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 (dictionary.com).

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
http://www.KrisBelfils.com
http://www.HopeFellowshipSpokane.com
http://www.KrisBelfils.WordPress.com

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
www.KrisBelfils.com
www.HopeFellowshipSpokane.com
www.KrisBelfils.WordPress.com

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?
BUT YOU PROMISED!

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
www.KrisBelfils.com
www.HopeFellowshipSpokane.com
www.KrisBelfils.WordPress.com

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:

TURN OUR EYES UPON JESUS!

LOOK FULL IN HIS WONDERFUL FACE

AND THE THINGS OF EARTH WILL GROW STRANGELY DIM

IN THE LIGHT OF HIS GLORY AND GRACE

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

www.KrisBelfils.com

www.HopeFellowshipSpokane.com

www.KrisBelfils.WordPress.com

Parables of Lost Things – The Father and the Lost Son

Parables of Lost Things – The Father and the Lost Son

Parables - Lost and Found Mini SeriesWords are powerful. With our words we can speak life or death. With our speech we can put people in bondage or set them free. With the words we think or say we can bring healing or torment. James talks about the tongue being a rudder that steers the whole ship, or a bit in the horse’s mouth.

James 3:2 – 12 (Amplified Bible)
“For we all often stumble and fall and offend in many things. And if anyone does not offend in speech [never says the wrong things], he is a fully developed character and a perfect man, able to control his whole body and to curb his entire nature. If we set bits in the horses’ mouths to make them obey us, we can turn their whole bodies about. Likewise, look at the ships: though they are so great and are driven by rough winds, they are steered by a very small rudder wherever the impulse of the helmsman determines. Even so the tongue is a little member, and it can boast of great things. See how much wood or how great a forest a tiny spark can set ablaze! And the tongue is a fire. [The tongue is a] world of wickedness set among our members, contaminating and depraving the whole body and setting on fire the wheel of birth (the cycle of man’s nature), being itself ignited by hell (Gehenna). For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and sea animal, can be tamed and has been tamed by human genius (nature). But the human tongue can be tamed by no man. It is a restless (undisciplined, irreconcilable) evil, full of deadly poison. With it we bless the Lord and Father, and with it we curse men who were made in God’s likeness! Out of the same mouth come forth blessing and cursing. These things, my brethren, ought not to be so. Does a fountain send forth [simultaneously] from the same opening fresh water and bitter? Can a fig tree, my brethren, bear olives, or a grapevine figs? Neither can a salt spring furnish fresh water.”

We can take a look at one of the parable’s of Jesus to see how much power words really have. In the parable of the Prodigal Son, there are three characters. Each one speaks words and acts upon them.

Luke 15:11 – 32 (Amplified Bible)
“And He said, There was a certain man who had two sons; And the younger of them said to his father, Father, give me the part of the property that falls [to me]. And he divided the estate between them. And not many days after that, the younger son gathered up all that he had and journeyed into a distant country, and there he wasted his fortune in reckless and loose [from restraint] living. And when he had spent all he had, a mighty famine came upon that country, and he began to fall behind and be in want. So he went and forced (glued) himself upon one of the citizens of that country, who sent him into his fields to feed hogs. And he would gladly have fed on and filled his belly with the carob pods that the hogs were eating, but [they could not satisfy his hunger and] nobody gave him anything [better]. Then when he came to himself, he said, How many hired servants of my father have enough food, and [even food] to spare, but I am perishing (dying) here of hunger! I will get up and go to my father, and I will say to him, Father, I have sinned against heaven and in your sight. I am no longer worthy to be called your son; [just] make me like one of your hired servants. So he got up and came to his [own] father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was moved with pity and tenderness [for him]; and he ran and embraced him and kissed him [fervently]. And the son said to him, Father, I have sinned against heaven and in your sight; I am no longer worthy to be called your son [I no longer deserve to be recognized as a son of yours]! But the father said to his bond servants, Bring quickly the best robe (the festive robe of honor) and put it on him; and give him a ring for his hand and sandals for his feet. And bring out that [wheat-]fattened calf and kill it; and let us revel and feast and be happy and make merry, Because this my son was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found! And they began to revel and feast and make merry. But his older son was in the field; and as he returned and came near the house, he heard music and dancing. And having called one of the servant [boys] to him, he began to ask what this meant. And he said to him, Your brother has come, and your father has killed that [wheat-]fattened calf, because he has received him back safe and well. But [the elder brother] was angry [with deep-seated wrath] and resolved not to go in. Then his father came out and began to plead with him, But he answered his father, Look! These many years I have served you, and I have never disobeyed your command. Yet you never gave me [so much as] a [little] kid, that I might revel and feast and be happy and make merry with my friends; But when this son of yours arrived, who has devoured your estate with immoral women, you have killed for him that [wheat-] fattened calf! And the father said to him, Son, you are always with me, and all that is mine is yours. But it was fitting to make merry, to revel and feast and rejoice, for this brother of yours was dead and is alive again! He was lost and is found!”

