Cross found on all donkeys' backs?
There is legend that the crosses on these donkeys appeared after Jesus rode one into Jerusalem (read Matthew 21:1-11). There is no evidence that this is true. The dark stripe in the form of a cross was a trait in these donkeys long before Jesus lived. However, the fact that Jesus rode a donkey into Jerusalem is very important. It fulfilled a prophecy that was spoken 500 years before Jesus lived, and showed He was the Messiah (read Matthew 21:5 and Zechariah 9:9).
Dear Prayer Partners
1} President Obama and his advisors
2} the men & women serving in our armed forces and their families
3} Bobby- a missionary in Haiti who was flown back to the states with a broken back
4} Holly- recently gave birth to a son
5} Hailey- has Hodgkin’s lymphoma and is unable to work due to it
6} Margo- recovering from a stroke
7} Dan- has Leukemia & an inoperable brain tumor, the tumors in his stomach and lung have been removed successfully
8} Christine- recently gave birth by an emergency C-section and her new son is in critical condition
9} Living Waters A/G looking for a youth pastor with a vision to reach the youth
10} Dennis- having problems breathing
11} The Holm Family- death of a loved one from cancer
12} The DeRien Family- death of a loved one
13} The Fraley family- death of a loved one
14} Eugene- is battling cancer
15} Schimmica- husband is having an affair
16} Kevin- has some serious dental problems and is recovering from emergency oral surgery
17} Faith- is hospitalized after a heart attack and partial amputation of right foot, has a serious infection in heart, lungs and kidneys and is back on dialysis
18} Chantella- is expecting her 1st baby in the spring
19} Julianne- having difficulty with her pregnancy
20} Marc- family problems
21} Tom- problems with weight control
22} Achan- has HIV, an infection in her lungs and gall bladder is shutting down
23} Rick- has bulging disc in his back
24} Noah- a toddler having complications from heart surgery, has a very high fever
25} Frank- fighting depression
26} Gloria- hospitalized after passing out at work
27} Chaplain Sam- recovering from eye surgery
28} Chaplain Jay- preparing for a missionary trip to Uganda next year
29} For all the unspoken and personal requests that people have
30} For us at Highway Mission Outreach that we will continue have the doors opened to share the gospel and the needed finances to carry out the ministry of the mission and as we plant The Cross-Roads Chapel
31} For Michael Frankland, Gill Ainsworth, Mark Ainsworth, Tracy Ainsworth, Tony Wood, Eileen Walsh, and Elaine - break down strongholds in their lives
Opening Our Hearts to God
Psa. 19:14 - May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart Be acceptable before You, O Jehovah, my rock and my Redeemer.
Acts 13:22-23 - And when He had deposed him, He raised up David for them as king, to whom also He testified and said, I have found David, the son of Jesse, a man according to My heart, who will do all My will. (23) From this man's seed, God, according to promise, brought to Israel a Savior, Jesus.
~~~~~ Words of Ministry ~~~~~
Both of the above passages are related to David. Psalm 19:14
is a prayer of David, while Acts 13:22-23 is a description of
David. In David's prayer, there are the “words of my mouth”
and the “meditation of my heart,” or the thoughts of the
heart. He prayed that he would not only be kept in his words
outwardly, but also be acceptable to God in his thoughts
inwardly. The words of the mouth are an expression of the
thoughts of the heart. The heart is the root problem.
Whether or not one outwardly says the right words is not the basic problem. Whether or not one has an outward attitude in his speaking that is right is also not the basic problem. The
thoughts of the heart are the basic problem. The thoughts of
the heart constitute the root problem and cannot be overlooked. David did not merely pray, “God, may the words of my mouth be acceptable before You.” He added to the prayer, “May the meditation of my heart be acceptable before You.”
David's prayer was for the thoughts of his heart to be
acceptable before God. This is why Paul could later testify
that David was a man according to the Lord's heart. A person
who is according to God's heart allows God to touch his heart. If you will not allow God to touch your heart, it will be hard for you to be one who is according to His heart.
Many Christians ask, “Why is it wrong for me to do this? Why
is it wrong for me to say this? Why is it wrong for me to
express myself this way?” Brothers and sisters, whether or
not you are doing the right thing, saying the right thing, or
expressing yourself the right way is not the real problem.
