Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Getting Beyond the Noise

I didn't want to write anything immediately after the shooting in Las Vegas.  I knew my feelings would be too strong and my focus would be too political.  I wouldn't be able to hear the Holy Spirit over the screaming in my own head or the echoing sobs I felt inside.  It's hard to seek guidance when you hurt.

And isn't that the point?

There are so many things in our lives competing for our attention.  There are very real, visceral things and there are the things that honestly are just noise...distracting noise.

These last few weeks it seems the volume on the real and the annoying has been turned up to 11.  From storms to shootings to floods...and those are just the things that made the news.  Add in the stuff of everyday life, babies, weddings, funerals, illnesses, school, children, jobs, and its no wonder so many people are subject to stress related diseases.

But that cacophony of noise was never intended to be the realm of the believer.  It is however a most effective form of combat to our spiritual walk.  If we're too consumed with the stuff of life, how can we worship?  How can we pray and hear?  How can we trust a God we cannot reach?

Simple words and phrases aren't enough to soothe a broken spirit.  I cannot imagine the pain so many people must be feeling in Houston, in Florida, in Puerto Rico, in Montana following fires, in so many places following the Vegas shooting.  I surely wouldn't try to offer just words when facing such great losses.  But, fulfillment?  That's another story.

Today, dear brothers and sisters, turn off the tv.  Turn off the radio.  Put down the phone. They will all be there when you get back.  Take some time to focus in on God.  Give Him the space in our lives that He not only deserves but desires.  Parents, that 'thrill' we feel when our teens want to spend time with us?  Yeah, God likes that too.

If you are feeling empty and lost especially after some crushing event, whether or not it made the evening news, God cares.  Your catastrophe may be entirely personal or affect a whole neighborhood.  God cares.  Won't you let Him show you the care?

Slip away.  Get quiet.  Focus on Him.  Let the healing in.

Psalm 91

91 He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.
I will say of the Lord, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust.
Surely he shall deliver thee from the snare of the fowler, and from the noisome pestilence.
He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust: his truth shall be thy shield and buckler.
Thou shalt not be afraid for the terror by night; nor for the arrow that flieth by day;
Nor for the pestilence that walketh in darkness; nor for the destruction that wasteth at noonday.
A thousand shall fall at thy side, and ten thousand at thy right hand; but it shall not come nigh thee.
Only with thine eyes shalt thou behold and see the reward of the wicked.
Because thou hast made the Lord, which is my refuge, even the most High, thy habitation;
10 There shall no evil befall thee, neither shall any plague come nigh thy dwelling.
11 For he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways.
12 They shall bear thee up in their hands, lest thou dash thy foot against a stone.
13 Thou shalt tread upon the lion and adder: the young lion and the dragon shalt thou trample under feet.
14 Because he hath set his love upon me, therefore will I deliver him: I will set him on high, because he hath known my name.
15 He shall call upon me, and I will answer him: I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him, and honour him.
16 With long life will I satisfy him, and shew him my salvation.

Monday, September 18, 2017

You Gotta Break it Open

Luke 7:37-38King James Version (KJV)

37 And, behold, a woman in the city, which was a sinner, when she knew that Jesus sat at meat in the Pharisee's house, brought an alabaster box of ointment,
38 And stood at his feet behind him weeping, and began to wash his feet with tears, and did wipe them with the hairs of her head, and kissed his feet, and anointed them with the ointment.

