Let memory heap fuel on the altar of praise.

Let memory heap fuel on the altar of praise.

let-memory-heap-fuel-on-the-altar-of-praiseWe are at the beginning of a new year, 2017, and at the beginning of a new sermon series: “Praise and Worship!” In my spirit I sense we will be on this topic for a while as we usher in 2017 on the best foundation we could ever lay down! The Bible is really one complete inspired Word of God to show us how to worship. God created us for communion. He created us to worship Him.

The book of Psalm has many verses referring to praise and worship. I love the heart of the writers in this book. They speak out how they are feeling; good or bad, and allow you to see their human side. Then they pour out their praise to God for Who He is.

Psalm 9:1 – 20 NLT

Psalm 9:1 – 2 NLT

I will praise you, Lord, with all my heart;
    I will tell of all the marvelous things you have done.
I will be filled with joy because of you.
    I will sing praises to your name, O Most High.


“I will praise…” This phrase is stating what someone will do. It is a declaration

The word Praise is translated: H3034




literally to use (that is, hold out) the hand; physically to throw (a stone, an arrow) at or away; especially to revere or worship (with extended hands); – cast (out), (make) confess (-ion), praise, shoot, (give) thank (-ful, -s, -sgiving). Strongs Hebrew and Greek Lexicon

It is a hand extended out to revere or worship God. When someone extends a hand, like a hand shake, they are saying: “I accept you.” “I make a covenant with you” (shaking hands in agreement). One may say that the hand is an extension of the heart. Praise should come naturally to a believer.

“I will praise You, Lord, with all my heart…” The heart joins in with the praising, it can’t help it. “With all my heart…” expresses the psalmist’s deep devotion and commitment. This is what is called in the New Testament “making melody in the heart,” or “singing with grace in the heart.”

Eph. 5:19 NLT

Singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs among yourselves, and making music to the Lord in your hearts.

It is not mere mental singing, but vocal singing, the heart joining in; for the word here used for praise is to confess, to speak out, to declare openly the praises of God in the public congregation, as David elsewhere determines to do.

Psa 111:1 NLT

Praise the Lord!

I will thank the Lord with all my heart

as I meet with his godly people.

Our whole heart should be engaged in every part of divine service and worship, whether in preaching or in hearing, or in prayer, or in singing of praise. Sometimes our hearts are far from God in worship and divided between God and what is going on in this world. That is why we need to pray the prayer of the Psalmist in

Psalm 86:11 NLT

Teach me your ways, O Lord,

that I may live according to your truth!

Grant me purity of heart,

so that I may honor you.

Lord teach us to praise and worship You with all of our heart, not just lip service, or quickly spoken and then forgotten.

There is a new song by Kalley Heiligenthal that speaks of God’s praise to be ever on our lips:

Ever Be

(Kalley Heiligenthal)

Your love is devoted like a ring of solid gold

Like a vow that is tested like a covenant of old

Your love is enduring through the winter rain

And beyond the horizon with mercy for today

Faithful you have been

faithful you will be

you pledge yourself to me and its why I sing

Your praise will ever be on my lips, ever be on my lips

Your praise will ever be on my lips, ever be on my lips

Your praise will ever be on my lips, ever be on my lips

Your praise will ever be on my lips, ever be on my lips

You Father the orphan

Your kindness makes us whole

And you shoulder our weakness

 and your strength becomes our own

Now you’re making me like you

Clothing me in white

Bringing beauty from ashes

For You will have Your bride

free of all her guilt and rid of all her shame

and known by her true name and that’s why I sing

Your praise will ever be on my lips, ever be on my lips

Your praise will ever be on my lips, ever be on my lips

Your praise will ever be on my lips, ever be on my lips

Your praise will ever be on my lips, ever be on my lips

You will be praised You will be praised

With angels and saints we sing worthy are You Lord

You will be praised You will be praised

With angels and saints we sing worthy are You Lord

And that’s why I sing

Your praise will ever be on my lips, ever be on my lips

Your praise will ever be on my lips, ever be on my lips

Your praise will ever be on my lips, ever be on my lips

Your praise will ever be on my lips, ever be on my lips

You will be praised You will be praised

With angels and saints we sing worthy are You Lord

You will be praised You will be praised

With angels and saints we sing worthy are You Lord

We should always be ready to praise the Lord with our lips with thankful hearts for Who God is! He will be praised even if you don’t praise Him. He can command the rocks to cry out His glory. No way is a rock going to take my job of praising God for ever and ever.

“I will tell of all the marvelous things you have done.” “I will tell…” This is stating that all the stories of all that God has done from generation to generation will be spoken from the praiser’s lips. If they are not remembered, a generation might easily depart from the Lord. We have to tell. We have to declare the good works of the Lord.

Having trouble getting your praise on? Remind yourself who God is and what He has done in your life. Remind yourself of His promises in His Word! Let memory heap fuel on the altar of praise. Once you get the fire lit, it is easy to keep it going by thanking God of all the marvelous things he has done in your life.

“I will be filled with joy because of You…” King James version states; “I will be glad and rejoice in thee..” Gladness and rejoicing is joy manifested!

Glad is translated: “brighten up, gleesome, chirp, joy, make merriment. The word rejoice means: “ to jump for joy, that is, exult: – be joyful, rejoice, triumph.”

Whoot Whoot! We are to be filled with God’s joy because of all the marvelous things God has done for us. We are to allow Joy to be manifested in us to the point of jumping up and down and rejoicing in praise to His mighty works!!!

“I will sing praises to Your name, O Most High.” The psalmist often connects joy with praises, as one leads to the other!

The word praises is translated differently here then it was in the previous verse. Praises in the Hebrew is:





A primitive root (perhaps identical with H2168 through the idea of striking with the fingers); properly to touch the strings or parts of a musical instrument, that is, play upon it; to make music, accompanied by the voice; hence to celebrate in song and music: – give praise, sing forth praises, psalms.

It shows it is more then a thought or a suggestion. It is stating I will sing, I will play my instrument, I will use my voice in praise to declare God’s name and lift Him to the highest of heights, to the glory of his name, his being, and perfections, as displayed in his marvelous works, and in the revelation of his word, and especially in His Son; and under the character of the “most high” God, the supreme Being over all creatures, angels and men.

Psa 7:17 NLT

I will thank the LORD because He is just; I will sing praise to the name of the LORD Most High.

I love “I will” statements from the Bible. It shows stability. Again, it is a declaration stating I will do this no matter what comes my way! Saying or singing these statement out loud does something in your spirit. It becomes a solid foundation that you can rely on when trouble comes.

No matter what… I will sing praise to the name of the LORD!!!

Are you holding back any part of your heart from God? God wants to pour His Spirit into ALL of your heart, not a portion.

I pray you enter into God’s presence as you praise Him daily.


