Message From Matt – May 22

Untapped?

“Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.”  – Ephesians 3:20-21

You have probably heard me say this a few times, but I want to say it again;  I believe that most Christians don’t understand the power of God that is within them!  

What I mean by that is that we have been given everything  we need to live a life pleasing to God and overcome sin and temptations, but oftentimes we live defeated, depressed or even devastated.  

 

I don’t wish this on any of us but the truth is that  maybe one of those “D” words apply to you?  If so, are you ready to break free from that downward spiral of troubling emotions to a life of experiencing the power of God?

I am not suggesting that we won’t have times of troubles and problems; being saved doesn’t “save” you from struggles and suffering…in some cases, it might mean more of that.  The point here that I want to get across is that we need help to overcome the daily struggles that we have and God is there, never changing in His power, to help us!  

 

As I spoke about on Sunday, God is Omnipotent! (Omni = All/Potent = Powerful) and according to Paul in the verse above, God’s power works in us for His glory!  God’s strength is unlimited and is our power source, but in many lives, His power is untapped!

So, what is too hard for God?…NOTHING!!

  • “Ah Lord God! Behold, thou hast made the heaven and the earth by thy great power and stretched out arm, and there is nothing too hard for thee:”  – Jeremiah 32:17
  • “But Jesus beheld them, and said unto them, With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” – Matthew 19:26

Does God every wear out or give in to pressure?…Not a bit!!

  • “Hast thou not known?  Hast thou not heard, that the everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary? there is no searching of his understanding.” – Isaiah 40:28

God’s power is hard to resist – Job 42:2

God’s power is hard to comprehend, but we just need to believe it – Ephesians 3:20

God’s power never changes – Psalm 102:25-27

When we read the Bible, look at Creation, or think about the fact that God will one day be rapturing out His children, we have to say that God is all-powerful…and His power can help you today!

Look at what Isaiah wrote about God’s power given to us…He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might he increaseth strength. Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall: But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.” Isaiah 40:29-31



Message From Matt – May 15

Not what I used to be….
 
I was with someone recently that had lost a lot of weight when the conversation turned to trying on new clothes.  This person made a statement in passing that stuck with me when she said, …”I’m not what I used to be!”  
Her statement is very true but not only because of her weight loss…it was true for her spiritually speaking as well!  As it is for her, it is for all of us who are believers in Jesus Christ when we say similar things.  Because of Jesus and our faith in Him, we are changed!  
 
The Apostle Paul said it best when he wrote to the church at Corinth in 1 Corinthians 6:11-13.  As he was writing a list of wrongs/sins that people do that keep them from the Kingdom of God, he finished with these words….13) “And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.” 
I love it!  Paul was saying as he is being inspired by God to do so…you weren’t great before Christ!  In fact, you were filthy in the eyes of God but because of Jesus you have been washed!  Because of Jesus you have been sanctified (set apart for God’s use)!  Because of Jesus you are now just in the eyes of God!  Because of Jesus and your faith in Him, you are not what you used to be…you are now a child of God!
 
Why is this important to know? 
It’s important because the enemy, the devil, wants to remind you of your past!  He wants to have you keep running in circles on the hamster wheel of regret, fear and worry so that you won’t experience the true freedom that comes with being a child of God!  He wants you to be depressed, defeated and discouraged!  He wants you to keep reliving in your mind what you used to be so he can trap you in a lifetime of defaulting back to those things.  But that is not from God!  God wants you to be free and to live with an understanding of all that He has done for you, for what he is doing for you, and what he has in store for you! 
 
Let me end with another verse from Paul to this church…”But as it written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.” – 1 Corinthians 2:9
 
Remember this quote: “I know that I am not what I should be, or what I could be…but praise God, I am not what I used to be!



Message From Matt – May 2

I was looking at past MFM’s and found one that stood out as one of my favorites.  The body of the story is from Dr. Adrian Rogers and pinpoints the truth that God is always with us!  God is more powerful than the enemies formed against us!  God loves us and has the best thoughts towards us!  I hope you will enjoy it again!
 
I received a devotional by email this week (Love Worth Finding, April 6th) that had a great story in it.  The story goes…”A little boy was trying with all his might to move a huge stone.  His little muscles were bulging, and there was perspiration on his face.  His father, who was watching, said to him, “Son, are you using all of your strength? And the little boy said, “Yes, Daddy, I’m using all of my strength.” And his dad said, “No, you’re not.  You haven’t asked me to help you.”  That story was sent to me in perfect timing!  It reminded me that I don’t have to face each day, and the struggles that often come with it, on my own!  I have the Holy Spirit inside of me, God’s Word to guide me, and an open line of communication with God through prayer.  It is through God’s power seen in the resurrection, that I can have peace, joy, life, and victory.  If you are a follower of Christ, don’t try to do everything on your own power!  Use the power of God in your life and find rest from your struggles! 
 
