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Archive for the ‘Encouragement’ Category

We live in such a crazy and sin sick world.  The news is depressing.  You, like me have probably turned it all off for a few days at a time.  We just can’t stand to hear anything else BAD.  What I am about to write may seem to simplistic, however it is true.  If we focus on things that are lovely, of good report, etc.  our minds won’t be so stressed by the things of this world.  Give it a try and see how much better you feel.

Page after page can be written about a person’s life.  We call this a biographical view of an individual.  However, sometimes a biography can be summed up in just a few words.  These expressions refer to the character and/or impact someone had on the lives of those they lived around.  Last year, in our ladies ministries of the UPCI we focused on “Leaving a LEGACY”.  Usually when you mention someone’s name who has gone on to their reward you don’t go into a great dissertation.  You simply say things like, “He was a GOOD man”.  “What a man of WISDOM”.  “She was such a LADY”.  “She was a QUEEN”,  etc. and we all know what you are talking about.  That one word pretty much sums it up, how a person lived their life.

When Peter was sharing the Gospel with Cornelius and his household, before pointing to the Crucified Christ and the forgiveness of sins that can be received in His Name…He summed up the life of Christ like this:

Acts 10:38 How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him.

GOOD is what we can expect associated with God.

GOODNESS is what marked the essence of Jesus being here on earth.  He was GOOD to others.  It wasn’t because they deserved it but because it was needed and would ultimately bring glory to God. 

When Jesus was to come on the world scene it was announced by angels with GOODNESS….Luke says it like this, “Fear Not, for behold I bring you GOOD NEWS of a great joy that will be for all the people.  For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.”

Jesus came to earth during a time when there was definitely a need for some GOODNESS.  We live in such a time right now, today!  Among all the bad news there is need for GOOD NEWS and maintaining our focus on Jesus!  If we seriously focus on the GOODNESS of Jesus and portray that in our lives, then we will have opportunity to share the GOOD NEWS with people in this trying time.  Folks will want to know why you can be so happy and peaceful in this time of insecurity.  Keep your focus on JESUS! 

Turn your eyes upon Jesus.  Look full in His wonderful face.  And the things of this world will grow strangely dim, in the light of His glory and grace.

Have a GOOD Day for GOODNESS sake. 

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Discouragement causes weariness to creep into our lives.  It causes us to say and do things we would never consider saying or doing otherwise.  Discouragement breaks down our perspective.  Sometimes it comes even when we have just completed something great for God.  It will tell us that we are useless, hopeless and abandoned.

The story of Elijah has always captured my attention.  (I Kings 19) Here is this great prophet of God, after he has won a mighty victory over the prophets of Baal, hiding under a tree.  What ever for?  God has just used him to prove that he is the true and mighty God and Elijah is off hiding somewhere and begging God to just go ahead and take his life. This was all less than a day after the fire fell from heaven.  Hmmm…before we are too quick to judge Elijah, let’s look at our own life.  How many times have we come from a “mountain top” experience, only to plummet to depths of discouragement.  Discouragement will make you hide.  Are you trying to hide today because of discouragement?  In the 5th verse of I Kings 19, an angel of the Lord appeared to Elijah as he slept and woke him up and said, “Arise and eat”.  When Elijah awoke there was a cake, baked on the grill and a bottle of water for him to drink.  Elijah ate and drank and then went back to sleep.  The poor man was exhausted.  Yes, he had just been through the ringer, so to speak, but he had also allowed discouragement to make him weary.  The angel of the Lord came the second time, woke him up, had a meal prepared and said, “Eat, for the journey is too great for you”.  To make a long story short…The Lord allowed Elijah a few days to rest and in the process took care of him with food and water and an angel guard as he slept.  However, when the time was right, just a few verses down in the same chapter, Elijah is bemoaning the “fact” that he and only he was left as the servant of God.  The Lord allowed him to say this a couple of times and then He said, “Elijah!  Look around you.  There are 7,000 who have not bowed to Baal or kissed him.”  In other words,  It is time for you to get over your pity party and come join the rest of us. 🙂

Remember this, even in times of discouragement….God will not leave you or forsake you.  He will give you time to rest.  He will supply your needs (a cake baked on the coals and water).  He will send His protecting angel to stand by you as you gather yourself together.  And, then….He will let you know, in His good way that He is still good.  The church is moving on.  There are thousands that still believe and trust in the one true God.  It is time to shake the discouragement off and continue to go about the Lord’s work.