Your sister in Christ,

Pastor Kris Belfils





Unlocking the Power of God’s Promises

Unlocking the Power of God’s Promises

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

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

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

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

4 Ways God’s Promises encourage and strengthen you

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A similar promise is found…

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

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

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

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

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

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

Trust God’s Promises

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Your sister in Christ,

Pastor Kris Belfils

Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus in 2016

Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus in 2016

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

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





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

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

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

Turning our eyes upon Jesus is a command in Scripture.

Hebrews 12:2a NKJV

looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith

Hebrews 12:2a Amplified Bible

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

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

Our prayer should be:

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

Delayed Gratification

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hebrews 11:6 Amplified Bible

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

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

Galatians 6:9 NKJV

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

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

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

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

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

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

This a paraphrase of what he wrote:

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

•In Christ there is peace, therefore trust Him.

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

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

•In Christ there is light, therefore follow Him.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Pastor Kris Belfils




The Songs Of Christmas: The Song Of Mary

The Songs Of Christmas: The Song Of Mary

The Songs of Christmas: The Song Of MaryWe all know of how baby Jesus was born. But have we ever looked at the expressions of certain key people during that time? Mary is the first character to be approached by an angel, Gabriel, to share how highly favored she was and how blessed she was among women.

She was favored by God. This means that she was endued with grace. She was favored as the Lord was with her. She was human just like you and I. But I believe she received favor because she was humble, quick to obey God, and lived her life doing the right thing. She was highly favored among women. She was beautiful inside and out.

Grace is “unmerited favor,” meaning something we receive despite the fact that we do not deserve it. Mary needed grace from God just as the rest of us do.

God gave His unmerited favor to us when He forgave our sin through the sacrifice of His Son. We can ask for His favor to go before us where ever we go. We are His children.

The word Favor means “to grace, that is, indue with special honor: – Make accepted, be highly favored. This is our portion too.

Sometimes we receive God’s favor when others think we shouldn’t. I love it when God uses the foolish things to confound the wise. When He uses me in spite of what others think I deserve or what they think I should be doing.

God brings promotion not man. We can receive a promotion that we were not even qualified for. That’s God’s favor! When God gives you favor He puts you somewhere you have no qualifications, or maybe even no right to be there and it is God who keeps you there. Trust in God for His favor and His staying power.

Remember when God does promote you that you are nothing without Him. Tell yourself: “I am everything in God and I am nothing without Him!” This will keep you humble which is what Mary was and I believe that is why God favored her so highly.

Mary was told by Gabriel that she would have a Son and He would be called, Jesus. “He will be great and will be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David. And He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end.” (Luke 1:32 – 33 NKJV)

Mary’s response began with a question: “How can this be, since I do not know a man?” (Luke 1:34). Then Gabriel answered: “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you; therefore, also, that Holy One who is to be born will be called the Son of God.” (Luke 1:35)

Not only that but the angel proceeded to tell Mary that even Elizabeth, who was Mary’s relative, has also conceived a son in old age, and was six months along. She was called barren, but “For with God nothing will be impossible.” (Luke 1:37)

Mary then responded, “Behold the maidservant of the Lord! Let it be to me according to your word.” This shows quick obedience, humility, and trust. Mary was just an ordinary young lady with an extra ordinary assignment.

She went to visit Elizabeth and as she greeted her and when she did, the babe in Elizabeth’s womb leaped and she was filled with the Holy Spirit. Elizabeth quickly spoke with a loud voice, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! But why is this granted to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For indeed, as soon as the voice of your greeting sounded in my ears the babe leaped in my womb for joy. Blessed is she who believed, for there will be a fulfillment of those things which were told her from the Lord.” (Luke 1:42 – 45)

The Song of Mary

This leads us to Mary’s response and a beautiful song came forth from her heart and spirit. It truly is an outward expression of what God was doing inside of her.

Luke 1:46 – 55 NKJV
And Mary said:
“My soul magnifies the Lord,
And my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior.
For He has regarded the lowly state of His maidservant;
For behold, henceforth all generations will call me blessed.
For He who is mighty has done great things for me,
And holy is His name.
And His mercy is on those who fear Him
From generation to generation.
He has shown strength with His arm;
He has scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts.
He has put down the mighty from their thrones,
And exalted the lowly.
He has filled the hungry with good things,
And the rich He has sent away empty.
He has helped His servant Israel,
In remembrance of His mercy,
As He spoke to our fathers,
To Abraham and to his seed forever.”

1. Mary gives God all the praise!

My soul magnifies the Lord…

Mary immediately makes God bigger by magnifying Him with her soul. Her very core of who she was bursts out with praise. She knew who she was and Who God was in her life. She knew it was nothing she had done to receive this amazing favor with God. It was all God’s doing.

When amazing things happen to you be quick to praise God for them and realize it wasn’t you, but God who brought it to you! Thanking Him is praising Him. Don’t be quick to take all the credit. Can you imagine if Mary took all the credit? How prideful that would have been. No, Mary was very humble in her view of herself and what was told to her. God could trust her with this amazing assignment He had for her. Can God trust you? What is your character like? Would you be trustworthy if God gave you an assignment? What are your dreams and desires? Can God trust you if He gave you what you wanted? Would you be quick to respond in praise and magnify the Lord like Mary did?

2. Mary rejoiced!

And my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior…

Those who magnify the Lord are those whose spirits rejoices in God their Savior. If you are not rejoicing then look to see if you are magnifying the Lord. Are you making God great and glorious in your inner being?

Not only was Mary quick to praise God in all of this, but Mary’s spirit rejoiced in her God her Savior! Rejoice means to feel or show great joy or delight. Some synonyms: happiness, pleasure, joy, gladness, delight, elation, jubilation, exuberance, exultation, celebration, and merrymaking.

Mary allowed her joy to be seen and heard! She couldn’t keep it quiet. It is a natural thing to express joy or gladness outwardly and in Mary’s case, she did it with her entire spirit. This is worship in action. She was a worshipper and worshippers are quick to express their joy.

We find in the Bible many verses about showing our joy, here is just one…

Psalm 47:1
Clap your hands, all you nations; shout to God with cries of joy.

In this verse we see clapping and shouting is a way of expressing our joy! God has done great things for all of us. Let us be people, like Mary, who express our joy to God outwardly.

Next we see why Mary magnified and rejoiced in Her God.

Mary magnified the Lord

3. For what God has done for her.

For He has regarded the lowly state of His maidservant;
For behold, henceforth all generations will call me blessed.
For He who is mighty has done great things for me…

She had never seen God so great as He now showed Himself to be to her. How personal to be chosen to give birth to God’s Son.

She was humble. She was capable of handling being the Mother of God’s Son without it going to her head.

Mary speaks of the blessing her privilege would bring her, For behold, henceforth all generations will call me blessed. Mary would not be blessed because of any special or superior worth or perfection of her nature, but because of the Child she would bear. She regarded herself as unworthy to receive this favor, yet, not only Elizabeth but all generations would call her blessed. She realized this honor from God was incredible. Mankind would call her blessed. She was a simple human touched by divine power and presence.

