HCC Monthly Harvest Seed
Deuteronomy 34:4 - Then the Lord said to him, “This is the land of which I swore to give Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, saying, ‘I will give it to your descendants.’ I have caused you to see it with your eyes, but you shall not cross over there.”
Can you imagine Moses getting to see the promised land? Getting to see how good it was. Getting to see the promises that God gave to the Children of Israel that they had held onto for generations and then being told that you would not get to enter into it.
Talk about disappointment. One preacher called Mount Nebo – The Mountain of Disappointment. The truth is all of us have been on that mountain in our life at one point or another. There are times when life just does not go our way or the way we were hoping for. Disappointment is that let down feeling when our emotions bottom out and our faith and trust in God is tested.
It is never easy to deal with disappointment. Let’s just be honest about that. It is not easy to live through. It is real and it will visit us from time to time. Learning to live and work through disappointment will save us from a life of bitterness, sadness and resentment. To understand disappointment, we just need to look at the word. – It implies that we believed that we had an appointment. When we got to the appointment, the place, or a certain thing that was supposed to happen – didn’t happen. The appointment with destiny that you thought you had wasobliterated by the reality of the day. You have been dis-appointed.
Anytime that our hopes are not realized or our expectations or our desires are not fulfilled we can feel disappointment.
Disappointment can be a passing emotion over a temporary loss, or it may impact us powerfully when something permanently changes our lives.
It is important to understand that disappointment is not a sin.
Many of God’s people experience disappointment. Joseph when he was sold into slavery. The disciples were devastated when Jesus was hung on the cross. Hannah was disappointed that she could not have a child. So much so that she went to the temple and cried out to God. Job was certainly disappointed, we read all about his conversations with God. Jobs wife was so disappointed that she told her husband to curse God and die. How we handle disappointments is important.
Disappointments can bring us to a crossroads where we have two options;
All of us have known people who have chosen the road of despair. These men and women have wounds and hurts that are so deep that they are no longer able to accept hope from God’s word or comfort from people who truly love and care for them. They became so wrapped up in frustration and sadness that they no longer trusted what anyone said to them, not even in the Bible.
Disappointment is a trap set by our enemy that is meant to erode our confidence in God and in people. If we are not careful it is easy to grow skeptical of people and cynical about everything. This is when we get in the dangerous position of blaming God for our troubles. Grumbling and complaining. Our prayers become whiny and powerless.
When we get this way, we will never trust people or risk allowing them to get close.
Disappointment often times leads to disobedience to the ways of God. We begin to take things into our own hands and plan our own ways. Never allow disappointment to become disobedience.
When we do this, we no longer are walking in the blessing of God but in His displeasure. We must make sure that we never allow OUR disappointment to become HIS displeasure.
To combat disappointment, we must refuse to doubt.
Disappointment is the first seed of doubt that intrudes on our faith.
It can be the tip of the wedge that will hinder our spiritual growth and make us bitter and defeated.
If doubt festers in us it turns to discouragement, discouragement becomes disillusionment and that leads us to depression and eventually we resign ourselves to defeat.
Keep believing and trusting in God.
2 Corinthians 4:8-9 - We are hard-pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; 9 persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed—
Dis-appointment in life can quickly be changed by altering our attitude and one letter.
Change dis-appointment to HIS- appointment.
To overcome disappointment, you must allow yourself to grieve.
Grieving is to loss what healing is to sickness.
Grieving is a process. – It is not only ok, but it is necessary to process disappointment.
Never say to a wounded person – “Hey, you shouldn’t be disappointed, snap out of it”.
You don’t just “Get over” disappointment, you work though it with God.
Work through the bitterness, anger, loss, disbelief, and awe that this is happening with God.
Disappointment brings confusion and disorientation. It is good to find your balance and gain your footing.
~ Someone said – Don’t just get over it or it will have the ability to get back on top of you.
Hannah was so disappointed that she couldn’t have children that she cried out to God. She went to the house of God and poured out her heart. She was angry, hurt and confused but she took all of that to God to work on it.
Because she did God blessed her with Samuel AND other sons and daughters.
Naomi lost her husband and her sons. She was so overcome with grief that it changed her so profoundly that she changed her name to Bitter. It is ok to grieve our disappointment, but we must not allow it to change our identity.
All of us at some point in our lives experience disappointment.
My prayer is that for all of us we will learn to trust God and grow through our experiences.
My Friend God desires for us to be better and stronger in all that we have experienced in life. May God heal, restore and refresh you this month.
Remember that you are loved.
Pastor Marvin & Dawn
HCC Monthly Harvest Seed
Matthew 6:14-15 (NLT) - “If you forgive those who sin against you, your heavenly Father will forgive you. 15 But if you refuse to forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins.
The issue of forgiveness is at the forefront of all that the Bible teaches.
The entire reason that Jesus came was so that the forgiveness of sins is possible.
Forgiveness, according to the Bible, is understood as God's promise not to count our sins against us. Biblical forgiveness requires repentance on our part (turning away from our old life of sin) and faith in Jesus Christ.
Forgiveness is defined - as a conscious, deliberate decision to release feelings of resentment or vengeance toward a person or group who has harmed you, regardless of whether they actually deserve your forgiveness. To release someone from a debt that they owe you. To lay down anger and hatred and refuse to hold the wrong and hurt that someone caused you against them.
It is a difficult thing many times to forgive those that have wronged us. The truth is that many people have been hurt deeply by others. Many have had abusive parents or an abusive spouse.
People have had unspeakable and unthinkable things done to them and yet Jesus still calls us to forgive.
Matthew 5:44 - But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you,
This past month there was a story circulated on the internet about a pastor who had a heart attack and went to hell. He was shocked at how horrible everything was. But most of all he was angry at God that He was there.
