Encouragement to and for The Body of Christ

Encouragement to and for the Body of Christ.  SmellingCoffee.com

I didn’t even mean to be there this morning, but that’s often how the Lord works, isn’t it?  Instead of moving forward in Scripture, the Holy Spirit kept pulling me backward page by page until I reached the beginning of Ephesians, even to the notes preceding chapter one, verse one, where this phrase caught my attention: “In this epistle the word ‘church’ means the ‘church universal.’ Paul speaks of the church as being established by God in His eternal purpose through redemption in Christ.”

I then began to read Ephesians chapter one from a different viewpoint – not as I usually do, as in “What are you saying to me, Lord?”  This time I began to read it asking, “What are you saying to today’s body of Christ, Lord?”

And just wow!  What encouragement for the church!!!!!

Personal discussions, blog articles, Facebook posts, and sermons have been filled with speculations about what’s going to happen in the churches… the latest one concerning tax exemption status if pastors speak out on Biblical stances of marriage… and I must admit, they’ve been getting me a little discouraged about the status of “our churches.” (Notice “OUR CHURCHES?”)  But Ephesians chapter one just gave me a swift kick in the pants bolstered my confidence in the Head of the Church, who rules “above all authority and power and dominion and every name that is named above every title that can be conferred, not only in this age and in this world, but also in the age and in the world which are to come.” (Eph. 1:21 Amp)  A men!?

After soaking in God’s plans (which have NEVER changed) for His Body of Believers, the Lord led me to go back through that passage and PRAY through it FOR the “church universal.”  Not just for my own personal church, though of course it was central in my mind, but for the church in general, across this nation and across this world.  Just like bodies of humans, by God’s divine plan, each church body looks vastly different, yet structurally similar enough that we are knowledgeable enough to support one another in prayer.

What would happen if each of us pledged to begin praying for the world-wide Body of Christ using the Truths of Ephesians 1?  This is what I think would happen.

** I believe that the Church universal would be strengthened and encouraged.  God sends forth His Word and heals. (Psalm 107:20)

** I believe that you and I would be strengthened and encouraged.  God’s Word invested in our minds and hearts and lives NEVER returns void.  It ALWAYS produces a harvest wherever it is planted. (Isaiah 55:11)

** I believe that God would be glorified beautifully through His Body in the days to come. “[So that we might be] to the praise and the commendation of His glorious grace, favor and mercy, which He so freely bestowed on us in the Beloved.”  Eph. 1:6 (Amp)

Will you join me in praying Ephesians chapter one for the “Church Universal?”

If you’ve never prayed Scripture back to God before, here is what I hope is a simple explanation of how to do so in this passage:

Begin by asking the Lord to lead you. 😉  Then start reading the passage to the Lord in an attitude of prayer, speaking it to Him.  I often do this aloud (because I’m kind of verbal like that.) Every time you see the word “God,” replace it with the word “You.”  When Paul uses the word “yours,” turn that into “ours” – because you are taking ownership of this passage as your heart-cry.  Keep the “us” as it is, because you are praying for yourself as well as the World Wide Body of Christ.  {It may sound more complicated than it really is.  Just begin reading the scripture and praying the words back to God.  You’ll get the hang of it, I promise!} 😉

Is it crazy to say that I’m excited for the days to come?  Not for the trouble that might lie ahead but for the strength of the Lord that we will get to see arise from our weaknesses as they will surely be exposed?  As believers and as the Body of Christ, we will need Jesus now, more than ever (at least in my own lifetime) and we have His promise that we will “know and understand what is the immeasurable and unlimited and surpassing greatness of His power in and for us who believe as demonstrated in the working of His mighty strength which He exerted in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His own right hand in the heavenly places.”  Ephesians 1:19-20 (Amp)

Glory to God, A men!  and A blessed Lord’s Day to all of you.  Will you join me in praying Ephesians 1 for the World Wide Body of Christ?  

PS: Of course, since the whole book (not just chapter 1) was written to the church universal, it would be so awesome to pray through the whole six chapters of Ephesians FOR the church!  That’s the journey I’m going to begin.  Anyone want to join me on that?

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In case you’re not busy Tuesday night…

 

Simply Summer Flyer 2015 FBC Batesville, MS.  SmellingCoffee.com

Please join us for Ladies Ministry Night Out (LMNO) at FBC Batesville on Tuesday, July 7th at 6:30. Jennifer Crawford Walker is our speaker and her sister, Rebecca Crawford Turner, is the soloist.