God owes Mary nothing, but Mary owes God everything. She knew she shouldn’t be worshipped but God alone. When generations will call Mary blessed this means they are going to praise God because of the marvelous manner in which He honored her.

Think of that simple young girl in her hiddenness having been told that her name would be repeated, and recognized as blessed, until the world ends. Nobody knew her yet she was destined for greatness. Mary didn’t take any glory for this. She placed the honor at God’s feet with her words and attitude. This is a powerful lesson on how to receive distinctions, honor, and being exalted. We should give all the glory to God when He raises us up.

God cultivates the unseen to eventually be seen for His glory! Get ready to shine for Him when He takes you out of your hiddenness!

~ Pastor Kris Belfils

In verse 49 Mary gives the reason for her blessedness as God’s mighty power and holiness which brought about her conception. For the Mighty One has done great things for me; and holy is His name. Because the All Mighty God had worked in this pure, set apart, and sinless way, His name would be recognized as holy, completely set apart from sinfulness.

Verse 50 not only does Mary exalt God’s power and holiness, she also lifts up His mercy. AND HIS MERCY IS upon generation after generation Toward those who fear Him.

God’s mercy is available to the reverent or “to those who fear Him,” that is to those who in heart and mind are filled with worshipful or devout regard for God. These are the genuinely God-fearing and pure people God does not withdraw His kindness from.

Though God bestows common grace on all, He reserves special consideration, special mercy for those who fear Him. These are those who bow before His holiness and marvel at His kindness. Those who worship Him in Spirit and in truth.

4. For what He has done for mankind.

He has shown strength with His arm;
He has scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts.
He has put down the mighty from their thrones,
And exalted the lowly.
He has filled the hungry with good things,
And the rich He has sent away empty.

To thoughts of how God was towards herself, Mary shifts her thoughts to how God is towards others.

The “arm” is the symbol of strength. God has shown His strength to all mankind and will continue. God and God alone is supreme. No one or nothing is greater then our God. No one and nothing is stronger then our God.

Man can boast and be proud and think they are the best, but God will dethrone them and exalt the lowly and humble. This is foolishness to those who don’t believe or follow God. God did this with Mary, He did this with His Son from being born in a manger to being seated at the right hand of God, and He will do it with you and I as we stay close to Jesus and follow God’s ways.

Keeping our hearts tender towards God keeps us humble. Hardening our hearts towards God and His ways will make us proud and we will go into our own lawlessness.

Mary sings how God has scattered the proud (those who think more highly about themselves in their hearts) like a whirlwind scattering dust, and has put down the mighty from their thrones. God has lowered and will continue to lower those who are proud and arrogant and haughty from their earthly positions and will raise up those who seem insignificant and rejected. Those who are poor will be raised up at their proper and right time. Don’t think the proud or evil doers will not be punished or get away with their doings. God is a God who sees all and responds with justice.

Are you hungry? God will fill you with good things where as He will send the rich away empty handed. The rich stand on their own riches often. Usually riches makes one proud. Sometimes you will find a rich person who is humble. Those who are humble have not puffed themselves up in their own eyes. God can and will work with the humble and broken. It’s the proud and rigid He rejects. Their attitudes are, “Why do I need God when I have everything I need?” I am not saying all rich people are arrogant, but in this song of Mary there are general statements towards the proud and rich because often they are the ones who reject God and His ways.

I don’t know about you but I don’t want to be scattered or be brought down. I have experienced having too much pride in my life before and God always comes and humbles me. It is a promise from Him that He will do this. Do yourself a favor and guard your heart from pride. You will be better off for it.

5. For keeping His covenant promises.

He has helped His servant Israel,
In remembrance of His mercy,
As He spoke to our fathers,
To Abraham and to his seed forever…

Mary has been praising God in song for His deeds. In the closing stanza she points out what those deeds have meant to Israel and the promises made to the forefathers. Verse 54 lifts our hopes by calling to mind God’s help and mercy. “He has given help to Israel His servant, In remembrance of His mercy,

Through-out Israel’s history God has stepped-in to help the remnant who served Him. The history of Israel tells the story of God’s help and mercy.

God acts and His actions toward His people reflect His mercy. May His name be magnified forever and ever.

Verse 55 proclaims the hope and vindication of God’s covenant promises. As He spoke to our fathers, to Abraham and his descendants forever.

Mary was aware that the birth of her Child was a fulfillment of the covenant promises to Abraham and his descendants. The blessed seed of Abraham is Jesus Christ, God’s one and only Messiah, who would give His perfect sinless life so that all who believe might be saved.

The God who has helped His people so often in their past distresses and captivities because of His covenant with them, was coming to offer them and all of mankind salvation and deliverance. It is an invitation He still extends to us today.

The Song Of Mary from The Message Bible brings it all down into perspective!

Luke 1:46 – 55 The Message
And Mary said,
I’m bursting with God-news;
I’m dancing the song of my Savior God.
God took one good look at me, and look what happened—
I’m the most fortunate woman on earth!
What God has done for me will never be forgotten,
the God whose very name is holy, set apart from all others.
His mercy flows in wave after wave
on those who are in awe before him.
He bared his arm and showed his strength,
scattered the bluffing braggarts.
He knocked tyrants off their high horses,
pulled victims out of the mud.
The starving poor sat down to a banquet;
the callous rich were left out in the cold.
He embraced his chosen child, Israel;
he remembered and piled on the mercies, piled them high.
It’s exactly what he promised,
beginning with Abraham and right up to now.

It is amazing how one event changed and saved the world. This saving is still available to all of us today. We, like Mary, need a Savior. Let us be people who are humble and quick to respond in obedience and praise to God for all He has done!

Your sister,

Pastor Kris Belfils

Responsibility of the Worshiper

Responsibility of the Worshiper2Most Christians attend church not with an attitude of contributing but with the purpose of getting as much out of the service as they possibly can. In keeping with that mindset, pastors and worship leaders are expected to see that all the components of the service flow together cohesively and meaningfully. “That’s the pastor’s job!” If something goes wrong, the pastor or worship leader gets the blame, and both are likely to hear about it. The weight of the responsibility for the service is thus seen to fall on the shoulders of those on the platform, and the individual in the congregation is relatively free from feeling any responsibility for the service. But if we truly believe that all Christians are active members of the New Testament priesthood – that all of us are ministers before and unto the Lord – then we must begin to accept the proper responsibility for our role as ministers in the congregation.

Responsibility of the Individual Worshiper

1. Minister unto the Lord.

The first and foremost responsibility of every worshipper is to minister unto the Lord.

Psalm 150:1 (KJV)

“Praise ye the LORD. Praise God in his sanctuary: praise him in the firmament of his power.”

“Praise ye the LORD…” the responsibility to praise and worship does not rest on the pastor or the worship leader; it is your responsibility, it is my responsibility (as an individual), the responsibility of each person to offer up an individual “sacrifice of praise” to the Lord. Far too often we come to church and see what we can get. It is time we come to church to see what we can give. We should be eager and excited to minister back to the Lord in worship. This is our action; to love on the Lord. Tell Him how good He is. Thank Him for who He is and what He has done in your life. Tell Him of His greatness.

