Pull Down, Cast Down, Bring It

By Pastor Jeff Hanson

Pull Down, Cast Down, Bring it!

The Spiritual War

2 Corinthians 10:1-5, Now I, Paul, myself am pleading with you by the meekness and gentleness of Christ—who in presence am lowly among you, but being absent am bold toward you. But I beg you that when I am present I may not be bold with that confidence by which I intend to be bold against some, who think of us as if we walked according to the flesh.  For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh.  For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds,  casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ,

Weapons have vastly changed over the last hundred years from the days of flintlock rifles to the high-powered automatics of the military today, from grenades and cannons to nuclear and laser powered missiles, from the single engine planes to supersonic jets and drones. From sail powered ships to nuclear powered ships and submarines that can stay submerged for 3 months or more. From binoculars to radar that can detect movements from thousands of miles away. Warfare has become the most technological science in the world and also the potential to be the most deadly.

The Bible calls these weapons as carnal-pertaining to the flesh, bodily which by the interpretation here doesn’t seem to be one we should fear the most. The most fearful weapon is the one we cannot see, Ephesians 6:10-12, “Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” The carnal weapon can destroy the body but this weapon destroys the soul. Matthew 10:28, “And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.”

The two books addressed to the church at Corinth are actually four letters Paul had sent to them addressing several issues that he was made aware of. The first tree letters are in 1 Corinthians dealt with factions in the church, the problem with a son having relationships with his father’s wife, communion, the gifts of the Spirit, and the resurrection.

The second book deals mainly with the challenge to his authority and warnings of false Apostles infiltrating the church. Paul telling the Corinthians that through God we have a weapon that is more powerful that all the carnal weapons combined for it can “Pull down Strongholds”.

Strongholds; a place that has been fortified so as to protect it from attack; a place where a particular cause or belief is strongly defended or upheld. A stronghold can be physical or spiritual that prevents you to becoming the man or woman of God you could be.

We need to remember what Paul was addressing in the book of 2nd Corinthians to see what the stronghold Paul wanted pulled down. 2 Corinthians 11:3-4, “But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him.”

The church of today is continually being asked, persuaded, and even forced to conform to this world today. Sadly, in many ways she has. Romans 12:1-2, “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.”

So, “Pull it Down!”

The second Paul tells us is to “Cast it Down!” which is to demolish (literally or figuratively) imaginations or man’s thoughts. We need to trust that God in every facet in our lie even when we don’t understand what He is asking of us, Isaiah 55:8-9. “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.”

We also need to have knowledge in the Word of God to be able to recognize when we hear or see something that does or doesn’t line up with it, 2Peter 2:1-2, “But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction. And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of.” 

1John 4:1, “Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.”

Paul goes further in telling us that we have to cast down “every high thing” those that are in authority, Eph 6:12, “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.”

Romans 12:3, “For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.”

We live unfortunately live in a time that ministers are quick to call themselves apostles, prophets, bishops, reverends, faith healers and so on but you rarely hear them call themselves the most important title, “servant”.

“Cast it Down!”

The last thing Paul covers in these verses is to “Bring into Captivity” every thought to the obedience of Christ. Don’t let it run loose or keep going back to whatever you have pulled down or cast down! Proverbs 23:7, “For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he: Eat and drink, saith he to thee; but his heart is not with thee.”

Hebrews 5:8-9, “Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered; And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him;”

We are indeed in a war, a war not of the carnal, but war for the hearts and minds of every person living today on this planet called earth.

We need to Pull the Strongholds Down, Cast Down thought and teachings that go against God and His word, and Bring every thought into Captivity!

Luke 9:23, ”And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.”

“Bring It!”


by Pastor Bob Rasmussen 

There has been a lot of things going on in this body and in some folks that I know. I really feel this is a good time for us, especially me, to remember that one of the things we have in our relationship with Jesus, is authority, authority over the enemy.

Authority over these attacks that seem to be all around us, and I think now is a perfect time to push back against those things that are going on.

In our relationship with Jesus, I am so grateful for His forgiveness. I am so grateful that He has gone to prepare a place not just for me, but for anyone that chooses to accept Him as his Lord and Savior, be baptized, and filled with the Holy Ghost

We have so much that we get from God besides his forgiveness, we have His promises, we have His Word, we have relationship. But we also have authority. And there is a responsibility to use that authority.

  • 1 John 3:8 He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose, the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil.

Man, o man, am I grateful that I I finally accepted Jesus in my life. That is the team I want to play for. I don’t want to play for that other team! But we were all once on the other team until we came into salvation, amen?

Devil is a pretty loose term that is around in society today. The way that people think about it at times is kind of shocking. It seems the world tries to minimize that there is an actual enemy out there, and that enemy wants nothing more than for them to stay right where they are at

  • Ephesians 2:2 And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins; 2 Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: 3 Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others. 4 But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, 5 Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) 6 And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus:

Again, thank You Lord for making a way.The bible says that the enemy is a” prince of the power of the air”

  • Ephesians 2:2 You were following the ways of this world [influenced by this present age], in accordance with the prince of the power of the air (Satan), the spirit who is now at work in the disobedient [the unbelieving, who fight against the purposes of God].

Not everything that goes on around us isn’t just natural. It’s not the obvious order of things, but there is a spiritual realm where things are happening. Pastor Jeff spoke on some of this last week.  And there is an opposition that is occurring.

  • There is an enemy that is trying to interrupt the purposes of God
  • There is an enemy trying to distract from the purposes of God
  • There is an enemy that is trying to intimidate the people of God

Why does He want to intimidate the body of Christ? He wants the body of Christ to not fully realize who they are. He wants to block the light of Christ Jesus by hindering those who believe and can bring that light to others

  • 2 Corinthians 4 In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.

But thank God that is not us, amen? We can praise Him that we have a new life, we are a new creation, where the enemy cannot push us around and does not have authority over us.

We have crossed from darkness into the glorious light of Jesus Christ. We are protected, we have authority. We got out of the enemy’s world, out of his ways, into a new Kingdom, the Kingdom of God, and into His ways. Hallelujah! So what is this authority?

  • Mark 1:21 And they went into Capernaum; and straightway on the sabbath day he entered into the synagogue and taught. 22 And they were astonished at his doctrine: for he taught them as one that had authority, and not as the scribes. 23 And there was in their synagogue a man with an unclean spirit; and he cried out, 24 Saying, Let us alone; what have we to do with thee, thou Jesus of Nazareth? art thou come to destroy us? I know thee who thou art, the Holy One of God. 25 And Jesus rebuked him, saying, Hold thy peace, and come out of him.

I love the way that Jesus handled this, and it is a good reminder for me. I do not have to have a long conversation, or a long debate, I can just exercise my authority like Jesus and just say, “Shut up and get out!” I have had to actually do this, at work one day, I was on a ladder, and I actually said that out loud!

  • Mark 1:26 And when the unclean spirit had torn him, and cried with a loud voice, he came out of him. 27 And they were all amazed, insomuch that they questioned among themselves, saying, What thing is this? what new doctrine is this? for with authority commandeth he even the unclean spirits, and they do obey him.

Jesus silenced the unclean spirit, it HAD to do what He told it to do. Be quiet and get out! The was a clear demonstration of the authority of Jesus and the new way things were going to be. Those that were under attack from the enemy really had no hope, there was no answer, not until Jesus came on the scene. It was new and it was exciting. Not so much for the enemy though.

  • Mark 3:9 And he spake to his disciples, that a small ship should wait on him because of the multitude, lest they should throng him. 10 For he had healed many; insomuch that they pressed upon him for to touch him, as many as had plagues. 11 And unclean spirits, when they saw him, fell down before him, and cried, saying, Thou art the Son of God.

The enemy knows who Jesus is. They recognize His authority. They must fall before him.

  • Colossians 2: 9 For in Him all the fullness of Deity (the Godhead) dwells in bodily form [completely expressing the divine essence of God]. 10 And in Him you have been made complete [achieving spiritual stature through Christ], and He is the head over all rule and authority [of every angelic and earthly power]

It is important for me to remember these scriptures. Jesus has all authority in heaven and earth. ALL Authority. No matter how dark this world seems to get, and this prince of the power of the air looks to be so tough and strong trying to intimidate the body of Christ, there is no God that is greater, there is no spirit greater, and certainly no demon that is greater than Jesus! All authority is in Jesus, the devil is a liar.

The enemy will try to get you to agree that He has more authority than he does, that’s all he has. He can only roar.  And the world is going to do the sameThe media, movies, social media, did I say the media? They are all trying to make those of us who believe, to be crazy. They will find fault with what we do, they will find fault with what we believe compared to the norms of society and the world. They will intimidate us not to stand up for Gods church and His body. They will try to be like they have more authority.