Here is what happened. - "I rose up out of hell and God spoke to me. He said, 'You were secretly angry with people who harmed you and you hoped I would punish them. These are not your people. They are My people. I just want you to focus on the task I have given you.' "A man who cannot forgive is a man who forgot that He was forgiven,"
Forgiveness does not come easily or naturally to any of us. It is not supposed to.
Forgiveness is something that is to be chosen and it is to be learned.
Truly forgiving someone who has hurt, wronged, shamed or used us is a process that we work through with God.
It is a choice and a decision, but it is not a light or trivial thing and it is not supposed to be.
Forgiveness causes us to look at what someone has done to us and honestly and intelligently deal with the fact of how it has affected our life. You can’t effectively heal unless you address the places of woundedness.
It is remarkable how unforgiveness can turn an otherwise nice, kind and caring person into a bitter, angry and fearful individual.
Hebrews 12:15 (NIV) - See to it that no one falls short of the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many.
(AMP) - See to it that no one falls short of God’s grace; that no root of resentment springs up and causes trouble, and by it many be defiled;
The word resentment comes from two Latin words that mean to “cut again and again”.
Every time we rehearse a hurt or injustice, or the devil brings up pain or we dwell on our anger and frustration about what was done to us, we are getting cut and reinjured all over again.
This is why the devil loves his tool of unforgiveness. It allows the hurt and pain to feel fresh and new all the time. –
Unforgiveness is not justice, it is torture. It is also murder because each time we feel the pain it reminds us of how we would like the person who hurt us to suffer.
This is why Jesus honestly reminds Peter that forgiveness is not a onetime event. Forgiveness is a process that we must work through until the hurt and pain no longer have an effect on us.
Matthew 18:21-22 - Then Peter came to Him and said, “Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? Up to seven times?” 22 Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven.
Our job is to forgive. It is Jesus’ job to do the healing in our lives.
So, every time we feel the hurt, pain and woundedness return we must make a conscious effort to forgive. For some of us, depending on our personality and the level of the hurt it may take a while. It may take 490 times a day for a little while until the work of forgiveness is complete.
Someone needs to hear this – forgiveness is not effortless. Just remember that the effort is not pointless, it will be rewarded.
This month as we celebrate the Resurrection let’s take time to remember how God has forgiven us. Let’s also take the time to forgive those that have hurt us. Let’s release them from their sin and place them into the hands of God. Take time to allow God to heal any areas of your life that have been affected by hurt. The Bible that “He who the Son set’s free is free indeed.
I believe this is going to be a powerful month of forgiveness, healing and redemption.
Remember You are dearly loved.
Pastor Marvin & Dawn
HCC Monthly Harvest Seed
Hebrews11:1-6 - Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. 2 For by it the elders obtained a good testimony. 3 By faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that the things which are seen were not made of things which are visible. 4 By faith Abel offered to God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, through which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts; and through it he being dead still speaks. 5 By faith Enoch was taken away so that he did not see death, “and was not found, because God had taken him”; for before he was taken, he had this testimony, that he pleased God. 6 But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.
Our faith is the foundation of all that we believe.
Hebrews chapter 11 is often described as “God’s hall of faith”.
These are people that we can look to as an example of what it is to serve God, love God and to make a difference in this world for God.
Faith is at the heart of all that a true Christian is. Christians LIVE -By Faith. Every aspect of our life is lived – By Faith.
2 Corinthians 5:7 - For we walk by faith, not by sight.
True Christians live by faith and not by what they see. They trust God and His Word. Faith is not wishing, it is not positive thinking, it is not manipulating things and circumstances. Faith is the substance of things hoped for. Our faith has substance to it. And it is the substance of faith that gives substance to our lives.
This year our theme is – By Faith. We will be learning to live our lives by faith. To walk BY FAITH and not by Sight.
Today many Christians are living by what they know and see. This year is a call to Biblical living. Faithful living and faith-filled living.
What many consider faith is something that has been humanized. Today much of what is taught about faith is corrupted faith. It is rooted in personal gain or to meet self needs and desires. The faith that is taught is urging believers to ask God to bless them, prosper them and to give them their dreams and desires.
True faith that walks in obedience to God’s Word already understands that they are blessed and walk in favor with God because it stems from a relationship with God.
True faith is born out of intimacy with God.
If the faith we have doesn’t come out of intimacy with God, it really isn’t faith in His sight. True faith comes out of the SUBSTANCE of our intimacy and relationship with God.
It is out of this intimacy that the blessings of faith come.
Hebrews 11:6 - But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.
People want to know the secret of having great faith. – There are no shortcuts, no secret formulas. God is a REWARDER of those who diligently seek HIM. People of great faith are people of prayer. Those who spend time in the presence of God.
The presence of God is not a mystical cloud that appears – to be in the presence of God means that we are PRESENT where HE is.
Presence is not a feeling, it is not an anointing, it is PROXIMITY.
James 4:8a - Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.
You only truly get to know someone the closer you get to them. First in physical nearness then in emotional and spiritual nearness.
The reason people of faith are able to walk by faith and see the results of faith are because they stay close to God. –
A life that is lived by faith is a life that is lived near and close to God. Daniel 11:32b - but the people who know their God shall be strong and carry out great exploits.
It is impossible to have faith that pleases God without sharing intimacy with Him.
True faith comes as we desire to know and please the Lord above everything else in our lives.
A life lived by faith is not a life that is lived alone it is lived in relationship with God. It is a bond of faith, a communion that is like a marriage.
A life lived by faith is a life lived together with God. All of it.
Each year we start out on a fresh journey. I am excited about what God is going to do in our lives individually and through us as a church as we truly learn to live – By Faith.
May you and your family be blessed in this New Year. Remember it is a New Year but the Same God! You are Loved-
Pastor Marvin & Dawn
Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay
HCC Monthly Harvest Seed
Happy December and Merry Christmas!