Remember…“Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.” Philippians 1:6



Message From Matt – April 24

Created!
 
Here’s a news flash…you are a created being!  Do you need a moment?  That’s not too hard to handle is it?
 
Ok, I know that you already know this truth but there is a good reason that I bring it up!  I bring it up to point out that since we are created, then there must  be a reason that we were created.  A creator must have a purpose for his creation or there would be no reason to create it!  
For example…the creator of the automobile created it to transport him farther and faster than the horse or bicycle!  The creators of the airplane created it to do even better than the automobile! The creator of the television created it to be used to entertain us and the creator of the creamy peanut butter and jelly sandwich created it to be the greatest sandwich ever!!!
 
So what was God’s purpose in creating us?
According to Isaiah, the purpose is clear; “Even every one that is called by my name: for I have created him for my glory, I have formed him; yea, I have made him.” (Isaiah 43:7).  
First and foremost, we are created for God’s glory!  We are made in His image to glorify (praise and magnify in worship) Him!  In fact, everything that we do, even eating or drinking, we should do for the glory of God (1 Corinthians 10:31).  
 
You were created to glorify God! 
You might be asking yourself, what is it that I can do that will glorify God?  Good question!  Since there are multiple parts of the answer to that question (like obeying Him, loving God and loving others, being thankful to Him, etc..) I want to narrow this to just one answer…We glorify God when we give ourselves to serve Him and others, when we do good works!
Paul wrote about this to the Ephesians, “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.”  (2:10).
 
You were created to do good works! 
Obeying God is a good work!  Loving God is a good work!  Serving others in the church and community is a good work!  Using the gifts that God gave you is a good work! 
 
Today, look for ways to glorify God and serve others.  This Sunday, ask our volunteer coordinator, Isabella, what you can do to help in the church and then glorify God with your service!  Let’s do what we were created to do!



Message From Matt – April 17

The Power of Words!
 
It’s amazing what words can do to us!  
 
I know that we all have bad days!  We can get in a “funk” at any time over things that are not going our way and that can lead us into a downward spiral of thoughts and emotions that often times are unreasonable.  I have found that when I’m in times like these, I can feel completely overwhelmed by these thoughts.  In the back of my mind I know that those thoughts are wrong!  I know that the devil is using those wrong thoughts to mess with my life!  I know that I need to get out of that rut of the mind, but it seems hard to shake!  The pressure of it all seems so…heavy!
 
Solomon talked about this in Proverbs 12:25 when he wrote, Heaviness in the heart of man maketh it stoop,…” 
So what’s the fix for a heavy heart?  
Look at the last part of the Proverbs passage, “but a good word maketh it glad.” 
 A good word is the fix!  A good word can come from a spouse, child, neighbor or friend!  But, in my opinion, the best word is a truth from God’s Word and Holy Spirit that can speak into someone’s life.  His word reminds us of God’s love for us!  His word reminds us of what Jesus went through on the cross for us!  His word reminds us of the hope that we have through Jesus’ resurrection!  
 
During His crucifixion, Jesus said few words but they were very profound!  in His last few words He said, “It is Finished” (John 19:30).  His pre-resurrected life was over but that is not entirely what He was talking about!  What was finished was the fact that His sacrifice was complete!  He died for our sins and became the perfect sacrifice for our sins!  Our redemption was paid for!  In His last breath, His words (and actions) gave us the good word (gospel) that we desperately needed to hear!
 
So share a good word with someone today!  Share with them that Jesus paid it all on the cross for our redemption and that through His resurrection we have eternal life to look forward to!  
People are hurting and their hearts are “stooping” – give them God’s Word and pray that it will revitalize their heart!  God’s Word will encourage your heart as well.
 
I’m looking forward to celebrating the resurrection of Jesus this Sunday!  Communion is at 9:30 AM and the main service is at 10:30 AM.



Message From Matt – April 10

Something’s got to give!
 
I was driving on the interstate last week directly behind a semi that was wanting to get over into the slow lane but was blocked by a large van already there.  The semi was halfway in the lane before he realized that the van was there and had to swerve back into his lane. When the semi moved into the van’s lane, the van swerved onto the shoulder!  When the semi swerved back into his lane, the van moved off the shoulder!   After both the semi and van were in their original lanes,  the semi began to noticeably speed up to get around the van.  The problem then was that the van also sped up  so the semi couldn’t pass.  So, the semi slowed down…then the van slowed down!  The semi sped up…the van sped up.  This seemed to be going on for miles but it was probably only a mile or so before the van pulled off the interstate and onto his exit.  
These guys were both acting silly and their mild form of road rage thankfully ended peacefully but what a great illustration of human stubbornness!
 
