Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Peter Revealed- Our Story: Gods Glory

Greetings again everyone, 

I guess I am taking some time to catch up on my Blog Posts today. 

Before I begin to lay out my thoughts on Peter, you must know that I connect with Peter very deeply. I have never denied Christ by any means but the characteristics and words of Peter have long spoken to my heart and made me the believer that I am today. 

In my 'conversation' with the congregation this summer regarding Peter I highlighted the story of his re-dedication to as the rock Jesus would build the church upon that is found in John chapter 21.  I imagined with the congregation how Peter may have felt in the moments after he denied Christ 3 times. We spoke about how we sometimes feel the same way he did.  


Peter was a man that had many traits that were good and bad and we could spend all the time in the world going through those things but in spite of all of these things God still used him to do the most amazing things. The message and calling he gave Peter in John 21 comes down to four simple sentences. 
Feed my Lambs. Take care of my sheep.
                                              Feed my sheep. Follow Me.  
In life we have to deal with our personal feelings getting into the way all the time, as we all know, and from Peter we learn that even when hard times creep up on us that they only come to test that our faith is true, as Jesus was testing Peters faith when he asked Him “Do you Love Me”

We are called to love each other deeply by the scriptures that Peter wrote under divine inspiration from God.  We see the world around us and thing what a waste or man I can’t believe that just happened and complain about everything under the sun, and that keeps us from being united in Christ.

Many years after Peter received those instructions from Jesus he wrote the following passage in 1st Peter 4:8-11. He did not share this passage with us to say we are doing things wrong, but to encourage us to live our lives as an offering of GODS GLORY to the world around us. 

The instructions given teach us to seek Gods love above everything else, (this is the offering HE has given us) and all we have to do is give ourselves and our gifts back to HIM who has given them to us. It amazes me to see that when I give everything to HIM how fast it works out and always a lot better than I could even imagine. 

Thanks again for visiting "The Gathering Room"

Stand Strong and continue to believe the teachings given to you... (2 Thes. 2:15b NCV),


Reflections; Philip Revealed- Our Story: Gods Glory

Greetings Everyone, 

It's been about a month since my last post and boy have a lot of things been happening. I will share some of those things in a later post. For now though I wanted to continue my postings on the series Our Story: Gods Glory.  This post will share some thoughts I had on Phillip. Since I have posted some of these thoughts before I am posting this one as a Reflection. 

Devotional Reflection

There is a story in Acts chapter 8 that has been on my mind lately. A very powerful story and I really think it can teach us a lot about what we as the church should be doing.

It begins with “a great wave of persecution…sweeping over the church in Jerusalem...” Acts 8:1b. The Believers were forced out of Jerusalem into the regions of Judea and Samaria and a Man named Saul traveled around with one goal in mind, destroy this new church.

Interestingly enough wherever the believers scattered, people heard the news about Jesus and the life he lived. One man named Phillip whom many considered the first evangelist was forced into the city of Samaria and his story is the one I’ve been thinking about lately.

He confidently shared the good news with the people in Samaria and they listened in awe of the stories he was teaching. He performed miracles, healed the sick and drove out many evil spirits. In the end, “there was great Joy in that city,” Acts 8:8.

This one verse made me think, is our church making this kind of impact on the City we live in? The New Testament church impacted people where ever they went and no matter what they were going through, Lives were continually transformed and multitudes were saved on a daily basis.

Here is another question, is this a trend most churches set today? 

Conversational Notes

Phillip was considered the first Evangelist of the early church aside from Jesus him self of course, we don’t here much about him but he is still pretty important.

When persecution began to sweep the world at a very fast pace he was deep in the middle of it all sweeping through the church in Jerusalem and through to Samaria, he proclaimed the good news to anyone who would listen and is ideally the man that brought some many to Christ before Paul and the Apostles began to preach the message 

He obeyed the holy spirits leading and then seized the day, He was very effective, and kept on going even in spite of all that was going on around him, he was an example to all early Christians and submitted to the Power and guidance of the spirit, and was the first to reach beyond to borders of Judaism.  