Luke 2:25-29 (NLT) - At that time there was a man in Jerusalem named Simeon. He was righteous and devout and was eagerly waiting for the Messiah to come and rescue Israel. The Holy Spirit was upon him 26 and had revealed to him that he would not die until he had seen the Lord’s Messiah. 27 That day the Spirit led him to the Temple. So, when Mary and Joseph came to present the baby Jesus to the Lord as the law required, 28 Simeon was there. He took the child in his arms and praised God, saying,29 “Sovereign Lord, now let your servant die in peace, as you have promised.
One of the most untold stories of Christmas is what happened forty days after the birth of Jesus. This was when Joseph and Mary went to the Temple with Jesus for the ceremony of purification and dedication and had an encounter with Simeon.
The Christmas story is about real people living real life who are serving a very real God. The stories we read in the Bible are perfect for life today because these people were living everyday life just as we are.
temple when he did.
I don’t want you to miss this. – Simeon was able to walk into a very precious moment with God, simply because he lived each day led by the Spirit of God. –
Don’t miss this. – It is when we walk everyday with the Spirit of God that we are led into extraordinary moments with God.
I want you to notice I said walk not stumble. Those who walk with God don’t stumble into things accidentally they are led there intentionally by the Spirit.
One of the Great Lessons we learn from this story is that being Led by the Holy Spirit isn’t really all that difficult.
Notice that everyone in this story was where they were supposed to be when they were supposed to be there.
Mary and Joseph- They came to Jerusalem 40 days after the birth of Jesus to dedicate him.
Luke 2:21-24 -And when eight days were completed for the circumcision of the Child, His name was called Jesus, the name given by the angel before He was conceived in the womb.22 Now when the days of her purification according to the law of Moses were completed, they brought Him to Jerusalem to present Him to the Lord 23 (as it is written in the law of the Lord, “Every male who opens the womb shall be called holy to the Lord”), 24 and to offer a sacrifice according to what is said in the law of the Lord, “A pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons.”
Luke 2:27 - So he came by the Spirit into the temple.
Simeon was led at just the perfect moment by the Spirit of God into the Temple.
All of them were just doing what they should be doing.
Being in the will of God is not a matter of luck it is a matter of obedience.
Everyone was doing what God called them to be doing at that point in their lives. This obedience brought everyone together in the same place at the same time.
We get so afraid sometimes about missing the promises of God. Listen the Holy Spirit will lead you right into it.
When you don’t know what you should be doing just do what you should be doing.
I love the saying “If you aren’t doing what you should be doing then you are going to get the very things you don’t want”.
Encounters with the Holy Spirt are commonplace when you learn how to listen and are led by the Spirit of God.
Those who are filled with the Spirit of God are being led even when they don’t realize THAT they are being led.
Proverbs 3:5-6 - Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; 6 In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths.
Someone needs to get this – If we are not leaning on our own understanding then that means that we are going to be led in ways that we don’t make sense to us. What we are doing is taking each step, in faith knowing that God knows what He is doing.
When you are Spirit led you will never suffer from FOMO.
FOMO – Fear of Missing Out.
I want you to hear me - if you will be filled with the Spirit, you will be led by the Spirit. If you are led by the Spirit, you will not miss God and you will not miss out on His promises.
Over the years I have met people that are afraid that somehow, they will miss out on what God has for them.
Hear me – If you are living for God – you will not.
Being filled with the Spirit is not just about walking in His power but it is also about walking in His timing. He will lead you where you need to be at the very moment you need to be there.
To many times we over think things. Our obedience and God’s timing will always intersect when it should. This is the essence of being Spirit Led.
Simeon allowed the Holy Spirit to work in His life and because he did God allowed him to be a part of something truly amazing.
Simeon reminds us that we can wait with expectancy when God gives us a promise.
Scripture says that Simeon was eagerly waiting for the consolation of Israel.
It does not say that he was impatiently waiting but that as he went about his days, he did it with hope and expectancy, looking to see when God would keep his promise.
He wasn’t anxious about God’s promise, his impatience didn’t leave him weighed down a heaviness.
Expectancy – The act or action of living with the knowledge that something will happen. Hope that is certain and steadfast. The feeling that something exciting and positive is going to happen. Anticipation that comes with a promise. It is knowing that God is good and will always keep His Word and promises. An eagerness to see God proved true.
God had promised Simeon that he would not die until he had seen the Messiah or the consolation of Israel. God’s peace and comfort for the Nation of Israel and for all mankind.
Christmas reminds us that God is a promise keeper.
Christmas reminds us that if God will fulfill the promise of that first Christmas that He will fulfil every promise that He has given us in His Word.
2 Corinthians 1:20 - For all the promises of God in Him are Yes, and in Him Amen, to the glory of God through us.
The fact that Jesus came the first time gives us the hope that He is coming the second time.
The story of Simeon reminds us that God gave a promise of Salvation to all people, and He fulfilled that promise.
My Prayer this month is that you will have a renewed expectancy in the promises of God.
Wishing you and your family a very Merry Christmas!
Pastor Marvin & Dawn
Image by svklimkin from Pixabay
HCC Monthly Harvest Seed
2 Timothy 3:1 - But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come:
(AMP) But understand this, that in the last days dangerous times [of great stress and trouble] will come [difficult days that will be hard to bear].
(NIV) But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days.
While God promises us peace and safety; the Bible also warns us that in the last days dangerous, difficult, and even terrible times will come.
While there are many people that condemned the Apostle Paul from warning the early Christians that they were going to have hard and even dangerous times, he never shied away from preaching the truth.
Today the world is much the same way; people want to be told how beautiful and perfect everything will be. Instead of preparing believers for the difficult times that are ahead we are teaching them to live their best life. We have surrounded ourselves with peddlers of a painless Christianity instead of prophets and pastors who will warn of the consequences of sin and the difficulties in society and the world that will precede the coming of the Lord.
