Persecuted But Not Abandoned!

Persecuted But Not Abandoned!


This is the last message on the Beatitudes series I have been preaching these past few Sundays at Hope Fellowship in Spokane, WA. I pray it ministers to you!

Matthew 5:1 – 12 NIV

Introduction to the Sermon on the Mount

Now when Jesus saw the crowds, he went up on a mountainside and sat down. His disciples came to him, 2 and he began to teach them.
The Beatitudes
He said: Blessed are the meek,
for they will inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
for they will be filled.
Blessed are the merciful,
for they will be shown mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart,
for they will see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers,
for they will be called children of God.
Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
“Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. 12 Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

Matthew 5:10 – 12 NIV
Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

Now, more then ever, Christians are hated and persecuted. We should think it not strange, but rejoice because the coming of our Lord Jesus is soon. These signs are in the New Testament and they foretell of what is to come. The Apostle Paul knew first hand what persecution was like.

2 Timothy 3:10 – 12 NIV
You, however, know all about my teaching, my way of life, my purpose, faith, patience, love, endurance, persecutions, sufferings—what kinds of things happened to me in Antioch, Iconium and Lystra, the persecutions I endured. Yet the Lord rescued me from all of them. In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted,

Living a godly life is a blessed life, and it is also a persecuted life. If you haven’t had much persecution in your life, maybe it is because people don’t know you are a Christian and you haven’t stood on your beliefs in front of them. If you are persecuted, you are on the right track. If you are persecuted by religious people, you are definitely on the right track.

Jesus was persecuted often by the religious people of His day. Judaism was perverted and the Sadducees and Pharisees created something that would benefit them and not the people. Jesus’ message was opposite of this. His message was of love and connection with God. It was not something new to Jesus though. He knew what His mission was when He came to earth in spite of any persecution, He fulfilled his mission.

Persecution is when someone comes under physical and verbal attack for what they believe and for how they live their life. It is as if they were found guilty in court for no cause.

He knew the world would hate him, but it was irrelevant because Jesus knew their ignorance. Jesus even told his Disciples the world would hate them because of Him.

John 15:18 – 25

The World Hates the Disciples
“If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you. Remember what I told you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’[a] If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also. If they obeyed my teaching, they will obey yours also. They will treat you this way because of my name, for they do not know the one who sent me. If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not be guilty of sin; but now they have no excuse for their sin. Whoever hates me hates my Father as well. If I had not done among them the works no one else did, they would not be guilty of sin. As it is, they have seen, and yet they have hated both me and my Father. But this is to fulfill what is written in their Law: ‘They hated me without reason.’”

Persecution is something that happens to you for no reason other than you are a Christ follower.

In that same breath, Jesus started talking about an Advocate who He will send from the Father – the Spirit of truth – who will testify of Him. This Advocate would be the Disciples as well.

John 15:26 – 16:1 – 15 NIV

The Work of the Holy Spirit
“When the Advocate comes, whom I will send to you from the Father—the Spirit of truth who goes out from the Father—he will testify about me. And you also must testify, for you have been with me from the beginning. “All this I have told you so that you will not fall away. They will put you out of the synagogue; in fact, the time is coming when anyone who kills you will think they are offering a service to God. They will do such things because they have not known the Father or me. I have told you this, so that when their time comes you will remember that I warned you about them. I did not tell you this from the beginning because I was with you, but now I am going to him who sent me. None of you asks me, ‘Where are you going?’ Rather, you are filled with grief because I have said these things. But very truly I tell you, it is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Advocate will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you. When he comes, he will prove the world to be in the wrong about sin and righteousness and judgment: 9 about sin, because people do not believe in me; about righteousness, because I am going to the Father, where you can see me no longer; and about judgment, because the prince of this world now stands condemned.
I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear. But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come. He will glorify me because it is from me that he will receive what he will make known to you. All that belongs to the Father is mine. That is why I said the Spirit will receive from me what he will make known to you.”

Why do I bring up all these verses? I hope I am painting a beautiful picture that we are not alone in life, and most importantly, in persecution. We will suffer persecution, the Bible is clear about that, but we don’t have to suffer alone.

John 16:33 NIV
I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.

The amazing news is that we as Christians already know the ending of the story. Jesus has overcome the world and we will spend eternity with Him! I believe Jesus also shared verse 33 to reassure us that even today, Jesus has overcome the world! With the Advocate, Holy Spirit, living in us, we have more power, more in site, and more help then the Disciples did during their time with Christ. They didn’t know what Jesus was thinking, but we, as Spirit-Filled believers, can tap into what Holy Spirit is saying (He hears only what Jesus tells Him) and be reassured of our life in this world and the world to come.

That is powerful to think about! Today, we have been given gifts from Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 12) to encourage each other in the middle of any persecution. As such, we have enough “stuff” we go through during a given day of our life, we should be encouraging one another with our spiritual gifts daily!

I believe the more we are persecuted, the more our spiritual gifts should be manifested! We need help from above everyday! We can not make it on our own. That is why Jesus sent us the Advocate!

The word Advocate means: “a person who publicly supports or recommends a particular cause or policy, a person who pleads on someone else’s behalf. (Dictionary)

In the Old Noah Webster 1828 Dictionary, the word Advocate means:

1. Advocate, in its primary sense, signifies, one who pleads the cause of another in a court of civil law.

2. One who pleads the cause of another before any tribunal or judicial court, as a barrister in the English courts.

In Europe, advocates have different titles, according to their particular duties:

Consistorial advocates, in Rome, appear before the Consistory, in opposition to the disposal of benefices.
Elective advocates are chosen by a bishop, abbot, or chapter, with license from the prince.
Feudal advocates were of a military kind, and to attach them to the church, had grants of land, with power to lead the vassals of the church war.
Fiscal advocates, in ancient Rome, defended causes in which the public revenue was concerned.
Juridical advocates became judges, in consequence of their attending causes in the earl’s court.
Matricular advocates defended the cathedral churches.
Military advocates were employed by the church to defend it by arms, when force gave law to Europe.
Some advocates were called nominative, from their being nominated by the pope or king; some regular, from their being qualified by a proper course of study. Some were supreme; others, subordinate.
Lord advocate, in Scotland, the principal crown lawyer, or prosecutor of crimes.
Judge advocate, in courts martial, a person who manages the prosecution.
In English and American courts, advocates are the same as counsel, or counselors. In England,they are of two degrees, barristers and serjeants; the former, being apprentices or learners, cannot, by ancient custom, be admitted serjeants, till of sixteen years standing.

3. One who defends, vindicates, or espouses a cause, by argument; one who is friendly to; as, an advocate for peace, or for the oppressed.

Wow, so many titles for Advocate in Europe and the United States. Now, why do I bring all of them up? This is the exciting part… because Holy Spirit, our Advocate, is all that and more! He is there supporting and standing up for us in the middle of any “persecution court.”

Now, all that said, this is what I see: I see a church filled with Holy Spirit prophesying over each other, lifting, building, and encouraging each other up! I see each of us stirring up the gifts within us and using them daily. I see a church that is strong in any storm all because we come together and lift each other up prophetically, emotionally, and spiritually! We need each other! Let’s find the treasure in each of us and not the dirt! The gifts of the spirit are for Building people up, Comforting them, and drawing them near to God. It is for edification or to edify the church! Isn’t that AWESOME??? We are not to wallow in our persecution, but to find joy in it because we are Christ’s followers who have an Advocate defending and supporting us everywhere we go.

Yes, we may experience persecution, but we know Christ has overcome the world, and that means we are OVERCOMERS!

Persecution is not the only time to encourage one another in the Gifts of the Holy Spirit, but it sure is a powerful way to look past the suffering and receive from Him help in this area.

Your sister in Christ,

Pastor Kris Belfils

The Water That Brings A New Beginning!