This is the story of The Prodigal Son.

Prodigal in the dictionary means, “Wastefully, or recklessly extravagant, giving or yielding profusely; lavish, lavishly abundant, profuse, a person who spends, or has spent his or her money or substance with wasteful extravagance.”

We act upon what we say:

1. Younger son spoke – Younger son dwelt on what was going to be his “someday.” He asked his father: “… give me the part of the property that falls [to me].”( Luke 15:12)

The younger son had been thinking about this for some time and planned on asking his father for what was rightfully his… but this only comes when the father has passed away.

Action of his words:

“And not many days after that, the younger son gathered up all that he had and journeyed into a distant country, and there he wasted his fortune in reckless and loose [from restraint] living.” (Luke 15:13)

He wanted to go out and live his own life the way he wanted to live it. His actions reflected what he was thinking and again he acted upon it. He spent his money recklessly extravagantly. This is being a prodigal.

2. He came to himself

He spoke words to himself again:

“How many hired servants of my father have enough food, and [even food] to spare, but I am perishing (dying) here of hunger! I will get up and go to my father, and I will say to him, Father, I have sinned against heaven and in your sight. I am no longer worthy to be called your son; [just] make me like one of your hired servants.” (Luke 15:17-19 Amp)

Action of his words:

“So he got up and came to his own father.” (Luke 15:20 Amp)

He acted on his words and left for home. But this time he had “come to himself.”

We Come To Ourself

We come to our self when we realize we can’t make it on our own. We come to our self when we see that all our choices have made big mistakes in our life. We come to our self when we give up control and give it back to our Heavenly Father. We come to our self when we go to the Father and ask Him to forgive us of our wrong we have done.

We all need to “come to ourselves” from time to time. If we don’t we will lead ourselves astray. We will “self-destruct” without God! We, as sinners, are slow to come to our self and go back to God, but God is quick to run to us as He sees our brokenness and repentive heart.

3. The Father saw his son from a far off and ran to him.

The Father always was waiting and looking for the son to come home. He longed for him to be home. For the father to see him from a far off, you know he was constantly thinking about the way-word son and looking for his return.

God always has His eye on us, waiting for us to move towards Him!
You might feel far away from God.
You may have distance yourself from Him for some reason. Know this; God has his eye on you, waiting for you to draw near.

“I do not know that the prodigal saw his father, but his father saw him. The eyes of mercy are quicker than the eyes of repentance. Even the eyes of our faithWhy are you down in the dumps, dear soul? Why are you crying the blues? Fix my eyes on God— soon I’ll be praising again. He puts a smile on my face. He’s my God. (Psalm 42:5 MSG) are dim compared with the eye of God’s love. He sees a sinner long before a sinner sees Him…. He was resolve to come, yet he was half afraid. But we read that his father ran. Slow are the steps of repentance, but swift are the feet of forgiveness. God can run where we scarcely limp, and if we are limping towards Him, He will run towards us. The father “saw” his son. There is a great deal in that word, “saw.” He saw who it was; saw where he had come from; saw the swineherd’s dress; saw the filth upon his hands and feet; saw his rags; saw his penitent look; saw what he had been; saw what he was; and saw what he would soon be. His father saw him.” God has a way of seeing men and women in a way you and I cannot understand. He sees right through us at a glance, as if we were made of glass; He sees all our past, present and future.”
C.H. Spurgeon (wrote in a sermon on the Prodigal Son)

The Father had prodigal love towards his son as he was moved with pity and tenderness [for him]; and he ran and embraced him and kissed him [fervently]. (Luke 15:20)

Other translations read:

“… fell upon his neck and affectionately kissed him.” (New Testament In Modern English)

His father extravagantly kissed him and loved on him. He was waiting and anticipating his son to come home. I am sure the father always had his son on his mind. Any loving father would.

His father showed more extravagant love for his son as he said to bring the best robe (festive robe of honor) and put it on him; and give him a ring for his hand and sandals for his feet. This signifies kingship, authority, rule and reign. I am sure the son didn’t feel like he deserved it. He knew what he did and where he came from. His father gave him all that, and a fatten cow to eat, and celebrate the homecoming with his friends. We act upon what we say!

The father spoke: 

“Bring quickly the best robe (the festive robe of honor and put it on him; and give him a ring for his hand and sandals for his feet. And bring out that [wheat-] fattened calf and kill it; and let us revel and feast and be happy and make merry, Because this my son was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found!” (Luke 15:22 – 24 Amplified Bible)

When we stray it hurts the Father. The Father will mourn like someone is dead. He will ache in His heart until we come back like someone who has lost a precious jewel and longs to find it.

