Olive Branch Discipleship Ministries
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|Posted on December 1, 2015 at 8:55 PM||comments (11)|
The kindness of a gentle word when I am hurting or discouraged; the brilliance of a heart-felt smile to me when my world seems quiet, still, a little narrow; a hand reaching over to shake mine and holding it for just a few seconds, the warmth of that touch when I feel separated, isolated, unvalued; a direct look straight into my eyes when I feel that no one notices me, if I am here or not; all these wonderful human things are extensions of God the Father to us to say, "Yes, I know you are here and Yes, I really do care that you are."
I wonder, do you ever have days or seasons like that? I think, if we are honest, we would all say, "Yes!"
The mercy and the kindness of our Lord Jesus is a wonder to behold. He always knows and He always extends Himself to us. I hear people say quite often, "God never does those things for me." And yet, He does. You just choose not to see.
God uses people all around us to minister to us if we would only take the time to notice. Christian people are extensions of our God and are to be sure to do so.
Do you extend yourself to others for His sake? Are you filled with His compassion and mercy for others? Are you aware of the assignments God has for you each and every day, or are you missing it all? One of the laws of the Kingdom of God is to love your neighbor as yourself. We must do so. We all need encouragement, touch, love, compassion, and understanding. Pass it on so that when you need it, God will send someone to you to "pass it on!"
- Pastor Sandi
Mark 12:31 ........"The second is this: 'Love your neighbor as yourself'. There is no commandment greater than these."
John 14:21 "Whoever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves me. He who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love him and show myself to him."Ephesians 4:32 "And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you."
|Posted on November 23, 2015 at 4:08 PM||comments (78)|
Home. Home can mean many things to different people, and bring up various emotions. Home becomes our 'root base' in life and should and be a warm and safe place to be.
I have just completed my last major trip for this year. Traveling is amazing
and educating to be sure, but there is no place like home and I am very glad to be home! My home is where my roots re - mentally, emotionally, physically, and spiritually. Home is my place to be me and to relax, safe. Home is filled with wonderful family, amazing friends, a welcoming church to belong to.
What is your home like? Do you need to change something or overcome something to make it a place for you? There was a time when home was dismal for me, depressing, stressful and uncertain. It took me awhile to change things and to overcome issues that prevented my peace and my life from prospering, but I did manage it. Now, this doesn't mean that home will not contain conflicts, disagreements, stresses, forced changes, and maximum growth, because it will. Even living alone will require some growth and changes in your home and in your life. Sometimes these things do not seem to make sense and the growth is painful. Still, there is no place like home.
Did you know that someday you will obtain a perfect home, free of conflicts, pain, disappointments, and challenging issues? Well, it is just around the corner!
This particular home requires membership into the Family that provides it.
You must know Jesus as your Savior and your Lord first. Romans 10:9 "That if
you confess with your mouth that, "Jesus is Lord", and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved."
John 14:2-3 Jesus has said, "My Father's house has many rooms If that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you,? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you with me that you also may be where I am."
And 2 Corinthians 5:1 "For we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven not built by human hands."
We have a perfect future home to just be ourselves, to be safe and loved and accepted. In the meantime we have an earthly home to take care of and be good stewards in. If your home s out of order, ask the Lord to show you what to do and how to do it to get order back. One key is for you yourself to be in order with God the Father first, through Jesus Christ and under the power of Holy Spirit.
Home is a good place to be. The Lord will help you if you but ask:
Psalm 34:4 "I sought the Lord and He answered me, and delivered me from all my fears."
I am thankful to be home and to have an abundant life in Christ Jesus!
Acts 17:26 "From one man He made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and He determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live."
|Posted on October 3, 2015 at 6:00 PM||comments (36)|
10.3.15 Stresses of Life
O, this thing called stress! No one is exempt from it. Every day of your life stress presents itself to you. You must learn how to recognize this and how to manage it - or it will manage you!
Stress can either be good or it can be bad. This is dependent on your perspective in how you choose to perceive it. Stress is constant in our lives here on this earth, it will always be with us in some situation and in some circumstance.
In the observation of stress in my life this last week, I have given it a great deal of thought. This is not new, I have been through many stressful issues of life and have always found - looking back - that I have survived and rallied on. I will admit, though, that there have been many times I was not sure that I would!
