Thursday Thoughts | January 11, 2017

 

My earliest memory of doing something bold was when I was around 7 years old with the kid across the street named Billy.  Billy thought he was the king of the block and one day he and a few of his friends came across the street to show me how tough he was and I assume how weak I was.  Being that this was nearly 40 years ago, I don’t remember all of the details, but what I remember is that he and his posse came across the street, said a few words and then he proceeded to shove me to the ground.  What did I do? Here is where the boldness comes in….I immediately jumped up from the ground and punched him in the gut!  He doubled over and then made his way back across the street in a type of  “walk of shame.”

In that moment, I wasn’t thinking about what if he and his friends ganged up on me after the punch, as I’m sure that I wouldn’t fare well.  I wasn’t thinking that my parents would be my back up if the whole “punch in the gut” thing didn’t work out, because they probably didn’t even  know what was taking place.  Of all the scenarios that could have taken place from that interaction, I just instinctively stood up to the bully…and thankfully it worked out!  Funny thing, and in typical boy fashion, Billy and I became great friends after that exchange, and until the time that he moved away,  we rode bikes around the neighborhood, played ball in the parkway and hung out together.   

Looking back, I remember that being a scary moment but more so being a glorious moment!  It wasn’t glorious because I won.  It was glorious because I had boldness to stand up to a bully! 

Do you know that God wants you to have boldness in your life, especially in your prayer life?  According to Paul in

Hebrews 4:16,  God wants you to come boldly to the “throne of grace”! The word, “boldly”, according to the 1828 Webster’s Dictionary, means “to act courageously, without timidity and fear, and with confidence”  and that definition gives me a clear understanding of how God wants us to pray.  God wants us to pray with confidence!  Our boldness/confidence in Christ should never be arrogant and centered around ourselves, but it should be about knowing that God is listening to us (Isaiah 59:1); that He won’t leave us (Hebrews 13:5); and that He has the best thoughts towards us (Jeremiah 29:11).  We should have confidence that the Holy Spirit in us “is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think” (Ephesians 3:20).  We should have confidence/boldness in our Heavenly Father because He is able and has given us the Holy Spirit to help us!

How do we get this boldness/confidence?  The answer is simple… Have Faith in God!  Look at these verses written by Paul and inspired by God:
  •  “For through him (Jesus) we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father”. – Ephesians 2:18  
  • In whom (Jesus) we have boldness and access with confidence by the faith of Him.” – Ephesians 3:12
  •  “By whom (Jesus) also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.” – Romans 5:1-2

I believe in God and I have confidence that He is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that I ask or think!  I believe that God is with me!  I believe that God wants me to talk to Him!  I believe that He wants me to come boldly and confidently to Him because His Word says so.  Do you believe this?  I hope so!  

The Father is listening!  Let us come before Him confidently!

Matt Roller



Thursday Thoughts | January 4, 2017

 

One of my favorite passages in the OT is found in 2 Chronicles 20.  This chapter gives the account of 3 different armies that threatened to wipe out King Jehoshaphat and the people of Judah!  I’m not sure how many  were on the side of the enemy, but I do know that it was enough to cause fear for King Jehoshaphat and his people.   Look what the following verses have to say about the size of the armies:
  • Verse 2 – “there cometh a great multitude
  • Verse 12 – “against this great company
  • Verse 15 – “this great multitude

How many does the word “great” represent? We’re not told  the exact number but I do know it’s  A LOT!!!  A Whole Bunch!!  The Whole Enchilada!!  “Great Gobs!!  Heaps!! (I think that you get the picture!) 

In fact,  there were so many people that came to destroy Jehoshaphat and God’s people that it is no wonder what happened next…”And Jehoshaphat feared,” (20:3)  Who could blame Jehoshaphat and the rest of the people?  Not many of us have ever felt the type of fear that they had to have knowing that people were trying to kill them and that there was enough of them to complete the job.  I think that we would have been afraid too! 

However, the great part of this account is that Jehoshaphat didn’t go run into a cave and hide because of his fear.  He didn’t try to compromise to become slaves to the enemies so that their lives would be spared.  He didn’t even try to come up with a military plan to beat the enemy.  He didn’t live in that fear!  What he and the people did (found in verses 3 and 4) was this:

  1. He “set himself to seek the Lord
  2. He proclaimed a fast throughout all Judah
  3. They asked God for Help
  4. All Judah came to seek the Lord
Look at what the people said in verse 12, “O our God, wilt thou not judge them? for we have no might against this great company that cometh against us; neither know we what to do: but our eyes are upon thee.” 
 