2. Prepare ourselves for worship.

Staying up late Saturday night and watching a “horror flick” is not a good way to prepare for Sunday worship. Try to get to bed at a decent hour if possible on Saturday night’s.  On Sunday mornings spend some time thinking about God and possibly in prayer before you come to church on Sunday mornings (even if it is in the shower). We want to come with hearts already in tune to the Spirit of God.

Sometimes I feel like I am your cheerleader encouraging you to enter into praise and worship. It shouldn’t take the second or third song during worship before you enter in. You should be ready to enter in to worship even before you come to church, so when it is time to corporately enter in to praise and worship you are hungry for it.

One excellent way to prepare for worship is to deal with any known sin in your life before you get to service. If, at the outset of the service we are trying to come into right relationship with God, we can lose precious moments that could have been spent in vibrant praise and worship. Or if we try to sweep that sin under the carpet, and not deal with it, we will not find a full release in worship.

Do you wonder why you struggle in praise and worship? Do you feel like God is far away?  Maybe you need to check your heart and see if there is any thing like attitudes, or issues that prevent you from entering into God’s presence. Again… this is YOUR responsibility as a worshiper.

3. Invest ourselves in prayer for the service ahead of time.

Dr. Judson Cornwall has said that prayer is to the believer as communication is to a marriage – absolutely vital. He defines prayer as communication with God and suggests that the prayerless saint will never be a worshiper.

Jesus gave us a principle that applies here:

Matthew 6:21

“For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.”

If we invest ourselves diligently in prayer for the worship service, we will be amazed at our level of concern for and participation in the service. If we spend quality time praying for the service, we will be eager to see a return on that investment and will be ready to become involved to help make it a glorious time.

4. Frequent the place of worship.

Hebrews 10:25 (CEV)

“Some people have gotten out of the habit of meeting for worship, but we must not do that. We should keep on encouraging each other, especially since you know that the day of the Lord’s coming is getting closer.”

We live in a self-confident society. People make excuses for not coming to church and think they are okay. I have even heard people say, “I am not backsliding” when it comes to not coming. Listen, develop a love for God’s house and His people. I can’t wait to get to church and be a part of the service. I enjoy seeing you all and fellowshipping with you. I come excited to see what God is going to do in all of our lives.

People can get out of the habit of coming to church. We need to get in the habit of coming. Great things happen in the house of God.

We all need the strength and encouragement we receive by fellowshipping with other in the body of Christ. Individually we are only small members in the body; by ourselves, cut off from that body, we will die spiritually.

An arm can’t decide, “Well, I don’t need to go be a part of the body today, I think I will go and do something else. No, that would never happen, yet that is exactly what happens with us. We decide we were at church last week and don’t need to come two weeks in a row so we stay home and watch T.V. or something else. Soon, we miss another Sunday, and then another Sunday until we are not going to church all together. Don’t let this be you. Guard against this. This is exactly what the devil wants to happen with you. Be aware of this and set your mind ahead of time to go to church. I can’t imagine missing a service. In fact, it pains me when I am gone. Let’s develop a love for God’s house, which is God’s people, that won’t be shaken.

We must come into God’s presence by offering up a sacrifice of praise, and we should be prepared to reach out in ministry to other brothers and sisters as the Holy Spirit would divinely direct us.

5. Be self-motivated in our praise and worship.

A worshiper worships at every given opportunity and does not demand some horizontal stimulus from the pastor or worship leader before entering into praise. (Smile) Be ready to worship. Have a hunger for God. Show you love the Lord by volunteering to enter in to worship. Your level of worship and how you enter in reflects your walk with God did you know that. If your walk is shallow and indifferent, so will your worship be.

Psalm 145:1 – 3 Amp

“I will extol You, my God, O King and I will bless Your name forever and ever [with grateful, affectionate praise]. Every day [with its new reasons] will I bless You [affectionately and gratefully praise You]. yes, I will praise Your name forever and ever. Great is the Lord and highly to be praised; and His greatness is [so vast and deep as to be] unsearchable.”

David wrote this and he was a worshipper. He knew how to encourage himself in the Lord and we can do the same thing. Allow worship to become a part of your everyday life.

6. Enter readily and wholeheartedly into the praises of God.

Far too many of us are “slow starters” on Sunday morning.

We are like a cold engine on a wintry morning, and I feel like the driver of an old classic car trying to get the thing started by cranking up the engine. Crank it up – a few sputters – then nothing. Crank it again – sputter, cough, sputter, – it dies. Crank it one more time – and finally something seems to “take” and the engine starts.

New sports cars are sometimes rated according to how quickly they accelerate: “zero to fifty in 8.6 seconds.” I wonder how our services might be rated on a similar scale: “zero to fifty in twenty-five to thirty minutes.”

We are to do more than just sing songs. The Psalms exhort us to “sing praise unto God.” Just because we are singing songs, doesn’t mean we are singing praise or truly worshiping. It is possible for us to sing without having our hearts in it at all. Our responsibility is to get our hearts engaged. When you really want to see someone you will make every effort to make it happen. How hungry for God are you? How passionate for Your Savior, the Lover of your soul are you? Don’t allow praise and worship to just be lip service.

When we first come before the Lord, that is not the time to spew out all our problems and cares upon Him. What a terrible way for God to have to start the service! When we first come in, we are to put aside those concerns, block out all the emotional upheavals of the week, put on a garment of praise, put a smile on our faces, and lift up our hearts in thanksgiving and praise to God!

7. Worshiping despite distractions.

How easy it is to blame others for our lack of praise!

-“The worship leader just isn’t flowing with the Spirit of God today!”

-“What’s the pastor doing – she doesn’t look like she’s enjoying the worship service at all.”

-“My, that was a sour note on the piano!”

-“The drums are too loud!”

-“The drums are too quiet!”

-“Why do we always sing the chorus over and over again?”

-“The guitar is too loud!”

-“They never sing the songs I like!”

-“They don’t sing hymns.”

-“I am not a “music person” so I don’t worship.”

-“The people around me are not worshipping so why should I?”

-“This worship leader obviously doesn’t know what she is doing!”

There are “a thousand and one” reasons why we do not praise God. But the responsibility to praise must inevitably return upon us. God never told us to praise “if you like the style of the worship leader” or “when a song you really like comes along.” What does Scripture say?

Psalms 34:1

“I will bless the LORD at all times!” 

Even when the worship leader is off key, the pianist does not know the song, and the drummer is too harsh. This comes as an injunction to all of us as worshipers: we must not allow ourselves the luxury of becoming distracted by the sincere but faltering efforts of the musicians or leader. We may be very accurate in our analysis of their deficiencies, but we will rob ourselves of the privilege of blessing the Lord.

