Month: July 2015

The Blessedness of Answered Prayer

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Psalm 30

1     I will extol You, O Lord, for You have lifted me up,

And have not let my foes rejoice over me.

2     O Lord my God, I cried out to You,

And You healed me.

3     O Lord, You brought my soul up from the grave;

You have kept me alive, that I should not go down to the pit.

4     Sing praise to the Lord, you saints of His,

And give thanks at the remembrance of His holy name.

5     For His anger is but for a moment,

His favor is for life;

Weeping may endure for a night,

But joy comes in the morning.

6     Now in my prosperity I said,

“I shall never be moved.”

7     Lord, by Your favor (grace) You have made my mountain stand strong;

You hid Your face, and I was troubled.

8     I cried out to You, O Lord;

And to the Lord I made supplication:

9     “What profit is there in my blood,

When I go down to the pit?

Will the dust praise You?

Will it declare Your truth?

10   Hear, O Lord, and have mercy on me;

Lord, be my helper!”

11   You have turned for me my mourning into dancing;

You have put off my sackcloth and clothed me with gladness,

12   To the end that my glory may sing praise to You and not be silent.

O Lord my God, I will give thanks to You forever.

I was not able to choose one or two verses out of this Psalm, so I decided to post all of it.  David knew what it was to cry out to God in prayer and for God to answer his prayers.  We, as a church, are studying prayer.  There is no greater study right now for us than this for it is through prayer that God hears our hearts’ desires and gives His blessing, His favor, His guidance and His power.

Join in with David’s prayer today.  Reread this Psalm and long for the conclusions of verses 11-12 to be true in your life.

Tonight we will gather at 7:00 for prayer. I long for the day when all of our church would gather together for prayer. God desires this and we should long for it. Change your plans this evening and join us at 7:00. If you cannot stay for the Bible study, that is fine. Join us for prayer. When God answers we will then rejoice together.

Tomorrow morning we meet at church at 5:45 to leave at 6:00. I will not be posting devotionals the rest of the week. If you are still considering going with us we would be happy to have you. Meet us at the church and come along.

Sunday is our dinner day after church. Be sure to bring enough food for your family and a few others. If the weather is nice we will eat outside.

I will be speaking from Isaiah 42:5-9. God wants us to know that He is God. This is an important message for us, (all from His word are) as we are faced with calls to doubt God as creator and as sovereign over all. When we see God as God we are much more secure in life and in future planning.

I will be out of phone contact until Sunday. If you have a need call Tom Hymers or Bob Johanson. You can leave a message for me at 715-759-5976.

There will be men’s prayer breakfast Saturday morning at Denny’s at 7:30.

Have a great day in the Lord, PS

 

Do we love the house of God like this?

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Psalm 26:8

8     Lord, I have loved the habitation of Your house,

And the place where Your glory dwells.

Psalm 27:4

4     One thing I have desired of the Lord,

That will I seek:

That I may dwell in the house of the Lord

All the days of my life,

To behold the beauty of the Lord,

And to inquire in His temple.

Throughout the Psalms of David we see his love for God and His love for God’s house.  Notice the language used in these two verses.  David loves the habitation of God’s house.  He loves to abide there.  The house of God was not a place that David just stopped in to do his weekly church thing.  He loved to be there and treated his time there as a place he was living.  Then he loved the place where the glory of God dwells.  The OT temple was a place where God was.  To go to the house of the Lord was to go to the presence of God.  David loved being in God’s presence, it was the high point of his life.

Then in Psalm 27 David writes about his desire to dwell, to live, to abide in the house of the Lord every day of his life.  Notice the desire for God in this man’s heart.  He could not get enough time with God!  He asked God for one thing in life and that was to be with God more and more.  In the temple of God dwelt the beauty of the Lord.  David had made Jerusalem a beautiful city but that was not where David wanted to be.  He wanted God’s beauty before his eyes.  Then he wanted to inquire of the Lord in His presence.  David knew the joy of talking with God, seeking His face and His wisdom for his life.  This was where he wanted to live.

How do we see going to church?  Do we see it as a place we love to be as a place where we share the enjoyment of the glory of God?  Do we want to be there more and more beholding the beauty of the Lord and seeking His face with His people so we can know His wisdom and guidance for our lives?

But, you say, I can seek God anywhere.  So could David and he did.  But there was something special about seeking the Lord in His place of worship with His people.  What a church we would have if we all loved to be there, longed to be there, and asked God for more opportunities to gather in His name thrill in His glory and seek His face.

I guess David’s time in God’s house was predicated by his heart’s desire for his God.  May we increase in our love for God and in our love to gather with others who share in this love.

Continue to pray for Nancy Hall. She won’t be able to play piano for a while but we are hoping and praying for a full recovery. We know how much she loves to play and how much we love to hear her play.