We read about him in Acts chapter 8:5-8 (NCV) as well as the rest of the chapter…
Philip went to the city of Samaria and preached about the Christ.When the people there heard Philip and saw the miracles he was doing, they all listened carefully to what he said.Many of these people had evil spirits in them, but Philip made the evil spirits leave. The spirits made a loud noise when they came out. Philip also healed many weak and crippled people there. So the people in that city were very happy.
As we reflect upon our friend Phillip, I encourage you all to remember what he stood for, He was obedient to Gods calling upon his life, and kept Gods word close to his heart, we must also Keep Gods Word Obediently close to our Hearts as well… 

Thanks again for visiting "The Gathering Room"

Stand Strong and continue to believe the teachings given to you... (2 Thes. 2:15b NCV),


Monday, November 3, 2014

Jeremiah Revealed- Our Story: God's Glory

Greetings everyone, 

     It has been an eventful few weeks in our household.  I thought that with the arrival of or Son, I would post the portion of my sermon series this summer Our Story; God's Glory that highlights his middle name Jeremiah. This is taken from my 'conversation' entitled The Offering.


     Jeremiah was considered the Weeping Prophet, much like Micah he saw the afflictions of his people, but where Micah spoke of the Lords anger towards the Judeans, Jeremiah cried out to the people of Jerusalem using poetry and lament and calling them back to their roots and back to the heart of God.

     He was an eyewitness to God’s wrath, left without hope and crushed by the shame he felt on the account of his people, he cried out to God to give him the hope he so desired to have.  As the Lord answered his cries hope began to flood his soul, because he knew the suffering and sinfulness he saw would not last forever and that God had promised something great would come from this.

     Holding unswerving to the Lords Faithfulness, his loving kindness, and the ultimate saving reality that peace would soon come again, Jeremiah shared any way he could, what he felt the LORD was placing upon his heart. 

Here’s something that might give you a better picture of what Jeremiah can teach us Lam 3:40-42 (NLT)
“Instead, let us test and examine our ways. Let us turn back to the LORD. Let us lift our hearts and hands to God in heaven and say, we have sinned and rebelled, and you have not forgiven us.”
Jeremiah reminds us that God is our inheritance and that we need not fear calling out to HIM. It reminds us that God is always there waiting for us to reach out to HIM and he wants to lead us through everything we will ever face in our life. 

In the Midst of the sinfulness of the world around him Jeremiah offered himself through faithfulness for GODS GLORY and I believe that we too are called to do the same today.

Thanks again for visiting "The Gathering Room"

Stand Strong and continue to believe the teachings given to you... (2 Thes. 2:15b NCV),


Friday, October 17, 2014

Micah Revealed- Our Story; Gods Glory

Greetings yet again, 

As I mentioned in my last post, I would be posting a few updates today. This will be number two and it is part two from "The Offering".


Moving forward with this concept of "The Offering" I connected the character of Onesimus with the character Micah. 

Micah was an prophet of the Lord during a very dark time in the history of Judah. The sinfulness of  the people of Judah was becoming worse and worse everyday and would not listen to anything but their own selfish desires and when people tried they were shut down and insulted, tension became anger and anger became Hatred, figurative walls were put up between once very close friends and even families, it was not thing more than a complete disaster.

The people we not very loving at all and when Micah came on the scene he encountered all sorts of people saying you can’t do the lords work here, we don’t need it and rejected anything that Micah had to offer them. He persevered through it all, playing the bad cop so to speak until the end.

We see in several places in the book of Micah the Lords hand upon him.  In Micah 3:8 we see the promice that was placed upon Micah from the Lord...
“But I am filled with power, with the Spirit of the LORD, and with justice and strength, to tell the people of Jacob how they have turned against God, and the people of Israel how they have sinned” Micah 3:8 (NCV) 
In Micah 6:8 we see a really wonderful example of the message the Lord has place upon Micah's heart. This message would be met with even more hostility than most other messages.
“The LORD has told you, human, what is good; he has told you what he wants from you: to do what is right to other people, love being kind to others, and live humbly, obeying your God” Micah 6:8 (NCV)
In Micah 7:18-20 we see the prayer that Micah "offered" up to the Lord in-spite of knowing that he would not see the heart of Judah change in his lifetime. He trusted in the Lords promise and persevered until the end of his days.
  “There is no God like you. You forgive those who are guilty of sin; you don't look at the sins of your people who are left alive. You will not stay angry forever, because you enjoy being kind. You will have mercy on us again; you will conquer our sins. You will throw away all our sins into the deepest part of the sea. You will be true to the people of Jacob, and you will be kind to the people of Abraham as you promised to our ancestors long ago.” Micah 7:18-20 (NCV)
 Honestly, Micah could have dropped everything, he had no real earthly reason why he was doing what he did, he was simply keeping his focus entirely on God, and on Him alone. There are times even in our own lives that we feel running is the only option but when we have "offered" ourselves completely to God we can believe that HIS amazing love will get us through it. 