Every cliche is out there...can't make an omelette without breaking some eggs...can't fix a system without breaking some rules...we even call those moments in our lives when we exceed our expectations as BREAKTHROUGHS.  Breaking isn't always a bad thing.  Breaking can lead to good things.  And when it comes to praising God, you gotta break it open.
The story above is a familiar one to most believers.  A woman of questionable reputation, at least of questionable reputation to the men who were condemning her, came into a dinner and proceeded to anoint the feet of Jesus with perfume from a pricey, alabaster box.  She was so overwhelmed with her adoration of Him, that she mixed her tears into the perfume and wiped the excess with her hair.
Part of the story that gets over looked is the preparation and care...there was the perfume, encased in an expensive container.  It had to be purchased so the money had to be earned.  This wasn't an object that everyone just had sitting around.  It was acquired with intent.  Maybe she didn't know at the time, but it was still demonstration of an act of purpose.
Then, there was finding a time and a space to do this act.  She had to be near Jesus and He had to be in a posture to receive the gesture.  She had to follow Him to know when the time was right.  She couldn't have done it while He was walking.  She couldn't have done it while He was preaching or healing.  She had to wait for the right time for Him to receive it.  She had to give this gift when it was right for Him even though it wasn't ideal for her.  She had to sacrifice her comfort for His honor.
And then, there was getting at the praise.  She could have just presented the box, but instead, she broke it open and poured out the blessing on Him.  She bathed His feet in the sweet smelling perfume and overwhelmed, added her own tears to the effort.
Praising God 'in spirit and in truth' takes preparation, attention, sacrifice and brokenness. We have to be in a state of God consciousness where we prepare ourselves for His presence.  God doesn't want to be an afterthought in our lives.  He also doesn't want to be limited to the safety net in our lives.  He wants us to walk as living epistles and living sacrifices.  We have to get up every day and choose Him. Like the virgins and the oil lamps, we have to stay ready so that when the opportunity is right with Him, we are able and available.
Part of staying ready is serving when it works for Him.  We shouldn't try to limit our time with God to when it's convenient for us.  That's not how sovereignty works.  The Sovereign chooses, not the servant.  So, yeah, that need to praise may be at exactly the one time we don't want to do it.  But, do we serve or are we served?
And we've got to break it open.  If we've walked with believers for any period of time, we've heard the phrase 'like fire shut up in my bones'.  Well, the only benefit from fire is when we let it out to do something.  Want light?  We have to uncover the fire.  Want heat?  We have to uncover the fire.  Even if we want it to power something, the fire has to be stoked and open to the air to do work and we've got to let it heat up something for the work to begin.
Brothers and sisters in Christ, break open the box.  Stop withholding praise from God who deserves it.  Make room in your lives for Him.  Go ahead and give in to loving Him.  He's worthy of it and He's faithful.  Love expressed toward God is not love lost.  It becomes love multiplied.
Why do we hold back?  Pride?  People will talk anyway.  Greed?  The box was never intended for us...do we really want to steal from God?  Ungrateful?  If you're reading this, that's probably not true.  Fear?  It's probably a concentrated form of pride.
Break open the box.  Go ahead and cry.  Go ahead and bathe Him in your love.  Nothing has been withheld by God for you.  He gave His Son for each and everyone of us.  It is safe to break open and praise God.
Break open the box.  Go ahead and praise Him openly, sloppily, unrestrained. That 'thing' that has been a hindrance, that thing that has stopped your growth, it may well be on the other side of that wall that hinders your praise.
Break through.  Break open the box.
Lifeline is produced from the Evangelistic Ministry of 
Fellowship Church 455 Ga Highway 138 W. in Jonesboro, GA. 
You are encouraged to come out.

Min. Robinson posts entries on Facebook and Twitter. To subscribe to the mailing, or for questions and comments, tweet (@evangeliststeff) or send an email to fellowship_lifeline@yahoo.com.You can find previous messages on the Lifeline Blog (www.lifelineatfellowship.blogspot.com). 

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

See The Need

Hello.  Remember me? No?  Well.  I’m back.

There’s a lot of talk right now about strangers and ministers. So, who is a stranger?  Who is a minister? What should I do? Jesus answered these questions Himself.  He did not use a parable.  His meaning wasn’t veiled for the disciples only. Jesus said

Matthew 25:31-46
31 When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory:
32 And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats:
33 And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left.
34 Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:
35 For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in:
36 Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me.
37 Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink?
38 When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee?
39 Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee?
40 And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.
41 Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels:
42 For I was an hungred, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink:
43 I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not.
44 Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee?
45 Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me.
46 And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.
His message is pretty clear.  He said it more simply to Peter when He said ‘if you love me, feed my sheep.’

