July 28th, 2020
“The Wonderful Power of Prayer”
"Be careful for nothing; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:7
Christians need help! “The righteous cry, and the Lord heareth, and delivereth them out of all their troubles” (Ps. 34:17 ) Christians need help every day, in overcoming the weaknesses of the flesh, in facing and conquering the temptations of life and in meeting the needs of our loved ones. We often face problems beyond our wisdom and knowledge to handle.
“But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.” Is. 40:31
Christians Have Help! All you need, he will supply. Remember you are His child and He has promised to supply your every need according to His riches in heaven. We need submission to God and His plan. Pray! We need strength to fight sin, Satan and self. Pray! We need our lost loved ones saved. Pray! All believers should pray. Prayer will change you and prayer will change those around you.
Prayer is Central to Winning the Lost. The measure with which we pray will determine the measure of winning our unsaved loved ones to Christ. Prayer means warfare and every time we pray we possess more of the enemy’s ground. Prayer will make a difference in time and eternity. Just do it!
"Nothing lies beyond the reach of Prayer, except that which lies outside the will of God.”
James 4:2 says, "Ye have not, because ye ask not." God expects us to ask!
July 24th, 2020
"Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus." Philippians 3:14
Paul in these verses 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 verse 13 Paul gives three steps on how to reach this prize and become “Winning Christians”.
May each new day find us conforming to the image of our God as we forget the past, rejoice in the present and reach forward to our future life in Christ Jesus.
July 20th, 2020
The Peace Child
"In 1962, the Sawi people of New Guinea still lived in relative isolation. They were head-hunting cannibals. Missionaries Don and Carol Richardson, strove to become an incarnate presence among the Sawi. In fact, three Sawi tribes, fascinated by the Richardsons, moved their villages right around their jungle home. After a trying period of learning the language, Don Richardson finally climbed the ladder into the Sawi man-house. Surrounded by the skulls of the victims they had cannibalized, he began to share the gospel with them. He began by telling them about the Jews, the promised Messiah, and the sacrificial Lamb of Judah. The Sawi were bored.
"Don became frustrated by his inability to communicate and find a point of contact. He was also discouraged by the 14 civil wars he had already counted right outside his front door now that the two rival Sawi tribes lived side by side. Such fear and frustration finally led the Richardsons to plan to leave. However, the Sawi response surprised them: 'If you'll stay, we'll make peace in the morning.'
"The next morning the Richardson's awoke to see the most amazing ritual, the most passionate ceremony they had ever witnessed. The two tribes were lined up outside their house, on either side of the clearing. An air of tension floated between the two tribes. On the one side, people milled about waiting anxiously. Finally, one man standing there dashed into his hut while his wife was looking away. He grabbed his newborn baby, took the child in his arms, and ran across the meadow. His expression betrayed absolute agony. His wife ran after him, screaming and begging him to give the baby back to her. When she couldn't catch him, she fell to her knees in the mud, moaning for her baby.
"Her husband ran over to the other tribe and presented the baby to them. 'Plead the peace child for me. I give you my son, and I give you my name,' he said. Shortly, someone from that tribe performed the same agonizing sacrifice with the same intensity and passion. Richardson found out later that as long as those peace children remained alive, the two tribes were bound to each other. They were bound not to war but to peace for the lifetimes of those children. If the children died, then literally cival war would break loose.
"While this amazing scene unfolded before him, Don suddenly realized that this was the point of contact, the redemptive analogy. When he climbed the next time into the Sawi man-house, still surrounded by skulls, he told the elders of the perfect Peace Child, given by God to mankind. They sat riveted on his every word. That very day some of the Sawi became Christians. This continued until one day, hundreds of Sawi from every tribe (tribes that had warred and cannibalized each other for many years) gathered together for a feast for the first time.
"A Sawi preacher stood up and read in his own language what few people in the history of the world have ever understood so clearly: 'Unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given, and the government shall be upon His shoulders, and He shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace' (Isaiah 9:6). It was the best day the Sawi had ever known.
A beautiful story that wonderfully illustrates Christ's redemption to you and I.. Jesus Christ was born as man to partake in our pain and suffering; He suffered and died to pay for our sins and He gloriously arose from the grave and is seated in the heavenlies, interceding for us and awaiting the time of our transformation and resurrection.