Action He took:

He lavished His love on the prodigal son and gave him even more than before! The Father sees you! He knows where you have been. He knows what you have done. He knows what you have spoken, and He knows your name!

We don’t have to worry about the past. God has wiped it all away the moment we repent. We don’t have to worry about our future because God has prepared ahead of time what we will need. All we have to do is trust God with our lives and allow Him to be the Father.

Anger and jealously will make us act first…

4. The older son’s actions:

“But [the elder brother] was angry [with deep-seated wrath] and resolved not to go in.” (Luke 15:28 Amp)

In this case, he took action before he spoke to his father. But his “actions spoke louder than words,” as the father pleaded with him to join in the celebration.

The older son spoke:

“Look! These many years I have served you, and I have never disobeyed your command. Yet you never gave me [so much as] a [little] kid, that I might revel and feast and be happy and make merry with my friends; But when this son of yours arrived, who has devoured your estate with immoral women, you have killed for him that [wheat-] fattened calf!” (Luke 15:29-30 Amp)

The older son spoke with jealously and anger. He didn’t understand why his father would lavish so much love on his younger brother after all the WRONG that he did. It didn’t make sense to him.

Mercy and grace never makes sense to someone who is not the receiver, only the one who receives.

When jealously and anger grips our hearts it paralyzes us. It makes us do things that are selfish. The older son was offended because all he could see is the “good” he had done and the “bad” his brother did.

Being critical or judgmental towards others is a sin. The older brother was just as guilty of wrong as the younger brother.

5. The father spoke:

“And the father said to him, Son, you are always with me, and all that is mine is yours. But it was fitting to make merry, to revel and feast and rejoice, for this brother of yours was dead and is alive again! He was lost and is found!” (Luke 15:31-32 Amp)

This parable was spoken to the tax collectors and Scribes and Pharisees.

Luke 15:1-2
“Now all the tax collectors and the sinners were coming near Him to listen to Him. Both the Pharisees and the scribes began to grumble, saying, “This man receives sinners and eats with them.” (Luke 15:1-2 Amp.)

The church is likened to that of the older son. Maybe you have been a child of God most of your life. Do you get critical towards sinners? Do you cast a judgmental eye towards those that have fallen or that keep falling? We can get judgmental towards the lost ones that come in as they may not talk like us or walk like us. We can think of them as “less then” because of their past. This is sin! God wants us to let go of the judgment and celebrate the change in people’s lives. We need to rejoice over one lost sinner that comes to Jesus and treat them with respect and love. Love will always receive; jealously and judgment always pushes away.

What have you been speaking to yourself lately? Are they words of hope or discouragement? What have you been speaking about people lately? Are they words of hope or judgment?

Maybe you can relate more with the Prodigal son. Do you feel like you can’t come back to God because of your past? Do you feel lost and all alone? Do you identify with the prodigal son? Do you identify with the older brother?

God sees everything. He knows your name! We can come to God and ask for forgiveness no matter what we have thought, spoke, or have done. No matter what actions you have taken with your words, God is there waiting for you to embrace Him.

There is power in our words. Let’s do the right thing with our actions and run to God and experience His extravagant love He has waiting for you!

Prayer:
Lord, I need You. I am sorry for leaving You and doing my own thing, going my own way. Please run to me. I come back to you. I don’t deserve your acceptance, but I am so thankful you always give it to me. Today I turn from going my own way, and choose Your way. Thank you for Your forgiveness. Thank You for a new start. Amen!

Your sister in Christ,

Pastor Kris Belfils

www.KrisBelfils.com
www.HopeFellowshipSpokane.com
www.KrisBelfils.WordPress.com

God is Bigger Than The Grave

God is Bigger Than The Grave

Easter is one of the most celebrated Holidays in the Christian world. It is the very crux of the Christian faith. Christ, who was sinless, came to earth and showed us the right example of how to live. He died and rose again. He also took our place and sacrificed His life for us. In doing so, he had authority over death and the grave. God is truly bigger than the grave.

We celebrate Easter every year, but do we really realize what is available to us all because of what Christ did on the cross and rose again for you and I?

In the book of Acts, the disciples preached about Christ and focused on His resurrection. The resurrection makes the difference from any other religion. Death, the grave was conquered once and for all. This was done for you and I.

Christ wants us to live a victorious life. Once we ask Jesus in our hearts as Lord and Savior, we are born again. In other words, we are new.

2 Cor. 5:17 NKJV
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.

What Jesus did for you and I can never be taken away from us. Even if people don’t believe, we know it is true. When Jesus died, He went to Hell and took the keys. He is bigger than the grave!

It was an amazing thing what Jesus did for us. He also carries the keys of the grave with him.

Rev. 1:18 KJV
I am He that liveth, and was dead, and behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death.

We have nothing to dread if we put our trust in Christ.

