The Voyager: Encouragement for Life's Journey
Below you will find articles from our Church's leadership meant to encourage you and give you insight into questions about life, faith, and God.
“If you have raced with men on foot and they have wearied you, how will you compete with horses?” Jeremiah 12:5a
God is the biggest visionary of all. He envisions the minutest details of your life and how they fit with his grand vision of all creation restored to its original purpose. He is orchestrating those details and taking you on a journey of your complete restoration to the purpose for which you are created. On this journey you will continually be discovering who he created you to be.
There are a few things that God has taught me on my journey that have made me into the person I am today. He has taught me how to love well, how to trust him even when it hurts, and how to live from the place of knowing I am loved by Him. I have a lot more to learn, but I am so grateful for these lessons. Nothing I’ve done for the Lord has been as important as learning to become who he has created me to be, and that sense of being is what has allowed me to participate in his vision of loving people into their purpose.
It is my passion to help people rise above the impossibility of their situation into abundant life and the destiny that God has planned for them. Too often I’ve seen people, including myself, miss opportunities to realize more of their destiny. It is not the outside obstacles that trip us up, although it is easy to point to those things as the reason for our “can’t do” attitude. It is the inner issues of the heart; fear, self-pity, offense, pride, that so often way lay us and take us on a detour through the wilderness for 40 years when we could have gone right into the promised land. Another lesson I have learned on my journey is that the outward obstacles we come up against can be our scapegoat for why we can’t move into our purpose or they, through the grace of God, can serve to mold us into people of destiny. Destiny, at the end of the day, is not about what we do but about who we are becoming.
In Jeremiah 12 the prophet voices a complaint to the Lord. He asks, “Why does the way of the wicked prosper?” I’ve asked similar questions before. It usually goes something like this, “Why is this so hard? Am I doing it wrong? Is there a shortcut? Does this ever get easier?”
God’s answer to us is “I never said it would be easy, but will you trust me that it will be worth it?”
God, knowing that the process is difficult, will give us promises to hold onto during the journey. However, it is our choice whether we will embark on the journey he has called us to. During the journey, our mind is renewed so that we are able to carry the anointing and destiny God has for us. We begin to think like God thinks, recognize his will, and expel the lies we believe that keep us from carrying out his will. That is why I say destiny is more about who you are becoming than what you are doing. But it is not just in the process that we will be tested – even in the realization of our dreams we will continue to face challenges. That’s why we need the process. It’s the process of realizing destiny that develops the strength in us to steward our destiny. It never gets easy, but it is always worth it.
Article by Pastor Shawna Carpenter
“Then he said to the crowd, ‘If any of you wants to be my follower, you must give up your own way, take up your cross daily, and follow me.’” (Luke 9:23, NLT)
“And if you do not carry your own cross and follow me, you cannot be my disciple.”
(Luke 14:27, NLT)
As indicated in the title, this is Part 2 of a blog that I started on May 21, 2020. If you have not read Part 1, you can do so by using the following link:
God has been teaching me about the reality of what it means to carry my cross and follow Him. It is an ongoing journey of experiential learning, a journey in which the Holy Spirit is progressively applying the truth of the Bible to my daily life.
“For God called you to do good, even if it means suffering, just as Christ suffered for you. He is your example, and you must follow in his steps. He never sinned, nor ever deceived anyone. He did not retaliate when he was insulted, nor threaten revenge when he suffered. He left his case in the hands of God, who always judges fairly. He personally carried our sins in his body on the cross so that we can be dead to sin and live for what is right. By his wounds you are healed. Once you were like sheep who wandered away. But now you have turned to your Shepherd, the Guardian of your souls” (1 Peter 2:21–25, NLT).
As we learned in Part 1 of this blog, the example established by Jesus to which 1 Peter 2:21 refers is the reality of how He dealt with the offenses that others committed against Him. Jesus used those offenses as a context by which He made life available to others. Before the offenses occurred, Jesus purposed in His heart to be the means by which salvation was brought to all who acted offensively against Him, encompassing those who were culpable in the immediate situation as well as all of us who have insulted and dishonored Him by our sin. This is the example that God wants to enable us, by His Spirit, to follow.
How do we do this? What does this look like in the context of daily life?
