The Forge Newsletter May
MAY 1, 2020
WELCOME TO THE OFFICIAL NEWSLETTER OF THE MEN OF UPWARD CHRISTIAN FELLOWSHIP, HENDERSONVILLE, NC
This newsletter is for, by and about the men’s fellowship and Bible study class of Upward Christian Fellowship but anyone is welcome to receive and benefit from this newsletter.
–WEBSITE OF UPWARD CHRISTIAN FELLOWSHIP–
WE INVITE YOU TO ATTEND SUNDAY SERVICES AND THE MANY OTHER CONNECT GROUP OPPORTUNITIES AVAILABLE INCLUDING THIS MEN’S GROUP.
We Are All In This Together
Thoughts in the Midst of The Corona Virus
By Benjamin Raven Pressley
I do hope this writing finds all well as possible as we all are affected by this pandemic that has hit us worldwide. My condolences to anyone who has lost a loved one during this time and my prayers for those that
are ill. Never in modern times have we experienced anything like this.
Conspiracy theories abound as well as those preachers who seize opportunities like this to say it is the wrath of God. There are some churches that rebel against stay at home orders and claim their faith will protect them implying that anyone who follows the restrictions don’t have faith. There is also a lot of uncertainty and fear. There are those who are taking advantage of others at this time selling their snake oil and jacked up prices on surgical masks. There are politicians who shamefully are using this time to sneak in their agendas into laws that are meant to provide relief for this country. The media enhances this panic with their reports of death and new cases without reporting recoveries and hope. There is much negativity that abounds.
But there are also many positive things happening. Many people are caring more than they ever have. Many are praying more than they have in a long time. Businesses are sacrificially paying their employees though they are basically not allowed to operate. Some businesses have retooled to produce surgical masks and ventilators. Under the leadership of President Trump interest rates have dropped, unemployment benefits have been increased, a special task force under VP Mike Pence has been tirelessly tackling what needs to be done to defeat this pandemic, stimulus checks are being issued to every eligible American citizen and more to come.
What should be our response at a time like this as individuals? Be prepared with supplies set aside (If you need to learn how to be prepared I invite you to my website Way of the Raven.). Pray for one another. Back the leadership of this country and lay politics aside. Be there for one another. Follow the guidelines on staying at home and social distancing. Pray for those on the front lines in hospitals like our doctors and nurses. Try to remain calm. But most of all, this should be a time to search our hearts and ask God what it is he wants us to learn from this time of troubles. What does he want to teach you about yourself? Ask what he wants you to do to relieve the suffering of someone during this time. Support relief organizations by volunteering or with your money if you have the finances or the time available. Remain calm and trust that this shall pass and we will come out stronger not weaker because of it. What other ideas do you have?
I do not think this country will crash economically though it may take some time to come back. I believe it will be good for businesses and churches as they have had to learn more innovative ways for people to work and worship from home. I believe people will take their health more seriously and lose some weight, build up their immune systems and get fit. I believe the wicked will be exposed and hopefully prosecuted from federal, state and private sectors.
When a person is faced with hardship it is so easy to curse the darkness, so easy to blame the devil, God, government and anyone else they can think of. This is a victim mentality. We are better than this! We are in this together. Ask yourself what can I learn, how can I help, how can I stay positive? You can do this! Together we can get through this!
WHAT ARE YOU STRUGGLING WITH? These meditations and scripture readings can help! Just click and listen.
NEED PRAYER OR SOMEONE TO TALK TO? YOU ARE NOT ALONE. WE ARE HERE IF YOU NEED US.
By R. Anderson Williams (Andrew)
“Then they are to take some of the blood and put it on the sides and tops of the doorframes of the houses…. On that same night I will pass through Egypt and strike down every firstborn of both people and animals, and I will bring judgment on all the gods of Egypt. I am the Lord. The blood will be a sign for you on the houses where you are, and when I see the blood, I will pass over you. No destructive plague will touch when I strike Egypt.” -Exodus 12:7 & 12-3
Gathered together within homes, not daring to venture out. An air of stillness, uncomfortable silence and impending danger. An awareness that there is an invisible, silent presence moving through the streets, neighborhoods, and cities bringing with it the possibility of death. This is what the Children of Israel were experiencing that fateful night before God finally broke the spirit of Pharaoh and Israel finally gained its liberation from bondage in Egypt.
