Thursday, December 19, 2013

Renew Our Minds!

Jim Wolf a Grand Rapids homeless man recently underwent a physical transformation. There is a youtube video detailing the transformation. He got a hair cut, new clothes and looked great. The before and after pictures are incredible. Paul implores us Christians to under go a spiritual transformation, not unlike the physical transformation Jim Wolf under went. Paul tells us: “Do not be conformed to this age, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may discern what is the good, pleasing and perfect will of God.” (Romans 12:2) In other words: “Hey Christian now that you are in Christ, don’t go along with the world’s destructive ways. Don’t go along with the crowd just to fit in.  Don’t go along to get along.” You now have to be intentional about heading in the direction you in Christ committed to. You are now a Jesus follower, living by the book (God’s word).
It occurs to me that many of us are not intentionally setting out to conform to this world. Yet the movies, music, video games, magazines and things we entertain ourselves with are systematically programming our minds. Our minds are being anchored in this world’s system. We fail to see that there is no neutral ground on this one. The things we listen to, watch, play and read are having a profound influence on us. They are conforming our minds to the ways of this world and ultimately to the ways of the Devil-destruction of self and others. The clothes we wear, the way we wear them, the way we spend our time, the places we frequent, the way we spend our money, all speak to what and whom we are conforming to.
Many of us find it difficult to read through the Bible but can not miss an episode of (fill in the blank). We can not find time to participate in Bible study or accountability group, yet are spending hours playing video games. We find it difficult to sponsor God’s work, but do not think twice about blowing money on the premier of the latest movie or buying the latest gadget. Church attendance is diminishing but our time on facebook and other social media continues to go up. 
How can we stop conforming to the world standards?
The only way is to saturate our minds with the word of God. The transformation of our minds comes as we expose our minds to God’s truth through faithful study of God’s word. We want to renew our minds through reading, studying, meditating, singing, speaking and memorizing God’s word. Our arch enemy the Devil is well aware of this truth. So, he works hard to keep us from God’s word, fellowship and church attendance, personal and group Bible study, meditating and singing God’s word. Is it not true that making time for personal devotions is a constant battle? Many times you are “too busy” or interruptions seem to “pop up” from no where as we try to get into God’s word. We have an enemy that is working overtime to keep us from engaging God’s word.
Renewing our minds takes Holy Spirit power and obedient self discipline and there are no short cuts. We can not simply take a renewing of the mind pill and wake up with a completely renewed mind.
Pray to our Lord to give you a deep hunger and thirst for his word. Then set out to pump your mind full of God’s word. “Father renew our minds we pray!”                                                Pastor Cisco

Monday, October 28, 2013

Keeping God First

“And God spoke all these words: 2 “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery. 3 “You shall have no other gods before me. 4 “You shall not make for yourself an image in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. 5 You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, 6 but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments. (Exodus 20:1-4)
How do we combat the temptation to be involved in modern day idol worship?
Here are some steps from  the local youth group (CHAOS came up with:
1.     Pray: pray for the Spirit of the living God to help us recognize when something or someone is taking the place of God in our life.
2.     Pray: pray for God to give us the strength to crush the idol. This prayer may involve praying for God to help us walk away from a relationship that is now consuming us and perhaps has us compromising our morals and Godly values. This prayer made involve asking God to help us spend less time with video games, watching sports, adding to our music library, shopping, etc.
3.     Pray: pray for God to help us spend more time with him and less time with the idol. REPLACEMENT: Do not just stop worshipping the idol. Replace the idol with Godly activity. Increase our prayer life, time worshipping, reading scripture, involvement at church and youth group, volunteering. Basically spend more time in kingdom work.
4.     Pray: pray for a Godly friend or love one to pray for us daily in this area and help hold us accountable. One example: parents that limit our daily use of video games.
Finally: Remember: We are JESUS followers. We are people of the BOOK (the LIVING word of God).  

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

LOVE Is An Action

God is LOVE
God does the action of LOVE
No where is God's LOVE action so clear than on the cross
God loves us so much he took action on Calvary's Cross to reunite us with himself

God is LOVE
God commands us to LOVE
God commands us to do the action of LOVE
What does the action of LOVE mean for you today?
What does the action of LOVE mean for you?
How is LOVE displayed in your life?
What does it mean to you?
How is God displaying LOVE in you?

