The Blessed Life

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Right now we are in a series called “The Blessed Life,” and the messages are about the financial freedom God wants us to experience in living our lives for Him.

The Bible definition for a blessing describes a gift, present, prosperity, and benefit. Blessings can be both spiritual and natural, but there is no denying, God wants you to have more than enough. God never intended for any of us to live life underneath the weight and stress of not having enough.

God’s blessings require faith.

God promised to meet our needs and then some. Our financial security isn’t found in our bank account or our stock portfolio. Each day the Israelites believed God for what they needed that day, and God provided manna for the day. The blessed life isn’t about stockpiling treasures or bank accounts; it’s about having faith in a God that will meet our needs as they come.

God’s blessings require wisdom.

We can’t expect to live with abundance when we don’t follow the Bible’s principles on earning, spending, giving, saving, and investing. God’s wisdom will help you to get out of debt and to have an abundance to share.

God’s blessings require obedience.

Faith isn’t faith until action is put to it. We can’t earn God’s blessings through works, but we can receive God’s blessings through adding obedience to our faith. When we trust God, we will be generous and share what we have with those in need. We will give God the first tenth of our income to our local church. We will give offerings on top of our ten percent as the Holy Spirit leads us. It involves our trust in God, our honor for God, and our love for God. Yes, it takes faith to obey!

God’s blessings require grace.

If we focus only on what WE can do, we will leave out what GOD can do. He is able to do exceedingly above and beyond what we imagine. This doesn’t discount applying natural laws of wisdom, but it does open us up to an unlimited supply from a limitless Father.

When we know God, we can choose to love God.

When we love God, we can choose to trust God.

When we trust God, we can choose to obey God.

When we obey God, we choose to live a blessed life.

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4 Values

No matter what I’m facing in life, I know if I pursue God and His kingdom first in my life, He will take care of the rest (Matthew 6:33). Here are four values I have in regard to my commitment to the Lord and my church family.

GATHER together. Hebrews 10:25 says that we should be careful not to neglect coming together. Going to church isn’t about a perfect attendance record, but it is about making the commitment to be there – not just for myself, but for others. I can encourage someone else. I can welcome a visitor. I can serve in ministry. My presence can make a difference for someone else.

GROW together. The Bible tells us to grow in His Word, grow in His presence, and grow in our character. The Bible also tells us to make disciples, so we should want to grow in number and grow in effectiveness.

GIVE together. The New Testament instructs us to tithe and give offerings to meet the needs of the local church. We also are told to share with the poor and those in need. When I value what God values, He blesses me with provision and abundance.

GO together. Jesus said His purpose was to seek and save the lost. We can do this individually, and we can do this together. Outreach and missions is the Father’s heart; therefore, it is a desire of my heart to give God what He wants.

When we value something, it becomes a matter of our heart, not just a task or obligation. When we value something, we do it with a willingness and an eagerness. We do it consistently and faithfully. God has blessed my life when I have honored the things He honors. I encourage you to find these principles in the Bible and make them your own.

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Our Aim

Up IN and Out

The aim we have as a church should imitate the aim we see in the ministry of Jesus and the apostles in the Word of God. I see Jesus and the apostles aiming up, in, and out.

Aiming UP

It is a good to aim UP – to worship God, to adhere to His Word, and to pursue His Spirit.

Aiming IN

It is right to aim IN – to care for one another in our church family, to connect with each other, and to serve together in ministry.

Aiming OUT

It is also important to aim OUT – to reach out to the community, near and far.

At Freedom House, we aim up, in, and out. To follow after Christ, all three aims should be present in our personal lives and in our church. Our primary aim is up on God. We cannot focus up on God and not be compelled to care for one another or reach out to the lost. Why? It’s because people are the aim of His heart.

People that I consider spiritually mature are the ones who not only are going after God with all their heart, but they are also taking up God’s mission with all their heart. They are aiming in and out to other people in their personal lives, church service, and community outreach.

If reaching out to connect, serve, or give in ministry or outreach doesn’t come easy for you, Freedom House is here to help. We provide ministry for those who need restoration from hurts or disappointments from their past. We provide training and mentoring to give confidence for those who want to serve. We provide opportunity to serve in church ministry and outreach. Please contact us if you are interested in developing in your aim – up, in, and out!

 

 

 

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Will You Do it For the One?

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Every outreach is significant whether we are reaching one or one thousand and one. Looking at the ministry Christ had on the earth, we see Him feeding a multitude of over five thousand, and we see Him reaching out to one woman at a well. We see Jesus getting into a boat because of a crowd pressing to get near Him, and we see Him stopping to find the one person who touched the hem of His garment.

The true heart of a father would be to rescue every child of his that is in danger, not just the majority. A true father would want to feed, provide, protect, and care for every child, not just a select few. Our Father in heaven is the same way about His creation. It’s not just about the ones who are sitting at the table; it’s about the ones who are missing from the table. It’s about the ones who are lost, far away, and blind about knowing His love.

God has sent me to preach to hundreds in crusades in Egypt and to dozens in river towns in Guyana. One was not more significant than the other based on numbers. In Isaiah 6, when Isaiah said, “Lord, send me,” he wasn’t saying, “Send me to where I would like to live or I would like to go.” Isaiah was responding to God’s desire to reach a specific group of people. Isaiah’s meaning was ,”Send me to where You want me to go, to reach the people You want to reach.” There is a joy in giving the Father what He wants.