As Believers, we don’t have the luxury of discrimination.  God gave His Son for the whole world, while we were yet sinners as the saying goes.  He didn’t send His Son for those who already loved Him.  He sent His Son that the whole world; past, present and future generations might return to Him. And He said He would do the sorting, not us.

So, whom do we serve?  We serve God.  How do we serve Him?  When we ‘do it to the least of these'.  Who is supposed to do the work?  Isn’t that work for a minister?  Yes.  To minister is to serve.  If you serve God, you’re a minister and this is work we must do.

As we move forward in our belief, we have to come to a point where we accept Jesus as Lord as well as Savior.  He has to be more than a rescue plan; He has to be sovereign in this life as well as the next.  We have to start learning that picking up our cross means denying what we want to do.  We literally must put down our prejudices, our plans, our life and submit ourselves as a living sacrifice to God.

The sacrifice doesn’t get to choose how it’s used.  It just makes itself available.
We know the strangers.  If we’ve confessed Christ, and see a need, we are obliged to act.  If you see then need, then you were the minister sent to that situation.  That’s why you’re seeing it.

Romans 12:1

I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.
If you're looking for a church home in Atlanta metro area, please consider visiting us.
Fellowship Church 
455 GA Hwy 138 W Jonesboro, GA 30238
Disciples Class - Tuesdays at 7:00 PM
Sunday School - Sundays at 10:00 AM
Morning Worship - Sundays at 11:30 AM

Monday, July 4, 2016

Standing On the Promises

2 Corinthians 1:20King James Version (KJV)

20 For all the promises of God in him are yea, and in him Amen, unto the glory of God by us.

Standing on the Promises
Anyone who grew up in church probably recognizes that refrain...'standing on the promises of Christ my King'....even without knowing all the words, the tune is likely playing in your head now.
As children, we hear these songs and they are just that...songs.  Music we hear at church.  But, as time often does, given enough time, these are no longer songs.  They become reminders to our spirit of the character of God...of the truth of who God is.
Standing on the promises becomes less a refrain and more a way of life.  No, a way to life. God is faithful in His promises.  He speaks clearly and directly and there is no changing or shadow of turning in His character.  He speaks and 'it', whatever 'it' is...is.  It is as He speaks it.  
So it is with the love God has professed for each and every one of us.  'For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son' (Jhn 3:16).  Love not only spoken, but demonstrated...paid for even with blood. 
Stand on the promises.  Stand on the ones spoken silently in your heart.  Stand on the ones pronounced to a group that pertain directly to you.  His yea is yea and His nay is nay.  There is no 'second guessing' with God.  His love, His justice, everything about Him is pure and worthy of trust.
Stand on the promises.

John 3:14-21King James Version (KJV)

14 And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up:
15 That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life.
16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.
18 He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.
19 And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.
20 For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved.
21 But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.

Lifeline is produced from the Evangelistic Ministry of Fellowship Church in Jonesboro, GA. You are encouraged to share this message. The Fellowship Church website (www.youarechosen.net) includes a link to the Lifeline Blog (www.lifelineatfellowship.blogspot.com) where you can find previous messages.  

Evangelist Robinson also posts her entries on Facebook and Twitter. To subscribe to the mailing, or for questions and comments, tweet (@evangeliststeff) or send an email to fellowship_lifeline@yahoo.comFellowship Church can be reached at chosen.gen@att.net.

Monday, February 22, 2016

Trust

Trust


Mark 10:23-24

23 And Jesus looked round about, and saith unto his disciples, How hardly shall they that have riches enter into the kingdom of God!
24 And the disciples were astonished at his words. But Jesus answereth again, and saith unto them, Children, how hard is it for them that trust in riches to enter into the kingdom of God!