Micah saw a world in danger of being completely destroyed and today we are really in the same boat, our world it truly falling apart and embracing sinful desires. God calls us to "offer" ourselves to HIM and to stand upon the promises he has given us. Things are holding each and everyone of us back in our journey with Christ, so why don't we look to the light, give the glory to HIM completely and let me guide us out of the darkness that surrounds each and everyone of us. 

Just like Micah never gave in to the world around him we can "offer" the same determination to live for HIS glory each and every day of our lives.

Thanks again for visiting "The Gathering Room"

Stand Strong and continue to believe the teachings given to you... (2 Thes. 2:15b NCV),


Onesimus Revealed- Our Story; Gods Glory

Greetings Everyone,

It's been just over a month since my last post and this is because I've been working diligently on a few other family things. However I'm here to day and will be posting a few things so hopefully this will make up for that lost month.

In one of my last post, I finished my detailed post on my first "conversation with our congregation this summer while our senior pastor was on his renewal leave. This post was called "Embrace Little Reminders".  Today I will begin to share the details of my second "conversation" with our congregation called "The Offering".


"The Offering" was not a message about an offering of money or an offering of our talents per-say, it was a message about "The Offering" that God offered us through his only son and "The Offering" that God asks us to "offer" him through out our lives.

To present this "offering" to our congregation I used several different characters in scripture, Micah, Phillip, Jeremiah, Onesimus, Philemon, Peter and of course Jesus.  I began with sharing about the work that Onesimus did with Paul while he was on the run.

Philemon 1:11-16, Shows us an example of the relationship God wants to have with us, it reveals one of Gods deepest desires for us and reminds us that sometimes we let our fears and struggles keep us from GODS GLORY, but through GODS AMAZING LOVE we are able to find GODS GLORY again.
“Formerly he was useless to you, but now he has become useful both to you and to me. I am sending him—who is my very heart—back to you. I would have liked to keep him with me so that he could take your place in helping me while I am in chains for the gospel. But I did not want to do anything without your consent, so that any favor you do would not seem forced but would be voluntary. Perhaps the reason he was separated from you for a little while was that you might have him back forever—no longer as a slave, but better than a slave, as a dear brother. He is very dear to me but even dearer to you, both as a fellow man and as a brother in the Lord.”
Even though Onesimus fled Philemon he became useful to Paul and his Ministry. We too can be useful to Gods Ministry if though we may have also fled from HIM. It was ultimately this work that brought Onesimus back to Philemon.

Onesimus' example in this instance gives us a wonderful example of "The Offering" God asks of us in our journey with him. The interesting fact here is that Onesimus is the one that delivered this letter to Philemon upon the request of Paul. In essence, Onesimus is "offering" himself back to Philemon through delivering this letter from Paul.

Regardless of the things of the past Onesimus comes back to his master, just as we can come back to God when we flee from paths of righteousness. It is only through Gods amazing love that we are able to do this.

Thanks again for visiting "The Gathering Room"

Stand Strong and continue to believe the teachings given to you... (2 Thes. 2:15b NCV),


Monday, September 15, 2014

Reflections: Strong Hearts

Hello Everyone, 

I wrote this quite some time ago, and thought it would be a good reflection post for you all to read.  I know when I wrote it I was very encouraged by what I felt God had given me through it :-)

It's just some thoughts I jotted down when I wrote it about some scripture that I felt had spoken to me, I still have yet to decide if it will be turned into a devotional blog... Let me know your thoughts...