In many parts of Christianity, we are raising up soft believers who know nothing of living by faith and trusting God.
Understand - because of the sin that is in the world we are reaping a harvest of violence, selfishness, corruption, and wickedness. We have seen this before in the world. Remember there is nothing new under the sun.
The wickedness of Noah’s day and in the days of lot are very similar to our time. The danger and persecution that the early Christians faced under the Romans is very similar to what many believers are facing in China, Iran, North Korea, and India now.
The Bible warns us that in the last days Dangerous, terrible times will come.
The danger zone is a place that separates the men from the boys and the women of God from the little girls.
There are some different ways that people respond to the danger zone.
In the movie Top Gun, they talked about the danger zone, but they talk about the rush of combat the almost passing out from the G-forces at work as they fly in combat. There are those that love the adrenaline rush of all of it. They live for that moment, it’s all that they can think about. These types of people are adrenalin junkies that are a danger to themselves and to others in the times of danger because they are all about the thrill. As a matter of fact, they are destructive in their personal lives because they are bored without the speed, pace, danger and need for quick and immediate decisions.
Then there are those that thrive in the danger zone.
These are those who in the dangerous times are mature. They are able to deal with the rush, the emotions, the fear, and the thrill so that they are able to make good decisions that help others and preserve themselves. In the middle of the danger, they are able to discern God’s will and fight the enemy and win.
Hebrews 5:13-14 - For everyone who partakes only of milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, for he is a babe. 14 But solid food belongs to those who are of full age, that is, those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.
While it is true that difficult and terrible times are coming, I believe that God is raising up people who are skillful, equipped, and ready for those times.
To be ready for those times we must be fueled up by feeding our spirit.
2 Timothy 3:14-15 - But you must continue in the things which you have learned and been assured of, knowing from whom you have learned them, 15 and that from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.
In times of trouble, we must keep the main thing. The main thing.
Our source of strength never changes. It is from the well of the Word of God that we will continue to derive our strength in difficult times.
Paul said to Timothy you have learned and studied the scriptures since Childhood. Your daily devotions, what you have been doing for years you must continue to do.
If we can’t do regular life on empty, we certainly can’t do difficult times on empty.
Listen in order to thrive in the danger zone we need to be filled.
Psalm 119:92 - Unless Your law had been my delight, I would then have perished in my affliction.
When pilots are in the danger zone, they can get all messed up. They can start to believe that up is down and down is up. – This is when they must depend on their gages and understand certain laws that are pressing on their life and working either against them or for them.
This is why continually being in His Word is vital it helps us to know what’s going on and what to do next and what to do about it.
Those who thrive in the danger zone are skilled in the Word.
It seems like life right now is making massive withdrawals. It is asking more of us then we really have to give.
You and I were never designed to run on empty.
My Friend, I know you are looking at the world and can see it is a dangerous place. I want to remind you that the Bible says that in this world you will have trouble but TAKE heart I HAVE overcome the world. THERE is HOPE!
I am looking forward to sharing this important message with you.
Be encouraged and expectant. Remember, be thankful this November for all of the blessings and promises we have in the Lord.
May you and your Family have a very Happy Thanksgiving month.
Pastor Marvin & Dawn
HCC Monthly Harvest Seed
Proverbs 10:12 - Hatred stirs up strife, But love covers all sins.
~ Martin Luther King JR. – Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.
1 John 3:15 - Anyone who hates a brother or sister is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life residing in him.
1 John 4:19-20 - We love because he first loved us. Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen.
For many people what is shocking, and disheartening is the rudeness, lack of courtesy, violence, general disinterests in kindness and basic morality and a lack of civility in our conversations.
It should not come as a surprise that a nation that has killed over 63 million babies through abortion since 1973 is now seeing people walk into schools and shopping malls and murdering our children. Many of these shootings are done by other children and teenagers or those in their early 20’s.
2 Timothy 3:1-5 (NLT) - You should know this, Timothy, that in the last days there will be very difficult times. 2 For people will love only themselves and their money. They will be boastful and proud, scoffing at God, disobedient to their parents, and ungrateful. They will consider nothing sacred. 3 They will be unloving and unforgiving; they will slander others and have no self-control. They will be cruel and hate what is good.
4 They will betray their friends, be reckless, be puffed up with pride, and love pleasure rather than God. 5 They will act religious, but they will reject the power that could make them godly. Stay away from people like that!
What a list!
This describes people today. What sticks out to me the most is that people are self-absorbed, prideful, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God and they consider NOTHING sacred or holy.
The last days will be marked by people who love things, ideas, and certain ideologies but they do not really care for people, especially those who are different than them or who do not agree with them.
We see this in the world among people who do not know Jesus.
Unfortunately, we are seeing this even among the people of God.
As Christians we are going to have to deal with hate and understand what the Bible says about hate.
The Bible tells us that hate stirs up all kinds of trouble and problems. – We see this all around us.
It also tells us that you can’t claim to love God and hate other people. You can dislike people and what they do but we are not to hate them.
Hate is not a new thing that we are dealing with.
Jesus spoke about love to a religious world that valued rules more than it valued relationships.
When Jesus confronted the religious people of His day about their hypocrisy, they hated Him for it and tried to kill Him. They eventually had Him crucified.
Today we are told that we are to hate sin and to love the sinner, yet very few of us get this correct. Much of the time we wind up hating the person instead of helping a person deal with their sin in love.
Hate is what happens when there is a vacuum of love.
What starts out as righteous indignation turns into judgment that causes us to be the jury and the executioner.
Hate feeds off itself. – It will eat you alive. It will begin to consume every thought, action and words.
Someone who was once positive, loving understanding and compassionate about the lost is now angry, suspicious of everyone and everything and poisons even good relationships and conversations.
Hate is nothing new. Cain grew Jealous of Able and hated him. This led to the first murder.
The Bible says that whoever hates a brother, or a sister is a murderer.