Trust is a funny thing. Sometimes we give it too quickly.  Sometimes we withhold it too sternly.  It is something we rely on tremendously, because it is strong and yet terribly fragile.  We trust banks with our money, we trust schools with our children....we put our trust in lots of things and people daily.  But when that trust is shattered, we may never go 'that way' again.
I've seen people swear off of foods and restaurants because of one bad experience.  They lost trust in that item or that place.  Relatives can spend years estranged because of a breech in trust.  On the same token, there are people that stay together not because of outside factors, but because they trust one another.
If you live long enough, one of the lessons learned is that trust should be earned and maintained.  Giving trust too freely can be catastrophic.  Losing someone's trust can too.  But, when the effort is made not only to gain but to keep trust, it is a valuable commodity that shouldn't be ignored, but instead should be celebrated and embraced.
Jesus used the opportunity of the rich young ruler to talk about misplaced trust.  The young man wanted to follow Jesus, but his trust was in his own accomplishments and strength and not in the Lord.  It prompted Jesus to share the scripture listed above.  The statement shocked the disciples.  What they heard was if you're rich, you can't get into Heaven.
All these years later, we still hear that.  The riches weren't the problem.  It was the trust.  When we trust solely in temporal things, our trust is built on the temporary.  Strength fails.  Money moves in and out.  Even the intellect that may have been applied to amass wealth can be fleeting.
But, when our trust is built on the incorruptible God, there is no failure available.  Nothing can end God.  He is worthy of our trust because He has earned it and He has maintained it.  He hasn't changed.  He gave first and continues to give.  He has done and continues to do the work to demonstrate that He is trustworthy.  
Beloved, trust in the Lord is never misplaced.   Not only can He not fail, but He will not fail you or I.  
Today, with all the turmoil, rumor, innuendo, and every other known distraction out there...today, put your trust in God through His Son the Lord, Jesus Christ.  He will not fail you.  He cares for you.  
The entire passage is below.  Even with this pronouncement of how difficult it is when one trusts in riches above God, Jesus reminded the disciples that anything is possible with God.  So, even with all that's happened, it is still possible to turn it all over and trust God.

Mark 10:1-27King James Version (KJV)

10 And he arose from thence, and cometh into the coasts of Judaea by the farther side of Jordan: and the people resort unto him again; and, as he was wont, he taught them again.
And the Pharisees came to him, and asked him, Is it lawful for a man to put away his wife? tempting him.
And he answered and said unto them, What did Moses command you?
And they said, Moses suffered to write a bill of divorcement, and to put her away.
And Jesus answered and said unto them, For the hardness of your heart he wrote you this precept.
But from the beginning of the creation God made them male and female.
For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and cleave to his wife;
And they twain shall be one flesh: so then they are no more twain, but one flesh.
What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.
10 And in the house his disciples asked him again of the same matter.
11 And he saith unto them, Whosoever shall put away his wife, and marry another, committeth adultery against her.
12 And if a woman shall put away her husband, and be married to another, she committeth adultery.
13 And they brought young children to him, that he should touch them: and his disciples rebuked those that brought them.
14 But when Jesus saw it, he was much displeased, and said unto them, Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God.
15 Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child, he shall not enter therein.
16 And he took them up in his arms, put his hands upon them, and blessed them.
17 And when he was gone forth into the way, there came one running, and kneeled to him, and asked him, Good Master, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life?
18 And Jesus said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God.
19 Thou knowest the commandments, Do not commit adultery, Do not kill, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Defraud not, Honour thy father and mother.
20 And he answered and said unto him, Master, all these have I observed from my youth.
21 Then Jesus beholding him loved him, and said unto him, One thing thou lackest: go thy way, sell whatsoever thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, take up the cross, and follow me.
22 And he was sad at that saying, and went away grieved: for he had great possessions.
23 And Jesus looked round about, and saith unto his disciples, How hardly shall they that have riches enter into the kingdom of God!
24 And the disciples were astonished at his words. But Jesus answereth again, and saith unto them, Children, how hard is it for them that trust in riches to enter into the kingdom of God!
25 It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.
26 And they were astonished out of measure, saying among themselves, Who then can be saved?
27 And Jesus looking upon them saith, With men it is impossible, but not with God: for with God all things are possible.

