“Today I have given you the choice between life and death, between blessings and curses. Now I call on heaven and earth to witness the choice you make. Oh, that you would choose life, so that you and your descendants might live!” Deuteronomy‬ ‭30:19‬ NLT
Decisions and choices are a part of life. They can range from a small decision to sleep in a few extra minutes or do I want toast or pancakes? To big decisions such as who I will spend the rest of my life with? or what state am I going to live in?
For every decision you make there is some form of consideration that needs to occur and the bigger the decision, the more consideration. Even making a decision to not make a decision is a decision. Did you get that?
God, through His Word, tells us what the right choices are and the rewards for making them and also what the consequences are for wrong choices. He then tells us to make a decision. He doesn’t make the decision for us but He allows us to do that.
Let God and His Word be the deciding factor for every decision you make!
-Pastor Maria Murphy

The Holy Spirit is the Difference Maker

Jesus understood fully the condition the world was in when He came to earth and yet He decided to go back to Heaven after His resurrection and left us all alone, or did He?  No, we are not alone! Jesus completed His work, nothing was left undone. He made a way where there seemed to be no way and now relationship with God has been restored by our acceptance of His sacrifice on our behalf.
Jesus knew we would experience many challenges every day of our lives even as He did when He was on the earth. Jesus was well equipped to accomplish His assignment. The third person of the Godhead came upon Him when He was baptized in the river Jordan by John the Baptist. We know this person as the Holy Spirit.
Acts 10:38 (NKJV)
38 how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power, who went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him.
That moment was “The Difference Maker” in the Lords life and ministry. It was also the difference maker in the lives of His disciples.
Acts 2:1-4
1 When the Day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. 2 And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. 3 Then there appeared to them divided tongues, as of fire, and one sat upon each of them. 4 And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speakwith other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.
I want you to know today that if Jesus and the disciples needed the infilling of the Holy Spirit to live out their lives in power and accomplish their assignment on the earth we do also.
If you have never asked the Holy Spirit to fill you with Himself, do it today and let Him be the difference maker.
-Pastor Henri Talbot

Get Wisdom

For this month’s blog I want to direct you to my favorite chapters in Proverbs, chapter one. We need wisdom on a daily basis to live a godly life. Wisdom unlocks a hidden treasure! As a woman, wisdom has been a blessing to me to build my house, my home and my life.
So enjoy a selection of verses in the Passion Translation from Proverbs 1 and 2…
“Here are kingdom revelations, words to live by, and words of wisdom given to empower you to reign in life. Within these sayings will be found the revelation of wisdom and the impartation of spiritual understanding. Use them as keys to unlock the treasures of true knowledge.
Those who cling to these words will receive discipline to demonstrate wisdom in every relationship and to choose what is right, just, and fair. These proverbs will give you great skill to teach the immature and make them wise, to give youth the understanding of their design and destiny.
These Kingdom revelations will break open your understanding to unveil the deeper meaning of the [Word of God]. How then does a man gain the essence of wisdom? We cross the threshold of true knowledge when we live in obedient devotion to God.
[Don’t think you know it all], wisdom is not always heard in the walls of high learning but in the hustle and bustle of every day life.
-Pastor Maria DaGraca

His Body

“Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular.” I Corinthian‘s 12:27 KJV.
We’ve sometimes prayed about the Lord’s work upon the earth like this, “Lord, You do this” or “Lord, You do that.” But think about what Jesus said in Matthew 28:18-19, “All power has been given unto me in heaven and earth, go ye therefore…” The Lord Jesus Christ conferred the authority on the earth upon us and He commissioned us to go.
Actually, the authority that Christ can exercise on the earth has to be exercised through the church. The church is His body and the church is here, Christ is not physically here on the earth – He’s at the right hand of the Father. Christ is the head of the church but all of His orders have to be carried out through His body…. YOU!
-Pastor Jack DaGraca

