way.  She didn’t understand that by giving him money left and right that she was enabling him and putting a nail in his coffin. I tried to explain this to her in a way that wouldn’t scare her. How do you tell a mother who loves her only son so much that she wouldn’t give him money. Howard eventually died from his addiction. I know this sounds bad, but his death saved her life. Even though she didn’t see it that way.

As I was helping her write her biography, I was shocked with some of the things she was telling me.

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Dena always beat me at Scrabble. She knew words I never heard of lol. 

About Dena

  1. Dena grew up in Canton, PA. She had a number of brothers and a sister. Dena was the smallest of the pack. Her dad went blind when she was little. Which made it hard on the family.
  2. Dena loved to do genealogy. She had documents and such that blew my mind. She literally had an old trunk that was on the Mayflower.
  3. One day Dena’s dad received a telegram from the Army saying that her brother died due to spinal meningitis. Dena also possessed many documents that were related to the Mormon church. She did live far from where the Book of Mormon was transcribed. It was close to Manchester NY. Since she lived so close to the Hill in Cumorah . She told me one day that the Mormons would have loved to have had the original documents that she had.  She even had an original Book of Mormon  from 1837 and if I can read my scribble notes from some of our conversations it was  published by a place or person with the last name of Pratt and Goodson and it was out of Ohio. Dena was interested in these articles and books because of where she lived and because she was a teacher. She loved history and felt it needed to be preserved. Even though she wasn’t LDS, she knew that all history was preserved.
  4. Dena and I would talk about what we would like to do for our church if we passed away or when we did. She did leave a good amount for my church. She tithed each and every week and she even made sure to have her final tithe of 10 percent of her estate to go to the church. She wanted to make sure that the money would go for something educational, but I’m not sure what it went for. Even in death, Dena made sure to do what God instructed her to do and for all of us to do.
  5. Scrabble was her game of choice. I always thought I was good at it, she was awesome. I guess she would have been better since she was a school teacher lol. I don’t think I ever won a game of Scrabble against her. I learned really fast to never challenge her. She was a walking, talking and breathing encyclopedia.
  6. Dena loved going on car rides. We would take her to Leeds where she use to live. She loved it. While we were out and about we would go out to lunch or dinner. I always laughed when she would tell me that she has watch her collateral since she had an issue with it. Dena was under 100 pounds soaking wet and I told her that she could live dangerously and have a piece of pie lol. She would then tell me, “I guess you are right.”
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Night Time Loneliness is heartbreaking (image is public domain) 

Dena had a really hard time sleeping at night. She told me that she never had that problem before, but since her husband died, she would lay awake for hours.  Since I was awake anyhow she and I would chat. It would be anywhere between 1 and 2 in the morning before our conversations ended. When my mother in law came to live with my husband and I, she would have a hard time also. He mind would wander to when my father in law was still alive.

 

One of those conversations was about the Trinity. She and I would scour through the Bible looking for answers that satisfied our curiosity.

Oh boy could we go on about this topics for hours. We were looking though the Bible to find the answer. Both of us had the same problem when it came to the trinity. These conversations went on for hours. One night I told her that we should stop guesstimating because we should talk to the pastor. I can’t even explain the look on her face lol .  That was NOT the answer she wanted to hear.

I told her that Ellis would be more than OK helping us with the dilemma. She said that she didn’t want to ask him because she didn’t want to sound stupid. She was intimidated when it came to asking about things in the Bible since she should know the answer. Especially since she was also a Sunday School teacher. I understood where she was coming from. I dropped the subject at that point.

6362219394896639099425283_TrinityI told Dena the way that I always think about the Trinity and if anyone wants to chime in, you can do that. But, I always thought about how we have God, who is well, God. Then we have Jesus, who is of God, but He is still the Son of God. Then you have the Holy Spirit which is of God and Jesus. So, I told Dena that in my mind it is like I am Jessica’s mom. She is my daughter and I gave birth to her. While I gave birth to her and we shared the same blood, she is still Jessica. She has her own personality, but she will always be of me since I gave birth to her. Then you have the Holy Spirit, which I have a hard time explaining that in my brain and so did Dena. I told Dena that maybe it isn’t really that important. Well it is, but that is one of those things that I just have to have faith in and know that however it works, it works.