To hold the keys means He holds the power over the dark world; Hell. Our Savior has this authority as He had been raised from the dead by His own power. This shows that Christ has dominion over hell and death. He can raise the dead and destroy the living. Power over life, death, and the grave!

We see that when He raised Lazarus from the dead.

Read John 11:40 – 44

Lazarus hands and feet were bound.  He was alive but could not go anywhere or do anything.  Lazarus’ head was also bound.  He couldn’t hear, see, or speak.

Many Believers are bound up.  They are spiritually alive, but bound up where they can’t go anywhere or do anything for the Lord.  They are bound up so they can’t hear the voice of Jesus, see spiritual things, or speak or share the Word of God.

What grave clothes do you still have on? What is keeping you bound up? Many of us are walking around in our own grave clothes thinking we are okay, but in reality we are the walking dead.

Grave clothes are not what you are wearing physically, but a state of being, or a state of mind. Grave clothes represent things you use to do when you were spiritually dead. Grave clothes represent addictions and worldly things we hold on to. Grave clothes represent things in your past you keep holding on to.

Some Grave Clothes you may be wearing

1. Bad memories

You may be living and reliving bad memories from you past and they torment you. It is time to shed those dirty grave clothes once and for all. This is being obsessed with the grave. You are looking to what was and missing it and wanting it back. We can never live in the past. The past is done and gone away. Living and reliving memories of the past is like constantly looking in the review mirror of your life. You will get in a accident if you don’t start keep your eyes forward to the present.

Philippians 3:13 – 14 Amplified Bible
I do not consider, brethren, that I have captured and made it my own [yet]; but one thing I do [it is my one aspiration]: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead,I press on toward the goal to win the [supreme and heavenly] prize to which God in Christ Jesus is calling us upward.

2. Sin

Galatians 5:19 – 21 NKJV
Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.

If we settle for less than a passionate relationship with God, we will start to die and eventually fall into a rut or a pit. We become “grave tenders” of our lives instead of living life to its fullest. We see other people living life and enjoying it, yet in our own lives we are dead. We tend our very own grave, and often times we fight or force others to stay away from our grave. A. W. Tozer states in “Rut, Rot, or Revival” that we are in a “circular grave” when sin has entered our hearts. Sin will separate us from God. This is a fact.

A circular grave has no ending and no beginning. In other words, you can’t remember when or how you got in the mess you are in, and you can’t find a way out on your own. You are dead inside. You see no hope, and no way of escape. A dead corpse has no way of reviving it self. A dead corpse needs intervention from a living source to bring life back. Don’t fool yourself by thinking you can get out of this circular grave on your own. Allow the Giver of life to breathe new life back into your dead places in your heart. Allow God to show and direct you out of your circular grave and bring you on solid ground to stand boldly in Him. It will cost you your control. It will cost you your pride, but it is well worth having new reviving life back into your spirit again.

Isaiah 59:2
But your iniquities have separated you from your God; and your sins have hidden His face from you, so that He will not hear.

We all have sinned and need a Savior. Receiving Jesus Christ into your heart as Lord is the first step to a revival in your heart, but there is more to repentance then just receiving Christ in your heart. If one is truly repentant they will turn 180° in the opposite direction of their sin.

Satan will try and trip us up in sin. This causes bondage in our hearts and spirit, and a barrier preventing our hearts to be revived. Being aware that sin separates us from God helps us to do our best to stay away and even run from the appearance of evil. The more you fall in love with God the more you want to obey Him and do what pleases His heart.

Tozer also states that, “Since only sin offends God, and sin is extremely deceitful, it can be present doing its deadly work while the people may not be aware of it at all until it is called to their attention.”

Once you realize the sin that is causing you to feel separated from God, immediately repent and ask God to forgive you. The short term pleasure of sin is not worth the long term separation from God. The after affects of sin is not worth the pleasures of pleasing God and being close to him.

It is natural to be a better person when we are closer to God. It is natural to experience more of God and His love when sin is not in the picture. Allow God to show you right now if you have sin in your life that is separating you from Him. Take the time to repent and walk away from the debilitating and crippling sinful action.

Romans 8:15 (MSG)
This resurrection life you received from God is not a timid,“grave tending” life. It’s adventurously expectant, greeting God with a childlike, “What’s next Papa? God’s Spirit touches our spirits and confirms who we really are. We know who He is, and we know who we are: Father and children. And we know we are going to get what’s coming to us an unbelievable inheritance!

Nothing is worth missing out on our inheritance from God. No sin is so good that it overshadows what we receive from God. No earthly pleasure is more pleasurable then getting closer to God and experiencing His joy and abundant life He has for us. The sacrifice of leaving our sin behind is nothing compared to the relationship we gain with God.

3. Disbelief

Sometimes we are plagued with disbelief or doubt. We find more pleasure in worldly ways. We don’t want to be told what to do.