Many things in this upside down world distracts us and tries to distance us from this life-changing message. The pandemic, rioting, political upheaval, world unrest, uncertainty, and fear, to name a few, have brought us to to the point we have forgotten we have already won the war. Realizing that we are, now, more than overcomers, and been gloriously made to sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus leads us to refocus and relaunch our vision. We are commanded by our Lord and Savior to "look to Him" and fight this good fight of faith.
Beloved, He is soon coming…let's continue to tell the truth of salvation by grace through faith and build the kingdom through His power, provision and promises. One day we will hear Him say "Welcome Home!"
And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death. Revelation 12:11
July 09th, 2020
Perseverance, Patience, Purity and Perfection
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. Hebrews 12:1-2
This is one of the great moving passages of the Bible, with it the writer has attempted to inspire those who know the Lord Jesus to extraordinary greatness. The secret to this greatness is found in the phrase, "looking unto Jesus". Look at these men and women of faith, yes, but then look away on Jesus. Why? Because he is the author and finisher of our faith. He can begin it and he can complete it. He, as the perfect one, is the perfecter of our faith. He himself patiently ran the race as laid aside every weight, every tie of family and friends. He walked on in patient perseverance, trusting the Father to work everything out for him. He set the example and we can surely follow.
Contained in these few verses is the Christian's manifesto to greatness,
1. We have the Call to Purity. Every Christian has been called to a life of purity and holiness by daily laying aside
the burdens and sins that we carry. Patiently becoming more and more like Christ.
2. We have the Constraining Purpose. There is a race set before us that has been chosen and ordained by
God. Our life is filled with purpose and direction not chance or accident.
3. We have the Continuing Promise. Jesus is the power of our faith. He is the goal of our journey and the
companion of our way. He is at once the one in who we go to meet and the one with whom we travel. The child
of God can take great comfort in knowing that He is a constant and caring companion in our life's journey.
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 and church family pulling together are not easily defeated.
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 and promised provision, 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…", and
"for soon and very soon we are going to see the king."
Enjoy the Journey!
July 07th, 2020
“The Wonderful Power of Prayer”
“Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6,7
Christians need help! Psalm 34:17 wonderfully states, “The righteous cry, and the Lord heareth, and delivereth them out of all their troubles” Christians need help every day, in overcoming the weaknesses of the flesh, in facing and conquering the temptations of life and in meeting the needs of our loved ones. In this ever-changing world we often face problems beyond our wisdom and knowledge to handle. Prayer is earthly permission for unbridled heavenly intervention into a believer's life.
“But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.” Is. 40:31
Christians Have Help! All you need, he will supply. Remember you are His child and He has promised to supply your every need according to His riches in heaven. We need submission to God and His plan. Pray! We need strength to fight sin, Satan and self. Pray! Our great nation is at a crossroads. One way leads to life and morality; the other to death and immorality. Pray! We need our lost loved ones saved. All believers should have, scheduled, and secluded seasons of fervent prayer. Prayer will change you and prayer will change those around you.
“Nothing lies beyond the reach of Prayer except that which lies outside the will of God.”
July 03rd, 2020
God and You
To every thing there is a season, & a time to every purpose under the heaven. Eccl 3:1
I know the objection- Who has time? Time to do the important things, the right things, the eternal things- It’s a common complaint and a valid one. What I’ve discovered is that the people who consistently have time alone with God are the people who have the energy and perspective to stay on top of their hectic “outer” lives. This comes from the inner peace and joy that the constant, consistent presence of God brings.
For our life to be geared toward heaven there must be daily periods of stillness and solitude with God. I urge each of us to do whatever is necessary to have these times of nurture with God, otherwise the enemy will wear us so thin that we will be unable to withstand him.
Don’t have quite times of prayer and meditation when you feel like it. Have an appointment with the Lord and keep it. A believer is powerless without it.
"Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him." Psalm 37:7
Isaiah 40:1-3; Deut 6:4-9; Ps 42:1-3; Matt 22:37,39; Ps 139:8
July 02nd, 2020
Running to Win!
I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing. 2 Timothy 4:7-8
S. D. Gordon wrote a book entitled Quiet Talks with World Winners. In it, he tells the story of a group of people who were preparing to ascend Mount Blanc in the Swiss Alps. The guides explained that because of the extreme difficulty of the climb, each person should take only necessary climbing equipment, leaving behind all personal accessories.
