Proverbs 6:6-8, " Go to the ant, thou sluggard ; consider her ways, and be wise: Which having no guide, overseer or ruler, provideth her meat in the summer, and gathers her food in the harvest." The ant doesn't spend all her tjme eating. It runs back and forth carrying food into the nest so that it may survive the winter when there will be no food. If you are young, prepare for the future by giving yourself to the profession you have chosen. Whatever you plan to do in life prepare for it by study, hard work, whatever it takes to get you there. There are no short cuts to success. What you set your hand to, do with all your heart. If this is true in the natural, how much more in the spiritual? Luke 14:26-33, " Anyone who wants to be my follower must love me far more than he does his own father, mother, wife, children, brothers, sisters- yes, more than his own life- otherwise he cannot be my disciple. And no one can be my disciple who does not carry his own cross and follow me. But don't begin until you count the cost. For who would begin construction of a building without first getting estimates and then checking to see if he has enough money to pay the bills? Otherwise he might complete only the foundation before running out of funds. Or what king would ever dream of going to war without first sitting down with his counselors and discussing whether his army of 10,000 is strong enough to defeat the 20,000 men who are marching against him? So no one can become my disciple unless he first sits down and counts his blessings- and then renounces them all for me." You will have to deny yourself things God puts off limits. Give yourself fully to God. Amos 4:12, " Prepare now and instead of God's wrath we will hear, 'Welcome home. We have prepared a place for you.'"
God bless you all- Sister Claudia
A Gift From God
Ps. 127:3a " Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord." We should look at our children as gifts from God. Children are spiritual gifts as well as biological gifts. We have been given intructions from God that we are to teach and bring up a child in the way they should go. If we do, we have the promise that they will not depart from that way when they are old. Jesus answered the question, " Who then is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven? Assuredly, I say unto you, unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore whoever humbles himself as this little child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. Whoever receives one little one like this receives me." Matt. 18:1-5. Jesus said, if you want to know who is important to me, then receive these little ones.
Are we reluctant to be available for this ministry? Is it our fear that we will not be able to meet the need? Or perhaps, itis that we feel we are to old. Maybe working with children is just not our cup of tea. Maybe it is because we do not see an immediate reward. I have found that God is looking for so eone who is available more than a person who is talented. The children really need our help and our love. Many of them are from broken homes and have terrific needs. We may not have much time to influence them. Our opportunity to impact the life of a child could be a very limited one. Let us not lose any chance that we have been given. Let us not fall short of our calling. Matt. 19:13-15, " then little children were brought to Him that He might put His hands on them and pray, but the disciples rebuked them. But Jesus said, ' Let the little children come to me, and bo not forbid them: for such is the kingdom of heaven'". And He laid His hands on them and departed from them. For those who have not had the opportunity, we would love for you to step out and be blessed.
God bless you all - Sister Claudia
Striving For A Crown
1Cor. 9:24-27 "Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. Therefore I do not run like someone running aimlessly; I do not fight like a boxer beating the air. No, I strike a blow to my bodyand make it a slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize." In watching the Olympics we see what Paul was talking about. Only a few will win a prize. Phil. 3:14- "I press on toward the goalto win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus." So there is a higher call to a higher goal that is in Christ Jesus. In verse 25 of the first text, Paul states that everyone that competes for the prize does so for a perishable prize. We are seeking an eternal prize that will not rust, becay or perish. I must discipline my body and mind or become disqualified. We cannot aford to flaunt our liberties as some do. We do not want to be as those who the Master says, " I never knew you, you workers of iniquity". Jesus, the pattern son, when he realized his time was near, set his face as a flint toward Jerusalem. Nothing could stop Him from obeying the Father's will. Let us run the raceas to win it, so we also will receive the prize and hear, "well done my good and faithful servant".
