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Thursday, September 3, 2015

believe God because He is good



I also know who is in control.  Life stays busy.  It is because we chose to step up and share what we have AND what we believe with others.

Romans is one of the most powerful books of the Bible often called the textbook of Christianty, and one portion of Romans has stuck in my head.  Therefore, you are getting it this morning.  Read on, and I pray each of us will be re-enforced, re-energized, re-freshed and re-newed by God as we see the truth and believe it too.

Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.
2  For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death.
3  For what the Law could not do, weak as it was through the flesh, God did: sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin, He condemned sin in the flesh,
4  so that the requirement of the Law might be fulfilled in us, who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.
5  For those who are according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who are according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit.
6  For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace,
7  because the mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God; for it does not subject itself to the law of God, for it is not even able to do so, 
8  and those who are in the flesh cannot please God.

Look at the parts of this chapter, and we find that God has done some significant things in our lives.  Each of them have set us up to win.  Did you hear me right?  He set us up to win!!!

We are forgiven.  There is "now condemnation" because Jesus has saved us.

There is a difference between the law of sin and the law of the Spirit.  The Spirit frees us.  Sin binds us, traps us and reminds us that we need God.

Jesus fulfilled the law and freed us from the law.  Because of Jesus we are under grace.

The mind set free by the Spirit is powerful and even dangerous.  Believing God gives us peace and makes us friends with God.  Dangerous comes as we live by faith, with courage and make a difference in our world.

We please God as we believe what He has done for us.

There is freedom in Jesus.  Freedom comes to us in the area of shame and fear.  Freedom comes to us fro the penalty of sin.  Freedom comes to us to help us to do more, be more and press on more.  My prayer is that we will allow this truth to sink into our hearts and into the way we live.

Jesus is not a good idea.  He is everything.  He is not only the Savior of the world, but He is our friend and guide.  He not only forgives us but gives us daily power to live.  That happens as we believe what God says.  I challenge you.  Believe what God says!

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

be part of a new LADIES SMALL GROUP

Hi ladies,

 

I am excited to be announcing a new Ladies Small Group at the Community Fellowship. I love my husband, but there are times that I long to be with other Christian ladies. We all need a few really good girlfriends to get through this life here on Earth. The purpose of this group will be to not only study the Bible, but to really develop a personal relationship with our Jesus. I want us to learn to apply Biblical principles in our lives in many areas and live out our faith boldly each day. In the process I pray that we will develop new friendships, deepen old friendships, and learn to lift each other up as women in our many roles.   

 

The group will run for 12 weeks and then will have a break in December and January. The 1st meeting will take place on Sunday, September 13, 2015 at 5pm at my home- 336 Kenmore Ave. Martinsville, VA. Please bring your Bible and we will have refreshments. The group will need to be limited to 15 ladies so please let me know if you would like to attend. My email is aprilhaynes1@yahoo.com

 

I look forward to this new group and I am excited to see what God has for us in the coming weeks. Thanks

 

April Haynes

volunteer of the week JOAN NORMAN

This week we are very excited to introduce Joan Norman as our Volunteer of the Week at The Community Fellowship!

 

Joan enjoys doing crafts and all of her own yard work as well as providing carpool for her grandchildren.  During the week she generously volunteers her time to working in our Clothes Closet getting it prepared for our 2nd Saturday free community meal and clothing give away each month.  She also works tirelessly every summer, alongside many of her 13 grandchildren, getting us ready for the B2S (back2school) ministry when we, along with other area churches, provide new shoes, book bags, socks, school supplies, haircuts and clothing to children preparing to go back to school.

 

A favorite Scripture for Joan is Isaiah 54:17 But in that coming day no weapon turned against you will succeed. You will silence every voice raised up to accuse you.  These benefits are enjoyed by the servants of the LORD; their vindication will come from me.  I, the LORD, have spoken!

 

Joan is quick to give God all the glory for her having been healed of Cancer two different times.  She is a powerful witness and believer in and of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.  It is with the utmost gratitude and appreciation that we thank Joan for her example and for all she brings to The Community Fellowship.  We are extremely blessed by her willingness to help and her generosity to others!