But friends, we have the authority through Jesus Christ. We are the salt; we are the light. We are the temple of God and the body of Christ. And what they do not understand is that we knew this would be a bumpy ride. In His Word he told us these days would come and we would have to resist. Resist the morality of the world, resist the morality of the politics we are seeing

  • Luke 9:23 And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me. 24 For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: but whosoever will lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it. 25 For what is a man advantaged, if he gain the whole world, and lose himself, or be cast away?

And that is why I wanted to talk about resisting today. There is a demonic realm and there is spiritual warfare. Not everything that is happening is “normal”. And I need to be aware of this because if I don’t, I will try to battle whatever it is in the flesh. I will forget how to truly battle what is against me and I’ll forget about the authority that is in me through Jesus Christ.

There are distractions that will come, there are strategies that the enemy is putting in place to try to trip us up. And if I try to plan, and that’s not a bad thing, but sometimes it is spiritual battle. Maybe there is some prayer, some fasting that we need to do. Maybe we need to get some brothers and sisters to pray with us and stand in agreement and speak some authority in that situation.

I have had a couple people in my life say well all that authority was Jesus, and it is no longer around. Listen, I believe the Word of God, not what you or I feel.

  • Galatians 3:28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 And if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.

When we have given our life to Christ, we are one with Him. When the enemy sees me, he sees the blood of Christ. When he sees me, he sees the body of Christ. It’s not about me and what I can do, it’s about and what He did and continues to do. And in the bible, there is something that Jesus has done – He has delegated authority to His believers. In Luke we see Jesus send 70 individuals out, two and two.

  • Luke 10:17 And the seventy returned again with joy, saying, Lord, even the devils are subject unto us through thy name. 18 And he said unto them, I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven. 19 Behold, I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you. 20 Notwithstanding in this rejoice not, that the spirits are subject unto you; but rather rejoice, because your names are written in heaven.

Hallelujah and amen. He gave authority to the 70. But that same person that says, well, that authority is just in Jesus and maybe those 70 were special somehow. I never cease to be amazed at how some folks want to talk themselves out of what God paid so a high price for.

There was nothing special about those 70 human beings that were sent. We do not even know their names, but we do know the name that allowed them to go out – and that name is Jesus. They were not in worldly terms, superheroes, they were people who had a job to do. And Jesus delegated his authority on them to do the job that He called them to do, not by their own might, but in His holy name. They had authority for the Kingdom of God.  In the book of Mark, we see Jesus appear to the 11 after conquering the grave and has this to say:

  • Mark 16:17 And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; 18 They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.

That’s the authority of a believer, amen. The authority of the believer does not come from the believer, it comes from Jesus, who is IN the believer.

And I said there has been things going on in some of our lives where the enemy has been messing things up, in our relationships, in our businesses, in our bodies, our marriages, and our families. I just want to discern that if that is the case, I am reminding myself that I can put my foot on the devil’s head and crush it, resist, and say, “Stop! I can say enough! Get your hands off my kids! Get your hands off my business. Get your hands off my body or a loved one’s body. In the mighty name of Jesus, flee!”

I love to solve problems, I love fixing things, it is a lot of what I do in my job. It is part of who I am. But not every situation can be solved with logic. Not every situation can be solved with experience, or technology, or education. Sometimes the situation is there because there is an adversary working against me.

There is an adversary, and he is a defeated enemy, but there will still be struggles. And the reminder for me is that just like the 70, it is Christ who is living in me, that gives me the authority over that enemy, but I must use it. Like the 70 I must exercise my authority. I must understand that the situation may require me to get out of my comfort zone of what I can see, what I can feel, and what I can touch and step into a spiritual battle.

Here is another inconvenient truth. Yes, we fight a defeated enemy, but he is not gone yet. You know how some people are poor losers, how much more do you think the devil is a poor loser? Because we believe the Word, because we know the Word, because we praise God for who He is, because we are not conformed to the world, because we try to live out our lives based on the Word – that’s the kind of people the enemy hates.

There are plenty of churches who have watered down the Word, there are churches who have changed the focus of their worship to the stage and lights to fill seats, there are churches who have conformed to the world contradicting the very Word of God – I don’t think the enemy is concerned with them as much. It is the people of God who have and want to have a relationship with Jesus he hates.

Look, recently we had a situation with someone we love deeply. This person had a lot of life things going on and it seemed that everyday there was another burden put on them. Well, we got a phone call very early in the morning, and another thing had happened. It was causing, obviously, a lot of stress. What I thought this person needed was a physical thing to happen, and that is what I prayed. Nothing happened, other than the enemy causing even more stress, creating confusion and fear for this person.

I prayed again, and what was revealed to me in the spirit was I was praying for the wrong thing. It was not a simple chain of events, it was the enemy absolutely attacking this person, and the last thing that happened might push them too far, and THAT was what the enemy wanted. I needed to pray with authority to tell the enemy, “No, your plan will not take place, get your stinking hands off of this person, and in the Name of Jesus, just stop!” The physical thing happened the very next morning, which still was good. But the greatest thing that happened is that the authority of Jesus brought the situation under control. Praise the Lord!

That is a good reminder that when we are firm in our identity with Jesus, when we remember the authority that is in us, when we walk into a room or a situation, there is a presence of God that we bring with. There is that authority and the sphere of influence that we bring with us. We don’t have to walk into those situations with our held low or intimidated. We are the salt, we are the light, we are the body of Christ. We are the children of God. All power and authority, all of it has been given to Jesus, and in that moment in whatever situation it is, we represent the body of Christ.

  • 1 John 4:4 Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.

I can use His name. There is power to resist the enemy. Yes, we have the authority to cast him out, but we also have the authority to resist.

  • Ephesians 6:10 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.

Notice it does not say, be strong in yourself. It says to be strong in the Lord! This is not our human strength, it is not our effort, it is not our will, it is strength in Him, in Jesus. Receive His strength, say yes to his might and power. You may not feel strong like the incredible hulk, it’s not that kind of power.

  •  10 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. 11 Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.

To stand, to resist, to stop against the wiles of the devil. Sometimes it is our responsibility to resist and stand against the something that the enemy is doing and to stop it. It may be the enemy’s strategy against our schools. It might be the enemy’s strategy against our family. The devil may have strategized against your physical health, your personal finances, or your marriage. But in the strength of the Lord, we have the ability to stand against those strategies and plans that are against us.

  •  12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.

That is what I have to remember. There is an unseen world, it is not something that is just made up, it is in the Word of God. It goes all the way back to the beginning in Genesis. The reality is that there is an unseen world, and we have an adversary and like it or not, there are plans and strategies I may not see. That is why we must resist. And that is one reason we pray.

I want to be a person of prayer, amen. Pray over our kids, our soon to be 5 grandchildren, for our family, for our jobs and businesses, for whatever God has us doing, for this body of believers.

  • James 4:7 Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you
  • James 4:7 So submit to [the authority of] God. Resist the devil [stand firm against him] and he will flee from you. 8 Come close to God [with a contrite heart] and He will come close to you

Submitting to God means submitting to be holy. Not going out in the world and doing whatever you want, but rather, living out the character of God in our lives. We cannot resist the devil with one foot and then open the door with the other. How we live our life matters and I do not want to push the door closed with one hand and then open another door with the other to let the enemy in. It does not matter what it is, bitterness, unforgiveness, lying, cheating, stealing, gossiping, I am opening that door whenever I am not submitted to God.

  • 1 Peter 5:6 Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God [set aside self-righteous pride], so that He may exalt you [to a place of honor in His service] at the appropriate time, 7 casting all your cares [all your anxieties, all your worries, and all your concerns, once and for all] on Him, for He cares about you [with deepest affection, and watches over you very carefully]. 8 Be sober [well balanced and self-disciplined], be alert and cautious at all times. That enemy of yours, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion [fiercely hungry], seeking someone to devour. 9 But resist him,

There it is again, RESIST him

  •  be firm in your faith [against his attack—rooted, established, immovable], knowing that the same experiences of suffering are being experienced by your brothers and sisters throughout the world. [You do not suffer alone.]

We can say no and resist the enemy, because we are rooted in His Word, we can resist because we are established in our identity, and we can stand immovable because of our faith in Jesus!

We have the ability to resist the devil through Christ Jesus. He does not get to boss us around, he does not get to bully us, he does not get to kill, he does not get to destroy from us, he must flee, in the name of Jesus, praise the Lord.

