Archive for August, 2011

From Weakness To Strength

Monday, August 29th, 2011

Though the fig tree should not blossom and there be no fruit on the vines, though the yield of the olive should fail and the fields produce no food, though the flock should be cut off from the fold and there be no cattle in the stalls, Yet I will exult in the Lord, I will rejoice in the God of my salvation. The Lord God is my strength, and He has made my feet like hinds’ feet, and makes me walk on my high places. Habakkuk 3:17-19

The book of Habakkuk provides a beautiful picture of how to move from doubt to faith, from confusion to understanding, from fear to hope. Habakkuk was a guy who lived during one of the most difficult times of the nation of Judah, but he learned to seek God for his strength.

What I see in Habakkuk’s life is a recurring theme in the lives of Gideon, Samuel, and David. They weren’t afraid to ask questions, but they waited for God to give answers. The Bible shows us that these were real human beings who all had rough circumstances, but they looked to God—and all of them got restoration, breakthrough, and a second chance.

And what more shall I say? For time will fail me if I tell of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, of David and Samuel and the prophets, who by faith conquered kingdoms, performed acts of righteousness, obtained promises, shut the mouths of lions, quenched the power of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, from weakness were made strong, became mighty in war, put foreign armies to flight. Hebrews 11:32-34

God is very present to help in your time of trouble (Psalm 46:1). David needed help and he strengthened himself in the Lord. Habakkuk inquired of the Lord. Jonah sought God from the belly of a fish. If those guys can do it, we can do it. We can look past the junk and bad circumstances and focus our attention on God.

Whatever your current situation, you can encourage yourself in the Lord. Carve out some time to seek God—even if you feel like Jonah with seaweed wrapped around your head—and God will strengthen you!

Be strong in the Lord!
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. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Joseph: A Fruitful and Restored Life

Monday, August 22nd, 2011

Joseph is a fruitful bough, a fruitful bough by a spring; its branches run over a wall. Genesis 49:22

Joseph’s story shows someone who seemed destined to wither, but against all odds he flourished! As Jacob prayed a blessing over his kids at the end of his life, he described his son Joseph as a fruitful bough who thrived so much that his branches ran over a wall. Wherever Joseph was—slavery, prison—he always rose to the top.

In Joseph’s life we see an amazing miracle of mercy. Joseph got called upon by Pharaoh, and he went from the obscurity of prison to alleviating the suffering of Egypt’s people. But his reach went beyond the walls of his world and touched the very ones who had victimized him and hurt him!

Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you Ephesians 4:31-32

Joseph mercifully forgave his brothers for their cruel treatment. There is power in forgiveness—all of us have been hurt, and all of us have hurt others. But when we lay aside bitterness, we’re going to get breakthrough.

How blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked, nor stand in the path of sinners, nor sit in the seat of scoffers! But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and in His law he meditates day and night. He will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in its season and its leaf does not wither; and in whatever he does, he prospers. Psalm 1:1-3

Joseph flourished not because of his amazing humanness but because he was a fruitful bough by a spring—his roots grew deep into the rivers of God! The life of Joseph shows us how God can turn around any situation—even a horrible one like Joseph’s where he was victimized and hurt by his own brothers.

So don’t throw away your dreams or your confidence in God. Stay in the flow; don’t give up; don’t compromise; hold to the conviction that God will make a roadway in the wilderness and rivers in the desert (Isaiah 43:19). He who has begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Christ Jesus (Philippians 1:6).

Press on!
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. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Fulfilling Your Mission

Monday, August 15th, 2011

[One of the scribes asked] “What commandment is the foremost of all?” Jesus answered, “The foremost is, ‘Hear, o Israel! The Lord our God is one Lord; and you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ The second is this, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” Mark 12:28b-31

Nothing matters more than making Jesus a priority. God wants you to finish stronger than when you started. He is more interested in your fruitfulness over the long course than in some little blip of what people call “success” followed by a faltering dead end. Even those of you who don’t suspect it or who are dealing with cynicism—God has a plan for your life, and He is doing something in your world.

