That is a strange title I know; let me set it up though.
You go throughout your life and it seems that you get along with everyone in your family and in your circle of friends - for the most part. Everything is going well, then you do something weird and crazy like receive Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, or just really get serious with your relationship with Him and everything seems to change.
The family that you used to hang around with seems to always have time for everything in their life, except you. The friends that seem to be so close seem so distant now. You try to keep up with contacting them, but it just seems that you are pushed further and further away. Why is this happening? Well the interesting thing is that Jesus Christ Himself said that this would happen.
Let me show you some Scriptures from the Word of God that you may or may not know is even in there. These will pull some blinders off so we can understand what is happening.
"Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law. And a man's foes shall be they of his own household. He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me. He that findeth his life shall lost it; and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it."
Woah! Those are some very strong words spoken from Jesus Himself. So what in the world is He saying? I mean I thought He was all about peace, While Jesus Christ is all about peace, He also knows human nature and He was just preparing them for what happens.
When you receive Christ as your Lord and Savior or draw closer to Him, something truly happens in your life - you become more like Christ. His Spirit moves into you and you become the temple of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 6:19}. Realize it or not, those around you will pick up on it. Jesus Christ is saying that it divides people because to those who don't have Christ, being around you will remind them, down into their spirit, that they are not right with God and that they are spiritually dead.
"Now thanks be unto God, which always causeth us to triumph in Christ, and maketh manifest the savour of his knowledge by us in every place. For we are unto God a sweet savour of Christ, in them that are saved, and in them that perish: to the one we are the savour of death unto death; and to the other the savour of life unto life. And who is sufficient for these things?" 2 Corinthians 2:14-17
Understand that as believers, we smell like life to other believers, because they sense Christ in us and He reminds them that life lives in them as well. On the contrary, for those that do not have Christ, it is strong reminder that life (Christ) does not dwell within them and it leaves them with death.
So why don't many family and friends come around anymore? Well, the reason is that being around you reminds them that they are lost and they don't want to deal with it yet. It is also a constant reminder and brings conviction of their sin - if you ever mention it or not. It is more comfortable for these to just break ties with you - at least they won't feel guilty around you any more.
At this point, some believers start to be attacked for their faith. One thing that is often said, even if the believer is never rude or acting like this, "You are being holier than thou." I love to break it to the unbelieving world, but any believer that has Christ in them is "holier than thou!" Christ in them sets them apart from the world and set toward God. This is none of their own doing though, it is simply that they received Christ into their hearts and lives.
Many believers, at this point, do something detrimental to their faith and their witness. To make sure that they don't make people uncomfortable, they never speak up for Christ, never live for their convictions, and just try to blend in with the world around them. Oh believer, this is not the course you should take. First of all we have a very strong warning about this is Scripture.
"Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven. But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven."
Let us then live in such a way that proclaims Christ instead. Let us rather realize what Paul realized -
"For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek" Romans 1:16
So when family members and friends ignore you, leave you, and even persecute you for your faith - wear it as a badge of honor. Any hole that they leave will be filled by Jesus Christ Himself. Instead of allowing the enemy to keep you down - instead, rejoice.....rejoice....rejoice!
"Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake: for their's is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you."
Keep being faithful believer, keep living and proclaiming Christ, for these will be the things that Christ will use to shine His light to those around you. So Rejoice!
- Pastor Aaron
Posted on April 29, 2014 at 1:45 PM
Faith to Walk Ministries has a dynamic ministry to those that have been hurt, rejected and turned away from the world, churches, Christians, and even family. One of our mottos is "In Christ, misfits fit." It is something we firmly and truly believe. Sheila and I are proud to be called misfits from the world, because we fit perfectly in Christ.
Realize that whether you are a misfit because of outside circumstances or things that you have decide to do along the way...it doesn't matter to God. You can take that misfit feeling and allow God to change it into something meaningful and powerful. You are wanted by Christ and you will fit in Him. He planned you from before the beginning of time and has plans for you. We at Faith to Walk Ministries encourage you to call out to Jesus right now and know that you are accepted in Him. You can find real love, peace, and joy in knowing that you fit perfectly with Jesus Christ. He made you for Him!
"For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved." Romans 10:13
- Pastor Aaron
Posted on October 8, 2014 at 4:30 PM
When thinking of marriage, people need to know there are some stretching things that individuals have to go through to make it successfully as husband and wife. Some of these things are easily adjusted and some take time to adjust - but must be done for it to be enjoyable.