 

 

[ to learn more about The Community Fellowship or Dream Center give us a call at 276-647-8231 or email us at mharrison@thecommunityfellowship.org . Please give online at https://tcf.ccbchurch.com/w_give_online.php ]

10 reasons to trust God



Here are just a few reasons to trust our great God:

Through Christ you have come to trust in God. And you have placed your faith and hope in God because he raised Christ from the dead and gave him great glory.

We can trust God because of the gift of His son, Jesus.  He is our salvation and our hope!

Do not be afraid of the terrors of the night, nor the arrow that flies in the day. Do not dread the disease that stalks in darkness, nor the disaster that strikes at midday. Though a thousand fall at your side, though ten thousand are dying around you, these evils will not touch you.

We can trust God in the middle of disaster and darkness.  He will hold us and see us through the most difficult of situations.

So Judah defeated Israel on that occasion because they trusted in the Lord, the God of their ancestors.

In the middle of times where I feel unsafe God swoops in to keep those who trust Him safe.  He has shown this many times in the past, and He will do this again in the future.

Psalm 20:7  NIV
Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God.

We have no need to trust in anything but God.  Resources, possessions and even other relationships cannot compare to the goodness of our God.

See, God has come to save me. I will trust in him and not be afraid. The Lord God is my strength and my song; he has given me victory.”

He is strong.  He is our victory.  He will surely save us as we trust Him.

neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Nothing can make God love us less.  His love helps us, holds us and heals us.  Being separated from God is a scary thing, but we can trust God who stays with us.

and become one with him. I no longer count on my own righteousness through obeying the law; rather, I become righteous through faith in Christ. For God’s way of making us right with himself depends on faith.

He makes us righteous.  The road was opened by God for each of us to walk.  Trusting God rather than our ways gives us more confidence than we get anywhere else!

Even when there was no reason for hope, Abraham kept hoping—believing that he would become the father of many nations. For God had said to him, “That’s how many descendants you will have!”

Examples and testimonies are important.  Abraham hoped in God, and that hope paid off and continues to pray off for Abraham and his decedents. 

You can go to bed without fear; you will lie down and sleep soundly. 25 You need not be afraid of sudden disaster or the destruction that comes upon the wicked, 26 for the Lord is your security.  He will keep your foot from being caught in a trap.

Being able to rest, have peace and get through anything is a point for all who trust God.  He is our peace.  Trusting God leads to us having even more peace.  Trusting God keeps us from getting caught in other traps.

But the Lord stood with me and gave me strength so that I might preach the Good News in its entirety for all the Gentiles to hear. And he rescued me from certain death.

Ten reasons to trust God remind me that we are so blessed.  But the problem is many people have nothing to trust in because they do not know our God.  He has rescued us.

May our lives and our testimonies lead others to trust Him!

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

REMAIN, God's offer to us


We spend time in places where we are comfortable and where we know we are welcome.  Some people like controversy and others don’t.  That also determines where we spend time.

Fact is where we find ourselves often determines or points to our character.  These verses help us understand that we are Christians and belong to God.  People who know their identity share their identity.  To know we belong to God and to love God will guide us to spend more and more time with God.

Take some time to read the following verses.  Take note of the work “remain” and how it is used.  This person has chosen where they spend time.  This is a good thing!

John 15:1-16  NLT
I am the true grapevine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch of mine that doesn’t produce fruit, and he prunes the branches that do bear fruit so they will produce even more. You have already been pruned and purified by the message I have given you. REMAIN in me, and I will REMAIN in you. For a branch cannot produce fruit if it is severed from the vine, and you cannot be fruitful unless you REMAIN in me. “Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who REMAIN in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing. Anyone who does not REMAIN in me is thrown away like a useless branch and withers. Such branches are gathered into a pile to be burned. But if you REMAIN in me and my words REMAIN in you, you may ask for anything you want, and it will be granted! When you produce much fruit, you are my true disciples. This brings great glory to my Father. “I have loved you even as the Father has loved me. REMAIN in my love. 10 When you obey my commandments, you REMAIN in my love, just as I obey my Father’s commandments and REMAIN in his love. 11 I have told you these things so that you will be filled with my joy. Yes, your joy will overflow! 12 This is my commandment: Love each other in the same way I have loved you. 13 There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. 14 You are my friends if you do what I command. 15 I no longer call you slaves, because a master doesn’t confide in his slaves. Now you are my friends, since I have told you everything the Father told me. 16 You didn’t choose me. I chose you. I appointed you to go and produce lasting fruit, so that the Father will give you whatever you ask for, using my name. 17 This is my command: Love each other.