I will be at Sunrise Assisted Living this morning at 10:30. Please keep this in your prayers.

Pray with me for God to show us His supernatural power in reaching people for His kingdom and glory.

Have a great day in the Lord, PS

 

Behold the Servant, Sharing God’s emphasis, Isaiah 42 and Matthew 23- part 1

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<p><a href=”https://vimeo.com/134535260″>Behold the Servant, Sharing God&rsquo;s emphasis Isaiah 42 and Matthew 23- part 1</a> from <a href=”https://vimeo.com/user3461934″>Pastor Steve Schroeder</a> on <a href=”https://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a&gt;.</p> <p>The modern Christian church has become more like the Pharisees then we would like to admit. In this message, Pastor Steve analyzes Jesus' condemnation of the Pharisees and compares their emphases to the modern Christian church. He then asks us if we are willing to seek God's emphasis instead.</p>

God desires to show mercy, He always has

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Psalm 25

6     Remember, O Lord, Your tender mercies and Your lovingkindnesses,

For they are from of old.

7     Do not remember the sins of my youth, nor my transgressions;

According to Your mercy remember me,

For Your goodness’ sake, O Lord.

There is a teaching that the God of the Old Testament is angry and judgmental while the God of the New Testament is grace filled and compassionate.  Apparently, the Psalmist did not think this.  In the middle of the OT just after king Saul had died and hundreds of years before Isaiah, David knew that God had always been filled with lovingkindness and with tender mercies.

Were there times in the OT that God commanded His people to commit genocide on a nation?  Were there times when God’s judgment fell on thousands of people at a time?  Yes, there were such times.  But going back to the Garden, God showed lovingkindness and tender mercy to Adam and to Eve.  He counseled Cain to do what was right.  He found grace in Noah and saved him and his family when the rest of the world rejected God’s grace. He saved all of the Egyptians who put the blood over their doorposts.  He saved Rahab the harlot from Jericho’s destruction and placed her in the line of the Messiah.  He even gave pagan nations the opportunity to repent and turn from their wickedness as when He sent Jonah to Nineveh.

David was right.  God’s tender mercies and lovingkindness is from old.  David then called upon that mercy to remember him for the sake of God’s goodness.   When we call upon God, we are calling upon Him in His mercy.  We should never ask for judgment for others nor for ourselves.  If God delights in showing mercy let us ever pray for Him to show His mercy to the lost of this world so that they can turn to Him and be saved.

I rejoice in God’s leading of our church at this time. As we have come through the book of Isaiah we are seeing that God is both able and desirous to show His supernatural power to those who seek Him to do so. We are asking God to show us His power in our church. We are desirous of God’s power to save the lost around us, to meet our needs, to enable us to fulfill His great commission. Pray daily with us that God will shape our church the way He wants it to be shaped so that He can use it accomplish His purposes now.

I was out camping last week with some boys from the church. We joined a church in Sandwich and went to the Peninsula State Park in Door County. It was a beautiful park and we had a great time.

Be in prayer for Nancy Hall. She was in church yesterday morning and played the piano for us. Sometime in the afternoon she had a stroke. She was with her sons and they have requested that she not be visited at this time. We are not yet aware of the severity of the stroke. Pray with us for God to raise up our dearly loved sister.

Have great day in the Lord,

PS

We are home 

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After a very long travel day we are finally home. 

It all started at 5:30 am. We left for the border at 6 am and crossed with no hiccups. FINALLY we made it to McDonald’s for breakfast. From there went to the airport and waited for our 11 am flight. We left so early in order to miss the long lines at the border and miss our flight. 

Our plan arrived but they announced that it had mechanical errors. Three hours later we finally got on a flight to Houston Tx. Sadly we missed our connecting flight. The next flight they could put all of us on was at 7 pm. The teens did a great job of airport bumming for 5 hours. We ate, slept, played on our phones and explored the airport. 

Finally at 10 pm we landed in O’hare airport and very kindly the Pugas and Strejecks picked us up. 

Thanks so much for your prayers. If you have been following our blog please stop and ask the teens about it and what God taught them this week. 

Dios le bendiga 

 

La dia final

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Today was the last day of work. We spent the day painting benches for the school and orphanage. It was a fun and interesting paint job. The teens enjoy it because they used fun and bright colors that you see in the pictures. 

Sadly to we also had to say our goodbyes. In a few days friendships begin to develop and respect and enjoyment for each other began. This is always the hardest part. The people here are so lovely and wonderful to be with. Mutual love was shown this week and both sides (American and Mexican) felt it. This made it difficult to say goodbye. But we all said our farewells with the hope that we will return next year to continue the friendships and union that we have with Christ at the center. 

