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I Love The Church

love the church!  God has given me the opportunity, throughout my life, to serve the church as a worship leader, youth leader, a servant, and as pastor. I have given my life to the church and I have no regrets. 

Those who do not participate in the corporate life of the church are missing so much. Tremendous blessings are found as one serves alongside their fellow members in the Body of Christ. We learn so much from one another simply by meeting together regularly, serving together faithfully, and living our lives in the shelter of the people of God. 

The church is not perfect. This should not surprise anyone as we understand that the church is comprised of imperfect sinners. But, even our imperfections allow us the opportunity to both give and experience forgiveness. Our faults allow us the joy of experiencing a love from fellow church members that is not based on performance. We should seek holiness and avoid sin at every turn.  It’s good to know, however, that when we fall, there are those who will stand with us and not forsake us in the Body of Christ.  

Are you a part of the church? Are you searching for a place where you will experience true meaning and purpose? I encourage you to be a part of the local church.  Jesus loves His Body and He is building the church for His glory (Matt. 16:18). It for all of these reasons that I love the church!     

Tony French 

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God With Us

” Behold, the virgin shall be with child and shall bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel ,” which translated means, ” God with us .”

Matthew 1:23

God with us. What a beautiful thought. The Lord is with His children each day. How is God with us?

**God is with us personally

**God is with us perfectly

**God is with us purposefully

**God is with us permanently

You are blessed today, child of God. Jesus is with you. And He is all you need!

Tony French

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Stay Away

You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart. If your right eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and cast it from you; for it is more profitable for you that one of your members perish, than for your whole body to be cast into hell. And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and cast it from you; for it is more profitable for you that one of your members perish, than for your whole body to be cast into hell.

Matthew 5:27-30

Jesus words here are strong and precise. Lust is equated without spiritual adultery in no uncertain terms. Jesus reasserts the importance of the law and uses the phrase “But I tell you” to amplify the point of reestablishing the truth of Scripture above any traditions or additions. Avoiding the outside act is not enough. Our hearts and minds must be pure as well.

Verses 29 and 30 employ hyperbole (an extreme, absurd exaggeration meant to amplify a point) and are not meant to be taken literally. We are not told to literally pluck out our eyes or cut off our hands. Jesus’ plea is to avoid sinfulness at all cost and to be ready to employ extreme measures to protect yourself from lust and unrighteousness.  It is better to lose a body part and be temporarily in pain than to lose your soul for all eternity.

Dear Christian, stay away from sin. The grace of God is no excuse for disobedience. Save yourself from trouble and strife in the future by seeking obedience to the Lord now.

Tony French

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Give Thanks

Do you need motivation for thankfulness this Thanksgiving? As a Believer, Consider these………………

1. Salvation

Ephesians 2: 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, 9 not of works, lest anyone should boast. 10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.

2. Provision

Philippians 4: 19 And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.

3. Hope

Ephesians 2:18 the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, 19 and what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power.

4. Victory

1st Corinthians 15:57 But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Those four things seem like valid reasons to be thankful. As always, be encouraged Believer!

Tony French

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Holy Spirit Lessons

25 Therefore, laying aside falsehood, speak truth each one of you with his neighbor, for we are members of one another. 26 Be angry, and yet do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, 27 and do not give the devil an opportunity. 28 He who steals must steal no longer; but rather he must labor, performing with his own hands what is good, so that he will have something to share with one who has need. 29 Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear. 30 Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31 Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. 32 Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.

Ephesians 4:25-32

In this passage, Paul commands us this way in verse 30; “do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God.”  The word grieve means to “make sorrowful or to offend someone.” The apostle is teaching us that we can grieve or offend the Holy Spirit by how we live.

Grieving the Holy Spirit has consequences for us as Christians. For instance, we will not have power in prayer when we grieve the Holy Spirit. Our prayer life will be weak and ineffectual when we are living contrary to God’s word.

So what exactly does it mean to “grieve” the Spirit of God? Consider the following:

**We grieve the Holy Spirit when we lie to each other (V. 25)

**We grieve the Holy Spirit when have uncontrolled anger (V. 26-27)

**We grieve the Holy Spirit when steal from others (V. 28)

**We grieve the Holy Spirit by being lazy and untrustworthy (V. 28)

**We grieve the Holy Spirit when talk unkindly about others (V. 29)

After telling us what not to do, Paul concludes by giving us the way we are to live. He encourages us to put away bitterness and wrath. We are to be kind and tender toward each other. Finally, the apostle reminds us of the importance of forgiving. Forgiveness should replace bitterness and kindness should replace anger in the lives of Christians.

Let us be careful to not grieve the Spirit of God. We ought to examine our speech and our attitudes regularly. And let us be careful how we speak to one another.

Let us not grieve the Spirit of God. Without Him, we have no power at all.

Tony French

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Reconcile

 Therefore if you bring your gift to the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar, and go your way. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift. Agree with your adversary quickly, while you are on the way with him, lest your adversary deliver you to the judge, the judge hand you over to the officer, and you be thrown into prison. Assuredly, I say to you, you will by no means get out of there till you have paid the last penny.

Matthew 5:23-26

Since we are sinners, reconciliation will always be needed as we seek to live in community and serve together. Forgiveness is commanded and should be practiced among Christians. (Matthew 18) Jesus gives us a few principles for reconciliation in this text.

Reconciliation should precede worship. We are to reconcile before worship takes place. Evidently, we cannot be right with God in worship until we are right with one another in relationship.

Reconciliation should be personal in nature. We are taught to go to our brother and be reconciled. We are not to send envoys to do the work of reconciliation. It must be done in person.