Hi friends ~ It’s a little late to be sharing this… (sorry for that!) but if you are local to here or in the Batesville MS area, I did want to let you know that I’ll be speaking this coming Tuesday night at FBC in Batesville.  If you knew today that you wanted to attend, you could probably still call for a ticket.  The info is on the flyer in the picture.  {And even if it’s too late to get a ticket for the dinner, I’m sure you can still come for the fellowship and message!}

You know… I really don’t like to advertise or promote, but many of you have asked me to let you know when I’ll be speaking in the area, so this is the fastest way to get the word and info out.   ~ PLUS ~ my sister, Rebecca, will be leading in worship!!  It’s always a privilege to serve the Lord in this way, and it’s a double privilege to get to do it with my IRL sister!

It’s going to be a night of so much fun… a light-hearted-but-deep-speaking-message, engaging worship, sweet fellowship, a yummy dinner, and a refreshing evening out with ladies from all ages and stages of life.  If you are nearby, I hope you’ll prayerfully consider joining us!  :-)

 

 

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My “Official” Statement

On My Heart. My "Official" Statement about the SCOTUS ruling on June 26, 2015. SmellingCoffee.com

My “Official” Statement about the SCOTUS ruling on June 26, 2015. SmellingCoffee.com

My dear friends, I’ve been silent here lately because like most of us, I’ve been sorting through the tornado of emotions, thoughts, words, pictures, posts, news reports, celebrations, sermons, and sound bites, the hatred, the venom, the slurs, the lifting up and the tearing down of one another in multiple given scenarios just this month… and especially this past week… sifting each of them through the permanent filter of God’s Word, seeking what He would have ME to personally do with the information coming and going from all directions.

On one hand, my heart is heavy because this “one nation under God” no longer seems to want to remain that way.  National sorrow over sin hasn’t been recognized in some time.  But lately?…We have jumped from “tolerating” what the Bible names as sin to celebrating, promoting, and encouraging it.  If we measure solely according to what we see and hear in the media, it would appear that the whole nation is embracing this new way of thinking and living with open arms. We know this isn’t really the case, but if we’re not careful, we can allow ourselves to become overwhelmed into thinking it is so.

However, there is nothing new under the sun (Ecclesiastes 1:9), so we can be assured that our 240 year old country hasn’t invented anything that hasn’t already happened in every other country around the globe since the beginning of time. So, on the other hand, my heart remains at peace, secured in the foundational Truth that what is happening in the 2015 USA is no surprise to our All-Knowing, All-Powerful, All-Reiging God!

It is no accident that you and I are alive and active in this world today.  As was the testimony of Esther and David, we too were born for such a time as this, to serve God’s will and purpose in our own generation.  (Esther 4:14 and Acts 13:36)  

So we will not be discouraged!  We will not adopt a defeatist attitude!  Though our nation is begging to lose its specialness and become like every other nation in the world, and though one day soon God may choose to give us over to our majority’s desires, God remains on His Throne!!!  He is still King of all Kings.  He still loves the world.  And God expects His children to continue to act and react in the ways He has taught us from the beginning – He has commanded us to look and act like our Daddy in both Truth and Love.  (Ephesians 5:1)

I said all of that to say this, which is my “official” statement on the Supreme Court’s ruling on marriage.

In numerous conversations, the issue has become a debate about whether or not God loves homosexuals, especially those who are Christians. This is how God has led me to address this issue:

God absolutely loves His children!! ALL who belong to Him are precious & cherished & intimately loved to a depth beyond our ability to comprehend. (Jeremiah 31:3) However, in His love, God set up boundaries within which we are to live.  When any of God’s children deviate from those boundaries, like a loving parent disciplines his/her child, we too experience the result of God’s discipline.

This new picture of “American Marriage” is outside of God’s boundaries set up in His Word – established as early as Genesis 2, and the fact that our nation is celebrating and promoting this “marriage” is what grieves me so.

I cast no stones. I am a sinner saved by God’s Grace. In my own life, I am sad to say that I push and cross God’s boundaries daily, and because God loves me and is true to His Word, He often allows me to suffer the consequences, which eventually lead me to repentance… And when I repent and seek forgiveness, always He forgives and restores. Always.

We must not let ourselves think that this is an issue about who God loves. That, too, was settled early in the Scripture, with the “when” & “why” God created man and woman in the first place. Then, there’s the ultimate act of love that was demonstrated for us when in knowing that we were still, and would always continue to be sinners, Jesus gave His life to pay the penalty for ALL of our sins (Romans 5:8). Now THAT is LOVE! True Love! The kind of LOVE that WINS and lasts forever!