What makes stress good or bad? Good stress can simply be a change in your circumstance or situation - a new job, more money, change in relationships, new opportunities of life, and so on. Even good stress creates stress! Now you have to adapt and move through it all, with expectations and new players in your life. Some of these opportunities, or new players, may seem to be hard to get through, difficult and oppositional. There is great learning and new perception that are involved in good new stresses. You must be able to discern what is good and right and true, what is the direction you must go in to fulfill this new opportunity. Now, bad stress is what we are all most familiar with, or we think we are! Generally you will feel that you are out of control, something or someone is changing your life and you don't want your life changed. Some of this is true.
You can choose to fight against all this, you can grumble and complain, you can resist with all your might - and you may even succeed in some ways. But what if there were another understanding to all these stresses? What if there were a design to all these stresses in your life? What if there is a marvelous and supernatural plan in all of it? Well there is. Stress of any kind causes you to move, to grow, to expand the areas of your life. If you always remain where you are, doing what you do, narrow in all your relationships, and indifferent in expanding your expectations, you will miss out on multitudes of blessings, favors, and wonders in your life. You will never savor the greatness that God has for you, or the sweetness of His presence with you. Water cannot remain stagnant and continue to sustain life, nor create new life along its path. The choice is yours. Become stagnate and devoid of life through resistance to change and challenges of life through anger and bitterness, or fears and unbelief. God has your back, if you will only turn to Him, for He knows and He has a plan. He will work it out in you if you will allow Him to. God must bring changes and challenges into your life to grow you up, to change the direction you are going in to accomplish His plan for your life. Trust Him, He loves you more than you know. YOU have an amazingly bright future, YOU are meant to carry life - His Life - within you. YOU are meant to create new life all around you - His New Life. YOU are meant to carry within you living, moving water. Jesus.
- Pastor Sandi
Jeremiah 29:11-13 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 "Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus."
|Posted on August 5, 2015 at 4:53 PM||comments (104)|
8.5.15 Moving in Change
Change. How well do you manage change? I suppose it is dependent upon the nature of the change. Some changes we manage easily and without a great deal of thought, and then some changes are apprehensive and difficult for us to accept or adjust to.
Ordinary every day changes come and go, and mostly without notice. A change in our schedule, an unexpected duty, an unexpected visitor. I think the reason these types of changes are so easy is because they do not cost us as much, there is not an uncontrollable difference in our life.
Unexpected and dramatic changes are much more difficult. These are life changing and costly to us. Another person's actions or decision can alter the course of our life without much control for us, and without our agreement. These changes we want to resist and to stand against. These changes can be filled with emotions and fears, and even dread. Changes like death, loss of employment, divorce, a child leaving, or family issues, are all out of our control and cause anxieties and uncertainties in us.
Even good changes can most often bring fears and insecurities of whether we can measure up to or accomplish what is required of us; a new job, new marriage, new family, etc.
As Believers in Christ we must be able to have enough Faith in Him to adapt to whatever change our day may hold. We must be able to believe that our Lord is in control of all things that creep in, or barge into, our lives on a daily bases. He knows. He is not caught unawares.
What is the point of all these changes? No matter if they seem good or bad, these changes (challenges) are designed by Him to draw us closer to Him, to show us another side of our God (healer, comforter, provider, defender, etc.) and to grow us up in Him. These are trials and temptations designed by the Master to mature us and to get us out of our own agendas and our own ways and thoughts.
We serve a GOOD God, and we must remember that. Do not be resistant.
Trust and obey. If you do, you just well may miss the calling on your life or a
great blessing designed to turn your life around. Have Faith in God.
He always has a plan and He always equips us for what is needed! He never leaves us nor forsakes us. Ever.
- Pastor Sandi
Ecclesiastes 3:1 "For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:"
Philippians 4:6-7 "Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."
Mark 11:22 "Have faith in God," Jesus answered."