Please read God’s response to their prayer in verses 14-17 and the results that took place in verses 18-30 on your own, but let me give you the end of this account…GOD GAVE A GREAT VICTORY!  
 
But when did the victory happen?  When the people believed on God and praised Him even before the victory was won (see verses 19-22)!  After I read this passage once again, I had to evaluate my prayers yet again.  Am I praying with belief that God can/will answer my prayers?  Am I praying with a song in my heart/mouth?  Am I even seeking the Lord with desperation rather than the comfortable little prayers that are easy to say?  I am reminded by this passage that God wants to give us victory over the battles in our lives, but He wants us to seek Him first!  He wants us to believe in Him!  He wants us to believe in Him to the point that we will even sing His praises before the victory is won!  
 
Have a BIG battle that you’re facing?  Seek God!  Believe in God!  Sing Praises to God! See a victory in your life that God will give you!  After all,  the battle is not really yours to begin with (verse 15)!  
 
Looking forward to a great and victorious Sunday with you!
9:30 AM – Traditional Service
11:00 AM – Contemporary Service and Life Dynamics
6:00 PM – Sunday Evening Service 

Matt Roller



Thursday Thoughts | December 28, 2017

 

Our family usually spends most New Year’s Eve nights watching the ball drop in New York City.  I don’t always like the entertainment surrounding that event but I have always liked watching the clock tick down on the old year which also brings in the new year!  To me,  this New Year’s celebration is a special thing to watch as it’s nostalgia and anticipation all wrapped into one event.  It’s nostalgic due to the great things that have happened in the past and anticipation due to the hopes for what is in store for the future.   I am sure that in my adulthood I have had some New Year’s Eve nights that I was looking forward to being done with the terrible year that we just had and was really looking forward to a fresh start!  Then there were other years that were much better but still the hopes for the new year were exciting to consider.  Either way, the beginning of the new year has always had a way of being motivating for me.  

I usually am motivated to do some of the following:

  • Read the Bible and pray more often 
  • Eat better and exercise more
  • Be a better steward of my time and money
  • Be a better husband and father

Are you ever motivated with the same thoughts?  

If so, I hope that you have been better than me in the past at following through and completing those things that motivated you at the start of the year.  I hope that you didn’t let a lack of discipline deter you from eating better!  I hope that you gave of your time and money better than the year before!  I pray that you spent more time with God like you set out to do!  I hope that you were a better husband and father!  A better neighbor and church member!  I hope that you were just…better than the year before!   But the question is, are you better?  

As I alluded to in the last paragraph, I haven’t always been great at following through with my resolutions (motivations) and I always get discouraged when I don’t!  I then wonder, why did I not follow through?  Why did I not press forward?  For me, the answer usually has several answers to it, but let me focus on one for this email.  The reason is that I get stuck in the past!  I default to the past and conform back to old patterns.  I lose motivation after I fall into these old patterns and think that it’s useless to keep trying!  I get defeated and I give up!  There it is…the truth, and it’s painful to admit!
 
But this year, I hope that I will have a different experience!  I believe that I am already in a different place spiritually and mentally than in past years and I believe that I will see victory in my life over the New Year’s funk that I fell into before.  The reason?  Because I am not going to look back and dwell on past regrets, setbacks and failures but I am going to just look forward to the hopes of a great 2018!  I believe that God is with me always (Hebrews 13:5) and that He won’t leave me!  I believe that I am more than a conqueror through Jesus Christ (Romans 8:37)!  I believe that I can do all things through Jesus Christ (Philippians 4:13)!  I believe that if God be for me, who can be against me (Romans 8:31)!  I believe that the devil wants to destroy me but Jesus wants to give me the abundant life (John 10:10)! I believe that God has a purpose for me (Jeremiah 29:11) and that He is going to use me as I yield to Him (Isaiah 6:1-8)!  I believe that I am a Child of God (John 1:12) by believing on Jesus!  Since I believe all of these things,  the question is, why would I look backward?  The answer is that there is no good answer!  We have everything to look forward to and very little that we should dwell on from the past!  To be sure,  we can learn from positive and negative life experiences or even sins, but don’t let the devil use anything negative to pull you back!  

I want to challenge you to look forward and look toward God!  Set some God-honoring goals for your life and press forward.  Don’t let the devil defeat you!  Don’t let negative influences sway you!  Stay focused and move forward!

I love you all – looking forward to a great 2018! 

Matt