Rather, is your heart right when you are doing such a thing,
saying such a word, or expressing yourself in such a way?
What is the condition of your heart? What is the condition of
the root? Even if you are right in every outward thing, it is
still possible for your heart to be wrong. God is touching the condition of your heart and asking about it. He allows many winds and waves to beat upon His children for this very reason.
He uses these things to touch your heart and to expose the condition of your heart.
By C.H. Spurgeon
"For thy Maker is thine husband; the LORD of hosts is his name; and thy Redeemer the Holy One of Israel; The God of the whole earth shall he be called" (Isaiah 54:5).
JESUS, the Redeemer, is altogether ours and ours for ever. All the offices of Christ are held on our behalf. He is king for us, priest for us, and prophet for us. Whenever we read a new title of the Redeemer, let us appropriate Him as ours under that name as much as under any other. The shepherd's staff, the father's rod, the captain's sword, the priest's mitre, the prince's sceptre, the prophet's mantle, all are ours.
Jesus hath no dignity which He will not employ for our exaltation, and no prerogative which He will not exercise for our defence. His fulness of Godhead is our unfailing, inexhaustible treasure-house. His manhood also, which he took upon him for us, is ours in all its perfection. To us our gracious Lord communicates the spotless virtue of a stainless character; to us he gives the meritorious efficacy of a devoted life; on us he bestows the reward procured by obedient submission and incessant service. He makes the unsullied garment of his life our covering beauty; the glittering virtues of his character our ornaments and jewels; and the superhuman meekness of his death our boast and glory. He bequeaths us his manger, from which to learn how God came down to man; and his Cross to teach us how man may go up to God. All His thoughts, emotions, actions, utterances, miracles, and intercessions, were for us.
He trod the road of sorrow on our behalf, and hath made over to us as his heavenly legacy the full results of all the labours of his life. He is now as much ours as heretofore; and he blushes not to acknowledge himself "our Lord Jesus Christ," though he is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords. Christ everywhere and every way is our Christ, for ever and ever most richly to enjoy. O my soul, by the power of the Holy Spirit, call him this morning, "thy Redeemer."
Thank you for your support and continued prayers for these new believers and this ministry!
In His vineyard,
We Shall Worship the Lord!
By John Piper
Do you delight more and more in the majesty and glory of God? Does your heart incline to worship God more consistently and intelligently and earnestly and intensely today than it did five years ago?
Is your love for your brothers and sisters in Christ abounding more and more so that you use your gifts more and more effectively to strengthen their faith and stir them up to love and good works?
And do you feel a greater burden for the lost? Are your prayers for unbelieving relatives and friends more consistent and earnest? Are your efforts to give a reason for the hope that is in you more bold, less ashamed? Are you becoming a world Christian with a zeal for the final mission thrust of the church to reach the hidden peoples?
If you can answer yes, we are making progress as a church. If not, we are failing in those areas. But at least we have goal and a definite Biblical theology behind it.
But it is not new. Listen to the way another pastor and teacher describes the meaning of membership in the church:
Membership, therefore, involves a personal obligation to promote the objects of the body as expressed in the covenant.
These objects are three:
1. The social, united worship of God...
2. The perpetuation and diffusion of the gospel...
3. The sanctification of its own members...
The church, thus comprehensive in its scope, looks upward to God, outward upon the needs of a lost world, and inward to the processes of sanctification in the souls of its own members; the neglect of any one of these grand objects of its organization imperils its whole design.
This is our philosophy of ministry. The quote is from Hezekiah Harvey, who was born in England in 1821 (The Church, 1879, reprint 1982, pp.35-36.). There is nothing modern or trendy about the priorities of our church. They have been around for two thousand years. They are tried and true, and it shouldn't bother us at all that they are not new.
Wednesday, December 8, 2010
Triumph, this time of year, seems to come in many shades of success. Try as we may to keep a perspective of readiness for the coming of Christ, many of us feel most ready for Christmas when we have successfully beat every shipping deadline and reciprocated every Christmas card. Victories that we might otherwise find slight seem to become great feats during the holidays—finding a parking spot, getting the last box of Christmas lights in stock, beating the mailman to the mailbox. Other battles continue to brew over the accepting or rejecting of manger scenes, messiahs, and "Merry Christmases" in the face of less specific holiday tales and greetings. Though we may oscillate between who or what we are fighting against—the clock, the perfect hostess, the agendas of others—we seem to work toward Christmas one small feat at a time.