LOVE is an action
God is LOVE
God is in action
God commands us to LOVE
God commands us to do the action of LOVE
Go LOVE God - LOVE your neighbor - LOVE The People in your life.
Action - LOVE

Tuesday, October 8, 2013


Acts 16: 22-24
"The crowd joined in the attack against Paul and Silas, and the magistrates ordered them to be stripped and beaten with rods. After they had been severely flogged, they were thrown into prison, and the jailer was commanded to guard them carefully. When he received these orders, he put them in the inner cell and fastened their feet in the stocks.
About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them. Suddenly there was such a violent earthquake that the foundations of the prison were shaken. At once all the prison doors flew open, and everyone’s chains came loose."

This scripture reminds us that things are not always as they appear.  To the natural eye, Paul and Silas had been beaten and thrown in prison.  So, they were in a hopeless situation with no hope of getting out, but God.  God intervenes in the middle of the night, opens the cell doors and loosens the chains.  So, the question is "Are you expecting to continue to live in your current prison?" or "Are you expecting for God to break the chains and open the doors?".  

Note: If you choose to breakout in prayer and praise are recommended.

Monday, September 30, 2013


Proverbs 3:5-6

Trust in the Lord with all your heart
    and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways submit to him,
and he will make your paths straight.
I have a childhood friend, we grew up together in the streets of New Jersey.  We have a relationship that goes back 40 years.  Over the years, I have called him in times of need and in times of heartache.  Vince has always had my back.  There have been times when my foolishness has gotten me in trouble.  Vince has been there for me.  In fact, if I am broke and Vince has a dollar, he would get change for his dollar and give me .50.  Vince has earned my trust over these years.   

Trust doesn't come naturally to any of us, trust must be earned over time.  In the same way, we learn to trust the people in our lives, we must also learn to trust our God.  As with my buddy Vince, we must remember what God has done for us.  For some of us, this is an easy process, we grew up in loving homes where trust was the order of the day.  However, for others growing up in abusive homes, trust is something methodically earned, not readily given. Those of us experiencing such trust issues need to deal with these issues before God.  It is not easy to trust a God we cannot see when the people we see and claim to love us, breed mistrust in us. 
So, we rush the throne room of our loving Father, in the hopes that he will have mercy and heal the wounds of mistrust in us and in those around us.  For we know that our mistrust is a ploy of the devil to get us to lean on our understanding. Leaning on our own understanding is against God's will.

So, pray with me that God will have mercy on us, and teach us to trust him with our all.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

My Storms Of Life

I continue to wrestle with my response to the storms of life. You will recall, we should have a three "W" response. The first response: God is WORKING IT OUT! Based on Romans 8:28. "...He works all things out for those who love him..." Second response: WALK TO JESUS! Based on Hebrews 12:3 " we will not grow weary or lose heart!". Third response: WORSHIP! In the midst of the storm worship! Job praised God in the midst of the storms he faced. Job 1:20-21 tell us: "20 At this, Job got up and tore his robe and shaved his head. Then he fell to the ground in worship 21 and said: “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will depart. The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised.” 22 In all this, Job did not sin by charging God with wrongdoing." Are you going through trouble right now? Remember God is WORKING it out! WALK towards Jesus! Loose yourself in WORSHIP!

Are You Persevering?

Are you going through a storm? There is a common belief among believers that at any given time we are living in a storm, leaving a storm, or entering a storm. Regardless of where you find yourself, I want to share the second of three truths (three “W”s) that help us go through:  

“W” Walk towards/fix your eyes on Jesus. Hebrews 12:1b-3  “…And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.” 

As we walk towards Jesus, and realized that he suffered beyond belief for us, we are filled with hope and we are not over taken by our circumstances.  

Years ago a woman was going through a difficult time and she was loosing hope. One day her six year old daughter brought home a present from school for her mom. She said to her mother: "I made this for you to look at when things get bad." The mom opened the box. In it was a cross made of sea shells. The mom was overwhelmed by the gift and promised to look at the sea shell cross whenever things got bad. Things did indeed get bad. And the mom was true to her word and looked at the cross. Each time she looked at the cross peace God fell over her and things did not seem so bad. So, are facing storm? WALK towards/fix your eyes on Jesus.