Other distraction might be, “Oh, I have to go to the bathroom” and it has been your seventh trip already since you came to church. May be you are allowing your mind to wonder and don’t focus it back on God. Maybe you go and get a cup of coffee? Or, even worse, you are on your smartphone on Facebook or playing a game on your phone instead of putting it away and focusing on God?

8. Be worshipers all week long.

A true worshiper does not enjoy worshiping only on Sunday in the congregation; their life is a continual praise and worship unto God 24/7. Once we have learned that life of worship throughout the week, it is easy to come together in the congregation and praise Him.

When worshipers assemble, the praise ascends immediately. If the level of praise in our congregation is poor, we can be sure the problem is that the people have not learned to live a life of praise throughout the week. We have been called to more than “just visiting” the house of the Lord.

It is easy to confuse worshiping with being a worshiper. Just because someone worships, it does not necessarily follow that he or she is a worshiper. Virtually anyone can worship as the occasion might demand, but relatively few seem to manifest the life-style of a worshiper. When God asks us to be worshipers every day, He is not asking us to do nothing but sing songs all week. He knows we must do other things besides vocalize our worship. But God does ask us to live a life consistent with that of a worshiper seven days a week. Once we adopt that life-style, we will find a song of praise frequently welling up from within. We will begin to realize that everything we do truly constitutes an act of worship unto the Lord, for our daily activities are but an expression of our dedication to God.

Someone has said, “Don’t ‘lip’ it unless you live it.” We all fall short of God’s ideal from time to time. We do not wait to praise God until we are living a perfect Christian life, or else none of us would ever praise. But as we confess the Lord with our mouth, our life slowly comes into line with that confession.

“Your walk talks, and your talk walks, 

but your walk talks further than your talk walks.”

Worship God through your love for Him. Worship God because He sent His Son to set your free to worship! He rescued you. You are a new creation. You are brand new. Your old life has passed away and behold all things are new. Fresh and new. You still have the price tag on you! Make God your everything and you will find you can’t help but worship Him.

May intimacy of our worship break chains in our life! May it open the heavens and we experience God’s kingdom on earth. May we break forth into joy the sets others free. May we see beyond ourselves and minister back to our Creator. We are filled with God’s presence when we worship. We are free!

From one worshiper to another,


Pastor Kris Belfils




Some of the material provided in this article is from: Exploring Worship: A Practical Guide to Praise & Worship, By Bob Sorge

Hold Steady

Hold Steady By Pastor Kris BelfilsWhat do you do in times of trouble? When life’s storms come, do you get moved easily?

There are times in your life when everything you attempt to do will seem to go wrong. Your faith may be strong and your commitment deep, yet adversity will come knocking on your door. These are the times we need to “Hold Steady” and not waver.

The Apostle Paul experienced much hardship and trouble in his life. He even was a prisoner for many years. It amazes me his faith and “Hold Steady” attitude in spite of all that he went through.

2 Cor. 4:8 – 10 NLT
“We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed. We are perplexed, but not driven to despair. We are hunted down, but never abandoned by God. We get knocked down, but we are not destroyed. Through suffering, our bodies continue to share in the death of Jesus so that the life of Jesus may also be seen in our bodies.”

This passage of scripture tells us that we will experience trouble, but we won’t be crushed. It tells us that we will be perplexed (full of difficulty or confusion or bewilderment – Dictionary), but won’t fall into despair. We might be hunted down by the enemy but we will never be abandoned by God. We might get knocked down, but never will it destroy us. All this is for God’s glory and for Him to be seen in us!

We will experience trouble in our life. If we were a ship the trouble would be the storm and the wind and waves trying to get us off course and shipwreck us.

Steady As She Goes

Have you ever heard the phrase: “Steady as she goes?“ It is an instruction from the captain to the helmsman of a ship, to keep the ship heading steadily on the same course regardless of gusts of wind or cross-currents. Anything to be navigated, or guided by hand, is a “she” in vernacular. You don’t want to bump into anything, or tip over, and if you are standing in or on it, you want to keep it steady so you do not lose your balance. This is what God is saying to us: “Steady as she goes!” It is a reminder to “Hold Steady” in spite of our fears, concerns, or even the facts we face from day to day.

What brings turbulence in our life? Maybe it is unexpected news of a health issue? Maybe your turbulence is experiencing financial or relational hardship. Have you been rejected lately? Turbulence comes in all forms and it always does the same thing; It rocks our world.

What is your reaction when your world is rocked? Do you cry? Get angry? Lash out to those you love? Speak a bad report from your mouth? Give up? We need to learn how to “Hold Steady” in our response to any storm we may face. You might say, “It is easier said then done Pastor Kris!” I understand that reaction but God wants us to mature and be stable even when our world is rocking.

So what do we do in times of trouble? I have come up with a few tools that have helped me to Hold Steady and I pray they encourage and help you too.

How to Hold Steady in Times of Trouble

1. Cry out to God!

Too often our first reaction when a hardship comes is to doubt any good will come from it. We tend to try and figure it out on our own. if only our first response would be to take it to God. Crying out to God for help is the best thing we can do. He is the One Who has all the answers. We only see what is in front of us. God sees the whole picture.

Psalm 77 NKJV
“I cried out to God with my voice – To God with my voice; And He gave ear to me. In the day of my trouble I sought the Lord; My hand was stretched out in the night without ceasing; My soul refused to be comforted.”

Open up your heart and receive the comfort of the Lord as you cry out to Him. He sees and hears you. He won’t turn a deaf ear to you. No, He will run to you and bring comfort even in the middle of the storm.

I learned how to cry out to God the hard way. It was through many mistakes I made in my life and I was left with walking through the consequences. I hated where I was at. But I found the secret place of prayer that I would cry out to the Lord all my emotions, all my concerns and fears. I would tell Him how I felt and ask Him to help me get out of the mess I was in. God never got me out of my mess, but He did make beauty from it. It is in the walking through of hardship that we learn how to really trust the Lord.

Are there things in your life that you are trying to avoid? Maybe your trouble doesn’t have to do with anybody but you. Why do we tend to walk around the Elephant in our living Room? We walk around issues in our life that have tripped us up for years. You know you have issues when you deflect things off of yourself and onto others. Have you ever done that? Someone, in love, is trying to confront you and you don’t want to deal with it so you deflect it and turn it back on them or someone else. Of course it is never your fault, right? But this only makes things worse. It prevents you from being free from bondage that has kept you captive for years. It is time to cry out to God and release all of it and allow God to set you free once and for all. Then you can actually see a bigger picture of other people who need what you have: FREEDOM!

2. Trust God.

Trusting in God use to take courage in my past. I never really saw how trustworthy God was until He was all I had left. To be truthful, God allows us to get down to nothing so He becomes our everything. Take the whole world, but give me Jesus! Take all my longings, but give me Jesus. Take all my hopes and desires but give me Jesus!

Trust Jesus, and you are saved. Trust self, and you are lost.