“For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, so that whoever believes in Him should have Eternal life.” John 3:16 ❤


Praise the Lord! He loves us ALL!

So what are we, as Christ-followers to be doing in this 2015 USA?  The Lord kept bring one passage back to my mind over and over again: Micah 6:6-8

 

With what shall I come before the Lord and bow myself before God on high? Shall I come before Him with burnt offerings, with calves a year old?

Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams or with ten thousands of rivers of oil? Shall I give my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?

He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you but to do justly, and to love kindness and mercy, and to humble yourself and walk humbly with your God?

                                       Micah 6:6-8 (AMP)


What does the Lord require of us?
 

1.  To do justly.  To do what is right.  To obey the Lord and His Word.  To make sure that our own lives are lining up with His Word before we begin to point any fingers at anyone else.  Remember: People will not be brought to Jesus Christ by the pointing of fingers and casting of stones.  Let’s let God Have His way in our own lives and make sure we are being obedient.  That’s how He begins to change the world one person at a time.  When you and I begin to do justly, God begins to work mightily.

2.  To love kindness and mercy.  Not just to practice kindness and mercy for duty’s sake, but to live in such a way that we delight to be kind and merciful in our actions and reactions.  For me (and most of us) this is H.A.R.D. work!  But it is the way that others will know that we belong to Jesus.  It is how they will see Jesus in us and through us, and how they will be drawn to His presence in our lives.

I give you a new commandment: that you should love one another. Just as I have loved you, so you too should love one another. By this shall all [men] know that you are My disciples, if you love one another [if you keep on showing love among yourselves].  John 13:34-35 (Amp)

If this seems impossible, take heart.  “What’s impossible with men is possible with God” (Luke 18:27).  Because “God will give you both the desire and the power to do what pleases Him” (Ephesians 2:13).  Praise the Lord!

3.  Humble yourself and walk humbly with your God.  This is the key!  If we are making sure that we are being obedient and loving… if we’re not careful, we will become proud of ourselves for doing so!  😉

The most unattractive and ineffective witness for the Lord Jesus Christ is a prideful, selfish one.  Yet isn’t that the type of secret sin most of us are battling deep within our own hearts?  You and I may not be struggling with the “big” sins in the world spotlight right now, but these sins of selfishness and pride are the ones that trip up the Kingdom progress every single day.  Pride is the sin that keeps you and me from bowing ourselves low enough to the ground to humbly receive the  low assignments God has for us and the blessings that always accompany them.  Pride is the culprit that prevents unity among the body of believers, within families, and between friends.  Pride is the thief of peace.

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In the days to come, in whatever it is that happens in our nation, state, city, church, or home, how would God have us to respond?  1.  To do what His Word says.  2.  To love others.  and 3.  To humble ourselves and walk Humbly with God right through it one step at a time.  He will lead the way.

And though the Lord gives you the bread of adversity and the water of affliction, yet your Teacher will not hide Himself any more, but your eyes will constantly behold your Teacher.

And your ears will hear a word behind you, saying, This is the way; walk in it, when you turn to the right hand and when you turn to the left.

Isaiah 30:20-21 (Amp)

With love to and thankfulness for each of you, Smelling Coffee friends~

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Keep reading, friends, for more about this love, as quoted from the Billy Graham association:

 

For whoever will call on the name of the Lord will be saved.”  
 – Romans 10:13

How You Can Know God’s Love

“There is a God in Heaven who loves you as you are and not as you should be.”

Yes… you are right… there is a God. You know that must be true. The heart of
the human being longs for God, and logic demands divine existence.

While everyone believes God is… most sense separation from God. We
know God must be holy and good. We see ourselves as unholy and not good.
We conclude that God is angry with us and we cannot know Him.

Good News! This Testament of God’s love is His Word to tell us that He loves
us as we are. That love will save us from our sin and make us what we should
be as God’s children.

John 3:16
“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that
whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.”

We hear Jesus say, “God so loved the world.” God’s love has no limitations.
He loves “so”. More than we can imagine. He loves everyone – not just
some ones.

Romans 5:8 tells us that God loved us so that “when we were in our sin
Christ Jesus came to die for us.”

Romans 3:23
“for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,”

This verse tells us that all people have sinned. We have fallen short of
God’s intended purpose for us. God made us to know Him…. to receive His
love and to love him in return.

For love to be love… for God to be God… and for humans to be humans….
God gave us a choice. We can choose to love ourselves and turn to our
selfish pursuits. That is sin. In our sin we cannot know God and His love.
The result of sin is that we are lost… separated from God.

Romans 6:23
“For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in
Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Wages are just payment… due reward… what one has coming because of
labor. The just payment for our sin is death.