Sometimes people (maybe your spouse, kids, co-workers or neighbors) get in your “lane”!  You are going along, minding your own business, and there they are…creating problems to make you swerve out of your lane!  
Oftentimes we can act like these drivers…wanting to retaliate and get our way!  Not wanting to surrender our right to be right.  But, when we do that, we end up looking as silly as these drivers but more importantly, we end up negatively affecting lives around us!   
 
It all can be avoided though.  What if we would give up our right to be right sooner rather than later?  What if we decided to surrender our will for the good of the other?  What if we decided not to respond in a negative, retaliatory way?  Wouldn’t that be so much better?
The great news is that we can!  You can swallow your pride and ask God to help you  respond in the appropriate way!  Take your verbal response to a person that has offended you for example.  Look what Solomon says in Proverbs 15:1“A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger.”  Your response doesn’t have to be ungodly!  Your response to harsh words can be directed by God to turn away the anger in someone else…to turn away anger in ourselves too! 
 
So, something has to give!  When it comes to your response to hard and painful things – your pride should be the first thing to go!  When we do that, you will be amazed how God will bless your good heart attitude and restore fellowship with others!



Message From Matt – April 3

Betrayed!
 
“Yea, mine own familiar friend, in whom I trusted, which did eat of my bread, hath lifted up his heel against me.” – Psalm 41:9
 
“For it was not an enemy that reproached me; then I could have borne it: neither was it he that hated me that did magnify himself against me; then I would have hid myself from him: But it was thou, a man mine equal, my guide, and mine acquaintance.  We took sweet counsel together, and walked unto the house of God in company.” – Psalm 55:12-14
 
David was a man that obviously knew what it was like to be betrayed!  It seems that he must have been betrayed by a friend more than once and we also know that he was hated by his son Absalom, which devastated him.  Betrayal by a friend or a family member is said to be one of the hardest emotions to overcome because of the closeness and trust that we have with them.  This type of pain might be the most difficult pain to overcome.  But in this, David was not alone!
Joseph was envied and hated by his brothers and would eventually be sold into slavery for 20 pieces of silver.  Jesus was betrayed by Judas and delivered into the hands of the Pharisees for 30 pieces of silver.  Both of these men were hated, lied about, imprisoned, and sold for money, but both handled it with grace!  
Joseph prospered because he chose to not let betrayal and suffering take his focus off of God.  He chose to always do what was right,  no matter what his surrounding were.  When he was a slave, he worked hard and was blessed!  When he was tempted by Potiphar’s wife, he resisted and ran!  When he was sent to prison, he had favor with the keeper of the prison!  When he was forgotten by the butler, it didn’t change his character.  He chose to always honor God and God honored him!
Jesus was betrayed with a kiss.  This type of kiss is still known in many cultures as a sign of love and compassion. A sign of being a close friend or family member.  This type of kiss is usually only given by someone you trust and Judas used his closeness to betray Jesus into the Pharisee’s hands.  Of course, Jesus already predicted that this would happen and it was necessary to fulfill prophecy, but I still wonder what Jesus felt when Judas placed the kiss on His cheek.
Maybe you have been betrayed by a family member or close friend before.   It was probably one of the worst feelings that you have experienced and you never want to go through that again.  Let me give you some things to do in response…
 
1. Keep your eyes on God always!  He never fails or betrays us!  
2. Don’t let bitterness take root in your heart!  It will destroy you, not the person that you have been offended by!
3. Choose to forgive!  This doesn’t mean that you will forget, but it is choosing to not hold the offense against the one that offended you.
4. Look to restore the relationship!  It might take a long time to trust again but look for ways to restart the relationship.  
 
Life is fragile and it is short!  Do your best to not let the hurts from the past determine your present actions!
Here’s an oldie, but still true – Always choose to be better, not bitter!



Message From Matt – March 27

You are not alone!
 
“Jesus answered them, Do ye now believe?  Behold, the hour cometh, yea, is now come, that ye shall be scattered, every man to his own, and shall leave me alone: and yet I am not alone, because the Father is with me. These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” – John 16:31-33
 
We all have times that we feel alone!  Even if we are popular with others and surrounded by friends, the feeling of loneliness can creep up on us and can lead to depressive thoughts.   And then there are  times when you are actually all alone.  Times when no one seems to be there for you!  When those times come you might think, “maybe they are too busy…they have their own lives (families, career, etc…) to take care of.”  But whatever the reason, you can still feel abandoned.  
 
Is this what Jesus felt?  Abandoned?  
 
As Jesus was close to the time of His betrayal in the garden, He told His disciples that they would be scattered from Him (John 16:31-33).  He prophesied that they would all leave Him…they would all be offended at Him.  Even though Peter spoke up and said that he wouldn’t be offended at Him, (Matthew 26:33) he was!  As Jesus had said, they all left Him! 
 