If it’s time for you today to come out from under the broom tree, then get up! Shake yourself and Have a GREAT day, knowing He is still in control.  “Jezebel” can’t harm you.  People that have tried to “take you down”  won’t be able to.  God is your fortress.  He is your right, left, front and back guard.  NO ONE can separate you from the love of Jesus.

Keep on keepin’ on!  Let discouragement go today.  As you do this, you will find peace and healing for your hurting heart.  Will everything be perfect?  Of course not.  We haven’t made it to heaven yet.  However, life will be much better, knowing that God is in control.  Your enemies are under His feet.

Be Blessed!

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Yesterday’s service was filled with glory once again.  Shawn and Gwen Dunahoe was with is in service and we had a great time.  Bro. Shawn preached an excellent sermon on “God’s Encore”.  Two ladies were baptized and I know of two people that received the precious gift of the Holy Ghost.  One of the ladies that was baptized has been coming for a few months now.  She is from Beijing and has had some difficulty in following the services because of language.  However,  the love and peace she has felt since coming to our church is overwhelming to her.  She has often said to me through her tears at church, “I don’t know why I cry when I’m here because I am so happy”.  I have tried to explain it to her but I don’t know how to explain “joy, unspeakable” and “peace that passes all understanding”.  🙂  Different things have led up to her baptism yesterday.  David and Teresa Leonardo are teaching her and her husband, Ernie a bible study and of course that has been the most significant blessing.  Then, in our communion and foot washing service, my mother-in-law, Dorothy Hurst knelt down in front of her and began to wash her feet.  She was so moved by this, she could hardly get control of herself.  That is the first time she asked about baptism.  Then, yesterday she told someone that she was ready to be baptized in Jesus name for the remission of her sins.  She came up out of the water speaking in tongues.  A man that goes to our church from Nigeria also speaks Chinese and he was right there with her and said she spoke in a language other than Chinese or English.  Praise God!  It was so awesome. 

The other lady that was baptized is the daughter of a man in our church.  He has been praying for her for several years and she called him yesterday morning and asked for him to come pick her up and that she wanted to be baptized.  It was so sweet.  If you have children away from God, don’t give up.  He hears every prayer.

Tonight (Monday) was ladies prayer/bible study meeting.  Sometimes I teach and sometimes we pray.  Well, tonight was one of those nights I just felt the Holy Ghost leading us to pray and specifically for our Sunday School department.  We had an incredible time in the Holy Ghost praying for every teacher.  I can hardly wait to see what God will do in our Sunday School this year.  I know it will be great! 

God is so good to us!  I hope and pray you all have a truly blessed week.  Let me leave you with this one last thought….Don’t be discouraged about the economy.  We serve a God that owns the cattle of a thousand hills.  He WILL take care of His children.  Once I was young, but now I’m “old” and I have NEVER seen the righteous forsaken, or His seed begging for bread.  Amen! and Amen! 

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Whew!  What a week!  We flew out last Monday to attend “Because of the Times” conference in Alexandria, Louisiana.  There are so many blessings associated with this trip I’m not quite sure I can put into words how grateful I am.  We were going to drive to “Because of the Times” but Nathan received a phone call on the Thursday before we were going to leave on Sunday and the conversation went something like this…”Nathan, I heard that you and Ronda are driving back here to BOTT?…Well, I won’t have that.  You would be exhausted by the time you got here and if the Lord wanted to speak to you (and He will), you would be too tired to receive it.  You get online and get a ticket and fly back here and let me know how much when you get here….”  WOW! Can you say BLESSING!  Of course there is more to that conversation but I don’t have time nor space to put it all here. 🙂  I got the best tickets I could possibly find and we flew.  Thank You! Thank You! Thank You to Bro. Anthony and Bro. Jim for blessing us this way.  Thank you just doesn’t seem quite enough for that kind of blessing, however it comes from deep within my heart.  We flew into Dallas, Texas and rented a car to drive the rest of the way to Alexandria.  It is about 5 hours and since we got in late and our luggage was not on our flight and we had to wait another 2 hours for it to come in, we decided to get a room in Marshall, Texas. My husband asked the desk clerk for a downstairs room so we would not have to take all of our luggage into the elevator and up to an upper level room.  He said, “Sure”.  Then he said, “I don’t have any king size beds downstairs”.  Nathan said, “That’s fine. Two doubles for tonight will do”.  When the clerk handed him the receipt to sign, the balance was 0.00.   Nathan asked, “how much is the room?”  The clerk replied, “I’m giving it to you tonight since I don’t have a king size bed downstairs.”  Nathan said, “You don’t have to do that”.  He said, “I want to. Manager’s privilege.”  So, what was going to cost us $115.00 ended up being free.  WOW!  Can you say BLESSING!  We got to Alexandria Tuesday Afternoon and began to prepare for BOTT. Tuesday Night service was tremendous and I knew we had made the right decision to attend BOTT 2009.  The theme this year was II Chronicles 7:14 If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.  All I can say is, buy the cd or DVD set and be blessed. One of the messages this week I felt as if the preacher was standing right in front of Nathan and I and preaching solely to us.  I know a lot of people felt that way but that is the wonder of anointed preaching.  It ministers to different people all in one setting. WOW! Can you say BLESSING!  On Wednesday afternoon a minister walked up to my husband and handed him something and said, “You and Ronda go have lunch.”  When we got outside and looked, it was 2 one hundred dollar bills. Wow! Can you say BLESSING! We had a good lunch. 🙂  And then, Nathan turned around and blessed someone else with one of the hundred dollar bills.  That’s how it works isn’t it?  You give and give and then God pours you out a blessing you can’t quite contain.  You then turn around and give some more and then, God just does it all over again.  You cannot out give God! 

