Archive for October, 2012

How to Sharpen Your Edge

Monday, October 29th, 2012

If the axe is dull and he does not sharpen its edge, then he must exert more strength. Wisdom has the advantage of giving success. Ecclesiastes 10:10

We have the capacity to be led by the Holy Spirit. But if your edge has been worn down in life, you have to exert more energy to get things done. God has given us ways to get sharp so we can make the big and little decisions, so we can have answers, and so we can advance.

CAST YOUR CARES IN PRAYER. But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God (Jude 1:20-21a). Worries and cares choke the Word and make it unfruitful (Matthew 13:22), but praying in the Spirit and walking in love will sharpen us. Whenever you have a situation, don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything (Philippians 4:6).

ASK FOR WISDOM. But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all men generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him (James 1:5). God wants to fortify and strengthen you. If you lack wisdom, ask God—He will never reprimand you for asking. He desires to lead us both in vital areas and in the minor issues of our lives.

MEDITATE ON THE WORD. For the Word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit (Hebrews 4:12a). The Word of God is sharper than the sharpest instrument known to man. Meditating on Scriptures will completely change and sharpen areas of your thinking. Our world is filled with weapons of mass distraction, but when you meditate on the Word, you are slowing down and taking time to contemplate.

God’s Word on your lips—the good news message of Jesus—can change somebody’s whole eternal track. Sharpen your edge by praying in the Spirit, by seeking God, and by meditating on the Scriptures. As you listen and obey the voice of the Holy Spirit, dullness will be replaced by razor sharp effectiveness.

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

Copyright © 2012 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.

Keep Climbing

Monday, October 22nd, 2012

Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Hebrews 12:1-2

Life is filled with challenges but it’s how you deal with them that determines your future. God has called you to something bigger than mere survival. You are made in God’s image, designed for creativity and advancement.

Authors Dr. Paul G. Stoltz and Erik Weihenmayer make an interesting point in their book “The Adversity Advantage.” In life there are three different types of people: quitters, campers, and climbers. When things get tough, quitters give up and stop advancing. Campers work hard, reach a certain level, and then settle down in mediocrity. Climbers are that rare breed of people who continue to grow, learn, and move forward all their lives.

For the eyes of the Lord move to and fro throughout the earth that He may strongly support those whose heart is completely His. 2 Chronicles 16:9a

Pressing on isn’t something that can be done in your own strength. God wants to strongly support you. “For it is God Himself whose power creates within you the desire to do His gracious will and also brings about the accomplishment of the desire” (Philippians 2:13 WEY). He has called you to keep climbing, to keep fighting the good fight of faith (1 Timothy 6:12). He will equip you for the journey (Hebrews 13:20-21).

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

God can do a lot in the life of a person who will just cooperate with Him. Shake off the temptation to quit or to camp halfway up the rugged mountain. Make mediocrity your enemy. Be a lifelong climber. Give God an inch and He’ll take a mile! Give Him a thimble full of devotion and He’ll respond to you with an ocean of love.

Press on,
Pastor Jeff Perry
St. Louis Family Church®

Copyright © 2012 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. Paul Stoltz PhD and Erik Weihenmayer, The Adversity Advantage. New York: Fireside, 2006. Weymouth New Testament in Modern Speech. Third Edition 1913. Public Domain.

Get Your Edge Back

Monday, October 15th, 2012

If the axe is dull and he does not sharpen its edge, then he must exert more strength. Wisdom has the advantage of giving success. Ecclesiastes 10:10

Like a sharp axe can cut down a tree, we are called to cut through oppression and impact lives. The cycles of life will endeavor to blunt, discourage, and distract you, but God knows how to sharpen your edge.

One way to stay sharp is to build yourself up by praying in the Spirit (Jude 1:20). If you’ve been super busy, seize times of aloneness when you can draw close to God. Go right into the Word instead of other things. (There are hundreds of TV options, but most won’t give you an edge.) Stay in church because as “iron sharpens iron, so a man sharpens another” (Proverbs 27:17).