A young American ignored the advice and brought extra items, but on the way to the summit, he left them behind, one at a time. Finally, when he had reached the top, he had jettisoned everything except the essential equipment.
S. D. Gordon made this application to the Christian life: “Many of us, when we find we can’t make it to the top with our loads, let the top go, and pitch our tents in the plain, and settle down with our small plans and accessories. The plain seems to be quite full of tents”. The question we must all ask ourselves is, Are my personal accessories preventing me from fulfilling the mission God has given me?
The accessories S.D. Gordon is referring to is anything in our life that hinders us from reaching our potential for Christ. Pay close attention to what you’re believing, what you're doing and where you're going. Heavy, cumbersome accessories weigh down your heart, entangle your feet, distract your attention, and deplete your energy. They will empty you of your strength and distract you on your journey. You must identify what they are and resolve to do whatever it takes to lay them aside. Consider these three exercises as you run to win.
You should focus yourself purposely. Though all Christians share similarities in their earthly walk, the Lord places each of us on a unique path. Not everyone’s "accessories" are the same. Remember the admonition of Romans 14:23, “whatsoever that is not of faith is sin.” Things that may greatly hinder you may not bother your Christian friend. According to Romans 12:3, God has assigned to each of us the measure of faith we need for our respective life. So be careful comparing. You’re responsible for your race. Ephesians 5:17 urges us to “understand what the will of the Lord is”, be content, and focus hard on how to win it.
You should discipline yourself tirelessly. The athlete is trained by constant practice to discern how best to win in their run for excellence. Laying aside these hindering accessories isn’t a one-time thing. It’s a skill acquired through constant practice. Don’t be discouraged that you haven’t reached your goal yet. It is a marathon and not a hundred yard dash. Don’t give up. Keep at it. Do it again. And again. And again. By perseverance even the snail reached the ark.
You should seek godly counsel courageously. Even the most skilled athletes need instruction. Those instructions are very seldom easy to follow. However, we aren’t always the best judge at identifying our own faults and hindrances. Thankfully, God will provide you with coaches if you ask (they’re already there in your church).
There comes a point when you realize that you’re not going to win the race you’re in if you don’t drop the weights. Be purposeful in your focus, disciplined in your training, and tireless in seeking godly counsel. Remember in order to reach the summit you have to lose the accessories.
Enjoy your climb, the view at the top will amaze you!
"…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" Hebrews 12:1
A Prayer for a Courageous Walk
Lord Jesus, Son of God, How rich is your mercy toward me! How amazing your grace!
In times when I turn my back on You, You relentlessly reach out to me.
So much love, Lord Jesus. It is hard to take it all in.
You loved me unconditionally when You broke the bread and offered the cup of forgiveness.
Thank You, Jesus, Son of God.
Give me the courage to follow You - selflessly, unconditionally.
Always emptying myself of those things that hinder my climb… Amen
June 27th, 2020
Loving like Jesus
I thank my God upon every remembrance of you, - Phil 1:3
Note how constantly love thinks of those loved. “I thank my God upon every remembrance of you”. Paul could not measure the love that he felt for the Philippian Christians. When a mother and father go away from home for a vacation and leave a child behind, can you imagine their not thinking of their child, not wondering how their child is getting on? When a husband must go on a trip an leave his wife, if he loves her, he thinks of her often. If you have a loved one in the hospital, you think of that one all the time.
Do you, in the fellowship of your church, think like that of one another? “I think my God upon every remembrance of you.” How constantly and how intimately love thinks of those loved. Paul says, “I have you in my heart.” Everywhere I go, I carry you around with me, as I think of you, your needs, your successes, and your work. What a wonderful love was this!
What a difference this kind of warmth and fellowship makes in the church today. “I think my God upon every remembrance of you.” What warmth of affection and love there was in this wonderful group-between Paul and themselves and between themselves and Paul. Such a love should characterize the fellowship we have of one another.
In the second century, Aristides described Christians to the Emperor Hadria in the following manner: "They love one another. They never fail to help widows; they save orphans from those who would hurt them. If they have something they give freely to the man who has nothing; if they see a stranger, they take him home, and are happy, as though he were a real brother. They don't consider themselves brothers in the usual sense, but brothers instead through the Spirit, in God."
It was said of Jesus, "…having loved his own which were in the world, he loved them unto the end." John 13:1
Some Truths for Living…
At one time William Booth, founder of the Salvation Army, wanted to send a message to his fellow workers around the world. A long cablegram would have cost too much money, so he sent only one word. It was "OTHERS "!
