October November December 2000
Pastor John Doonan
The mind learns so many things in life and its very easy to develop, "Information Overload." Even as Christians, we hear various truths and applications, but sometimes out of weariness of mind, we become selective in our memory. As in the parable of "The Sower of the Seed" as the seed is cast forth, we can let the Word fall to the wayside. This is the devils playground, to snatch the seed of Gods Word. He does not want us to receive certain information about Gods Word that would cause us to grow and be strong.
We come to church and want to know the truth, but the devil tries to put the things we hear into the selective memory column. He will then put a complicated obstacle in our way, causing us to forget.
There is such a powerful message of grace in this Psalm. We can see the difficulty and all the conceivable reasons why we should not receive the blessings of God. The Psalmist says, "Forget Not!" The Lord does not think like we do. He doesnt act like us; He doesnt have an information overload. God isnt subject to circumstances as we are. He doesnt have any situations that are overpowering, or overwhelming. He cant force us to remember though.
Dont forget that God loves and completely cares for you. Those who remember this profound truth are individuals that have blessed souls. When our mind forgets the things of God it starts to suffer, feeling oppression, and we are overcome by the power of the curse. As we become aware of all the things around us, we trigger information overload in our thoughts, thus instigating more forgetfulness. Our souls are not blessed.
God remembers our iniquities no more. When we feel distressed because of our human frailties, we must remember that God has put our sin as far as the East is from the West. They cant get any further from us than that. They cannot catch up with us. We are freed from any bondage that tries to hold us back and cause our minds not to flourish in the things of God.
The Spirit was given to us to call to remembrance the truths of the Gospel. Though we can be selective about the things we want to hear, when we position ourselves before the Lord, we will remember Gods truths. The Spirit is here to remind us of the wonderful love of our Heavenly Father. The Holy Spirit recorded Psalm 103 and calls it to our remembrance when we need it, so our soul can be blessed and refreshed. As the eagle, we begin to soar above the clouds and the storms when we rest upon His Word; His Wings, His Wind, His Word. . . Bless the Lord O my soul!
In our services at Amazing Grace Community Church we believe in the power of the Spirit of God. We know God will show up. We dont wait and cry out for God to please find us worthy enough to visit, we know that He inhabits our praises. Because of our simple faith in Gods Word that we are the temples of the Holy Ghost, he always confirms His Word with signs and wonders. We are not trying to impress Him, were just trying to remember. We call upon His power in our midst, and receive refreshing and freedom. Our real joy is that we have liberty. Where the letter of the law is, there is death, but we remember, and by His Spirit we enjoy His liberty. Remember His benefits. We know God didnt come here because Hes mad at us, but rather to show His benefits. We believe in Gods goodness. We cant think of one reason why He wouldnt show up, because our faith is pure. We believe the benefits.
As Peter says, "I would bring you to remembrance of these truths". As John says, " and I would speak these things to bring you to remembrance because you already know the truth, you have no need of a teacher because the Spirit himself teaches you."
To hold onto these truths is what we come together for, to remember. We remind each other, lest we forget. He is the one who has to still tell us we are healed. As a Pastor I can bring you to remembrance, but it is His Spirit who empowers you with faith to receive your healing. Its His presence that causes you to be satisfied, for your soul to rest, to receive Gods benefits.
Its so hard when you have to fight to acquire something. I can remember when I first started trying to live by faith; everything was a battle. I needed money, I needed health, I needed freedom, I needed everything! There was not anything that I did not need. Id try to work on one area, and it would become overwhelming to me. I would do pretty well but than something else would happen. Id be okay in the health area for a while, get a couple healings, then my finances would go down the tubes. It was like Oh God . . . I tried and tried to be faithful and do it right but I would get so tired. So, I would get into the presence of God and He would say, "Dont worry about it."
My reply was, " But Lord, I want to be faithful and have miracles and have your Word working in my life. I dont want to be one of those sitting off on the side not receiving anything you have for us. I want miracles and benefits. You said I could have them and I want them."
I became so distracted, striving with God, striving with myself, trying to do the right thing in the wrong way. Instead of just remembering it was so, I forgot. I forgot He already did it, I thought I had to do it.
