April 28th, 2020
God’s Wonderful Peace
Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid. John 14:27
The storm was raging. The sea was beating against the rocks in huge, dashing waves. The lightning was flashing, the thunder was roaring, the wind was blowing; but the little bird was sound asleep in the crevice of the rock, its head tucked serenely under its wing. That is God’s glorious peace: to be able to sleep in the storm!
Such is your peace, Christian! You always have reason for comfort and joy, peace is your rightful possession at all times. You may find yourself in the hour of tempest when the storm is raging it’s fullest or in the day of calm when the sun shines brightly. Come what will, the peace of God that passes all understanding will keep your heart and mind through Jesus Christ.
In Christ we are relaxed and at peace in the midst of the confusions, bewilderments, and perplexities of this life. The storm rages, but our hearts are at rest because He is the Master of all storms.
The Song "Wonderful Peace" written by Rev. Warren D. Cornell, a 19th century pastor illustrates wonderfully this truth. Many hymns come from personal tragedy. This hymn however comes from a time of happiness, reminding us that the same God who sends times of sorrow also sends times of joy. Rev. Cornell was so filled with joy after five days of camp meeting spent fellowshipping and eating with believers, testimonies, singing, and preaching, that the words flowed out of the overabundance of his soul.
Walking along meditating on the wonderful goodness & peace of God Rev. Cornell grabbed the back of an advertising flyer and penned these words:
Far away in the depths of my spirit tonight
Rolls a melody sweeter than psalm;
In celestial strains it unceasingly falls
O’er my soul like an infinite calm.
Peace, peace, wonderful peace,
Coming down from the Father above!
Sweep over my spirit forever, I pray
In fathomless billows of love!
Beloved, when the storm is around you, when you feel like giving in to the temptation or giving up altogether, remember God is your refuge and strength, a very present help in time of trouble. It is our God that is able to keep us from falling; it is our God that keeps us by His power; it is our God that fights and gloriously wins our battles. It is our God that will deliver us from this world and take us to our glorious eternal home that is reserved in the heavens for us.
The Christian rests serenely, peacefully, and joyfully in God’s great hand, knowing that He is able to keep that which you have given Him and that nothing will touch your life that He in His great love has not ordered. Then and only then, will you have “Peace, wonderful, God-given glorious peace.”
Keep your mind and heart stayed upon Him!
Peace is not the absence of conflict from life,
but the ability, thru God, to conquer it.
April 27th, 2020
Fueled by Prayer
The great evangelist Gypsy Smith was once asked how to start a revival. He replied, “Go home, lock yourself in your room, kneel down in the middle of the floor, draw a chalk mark around yourself and pray earnestly to God to start revival inside that chalk mark, the revival will be on.
Prayer is the KEY to a revival within a life.
Prayer is the KEY to revival within a marriage
Prayer is the KEY to the revival of a church
Prayer is the KEY to the revival of a nation
Prayer is not a means where we can have every whim of our hearts satisfied. Prayer is a means where we offer ourselves to God, as a blank canvas might be offered to the master artist. Prayer to God is like a child’s conversation with his father. It is natural for a child to ask his father for the things he needs.
When we pray, we let God know exactly where we stand and what we would like to see happen. In our prayers, we must admit that God is greater than we are and ultimately knows what is best in any given situation In prayer, we say, essentially, “Not my will, but your will be done.”
The key to answered prayer is praying according to the will of God and in accordance with His Word. Prayer is not seeking our own will but seeking to align ourselves with the will of God more fully. 1 John 5:14–15 emphatically states, "And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us: And if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him."
Prayer is coming to God:
There are many promises in God’s Word to encourage us to pray, such as:
Psalm 91:15 He shall call upon me, & I will answer him: I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him, & honour him.
Isaiah 65:24 And it shall come to pass, that before they call, I will answer; and while they are yet speaking, I will hear.
Matthew 7:7 Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you:
Do you want to see Revival – PRAY!!
Do you want to see God’s movement - PRAY!!