  • Ephesians 4:24 And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness. 25 Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbour: for we are members one of another. 26 Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath:

Anger is a foothold for the enemy. The enemy will use that anger to do all the things we are trying to stand against. And Paul is not talking to the lost people of the world, he is talking to the church of Ephesus. He is talking to you and me. He is saying that anger is not OK, that unforgiveness is not in the will of God. But since we can resist the devil, and we have the ability to put on that “new man”, the nature we have in Jesus, we can resist that temptation to be angry.Just like Jesus freed us from other things, he can free us from anger, and we can close the door on anger and resist the enemy.

Another scheme of the enemy is to try to get people to be unforgiving. Unforgiveness is another way the enemy will try to creep in.  Once again, the apostle Paul is writing a letter to another church:

  • 2 Corinthians 2: 10 If you forgive anyone anything, I too forgive [that one]; and what I have forgiven, if I have forgiven anything, has been for your sake in the presence of [and with the approval of] Christ, 11 to keep Satan from taking advantage of us; for we are not ignorant of his schemes.

Paul knows of Satan’s design to destroy the unity of this church. Forgiveness is a weapon against Satan’s plan to see an unforgiving spirit spread like a disease through the body, the church. Lord, help us all forgive.

I have one final thought that I did want to share with you. Sometimes, the enemy will move quickly. It happens so very quickly. In a moment of a loss, in a moment of bad news, when you get that not-so-great health report – that is when the enemy will most definitely strike.

  • He will whisper, “Well, you know you haven’t been as good as you could be.”
  • He will whisper, “Remember when you were in that life of sin, remember that, yeah, you probably deserve this.”
  • He will whisper, “Maybe Jesus doesn’t really care about you, if He did, He would not let this happen, would He?”
  • In those moments when you are alone and dealing whatever the issue is, He might say, “See, nobody cares, nobody loves you, why do you even want to be with Jesus, he is failing you!”

Anybody been there? I have, but then I remember, We can say no and resist the enemy, because we are rooted in His Word, we can resist because we are established in our identity, and we can stand immovable because of our faith in Jesus

I can say to the enemy, “You know what, I haven’t been good as I could be, but I am trying, and Jesus knows that. And yes, I remember that life of sin, but because of the blood of Jesus, that sin debt is paid in full, it’s gone in the eyes of God. And I don’t know why this happened, and I may feel alone, but I believe His word, sometimes it might be all I have.”

  • 1 Peter 5:7 casting all your cares [all your anxieties, all your worries, and all your concerns, once and for all] on Him, for He cares about you [with deepest affection, and watches over you very carefully].

And with that I can say, “In the name of Jesus, shut up and get out. Today I choose to stand on the Word and the love of Jesus, I choose to resist, I may be tired, but I will be strong in the Lord. Today I choose to resist the enemy, so “Flee, in Jesus’ name!”

Where the Spirit of the Lord Is

By Pastor Bob. This morning I would like to talk about “where the Spirit of the Lord Is” or “where the presence of the Lord is”. There are two things that I would like to discuss:

One is the omnipresence of God. God is everywhere at all times.

Have you ever been out and about early in the morning in the country, and you see that mist hugging the earth, permeating into everything, touching everything that you see. That is how I see the Spirit of the Lord on the earth in the Spirit. And even though I know that He is everywhere, all the time, yesterday, today, and tomorrow – I can forget.

When emotions of fear, or anxiety, sadness, or any of those emotions, He may feel far away from me and my situation. Luckily, I am not the only one that can happen to.

Psalm 139:7 7 Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? 8 If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. 9 If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, 10 even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast. 11 If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me and the light becomes night around me,” 12 even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you.

I love this scripture, and it makes more sense to me today then earlier in my life. There was a time in my life that I was literally running from God! I, at times, even denied His existence. There are times also that I blamed God and thought I could shut the door on him. 

It kind of reminds me of the old Coyote and Road runner cartoons. You know, the coyote has rockets attached to his feet and he is on the way to get the road runner, then from behind, road runner is running alongside him, kind of smirking, effortless in what he is doing. “Beep, beep! Then the coyote jumps off the cliff.

We cannot run away from God, no matter how hard we try. Amen to that. The darkness in our life cannot stop God from being present in our life. He is with us in the highs, He is with us in the lows, and every single place in our life. Hallelujah!

In Genesis 28, we find Jacob on a journey, running away from his brother Esau who wants to kill him, and he is asleep in what is now called Bethel. He has a dream and then in the bible it says this:

Genesis 28:16 And Jacob awaked out of his sleep, and he said, Surely the Lord is in this place; and I knew it not.

I think that is a good reminder for me, that I need to wake up to the presence of God. I do not know what you may be going through in life. Health issues, financial, familial challenges that seem to leave you in just a desolate and dry place. That is where Jacob was too.

Not like the typical places we think of when thinking about where the Spirit of the Lord is. It’s easy to be reminded of His Spirit in a beautiful sunrise, or perhaps a rainbow after a beautiful rain, or the waves crashing on a serene beach of water. But like Jacob, no matter how desolate we may feel, we too need to awaken ourselves that truly, even in this dry place of our life, Surely the Lord is in this place.

And in the minutia of our day to day trials and tribulations, there is extreme comfort in knowing that the same God that spoke it all into existence, that is busy attending to the universe that he made, still cares about us.

Luke 12:6 “Are not five sparrows sold for two [b]copper coins? And not one of them is forgotten before God. 7 But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Do not fear therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.

There may be times that I may not “feel” His presence , but I can remind myself through His Word that He loves us so much that He even knows how many hairs we have on our head. And I had a question as too how many are there? The answer is more than 100,000. Your results might vary.

And as I remind myself about where the Spirit of the Lord is, I can remind myself that His fullness is there as well. His love is there.  His blessings are there, His ability is there, and His power is there.

2 Corinthians 3:17 Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.

And what is that liberty? For me it is freedom. Freedom from the fear of death, because we will have an everlasting life in Heaven. It is freedom from the guilt and penalty of sin because Jesus died for our sin, and freedom from fear of death, hallelujah and amen. 

Mankind has been running from God when we mess up, literally, since the beginning of time. After Adam and Eve had failed to obey God, what did they do?

Genesis 3:8 And they heard the voice of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God amongst the trees of the garden.

Isn’t that like us sometimes in our life, as well. I thought, “You really did this time, Bob. You really messed up. That’s unforgivable.”

And just like back in Genesis there is an enemy in our lives that will agree with us and may put things in our mind like, “you are not worthy to be in God’s presence, you don’t deserve it!”

But unlike Adam and Eve, we can say, “you know what you’re right. None of us are worthy, but my Jesus is.”

Colossians 1:12 Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light:13 Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son:14 In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins:15 Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature:

We don’t have to run; we can stay where the Spirit of the Lord is because Jesus paid the price for our sin. We can press into his presence because Jesus tore the veil. And because of all that Jesus did, not only are we allowed to be in his presence, we can receive and let God speak to us and heal our hearts and heal our minds. 

And being where the spirit of the Lord is why we are here today, amen?

2 Chronicles 5:12 Also the Levites which were the singers, all of them of Asaph, of Heman, of Jeduthun, with their sons and their brethren, being arrayed in white linen, having cymbals and psalteries and harps, stood at the east end of the altar, and with them an hundred and twenty priests sounding with trumpets: 13 It came even to pass, as the trumpeters and singers were as one, to make one sound to be heard in praising and thanking the Lord; and when they lifted up their voice with the trumpets and cymbals and instruments of musick, and praised the Lord, saying, For he is good; for his mercy endureth for ever: that then the house was filled with a cloud, even the house of the Lord;14 So that the priests could not stand to minister by reason of the cloud: for the glory of the Lord had filled the house of God.

There is nothing more powerful, nor sweet, nor awesome, then when The Spirit of the Lord fills his sanctuary and He ministers to His people, amen. When we come together and praise and worship Jesus, we get to experience all that He has to offer. And there is a great lesson in that for me when I am going through a rough patch. 

Just the other day I was working with Pastor Jeff and Diana sent me a text. I called her right away, the shot that we had been waiting for her to get some much needed relief got canceled an hour before I was supposed to take her. I was mad, I let it get under my skin. But I can tell you that when I was driving home, I intentionally  put on some praise music and declared that He is good, no matter if Diana got this shot we were so hopeful for. I praised His mercy that no matter what, he made a way to Heaven, where there will be medicine to take, no more heating pads, no more pain shots, no more pain, and no more sorrow!  And whenever I do that I have a sense of peace fall over me. I felt the presence of the Lord.

