JESUS, THE HOPE OF THE WORLD…October 20, 2015

“But now, Lord, what do I look for? My hope is in you.”  Psalm 39:7
I give you another poem from one of my mom’s old books…enjoy! -anita

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Lying in darkness, deep in despair,

Battered and broken, so crushed ‘neath its care;

Bowed down with sorrow, sin’s banners unfurled,

Jesus alone is the hope of the world.

Wasted in battle, strong is the foe,

Bitter the conflict, deep, deep is the woe,

Cowered, defeated, the wicked darts hurled,

Jesus alone is the hope of the world.

Jesus on Calvary died in our stead,

Bruising forever the enemy’s head;

Mercy abundant and unfailing grace.

JESUS ALONE IS THE HOPE OF THE RACE!

By:  Olga J. Weiss

PROSTITUTION…WHAT IT REALLY IS (From a horizontal point of view) October 19, 2015

Years ago, I read an article in the Rocky Mountain News.  A journalist had interviewed several prostitutes here, on the streets of Denver.

I wrote down several of the questions asked, and the answers given.  Here are two, that stuck out in my mind:

Q:  “What is the answer for you?”

A:  “I don’t know…I think it’s death.”

Q:  “Living this way must be very difficult for you…what is the hardest part?”

A:  “The hardest part…is having to be me when it’s all done…”

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After reading the article, my heart was broken, and I sat down and wrote this poem.  It is graphic, but my intent is not to offend…but paint a real picture of the hearts of these women caught up in this; for they weren’t always prostitutes. -anita

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She stands before the mirror – all dressed up…fit to kill…

looking’ like a million bucks…but this reflection isn’t real!

What she feels, is diluted, and watered down…like some cheap drink;

But what a beauty she appears to be, wrapped up in all that mink!

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If for just one day, I could stand behind those empty eyes of hers…

I’d feel her desperation…and live her daily curse.

While being bound by despairs’ grip…

I’d hear these words escape my lips:

“I wish I could wash away all these years, of living like a whore…being ravaged by the relentless hounding…with this hunger for something more!”

“If I could ask someone to hold me…wouldn’t that be trust?  But when I ask, they only look at me…their eyes so full of lust.”

“If I could find forgiveness, with just a single prayer…wouldn’t that be love?”

“But self-righteous folks look down their nose, and say…’that’s a word, you’ll NEVER know anything of!’.”

“I’ve given love, night after night, when I’ve had none to give; and I knew this was not the life I was supposed to live…”

“But I thought, there’s a bright day in my future…with smiles, instead of tears…life will soon make sense…maybe tomorrow…but those days turned into years!”

“Now, here I am…still on the street…still turning tricks for dollars.  My body takes and fakes it…while in my mind, I holler…’Someone…let me out of here!  I’m smothering…and I’m dying!!’.”

“But the John on top of me…he only sees me smiling.  I’ve learned to fake it well, after all these many years.”

“Nobody knows…inside myself…I’m holding back the tears!  Who wants me now?  I’m all used up…my beauty’s gone…forever!  Will I ever be loved in this dreary life? NO!…I think not!…NEVER!”

“But in my dreams, HE comes to me…I’ve seen HIM…many times.  I know HIM not…but HE knows me, and HE bids me come and dine.”

” ‘Come and dine’…HE says to me…’Come and dine!  You can feast at MY table…anytime!  I’ve fed multitudes, and I’ve turned water into wine…If you’re hungry…come to me!  Come and dine!’ ”

“HE surely knows me… but I think HE’D hold me if I asked;  I think HE would forgive me…for my present, and my past…”

“I’ve had many lovers…but HE’S the lover of my soul; though all these years upon the street, have taken a great toll!”

“I’ve heard HIS voice in dreams before, as HE quietly stood, and knocked on my heart’s door.  Always a gentleman…not like the others…”

“HE does want to hold me…but like a Father…or a Brother.  HE wants to take my hunger away…this insatiable hunger, I feel everyday!”