But as I sang the lyrics to a song during the lighting of the second Advent candle, I was silenced by the image of a victory I need do nothing but join.
Joyful, all ye nations rise,
Join the triumph of the skies;
With th'angelic host proclaim,
"Christ is born in Bethlehem!"
The triumph Christians join as we celebrate Christmas is far bigger than our best Christmases and more real than our worst. There are generations of believers offering the same cries of victory shouted on the very first Christmas night: Christ was born! God came near. God is with us! Christ's birth was orchestrated at the hands of God long before the inn would be full or the shepherds would be in their fields by night, long before my traditions would seem etched in stone, or my culture would attempt to remove the Nativity from the public arena.
While there are perhaps some victories to rightfully seek this season, many others can likely be forsaken; for the triumph of a God who came near to bridge a separation forged long ago in the garden is a victory already won. The triumph Christians ask the world to join as we celebrate Christ's birth is a triumph known from the beginning, foreseen by the prophets, heralded by John the Baptist, and cherished by witnesses whose voices still cry out the incredible news of the Christmas story:
"And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, 'Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.'
Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,
'Glory to God in the highest,
and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests.'"
Tuesday, November 23, 2010
Most of us set off on the journey of life looking for a larger purpose, a grand plan, or the achievement of goals that have been set out for us like sign-markers on the road. In Christian circles, the language of "finding God's will for one's life" often serves as the destination on the road map for life's journey.
For many of us, attempting to find these sign-markers and just head in the direction that the map provides fills our lives with struggle and often with anxiety. Is my life following the right path? Did I make the right decision back there? Should I have turned to the right or to the left at that crossing? The publishing industry is filled with books to help us interpret life's maps. Indeed, bookshelves are filled with books on finding one's true purpose, and given the immense selection of writings, it can make a person feel that finding that destination is a complicated and difficult journey.
So it might surprise many to find a simple, straight path carved out in a letter to a young church. The apostle Paul cleared the way through the mire of finding God's will by reminding this new community to "give thanks in all things, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus" (1 Thessalonians 5:18). On the surface, this seems too easy and too simple to encompass something as deep and as wide as the grand narrative for one's life. And yet, praise and thanksgiving have always been the markers of a people who walked in the will the Lord, even those who struggled with circumstances in which we would be stretched to find any reason for praise.
For Paul, who was thoroughly steeped in the traditions of the Hebrews, the concept of thanksgiving was explicitly tied to remembering all that God had done on behalf of his people. The people are told to remember the God who "brought them out of the land of Egypt" and to remember "the days of old," when the Lord found them in a desert land and the howling waste of a wilderness. He encircled them, He cared for them, He guarded them as the pupil of his eye (Deuteronomy 5:15; 32:7-12). The psalmists remind the people to "remember that God was their rock, and the Most High God their Redeemer" (Psalm 78:35), and Job cries out in defiant praise after losing everything, "The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away. Blessed be the name of the Lord" (Job 1:21).
A spirit of thanksgiving marked the earliest followers of Jesus as well. These early believers were so overjoyed at the Spirit's work among them that they shared meals, their property and possessions, and were continually praising God. Paul exhorted the Philippian Christians to offer their prayers and supplications with thanksgiving and the endless song around the throne of heaven in Revelation sounds the chorus for blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and might be to our God forever and ever. Indeed, it is the will of God, from beginning to end, for us to give thanks and praise.
The declaration, then, that it is God's big plan and indeed God's will for people to give thanks is a helpful reminder especially when life presents many challenges and the way ahead seems unclear. The act of thanksgiving calls every person to remember all that has gone before, all that has led to this point in life, and all the faithful people who have accompanied one on life's journey. Indeed, it is God's will for God's people because when we give thanks there is no room for jealousy of what others have, no room for complaining about what we lack. In times of deepest sorrow, there is a joy that rises up on the heart when praise comes, even when accompanied with tears. To live with thanksgiving makes the heart full of gladness, which overflows our lives and spills out into acts of kindness and generosity. When we are grateful, we cannot help but share our gratitude. And this is the will of God for the lives of those who want to follow.
It may be challenging to live into God's will by giving thanks in everything, every day of the year. Yet our lives may just be set on course by a heart filled with praise.