And that got me thinking that while we are waiting on the promises of God,  we can seek Him to be with us in the Spirit while we wait. There can be a lot of things that may delay the realization of a promise or an answer to a prayer, but we have a Savior that will be with us until it comes. And when I got home and talked to Diana about it she said, “God can just heal me so I don’t need a shot.” And to that I say, “amen!”

So there was a cloud that appeared in the house I mentioned in 2 Chronicles. The Spirit of the Lord showed up in many different ways in the Bible besides a cloud. 

There would be fire:

Exodus 13:21 And the LORD went before them by day in a pillar of a cloud, to lead them the way; and by night in a pillar of fire, to give them light; to go by day and night: 

or at Pentecost there was wind and fire:

Acts 2:1 And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place.2 And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting.3 And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them.4 And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.

Wherever Jesus went the Spirit of the Lord was. During His time he healed, raised the dead, cleansed lepers and cast out demons.

Acts 10:36 The word which God sent unto the children of Israel, preaching peace by Jesus Christ: (he is Lord of all): 37 That word, I say, ye know, which was published throughout all Judaea, and began from Galilee, after the baptism which John preached;38 How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him. 

That same Spirit is in us when we repent, get baptized in Jesus Name, and are filled with the Holy Ghost.

Acts 2:38 Then Peter said to them, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

John 14:15 “If you love Me, [a]keep My commandments. 16 And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another [b]Helper, that He may abide with you forever— 17 the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you. 18 I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you.

I think one of the greatest things about the Holy Ghost dwelling in me, is that the character of the Holy Ghost is what helps me change and to try to be more like Jesus. It challenges my mind and my heart, and it does so in a way I cannot describe.I am so grateful that Jesus sent this helper and comforter to work on such a mess, me, and do it with love.

And while I think it is wonderful that we can gather together here in this beautiful building that God has given us, we need to go out and do good and help those oppressed by the devil just like Jesus did. 

Now I will be honest, I don’t think that I have appeared as a pillar of fire. I may have talked a lot and been long winded, but I have never “been” the wind. And I have felt cloudy, but not even a low carb diet will make me look like a cloud to anybody! But that Spirit of the Lord is in us.

1 Corinthians 16 Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?

2 Corinthians 6:16 And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.

That same spirit that filled the temple, the Holy Spirit that Jesus sent to us, is in us. We carry His presence wherever we go. And we need to take it to the whole world. 

Pastor Jeff is a Chaplain with the Rock County Sheriff’s Department. He goes on ride alongs and he is there for various duties. I was curious of a Chaplin’s job description:

Police chaplains aren’t there to push a religion on police officers; their role is primarily to listen and offer emotional and spiritual support to those in need. Police Chaplain Alex Evans, who worked with officers in the wake of the Virginia Tech mass shooting, described the job as one of presence. “It’s less about what you say, and more about where you are. You show up.”

I think there is a good lesson there, we need to show up as well, with the body of Christ. God will move here in this building, but there is an entire world out there that needs His presence. 

Now does that mean every time there has been a need to visit someone I went. If I am being honest, no. But I am getting better at it.

I’ll be honest, there have been times when God had to literally drag me, and sometimes God used Diana if I am honest.

  • There were times that I may have been angry
  • There were times that I felt like a failure
  • There were times when I was anxious
  • There were even times that I was fearful
  • But it was not about me, it was about God and what He wanted to do. 
  • And then when you do show up something can change and it has absolutely nothing to do with you or what you’re feeling, it has absolutely everything to do with the Spirit of the Lord.
  • And where I was angry I find that there is a peace that comes over me
  • My feelings of anxiousness will leave and the fear that I had dissipates and as I let God work, He has given me words and insights that I am able to share that can help that someone that I am with, and that is a beautiful thing, seeing God move.

Going back to 2 Chronicles again verse 13:

13 It came even to pass, as the trumpeters and singers were as one, to make one sound to be heard in praising and thanking the Lord; and when they lifted up their voice with the trumpets and cymbals and instruments of musick, and praised the Lord, saying, For he is good; for his mercy endureth for ever: that then the house was filled with a cloud, even the house of the Lord;14 So that the priests could not stand to minister by reason of the cloud: for the glory of the Lord had filled the house of God.

There is something so special when there is such a heavy presence of God’s Spirit, and I have to be careful to give room to let it happen. I think we can get into a kind of groove of OK, Testimonies/Prayers, Worship, Word, altar call – all the check boxes and off we go back into the world.

I want to get to that place where I give the Spirit of the Lord time to speak, to minister all that He has for me. How do I do that?

James 4:10 Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up.

That is where God can anoint us, which means literally to rub or smear, so when I have the opportunity, I need to take a moment and say to God, “Lord Your will be done, what do you have to say?” And rest in His presence. And let whatever He has to say sink in, to let the anointing in.

One of the reasons that we have so much scripture is because what God has to say is way more important than any one of us has to say. The most important word that you can get is the Word you get from God. And that comes from giving God the time to speak to you. He can put things on your heart that need to be dealt with.  He can heal mentally and spiritually.  He can free you in those moments. He can refresh your Spirit.

Acts 3:19 Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord.

Where the Spirit of the Lord is there is refreshing!

Psalm 16:11 Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.

Where the Spirit of the Lord is there is fullness of joy. Sometimes we just need to take some time and listen to What God has to say to us.

Even one of the greatest prophets in the bible, Elisha, when he was in a situation that was uncomfortable, and he needed a Word from God, made an intentional choice to do that. n

2 Kings 3: 15 But now bring me a musician.” And it came about while the musician played, that the hand (power) of the Lord came upon Elisha.

Personally, I do not know anyone that plays the harp. But times have changed and we can have music instantly – but I think the critical point was Elisha took a moment to get away from whatever was going on and focused on God, and the music helped him.

Luke 10:39 She had a sister named Mary, who seated herself at the Lord’s feet and was continually listening to His teaching.

Let us all take the time to sit at Jesus’ feet and listen. God bless you all.

While I’m Waiting

“While I am Waiting”

Prayer – dear Lord Jesus, we thank you for your Word. We thank you for your presence. We thank you for getting up this morning and allowing us to gather here, in this moment, to give You all the honor, praise, and glory that you deserve. We are humbled by the love that you showed us, through your sacrifice on the cross. We love you and we thank You, in Jesus’ name.

This morning, the title of my message is “While I’m Waiting”. I believe that I have spoken on this before as have others, but it struck me this last week that we seem to have a lot of folks that are waiting on some healing. 

I am also sure that there are some here that may be waiting on some resolutions in some areas in our life that we have prayed for and are looking for God to make a way in whatever situation we may be facing.

I’ll be honest, I can be impatient. The primary focus of my job is to either make something new that was not there or to fix what is there. In my work, what I have tried to achieve is to provide excellent results in a timely fashion. With experience, and the wisdom that I have gained, I have gotten fairly competent. When I do come across something new that needs to be fixed, I take the time to get familiar with how it works correctly, to diagnose and fix what is broken.

And I can be stubborn when it does not work. I will research it. I will try and try again. I will spend ridiculous amounts of time trying to just make it work. There are times that when I am at a job, I will get a text from Diana that simply says “lunch?” I text her every time I arrive on a job site, when I head to another, when I have lunch, and when I head home. So she will send a text “lunch?” as a reminder that I need to eat – she knows me well. I can get so focused on resolving the problem at hand, that thing that is right in front of me, everything else kind of loses priority.

I will also get a text from time to time from her that is simply “???”  Like the other night, I went to a job at 8:00AM to install some network gear, a couple routers and a cellular backup device, and I was told that it would only be a 3-4 hour event. I did text her when I had lunch – which was 5 minutes of gobbling a turkey sandwich, no pun intended – and I did text her to pray that the job would be completed, that was at about 4:00 PM – and she did. I was waiting for a release code.

At 6PM I got the “???” text – and I realized 2 more hours had past and I had not even let her know – now, I could have walked off the job, but there is that thing in me, and maybe it is in you as well, that I was going to do whatever it took to make the things work that were in front of me. There was that thing in me that did not want to fail and said I can fix this! There was that thing in me that said I have spent so much time, spent a lot of my resources trying to solve this,that there was no way I was giving up. Anyone ever feel like that?

It may not be a computer or anything like that.

It might be a relationship.

It may be one of your kids.

It might be your health.

It might be someone else’s health.

Maybe it is a spouse or a girlfriend and you think that they need to change, and you think you can fix them.

And you may be waiting as well.