Jesus purposed in His heart how He would handle the offenses before they occurred. For us to be channels of God’s purposes through the offenses we suffer, we must purpose in our hearts to be so before the offenses occur. If we are currently struggling with offense, we must choose how we are going to take the next step in effectively addressing the offense. We must make that decision before the next step is taken, not decide in the moment we are taking that step. This is done in the context of our personal time spent with Jesus, in the time we make to be alone with Him and allow the Holy Spirit to speak into our lives, progressively transforming us to practically reflect the character of Jesus. Our public actions are determined by the priority we place on our private pursuit of God.
It is in the place of private pursuit that we can reflect the same heart that David expressed . . .
“Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life.” (Psalm 139:23–24, NLT)
Repentant, specific surrender of all that is in us that offends God enables us to effectively handle the offenses of others. Death to our sin positions and authorizes us to deal with the sins of others according to God’s loving, eternal purposes.
“When he sees all that is accomplished by his anguish, he will be satisfied. And because of his experience, my righteous servant will make it possible for many to be counted righteous, for he will bear all their sins.” (Isaiah 53:11, NLT)
The above passage from Isaiah, which is a prophetic pronouncement concerning Jesus, also applies prophetically to us as we allow the Holy Spirit to express the life of Jesus through our repentantly surrendered lives.
Jesus uniquely bore all the sins of humanity, taking the punishment of our sins in our place. No one else could ever do that. No one else needs to do so. That work was exclusively and permanently completed by Him. However, when people act and speak offensively against us, we bear the impact of their sinful choices. We suffer the pain that their course of action produces.
We follow Jesus’ example when we choose to see each offense against us as an opportunity to reflect the character of Jesus to those who are offending us. In those strategic moments, the Person of Jesus can be exhibited through us, showing people by our example that He is real. In the place of personal pursuit, the Holy Spirit will enable us to respond to personal attacks with love, to insults with forgiveness, to disrespect with selfless patience, and to accusations with purposeful compassion. In doing so, we make it possible for others to see Jesus and to respond to the salvation that He offers to them. By seeing Him reflected through us, they can be drawn to Jesus and understand their need to know Him personally. As a result, they are attracted to the real life they see in us, to the freedom they wish they had.
Resounding through our lives, they will hear the Holy Spirit inviting them to trust in what Jesus did for them as the only way by which they are made right with God. As we respond to the experience of offense by following Jesus’ example, we will join God in making it possible for others to be counted as righteous before Him. This is the reality of Isaiah 53:11 being prophetically expressed through us.
God is calling us to see every offense we feel as a strategic, God-given opportunity to be coworkers with God in the fulfillment of His purposes in the lives of others. When we feel offense, we must see opportunity. That perspective is developed in the context of the private pursuit of God.
Get alone with God and allow the Holy Spirit to search your heart. As He illuminates your attitudes and motivations, repent of all that is contrary to Jesus’ character. God will empower you to walk in freedom over offense as you join Him in using the offenses you feel to bring His life to others.
Article by Pastor Jeff Pfingston
Don't ever give up in praying for your family!
I have a grandson who has been having a problem giving up drugs. He spent some time in jail and while there, accepted Jesus as his Savior and was baptized! He was fanatically saved and as soon as he was able to, they moved him to a Christian rehab house.
He moved forward in the Lord but as temptations arose he gave in and had to go back to jail to finish this time. After he got out again, he struggled with temptations and moved away from the Lord. God is faithful and caused his insurance company to move him to a rehab in Florida near his dad. He is now back walking with the Lord and doing great. They're moving him forward in the program at a fast pace. When he leaves there, his plans are to live with his dad and make his home in Florida.
This is an answer to a prayer to get him away from the influences in the state where he was. I believe that God has great plans to use this young man in His kingdom work. Don't give up in praying for your families! It's in God's timing that your prayers will be answered.
"He sent his word and healed them" (Psalms 107:20).
There is no distance in prayer!
One morning I came into the church office and the telephone rang. One the other end of the phone was a person needing prayer. I'm so glad there are no boundaries with God. To my knowledge this person has not been to our church building and we have never met face to face.....but we have the same heavenly father. This person needed a physical healing in their back.
There were two of us in the office and we agreed with this person in prayer for healing. After a few moments of praise and prayer this person was healed of the pain in their back. To God be all the glory!