That is a powerful statement. Hate at its highest point will lead to physical murder. But hate truly believes that the world would be a better place without certain kinds of people in it.
Now understand the Bible does recommend the death penalty for crimes like rape, incest, and murder. – This is not what we are talking about. That is a cry for justice.
Hate – To despise, intense dislike, to detest, loathe, abhor, to shrink back in horror. To find nothing good in. It is placing no value at all in someone or something.
I find it necessary to remind people that the opposite of love is not hate it is selfishness.
The opposite of hate is worship. –
To worship - is to adore, cherish, be drawn to, to honor and reverence. It is devotion, commitment and loyalty. It is to put someone in the highest place in our life.
The reality is that we live in a world where we must coexist with evil.
People believe and do unspeakably evil and wicked things.
We will be called to speak the truth.
We are called to compassionately help those impacted by this evil.
We are to be light in the darkness.
When we are confronted with hatred, we must continue to do good and to speak the truth in love.
Romans 12:21 - Do not be overcome by evil but overcome evil with good.
We are to overflow with Good words, good fruit and good deeds.
Many Christians are being overcome with the same spirit that is in the world.
We must remember that – GREATER is HE that is in us than he that is in the world.
As Christians we are overcomers. We are not to be overcome and overwhelmed with hate. We are called to overwhelm hate with Good.
By responding and living like Christ we don’t add to the problems, we disarm principalities and powers. This includes Satan’s weapon of hate. To win the world to Jesus we can’t fight battles the same way they do with the same weapons and think we will win.
Our weapons to defeat hatred are not carnal fleshly, feel-good things, they are mighty for pulling down the strongholds in people and in society.
Hear me – Hatred is a stronghold. – Make no mistake about it. But it is only a stronghold where it is permitted.
2 Corinthians 10:4-5 - For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, 5 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,
I love this… We capture their rebellious thoughts and teach them to obey Christ.
Teaching happens through our words AND our example.
You can’t do that if you try to fight hate with hate. - You do that with truth, love and compassion and an unyielding commitment to holiness both – personal holiness and holiness in thought and belief.
We must respond to hate by making sure we do not give more attention to the hate than we do the harvest.
Ultimately it is God’s job to take care of the evil in the world.
Matthew 13:24-30 - Another parable He put forth to them, saying: “The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field; 25 but while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat and went his way. 26 But when the grain had sprouted and produced a crop, then the tares also appeared. 27 So the servants of the owner came and said to him, ‘Sir, did you not sow good seed in your field? How then does it have tares?’ 28 He said to them, ‘An enemy has done this.’ The servants said to him, ‘Do you want us then to go and gather them up?’
29 But he said, ‘No, lest while you gather up the tares you also uproot the wheat with them. 30 Let both grow together until the harvest, and at the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, “First gather together the tares and bind them in bundles to burn them, but gather the wheat into my barn.”
In the process of trying to tear up what is bad many well-meaning Christians have uprooted and hurt many good people. That looked like weeds but were actually full of Good fruit.
Sometimes wheat and weeds look a lot alike in the early and developing stages.
I want to remind you that the majority of our time is not to be spent dealing with the weeds but to be nourishing the seeds and cultivating a harvest of good things.
The enemy is all about destruction and he wants to get us in on the process. God is all about life.
I love the response – let them grow and we will sort it all out at the end.
This is great wisdom. Dealing with Hate.
Know that You are dearly loved,
Pastor Marvin & Dawn
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Philippians 4:4 - Rejoice in the Lord always. Again, I will say, rejoice!
~ Jim Cymballa - When you’re on a mountaintop, it’s not that hard to praise God. But when you’re going through a valley, to be able to say, “I will bless your name, Lord!”—that praise and worship is the most precious to God.
We live in a negative world, a fallen world where it seems that the ungodly are getting more and more prominent.
So much of what we hear is just negative, and we have to make a deliberate effort to be positive and counter the culture we live in. Praise is a great tool to help us achieve that.
We are conditioned to complain, grumble, and find the negative in everything.
Instead of finding reasons to complain and fuss we can find reasons to rejoice and praise.
I remember something we would encourage our children to do. Find something that someone is doing well and let them know it. Sing their praises.
I promise that if we will look for and pay attention, we will always have something to praise God for. I am convinced that we have the privilege to live a life of rejoicing instead of negative rehearsing or finding the negative.
Just as negativity, discouragement and complaining bring a heaviness to anywhere it is Praise brings the glory and goodness of God into the situation.
Just as there is power in prayer, there is power in praise.
When we praise, and when we exalt God, it prepares our heart to receive His Word.
Our praise and worship of God steers our attention away from our problems and difficulties and onto His greatness. Our praise to God readies our hearts to receive what He wants to do in our lives.
Praise is powerful because it elevates us into His presence and power.
There is a way to come into God’s presence.
Psalm 100:4 - Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, And into His courts with praise.
Be thankful to Him and bless His name.
Psalm 34:1 - I will bless the Lord at all times; His praise shall continually be in my mouth.
The Bible says that God inhabits in the praises of His people.
In other words, God “dwells” in the atmosphere of His praise. This means that praise is more than a reaction of coming into His presence... praise to God is a vehicle of faith which takes us into His presence and power!
Part of walking with God, Part of being a person of presence and power means that we are a person of praise.
Praise means “to commend, to applaud or magnify.”
For the Christian, praise to God is an expression of worship, lifting-up and glorifying the Lord. It is an expression of humbling ourselves and centering our attention upon the Lord with heart-felt expressions of love, adoration and thanksgiving.
No matter the situation we are in HE is WORTHY of our praise.
There are people that I know that I just can’t brag on enough. Their character, their work ethic, their integrity and love for God are outstanding. – It is easy to sing their praises.
If we need to make sure that we are not stingy in our praise to others, we need to make sure we are holding nothing back in our praise of God who is worthy of our Highest Praise.
