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Author: Pastor Joyce Roth

Joyce Roth has been on a journey for more of God for most of her life. She believes that following God should be exciting. Not necessarily easy, but stimulating & inspiring! Her passion is first, to understand & walk in “all the fullness of God” and then to pass that understanding on to anyone who will listen. She grew up in rural southern Alberta & has worked alongside her husband in the ministry for the last 25 years. Together they pastor the Victory Church in Red Deer, AB.
COMPLETE IN CHRIST

COMPLETE IN CHRIST

According to Colossians 2:10, as followers of Christ, we are “complete in Christ”. I find the implications of this statement to be both overwhelming and incredibly inspiring!

Complete in Christ! To think that “all of God lives in Christ’s body” (Col 2:9) and that Christ lives in us…

We are complete in Christ! We went from being DEAD because of our sins and worldly thinking to being made ALIVE in Christ when He canceled our debt. He erased the charges against us, by nailing them to the cross! (Col 2:13-14) By grace, through faith we are now complete in Him!

So, what does this concept mean to us? Does it mean we get it right all the time? No, that certainly hasn’t been the case for myself. But what it does mean, is that we have a hope, an understanding within that encourages and strengthens us to keep on. There’s an unseen power in this statement that causes faith to arise in us so we realize that we can BELIEVE, beyond any doubt:

  • that God is sovereign. There is nothing or no-one who rivals Him. He is, was and always will be in full control!
  • that God always knows and does what’s best for us
  • that everything God says about us is true. For example, He says we’re “a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come” (2 Cor 5:17)
  • that we possess the power to live out the following truths. Like Paul said, “I don’t look back, I lengthen my stride, and I run straight toward the goal to win the prize that God’s heavenly call offers in Christ Jesus.” (Phil 3:13, 14). We can:
    • walk in obedience
    • love each other and our enemies
    • say no to temptation
    • control our thoughts
    • forgive and be forgiven
    • be thankful at all times
    • focus on things that are above” (Col. 3:1), knowing that this world is not all there is.
    • etc, etc!!

We’re complete in Christ! Let your faith arise. Faith to act on the dreams that God has put in your heart to make a difference in this world. Faith to step out and fulfill the call to “Love God, Love Others & Serve”! Let’s allow the reality of this truth to cause us to use the gifts, talents and desires God has given us, to accomplish our part of the Great Commission, “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you…” Matthew 28:19-20

YOU’VE GOT EVERYTHING YOU NEED

YOU’VE GOT EVERYTHING YOU NEED

Let’s look at one of the most exciting and inspiring verses in the Bible:

Praise the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! Through Christ, God has blessed us with every spiritual blessing that heaven has to offer. Ephesians 1:3

What an incredible verse! God has blessed us, you and me, with “every spiritual blessing that heaven has to offer”!

When we read this, we should get excited. Not because we’re expecting all our physical and natural wants and desires to be met, but rather because we realize that these spiritual blessings empower us to fulfill God’s plan on earth! As humans I think our first and natural tendency is to have our physical needs looked after but as Christians we need to choose to look past the natural and see these blessings for their true purpose. These are spiritual or inward blessings that when appropriated will cause us to be “salt and light” in the dark and needy world around us!

What are these spiritual blessings? Ephesians 1:3-14

THROUGH JESUS CHRIST

  1. we are chosen by the kindness of God
  2. we are made holy & perfect
  3. we are adopted into the family of God, sons and daughters of Almighty God
  4. we are set free from our sins, forgiven!
  5. we are given wisdom and insight
  6. we will bring praise and glory to God
  7. we are sealed with the Holy Spirit

Notice these blessings all come through Jesus, the greatest spiritual blessing of all time: the Alpha & Omega, the Author and Finisher of our faith, the Risen Lord, the Perfect Sacrifice. It’s only by grace, through faith that we will lay hold of these blessings. And when we do, thanksgiving and praise should flow from our innermost beings like rivers of living water because we understand that we have now been given everything we need to fulfill God’s call. Everything we need to see “His Kingdom come on earth as it is in heaven”

What an honor and privilege it is that God would choose to give us exactly what we need to walk with strength, boldness and courage through the physical and natural things this world holds for us. That He would provide a way for us to truly bring Him glory no matter what our physical situations look like.

When we rely on these spiritual blessings we will be a people who let our lights shine for Jesus in the darkest times. This is what we’re called too! This is where true fulfillment and joy really are. We’re way better off having the ability to stand firm in difficult times than we are enjoying physical pleasures for a season; way better witnesses of God’s greatness and glory when we can live in peace and joy while declaring His Lordship in times of trouble and hardship.