At this current point in time, with the outbreak of COVID-19, we can certainly draw parallels with this episode in Israel’s history. We can better understand what they may have been feeling as “the destroyer” moved silently through the cities and towns of Egypt. (Exodus 12:13 NIV) As the coronavirus moves invisibly amidst our communities the same eerie sense of real and impending danger rests upon us all. However, unlike that plague that brought Egypt to its knees so many millennia ago, it is not just a single nation that is being affected, but rather the entire global community of humanity.
I’ve read articles lately of people in various places putting red ribbons on the doors of their homes as a symbol to ward off the coronavirus – echoing what the Children of Israel were commanded to through Moses to apply the blood of lambs to the door frames of their homes to protect their families from the plague. The truth is, we could actually do as the ancient Israelites did and paint the entrances of our homes with actual lamb’s blood but would this really ward off the coronavirus?
The real issue is not whether we have an external symbol tacked to or smeared on the outside of homes for protection. The sacrificial blood of Jesus that was shed on the Cross has negated the need for the sacrificial blood of lambs. The real question today is has the blood of Christ been applied to our hearts? No amount of external symbols, whether it be 1000 red ribbons or 1000 gallons of blood splattered all over the front of our home is going to make a difference. This will not and can not protect us from this or any other “destroyer” that rises up against us. The only thing that causes death to turn from us is when it sees that the saving blood of Christ has been applied to the doorposts of our hearts.
When we have accepted the payment Christ made with His blood on Calvary and it has been applied to our lives, we need not fear. Throughout both the Old and New Testaments we are repeatedly told to “fear not” – 365 times to be exact. That’s one reminder for each day of the year. So, here’s the thing, fear and faith can’t both be “king” in our lives. If we allow fear to rule, then how does this show we are trusting God? If we truly live by faith, then it casts out all fear because we know that God is in control and is taking care of us. In Luke 10:19, Jesus tells his disciples, “I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you.”
So, what are some positives, some blessings that can be discerned in this worldwide pandemic? There are quite a few when you really look. –
–We are having to be at home with our families praying and trusting in God together. In our busy modern lives, how much quality time do most of us take to spend together as a family anymore? This is forcing us to slow down and not rush through life so much – to be quiet and still.
–It is causing people, and not just Christians, to really look deeply at their lives and beliefs in God.
–We have become more conscientious of our health and are trying to take better care of ourselves.
–We are being stretched to find creative ways to get things done and are having to learn how to do things that we may not have known how to do before, like using technological communication tools.
In the midst of this environment of uncertainty, an unprecedented opportunity has opened for the Body of Christ. Just as the Children of Israel waited in anticipation for God to do something amazing, we look for Him to be moving powerfully in this situation. He is showing the world that the idols of our modern age have no power to protect and provide, just as He proved the false gods of the ancient Egyptians to be ineffective. People who don’t know Christ are seeking hope, comfort, and help with physical needs. Christ is stirring up His Church to step up and step out in a mighty way to show our unbelieving neighbors the hope we have in Christ and the love of a God who desires relationship. A Father who promises to “Meet all of your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.” – Amen!
Every Tuesday at 7:00 pm you are invited to listen to the latest Bible study complete study guide until we are given all clear with this virus. Just CLICK HERE for links for current Bible study and archived studies.
A well-worn one dollar bill and a similarly distressed twenty dollar bill arrived at a Federal Reserve Bank to be retired. As they moved along the conveyor belt to be burned, they struck up a conversation.
The twenty dollar bill reminisced about its travels all over the county. “I’ve had a pretty good life,” the twenty proclaimed. “Why I’ve been to Las Vegas and Atlantic City, the finest restaurants in New York, performances on Broadway, and even a cruise!”
“Wow!” said the one dollar bill. “You’ve really had an exciting life!”