― Charles H. Spurgeon

This is truth! When we trust ourselves for anything, especially the trouble times we may be facing, we will be disappointed. We can lead ourselves down a wrong path thinking we are absolutely right when we are 100% wrong. Why would God put in His Word verse after verse about trusting and leaning not on our own understanding? It is because we will always go to that “default” when trying to figure something out. Our knowledge is limited, but God’s wisdom is never ending.

Trusting God is faith. It is faith in action. It is believing God is a god of His Word and that He will never fail. We have to have faith to believe in God. It is the same thing when it comes to trusting Him. Allow your faith to arise and find a place of trust with God.

Proverbs 3:5 – 6 Amp
“Lean on, trust in, and be confident in the Lord with all your heart and mind and do not rely on your own insight or understanding. In all your ways know, recognize, and acknowledge Him, and He will direct and make straight and plain your paths.”

Trust is like a staff you can lean on as you journey uphill with God. If you are trusting in God consistently, the staff will bear as much of your weight as needed. Lean on, trust, and be confident in God with all your heart and mind. Don’t allow your reasoning to get in the way of God’s loving wisdom.

God asks us to trust Him even in deep darkness when He gives just enough light for the step you are on. Are you holding God’s hand? You should! That way you will never misstep. Learn how to trust God moment by moment. Don’t take your entire life at once. Just this moment, and then the next. Trying to imagine what will happen in a day, week, month, or year is futile. We know God will be there with us, but for today, we trust Him right now!

Be very present of God’s presence in your life. Stay in His presence. It is the best protection over self-pity and depression. God’s presence is Who He is. You can trust that!

Psalm 62:8 Amp
“Trust in, lean on, rely on, and have confidence in Him at all times, you people; pour out your hearts before Him. God is a refuge for us (a fortress and a high tower). Selah [pause, and calmly think of that]!”

Put your confidence in God and not your abilities, your circumstances, or even your relationships.

Psalm 61:2 NKJV
“From the end of the earth I will cry to You, When my heart is overwhelmed; Lead me to the rock that is higher than I.”

When our hearts are overwhelmed we cry out to God and He will lead us to Him and help us in our trouble. There is no better plan then that.

Psalm 32:10 NLT
“Many sorrows come to the wicked, but unfailing love surrounds those who trust the Lord.”

How many of you want love to surround you? Trust in the Lord and follow His ways. There is blessing in being obedient to God and His Word! Don’t be deceived and think you can do your own thing and still have God’s blessings. It doesn’t work that way. Disobedience brings curses, judgement, distraction, and death. It is not worth it. Trusting God means you obey His word and believe it. You believe Him. His heart is for you and not against you.

I have written extensively on trusting God in my book: “The Garbage Man Always Comes On Fridays” if you would like to do further study on this topic.

3. Pray

What comes to mind when you think of the word, “prayer?” I think for some, it might mean drudgery or a hassle. Others might think why do it, as it never works. Still others might be excited for the opportunity to spend time with God.

When we work, we work; but when we pray, God works!

It’s an honor to be able to speak to God. We don’t have to go through a priest or a saint or any other intermediary. We don’t have to follow any prescribed rituals. We don’t have to wait for an appointment. Anywhere, anytime, under any circumstances, we can “approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need” (Hebrews 4:16).

“Prayer does not fit us for the greater work; prayer is the greater work.”

― Oswald Chambers

Prayer is our key to unlock God’s resources and blessing. Instead of fretting over our circumstances, prayer allows us to take action. We pray and bring all our concerns, all the good and the bad to the God Who has all the answers for all our needs.

Matt 11:28-30 The Message
“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me-watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”

I love this paraphrase of these verses. It doesn’t matter where you are, or what you have done, you can come to God and get rest and recover from all that is going on in your life.

If I was to plug in a lamp in front of you and turn it on, it would light up the room. But if I had the lamp, and it wasn’t plugged into any power source, the lamp does not do what it was created to do: Shine! To me, prayer is my life-line, my constant connection with my power source. If we are not connected continually to God we will be weak and not work, and just like the lamp with no power, we will not function, nor will we shine for God’s glory.

We could spend much time on the subject of prayer, and in the future I will, but for now, realize it is an easy thing to pray and spend time with God. If you are down, prayer can help bring your focus where it should be: off your circumstances and onto a powerful God who loves you. He created the heavens, the planets, the universe, and He created you too! Connect to your power-source!

4. Praise

Praise is a weapon! It is a sustainer! Praising God in the midst of a storm can open doors and bring deliverance! Did you hear about the ten year old boy who was kidnapped this past week from his own driveway? He bent down to pick up some money and someone grabbed him and put him in the back seat of a car and took off. The boy started singing the song: Every Praise. His kidnapper told him to shut up and swore at him numerous times but Willie wouldn’t keep quiet, he kept on praising His God in the middle of his storm. For three hours his kidnapper drove around until finally he couldn’t take the praise any longer and opened the car door and threw him out and said to not tell anyone what happened. As of now they are still looking for his kidnapper. What a powerful story of how praise brought deliverance!

Song: Every Praise

Praise gets the attention off of our circumstance and onto our God! It seems such an opposite thing to do of praising instead of fretting, yet it is powerful. God always has a plan in the middle of our storm. Our faith, in the middle of the storm, is so important for our survival. We must believe God will rescue us and either change the situation, or change us.

Paul and Silas knew first hand what praise will do in times of trouble. They were on their way to the place of prayer and met a slave girl who was demon possessed and could foretell the future. She brought her owners much wealth by her fortunetelling. She kept following Paul and Silas shouting loudly, “These men are the servants of the Most High God! They announce to you the way of salvation” For many days she followed and shouted this to the point Paul said to the evil spirit within her to come out in the name of Jesus Christ and the spirit left her. Her owners were very angry and dragged Paul and Silas before the authorities in the marketplace and accused them of being Jews and throwing the city into great confusion and that they encourage the practice of customs unlawful for Romans to observe. A large crowd joined the attack and the rulers tore Paul and Silas’ clothes and commanded that they be beaten with rods and thrown into the deepest part of the prison.

Acts 16:25 – 26 Amp
“But at midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them. Suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken; and immediately all the doors were opened and everyone’s chains were loosed.”

Their praise and joy broke every chain off of them and set all the prisoners free! Amazing how praise is for God yet it benefits the participator to the point of deliverance! Do you see this? Praise opens doors, brings freedom, and what once held us captive no longer has a hold on us!

5. Embrace the trouble.

As with any woman who is pregnant with their first child, my body experienced many changes. I knew how my body was without being pregnant, frankly I enjoyed it. As I started to experience and see my body change, I grew to resent it. I felt like someone was taking over my body. I remember complaining to my mom about having morning sickness and feeling ill all the time. I would tell her my woes and she gently said to me, “Honey, allow your body to be pregnant and stop fighting it.” It really helped me to embrace all aspects of my pregnancy, where as before I would fight and complain about it. It made for a better pregnancy and I am sure my husband was relieved and benefitted from my new outlook too.

