Pastor’s Pen

Strengthened To Stand with Shane & Becky Browndividerbar 

As For Me

We’ve all seen the familiar scripture “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord”, found in Joshua 24:15.  Whether it be on a sign, plaque, or even the internet, this scripture has gained popularity for many households.  However, have you ever really thought about what kind of statement that makes?
 
Joshua did not command the others to serve the Lord.  He simply told them to choose who they were going to serve.  Joshua, bold as he was, reminded the children of Israel just how good God had been to them.  He reminisced how God delivered them from Egypt, and how he made a way of escape through the Red Sea.  The provision alone while in the desert was nothing short of a miracle.  But for Joshua, it was a solid choice for his household.  
 
Without a doubt the world could learn a lot just by the first three words–AS FOR ME.  We are living in a time where bad has now become good, and good has become unpopular.  Furthermore, the world wants everyone to jump on the bandwagon and go with the flow.  So what do we do?  Do we conform to the world?  Do we cast aside the word of God because it has become unpopular?  There comes a point in time where you have to choose whom you will serve.
 
The world may denounce the word of God.  But AS FOR ME AND MY HOUSE,  we will stand firm on the word of God and strive to live our lives as the Bible instructs.
 
The world may say there is no God.  But AS FOR ME AND MY HOUSE, we know and believe in the one true God who loved us so much that He sent His Son to die an agonizing death so that we may have eternal life.
 
The world may say there is no hope.  But AS FOR ME AND MY HOUSE, we believe in a hope that truly exists only through Jesus Christ.
 
The world may say you must conform to the world and its standards. But AS FOR ME AND MY HOUSE, we believe you must be transformed by the renewing of your mind according to the word of God.
 
The world may say that you can live without Jesus.  But AS FOR ME AND MY HOUSE, we know there is no way to survive without Jesus.
 
In other words, just as Joshua told the people how it was for his household, we have to be strong enough to stand firm for ourselves and not be swayed in the wrong direction.  Circumstances shouldn’t change our beliefs.  Our beliefs should change our circumstances.

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The Potter’s Wheel Experience

Brutally Honest 

Ah, the joys of parenthood! Children can be such a blessing, especially with their innocence and honesty. They often tell you exactly how they see it, regardless of how brutal their truth is. Yet, somehow as we mature, the brutal truth tends to be watered down, or not even told at all. I’ve seen and heard this regarding many churches across the land. God’s truth is being watered down, or better yet, transformed into the delight of the people.

Power of the Truth

We must be careful in hearing such teachings. These “enticing words” can cause soul destruction. Meaning, we need to hear the truth, God’s truth, no matter how much our toes get stepped on. It’s not up to anyone to judge another, but it is up to us to provide truth and allow the Holy Spirit to do its thing. Judgment and conviction belongs to God and Him alone. Yet, many are the spokesmen of God, and their job is to tell others the truth of what the Bible teaches. Many times, some spokesmen will deter from teaching certain aspects of the Bible because their congregation will oust him or her, fearing that their church will disband.

People Pleaser

Saul did a similar thing in the Bible, where Samuel was very direct with him, telling him the directions sent forth from God. However, Saul wanted to please the people instead of obeying God, which was the beginning of the end for King Saul. Bad decisions and disobedience cost him his kingship, his sanity, his peace, his relationship with God, and ultimately, his life.

Requirement of Truth 

If you have someone in your life that tells you God’s truth, obeying God to the fullest extent, regardless if the “people” are pleased, then you have a rare jewel. Don’t allow anger to fester up because a man or woman of God is being obedient to their calling. If we are happy every time we hear a sermon, without feeling a conviction of becoming better, of doing better, then it would mean that we are perfect, which we are not. We all must strive to do better, even if it means our toes are black and blue. It’s the potter’s wheel experience, and without it we cannot become that beautiful creation God intended us to be.

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Temporary Amnesia

The older we get the more we tend to be forgetful, whether it be a grocery list, an item that needed to be returned, or even paying a bill. Usually it’s something frivolous that we forget, meaning our world is not going to stop just because we forgot something. However, it’s ironic that when something bigger happens in our lives, we tend to forget the very words that can change our circumstance. Our attention tends to shift towards the problem at hand, whether it be sickness, death of a loved one, job loss, etc.
 
When I think about situations like this, I’m reminded of the women that went to the tomb of Jesus. When they saw the empty tomb, they automatically thought the worst, such as a robbery. Yet the angels confirmed something they already knew. Jesus had already told them that he would die and arise three days later. But when it actually happened, they were distraught that their Lord and Savior had been crucified. The promise Jesus gave was somehow lost in the middle of their devastation. How many times do we forget the promises of God, right in the middle of our devastation? The Bible says in Luke 24 that after hearing the familiar account of the location of their Lord and Savior, the women in the cemetery ‘remembered his words’. It was then that they remembered the promises Jesus gave them.
 