Will you join me in using these blessings to fulfill His calling to us: “Go into all the world and preach the gospel and make disciples of all nations”!

DO YOU NEED RENEWED LIFE TODAY?

DO YOU NEED RENEWED LIFE TODAY?

God is a God of life. In every aspect of the word. In every aspect of our lives God brings…God is our life!

Whether we need life renewed in our physical bodies, or our emotional or spiritual selves, God is the source of life.

 

Look at these verses from Romans 8 and see the progression of life God has for you:

Romans 8:2

The standards of the Spirit, who gives life through Christ Jesus, have set you free from the standards of sin and death.

 

Romans 8:11

Does the Spirit of the one who brought Jesus back to life live in you? Then the one who brought Christ back to life will also make your mortal bodies alive by his Spirit who lives in you.

 

Romans 8:25

But if we hope for what we don’t see, we eagerly wait for it with perseverance.

 

Romans 8:32

God didn’t spare his own Son but handed him over to death for all of us. So, he will also give us everything along with him.

 

Romans 8:37

The one who loves us gives us an overwhelming victory in all these difficulties.

 

If we have God we have life! Does it always look like it? Does it always feel like it? No! In fact, sometimes it’s hard to believe that we will ever experience joy, hope or fullness again. But God’s Spirit is ALIVE in you! He can’t be anything but alive. That’s who He is! Remember the “dry bones” in Ezekiel 37?

 

Did something stir within you as you read these verses? Is there a glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel of heaviness, depression or grief?

 

Speak and pray these verses over yourself daily. If you can’t do that yet, send me your name and I will pray them over you until you can do it for yourself!

 

PS If you aren’t sure you “have God” but realize that you need Him to get back what you’ve lost, all you need to do is invite Him to be part of your walk. He will be life to you!

And then, respond to this blog. Let me know of your decision and if you have any questions. Then, go to church! If  you’re in our area you’re welcome to join us at Victory Church – www.vcrd.ca

THE VALUE OF RIGHTEOUSNESS

THE VALUE OF RIGHTEOUSNESS

Is there value in righteousness today? Or has the time for being righteous passed? Looking at the seemingly easy and prosperous life of unrighteous people around us can be discouraging and frustrating. It can cause us to  wonder why we choose to follow Jesus and try to do what’s right?

While reading Proverbs recently, I was reminded why I do what I do and believe what I believe. I was encouraged to stick to it! Here’s what I found!

 

Benefits of Righteousness (from Proverbs 11 & 12)

  1. Righteous people effect the good of their homes, their city and ultimately their nation.
    1. A righteous wife brings honor and comfort to her husband
    2. A righteous man is dependable and consistent and therefore honored
    3. Righteous people care for others, not just themselves
    4. Righteous people are wise, honest and humble
  2. The righteous person lives a spiritually abundant life.
    1. God protects the righteous
    2. God rewards the righteous.
  3. Righteousness will lead us where we long to go!                 Everlasting life is on the way of righteousness. Eternal death is not along its path. (Prov 12:28)

 

Choose Righteousness

Don’t get sidetracked! Don’t lose hope or faith! Don’t compromise to please people! The world needs us to choose righteousness today. To set a standard for truth and love. This won’t always be an easy or pleasant choice but it will bring us the greatest inner joy and peace we can imagine. So let’s keep our eyes on the big picture, the ultimate goal. Let’s let our lights shine so brightly that everyone we come into contact with sees Jesus in us! Gain strength, hope and encouragement through a daily relevant relationship with God. He promises to be everything we need in every situation!

 

Living righteously, puts us in a place where God can pour out His blessings upon us! Living righteously secures our eternity with God in heaven! The promise from Jeremiah 29:11 stands true for the righteous, “I know the plans that I have for you…plans for peace and not disaster, plans to give you a future filled with hope.”

 

Will you choose righteousness today? Will you choose to keep your focus on Gods plan and His ways? It will be well worth it in the end!

Keeping Your Hope On

Keeping Your Hope On

Hope is crucial for survival! Hope strengthens us. It empowers and drives us. And hope causes us to have peace even during the storms this life throws at us. As followers of Jesus, hope inspires us to be and do what God wants. It helps us to be effective ministers in a world that tries desperately to undermine and steal our hope with bad reports from Drs, terrorism threats, financial burdens or relationship crisis. These are not imaginary schemes. They’re very real issues in our society. So how do you keep your hope on?

