The Good Shepherd

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly. “I am the good shepherd; the good shepherd lays down His life for the sheep.” John 10:10-11

JESUS THE SAVIOR. Jesus took our sin upon Him when He died on the Cross. We’ve all drifted like sheep, but the Shepherd and guardian of our souls has come to rescue us from our wanderings and get us back in fellowship with God (Isaiah 53:6).

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Taking Your Life to the Next Level

The Lord God is my strength, and He has made my feet like hinds’ feet, and makes me walk on my high places. Habakkuk 3:19

1. KNOW THAT GOD WILL EQUIP YOU. I so appreciate the animal kingdom – God designed certain animals’ hooves to have the dexterity to scale sharp and craggy mountainsides and almost vertical landscapes. Habakkuk, an Old Testament prophet, concluded that just like some animals have feet made for climbing, God makes our feet ready for our jobs. It reminds me of the equipping God gives the church – whatever God has called us to, He has also equipped us with all we need to do His will.

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God’s Abundance Is for You

And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that always having all sufficiency in everything, you may have an abundance for every good deed. 2 Corinthians 9:8

1. REALIZE GOD’S WILLINGNESS. God is always pouring out grace and abundance to His people and His nature doesn’t change—what He told the Early Church stands true for His Church today. He delights in your prosperity (Psalm 35:27). Spend some time studying the Word of God to better understand the One we are called to cast our cares upon and the Father who has provision and sufficiency for every situation.

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The Road to Breakthrough

Therefore, those who had been scattered went about preaching the word. Philip went down to the city of Samaria and began proclaiming Christ to them. But an angel of the Lord spoke to Philip saying, “Get up and go south to the road that descends from Jerusalem to Gaza.” (This is a desert road.) So he got up and went. Acts 8:4-5, Acts 8:26-27a

1. UTILIZE UNEXPECTED DETOURS. In Acts 8 the early Christians were scattered all over because of persecution by Saul, but they kept preaching the Word. God sent one of them, Philip, on a desert road where he encountered a court official from Ethiopia. This man was sitting in his chariot reading the book of Isaiah. He asked Philip what it meant and then, after learning about Jesus, he was saved and baptized! What felt like a disruption and a detour actually became the breakthrough to reach other continents with the message of Jesus.

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Called to Pray

The Lord’s lovingkindnesses indeed never cease, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness. Lamentations 3:22-23

1. PRAY IN ALL CIRCUMSTANCES. God wants us to pray to Him regardless of how we feel. He hears our prayers whether we’re really enthusiastic or feeling flat. When Jeremiah prophesied to the people of Israel that God’s mercy is new every morning, it was to help them know that God wanted them to move forward and get unstuck. Thousands of years later, I have found this verse to be a great help when I have lapsed into self-pity or when I feel numb. God’s mercies are still new for us today!

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The Hope of Your Calling

For You formed my inward parts; You wove me in my mother’s womb. I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; wonderful are Your works, and my soul knows it very well. Psalm 139:13-14

1. YOUR LIFE MATTERS. You and I are God’s idea. He wanted to create us in His image and give us dominion and identity and purpose (Genesis 1:26). Then when Adam and Eve failed, God had a plan to undo what Adam did by sending Jesus. Where Adam failed, Jesus succeeded. What Adam lost, Jesus restored.

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Three Ways to Resist Temptation

O taste and see that the Lord is good; how blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him! Psalm 4:8

1. RECOGNIZE YOUR NEED FOR JESUS. We all need Jesus. We all have sinned. When Jesus bore our sins on the Cross, the devil thought he had won by killing Jesus. But God, in His infinite wisdom, worked a miracle and reconciled the world to Himself through Jesus (2 Corinthians 5:19). Today God is still taking what the devil meant for harm and turning it around for good!

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Get Your Hope Refreshed

We have fixed our hope on the living God, who is the Savior of all men . . . 1 Timothy 4:10b

1. REMEMBER YOUR CREATOR. When someone loses hope, it’s hard to move forward and grow. Life’s pressures can distract us from the sweetness of knowing Jesus. That’s why we must resist stagnancy by keeping our eyes on Jesus and remembering our Creator (Ecclesiastes 12:1). In the busyness of life, carve out moments to take a deep breath and remember God’s goodness, His power, and His daily presence. He has created you in Christ for good works! (Ephesians 2:10)

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It was for freedom that Christ set us free. Galatians 5:1a

1. FREE FROM PRISON. Jesus came to set captives free (Luke 4:17-18). We can be free because of what happened on Calvary 2000 years ago when Jesus took the burden of our sin and laid down His life. A love like that can’t be earned; it just needs to be received.