A few months ago in Children's Church, an 8 year old girl kept coughing and complained about her cold. Keith Mullican, our children's ministry leader, wrote out I Peter 2:23 on a white sheet of copy paper and gave it to her. He told her that she WAS healed because Jesus already paid the price for her healing. The next day, she went to the doctor and was fine. She was in church recently, and pulled a piece of paper out of her backpack. It had been folded crookedly and kept in a safe pocket. Mr. Keith asked her what it was, and she opened it up to show him the verse he had written out months ago. She said every time she starts to feel bad, she reads it again. God healed her with his word!
Around May, Mr. Keith had a really bad pain in his back, and God prompted him to have another little girl lay hands on his back and pray for him. She said she did not know how. So he showed her and prayed with her repeating what he said. His pain went away slowly over the next 24 hours. Then a few weeks later, a 6 year old boy told Mr. Keith that his back was hurting. He called the girl who had learned how to pray and had her lay hands on his back and pray for healing. In a few minutes, Mr. Keith asked how his back felt now. He answered with wide eyes, "Is that magic?" We explained that God is not magic, but healing is almost like that to our minds. Praise God for healing and using our children in ways they did not think possible!
"'Bring all the tithes into the storehouse so there will be enough food in my Temple. If you do,' says the Lord of Heaven's Armies, 'I will open the windows of heaven for you. I will pour out a blessing so great you won't have enough room to take it in! Try it! Put me to the test!'" Malachi 3:10
We started tithing out of obedience giving 10% of our income. God began to bless and as our relationship grew with Him, we started giving more out of love! (not of duty).
In 2004 we started a business. There were two ladies in our local fellowship that prayed everyday for our business to grow. As our business grew we decided to "try God" in our giving. As we doubled our giving, God began to bless more and more. God gave the increase. The more we gave to God the more he blessed us and gave to us.
God gave protection, healing and provision. He met our every need.We know by experience that you can never outgive God!
Try Him and See. He is a loving God and always faithful to His Word.
Pastor Herrill & Dorothy Herring
Pastor of Senior Ministries
IfWhen I was a kid I spent hours and hours in the cornfields and woods behind our house. I had forts and hiding places. I knew where to find berries, and good climbing trees and where to cross the river (also known as the irrigation ditch). There is something about discovery and exploration that is written in our bones. When we are caught up in discovering our Father it is easy to take the perspective of a novice – I’m having too much fun exploring Him and his Kingdom to worry about being an expert!
If you’ve stopped discovering it’s because you’ve stopped exploring. If you’ve stopped exploring then you’ve stopped growing, taking risks, and finding treasure.
If you’ve stopped exploring it may be because you think you’ve figured it all out – discovered everything there is to be discovered. Maybe you’re even offended with people who claim to be exploring where you’ve never been. “That’s not on the map!” or as we frequently hear “That’s not in the Bible!” Are you sure? Maybe you just don’t see it because you’re not looking with exploration in mind – only to defend the territory you’re familiar with.
Several times in the Gospels Jesus uses parables to describe what the Kingdom of God is like. In Matthew 13:31-33 the Kingdom is a mustard seed that starts small yet grows big and leaven that works through the whole batch of dough. The Kingdom of God is always increasing (Isaiah 9:7) and the knowledge of his glory is filling the earth (Habakkuk 2:14), giving us more and more territory to explore!
In Matthew 13:44 the Kingdom is a treasure hidden in a field and the man who finds it sells everything so that he can buy the field. Have you ever wondered what he was doing in someone else’s field? Maybe the same thing I was doing as a kid. Exploring!
There is something about the Kingdom that compels us to move, to grow, to risk and discover. If we just hunker down with our one talent until Jesus comes back we are missing it! In Luke 19 Jesus tells a version of the parable of the talents in which the servant’s reward for stewarding and increasing his investment is to be given cities to rule. That’s our role in the Kingdom! To rule and reign with Christ!
“For if, because of one man's trespass, death reigned through that one man, much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man Jesus Christ” (Romans 5:17).
“You have made them a kingdom and priests to our God, and they shall reign on the earth” (Revelation 5:10).