But, Jesus was not alone!  Jesus reminded the disciples that even though all would leave Him, the Father would never leave Him!  This is a great truth to constantly be reminded of.   No matter what is happening in your life, God is always there for you!  He will never leave you! 
 
This reminds me of a familiar verse that I quote often, Hebrews 13:5, “Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.”
 
So, no matter how lonely you might feel today, always remember that God is with you and having God with you has awesome benefits! According to Jesus, knowing that you are not alone can give you peace and reminds you that you are an overcomer because of Christ!  Peace and victory!  What a great combination!  
 
Thank God that He never leaves you alone!



Message From Matt – March 20

Don’t forget to think about God!

“Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us,” – Ephesians 3:20

Maybe this shouldn’t be called the Message from Matt this week because half of it is someone else’s work, but a devotional was sent to me containing the story below that I wanted to share. It is a good picture of God’s power that is in us that encouraged me and I believe that it will encourage you. It reads…

“When Mary Slessor heard that David Livingstone had died in Africa, she was convinced that God’s call was for her to become a missionary. Though it was rare for a single woman to be approved as a missionary, she sailed for Nigeria in 1876. Her work there bore great fruit. In addition to helping spread the gospel, she helped put an end to the practice of killing twins at birth because of the local belief that they were a curse. After a few years on the field, she was visited by friends from Scotland who expressed amazement at what she had been able to accomplish in the face of such great obstacles. One of the native chiefs who had been converted said, “You have clearly forgotten to think of the woman’s God.”

Though we are to be diligent in our labor for the Lord, we must never forget that it is not our strength, wisdom, and effort that bring the results. Paul wrote, “I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase” (1 Corinthians 3:6). Remembering how dependent we are on God’s power to make our work have meaning, value, and results helps keep us from yielding to the sin of pride. The praise and glory and honor must go to Him alone, because it is He alone who makes the work that we do fruitful. Only when we work in God’s power, will we see the results that only He can produce in our lives.” (From Paul Chappell)

I love the chief’s response…”You have clearly forgotten to think of the woman’s God.”!!! Can that thought be said of you? Do we forget what God has done and what He can do for us? Just looking at Jesus’ life, we see what He has done! We know that He created the world! He also healed the sick, gave sight to the blind, hearing to the deaf, and mobility to the handicapped. At salvation, we have new and eternal life! We have redemption from the life of bondage to sin and we have been given the Holy Spirit to seal us forever with Him.

Let’s not forget what God can do for us! He is capable of doing great things in your life! He is able to work through the problems that you might be having in your marriage, your family, or your job and do what some say is impossible! Because God is all-powerful!!



Message From Matt – March 13

Wait on the Lord
 
Have you ever been so discouraged and distressed by what is going on around you that you just want to throw in the towel? The answer for most of will be, yes, definitely!  We live in a world that has a lot of ups and downs in it, but there are times when the downs seem overwhelming!  There are seasons in our lives when the worry gets immense or the pain of loss is too much to bear and we wonder why God has allowed these things to happen to us.  Maybe not everyone has experienced that, but we will all go through challenging times; the question is, what will sustain you when you are struggling?  Let me suggest the three things that David wrote about in Psalm 27:11-14 that will help….1) the goodness of God; 2) our heavenly hope;  and 3) our hearts being strengthened by waiting on God.  
 
Look what David says about this in these verses:  “Teach me thy way, O Lord, and lead me in a plain path, because of mine enemies.  Deliver me not over unto the will of mine enemies: for false witnesses are risen up against me, and such as breathe out cruelty.  I had fainted, unless I had believed to see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.  Wait on the Lord: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the Lord.
What a great passage!  When we have troubles, or are in trouble, there are times where we can feel like fainting too!  It’s easy to throw in the towel but God’s goodness can sustain you!  It is God’s goodness that leads us to repentance (Romans 2:4).  It is God’s goodness that will follow us all of our days (Psalm 23:6).  David also told us to taste and see that the Lord is good (Psalm 34:8)!  
 
But the goodness that David is talking about in Psalm 27 is something that he couldn’t see yet.  It was something that he had to wait for.  It was something that he had to look forward to!  
 
You might feel defeated today, but I want you to have some hope!  Jesus is coming!  He is preparing a place for you (John 14:1-3) and will come for you.  Until then, He has given us the Comforter, the Holy Spirit, to strengthen us when we are weak.  And since we have the Holy Spirit, we don’t have to live defeated!  We can wait on the Lord and have courage, knowing that He can sustain us!  
Believe that you will see the goodness of the Lord!
Wait on Him!
Be courageous!  

And God will give you strength!  Let’s not be defeated or depressed – believe in God’s goodness!