Phil. 4:4-7
"Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Rejoice in the Lord; 
  • God wants us to rejoice in HIM with every moment we are given. We have Good moments and we have bad moments and God deserves them all.
  • He wants us to praise HIM in every aspect of our lives and with all our heart.
  • He wants us to strive to enjoy life to the best of our abilities

Do Not Be Anxious;
  • To worry is to display a lack of confidence in God’s care and control in our lives.
  • When we worry, it’s almost like we put a wall up between us and God, and that never helps, I know.
  • We should work towards giving our hearts completely to God. We do that by daily saying Lord take my heart and make it yours, take my life and let it be as the song say’s.

Let the Peace of God guard your hearts;
  • God’s love for us transcends everything else in the world; HIS love is what saves us in the first place.
  • The peace of God is a part of who God is and ultimately a part of who we are in HIM. Amazingly, God offers us HIS peace so that our hearts can be a peace.
  • Many of us have struggles, but when we let HIM, God can give us peace even in the strongest of storms.  He wants us to have a strong heart. 
  • We can accept this peace if we want to, by simply putting into practice the things in verse 4. It’s not always easy but it’s not impossible.

Closing thoughts
  • When we apply these three steps in our Walk with the Lord things begin to change. While we still have things we have to struggle with on a daily basis, our hearts are stronger because of what we are working towards. 
  • By rejoicing in the Lord our hearts become happy, by not being anxious we open our hearts to Gods leading, and by let the peace of Christ take its place in our hearts we can overcome just about anything that comes our way

Closing Verse- 1 Thes. 3:13 520313
 “May He strengthen your hearts so that you will be blameless and holy in the presence of our God and Father when our Lord Jesus comes with all HIS Holy Ones.”
God wants us all to have Strong Hearts, think about that as you go about your day to day, give to him your hearts deepest desire and see what happens.

Thanks again for visiting "The Gathering Room"

Stand Strong and continue to believe the teachings given to you... (2 Thes. 2:15b NCV),


Saturday, September 6, 2014

Embrace little Reminders- Our Story; Gods Glory

Greetings Everyone, 

The summer is finally over here in Tucson and I am really looking forward to seeing God move in the months to come.

Today I thought I'd write another post on my series Our Story: Gods Glory. I actually gave my last ‘conversation’ titled Jesus O Jesus in this series just about a week ago (My Salvation Army friends will know where that came from.) I really felt Gods presence in what I was able to share with the congregation.

Don't worry though God has brought me some much more to bring to you. I will be posting on this topic for quite some time :-). 


Have you ever wondered what it would be like to fully embrace Gods Glory in your life?  I know I have pondered this for most of my life as a Christian believer and to be honest I don't know if I ever truly had the answer for my own life until I began my work on this series.

If my first 'conversation' with the church this summer titled For the Glory I spoke about how changing little things in our lives can help us reveal Gods Glory in our own lives. I asked the congregation this question...
"What do you give God credit for in your life?"

 I connected that with the big things and the little things in life. In preparations for this first 'conversation', I found some things I personally needed to look at in my own life that have really opened my eyes to seeing more of Gods Glory in life. I shared some of these things with everyone and then asked everyone think about something for a moment…
"What if instead of teaching our children to say things like 'I tied my shoe' or 'I got a really good grade' we taught them to say 'God helped me tie my shoe' or 'God helped me get a good grade'.

What if instead of saying things like 'I found the love of my life' or 'I got the best job in the world' we said things like 'God blessed me with the love of my life' or 'God blessed me with the best job in the world.'

What if instead of saying things like 'look at the legacy i have left in my family' or 'I won the senior adult bingo game', we said 'look at the legacy God has placed upon this earth' or 'God gave me the big win'. LOL."

That last one got some pretty good laughs :-). 

When I asked these things, I also challenged everyone to think about their own lives and ask themselves, "Are there little things like this that I can use to remind myself to give God credit more often?” I know asking myself that question as really insightful. 

Asking ourselves questions like these, help us understand more of Gods role in our lives.  They can help us see where God is in each of our lives. I have often heard people refer to something called “God Sightings.” It is actually a very popular thing in VBS programs as well as Sunday school curriculum's. 