This verse in Revelation 5:10 is interesting because it shows us the tension between the past action of having been made a kingdom (in the Greek it actually says that we have been made kings) and the future tense that says we “shall” reign on the earth. I know that some teachers like to put the entirety of this verse in the millennium. I’m not saying that there isn’t a future glorious reign when we will be given “cities” to rule. However, just like in the parable of the talents there is an already and not yet aspect to reigning. In fact, the parable seems to indicate that way we reign now will determine what we reign over later. If we are faithful with the talents he has given, he will give us cities to govern.
Reigning now isn’t sitting back on our throne and admiring the Kingdom, although we are seated in heaven in Christ (Ephesians 2:6). Reigning now means we are taking risks, investing, exploring and discovering new territory. It’s what the 72 disciples did when Jesus sent them out in Luke 10 and they returned to him excited about what they had discovered! Jesus rejoices with them saying, “I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you have hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to little children; yes, Father, for such was your gracious will” (Luke 10:21).
Discovery is what keeps us childlike novices with nothing to lose and everything to gain. It’s what keeps us dependent on the Father because we may not know what is coming around the corner but we know that he is faithful! It’s what keeps the awe and wonder in our hearts as we see some new aspect of the Father’s nature and the way he thinks.
I know that familiarity is more comfortable then discovery. Being familiar with something is what makes us experts. The problem is that things that make us comfortable breed a false sense of reigning. We think that we are the master’s of our own domain but we’re just sad little people stuck in a box. Comfort is a counterfeit for reigning.
The good news is God is shaking everything that makes us comfortable so that we will embrace the only thing that is unshakeable… His Kingdom!
“At that time his voice shook the earth, but now he has promised, ‘Yet once more I will shake not only the earth but also the heavens.’ This phrase, ‘Yet once more, indicates the removal of things that are shaken—that is, things that have been made—in order that the things that cannot be shaken may remain. Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken” (Hebrews 12:26-28).
We may think that we are secure in our familiar little box, but really the only secure place is right in the middle of discovery. That’s what the writer of Hebrews is saying in Chapter 12. You’re not coming to what you’re familiar with, to what you can see with your natural eyes and touch with your natural body, to what you know with your natural mind. This is all new – a whole new reality. You are coming to that which is heavenly and supernatural. Yet it’s more real then what you see with your natural eyes. It may be scary to those of us use to relying on our natural senses and empirical evidence. Expertise is safe. But if we really believe that God is a good Father then we will grab hold of his hand and step into the unknown. After all, there are no experts in the Kingdom of God. There are only children and explorers.
Article by Pastor Shawna Carpenter
“Then he said to the crowd, ‘If any of you wants to be my follower, you must give up your own way, take up your cross daily, and follow me.’” (Luke 9:23, NLT)
“Then Jesus said to his disciples, ‘If any of you wants to be my follower, you must give up your own way, take up your cross, and follow me.’” (Matthew 16:24, NLT)
“Then, calling the crowd to join his disciples, he said, ‘If any of you wants to be my follower, you must give up your own way, take up your cross, and follow me.’” (Mark 8:34, NLT)
“If you refuse to take up your cross and follow me, you are not worthy of being mine.” (Matthew 10:38, NLT)
“And if you do not carry your own cross and follow me, you cannot be my disciple.” (Luke 14:27, NLT)
In the Gospels, Jesus makes it clear that the reality of carrying one’s own cross is a vital, defining aspect of being His disciple. Jesus makes it a nonnegotiable part of following Him.
What does it really mean to be a disciple of Jesus?
Basically defined, a disciple is one who follows a teacher. The reality of a disciple encompasses far more than just learning from someone. A disciple is one who emulates the life of his or her teacher, making the teacher’s character, priorities, ethics, and philosophy a tangibly applied pattern for one’s own life. A disciple adopts his or her teacher’s worldview, reflecting that worldview in how that disciple lives. All this is enabled by and accomplished within the context of personal relationship with the teacher.
