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Devotionals


The Problem With Lent

FEBRUARY 2015                                                                                                                                                            Pastor Paul Strano

Before  I get into the theme of my message let me give you what I feel is some much needed backround about me and my previous association with the traditional observance of Lent. Growing up in an Italian Catholic family I “did” Lent. Ashes, extra church services,giving up something for lent like candy,extra confession and communion every week ect,ect,ect. So I’ve “been there,done that”! I as a child observed adults around me giving up things such as using foul language, gambling,certain favorite t.v. Programs and even marital conjugal relations for the 40 days of lent. All in a desire to either appease God  and make an attempt to atone for our own sins OR maybe to thank Him for His work on the cross on our behalf. Since I really never understood the what and why’s of what the atonement at Calvary was really all about. I felt that I was drawing close to God by giving up my favorite candy  bars for those 40 day’s and so I guess did all the millions of others who observed Lent and gave up something they liked or something they did that was sin.

Now here is the problem that the mindset of that type of Lenten observance presents. The problem is being under the false assumption that you are pleasing God, drawing closer to Him by giving up something for 40 days (cursing,lieing,lust ect.) and then picking these sins  back up after lent. God is looking for REPENTANCE from His people. True repentance is when we have a  real  revulsion and hate for our own sin and with Gods help we TURN AWAY from them. Anything less is just playing the ol religion game and makes a mockery of the cross of Jesus and the  need to be “born again” into a new relationship with The Lord. A new relationship where we repent of our sins, receive Jesus’ death as canceling out ALL our sin debt to God (Jesus paid a debt He did not owe BECAUSE I owed a debt I could NEVER EVER pay) and to live the NEW LIFE that He gives us to live in the power of His resurrection,daily.

To all those who hate their sin, and live the repentant life 365 days a year,and have received Jesus as their Lord and Savior, and are looking for His soon return to take them to forever be with Him, but still observe the traditional Lenten 40 day season, to you I say PEACE BE WITH YOU!

 

 

Quotes from A.W. Tozer

Date: January 8th, 2015
Author: Pastor Paul Strano

Today’s devotional consists of some words from  A.W. Tozer, Christian pastor and author:

“What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us.” -A.W Tozer

“God never hurries. There are no deadlines against which he must work. Only to know this is to quiet our spirits and relax our nerves.” -A.W Tozer, The Pursuit of God

“It is doubtful whether God can bless a man greatly until He has hurt him deeply.” -A.W Tozer

“The reason why many are still troubled, still seeking, still making little forward progress is because they haven’t yet come to the end of themselves. We’re still trying to give orders, and interfering with God’s work within us.” -A.W Tozer

Is God Sleeping?

Date: June 9th, 2014
Author: Pastor Paul Strano

I believe the majority of Americans must believe that God is a benevolent old grandpa taking a long snooze! After all it seems that He is giving America a lot of “slack” as it pertains to our turning away from His righteousness and our doing “whats right in our own minds.”

Surely He must not care about the legalization of homosexual marriage, abortion, and all of the other ungodly decisions that challenge the word of God. What about all of  those who “live together,” doesn’t God still call that fornication? How about Americas love of drugs, strip clubs, gambling, pornography, adultery, lying. cheating, stealing, slandering and overall wickedness? Throw in our making Sunday a day of play and having many forms of “gods” before him and we have before us a total disregard and overall disdain for all 10 of His commandments! So is God sleeping, is He winking at our sin and giving America “slack”?

2 Peter 3:9 says” God IS NOT SLACK concerning His promises (His promises of His hate of all sin and His need to punish all rebellion against Him and His Laws) but is long suffering towards us all, “NOT WILLING THAT ANY SHOULD PERISH BUT THAT ALL SHOULD COME TO REPENTANCE.” God wants all to turn from their wickedness and live His way, but just as there was an appointed day that He closed up the ark of Noah and sent severe judgement on all the earth, so also there is a day coming soon when He will judge America for her sins. He must do it because He is The only true God and His holiness DEMANDS judgement. If you are a Christian pray that thru His grace and mercy God will send us a full blown HOLY GHOST led revival before He sends His righteous judgement.

Knowing Him

Date: September 14th, 2013
Author: Rev. David Allen

Philippians 3:8 “More than that, I regard everything as loss because of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things, and I regard them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ.”

That surpassing value, that priceless privilege, that supreme advantage of just knowing Him.   When I think about the years and time I wasted overlooking so great a benefit I feel robbed, cheated, stupidity, and deep regret.  I too consider the former things loss.  I am so grateful for the benefits of the cross.  Then I became obsessed with gaining the eternal things and being fruitful.  These are all good things and we are to set are hearts on things above but there is still one thing that makes all this even rubbish.  It’s just knowing Him more and more.  The amplified bible makes it clear, “and of progressively becoming more deeply and intimately acquainted with Him [of perceiving and recognizing and understanding Him more fully and clearly.”  Now I take advantage of this priceless privilege every day.  It’s more than being in church, singing His praises, reading the Bible, or praying.  It’s being with Him for no other purpose than discovery of Him.