We must hold on to the promises of God, even in the midst of our devastation, because it’s easy to lose sight of where we are headed. Nevertheless, God’s reputation is impeccable, and if He said He was going to do something, it’s up to us to lay hold of the promises, not the trouble. Jesus did exactly what He said He was going to do, and that still holds true today. Don’t allow devastation to give you temporary amnesia. God knows exactly what He’s doing.

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Opposition Is Not Always Bad

Aren’t you tired of being pushed back, pushed down, and made to feel like you can’t achieve anything? Who isn’t?? It seems the more we try, the more things become worse. I’ve even had someone tell me that they do all kinds of good things for people and they still get knocked down. The fact is, opposition is going to occur in your life, whether you’re a child of God or an unbeliever. Yet, how you deal with the opposition is a different matter all together.
 
If you don’t believe in God and believe that He is the one true Lord and Savior, then you are left to deal with the situation alone. On the other hand, if you believe with all your heart that Jesus Christ died on the cross for you and rose again, you then have the ultimate advantage. God said to call upon Him in your day of trouble and He would deliver you. Just because we are Christians doesn’t mean life is way easier than unbelievers. It just means we are not alone.
 
Opposition is going to follow anyone who threatens the plans of the enemy, especially when you are anointed. Furthermore, (and this may take some time to sink in) God sometimes utilizes the enemy to mold us. After all, He made the enemy (the waster to destroy). You may ask ‘Why would a loving God allow the enemy to harass us?’ Simply because God does love us, and we tend to get ‘too comfortable’ where we are to move ahead.
 
Think about a relationship or a job you lost. If God had allowed the relationship to continue, you would have missed out on the person He had lined up for you. You may have loved your job so much (or even too much) that you alone would have never walked away on your own. Because God knows us better than we know ourselves, the job loss had to occur to get us in the place that God prepared for us as our next step in life.
 
The problem is that we tend to look at these ‘setbacks’ as failures on God’s part, which enters the voice of Satan. Hard as it may seem, we should look at these ‘setbacks’ as changes in our seasons. Don’t allow the enemy to rob you of what is actually taking place–the promises of God. The steps leading up to us obtaining these promises will never be what we think. But then again, that’s why He’s God and we are not. Don’t allow the opposition to keep you pushed back, but rather stand firm on God’s Word, knowing that everything is working out for your good!

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What Did I Do Wrong?

As kids, did you ever get in trouble and wonder what you did wrong? We often feel that way as adults when it comes to God. Bad things happen and we find ourselves asking God, “What did I do wrong? What did I do to deserve this?” Furthermore, the more we do right (or try to do right), the more trials we are faced with. Sound familiar?
 
Job experienced this, as we know too well. He loved the Lord with all of his heart, and everything was going right for him–until it wasn’t. Job did nothing to cause such destruction to his life. Rather, God saw an opportunity to show Job, his family, his friends, as well as the devil, what he was truly made of. God offered Job to the enemy (Job 1:8), and said he could do anything to him, except take his life. Have you ever felt like you’ve been put through the ringer, and you didn’t really understand why? I’m sure Job felt that way as well. Nevertheless, Job continued to trust in God (Job 13:15) through all the hell that was surrounding him. After all was said and done, God doubled what Job had lost.
 
You may say, “but why?” God knew Job was strong enough to handle the schemes of the devil, just like he knows you are strong enough to handle what you are going through. No, it’s not easy, even uncomfortable perhaps. Nevertheless, the plan of God outweighs the pain of our circumstance because the pain is temporary, but His plan is forever. You are stronger than you think, stronger than your family and friends think, and stronger than the devil himself thinks. Don’t count yourself out, just because bad circumstances arise. Endure through the pain until God’s plan unfolds, and you’ll see the strength that you had through God while receiving double for your trouble!

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Running For The Prize

Pressing through, pushing forward, moving on. All of these come with resistance. Regardless of the situation, in order to get past it, there will always be an opposing force. The situation may be death of loved ones, divorce, unemployment, or just spiritual warfare in general. No matter the reason, in order to get to the next level and come out of the pit we are in, we must keep our eyes on the prize.
 
“Running for the prize” is difficult indeed, with many stumbling blocks along the way. The stumbling blocks could be people, our jobs, our finances, or even our minds. We know that the greatest battle is always in our minds, because one thought can change your world. If you believe that God is going to get you through your current situation, then half the battle is already won.
 