We should be safe and sound in Naperville by 5:30-6 pm Thursday night unless traffic or weather gets in our way. 
Muchas gracias for your prayers for is this week.  

    
    
    

Dia de pintar – painting day! 

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Today started with the aventerous Bible study of 1 John 3 which was a great study of sin habits and living as a member of God’s family. 

After breakfast we continues our painting work from yesterday (the boys bathroom) and began work on girls bathroom. The girls worked on the girls bathroom while singing Disney songs. The guys worked on the boys bathroom while joining in on the Disney songs. We had fun working together today. In the second half of the day we painted another classroom in the gymnasium. By the end of the day we finished both bathrooms and the classroom. Again today, each teen worked hard and did well today at working.  

    
    
 
This evening some of the girls brought nail polish and took some time to paint any girls nails who wanted it done. We also got some Mexican flavored ice. This proved to be a test of our love. The flavored ice was strawberry with lots of salt and hotsauce. We all tried our best to just eat it and not say anything but it was just gross to our American mouths. However the teens were polite and handled it well. 

Christ truly is in this place. Ray Hansen, the founder and director, shared his personal salvation testimony and how the Lord started this orphanage. It was such a blessing and a challenge to hear. From 0 to 60 kids the Lord has directed him every step of the way and Rey has had the faith the trust the Lord all the way through. We are so blessed to be in such a wonderful place where the hand of God is so visible. I hope more of our church people could come here one day. 

Loving God for His role as our Deliverer

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Psalm 18

1     I will love You, O Lord, my strength. The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer;

My God, my strength, in whom I will trust;

My shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.

3     I will call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised;

So shall I be saved from my enemies.

We don’t talk like this anymore.  Perhaps it is because we don’t think about God like this.  One of the weapons of mass distraction is going to God as our last resort instead of as our first responder.  When we try everything else then pray we don’t see the hand of God as clearly.

David went to God in the face of his enemy, Saul, who wanted David dead.  David was a threat to Saul’s kingly plans for himself and for his sons.  Saul knew that God was with David so he thought if he could kill David then he would be rid of God’s man.  What Saul did not consider was that God would fight David’s battles for him, as He had always done.

When enemies of our soul come against us, and they are many, i.e. the world, the flesh, and the devil, where do we go for help?  These enemies, as Jesus said, are thieves who goal is to steal, to kill and to destroy.  Their agenda is aggressive and is against us and against God’s work.  Is God able to protect us?  Can we go to Him as our fortress, our strength, our deliverer, our God, our shield, the horn of our salvation, and our stronghold?  We most certainly can!  God delights in protecting His children, His chosen ones.

You see, when we call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised, we shall be saved from our enemies. We will love God more and more.

Let’s realize that we are in a battle not in a recreation room.  We are in a fight and not in a game.   This battle is for our lives, our joy, our peace, our families, our marriages, our church. Every day we have to live in constant awareness of this raging battle and spiritually wrestle against these enemies.  But at the end of the day, we will know that it was not us who won the battle but Him who loves us and gave Himself for us.  It is the Lord Jesus Christ, the Captain of our salvation who won the battles for us.  It is His name that is to be praised for He is the one who saves us from our enemies.

Our group at the children’s home in Mexico is doing well. Yesterday the broke up cement, made more cement, and worked their hearts and bodies out. Bobbi said that they all did great and committed to the work. Ben is posting a daily blog on the church website under GFL Teens. Keep them in your prayers as it is hot during the day. In the pictures we see them with the children. Each evening they spend their time with the orphans. This is their spiritual ministry time and the joy of the trip.

Pray for the day care today.  Pray for wisdom for Connie to be able to see this situation clearly.

Have a great day in the Lord, PS

 

Dia de trabajo (Work day) 

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Today we started off with a rousing 7 am Bible study of 1 John. We are working through a chapter a day. 

We starting off the day with cleaning up new school grounds by removing rock and mortar. It was a heavy labor morning.  However our mighty team did a good job. Afterword we had lunch and splendid siesta. 

  

  

  

  

 

 team was pooped from the morning work but in the afternoon they perciviered and we painted a classroom and a bathroom. Which again, they did well and worked well. I am proud of our teens and the effort they gave. 

We ate dinner in one of the boys homes and had a blessed time with their beutiful family of 14 boys. All of them trophies of God’s good grace. 

This evening we had a cupcake fiesta. Bobbi made 60 cupcakes and we brought toppings. The kids then put on their own frosting and decorations. Several people ended up with frosting on their faces but the kids loved it. The rest of the evening we had a lovely time playing volleyball or soccer and just interacting with the youth here. 