“When we were utterly helpless, Christ came at just the right time and died for us sinners. Now, most people would not be willing to die for an upright person, though someone might perhaps be willing to die for a person who is especially good. But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners. And since we have been made right in God’s sight by the blood of Christ, he will certainly save us from God’s condemnation. For since our friendship with God was restored by the death of his Son while we were still his enemies, we will certainly be saved through the life of his Son. So now we can rejoice in our wonderful new relationship with God because our Lord Jesus Christ has made us friends of God.” (Romans 5:6–11, NLT)
The above passage reveals the unique nature of being a disciple of Jesus. We have the opportunity to be in right relationship with God by the initiative of His love expressed by His grace. It is not something we have earned or deserved, but that within which we are positioned by faith. Romans 5:1 declares, “Since we have been made right in God’s sight by faith, we have peace with God because of
what Jesus Christ our Lord has done for us” (NLT). By trusting in what Jesus did for us on the cross, we are positioned in right relationship with God.
Justification by faith means that being a disciple of Jesus is the reality of identity that produces activity, not activity that earns identity. We obey Jesus because we are His disciples, we do not obey to earn the position. Our obedience to Jesus is the vital outflow of relationship with Him in which we are progressively and continually learning who we are as disciples of Jesus. When we see Jesus’ statements in the light of the biblical truth of justification by faith, we see that Jesus views the carrying of one’s cross as a central, identifying characteristic of His disciple; it is not the means by which discipleship is earned. Obedience is the required effect of identity, not the cause of it.
What does it mean to carry one’s cross?
The answer to this question is revealed when we look at the context in which Jesus carried His cross.
“For God called you to do good, even if it means suffering, just as Christ suffered for you. He is your example, and you must follow in his steps. He never sinned, nor ever deceived anyone. He did not retaliate when he was insulted, nor threaten revenge when he suffered. He left his case in the hands of God, who always judges fairly. He personally carried our sins in his body on the cross so that we can be dead to sin and live for what is right. By his wounds you are healed. Once you were like sheep who wandered away. But now you have turned to your Shepherd, the Guardian of your souls.” (1 Peter 2:21–25, NLT)
The cross Jesus carried was a practical expression of His choice to endure the offenses of others against Him. When others acted offensively toward Him, Jesus did not internalize those offenses and allow them to motivate His actions. He chose to trust Himself into the hands of God the Father. Why did He do this? He did it to be the means by which life was made available to all humanity!
The offenses that Jesus endured were not simply from those who were there at the time. They were not just the insults that He heard or the physical abuse and torture He experienced. The offenses that He carried were those of all humanity, including your sins and mine. He suffered the underserved insult of our rebellion, the disrespect of our presumptuous pride. In the face of our offenses against Him for which we deserve His judgment, He acted with love and grace.
“For God in all his fullness was pleased to live in Christ, and through him God reconciled everything to himself. He made peace with everything in heaven and on earth by means of Christ’s blood on the cross. This includes you who were once far away from God. You were his enemies, separated from him by your evil thoughts and actions. Yet now he has reconciled you to himself through the death of Christ in his physical body. As a result, he has brought you into his own presence, and you are holy and blameless as you stand before him without a single fault.” (Colossians 1:19–22, NLT)
“Yet it was our weaknesses he carried; it was our sorrows that weighed him down. And we thought his troubles were a punishment from God, a punishment for his own sins! But he was pierced for our rebellion, crushed for our sins. He was beaten so we could be whole. He was whipped so we could be healed. All of us, like sheep, have strayed away. We have left God’s paths to follow our own. Yet the LORD laid on him the sins of us all.” (Isaiah 53:4–6, NLT)
No one forced Jesus to carry His cross. Jesus made this clear in John 10:18 when He stated, “No one can take my life from me. I sacrifice it voluntarily. For I have the authority to lay it down when I want to and also to take it up again. For this is what my Father has commanded” (NLT). In the midst of all the unjust treatment by others, Jesus focused on the goal of our salvation. Instead of reacting to the mistreatment, He acted to fulfill divine intent. He viewed the context of offense as a strategic, not-to- be-missed opportunity for the expression of God’s character and the fulfillment of God’s purposes.
This is the example that Jesus set for us as expressed in 1 Peter 2:21; these are His steps in which His disciples are called to walk.
How do we do so?
This is the question we will answer in Part 2 of this blog. We will learn from God’s Word how to use the context of offense as a strategic opportunity to join God in the reflection of His character and the fulfillment of His purposes. Together, we will see the footsteps of Jesus defined before us and learn how to depend on the Holy Spirit to walk accordingly.