“I look in the mirror…and I HATE what I see!  I just can’t figure out, what HE sees in me!  Why does HE pursue me, with a love so pure and kind?  I think…and I ponder…but it’s unimaginable to my mind…”

“I cannot comprehend, a love, so pure, and true…that loves me…in spite of everything…no matter what I do!”

“Who IS this stranger in my dreams, that speaks to me each night?…Who wraps me in his loving arms, and holds me ’till morns’ light?”

“I wish the morning wouldn’t come, for I’ll be back out on the street.  I’d like to stay within HIS arms…and HIS sweet name repeat…”

“But, who HE is…I do no know!  I wish I could find out!  For when HE speaks, HE gives me peace…and banishes my doubt!”

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I come back to reality, and watch her walk away.  I’ve felt her pain, and cried her tears…momentarily lived her life, that’s in total disarray.

The difference is…I KNOW HIS name…this man, she dreams about.  HE came to me, when I was lost, and somehow brought me out!

I walked in darkness…just like her, ’till someone came and said… “Come meet my friend named Jesus Christ…HE is the Living Bread!  He’ll feed you ’till you want no more…He’ll stand right by your side!  He’ll never leave you…nor forsake you…He’ll be you constant guide!”

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For but a moment, I remembered that dark road I once had trod; before I heard the name of Jesus…and met the Son of God…I raised my eyes and looked for her, and caught her in my sight.

I ran, and touched her on the arm, and said, “I know your plight!  Come…sit with me, and talk awhile.  Let me introduce you to my friend!  HE’S the man within your dreams…your heart HE wants to mend!”

So we sat down and talked awhile, then… a smile crossed her weary face, as my DEAREST FRIEND named JESUS, all her heartaches did erase!

By:  Anita Mondragon 2005

THE PERFECT WILL OF GOD…October 17, 2015

This poem is based on a book written by the husband of Olga J. Weiss, called “The Perfect Will of God.”  She testified of receiving help and blessing from reading it.  I share it now with you. -anita

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In the perfect will of God my soul is resting;

I need fear no ill, though round me billows roll;

Ever safe am I when in Him I’m abiding.

There no tempest e’er can reach my soul.

To the perfect will of God I now surrender.

For His plan, divine, is best for me, I know;

Never failing Guide, His blessed hand will hold me

And His will shall ever sweeter grow.

In the perfect will of God is blest communion,

Ne’er a shadow mars the beauty of His face;

And the riches of His grace I find enduring,

For each change, sufficient is His grace.

By:  Olga J. Weiss

I HAVE LEARNED…October 16, 2015

This is not my “testimony”…but it certainly is a big part of who I am, and why I am…what I am.-anita

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I was brought up in an Independent, Fundamental, Bible Believing, Baptist Church; my dad was a pastor for over forty years, the ninth to come out of his family.  Very strict…very conservative!

When I say that…I mean, no drinking, no smoking, no cursing, no dancing, women were not allowed to wear pants because they were men’s apparel  -Deut. 22:5, and definitely NO mixed swimming…ladies were to dress in modest apparel!

When I would ask ‘why?’ I wasn’t allowed to do some things, he would answer like he was taught by his folks.  About smoking, he would say:  “If God would have wanted you to smoke, He would have put a fire-box in your belly, and a smoke stack on your head!”  OR…”Fool on one end…fire on the other!”  About dancing, he would say:  A dancing foot, and a praying knee, don’t grow on the same leg!”  When it came to Field Day in Grade School, I was the only one running the dash in a dress!  In Gym class, he told my P.E. teacher I was not allowed to climb the ropes because God had given him a child…not a monkey!

EVERYTHING WAS A “NO!”

But, thank God, even among all the “NOs!”…I did realize that, “YES!!” , Jesus died for my sins; and I made Him my Savior at the age of 17.

When Mike and I got married, we were in our 40’s, and were looking for something more than “NO!”.  He was a new Christian, and had been raised in the Catholic Church, where religion seemed a mystery, and only the priest could talk to God.

I frankly was sick of all the “NOs!”, and wanted an answer, other than all the clichés, to all the “WHYs?” in my mind.  We had a friend that attended a Pentecostal Church, so we decided to visit.

