2019 Deacons' Corners
Spiritual Restoration (January)
Year 2018 has ended, and our new year, 2019, offers us a new opportunity to restore our spiritual relationship with our Heavenly Father. Our Father wants us to relate directly with Him. He wants us to "Be still and know..." who He is (Psalm 46: 10). Then, we will be able to hear His quiet, still voice, respond in faith to Him, and live a more abundant life.
Spiritual restoration starts with humility, recognizing our nothingness before the Almighty God. This restoration will mean using prayer to assure that we are in the perfect will of God. Prayer prepares us to perform His perfect will. It is the doorway that connects us with our Father. Scripture instructs us to “continually” seek God (1Chronicles 16:11; Psalm 27:8, Psalm 105:4).
Our Heavenly Father brings us from humility into prayer, and from prayer into restoration with Him.
God's Love (February)
Love is a distinguishing mark of Christians. John 13:34-35 reminds us that Jesus gave a new commandment explaining why Christians should love others regardless of the circumstances. We are to love others as God loves us—selflessly and sacrificially with understanding and forgiveness.
Often our humanness causes us to question God’s love for us personally. How do we know that God loves us personally? Ephesians 1:4-5 states God loved us before He even created the Earth. His agape love is described in 1 Corinthians 13, and it is not simply an emotion, decision, or action. Love is who He is according to 1 John 4: 8.
He promises us that He will love us unconditionally and won’t leave or forsake us (Hebrew 13:5). God is the source from which all true love flows. With God there are no restrictions, no limitations, and no exceptions. The Lord continually watches over us, providing our needs, and His love reaches beyond all the hardships and sufferings we encounter each day.
God’s love is absolute, genuine, and always the same. The most powerful proclamation of His love is stated in Romans 5:8. God sent his Son to die for us, so that we could enjoy His loving presence for all eternity.
God's Light - Our Need (March)
According to Psalm 119:105 “Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.” The light of a new morning refreshes and rejuvenates our spirits and brings hope for a better day. Today, as in the past, skylights and windows are used to pierce the darkness of a room or building. However, even natural light can create illusions of things that do not exist, cause blindness, and cast shadows.
In contrast to natural light, the light of God is what we experience when we read His Word. Instead of illusions, we find illumination in God’s Word. Instead of causing blindness, God’s light causes belief. Instead of shadows, we find salvation.
The Holy Spirit will brighten God’s Word and His ways in our lives as we search for spiritual solutions to our problems. Psalms 36:9 declares “For with you is the fountain of life; in your light we see light.” Jesus Christ is the life and light of God that lived on Earth. John 1:4-5 tells us “In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” Remember, God’s light will help guide you through the uncertainties that obstruct your path every day.
Starting Over (April)
The word Lent means, “the lengthening of days” and is the term used for the period of preparation before Easter. The Lenten season begins with Ash Wednesday and continues for forty days, excluding Sundays. The period of 40 days draws its significance from the Jewish Passover and from Jesus’ 40 days of fasting and prayer.
At this point, we are more than half way through the Lenten season. Easter is Sunday, April 21, 2019. Have you been able to stick to your sacrifice this year? Most of our sacrifices are hard for us and require us to make physical, spiritual, and emotional changes. If you have fallen behind on your sacrifice, there’s good news!
God allows do-overs. God understands our humanness because he made us. “I praise you because you made me in an amazing and wonderful way. What you have done is wonderful. I know this very well. You saw my bones being formed as I took shape in my mother's body. When I was put together there, you saw my body as it was formed” (Psalm 139:14-16 GNT). He understands our weaknesses and makes provisions for them. In fact, He is most powerful in our weakness, according to II Corinthians 12:9. “But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me.”
Even though Easter is quickly approaching, you can still start over. God is there, and He is able…able to work through your strength and your weakness.
The Risen Christ (May)
Tell the Good News that the Lord Jesus is risen! Praise God in the highest! Hallelujah! As God’s people, we are to tell others of the wonderful effects of the risen Christ. Christ’s death and sacrifice means nothing unless we die to sin, and His resurrection means nothing unless we renounce negative worldly habits and become a new creation.
1 Corinthians 5:17 states “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old is gone, the new is here!” (NIV). After His resurrection, Jesus appeared to the eleven disciples in a locked room (John 20:19-29). The risen Savior demonstrated several things. He can go where no one else can go. He can reach you and into you…anytime and anywhere.
He reassured the disciples and us that His resurrection brings a peace greater than our minds can conceive to calm our troubled spirits (Ephesians 2:14-18). Just as the disciples received the Holy Spirit when Jesus breathed on them, He breathes on us today through the Holy Spirit. The resurrection of Jesus gives us peace, and the power of the Holy Spirit. This the Good News -the Great Commission. “Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age” (Matthew 28:18-20).
Let us do as He commanded we do for there is none like Him in the universe!
Prayer Service (June)
Every Friday night from 7pm-8pm, Providence Baptist Church holds prayer service. The advantages of attending prayer services are rewarding. Prayer service advances the Kingdom of God as we pray for His blessings on various church functions. The book of Acts record examples of conducting a prayer service (meeting) before starting new missionary work, before appointing church elders, and praying for imprisoned Apostles.