When we are starting to experience hardship don’t look at it as a bad thing. Change your perspective and see it differently.

Though your troubles may seem heavy and endless, they are actually light and momentary compared to the eternal Glory they are achieving for you! Trust God to open a door of hope in the middle of your trouble.

2 Cor. 4:17
“Our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.”

This is a timely word for any troubled heart. We will receive an eternal glory from any trouble we experience and that glory far outweighs any momentary trouble.

Sometimes God allows us to go through wilderness experiences to remove anything from our past that we are not to take with us. God calls us out of the world’s noise to commune with Him. Spiritual deserts become fertile soil for God’s work in the human spirit. Here is where God shapes, molds, and makes us. Often the desert or trouble is a place of solitude, suffering, and self-denial but it brings much growth. It is the pain required before true healing takes place.

Deep agape love can be developed only in the school of suffering. We need to get to the place that we are not afraid to suffer. Most people want to get to know Jesus in His resurrection, but it is in knowing Him in suffering that our flesh is overthrown! Suffering on the cross came before the resurrection. Without suffering there is no glory. As we experience trouble and turbulence we will experience our own forms of suffering body, soul, and spirit.

1 Peter 4:12 – 13 NKJV
“Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you; but rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ’s sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy.”

When God’s glory is revealed in you, that is the victory! When our flesh doesn’t win, we are victorious! I have said it before, but when our flesh wins, we lose. If your flesh screams, “I want out” and you obey it, the outcome of your actions will not ever be good. You might think you have won, but in reality you have lost so much in Jesus. We decrease so that He can increase in us. The more we do this, the more God can use us. It is hard for God to use rigid things, but very easy for God to use broken things.

Embrace the wilderness as a banqueting table, as a chamber where the Lord wants to speak with you. Embrace it with great faith and vigor. Embracing trouble is not getting what you want and still be okay with it. Can you still love God when He tells you, No? Can you worship Him in the middle of that NO? This is truly dying to self and loving God even if none of His blessings were promised to you. You might say, “Pastor Kris that seems so unfair!” Of course it is unfair. Who said life was fair anyhow? Probably someone who didn’t want to face himself and any issue that was keeping them in bondage. To be free you need to let go. Let go of your control. Let go of your will. Let go of what you want the outcome to be.

Let us be people who Hold Steady in the good times and the bad. Allow God to develop you into a ship that is steady and balanced in all seasons of life. Cry out to Him and trust that He will guide you moment by moment. Learn how to worship Him even when the answer He gives you is; NO! He is worthy!

From one “steady as she goes” vessel to another,

Pastor Kris Belfils

How To Encourage Yourself In The Lord

How To Encourage Yourself In The LordAll of us need encouragement. It is a tool that increases our confidence and inspires us to act with courage, spirit and strength. That is what we need! We don’t need anyone around to discourage us… instead we need encouragement. First and foremost we need to learn how to encourage ourselves. We are the only person we are with twenty four hours each day, seven days a week: 24/7 is our time with ourselves. We need to be equipped with tools to help us minister to ourselves.

Video: “Encourage Yourself

David strengthened himself in the Lord

Before David was king in the Old Testament, God brought him through many difficult trials, hardships, rejection, and pain. We all know David as a “Man after God’s own heart.” His relationship with the Lord was highly unusual for his day because the entire outlook for worship in Israel at the time was focused on the sacrifice of animals to temporarily deal with sin, and not the sacrifice of praise from the heart. His heart led him beyond the letter of the law to the heart of the Lord. David learned how to rely completely on God for victory. David’s trust for God did not change with each circumstance. David had integrity of heart. His heart was forever faithful to God in-spite of his circumstances.

David was anointed to be king, but he didn’t assume the throne until 10 – 13 years after Samuel had anointed him. God was grooming David for greatness. He was being groomed for the throne of Israel. He endured more difficulty, persecution, and rejection than many of us face in a lifetime. David developed strength of character that only comes by winning private battles.

Read 1 Samuel 30:1 – 6

David learned the ability to do something in the face of the deepest betrayal and rejection imaginable. When he stood completely alone, that is when David “strengthened himself in the Lord his God.” (1 Samuel 30:6)

1 Samuel 30:6 

“Now David was greatly distressed, for the people spoke of stoning him, because the soul of all the people was grieved, every man for his sons and his daughters…”

How would you respond to a situation like that? Without question I would feel “greatly distressed” too if my life was threatened by my closest friends, not to mention having your entire family taken from you. It is one thing to deal with the grief of missing your wife and children, it is added hardship to face at the same time those who are rejecting you and remain strong. David was human.

The Bible doesn’t go into detail how David encouraged himself, but we do know his source of encouragement was the Lord.

In this message you will find tools to encourage yourself in-spite of any hardship you may be facing. We have to learn to encourage ourselves so that we can advance in God. God wants us to learn how to strengthen ourselves through Him because developing our skills will promote spiritual longevity. We need longevity because our destiny and potential cannot be attained in a few years; they extend to the end of our lifetime here on earth.

How To Encourage Yourself In The Lord

 1.  Look the right way!

Phil. 4:8 (NKJV)

“Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy – meditate on these things.”

Look for the good. Look for what is true and noble. This verse tells us to look for the lovely. If we do this, we will be encouraged and strengthened.

Phil. 4:8 (The Message)

“Summing it all up, friends, I’d say you’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious – the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse.”

You will be challenged from day to day. We are not promised that our days will always be blissful and peaceful. As you go through your day you may encounter things which make you cringe, or things that are wrong or ugly. Deal with these as you must, but do not let them become your focus. Remember that almighty God is with you. Can you hear Him say to you, “Look the right way?” Remind yourself of how faithful God has been in your life and set your gaze in that direction. God will be faithful again because it is his character.

2.  Listen to God’s voice and follow!

Don’t allow the enemy to tell you that you can’t hear God, or that God doesn’t speak to you because God does speak to us. We have to tune our ear to His frequency by spending time with Him to recognize His voice.

John 10:4 (NKJV)

“And when he brings out his own sheep, he goes before them and the sheep follow him; for they know his voice.”

John 10:27 (NKJV)

“My sheep hear my voice and I know them, and they follow Me.”

Close out all other voices of the world and focus on the One True Voice of God which will lead you out of your despair. Any voice that is shouting doom and gloom is NOT of God! God’s voice instantly brings peace. As a matter of fact God’s voice is peace.

It is one thing to hear His voice and another to follow and obey. If we cried out to God and He answers; obey. Our actions should follows hearing His voice.

When God speaks and you follow, life will become a romance. It will awaken your passion for God, life, and others. Listening to God’s voice becomes the first thing you do instead of the last.

Why is it that we humans try to figure things out on our own and then end up discouraged and hopeless? Let it be the first thing we do and save ourselves undo grief.

3.  Pray your anxieties away!

Take inventory of what is occupying your mind. What occupies your mind the most becomes your god. Worries, if indulged, develop into idols. Anxieties will gain a life of their own like parasites infesting the mind.

