Highs and Lows, Mountains and Valleys

The t-shirt said: “Life is Complicated.”  I remember seeing that yesterday when I was trying to head to Beaufort and was hindered by a flat tire, which diverted me into a service center for nearly an hour.  A minor setback that couldn’t be avoided or ignored.  And while exceptionally inconvenient, it was certainly not “life” impacting.

Rewind to 2 hours before this ordeal.  I received a call that will be impacting.  It was news that was heartbreaking and will have far-reaching implications for sure.  Rewind to Thursday (just 24 hours before), a miracle occurred: one of those things that can only be God-led and God-delivered.  A pattern?  A season?  Life?  To me, it is part of life and it is a part of our journey.  God is teaching us new things each day, and to do so, He uses all the experiences of life.  Remember now, it is part of “being made in the image of His Son” – and this is what God is most interested in and concerned about.

I believe the Wisdom Books of the Old Testament are embedded in God’s eternal Word to help cultivate and mature us on, and in, this journey.  One of the most familiar passages is found in Ecclesiastes:  “For there is a time and season for everything…”  Oh yes, there is!  The good, the bad, the pretty, the ugly, the joyful, and the heart-wrenching.  Often, tears of joy are followed by tears of sorrow, and that can happen rapidly.  Some times, much more rapidly than what we would prefer.

For me personally, the past 72-96 hours has been a full swing, back and forth, of the mountain and the valley.  Yet, it is not one to the other and stopping — this one is a back and forth.  As I am reminded of the one it’s on the mountain – then, something triggers the other and it’s the valley.  You too are somewhere today.  And although we will all go through this in life, I find myself re-establishing the fact that being in the center of God’s will is most crucial.  I find myself realizing that praising God, for both, and for everything in between, is essential.  For it was Job who said, “The Lord gives, and the Lord takes away, blessed is the Name of the Lord!” 

In all things, in all days, and in all ways, may His Name be magnified, through me!

Humbled to be a vessel…

Pastor Porter


Love is Kind

   We’ve been diving into 1 Corinthians 13 these past few weeks.  So much could be shared about our journey.  So much could be examined and claimed about this beautiful agape passage written by Paul, addressed to the church.  Here in the past 5-6 weeks, I believe I have read, re-read, and examined as many as ten different translations, including the original Koine’ Greek.  Today, however, one verse seemed to elevate itself off of the page and stand out:  “Love is kind” (13:4b). 

   In God’s Word, love is about being kind (action-intensive, present tense).  It is real, practical, and applicable.  Let there be no mistake, forgiving others, in the same way Christ has forgiven you, is the ultimate act of kindness.  Yet, it is perhaps the most difficult and challenging part of kindness.  Even so, it is what God desires and expects.  Unforgiveness causes division.  But kindness and forgiveness bring forth unity, and unity, joy.  Forgive that person today, and move on.  If the person doesn’t accept it, fails to call you back, or harbors it against you – you have delighted the heart of God and you have shown k indness.

   There are certainly other ways to demonstrate agape kindness.  In the Gospel of Matthew, chapter 25, Jesus identifies what will happen when He returns in His glory:  “Then, the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, My Father has blessed you!  Inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the creation of the world.  I was hungry, and you gave me something to eat.  I was thirsty, and you gave me something to drink.  I was a stranger, and you took me into your home.  I needed clothes, and you gave me something to wear.  I was sick, and you took care of me.  I was in prison, and you visited me'” (vv.34-36). 

   These are some of the ways agape kindness is shown.  Know that it pleases God and bears witness to the fact that Christ is in us, that His Spirit reigns within us.  Being kind is not a seasonal option or negotiable; it is not something others are to be doing.  It is for each of us, individually and collectively. 

   Pray with me:  Father, we ask that You would show us where we need to be corrected in this area of kindness and forgiveness.  May our hearts be purified by Your holy fire.  May Your presence reign supremely in our lives.  Show us, Lord, those that are in need of kindness and help us demonstrate it today.  If we need to forgive, or seek forgiveness, show us that too.  May our lives be a living testimony to You, in each and every aspect, that You would be glorified, magnified, and satisfied – with us.  In Jesus’ Name.  Amen!

Love Never Fails

The Lord has given us a Message Series on “Love,” which we embarked on this past Sunday.  With His guidance and direction, we dive deeper this week as we journey into 1 Cor. 13, vv.4-8.

Paul is a straight-shooter on this incredibly important subject, writing to a people who were in desperate need of receiving and showing godly, holy love.  The Corinthians had all the gifts, but they lacked the one thing that was most important: love.  Paul makes the point that regardless of everything they may have been doing as far as giftings, works, and service, it was all like a resounding “cymbal” and “didn’t matter” if and when it was done apart and outside of agape.

Love is essential.  There is no substitute for love.  Not the mushy, Hallmark, emotionally overdone love that we often see, feel, and hear in the world.  But a love that is God-ordained and Spirit-empowered, anchored in the Person and Gift of Jesus Christ.  Through 1 Cor. 13, vv.4-7, there are 15 portraits of love painted by Paul.  In the space of 4 verses, Paul utilizes 15 verbs with love as the subject.  I believe it is imperative to Paul that we, the Church, understand and embrace this love that he is describing.

Let’s pray that we will not only “get” it but share it, distribute it, and most importantly, live it (as the power of the Holy Spirit works it out in us).  Jesus made it clear:  “The world will know you are My disciples by your love for one another.”  That will testify!

Pastor Porter

Christian Credibility

   Ever met one of those people who says one thing and does something else?  I think we all have.  Perhaps we’ve struggled with that in our past.  Maybe you’re dealing with one right now in the home, on the job, or in your neighborhood.  It happens in the church too.  Many don’t think others notice or pay attention to it because it is the church.  Point is:  How much the more should the family of God notice and be bothered?  After all, truth and purity are extremely essential in the body of Christ.  

   The fact is, you know who has credibility based on what they say and how they act, react, and respond.  For the one who claims Christ as Lord and Savior, the credibility factor better surpass that of anything else found in the world.  In other words, you are an ambassador of His love, character, grace, and mercy and this must shine through.  Not only in words, but in actions.   When you say, “I’ll do this,” “I’ll be there,” “I’ll get back to you,” or even “I will pray about that” – you have given your word.  Read up on what Jesus says about your word, in light of His Word.  There is no shortage of instruction and guidance through the Gospel records.

   In these days there is so much that is “relative” and “subjective” – so we are told.  People operate and negotiate life on feelings and emotions alone, others are led to believe that any decision regarding anything in life is open for interpretation and is case-sensitive.  It is heartbreaking to see Christians fall into this trap of sin.  It is gut-wrenching to witness believers fail the test of credibility; not just once, but over and over again.  Even worse is how gossip, and rumor, and speculation can really destroy one’s own credibility.  Just remember, we are to be sons and daughters of the truth no matter what the cost of that may be to us, personally.

   Survey your credibility.  Are you one that is credible?  Do your words and actions go hand in hand, all the time?  Are you selective in who you are credible with?  Do you minimize the seriousness of your credibility because you don’t think anyone notices or cares?  No matter what your “testimony” has been regarding credibility, today is the day to truly give it to God.  Don’t delay another second, surrender it right now.  God is a great God and He wants our credibility to be an example in a darkened world, and He has made full provision for this to occur.

Jesus said:  “I tell you the truth, everyone who sins is a slave to sin.  Now a slave has no permanet place in the family, but a son belongs to it forever.  So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed” (John 8:34-36).

Be credible…go shine!

Pastor Porter