1 Thessalonians 5:11-16-18 "Be joyful always, pray continuously, give thanks in all circumstances for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus."
|Posted on June 25, 2015 at 3:02 PM||comments (63)|
I have been paying attention to the richness of God's favor in my life. Do you ever take time to do that? Life moves quickly around us and our focus is more apt to be on what we need, what we are doing, what we don't have, that we think will make our life easier. My life seems to get busier and busier every week and I have made a decision to slow it down. I don't want to miss what my God is doing in my life, all the grace, all the blessings, all the favor. I have found that, for the most part, I really do have all I need and if not, my God will supply if I ask Him.
Favor is a kind act, undeserved; something done or granted out of good will; the state of being approved or held in high regard. Most of the time favor comes to me in the form of a challenge or something that can appear as negative at first. If I view all things through my own human eyes, I would become discouraged and upset, even fearful; but because I am spiritually training myself to see through my spiritual eyes - God's possible view of it all - I am becoming more aware of the grace and favor hidden there just waiting for me to discover it.
As I take time to discover it, I am drawn deeper into a love relationship with Jesus and I increase in my spirit; I see a possibility of a possibility. Remember,
"And in all things God works for the good of those that love Him, that are called according to His purpose" Romans 8:28
So, please, take time to think on God's favor, look for it, ask for it. Be thankful and praise Him always! It is good medicine!
- Pastor Sandi
|Posted on June 25, 2015 at 3:00 PM||comments (76)|
Awareness. Do you ever just stop and think what that means? Are you aware?
I think, for the most part, we just get up in the morning and move through our day dealing with whatever comes across our path, not thinking too much about it except to handle it, to get through it, or to make it right. However, there is so much more going on then we might ever think.
These situations, circumstances, challenges, irritating people, can be the very thing that will change the course of our life forever. IF we will stop and really take a look at what is in our path for the day, we can step into blessing and avoid disaster and destruction, or step into a mess that can take years to undo.
Let's face it, many of the decisions we make, the choices we choose, or the words we 'spontaneously' say, will make or break us pretty quickly! Nothing like a sinking heart to tell us that we missed it, that we made the wrong choice that now cannot be undone.
Being aware means 'to be observant of, to pay attention to, having knowledge of or being conscience of, being alert'. It also means to be mindful of what is going on around you in the workings of the Holy Spirit in your life for the day. What you may see as a real obnoxious irritation could be a major lesson or blessing in disguise. Being alert in the natural man is to have intuition. Being alert in the spiritual man is to be discerning and wise.
Which sounds better to you?
Do you ever think about the workings of God the Father in your daily life?
Let's stop and not be so quick to be so 'busy' that we are irritated and bulldozing our way through our day and miss what Jesus might be trying to do for us. There are wonders all around us, answers to our prayers, the love and presence of our heavenly Father. gate-keepers for our miracles.
Stop. Breathe. Be AWARE. Don't miss where the Lord is working!!!
Take time from now on to 'be aware'!
- Pastor Sandi
1 Corinthians 15:58 (Amplified Bible)
"Therefore, my beloved brethren, be firm (steadfast), immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord [always being superior, excelling, doing more than enough in the service of the Lord], knowing and being continually aware that your labor in the Lord is not futile [it is never wasted or to no purpose]."
|Posted on June 25, 2015 at 2:59 PM||comments (7)|
Hope for the day. What would we do without it. Somehow, no matter how bad the previous day, we wake up to a new day and hope abounds within us again. Sometimes it is a very small flicker and sometimes it will flood our whole being. It really doesn't matter as long as we embrace the measure of hope that we have for the day we face.
Hope is that inexplicable sense of expectation of something good, something positive, the daring of a possibility that is in favor to us and to our need. Who can explain it? Who can put it into words? Now the hope that the world gives us, our natural-man hope, is based in our own understanding, expectations, dependencies, and strength, and can be dashed without warning as these things fall apart. But hope that comes from Christ Jesus is based on Him and His works in us, through us, and around us - not dependent on anything but Him, His Word, and the Holy Spirit. It takes all 'works' out of our hands. What a relief. All we have to do is to know that our Lord loves us and always has our good in mind. Always.