“So tell me,” says the twenty, “where have you been throughout your lifetime?”
The one dollar bill replies, “Oh, I’ve been to the Methodist Church, the Baptist Church, the Lutheran Church ….”
The twenty dollar bill interrupts, “What’s a church?”
Promises Made; Promises Kept
By Tyson Griswold
“God is not a man, so he does not lie. He is not human, so he does not change his mind. Has he ever spoken and failed to act? Has he ever promised and not carried it through?” Numbers 23:19 NLT
We often hear about “the promises of God” but have you ever stopped to consider exactly what that means? The bible is like a catalog of God’s promises, and many of them have already been fulfilled. In fact, some of the most astounding promises of God have already been fulfilled. From God’s promises to Abraham, through David, and even for us today, He has kept His promises. Have you ever considered, why does God make promises in the first place? What are some of the promises for Today and in the future, and how does that affect our choices?
Promises to Abraham
“The Lord had said to Abram, ‘Leave your native country, your relatives, and your father’s family, and go to the land that I will show you. I will make you into a great nation. I will bless you and make you famous, and you will be a blessing to others. I will bless those who bless you and curse those who treat you with contempt. All the families on earth will be blessed through you.’” (Genesis 12:1-3)
This is called “The Call of Abram” in modern day thought. But when you think about it, it makes no sense. God called Abram “to a land that I will show you”. Notice the LORD does not tell Abram where he was going, just that He was going to show it to him. He is asking Abram to trust Him, and Abram got up and went, not knowing where he was going. Has the Lord ever asked you to do anything that made no sense?
“I will make you into a great nation … make you famous … you will be a blessing to others” Think about this promise.
What is it about being a blessing to others that makes this promise so awesome?
“All the families on earth will be blessed through you.”
Again, why does the LORD make this promise to Abram? Why is He blessing the earth through Abram? Since He is God, can’t He simply just bless the families on earth Himself? Why is He involving Abram in His story of blessing?
After Abram got up and went, he arrived in the land of Canaan. As soon as Abram arrived in Canaan, The LORD told him “I will give this land to your descendants.” Notice the LORD is asking Abram to look to a future promise, a promise that Abram will not see in his natural life. The LORD promised to give Canaan to Abram’s descendants, not to him himself. Why would Abram act on this promise? What was his hope?
Later on, after Abram had been in Canaan for a while, and Abram was an old man; Abram had a great victory over many kings in the East, and the LORD appeared to Abram, “Fear not, I AM your shield, and your reward will be very great.” Abram countered the LORD with “I am an old man and you have given me no children. What good are your blessings when I don’t even have a son? As it is, a servant in my household will be my heir.” Then LORD promised Abram that he would have a flesh and blood son, even in his old age, and that he would have so many descendants, he would not be able to county them all! And Abram believed the LORD, and on that belief God counted Abram as righteous.
In Genesis 17, God appears again to Abram, and reiterates and EXPANDS His promise, if Abram serves the LORD and lives a blameless life. God even changed Abram’s name to Abraham as a sign of His commitment. Abram means “exalted father”, and Abraham means “father of a multitude.” Not only has God promised Abraham he would have a son in his old age, but also that he would be the father of a multitude, and that multitude would possess the land of Canaan. What is God up to here? Why is he asking Abraham to have faith in Him? It is interesting that Abraham laughs at this promises. God is in the business of making promises so astounding, that you will laugh in disbelief.
In Genesis 21, The LORD fulfils the promise of giving Abraham a son when Sarah gives birth to Isaac. Isaac then has a son, Jacob, and Jacob (later to be named Israel) has 12 sons, who become the 12 tribes of Israel. If you know the story of Moses, the Exodus, and Joshua, you also know the LORD fulfils the promise to make a great nation out of Abraham’s descendants because Israel had become a nation of 2-3 million people a little over 400 years after Abraham died, and they go on to possess the land of Canaan.