Even Jesus Christ, during His emotional struggle in Gethsemane, felt the need for a prayer service. He reprimanded His disciples for sleeping during a time He needed their support through prayer (Matthew 26:40-41).
Prayers rendered during prayer service, deals death blows to the enemy, and releases blessings already in store for us. God keeps His promises to us, but still expects His people to gather for collective prayers of intersession.
Prayer service demonstrates our corporate union as one body in Christ. In reciting The Lord’s Prayer (Matthew 6:8-14), we say “Our Father”. This demonstrates our obligation to pray together, to pray in common with others. We should not disappoint God by neglecting prayer service.
Rest and Relaxation (July)
Many of us have planned vacations this summer. As the Bible is our guide to how we should love and live, it is also our guide for rest and relaxation. God rested after creating the world and all that is in it. “By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work” (Genesis 2:2 NIV).
Our supreme model on Earth, Jesus, relaxed and spent quality time with family, friends. “After this He went down to Capernanum, with his mother and his brothers and his disciples; and there they stayed for a few days” (John 2:12). He also spent time alone. “But He Himself would often slip away to the wilderness and pray” (Luke 5:16). These are examples of His “time outs.”
Rest and relaxation do not mean laziness or idleness. Rather, it is a time to vacate work and worry for the refreshing of our bodies and spirits. We should not exhaust ourselves as we go on vacation, but take time to reflect on the wonders of God and meditate on His majesty. “He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters, he restores my soul.” (Psalm 23:2-3).
During this time of vacation, while we seek rest and relaxation, may we also find rest for our bodies and renewals of our minds for His service. “The apostles returned to Jesus and told him all that they had done and taught. And he said to them, ‘Come away by yourselves to a desolate place and rest a while.’ For many were coming and going, and they had no leisure even to eat. And they went away in the boat to a desolate place by themselves” (Mark 6:30-32).
If you travel away from home, keep worship with you. Find a church to attend so that you may continue worship and fellowship with our Heavenly Father.
True Faith and Good Works (September)
Our faith is dead when we reveal an unchanged life or a spiritually dead heart. True faith results in a transformed life that is demonstrated by the works we do. James 2:18: “But someone will say,” You have faith, and I have works”. Show me your faith without your works, and I will show you my faith by my works” (NKJV).
Stating that we believe in Jesus, saying prayers, and attending religious services will not save us. Our hearts must be regenerated by the Holy Spirit, which in turn will enable us to remain obedient to God, resulting in good works. Good works of faith include healthy relationships with others and Godly behavior. Faith and works should travel side-by-side, step-in-step, like the feet of walking believers. First faith, then works; then faith again, then works—until you can scarcely distinguish which one is the other.
God's Punishment (October)
Being a Christian has its perks. We are a part of God’s body, and He offers us unconditional love and guidance despite our choices. He guides us even when we ignore him, like Jonah. He saves us, even when we don’t hold to his commandments, like David. He protects us even when we tell untruths like Mordecai.
Yes, we get the perks of being children of God and baptized believers. However, we also experience God’s punishment when we are not obedient to Him. “That is why many of you are sick and weak, and several have died. If we would examine ourselves first, we would not come under God's judgment. But we are judged and punished by the Lord, so that we shall not be condemned together with the world” (1 Corinthians 11:30-32 GNT).
God’s punishment can come in many forms, and it’s important to understand that it is not meant to turn us away from Him. Like any loving parent, God’s punishment is meant to turn us toward him and send us on the correct path. “'I correct and discipline those whom I love. So be earnest and change your hearts and lives’” (Revelation 3:19 CEB).
God’s punishment isn’t always what we think it is. Sometimes we read rejection as punishment when it may be protection from things we can’t see down the road. It’s up to us to pray to God and ask Him to make us like Him...to help us to fix our eyes on him...to get us where we need to go even when we get in His way.
Oh Lord, guide us with your finger of grace and help us be mindful that your discipline is one of the ways that you show us love.
Advent is a season within the church year that focuses on the spirit of expectation, anticipation, preparation, longing. The word “Advent” comes from the Latin word “adventus,” which means “coming” or “arrival.” Advent looks back to remember the coming of the Christ child, and looks forward in anticipation of the Second Coming of Christ.
Advent is celebrated for four weeks beginning with the Sunday closest to November 30th and ending on the Sunday before Christmas Day. The symbols of Advent are an evergreen wreath and five candles.
The circle of the wreath represents God’s eternity, endless mercy, and ceaseless love. Four of the candles are placed on the ring of the wreath and one in the center. The center candle represents Christ. One candle is lit each week and is accompanied with a reflective reading as well as scripture.
The purple candles on the wreath are lit each week of Advent, and the center white candle is lit on Christmas Eve. We are encouraged to pause during Advent to contemplate the wonder of God’s undeserved mercy and continued love in Jesus Christ. The lighted candles remind us of light from the first light of creation, through the prophecies of light in the Old Testament to the coming of Jesus – The Light of the World. He came and is coming again. Until then, we actively wait...