How many times we have had to go through things that we didn't think we would ever be able to live through?? And then because of prayer, hope, faith we made it and were able to look back and see the 'coincidences, luck, etc.' that enabled us to make it. You do realize that in Christ there are no such thing as coincidences or luck, but only the moving, connecting, and nudging, of the Holy Spirit?? These are God-designed connections, appointments, and directions. Let's be mindful of the role of hope in our lives. Hope connected to faith brings favor and brings blessings. Let's not miss it. Let's not look back with regret. Turn your life over to Christ Jesus and begin to see the connections of hope. He know all things about you. He is never caught unawares.
Without hope we lose heart and we die, spiritually and sometimes physically.
Tomorrow always brings new hope, new mercies, and new possibilities.
Psalm 43:5 Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.
Psalm 25:5 Guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long.
Psalm 31:24 Be strong and take heart, all you who hope in the Lord.
Psalm 119:49 Remember your word to your servant, for you have given me hope.
- Pastor Sandi
|Posted on May 29, 2015 at 7:02 PM||comments (120)|
Friends. Friendship. How sweet it is. It is a good thing to have good, honest friends in your life, or at least one. While we have many acquaintances, one good, honest friend is invaluable. What is your criteria for a good friend? What are your expectations for a friendship? The Bible tells us that for a person to have friends, he must first show himself friendly. Are you the kind of friend you would like to have?
How about trust, loyalty, steadfastness, honesty, forgiving, patient, kind, generous, humorous, encouraging, comforting, etc.? Then there are the interests in common that give us pleasure to do things together, to enjoy life in each other's presence. There are many things that make up a deep and intimate friendship; things we want and need, but things we must have our self before we will attract a friend like this.
Why don't we pause today and think about this. Think about who you are and what you offer as a friend. Are you demanding and controlling? Are you fussy and manipulating? Do you require more than you are willing to give out? Do you require all the attention? Do you do all the talking and decision making? Are you a good listener? Are you patient and kind? Do you take time to encourage and edify?
Remember, you get back what you give out.
What kind of friend are you?
- Pastor Sandi
Proverbs 12:26 "The righteous should choose his friends carefully, For the way of the wicked leads them astray."
Proverb 17:17 "A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity."
Proverb 18:24 "A man who has friends must himself be friendly, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.
Proverb 27:6 "Wounds from a friend can be trusted, but an enemy multiplies kisses."
|Posted on May 19, 2015 at 10:43 PM||comments (8)|
|Posted on May 5, 2015 at 8:07 PM||comments (661)|
I have been looking at the rapid growth of my grass. A little rain, a little sunshine and O, my gosh! Very quietly it takes it all in and begins to grow and then, quite suddenly, it is long, lush and green. And yet, in certain areas I notice sparseness, areas where it is barren and needs reseeding. As I examine the ground it seems hard and tough, empty. This makes me wonder how the Lord God sees some of us. Some of us seem to be lush and growing, green and full of life in some areas and yet so barren and empty in other areas. Do you ever feel like that? Do you ever see yourself in that manner? I am sure that our God does and I am sure that He desires we do something about it.
So, out comes the rake to turn over the ground, to break up all the hard and tough areas to prepare for the seed. Here comes a handful of seed to lavishly throw out to cover over the sparse areas of earth, and then comes the water - the rain and the sunshine - to perpetuate the growth.
How faithful our God is to care and to observe what the needed areas of our life are for Him to re-seed. How He comes, through others and through His Word, to turn up our hard and fallow earth, the ground of our heart and spirit, to give us the seed we need! Just the right seed. And, most of the time we mutter and complain about it, not liking the process at all! And then, after the hard work and the work of patience in our life, the seed takes root and quietly grows until suddenly we see the lushness of our growth and our empty and bare places are no more. It is a work well done and well worth the effort.
Will you let the Lord turn up the hard, empty, fallow ground of your heart? Will you allow Him to reseed with the fertilizer of His mighty Word? Will you allow Him to use the Son and the rain of the Holy Spirit to cause you to root and grow and become lush n Him? I so hope so! the 'suddenly' you too will be lush and green in Him!
- Pastor Sandi
Jeremiah 4:3 "For thus saith the Lord to the men of Judah and Jerusalem (Believers) 'Break up your fallow ground and sow not among thorns."
Hosea 10:12 "Sow to yourselves in righteousness, reap in mercy; break up your fallow ground: for it is time to seek the Lord, till He come and rain righteousness upon you."