2 Tim. 3:1 – 4 Amplified Bible
But understand this, that in the last days will come (set in) perilous times of great stress and trouble [hard to deal with and hard to bear]. For people will be lovers of self and [utterly] self-centered, lovers of money and aroused by an inordinate [greedy] desire for wealth, proud and arrogant and contemptuous boasters. They will be abusive (blasphemous, scoffing), disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy and profane. [They will be] without natural [human] affection (callous and inhuman), relentless (admitting of no truce or appeasement); [they will be] slanderers (false accusers, troublemakers), intemperate and loose in morals and conduct, uncontrolled and fierce, haters of good. [They will be] treacherous [betrayers], rash, [and] inflated with self-conceit. [They will be] lovers of sensual pleasures and vain amusements more than and rather than lovers of God.

4. Obsessed with self

Being obsessed with self means it is all about you and what you want, when you want it, and how you want it. You are always thinking of ways to satisfy yourself.

Romans 8:6 – 11 The Message Bible
Obsession with self in these matters is a dead end; attention to God leads us out into the open, into a spacious, free life. Focusing on the self is the opposite of focusing on God. Anyone completely absorbed in self ignores God, ends up thinking more about self than God. That person ignores who God is and what he is doing. And God isn’t pleased at being ignored. But if God himself has taken up residence in your life, you can hardly be thinking more of yourself than of him. Anyone, of course, who has not welcomed this invisible but clearly present God, the Spirit of Christ, won’t know what we’re talking about. But for you who welcome him, in whom he dwells – even though you still experience all the limitations of sin – you yourself experience life on God’s terms. It stands to reason, doesn’t it, that if the alive-and-present God who raised Jesus from the dead moves into your life, he’ll do the same thing in you that he did in Jesus, bringing you alive to himself? When God lives and breathes in you (and he does, as surely as he did in Jesus), you are delivered from that dead life. With his Spirit living in you, your body will be as alive as Christ’s!

5. Addictions

Approval addictions, drug addictions, money addictions, food addictions, these and many more are grave clothes that God wants to remove from your life. See them for what they are… dead carcasses. No life, as a matter of fact they suck all the life out of you and leave you with shame, pain, and destruction.

Christ’s blood sets the addict free!

Proverbs 20:1 NKJV
Wine is a mocker, strong drink is a brawler, and whoever is led astray by it is not wise.

Proverbs 6:26 NKJV
For by means of a harlot a man is reduced to a crust of bread; And an adulteress will prey upon his precious life.

6. Put off the “Old man”

Eph. 4:22 NKJV
“…that you put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts”

Col. 3:8 – 9 NJKV
But now you yourselves are to put off all these: anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy language out of your mouth. Do not lie to one another, since you have put off the old man with his deeds,

All these things are from the old life, old self, or old nature. These things should be shed off of us once we accept Christ as our Lord and Savior. We leave behind the old life and break away from it.

“It’s time to take your grave clothes off!”

God is trying to get you to a certain place and move you to another level. He is trying to move you to another level of grace, another level of His anointing, another level in your relationships, another level in your finances. He wants to change the way you think or look at life. You have to take your grave clothes off to get there

Sometimes the grave clothes are our own power or abilities. We have to be stripped of our own power to allow God’s power to manifest. If he does this, will you still serve Him? (Job – He gives and takes away)

The Lord will strip you down of your pride and humble you so that He can lift you up instead of you lifting yourself up. We all need to get to the place and say, “For God I live and for God I die.” Then you are ready for the next level in life.

When we are wrapped up in grave clothes we can’t work because our hands are bound. We can’t walk in light because our feet are bound. When we are wrapped in grave clothes we can’t witness or talk for the Lord because our mouths are bound. Bondage prevents us experiencing life and freedom in Christ!

Being in a rut and not wanting to get out of it is really a grave with the ends knocked out. Be revived in your spirit from sleeping or from death. Don’t allow your life to just drift. Have purpose and desire. Find your place in God and what His purpose is for your life.

Replace the grave clothes and put on…

1. Put on Christ

Gal. 3:27 NKJV
For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ.

Rom. 13:14 NKJV
But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts.

2. Put on the new self

Eph. 4:24 NASB
and put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth.

Col. 3:10 NASB
and have put on the new self who is being renewed to a true knowledge according to the image of the One who created him—

3. Put on the elect of God

Col. 3:10 – 17 NASB
So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience; bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you.

4. Put on the whole armor of God

Eph. 6:11 NASB
Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil.

5. A new heart and spirit

Eze. 36:26 NKJV
I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.

6. Gladness

Psalm 32:11 Amplified Bible
Be glad in the Lord and rejoice, you [uncompromisingly] righteous [you who are upright and in right standing with Him]; shout for joy, all you upright in heart!

Psalm 100:2 Amplified Bible
Serve the Lord with gladness! Come before His presence with singing!

7. Put on love

Colossians 3:14 NKJV
But above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection.