Instead of us asking Ellis what it was that he meant during the sermon, we just put it at the back of our minds. But, the subject ate at both of us for a long long time and it does for me to this day. I wonder if others have this same issue with the Trinity.  While I don’t have a problem asking my pastor questions, some people do have a problem doing that. If your pastor makes you feel stupid, maybe you should find a new pastor.

hard-of-hearingOne of the things that I noticed with Dena and with many older people is that she had a hard time hearing. I have issues with this also. But, Dena wouldn’t admit that she couldn’t hear everything that was being said. This was in part why she didn’t want to talk to Pastor Keck. I will be doing a follow-up blog about not hearing conversations fully which causes a whole other set of problems such as getting only part of a conversation or not hearing complete words. This was the main reason for her not wanting to go to the pastor.

When I became the youth director at my church I started up a program called “Adopt a Grandparent.” When I worked at a care center in Illinois, I did this also. My daughters were the only children at our church. Eventually we ended up with about 30 kids and we would assign one child/teen to a senior citizen. Since I was already spending time with Dena, I assigned myself to her. It was one of the most amazing relationships I formed at the church. The youth at the church loved it as well. These seniors were able to share their life and experiences with the younger generation.

My church had many single ladies and gentlemen. Most rarely got to see their own grandchildren. So this was a way to help fill that void. Dena was telling me one day that the program made an incredible difference in her life. She felt like someone was listening.

challengeMy Challenge to You… 

I would like to challenge anyone reading this blog to take a moment and think about those people in your church, neighborhood and so on to get to know them. Not only do they benefit, but so does the children.

Even if they are hard to understand and they are slower, your life will be enriched greatly. I wouldn’t change anything about my many hours spend talking to Dena Allen. When I think about Dena I think about how she blessed my life in more ways than I can count.

In my next blog it will be a continuance of this in a sense. But, it will be about is there anything that would keep you from asking your pastor a question? I have a poll going right now to see if people feel comfortable or not. Dena had a hard time because she didn’t want to sound stupid. When in reality it was because she was hard of hearing which prevented her from understanding the messages. So, that is the next blog post.

In closing I want to just add that it is important to listen to those who are senior citizens. I will carry Dena’s stories and her life history with me always. You never know what a person has been through unless you take the time to listen and learn.

 

Prayers for Our Pastors

This blog is longer than many of mine, but it is very important. I hope you all read it to the end. My friend Lisa will usually close it if it is to long. I hope people don’t do that.

In my churches bulletin this announcement was included. I have posted a blog about this post a few years ago, but it is worth doing another blog on “Praying for our Pastors.” This is the announcement;

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PRAY FOR OUR PASTORS: 97% of pastors have been betrayed, falsely accused, or hurt by their trusted friends. 70% of pastors battle depression. 7,000 churches close each year. 1,500 pastors will quit each month. 10% will retire as a pastor. 80% of pastors feel discouraged. 94% of pastor’s families feel the pressure of ministry. 78% of pastors have no close friends. 90% of pastors report working 55-75 hours per week. PRAY FOR OUR PASTORS.

Eph 4:11-16 (NKJV) “And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ,  till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; Read More… 

a-case-of-burnout

I have known a number of pastors in my life who have quit their positions because of either depression, fighting and not having the support of the church.  Pastors and church leaders are exhausted, frustrated and they are discouraged. Pastors are leaving the church left and right. If you can’t figure out why, I would say look around you. I know I am guilty on numerous occasions where I pushed one of more of my pastors. I’m headstrong and I don’t like to be wrong. Hmmmm, I may need to make an image that says that. But anyhow. I am argumentative and I go out of my way to prove a point. Hopefully I haven’t caused my pastor to many grey hairs.

1 Timothy 2:1-2

I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people— for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.

A good friend of mine that was a pastor in Wisconsin ended up leaving the church because of personal attacks from the church where she was pastoring.  I have known her for a long time and felt horrible for her.

One of my pastors I had growing up ended up leaving the church. He felt like he wasn’t reaching people anymore. I have been at my church since 1995 and  while most are loving and kind. Every now and then there seems to be someone who causes conflict. I don’t think the post in our bulletin was specifically about just our pastor, but pastors all over.  Pastors and their families need encouragement just as much as those who are attending their church.