The Water That Brings A New Beginning!

This post is a sermon I preached at my church concerning Hope Fellowship’s future. I pray it ministers to you too.

The Water That Brings A New BeginningThe Water That Brings A New Beginning!

I had a dream a few months ago. In the dream there were black gospel singers in a choir on a hillside. They were all over in various places on this hill (not in choir formation). The area was like a Pacific Northwest Camping spot. Someone asked me to direct the choir. I love black gospel music and said, “Sure!” But, I was extremely nervous because I didn’t know the song they were going to sing. As soon as I put my hands up to start the choir, they all turned and looked at me and began to sing with the music that was playing. I directed them with passion. They were powerful! The people that were watching from down below the hill gave a standing ovation, amazed at all the choir did at my direction. I remember thinking to myself, “Wow, I can’t believe I directed the choir so well and didn’t even know the song.” Everywhere I went people were praising the choir and their director. When it was time for me to leave, I walked through a building with many rooms. In one of the rooms a Woman of God hugged me and whispered in my ear: []“Isaiah 43:2 “When you pass through deep waters, I will be with you; your troubles will not overwhelm you.” Then I woke up. I remember feeling excited and yet apprehensive all at the same time. I knew the dream was from God encouraging me with a warning.

When I dreamt the dream, in the natural, Hope Fellowship (the church I founded) was going through very deep waters. Giving was low, people had left, and we were left with hardly any funds and hardly any people. Our expenses were high and we couldn’t make our lease payment. We were trying to find a new place to conduct our services. Everywhere I looked online for places to lease were either too expensive, or too small. I looked for months before this dream. We even tried to purchase a 100 year old run down church building thinking the payment would be smaller then our lease payment. But we couldn’t come up with the down payment. I felt like the church was drowning and anything I tried to do didn’t help. I felt like a failure.

I remembered the dream and the scripture verse the Woman of God whispered in my ear. I held onto what the promise was saying, “I will be with you; your troubles will not overwhelm you.” and brought it before God. He showed me all along He was there. He never left. He still is there holding me and guiding me.

Now, Hope Fellowship embraces a new place to hold our services in a Hotel conference room believing God had orchestrated everything to bring us to this place. It doesn’t make sense. We moved from a conference room three years prior into the building we were in. Now we are back at a conference room. Why? I believe God showed me and I want to share this with you today.

Do you believe water can bring or birth a new beginning? I never thought of it before until all that I shared with you that I had experienced .

Isaiah 43:1 – 3a Good News Bible
Israel, the LORD who created you says, “Do not be afraid — I will save you. I have called you by name — you are mine. When you pass through the deep waters, I will be with you; your troubles will not overwhelm you. When you pass through fire, you will not be burnt; the hard trials that come will not hurt you.For I am the LORD your God, the holy God of Israel, who saves you.

These verses are very powerful and so appropriate for where Hope Fellowship is right now. God is telling us, no commanding us, to not be afraid. He is with us and will save us. He already has by getting us out from under that expensive building we were leasing and moving us to this beautiful hotel we are in now. But there is more.

“Pass through” Means: to cross over, transition, carry over, deliver, escape, beyond, and proclaim.

Water can mean various things in the Bible. I want to look at a few and apply it to our life today! Water:

  1. Troublesome times, calamities.

The word “water” is used in a variety of metaphorical ways in Scripture. It is used to symbolize the troublesome times in life that can and do come to human beings, especially God’s children.

Psalm 32:6 “Therefore let all the faithful pray to you while you may be found; surely the rising of the mighty waters will not reach them.”

Psalms 69:1 “Save me, O God, for the waters have come up to my neck.”`

Psalms 69:2 “Do not let the floodwaters engulf me or the depths swallow me up or the pit close its mouth over me.”

Psalms 69:14 “Rescue me from the mire, do not let me sink; deliver me from those who hate me, from the deep waters.”

Lam 3:54 “the waters closed over my head, and I thought I was about to perish.”

When thou passest through the waters – This is a general promise, and means that whenever and wherever they should pass through water or fire, he would protect them. It had been true in their past history as a people; and the assurance is here given in order that they might be comforted in view of the calamities which they were then suffering in Babylon. Fire and water are often used in the Scriptures to denote calamity – the latter because it overwhelms; the former because it consumes;

Psa 66:12 Thou hast caused men to ride over our heads; we went through fire and through water: but thou broughtest us out into a wealthy place.

2. Enemy attacks.

In some contexts water stands for enemies who can attack and need to be overcome

2 Sam 22:17-18 “He reached down from on high and took hold of me; he drew me out of deep waters. He rescued me from my powerful enemy, from my foes, who were too strong for me.” (Also found in Psalm 18:16-17)

Psalm 124:4-5 “the flood would have engulfed us, the torrent would have swept over us, the raging waters would have swept us away.”

Psalm 144:7 “Reach down your hand from on high; deliver me and rescue me from the mighty waters, from the hands of foreigners.”

3. Salvation, eternal life, and living water.

In both the Old and New Testaments, the word “water” is used for salvation and eternal life, which God offers humankind through faith in his Son.

Isa 12:3 “With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation.”

Isa 55:1 “Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost.”

Rev 21:6 “He said to me: “It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To the thirsty I will give water without cost from the spring of the water of life.”

Revelation 22:1 “Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb.”

Revelation 22:17 “The Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” And let the one who hears say, “Come!” Let the one who is thirsty come; and let the one who wishes take the free gift of the water of life.”

In John 4:10-15, part of Jesus’ discourse with the Samaritan woman at the well, he speaks metaphorically of his salvation as “living water” and as “a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”

4. Spiritual Cleansing.

Following along this same theme, water sometimes symbolizes the spiritual cleansing that comes with the acceptance of God’s offer of salvation

Ezek 36:25 “I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your impurities and from all your idols.”

Eph 5:26 “to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word,”

In fact, in Ephesians 5:26, the “water” that does the cleansing of the bride, the church, is directly tied in with God’s Word, of which it is a symbol.

Heb 10:22 “let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water.”

Let’s revisit Psalm 66:12 “Thou hast caused men to ride over our heads; we went through fire and through water: but thou broughtest us out into a wealthy place.”

Wealthy place: satisfaction, running over, satiate, satisfy, soak, water (abundantly).

With this definition of a wealthy place we can see that “going through” deep waters has soaked us and brought us to a wealthy place. Not only in the natural, but in the spiritual. We are at a new level in God. We are at a new beginning.

What we experienced in the past (hardship, turmoil, lack of funds, plowing, messy people) is over. God is doing a new thing.

Isaiah 43:16-21 Good News Translation (GNT)
Long ago the Lord made a road through the sea,
a path through the swirling waters.
He led a mighty army to destruction,
an army of chariots and horses.
Down they fell, never to rise,
snuffed out like the flame of a lamp!
But the Lord says,
“Do not cling to events of the past
or dwell on what happened long ago.
Watch for the new thing I am going to do.
It is happening already—you can see it now!
I will make a road through the wilderness
and give you streams of water there.
Even the wild animals will honor me;
jackals and ostriches will praise me
when I make rivers flow in the desert
to give water to my chosen people.
They are the people I made for myself,
and they will sing my praises!”

God has done so much for us in Hope Fellowship’s past. We have experienced good and bad times. Just like in this passage of scripture Isaiah tells of how the Lord made a road through the sea, a path through the swirling waters, and destroyed a mighty army of chariots and horses as they traveled over to possess their promised land, we too have experienced much. Every Sunday ministering to the homeless, which is always messy, to gaining people and letting them go. God even provided Zombies to come and help us pay our monthly lease payment last summer. We have experienced divisions in the church, and people talking badly about us. We have endured a water pipe busting and destroying many things, and God turning it around into a blessing with our insurance compensating for the damage.