Some of these ideas are hard...but if both (not just one), takes it to heart it will be soooo enjoyable.
1) Marriage is Committment
So you had the big wedding day...beautiful as it was...so what now?
You see so many people focus on the wedding day, which we should, but more focus should be on the marriage itself. That marriage starts the moment you say "I do."
Those words bind your heart in a commitment like no other. No matter your history...the one you are married to now is the one you are committed to - for life.
An amazing note found in the Life Application study Bible is found in the passage of Genesis 2:18-24 about a "help meet" and "one flesh" it says -
"God's creative work was not completed until he made woman. He could have made her from the dust of the ground, as he made man. He chose, however, to make her from man's flesh and bone. In so doing, he illustrated for us that in marriage man and woman symbolically become one flesh. This is the mystical union of the couple's hearts and lives. Throughout the Bible, God treats this special union seriously. If you are married or planning to be married, are you willing to keep the commitment which makes the two of you one? The goal in marriage should be more than friendship - it should be oneness." p. 8
That unrelenting commitment will get you through disagreements, trials, and stresses that will come into any marriage.
2) Marriage is Communication
Listen - That is one of the things that will make a marriage flourish more than anything else. We need communication.
You have to be each others best friend and confidant - period! You are the ones you share your greatest joys and victories with to your worst sorrows and defeats, and everything in between.
The only way we can draw closer to Christ is to study His Word, pray, and worship Him. In essence...communicate and spend time with Him. As well, this is the only way we can draw closer to each other. It is that way with any relationship in life, but so much more in a marriage.
The biggest part of communicating in a marriage is listening. Listening to the heart is the most important, even if the words don't necessarily come out right. The hardest thing to do is to choose the words wisely, but even harder...not hearing the meaning you think the other one is saying filtered through preconceived notions (This is a hard one to learn).
God has brought these verses to mind and how it applies to marriage.
"Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath: For the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God." James 1:19-20
Speaking of the Life Application study Bible again; notes say the following. (WARNING - this may make you say OUCH!)
"When we talk to much and listen to little, we communicate to others that we think our ideas are much more important than theirs. James wisely advises us to reverse this process. Put a mental stopwatch on your conversations and keep track of how much you talk and how much you listen. When people talk with you, do they feel that their viewpoints and ideas have value?" p. 1887
The second note will make you really say OUCH!
"This verse speaks of anger that erupts when our egos are bruised - 'I am hurt,' 'My opinions are not being heard.' When injustice and sin occur we should become angry because others are being hurt. But we should not become angry when we fail to win an argument, or when we feel neglected. Selfish anger never helps anybody" p. 1887
This last point on communication is really important.
Don't let it fester.
We all get angry...whether it is our fault or the other's fault or both...we get angry. But listen to these verses...
"Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath: Neither give place to the devil." Ephesians 4:26-27
Not all anger is sin, but what that anger could lead to can be sin. We have to be careful in that anger not to let it consume us or lead us to say or do things we shouldn't. We have all been there, so the answer is to be slow to speak so we can hear the words before they actually come out of our mouths.
Here it says that you can be angry, but sin not. It then says to not let the sun go down on our wrath. This means to not allow it to be carried over into the next day, as this will only give an opportunity to the devil. You see, how the devil does this is that he will tempt you to churn on it all night and into the next day...all day. It is so much better to come to an agreement and wrap it up in love than to let the devil get a foothold.
This next point is for men...since I am one. Woman, you are to respect your husband...but I will let God, and His Word address this one for you. There is also an amazing book called "Love and Respect" by Dr. Emerson Eggerichs that you should read as well.
Like I said, this one is for men...it is a hard one and one that we will learn and do with our wives for the rest of our lives.
3) Marriage is Christ
Here is one verse that men need everywhere. It is a hard one, but nonetheless a pivotal point in an enjoyable Christ - centered marriage.
"Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;" Ephesians 5:25
Men your wife is God's. He is like the master gardener and His rose...your wife is His prize rose. He is only allowing you to help Him attend to it, just like He would.
Now before you say..."well, I have blown that so many times!" Well, we all have...that is why there is forgiveness from God and our wives. Forgive yourself and move on to greater heights.
I will keep with the Life Application Study Bible notes on this point, since they hit right to where I'm talking about.
