Archive for January, 2011

Moving Forward in God’s Power

Monday, January 31st, 2011

Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 3:13-14

Press on. An effective driver glances at the rearview mirror but spends most of the time looking through the windshield. Think of your life in the same way: look ahead at what God has in store for you, but only glance at your past. This doesn’t mean you bury your head in the sand. It just means you look at life through the eyes of grace. It’s good to remember what God has delivered you from—He’s covered your old sins (Romans 4:6-8; Psalm 32:1). But in Christ you are a new person (1 Corinthians 5:17) and you’re free to fix your eyes on what He has for you.

Life matters. Though this life is brief, it counts. Paul did not wince at the full-spectrum nature of life— trials, bewilderment, and all. He learned the secret of being full and of going hungry (Philippians 4:12), and he thrived on challenge. But he didn’t do it in his own power. Paul wrote, “I can do all things through Him [Jesus] who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13).

For the word of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. 1 Corinthians 1:18

God’s Word is power. We aren’t sissies who shrink back in fear, but neither are we superheroes trying to do things in our own power. God’s power is available to us, and He has packed specific gifts, resources, and usefulness into each cell of our being. I pray we get so tuned into Jesus and so filled up with His Word that, instead of buzz words or religious affectation, God’s life flows out of us and people can tell we’ve been with Him.

God’s at work in you. Endeavor to live worthy of the calling, investing all your life and energy into Jesus. If you feel like you are a crummy Christian, know that God is at work in you. He is looking for people whose hearts are open to Him (2 Chronicles 16:9). If you give God a thimble full of devotion, He’ll expand it as big as heaven. Give Him a mustard seed of faith, and He’ll respond (Matthew 17:20).

God is faithful!
Pastor Jeff Perry
St. Louis Family Church®

Copyright © 2011 St. Louis Family Church. All rights reserved. No part of this article may be reprinted or distributed in any form without prior written permission of St. Louis Family Church. Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture references are from the New American Standard Bible (NASB) Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation.

Peace – Because God’s Got Your Back

Monday, January 24th, 2011

These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world. John 16:33

God doesn’t just tell us to “take courage” without showing why we don’t have to fear. The reason we can take courage is because He has overcome the world. Yes, life’s tough—we don’t have to idealize it—but because of Jesus we can have peace even in the middle of a challenge.

Peace comes when you know the stabilizing promises from the Word that reveal God’s never-ending faithfulness. That is how you develop the abiding conviction that God is going to see you through.

Do not fear, for I am with you; do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, surely I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. Isaiah 41:10

The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the defense of my life; whom shall I dread? Psalm 27:1

Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence? If I ascend to heaven, You are there; if I make my bed in Sheol, behold, You are there. If I take the wings of the dawn, if I dwell in the remotest part of the sea, even there Your hand will lead me, and Your right hand will lay hold of me. Psalm 139:7-10

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me. Psalm 23:4

But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:37-39

Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice! . . . The Lord is near. Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 4:4-7

We cannot even fathom how fantastically faithful God is. When you know someone is with you and has your back, fear has to leave. In its place you have faith: a peaceful confidence produced by the stabilizing promises of God.

God bless you!
Pastor Jeff Perry
St. Louis Family Church®

Copyright © 2011 St. Louis Family Church. All rights reserved. No part of this article may be reprinted or distributed in any form without prior written permission of St. Louis Family Church. Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture references are from the New American Standard Bible (NASB) Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation.*

The Hazards of Worry

Monday, January 17th, 2011

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 4:6- 7

Don’t be hijacked by anxiety or worry. Paul, who wrote two-thirds of the New Testament, understood how challenging life could be: “I have been very thoroughly initiated into the human lot with all its ups and downs” (Philippians 4:12 NEB [1]). But, even in the middle of challenge, we can reject anxiety and cast our worries and cares on God because He cares for us (1 Peter 5:7).

Worry will distract us from a single-minded faith focus. The book of James warns that a “double-minded man [is] unstable in all his ways” (James 1:8). Here are five points from author John Edmund Haggai about the dividing nature of worry:

Worry divides your feelings—causing your emotions to become uneven and volatile.

Worry divides your understanding—making your convictions lose their grounding, sapping you of confidence.

Worry divides your perception—meaning you are distracted and often fail to see the whole situation confronting you.

Worry divides your judgment—making your decision-making ill-informed and unreliable.