Here is the rest of the text exchange with Diana:

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We watch a show called Restaurant Impossible with Robert Irvine. Robert loves to go into a new business and smash a wall to start the renovation. Diana had used an app and put my face on the original image. I laughed so hard!

Anyways, with that being said – I can be impatient in many situations, but what do I do when it comes to praying to God and getting His response? I can be exactly the same way! I give it to God and then right away I try to take it back, thinking that in some way I might be able to do it better – how foolish of me I can be.

So, again, as I was pondering all of those in this body that are waiting on something from God, including Diana and myself, I thought I would refresh my mind and my spirit about what His Word says about waiting for some comfort and direction.

Matthew 8 When he was come down from the mountain, great multitudes followed him.2 And, behold, there came a leper and worshiped him, saying, Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean.3 And Jesus put forth his hand, and touched him, saying, I will; be thou clean. And immediately his leprosy was cleansed.4 And Jesus saith unto him, See thou tell no man; but go thy way, shew thyself to the priest, and offer the gift that Moses commanded, for a testimony unto them.

Immediate healings, we see them throughout scripture, don’t we. If I had my way, all of my prayers and hopes would be handled this way. I go to Jesus, I worship him, and then He does His thing and then the situation or the healing is realized and I can move on.

How about when Jesus healed the blind man at Bethesda:

John 5:1 After this there was a feast of the Jews; and Jesus went up to Jerusalem.2 Now there is at Jerusalem by the sheep market a pool, which is called in the Hebrew tongue Bethesda, having five porches.3 In these lay a great multitude of impotent folk, of blind, halt, withered, waiting for the moving of the water.4 For an angel went down at a certain season into the pool, and troubled the water: whosoever then first after the troubling of the water stepped in was made whole of whatsoever disease he had.5 And a certain man was there, which had an infirmity thirty and eight years.6 When Jesus saw him lie, and knew that he had been now a long time in that case, he saith unto him, Wilt thou be made whole?7 The impotent man answered him, Sir, I have no man, when the water is troubled, to put me into the pool: but while I am coming, another steppeth down before me.8 Jesus saith unto him, Rise, take up thy bed, and walk.9 And immediately the man was made whole, and took up his bed, and walked: and on the same day was the sabbath.

That is what I want, I want that instant result. But what I fail to see in some of the scriptures at times, is somehow, and some way – this man struggled for 38 years. Yes, Jesus healed him in a moment, and that is wonderful, but for 38 years he struggled. He had some faith, amen? There was no Jesus yet, but he knew that there was an angel of the Lord as scripture states, and he made his way there with hope that he would get into the pool and be healed.

I never even consider the effort that it took for him to be there. Scripture does not tell me if he stayed there the whole time. Scripture does not say how he ate. Scripture does not speak to how he took care of his daily needs. Scripture does not tell me if he had some family he visited. There are a lot of unknowns.

But there is one thing  I do know. Somehow, some way, he got there – and what got him there was his faith. It was His faith and the waiting that put him into that unique opportunity to be healed By Jesus Christ. All glory to God

Another thing that I take away from this scripture is don’t give up. Again, I do not know how many times he was there – it is not clear, but let’s just say he went there 50 times. Ok, let’s say he went 50 times and then Jesus healed him. What if he stopped going the 48th time?. What if he stopped at the 49th time? What if he gave up and said,” you know what, it is what it is and I am just going to be this way forever, it is enough.”

It is a good reminder for me to keep moving forward in faith, to keep waiting on the Lord, because while he was waiting in his 38 years – something happened. The disabled man had nothing to do with it, but a Savior was born and he could not know this was going to happen. There is no way he could have seen that His healing would not be from the one place he expected which was the pool – rather it came from Jesus! 

And therein lies another truth I can hang onto while I am waiting. The way that God heals me or answers my prayer may be completely not in line with my expectations. You know, sometimes while I am waiting, I am so busy telling God how to do what needs to be done, I can’t see or hear what He may be saying.

And as I look at some other instances, it is a good reminder that waiting is not something where I am the only one that ever went through it.

Mark 7:31 And again, departing from the coasts of Tyre and Sidon, he came unto the sea of Galilee, through the midst of the coasts of Decapolis.32 And they bring unto him one that was deaf, and had an impediment in his speech; and they beseech him to put his hand upon him.33 And he took him aside from the multitude, and put his fingers into his ears, and he spit, and touched his tongue;34 And looking up to heaven, he sighed, and saith unto him, Ephphatha, Eph-uh-tha that is, Be opened.35 And straightway his ears were opened, and the string of his tongue was loosed, and he spake plain.36 And he charged them that they should tell no man: but the more he charged them, so much the more a great deal they published it;37 And were beyond measure astonished, saying, He hath done all things well: he maketh both the deaf to hear, and the dumb to speak.

Here we do not even know the name of the man who was healed in this scripture. Again, I see an individual who had obviously suffered with deafness and the inability to speak for a significant amount of time. It was not like catching a cold or something like that. 

But there is something a little different here. Because he was deaf, I am not even sure he could know who Jesus was. He did not have the luxury that we do today of having the Word of God in a bible or on our smartphone. But what he did have was some folks who did know about Jesus, who had faith in Jesus, and could take him to Jesus to be healed.

And sometimes, I think, while I am waiting, I do lose my sight – not literally of course, but of how big our God is. I can get caught up in the minutia of the moments filled with longing, filled with fear, and just being weary in the waiting. But then there can be my brothers and sisters who pray  in the moment, that can remove the blindness and help open our ears to the Word and the love that Jesus has for us. A gentle reminder of who we are to Him and that He indeed still heals the deaf and the blind, and can heal whatever situation we are in and restores that which we long for.

I was impacted on Friday as I met with a client. I was in their office and they wanted to make sure that I knew that they had prayed for Diana. You see, they have these things called prayer huddles, it is a faith-based organization. I had mentioned in passing to the Pastor there about Diana’s recent struggles. What an absolute breath of fresh air it was to know that someone, besides me was praying. The same goes for the prayers of this church. But that these brothers and sisters in Christ, were coming together to pray for the love of my life, whom they had never met. And it refreshed my spirit and it reminded me:

Matthew 18:18 Verily I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.19 Again I say unto you, That if two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven.20 For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.

It is a great reminder for me to ask for help, to ask for prayer – because we are not in this by ourselves. The bible is pretty clear:

1 John 4:7 Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God.8 He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.9 In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him.10 Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another.12 No man hath seen God at any time. If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and his love is perfected in us.13 Hereby know we that we dwell in him, and he in us, because he hath given us of his Spirit.14 And we have seen and do testify that the Father sent the Son to be the Savior of the world.15 Whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwelleth in him, and he in God.16 And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him. 

And while I am waiting, in that scripture is a good reminder as well:

13 Hereby know we that we dwell in him, and he in us, because he hath given us of his Spirit.

I am not alone, even if I am the only one in the room, amen. His Spirit dwells in us and he will not leave nor forsake us. Even in the middle of the storm, in the middle of sickness, in the middle of trials and tribulations, He is with us. I am with Pastor Jeff, declaring His name. Jesus, Jesus, Jesus. I have to remind myself, and others, declaring His name that He did not leave us all alone, but He is a helper while I wait:

John 14:16 And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you forever;17 Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.18 I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you.

Thank you Jesus!

The Word has many examples of why to wait:

Psalm 27:14 Wait on the Lord: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the Lord.

And believe it or not, the Bible says that waiting is not a bad thing:

Isaiah 40:28 Hast thou not known? hast thou not heard, that the everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary? there is no searching of his understanding.29 He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might he increaseth 

Psalm 130:4 But there is forgiveness with thee, that thou mayest be feared.5 I wait for the Lord, my soul doth wait, and in his word do I hope.6 My soul waiteth for the Lord more than they that watch for the morning: I say, more than they that watch for the morning.

The Bible also says that there can be some good while we are waiting – which I personally, am encouraged by – even though no matter what I have said today – I don’t like waiting.

Isaiah 40:30 Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall:31 But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.

Some other thoughts on waiting. After I have prayed and given whatever situation to God, there are some positive things I can do:

Galatians 6:8 For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.9 And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.10 As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith.

I like this phrase from the writer Ann Voskamp: “When you are waiting, do what waiters do: serve.”

When I am serving others and working for the Kingdom the focus comes off of me, and that is important for me. Like when I was stuck at that job, I was so focused on the issue I did not even think to let Diana know what was going on and she worried. Because sometimes, I focus so much on the problem that I do not focus on what is important. The priority of the problems changes the priorities in my life.

Philippians 4:6 Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.7 And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

I cannot tell you how many times when I just praise God that my attitude is better, my hope grows, because it reminds me of who He is and what He can do!