"Paul devotes twice as many words to telling husbands to love their wives as to telling the wives to submit (come under the protection of) to their husbands. How should a man love his wife? (1) He should be willing to sacrifice everything for her. (Not only physical life, but wants and desires as well.) (2) He should make her well-being of primary importance. (3) He should care for her as he cares for his own body. No wife needs to fear submitting (come under the protection of) to a man who treats her this way" p. 1788 - Parentheses added.
In essence He should love her as Christ does the church.
One more verse to close it off with.
"Nevertheless let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she reverence (respect) her husband." Ephesians 5:34
"The union of husband and wife merges two persons in such a way that little can affect one without the other. Oneness in marriage does not mean losing your personality in the personality of the other. Instead, it means caring for your spouse as you care for yourself, learning to anticipate the other person's needs, helping the other person become all that he or she can be." P. 1789
In closing...it is our prayer that you take these principles and apply them to your lives and watch your marriages flourish.
Remember in Who's power you and your marriage is in...Jesus Christ!
"I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me." Philippians 4:13
- Pastor Aaron
(Life Application Study Bible copyright, 1988, 1989, 1990, 1991, 1993, 1996, 2004 by Tyndale House Publishing, Inc. Carol Stream, Illinois, 60188. All rights reserved)
You Are Strong Enough
Posted on January 20, 2015 at 9:20 PM comments (0)
Someone wise once shared this visual with me; when constructing a building scaffolding is used when the building's framework needs support, or provides support for workers making repairs to the broken down building. As the building is repaired and can stand alone, the scaffolding and workers are removed.
In life, as we (the building) get stronger, we no longer need the supports that we have depended on for so long. Eventually those supports are taken out of our lives, removed - so we can stand alone - because we are strong enough-God wants our dependency to be found in Him alone. Not in others, not in stuff, not in substance, not in anything this world has to offer.
If something has been removed, once again, don't see it as something you've lost along the way but as proof as something you've gained - your strength! God sees you as strong enough!
Today instead of saying, "I've lost again!" Choose to say - "I'm strong again!"
In His strength,
Posted on January 25, 2015 at 12:25 AM
For the past two days this memory keeps returning quite vividly to me. From experience I have discovered that when a memory keeps nagging at me, as this one does, I know it's time to take a break and listen to what the Lord is trying to remind me of at this time in my life.
This memory comes from a time in elementary school before my foot was amputated. I had to wear this horrific brown shoe with a brace that would squeak when I walked. The shoe had a solid 3 inch lift on the bottom and due to the misshapen foot that it held inside, it was worn down on one side and it tilted to that side. There were bars that were attached to both sides of the lift and they came up over the shoe. These bars were also attached to a brace that wrapped around my calf and knee and were secured by velcro. Definitely not a fashion statement by any means of the word. It was one of the most ugly contraptions that I probably had ever worn, and I had worn many. Every step I took was incredibly painful and by the end of my school days I was physically exhausted from fighting the pain. My foot wasn't developed and one leg was much longer than the other. What should have been a foot was just a purple pile of skin wrapped around some misshapen bones. Despite many corrective surgeries, countless hospital stays and hours of physical therapy, the foot was useless. The foot never developed or grew and I struggled to walk daily and to keep up with my peers.
On this particular day we were assigned to walk/run the track and as usual, I was trailing behind the others. An individual in front of me turned, looked me up and down and stated to another student walking next to them, "she will never make it". I can vividly recall this student's face, demeanor, eyes, lips, especially when the student looked down at my foot and lingered there. Then their words, "she will never make it". At first I felt the sting of their words and I am not sure which hurt worse, their words or the pain I felt as I took a step as they stared and spoke. But I do recall, somehow, someway, something took hold inside of me. It was as if something just "clicked'. And though I felt the pain physically and emotionally, at that moment, I determined to use it as a motivator and I made it around the track. I finished! (And I finished not too far behind the student who made the comment.) I remember shaking with pain but smiling because I knew my personal triumph and victory. I never said anything to anyone, until now.
If anything comes from sharing this, let my memory be a testimony of encouragement for you. You see that student, unbeknownst to them, motivated me with their negative words toward me that day. I could have let their words hurt me and stop me in my tracks on the track. I could have let them define me. But I chose to define myself and chose not to be a victim of someone's opinions or words. I chose that day to push past pain, physical and emotional, and I received victory. A victory that they are absolutely unaware of which makes it even sweeter. It’s was just something glorious between me and the Lord.