Abide In Christ

Have you ever had one of those days? The kind of day, where the only news you get is bad news. A day that is so full of trouble it spills over into the next day, because 24 hours just cannot contain it. Here is a glimpse of my last 48 hours…
I was home from work Monday (my department is laid off one day a week until work picks up.) I woke up to my wife telling me that the certified lead inspector, or the lead guy as I call him, was on his way, and it was going to cost $445.00 for him to inspect our house. Our baby girl just turned 1, at her check-up, her lead level was noted to be slightly higher than normal, and we have no obvious source of lead in our home. The house was built in 1928, but fully renovated for the third or fourth time 10 years ago.
While the lead guy was going about his business he says to me “hey, do you know that you have a flat tire?” I went outside to check with my own eyes, and my right rear, less than a year old tire, was definitely flat! I now had an opportunity to get mad, grumble or complain or I could choose to praise God, and simply abide.
The bible says abide in me, and I in you as the branch cannot bear fruit of itself except it abide in the vine, no more can you except ye abide in me John 15:4 KJV. Christ abides in me no matter what the circumstance. The evidence that I believe this is in my responses. I resisted the urge to complain and meditate on the problems around me. Instead, I put my trust in God. He is more than able to keep my baby safe. He also has more than enough resources to help provide for my family.
Trusting in God does not mean the problem instantly disappears; it just makes peace in the presence of the problem possible.
The next day I called my supervisor to let him know I was going to be a “little late”. My plan was to get my less than a year old tire plugged at the service station right down the street, and then head into work. The service station right down the street had at least an hour wait, so I drove on my donut a few miles down the road to the next service station.
The technician gave me the bad news, “you’ve got a 2 inch long, ½ inch wide piece of metal very close to the side wall, no way this can be repaired!” Instead of a $15-$20 repair, I needed a new tire, and it had to be the exact same tire as all my other tires, because my car is all wheel drive. This garage did not have this tire in stock but, recommended a tire shop to me. It was 11am by this time.
I was not going to make it into work at all, so I placed a second call to my supervisor. At the tire shop, I learned the good news, Bob would be able to order the tire and have it on my car before the shop closed at 5pm, and the not so great news it would be $187.00. Just like that $632.00 drained from savings. We also still do not know how our daughter was exposed to lead. Even samples sent out to a lab came back negative. We are thankful the level is not dangerous, and we plead the blood of Jesus over our baby girl. The level will be lower at her recheck. Praise God!
I am thankful for these past 2 days. I actually feel closer to my Father God. I chose to guard my heart and keep an attitude of praise. The result was joy and peace in my heart and in my home. The circumstances of life are always changing and if we are not abiding in Christ we will allow those circumstances to dictate to us how we should feel and respond. Let’s live our lives in Christ and allow Him to live His life through us.
On this side of Heaven we are going to have to go through some things, but in Christ we always overcome. When we remain in Him we have peace and joy that surpasses all understanding as the storm passes by. Let us live rich in God’s love. For the fruit of the Spirit is far greater than the turmoil in the world. Let’s endeavor to abide in the Lord y’all!
-Pastor Justin Barros

Your Future is Bright

Your life may have started out rough or maybe like me, your life was great initially but at some point, things took a turn in the wrong direction. Ever find yourself wondering when you would “catch that break?” or see that “light at the end of the tunnel?” I know I did.
Looking back, some of the circumstances I faced were beyond my control but most, were self-inflicted. For several years, my life consisted of one unwise decision after another which landed me in some pretty devastating situations. I began to question my purpose and my ability. The result was low self-esteem, low self-worth, and no self-confidence.
My circumstances blurred my vision and I couldn’t see past my existing condition. It appeared to me that there was no way out. Nothing changed until I turned my life back over to the Lord and enlisted the help of others who were in a better place spiritually; they loved and mentored me. I began to consistently read the Word of God and seek out His way of doing things.
In doing this, I found my purpose and my self-confidence began to increase. A verse that resonated with me during this time is Job 8:7 CEB which says, “Your future will be brighter by far than your past.” I held onto this word and continue to do so today. My friend, don’t think for one minute, that God is holding your past against you. He is far more interested in your future and He promises that it will be far better than what you’ve already experienced. You have a bright future!
-Pastor Maria Murphy