Psalm 40:1 I waited patiently for the Lord; and he inclined unto me, and heard my cry.2 He brought me up also out of an horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my goings.3 And he hath put a new song in my mouth, even praise unto our God: many shall see it, and fear, and shall trust in the Lord.

Some things I have learned:

  1. Never underestimate the power of a prayer for another, just like I was encouraged the other day, so will others.
  2. Never underestimate the power of a kind word or thought for those that are waiting – remind them of who they are to God.
  3. Never underestimate the power of a little humor!

Acts 2:38 Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.

Are You Invited?

By Pastor Bob Rasmussen

  • Much of what I will speak on emanates from the following scripture:
    • Psalm 23 The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.2 He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.3 He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.5 Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever. 
  • I just want to look at this scripture verse by verse
  • Psalm 23 The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
    • David himself was a shepherd
    • David knew what he was shepherding – sheep – expound
    • David knew that as a shepherd, his job was to take care of his flock – and he was asking God to do the same
  • 2 He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.
  • Sheep are not fond of swimming in the water, especially running water. Running water is proved to be dangerous not only to sheep but to a lot of animals. There are three main reasons that it becomes a potential danger to sheep.
  • First, because of the slow-moving speed, sheep can be easily swept away in the fast-moving water.
  • Second, in case of rocks in the water, sheep seem to lose their balance while walking.
  • Last, but not least, sheep’s wool gets soaked, so becomes heavy very fast
  • A shepherd does 4 things for a flock
  • Protects them
  • Feeds them
  • Provides for them
  • And leads them
  • Green pastures – not what we know in Wisconsin
  • he leadeth me beside the still waters.
    • He knows the area
    • He knows the ins and the outs of the land
    • Our Jesus, the Good Shepherd has knowledge of everything – made it all
      • Isaiah 49:9 That thou mayest say to the prisoners, Go forth; to them that are in darkness, Shew yourselves. They shall feed in the ways, and their pastures shall be in all high places.10 They shall not hunger nor thirst; neither shall the heat nor sun smite them: for he that hath mercy on them shall lead them, even by the springs of water shall he guide them.
      • The amplified says it this way:
      • This is what the Lord says, In a [e]favorable time I have answered You, And in a day of salvation I have helped You; And I will keep watch over You and give You for a covenant of the people, To restore the land [from its present state of ruin] and to apportion and give as inheritances the deserted hereditary lands, 9  Saying to those who are bound and captured, ‘Go forth,’ And to those who are in [spiritual] darkness, ‘Show yourselves [come into the light of the Savior].’ They will feed along the roads [on which they travel], And their pastures will be on all the bare heights. 10  “They will not hunger or thirst, Nor will the scorching heat or sun strike them down; For He who has compassion on them will lead them, And He will guide them to springs of water. Continuing with the Psalm 3 He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me
  • I definitely need a shepherd
    • If I follow Jesus, then I can be righteous
    • If I follow Jesus and my life has an impact, He gets the glory
    • The staff and the rod
      • The staff is used to guide
      • The staff is used to correct
      • The staff is used save
      • The rod – the rod
        • The image of Jesus growing up – surreal
        • The reality of who He is
        • He has all power and authority
        • Rod was used to defend the sheep from bears and other predators – you hear me predators
        • How much more powerful is a rod yielded by the king of the universe against our predators
  • 5 Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies:
    • Love the imagery
    • I would have written it differently:
      • Why in the presence of my enemies?
      • Why am I at the table in the middle of: (repeat)
        • Sickness
        • Sadness
        • Loss
        • Financial struggles
        • Addiction
        • Because while I am in His presence, he can do what he does
          • In sickness he can heal and comfort
          • In sadness he can restore joy and hope
          • In loss, he can fill the void in our souls
          • In finances he can bring new opportunities
          • In addiction he can break chains and set people free
          • In all of this, we get the goodness of God and He gets all the glory
          • The enemies will fret, but the world will see your life and wonder how?
          • They will want a seat at the table
  • But we all have to do something, and that is to say yes – receive Jesus
    • We need to sit at that table
    • We need to focus on the one who set the table
    • We need to be hungry at the table – for His Word and what it says about Him as well as us – Diana Prime
    • How often do we get too busy to spend time at the table
    • But sometimes, sometimes, others can slip onto the table
      • Giglio story about how quickly someone joined the table
      • Sit in chair – that is how quickly the enemy can sit at the table
    • But that is a table prepared for me! The enemy can’t come
      • How about Adam and Eve – Garden of Paradise
      • The enemy is bold, he showed up to Jesus:

Luke 4:1 And Jesus being full of the Holy Ghost returned from Jordan, and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness,2 Being forty days tempted of the devil. And in those days he did eat nothing: and when they were ended, he afterward hungered.3 And the devil said unto him, If thou be the Son of God, command this stone that it be made bread.4 And Jesus answered him, saying, It is written, That man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God.5 And the devil, taking him up into an high mountain, shewed unto him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time.6 And the devil said unto him, All this power will I give thee, and the glory of them: for that is delivered unto me; and to whomsoever I will I give it.7 If thou therefore wilt worship me, all shall be thine.8 And Jesus answered and said unto him, Get thee behind me, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.9 And he brought him to Jerusalem, and set him on a pinnacle of the temple, and said unto him, If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down from hence: 10 For it is written, He shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee:11 And in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone.12 And Jesus answering said unto him, It is said, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.13 And when the devil had ended all the temptation, he departed from him for a season.

I think one of the main missions of the enemy is challenge the character of God and fill us with a thing like anger, bitterness and unforgiveness.

Are we saying any of these or feel any of these statements? I am weak and powerless. I am unlovable to God and others. I can’t be used by God because of my past. I am worthless and irrelevant. I am rejected and abandoned. I am deficient and incomplete. I am alone and no one cares about me. I can’t have peace in my life. I have no purpose in this life. I am ordinary and average.

If the answer is yes, the enemy might already be at your table.

“Don’t give the enemy a seat at YOUR table”

“Don’t give the enemy a seat at YOUR table”

And the best way to get that seat back, get the enemy out to render his lies ineffective is with the truth of Jesus.

Go to the Table – and just like Jesus, we can use the Word!

I am weak and I am powerless. You may be, but God’s strength is more than sufficient.  

2 Corinthians 12:9 And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

Nobody loves me, even God. God loves you with an everlasting love.

Jeremiah 31:3 The Lord hath appeared of old unto me, saying, Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee

I can’t be used by God because of my past and scars. Nope! God has blotted out the sins of your past.

Romans 8:1 There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.

I am worthless and irrelevant. You are God’s pleasure, you are special.

Deuteronomy 7:6 For thou art an holy people unto the Lord thy God: the Lord thy God hath chosen thee to be a special people unto himself, above all people that are upon the face of the earth.

I am rejected. I have been abandoned. God has adopted you into His own family

Ephesians 1:5 Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will,

I am less than and incomplete. God has made you whole and complete

Colossians 2:10 And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power.

I am alone. No one cares about me. God cares about you and is with you.

1 Peter 5:7 Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.

There is no peace in my life. God will give you His perfect peace

John 14:27 Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.

I have no purpose. God has great plans for you in this life. God has great plans for you

Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.

I am ordinary. I am average. You are extraordinary and unique

Psalm 139:14 I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well.

 The central message of Don’t give the enemy a seat at YOUR table is to take captive our thoughts. There is indeed a battle for our minds.

The enemy is a killer – he may show up and be full of FOMO – fear of missing out – he did it with Eve

Satan doesn’t need to scare us into submission. He simply manipulates the fears and desires we already have.

Need to define our lives by His word, not the enemies, and not just based on our past.

We all have scars, but we are not defined by them. Cutting story

He has scars. And his scars mean I am loved – forgiven – adopted, plans for me, hope, paths of righteousness

Paid for with a high price.

The war has been one, and Jesus won – but there are still battles to be fought.

Ask God to define the enemies that are lurking.

The maker of everything has prepared an opportunity for us!

Write our story according to the word of the Lord

In the process, people will want to sit with the one your are with because of the good that he does for you and He gets the glory.

On my next message I will be focusing on another area of concern based on this scripture:

2 COR 14-15 14 And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light.15 Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works.

Sometimes, we may have invited the wrong people and we need to ask ourselves “Are You Invited?”