Storms of Oklahoma City

What's a Christ follower to do when families are devastated by natural disasters?  Have you asked that question?  What should be my reaction?  Perhaps anger?  Perhaps disgust?  There is no way to logically wrap our minds around this loss of life.  Yet somehow, In the midst of this disaster, we trust in our Sovereign God. We trust that He will work through this disaster to bring us closer to himself.  We trust that just like Jesus' death on the cross served to bring closer to God.  Somehow this tragedy will serve to bring many to Christ, but this does not answer the "Why?".  Many are asking "Why?", the short answer is sin is in our world and it impacts the whole of life.  The devil is busy and he seeks to kill, steal and destroy.  However, we know that though he may at times appear to have won, we in Christ have the victory! 

The Darkness Within

I often run into Christian people who are experiencing deep darkness and isolation. Isolation beyond description: an oppressive consuming imprisonment of the soul, as if they had been sentenced to solitary confinement in a maximum-security prison.  They find themselves in a 6 x 9 cell, pacing back and forth wondering if anyone will come to release them.  Day and night, they pace, they look for a window, a door, a crack in the wall…anything that would break them free.  Sometimes this goes on for weeks, sometimes for months.  It is as if they are living schizophrenic lives: Imprisoned while going through the motions of life.  To the average onlooker, these folks appear perfectly normal, they laugh when they’re suppose to laugh, they nod when they’re suppose to nod, but inside, this consuming darkness continues to wrench their soul.  Like quicksand, they continue to sink deeper and deeper into this abyss, while maintaining the facade of normalcy.

On the surface these folks present as average Christians, attending Bible study and mouthing a prayer or two. No one around them seems to know that they’ve slipped into a dark hole. They’re smiling and even joking. Yet, internally they find themselves in a dark

A friend encounter with darkness:  I got home to a dark house, everyone was gone. I was alone. Quickly the darkness seemed to be pressing in on me. I began suffocating in the sea of darkness. The darkness was consuming me. Oppressed without a way out.

I start thinking about how good it would feel to get out of this prison.  I searched frantically for a way out.  Then it occurred to me that I have a .45 in the closet. I go to the closet. There it is, the box I keep my .45 in. A sense of excitement enters my blood as I ponder taking this doorway. Expectantly, I open the box. I grab the .45, take the lock off and I start twirling the gun around and around in my hand while passing it from one hand to the other; left to right, right to left.  Hours seem to go by. Suddenly I realize the gun is not loaded.  So, I reach into the box and I load the magazine with 8 bullets. I then loaded the magazine into the .45. I start to think about the freedom I will feel once I pulled the trigger. Once I pull the trigger the darkness is gone, I will be out of this cell.  I put the gun underneath my jaw and I ponder pulling the trigger, then I think, “What if it doesn’t work?”  So I put the gun up to my temple…I’m perspiring.  My hand begins to shake uncontrollably, anxiety is overtaking me, I feel the perspiration, thick drops of sweat are pouring from my pores.  As I put the barrel of the gun to my temple. Just as I am ready to pull the trigger, I hear someone wrestling with the door and it opens.  The light breaks the darkness and my daughter comes running in saying: “Daddy! Daddy! Look what I got?” I quickly tuck the gun back into the box, I smile and I hug my daughter. Somewhat relieved I’m out of my prison. My daughter’s embrace brought me out of solitary confinement.  
God used my daughter at that moment to pull me out of my dark cell. By God’s grace, I realized that I had much to live for. With the help of my wife, I sought the help of a Christian counselor. That day as every day since, God has loved me too much, to let me go through with ending my life. I recognized his love in my daughter’s eyes.  I can still recall that moment as if it were yesterday.  Now, daily I cling to my Savior’s love. The love I experienced in that moment of darkness through my daughter’s eyes.

“The bottom line: Our God specializes in jailbreaks. No matter what type of prison we find ourselves in our God is able to set us free.” Looking back, God had been trying to break me out for years. I just kept refusing his help. Ironically, I asked God for help and then refused his help. I did not want to be a burden so I was slowly dying.”

Key: Take the help and come out of the closet with your depression. Tell your friends, pastor, and seek out a Christian counselor. Do not let the Devil beat you up and drive you to suicide.

It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery. (Galatians 5:1) So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. (John 8:36)

Al's Testimony

My Christian Testimony / Al Mulder 12-8-12

I grew up on a farm in Iowa, the second child of ten. My parents were hard-working, believe-in-God folks who read the Bible and prayed with every meal, who taught us to pray, and who never missed church – except maybe for an act of God.

Within this religious routine, there were at least two things that were not routine.

1.    When I was nine, my older brother – age eleven – died in a farm accident.

2.    The next summer, at a nearby one-room country school, the Vacation Bible School teacher challenged me to believe in Jesus personally, and to promise to serve him all my life.

