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.
Monday, June 21, 2010
Testimony of John Farese
It is good for me that I have been afflicted, That I may learn Your statutes. The law of Your mouth is better to me Than thousands of coins of gold and silver. Your hands have made me and fashioned me; Give me understanding, that I may learn Your commandments. Those who fear You will be glad when they see me, Because I have hoped in Your word. I know, O LORD, that Your judgments are right, And that in faithfulness You have afflicted me. Let, I pray, Your merciful kindness be for my comfort, According to Your word to Your servant. Let Your tender mercies come to me, that I may live; For Your law is my delight. (Psa 119:71-77)
And He (God) has made from one blood every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth, and has determined their preappointed times and the boundaries of their dwellings, so that they should seek the Lord, in the hope that they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us; for in Him we live and move and have our being... Acts 17:26-28a
John Farese lives in Florida with his brother Paul and sister-in-law Janis and their four children. He enjoys a very productive life, is keenly interested in a variety of sports, and has a special involvement in information technology, including the maintenance of his own Web site.
He has been disabled since birth, is paralysed in both arms and legs, and has been unable to sit up for over 10 years.
I came into this world on 27 August 1956, the second of Vincent and Joan Farese's seven children. My older brother Bernie was born with spinal muscular atrophy, a severely crippling disease that meant that he was never able to walk. So was I - and a younger sister Tina. In each case, the doctors told my parents that the child concerned would not live beyond its eighth birthday. Tina died of pneumonia when she was four years old.
I was brought up as a Roman Catholic, and quietly accepted the doctrines taught to me by my parents and the parish priest, especially the idea that a person got right with God by obeying the sacraments of the church. At one stage I was told that if I recited forty-five prayers from a particular Catholic prayer book every day for a whole year I would escape the pains of purgatory and hell, and be immediately accepted into heaven when I died. I never missed a day - but had no assurance that my discipline would pay off.
One special highlight I remember was a trip to Lourdes, in France. My mother took my brother Bernie and me there to seek healing from the Blessed Virgin Mary - but we came back home in exactly the same state as before.
My early years were spent in suburban Boston, Massachusetts, but when I was fifteen my father's business relocated our family to Florida, so we all moved south. Leaving behind relatives and friends in whom I had found a sense of security was devastating to me, yet in God's providence it was to prove the best move of my life. Brought up in a city where Catholicism was a dominant factor, I had come to believe that anyone outside of that tradition was beyond salvation. Yet four months after moving to Fort Lauderdale, and when I was still home-sick for Boston, our next door neighbour invited my mother to a home Bible study. Although we had a large white family Bible in our home, it was hardly ever opened, and I was shocked when my mother accepted the invitation. There was another shock when she agreed to the Bible study leader's suggestion that her son, who was then a freshman at Florida Bible College, might come and talk about the Christian faith to my brother and me
That visit, and others which followed, had very different sequels. Bernie and I were so impressed by what John Tardonia told us about Jesus Christ as the one and only Saviour that we both gave intellectual assent to the gospel of grace and said a 'sinner's prayer'. In Bernie's case, this marked a dramatic change. He began to pray, study the Bible and go to church, and eventually enrolled in Bible College. Even more marked was a radical change in his lifestyle, which now seemed driven by a daily desire to please God.
In my case, the only change was for the worse. I had made some new friends whose lifestyle was rampantly self-centred and immoral, and I pitched in with them, determined not to let my disability keep me from enjoying life to the full. For the next twelve years gambling, heavy drinking, marijuana abuse, weekly visits to strip clubs and frequent engagements with call girls provided a means of escape from the pain, loneliness and emptiness I was experiencing.
Some years after Bernie and I went our separate ways, my younger brother Paul, who was a popular athlete in high school, joined me in the sex and drugs scene, until he went away to College on an athletic scholarship. During his first term, he got into so much trouble that he was on the verge of being expelled, yet when he came home for Christmas two months later there had been an amazing change. Like Bernie, he had become a committed Christian, and he was soon urging me to turn away from my dissolute lifestyle and get right with God. I knew in my heart that he was right, and even prayed with tears that God would change my life, but I loved what I was doing, and found myself unable to break my destructive habits.
At this point Bernie gave me a Bible, which I promised to read, but it sat unopened on a shelf for the next six months, while I went back to gambling, sex and drugs. Yet there was a difference. For the first time, I began to feel uncomfortable doing what had given me such undisturbed pleasure before. I kept remembering my conversations with Paul and my promise to Bernie that I would read the Bible. These nagging thoughts eventually became so strong that I took the Bible down and began to read it. I began at the first page, and in three months had read it right through - but by then I too had become a Christian. It was while I was reading the Sermon on the Mount that God opened my eyes to the truth about my sin, the inability of religion to deal with it, and the need to repent and trust in Jesus Christ as my own personal Saviour. As I did, I was given an assurance that my sins had been forgiven and that I had become a true child of God.
Like most new Christians, I found myself full of zeal. I wanted to be baptized, join a Bible-believing church, and do whatever I could to serve others. I remembered Jesus had said that he 'did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many' (Matthew 20:28) and that 'no servant is greater than his master' (John 13:16). Being bedridden, I was not sure that I could contribute anything to others, but by the grace of God I am able to be of energetic service in ways far beyond anything I had imagined.
In light of my physical condition, I am often asked the age-old question, 'How can an all-powerful God of love allow you to suffer in this way? Surely the Bible says that God always does what is right? Yes it does - and he does! I have come to see that suffering is one of the many ways in which God demonstrates his unfailing love to those who have come to put their trust in him. Writing out of his own painful experience, the Psalmist says, 'It was good for me to be afflicted, so that I might learn your decrees' (Psalm 119:71) - and I gladly endorse every word of that testimony.
Among other things, suffering empties us of pride and self-dependence, and makes us realize our complete dependence upon God. When we reach the point where we have nowhere to turn except to God, we begin to get a clearer view of who and what he is. Day by day, I am discovering more and more of his wisdom, love and grace. I am also finding that God's power is made perfect in my weakness, and that 'when I am weak, then I am strong' (2 Corinthians 12:10)
Jesus went through appalling suffering, physical, mental and spiritual, yet at the end of it all he was to 'see the light of life and be satisfied' (Isaiah 53:11). I count it a privilege to experience in some small way 'the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings' (Philippians 3:10) Although I am bedridden, struggle to breathe comfortably, and often have to contend with painful bed sores, I count them as 'light and momentary troubles' (2 Corinthians 4:17) For all the difficulties they cause, I know that they are achieving for me 'an eternal glory that far outweighs them all' (2 Corinthians 4:17) How trivial they will all seem in the light of the eternal bliss that awaits God's children in the world to come!
One of the psalmists wrote, Come and listen, all you who fear God; let me tell you what he has done for me' (Psalm 66:16) - and I gladly do so. He has turned my mourning into laughter and my desolation into joy. He has made my heart rejoice with 'an inexpressible and glorious joy' (1 Peter 1:8). When I struggled to escape from his grace, he drew me to himself. I bear witness that never servant had such a master as I have, never brother such a kinsman, never spouse such a husband. No sinner ever had a better Saviour than Jesus, no mourner a better comforter. I want none beside him. In life he is my life, and in death he shall be the death of death. In poverty, he is my riches, in sickness my health, in darkness my sun.
Jesus is to me all grace and no wrath, all truth and no falsehood: and of truth and grace he is full, infinitely full.