Do you want to see God's power in you - PRAY!!
Do you want to see God’s victory in others – PRAY!!
When we make petitions to God, we let God know exactly where we stand and what we would like to see happen. In our prayers, we must admit that God is greater than we are and ultimately knows what is best in any given situation. God is good and asks us to trust Him. In prayer, we say, “Not my will, but your will be done.” The key to answered prayer is praying according to the will of God and in accordance with His Word. Prayer is not seeking our own will but seeking to align ourselves with the will of God more fully
Without prayer, nothing can be accomplished in time or eternity.
With prayer all things are possible.
April 27th, 2020
April 25th, 2020
An Eternal Investment
“Children are an heritage of the Lord" -Psalm 127:3
"Train them up in the way they should go…" -Proverbs 22:5
There was a knock at the front door. The missionary to Kenya arose excitedly and made his way across his tiny cabin to answer it. Through the screen he could see the very dark face of his first houseguest. He pushed the door open and smiled at the man to help ease his apprehension. During their conversation, the missionary noticed the man eyeing, with particular interest, his recorder. “What does it do?” the man asked.
The missionary answered, “It’s a wonderful machine. I can talk to it and it remembers what I say. What’s better, I can say very important things into the recorder, and long after I am dead, others can still hear what I have said.” The man did not seem impressed, which confused the missionary.
“Have you seen anything quite like this?” the missionary interjected.
“Yes,” the man replied, ”we have many of these in our village.”
The missionary was really puzzled. He knew this type of technology did not exist in this culture. He probed, “What do your people call these machines?”
The man shook his head. “They’re not machines. They’re our children. What we say to them remains in their hearts for the rest of their lives. When we die, anyone can look at our children and understand all that we said and did while we were alive.”
The missionary nodded and smiled, realizing how true were the words of this simple man.
What a wonderful opportunity the Lord has given to each of us in the ability to invest eternal qualities into our children and those who are nearest to us. Qualities that will reap eternal reward. Be diligent in spending quality time, God-honoring time with them. 1 Corinthians 15:58 states that, "…your labour is not in vain in the Lord."
Now is the time to love. Tomorrow the baby won't be rocked, the toddler won't be asking why, the schoolboy won't need help with his lesson, nor will he bring his school friends home for some fun. Tomorrow the teenager will have made his major decision. Love today. Spend time today. Invest today for results tomorrow.
Walk in wisdom toward them…redeeming the time. - Colossians 4:5
Rearing kids is like holding a wet bar of soap--too firm a grasp and it shoots from your hand,
too loose a grasp and it slides away. A gentle but firm grasp keeps it in your control.
April 24th, 2020
Lovingly Hugged by God
"Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness." - Isaiah 41:10
The news was devastating. Still groggy from surgery, her husband David held her hand as they braced themselves. That afternoon of March 10, 1995, complications had forced Diana, only 24-weeks pregnant, to undergo an emergency cesarean to deliver the couple’s new daughter, Danae Lu. At 12 inches long and weighing only one pound and nine ounces, she was perilously premature.
David and Diana, numb with disbelief, listened as the doctor described the problems Danae would likely face if she survived. She would never walk, never talk, she would probably be blind, and would be prone to other catastrophic conditions from cerebral palsy to complete mental retardation.
No, was all Diana could say. They had dreamed of the day they would have a daughter. Now that dream was slipping away. Through the dark hours of morning Diana slipped in and out of sleep, growing more and more determined that their tiny daughter would live - and live to be a healthy, happy young girl.
As if willed by Diana's determination, Danae clung to life. Beneath the ultraviolet light in the tangle of tubes and wires, all Diane and David could do was pray that God would stay close to their precious little girl.
When Danae turned 2 months old, her parents were able to hold her in their arms for the first time. Two months later–as doctors continued to grimly warn that her chances of surviving were next to zero, Danae went home.