But these verses don’t stop at what they went through; good or bad, no it says “Do not cling to events of the past or dwell on what happened long ago. We are to let the last 4 years of Hope Fellowship’s history go and leave it in God’s hands because He is doing a New Thing!

“Watch for the new thing I am going to do. It is happening already—you can see it now! I will make a road through the wilderness and give you streams of water there.” This is what God is doing for Hope Fellowship as a whole, and as individuals. He is doing a new thing in your life.

Are you going through deep waters today? God is preparing you for good things. Know that God is always with you in deep waters. You will not be overcome.

Song: “I am not alone” Kari Jobe

Pastor Kris Belfils

Promises of Psalm 103

Promises of Psalm 103

Psalm 103 PromisesGod has promised us so many things in His Word. There are almost too many to count. We read these promises everyday when we read God’s Word. Often we never give it a second thought.

But if we would take the time to really look at these rich verses, we will become amazed, strengthened, and feel secure in our life daily. We need to be reminded of God’s compassion towards us through His promises. Let’s live our lives embracing these powerful promises. It is a broad place to stand. No sinking sand, only solid ground.

Psalm 103 NLT

I would like to show you all God has promised us in this powerful Psalm. King David wrote this and it was his song of praise of all God has done and is doing. It talks about the Father’s love towards us. Amazing to get in your spirit and embrace it daily.

The beginning of Psalm 103 is a cry of praise to a powerful God. David knew where His strength came from.

Psalm 103:1 – 2 NLT
Praise the LORD, I tell myself; with my whole heart, I will praise his holy name. Praise the Lord, I tell myself, and never forget the good things he does for me.

I love this because David was a man after God’s own heart. He understood and cherished His relationship with God as the most precious relationship he could ever have. David was quick to praise even in challenging times. He begins with praise and then starts telling of all of the wonderful things God has done and is doing.

Promises of Psalm 103

  1. Forgiveness for all our sins and does not punish, but loves us.

Psalm 103:3a, 10 – 12 NLT
He forgives all my sins… He has not punished us for all our sins, nor does he deal with us as we deserve. For his unfailing love toward those who fear him is as great as the height of the heavens above the earth. He has removed our rebellious acts as far away from us as the east is from the west.

This is the first of many promises David mentions. Note the importance of placing it first. It shows that David knew he needed forgiveness and how important it was for his life. All other promises pail in comparison. Placing it first above all other promises in this chapter shows David’s priority of needing forgiveness of all his iniquities.

God forgives us of all the wrong we have done. He doesn’t hold a grudge against us. Once God forgives, and He forgives because of what His Son accomplished on the cross, we are forgiven. No matter what you tell yourself, or others tell you; you are forgiven.

Did you know God is more ready to forgive then we are ready to repent? A broken spirit is the quickest way to spiritual wholeness. It almost sounds contradictory. Being broken and contrite before God will always open the door for God to heal and restore to wholeness. Being hard hearted, stubborn, or prideful does the opposite. It pushes you away from God because you are trying to do things on your own and haven’t given God control. It is His kindness that brings us to repentance.

Psalm 51:17 tells us that the sacrifice God wants is a broken spirit. A broken and repentant heart, GOD WILL NEVER despise. Don’t stay in the place of bondage any longer, tell God you are sorry and ask His forgiveness. Repent means to not only ask for forgiveness, but to turn completely away from ever doing it again. You will feel free once you ask God to forgive you and walk away from it.

When we confess our sins and trust Jesus Christ, our sins are wiped away. They will not be held against us. We are freely and fully pardoned by the Lord and should forgive ourselves as well.

Forgiveness is not based on the magnitude of the sin, but the magnitude of the forgiver’s love. No sin is too great for God’s complete and unconditional love to wash away. The Bible does, however, mention one unforgivable sin–harboring an attitude of defiant hostility toward God that prevents us from accepting his forgiveness. Those who don’t want his forgiveness place themselves out of its reach.

Forgiveness means that God looks at us as though we never sinned. We are blameless before Him.

2. He heals us.

Psalm 103:b Amplified Bible
…Who heals [each one of] all your diseases.

Sin can make us sick, literally. Healing can come if we repent of our sin and receive God’s forgiveness. But that is not the only reason we get sick. Life happens. Our bodies do not last forever. accidents happen. God is not bound by the limitations of this world. He can overcome any threat in our lives—physical, mental, spiritual, or emotional.

Luke 5:12 – 13 NLT
In one of the villages, Jesus met a man with an advanced case of leprosy. When the man saw Jesus, he fell to the ground, face down in the dust, begging to be healed. “Lord,” he said, “if you want to, you can make me well again.” Jesus reached out and touched the man. “I want to,” he said. “Be healed!” And instantly the leprosy disappeared.

Jesus has the ability and the willingness to heal us. We are not bothering God when we pray for healing; we are expressing our faith and trust in him.

God’s healing can reach every level of our lives. His healing brings a joy and freedom that cannot be contained.

3. Redeems, rescues, and ransoms us from death.

Psalm 103:4a NLT
He ransoms me from death …

Amplified Bible
Who redeems your life from the pit and corruption…

We all are born into a sinful world. We all should perish and go to hell. But by Christ’s redeeming love, He rescues us from death and we will never perish but have eternal life (John 3:16).

The Lord gives us absolute assurance: “I will rescue those who love me.” (Psalm 91:14) This passage does not give us license to be reckless. But it gives us the promise that when people and circumstances turn against us, God is for us.

Psalm 50:15 NLT
Trust me in your times of trouble, and I will rescue you, and you will give me glory.

God promises to rescue us not only for our welfare, but for His glory. I love that! His name is at stake, and it will give Him all the glory. It is a win – win situation.

Psalm 72:12 – 14 NLT
He will rescue the poor when they cry to him; he will help the oppressed, who have no one to defend them. He feels pity for the weak and the needy and he will rescue them. He will save them from oppression and from violence, for their lives are precious to him.

No situation is too difficult for the Lord. The greater our need, the greater the depth of his love and compassion is for us.

4. He crowns us with mercy and loving-kindness.

Psalm 103:4b, 8, 17 – 18 Amplified Bible
Who beautifies, dignifies, and crowns you with loving-kindness and tender mercy;…The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and plenteous in mercy and loving-kindness… But the mercy and loving-kindness of the Lord are from everlasting to everlasting upon those who reverently and worshipfully fear Him, and His righteousness is to children’s children of those who are faithful to his covenant, of those who obey his commandments!

The promise is like a glorious crown that decorates the brow. A crown becomes a metaphor of the quality of God’s nature. God has tender mercies toward us “sinners.” It shows of His compassion towards us.

Only God can make something beautiful that was once wretched. Everyone of us are precious jewels that God has made from lost souls like you and I. We are forever-beautiful because of all that God has done in our life. How many of you are thankful for God’s loving-kindness? Me too.

The gift of God’s Son, Jesus Christ, is God’s ultimate expression of His love for us. Though he gives many other blessings, he can give no greater gift. The gift of the Holy Spirit is also an assurance of God’s love. Though it may be difficult to prove objectively, the Spirit gives solid assurances in our hearts.

Psalm 23:6 NLT
Surely your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me all the days of my life, and I will live in the house of the LORD forever.

God’s love pursues us everyday. We can be certain that God will continually shower us with his mercy and guard us in his love.

Psalm 31:7 NLT
I am overcome with joy because of your unfailing love, for you have seen my troubles, and you care about the anguish of my soul.

God understands our weaknesses and struggles without condemning us. He gives us joy to replace our anguish. Anguish means: excruciating or acute distress, suffering, or pain (

God cares when we are in distress, or anguish, and has a remedy. He replaces it with His joy.

