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November 6, 2015, 2:14 PM

When Life Hurts

I lost a dear friend this week.  Even typing that sentence brings heartache.  She was more than just a friend, she was like family.  

In life we are sometimes blessed to know someone who, know matter how long a period of time, or in this case how short a period of time you know them, they find  a special place in your heart.  A person who refuses to wear a frown no matter what troubles or difficulties they are dealing with.  A person who is so pleasant and positive no matter how much they may hurt or suffer.  A person that no matter how hard you try to be a blessing to them, you always find yourself the one who is blessed to know them.

As a pastor, I am not supposed to have favorite church members, but I admit that this friend was one of my favorites.  When she left it was not for forever.  I had to say goodbye for now, but because Her life and testimony showed her hope was in Jesus, I know that I will see her again.  

Even with the hope of truth that I have because of her testimony, it still hurts.  Life does that sometimes…it hurts.  So when it hurts I suggest you do the following and I will try to do the same.

1.  Cry.  Cry because of the hurt but also cry because of love.  Cry because although it does not have to be forever, its never easy to be away from someone who is so dear to your heart for any period of time.  Cry because of loss, or pain, or hardship.  Cry because it will do you good to cry.  Cry because it will not do you good to not cry.  

2.  Cry with others.  Cry with others that are hurting.  Mourning is an important process and crying is part of the healing that needs to take place.  Cry with others to show your compassion an support of them as well.  Crying for too long on your own can lead to depression but crying with others allows you to share the burden and help others in their healing as well.  God will both send others to cry with you in your time of need as well as send you to others to cry with and offer comfort in their time of need.

3.  Cry out to God.  Ultimately God is the one we must turn to. While He often uses others to offer care, comfort, and support, but God is the only one that can truly mend broken hearts and bring real healing when life hurts.  If we know Jesus as our Savior and Lord then he will walk with us each step of the way and gladly shoulder our burden as well as wrap His arms of love around us for comfort and carry us when we no longer have the strength to take another step.  If you don’t know Jesus as your Savior and Lord you can can by turning to Him in Faith and He can touch your heart and life.  He may not always take away the pain but He will provide comfort and peace if we turn to Him and trust in Him.  Cry out to God today for comfort, healing and peace.

My friend may be gone from this earth but She is still my friend.  She is gone but not forgotten.  She is gone but not gone forever.  She is no longer hurting, suffering, or in pain because She is with Him in Heaven.  Because of this hope that I have for her, and can have for myself through Jesus Christ work on the Cross, the pain is not quite as bad and life does not hurt quite so much.  Because I have a hope in a God that I can cry out to.

Psalm 18:6

"In my distress I called upon the LORD, and cried unto my God: he heard my voice out of his temple, and my cry came before him, even into his ears."

October 28, 2015, 3:14 PM

Live life Abundantly!

If I asked you what it means to live an abundant life, I probably would get many different answers. But no matter how you would define it, (Exciting, successful, adventurous, fulfilling etc) there can be very little that matters in life without having peace, joy and love.
It seems life itself can drain us of these 3 and so much more.

John 10:10 says:

“The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.”

Jesus warns us to be on guard for thieves of who want to rob us of what God has for us. Since the time of Adam and Eve God has been wanting us to enjoy abundant life. A life of peace, joy and love. However, since Adam and Eve, Satan began trying to convince people that God/religion would be holding them back from a full life. Since that time people have had to make a choice who to believe. God or Satan.

When we chose not to believe God, we are in essence believing the lies of the devil and we are forfeiting the abundant life God wants for us. Adam and Eve’s disobedience of God robbed them of all that they had and could have had. They lived with a fraction of what they were intended. Ever since that first decision man has been trying to “win back” the abundant life that he was intended to have. The world seeks to convince you can find fulfillment through your own efforts. The world will tell you that you can find abundant life if you adopt its standard of morality for your marriage, raising your children, advancing your career, and/or pursuing pleasure. 
Instead all that you gain is a life that is broken and transitory and empty. It is tragic to listen to voices of the world instead of the one who created life and wants you to experience life to the fullest.

Jesus wants you to live life to with the security and fullness that come by walking with Him. Giving your life to Jesus and choosing Him will allow you to receive all that He has for you. Peace, Love, and joy! If you are living life without these things you are settling for less than what God has promised to give if you will turn to Him and walk with Him. If you are making excuses of why you are not experiencing abundant and joyful life, determine today to settle for nothing less than God’s best for your life. Stop following the way of the World and Walk with the Maker, giver and restorer of Life; both abundant life in this world and in the next.

His name is Jesus Christ

October 27, 2015, 9:15 AM

The Foundation of Hope

Hope is a beautiful thing.  

Hope can encourage us, motivate us, and strengthen us.  Hope can lift us up, carry us through, and give us a place to stand.  

Hope is an amazing thing…but without a firm foundation, hope can turn to hopelessness.  Hope can fail, falter, and betray us.  

If you only have hope you only have something that is fleeting.  

We can hope for healing but sometimes healing does not come.

We can have hope for financial security or for a job, but sometimes we never seem to get ahead.

We can have hope for the future, but we don’t know what tomorrow might bring.

We can hope that a love is real, but sometimes our hope is dashed by betrayal.  