By Thursday Night you are very tired at BOTT but you don’t want to miss anything so you still get there early and anticipate what the Lord might do next.  Well…Royce Wilson preached an incredible message.  Just buy the DVD.  I can’t begin to describe it and what I felt.  At the end of the message Nathan and I walked to the front to pray.  Sis. Vesta Layne Mangun got a hold of me.  When she gets a hold of you, you will probably be there awhile. 🙂  We had the best time in the Holy Ghost.  She prayed, spoke in tongues, prophesied and we even danced a little.  This was another blessing too precious to really put in words. Wow!  Can you say BLESSING! 

We left BOTT refreshed, renewed, lifted up and challenged.

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Friday Evening we met Greg, Monya, Macy and Melody Henry in Dallas at Pappadeaux for dinner.  We had a great time with them.  Macy and Melody are growing up so fast.  They both made the honor roll in school and we are so proud of them. 

After dinner we drove on up to Wichita Falls to be with Gene and Karla for the week-end.  Saturday we relaxed and just enjoyed being with them and Cameron and Chad.  Sunday was an incredible day of worship and the word. The power of God was so strong in both services.  It was incredible.  

We got home last night and I am so thankful to be here.  We got out of Wichita Falls just in time.  I heard that they are iced in today. 😦 

God is good to His people!  I pray you all have a BLESSED week.  He has done marvelous things! 

Wow!  Can you say BLESSING!

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I believe that the beginning of the New Year would be a great time to begin the healing process.  Forgiveness is the first step.  It is not easy but it is so worth the effort.  If you are struggling with unforgiveness, maybe this little article will help get you on the right track.  Please don’t live this year in the Prison of Unforgiveness.  Break free from the bonds and soar like an eagle. 

 

What’s standing between you and forgiveness? Recent scholarly research confirms what many already know—that forgiving others is a valuable gift for ourselves. Research shows that when we forgive, we have less stress, anger, and other psychosomatic symptoms like headaches, upset stomachs, and so on.I know many of us carry very deep wounds from the past, and can barely imagine forgiving those who have wronged us. It may take time, but I challenge you to commit yourself to forgiving them.

Maybe there’s a strained relationship with a child, a parent, a sibling or “friend”.  Do you own some of the blame for the way things are? Maybe it’s time to ask for some forgiveness. Imagine how powerful an exchange like that would be!

Here are some steps to forgiveness from the researchers:

First, we need to change our expectations of others. Instead of having “rules” for how they behave, we should have “preferences.” After all, we can’t control how others act. Maybe you’ll never have a perfect relationship with your dad—or your teenager–or your sibling. But you can probably accept them a little more for who they are and—from there—build a good relationship.

Second, we need to try to see the other person’s perspective. Maybe your dad never got what he needed from his father. His wound may have made him incapable of providing what you needed. Maybe your daughter is under a lot of stress with all she’s dealing with at school. Considering the other person’s perspective can make a big difference.