Basically what it teaches is the same concept that I’m talking about in this post.  It encourages us to take a look at our own lives and ask ourselves Where is God in this situation?” and helps us understand the revelation of Gods Glory in our own lives and in the lives of those around us. Gods Glory isn't just revealed in the creation around us or even the wonderful miracles that take place. Gods Glory can be revealed to us and those around us through the little reminders he blesses us with each day.

So here is my challenge for you today, ask yourself…
Where can I strive to see the revelation of Gods Glory in my life today?

Thanks again for visiting "The Gathering Room"

Stand Strong and continue to believe the teachings given to you... (2 Thes. 2:15b NCV),


Thursday, August 28, 2014

Simplistic Faith- Pt 1

Greetings Everyone, 

Its been a few weeks since my last post so I thought it was about time for another one...

Throughout the summer God has been reminding me of the simplicity of faith in our lives. It has been a long road but I am beginning to understand it more an more every day. 

I have noticed in my own life and in the world around me that we tend to complicate faith beyond what we should. We get into sticky situations and begin to analyze every little detail and forget what really matters. It makes me wonder... "What ever happened to that 'child like faith' that Jesus taught us about in Mark chapter 10?"

Often, we look at the situations life places us in and say to ourselves "I can't believe I have to face this, what am I going to do" and forget that Jesus faced so much more and still maintained a very powerful faith . I know I'm guilty of it.

The reality is that as Hebrews 11:3 states that it is "By faith we understand that the entire universe was formed at God’s command, that what we now see did not come from anything that can be seen."

I am reminded of a book of letters from a simple monk that I often come back to in times such as these. "The Practice of the Presence of God" by Brother Lawrence is a short and simple book that shows just how simple faith can be in life and the effect it can have on those around us. The revelations I have received from this book have forever changed me and I am grateful to be reminded of those changes this summer.

You see, God never promised that life would be easy he only promised that if we remained faithful to HIM, we would one day dwell with him. We may not understand what we are going though at this very moment (or even why) but it's not really our ob to understand. Our job is simply to believe that though Christ we are saved and that he is always with us.

I have more to say on this but for now I will leave you with these words of Jesus "I am with you always, even until the end of the age."

Thanks again for visiting "The Gathering Room"

Stand Strong and continue to believe the teachings given to you... (2 Thes. 2:15b NCV),



Monday, August 11, 2014

Lazarus Revealed- Our Story; Gods Glory

Greetings Everyone,

I've been thinking about what to write for my next post that co-insides with this idea that has been developing in my heart regarding "Our Story; Gods Glory". I've had a couple of thoughts I thought would be good to share but there has been one thought that has come up a lot more than the others...

The story of Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead is one of the more popular miracles in the gospel story and it is a very important story for several reasons. 

We often connect the story from John chapter 11 to the story in Luke chapter 10 that teaches about the difference between how Mary and Martha respond to Jesus....
Mary is pictured as the one who sits at Jesus feet listening to what he has to say and Martha is pictured as the one who focuses on serving. 
Other times we connect with the shortest verse in the Bible "Jesus Wept" that is found in John 10:35. Here we often talk about whether Jesus is weeping because he is sad that Lazarus his friend is dead or if he is weeping because of the lack of faith from the believers.

Most of all though, we connect with the fact that Jesus brought a dead person back to life and with the role that this story plays in the rest of the gospel.

I believe that all of the aspects of this story are very important to us as Christians. The aspect of this story that I have connected with the most this summer though has been the part of the story in which Jesus stops everything and simply prays...
“Father, I thank You that You have heard Me. And I know that You always hear Me, but because of the people who are standing by I said this, that they may believe that You sent Me.” John 11:41b-42 KNJV
As I began to think about this little prayer it reminded me of the example that Jesus sets for us through his life. I connect with the fact that In the midst of a very intense situation he simply stops and prays.  I think about what could possibly be going through Jesus' mind as he is praying this prayer and wonder if there is more to this prayer than the few lines mentioned in scripture. I know I can't speak for Jesus by any means but I imagine He could be saying something along the lines of... 
"Lord you know that I love you and you know I love these people. My heart breaks for them and their sufferings. Those around me doubt your glory and I long for them to see you. Use this part of my story to reveal your glory to them so they will believe in you. Show them who you are and give them the faith we both long to see in their hearts."
That mind set is a testament of who Jesus is and of who we are called to be in Christ. Often, it is very difficult to react that way in intense situations but I believe that when we strive to depend on God with everything he can help us get to that point in which we react to intense situations by doing just what he does. Stop and Pray. 