Promises to David
“‘This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies has declared: I took you from tending sheep in the pasture and selected you to be the leader of my people Israel. I have been with you wherever you have gone, and I have destroyed all your enemies before your eyes. Now I will make your name as famous as anyone who has ever lived on the earth! … Furthermore, the Lord declares that he will make a house for you—a dynasty of kings! For when you die and are buried with your ancestors, I will raise up one of your descendants, your own offspring, and I will make his kingdom strong. He is the one who will build a house—a temple—for my name. And I will secure his royal throne forever.” 2 Samuel 7 (See also Psalm 89 3,4)
We all know the story of David and Goliath and how with God’s help, David defeated the giant with rock and sling, but David’s story begins before he ever faced Goliath. After the Exodus, and at the end of the time of the Judges, the people of Israel asked for a king “to be like the other nations” (1 Samuel 8:4,5). They had grown used to Samuel being a firm leader, but his sons were not of the same character.
The LORD, through Samuel, gave Israel dire warnings of what would happen once they accepted a human king over them. He said the king would essentially rule them with a firm hand, taking what he wanted when he wanted it. (1 Samuel 8:11-17). Israel sinned, rejecting the LORD as their king. It’s ironic that Israel kept on sinning against the LORD, AFTER the LORD had fulfilled His promises to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, by making them a nation, and giving them the land of Canaan as an inheritance. They were living in the Promised Land! They had received the fulfilment of mighty promises to Abraham, and went on to forget all the He had done by asking for a king.
So, the LORD gave them exactly what they asked for, which was a king after THEIR own heart: King Saul – A man who was tall, strong, and handsome, plus he feared them, and not God. This was exactly what the people wanted for a king. Someone who “looked the part” and would listen to them. Saul was afraid of people and not God, which was exactly what they wanted. (1 Samuel 10:16,20). Like we often do, the Israelites had forgotten the promises of God.
Saul would go on and disobey the LORD, because he feared the people, when he presented sacrifice that Samuel was supposed to make because the people had become hard pressed and began to scatter. He also disobeyed due to fear of the people in the matter of his failure to utterly destroy the Amalekites. (1 Samuel 13:14; 1 Samuel 15:24, 30). The LORD had decided to repay the Amalekites for their attacks on Israel when they were weak coming out of Egypt, and Saul disobeyed God by keeping “the best of the spoils.”
Once Saul had proven his disobedience by fearing man over God, the LORD tore the kingdom from him, and gave it to David, a man after HIS own heart. (1 Samuel 13:14) He had a heart for the Lord in everything he did, as shown throughout the Psalms.
We learn that after Saul failed to utterly destroy the Amalekites, David was anointed king over Israel. But there was a long, long time from the time of David’s anointing until he gained the throne, at least 15 years from the time that Samuel anointed David, until the time he took the throne when he was 30. Most of that time he was running from Saul.
The reason David had to run from Saul was because of when David killed Goliath, the people began to sing: “Saul has killed his thousands, and David has killed his ten thousands.” (1 Samuel 18:7) Saul got extremely jealous, even though the people were singing his praises. Saul tried to kill David on numerous occasions, chasing him throughout the wilderness for many years.
After all the years of running and hiding among his enemies, David gained the throne of Israel. He was extremely grateful to the LORD for all the LORD had done for him. David was so grateful to God that he had planned to build God a temple, so that the Ark of God would not be in a tent.
But God stepped in. Seeing David’s thankfulness, but also recognizing that David was a man of war, God would not let David build Him a house, but as God usually does, He made another astounding promise. This time to David:
“Furthermore, the Lord declares that he will make a house for you—a dynasty of kings!”
Right in the middle of David’s attempt to show the LORD his gratitude, God turn it on David and makes him a promise that his offspring will be on the throne forever! Wow! What a promise! But again, why does God make such a promise to people?