The more time we spend with God the more like God we are, the more our lives will reflect God and the more our lives align with the principles of faith!

REMAIN notes where we spend lots of time, and where we spend extra time brings blessings and even change.  If we remain in God, we can expect God’s promises to come true.  There are promises if we remain.

Further, REMAIN IN MY LOVE is not only a promise but a command.  The person who wants God will remain in Him.  That is what I want more of.  What about you?

Monday, August 31, 2015

live with purpose


Don’t you realize that in a race everyone runs, but only one person gets the prize? So run to win!  All athletes are disciplined in their training. They do it to win a prize that will fade away, but we do it for an eternal prize.  So I run with purpose in every step. I am not just shadowboxing.  I discipline my body like an athlete, training it to do what it should. Otherwise, I fear that after preaching to others I myself might be disqualified.

Paul may have been at some kind of sporting event when he realized how similar living for God is to be part of a successful sport.  Each athlete had to prepare and compete. 

Notice a couple phrases “run to win”, and “I run with purpose” and “not just shadowboxing”.  All three phrases give us insight in to what it is to enjoy life, to do well in life and to know God.

Life is not meant to be a series of chance happenings.  Life is built by God to have meaning.  Are you living with meaning?  God has given each of us purpose.  Are you living with purpose?  Find your purpose directly from God, the source and reason for life.

Jesus came to earth with purpose.  Within the verses above we find some thoughts that will help us seek God and allow His guiding to give us purpose and to adjust our aim.

Sunday we began a new series called “Prize Fighter”, and over the next several weeks we will discuss living with purpose, planning our future, letting go of our past and training for a glorious future that points completely to God.

Spend some time today seeking God and asking Him to define or redefine your purpose.  Living in that purpose will change your life and the lives of all the people around you!

Micah 7:7  NASB
But as for me, I will watch expectantly for the Lord; I will wait for the God of my salvation. My God will hear me.

Friday, August 28, 2015

put on the armor of God


Ephesians 6:10-17  NLT
A final word: Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil. 12 For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places. 13 Therefore, put on every piece of God’s armor so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil. Then after the battle you will still be standing firm. 14 Stand your ground, putting on the belt of truth and the body armor of God’s righteousness. 15 For shoes, put on the peace that comes from the Good News so that you will be fully prepared. 16 In addition to all of these, hold up the shield of faith to stop the fiery arrows of the devil. 17 Put on salvation as your helmet, and take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

When we choose God, we choose to engage the enemy we know as Satan.  I am not trying to make a statement about the events of this week or to lead you in a negative direction.  What I do want to do as we close out the week is to realize that every day is a new opportunity to live for God.  By living with God’s truth we will know His grace and share His love with others.

Our enemy has a plan and is working His plan.  God warns us that the enemy is not always the one we are looking for.  We cannot always see him or even feel him, but this same enemy has put a target on the person/people who have chosen to follow God.

We must stand firm against the strategies of the devil.  Like a great army leader he knows how and where to attack.  He will be throwing or shooting his fiery arrows at us before we know it, or maybe he is already throwing those arrows our way.  These can be physical or emotional, they can be real or imagined, these arrows can be large or small, seem insignificant or a big deal.  But the enemy is after us.

What must we do to ensure that we are ready for the enemy’s attack?  There are several things that these verses remind us to do in order to be ready for the spiritual battle taking place around us.

Be strong in the Lord.  Too many times we choose our own strength or our own way over God’s way.  Our strength comes to an end while God’s strength like Hiss promises do not end.

Put on God’s armor.  This command and offer is constructed in such a way for us to know that God owns the armor and provides the armor, but it also says that we have a choice.  When we go through life unprotected, we will have problems.

Put on the belt of truth.  Truth is like a belt.  It holds us together.  Again, it is His truth that we believe.  Truth is a person, and His name is Jesus.