“You are the God of miracles and wonders! You still demonstrate your awesome power.” (Psalm 77:14 TLB)
What is the miracle you need in your life? What are you asking God for? All of us have some area where we need God to intervene. Maybe you are facing an illness, overwhelming debt, or you are struggling with depression or in a tense relationship. Even people who wouldn’t consider themselves religious will often turn to prayer during hard times, hoping that maybe heaven is listening.
It is not unusual to wrestle with doubts and questions even while we are hoping that God will come through for us. Here are three questions we most often wrestle with as seek God for the miracles we need.
1. Can God?
Can God heal me? Can he deliver me? Can he provide for me? This is probably the easiest to answer. Of course God can. He is all powerful. God can in one moment take someone from death’s doorstep to perfect health. He can with one word erase the depression and anger we fight against every day. He has no limits to his provision and could easily provide for all our needs and even our wants without sacrificing anything. In fact, we are so convinced that God can that when God doesn’t some of us decide there must not be a God or maybe that God doesn’t love us and so that is why he doesn’t intervene. Surely if God exists and he loves us, he would intervene. This leads to the second question:
2. Does God want to?
Maybe you have settled the question as to whether God can but you wonder if he really wants us to be healed, delivered, and provided for. Any good Father would want his children to have the best possible life. We read the memes citing Jeremiah 29:11, “For I know the plans I have for you… They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.” If this is true, why do we still experience disasters? Of course we may not realize that the context of Jeremiah 29:11 is that the Israelites are going to spend 70 years in exile before they experience the promise of Jeremiah 29:11. God did want a good future for his people and he knew the way to get them there was to work on what was inside of them first before delivering them from the outside circumstances. This leads to the third question:
3. Will God?
Will God heal, deliver, and provide for us? If he can and he wants to then why wouldn’t he? As I ponder that question myself I can hear the Father ask me his own questions.
God is still and always will be God. His nature is unchanging. If our circumstances cause us to question if he is good and loving then we know that there must be something inside us that needs to change. Our faith ultimately shouldn’t be in what God can do for us but in who he is. Romans 4 uses Abraham as an example of someone who despite what his circumstances looked like, he trusted God because of who God is. As we grapple with the questions of why miracles do or don’t happen and why some prayers seem to go unanswered we must not let go of our assurance in the goodness and love of God.
The next time you pray ask God to show you how you can participate in seeing a miracle done in your life!
Article by Pastor Shawna Carpenter, 4/29/20
“This hope is a strong and trustworthy anchor for our souls. It leads us through the curtain into God’s inner sanctuary” (Hebrews 6:19, NLT).
Hope is trustful anticipation, springing out of one’s trust in God. This hope is expressed in patiently waiting in confident trust in God’s future that He has for one’s life, both for this earthly realm and eternity to come. Carefully consider Isaiah 40:31.
“But those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint” (NIV).
“But those who trust in the LORD will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint” (NLT).
“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” (KJV).
Recognize the connection between hope, trust, and waiting. When we place all our hope in God, trusting Him in the context of personal relationship, we will progressively learn how to wait on His timing without getting stressed out because things are not happening within ours. This waiting is not passive, but the reality of actively pursuing to know God more through one’s personal relationship with Him. How much we trust God is a direct result of how close we are to Him.
Let’s go back to our central text . . .
“This hope is a strong and trustworthy anchor for our souls. It leads us through the curtain into God’s inner sanctuary” (Hebrews 6:19, NLT).
This hope with which our souls are anchored is the hope of access to God that Jesus died to give us. When we look at the cross, we see the fact that Jesus died for us. But to see why He died, we must look into the temple, “Then Jesus shouted out again, and he released his spirit. At that moment the curtain in the sanctuary of the Temple was torn in two, from top to bottom” (Matthew 27:50–51, NLT). The torn curtain in the temple proclaims the fact that we all have access to a direct, personal relationship with God. Through trusting in what Jesus did for us as the only way by which we are made right with God, we all can know the life that is found only in relationship with Him, a life of hope.
This is the hope that is an anchor for our souls, a bedrock on which we can rest our whole selves. The term “souls” that is used in Hebrews 6:19 refers to that unseen reality that animates life itself. One’s soul is one’s identity and definition, the source of the individualized “self” that we each possess. The soul encompasses one’s mind, intellect, will, and emotions. Therefore, the condition of a person’s soul determines how that person thinks and acts.