We can take the message of grace and get it so messed up because we think it all depends on how holy we are. We dont remember. We run around in circles trying to figure out what we did wrong. I have people come to me and say "Pastor, what did I do wrong?"
I would say, "Nothing, you just havent done it right yet." Because your iniquity is as far as east is from the west there is no record of wrong. You cant ever find it. You could do the worst possible things in the world and when you try to find it; its gone. God is not mad at you. You are simply trying to figure out what to do, what you did wrong, what sin did you commit, what do you need to confess to God. You believe you need to confess something because this negative stuff is really happening. Christians have honest hearts and are the first to get on their knees when things go wrong. We know we got saved, that is the way it works. We start begging God instead of remembering. We start trying to recreate our salvation instead of remembering.
We mess it all up, twist it all out of shape. We have the right words, we have the right reasons, we know the right end, but we just mess it all up. We cant find the answer. We twist, shift, turn, lift, push and pull, we sleep, we stay awake, we pray, we dont pray, sing, dont sing, listen, dont listen. Our guilt gets us all confused. People whose lives are in turmoil come to me and say, "Pastor, when I am here at church, praising and worshipping and hearing Gods Word and am in His presence I feel so good, but then I go out and its all bad again, what am I doing wrong?"
"Nothing, keep praising, keep praying, keep remembering."
When we are in Gods presence, we allow the truth of His Word to teach us to remember His benefits. We are healed, our sins are forgiven, and our transgressions are remembered no more. When the enemy comes in to steal our joy and strength, we remind him that we forget not Gods benefits.
We begin to bless God in our souls. Our minds can argue with God but He will win the argument because his word is true and every man a liar. We can say we are not healed, but God will say, "Yes you are!"
We can try to think of every reason why God shouldnt bless us. But He says, "Forget About It, I did!"
The Holy Spirit keeps reminding me who I am in Christ and what benefit I have received because as He is, so are we in this earth. I see myself in this state and this blessing comes over me, and I am in the presence of God and I realize there is no distance between us.
All of the blessing, all of the fullness, all of the riches, all of the glory that is in Heaven is immediately available as I come into Gods presence.
I remember and my eyes quit seeing the things of this world and I forget about it, as I remember my Lord.
The Grace In Which We Stand
Rev. Dianne Doonan
As we contemplate Pauls letter to the saints at Philippi we realize the depths of love he had for them and the joy he felt because of their love for him. From the very first, this church had a special place in the Apostles heart because upon receiving the message of Grace, they grew steadfastly in the knowledge of God. Their fellowship with Paul became partnership in his life, through trials, tribulations and sufferings they brought him joy because of their Faith in Christ, and faithful stewardship towards the one who had brought them the truth.
The Lord has given me an Anagram of the word G R A C E that I would like to share with you.
Call of Excellence.
Gods work in us. Paul is assuring them in his letter that the work God started in them, He was fully able to complete or perfect. Such confidence can only come from one who has a pure intimate relationship with the Giver of Life. He shares with us His revelation that it is God in us that provides the power to "be Jesus" in this earth.
As in the life of Paul, we too can look back at our past and see how God worked in our lives before we committed ourselves to Him. God in His divine providence arranged circumstances to set the course for our "Damascus road" trip. We thought we were journeying in the way we should go, ultimately finding out that we were on the road to destruction . As the light from Heaven appeared and we fell as dead before Him, we were changed, given new life and resurrected in the power of the Holy Spirit.
Considering our Lord has started His work in us and we are to remain witnesses of His love, how do we walk in this life to show His power? All things that occur during our life on this earth are not always easy to go through. Yet the key that unlocks the door of faith and patience, is the "Grace by which we stand".
We are called to Grace, the pure calling that God puts on our lives when he saves us.
What started in Gods merciful gift of forgiveness is also that which completes our walk in Christ. We cannot take honor and glory on ourselves for what the Lord has done. It is His alone. He started it, He will also complete it.
Redemptive Love. There is a story that explains redemption in a simple way for all to understand. Its the tale of the "Little boat twice owned".