Worry divides your will—producing lethargy and dulling your ability to pursue your goals with confidence. —From the book “How to Win Over Worry” [2]

Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things. Philippians 4:8

Don’t let your feelings have the final say. It’s possible to throw off worry and stay faith-focused through high times and through hard times (Philippians 4:12-13). By taking everything to God in prayer, by maintaining a confession of thanksgiving, and by meditating on the good report, you can go through 2011 with renewed focus and walk in the next steps of what God has called you to.

God bless you in 2011,
Pastor Jeff Perry
St. Louis Family Church ®

Copyright © 2010 St. Louis Family Church. All rights reserved. No part of this article may be reprinted or distributed in any form without prior written permission of St. Louis Family Church. Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture references are from the New American Standard Bible (NASB) Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation.* Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. [1] Scripture taken from the New English Bible. Copyright © 1961 by The Delegates of the Oxford University Press and The Syndics of the Cambridge University Press. [2] “ How to Win Over Worry.” Copyright © 2001/2009 by John Edmund Haggai. Published by Harvest House Publishers, Eugene, Oregon.

The Target

Monday, January 10th, 2011

But whatever things were gain to me, those things I have counted as loss for the sake of Christ. More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish so that I may gain Christ. Philippians 3:7-8

Making Goals. Paul is basically saying that nothing else matters compared to knowing Jesus—it’s better than all the high points, and it transcends failure. If you’ve made New Year’s resolutions, don’t just have “to do” goals—to do more working out, less eating, more reading, etc. Those are all great, but the most important goal should be to have a closer walk with Jesus—that is how you will truly be changed. The degree to which you renew your connection with God will determine your success in reaching your other goals.

Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I PRESS ON toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 3:13-14

Moving Forward. If you want to move on and grow, you’ve got to let some stuff go—including past hurts and aches that have been defining your life up to this point. We need to guard our heart and be selective about what gets in (Proverbs 4:23). Instead of meditating on painful moments from the past that keep you loss-centered, use them as reference points of God’s faithfulness—by His grace you’ve made it this far! Shake off the heaviness and look ahead with confidence. God who began a good work in you will complete it (Philippians 1:6).

Knowing Jesus. Knowing Jesus is what we can carry into eternity. Seek to know Him. Turn off the TV and the phone and spend some time with God. Write down the things He shows you. Spend time fasting and praying this month. In 2011, let’s make it our primary target to reinforce our connection with God and press on toward His call for our lives.

It’s good to know Jesus!
Pastor Jeff Perry
St. Louis Family Church®

Copyright © 2011 St. Louis Family Church. All rights reserved. No part of this article may be reprinted or distributed in any form without prior written permission of St. Louis Family Church. Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture references are from the New American Standard Bible (NASB) Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation.

A Sweet New Year

Monday, January 3rd, 2011

So Moses brought Israel from the Red Sea; then they went out into the Wilderness of Shur. And they went three days in the wilderness and found no water. Now when they came to Marah, they could not drink the waters of Marah, for they were bitter. Therefore the name of it was called Marah. And the people complained against Moses, saying, “What shall we drink?” So he cried out to the Lord, and the Lord showed him a tree. When he cast it into the waters, the waters were made sweet. Exodus 15:22-25 NKJV

A foreshadowing of the Cross—I’m convinced that this Old Testament passage reveals types and shadows of things to come. That this tree making the bitter waters sweet for the Israelites reinforces the power of what happened when Jesus was crucified on a tree. What happened on the Cross took the bitterness of life and made it sweet.

It is all resolved on the Cross. On the tree, salvation became available to humanity. Eternal separation from God was resolved when Jesus said, “It is finished” and died on the Cross (John 19:30).

Jesus is the Healer. What happened on the tree also addresses your physical condition and your mental outlook. The Greek word for “saved” also means “healed.” The one-two punch of redemption is that God pardons all your iniquities and heals all your diseases (Psalm 103:3).

Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us—for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree.” Galatians 3:13

Cry out to God. We need to be like Moses who cried out to God about bitter waters. Sickness, mental oppression, financial lack, breakdown in relationships, and fatigue can be bitter for people. But when we cry out to the Lord, the tree – where Jesus died for you – gets thrown into the middle of it with splashing finality, and the bitterness is made sweet.

Happy New Year!
Pastor Jeff Perry
St. Louis Family Church®

Copyright © 2010 St. Louis Family Church. All rights reserved. No part of this article may be reprinted or distributed in any form without prior written permission of St. Louis Family Church. Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture references are from the New American Standard Bible (NASB) Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation.* Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.”