Just like you love to be acknowledged for what you have done well. So does God.
When people sing your praises, it releases favor in their direction.
The same holds true with God. You want to walk with people who recognize your goodness and so does God.
Psalm 89:15 - Blessed are the people who know the joyful sound! They walk, O Lord, in the light of Your countenance.
Nothing lifts you out of despair, discouragement, hopelessness or depression like praise.
Paul and Silas are a perfect example. They were beaten, whipped and chained to a wall.
Paul and Silas demonstrate the supernatural power of authentic, passionate praise.
Facing unimaginable conditions while being wrongly imprisoned for their faith, they chose to stop focusing on their circumstances and instead, turn their attention fully onto the faithfulness of their God.
Acts 16:23-25 - And when they had laid many stripes on them, they threw them into prison, commanding the jailer to keep them securely. 24 Having received such a charge, he put them into the inner prison and fastened their feet in the stocks.25 But at midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them.
Their faith-filled praise was so powerful in that dark, miserable prison, that their environment suddenly changed, and they were instantly set free.
The miraculous power of God was released— shaking everything around them and releasing them, and everyone around them, from their chains!
Acts 26:26 - Suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken; and immediately all the doors were opened, and everyone’s chains were loosed.
Something supernatural happens in the natural when we sing the praises of God. Something happens in us, and something happens to the people around us and in the situations that surround us.
Because Paul and Silas had hope in the character of God it not only set them free it set all the people around them free. --- Let that sink in for a moment.
This is why we are to “Sing the praises of God” to each other and those around us.
Paul and Silas were true worshippers. Not situational worshipers.
They loved and worshiped God no matter what situation they were in.
True worshipers – worship in Spirit and in truth.
Praise and thankfulness go hand in hand, and there is always so much to be grateful for!
If we praised Him all day, every day, we would never finish thanking Him for all of the seen and unseen ways that He cares for us and blesses us.
He is a good Father, and we will never fully understand how He is constantly working behind the scenes in our lives to love, protect, nurture and favor us.
One of the things that I believe that will be a significant part of our year of “Overflow”; is that we will overflow with praise.
God has been good to us. The truth is He has been better than we deserve.
As we come to an end to our summer lets look back and just overflow with praise for all that God is and all that He has done for us individually, in our families and as a church.
Know that you are dearly Loved,
Pastor Marvin & Dawn
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2 Corinthians 12:7-10 - And lest I should be exalted above measure by the abundance of the revelations, a thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I be exalted above measure. 8 Concerning this thing I pleaded with the Lord three times that it might depart from me. 9 And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore, most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 10 Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
~ A.W. Tozer – It is doubtful whether God can bless a man greatly until He has hurt him deeply.
It is necessary that God takes anyone who wants to know Him, serve Him and be mightily used by Him through seasons of pain, trials and hardships that break you, OF YOU, but won’t leave you wounded and broken.
We watch God take people in the Bible through this. David, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Elijah, Job, Peter and Paul. Every one of them were broken to the point where they truly wondered if they were broken beyond repair. They doubted themselves and wondered how they could ever be useful to God. Some wondered if they had wasted their life. Others just wanted their life to end.
It was in their greatest moments of despair, failure, betrayal, dismay, depression and pain that God developed them into the mighty instruments of God that they became.
Brokenness is painful, but it develops humility and dependance on God that very few experience.
In the same way that olives are crushed to produce oil, in the same way that grapes are crushed to make a fine wine and in the same way that flowers are crushed to make perfume, we must be humbled before we can be mightily used by God.
If God is breaking you, although it is challenging, painful and emotionally draining, you can rejoice knowing that God thinks that you are worth the refining process. God will take all of us through trying times to refine us, heal us, break us from things that hold us back and draw out what is valuable inside of us.
The truth is that many of us will go through several of these times during our lifetime and in our walk with God.
Broken times come in many forms and in many ways. Some of them are unique to just you and others are things that we all must experience. These times leave us weak, questioning ourselves, God and our choices. They leave us with a keen awareness of our own weaknesses, sins and shortcomings.
Brokenness is an absolutely adequate word to describe how we feel. Utterly at the end of ourselves and over almost everything.
You need to hear this. – Just because you are going through a season of brokenness does not mean you are broken. It may feel like it.
What is happening is you are being refined. Stop asking the questions – What is wrong with me? Why am I such a failure?
Ask instead. What is God doing in all of this? How can I cooperate with Him?
There is a great shaking going on among the body of Christ. Those who want to know God and be used mightily are being broken and those who are arrogant are being revealed.
Before David could be King, he had to go tend sheep.
He defeated giants; He was anointed but he was not released to lead until he learned how to tend.
David had to learn to be a keeper before he could be King.
Moses spent forty years in the desert before he could spend forty years leading Israel through the wilderness. You must have been there before you can take people where God needs them to be.
The Anointing that comes from brokenness will cost you.
Deep heart-searching change is painful and labor intensive as well as emotionally and physically exhausting. – Isaiah compared these times to childbirth. Isaiah 26:17 - As a woman with child Is in pain and cries out in her pangs, when she draws near the time of her delivery, so have we been in Your sight, O Lord.
Someone said – There is always travail before you prevail.
It is human nature to pride ourselves in our ability to be unbroken. The British call it “having a stiff upper lip”. In America we revel in the idea of never allowing anyone to see you sweat. We become hard so no one can ever hurt us or our heart. We put on the façade of having it – “All together” – sometimes so well that we believe it ourselves. We spend much of our time trying not to appear cracked, hurt or weak. We are told to always project strength.
Half of what is taught in churches today is all about how to keep ourselves strong, intact and to be the best version of ourselves.
We come to God crying out to be whole when we would do just as well to say with all sincerity “Lord, wound me, break me, mold me, shape me, fill me and make me like you.
All of us struggle with pride on some level.