Also, reconciliation should take place quickly so the problem will not grow and worsen. That thought seems to be what Jesus was leading us toward in V. 25-26 of this passage. Don’t allow the conflict to fester by ignoring it. Confront it quickly so that healing can take place. Confronting conflict is not always easy and simple but it worth the effort and the work.

Tony French

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The Truth

Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me. John 14:6

Jesus is the truth. That is a powerful statement. Jesus simply doesn’t just tell the truth—He is the truth.

Christians believe in truth. We, as God’s people, believe that truth has been revealed in God’s Word. The Scriptures are given by divine inspiration and we are accountable to believe and obey what the Bible says (2 Timothy 3:16-17).  The “truth” that is found in Bible is profitable for us as God’s covenant people. We cannot cast it aside simply to fit in with the crowd. It does not change and it will not change.

We, as Christ-followers, believe in “objective truth.” We trust that the Bible reveals truth that is true for people, for all time periods, and in all places. The truths of Scripture applied to the church in the time of the apostles and they still apply to us today. The Bible may not be popular in our day. But, it is the truth given to us by God and we are bound to obey it realizing that we will be judged by its standards someday.

Society has individualized truth. In some ways, there is no universal truth in our country any longer. We speak of “my truth” and we assert ourselves as the ultimate authority. Such an approach to truth leads to chaos and dystopia. And we are seeing evidence of that break down every day.

God has called us to a better way. The truths of God’s revelation are not easy to obey. They require sacrifice, humility, and God’s grace. God’s truth is not always easy to hear, but, it is the only truth that will save you, restore you, and set you free.

Have you accepted this truth into your life? We have all sinned and fall under God’s just condemnation. There is nothing we can do to earn God’s favor. But, Jesus came to this world to live for us, die for us, and rise again so that you and I might have eternal life.  He lived for our righteousness and He died to pay our sin debt. As a result, all who turn from their sins and receive Christ’s forgiveness are saved and reconciled to God. This truth is true for all people, all times, and all places. And it’s the greatest truth that has ever been told!

Tony French

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Hatred

You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder, and whoever murders will be in danger of the judgment.’ But I say to you that whoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment. And whoever says to his brother, ‘Raca!’ shall be in danger of the council. But whoever says, ‘You fool!’ shall be in danger of hell fire.

Matthew 5:21-22  

Many in Christ’s day had misapplied and misinterpreted the Scriptures to fit their own agendas.  Jesus brought His hearers back to the true intent of the law in order that may hear it and apply it appropriately.

Let us think in this lesson about proper human relationships. Jesus deals with various areas of human existence in this Scripture passage. Let us examine them with our Bibles open and our minds engaged.

Exodus 20:13 tells us murder is wrong. God’s command in the Decalogue is clear. Even those who reject Christianity consciously know that murder is immoral.

Jesus takes this command to the next level. He declares that not only is physical murder sinful, but, He equates thoughts of hatred with murder and declares that those live in hatred will be judged. 

Jesus teaches us an important principle about interpreting the Law of Moses in this Sermon. He heralds the fact that the law not only judges our outward actions, it also judges our inward thoughts. Our private thoughts are subject to God’s adjudication as well as our outward actions.

Anger will happen in this life. We are called to deal with it quickly so that it doesn’t become a stronghold of sinfulness. (Ephesians 4:26) Crying “Raca” (which means empty-headed one) may make us feel good in the moment. But holding on to anger can damage us greatly in our life with Christ. Deal with it.

Tony French

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Holy Spirit

The Holy Spirit is God. He is the third person of the Trinity. As Believers, we belong to Him and He lives in us. (1 Corinthians 6:19-20)  The Holy Spirit is a person. He is not an “it” or an impersonal force. He has attributes that mark Him as a personal being. Let us examine three of His personality characteristics in this article. 1)      He is intelligent. He has all knowledge at all times of all things. What can be said of the Father and the Son can also be said of the Holy Spirit. He is omniscient in every way. 10 For to us God revealed them through the Spirit; for the Spirit searches all things, even the depths of God. 11 For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so the thoughts of God no one knows except the Spirit of God.   2 Corinthians 2:10-11  2)      He has emotions. He is not detached from our struggles, cares, and trials. He feels our pain and knows us by His power. The ministry of the Holy Spirit is genuine and robust to all Christians in every circumstance of life. Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.  Ephesians 4:30 3)      He has a will. He gives spiritual gifts by His power and might. The Holy Spirit is all- powerful and omnipresent and He works His purposes through the events of history in order that God may be glorified. But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually just as He wills.   1 Corinthians 12:11 Let us give thanks for the ministry of the Holy Spirit. He knows, He cares, and He works on our behalf. What a mighty God we serve! Tony French

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The Kingdom

Whoever therefore breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.

Matthew 5:19

Greatness in the kingdom of heaven will not be found in prestige, power, money, or fame. Many of the kingdom’s citizens labor in anonymity. Instead, it is found in teaching and practicing the truth of God’s Word.

Jesus warns that those who lead people astray from the God’s truth would be considered the least in the kingdom. We know that false shepherds and teachers are prophesied and predicted in the Holy Scriptures. We ought to be on the lookout for these unsavory tares to appear among the wheat.

Those who teach and live the Word of God will be blessed for their efforts and pursuits. The blessing may not be of a material nature and that is okay. The greatest blessings are spiritual anyway.

We are called to teach and live the Word of God. This command is not only for preachers or Bible teachers. God has placed people in our lives that we can influence with the gospel message.  A parent, a friend, and an employee can be used by Christ to tell others about Jesus and give an example of what it truly means to be a Christian.

Tony French

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