Mike is a musician, and had played in bars all of his life.  After attending this new church for a while, he decided to stop playing in bars.  Not long after his decision, he was asked to join the band.  I was so proud of him for giving up the worldly music, and he loved playing in church!  I began video taping the services as an encouragement to him.

In on particular service, unbeknownst to me, I was caught on camera.  Worship service was going on; I was standing in one spot, hands folded…conservative stance.  The lady next to me in the pew began to raise her hands…I moved an inch or two in the opposite direction.  Not long after, she started speaking in tongues, and then broke out into a dance.  The look on my face can only be described as terrified!  Within five seconds, I found myself at the opposite end of the pew, which was about six feet from her, and I was already running down the aisle heading for the exit!  After that experience, I sat on the back row…right next to the exit door! LOL!

We attended that church for nine years, and I eventually found my way back to the front…and YES…I even began to raise my hands and clap to the music.  In that church, I learned what you SHOULD and SHOULDN’T DO as a Christian.  I learned much about the power of the Holy Spirit.  It was life changing for me!

After we left there, we began to attend a non-denominational church.  It was primarily African-American, and everything taught there was about Love, Grace, and Freedom.  Pretty much everything I had been taught in the Baptist Church, was taught the opposite way in this church.  Women could were pants…even to church, and even short shorts were fine!  Some people in ministry smoked…pretty much everyone drank…at least occasionally…they all danced, and used the words “damn and hell” like salt and pepper!  It was very foreign to me, and extremely confusing!  Even though love was always talked about…there was a great deal of prejudice.  It was subtle, but still felt.  We were there thirteen years.

I have only attended The Gathering for a short time, and all I have ever heard here is the truth.  Not the truth as I see it…but the truth as God’s Word proclaims it…with Scripture to back it up!  In this church, I have learned that God is primarily concerned with the thoughts and intents of our hearts…not with what we do, or do NOT do, nor with what we say or how we act…or even how others perceive us; but what God knows about us in the recesses of our hearts.

I look at what God says about David…how he was a man after Gods’ own heart.  I pondered on that for sometime, remembering David committed adultery, and even had her husband killed to cover up his sin, for she became pregnant.  In one Psalm, David is praising God and exalting Him…and in the next, he is pleading with God not to cast him away!  It seems contradictory, but it’s not.  Then, I look at myself.  I’ve done some really terrible things in my life; some deliberately…but most were just mistakes due to my fleshly house.  Most were not intentional, – just foolish choices, – done on impulse.  God KNOWS the desire of my heart is to be just like Him!  That was David’s desire as well…so now I get it!

Here at The Gathering, I have learned what I CAN DO… “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me!”  I have learned what I SHOULD DO… “Make my calling an election sure!”  I have learned what I OUGHT NOT TO DO… “Judge others, lest I find myself in their shoes!”  And, I have learned…I have unlimited freedom in Christ’s atonement for my sin.  AND…when I do fall…His Grace is there to pick me up, for His forgiveness is boundless!

By:  Anita Mondragon Oct. 2015

PRECIOUS SAVIOUR, AT THY FEET…October 15, 2015

For some reason…God keeps leading me back to the fact that we need…we MUST, be willing and eager to sit at the feet of Jesus.  I hope you will enjoy the following from one of my inherited books!-anita

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Precious Saviour, at Thy feet

Here I bow Thy face to seek;

Take my life and by Thy grace

Make my heart Thy dwelling place.

Lord, I yield my tongue to Thee,

Full of praises may it be.

May my hands Thy will perform;

And my feet Thy ways adorn.

Lord, I bring to Thee my all;

Humbly now, on Thee I call;

Burn the dross and purify,

And to self, Lord, may I die.

Precious Saviour, guide me home;

I am week, but Thou art strong;

Fill my life from day-to-day

With Thy Spirit; this I pray.

By:  Olga J. Weiss

grasp-grace

TEDDY…October 14, 2015

 As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. 39 She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. 40 But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!”

