Impact Church

Passionately serving God and His people

Category: May Devotion 2015

Honor All Men. Love the Brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the King.

1 Peter 2:17

Seems such a coincidence, Memorial Day weekend all jumbled up with Pentecost Sunday. Yet if you take the time, you can see the parallels. And if you take the time, though usually it’s through tears, you’ll see the true costs involved in living free and living fulfilled. Watch the care and attention given most anything, and you can usually determine the level of its cost. And nothing awakens our ability to value life like seeing life sacrificed and given for it.

Some make it a family event (the grandkids and grandparents are usually conspicuously loud!), lining the Memorial Day parade routes with flag waving multi-generational fervor! Others choose to honor the fallen with graveside flowers, while others attend the speeches and memorials of the heroism, bravery and logic behind defending the privileges of our liberties.

And with so many of our brothers and sisters now persecuted (some being martyred for their faith in Jesus), liberties at home to speak freely and convene publicly in His Name becomes even more appreciated. Enemies, both foreign and domestic, have attacked our shores and systems for centuries, hoping to destroy the freedoms and privileges we now enjoy. But to this good hour, our militias and military (and many a praying family) have withstood their evil. The price has been paid by the bloodshed of our brothers and sisters in uniform, and a debt of gratitude for their sacrifices we’ll always hold.

So slow life down for a moment and consider: every time we exercise our right to vote, speak, bear arms, convene or stand in any other prized position of liberty, we honor the sacrifice of those who died for those liberties. And also in doing so, we elevate and esteem the precious freedoms of conscious that so many in other places are in peril for even attempting to use.

Yet on a far higher level of conscious and liberty, we also remember the Hebrew feast of Pentecost this weekend. Certainly the exodus of Israel from Egypt on that Passover night reminds us of God’s care of His enslaved people. And in the fifty days that followed, that first Pentecost where God met Moses on the mountain to give the Law (thus giving Israel nationhood status), became the OT type of our new found liberty in Christ. However, we never forget the severity of the Law’s introduction, the thousands that died and all the animal sacrifices offered to put it into effect! Blood was required for their annual conscious clearing, and the smell of death was always in the air.

Fast forward to Calvary, the Lamb slain for our ultimate liberty. Not a yearly purge of the conscious, but a conscious cleared once and for all from guilt to forever serve God joyfully! The death of a righteous Man somehow once and for all bore and atoned the sins of His unrighteous creation in His own crucified body! And to bring fruit from His death, He arose from the grave to appear before God for fulfilling the prophecy of giving us the Holy Spirit! Easter and that Passover weekend would have been the greatest letdown of all let downs if Pentecost and the Holy Spirit had not been its promised fruit!

So don’t quench the Spirit, nor grieve Him! The price of Jesus’ death and resurrection are worthy of our subjection to the Holy Spirit. He now indwells our bodies; let Him have them for His purposes! He burns within us as passionately as Jesus did! He’s as zealous in us as He was in Jesus’ body! Don’t extinguish through unbelief or lethargy the fervid work He, the Spirit yearns to perform! May the components needed for fire – oxygen, fuel and heat – never be suppressed or diminished in the hearts of we, the appreciative! He paid it all to give us all; to give Him our all is reasonable!

Happy Memorial Day! Be grateful!  And above all, a joyful Pentecost to all who believe!

Not Just A Childhood Practice

As the Word of God has encouraged us recently about the promise of our “inward man being renewed day by day,” the Holy Spirit has refreshed in my life the benefit of a simple practice that was taught to me as kid. I remember dreading having to stand in front of the entire church – no, not just children’s church — the entire church, and attempt to recite a bible verse that I was supposed to have committed to memory the previous week.  On the rare occasions I actually came from behind my big sister, I would stumble through the verse, looking up at her periodically for a hint on the word I could not recall. I still have nightmares about it! 🙂