And we know, this promise to David was fulfilled in the birth and life of Jesus Christ. (Matthew 1:1-17 and Luke 3:23-38)
Jesus’ Promises Then, Now, Forever
“For our dying bodies must be transformed into bodies that will never die; our mortal bodies must be transformed into immortal bodies.” (1 Corinthians 15:53)
Jesus made many promises to his followers. During His life on earth, Jesus went about healing the sick, raising the dead and preaching the Good News that the Kingdom of God was at hand. Jesus also made promises. At that time, Jesus sought to reassure the disciples many times about His mission. Most of the disciples thought that Jesus had come to restore the Kingdom of David again on this earth, as was promised earlier. But Jesus said His Kingdom was not of this world. He told them at least 9 times that He would suffer death at the hands of sinners, but rise on the third day. (Luke 24:7; Matthew 16:21; Matthew 17:23; Matthew 20:19; Luke 9:22; Luke 18:33; Luke 24:46; Mark 9:31; Mark 10:34). Again, why did God make these promises to men? His resurrection also fulfilled the promise to David, of having a king on the throne forever.
The disciples never did digest this promise and what it meant until after it happened. They were so distraught and scattered at the time of Jesus’ arrest and crucifixion, they never remembered Him making the promise that He would rise from the dead. They never really understood that Jesus was here to save them from eternal death. Jesus is beginning to say plainly that we are supposed to look to Him, and rely on the promises He’s made, for now and all time! Oh the life we can live if we just search out His promises and believe them!
Jesus also made another unbelievable promise in Matthew Chapter 6. While teaching on worry, He said “Seek first the kingdom, and ALL of these will be added to you.” Matthew 6:33 What is all? You have to go back a few versus, but He has promised if you seek His Kingdom, He will provide enough food, drink, and clothes to wear, and even shelter. What does believing this promise look like? God has promised if you seek Him above all else, He give you everything you need to live life on the earth. Why does He make this promise, so that we won’t worry?
He made another amazing promise in Matthew 28. He told the disciples and us, the He will be will be with us always, even until the end of the world. (Matthew 28:20. See also Isaiah 41:10, Deuteronomy 31:6 and many others). For Christ followers, this promised was fulfilled on the Day of Pentecost, when Holy Spirt was poured out for those who had faith in the saving works of Jesus Christ. (Acts 1:4, 2:2 and Joel 2:28)
Finally, the fulfilled promise of pouring out Holy Spirit on His followers seals another promise. One that is still yet to be fulfilled. (Ephesians 1:13,14) And the more one thinks about it, it just boggles the mind. He has promised a new body at the day of judgement. One that is imperishable:
“For we know that when this earthly tent we live in is taken down (that is, when we die and leave this earthly body), we will have a house in heaven, an eternal body made for us by God himself and not by human hands. We grow weary in our present bodies, and we long to put on our heavenly bodies like new clothing. For we will put on heavenly bodies; we will not be spirits without bodies.” (2 Corinthians 5:1-3 Read all 1 Corinthians 15:35-58 for more).
Have you ever stopped to imagine what having an imperishable body in the presence of God looks like? The Creator God wants to live with you forever, and has promised an indestructible body so you can do that. Just try to imagine having such a body for all time. Now think about what that means for you Today.
God is a Promise Maker!
We are very familiar with the truth that He is a Promise Keeper, but before He can ever be a Promise Keeper, He has to make the promise. He is a Promise Maker!
Why does He make these promises to men? It can only be because He loves us, each of us individually, as well as together as the Body of Christ. He’s proven over and over again, that not only does He fulfill His promises, He absolutely makes some amazing promises. He makes promises because He loves His children and wants the best thing for us. But the best thing for us to do right now is to trust Him. He wants us to trust Him with every facet of our lives because He knows that is the absolute best thing for us to do.
Are you struggling during these times, enduring this pandemic? Or for any time for that matter? God has proven He is a promise maker. In the power of Holy Spirt, give all of your problems to God, and ask Him to make a promise to you today. Wait on Him to answer, and watch Him do amazing things as He fulfills the promise that He makes to you.
Mildred, the church gossip and self-appointed arbiter of the church’s morals, kept sticking her nose in the other members’ private lives. Church members were unappreciative of her activities, but feared her enough to maintain their silence.
She made a mistake, however, when she accused George, a new member, of being an alcoholic after she saw his pickup truck parked in front of the town’s only bar one afternoon.
She commented to George and others that everyone seeing it there would know what he was doing.
George, a man of few words, stared at her for a moment and just walked away. He didn’t explain, defend, or deny; he said nothing.