41 “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, 42 but few things are needed—or indeed only one.[a] Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”-Luke 10:38-42

There’s an old hymn called:  Sitting At The Feet Of Jesus.  Here is the first verse.

Sitting at the feet of Jesus,
Where can mortal be more blest?
There I lay my sins and sorrows,
And, when weary, find sweet rest;
Sitting at the feet of Jesus,
There I love to weep and pray;
While I from His fullness gather
Grace and comfort every day. -J. H. T. and John Stainer

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We have a new member in our family!  He’s a little dog that looks like Benji, but only half the size.  His name is Teddy.

Now, I’m more of a cat person myself, but this little guy has won my heart over!  He’s like my shadow…he follows me everywhere!  When I get up…he gets up.  When I sit down…he sits next to me.  If I am in the kitchen, he’s laying at my feet.

I wasn’t used to this, and tripped several times!  At first, it was cute…then it was kind of annoying; now…it’s a comfort.  I KNOW he loves and trusts me fully!

The other day, I was cooking, and Mike, my husband, was on the lap-top.  “Where’s Teddy?”, he asked.  “Here…at my feet!”, I replied.  No sooner were those words out of my mouth, and I heard God speak to me.  It was almost audible.  I heard Him say:  “That’s the kind of relationship I want with you!  I want you to adore me so much, that you follow me everywhere; be my shadow…sit at my feet!”

Wow!  What an eye-opener!  To realize that we are not annoying God when we constantly call on Him.  Quite the contrary!  This is what He desires us to do; for in our weakness, His strength is made strong!

When that dog sits at my feet, he’s really telling me that he needs me.  He can’t stand to be without me.  If I put him out in the yard on his leash, and I move from his line of sight…he barks and cries and tears up the earth!

THAT is how we should be with God!  We have to realize that we need Him…we can’t live without Him.  We ought to want to keep Him in our line of sight; and if he seems to disappear…we should cry out to Him, like the blind man in the Bible (Luke 18:39: …”but he cried out all the more, Son of David, have mercy on me!”)

Call on Him until you see his face!  He WILL answer!

By:  Anita Mondragon 2015

THE NURSERY WINDOW…October 13, 2015

I believe the spirit part of every man exists in Heaven before he becomes flesh here on earth…hence, the nursery window.  God knows us before we are formed in our mother’s womb, and He places His purpose in us, as well as our gifts, abilities, etc.  That’s why He could say: “I KNOW the plans I have for you…”  Just a thought…just an opinion. -anita

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They used to be friends you know…

And they stood together at the nursery window, once, a long time ago.

Maybe that’s when jealously started to brood…

When he saw the Saviors love for us, and truly understood;

That as regal as he was,

And as wretched as we are…

We were loved and favored dearly,

By the Bright and Morning Star!

Since man is lower than the angels,

And Lucifer was the highest one,

It must have irked him to the core

When he heard the Father and the Son

Discuss the cross of Calvary…

To think!…The King of Glory, dying for the likes of you and me!

Maybe that’s when he decided to try

And take the throne,

And make the realm of Heaven,

His…and his alone.

He must have heard Them plan it out…

I think he overheard,

That God had plans to prosper us,

And bless us through His Word.

I have no proof you see,

But I truly do believe

That this is when he made his plans

To steal…destroy…deceive.

His hate for us has kindled long,

Like embers of a fire;

Like seething coals, it heats the air,

With fury, and desire!

His plan is to destroy us…

Make us fail, and not succeed.

To exist in poverty, lack and want

And like a beggar, plead!

But, we’re children of the King!

Not some beggar on the street,

Waiting for a pittance…

With our future growing bleak!

We have it ALL within our reach,

The riches of the King!

Just knowing that, should give us joy,

Should make us smile, and sing!

Evil plans can only flourish

If we listen and believe,

To the lies he weaves within our minds,

When trying to deceive!

Long ago…two plans were made…

Each one was set in place.

One was for the good of man…

The other…to destroy his race.

The choice is ours…both blueprints there;

But, be careful how you choose…

Because one choice will make you win…

But the other…makes you lose!