Look at Philip the evangelist in Acts 8, experiencing the joy of an entire city after his efforts to preach there. Then the Lord instructs him, “Arise and go toward the south along the road which goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza (a desert area.)” Verse 27 “So he arose and went.” There he found ONE man, an Ethiopian, seeking to understanding Isaiah’s prophecy. The Spirit said, “Go near and overtake this chariot.” So Philip ran to him. Here we see God’s heart that heard the prayers of one man, and and sent a “sent one” who would obey. The two went down to the river and Philip baptized the one. Afterwards the Spirit of God translated Philip to the next location for the next assignment. The point is, that one man was valuable enough to God to send someone willing to go. We should learn from Philip and be that one. We will be willing if our motive is to please the God we serve rather than to feel good about ourselves because we looked good on social media or we were recognized by the community or some organization asked us to share our story at a conference. Our reward is to stand before God one day to hear His voice say to us, “Well done good and faithful servant, enter into the joy of your Lord (Matthew 25).”

The Bible says in Luke 15:7 that the angels rejoice when ONE receives salvation. Jesus told the parable of the ONE sheep that the shepherd went after, the ONE coin that the woman searched for, the ONE son the Father celebrated. We tend to think that the bigger churches are the more successful churches, the bigger outreaches are the more successful outreaches, but success in the kingdom has a different meaning to God. Reaching each and every person is what the Father is about. He is pleased with our obedience, not our numbers. Thank God for the big churches and the big outreaches, but don’t despise the churches who are reaching into rural areas to find the poor, the abandoned and the forgotten. Don’t look down on the outreaches that are reaching one single mom, one heroin addict, or one abused child.

We should all want to be effective and reach more people, whether the increase is one or one hundred, based on the assignment. Aren’t you glad Jesus came after you? You didn’t deserve it; I didn’t deserve it. What about the one God is sending you to? Do we consider that person worth our effort, worth our resources, worth our time? Thank God for the big crowds, the big churches, and the big outreaches. And thank God if He considers you faithful, like Philip, to be obedient to go after the one.

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Staying Positive When You Are Feeling Negative

Recently we did a series called “Next Level” about growth. One principle was about living life from our spirit  – and not allowing our emotions to take over. One way to measure where we are at in our development in Christ is through watching our attitude to see if we are STAYING POSITIVE when we are FEELING NEGATIVE.

EVERYBODY has the opportunity to feel negative at some point. Everybody.

DON’T FAKE IT. I’m not saying that you will not have feelings when life is difficult. It’s okay to feel, or cry, or get angry. What I’m saying to allow your spirit to rise up over your feelings with a real faith. Real faith doesn’t have to fake it. Real faith isn’t sticking your head in the sand and ignoring the natural world. Real faith can acknowledge what is happening and say, “Okay, it’s tough right now.” Faith also can acknowledge what it believes, “But I know God is faithful to see me through.”

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POSITIVE ATTITUDE
When you know God has planted you somewhere, your FAITH will keep you grounded in joy and peace. Your face will show what your heart knows when you choose to live by the spirit and keep the soul under control.

POSITIVE THOUGHTS
When you know what God has called you to, your FAITH will keep your thoughts in line with God’s promise, even when circumstances seem to oppose what God said. Situations change; God’s Word does not. Instead of focusing on what is temporary, keep God’s Word in front of you – read it, hear it, quote it, post it. When God’s Word is on your mind, your thoughts will stay positive, and those hurdles? You can jump over them.

POSITIVE WORDS
When you recognize that God is perfect, your FAITH will keep your mouth in check even when you see the imperfections of others or yourself or this world. Some have taken the truth of what we call “confession,” meaning the words we say, to an extreme. For some, speaking faith-filled words is merely an act of WORKS, not of FAITH. For some, speaking words to communicate a situation carries CONDEMNATION instead of GRACE. Real faith doesn’t need to work it or condemn it. Real faith has a grace and a power and a peace in the words it speaks.

NEGATIVE ATTITUDES, THOUGHTS, AND WORDS HAVE POWER
Not only can negative attitudes, thoughts and words can be used to harm or discourage another person; but negative words can also have a devastating effect in the spirit. Negative people have harmed themselves, their families, their businesses, and even hurt some churches. Anything doubt and negativity touches has a way of bringing things DOWN. What genuine faith and positivity touches has a way of bringing things UP.

APPLY IT
Take today and watch what you say. Watch what you think on. Watch how you feel. What are you feeling, thinking, and saying about yourself? Your finances? Your health? Your family? Your church? If an adjustment needs to be made, make it.

Get God’s Word in your mind. Renew your mind to think like God thinks. It will affect your attitude and the words you say.

Pray and activate your spirit. Don’t neglect the spirit part of you when you walk out your day. Stir yourself up and let your spirit rise up. Let the Holy Spirit move through your active and awake heart.

Put action to your faith. Keep the attitude, the thoughts, and the words in check. Don’t get religious about it; let it be real, from the heart. Stay POSITIVE in faith, and overcome the negative – through faith!

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