By Pastor Bob

  • What I want to talk about his morning is called Jezebel
    • Not the spirit
    • Rather, the character
    • Why should we care? She is dead?
    • Creation is in the bible
    • Healing is in the bible
    • There is profound wisdom in scripture
      • It’s in the bible – amen?
        • 2 Tim 3: 16 All Scripture is God-breathed [given by divine inspiration] and is profitable for instruction, for conviction [of sin], for correction [of error and restoration to obedience], for training in righteousness [learning to live in conformity to God’s will, both publicly and privately—behaving honorably with personal integrity and moral courage]; 17 so that the [a]man of God may be complete and proficient, outfitted and thoroughly equipped for every good work.
      • Bible teaches us the nature of God
      • Bible shows us how to live our lives
      • AMP Matthew 22:36-40 36 “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” 37 And Jesus replied to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 The second is like it, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself [that is, unselfishly seek the best or higher good for others].’ 40 The whole Law and the [writings of the] Prophets depend on these two commandments.”
      • Bible also teaches us the nature of the enemy
      • Jesus cast out the demons –
      • KJV Matthew 8:28-34 And when he was come to the other side into the country of the Gergesenes, there met him two possessed with devils, coming out of the tombs, exceeding fierce, so that no man might pass by that way.29 And, behold, they cried out, saying, What have we to do with thee, Jesus, thou Son of God? art thou come hither to torment us before the time?30 And there was a good way off from them an herd of many swine feeding.31 So the devils besought him, saying, If thou cast us out, suffer us to go away into the herd of swine.32 And he said unto them, Go. And when they were come out, they went into the herd of swine: and, behold, the whole herd of swine ran violently down a steep place into the sea, and perished in the waters.
      • There is good and evil
      • Why did Jesus not just kill them? This morning I will tell you why!
        • Yeah, I don’t know
        • I do know that after Jesus defeated Satan, demons were still being cast out
        • KJV Acts 16:16-18 1616 And it came to pass, as we went to prayer, a certain damsel possessed with a spirit of divination met us, which brought her masters much gain by soothsaying:17 The same followed Paul and us, and cried, saying, These men are the servants of the most high God, which shew unto us the way of salvation.18 And this did she many days. But Paul, being grieved, turned and said to the spirit, I command thee in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her. And he came out the same hour.
        • Good and evil is with us until He appoints the time
        • Bible is our guide
        • The bible is our hope
  • Let’s look at some scripture about Jezebel:
  • 1 Kings 16:31 And it came to pass, as if it had been a light thing for him to walk in the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, that he took to wife Jezebel the daughter of Ethbaal king of the Zidonians, and went and served Baal, and worshipped him.32 And he reared up an altar for Baal in the house of Baal, which he had built in Samaria. 33 And Ahab made a grove; and Ahab did more to provoke the Lord God of Israel to anger than all the kings of Israel that were before him.
    • This is a political marriage
    • Definitely not based on love
    • The marriage makes her a Queen of Israel
    • Jezebel Worshipping Baal, not Yaweh
      • Creating Division
      • Turning away from God
    • This was not all Jezebels’ fault –
      • Ahab allowed it
      • Expound
  • 1 kings 18Obadiah Meets Elijah
  • 1 Kings:18 Now it happened after many days that the word of the Lord came to Elijah in the third year, saying, “Go, show yourself to Ahab, and I will send rain on the face of the earth.” 2 So Elijah went to show himself to Ahab. Now the famine was severe in Samaria. 3 Ahab called Obadiah who was the governor of his house. (Now Obadiah feared the Lord greatly; 4 for when Jezebel destroyed the prophets of the Lord, Obadiah took a hundred prophets and hid them by fifties in a cave, and provided them with bread and water.)
    • More of her character can be seen
    • She is killing the prophets
    • Killing those that would spread what God desires
    • The prophets are being hidden for protection
      • Jezebel wants to hinder the word of God
      • Jezebel wants the Word of God hidden
      • She wants to make the Word of God ineffective
        • Get people to stop talking about God
        • No word from God from the prophets
        • Stifle Worship with fear
        • ANYTHING where God is involved
    • She wants Baal to be the supreme God and will stop at literally nothing to achieve this
  • Elijah now says hey, Go tell the King I am here
    • He has GREAT confidence
  • In chapter 18 it continues that Elijah
    • 17 When Ahab saw Elijah, Ahab said to him, “Are you the one who is bringing disaster on Israel?” 18 Elijah said, “I have not brought disaster on Israel, but you and your father’s household have, by abandoning (rejecting) the commandments of the Lord and by following the Baals. 19 Now then, send word and gather to me all Israel at Mount Carmel, together with the 450 prophets of Baal and the 400 prophets of [the goddess] Asherah, who eat at [Queen] Jezebel’s table.”
      • To recap what happens – sacrifice of 2 bulls (no heat)
      • The odds are against Elijah in the physical – 850 to 1
      • The prophets that are standing against him cry out all day
      • The prophets of Baal even resort to cutting themselves
      • Elijah even calls their God out
      • 27 At noon Elijah mocked them, saying, “Cry out with a loud voice, for he is a god; either he is occupied, or he is out [at the moment], or he is on a journey. Perhaps he is asleep and must be awakened!”
      • Elijah is very confident
      • Elijah is very connected to God
      • This is important – Elijah is very much within the WILL of God
      • Elijah seems to have a lot of faith
      • He tells them to put water on it, not once, not twice,  but 3 times
      • There is water everywhere – bible says even in even in the trenches
      • Elijah prays to the Lord:
      • 1 KINGS 18: 38 Then the fire of the Lord fell and consumed the burnt offering and the wood, and even the stones and the dust; it also licked up the water in the trench. 39 When all the people saw it, they fell face downward; and they said, “The Lord, He is God! The Lord, He is God!” 40 Then Elijah said to them, “Seize the prophets of Baal; do not let one of them escape.” They seized them; and Elijah brought them down to the brook Kishon, and [as God’s law required] killed them there.
      • Full of faith! Full of Victory! Full!
      • Even conveys the rain is coming and tells Ahab as much (solving the drought problem)
      • And then the 850 prophets of Baal and
      • But in the very next turn of the page:
      • In the very next moment
      • It is like that sometimes!
        • On fire for God
        • Feeling the presence of the Lord
        • Fulfilling God’s will
        • Feel I am in the “zone”
        • But then the page turns!
      • 1 Kings 19:19 And Ahab told Jezebel all that Elijah had done, and withal how he had slain all the prophets with the sword.2 Then Jezebel sent a messenger unto Elijah, saying, So let the gods do to me, and more also, if I make not thy life as the life of one of them by to morrow about this time.
      • Jezebel is furious
        • Made to look bad
        • God got the glory – people focusing on His greatness – not on what she wants
        • This was an epic move of God in the land, a true testament of not only his power, that He was real
        • The attention was not on her nor Baal, but on God
        • She and those that follow Baal were embarassed
        • People were focused on the greatness of the Lord
        • How did Elijah respond?
  • 3 And when he saw that, he arose, and went for his life, and came to Beersheba, which belongeth to Judah, and left his servant there.4 But he himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness, and came and sat down under a juniper tree: and he requested for himself that he might die; and said, It is enough; now, O Lord, take away my life; for I am not better than my fathers.
  • What is Jezebel causing here?
    • Fear – He is ready to surrender
    • Doubt, Condemnation – for I am not better than my fathers.
    • Unworthiness – Have you ever had the page turn on you? In the will of God doing the next right thing, Serving, you’re praying, your doing your best, and then bam! I need to understand  where some of it may be coming from!
  • Sometimes what is going on is not coming from God – it is the enemy – just Like Jezebel did that to Elijah. One more example of Jezebel:
    • Ahab wants a vineyard, Naboth is the owner – he was a Jezreelite. Ahab wants the vineyard converted to a garden, Wants to trade it – nope , Wants to buy it – nope. Naboth said The Lord forbid me that I should give the inheritance of my fathers to you. Ahab is depressed. Ahab is disappointed and does not want to eat.
    • Jezebel says “What’s a matter baby?”(Not really) 1 Kings 21:5-7 5 Then Jezebel his wife came to him and asked him, “Why is your spirit so troubled that you have not eaten?” 6 And he said to her, “Because I spoke to Naboth the Jezreelite and said to him, ‘Give me your vineyard for money; or if you prefer, I will give you another vineyard for it.’ But he answered, ‘I will not give you my vineyard.’” 7 Jezebel his wife said to him, “Do you now reign over Israel? Get up, eat food, and let your heart rejoice; I will give you the vineyard of Naboth the Jezreelite.”
    • Jezebel does not care what is honorable Jezebel does not care what God says So what does Jezebel do? Nothing good Paraphrasing: Jezebel writes letters in Naboth’s name Jezebel is stealing his identity Jezebel forges his signature with his seal. Puts 2 men beside him Worthless Unprincipled they lie, Cursed King and God Renounced King and God Naboth is stoned and killed Jezebel gets her way Ahab get his vineyard
  • There are people in this world that have the same characteristics as those in the bible and we need to pay attention
  • We need to be wary, or why would it not be in the bible
    • The characteristics of Jezebel are still working today:
      • They are in the church
      • They are in the family
      • They are in business
      • They are in schools
      • They are in our community
      • We need to be aware of them to protect our church, families, businesses, our schools and our community – and most importantly our relationship with our Savior
    • Takeaways from Jezebel
      • Control!! Subtle, or aggressive
      • False accusations – affect
      • Seduction – uses anything to get their way
      • Create Isolation – doubt, fear – look what it did to Elijah
      • Jezebel will try to corrupt the Godly
      • Jezebel will try to destroy the Godly
      • Draw the tolerant – Ahab
      • There are casualties – we know that Jezebel was a murderer, especially spiritually
      • Jezebel is Unrepentant
      • Hates to lose – look at the reaction to Elijah victory
      • Confusion – Naboth, brought out and had to endure accusations so real from others 0 he thought he was at a party but it was a snare – an ambush
      • Fear – again – Elijah in a cave
      • Greatest enemy for Jezebel minded people is people who are moving towards God
      • Want to contain those on fire for God
  • A warning from Jesus in Revelation
    • Revelation 2:20 Notwithstanding I have a few things against thee, because thou sufferest that woman Jezebel, which calleth herself a prophetess, to teach and to seduce my servants to commit fornication, and to eat things sacrificed unto idols.21 And I gave her space to repent of her fornication; and she repented not.
      • Not the actual Jezebel of the OT
      • A warning for the modern church
        • Churches elevating man above God
          • Furtick coloring book page
          • Picture – Furtick Coloring Book
          • Whose vision? A church should be built on God’s vision and His Word
        • Conforming to the world doctrine
          • God’s people are not meant to conform to the will of society
          • Inclusive Church – family story Damien and why can’t they get married in your church
        • Perverting the Word
          • I am God almighty – Furtick video
          • Video- start 1:37
          • Kris Vallotton _ Bethel
          • The word of knowledge in the Song of Solomon, is the same Hebrew word – knowledge – is translated bed chamber. Why? Because this knowledge isn’t coming from classrooms; it’s coming from the bed chamber; it’s coming from Intercourse with God
    • God knew all this would happen
    • 1 Timothy 4:4 But the [Holy] Spirit explicitly and unmistakably declares that in later times some will turn away from the faith, paying attention instead to deceitful and seductive spirits and doctrines of demons,
      • Grave soaking or sucking –
      • Picture
      • Seances, psychics have all been minimized by society
      • We know that this is wrong, because it’s in the bible:
      • Deut 18:10-12  12 There shall not be found among you anyone who makes his son or daughter pass through the fire [as a sacrifice], one who uses divination and fortune-telling, one who practices witchcraft, or one who interprets omens, or a sorcerer, 11 or one who casts a charm or spell, or a medium, or a spiritist, or a necromancer [who seeks the dead]. 12 For everyone who does these things is utterly repulsive to the Lord; and because of these detestable practices the Lord your God is driving them out before you
      • Maybe the grave soaking church should have read that in their bible
      • Picture – Passion Bible
      • The problem is that can’t read Deuteronomy because it is NOT there
        • They have Psalms, Proverbs, Isaiah and So
      • Acceptance of eastern medicine
        • Rather, yoga is an ancient Hindu religious practice intended to unite a person’s soul with the impersonal, universal force Hindus call “god”
  • Not trying to give glory to Jezebel – just warning myself what to watch for
  • For the record – Jezebel loses Elijah declares a Word
    • 2 Kings 9:10 The dogs shall eat Jezebel on the plot of ground at Jezreel, and there shall be none to bury her.’ ” And he opened the door and fled.
    • And then in
    • 2 Kings 9:35They went to bury her, but they found nothing left of her except the skull and the feet and the palms of her hands.
    • Because of what?
    • Because of word from the Lord
    • God is faithful
    • God is faithful to His Word
    • Because God always triumphs
    • Because Elijah remembered who he was
    • Because God is faithful
    • Because Elijah got out of the Cave
      • 1 Kings 19:9 There he came to a cave and spent the night in it; and behold, the word of the Lord came to him, and He said to him, “What are you doing here, Elijah?
        • He goes out
        • It’s not in the Wind
        • It’s not in the earthquake
        • It’s not in the fire
        • But he hears a Word from the Lord
        • It is in His Word He equips us
        • It is in His word
        • And in HIS WORD he could move forward
        • we can move forward
          • No matter what the enemy advances
    • Closing thoughts
    • We need to be vigilant
    • We need to protect our church
    • We need to protect our families
    • We need to stand and not be like Ahab – complacency
    • We need to use the Word to evaluate everything – it is our barometer
    • Here is something I really got from the Word – back when I was talking about John and the demon possessed woman
      • You know where he was?
        • Thyatira
        • And in Revelation 21 Jezebel was reference in Thyatira
        • One big takeaway from that passage in Chapter 16 that I think is of note is:
          •  It happened that as we were on our way to the place of prayer
          • The enemy was messing with one of the great Apostles
          • He was completely in the will of God
          • The enemy will attack the people of God no matter what
    • M A Y B E?????????
  • Philippians 3:17 Brothers and sisters, together follow my example and observe those who live by the pattern we gave you. 18 For there are many, of whom I have often told you, and now tell you even with tears, who live as enemies of the cross of Christ [rejecting and opposing His way of salvation], 19 whose fate is destruction, whose god is their belly [their worldly appetite, their sensuality, their vanity], and whose glory is in their shame—who focus their mind on earthly and temporal things. 20 But [we are different, because] our citizenship is in heaven. And from there we eagerly await [the coming of] the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ; 21 who, by exerting that power which enables Him even to subject everything to Himself, will [not only] transform [but completely refashion] our earthly bodies so that they will be like His glorious, resurrected body.