By:  Anita Mondragon May 2006

GOD HAS ALWAYS KNOWN US…October 12, 2015

The other day I was in prayer, and thought of something that I have considered many times before. I believe God exists outside of time: He has always existed and time is meaningless to Him. In fact, the whole concept of time exists only for us. God doesn’t need it because He isn’t bound by time; He is eternal. So, if God has existed forever, and, as the Bible says in numerous places, God knew us before we were even created, by extension, maybe we can say that we then have always existed. I’m not suggesting we are immortal, but, at very least, we have always existed in God‘s mind. If we accept that God is omniscient, then we are not a new thought to Him. He knew He was going to create you and me long before that ever happened. So you and I were on His mind forever before he actually created us. Some verses that seem relevant here:

“I make known the end from the beginning, from ancient times, what is still to come.” (Isaiah 46:9-10). 

“Before a word is on my tongue you know it completely, O LORD” (Psalm 139:4). 

“O LORD, you have searched me and you know me. You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar. You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways” (Psalms 139: 1-3). 

“My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.” (Psalm 139:15-16). 

Jer 1:5 “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart….”

“… for the LORD searches every heart and understands every desire and every thought….” (1 Chronicles 28:9). 

“From heaven the LORD looks down and sees all mankind; from his dwelling place he watches all who live on earth—he who forms the hearts of all, who considers everything they do” (Psalm 33:13-15). 

“Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes  of him to whom we must give account” (Hebrews 4:13).

” . . . even from everlasting to everlasting, thou art God” (Psalm 90:2).

“Your throne is established from of old; Thou art from everlasting” (Psalm 93:2).  

“From you One [Jesus] will go forth for Me to be ruler in Israel. His goings forth are from long ago, from the days of eternity. – (NASB) Micah 5:2

Colossians 1:17. NOTHING existed before Jesus. “He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.”

1 Tim 6:16 discusses God “who alone is immortal”.  So how is this relevant  and how does it affect the believing Christian?

One key topic – common to all of us — is the topic of death: We all face certain death, but do we really “die” in the sense that the world would view death? There are verses in the Bible that might appear to be contradictory to one another, depending upon how one reads them and what is one’s understanding of “death.” And Bible scholars are not even in agreement on how exactly to interpret the idea of death. Consider these Bible passages. Some comments from Ray Pritchard of Keep Believing Ministries might be helpful here, also.

Psalm 146:4, ESV. “When his (man’s) breath departs, he returns to the earth; on that very day his plans perish.”

Hebrews 9:27, “It is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment” (NKJV).Pritchard comments:  At the moment of death the soul of the lost is sent to hell where it is in conscious torment.

In Luke 16:19-31 Jesus told of a rich man who upon his death went to hell and suffered in the flames of torment. It does not matter whether you think this passage is literal or figurative. If you say it is literal, then it must be a terrible punishment. If it is figurative, the figure itself is so awful to consider that the reality must be much worse.

“I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?” (John 11:25).

According to Pritchard, if you  if you believe in Jesus, you will never die. What an amazing promise. But believers die every day. Yes, but for the believer, death is merely the passing from this life with all its sorrows into life eternal in the presence of our Lord.

Pritchard comments: When the saved die, they go directly into the presence of the Lord. At this point we remember the words of Jesus to the thief on the cross, “I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise” (Luke 23:43, emphasis added).

This appears to be a straightforward promise that at the moment of death the repentant thief would pass from his life of crime and his agonizing death into the realm called “paradise.” This would seem to contradict the teaching called “soul-sleep,” which implies that at death a believer “sleeps” in a kind of suspended animation until the day of the resurrection. How could the thief be that very day in paradise if his soul went to sleep when he died?

Further, Paul said he had a desire “to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far” (Philippians 1:23, emphasis added). He also said, “We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body (that is, separated from the body by death) and at home with the Lord’ (2 Corinthians 5:8, emphasis added).