Because of the sacrifice of the Messiah, his blood poured out on the altar of the Cross, we’re a free people—free of penalties and punishments chalked up by all our misdeeds. And not just barely free, either. Abundantly free! He thought of everything, provided for everything we could possibly need, letting us in on the plans He took such delight in making. Ephesians 1:7-9 The Message

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Keep Your Confidence in God

Therefore, do not throw away your confidence, which has a great reward. For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God, you may receive what was promised. Hebrews 10:35-36

1. GET FREE FROM THE PAST. We are not called to just survive, but to win. If you feel stuck and behind, don’t lose heart. God sent Jesus to strengthen you and free you. Take time to fortify what you believe by reading the Bible. Instead of speaking only what you may feel about yourself, speak out what God says about your life. Example: I am a new creation in Christ! The old things have passed away. New things have come.

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Run Your Race

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 NKJV

1. LAY IT DOWN. Every day, minute by minute, we can cast our cares on the Lord. If stuff has happened to discourage you, then enter into God’s presence with thanksgiving and watch Him lift your heart and head as you praise Him and lay down every weight.

Fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Hebrews 12:2

2. STEP OUT. An amazing path lies before each of us and we are called to step out of the confines of fear and into a life of faith and love. Some of the great achievements that you and I are called to are rooted in a simple life of obedience and faith, keeping an attitude of thankfulness, and being quick to repent.

Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary. Galatians 6:9

3. RUN WITH ENDURANCE. We are made to be durable, to run this race, not just for a short time, but to bring glory and honor to Jesus our whole lives. Study and meditate on the Scriptures to get an awareness of your destiny and purpose so that you don’t miss out on a life of great fruitfulness.

Press On!
Pastor Jeff

You, O Lord, are a shield about me, my glory and the One who lifts my head (Psalm 3:3). I keep my confidence in God, which has great reward (Hebrews 10:35). I walk by faith, not by sight (2 Corinthians 5:7).

en•dur•ance, noun
The ability of an organism to exert itself and remain active for a long period of time, as well as its ability to resist, withstand, recover from, and have immunity to trauma, wounds, or fatigue.

Copyright © 2019 St. Louis Family Church. All rights reserved. No part of this article may be reprinted or distributed in any form without prior written permission of St. Louis Family Church. Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture references are from the New American Standard Bible (NASB) Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. “Endurance.” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia.

Nine Results of the Presence of the Holy Spirit in Your Life

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. Galatians 5:22-23

1. LOVE. Loving God and connecting with Him is the best part of life. God is love and His Spirit who dwells within us helps us to respond to others by walking in His love.

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Walking with God

The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside quiet waters. He restores my soul; He guides me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake. Psalm 23:1-3

1. FIND REST. God has called us to a life that is different than it was before we knew Him—to a life of joy and abundance (John 10:10). If you’ve been distracted and things have gotten bland spiritually or you’ve been so filled with anxiety that you can’t rest, be assured that God wants to bring you into a place of focus and peace.

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Three Ways Praise Brings Peace

I will bless the Lord at all times; His praise shall continually be in my mouth. I sought the Lord, and He answered me, and delivered me from all my fears. Psalm 34:1, 4

1. PRAISE SETS OUR MINDS ON GOD. Your thought life doesn’t have to be worn down by a bunch of fear. God said that He would keep us in perfect peace when our minds are set on Him (Isaiah 26:3). Lifting our voices in praise to God prevents introspective self-loathing. He has designed praise and worship as powerful tools to help us obtain breakthrough and freedom.

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Jesus: A Sure Foundation

“Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30

1. STRENGTH. Jesus didn’t come to complicate things – He came to set people free and remove their heavy burdens. He wants to be the strength of your life. If you’ve been fatigued and you have grown weary, He wants you to get rest and power from Him.