Today, eight years later, Danae is a petite but feisty young girl with glittering gray eyes and an unquenchable zest for life. She shows no signs, whatsoever, of any mental or physical impairment. Simply, she is everything a little girl can be and more - but that happy ending is far from the end of her story! One blistering afternoon in the summer of 2002, Danae was sitting in her mother's lap in the bleachers of a local ballpark. As always, Danae was chattering non-stop with her mother and several other adults sitting nearby when she suddenly fell silent.
Hugging her arms across her chest, Danae asked, “Do you smell that?” Smelling the air and detecting the approach of a thunderstorm, Diana replied, “Yes, it smells like rain”. Danae shook her head, and loudly announced, “No mama, it smells like Him. It smells like God, when you lay your head on His chest.” Tears blurred Diana's eyes as Danae then happily hopped down to play with the other children.
Danae words confirmed what Diana had known all along. During those long days and nights of the first two months of Danae’s life, God was gently and lovingly holding Danae on His chest.
Always remember, there's no storm that God won't carry you through. No problem in life that he will not solve. No bridge that God won't help you cross. No heartache that He won't help you overcome. No battle that God won't help you win. No person that He will not save. He is bigger than anything and everything you will face today. Trust Him and rejoice in this day because it is a day he has made. Because of His loving embrace we can.
In the darkest of trials, God’s powerful embrace protects his children.
No matter the situation, we are safe in His loving arms.
April 22nd, 2020
Safe in the Arms of Jesus
A new dad met with me this week and jubilantly displayed the pictures of a recent addition to his small family-a beautiful baby boy. He was beaming with happiness as he told me about all the wonderful things his son did the day before. You would have thought the entire world revolved around this little boy and I guess to him it did.
His excitement and happiness reminded me of what our attitude should be concerning our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Should there not be a beautiful smile on our faces, no matter the circumstances, simply because we are forgiven? Shouldn’t we tell everyone we meet about him, because of His wonderful saving power? Shouldn’t there be a Holy difference in us, due to the Biblical fact He is a constant companion and promised never to leave or forsake us.
The Christian life is not one of drudgery and sadness; on the contrary, it is one of jubilation and expectation. Today, if the problems of this life have hidden your smile and stolen your joy-close your eyes, remember who you are, whose you are, and say this from your heart:
“Jesus loves me and He is in control of everything in my life.”
“Everything that touches my home and family will work to my good.”
“His protecting hand is lovingly upon me and upon those whom I love”
"He has marvelously promised never to leave me nor forsake me"
Beloved, never forget that God loves you with an all protecting, all encompassing love; and that love will never diminish – Praise His wonderful name
“Our safety comes in our nearness to God, not in our distance from our enemies”
"The name of the Lord is a strong tower: the righteous runneth into it, and are safe." Proverbs 30:5
Verses for Daily Devotional:
Eph 6:11, Ps 32:7, Ps 46:1, Heb 13:6, Deut 31:6, Is 54:17, Ps 18:35-36, Ps 16:1, Ex 14:14, Ps 118:6, Phil 4:13, Ps 119:114, Ps 18:30, Pro 4:23, Ps 59:16, Ps 16:8, Ps 3:3, Rom 8:31, Ps 118:8, Pro 30:5, Pro 18:10, Ps 34:22
April 20th, 2020
“Lord, Teach Us to Pray"
(Luke 11:1-12; 22:39-42)
A surprising number of Christians never do develop a healthy prayer life. Prayer is often reduced to little more than a polite formality before meals or a hasty word at the end of the day. This is quite a contrast to Christ. His was a life of prayer. Because of this, His disciples asked Him to teach them to pray. In Jesus’ response we can learn at least two things about prayer.
Prayer Requires Effort. According to Jesus, it is when prayer is persistent that it is effective. In this humorous story of a man pounding on his neighbor’s door at midnight, Jesus presents prayer as a profound, persistent exercise (vv. 5-8). True prayer can be an agonizing work experience because it pulls out of one’s soul the great resources we have and attaches them to the even greater resources of God. Meaningful prayer expects things of the one praying as well as anticipating things from God.