The early church in Acts 2 is a great example of “keeping your hope on” in the midst of troubled times! The Romans occupied Jerusalem and treated the Jews with disdain. The Jewish religious leaders weren’t happy with the church, either. And yet, the church was filled with excitement and anticipation. They were an incredibly effective force in their city and surrounding area.

How was this possible? I believe it was because the church had just experienced firsthand the plan of God. This plan that caused hope to arise as Jesus came on the scene, preaching and teaching the truth of the Good News of the Kingdom of God. This plan that brought hope for today through the death and resurrection of Jesus. Hope because through faith in God’s plan our sins can be forgiven, our relationship with God restored and knowledge that the devil is a defeated foe! This plan brought hope for the future because Jesus ascended to heaven to be seated at the Father’s right hand, interceding on our behalf and preparing a place for us. And the final part of God’s plan, hope forever. The pouring out of His Holy Spirit on the disciples: “the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of advice and power, the Spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord”(Isa 11:2). The Spirit who is our Helper, our Advocate, our Guide, our Comforter, our Teacher and the One who sends us out to proclaim the Good News of Jesus Christ!

What a plan this was and still is! This plan brought hope to a people whose outward circumstances hadn’t changed. It brought peace, excitement and anticipation for something more. Something better! God’s plan is the same for us today. It is just as powerful and effective as it was then! When we believe in God’s plan we will be able to “Keep our hope on” no matter what the situation around us. “Keeping your hope on” brings enthusiasm, purpose and greater opportunity for today’s church to effectively share the Good News of the Gospel! The world needs us to keep our hope on!

Never forget Gods promise in Jeremiah 29:11 “I know the plans that I have for you, declares the LORD. They are plans for peace and not disaster, plans to give you a future filled with hope.”

CLOSER NOW THAN EVER!

CLOSER NOW THAN EVER!

Do you know that God is closer now than ever before? I just finished reading the book of Exodus! It starts out pretty exciting with the story of Moses delivering the Israelites from slavery in Egypt. Once they get to Mount Sinai and the 10 Commandments are given the action slows down and it gets into various laws and the plans for the tabernacle. Most of the last 15 chapters in Exodus describe this tabernacle. I admit I was kinda skimming through this part but when I got to the last chapter there were a few things that struck me.

  1. The Building Itself

What an amazing accomplishment! The detailed plans that God gave Moses included the exact materials needed for every part along with precise dimensions. These materials included the finest linen and animal skins, the brightest yarns and an incredible amount of gold, silver and bronze. Even though it was a tent, it was made using the best materials. It was colorful and extravagant!

 

  1. God’s Love for His People

I wondered why God would have them go to all this intricate work for a portable “church”? Why not wait till they were in Canaan and build a permanent structure? God cares so much about His people and the tabernacle was His presence among them. Everywhere they went He was in their midst. They were never alone. It was His presence with them that set them apart from every other nation on earth.

 

  1. The Glory of God

At the end of Exodus 40, when Moses has finished setting up the tabernacle, precisely according to God’s instructions, a remarkable thing happened. The cloud that led them through the wilderness by day, covered the tabernacle and the glory of the Lord filled the place! What a powerful visual declaration of God’s presence and glory among His people.

 

Sometimes I think that it would have been awesome to be in that place and time to see God’s glory fill the tabernacle. Yet what we have today is even better. In the Old Testament, God was in the physical tabernacle, today as Christ followers, we are the tabernacle of God (2 Cor 6:16). God lives in us when we choose to believe and follow Him. What incredible love He has towards us. Because He is in us, naturally, His glory is seen on us (Isa 60:1). And I think He was just as detailed and extravagant in creating us. (Ps 139:14) He knit us together in our mother’s womb; no two people exactly alike.  How amazing is that? He really is closer now than He’s ever been! We are a blessed people indeed!

 

To find out more about the glory of God check out the “SOMETHING MORE” sermon series on our website www.vcrd.ca.

SOMETHING MORE

SOMETHING MORE

Do you want to do something more with your life?

 

I believe God has put within each of us the desire to do something more to impact our world for good! He says in John 14:12,“I can guarantee this truth: Those who believe in me will do the things that I am doing. They will do even greater things…

 

The problem is, we talk about it but rarely do anything about it! Why? Because we have taken for granted the greatness and glory of our God. This principle of our faith needs to be more than just head knowledge. We need to get this understanding into our hearts and then let it implode into every facet of our being. Understanding is power. True understanding opens doors, not just to new possibilities but to endless possibilities. Like when you finally understand the principle of “carrying” in math addition; suddenly you realize you can add any amount of numbers!!