Lifeline is produced from the Evangelistic Ministry of Fellowship Church in Jonesboro, GA. You are encouraged to share this message. The Fellowship Church website (www.youarechosen.net) includes a link to the Lifeline Blog (www.lifelineatfellowship.blogspot.com) where you can find previous messages.  

Evangelist Robinson also posts her entries on Facebook and Twitter. To subscribe to the mailing, or for questions and comments, tweet (@evangeliststeff) or send an email to fellowship_lifeline@yahoo.comFellowship Church can be reached at chosen.gen@att.net.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Effectual Fervent Prayer

James 5:13-20 

13 Is any among you afflicted? let him pray. Is any merry? let him sing psalms.

14 Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord:
15 And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him.
16 Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.
17 Elias was a man subject to like passions as we are, and he prayed earnestly that it might not rain: and it rained not on the earth by the space of three years and six months.
18 And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth brought forth her fruit.
19 Brethren, if any of you do err from the truth, and one convert him;
20 Let him know, that he which converteth the sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death, and shall hide a multitude of sins.
Effectual Fervent Prayer
This passage in James is so loaded with direction and instruction on prayer that it could be studied for months.  For today, however,  let's just focus on that often quoted part of verse 16 - The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.
Effectual - successful in producing a desired or intended result.  effective, constructive.
Fervent - having or siplaying a passionate intensity.  sincere, ardent, fervid, intense, heartfelt
Righteous - morally right or justifiable, virtuous.  good, upright, upstanding, decent.
Effectual prayer has a desired intent.  We cannot say we pray in an effectual manner without intent...what is the point of the prayer if it has no intent?  What is the desired outcome?  Do we come before God with a plan or direction, or are we just talking to be talking?
Fervent prayer is passionate.  We know passion when we hear it and when we see it.  We know when someone is walking through the motions of obligation and duty and when someone is passionate and intense about the things they're doing.  I dare say everyone would prefer a kiss with passion over a thoughtless peck.  They are both signs of affection; they are both kisses by definition.  But the message of the passionate one is much different than the peck.  Fervent prayer, like everything filled with passion and intensity, can be a little messy but is full of meaning.  Like the old song says, if your heart isn't in it....
The passage calls for the prayer of a righteous man.  This tells us that not just anyone can be before God.  And even though our righteousness is as filthy rags before God, we take on a whole new level when we are washed in the blood of Christ...when we have be clothed in His righteousness we are absolutely justified to be before God.  We meet the requirement for audience.  We fit the office and we can operate in the assignment outlined in the first two words described.
Continuing on in the phrase, prayer tells us why.  We are supposed to dialogue with the Father.  I love the word dialogue because the root words, di and logos, mean two words or two speak.  We talk, He listens.  He speaks, we listen.  It's simple. It's pure.  It's intimate.  It's intense, it's passionate.  It's right.  It's intentional.
So, if we want to 'availeth much', we should come before God wrapped in the righteousness of Christ, speak with intent, with a goal and a direction.  Make the presentation with passion before the Father, and more often than not, we should do it on behalf of someone else.  Then, listen.  And see what God will do.  it will be much.
Lifeline is produced from the Evangelistic Ministry of Fellowship Church in Jonesboro, GA. You are encouraged to share this message. The Fellowship Church website (www.youarechosen.net) includes a link to the Lifeline Blog (www.lifelineatfellowship.blogspot.com) where you can find previous messages.  

Evangelist Robinson also posts her entries on Facebook and Twitter. To subscribe to the mailing, or for questions and comments, tweet (@evangeliststeff) or send an email to fellowship_lifeline@yahoo.com.  Fellowship Church can be reached at chosen.gen@att.net.