The Power of Your Words

Perhaps they never told you but they measure you by your words. You are rated by your words. Your salary is determined by the value of your words. Neither jealousy or unfairness can keep you from climbing to the top. An organization is bound to give you the place that belongs to you if your words bring the right results.  
You don’t have to put on or exaggerate, all you have to do is be natural but make your nature worth listening to. Empty words hold no interest. When you are honest with yourself and align your words with the Word of God (THE truth), your life will be filled with joy, faith and love. The value of your words will increase and others will not only listen to your words, they will depend on them.
-Pastor Maria DaGraca

God Needs us to be Faithful to Him

“He made known His ways to Moses, His acts to the children of Israel.” Psalm 103:7 (NKJV)
God needs us just as He needed Moses. He requires us to be faithful and alert to spiritual things. He needs us to be a people He can trust to know His Word and be obedient to it.
Faithfulness is a decision we make for ourselves, no one can do it for us. Will you be faithful to Him today? I know that you will. Be Blessed!
-Pastor Jack DaGraca

Called To Influence

I am sure most of us have heard when we were younger, “I don’t want you hanging around so and so, they are a bad influence.” Most likely some other kids parents told them to stay away from me. Before Jesus became my Lord, and God’s word my influence, I was influenced by the toughness of the streets and my own feelings.
What is influence exactly? Merriam-Webster defines it as, the capacity to have an effect on the character, development, or behavior of someone or something, or the effect itself. People have the ability to influence us. Have you ever been around someone at your job or school who is complaining, murmuring and negative and the next thing you know, you catch your own mouth regurgitating their complaints, murmurings, and negativity to the next guy. Influence is a powerful force. It is like a strong ocean current, it can move you in a direction you had no intention of ever going. It can affect your decisions, choices and character.
Well child of God, the good news is, if we can be influenced by those around us, then we can also be an influence to those around us. When we are surrendered to the Word of God, we let the very life of Jesus be our greatest influencer; we become what Jesus describes in Matthew 5:13-16; the salt of the earth and the light of the world. He goes on to teach no one lights a lamp and puts it under a basket, instead puts it on a lampstand. He instructs us to let our light shine before others, so that they may see our good works, and God may be glorified through us.
In the natural salt brings out flavor, it also preserves; the light of a single candle can dispel darkness! Read, study, and meditate on the word. Ask the Holy Spirit to teach and help you. Love God with all your heart, and love others as yourself.
Endeavor today to be a GOD influence. Get out there church and be salty and bright!
-Pastor Justin Barros

The Difference Maker

Recently I was asked, “How different is your life now compared to 15-20 years ago and what is one thing you attribute that to?” My answer to the first part of the questions was immediate, “My life is very different then it was 20 years ago, in many ways.” I took a few minutes to think about the second part of the question. What was the difference maker?
I thought about my life 20 years ago and how even though I was raised in a Christian home and was a “pastor’s kid”, I was a single mom of two kids, struggling financially, filled with fear, trying to keep me and my kids from becoming just another statistic, unstable, undisciplined, wanting to find someone who would love me for who I was, I was filled with guilt and condemnation, and my spiritual life was virtually non-existent.
During my reflection, I identified several steps I took to change my circumstances: I made a decision to serve God wholeheartedly, I put some distance between me and people who didn’t, I invested in my personal growth, and the list goes on. While all of these things did contribute to the positive changes I’ve experienced in my life, there is one thing to which I can attribute everything I’ve accomplished.
My answer is simple but true: Jesus is the difference maker. With Him in my life, I can get through anything. He is the one constant in my life when everything around me is in disarray. Include Jesus in every decision you make and let Him be the difference maker in your life.
-Pastor Maria Murphy