I can assure you if we do not allow God to break us of pride then pride will ruin us. Today with all the talk about achieving our dreams, on becoming self-reliant, self-sufficient and the best version of ourselves and living our best life all we have done is become self-righteous. We talk about becoming leaders, and influencers and less about becoming the servant of all.
We are so busy trying to be great that we have lost our ability to relate. We are so busy focusing on impact that we have lost the common touch that was able to transform hearts.
Humility is a lifelong struggle for all of us. All of us struggle with pride, image, accomplishment and capability. God values humility and brokenness over ability and giftedness.
It takes brokenness to rid us of pride. The sooner we realize that we are flawed, broken and utterly dependent upon God the sooner we will experience true joy and freedom.
In God’s economy it is only when we are weak, it is only when we lose our self-reliance that we are truly strong. We self-righteously try to talk ourselves right out of weakness.
I have a revelation for you. It was when Jesus was literally broken, His body whipped, physically weak. He was forsaken by God -emotionally abandoned and alone. It was when he was hanging naked on display for all to see – humiliated and dishonored –that He broke the power of sin and death.
Modern Christianity wants nothing to do with this weakness and humility stuff and we have never been weaker.
2 Corinthians 12:9-10 - And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore, most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.Therefore, I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
Paul said when I am weak then I am strong.
Someone needs to hear this – you have been asking to minister in the power of God, but you want to feel strong, you want to feel on top of the world, you want to feel invincible.
My friend that is where pride comes in that will destroy you.
God is bringing us to the point where we realize that we don’t need to be great. We don’t need to be strong in ourselves, He is bringing us to the point where we are STRONG IN THE LORD AND IN THE POWER OF HIS MIGHT.
Not our own. That is where God works best.
I am excited about what God is doing in the life of those who love Him. There is a precious, powerful work that is happening in the body of Christ. It is not easy; it is not comfortable, and it certainly is not fashionable. IT IS necessary in these last days.
Know that you are loved and not alone. This work of brokenness of complete dependance on God. This thing that is completely different than the way the world works – is God doing His perfect work in us.
May it be our cry today – Lord break me, mold me, fill me, use me.
Pastor Marvin & Dawn
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Proverbs 13:20 - He who walks with wise men will be wise, But the companion of fools will be destroyed.
(AMP) - He who walks [as a companion] with wise men will be wise, But the companions of [conceited, dull-witted] fools [are fools themselves and] will experience harm.
If you and I are going to grow in wisdom we need to make sure that we surround ourselves with people who have and walk in wisdom. What this means is that you need to know what wisdom looks like and what foolishness looks like.
The world defines foolishness and wisdom very differently than the Bible.
The dictionaries definition looks like this – A fool is a person who lacks good sense and judgement. Silly or senseless. One who repeatedly makes silly mistakes that could easily be avoided or someone who does or says things without thinking about the consequences.
This is good but it is really only part of what God reveals to us.
One of the first things that we need to understand about wisdom and foolishness is that the world regards Christians as fools and the Gospel of Jesus Christ as foolish.
1 Corinthians 1:26-28 - For you see your calling, brethren, that not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not manynoble, are called. 27 But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty; 28 and the base things of the world and the things which are despised God has chosen, and the things which are not, to bring to nothing the things that are,
1 Corinthians 1:18 - or the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.
1 Corinthians 1:20-25 - (NLT) - So where does this leave the philosophers, the scholars, and the world’s brilliant debaters? God has made the wisdom of this world look foolish. 21 Since God in his wisdom saw to it that the world would never know him through human wisdom, he has used our foolish preaching to save those who believe. 22 It is foolish to the Jews, who ask for signs from heaven. And it is foolish to the Greeks, who seek human wisdom. 23 So when we preach that Christ was crucified, the Jews are offended, and the Gentiles say it’s all nonsense. 24 But to those called by God to salvation, both Jews and Gentiles, Christ is the power of God and the wisdom of God. 25 This foolish plan of God is wiser than the wisest of human plans, and God’s weakness is stronger than the greatest of human strength.
When the Bible teaches on wisdom and foolishness it does so for those that have a desire to know God and to learn His ways.
God’s wisdom is spiritual, and it cannot be completely understood by the natural man.
1 Corinthians 2:14 - But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.
The one thing that you will discover about God’s wisdom is that it is remarkably simple. I like to call it simple truth with deep and lasting impact. The world complicates wisdom and makes it seem unattainable. The Bible tells us that God will give wisdom to all who ask.
The first thing that makes a fool a fool is their rejection of God.
Psalm 53:1 - The fool has said in his heart, “There is no God.”
Proverbs tells us that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of Wisdom. One of the clearest ways that you know that you are dealing with a fool and a foolish person is when they tell you either they do not believe in God or that they do not have time for “religious things because they just don’t believe in that kind of thing. One thing that we must understand is that foolish does not mean goofy. All of us stereo type things including our idea of a fool. Some think of mindless non-thinkers who dismiss the idea of God outright. Others see a hard-working beer drinking party boy or woman who just wants to be left alone to live their life.
One of the things that surprised me early on in my walk with God is that many foolish people who reject God are well read, educated, articulate and calm. They have “studied” the religions of the world and have drawn the conclusion that they are all the same. Some have been hurt and disappointed by some incredible losses in life and have decided that if this is what God is like then they want nothing to do with Him. Often times a fool is not quite what we have expected.
A fool doesn’t value learning a lesson.
Proverbs 1:7 - The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction.
There are some people who have no real desire to learn, grow and better themselves. They have no desire for Godly knowledge and understanding and they have no real desire to be taught.
Fools are unteachable. They refuse to do anything with knowledge and understanding that someone may have just dropped into their lap. One of the things that sets the wise apart from a fool is their desire to be teachable.