In John 11:11-14 Jesus speaks of Lazarus and says Lazarus “…has fallen asleep.” But later in those verses, the Bible explains that Jesus “…told them plainly, Lazarus is dead….”In Pritchard’s view (well supported by Scripture), the soul goes to be with the Lord in heaven, and the body is buried until the day of resurrection when Jesus returns to the earth. 1 Thessalonians 4:14 says, “We believe that Jesus died and rose again and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him.”

Here you have both sides of the truth. Christians who die are said to be “with Jesus” (that’s the soul in the conscious presence of the Lord) and “have fallen asleep in him” (that’s the body which “sleeps” in the grave). Listen to Paul’s description of that great reunion of body and soul: “For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first” (1 Thessalonians 4:16, emphasis added).

To sum this up – and I get some comfort, clarity and reassurance in doing so – I believe we have always existed, at least in God’s mind. Further, no matter what happens to our body when we die (cremation, for example), I believe we are immediately in the presence of our Lord; and the Bible also says about our body:   we are raised with a new, spiritual, resurrection body (1 Cor 15 discusses this at length).So, in the sense explained here, we have always been and we always will be.

The real question, of course, is WHERE will we be… in torment or in companionship with Jesus???

By:  Lee Pierce

Sermon notes for Sunday Oct. 11 “A Covenant Gathering”

Covenant membership is not a business partnership

Fan or Player

James 1:22

Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.

  1. Church Member is Life Blood

1 Corinthians 12 (TLB)

And now, brothers, I want to write about the special abilities the Holy Spirit gives to each of you, for I don’t want any misunderstanding about them.

4 Now God gives us many kinds of special abilities, but it is the same Holy Spirit who is the source of them all. 5 There are different kinds of service to God, but it is the same Lord we are serving. 6 There are many ways in which God works in our lives, but it is the same God who does the work in and through all of us who are his. 7 The Holy Spirit displays God’s power through each of us as a means of helping the entire church.

  1. Unique Members

A covenant member of a church is different from everyone else.

1 Corinthians 12:26-28 (NKJV)

If one part suffers, all parts suffer with it, and if one part is honored, all the parts are glad. Now you are the body of Christ, and members individually. And God has appointed these in the church: first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, administrations, varieties of tongues.

13 Each of us is a part of the one body of Christ. Some of us are Jews, some are Gentiles, some are slaves, and some are free. But the Holy Spirit has fitted us all together into one body. We have been baptized into Christ’s body by the one Spirit, and have all been given that same Holy Spirit.

  1. Church Membership is founded on love: authentic and unconditional

1 Corinthians 13:4-5Living Bible (TLB)

Love is very patient and kind, never jealous or envious, never boastful or proud,never haughty or selfish or rude. Love does not demand its own way. It is not irritable or touchy. It does not hold grudges and will hardly even notice when others do it wrong.

Psalm 133:1

Behold, how good and how pleasant it is For brothers to dwell together in unity!

There is no such thing as an inactive church member
1 Corinthians 12 (TLB)

8 To one person the Spirit gives the ability to give wise advice; someone else may be especially good at studying and teaching, and this is his gift from the same Spirit. 9 He gives special faith to another, and to someone else the power to heal the sick. 10 He gives power for doing miracles to some, and to others power to prophesy and preach. He gives someone else the power to know whether evil spirits are speaking through those who claim to be giving God’s messages—or whether it is really the Spirit of God who is speaking. Still another person is able to speak in languages he never learned; and others, who do not know the language either, are given power to understand what he is saying. 11 It is the same and only Holy Spirit who gives all these gifts and powers, deciding which each one of us should have.

14 Yes, the body has many parts, not just one part. 15 If the foot says, “I am not a part of the body because I am not a hand,” that does not make it any less a part of the body. 16 And what would you think if you heard an ear say, “I am not part of the body because I am only an ear and not an eye”? Would that make it any less a part of the body? 17 Suppose the whole body were an eye—then how would you hear? Or if your whole body were just one big ear, how could you smell anything?

18 But that isn’t the way God has made us. He has made many parts for our bodies and has put each part just where he wants it. 19 What a strange thing a body would be if it had only one part! 20 So he has made many parts, but still there is only one body.

