apostolic · pentecostal · Uncategorized

Building A Strong Foundation

“Therefore thus saith the Lord God, behold, I lay in Zion for a foundation a stone, a tried stone, a precious corner stone, a sure foundation: he that believeth shall not make haste.” Isaiah 28:16

This past Friday I had the privilege of hearing the Rev. Joe Campetella preach at a rally in Rice, Virginia and during the altar call someone began to pray for me. A powerful prayer that resonated with me and that I have not been able to stop thinking about the past few days. This person prayed a strong foundation over me. This may not seem like such a big deal to some but to me it means everything. As someone who left the church and spent many years outside the will of God, I know all to well the dangers of not being firmly established in my faith and in my daily prayer life. Prayer is my key. It is what gives me a reason to wake up in the morning, put on a smile and get ready for the day. When I’m overwhelmed, prayer is the song that lifts my spirits and reminds me that I serve a great God. Prayer is my war cry when I’m ambushed by the enemy and bombarded by feelings of doubt and insecurity. You CAN NOT build a strong foundation in God without building a prayer life. You must have a relationship with Jesus Christ, there is not one without the other.

“Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock.” Matthew 7:24-25

Not only must I not neglect my relationship with God through prayer but I must spend time in the Word daily. I need to hear it, read it, study it and reflect on it. Not only do I need to read my Bible but I long to! I love spending time studying the scriptures and not only does it feed my soul but God uses His Word to speak to me. So many times I’ve opened my Bible without really having an idea of what to read and scriptures would leap off the pages at me that pertained to my situation and what I was feeling or going through. The answers are there if we are willing to search them out. How am I to be a soul winner if I don’t know the Word of God? I cannot expect to reach people if I have only a limited knowledge of the scriptures. I have to be able to back up my beliefs with solid Word!

“Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.” Matthew 5:6

Loving someone, truly loving someone, is to crave their presence and treasure their approval. To love God and have a relationship with Him is to desire to please Him. To live a life that is holy and pleasing to Him. We honor and respect Him in every way, including our bodies and outward appearance. This means I must exercise discipline in every aspect of my life! My thoughts and conversations should reflect Him as well as the way I portray myself to the world. This is why I dress modestly, when people look at me I want them to see a reflection of Christ. He must increase whereas I must decrease!

“This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, saith the Lord, I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them; and their sins and iniquities will I remember no more. Now where the remission of these is, there is no more offering for sin. Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, By a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh; and having an high priest over the house of God; let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised;) And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching. Hebrews 10: 16-25

We cannot effectively serve God and neglect going to church. We just can’t. Going to church is the same as plugging my phone into a power source. Its how I recharge every week. My church is the one place I can go and be surrounded by people who understand why I believe what I believe and dress the way I do. I look forward to services and being taught by the man of God.

We all have different callings placed on our lives but one thing we all have in common is a responsibility to GO. To tell the world about Jesus Christ, to reach a lost and dying world and that goal cannot be accomplished without first building a strong foundation in God. It is what will keep us and sustain us when trials and heartache come our way, it is what will make our relationships last and it is what we will pass to the next generation.

“To whom coming, as unto a living stone, disallowed indeed of men, but chosen of God and precious, Ye also as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.” 1 Peter 2:4-5

 

 

apostolic · pentecostal

A Divine Love Story

Love. Defined as a “profoundly tender, passionate affection for another person.” We seek to love and long to be loved in return. It is human nature to desire affection, whether it’s from a friendship or a romantic relationship. Heartbreak is defined as an “overwhelming sorrow or grief.” To love deeply is to grieve just as deeply when hurt by that particular person. When considering what I wanted to write about this week, dealing with heartbreak was my first choice of topic because it’s a subject that has become all too personal in the last six months or so. I began to study what the Bible says about the subject and after a while one thing became perfectly clear to me. If there is anyone who understands my pain, it is God. The Bible is truly the most profound love story I’ve ever read. All throughout the scriptures it speaks of God’s love for his people, their betrayal and His forgiveness.