Later that evening, George quietly parked his pickup in front of Mildred’s house… and left it there all night!
Norm Allen recommends this song on YouTube:
Who Am I?
By R. Anderson Williams (Andrew)
Who am I? Have you ever asked yourself this question? I have… more than once. I believe that all of us ask ourselves this question at some point in our lives. We might never voice this aloud publicly – maybe because we fear that it might reveal some insecurity or weakness. Or maybe, it is just something that is very personal – private. Life, however, has a way of eventually drawing this question to the surface. It is one of the most quintessential questions that we seek an answer to – the human need to define one’s self.
God has put it within us all to seek definition, to find the answer to the question, “Who am I?” It sets us on a path of discovery that can be adventurous, exciting, and at times, frightening and disappointing. In our personal pilgrimage to find the answer, we can unwittingly leave ourselves open, exposed, vulnerable. This is why the Gospel of Jesus Christ is so absolutely essential. Why? Because too often, how a person answers the question, “Who am I?” can be flawed, clouded, or downright untrue and the door is flung wide for Satan to step in and wreak havoc.
Lately, during my quiet times the Lord keeps bringing this truth to my attention. The main thing that He has been directing my focus on is HOW we answer this question. I have been teaching middle school for 20 years now and can attest from years of experience – seeing it played out over and over again with people trying to define themselves in errant or destructive ways. Adolescents are at a major crossroads in life because they are moving from being a child into becoming young women and men who are seeking identity. They are coming out from under the “sheltering wings” of their fathers and mothers and are starting to learn to fly on their own. This is a very vulnerable time. It bothers some adults when they see a youth with cotton-candy colored dyed hair, body piercings, or sharpie-drawn tattoos on their hands, arms, legs, and other areas of the body. Though these things can be perceived as self-desecrating, it stems from a desire to be special and an attempt to answer, “Who am I?”
Now, don’t misunderstand me, I’m not justifying piercings, tattoos, and brightly dyed hair. I’m merely pointing to the fact that people do these things as a means to try and define themselves. The error however in all of this centers on HOW we define ourselves. A person can be in error even without marking up his or her body in these ways. The main focus has to be on exactly what voices we are listening to that are trying to influence how we answer, “Who am I?” Are we defining ourselves based on what society and our own sin nature tell us, or do we define ourselves based on what the Word of God declares us to be?
When we listen to the voices of this world and the sin that lies within, we are lied to because they deliver messages that lead to self-centeredness and ungodly pride. Messages such as, you have to be popular and “cool”, you have to strive for wealth and material success, you have to win more medals and prizes than anyone else, you need to wear this, say this, or do that, drive this vehicle, live in this community, or surround yourself with these kinds of people if you want to be loved, respected, and successful. As a result, people can get a false view of life and themselves, becoming so self-focused that what others want or need takes a back seat to the things they are after in life. Others can simply become a means to an end, and life is all about gaining more in the illusion that this will bring happiness and identity.
Or, on the other hand, the voices can fill a person with a very negative and destructive definition of themselves and life in general. These voices scream loudly and repeatedly: you’re a loser, you’re not loved, you have no value, there is no hope, no one cares about you, you don’t contribute, you’re just in the way, you are ugly and stupid, you’re dirty, life is pointless, everyone would be better off if you weren’t around…. In response, people hide, distance themselves, become shut off or angry and bitter, violent, self-destructive and destructive toward others. These people look at life through a darkened lens and all they see is emptiness and destruction, so they live out this perspective.
Then there are the folks who fall somewhere in the middle. They believe one should try to be as kind and respectful as humanly possible, not make waves, just seek their own and live content with their lot in life.. They believe if they are good, then that is good enough. The problem with this perspective is that it still ignores a relationship with our Creator that He so desires. This “grey” area by which people try to define who they are is still rooted in self and what this temporal life and reality can give. It is not rooted in eternity.