A writer for a great newspaper once visited India. While there he met a missionary nurse who lived among the lepers and ministered to their needs. He noticed how tender and loving she was to those poor souls. Looking at her in amazement, the reporter commented, 'I wouldn't wash their wounds for a million dollars!' 'Neither would I,' said the Christian worker, 'but I gladly do it for my Savior. The only reward I'm looking for is His smile of approval!'"
A little fellow had been sent to his room because he had misbehaved. A short time later he came out and said to his mother, "I've been thinking about what I did and I said a prayer." "That's fine," she said, "if you ask God to make you good, He will help you." "Oh, I didn't ask Him to help me be good," replied the boy, "I asked Him to help you put up with me.
June 23rd, 2020
Building for Eternity
For which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it? Luke 14:28
Our Lord refers not to a cost we have to count, but to a cost which He has counted. The cost was those thirty years in Nazareth, those three years of popularity, scandal and hatred; the deep unfathomable agony in Gethsemane, the onslaught at Calvary and the glorious resurrection— the pivot upon which the whole of Time and Eternity turns.
Jesus Christ has counted the cost. Men are not going to laugh at Him at last and say—“This man began to build, and was not able to finish.” Those passionate, consuming words at Calvary "It is Finished" describes the payment, in full, for all sin and clinches the victory for those who believe for all eternity.
The conditions of true discipleship laid down by Our Lord in Luke 14:26, 27 and 33 mean that the men and women He is going to use in the mighty building of His kingdom are those in whom He has done everything. “If any man come to Me, and hate not . . . , he cannot be My disciple.” Our Lord implies that only the men and women He can and will fully use in His eternal endeavor are those who love Him personally, passionately and devotedly beyond any of the closest ties on earth. The conditions are stern, but they are glorious.
All that we build is going to be inspected by God. Is God going to detect in His searching fire that we have built on the foundation of Jesus some enterprise of our own? These are days of tremendous needs and opportunities, days when we are facing ever mounting obstacles in trying to work for God, and therein is the snare.
Profoundly speaking, we can never, in ourselves, work for God. Jesus must be given the permission by each of us to indwell our lives with His own. His building plans for you and me are entirely out of our reach and only through Him can we reach our potential and accomplish the wonderful plans He has for us. No soul has any right to claim where he shall be put but utterly trust and depend on Him who knows all. To override His glorious plans with our own will thwart the plan of God for each of us and cost us much sorrow and regret.
Those who have understood this, and echoed the chorus," I'll go where you want me to go; I'll do what you want me to do; I'll be what you want me to be;" are the ones that will experience the sweetness and glory of almighty God. Join with me in truly, fully, declaring Jesus Christ as "Lord" of your life and truly experience the wonder and glory of God.
If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife,
and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be
my disciple. And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple.
June 22nd, 2020
Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations: That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise & honour & glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ 1 Peter 1:6-7
The Christian often asks why. Why did God allow Adam and Eve to be exposed to sin? Why does he let the devil go on about his business? Why are some poor while others are rich? Why do some suffer and others do not? Why do I still struggle with this weakness? Why are some so sure of their salvation while others are plagued with doubts?
Some of these answers we have, but we do not have them all.
Jesus, on the cross and dying amidst the noise and ridicule of the mob, asked a question, “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” He was not answered while on the cross. Of course God forsook Jesus in order that He could die for us, that we might obtain forgiveness of sin and receive eternal life.
Just as then, many of our questions will never be answered in this life. Not until “then” shall be have the whole answer-when we look into the face of Him who has all the answers to all the questions we have ever asked. Then we will be given full knowledge far beyond what we have now, and then we shall understand why things are as they are.
Often it seems like a long time between “now” and “then” but weeping endures only for a night. Joy comes in the morning. So, if we must, let us live and die without the answers, knowing that one day He will fully unveil the “why” we could not understand here.
Remember-Jesus has no unanswered questions now and when He returns to us-AND HE WILL-we shall be like Him; and know all the painful questions of today.
Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct thy paths. Proverbs 3:5-6
God knows, not I, the reason why
His winds of storm drive through my door;
I am content to live or die
Just knowing this, nor knowing more.
My Father's hand appointing me
My days and ways, so I am free.
Pastor Rudy Oakes