It’s a no brainer that Pastors and church leaders have people who will blame him/her for everything. It’s not uncommon to hear people criticize and find fault in anything a pastor does. I always think about what our previous pastor would say and it is so true. He would warn people before the sermon to “not shoot the messenger.” I can see why he would say that since people will disagree and start trouble because they don’t want to know what God says, they want things sugar-coated and they don’t want to hear the truth. When they hear something they don’t like, they jump the ship.

Since pastors are experiencing burn out and frustrations there are things we can do to help them.  As Christians, we should feel sorrow for the pastors and church leaders. I guess I feel bad for them because they are there to serve us and to deliver the Word of God. Maybe I see things in a different way, but I would think that God wants is to hurt and criticize our pastors. One of my friends who was a pastor told me that it is the ones who claim to be Christians are the ones who caused him to leave the ministry. You just can’t be everything to everyone.

There are many things that I have gotten bent out of shape because I didn’t like the message. I don’t like being corrected and called out. I don’t like being called out for doing things that I shouldn’t have been doing to begin with. I’m not into the whole humble pie kind of thing, but, I know that whichever pastor was talking to me was saying what I needed to hear.

The Way of Love

1 Cor. 13:1-13

13 If I speak in the tongues[a] of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing. Read More… 

What is it that we can do for Pastors and church leaders?

  1.  Pray for Our Pastors and Their Families

blogger-image-1216846361We can pray for our pastors and his family. Commit yourself to praying for them on a daily basis. Send them a message letting them know you are praying or go to your prayer closet. They are there for us, we should be there for them. My pastor has answered his phone night and day when I needed him. When I was in the hospital, he was there. When my mom was dying his wife Kathi went out of her way to create prayer cards. The least I can do is pray, pray and pray. Anyone can pray for their pastors. They are needed of prayers just like we all are. Pastor’s and their families are just like yours and mine. They struggle with similar issues and problems.I would like to say that most of those at my church are always praying for our pastor and his family.

If we expect our pastors ministry to be effective, they are in need and rely on prayers.  I don’t know about you, but I prefer to have a pastor that is joyful and is led by the Spirit of God over a pastor that has no joy or peace.  I also feel that pastors who are confident will led the congregation they are shepherding into a deeper relationship with Jesus Christ and has a passion for revival and reaching the lost. During some conversations with my pastor, on numerous times he has spoken about how we need a revival and we need to reach the lost and pray for the lost. I’m not talking about the kind of revival that takes place in a tent.  We need to revive God’s spirit in the soul of America?

Pastors and church leaders need others to come stand by and with them and commit to fervent, continuous prayer so that the enemy (Satan) doesn’t win. Anytime there is fighting and bickering, it is another win for the enemy.

A Note Of Encouragement For Pastors – Truth In Grace throughout Encouraging Quotes For Pastors

Encourage Our Pastors

People are all gung ho when it comes to criticizing and play the blame game. I am guilty of that also. Some of the things people have done that are discouraging is by emailing hurtful messages and talking to others about how they aren’t the same as previous pastors or their old pastors.  I wouldn’t think people at my church would do that. But, you never know. They didn’t word something the right way or whatever. They expect the pastor(1 man) to be perfect to all people. I call it the “stroking of the egos”.  If you are going to church to have your egos stroked, you’re not there for the right reason. Instead of criticizing you can be one of those people who look for ways to encourage him/her and to be more positive instead of negative.  Every  now and then it may be nice to write a personal note and let them know you are praying for them. I know my pastor would appreciate it and I know others would also.

You can encourage the pastor is by telling him if the sermon or message he shared helped you. Because of my health issues, it is hard for me to get to church each Sunday, but I do listen to the online sermons when Pastor Ray uploads them. There are times the message seemed like it was meant for me. God knew I needed to hear this message. If you have had a message that has helped you, let your pastor know. Even when I didn’t particularly liked the message he shared, I benefited from it. God knew I needed to hear what Pastor Ray shared and I needed to hear it. If your pastors message spoke to you, let him know.