However as I look back over my life, I am reminded of how influential and powerful those texts have been in my Christian walk.  Frequently those verses have come flooding back and have been a source of encouragement, strength and hope. I was simply doing what I was told but my parents and those who cared for me were applying the principle God had taught Moses centuries before, “You shall therefore impress these words of mine on your heart and on your soul.” (Deuteronomy 11:18)  What does it mean to impress God’s words on your heart and soul? Read the rest of this entry »

Encouragement for Moms and Non-Moms

“And blessed is she that believed; for there shall be a performance of those things which were told her from the Lord.” (Luke 1:45)

Mother’s Day 2015 has come and gone. The florists and Hallmark franchises are probably in need of a day off to rest and count their profits. Most women revel in the memories of the more-than-usual attention from family and friends,…while others avoided church yesterday because it was the last place they wanted to be.

We at Impact Church want to celebrate and honor the wonderful blessings of mothers among us, but we want to be sensitive to those who are hurting because of infertility,…the loss of a child to abortion, miscarriage or death at any age,…or the heartache of foster children and grown adults whose mothers are no longer there. To all of you, we echo what we feel is the message from our Heavenly Father: “You are not alone.”

Mother’s Day is not in the Bible. God’s love for the barren is. His care for orphans is. And the Word is filled with stories of redemption for those whose actions seemed light years away from His holy standards.

Even among the most honored women of the Bible — those mentioned in the genealogy of Jesus Christ in Matthew 1 — are scandalous back stories of deceit, whoredom, paganism and adultery. Shocking! Why would a sinless God allow sinful women to be in the bloodline of His sinless Son, the Savior of the world?!?

Well, because a perfect God uses imperfect people for His perfect purposes! (And because there are no perfect people available for use!)

Traditionally, only men (imperfect as well, BTW) were mentioned in the ancestral “begat” passages of Scripture, but the Holy Spirit inspired Matthew to include the following:

  • * Tamar … She played the role of a harlot and tricked her father-in-law, Judah, into helping her become a mother (Genesis 38). Judah later admitted that his daughter-in-law had been “more righteous than I” (v. 26).
  • * Rahab … She was a Canaanite woman who didn’t just play a harlot but was actually an active prostitute of Jericho (TableTalk attendees know her name can mean “open for business”!) before she deceived her own people and lied to protect the Israelites spies. But she acted in faith and “perished not with them that believed not” (Hebrews 11:31).
  • * Ruth … She was a pagan Moabitess whose exemplary loyalty and devotion to her mother-in-law, Naomi, caused her to accept the true God of Israel as her own. Because of her life-changing faith, she was rewarded to become the great-grandmother of the beloved King David (Ruth 1-4).
  • * Bathsheba … This wife of Uriah, a warrior in David’s army, came from noble descent as the daughter of Eliam (one of the king’s 30 “mighty men”) and granddaughter of Ahithophel (one of David’s most trusted counselors). But it was her adulterous affair with the king while her husband was at war for which she is most known (2 Samuel 11). The child of her sin died, but God forgave and allowed her to be the mother of Solomon, the wisest and richest man in the world! What a legacy!
  • * Mary … Perhaps only a teenager when impregnated by the Holy Spirit, this Jewish virgin had to endure the village whispers and the threat of shamed fiancé Joseph to “put her away privately” (Matthew 1:19). But we learn in Luke’s account that Mary was a humble and joyful worshiper of God!

Luke 1:45 (quoted above) was spoken of Mary by her cousin Elizabeth, who was expecting John the Baptist, when the two mothers-to-be visited together. The angel of the Lord had told Mary that she was blessed and highly favored of God, but it was Elizabeth who tells us that Mary actually received and believed the word of the Lord and would see the miraculous conception come to pass!

So what’s the point, you ask? None of these women were a mother before God chose to bless and use them for His glory. He often uses moms and non-moms, regardless of their background or perceived value or worth, in direct response to their faith! Remember, who you are is never measured in God’s Kingdom by what you’ve done, but in Whom you have believed.

If you’re a mother, what an incredible privilege you have to pour that faith into your family! If you’re not a mom, our wonderful Lord can redeem your life and use you to spiritually nurture and raise up a generation of world-changers as well!

To God be the glory!