Put on the body armor of true righteousness.  This is one of the parts that isn’t always easy to understand.  True righteousness versus fake or self provided righteousness is something we learn about the closer we get to God.  He makes us righteous based on what God has done.  It is not based on something we deserve, something we have earned, or even something we can understand.  God provides the armor, the strength and the righteousness.

Put on the shoes of being ready to always share our hope and the peace of God.  Just share your story.  Tell people what God has done for you, not what you have done.  God is still in the position of giving hope.  I really like a line I heard last night … while there is life, there is hope.  Share His hope.

Hold up the shield of faith God has given us.  Don’t go in to battle unprotected.  Hold a shield based on these things God has given.

Put on the helmet of salvation.  Our salvation is a gift from God based completely on His promise, His action, and His love.  Knowing we are saved and loved by God allows us to live in freedom.  Make sure your mind is covered by knowing what God says is true about you.

Use the sword of the spirit God has given to us.  Finally, use your sward.  This is Scripture, The Bible.  God gives us His word to get in us, to hold us, to train us, to guide us, to inspire us, to encourage us, to give us what to say and so much more.  This is our only weapon of offence.  Push forward with His word.

The armor of God is a big deal.  Remember we don’t have to preform to please God.  He has always done all we need to get us to heaven and to seal us for abundant life before heaven.  Understanding the battle and living by God’s truth prepares us daily for greater things.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Rebecca goes to college


3 John 1:4  NASB
I have no greater joy than this, to hear of my children walking in the truth.

We have looked forward to this day for a long time.  It has been planned, talked about and part of our thinking for lots of years, but now that it is here the reality is starting to sink in.  Not sure how we will make it through the tears and emotions.  We will.  God has helped and will continue.

Our oldest child moves off to college today.  Near the mountains only about 20 miles from our home is a small Methodist college that Rebecca has chosen to study at.  The campus actually reminds Julie and I of Brewton-Parker where we studied in south Georgia in the 90’s.  Ferrum College is a beautiful campus with lots of highlights, and it is about to have the best one of all, our Bec Bec.

She has worked hard and grown so much.  We have prayed and prayed, prepared and prepared for her to be ready for this, but I am not sure that I am ready and neither is her momma.  We woke up this morning talking about the last 18 years, and that didn’t end very well as we were both crying.

We are so very proud of her and believe Rebecca is well prepared to face college and a new part of life, yet our world sometimes is very cruel.  Yesterday in the same county where this college is a TV reporter and cameraman were shot and killed.  The reporter is from our town and so loved.  I cannot imagine what her dad, mom and brother are going through at this point.  Pray for their families and the family of the man who killed them.  How could anyone be prepared for that?

What I do know is that our baby is a gift from God that we have to trust Him with.  It was 18 years, 4 months and 21 days ago that our little girl entered the world, and that was an emotional day!  Almost a year later she had to go through 3 major surgeries.  Didn’t think we would make it through that, but we did with God and our families and friends by our side.

Rebecca is precious, and we are so proud of her.  This step has been paved by God through miracles, provision, direction and so much more that only could come through the grace of God.  Faith is not just something we talk about.  Faith is what we have to have just to get through.  When there is little else to trust, God can be trusted.  He has never failed us.

Now we pray.  Yes, we will visit often, and she will come home, often.  We will write her letters, and you should write her too (ask me for her address if you want to).  But this will be the first night that this precious young lady’s address is different from ours.  God must protect her.  We’ve done our best. 

When life continues to move on, we cannot stop it from happening, and we can know that God’s plan is so much better than ours.  We have to remember when things are out of our control that they continue to be well within His control.  When I cannot protect my little girl, God can and will much better than I ever could. 

Her faith is set in God and strong.  We will watch.  We will cheer her on.  We will pray and pray a lot.  So, watch for the updates and get ready for the things ahead.  This is another turn, another opportunity, another blessings and lots more tears (actually flowing much right now).

Thank you, God, for Rebecca and for the blessings that surround us all.  We look so forward to watching her walk in the truth!

Isaiah 55:6  NASB
Seek the Lord while He may be found; Call upon Him while He is near.