(1 Thessalonians 5:12, 13)

We ask you, brothers, to respect those who labor among you and are over you in the Lord and admonish you, and to esteem them very highly in love because of their work. Be at peace among yourselves”.

St.-George-Community-Church

Get To Know Your Pastor

When Pastor Ray and his wife Kathi moved to our town and became our new pastor, I invited them out to dinner to get to know them. It wasn’t just me, but others did as well. I did this also with past pastors and their families as well and so did others. I don’t want people to look at me and say oh she is good and trying to be all that. The reason I mention this is that I think everyone should take the time to get to know our pastors and church leaders. It’s important to get to know them not just because of his position. I personally feel it is important to get to know them as a person.

Think about this for a second or think about the times you may have moved to a new city where you didn’t know anyone. I don’t know if many realizes that being a pastor can be a lonely job. People have high expectations. You didn’t know where things were. You didn’t have any friends or family there, unless you are moving to a town where you lived before.  You are moving into a strange place. For those who have never lived in Utah, it is a whole other world. It took us a long time to get use to how things work here.

By getting to know Pastor Ray and Kathi on a personal and friend level I was able to learn that they love sports and they love basketball. They have a wonderful sense of humor and a love of music. Pastor Ray writes his own music and plays piano. He is a very humble and prayer oriented pastor. They love their children and grandchildren. They are very kind and wear their hearts on their sleeves. Kathi loves to craft and cook. Kathi loves chocolate and Ray loves his Keurig and coffee that is strong (yuck) lol. I would encourage everyone to get to know their pastors. Most of all, I found out how awesome they are and how much they love the Lord and serving others.

3. Submit to The Pastors Leadership

I don’t know if you realize this or not, but pastors are human and they do get hurt when people don’t listen and ignore what  they have done a sermon on and people ignore it. One of my pastor friend told me that while he is up they’re doing the sermon that he spent a great deal of time preparing by praying and putting together and they look out to the congregation and see people in the pews with blank faces. They “blow off” the Word of God because they don’t like what is said, which also hurts the congregation since it causes a great division.

Oh boy, this is one of those loaded things that I think and have observed to be a pretty major issues. I am sure I am guilty on this one. I like things my way and I don’t like waiting for something to happen. My previous pastor and I would butt heads every now and then on this one. I wanted to do things that would bring in younger people to our church. I asked him about doing things in the parking lot, maybe adding a more contemporary service, BBQ’s and so on. When he told me that we have to do things in God’s timing and for me to hold my horses, let’s say I was NOT impressed. He would tell me that we have to wait and wait and wait. At least I seen it that way. lol. He knew if I was heading into his office, I had a tablet all laid out to show him my point of view. I was ready to battle it out, lol.

But, over time and a number of head butts, I had to realize that the Bible is pretty direct on how we must submit to the authority of the church. And since I’m a member of the church and I know that if it is in the Bible, there is nothing to argue about. God’s Word is God’s Word. While I don’t like that the Bible says that I must submit to the authority, then there is no choice. I want to just point out that if your pastor or church leader isn’t using the Bible and they are abusive, then you shouldn’t even be going to that church.

Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls, as those who will have to give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with groaning, for that would be of no advantage to you” (Hebrews 13:17).

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 Ask How You Can Serve?

For those who goes to any church or are a part of an organization, I am sure it is hard to get people to volunteer. I would say that only 10 percent volunteer. That puts a strain on churches. Church Leaders are having to do it all. One volunteer does what normally 8 people should be doing. If you aren’t serving already, maybe you can ask someone such as the pastor or church leader if there is a place where you can serve. People think they have to do big things that take a ton of time. But, there are so many positions and things that can be done from home.  For example, I do our churches website and I do our churches power-point. I enjoy doing it and since I have many medical issues, they are things I can do at home and take my time doing it. Plus, it helps me from focusing on my medical things and my limitations.

My mother in law while she was alive wanted to do something, but she didn’t drive. She felt like she was worthless and could be of no use to the church.  I sat down and talked to her about the reality of how anyone can serve.

One of the best ways to grow personally, and at the same time help your church grow, is to find a place where your spiritual gifts, capacity and interests can make a unique contribution to what Jesus wants to do through you and through your church. Just because a person may have a handicap or a senior citizen, there is always something you can do. If you’re breathing, you can do something. Below are areas that anyone can serve in.