Dia de decansar

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Our dia de decansar (day of rest) 

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On Sunday they truly do take a day of rest here. For us though that meant a day of rest as well as preparation and more relational building. Today we made paracord bracelets with the kids and taught them how to make them. We also played volleyball and just had some great interaction with youth of all ages. Our teens are doing splendid at making friends and getting out of their comfort zones and showing love. We are so blessed and thankful that God has allowed us to be here. Saturday the manual labor starts. We will start by cleaning up the grounds at their newest school buildings. Thank you for your prayers for us this week. Dios le bendiga (God bless you)  

    
 

We are here and the Internet is up

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 We arrived to Rio Bravo Casa Hogar safely and soundly Saturday afternoon. 
Internet is now up. The internet went down the day we got here, that is the reason for the late post.
Our first day here we spent the day meeting or re-meeting the the orphans and the parents and staff. The love and work and hand of God is so obviously present here. Each of the house parents and staff and many of the orphans express a great love and desire for Christ! They have encouraged us already. 
We have already played basketball, soccer, tag, volleyball, pushed kids on swings, given piggy back rides, sung happy birthday, and made many many new friends. 
The orphans range from 1 years old to 23. Each one with their own story and pain, but more importantly each one is loved by Jesus Christ. Here at the orphanage that is what they learn most of. One young man told me his life verse Psalm 27:10 “Though my father and mother forsake me, 

the Lord will receive me.” What a blessing to see the love and power of God work through the pain of child abandonment. 
Thank you for your prayers as we seek to serve Christ first and foremost here in Reynosa.   

    
 

Adventure begins…Mexico here we come 

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It is 4:30 AM and we have all made it to the airport bright eyed and bushy tailed!! We are all excited and ready to go learn and serve and worship the Lord!! Please pray for us this week the Christ will be front and center of all that we do! 

    
 

What does God think of man’s efforts to get away from His restraints?

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Psalm 2:1–4

1 Why do the nations rage, And the people plot a vain thing?

2 The kings of the earth set themselves, And the rulers take counsel together, Against the Lord and against His Anointed, saying,

3 “Let us break Their bonds in pieces And cast away Their cords from us.”

4 He who sits in the heavens shall laugh; The Lord shall hold them in derision.

The One enthroned in heaven laughs;

the Lord ridicules them. (HCSB)

 

I have to admit a bit of disparagement over the constant email articles I receive from Christian organizations who seem to be in a panic over the Supreme Court’s ruling on homosexual marriage. As of two days ago, Iran, a nation that sponsors terrorism, is going to be able to produce nuclear weapons. An Islamist attacked a Marine base yesterday killing four people right here in Tennessee. Greece is bankrupt. Our own country has a President who is acting on his own authority bypassing the balance of power.

According to Psalm 2, what is God’s reaction to all of this foolishness?   When mankind does all that he can to throw away the restraints of God, when we seek to abolish human responsibility and human consequences, when we go against God’s natural order of life, sexuality, family, responsibility, faith, and more, what does God do? Are we making any headway in throwing off our accountability to God Almighty? Of course not.

The Psalmist says that God is in heaven laughing at all of these efforts to by pass Him. He has man’s efforts in derision; we can say that God ridicules these useless and feeble efforts. Can man really do anything to throw off His accountability to God? If the entire world voted God off the throne do you really think that He would step down? If the entire world voted the Bible off the planet would that change it’s value as God’s word to man?

Let us not be worried about God. God is still in control. He always has been and always will be. Let us not line up with those who are trying cast of the restraints. No, let us be among those who proclaim God’s wisdom and God’s purposes. Let us be those who proclaim the saving Gospel which all men, even those who cast God off, need.

I plan to bring a message Sunday from Isaiah 42 and Matthew 23. We will be looking at those things which God deems important. I am afraid that the Christian church, even ours, has followed the crowd and has come to emphasize some things that God never did. The Pharisees were rebuked for this. Let’s talk about this Sunday morning.

Pastor Bill has two community services today. Remember him and these services in your prayers today.

 

Tonight is RU. I cannot emphasize enough the need of this ministry for prayer. Labor with us today in prayer for those who need to be here but fight against it. Pray that as they come the staff here will be able to provide them with the hope they need. Pray for great victory to be won in lives addicted and torn apart.

 

Our team leaves early tomorrow morning for Rio Bravo children’s home in Reynosa. Be in prayer for each of them as they go. For a list of the team and to get an update, go to www.graceforlifebc.com and click on the page for GFL Teens. Ben will be posting a daily blog while they are gone.

 

Have a great day in the Lord,
PS

Do we believe in a Supernatural God? Isaiah 41:11-20

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<p><a href=”https://vimeo.com/133663115″>Do we believe in a supernatural God? Isaiah 41</a> from <a href=”https://vimeo.com/user3461934″>Pastor Steve Schroeder</a> on <a href=”https://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a&gt;.</p>