Our thought process will make us or break us. Meaning, if we don’t trust and believe that God is who He says He is, and can do what He says He can do, then we have stumbled on our journey, lying on the path that leads to our destiny. We, in fact, delay our arrival to our appointed destiny, all because of our thoughts. Alternatively, if we take God at His Word, regardless if we trip or stumble, we make it a point to get back up, and keep going, then we overcome the “resistance”. Sometimes, a thought will determine your ETA (estimated time of arrival) to your destiny.
 
Some folks like taking the scenic route, focusing on what they see opposed to the end result. If your destiny is being delayed, take a look at your thought process, and analyze if you’re taking a scenic route, or the fast path to your destiny! It all depends on your thoughts!
 
Never give up!
Becky Brown

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The Strategy Of A Giant Killer

When I was a little, one of the first passages of scripture I learned was Psalms 23. Yes, it is a short chapter having only six verses, but what power and promise this chapter contains!
  1. The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
  2. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures; he leadeth me beside the still waters.
  3. He restoreth my soul; he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.
  4. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of the death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.
  5. Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.
  6. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.
If we reflect on the promises given in these verses, my how our attitudes would change! David is telling us that God is a provider in all things! Green pastures mean that we will be hydrated and filled with God’s best. Have you ever seen grass in a drought? Not so appealing, is it? However, David tells of God’s abundance, peace, and restoration that only He can provide. David further reminds us that yes, we will go through some dark times, but the dark times will not take us out! We may not have a rod or a staff in our hands at the moment, but we do have the Word of God! Furthermore, the rod and the staff in David’s hand was a reminder to him of what God did in the past. Sometimes, we have to rehearse our victories from the past, so that we get that needed boost for what we are facing today.
 
The best part is this: when we come through our tests, our enemies will be present for not only our victory, but they will also witness our spiritual promotion! How good is God?? If you’re rattled by your current situation, stand tall and remember Psalms 23. If the enemy appears to be closing in, look for your table…
 
Never give up!
Becky Brown

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Who Can You Trust?

Trust is an attribute that’s seldom given so freely. When you say you trust someone, you are putting your faith and hope in that person, leaving yourself vulnerable. After all, people are human, and they will mess up, whether they mean to or not. Many people are afraid to trust others, because of past experiences, past hurts, and circumstances. However, the Bible says to trust in God with all of your heart, leaning not to your own understanding (Prov. 3:5). How difficult is it to really trust God? Take a look at His reputation and whether or not He’s worthy of trust. Has He ever let you down? Has He ever told you He was going to do something, and backed out at the last minute? Or has He ever lied to you? If you answer honestly to these questions, they will all be ‘no’.
 
Sure, we would have handled things differently than God did, or done them sooner than He did. Yet, ultimately, the outcome and the timing was all for our good. Now, getting back to the trust issue. Have you ever known someone in your life that you can trust more than God? No, not even our closest friend, our spouse, our children, or anyone else. God is the only one with a flawless reputation that will go above and beyond our expectations. But, somehow, we still tend to find a person or people that we can put our trust in, knowing that we could (and probably will) get hurt or let down.
 
Now is the time and season to put ALL of our trust in God, being fully persuaded that what He promised, He is also able to perform, just as Abraham believed (Romans 4:21). Don’t put your trust in people or things, for they will let you down. Rather, put your trust in God and watch the impossible come alive!

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When Waiting Is Tough

Have you ever prayed and asked God to handle a situation, and then moments later you tried to figure out the situation yourself? I think we are all guilty of that! Regardless of the severity of the circumstance, we tend to ask God to work it out, while we are going through the motions to fix it ourselves. Sometimes, we work against ourselves to solve the problems that God has already worked out. The real question is this–why are we asking God to help us out when we are really trying to help God out?
 
Our impatience gets the best of us when we don’t see quick results. Furthermore, the wait is often the very thing that drives us to react too quickly. Waiting on God exercises our faith and trust in Him, which is why some of us must go through the same trials over and over so that our “faith muscles” get strengthened.
 
Here’s a familiar scenario: we go to God in prayer, laying our cares and requests at the foot of the cross, asking God to intervene and do what only He can do. Prior to finishing our prayer, we gather up our cares and requests, packaging them on our backs, so that they remain in our possession. Now, what’s wrong with this picture? No wonder God makes us go through similar situations repeatedly. When will we learn?
 
Our trials are to point our focus on God and His strength, not ours. Even when we achieve this, we must learn to wait on God, knowing that every detail is being worked out in a way that only God can complete. When we try to handle things ourselves and help God out, God then takes a step back, allowing us to really see what we can and can’t do. God never requires our assistance, only our obedience. When we truly leave our cares with God, we must wait, regardless of time, and watch God move in a mighty way. Waiting is tough, but will be worth the effort when God brings forth His results!

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