God bless you all - Pastor Paul and Sister Claudia
God Is In Control
One of my favorite people in the old testament is Joseph. He remained God's man through many hardships. He was sold into slavery by his brothers. His owner's wife tried to seduce him. His response to her was, "Should I do this great sin against my God?" He understood that when we sin, it's against God first. Many others might suffer from that sin, but it's first and foremost against almighty God. Joseph ends up in prison for doing the right thing. But, after many years in prison, where Psalms tells us he was in irons and fetters, he is set free. These trials that God allowed into Joseph's life covered 20 years. Does waiting on the Lord seem to take a long, long time? Oh, it must have seemed that way to Joseph. He understood that it was God's plan all the time. Through all this he was able to release his brothers. They also had been in a sort of prison for a long time. A prison of thier own making. When they were setup by Joseph, thier response was God has done this to us for what we did to Joseph. Oh, did we not hear his pleading and begging? How heavy a burden of guilt can be. Genesis 45:4-8 "For God did send me before you to preserve life.","and God sent me before you to preserve you, and to save your lives by a great deliverance." "So now it was not you that sent me hither, but God." Joseph three times acknowledges that it was God who sent him before them. Can we not trust God? He goes before us and makes the crooked places straight. As he did with Joseph, so He will truly do for us. We serve a mighty God! Thank you Lord for the example of Joseph and your Word.
God bless you all - Pastor Paul and Sister Claudia.
Only God Can
What can your God do? My God is the great “I AM”. My God is all I need! Let it be so Lord. My God is all powerful. My God loved me even before I knew I needed a God to love me. John 3:16a - “For God so loved the world he gave his one and only son...” John 15:16 speaks of how God chose us before we were and desires that we go and bear much fruit. Only my God is patient and kind, longsuffering and full of goodness. No, He is ALL good. He never changes; He is the same yesterday, today and forever; We can count on him. This world is on sinking sand, but our God is the Rock. And if we build on this Rock, Jesus Christ, we will never be moved. Our Lord Jesus has not died in vein. He died as our substitute because death was the penalty for our sins. Because he lives we can, and will, live forever. Only God can save to the uttermost. If you have not, why not accept Jesus now as your Lord and Savior. What an awesome God. Oh, that man would praise God for the great things He has done.
Only God can turn a mess into a message, a test into a testimony, a trial into a triumph and a victim into victory!
How can we not praise Him?
Pastor Paul, Sister Claudia and family
First Fruit Sunday
Proverbs 3:19 - "Honor the Lord with your wealth, with the firstfruits of all your crops; then your barns will be filled to overflowing, and your vats will brim with new wine". This speaks to the tenth, or the tithe, to be given to the Lord out of covenant. It was to be an act of free will, but also out of obedience to a command of God to the people of Israel. We continue in the fashion out of freewill and obedience, but also out of love and gratitude to all the awesome things that God has blessed us with. And if we have only the salvation of our souls, shouldn't that be a thing to be grateful for? In Ezekiel 44:30 it says, "The best of all your firstfruits and of all your special gifts will belong to the priest. You are to give them the first portion of your ground meal so that a blessing may rest on your household." Note that the text mentions special gifts and that this comes with a blessing.
WE, at Victory Life, have a tradition that was started a few years ago. Each family, out of love and to honor our pastor and his family for their commitment to the body, brings in some sort of blessing to them. We do this on the first Sunday of each month.That can be in whatever form you choose. It could be gift cards to a local merchant, restaurant, car wash, movie, etc.. It could be needed items around the house like toiletries and such. You can bless them with a monetary gift as well and let them decide how it would best be used for their family. Whatever the Lord lays on your heart.
So pray what the Lord would have you bring to our pastor and his family next Firstfruit Sunday. Remember that you cannot outgive God and he has promised a blessing to you when you give in this way.
Joel 3:14, " multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision. For the day of the Lord is near in the valley of decision". Going to church New Years Day eve., the Lord led me to this verse in Joel. He spoke to my heart and I felt he said the church, His body, would be I this valley of decision this year. We are I this world but not of this world. We cannot love God and the things of this world. Jesus said they would hate us as they hated him. Is the student detter than the master? As Moses said, " Who is on the Lord's side?" This year all will know. Joel 2:12-14 " Now therfore, says the Lord, turn to me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning". So rend your heart and not your garments. Return to the Lord your God, for He is gracious and merciful; slow to anger and of great kindness; and He relents from doing harm. Who knows if He will turn and relent, and leave behind Him a blessing. Return to God with all your heart. Fast, weep, mourn and confess your sin. Cry out to God and ask Him to give you spiritual eyes to see the multitude of people in the valley of decision. Pray that the church would seek those who do not know Jesus, so they can be saved. Jesus will return. We must be ready. Let us do as the Word tells us. Call on the name of the Lord Jesus for salvation and deliverance. When we call, he will come and save. As the psalmist says in Ps. 130: 23-24 " Search me, O God, and knpw my heart; try me, and know my thoughts. See if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting". Seek God. Follow him. He is enough. God bless us all in this hour of decision.
Pastor Paul and sister Claudia.