Prayer Requires Faith. Effective prayer requires faith that there is Someone listening. I’m afraid that some people, even some Christians, do not pray because they really do not believe anyone is listening. They see God as distant and unconcerned with what is going on in the lives of individual people. The Bible presents a different picture of God. He is portrayed as responsive and most interested in what we have to say. In comparing the Heavenly Father to their earthly fathers, Jesus asks his disciples, “If you know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him?”
There is no limit to what God can do to an individual Christian or to a church who will exercise this form of disciplined, believing, and persistent prayer. Jesus said, “My house shall be called a house of prayer.” When it is, it will be a house of power.
Dwight Moody once said,
“Every great movement of God can be traced to a kneeling figure.”
April 18th, 2020
Becoming our Best for Christ!
Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,  Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.
This is one of the great stirring passages of the Bible, with it the writer has attempted to inspire those who know the Lord Jesus to strive to reach their highest potential for the glorious cause of Christ.
How can this greatness be accomplished?
1. Recognizing the “Together” factor. The writer used “we”, “us”, and “our” on purpose. A rope with many strands is not easily broken and Christian friends pulling together are not easily defeated. We must consistently seek out ways to connect with our church family and friends.
2. Remembering the Example of Christ. For the goal set before Him, He endured all things. If Jesus could endure like that, with His presence so can we.
3. Realizing the Potential of Our Lives. To greatly encourage those around us; to allow Christ to complete and prefect our faith; to finish the tasks and purposes of our life; to ultimately stand with Christ and hear His “Well done, thou good and faith servant”.
The songwriters truly stated, “It will be worth it all after while"…"What a day that will be when my Jesus I shall see..."
April 17th, 2020
“Press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus” - Philippians 3:14
Paul in this verse is referring to the Olympics of his day and specifically to the chariot race. During the race the chariot driver stood on a small platform, above the turning wheels, with little or nothing to hold onto. He had to lean forward and strain every muscle and nerve to maintain balance and control the horses. The statement “press toward” literally means, “stretching as in a race”.
This is exactly what the Christian does when he “fights the good fight of faith” or "runs with patience the race set before him”. He is continually stretching himself, reaching forward, strengthening, until the prize is obtained. In Philippians 3:13 Paul gives three steps on how to reach this prize and become “Victorious Christians”.
May this trying time find us conforming to the image of our God as we forget the past, trust God with the present, and reach forward to our future life in Christ Jesus.
April 14th, 2020
Choosing to Serve
But it shall not be so among you: but whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister; Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.
Jesus knew how to do it well.
Tired and hungry, yet he rose to give the Samaritan woman the eternal living water. While overburdened with multiple needs, he drew the children to Him as He rebuked the disciples for turning them away. On the cross and in excruciating pain, yet asking John to take care of His mother, assuring the dying thief that He would be with Him in paradise, and securing eternal life to all that would believe.
Jesus clearly chose to unselfishly serve and that servitude was revealed in every facet of His life. To His enemies, He gave forgiveness; to the wayward disciples, he fixed a meal; to you and I who are the heirs of salvation, he minutely gives the benefits of His mercy and grace.
Choose to make a difference.
A little boy lived by the sea shore, and every day he would go to the shore to pick up star fish and put them back in the Ocean. Then one day they had a Hurricane which washed up thousands of star fish. So the little boy went out there and started picking them up one at a time and putting them back in the Ocean. There was a man who was watching him. Finally the man said to the boy, "Why do you pick the star fish up? There are so many of them you can’t make a difference". Then the little boy picked up one star fish and looked at the man and said, "to this one I can make a difference, then he picked up another one and said to this one I can make a difference".
Can we be any different toward those around us, even to those that may be our enemies? Can we hold unforgiveness in our hearts? Can we remain isolated from the needs of others? Choose to serve! Choose to make a difference!
Nobody is useless that has touched the life of another. Begin today!
Pastor Rudy Oakes