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You Can Depend on God

And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. 2 Corinthians 12:9

1. WHEN WE ARE THE NEEDIEST, GOD IS THE MOST SUFFICIENT. When the Apostle Paul was suffering from constant persecution and recurring battles, God told him: “My grace is sufficient.” That’s what God is telling us. Whatever we are going through, He is an ever-present help (Psalm 46:1). That’s why we go to and study the promises of God found in the Bible. Then, when we pray for things, we can pray in faith because in Jesus, all of God’s promises are yes and available to us (2 Corinthians 1:20).

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Our Refuge & Strength

The Lord is good, a stronghold in the day of trouble, and He knows those who take refuge in Him. Nahum 1:7

1. GOD IS GOOD. Circumstances come and go, feelings come and go, but God’s Word is true and His nature never changes—He is abidingly faithful. When you realize how good God is and how much He cares about every detail of your life, fear and worry can no longer dominate you. God will work all things together for good (Romans 8:28), and He will perfect that which concerns you (Psalm 138:8).

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Your Identity Is Safe With God

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly. John 10:10

1. ORIGIN. In the beginning was God. You were fearfully and wonderfully made by an intelligent designer who wants to reveal mysteries to you. But the devil is after your identity. He will ruthlessly try to obscure who you are in Jesus, where you come from, what you have, and what you can do.

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Strength for the Course

For consider your calling, brethren, that there were not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble; but God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong. 1 Corinthians 1:26-27

1. GOD EMPOWERS YOU. The same Jesus who commissioned the twelve disciples and gave them authority over the devil and power to heal diseases is still calling and commissioning Christians today. With God, there is no duty too perilous, no responsibility too great, no difficulty insurmountable. He will give you strength according to the task at hand.

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1. HOPE. God cares deeply for you, and from start to finish He has a plan for your life. God sent His Son, Jesus, to rescue us. Those of us who have been stuck in depression or caught up in bad situations realize how great it is to be rescued and forgiven. Open your heart to Jesus today and let Him fill you with hope and anticipation for what He has ahead!

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Three Ways To Build Your Hope

“For I know the plans that I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope.” Jeremiah 29:11

1. REPLACE WORRY WITH TRUST. We are called to be a hopeful people and walk in constant expectation of impending good. This isn’t an artificial optimism; we know life is rough and this is a fallen world. Real hope is a biblically-based understanding of who God is and what He has promised. God is a present help right now – for you. (Psalm 46:1). The Eternal God watches over His Word to perform it – for you (Jeremiah 1:12).

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How to Abide in Hope

I will lift up my eyes to the mountains; from where shall my help come? My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth. He will not allow your foot to slip; He who keeps you will not slumber. Behold, He who keeps Israel will neither slumber nor sleep. Psalm 121:1-4

1. REMEMBER YOUR HELPER. When we face challenges, we can choose to hide out, bury our heads in the sand and get depressed, or we can turn to the promise-keeping God. Our help doesn’t come from our own strength or creative ideas – it comes from the Lord. Look to Him! Abide in His Word. Not one of His promises has ever failed.

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Three Steps to Strength & Hope

“Do not fear, for I am with you; do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:10

1. CONQUER FEAR. Real help comes from God. Whatever you’re facing, God will help you. He knew fear is something we humans would have to deal with, so He tells us repeatedly throughout Scripture, “Do not fear,” and He gives us reasons why we don’t have to be afraid. We can trust Him with our relationships, with our thought life, with decisions we have to make, and with our health.

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A Steadfast Hope

This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, a hope both sure and steadfast. Hebrews 6:19a

1. STAY IN THE FIGHT. Paul the Apostle wrote to Timothy to “fight the good fight of faith” (1 Timothy 6:12a). This is different from the baseless optimism of worldly hope because it is anchored in the abiding truth of God’s promises. When we encounter challenges, we can face them with rugged determination to never quit, because when God calls us He equips us with all we need to fight and win.

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Three Ways God Wants to Establish You

And David realized that the Lord had established him as king over Israel, and that his kingdom was highly exalted, for the sake of His people Israel. 1 Chronicles 14:2

1. ESTABLISHED WITH PURPOSE. King David realized that God was doing something distinctive in his life and in the lives of the people and the country. This realization lifted David’s eyes off the difficulties he faced and gave him a new perspective. As we understand more about who God is and what He’s assigned each one of us to do, we can lift our heads, throw our shoulders back, and move forward in purpose.

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