God wants to use Our Stories for HIS Glory and he has given us a wonderful example in the Life of Jesus to follow. As we begin to take time in our daily journey with HIM to pray through the tough situations we will begin to grow in unimaginable ways. The power of prayer is one of the most amazing tools we have if used properly. I have more to say on the topic of prayer but I will share that with you all another time :-). 

Thanks again for visiting "The Gathering Room"

Stand Strong and continue to believe the teachings given to you... (2 Thes. 2:15b NCV),


Friday, July 25, 2014

The Waters Part- Our Story; Gods Glory

Hey Everyone, 

I wanted to take this opportunity to share a few little tidbits from the sermon series I've been working on while the senior pastor at the church I serve in is on his renewal leave.

I feel God is sending HIS people a message in this season that is meant to remind us that OUR STORY needs to be about GODS GLORY and nothing else. I plan on sharing that message with anyone who will listen (or in this case read, LOL). 

So, for my first post on this I want to share from Joshua chapter 3. 

This story is an amazing story of blind faith and trusting in the things unseen (as Hebrews 12 states). It starts off with Joshua's people on the bank of the Jordan River on their way to the promised land. The thing about this situation is that the Israelite's are facing a huge problem, it's in the middle of flood season, the waters are very deep and no one can cross through it to the other side. 

A book called "My time with God" shares the following as a reflection of this story....

"God could have easily made the river subside before their eyes. He could throw a wide bridge across it, but he doesn't. Instead he gives Joshua some strange orders that he passes on... He commands the priest to pick up the ark and go stand in the river.... In spite of doubt the priest did as they were asked....'As soon as the priest who carried the ark reached the Jordan and their feet touched the waters edge, the water from upstream stopped flowing... The priest stood on dry ground in the middle of the Jordan while all Israel passed across dry ground' (Josh 3:15-17)."

That is an amazing story to me, it taught me two very important lessons that I believe we all need to learn...

1. We need to embrace GODS GLORY in our lives.
2. When we do HE reveals HIS GLORY through OUR STORY.

I can't imagine being able to experience the revelation of GOD GLORY in the midst of a situation like this. Here is last paragraph from the insight to this story...

"God didn't give the priests absolute proof or even overwhelming evidence that the waters would part. He DID NOTHING until they put their feet in the water, TAKING THE FIRST STEP of commitment and obedience. Only then did HE stop the flow of the river. In the same way, mountain-moving faith will be given to us as we step out and follow the LORDS direction."

Let me leave you with this for the night, How true is that last sentence for us today in our journey of faith in Christ?  

I encourage you to read this story for yourself today and ask HIM, what can I learn from this?

 Thanks again for visiting "The Gathering Room"

Stand Strong and continue to believe the teachings given to you... (2 Thes. 2:15b NCV),


Monday, July 21, 2014

Our Story, Gods Glory

Greetings Everyone, 

I have been quite busy the last few months, learning more and more about how we are all called to live our Story for Gods Glory. Incidentally the name of this post is also the title to a sermon series I have been working on this summer. I am not planning on into details on this series in this post but needless to say its been a wonderful learning experience :-). 

I have to share a few of the things I've learned though because that's just who God made me. Truthfully, I feel like I'm beginning to see a deeper relationship forming between myself and God as well as between myself and my family :-).

God has revealed some pretty wonderful things to us and all I can say is we are BLESSED to have a God who chooses the perfect timing in all HIS revelations to HIS followers. 

Most recently, I have been looking at the book of Philemon in a completely new light. Typically, when I've read this short book in the past I've simply seen a letter Paul writes to Philemon with regard to a salve named Onesimus who ran a way and is now being sent back home. The reality I am seeing is so much more though...

For me it is as though it has become a wonderful illustration of Gods love for us and I believe I have been forever changed because of this new and deeper understanding. I wont preach to you all in this post but I would like to challenge you to look deeper into the book of Philemon over the next few days.