The third step is to move from blaming to acceptance, and then move on. Moving on may mean building a new, better relationship. Often, that’s what forgiveness brings. But also realize that your forgiveness doesn’t depend on them. If they don’t respond or even if they reject you, you have still forgiven, released the hurt feelings, and committed to go on with life in a positive way. What a burden that can lift!

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Also,  to my friends that have somehow gotten away from the Lord…You have been on my mind the past couple of days.  God and the church are waiting with open arms for you to come back.  We miss you.  We love you.  I think that the song I co-wrote with my brother, Keith, sums it up quite well:

Come On Home

Verse 1

I saw that look in your eye, that far away dream, of days gone by you were so happy and free.  And I knew you remembered the good times we had, serving Jesus every day through good and the bad…

Chorus

And nothing’s changed as far as we’re concerned.  We love you now just like we did back then.  So, Come on Home where you belong.  You’ve been away for much to long.  And Jesus wants to take you back again.

Verse 2

You see, I know how you feel, ’cause I’ve walked that road so far from home, afraid and alone.  Oh, but I see the Father, with His arms open wide, longing just to hold you again by His side…

 

music and lyrics by: Ronda Hurst and Keith Layne

© Nelon Music Group

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Luke 7: 36-50

“How did he know everything I was thinking?”  That was the question asked to one of the lady’s in our church by the visitor with her today.  He (I don’t know his name) had just said to her a little while ago, “I can make more money in one week, selling drugs, then in a whole month on a regular job, but I have no peace.”  So when he walked into our church today and the pastor began to preach from Luke 7:36-50, he was amazed.  The last verse (50) says this, “And he said to the woman, Thy faith hath saved thee; go in peace.”  It would have been enough just to be forgiven, but the Lord gave this woman a special gift when He said, “Go in Peace”.  At one point in the sermon my husband stopped and said, “I don’t believe I am just preaching a sermon today.  Someone has come looking for peace.  This is where you find it….”  The man came to the altar and wept and wept before the Lord.  I didn’t know his story until after church, but when I heard it, it touched me deeply.  He has just been out of prison a few days and God allowed him to step into our church and hear the message he needed to hear. We serve such an awesome God and His mercy and grace never cease to amaze me.  God is so willing to forgive.  It doesn’t matter where you have come from, He still wants to forgive and He has plenty of mercy to be given.  His supply is not running low. I am looking forward to what God will do in this man’s life.  Yes!  There is a peace that passes all understanding and I’m thankful for it.

No one can touch you like Jesus can.  No one can give you peace you cannot understand.  No one can bind your wounds with nail scarred hands.  No one can touch you like Jesus can.

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Ever Feel This Way?

me-too-large-e-mail-view

Me Too!  🙂

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God is not a respecter of persons but He is a respecter of principals. He has plans for everyone to accomplish great things. Don’t believe anything other than Jer. 29:11(Amplified Bible)–For I know the thoughts and plans that I have for you, says the Lord, thoughts and plans for welfare and peace and not for evil, to give you hope in your final outcome.

Here are a few principals to help you start today!

1. Work Like it is up to you and pray like it is up to God!  Work hard and pray hard! God wants to help you more than you want His help.

2. Have a concise plan of where and what you want to accomplish. Write it down  in detail. Then write down how you think you will accomplish it.

3. Do 5 things every day that drives you in that direction.

4. ASK for help. Surround yourself with a team of people who share your passion.

5. Contact someone who has already done what you want and ask for them to coach you. Be willing to do what they ask.

6. Align yourself with the authorities in your life.

7. Be grateful for every opportunity that comes your way and give 110% like it is where you already want to be.

8. Take risk. Sometimes when you live on the edge you will fall off but you will miss 100% of the opportunities that you never try! The worst thing that could happen is most likely where you already are.