PRAYER – Acts 2:38

 Then Peter said to them, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

Church is Hard

By Pastor Bob

Church is Hard

Author Unknown

Church is hard for the person walking through the doors, afraid of judgement.

Church is hard for the pastor’s family, under the microscope of an entire body.

Church is hard for the prodigal soul returning home, broken and battered by the world.

Church is hard for the girl who looks like she has it all together, but doesn’t.

Church is hard for the couple who fought the entire ride to service.

Church is hard for the single mom, surrounded by couples holding hands, and seemingly perfect families.

Church is hard for the widow and widower with no invitation to lunch after service.

Church is hard for the deacon with an estranged child.

Church is hard for the person singing worship songs, overwhelmed by the weight of the lyrics.

Church is hard for the man insecure in his role as a leader.

Church is hard for the wife who longs to be led by a righteous man.

Church is hard for the nursery volunteer who desperately longs for a baby to love.

Church is hard for the single woman and single man, praying God brings them a mate.

Church is hard for the teenage girl, wearing a scarlet letter, ashamed of her mistakes.

Church is hard for the sinners.

Church is hard for me.

It’s hard because on the outside it all looks shiny and perfect. Sunday best in behavior and dress.

However, underneath those layers, you find a body of imperfect people, carnal souls, selfish motives.

But, here is the beauty of church—

Church isn’t a building, mentality, or expectation.

Church is a body.

Church is a group of sinners, saved by grace, living in fellowship as saints.

Church is a body of believers bound as brothers and sisters by an eternal love.

Church is a holy ground where sinners stand as equals before the Throne of Grace.

Church is a refuge for broken hearts and a training ground for mighty warriors.

Church is a converging of confrontation and invitation. Where sin is confronted and hearts are invited to seek restoration.

Church is a lesson in faith and trust.

Church is a bearer of burdens and a giver of hope.

Church is a family. A family coming together, setting aside differences, forgetting past mistakes, rejoicing in the smallest of victories.

Church, the body, and the circle of sinners-turned-saints, is where He resides, and if we ask, He is faithful to come.

So even on the hard days at church—

The days when I am at odds with a friend, When I’ve fought with my spouse because we’re late once again. When I’ve walked in bearing burdens heavier than my heart can handle, yet masking the pain with a smile on my face. When I’ve worn a scarlet letter, under the microscope. When I’ve longed for a baby to hold, or fought tears as the lyrics were sung. When I’ve walked back in, afraid and broken, after walking away.

I’ll remember, He has never failed to meet me there.

-Bob Rasmussen