Today, I am even more thankful for the memory from the track that day. I am glad God has brought it to my attention. It reminds me that if I could push past the pain then, I can push past the pain now. If I could over come others opinions then, I can overcome others opinions now. If I could not let others define me then, I can overcome others defining me now. If I kept walking then, I can keep walking now! If I could smile while shaking then, I can smile while shaking now! If God strengthened me in my weakness then, He will strengthen me in my weakness now! So, a little encouragement for anyone reading this today: God is no respecter of persons, He shows no partiality! So if He can strengthen a little girl to walk on a track, He can strengthen you in your circumstance, wherever you are at today! (Check out Job 34:19)
From me to you - If anyone has flippantly or purposefully said in your direction " you will never make it". Let me remind you, "you can make it". Keep going! Take those negative comments and use it as a springboard to move you on until you "finish the race" and hear "well done". If I would’ve listened that day on the track, what would I have believed about myself? I would have believed then (and many times since) that I was disabled, handicapped, crippled. I would have quit. But I chose to not see myself that way. We all have limitations, it's true. But in Christ, He has a plan for our lives, and in His strength, not that of our own, there are no limits! (Check out Phil. 4: 13)
So, see yourself beyond physical limitations. See yourself beyond emotional limitations. See yourself beyond the limitations of this world. See yourself the way God sees you. See yourself by the way of your soul.
How you see yourself is how "you will make it"!
Keep walking, keep running, keep moving forward! Don't sit down, don't quit!
Sometimes the pain in life is there to simply remind you that you're alive. One day things won't hurt anymore. One day someone's words will be a memory of your triumph -not your failure.
Others may not understand the triumph of the task that you've accomplished, and that's ok, it's between you and the Lord. You will know in your soul that you finished and you did well. You may not finish first but you and God can glory in the truth that you finished.
You will be able to say one day, "I made it!" And I want to say, "I made it with you!" -Sheila
"I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well." (Psalm 139:14)
“But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive.” (Genesis 50:20)
Posted on February 17, 2015 at 12:50 AM comments (0)
Learning to ride it out!
When I first started riding, one of my greatest fears were the curves. Why?
1) I was told by someone I may not be strong enough to lean my harley in the curve,
2) I personally feared because, of the unknowns - how long, how sharp, what was on the other side of the curve? (I need all the answers upfront!)
3) Then the "what if's" would set in on me! (My insecure self talk!) What if I didn't lean enough or what if there was something in the middle of the curve and what if I couldn't straightened up in time!
As a passenger, curves thrilled me- but as a rider the thought of taking a curve evoked fear -great fear!
The only way for me to overcome the fear was to face the curves and I had to do it alone!
Either I was going to be a passenger for the rest of my life or I was going take control of my own harley and I was going to ride!
In order to ride- I had to take the curves-without stopping-and- ride it out.
I had to face my fear and I had to do it alone. No one else could take that ride for me. I couldn't let that fear rule me but I had to use that fear to motivate.
So, now I ride and I have learned to love what I feared the most-the curves and the unknown!
The curves have become one of my favorite parts of the road - curves thrill me! I have a favorite one back home! When I come out of the curve the sun shines on me as to say "ta-da", I smile to myself every time as only God and I know its meaning and the fear I overcame to receive the rays of the sun shining on me!
This morning I share this story because I have been reflecting on some times I faced fear (life's curves) alone and I came out on the other end stronger for it:
When I was alone making decisions as a single mom.
When I was alone as a child going in to surgery to have my foot amputated. (Parents were not with me that morning, doctors suggested they stay home!)
When I am alone crying over a divorce and a failed marriage.
When I sat alone in an attorney's office making a decision with no husband to confer with.
When a man put his fists to my face and threatened to blacken both my eyes because I didn't do something when he wanted it done.
When a financial decision needed to be made and there was no money to make the decision with.
When gossip was wrong again and it seemed I couldn't out live anyone ever believing it.
I could recount numerous times when I was alone, at my weakest moments, yet because I kept riding "life's curve" out I found myself at my greatest moments of strength!
Why? Because I found myself relying on what I knew was truly hidden in me.
When no one else can take "life's curve" but me- when I am alone - I find courage, strength and companionship with myself and with my God!
These can become the God moments that you have sought all of your life- and the healing moments you have prayed for!
Moments when; discouragement becomes courage, weakness becomes strength, weeping becomes joy, ashes become beauty!
Do not fear being alone... for it is then you find your strength, who you are with God!
You learn to ride the curves-when you ride it out!
On the other side is your "ta-da" moment! Just a little sunshine, as you and God share a smile!
Your God moment awaits - keep riding!