  1. Praying for one another
  2. Send out get well cards or send a positive message to someone who may need to know someone cares.
  3. Cook a meal
  4. Visit with someone who is in a care center or a shut in
  5. Fold bulletins
  6. Join a team at church. We have a number of teams at our church that could use members.
  7. If you have an idea about what you would like to do, you can talk to the pastor or church leader.
  8. You can usher and greet people as they come through the door. That is one of the most important area to volunteer. Usually the first impressions happen as they are greeted.

 

 

 

 

Since this blog has gotten to be longer than I intended it to be I want to add this last section and that is that people should be talking honestly to the pastor and not about the pastor.

Honesty and Gossip Needs to Stop

 

Decisions have to be made and not all of them are changes I like. If there is something that I have questions about, I know that my pastor is great about discussing them. If anyone has a problem with their pastor or church leader it is better to go to them and not go behind his or her back and talk to someone else about him or her. If you disagree about something, it is best to go to the source. Otherwise you are getting half-truths.

gossipI don’t think people realize that it is a sin to gossip and talk about others. It can damage and destroy a church body faster than nothing. There are always going to be disagreements. The pastor we had before Pastor Ray and I would have many conversations. He would say something that didn’t sound right and I had to ask him point-blank on what he meant. Once he explained his point of view, I still disagreed in part, but I respected his point of view.

Pastor Ray and I had a conversation a year ago about something that was going on at church. It was something that caused a great division. During our conversations he was saying that he wished people would come directly to him if they had a problem instead of talking to others and getting upset.  9 times out of 10, it was because of a misunderstanding that got blown out of proportion.

For example, during one of the Bible Studies I was at, things were taken the wrong way. There was a conversation that was going on prior to the beginning of the lesson. I came into the conversation late and so did a few others. But, the conversation was hurtful one to some of them.  Since a couple of the people were late, they only heard the part that seemed hateful and demeaning. The person speaking didn’t have all of the details  and things blew up. It was a hard night that caused some to leave the church and not return. All because of misunderstandings and not going to the person to find out what really went on.

If you or anyone has a problem with a pastor or church leader, please go to them directly. Don’t listen to those around you. By the time you hear what is being said, the story could have changed 10 of more times again. If you have ever played the whisper game, you know what I mean.

I just want to say that we need to be there for our pastors and church leaders. We need to keep ourselves in check and not expect to have our egos stroked. If you are at church to hear what you think you want to hear, then you are at the wrong church. My pastor uses the Bible only. If you don’t want to listen to the Word of God and to learn, then you are in the wrong place. I know my pastor would relish the opportunity to hear what anyone is bothered by and to have the opportunity to genuinely listen to you.

08-17-15-essentials-for-living-don-t-let-gossip-destroy-your-relationships_miniPastors can’t read your mind and by talking to your pastor directly, you can be assured and come to a mutual understanding and respect for one another. Otherwise, stop gossiping and talk to the source. Gossiping has destroyed lives and has caused churches to close their doors. I know for myself, I would hate to have been the person to gossip about our pastor or church leaders and my words led to them closing the door or quitting their positions. Think about what you say to others, it is hurtful.

The whisper game is where a person whispers something in a persons ear, and then they whisper it into the next persons ear and so on. Finally by the time it gets to the end, the story has changed drastically. Most pastors want to hear from people who have issues or questions with something at the church. Most would relish the opportunity to genuinely hear what is bothering you and to have the chance to both genuinely listen and share concerning your issue so the two of you can have mutual understanding and respect for each other.

  • Proverbs 11:13 Whoever goes about slandering reveals secrets, but he who is trustworthy in spirit keeps a thing covered.
  • Proverbs 17:9 Whoever covers an offense seeks love, but he who repeats a matter separates close friends.
  • Proverbs 20:19 Whoever goes about slandering reveals secrets; therefore do not associate with a simple babbler.

In closing I want to leave you with this.

There are a lot of other things that could be said, but I will stop with these six. Let me say it again, “Your pastor and Our needs YOU!”