What I am about to share may seem cliché or simple, but this is what I do when anxiety tries to overtake me. I run to my secret place in prayer with God and cry out how I feel and share all my anxieties with Him. He already knows, but something happens when I release it. I stay in my secret place until I sense His peace and reassurance that His is with me and I can trust Him with my life. Often we are anxious because we lack trust. We may have been wounded by others, or circumstances, and are afraid. I put on Christian worship music while in my prayer-time. It helps me to focus my attention on God, Who is my source of peace.

We have to stop playing and rewinding our memory tape of our past and allow God to heal us from the sting of it all.

Phil. 4:6 – 7 (The Message)

“Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life.”

Affirm your trust in God and refresh yourself in God’s presence this will break you free from the bondage of fear, worry, and anxiety.

4.  Guard your thoughts!

Good thought choices keep us close to God, while bad thought choices will push us away. Do anything to guard your peace.

Isaiah 26:3 (NKJV)

“You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in You.”

When you are discouraged your peace is gone. Hope is gone. Chances are you didn’t guard your thinking, or you are allowing circumstances to determine your mood. Circumstances come and go but God, and His peace, remain the same; always available to us.

Bring your thoughts into God’s presence. If they are negative, destructive, or blown up, God’s presence is the defuser.

2 Cor. 10:5 (NKJV)

“Casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ.”

Don’t allow your vain imaginations to grow above who Christ is in your life. Focus on God’s answers and not your problems.

Psalm 105:4 (NKJV)

“Seek the Lord and His strength; seek His face forevermore.”

In God’s radiant light, anxious thoughts shrink and shrivel. Judgmental thoughts are unmasked as you bask in God’s unconditional love. Confused ideas are untangled while you rest in the simplicity of God’s peace.

Walk and talk with confidence. It’s time you look up, not down. It’s time for you to expect great things to happen in your life, not bad.

5.  Praise your way out of despair.

I am sure this is one of the ways David encouraged himself in the Lord. David was a praiser. He couldn’t help it. Remember he had integrity of heart. He was solid in who God was in his life. Praise came naturally to him.

Psalm 28:7 – 8 (NKJV)

“The LORD is my strength and my shield; My heart trusted in Him, and I am helped; Therefore my heart greatly rejoices, and with my song I will praise Him. The LORD is their strength, and He is the saving refuge of His anointed.”

When David was captured by the Philistines in Gath David cried out to God his heart and his praise.

Psalm 56:3 – 4 (NKJV)

“Whenever I am afraid, I will trust You. In God (I will praise His word), In God I have put my trust; I will not fear. What can flesh do to me?”

Our very concerns, as we cry them out to God, can turn into praises because they express our need for God to intervene. They are truly a sacrifice of praise and this is what God desires from us; to be real, and to know Who our source is.

Psalm 42:5 (NKJV)

“Why are you cast down, O my soul? And why are you disquieted within me? Hope in God, for I shall yet praise Him for the help of my countenance.”

Praise brings God’s help. When we are depressed or feeling down, we are encouraged to hope in God in this prophetic song. It lets us know that God’s countenance, His face, turns towards the one who praises. Then the praiser’s countenance is lifted by God’s love.

When we praise God He comes. His presence saturates us and we can’t help but receive joy.

Psalm 16:11 (NKJV)

“You will show me the path of life; in your presence is fullness of joy; at Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.”

Face to face encounters with God will always bring peace – this is what our praises do. Knowing this makes me want to always seek God’s face in every situation in my life. Actually, it draws me to want to spend time with Him because I am forever changed after being in His presence.

Psalm 105:4 (NKJV)

“Seek the LORD and His strength; seek His face evermore.”

Numbers 6:25 – 26 (NKJV)

“The LORD make His face shine upon you, and be gracious to you; The LORD lift up His countenance upon you and give you peace.”

Wow! These verses in Numbers sums it all up. Let it be your prayer that God will shine His face upon you daily. One true way of assurance that it will happen is to spend time everyday in God’s presence. The peace of God is more valuable then all the riches in the world.

6.  Meditate on the promises of God.

All the verses I have placed in this message are God’s promises. We can stand on everyone. Reading God’s word and meditating on what it promises will lift our spirits. God’s word is truth. His word never lies. We will not be put to shame when we trust in God’s word.

Here are are more promises in God’s word to stand on:

Psalm 22:5 (NKJV)

“They cried to You, and were delivered; They trusted in You, and were not ashamed.”

Psalm 25:2 – 3 (NKJV)

“O my God, I trust in You, Let me not be ashamed; let not my enemies triumph over me. Indeed, let no one who waits on You be ashamed; Let those be ashamed who deal treacherously without cause.”

The words “trust” and “wait” are interchangeable. Trust = Wait. This means we need to ponder upon it, or roll around in it. Often trusting God requires waiting, and waiting requires trust.

Psalm 25:20 – 21 (NKJV)

“Keep my soul, and deliver me; let me not be ashamed, for I put my trust in You. Let integrity and uprightness preserve me, for I wait for you.”

There are so many promises in God’s word. Find some which pertain to your situation and stand on them. Get them in your spirit so when the wind and waves come, you won’t be tossed here and there.

7.  Strength comes from covenant people in your life.

Our close friendships, especially with our spouses, are powerful because they are build on covenant.

Covenant establishes an agreement that allows the spiritual reality that governs your life to flow to the other person, and visa versa. This is why it is so vital to develop friendships with people whose lives consistently display the fruit of the Kingdom. When we steward covenant friendships with people of faith, we stay connect4ed to a growing source of strength that often greatly determines our ability to persevere through difficult times.

Ecc. 4:9 – 12 (NKJV)

“Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their labor. For if they fall, one will lift up his companion. But woe to him who is alone when he falls, for he has no one to help him up. Again, if two lie down together, they will keep warm; but how can one be warm alone? Though one may be overpowered by another, two can withstand him. And a threefold cord is not quickly broken.”

There are many close friends of genuine faith in my life. Sometimes I don’t have to even tell them what I am going through, but just spending time with them I am uplifted. Why? Because my friends are people of faith and they naturally exude hope, peace, and joy. Many times when I am low, tired, or discouraged I spend time with my godly friends and I walk away encouraged and my burden is lighter.

Remember to protect yourself when you are emotionally vulnerable or tired. Don’t allow yourself to be around people who will drain you, or are complainers or who are critical. This will bring you down even more and discouragement will set in. You will become who you hang around. Choose your friends wisely!

All this said, if you have sin in your life, this will always separate you from God and make you discouraged. Check your heart and ask God to show you anything that is not pleasing to Him. When he shows you, or you may already know, stop it immediately and turn away from it. The pleasures of sin are but for a moment, and the consequence can last forever.

I pray this has helped you to encourage yourself in the Lord and to walk with confidence and boldness to keep on with your life. Be your own cheerleader! If you don’t who will?

From one encourager to another,

Pastor Kris Belfils