The ‘God-thing’ is that God that used these experiences to commit my life to him. Vacation Bible School was about 8 months after my brother died. I know that his dying made me think more about life and death, and what after that!?  When my young Bible School teacher challenged me to trust in Jesus, the particular struggle I remember is not whether Jesus died on the cross as an atonement for sin, but how could I be sure he died for ME and for MY sin?!  The other lasting impact of this time is that my promise to serve God as a missionary was a motivating factor in wanting to become a minister, and in the kind of ministry that was important to me.

Fast forwarding, I graduated from Calvin College, got married, graduated from Calvin Seminary, served a rural church in Kansas, was a missionary to Navajo students in a large boarding school in Utah, and then pastored a Navajo-turned-multiracial congregation in Gallup, NM.  This was my life from 1953 through 1983.

My most intense spiritual crisis during my pastoring years was early in my tenure in New Mexico. Not too long after we came I became embroiled in conflict – as a spokesperson for the Navajo and Zuni churches over against the denominational board of missions. And on the heels of that, maybe because of that, I became seriously ill – forcing a two-month ‘sabbatical.’ During this time, again God worked change in me. First, through a near-death experience he gave me a deeper trust in him as Savior and in his good purposes for me as Lord. And second, he used some people to help me see how arrogant I was being, which in time prompted me to be more respectful and gracious to people who saw things differently from me.

Two quick footnotes here:

1.    During those years God also gave Darlene and me four daughters. Today 3 of them are grandmothers, and the 4th (became a grandmother on Dec 13).

2.    I have always felt enormously privileged and blessed to be in ministry, and all along the way have felt that – for whatever time or situation – there was no place I would rather have been! That also goes for belonging to Madison, and now to be a part of JAM.

Over the years, however, my larger and longer spiritual struggle has been over seemingly unanswered prayers (or not-yet answered prayers) where it counts the most – in the life of our family. My wife Darlene has suffered from anxiety and depression for decades! Going on disability in 1995, today she also is crippled up with arthritis. Our youngest daughter Eva, who lives with us, also is on disability due to a crushing car accident some 15 years ago. Care giving is not my lead gift, so I need to be reminded regularly that, as the Bible says, when we are weak God makes us strong (2 Cor 12:9).

I pray daily for our ten grandchildren. All of them give signs of believing in God, but much of the time they do not seem eager to hang out with people who do. (Already, God has given us 12 great grandchildren to be prayed over as well!)

Through these experiences, and lots of time with the Bible and prayer and Christian worship and Christian friends, God continues to teach me to trust him more – to trust both his purposes and his promises!

One Bible verse that has been a favorite of mine for at least forty years is John 16:33b, where Jesus said, “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

And I am also blessed by promises of Saint Paul, such as “being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus,” and that “my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus” (Phil 1:6 and 4:19).

As an older Christian friend reminds me, “It’s all about dying and rising with Christ.”

Great Calling....Great Cost

But the Lord said to Ananias, “Go! This man is my chosen instrument to carry my name before the Gentiles and their kings and before the people of Israel. I will show him how much he must suffer for my name.”
Acts 9:15-16

Most of us focus on the incredible accomplishments of Paul.
How he wrote 2/3 of the New Testament.
Took the gospel to the ends of the earth.
Became the greatest missionary and one of the greatest preachers ever.

Sometimes we’ll point out his suffering. But it’s usually isolated. We use it to talk about pain and trials and how to get through them. Or how God’s power is made perfect in our weakness. All of that is true, but I think we often miss a crucial point.

Paul’s accomplishments and his suffering went together.
And there’s a reason for that.

It’s not because God had some kind of a secret vendetta against Paul. He had killed Christians, so why not make him drink a little of his own medicine while using him to spread the gospel.

As others have pointed out before, it’s because for Paul to be used greatly, he had to be wounded deeply. The greater the calling, the greater the cost. Making a difference in the world means absorbing substantial pain. For the sake of God, and for the sake of the people you’re making a difference for.

That was true for Paul.
And it will be true for you, too.

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying you’ve got flogging to look forward to. But I am saying that most of us want to do the kinds of things Paul did without having to go through the kinds of things Paul went through. And it doesn’t work like that.

God has to bruise you before He can use you. So you’ll be sensitive to His touch. So you won’t have an ounce of self-reliance in you. So you’ll be able to relate to the people you’re ministering to. So when everything is dark around you, your light within you will actually have a chance to shine.