Church is a launching environment for us to become thinking disciples of Jesus, loving Him with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength. In this life we will go through the fire, but as we follow God, we will bear much fruit.

But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. Matthew 6:33

God does not show partiality. He values you (Acts 10:34-35), so seek the Lord and listen for His voice. He wants to download vision into your spirit. He will lead and guide you in His plans. Maybe you need to take a vacation day and fast and pray. Get a legal pad and have the audacity to write down what you are believing God for. Make sure it’s biblical. Expect God’s will to come to pass. When the will of God is known, faith will rise.

Faithful is He who calls you, and He also will bring it to pass. 1 Thessalonians 5:24

You may not have it figured out, but God has it all figured out. When you find out what His will is, get after it! There are other people attached to your obedience, and God wants to do some amazing things through you.

Press on!
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. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

On The Go: The Great Commission

Monday, August 8th, 2011

“Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.” Mark 16:15b

“Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you.” Matthew 28:19-20a

God wants to use each one of us. So it’s important that we push aside the tyranny of the urgent and really take time to figure out what matters most to God. In these last words of Jesus before He ascended into heaven, we see that He came to save and redeem—and that is the big deal of big deals! The Great Commission was given to the early church and it is still for us today.

com•mis•sion (noun) 1. A duty or task committed to a person or group to perform. 2. Authority to undertake or perform certain duties or functions. 3. A document granting such authority. Collins English Dictionary*

So then, when the Lord Jesus had spoken to them, He was received up into heaven and sat down at the right hand of God. And they went out and preached everywhere, while the Lord worked with them, and confirmed the word by the signs that followed. Mark 16:19-20

We have the abiding presence of the Equipper. Jesus said “I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:20b). Ours is not a gospel that is impotent. The Lord worked with the disciples as they preached and miracles followed. When God calls you, He also equips you (Hebrews 13:20-21).

The Gospel is the power of God—as we speak it and live it, hearts will be opened and lives will be changed. But you can’t steer a parked car. It’s easy to get apathetic and stay put, but signs and wonders follow people on the go. So keep your eyes on Jesus and stay tuned to His Word. Press through disappointments, difficulties, and disillusionment. God will order your steps (Proverbs 16:9), and you can count on His goodness and mercy to follow you all the days of your life (Psalm 23:6).

Press on!
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. Used by permission. All rights reserved. * Collins English Dictionary – Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition. HarperCollins Publishers.

God’s Word

Monday, August 1st, 2011

We can all get bogged down with the cares of life. That’s why every day we need to get washed with the “water of the Word” (Ephesians 5:26). So take time to get into the amazing Word of God!

It is powerful. For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. Hebrews 4:12 NKJV

It equips. All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work. 2 Timothy 3:16-17

It guides. This book of the law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it; for then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have success. Joshua 1:8

It blesses. But one who looks intently at the perfect law, the law of liberty, and abides by it, not having become a forgetful hearer but an effectual doer, this man will be blessed in what he does. James 1:25

It brings peace. My son, do not forget my teaching, but let your heart keep my commandments; for length of days and years of life and peace they will add to you. Proverbs 3:1-2

It strengthens. Strengthen me according to Your Word. Psalm 119:28b

It always comes to pass. So will My word be which goes forth from My mouth; It will not return to Me empty, without accomplishing what I desire, and without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it. Isaiah 55:11

It is truth. Sanctify them [purify, consecrate, separate them for Yourself, make them holy] by the Truth; Your Word is Truth. John 17:17 AMP

It saves. Therefore, putting aside all filthiness and all that remains of wickedness, in humility receive the word implanted, which is able to save your souls. James 1:21

It heals. My son, give attention to my words; Incline your ear to my sayings. Do not let them depart from your sight; keep them in the midst of your heart. For they are life to those who find them and health to all their body. Proverbs 4:20-22

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. Used by permission. All rights reserved.