Laugh Out Loud by David Hertel

Social media has created a place where acronyms abound; most of which I don’t even know the meaning. However, I do know “LOL” is the acronym for “Laugh Out Loud”, and I love it. It says it all so succinctly and reminds me of Proverbs 17:22 A merry heart does good, like medicine.   Medical science has proven that if you can even fake a laugh, it will elevate your mood and relieve stress. And if you laugh about something genuinely funny it will do even more! The great thing is that fake laughter is funny in itself and usually primes the pump for the real thing. Psalm 2:1-3 speaks of earth’s rulers raging and revolting and plotting against God and His Anointed. Verse four describes God’s response to such serious issues. He who sits in the heavens shall laugh; the LORD shall hold them in derision.
Next time troubles come knocking try some LOL and stay in a good mood… apparently God does!


Gardening with God by Pastor David Hertel

     Spring is upon us and the warm winter has jump-started the need to get yards and gardens ready so the right kind of growth can come. In his letter to the Corinthian Church, the Apostle Paul used gardening terms when he described the work of ministry. “  I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the increase. So then neither he who plants is anything, nor he who waters, but God who gives the increase”  1 Corinthians 3:6-7.

      As believers, we were “called out” from the corruption of the world system with the intent that we would be more effective at weeding and feeding the garden we live in. Christ’s provision for His church gave us favor, and when we steward it unselfishly and courageously as Queen Esther did, it positions us for increased influence. When we are faithful to use that influence in releasing kingdom increase we are fulfilling our commission to be salt and light in a corrupted & darkened world. What a responsibility but what a privilege that God has chosen us to co-labor with Him as His gardeners. “Now he who plants and he who waters are one, and each one will receive his own reward according to his own labor” 1 Corinthians 3:8.



‘Ask for Rain’ by David Hertel

With the advent of 2017 we are already in the Hebrew calendar year of 5777 and prophetic words from seasoned, trusted voices are confirming that a third great awakening has begun and God is about to impact earth at a higher level than ever before. The word of the Lord to me for this year was Zachariah 10:1. Ask the Lord for rain in the time of the latter rain. The Lord will make flashing clouds; He will give them showers of rain, Grass in the field for everyone. This verse challenges us to ask for more of what God has already determined is in His timing to give – rain! Rain to Israel, an agricultural society, was not a luxury it was a necessity. Without it the crops failed, the grass withered, the livestock perished and ultimately the lives of the people were at stake. Rain is synonymous with the goodness of God and in Exodus 33 when Moses asked God to show him His glory God equated it with His goodness. Let’s expect greater glory! Let’s expect God’s goodness to break through this year like never before. It’s the time of the latter rain; let’s ask for more!


It’s Christmas Time

 
The original intent of celebrating Christmas revolves around the event the Apostle Paul described so succinctly in Galatians 4:4-5. But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons. This time of all times, the arrival on earth of God in the flesh is rivaled only by the time of His crucifixion and resurrection 33 ½ years later. Our watches and calendars measure Chronos time which is sequential and quantitative; telling us when things happen but the incarnation was a Kairos moment. Though prophesied 700 years before it was still an unexpected, underestimated qualitative time when heaven invaded earth and human destiny intersected history.  Let’s celebrate Christmas time with that in mind.


Spirit Led Living

But you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you.  Romans 8:9.
As children of God we are called to push the envelope on the comfort zone of assumptions that limit our experience of life in the Spirit. In the movie The Truman Show, Truman discovers one day that he is the main character in an elaborate scripted environment and his whole life has been orchestrated and sanitized. He eventually gets free by overcoming his own fears and defying the resistance of a threatening illusionary world. His courage to leave the safe harbor of the familiar and go after true reality even though unpredictable & risky is a parable for the church. Spirit filled believers must be willing to risk it all and leave the familiar, the sanitized and the routine to become Spirit led believers. For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.  Romans 8:14.


Demonstration & Declaration

(Sharefaith App Image)For the kingdom of God is not in word but in power.  I Corinthians 4:20
 

As people in whom the Spirit of the resurrected Christ dwells, we are commissioned to not only bring the world a message but an opportunity to encounter God. The gospel that is the power of God to save will only be believed by many through supernatural demonstrations. Paul said the Gentiles became obedient when he fully preached the gospel of Christ in word and deed, in mighty signs and wonders and by the power of the Spirit of God. If we are not contending for more than we see now we have settled for less than Christ paid for.



Becoming a Gapstander

(Sharefaith App Image)
I received an e-mail several years ago that ended with this statement; “Life is not the way it’s supposed to be; it’s the way it is. The way you cope with it is what makes the difference.” At the time I thought Jesus didn’t make the ultimate sacrifice to provide a way for us to just cope as life spirals out of God’s will. Israel often had seasons where life was not the way it was supposed to be either.

Ezekiel 22 tells us that the priests were profaning the law and the Lord, the princes were preying on the people, the prophets were prophesying false visions and lies and the people were oppressing the poor. All of society from the top to the bottom was ripe for judgment but God’s first response was to look for a “gapstander”. So I sought for a man 

The Lord desires to show mercy and He looks for us to stand in the gap between the way things are and the way things should be. Instead of agreeing with the naysayers and faithslayers let’s be gapstanders for America’s future, that it would yet fulfill the purpose in the earth that God intended.

 



Courage Required

 

 

Now they were on the road, going up to Jerusalem, and Jesus was going before them; and they were amazed. And as they followed they were afraid.  Mark 10:32

 If you are a Christian and you are bored you may want to check the distance between you and Jesus. His disciples were simultaneously amazed and afraid, but never bored. Amazing things await those who have the courage to follow closely. Learn what you need to, prayerfully make the necessary plan of action then take the next step with the attitude of boldness. Knowledge unapplied is no more effective than ignorance. Your courage to risk it, step out of your comfort zone into the unknown, and trust God alone is the dynamic, moment-by-moment, wonderful adventure you were born again for. Like the Promised Land, the land of promises fulfilled belongs only to the courageous.  Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.  Joshua 1:9


Thanksgiving & Praise

 The late Derek Prince once said, “If you only have ten minutes to pray make eight of them praise”. Faith never probates praise and thanksgiving. Faith is “fully persuaded that He who promised is well able to perform” and thanks God in advance.   I’ll bet “thanks Father” garners more attention in heaven than “please God” any day. Let’s determine to maintain an attitude of gratitude and be in that company of believers who “Enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise”. Pray for peace, prosperity, power and protection for the body of believers called Hope Fellowship Church, our leaders, our community and country.   And however long you pray, praise and give thanks at least as long, “for He is good and His mercy endures forever”.


You Can Do This!

Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us.  Hebrews 12:1

One Sunday morning during worship as we were singing the song You Are Beautiful, the line in it that says, “I see your face and you’re beautiful” seemed to open up another realm to the eyes of my heart.  The faces of saints who have gone on before us in the last 50 to 60 years or so began coming into my view. They were preachers and teachers from across the spectrum of the body of Christ and their faces were glowing with His glory. I thought of Hebrews 12:1 that says we are surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses. They were not rah-rah cheering us on, they were almost pleading, pulling on my heart and saying, “Come on! You can do this! You’ve got to move the ball further down the field. We paid a price to move it but now it’s your turn. You’ve got to move it further.”  I saw their faces as they were coaxing us and I felt their passionate yearning to see Jesus get his full reward.  With tears in my eyes I surrendered to a lifelong pursuit of honoring their request.