Religion

James, the brother of Jesus, writes, “Pure religion in the eyes of God and man is to visit orphans and widows in their distress and to keep ourselves unspotted by the world.”

False religion says, “I am just a helpless, hapless sinner. I can’t help myself, and neither can God.”

When the apostle Paul testified before the Jews that he served God with a good conscience, the high priest ordered that he be struck across the mouth. Their religion did not allow for a victorious testimony, and neither does much of today’s religion. Testimonies of mediocrity are the accepted norm, the status quo.

So, those of us who plan to move on with Christ and experience lives of victory and power must be prepared to go against the flow.  

We must often “Go to him outside the camp, bearing the disgrace he bore.” The psalmist wrote, “Zeal for thy house has consumed me, and the reproaches with which they reproach you have fallen on me.”

So, “Speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the head, that is Christ.”

“As we reach the unity in the faith and the knowledge of the Son of God, we will become mature, attaining to the stature of the fullness of Christ.”  

“May we be encouraged in heart and united in love that we may have the full riches of complete understanding of Christ, God’s mystery, in whom are hidden all the riches of wisdom and knowledge.”

~ Brad Heilhecker

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Gripped 

  
WORTHY THOUGHT

 Are you gripped by the Gospel? 

“Religions are a man’s search for God; the Gospel is God’s search for man. There are many religions but one Gospel.”  -E. Stanley Jones 

Paul an Apostle was set apart for the gospel of God. Paul wrote in Book of Romans the gospel God promised beforehand to us. The good news is a promise written through the Holy Scriptures of old Testament and New Testament centered on His Son Jesus . God sent His own son Jesus a Jew, to come to the earth to share the news, died, arose again. 

Jesus saves all who trust Him. Jesus alone purchased salvation and the message must be preached to the whole world. 

The gospel alone is the power of God to salvation.


               ~ Angela Lipe-Pattengill 

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 

-John 3:16

You Have A Green Light 

  


The highways in England have a lot of traffic signal lights, in most towns and cities it won’t be long before you run into a stop light.
The red light means you STOP and the oncoming vehicles have rights to cross your path.
The amber or yellow light means CAUTION and of course green means GO and is the delight of all drivers!
As I sit at red lights for what often feels like a lifetime I cannot help but think of the following spiritual analogy when it comes to the gospel of good news…

Jesus Christ gave us all a green light…

He said, ‘GO into all the world and preach the gospel, cast out demons and heal the sick’.

There were no stop lights or caution lights with Jesus instructions, it’s clear roads ahead with precise instructions to all of His disciples.

The powers of darkness have been ordered to stop at the light of Christ and they no longer have any rights by law to cross our path and hinder our journey.

As I read through the New Testament of the Holy Bible I often see red lights shine our way, not from demons alone but from those with a spirit of religion and envy.

Many times the religious would feel insecure and no longer in control. They would hear the message of grace, hear the prayers of faith and witness the miracle healing’s and as they did they began to see red.

Often in an effort to keep their religious empires intact they would stir up the people and beat down the disciples, sometimes to the point of death.

Those victories over the disciples were always short lived because soon many more from their own ranks learned of the new and better way through Jesus Christ and His cross roads.

The message of Jesus cannot be stopped, so I encourage you today to move forward, you have set before you a green light and a promised destination.

Christian you no longer need to move with caution but with full confidence that Jesus has commissioned you to His work.

Now GO!
– Rev. Phillip Hand
To learn more about Phillip & Rebecca Hand and their wonderful ministry-Click here 

  

I’ve Been Dipped!

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I did not really understand the ceremony or grasp the full significance of what water baptism meant as I was baptized by sprinkling in the Episcopalian Religion at eight years old. Fast forward almost 40 years later and as a person that did not always walk with the Lord and now had much to be thankful for because of His Amazing Grace that saved a wretch like me, Baptism had become a great desire for me.

I did religion most of my life; one denomination after another, spending the majority of my adult life practicing Catholicism. My husband was a cradle Catholic and we married and baptized our children Catholic as well. When all the rituals became too much for us we left religion and the Catholic Church in 2006.
We desired something more and found that in a relationship with Jesus Christ. We chose to live and raise our children by a Biblical Worldview and no longer wanted to be defined by a religious denomination. As I read my Bible and walked closer with the Lord my desire only deepened to be Baptized as the Bible describes.

The Greek word Baptizmo – where we get Baptized Or Baptism from means “to dip.” So for me, I believe that immersion baptism is the type of Baptism the Bible is referencing. For me being baptized the “Real Way” meant being fully dipped, dunked, taking the full plunge.

After desiring this for the last nine years, I got the opportunity this past summer.
I also love that God arranged for it to all go down not in Texas, but across the world in Jerusalem, Israel in the famous Jordan River.

It was an amazing and very emotional experience. I also have it on DVD to watch over and over again! (They capture all the baptisms like those roller coaster ride pictures at amusement parks)

Every time I hear this song It resonates with me. Every time I can’t help but cry. I just can’t contain my emotions.