Rev. David Allen   www.remainingfactorsministry.webs.com

2 Judgements

Date: July 21st, 2013
By: Pastor Paul 

There are 2 judgements mentioned in the bible for all humanity, The great white throne judgement for those who’s sins are going to get them thrown into the lake of fire (Rev.20) and the judgement seat of Christ (2Cor.5:10) where those who have repented of their sins and have received Christ as their Lord and savior will receive rewards and admonishment for all their works whether they are good or bad. All at this judgement will immediately after go into eternal life with their king Jesus Christ. So which judgement will you be yours, the great white throne judgement or the judgement seat of Christ? If you are not sure please read Romans 3:23—6:23—5:8—10:9-10

The Creator

Date: June 13th, 2013
By: Pastor Paul 

The majority of people who have a passionate fear of what they see as GLOBAL WARMING, have no fear of the consequence of not having a true relationship with God which is punishment in ETERNAL FIRE. They are more concerned with Gods creation (earth) than with its creator, Almighty God!

Romans 1:25 says it well:”they did worship the creation more than the creator”

The Problem with Easter

Date: March 30st, 2013
By: Pastor Paul 

Hope I got your attention with the title of this devotional. What, you might ask could a Christian pastor find wrong with Easter! Its not Easter that I have a problem with but the mindset of many who miss the whole point of The Easter season. The Easter season is not a time to give up candy, or some other indulgence and think we are being spiritual. Or coming to church maybe for the first time in a while sporting new clothes and a fresh haircut. No, the Easter season is a time for deep reflection and introspection. A time to re-new our commitment to follow,truly follow Christ and to serve Him as our Lord and only Savior. JESUS CHRIST THE LORD IS RISEN! Can you say AMEN!!!!!!!!!!

Waking up for Revival

Date: February 21st, 2013
By: Pastor Paul 

If all of the sleeping Christians would wake up, if all the lukewarm folk would fire up, If all of the dishonest folk would confess up, If all the disgruntled folk would cheer up, if all the estranged folk would make up, if all the gossipers would shut up, if all the true soldiers would stand up, if all the dry bones would shake up, if all the church was prayed up, then we would have revival! —-R.G. Lee

Does This Excite You?

Date: January 22nd, 2013
By: Pastor Paul 

If you are not excited by this following scripture then please understand that your faith is lukewarm at best and quite possibly just plain cold!  Do what Jesus said to do and repent and return to your first love. (Rev. 2)

1 Thess. 4:16-17  FOR THE LORD HIMSELF WILL DESCEND FROM HEAVEN WITH A SHOUT,AND THE VOICE OF THE ARCHANGEL AND THE TRUMPET OF GOD.AND THE DEAD IN CHRIST WILL RISE FIRST. THEN WE WHO ARE ALIVE ON EARTH AT THAT TIME WILL TOGETHER WITH THEM MEET THE LORD IN THE AIR. SO SHALL WE BE FOREVER WITH HIM. THEREFORE ENCOURAGE ONE ANOTHER WITH THESE WORDS.

Everyone Will Get Their Chance

Date: January 7th, 2013
By: Pastor Paul 

There is a day coming when everybody that has a problem with God will get to air their grievances against Him. If you feel He could have done better on your behalf you will have your chance to tell Him so. If you don’t believe He even exists you will be able to tell him that too. All excuses for living life without Him will be heard along with all your reasons for keeping the door to your heart locked tight, even as He continued to knock and implore you to open yourself up  so that He could take up residence inside of you,save you and give you abundant life. On that day of judgement the arrogant, the proud, and the profane will cry for mercy. They will see the nail prints in Jesus hands and feet and remember how many times they rejected Him and the eternal life He offered them. Finally they will hear those awful words reserved for all who in this life reject His offer of salvation: “Depart from me ye accursed into everlasting torment” Matthew 7:23

“Today if you hear His voice harden not your heart” HEBREWS 3:15

“If you confess with your mouth Jesus is Lord, and believe in your heart God has raised Him from the dead you will be saved” ROMANS  10:9-10

The Cradle, The Cross,  & The Empty Tomb

Date: December 4th, 2012
By: Pastor Paul 

Gods gifts to man-kind: The cradle, the cross, and the empty tomb.

THE CRADLE: Where the infant Jesus Christ, The Son of God, was laid by His earthly parents Joseph and Mary to rest for a short while before He would undertake the greatest and most important work of all time.