Posted on April 1, 2015 at 5:45 PM
"And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some evangelists; and some pastors and teaches; for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:" Ephesians 4:11-12
We living in a day that we need to see so many more people brought to the Kingdom of God; more evangelism and witnessing going on, but it is lacking in most churches. Week after week the pastor asks people to share their faith or at least bring someone to church, but week after week he sees the same faces with no new growth. Over at period of time a pastor can begin to feel that his ministry of building the kingdom is just not a part of his calling, or he lacks the gifting to do it.
We at Abiding Love Worship Center Ministries first want to encourage every pastor; to remind them that they still have the calling of Christ, to stay the course, don't back down or give up!
"And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart." Galatians 6:9 (NKJV)
So the question has remained - "What has happened to the ferver to win people?"
One of the reasons is that the church as a whole as told God, "we don't need your gift of evangelists." Now we would never say it out loud, but it comes to the church from two seperate ways; from the pastors, and from the people. Let me explain.
From Pastors: Now I have been in the ministry as a pastor for 17 years and I can say that I failed to see the importance of the evangelist as well. It usually is displayed two seperate ways.
(1) "I have to guard the pulpit from false doctrine with my life." Although this is good and right, it can go too far in that a pastor does not even recognize the need and calling of Christ for the evangelist. There is a remedy for this - the pastor needs to get to know the called evangelists in the area and others as they contact him. Many pastors never return the calls or tell the secretary to screen all calls and not to forward any that may be asking for a speaking egagement. This can be very detrimental to the ministry, for there may be a divine appointment for someone to come into the Kingdom of God through the ministry of the evangelist which he may be denying.
(2) The second reason is one that most pastor's do not want to recognize, but one in which did filter into my ministry. This is something that once corrected will open up many ways of reaching others. The second reason is pride. I know, I know, that may sting. It is not a pride that makes the pastor puff out his chest and say "look at me," but one in which he feels bad, because he can't "do it all." Pastors do many aspects of ministry from evangelism, to discipleship, to teaching, to training others for ministry and a host of other tasks. For this they are to be commended and prayed for diligently. The thought can creep into a pastor's mind that says, "I preach the gospel almost every single week, and if they don't respond to my preaching, I'm sure they won't respond to someone else's. While this can be true to an extend, sometimes familiarity gets a person numb to the message. It is actually good and right for the people to hear the same message from someone else. I remember having a guest speaker one time, and he preached almost the exact message I preached the week before. I had a few respond, but when he gave the response, many came. What was the difference? The answer is, not much. The answer was that they heard it from a different person...and sometimes that is all it takes. For that reason many pastors don't invite an evangelist to preach, but isn't souls won to the Kingdom of God more important that who the message came from? That answer is a resouding "YES!"
From the People: Sometimes the people don't support the pastor when he does call an evangelist. Here is what happens many times. The pastor schedules and three day revival - Friday through Sunday. He gives out flyers to pass out and asks everyone to attend. Then what happens is that hardly anyone from the congregation comes to it, let alone new faces, because they didn't invite anyone. The pastor is embarrassed for the evangelists and for himself because it reveals that the people don't have a passion for the lost. The remedy for this it is actually pretty simple. The pastor needs to share messages throughout the year speaking about the calling gifts of Ephesians 4:11 as well as stressing the need for evangelism in their everyday lives.
I need to mention a third fault here though; the fault of the evangelists themselves. What I mean by this is that there were in the past many false evangelists that were more led by greed and also very sensational in their practices. Many times, a pastor as well as the congregation has been burnt by the evangelist and it is hard to bring someone in again for fear of a repeat performance (pun intended).
We at Abiding Love Worship Center Ministries are called to come alongside, to partner with the pastor and church leaders; to complement them in everything that they have worked so hard to build. We are called to bring the awesome news of Jesus Christ to a lost and hurting people; to bring them into the Kingdom of God, but also to motivate and help train believers in their calling of witnesses for Christ in their personal mission fields. It is our experience that when believers know that they are on the front lines of ministry that the problems that usually happen in a church fall by the way side.
We ministry by the Word of God - the standard for all faith and conduct. We minister in the power and freedom of the Holy Spirit, allowing Him to touch hearts and lives as He wants. We minister out of our own experiences - we see the people really connect with Christ as He hears how He has ministered to us in our own brokenness and brought healing.
Contact us for a speaking time and see Christ bring freshness into you and your congregation!
Pastor Aaron L Gravett
|Faith to Walk Ministries
From our heart to yours