Obeying God will help bring healing, restoration, and fresh growth in our lives. We obey God because we are already loved, not in order to be loved. And as we obey, we are promised joy.

John 15:10 – 11 NLT
When you obey me, you remain in my love, just as I obey my Father and remain in his love. I have told you this so that you will be filled with my joy. Yes, your joy will overflow!

Did you know that our obedience expresses our love for God? The more we obey God’s word, the more we truly love him and want to follow his ways.

5. He fills my life with good things so our youth is renewed.

Psalm 103:5 Amplified Bible
Who satisfies your mouth [your necessity and desire at your personal age and situation] with good so that your youth, renewed, is like the eagle’s [strong, overcoming, soaring]!

Wow! What a promise! God satisfies us with good things. What does that mean?

John Gill’s expedition of the entire Bible states about this verse:
With the good things in the heart of God, with his favour and lovingkindness, as with marrow and fatness; with the good things in the hands of Christ, with the fulness of grace in him, with pardon, righteousness, and salvation by him; with the good things of the Spirit of God, his gifts and graces; and with the provisions of the Lord’s house, the goodness and fatness of it; these he shows unto his people, creates hungerings and thirstings in them after them, sets their hearts a longing after them, and then fills and satisfies them with them.

Only God can give satisfaction to our souls. God is good. He is a good Father. His heart is good. His favor is good. His loving-kindness is good. His grace is good. His forgiveness and righteousness and salvation is good. Being filled with Who He is renews us and gives us strength just like an eagle.

Isaiah 40:29 – 31 Amplified Bible
He gives power to the faint and weary, and to him who has no might He increases strength [causing it to multiply and making it to abound]. Even youths shall faint and be weary, and [selected] young men shall feebly stumble and fall exhausted; But those who wait for the Lord [who expect, look for, and hope in Him] shall change and renew their strength and power; they shall lift their wings and mount up [close to God] as eagles [mount up to the sun]; they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint or become tired.

I believe being filled with the Holy Spirit gives us energy to do what God calls us to do. Many times I have been quickened by the Holy Spirit and have suddenly gone from being extremely tired to feeling as if I could run around the city. This is a good reason to keep ourselves filled with God’s Spirit; we need all the energy we can get! God can empower you to face everything you need to do with renewed physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual strength.

The Holy Spirit will not energize us to be mean, hateful, selfish, or self-centered. He will give us strength and energy to do the things God has called us to do and to be kind, loving, diligent, and focused in the process.

6. God gives righteousness and justice to those treated unfairly.

Psalm 103:6 NLT
The LORD gives righteousness and justice to all who are treated unfairly.

He sees that justice is done to the oppressed. He is on their side. His law, his commands, his judicial decisions, his providential interpositions (just at the right time), are in their favor. This does not mean that it will he done at once; or that there will never be any delay; or that they may not suffer even for a long time – for this occurs in fact; but the meaning is, that God has their true interest at heart; that at proper times, and whenever and whereever there are any dealings of his in the case, his acts are in favor of those that are oppressed; and that there will be sooner or later such interpositions (cause to intervene) on their behalf as shall entirely vindicate their cause.

God only allows injustice to happen for so long, or a season, and then He intervenes. He is our defense in times of unjust treatments or false accusations. When we stand up and try to defend ourselves, we only end up looking bad and self-centered. But when we allow Christ to be our defense, the matter is settled. It doesn’t matter what man thinks, it only matters what God thinks. Again, He is our defense.

7. God knows we are weak and only dust.

Psalm 103:14 – 16 NLT
For he understands how weak we are; he knows we are only dust. Our days on earth are like grass; like wildflowers, we bloom and die. The wind blows, and we are gone—as though we had never bee here.

Reading these verses can almost make you depressed, but they are there to remind us that we are weak and frail.

Barnes Notes states:
For he knows our frame – Our formation; of what we are made; how we are made. That is, he knows that we are made of dust; that we are frail; that we are subject to decay; that we soon sink under a heavy load. This is given as a reason why he pities us – that we are so frail and feeble, and that we are so easily broken down by a pressure of trial.

He remembereth that we are dust – Made of the earth. Gen_2:7; Gen_3:19. In his dealings with us he does not forget of what frail materials he made us, and how little our frames can bear. He tempers his dealings to the weakness and frailty of our nature, and his compassion interposes when the weight of sorrows would crush us. Remembering, too, our weakness, he interposes by his power to sustain us, and to enable us to bear what our frame could not otherwise endure.

We don’t have to try and figure things out all by ourselves when we go through trials or temptations, God knows what we are made of…. dust. We can lean on God for His guidance and help. He wants us to lean on Him and cry out to Him. The promise is that in verse 17 God’s love remains forever with those who fear him. He is faithful to His covenant, to those who obey His Word.

This is only one chapter in the entire Bible that has so many promises in it. Thinking of God’s great love for us overwhelms me. His presence engulfs me. We are so blessed to serve a powerful, risen, all knowing and loving God. He keeps His promises from generation to generation.

Embrace God’s promises in Psalm 103 in your life today. They are for you and I to live by and stand on daily.

Your sister in Christ,

Pastor Kris Belfils

Unlocking the Power of God’s Promises

Unlocking the Power of God’s Promises

Unlocking the Power of God Promises WPGod promises you and I many things, and unlike people who promise and renege (go back on a promise), God never will. He always fulfills what He promises.

God’s promises are seeds of faith, hope, and love. They are not given as options to enhance our lives occasionally, but as means that God can use to change our lives permanently. They are bridges that take us from the bondage of our old life to the freedom of our new life in Christ. They transport us from despair to hope.

2 Peter 1:3 – 4 NLT
As we know Jesus better, his divine power gives us everything we need for living and godly life. He has called us to receive his own glory and goodness! And by that same mighty power, he has given us all of his rich and wonderful promises. []He has promised that you will escape the decadence all around you caused by evil desires and that you will share in his divine nature.

When we fill our mind with the promises of God, God fills our lives with what we need. The promises empower us to overcome the doubts that erode our confidence. They open our eyes to the power and possibilities in Christ. They show us a new way to respond to life’s challenges and heartaches. They are God’s guides to our spiritual growth and vitality.  As you study these promises, here are four specific ways that they will encourage and strengthen you.

4 Ways God’s Promises encourage and strengthen you

1. God’s promises remind you of God’s love for you.

One of our greatest hindrances in times of trouble is our doubt that God is interested in our situation. Deep down, most of us assume that God doesn’t really care about our “little” problems because he is preoccupied with “bigger” things. But Jesus teaches us quite the opposite.

Luke 12:6 – 7 NLT
What is the price of five sparrows? A couple of pennies? Yet God does not forget a single one of them. And the very hairs on your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid’ you are more valuable to him than a whole flock of sparrows.

2. Let God’s promises enlarge your vision of what God can do.

When we take our eyes off of God, everything else is magnified. When we magnify God, everything else assumes its proper proportion. God’s promises are like corrective lenses, bringing our circumstances back into proper focus. They help us see life from an eternal perspective.

Romans 8:35, 38 – 39 NLT
Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love? Does it mean he no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or are hungry or cold or in danger or threatened with death? … I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from his love. Death can’t, and life can’t. The Angels can’t, and the demons can’t. Our fears for today, our worries about tomorrow, and even the powers of hell can’t keep God’s love away. When ever we are high above the sky or in the deepest ocean, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.

If we live our lives claiming God’s promises, nothing that life throws our way can come between us and God. Nothing can get in God’s way. Difficult circumstances are often when God reveals his infinite love and care for us most powerfully.

Psalm 138:8 The Passion Translation
“You keep every promise you’ve ever made to me!
Since Your love for me is so constant and endless,
I ask You, Lord, to finish every good thing
that You’ve begun in me!”