I encourage you all if you have not done so already to take the full plunge. Get Dipped!
Dip in deep and begin to experience something about the amazing “Living” Water! I am so glad I did! Now I am changed… Now I am stronger….~ XXOO Michelle Bollom

“Something In The Water” by Carrie Underwood

He said, “I’ve been where you’ve been before.
Down every hallway’s a slamming door.
No way out, no one to come and save me.
Wasting a life that the Good Lord gave me.

Then somebody said what I’m saying to you,
Opened my eyes and told me the truth.”
They said, “Just a little faith, it’ll all get better.”
So I followed that preacher man down to the river and now I’m changed
And now I’m stronger

There must’ve been something in the water
Oh, there must’ve been something in the water

Well, I heard what he said and I went on my way
Didn’t think about it for a couple of days
Then it hit me like a lightning late one night
I was all out of hope and all out of fight

Couldn’t fight back the tears so I fell on my knees
Saying, “God, if you’re there come and rescue me.”
Felt love pouring down from above
Got washed in the water, washed in the blood and now I’m changed
And now I’m stronger

There must be something in the water
Oh, there must be something in the water

And now I’m singing along to amazing grace
Can’t nobody wipe this smile off my face
Got joy in my heart, angels on my side
Thank God almighty, I saw the light
Gonna look ahead, no turning back
Live every day, give it all that I have
Trust in someone bigger than me
Ever since the day that I believed I am changed
And now I’m stronger

There must be something in the water (amazing grace)
Oh, there must be something in the water (how sweet the sound)
Oh, there must be something in the water (that saved a wretch)
Oh, there must be something in the water (like me)
Oh, yeah

I am changed (I once was lost)
Stronger (but now I’m found)
(was blind but now I see)

http://youtu.be/mH9kYn4L8TI

Who are you looking to?

I woke this morning singing the song “I look to You” by Whitney Houston.  I have loved this song for a while and it has been stuck on repeat during many difficult times of my life over the years.   The first time I heard this was after my dad’s death.  I know that during that time that it was only when I looked to Him could I continue on.  I did not know this song or know Jesus as I know Him now when I suffered the devastating loss of my brother Toby in 2006.  It was after my brother’s sudden death that I knew that I could not do things on my own.  It seemed that I jumped in with both feet seeking God.  I had done religion most of my life, but when I heard about Jesus and that it was a relationship and started learning about the Holy Spirit and reading God’s Promises in His word, well, it blew the door wide open for me.  I have never looked back. 

Sometimes life gets rough and we would like Jesus with skin on to walk those storms with us.  I love the part of the song when she says, “I am about to lose my breath”  Have you ever felt like the wind has been just kicked right out of you?  Maybe it is a devastating diagnosis or news from a doctor, or cancer has given you a limited time left on this earth.  I have walked through that one with a loved one, and recently have another loved one walking through this right now too.  Maybe it’s a spouse that just said they didn’t love you anymore and filed for divorce?  I know a few people walking through that blow right now.  An affair, a job loss, the death of a loved one?  Yes,  the list can go on and on.

 I have walked through many losses in my life and the ones that I did not look to Him were the most difficult to get through.  I say I grieved without Hope on my brothers death, but just two years later I grieved with Hope on my Dad’s death.  The two types of grieving make a world of difference.  Not that they are less painful, but looking to Him brings a peace and comfort I did not know before in the midst of the storm. 

This morning as this song was stuck in my head again, I thought, hmmm strange, I had not heard it in awhile and why do I awake humming and singing it?  Then I felt the Lord impress upon me that not just during the devastating blows Michelle, I need you to look to Me on the everyday little blows too.  I have to confess, sometimes I am not always looking to Him on the smaller things of life. Those moments when we are just bored, over tired, overwhelmed, insecure, lonely, sad, angry, our feelings have been hurt, our kids aren’t listening, our spouses are on our last main nerve.  When we are distracted or stressed or just don’t feel well.  

I am guilty of looking towards opinions or advise of others before Him, I am guilty of looking for something new to fill a void. I am guilty of finding comfort in Cheetos or a big honking piece of cake.  I am a recovering emotional/compulsive eater, shopping addict, approval addiction/people pleaser.  Note and emphasis on the “ing”  Yes I still struggle with looking just straight on to Him for all the little blows that life deals me.  We sometimes like to vent to our family or friends, but we need to remember to always vent vertically!  Send it all to Him, look straight to Him.  Don’t let anything distract us or let us lose our focus.  Keep it straight on and fully looking to Him!  

I am reminded of this wonderful Promise.

The LORD the Keeper of Israel.

A Song of Ascents.

1I will lift up my eyes to the mountains;
         From where shall my help come?

2My help comes from the LORD,
         Who made heaven and earth.

3He will not allow your foot to slip;
         He who keeps you will not slumber.

4Behold, He who keeps Israel
         Will neither slumber nor sleep.

5The LORD is your keeper;
         The LORD is your shade on your right hand.

6The sun will not smite you by day,
         Nor the moon by night.

7The LORD will protect you from all evil;
         He will keep your soul.

8The LORD will guard your going out and your coming in
         From this time forth and forever.

What an awesome Promise this is! 

 

Release all those big and small blows to Him.  Keep looking only to Him.  He’s got you covered!  

 

 Enjoy this amazing song!   XXOO, Peace, Michelle Bollom

 http://youtu.be/5Pze_mdbOK8