Death here means spiritual insensitivity. When we are still in our sin, we
have no life with God. We are alive physically but dead spiritually. If we
continue in that condition, we will be separated from God for all eternity.

The wages of sin is death. but God’s free gift is eternal life. While wages
are earned, a gift is offered… no strings attached. God says He will give us
eternal life – life with Him – in the place of sin’s payment of death.

How can God remain true to His holiness and forgive unholy sinners?
Because Jesus, His Son, has paid the price for sin by His death on the cross.

Second Corinthians 5:21 says, “He who knew no sin became sin for us, that
we may be made the righteousness of God through Him.”

Jesus arose from the grave to conquer sin and death for all who receive Him
as God’s free gift.

How can you receive God’s free gift of love and life?

Romans 10:9-10
“that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart
that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; for with the heart a
person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he
confesses, resulting in salvation.”

A person receives God’s free gift of love and life by placing faith in Jesus
Christ. To believe is simply to take God at His word. With our heart
(whole believing) we believe that Jesus is God’s Son who died for our sin
on the cross and arose from the grave to live in us as Savior and Lord.

To believe in Jesus will result in confessing that faith with one’s mouth.

Do you acknowledge that your are a sinner?

Do you believe by faith that Jesus, God’s Son, died for your sin on the cross?

Will you now confess Him as your Savior and Lord?

Romans 10:13
“for Whoever will call on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

This verse says that any person who will call upon the name of Jesus,
the Lord, shall be saved.

To call means simply to ask in prayer. The verse does not require one to
know more… do better… clean up one’s life… or in any way try to add to
what Jesus has done for us.

Will you now call upon Jesus to save you from your sin so that you
can know God’s love and forgiveness?

Pray like this: “Dear God, I confess that I am a sinner, and I am sorry. I need
a Savior. I know I cannot save myself. I believe by faith that Jesus, your
Son, died on the cross to be my Savior. I believe He arose from the grave
to live as my Lord. I turn from my sin. I ask You, Lord Jesus, to forgive my
sin and come into my heart. I trust you as my Savior and receive you as
my Lord. Thank you, Jesus, for saving me.”

When anyone calls on the Lord in this manner, that one is saved according
to God’s Word
. If you pray a prayer of repentance and faith, you are saved.
You have God’s word on it.

If you have prayed this prayer to receive Christ as your Lord and Savoir, why
not record your decision to follow Jesus as follows. Often times, a good place
to write this would be inside the cover of your bible:

Believing by faith that God loves me and sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to die
for my sin and arise from the grave to live in me, I, _______, do this day,
________, repent of my sin and accept Jesus Christ as my personal Lord
and Savior. According to the promise of God in Romans 10:13, I have
called upon His name and have His word for the assurance of my salvation. 

Do you need to speak to someone about questions you may have? If so, contact Need Him Ministries at 1-888-NEEDHIM (1-888-633-3446). To view the Need Him Channel at YouTube visit us online.

Adapted from “The Covenant of God’s Love” by Richard Jackson, Jackson Center for
Evangelism, P.O. Box 99, Brownwood, Texas 76804, with permission. (c) 2000.

The Christian Net Group would like to express our sincere appreciation to Dr. Richard Jackson
for his inspiring idea to use the book The Covenant of God’s Love to share the good news
of Jesus Christ. Dr. Jackson, may God richly bless you and your ministry.

Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE (R), Copyright (c) 1960,
1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by the Lockman Foundation.
Used by permission.

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Monday’s Makes Me Smile: The Father’s Day Edition

We love dads.  Whether we have/had a good one or not… most of us dream of having a good one.  We like them to be funny, smart, kind, hardworking, loving, gentle, strong, fun, engaging, involved, helpful, handsome {to us}, and our very own version of the rescuer to whom we can run at any time […]

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Smelling Coffee TV – God and Kenya and FBC Cleveland

Mattaw Children's Village

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Throwback Thursday: “Thus far, the Lord has helped us”

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 (1 Sam. 7:12, NIV) Written in 2012… and boy, have we seen God do a whole lot more since then!  If your baby, child, student, little one… whatever it is that you are calling him/her at this point… is heading into a new stage, maybe this will be a sweet reminder that thus far the […]

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It’s that time of year again… VBS! And what important part can you play??? P.R.A.Y.!

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It’s VBS week around FBC Cleveland (and probably about a gazillion other churches in the country).  These next few weeks when a majority of the churches (of all denominations) will host VBS are some of the most important corporate days in the area of children’s ministry.   Through VBS, thousands of children and their parents – […]

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