 

Understanding the greatness and glory of God opens doors for us to do something more. Instead of simply taking for granted the power of God, stop, and reflect on it for a while. He(God) spoke the world into existence (Gen 1) and He holds it together (Heb 1:3). Take time to meditate on His majesty, splendor, & greatness. His unconditional love (John 3:16) and the fact that He’s eternal; forever He was and forever He will be God. I could go on but you get the picture. Our God is amazingly awesome; undeniably great and glorious.

 

This understanding drives us to action (Col 1:9-10). It motivates us to do something more.

First, it gives us the ability and desire to deal with our issues. Issues that keep our focus on ourselves thereby diminishing our impact on the world around us. Understanding the greatness of God gives us the strength to walk in forgiveness, repentance, and victory. We will make right choices in regards to sin and hurt in our lives because our ultimate desire will be to show forth the glory of God (Isaiah 60:1).

 

Then we will let our light shine before others, so that they may see our good works and give glory to our Father who is in heaven” (Matt 5:16). This can be as simple as making a connection with a neighbor or co-worker.  Being friendly and real. Jesus set the example for us in this area. He made connections with people by genuinely caring for their needs. He built trust by meeting needs. We should be doing the same. Choosing to respond with love to the brokenness and sin around us will open doors of opportunity. Showing compassion and healing to broken people will cause God’s glory to be evident in us!

 

This is the something more that’s in us to do. This is how we impact the world for good.

 

*Today’s blog is a summary of Sunday’s message at Victory Church of Red Deer. If you have been trying out Red Deer churches, we welcome you to join us. Check out our website www.vcrd.ca

FINDING PEACE NOW

FINDING PEACE NOW

How peaceful is your life right now? Is everything happening just like you planned it would be? Or are there things going on that cause you to wonder about life, about the reality of God, about the strength or worth of relationships? Does it seem like life’s spinning out of control?

 

I am always amazed as I read the Psalms. David’s life was not easy. He faced many enemies. It started with the lion & the bear when he was a young shepherd boy. Then Goliath and King Saul. As King of Israel, he fought in many battles against enemy countries. His own son rose in rebellion against him and he fled for his life. Seemed like he was in a fairly constant state of turmoil. Sounds familiar doesn’t it. The circumstances may be a bit different but the reality of being in a continual battle is all too familiar.

 

Psalm 59 shows David calling out to God to rescue and protect him. He tells God exactly what’s going on. His enemy is fierce, ruthless and the attacks are unwarranted! David’s done nothing wrong. He doesn’t deserve this! Again, sounds familiar, doesn’t it?

 

So how did David deal with this unfair threat to his life and livelihood? At the end of the Psalm he says,

“But I will sing about your strength. In the morning I will joyfully sing about your mercy.  You have been my stronghold and a place of safety in times of trouble.

O my strength, I will make music to praise you!                                       God is my stronghold, my merciful God!”

 

Oh man, how can he respond like that? Well, maybe we need to look at how effective our responses are before we judge David’s! Have our responses brought peace and rest to our hearts or our homes? Have they drawn us closer to God? Is hope overtaking despair? If not, maybe we should try David’s method.

  1. He sang and worshipped God
  2. He reminded himself of God’s strength and mercy on his behalf
  3. He remembered how God had stood with him and protected him in times past
  4. He declared and worshiped God as his strength, his stronghold, his help

 

David determined to bring to remembrance the reality of his God. The God that saved him from the lion and the bear. The God that empowered him to beat Goliath and spared his life from King Saul’s attack, etc., etc. By choosing to worship God and reminding himself of God’s greatness, power and mercy, David gets his focus back where it’s supposed to be. On the true source of peace, hope and victory, God Almighty!

 

It’s the same for us, when life gets tough and we can’t see a way out. Our response should be to look up and worship God. To pour out our hearts to Him. Tell Him exactly what’s going on and how we’re feeling. He can handle it! Get it out in the open and then say, “BUT, I thank you God that you’re on my side. I worship You for who You are and have been in my life.” Remind yourself of His greatness and power. Declare it and go forward in the restored peace, hope and joy that He gives. Remember, circumstances don’t have to change for you to experience peace now.