3. Let God’s promises overcome the power of discouragement and pessimism.

God’s promises break the spell that holds us in bondage to the lies, distortions, and deceptions of the devil. Many of us have a tendency to expect the worst. We assume that bad things will happen and brace ourselves for disaster.

We lose perspective because we look at our situation in the light (or the dimness) of human limitations and obstacles. But when the power of one of God’s promises breaks in, it’s like someone has turned on a bright light. We snap out of it and realize we have forgotten the most important factor in any situation: the God factor. As Paul says…

Ephesians 3:20 NLT
Now glory be to God! By his mighty power at work within us, he is able to accomplish infinitely more than we would ever dare to ask or hope.

4. Let God’s promises show you new ways to respond in faith.

When we are stressed, we tend to lose our sight of the many possible responses to our situation. God’s promises expand our repertoire by reminding us that we can respond differently because of who we are and what we have in Christ. When we hear Paul say from prison,

Philippians 4:13 NLT
I can do everything with the help of Christ who gives me the strength I need.

We realize that our joy is based on our trust in God’s power, not our outward circumstances. God’s promises remind us that God works in ways we cannot imagine. We read in …

Leviticus 26:8 NLT
Five of you will chase a hundred, and a hundred of you will chase ten thousand! All your enemies will fall beneath the blows of your weapons.

A similar promise is found…

Joshua 23:10 NLT
Each one of you will put to flight a thousand of the enemy, for the Lord your God fights for you, just as he promised.

The Israelites watched God destroy the armies of Pharaoh without their having to lift a finger.

God used David to overcome Goliath with a single smooth stone. God enabled Gideon’s three hundred soldiers to defeat the armies of Midian, and the Lord used one hundred and twenty disciples to establish the church in Acts.

The power of God working through his promises enables us to attempt the unthinkable, to endure the unbearable, and even to forgive the unforgivable.

The power of the promises is rooted in the character of God and the power of his word. When we plant the seeds of the promises in our heart, they will bear fruit that will nourish us through life’s toughest time. As the Lord promises in …

Isaiah 55:10 – 11 NLT
The rain and snow come down from the heavens and stay on the ground to water the earth. They cause the grain to grow, producing seed for the farmer and bread for the hungry. It is the same with my words. I send it out, and it always produces fruit. It will accomplish all I want it to, and it will prosper everywhere I send it.

Trust God’s Promises

Let’s look at some promises on trusting God. This really is the beginning or foundation of standing on God’s promises. If we don’t trust God, we won’t believe His promises. If we don’t trust God, His Word will mean nothing to us.

2 Samuel 22:31 – 33 Amplified Bible
As for God, His way is perfect; the word of the Lord is tried. He is a Shield to me because I trust and take refuge in Him. For who is God but the Lord? And who is a Rock except our God? God is my strong Fortress; He guides the blameless in His way and sets me free!

God’s ways are perfect. His Word has been tried and is true. He is a Shield to us and we can trust Him, take refuge in Him, and depend on Him. There is no one, nothing like our God. He is immovable and a place to hide in times of trouble. We are blameless because of His Son, and we are set free from sin, depression, distress, and so much more all because we trust in the Lord and stand on His promises.

Psalm 2:2 Amplified Bible
I am blessed (happy, fortunate, and to be envied) because I seek refuge and put my trust in the Lord.

We are blessed when we trust the Lord. It brings us peace and assurance that we don’t have to try and figure things out, but that we can rely on the Lord to help us in any situation.

Psalm 18:2 – 3 Amplified Bible
The Lord is my Rock, my Fortress, and my Deliverer; my God, my keen and firm Strength in Whom I trust and take refuge, my Shield, and the Horn of my salvation, my High Tower. I call upon the Lord, Who is to be praised; so shall I be saved from my enemies.

There is always a result for our trusting in God and His word. In this case, God promises to be Lord, a Rock, a Fortress, A Deliverer, Strength, Refuge, Shield, Horn (projection) of salvation, a High and strong tower where the righteous can run to and are safe. We shall be saved from our enemies when we trust in the Lord for protection. All of these are promises for trusting in God.

Psalm 20:7 Amplified Bible
Some trust in Chariots, and some in horses’ but I remember (trust) the name of the Lord my God.

People have false security in so many things; Jobs, money, relationships, cars, their home, their education, how thing think, their own abilities, and so much more. If we replaced the words Chariots and horses, with some of the things I just mentioned, it would read like this:

“Some trust in jobs or money, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God.” “Some trust in education and their own abilities, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God.”

What this verse is saying is that anything earthly that you trust in can and will fail, but the name of the Lord will never fail us. Relationships will fade, homes can get burned up, education doesn’t promise you a job or income, cars, or our own abilities will fail us, but God will never fail. He is trustworthy.

Psalm 31:14 – 15 Amplified Bible
I trust in, rely on, and am confident in You, O Lord; I say, You are my God. My times are in Your hands.

God is the one who created us. He knows our beginning and our end on this earth. Our times are truly in His hands. We can be confident that He has our best interest at heart. Who else to trust in then our Creator and sustainer. It is a win – win situation. God wants us to trust and rely on Him, and in turn He takes care of us.

Psalm 56:3 – 4 Amplified Bible
When I am afraid, I will trust in You. In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust; I will not be afraid. What can mortal man do to me?

There is something more important then life on earth; Eternal life in Heaven. Because of this, if man steals from us, tortures us, belittles us, ignores us, it doesn’t matter, they can NEVER take God away from us, no matter how hard they try or threat. People can take our cars, our homes, and even our friendships on earth, but they can NEVER take our relationship with God from us. That is why Christians have been targeted all over the world. We have something that no one can take away. We have a promise from the ultimate Promise Giver that brings life and freedom in the face of turmoil. It is something the world doesn’t understand until they make the same decision we have; Accept Christ as their Lord and Savior and live for Him on this earth. Giving God control brings FREEDOM!

Proverbs 3:5 – 8 Amplified Bible
I lean on, trust in, and am, confident in the Lord with all my heart and mind and I do not rely on my own insight or understanding. In all my ways I know, recognize, and acknowledge Him, and He directs and makes straight and plain my paths. I am not wise in my own eyes; I reverently fear and worship the Lord and turn [entirely] away from evil. It shall be health to my nerves and sinews, and marrow and moistening to my bones.

These are my favorite verses in the Bible. I have lived by them all my Christian life. Don’t lean on and rely on anything or anyone else but the Lord. Put your whole heart, mind, and passions into it. Trust God’s wisdom. Don’t rely on your own understanding or insight. Whatever we do, wherever we go, God is with you, so keep Him first and foremost in your thoughts and life. Don’t get haughty and think you know everything, because you don’t. Fear and worship the Lord and turn away from anything evil. Turn away from anything that doesn’t please the Lord, anything that goes contrary to His Word.

Proverbs 29:25 Amplified Bible
The fear of man brings a snare, but whoever leans on, trusts in, and puts his confidence in the Lord is safe and set on high.

Amen, Amen, Amen! Don’t fall in the trap of being afraid of people. Don’t get snared in trying to win their approval. Who is man that we want them to approve of us anyway? God is the only one we should desire for His approval. Put your confidence in God and He will set you on high. He will lift you up. He will even prepare a table before you in the presence of your enemies (Psalm 23). That is the God we love and serve. Man will let you down. People will disprove of you. It is okay, because you have God’s approval. Nothing else matters.

Nahum 1:7 Amplified Bible
The Lord is good, a Strength and Stronghold in the day of trouble; He knows (recognizes, has knowledge of, and understands) those who take refuge and trust in Him.

The Lord is good! He is strong and Who we can cling to in trouble. He knows everything about us, and understands us even when others don’t. We can take refuge and trust in Him always.