Proverbs 9:8-9 - (NLT) - So don’t bother correcting mockers; they will only hate you. But correct the wise, and they will love you. 9 Instruct the wise, and they will be even wiser.
Teach the righteous, and they will learn even more.
The wise welcome teaching, correction, direction or advise. Fools have no desire to humble themselves to receive teaching or redirection.
One of the last things that we learn from fools is that there is a way you must talk with them when you realize that you are interacting with a fool.
Proverbs 26:4-5 - Do not answer a fool according to his folly, lest you also be like him. 5 Answer a fool according to his folly, lest he be wise in his own eyes.
(AMP) - Don’t answer the foolish arguments of fools, or you will become as foolish as they are. 5 Be sure to answer the foolish arguments of fools, or they will become wise in their own estimation.
At face value this wisdom sounds contradictory but if you look at it, this is powerful.
Many people have a hard time with the idea of identifying a fool. The Bible tells us that we CAN know the difference between the foolish and the wise. This is not judging it is Biblical observation.
First of all, simply trying to reason with a fool is a fool’s errand. They believe what they think, and they are not budging from their position. If you try a reasonable approach with a mocker or even with an educated thinker, you are going to be constantly hitting your head on the proverbial brick wall. If you have ever been in one of these conversations no matter how well intentioned, you are going to look and feel just as foolish as they are.
~Mark Twain - “NEVER ARGUE WITH STUPID PEOPLE. THEY WILL DRAG YOU DOWN TO THEIR LEVEL AND BEAT YOU WITH EXPERIENCE.”
We are told to answer a fool according to their own folly. – Many assume that this is permission to be sarcastic. It is not.
In the process of having a conversation with a fool it is reframing your questions to them in such a way that they realize their logic and patterns of thinking are incorrect. It is not telling a fool that they are foolish it is helping lead them to the conclusion on their own. If we do not take the time to thoughtfully correct and teach the foolish, we will leave them thinking that they are wise in their own opinion.
As we continue to move into the deeper things of God it is important that we know the difference between wisdom and foolishness.
May the Lord bless you and your family during these summer months. Take time to rest, enjoy family and be sure to stay in church and close to God.
Know that You are loved,
Pastor Marvin & Dawn
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Psalm 34:19 (AMP) - Many hardships and perplexing circumstances confront the righteous, But the Lord rescues him from them all.
A while back I ran across a sermon called – The Doctrine of Suffering. I began to sense God stirring something in my spirit. The truth is that many people are going through some pretty difficult times. The hardship and suffering are deep, painful, exhausting and you are looking forward to this season ending. I believe that God wants to do a Healing work in many of us that will be lasting and impactful.
Contrary to much of what is taught today, God never promised us a life free from trials hardship and suffering. As a matter of fact, He promised us just the opposite. John 16:33 (NIV) - “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (NLT) I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth, you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.” Hardship and suffering are a normal part of life, even for Christians.
Trials, hardship, and sorrow hit all of us. They are not something strange or unusual.
1 Peter 4:12-13 - Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial, which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you; 13 but rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ’s sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy.
When we go through trials, suffering and hardship we need to realize that it is not something unusual.
~ Charles Spurgeon – The question of suffering is not a question of if we will face it, but when. Suffering is one of life’s certainties, as is the good which God produces through it.
Ecclesiastes 7:14 - In the day of prosperity be joyful, but in the day of adversity consider:
Surely God has appointed the one as well as the other, so that man can find out nothing that will come after him.
I don’t want you to miss that – God has appointed the one as well as the other. Another translation reads - but when hard times strike, realize that both come from God. Now I realize that is going to mess with some people- good times and difficult times come from God. He allows them both.
~ Carter Conlon – Of Times Square Church – There are some people who have such an aversion to the idea of hardship that they immediately shut down at the mere mention of it. If they don’t hear a message that makes them happy and assures them that everything is going to be fine, they quickly leave in search of a place where they will only hear good news.
Listen this is all fine and good until the reality of hard times come and unspeakable things happen: now not only do you have problems you have no foundation of hope on which to stand.
At the core of hardship is the mercy and goodness of God. God is always faithful to strengthen us and to strategically prepare us for whatever we will have to face.
We need to realize that hard isn’t bad but that HARD IS HARD.
There is purpose in the pain. Someone needs to hear this – God will never allow your pain to be in vain. Regardless of where our pain comes from or what it is – God will never waste your pain.
James 1:2-4 (NLT) - Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. 3 For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. 4 So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.
The Bible says that God blesses us with the opportunity to know the joy of growth and victory. The big key is to go through these times PAITENTLY. WE are to patiently ENDURE. Enduring means it’s not easy it is hard. Know that God is building His character in us. If you focus on the hurt, you will continue to suffer. If you focus on the lesson, you will continue to grow.
One of the reasons so many people are hurting is because they have decided to either ignore the pain or they just pretend that it is not really affecting their lives. On more than one occasion Jesus asked people if they wanted to be healed or what do you want me to do for you.
One of the things that we need to get settled in our spirit is that – We need to understand that it brings God joy to heal us, restore us and to set us free. You need to believe this. Healing in every aspect, Spiritual, Emotionally, Physically and Mentally is not just for others but is for you. If this is settled, you will know where to go and where to look when you need help. If not, you will find yourself constantly searching for both solutions and healing.
I believe that at HCC we are in a precious season of healing. We have seen three people in the last several years, literally come back from a death sentence health wise. We have seen many other remarkable healings. I believe we have yet to scratch the surface of what God has for our lives. In this year of OVERFLOW, I believe we are going to see not only the healing of bodies, but of depression, release from difficult situations, freedom from addiction and joy in place of tremendous sorrow.
It is the hard and difficult times. The times filled with sorrow and pain that God uses for His glory and for our benefit. Hear me – God will never waste your pain.
Thank you for your faithfulness to the Kingdom of God and to HCC.
You are precious to God and to us
Pastor Marvin & Dawn
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