If you really want to be used greatly by God, accept this now:
You’re going to be tired.
You’re going to be betrayed.
You’re going to suffer.

Like Paul, your great calling will exact a great cost. You’ll be able to say, “For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that his life may be revealed in our mortal body” (2 Corinthians 4:11).

But also like Paul, that won’t be the final word for you. You’ll be able to say, “Our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all” (2 Corinthians 4:17).

- Pastor Steven Furtick (Elevation Church, Charlotte, NC)

The 14th Day of Advent: In The Middle of Our Mess

You may not think this post is very Christmassy.

I woke up Friday morning, as many of you did, to news of a shooting in an elementary school in Connecticut. It was joined later in the day by reports of a mass stabbing at an elementary school in China.

The Twitterverse raged with visceral grief for the families, anger at the shooter, shock and horror at a kind of tragedy that is becoming all too familiar, conspiracy theories about whichever particular political party or organization is to blame, opinions about how to fix it all, outrage at the media’s tactics, fear for the soul of our society, and gratitude for the safety of their own families. Some urged prayer; others, judgment; others, action; others, legislation. I confess to running in all of these directions at once.

No, not very Christmassy.

I had planned to tell you a story from my childhood that illustrated in a humorous way the central point of Advent. The story I’ll keep, but the point is still appropriate: Advent is trusting Christ to show up in the middle of our mess. Today, when we see violence up close and personal committed against the vulnerable in our society, we don’t need to be reminded just how messy humanity can be.

This most recent shooting is the 31st school shooting since Columbine. There have been more victims of violence in other mass shootings in workplaces, public centers and houses of worship. Every year in the US alone, there are over 100,000 victims of gun violence; nearly a third of these shootings are fatal. That’s about 266 people shot every day, and 86 fatalities (according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention). Not to mention victims of other kinds of weapon-related violence. We could pile it on: domestic abuse, psychological abuse, hunger, poverty, sexual assault, and oh, so much more.

What a mess. But it’s Advent. And Advent is trusting Christ to show up in the middle of our mess. So where is Christ?

The Apostle Paul compared the church, the followers of Jesus, to the body of Christ. In other words, people experience Christ through the ones who claim to follow his teachings. When we follow Jesus into the mess, Christmas happens. When we trust that God’s kin-dom offers a better reality for all, and we choose to live into that reality now despite truly terrible circumstances, Christmas happens. When there is no theological easy answer, when the only thing that works is love and presence, Christmas happens.

It’s the only reason Christmas ever did.

It may not have the shine of tinsel or the cheer of a lustily sung carol, but Christmas happens when we follow Jesus into the mess and offer what hope, comfort, peace, grace, and joy we can. If you want to find Jesus this Christmas, just look for the nearest mess, and see who is quietly sweeping up the shattered lives and piecing them together again.

Pray for the people of Newtown and Chenpeng. Pray for the shattered families in their confusion and grief. Pray for the teachers, administrators, and students who survived as they cope with the trauma in the months to come. Pray for the first responders who are branded with these horrible images as they seek security and justice. Pray for the therapists, counselors, and pastors who will help people pick up the pieces of their lives and community. Pray for the shooter and all those so broken and damaged that violence becomes the only answer they see. Pray for our society, that through the lens of our broken hearts we may come to observe and confront the painful systemic injustices–and pray for the strength, courage, and wisdom to change them. Pray for the people of Newtown and Chenpeng.

Then, if you really want to experience Christmas, look for the nearest mess… and
grab a broom.

A reflection by Kris Marshall

God Speaks

God Speaks

Shhhhh. Listen! What is it? Shhhhhh. Listen! Listen to what? God, God is speaking. Can you hear him? Are you listening? Throughout scripture God speaks to his people. God gives instructions and directions to his people.

1 Samuel 3:4-14 (NIV)

 Then the Lord called Samuel. Samuel answered, “Here I am.” And he ran to Eli and said, “Here I am; you called me.” But Eli said, “I did not call; go back and lie down.” So he went and lay down. Again the Lord called, “Samuel!” And Samuel got up and went to Eli and said, “Here I am; you called me.” “My son,” Eli said, “I did not call; go back and lie down.” Now Samuel did not yet know the Lord: The word of the Lord had not yet been revealed to him. A third time the Lord called, “Samuel!” And Samuel got up and went to Eli and said, “Here I am; you called me.”