We can hope for the best, but sometimes we don’t really know or understand what is best.

But when you have Jesus and your hope is in Him, you have a hope that sure.  

Because, your hope is one who is true, and has been tested and tried.  Hope in Christ is hope that springs eternal.

He is the great physician.  We can be secure in Him.  He holds tomorrow.  He is love and His love is perfect and free for all who will receive it.  He knows you, your dilemma and all of your hurts, cares, and needs.  He is a firm foundation on which you can place your hope and stand sure.  

He also knows what is best.  

He knows that sometimes a healing is not what is best because for the believer there is something better than being healed. 

 He knows that sometimes you don’t need financial security because you simply need to trust Him to provide for your needs. 

 He knows what is around the bend, beyond the sunset, and after the sunrise; and He has a perfect plan for you.

He loves you and will never stop loving you.  We can love because He first loved us.  He is worthy of our trust and worthy of our hope.

No matter how hard the road may seem ahead.  Even when we don’t understand.  We know that we have a true hope in Christ.

Hope in Christ is a hope without end.

Psalm 39:7

“And now, Lord, what wait I for? my hope is in thee.”

#pleasanthillsbc #hope  #life #trust #love #Jesus

October 15, 2015, 12:00 AM

Getting to Know God

Do you really know God?  Who is God to you?  God knows you, but do you really know Him?

If you are a Born again believer in Christ than you have turned to God as Savior and that is the most important but is that all He is?

The reality is that God will reveal Himself to you as you walk with Him.  God has always revealed Himself to His people through the generations as they walked with Him through life.  He progressively reveals His nature according to His purposes for and the needs of His people.

Abraham, Isaac and Jacob knew Him as God almighty because they needed Him to protect them from their enemies.  

Moses and Israel learned not only was He God almighty who delivered them from the Egyptians but He was Lord and master over every nation and everything.  He delivered them from their mighty enemies but also led them into the promised Land.

David knew Him as Lord and God Almighty but also as an intimate and loving Shepherd who cares for His own.  

As you go through life and face life’s circumstances God will continue to reveal His character to you based on His calling for your life and the needs of your life.  You will only come to know these characteristics as we obey Him.

When you grieve He will be a comforter.

When you are in need He will show Himself to be a great provider.

When you are afraid He will spread His arms around you to protect you like a bird protects her young.

When you face a serious challenge He will be to you God Almighty.

When you sin, fall and fail, He will be to you a forgiving Father and friend who picks you up, dusts you off and encourages you to keep going.

Your understanding of who God is now should be greater than your understanding of Who God was when you first became a Christian.  You aught to know Him better today than you did yesterday, a month ago or 5 years ago.  

One reason why we must go through difficulty and trial is so that we can come to know God’s character and to learn that God will be all that we will ever need.  

Sadly it is the going through these trials that cause many to turn away from Him.  Understand that God works all things for your good if you love Him and believe in Him.  All the things  you go through are designed to draw you closer to God and thus help you know him better today and therefore make you stronger for tomorrow.  

Whatever your current situation or the situation you find yourself in tomorrow; view it in the light that it is God teaching you something else about Himself.

If you do you will come to know God in dimensions that you have never known Him before.  

If you don’t know Him, have never called upon Him and never trusted Him as savior:  Turn to Him today and discover that He is the very need of your life and salvation of your soul.

Exodus 6:2-3

And God spake unto Moses, and said unto him, I am the Lord:

And I appeared unto Abraham, unto Isaac, and unto Jacob, by the name of God Almighty, but by my name Jehovah was I not known to them.

October 9, 2015, 2:28 PM

Leave the Negative Behind

If you let it, negativity will upset your day, ruin your attitude and wreck your life.

In today’s world it can certainly be difficult to maintain a positive outlook.  Negativity seems to lurk around every corner.  Violence, wickedness, poverty, racism, and calamity all have weighed heavily in the news in recent days.  

It is often nearly impossible to even check the news for a weather report without getting some negative news story thrown in.  Even if we could escape without being assaulted by such a story, we often find the weather is not what we wanted.  Either the weather is too hot, too cold, dry, wet or windy.  

Sometimes it seems that no matter what we face we see the negative and that is all we see.  

Negativity steals our zeal, our passion and our motivation if we let it.  It will change our attitude, our language and our lives.  But it will also infect all those around us.  Our negative attitudes will spread like a brush fire through out all who surround us.

How do we rid ourselves of negativity?  I am glad you asked because it is time we left the negative behind.

1. Fix your eyes on Jesus and ask him to open our eyes to all that we are blessed with - count your blessings

2. Ask Him to shield you from that which would take our focus off of Him.  I am not talking about sticking our head in the sand and ingnoring reality but rather asking God to affect our reality by affecting our perspective.  - find Him in the midst of the storm

3. Surround yourself with those that are going to strive to leave negativity behind.  Avoid prolonged exposure those who refuse to do so.  Nothing will drag you back into the darkness of the negative faster than a negative person.

4.  Focus on the good, the wholesome and pure.  Via the music you listen to, the tv you watch and what you read.  

5.  Replace those negative things with God’s Word.  Particularly the Psalms.

6.  Trust God, Believe God and turn to God - there is not a negative thing about Him. 

Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.


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