21 The eye can never say to the hand, “I don’t need you.” The head can’t say to the feet, “I don’t need you.”

22 And some of the parts that seem weakest and least important are really the most necessary. 23 Yes, we are especially glad to have some parts that seem rather odd! And we carefully protect from the eyes of others those parts that should not be seen, 24 while of course the parts that may be seen do not require this special care. So God has put the body together in such a way that extra honor and care are given to those parts that might otherwise seem less important. 25 This makes for happiness among the parts, so that the parts have the same care for each other that they do for themselves.

27 Now here is what I am trying to say: All of you together are the one body of Christ, and each one of you is a separate and necessary part of it. 28 Here is a list of some of the parts he has placed in his Church, which is his body:

Apostles,

Prophets—those who preach God’s Word,

Teachers,

Those who do miracles,

Those who have the gift of healing;

Those who can help others,

Those who can get others to work together,

Those who speak in languages they have never learned.

29 Is everyone an apostle? Of course not. Is everyone a preacher? No. Are all teachers? Does everyone have the power to do miracles? 30 Can everyone heal the sick? Of course not. Does God give all of us the ability to speak in languages we’ve never learned? Can just anyone understand and translate what those are saying who have that gift of foreign speech? 31 No, but try your best to have the more important of these gifts.

First, however, let me tell you about something else that is better than any of them!

A Unifying Church Member

A church member is a servant not a movie critic.

Malachi 2:10

“Do we not all have one father? Has not one God created us? Why do we deal treacherously each against his brother so as to profane the covenant of our fathers?

John 13:35 (NLT)

Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.”

Ephesians 1:15-19 (MSG)

That’s why, when I heard of the solid trust you have in the Master Jesus and your outpouring of love to all the followers of Jesus, I couldn’t stop thanking God for you—every time I prayed, I’d think of you and give thanks. But I do more than thank. I ask—ask the God of our Master, Jesus Christ, the God of glory—to make you intelligent and discerning in knowing him personally, your eyes focused and clear, so that you can see exactly what it is he is calling you to do, grasp the immensity of this glorious way of life he has for his followers, oh, the utter extravagance of his work in us who trust him—endless energy, boundless strength!

Ephesians 4:11-16 (NIV)

So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, 12 to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up 13 until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.

14 Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming. 15 Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ. 16 From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.

Psalm 133

A song of David for those journeying to worship.

How good and pleasant it is
when brothers and sisters live together in peace!
It is like the finest oils poured on the head,
sweet-smelling oils flowing down to cover the beard,
Flowing down the beard of Aaron,
flowing down the collar of his robe.
It is like the gentle rain of Mount Hermon
that falls on the hills of Zion.
Yes, from this place, the Eternal spoke the command,
from there He gave His blessing—life forever. (The Voice)

I HEARD THEM COME! …October 10, 2015

I was at the bedside of my grandpa, and my mother-in-law, when God sent His angels to carry them home.  This is how this poem came to be. -anita

**************************************

There, in the quietness,

Of that hospital’s stark whiteness,

With pain so intense,

It made the body numb;

Where the smell of death

Scented the air…

They were quiet…

But I heard them come!

They weren’t there for me,

But their presence I felt,

As they took the soul from the body,

And set the spirit free!

Pain that ravaged the body and face

Just mere moments before,

Took on a different look,

When they walked through the door!

I didn’t see them…

But I know they were there;

For arms went up to greet them,

And a smile, replaced the tears.

I’ve been there twice now,

When they came…

And both times, there was nothing different,

It was all the same.

The room was filled with peace,

And their footsteps, I scarcely could hear,

As they gently took the helm of my loved one,

And side by side, they sailed together

Through the valley of fear.

******************

So…when they come for me…

I’ll gladly take their hand

And let them sail my ship

Into a better land!

Don’t be afraid for me!

There is no need to fear!

You need to realize…

There’s MORE than “now and here!”

For when this ship sails from your sight…

It only means I’ve taken flight!

Life’s river has no end…

I’ve just sailed around the bend!

By:  Anita Mondragon August 2005