Then Eli realized that the Lord was calling the boy. So Eli told Samuel, “Go and lie down, and if he calls you, say, ‘Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening.’” So Samuel went and lay down in his place. 10 The Lord came and stood there, calling as at the other times, “Samuel! Samuel!” Then Samuel said, “Speak, for your servant is listening.”

11 And the Lord said to Samuel: “See, I am about to do something in Israel that will make the ears of everyone who hears about it tingle. 12 At that time I will carry out against Eli everything I spoke against his family—from beginning to end. 13 For I told him that I would judge his family forever because of the sin he knew about; his sons blasphemed God, and he failed to restrain them. 14 Therefore I swore to the house of Eli, ‘The guilt of Eli’s house will never be atoned for by sacrifice or offering.’”

God is calling Samuel, yet neither Samuel nor Eli recognizes God’s call. Eli finally recognizes that God is calling Samuel. Is this not often our story? God calls out to us, but we fail to recognize his voice.


 Recently, I was driving to New Jersey. I stopped at a gas station to get gas. I felt an impression to put air in the left rear tire of the car. I looked at it. It was a little low. But I was anxious to get back on the road. So, I said ah it’s okay. I’ll put air in it later. Well, later the tire deflated further and went flat while driving 70 miles an hour. I think God spoke to me and I failed to act. God was graceful. I was able to keep the car under control and get safely to the side of the road. I put on the spare and it got us to Jersey.

A story…

A number of years ago I ran across a story (I am not sure of the title or author), which inspired me to listen more closely for God’s voice. To shhhh myself down so I could hear and than take some risks in obedience to God.

In the story a young man wants to hear from God. After asking God to speak to him, God impresses on the young man to buy a gallon of milk. After some questioning of this impression the young man stops and buys a gallon of milk. He reasons that he could drink the gallon of milk if need be. But as he gets back into his car, he again feels an impression in his spirit. The impression tells him to stop at a seemingly random house and give the milk to the folks in the house. As I recall the home is dark and the young man is reluctant to go knock on the door of strangers and offer them a gallon of milk. But after some rankling with God he goes to the door and rings the door bell. The father comes to the door. The young man gives the milk to the dad. Sounds of joy and crying are heard throughout the house as the man goes running to his wife to tell her: “God had answered our prayer!” It turns out the people in the house were broke and had been praying for milk for their young child. God used the young man to answer their prayer.

Shhhhh. Listen! What is it? Shhhhhh. Listen! Listen to what? God, God is speaking. Can you hear him?


Are you listening? Have you heard God speak to you lately? Have you been prompted by God to do something? How have you responded?

God is My Friend

God is my friend
When life seems to go from bad to worse

God is my friend
When my friends walk away

God is my friend
When I am broke and the bills are piling up

God is my friend
When there are no good solutions

God is my friend
In the midst of trouble

God is my friend
When death is knocking at my door

God is my friend
When I am ready to give up

God is my friend who sticks closer than a brother (Proverbs 18:24b)

What a Friend we have in Jesus

What a Friend we have in Jesus, All our sins and grieves to bear!
What a privilege to carry everything to God in prayer!
O what peace we often forfeit, O what needless pain we bear,
All because we do not carry everything to God in prayer!

Have we trials and temptations? Is there trouble anywhere?
We should never be discouraged-Take it to the Lord in prayer.
Can we find a friend so faithful who will all our sorrows share?
Jesus knows our every weakness-Take it to the Lord in prayer.

Are we weak and heavy laden, Cumbered with a load of care?
Precious Savior, still our refuge Take it to the Lord in prayer.
Do thy friends despise, forsake thee? Take it to the Lord in prayer;
In His arms He'll take and shield thee-Thou wilt find a solace there.
-Joseph Scriven (1855)

John 15:15-17

“15 I no longer call you servants, because servants do not know their master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. 16 You did not choose: me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you. 17 This is my command: Love each other.”

The Face of Trials

A thought from James 1: 2-6 (NIV) Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. 4 Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. 5 If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.

So, trials are a sure thing. Perservering through them makes us into more of the person God designed us to be. Yet, some trials will require us to ask God for wisdom in how best to deal with them. And God is waiting for us to ask him. He will give us wisdom "generously without finding fault." Pretty awesome deal. God will give me wisdom for dealing with trouble. Even when I have brought the trouble on myself:"without finding fault."

Pastor Cisco Gonzalez