“The Lord hath appeared of old unto me, saying, Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with loving-kindness have I drawn thee.” Jeremiah 31:3

An everlasting love. Unconditional love. True love. It’s hard for my human mind to comprehend such a love and yet I cannot deny that its true because despite all my flaws and failures, I have felt and experienced that same love completely overwhelm me. God understands our feelings of wanting to be loved and appreciated more than I ever realized. God IS love. Book after book, verse after verse, we are given examples of that very love. Who better than Him understands the depth of that emotion and the heartbreak that ensues from caring about someone so deeply? The fact that He created us in His own image testifies to His love for us and yet from the beginning, we have broken his heart over and over. Can you imagine His sorrow when the Israelites, despite His having delivered them from Egypt and demonstrating His incredible power to do so, still turned to worship false idols? Yet He remained faithful, time after time (Nehemiah 9:6-17). I’m reminded of the story of the prophet Hosea, of whom I’ve heard referred to as the “Prophet of Divine Love.” In chapter one, because of Israel’s spiritual unfaithfulness, Hosea is commanded by God to marry an unfaithful wife. Through his own suffering because of his wife’s sinful nature, he was able to understand God’s pain because of Israel’s wickedness and the insult to not only the law of God but to His love as well. No matter how many times we have been unfaithful to God, He has never turned his back on us. Despite our history of disobedience and betrayal towards Him, He has continued to “love us with an everlasting love” and still saw fit to wrap Himself in flesh and die on a cross for our sins. He knew Peter would deny Him, just as He knew the world would condemn Him and still, His love never wavered. Forgiveness is still freely given (Daniel 9:9). It’s a beautiful story, a story of an ultimate love, redeeming love. A love that knows no boundaries or concept of time.

“In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him. Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.” 1 John 4: 9-10

Every day I pray to be more like Christ, to let His love shine through me. This means forgiving the ones who have hurt me. It’s not the easiest thing to do, I struggle with it every day. However, I find that the more time I spend in prayer and in His word, the easier it becomes every day to think of those people and hurtful situations without anger and bitterness. Instead I find that I’m able to pray for them and genuinely mean it when I ask God to bless them and move in their life. Forgiving someone doesn’t make the situation any less painful but it does add an element of joy to your life that wasn’t there before. Follow God’s example; love unconditionally, forgive unconditionally. Instead of holding on to feelings of hurt and resentment, choose joy and peace. Pursue a great love story with a great God.

 

apostolic · pentecostal · prodigal

A Journey Back to God

“What man of you, having an hundred sheep, if he lose one of them, doth not leave the ninety and nine in the wilderness, and go after that which is lost, until he find it? And when he hath found it, he layeth it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he cometh home, he collect together his friends and neighbors, saying unto them, Rejoice with me; for I have found my sheep which was lost. I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance.”

Luke 15: 4-7

I cannot profess to be the most skilled writer or the most versed in scripture. However, it is my hope that by sharing my journey and testimony, I can give encouragement to even one person.

Growing up, I remember thinking, “how can anyone walk away from God, from this amazing truth?” I could not fathom it. Yet, that’s exactly what I did. The more time I spent away from my youth group and church, the more I was drawn in by the group of “friends” starting to take their place. I began to adopt their mannerisms, their way of dress and their speech and in the process my relationship with God began to take a back seat to the things of this world. In the process of “finding myself” I became lost.

I ran from God for eight long years and in that time I learned just how damaging the darkness is. I turned to alcohol and drugs to fill the void I had created with my own disobedience. My heart was full of anger, bitterness and hurt. I was completely and utterly broken…and that’s when God stepped in. I found myself at an alter in an old fashioned Apostolic church, trembling in shame and conviction. That night I was refilled with the Holy Ghost and piece by bloody and bruised piece, He has restored me and made me whole.

“Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.”

2 Corinthians 5:17

The best thing I’ve ever done was to fall in love with Jesus. Completely and madly in love with the King. The kind of all consuming love that makes my heart swell each morning when I wake and brings me to my knees throughout the day. So everyday, I will choose to serve Him and to celebrate this second chance He has given me.

“For thou, Lord, art good and ready to forgive; and plenteous in mercy unto all them that call upon thee.”

Psalms 86:5