A young boy made a boat with his own hands. In his fathers woodshed he took a block of wood and fashioned a sailboat. As day after day he constructed it, he lovingly smoothed the wood, put in the sail and when he was finished, carved his initials on the bottom.
Whenever he could he took the little craft to the big pond to sail, tying a string to it so it would not sail away. It brought so much enjoyment to him as he played with his very own creation.
One morning while the boat bobbed in the water, the string snapped and the sailboat, which was a ways out, drifted quickly away. The little boy ran along the shore calling frantically for his boat to come back, but it was too far out. It was lost to him.
The days passed as he went to the pond but the boat never drifted ashore. One morning as he was walking through town he went past the toy store and there in the window was his little boat. Up on a stand for all to see, surely a gift worth having, with the price tag of $15 under it. The boy ran in the store and explained to the owner that it was his very own boat. He showed him his initials and explained how he had carved it and sailed it and asked for its return to him. The uncaring owner replied that if he wanted it, he had to buy it.
Dejected he left the store. He didnt have that kind of money. What would he do? Deciding that he wanted his sailboat more than anything he came up a way to redeem it. He got odd jobs and worked and saved all his wages. Meanwhile he would stop at the store and gaze into the window to visit his boat. The money added up from all his labor and one day he had saved up the hard earned $15 cost.
He ran into the store, paying the proprieter and held his beloved boat once more in his hands. As he walked out, a tear of joy streamed down his face as he said "Little boat, I love you, youre twice mine. Once because I made you and once because I bought you"!
Surely we are bought back, redeemed with a price so precious that as God holds us in his hands, we must know how much we are loved.
Atoning. The payment for our sin is in full. The substitutionary sacrifice of the Lamb of God is all that is necessary for us to be called children of God. We are recipients of a "gift certificate" so paid for in full that whatever we need in this life has been paid for. The atoning blood of Jesus Christ flowed for not only our sin, but our health, prosperity, soundness of mind, and all necessary to walk victoriously in this life.We are not proceeding to a victory we are proceeding from a victory! The work of redemption was already done. The cross is the beginning for us. Jesus has the victory, he defeated the enemy and released us from eternal death. The payment for sin is the suffering torment of hell we will never know and experience. We must realize the cost of the cross that was fully paid for, gives us the power to be manifested sons of God. The atoning blood of Jesus Christ cries out "It Is Finished"!
Called. We are Gods called out ones, and it is by Grace in which we stand. Grace is the conduit of Gods power as we allow the anointing to flow through out lives, realizing that His grace is a never ending source of power to overcome any circumstance that comes our way. His grace never stops. It is an active force of awesome love.
It is the anointing oil that was applied to the head of the High Priest. As the oil flowed down his beard onto his skirt and overflowed to the ground it cried out for mercy. Jesus head was anointed with this oil and we His body are saturated with the healing oil of gladness. We stand in grace, under the folds of his love, operating in his power. We are the called out ones, we answer His call of excellence.
Excellence. We have been called to excellence. Growing in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.
To know God is to love him. To fully comprehend the Mind of Christ is not an unattainable goal. To have the Faith of God is not impossible. For our Lord is known by His Word and the Word of God is alive and active. Faith comes by hearing, hearing by the Word of God. Therefore, all things that pertain to life and Godliness are within our reach our spiritual ears. To know Jesus is to know Excellence.
To "be Jesus" in this earth is to be excellence. This is what God has called us to do. The grace in which we stand is not a one-time gift, to exclaim wonderment of, and to be thankful for. Grace is Gods Redemptive Atoning Call of Excellence. Lets walk in it!
Let us therefore be a praise unto our Lord. In all things we are more than conquerors. As we walk in this world, we are a tribute to His love, showing His mercy and giving to others the knowledge that God is our source of strength.
May All Your Weeds Be Wildflowers
"The earth is the Lords and the fullness thereof" Psalm 24:1
Everyday of my life the beauty and wonder of Gods creation is so amazing and entirely blesses me. Everything around me speaks of His majesty, His power, and of the orderliness of His way. I love the outdoors! I find peace in the natural flow of life around me: it is full, it is unhindered and blossoms in just the right season by Gods own design. How easily creation praises God. How easily it flows in Gods plan of life.