 

Prayers Needed For a Sick Friend

 

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Without going into a great deal of information since this is a personal matter. I have a number of friends and family members who have had their lives turned upside down because of cancer. My mom died a couple of years ago and a cousin of mine (Mike Elder) recently passed away.  My friend Lisa found out her mom has cancer I would say about 8 months ago. And also some good friends of mine and her husband are facing some difficult days. They are having to go out-of-state to for her to get treatment which means all their friends and family members can’t be there with them.

If those who know who it is that I am talking about, you are more than welcome to comment on this post and share a prayer. All I ask is to not mention them by name since I think it is important to respect their privacy.

Since I was a teenager I have had some serious and life threatening illnesses and diseases and I still do. While I have constantly been dealing with this auto-immune diseases and have come to terms, it isn’t always easy for those around me. This blog isn’t a post about me, it is a post about how awesome God is. It is about how when you pray for healing and strength, you are coming to God completely. When we completely surrender and let the Holy Spirit work in our lives, miraculous healing will happen.

share-odb-2017-07-15Gods plan is to give each and every one of us hope. When I felt like I was alone and nobody could understand what I was going through, God did. His love and Grace has ALWAYS been present.  I pray that you will find miraculous healing as you seek God’s plan for your life –  I have some very near and dear friends who are in need of some pretty major prayers. My friend’s wife is being treated for cancer at this very moment. They have an enormous amount of faith in the Lord and they believe in miracles and they have placed all of their faith and hope at the foot of Jesus Christ.

Psalm 107:19-20
Then they cried to the LORD in their trouble, and he saved them from their distress. He sent forth his word and healed them; he rescued them from the grave. Let them give thanks to the LORD for his unfailing love and his wonderful deeds for men.

I would like to ask you all to pray for my friend and her family as they are in need of comfort and peace during this battle. They are in need of Your care. Be with them throughout this difficult journey. Lord Jesus, bring healing to her body and to their heart and soul. Be with their loved ones, family and friends as well. Thank You for being the Light in this dark world.

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  • Lord Jesus, I would like to lift up all the cancer patients who are being treated for cancer, awaiting test results  and for those who are struggling with the loss of a loved one.  I pray Lord Jesus,  for all those who are handling their care and that you will be with the Dr’s, nurses and caregivers whom they will be coming into contact with. Also, Lord Jesus, please be with their families.
  • Lord, I pray for all the people who feel as if they are alone. Give them the comfort and wrap Your loving arms around them.  Let them know of Your presence and show them that You love them so much and You will be with them every step of the way. Heavenly Father, thank You for this day. Thank you for blessing us with the opportunity to serve you and share Your love with others.
  • Lord Jesus, Your Word speaks about the promises of healing and restoration and I want to thank you for all of the miracles you have performed in my life. Without Your love, healing and intervention, I would not be here right now. Today, I come to You on behalf of my friends and those who are struggling with sickness and life changing diseases and events. I believe 100 percent in the power of healing and I am here pleading on behalf of my friends that you being your mighty work in the life of my friends, family and care team. Could You reach down and surround my friend and those around her with peace and strength. My friend, her husband and those who loves her knows that with faith all things are possible. Protect her and shower her with love when she feels discouraged and we pray that her miraculous healing begins.

I know from my own experiences that there is no illness or disease that You cannot heal. I have seen this in my life over and over.  When a person is diagnosed with a disease like cancer or many other diseases that can take a person’s life, I have found that while it can change your life, it cannot take away the love and hope that God has given us.

When suffering comes, we can come to God and we can pour out our hearts to Him. He is with us through our pain and during our darkest moments. There is no illness or disease that can separate us from His love.

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You are the greatest physician ever. You have the power to heal, love, protect and to show kindness. Lord Jesus, you are a miracle worker for those who are sick and for those who are lost. You Lord Jesus are the light of the world.

One of my favorite songs is called ,“Praise You In This Storm”, it is by Casting Crowns. This song has been a source of encouragement and peace. When I was having an especially difficult day, I would listen to this song over and over again. When I found myself in the hospital for weeks and months, this song helped me and I hope it helps others and I hope it encourages my friends.

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If you are in need of prayers or if you would like to pray for others, you can comment on this post or you can post a prayer in one of our other blogs or our new Facebook page.

My Final Thought

Remember, you are not left alone. You will have the help you need. “My God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:19).