THE CROSS: Jesus’ death on the cross was the culmination of all that He ever said or did. It was the instrument chosen by God the Father to forever break the curse of Adams sin upon humanity.

THE EMPTY TOMB: On the third day Jesus rose from the dead just like He said He would. The empty tomb gives all believers hope for their own resurrection, also it was the exclamation point of Gods favor upon His Sons life.

Giving Thanks

Date: November 24th, 2012
By: Pastor Paul 

It is so sad to see the media reports of fellow Americans pushing, shoving and even getting into physical altercations as they rush into various retailers on black Friday, or is it now black Thursday? What are they in such a frenzy to get? What is it that they are so desperate to purchase? Is it a want or a need? I wonder how many of these people even know Jesus Christ, the son of God who’s birthday they are presumably celebrating!

May we remember that trying to celebrate Christmas without Christ leaves you to celebrate “mas.”

Date: November 12th, 2012
By: Pastor Paul 

As we approach Thanksgiving ,the obvious question any pastor asks his congregation is: are you thankful?

As American Christians, we have so much to be thankful for, don’t we? We live in the most blessed country on earth, most of us have refrigerators  stocked with food, unlimited sources of entertainment, and freedom to be who we want to be. This is only a short list of what we should give thanks to God for. But all of our blessings seem like nothing when we put them next to our greatest blessing which of course is the gift of eternal life purchased for us by Jesus Christ, the Son of God. Thru His death and resurrection, we are set free from Adams curse, and adopted into the family of God with heaven as our next stop after this life is over!  With all this in mind “Let us give THANKS to God for He is good and his love endures forever”psalm 107:1)

HAPPY THANKSGIVING!!!

Salvation

Date: November 1st, 2012
By: Pastor Paul 

Let me ask you a question:

“Who died on Calvary’s cross for your salvation”?

I believe that 100% of Christians, and many others will acknowledge that the answer is Jesus Christ. That answer is of course true, but lets expand on that answer and go to a place of worship and awe that few Christians visit. Jesus Christ claimed to be: one with the father (John 10:30) the great “I AM” John 8:58) and said “If you see me you see the father” (John 14:9) So since Jesus Christ was saying thru these and other scriptures that He was God, then the full answer to my original question is that Jesus Christ, who is God, died for you.

Say it: “GOD DIED FOR ME”

Do you get the full impact of this truth? GOD DIED FOR YOU!  This I believe is the power of our faith!  Will you kneel today in your quiet place and thank Him, and offer Him the sacrifice of praise? Worthy and mighty is our God!

Keep Your Eyes on the Ball

Date: October 8st, 2012
By: Pastor Paul 

I grew up loving baseball in general and hitting a ball real hard in particular. If your goal is to hit the ball long and hard, you must not get distracted, and “keep your eyes on the ball.” The key to living a successful Christian life isn’t much different. We are to keep ourselves from the many distractions that the devil will dangle in front of us, and we must keep our eyes on the prize of the high calling we have in Christ.  (Phillipians 3:14)

Money

Date: October 1st, 2012
By: Pastor Paul 

Money is not bad in itself, as a matter of fact when it is used properly it can do much good. It is the love of money and the over pursuit of material wealth that the bible condemns. Remember, God is almighty… not the dollar!

Warning Others

Date: September 19th, 2012
By: Pastor Paul 

What can be said about a Christian who believes with all their heart the reality of all that the bible says about the terrible place of eternal torment called hell, and yet never warns anyone about how to avoid this awful place?  They either really don’t believe in hell, or they lack the love and compassion of the one that they claim saved them from this awful place!

Eternal Life

Date: September 8th, 2012
By: Pastor Paul 

WHO DOES AND DOESN’T HAVE ETERNAL LIFE ACCORDING TO JESUS: 1 John 5:12 And this is the testimony, God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. The one who HAS the Son HAS life. The one who DOESN’T have the Son DOES NOT have life.

Trusting God

Date: August 27th, 2012
By: Pastor Paul 

Trusting God means of course trying to do all that He says. There would be no sense in saying you trusted a person if you would not take his advice. Thus if you have really handed yourself over to God (Truly believed in Him) then it must follow that you are trying to obey Him. Trying in a new way, a way with less worry, a way that trusts that God is who He says He is , and can do exactly what He says He will do.  Anyone can say that they trust that a certain chair will hold them. Real trust is found when you sit in the chair.

Trust in God!

The Blessing of Worship

Date: August 20th, 2012
By: Pastor Paul  

11 On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. Matthew 2:11

It has been estimated that the 3 gifts of the wisemen that accompanied their worship of the baby Jesus could have been worth over 1 million dollars in todays money.  But God is not looking for material wealth from us. No, He is looking for worshippers who will come to Him with clean hearts and reverential fear to worship Him “in spirit and in truth”  John 4:23

Matthew 2:11-12