We can learn from nature-especially about flowing with all the elements of our life. There are days when the entire world shines brightly and other days when disaster hits from all sides. But a life that is committed to Christ has the hope of his full resurrection power in all circumstances, at all times. As the trees and flowers around us, God will make everything concerning our life blossom in due season, to the praise and glory of His name.
One of my favorite outdoor activities is gardening. I love the smell of the moist earth, the feel of it on my hands. Mostly I enjoy seeing flowers grow from seedling to a mature plant. That process takes time and tending of the garden. Anyone that has ever gardened knows the continuous battle against drought and weeds. We pray for rain, only to find the weeds are growing as well as our beloved plants. If left untended, the weeds will stunt the growth of and even choke the life out of any plant around them. Despite this continuous battle for property rights in my own garden, I do see a positive side to weeds.
Have you ever strewn a wildflower seed mix (yes, there are weeds in there too) and enjoyed the rainbow of variety and color it produces? Have you noticed the purple bounty of a fully-grown thistle plant? Do you enjoy the fullyellow and green color palette of a field full of dandelions? In Gods design there is beauty and purpose in all things. In Gods order there is abundance of life. In fact, wildflowers speak to me the most about Gods potential for life in all circumstances. Out of solid rock mountain face you will see that wildflower breaking through to the sunlight. Following a volcano or major forest fire, you will see those tiny shoots of wildflowers as new life begins on a devastated landscape.
Many people would describe their lives as "devastated landscape"- abuse, neglect, loss and unprecedented evil have touched and wounded them. The untended weeds of this life choked the beautiful flower God designed, but God in his mercy has sent us his Son.
" The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy; I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly." John10:10
God promises that He will turn all of these destructive elements of our life around for our good (Rom.8:28).
God is the author of life. I see it around me everyday, and I know it within me by the presence of his Spirit of life. He has truly brought me "beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, praise for the spirit of heaviness" though these elements of ruin wanted to choke out my own life. He has called me a "tree of righteous, the planting of the Lord, that he might be glorified". (Is.61:1-3) God took all the weeds of my life and turned them into wildflowers! He is willing and able to do the same for anyone who will call upon his name.
Identity Creed ©
Tanya Elizabeth Leal
I must rediscover my identity
I must rediscover my identity
I must rediscover my identity
After we arrived from the airport to our home I checked my email in short order. In between then and now we had a storm and it fried our computer! We could get the monitor and printer to power-up but the hard drive would not turn on, so essentially we had no computer. This morning I called the computer dealer to see what to do about the situation and after talking to a representative there it was decided that we should bring the computer to the nearest store that was about 30 minutes from our house to get it fixed.
This process was going to take 7 to 10 days and in the meantime I would have a hard time emailing anybody, doing med school applications, and of course the rest of the family had tasks to do on the computer (like register for university). I knew that this situation simply would not do, and God reminded me that I could lay hands on sick things and in His name demand them to be well ("coincidentally" in yesterdays sermon you talked about the very thing).
So, I laid both of my hands on the hard drive and said something very close to "in Jesus name you are healed" or "God thank you that our computer is healed". Then I pressed the power button (which I had done many times last night and this morning trying to get it to work) and the hard drive powered-up!
The first thought that God put in my head after that was "and this is just a computer; how much more do I care for people"? How much more is He willing to heal those who are humble enough to believe that He is their risen Savior? Through Jesus and the power in the Holy Spirit God uses our hands, our minds, and the rest of our bodies for His glory, to show His desires for us.
Published by Amazing Grace Ministries Evangelistic Association Publishing, Westchester. Illinois Distributed by Amazing Grace Ministries Evangelistic Association Publishing, Westchester. Illinois Unless otherwise indicated all Scripture quotations are from the Authorized / King James Version (KJV) No part of this book may be reproduced without written permission except for brief quotation in books and critical reviews. For information write Amazing Grace Ministries Evangelistic Association Inc.--198 Burnett St.--Yorkville, IL 60560--708/223-0070
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