Hebrews 2:13 Amplified Bible
My trust and assured reliance and confident hope is fixed in Him.

Fix your hope, your confidence on the Lord. He is the best foundation to stand on. All other ground is sinking sand. God will never put you to shame for trusting in Him… Never! His name is at stake.

Psalm 25:3 NLT
No one who trusts in you will ever be disgraced (put to shame), but disgrace comes to those who try to deceive others.

Psalm 25:3 GNT
Defeat does not come to those who trust in you, but to those who are quick to rebel against you.

There is no better life than a life following God. It is so fulfilling, so joyful, so reassuring, and everlasting. The promises of God have so much power in them.

We need to search God’s word and allow the rich and wonderful promises water our faith, refresh our soul, and lead us into the life Christ made possible for each one of us today.

Your sister in Christ,

Pastor Kris Belfils

I Pinky Promise

PinkyPromise3When you and I were children, there was a saying we’d often hear. I’m going to say the first half of the saying and let’s see if you know the 2nd half:

“Cross my heart and (hope to die)”
What was that child saying?
They were saying they’d made a promise, and if they were to break that promise they would expect something bad to happen.

Actually, the original phrase is a little longer:
“Cross my heart and hope to die. Stick a needle in my eye.”

The only thing kids could think of that was worse than dying was sticking needles in their eyes – and I would tend to agree. Kids understand the importance of promises. In fact parents have learned that they need to be very careful what promises they make to their kids.

When I really want someone to promise me something I put up my pinky and say, “I Pinky Promise?” If the other person wants to make the promise, they will put up one of their pinky fingers and connect it with my pinky finger and shake on it and say, “I pinky promise.” If they “pinky promised,” in my mind, they would keep their promise. But often they didn’t.

As my girls were growing up I learned that if I told them that…
• I was going to do something for them
• I was going to take them someplace
• I was going to get something for them.
and then (for whatever reason) I didn’t do that, you know what they’d say to me?

As children we learned that promises are important and need to be kept. God understands that and so He has repeatedly told us throughout the Bible that if He makes a promise He’ll keep it. And in the Bible one of the most significant kind of promises God made were called “Covenants”.

God has made many promises or covenants with us. But, unlike people in our life, he keeps his promises. God has “Pinky Promised” all of us many promises and He is true to His promises!

1 Corinthians 1:20 NIV
For no matter how many promises God has made, they are “Yes” in Christ. And so through him the “Amen” is spoken by us to the glory of God.

Hebrews 10:23
Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.

A promise is a declaration of some benefit to be granted.

The Webster’s Dictionary gives us this: One’s pledge to another to do or not to do something specified, narrowly, a declaration which gives to the person to whom it is made a right to expect or to claim the performance or forbearance of a specified act.
Ground for hope, expectation or the assurance, often specified of eventual success.
That which is promised—To engage to do, give, make, obtain: to make to another a promise of; also, to give one’s promise to assure as “He will go, I promise you.” To show or suggest beforehand.

The word “promise” is used more than 100 times in the Bible, there are other terms implying the same thought. The Old Testament is a record of God’s promises to patriarchs, kings, prophets, Israel, lowly saints, and to the world at large. The Hebrew noun, []dither, is generally rendered “word,” but “promise is found in…

1 Kings 8:56
According to all that He promised: there hath not failed one word of all His good promise.

Nehemiah 5:12 – 13
That they should do according to the promise.

Another Hebrew word for “promise” is omer, meaning “saying.” This is the term used in “Doth his promise fail for evermore?” (Psalms 77:8) Also, Psalm 68:11 “The Lord gave the word.”

Psalm 105:42 RV
He remembered his holy word. (Holy saying)

This reminds us that God’s Holy Word is always a Holy promise (a pinky promise). From cover to cover of the Bible it is filled with God’s promises for us. One could say it is God’s promise book for all people.

2 Timothy 3:16a NKJV
All Scripture is given by inspiration of God…

It’s divine promises must be God-breathed, and therefore impossible of not being fulfilled. Knowing this information makes me say farewell to any doubt and trust my God fully and completely.

Furthermore, His promises are backed by His faithfulness which runs like a golden thread through His Word. All writers of the Bible magnify God for His unfailing faithfulness to all generations. That’s a pinky promise if I ever saw one!

Deut. 7:9
Know therefore that the Lord thy God, He is God, the faithful God, which kept covenant and mercy with them that love Him and keep His commandment to a thousand generations.

Hebrews 10:23
He is faithful that promised.

1 Thess. 5:24 “Faithful is he that calleth you, who will also do it.

God’s faithfulness, then, is our special ground of encouragement as we apply His promises.

Lamentations 3:23
Great is Thy faithfulness.

Looking just at the names of God, each one designates a promise:

-El Shaddai – Lord God Almighty
-El Elyon – The Most High God
-Adonai – Lord, Master
-Yahweh – Lord, Jehovah
-Jehovah Nissi – The Lord My Banner
-Jehovah-Raah – The Lord is my Shepherd
-Jehovah Rapha – The Lord that heals
-Jehovah Shammah – The Lord is there
-Jehovah Tsidkenu – The Lord our righteousness
-Jehovah Mekoddishkem – The Lord who sanctifies you
-El Olam – The everlasting God
-Elohim – God
-Qanna – Jealous
-Jehovah Jireh – The Lord will provide
-Jehovah Shalom – The Lord is peace
-Jehovah Sabaoth – The Lord of Hosts

Let me pick one of those names, Jehovah Jireh, and share a promise:

Philippiains 4:19
My God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.

Let’s look at one of God’s promises and dissect it today:

Psalm 34:17 NKJV
The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears, And delivers them out of all their troubles.

“The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears…

One of the biggest advantages of being righteous is the privilege of crying out to God or calling out His name with the assurance that He will deliver us. It is a privilege to call upon God; a privilege of prayer. There is no blessing superior.

Can you imagine what a world this would be if we couldn’t cry out to God for help? How sad, how helpless, how wretched if there were no God for the guilty, the helpless, the broken, the suffering, or the sinner to call to.

More scripture on calling out to God.

Isaiah 65:24
It shall come to pass that before they call, I will answer; and while they are still speaking, I will hear.

Psalm 91:15
He shall call upon Me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him and honor him.

Psalm 145:18 – 19
The LORD is near to all who call upon Him, to all who call upon Him in truth. He will fulfill the desire of those who fear Him; He also will hear their cry and save them.

Jeremiah 33:3
Call to Me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know.

…And delivers them out of all their troubles.

He often delivers them from trouble in this life.
He will deliver them literally from all trouble in the life to come.

The promise is not that they shall be delivered from all trouble on earth, but the idea is that God is able to rescue them from trouble here; that he often does it through prayer; and that there will be, in the case of every righteous person, a sure and complete deliverance from all trouble here after.

There are a few verses that go along with Psalm 34:17.

Psalm 34:6
This poor man cried out, and the Lord heard him, And saved him out of all his troubles.

The word “poor” here does not mean “poor” in the sense of a want of wealth, but “poor” in the sense of being afflicted, crushed, forsaken, desolate. The word “miserable” would better express the idea than the word “poor.”

…And the Lord heard him – That is, heard in the sense of “answered.” He regarded his cry, and saved him.

Psalm 34:19
Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him out of them all.

This is not to say the righteous have more afflictions then the unrighteous. But the righteous do have suffering and trials. The good news is that God sustains us in our trials. He supports us and makes beauty from ashes. He turns trials into triumphs!

As a Christian, we are never alone in the middle of any trial. God is always with us. Even when we go through deep waters, we are not alone.

Isaiah 43:2 NLT
When you go through deep waters, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown. When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you.

Isn’t it amazing to realize all these verses are actually promises from God to help us in our everyday life? I love it! God tenderly holds us with these verses to reassure us that we have help in all situations. They are “Pinky Promises” from God that He never ever stops fulfilling!