The Big Picture

The Big Picture

Struggling through tough times can make it hard to see the big picture.  Isn’t it remarkable that in Jesus’ time of greatest turmoil, His focus wasn’t on the pain but on the gain!

In Luke 22:15 , “Jesus said to them, “I’ve had a deep desire to eat this Passover with you before I suffer.“” Why would Jesus have a “deep desire” to have this meal with His disciples? As I checked into this verse, I realized that it was because Jesus was looking past His suffering and was focused on the results it would bring. Even this close to enduring utter humiliation, torture and death, He was seeing the bigger picture! Amazing! He saw the joy ahead of him, so he endured death on the cross and ignored the disgrace it brought him.” (Heb.12:2)

So what was this big picture He was focused on?

  1. His obedience would bring glory to the Father

Wasn’t that what Jesus was all about? His life wasn’t about Him, it was about fulfilling the Father’s plan. He never said or did anything except what His Father told Him. He was obedient to death. His obedience brought much glory to the Father!

 

  1. The redemption of man

Jesus allowed his blood to be shed so our sins could be forgiven and we could therefore come boldly into the Father’s presence! The restoration of a “Garden of Eden” like connection between the Creator and His creation was in the heart of Jesus when He ate that Last Supper with His disciples.

 

  1. The beginning of a New Covenant

Through Jesus death and resurrection the rules and rituals of the ceremonial law or Old Covenant were made obsolete. Remember how the thick, heavy curtain that separated and protected the Holy of Holies was torn in two the moment Jesus died? God wanted everyone to know that because the penalty for sin was now paid, the way was open to have a new, close, personal relationship with Him. This relationship was so close and personal that His Word and will would be in us. (Jer. 33:31) His presence wasn’t just in the Holy of Holies. By faith He would live in us! How much closer and personal can you get?

 

So what does this mean for us today?

  1. No matter what we’re going through we need to keep our eyes on the big picture. We know that God has a plan and a purpose for our lives (Jer. 29:11) and we need to trust Him to carry it out!

 

  1. Let’s remember the incredible price that Jesus paid so we could be free from sin and enjoy an intimate relationship with our Father God. Let our remembering lead us to truly walk in the freedom He paid for. Because when we do people will be drawn to us and we will be able to share the Good News of the gospel with them and we will bring glory to the Father!
It’s no wonder that Jesus fervently desired to eat the Passover meal with His disciples! Let’s be like Jesus and always keep our eyes on the big picture!

 

THE POWER OF LOVE

THE POWER OF LOVE

As I read the gospels I am always amazed at how everywhere Jesus went crowds followed Him. People were drawn to Him. I wonder how come people aren’t drawn to His church or to us, His followers today?

Maybe we’re not as much like Jesus as we think we are?

 

In Luke 7, John the Baptist sends some of his disciples to find out if Jesus really is the Savior. Jesus response is clear, “Go back, and tell John what you have seen and heard: Blind people see again, lame people are walking, those with skin diseases are made clean, deaf people hear again, dead people are brought back to life, and poor people hear the Good News.”

 

Jesus provided exactly what the people needed. He healed their physical diseases and drove out evil spirits. And He preached the Good News to the poor. Yes, people were attracted to Him because of what He did for them, but I think there were a lot of people who saw past the “stuff” and were drawn to Jesus because of His genuine compassion and concern for them. He loved people! There was something about this Man that caused hope to arise in them.

 

As Jesus’ followers, I believe we’re called and anointed to love people, meet their needs and bring hope to a hopeless society! In Luke 4:18-19 Jesus says, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,  because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor.  He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”  Jesus read this in the temple that day and then He went out and did it! I believe we are called to do the same thing. The same Spirit has anointed us to do it. It’s time for us to step out in faith and walk in this anointing.

 

We need to make an effort to connect with people around us, recognize their needs and trust God to use us to meet those needs! It doesn’t matter where we are.  Whenever we’re around people, at the mall, in a medical or professional office, on social media, or in our neighborhoods, we should be asking God how we can connect with someone around us. It may be as simple as being available to listen, being a friend or providing some food or cash. It may be to pray for a sickness or disease to be cured or an evil oppressing spirit to be gone. It could be sharing the hope within us that will bring new life and courage to the discouraged and frustrated people around us.

 

If we are willing to step out and love people, they will be drawn to us and we can point them to Jesus. We will be ministers of life, truth, mercy and the power of God. And God’s glory will be seen around us!

 

Let’s step out in faith today, intentionally desiring to connect with people and then as their needs are revealed, to meet them thru the power of God alive in us!