Jesus came and conquered the grave. It’s time you give your grave clothes over to Jesus, the Resurrection and the Life. He lives and wants you to have abundant life! He is all powerful and nothing, no one can take His power away.

God is bigger than any grave you may be carrying, pursuing, or wearing. It is up to you to let it all go and run to the resurrection and the life! Jesus came to give us all life, real life with meaning. He wants to heal your broken heart and bind up any wounds you may have from your past. When you receive Christ in your life, you have made the best decision you will ever make. It is an eternity decision. Where will you go after you die? If I were you, I would run to the One Who conquered the grave and holds the keys of death and hell. I would choose eternal life with Christ any day over eternity in Hell. Choose life!

Your sister in Christ,

Pastor Kris Belfils

www.KrisBelfils.com
www.HopeFellowshipSpokane.com
www.KrisBelfils.WordPress.com

The Power of Oneness

The Power of Oneness

As a Pastor, I have always ached in my heart when people, who use to attend our church, decided to come every once in a while or eventually they don’t come at all. I felt there was something wrong with me because my loveThe Power Of Oneness (WP) for them would get the better of me. Sometimes it consumed me because I knew they were missing out on what God was doing and I wanted them to be a part, also those who were faithful attenders really missed those who were not there too. “Did I do something wrong?” “Are my sermons boring or not having substance?” “Don’t they long to be in the presence of God?” “Is it because I am a woman?” These and more questions I would ask myself.

So many people have an independent spirit about them and believe they can come and go from church whenever they so choose, and they think it doesn’t effect anyone or anything. American Christians are notorious for this behavior.

God showed me the reasons why I was aching so much over these people. I found in the Book of Acts my answer and it has nothing to do with me, but it has to do with us.

Appearing to the Disciples after His death and resurrection, Jesus told them to wait in Jerusalem.

Luke 24:49 NKJV
Behold, I send the Promise of My Father upon you; but tarry in the city of Jerusalem until you are endued with power from on high.

In the beginning of Acts we see Jesus assembled together with them and He commanded them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the Promise of the Father, “which,” He said “you have heard from Me; for John truly baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now. (Acts 1:4 – 5)

Jesus knew they needed to receive power from the Holy Spirit to be witnesses for Him. He also knew what was ahead of them, they didn’t. He was preparing them for more. More people to teach and disciple, more miracles, signs, and wonders, more power, and more of His Spirit.

It was important for all of them to be together and to stay together and wait together.

Acts 1:14 NKJV
These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication, with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with His brothers.

The phrase, “one accord” is translated from the Greek: homothumadon (hom-oth-oo-mad-on’) and it means, unanimously: – with one accord (mind) [Adverb from a compound of the base of G3674 and G2372].

This is something we can learn and glean for our own lives and church in that phrase, “One Accord.” To all come together with one mind, unanimously expecting God to move in our midsts should be our mindset. Most people won’t tarry. Most people have other things on their mind instead of waiting for something they don’t even know what it is. It is easy to wait for something you know is coming… Holidays, package coming in the mail, a certain event, but to wait for an unknown promise, in todays instant culture, is hard and challenging.

Acts 2:1 NKJV
When the Day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. Then there appeared to them divided tongues, as of fire, and one sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.

What a powerful manifestation of the Holy Spirit on each of the one hundred and twenty in the upper room waiting together for the promise of the Father which Jesus told them about. There oneness kept them there together, and they all were seeking what God wanted for all of them.

As we read more about what happened after that powerful event, we see how their oneness produced great results for the Kingdom of God.

On the Day of Pentecost there were people from all nations under heaven and they heard them speaking in their own language the praises of God. They were all amazed and marveled and wondered what it could be. At the same time there were others who were seeing it all and they mocked the disciples saying, “They are full of new wine” (Acts 2:13).

I found it interesting that there were mockers who instantly criticized the power of God and the manifestation of the Holy Spirit. We, as a church, need to be aware that critics will criticize what God will do and stay in oneness no matter what.

In spite of any mockery, there were those who gladly received Peter’s words and were baptized and 3000 souls were added to them that day (Acts 2:41)! I would say the Disciples oneness produced powerful results.

Acts 2:42 – 47 NKJV
And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers. Then fear (awe) came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were done through the apostles. Now all who believed were together, and had all things in common, and sold their possessions and goods, and divided them among all, as anyone had need. []So continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they ate their food with gladness and simplicity of heart, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved.

The phrase “continued steadfastly” means to continually devote themselves to one another. It means to be earnest towards one another, to persevere, constantly diligent, and attend assiduously. (Strong’s Hebrew and Greek Definitions)

Continually means that they did these things consistently, while devoting means there was a strong focus on these things that deeply consumed them. They chose not to scatter their energy and investment of time into all kinds of other concerns and commitments.