I am excited for this new series we are embarking on. I need to get the promises of God in my heart and I believe you do too. We will grow and learn as we look as some powerful promises together.

Let me leave you with a quote from Dwight L. Moody:

“Take the promises of God. Let a man feed for a month on the promises of God, and he will not talk about how poor he is. You hear people say, ‘Oh, my leanness! how lean I am!” It is not their leanness, it is their laziness. If you would only read from Genesis to Revelation and see all the promises made by God to Abraham, to Isaac, to Jacob, to the Jews and to the Gentiles, and to all His people everywhere — If you would spend a month feeding on the precious promises of God — you wouldn’t be going about complaining how poor you are. You would lift up your head and proclaim the riches of His Grace, because you couldn’t help doing it!”
Dwight L. Moody

Your sister,

Pastor Kris Belfils

Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus in 2016

Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus in 2016

Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus WPThis is a pivotal time. It is a transition time. A lot has happened in 2015. I am sure as you place a mental calendar in front of your mind’s eye you could tell me all kinds of things that happened in your life each month. Some good and some bad. Now we are in 2016. A new year.

This past year has been a journey for us all. For some the road has brought joy, for others pain. We look and see a broken world. As we gaze at all the craziness around us our hearts can feel uncertain. Fear of the unknown can set in. We can look at 2016 and feel anything but secure. We wonder if HOPE is losing. We have been talking about HOPE since the end of September. My heart was to get it in our spirit to the point no matter what we go through or what the future holds, we can face it with the Hope we have in God and His promises. As this new year begins, what do we do? We are to:





The author of “Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus,” Lilias Trotter, wrote:  It is easy to find out whether our lives are focused, and if so, where the focus lies. Where do our thoughts settle when consciousness comes back in the morning? Where do they swing back when the pressure is off during the day? Dare to have it out with God, and ask Him to show you whether or not all is focused on Christ and His Glory. Turn your soul’s vision to Jesus, and look and look at Him, and a strange dimness will come over all that is apart from Him. – Lilias Trotter

We are embarking on a new year. Now is the time for New Beginnings. Now is the time to release all the bad that has happened in 2015 and let it go. Forgive who you need to forgive. Let go of events or circumstances that brought despair or destruction. Leave it in 2015. Leave it at Christ’s feet. Walk into 2016 strengthened by these things instead of allowing them to overtake you. This new year is a year of breakthrough and change. We are moving forward, holding God’s hand, and our heads up knowing we are not alone.

We serve a God of endings and beginnings. We cannot have a new beginning without something coming to an end. In this case, it’s 2015. Turning our eyes upon Jesus and looking into His wonderful face will protect our hearts from any despair or downheartedness. We need this! You and I need to protect our hearts from falling into any trap the enemy, satan, wants to use to bring disillusion and confusion.

Turning our eyes upon Jesus is a command in Scripture.

Hebrews 12:2a NKJV

looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith

Hebrews 12:2a Amplified Bible

[looking away from all that will distract us and] focusing our eyes on Jesus, who is the Author and Perfecter of faith [the first incentive for our belief and the One who brings our faith to maturity],

The Bible tells us to look and to fix our eyes on Jesus. Make this be your New Year’s resolution for 2016. No matter what, you keep your eyes on Jesus. No matter how many bills you have to pay; Keep your eyes on Jesus! No matter all the things that can go wrong; Keep your eyes on Jesus! No matter what tries to distract you; Keep your eyes on Jesus. No matter how many disappointments you may encounter; Keep your eyes on Jesus. Know that []a disappointment can sometimes be a divine appointment in disguise! 

Our prayer should be:

Lord, I keep my eyes on You! I know you are good to me. I know You are watching over me. You are working all things for my good this past year and the year to come. I let go of my desires, or what I think should happen, and focus on You and Your desires. I want what You want. I will do what You want me to do. I just know I need you desperately, always in my life. I soak in Your love. I soak in Your goodness. 2016 is going to be an amazing year because You have brought it to me! Thank you for Your peace and assurance that I am standing on solid ground when I keep my eyes on You!

Delayed Gratification

As we turn our eyes upon Jesus and stay focused, it keeps us on the right path. Being on the right path and walking forward in all that God brings us to do, we will receive a gratifying reward.

There is the principle of delayed gratification. We can see this principle at work in our own lives. There are times when we must give up the good to obtain the best.

•If one of our resolutions is to lose weight, we give up certain foods so that we might lose weight.

•Students give up a night out with friends to study for final exams.

•A young man gives up dinner and a movie because he is saving to buy a new car.

There is sacrifice involved. One pleasure is sacrificed so that a higher one might be achieved. It is amazing what we can sacrifice or give up if we really want something or really want to do something. There is a higher level of delayed gratification that involves enduring pain to receive a reward.

This is why athletes lift weights at 6:00 a.m., while their friends are still in bed. They give up sleep, in order to win a championship.

This is why aspiring pianists practice for hours when they might be watching TV or playing video games. They put in the hours in the hope that some day they may play for thousands.

In all these things there is a pain involved, but it is pain endured for the sake of the joy that comes when the goal is reached.

What has your year been like? God spoke to me that this past year we have endured. We have given up much. We have sacrificed much. We have been faithful at Hope Fellowship. The Lord impressed on my heart that 2016 will be the year of reward…. the gratification of the sacrifices we have made.

I want to share personally in my life some sacrifices to allow you to see possibly in your life something similar and to know that this delayed gratification of not seeing the results we want right away will be worth it all when God brings His rewards with Him!

Personally: My family and I are here every Sunday and Friday nights serving you. All the surgeries, and all the health issues I endured in 2015. All the tears shed in 2015 for the lost, broken, and for Hope Fellowship. All the hours spent counseling, encouraging others, and training my staff. All the time spent in prayer for Hope Fellowship and those who attend. All the sermons prepared, and worship sets planned and played. All the studying and preparing. All the graphic design and computer work… God is bringing a reward, gratification, and transition into the new He has waiting in my life!

Now turn that onto you. What have you sacrificed this past year? What have you gone through and still kept your faith. What did you obey day in and day out that God required? Obedience brings blessing! God is telling you today that YOU WILL have much reward for your efforts. He sees all and is a rewarder to those who diligently seek Him.

Hebrews 11:6 Amplified Bible

But without faith it is impossible to [walk with God and] please Him, for whoever comes [near] to God must [necessarily] believe that God exists and that He rewards those who [earnestly and diligently] seek Him.

Please don’t give up in doing good. We will receive a reward. People go to work to receive a reward in the form of a paycheck. There are so many examples of preparing and doing things, that in time, will produce something of value.

Galatians 6:9 NKJV

And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.

That is why keeping our eyes on Jesus throughout the year keeps our focus where it should be. This helps us to keep on keeping on in spite of our circumstances. It reminds us that God is fighting for us and our situation is not going unnoticed. God sees our situation and He is MIGHTY to save! He is in the “saving business!” It is His speciality.

It is amazing the benefits we receive when we turn our eyes upon Jesus and keep our gaze there. Distractions grow strangely dim, they can’t help it. Nothing compares to the light, the powerful love God pours into us when our focus turns to Him.

So, keep your eyes on Jesus. Don’t be distracted by the things of the world.

Keep running. Don’t look back. Fix your eyes on Jesus and run with all your might for the finish line. Rejoice in Who you are looking at.

T. E. Marsh wrote on the fullness that is in Christ Jesus.

This a paraphrase of what he wrote:

•In Christ there is full acceptance, therefore do not doubt Him.

•In Christ there is peace, therefore trust Him.

•In Christ there is life, therefore abide in Him.

•In Christ there is blessing, therefore delight in Him.

•In Christ there is light, therefore follow Him.