God, however, has an eternal view of us and of his creation. When He breathed life into the first man, He breathed an eternal spirit into him and every child that is conceived has that eternal spirit carried on through them. When Jesus gave up His life on the Cross and then was raised from the dead by the power of the Holy Ghost on the third day, he opened the door for us to no longer be children of this world, but to be adopted as sons and daughters of God. As it says in Romans 8:17 – “Now if we are children, then we are heirs – heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.”
Our Father in Heaven desires for us to turn to Him and through Him, shut out the voices of the world and the sin that speaks with us that want to tell us who we are in order to corrupt us and keep us blind to our true identity. God has given us a love letter that we call The Holy Bible – His unfailing Word. This is where we are to seek our definition and the answers to the question, “Who am I?”, not from within ourselves or from society. So who does God say I am, you are? His Word declares:
- “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” -Ephesians 2:10
- “… I am fearfully and wonderfully made” -Psalms 139:13-15
- “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him.” -Genesis 1:27
- “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I set you apart and appointed you a prophet to the nations.”-Jeremiah 1:5
- “You are the salt of the earth…. You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden.” -Matthew 5:14
- “We have been set apart as holy because Jesus Christ did what God wanted him to do by sacrificing his body once and for all.” -Hebrews 10:10
- “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation…” -1 Corinthians 5:17
- “… I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.”
- “But we are citizens of heaven, where the Lord Jesus Christ lives.” -Phillipians. 3:20
- “But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.” -1 Peter 2:9
- “Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us….” -2 Corinthians 5:20
- “So you are no longer a slave, but God’s child, and since you are his child, God has made you also an heir.” -Galatians 4:7
- “Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.” -Romans 8:37
These are but a few of the truths that His Word declares His children to be. There are many more. God loves His children desperately and He doesn’t want us to walk through this life deceived and weak. He wants us to know who we are meant to be in Christ. He has called us to walk in power and authority as His children and representatives on this earth. His Word says, “Behold, I have given you authority to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall hurt you.” (Luke 10:19)
If we know and walk in who God declares us to be, then we will answer the question, “Who am I?” with confidence, Knowing that God is with us, He is for us, He will direct us, He will protect us, He will favor us because we can say without a shadow of a doubt – I know who I am … I am a beloved child of the living, eternal, almighty God!
–Tyson recommends reading these books:
The Power of Moments by Chip Heath and Dan Heath. This book catalogs the importance of moments in the lives of people. Moments of elevation, pride, insight and connection are explored, and ways to actually make these moments happen are discussed.
Deep Work by Cal Newport. Deep Work discusses way to avoid distraction and experience deep work by getting into a Flow State. A great read for Knowledge Workers.
Fiction: The Picture of Dorian Grey Explores ego inspired decadence during 18th century England and the consequences of only living for your own pleasure.
–Need a great on-line Bible complete with study notes and commentary? I recommend Bible Gateway.
–I have many downloadable e-books I (Raven) and others have written at my e-book publishing DESTIN-E BOOKS.
–Have you wondered how to witness to the homosexual or transgender? I recommend these two downloadable books. LOVING BOUNDARIES by Raven Pressley & John Manning. This book is two-fold. It first deals with why homosexuality is wrong according to scriptures and also scientifically and psychologically. And part two is how to lead people trapped in this lifestyle to freedom in Christ. HOW TO MINISTER TO THE TRANSGENDER IN YOUR FELLOWSHIP by Daniel Garvin. Daniel Garvin is a friend of mine (Raven) and a Native American. His testimony and wisdom are worth reading. He speaks firsthand as someone who almost fell into this lifestyle but Jesus rescued him.
–Raven’s website Walking Spiritually is loaded with podcasts, written studies, video and much more.
ABOUT THIS NEWSLETTER
This is a monthly newsletter that comes out on the first of every month. It is available as an on-line page. If you wish a monthly reminder by e-mail when it comes out make sure the Editor, Raven has your e-mail address otherwise you will find out by word of mouth or by text if you are on text list. This newsletter is published with the men of Upward Christian Fellowship in mind but anyone is welcome to receive it and subscription is not necessary. Anyone is welcome to submit an article, link, resource, clean humor, book reviews, testimonies or anything you think our readers would be interested in. Submissions subject to Editor’s approval.