I believe this is where the church, as a whole, has failed. We have not continually devoted ourselves to one another or there would not be church splits, or indifference in coming to church, or a lack of desire to be together. We all have to work on this. It is biblical. Oneness set the church of Acts on a solid foundation and I believe we need to do the same.

The more they were together, they realized how important each other was. They saw the value of being together because it knit their hearts as one. Never underestimate the power of fellowshipping together.

There is more to being in One Accord then being in one mind and purpose. It also is being one soul, or a covenant community. We make a covenant when we marry our spouse saying I will be with you always and there is no other. God established a new covenant with us by sending His Son to save the world from damnation and we no longer have to follow the law and rules of the old covenant. God’s new covenant will not change. It abides forever. But have you ever considered to make a covenant with the body of Christ you attend on Sunday? I challenge you to establish that covenant with one another and keep it at all costs! Not to be legalistic but to create a bond that will produce results! Amen!

Each week we come together to worship God and to learn from His Word. But there is so much more then that. We come together to see and fellowship with one another.

Fellowship means spending time together with other believers in a connected and vulnerable way, sharing lives and being accountable to people with whom you have chosen to share life. Even a quick reading of the books of Acts will show the people of the early church spent a lot of time just being together, everyday, often.

Acts 2:42 – 44 Amplified Bible
“And they steadfastly persevered, devoting themselves constantly to the instruction and fellowship of the apostles, to the breaking of bread [including the Lord’s Supper] and prayers. And a sense of awe (reverential fear) came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were performed through the apostles (the special messengers). And all who believed (who adhered to and trusted in and relied on Jesus Christ) were united and [together] they had everything in common;”

“Devoting themselves constantly to…” The first thing on the list to which the early church gave its devotion was the apostles’ teaching. In other words they devoted themselves to hearing and absorbing what would later become the New Testament. They were constantly getting fed and allowing the word of God to become a part of their soul. You could say they were absorbing or being saturated in good teaching of God’s Word.

The important thing here is that they were being taught the same thing. If one person left and received a teaching from another place, contrary to what the disciples were teaching, it wasn’t the same. Being taught the same thing brings unity and oneness. You are a part and you understand where your fellowship is going.

Then comes fellowship, breaking of bread and prayer which implies, and even requires consistent, deep, passionate covenant relationship between people inspired and filled by the Holy Spirit.

I talked about fellowshipping, now lets look at breaking of bread. It’s more then observing communion and/or eating together. In the Bible times, sharing a meal meant much more than our own casual invitation to “do lunch” together. For people in the Bible, sharing a meal constituted one of the most intimate forms of fellowship possible. You ate together only with people to whom you felt willing to commit in a covenant way. I think that’s why churches love potlucks. There were many jokes about potlucks at church in the past, but seeing how the early church came together often and broke bread and communed together, we should do the same. Enjoy days where the church has a potluck or lunch/dinner. Enjoy those you are eating with. Find out more about them. Truly care about them and have compassion for them. This is being biblical and it pleases God’s heart!

Finally, prayer seemed most often to be something they did together as a unified body. The time leading up to the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost the apostles and a few others were praying together in the upper room and ended with 120 pouring out their hearts to God in one accord, or oneness. Just like it states in Acts 2, verse 1, that they were all with one accord in one place. This is a picture of unity! Prayer is vital for your breakthrough!

Just as soon as the Holy Spirit fell on that original one hundred and twenty a deep, passionate and strong sense of community resulted.

Acts 2:43
Everyone kept feeling a sense of awe; and many wonders and signs were taking place through the apostles.

Notice the sense of awe came before the signs and wonders. The awe was a direct result of their depth and power of the love and fellowship they experienced. The wonders and signs did not produce the awe. The passage only mentions wonders and signs only once, while the remainder of the passages focuses on all the things they did together in love, and on the sacrifices they made for one another as they lived out their faith in covenant relationship, consistently and deeply pursued.

God calls us to oneness in relationship powered by the heart and Spirit of Jesus. Oneness with God leads directly to oneness with each other. The effect is prophetic, producing the fruit that is beyond our needs so that the world may believe.

Our focused covenant community affects others in a great way. Your part is so vital in the scheme of things. All are needed, and all were filed with the Holy Spirit, and all fellowshipped and broke bread together.

What if I, the wife of my husband of almost 30 years, decide to live half of the time at another man’s home? What if I said to him, Honey, I love you. You are my husband and this is my home but I just need to live part-time at John’s house because he has something I need right now? How stable and effective would our household be? How would that impact our children? How would it impact my covenant with my husband?

Or what if I informed my husband, “You will always be my first husband, but I just feel I need to be married to this other one, too? We all know it wouldn’t work. Our marriage would resolve and it would effect my entire family, and possibly community.