9. Take serious action today. Don’t wait one more day!

10. Do what you love! Most likely your gift is in someway connected!

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I love how soul winning works.  In our Sunday service we had at least 20 brand new people.  We gave five people baptismal certificates from the park outreach and the downtown block party at SWBC.  We asked for others to stand that had been baptized at either event and 10 people stood up.  We will have certificates for them next week.  Also, in service was a man named John who no one knew how he came to be there…when asked, he said he knew some of the people who had been baptized and they had invited him to church.  I took care of his little 12 month old baby during Bible Class.  Her name is Tammy and she was such a little doll.  Brenda Pinsonault took care of her during the main service.  There was several others in service just like John.  They had been invited by the new ones who had just been baptized and received the Holy Ghost.  God is at work in these last days and I just want to jump right in the middle of it and be used wherever and whenever I can.  If that means spending the Bible hour in the nursery so a baby’s dad can receive something from the word without distraction, then that’s where I want to be.  If it means taking someone to get a hamburger and coke, giving someone a Bible Study on one of my “off” nights, etc. then that is where I want to be.  There is an old song that says, “Jesus Use Me.  Oh Lord, please don’t refuse me.  Surely there’s a work that I can do.  Even though it’s humble, Lord help my will to crumble.  Though the cost be great I’ll work for you.”  That has never been one of my favorite songs but the words seemed to strike a chord with me this weekend.  It doesn’t matter, just let me be part of what God is doing.  There are so many areas in the work of God that need to be filled.  There is a place for everyone!

How will the Lord use my life the rest of this year?  Next year?  This month?  Today?  Is there one thing I can do to make life better for someone else?  Can I warm the home of an elderly friend?  Chill out so a teenager can open up to my love and concern?  Knock on the door of a single mom?  The possibilities are endless.  God expects us to use our brains and figure out what we can do to make a difference.  Jesus Use Me, wherever YOU see fit.

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Where do I begin? The highly anticipated week-end has come and gone and we are ecstatic and a little in shock and very humbled for what God has done.  Yes, We prayed and fasted.  We planted and watered seed and GOD gave the increase.  Soul Winners Boot Camp was above and beyond what we could have thought.  On the first night, Thursday, the presence of God met with us in a powerful way.  We were off to a good start.  All day Friday the sessions with Bro. Matt Maddix, Bro. David Smith, Bro. Tim Downs and Bro. Travis Worthington were packed with superb information about soul winning and also the presence of God.  A huge shout out to this team.  You guys were great!  We had 91 boot campers registered.  I must say that I don’t think I have ever been around that many people at one time that the only reason we were together was to reach the lost.  Boot Campers, your attitudes were awesome.  I so enjoyed having you here in Hollister.  Your hard work in walking the streets of our city and witnessing to people paid off, BIG TIME!!!

Friday Night we had a downtown block party and I stood in amazement as people were so hungry for God that they got baptized in their street clothes in cold water.  And then watched as God miraculously filled them with the Holy Ghost.  On Saturday we had an event in one of the parks in town and even though the day was warmer than the night before, I once again stood in amazement as people so hungry for God was baptized in their street clothes in the cold water.  And, once again watched as God filled them with the Holy Ghost.  My husband said he was overwhelmed one time when he saw three young boys who had just been baptized, standing together and praying, as all three of them began to speak in tongues at the same time and received the Holy Ghost.  There are so many stories to tell, I cannot possibly put them all here.  Just know that God moved in a sovereign way in Hollister this last few days.  On Sunday, the Lord met with us again.  Many of the people that was at the block party and the park was in church on Sunday.  One lady and her daughter received the Holy Ghost while the chorale was singing, “Everybody Ought To Know (Who Jesus Is)”.  They were baptized on Friday Night downtown and received the Holy Ghost today. 10 people received the Holy Ghost in our Sunday Service.

After service on Sunday our family took my father-in-law out for his 76th birthday.  While we were eating we received a phone call from one of the saints…she had invited her neighbor and a couple in our church over for dinner.  While they were eating and talking about the good things of God the neighbor said that she wanted the Holy Ghost.  They stopped what they were doing and began to pray and she received the Holy Ghost right there in her living room.  Like I said, to many stories to tell.

So…All totaled for this week-end:  70 received the Holy Ghost and 61 Baptized.

To my awesome church family, “The Pentecostal Church”…I cannot describe my feelings for you today. Proud, thankful, in awe, amazed…I know how hard you have worked and how much you have prayed and fasted for revival.  I did not see one person that was not involved in some way or other in this past weekend.  That is not hyperbole.  That is the truth.  There are so many details that go into a meeting like this and you all pulled it off with class and efficiency.  Nathaniel you did a superb job in organizing everything.  I am proud. 🙂  Your immediate team that you worked with was unbelievably good too.  Please allow me to say, as great as this was,  THIS IS ONLY THE BEGINNING!!!  God has opened the flood-gates of heaven.  We must keep working until Jesus comes.  Let’s take many souls with us from Hollister to dance on streets of gold.  God bless you all mightily.  Read more here!  See report from Nathaniel here.

Go to our church web-site for photos in the Soul Winners Boot Camp photo category.

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