Jesus created you for good works, and He wants to use you to reach a hurting and broken world. Satan is constantly trying to blunt the edge of your effectiveness. That’s why, as you cut through all the darkness, you have to keep going to the sharpening stone of the Holy Spirit and let God strengthen you with His might and power (Ephesians 3:16). Get ready, because God wants to put people in your path who need the gifts and abilities you have. He wants to anoint you to pray huge prayers and to minister life to lost souls and persuade them to come to Jesus.

“Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.” -Abraham Lincoln

Press on!
Pastor Jeff Perry
St. Louis Family Church®

Copyright © 2012 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.

God Is With You

Monday, October 8th, 2012

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

Jesus centered. Jesus is the most admirable, deserving, worthy person in the universe. He is fully God and fully man. He never leaves us or forsakes us (Hebrews 13:5), and He is an ever present help in time of need (Psalm 46:1). God rescued Daniel from the lions. God was with Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego in the fire and they were not burned. Just like God was with those men, just like God was with Paul in prison—He is with you.

Out of the lions’ den. When David was in a cave hiding from his enemies, he wrote about his soul being among lions (Psalm 57:4). Satan is like a roaring lion seeking someone to devour (1 Peter 5:8). He’ll try to attack people’s finances, hinder people’s thinking, and suppress creativity. We are to resist him, firm in our faith. That’s why we need to be renewed in the spirit of our mind and use the shield of faith to extinguish all his fiery darts (Ephesians 4:23; 6:16).

Get your eyes on God. In the cave, David reminded himself of God’s goodness. He acknowledged the problem, and then shifted his focus: “My heart is steadfast, O God, my heart is steadfast; I will sing, yes, I will sing praises! For Your lovingkindness is great to the heavens and Your truth to the clouds” (Psalm 57:7, 10). You can take hold of the promises of God and speak them boldly—even while you are surrounded by enemies.

But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, so that the surpassing greatness of the power will be of God and not from ourselves; we are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not despairing; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed. 2 Corinthians 4:7-9

Keep moving. Don’t get stuck in the middle of your trial. Paul admits that there are troubles in this life, but (and there is always a “but”) God has solutions and answers. No matter how difficult circumstances have been, God wants to help you get back up (Proverbs 24:16). Every trial has an end, but God’s mercies never end—so let Him have the final say in your situation. You will make it through.

Press on!
Pastor Jeff Perry
St. Louis Family Church®

Copyright © 2012 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.

Praise and Thanksgiving

Monday, October 1st, 2012

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

Remember your past breakthroughs. Learn to count your blessings. Remembering former breakthroughs will help to carry you through current challenges. Before he faced Goliath, David told Saul, “The Lord who delivered me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear, He will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine” (1 Samuel 17:37).

Here’s a good way to recall praiseworthy things in your life. Write down three instances of deliverance, breakthrough, or victory that you can thank God for. It could be something from your distant past, something that happened just this morning, or even something that wouldn’t seem like a big deal to others but is significant to you.

Daily reinstate your relationship with Jesus. These principles of praise and worship are rooted in who Jesus is. Receiving Jesus is not a religious ritual—you get a new life! And if that were not enough, there are a lot of other things that we can thank God for: how He pulled us out of despair or depression, how He was with us in trouble, how He never left us even when we failed, how He has saved us and given us the security of eternal life. Rejoice in the God of your salvation, and take time to acknowledge Jesus in your daily life.

Dare to be wild. You were not born to be a plastic house plant. You were created to make a difference in this world, to achieve great things, and to be more than a conqueror. When circumstances get rough, when kids get weird, or when finances are squeezed—call upon the Lord and get radical. If you see a need, give. Serve, love, believe God to go through that door. Daily thank God for what He has done! Life is an adventure, and you are called to live it.

                  “Get your motor running. Head out on the highway.
                 Looking for adventure and whatever comes our way.”
                             Steppenwolf—Born to Be Wild

Thank God for all He has done!
Pastor Jeff Perry
St. Louis Family Church®

Copyright © 2012 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.