Spiritual polygamy does not build the Kingdom of God. It only keeps us fragmented, ineffective and unproductive at making a prophetic impact on this world. Spiritual polygamy means you are not planted anywhere. You become a vagabond (wondering from place to place without a home).

Why do I say all of this? The majority of modern Christians attend and even commit themselves to more than one church in a year. I have heard that the average number of churches christians attend is six. This can never build stable and effective covenant community any more than the kind of living arrangements I described about my husband and I could create or sustain a stable home.

The kind of church life many Christians practice might be more aptly described as spiritual promiscuity, hopping from church bed to church bed seeking the next thrill or perhaps to have personal needs met without real concern for selfless sacrifice, depth of relationships or effective ministry for the sake of others. Personal trust, of others, so necessary to life changing ministry over time, can only be built in being consistent in oneness and covenant community.

God calls us to focused commitment that builds strong relationships in love. The sense of awe the early church experienced flowed not from the signs and wonders but from the love they practiced, the connection, the continual devotion to things that made for relationship in the power of the Holy Spirit. Prophetic community cannot develop without this kind of “continually devoting.”

I have been thinking why don’t we see miracles and healings? Why don’t we see amazing things; signs and wonders in today’s church? I believe it is in part because no one wants to commit to each other and to love one another deeply. We are so concerned with ourselves.

In Romans 12, the apostle Paul understood and taught the value, power and practice of community.

Romans 12:1
Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship.

No longer can the Christian walk be built around “me,” feeding “me,” entertaining “me.” I must become the sacrifice given up to God for His use and His purposes.

The world practices a way of thinking which revolves around self and pushes away anything that has to do with commitment or covenant. We are not to be conformed to this world but to be transformed by the renewing of our mind, so that we may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect (Romans 12:2). We must absorb God’s mind – which begins and ends in covenant.

Covenant love makes us a prophetic people, a people with something to say, a light house, or city of refuge of God’s healing grace, a people who will change our world. In covenant love we will make a difference. Very few members of the first church in Acts 2 could be said to be prophetic individually, but they functioned as part of a prophetic community. What they did together and how they lived out their bond of love made a statement to the world that changed things forever. Without the bonded community meeting regularly, fellowshipping, loving, and praying and breaking bread together, all the signs and wonders would have been meaningless. When real devotion to one another develops, a prophetic statement is made. This is Church, and we are one!

If you have been gifted as one of those few who are truly prophetic, but without a solid foundation in a covenant with God that bonds you to one specific local expression of the Body of Christ, you will fail to make whole and accurate prophetic statements. Trying to be committed in covenant to more than one body at once is like practicing polygamy. You end up being truly close to no one and hindered in your effectiveness to anyone.

Being a part of a local church is one of the great joys and responsibilities of every believer. However, it involves more than showing up on Sunday! How do you participate in the life of your church? While you experience different levels of involvement in a church during different seasons of your life, be sure to consistently avail yourself of opportunities to fellowship, worship, serve, and receive teaching of the Word of God.

Romans 15:5 – 7 NKJV
Now may the God of patience and comfort grant you to be likeminded toward one another, according to Christ Jesus, that you may with one mind and one mouth glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore receive one another, just as Christ also received us, to the glory of God.

There is a song that was written back in the seventy’s that, as a little child, I remember singing in church. I think it is very appropriate to read the words of this song for the message.

They will know we are Christians by our love

1. We are one in the Spirit, we are one in the Lord,
We are one in the Spirit, we are one in the Lord,
And we pray that all unity may one day be restored.

Refrain
And they’ll know we are Christians by our love, by our love,
Yes, they’ll know we are Christians by our love.

2. We will walk with each other, we will walk hand in hand,
We will walk with each other, we will walk hand in hand,
And together we’ll spread the news that God is in our land.

Refrain
And they’ll know we are Christians by our love, by our love,
Yes, they’ll know we are Christians by our love.

3. We will work with each other, we will work side by side,
We will work with each other, we will work side by side,
And we’ll guard each one’s dignity and save each one’s pride.

Refrain
And they’ll know we are Christians by our love, by our love,
Yes, they’ll know we are Christians by our love.

4. All praise to the Father, from whom all things come,
And all praise to Christ Jesus, his only Son,
And all praise to the Spirit, who makes us one.

Refrain
And they’ll know we are Christians by our love, by our love,
Yes, they’ll know we are Christians by our love.

Who will make a covenant with me, and with those who you fellowship with to continue steadfastly with each other in teaching, fellowship, breaking of bread, and in prayer? Let this become who we are every time we come together to worship our Lord, Amen!

Your sister in Christ,

Pastor Kris Belfils
www.KrisBelfils.com
www.HopeFellowshipSpokane.com
www.KrisBelfils.WordPress.com

 

 

 

 

Resources: Pastor Kris Belfils, “The Prophetic Church” by Loren Sandford, and “They Will Know We Are Christians By Our Love” Peter Scholtes