•In Christ there is power, therefore wait on Him.

•In Christ there is all truth, therefore learn from Him.

•In Christ there is grace, therefore receive from Him.

•In Christ there is joy, therefore rejoice in Him.

•In Christ there is unlimited wealth, therefore depend on Him.

•In Christ there is strength, therefore lean on Him.

This is Who you are looking at! All these attributes and so much more. This is real hope for the new year. Everything we need, we have in Christ.

He has all the hope, all the love, all the acceptance, all the grace, all the power, all the strength, all the wisdom, all the patience, all the guidance, all the encouragement, all the joy, all the endurance, all the gentleness, all the forgiveness, all the determination, all the strength, and all the blessing that we need.

The Lord Jesus has already run the race for you. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, and we will run well. Keep your eye on the prize, Jesus, in 2016 and beyond.

Today, if you haven’t placed your gaze upon Jesus, now is the time. Set yourself up to look in the right direction. There is no better place to stare at then in the light of His glory and grace!

Pastor Kris Belfils

Parables of the Wise and Foolish

Parables of the Wise and Foolish

Parables of the Wise and Foolish (WP)We all can benefit from knowing what is wise or foolish living. In today’s world the line of true wisdom is very fuzzy. There are absolutes in God’s Kingdom. These are the best foundation to build on for your life.

The “Leaning Tower of Pisa” was finally reopened to the public in 2001, after having been closed for almost a dozen years. During that time, engineers completed a 25 million dollar renovation project designed to stabilize the tower. They removed 110 tons of dirt, and reduced its famous lean by about sixteen inches. Why was this necessary? Because the tower has been tilting further and further away from vertical for hundreds of years, to the point that the top of the 185-foot tower was seventeen feet further south than the bottom, and Italian authorities were concerned that if nothing was done, it would soon collapse. What was the problem? Bad design? Poor workmanship? An inferior grade of marble? No. The problem was what was underneath. The sandy soil on which the city of Pisa was built was just not stable enough to support a monument of this size. The tower had no firm foundation.

Wise and Foolish Builders

Matthew 7:21 – 29 NKJV
Not everyone who says to Me, “Lord, Lord,” shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, “Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?” And then I will declare to them, “I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!” Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock: and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; founded on the rock. But everyone who hears these sayings of Mine, and does not do them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand: and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it fell, And great was its fall.” And so it was, when Jesus had ended these sayings, that the people were astonished at His teaching, for He taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes.

Notice straight away Jesus testifies to His own deity by referring to Himself as, “Lord, Lord.” This makes us awaken to Jesus and Who He is, which in turn compels us to obedience. It is not enough to call Jesus Lord, we must do the will of His Father in heaven.

Even if you can prophesy or call yourself a prophet, even if you cast out demons in His name and done signs and wonders, if we do not obey, we are foolish and He will say He doesn’t know us. Not obeying God is practicing lawlessness. My goodness what an in-your-face statement!

Prophesy: From G4396; to foretell events, divine, speak under inspiration, exercise the prophetic office: – prophesy.

Jesus knows His own and we know Him, “therefore whosoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man…” He builds his house, his whole life, on the rocks of true discipleship, or genuine subjection to Christ. The disobedient build differently.

  1. The Rock Foundation

God is the Rock on which we build our lives upon. He is the only solid foundation.

Deut. 32:4 NKJV
He is the Rock, His work is perfect; for all His ways are justice, A God of truth and without injustice; Righteous and upright is He.

Psalm 18:2 NKJV
The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer; My God, my strength, in whom I will trust; My shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.

Psalm 61:1 – 2 NKJV
Hear my cry, O God; Attend to my prayer. From the end of the earth I will cry to You, When my heart is overwhelmed; Lead me to the rock that is higher than I.

Christ teaches the importance of doing as well as hearing. In His description of the two builders, He made it clear that they were judged, not by the care which they took in building their houses, but by the foundation on which they stood. In an amazing way, He illustrated the importance of foundation in building your life. Our foundation has to be carefully selected.

A life of Christ resting on, and rooted in, all that the Lord is in Himself. It is only in personal union with Christ the Rock that we can find this firm foundation, even our best purposes are shifting sand.

I am not normally a hymn person but there is a hymn that reads:

My Hope is Built on Nothing Less

My hope is built on nothing less
Than Jesus Christ, my righteousness;
I dare not trust the sweetest frame,
But wholly lean on Jesus’ name.

On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand;
All other ground is sinking sand,
All other ground is sinking sand.

When darkness veils His lovely face,
I rest on His unchanging grace;
In every high and stormy gale,
My anchor holds within the veil.

His oath, His covenant, His blood,
Support me in the whelming flood;
When all around my soul gives way,
He then is all my hope and stay.

When He shall come with trumpet sound,
Oh, may I then in Him be found;
In Him, my righteousness, alone,
Faultless to stand before the throne.

There is no other solid foundation except for Jesus, and as we can see in this parable, there will be wind, rain, and floods that will come.

2. The Sand Foundation

What does a sandy foundation represent? It represents worldly wisdom, a loose foundation, an empty life of what this world has to offer… sinking sand. Sand could be friends, or careers, or drugs, or anything that is not rooted in Christ. Anything that will greatly fall compared to Christ.

What a distinction the Lord shows us. How damaging are those who do not rest upon God’s help when we seek Him in prayer, whose joys do not rest in God’s heart trusted, whose confidence rests not on God’s presence revealed, whose virtues have no root, goodness no motive, and hope no ground. A house like this merely hangs together and may fall at any moment. A house of cards that with one wind burst all come tumbling down.

3. The Builders.

In this parable there are wise and foolish builders. From His vivid picture we take it that both houses looked attractive and substantial, but the comparative stability of both is to be seen. From outward appearances both houses looked erect and strong but underneath there was a drastic difference.

What is life but a building up of character, habits, memories, expectations, of weaknesses and strengths; like stone on stone we add one thing to another in building the house of life. Our desire is that what we build should be secure.

Good people, who are not the Lord’s, appear to build well, and feel that their house is well and wisely built on money, friends, health, successful business adventures — all of which are commendable to themselves, but disastrous without a “rock” foundation.

There are others who build their house on a different foundation: daily living their life for God and obeying His Word. By increasing their knowledge and heart for God, and by living a life of praise and trust in their creator.

4. The Testing Elements.

All of us will be tested in our life to see if we are living on a firm foundation or not. Jesus compares the testing times to be terrific in strain, the threatening rain storm to beat on the roof of the house. How the whistling, howling rains, when they come, create fear. The floods will come and they have the potential to do much damage to our walls. The winds will blow like a hurricane that will threaten the sides of our house.

I love how Jesus used natural forces to remind us that summer suns are not always shinning. Whether we are “wise” or “foolish,” storms will come to everyone. These storms may look like affliction, disappointments, losses, temptations, fears, thoughts of dying, devastation, lack of finances, emotional storms, persecution, suffering, and so much more.

Jesus said, “…And great was its fall.” (Matthew 7:27 NKJV) Jesus is warning the listener of a similar fate.

What will you do when you are tested in your life? What will you do when storms come and the rain, floods, and winds come and blow hard in your life? Will you be shattered and destroyed or will you stand firm on a solid foundation?

The foundation is what holds everything up, it’s what holds everything together. No matter what quality of materials you use; no matter how carefully you join the frame together; no matter how skilled your craftsmen may be – if the foundation isn’t solid and stable, your “house” will lack integrity.

Over time, cracks will develop in the walls. The windows will stick. The roof will leak. And sooner or later, the storms of life will bring it crashing down, and everything you’ve worked so hard to build will be lost.

Today start building your foundation on Christ, the true foundation. All other ground is sinking sand.

From one wise builder to another,

Pastor Kris Belfils