In this time of limited access due to the current pandemic, God is calling us to anchor our very selves in the access that we have to Him. Echoing from His heart, God is urging us to daily walk the blood-paved path into His presence that Jesus made for us. God is calling you into the Most Holy Place, the place of personal interaction with Him. God desires you to experience Him in personal relationship beyond anything you have experienced in the past. Will you answer that call? Will you make the time to spend with Him, focusing on getting to know Him more?
God did not design prayer and Bible reading to be superficial religious duties and rituals, but practical contexts for engaging Him in two-way communication by which personal relationship with Him is practically experienced. He invites us to talk with Him and learn how to hear Him speaking to us by His Spirit. It is in that place of personal connection and interaction with God that the anchor for our souls is found.
“And so, dear brothers and sisters, we can boldly enter heaven’s Most Holy Place because of the blood of Jesus. By his death, Jesus opened a new and life-giving way through the curtain into the Most Holy Place. And since we have a great High Priest who rules over God’s house, let us go right into the presence of God with sincere hearts fully trusting him. For our guilty consciences have been sprinkled with Christ’s blood to make us clean, and our bodies have been washed with pure water” (Hebrews 10:19–22, NLT).
“So then, since we have a great High Priest who has entered heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to what we believe. This High Priest of ours understands our weaknesses, for he faced all of the same testings we do, yet he did not sin. So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most” (Hebrews 4:14–16, NLT).
Article by Pastor Jeff Pfingston, April 24, 2002
"Our God is an awesome God. He reigns from heaven above. With Wisdom, Power, and Love. Our God is an awesome God." Song by Rich Mullins
A couple of years ago, I married a man who had been a minister of the Gospel of Jesus Christ for over 60 years. He moved to Florida, where I lived, and we started our happy journey. We would read books and the Word of God together. We would sing the old gospel songs together. One night he woke me up praying in his heavenly language while weeping and laughing. This went on quite a while and then he turned over to me and continued. I laid in awe listening to this wonderful man commune with God. It seemed as if our dreams of living the last part of our lives would be a happy time in the Lord.
Within a couple of months he became sick. He spent a few nights in the hospital. Upon returning home, he said he wasn’t going to the doctor. He believed God would heal him. As time went by, he began to have serious issues so he decided to cooperate and do what needed to be done.
We had been married for over a year when he was diagnosed with cancer.
From that time forward, his body deteriorated and he had to go stay where
he could get the help that he needed. I didn’t understand any of this because
it wasn’t what we had planned. I kept asking God ‘why’ and He gave me
the Scripture “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your
own understanding” (Proverbs 3:5 NKJV). I settled in to caring for my husband to the best of my ability.
As time went on, many changes happened and I experienced a journey that was straight from the throne room of God. As my husband laid in that bed he sang gospel songs, he laughed and cried, he took imaginary communion, he preached, he spoke in his heavenly language while looking straight at God. He gave me the most beautiful word from the Lord that I had ever heard. I felt like I was standing before God and He was talking directly to me.
As I sat by my husband, I would weep from the beauty that I saw surrounding Him from the heavens. He never complained nor asked for anything. It was a journey that changed my whole life. I felt like I had been ‘born again’ for the second time. I saw that when you start to transition to the spirit world, there is NO stopping or
coming back. It is then TOO late if you are not ready to go into eternity.
My heart became so conscious of the many souls that weren’t ready to meet God and I would weep uncontrollably. I realized that nothing in this world that we would do was more important than going out into our world and telling the good news of Jesus.
When my husband passed on to the next world, I could almost hear him shouting victory and I knew that he also was kneeling at his Saviors’ feet. Now I am very somber and anxious to do the work that my Father has for me to do. I want to hear His voice saying. “Well done, thou good and faithful servant” (Matthew 25:21).
I have a question for you. Have you taken time out from your busy days and or schedule to reflect on what you are really supposed to be doing in your christian walk? It's not about pomp or circumstance, but it’s about going to the cross daily and laying yourself all out to our Lord.
I pray that God, our Father, will lead you down a path that will make Himself more real to you than ever before. May God bless you and keep you. May he cause His face to shine upon you and give you peace (Numbers 6:24).
Article by Glenda Blakkolb