It's a very short read with only 25 verses and for me those 25 verses have become a great example of a story that was lived for Gods Glory.

I will share my findings in another post entitled "Philemon Revealed" as well as my sermon notes from this series Our Story, God's Glory" when the time is right. 

  Thanks again for visiting "The Gathering Room"

Stand Strong and continue to believe the teachings given to you... (2 Thes. 2:15b NCV),


Sunday, March 16, 2014

The Battle and The Strategy

Hello Readers, 

I read a word last night that I had never seen before as I was reading my daughter to sleep. It was the word "cacophony." How many of you have ever read this word before?

To be truthful I read the same paragraph 4 or 5 times thinking to myself "what in the world could this word mean?" Was it meant to be catastrophe instead of cacophony? That would have made sense in my mind, so I went with it.

Well, today I googled "define cacophony" and it came up with several options for synonyms and a definition that made more since than the word catastrophe. One word to define cacophony could be the word "disharmony."   Now that makes complete since to me...

Here is the quote I am talking about...

"Listen to the love song that I am continually singing to you. I take great delight in you.. .I rejoice over you with singing. The voices of the world are a cacophony of chaos, pulling you this way and that. Don't listen to those voices; challenge them with My Word.Learn to take minibreaks from the world, finding a place to be still in MY PRESENCE and listen to MY VOICE."- Jesus Calling

You can't tell me the first time you read this quote that you understand it all, but when the unknown is understood it changes the quote completely. At least I think so...

While thinking about this quote I was reminded of my post "The Puzzle" last month, but I won't go into that one again at the moment. It seems that there is something else that we are being taught through this. Something that is vital for us all to understand, The Battle Field.

We all know that there is an ongoing battle between good and evil taking place at this very moment and that there are times in our lives where good wins over evil and then other times when evil wins over good. It's part of the circle of life so to speak. The message this quote delivers, at least as far as I understand it, is what we need to know in order to assist in winning The Battle Field.

It is a reminder that Jesus is continually by our side and that he takes great delight in us, but it is also reminding us that the world can be a huge distraction to us and that it will pull us in every direction it can, to drive us off the battle field. In the end we are given a challenge (or a strategy) to help us remain. "challenge them with My Word... rest in My Presence... listen to My Voice...

We must continually seek out time to rest in the presence of God and to listen to his voice. As the beginning of the quote states the presence of God is already there, we just need to seek it out. Yes, it's true that sometimes we aren't sure what's what and if God truly is speaking to us, but that where being in THE WORD and in HIS PRESENCE will teach us how to hear HIS VOICE. It's not easy by any means but if we are to stay the course and fight the battle we are all in (whether we know it or not) we must make the time to do these things....

Who's with me?

Thanks again for visiting "The Gathering Room"
Stand Strong and continue to believe the teachings given to you... (2 Thes. 2:15b NCV),

Friday, March 7, 2014

Reflections; The Journey- March 2014

Thought I'd share the newest article I wrote for my churches newsletter. I think I have more to say on this topic but this should be good for now :-)

Greetings in Christ and Welcome to “The Journey,”

The other day I received a facebook message from one of the children I worked with a few years ago and she asked me the following question, “How would you explain God’s grace?” What a powerful question to ask. I began to think about this question and it took me several days to respond to it.

How many times do we say a word like grace in the midst of a conversation without thinking about the meaning behind it? I know I do it all the time. As I thought about how I would explain grace, I began searching for different definitions and found some really good ones, but none of them were my personal definition of the word.

With that in mind, I sat in silence thinking about God’s Grace. Finally the question came to mind, can you really define the word grace in the spiritual sense? My answer was the following, “The definition lies in the experiences that we have of God’s grace.” I kept thinking about this and came to the same conclusion.

God’s Grace is something that touches the deepest part of our spirit; it fills the hole of longing within our very souls and fuels our desire to be a representation of God’s awe inspiring love.

In the end, I discovered that the only way we can truly define God’s grace is by sharing the experiences we have with God and how that experience has changed our life with others. So here is my word for this month, take a look at your experiences with God’s Grace and share at least one experience with another. 

Continue the Journey,      

Matthew J. Elliott
Director of Family Ministries