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Emmanuel 1 // In the valley He restores my soul

SUNDAY BLOG

December 1, 2019
Emanuel, God With Us

In The Valley He Restores My Soul

 

Just about every character in Scripture went through a low or difficult season in their life.  Abraham despaired of having a son of his own and was planning on bequeathing his fortune to his servant. Then when he did get a son of his own, Isaac, God asked him to sacrifice him. Jacob really had ups and downs; having to run from his brother for fear of his life, being cheated by his father-in-law, wrestling with an angel all night. Joseph’s downs were more than his ups for many years:  sold into slavery by his brothers, lied about by his owner’s wife, forgotten in prison by the fellow prisoner for whom he had he interpreted a dream.  The problems Moses had with the Israelites in leading them out of Egypt are well documented.  These all depended upon God and His presence in their lives.  In fact, Moses said, “If your presence does not go with us, do not send us from here.”  Ex. 33:15.

Those are just a few examples.  God has never promised that when we invite Him into our lives, that everything will be a bed of roses.  In fact, just the opposite is true. Jesus said “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart.  I have overcome the world.  John 16:33. As Pastor Ben stated on Sunday, it is in the valley or low seasons of our lives that we get to know God most.

I have lived a long life and have been through many difficult and low seasons.  I said once, God gave me four sons, and every one of them has driven me to prayer. But one of the most difficult experiences I had is now one of my most precious memories.  My husband was born and raised in Holland.  In 1970 we were asked to come to Holland to help in a ministry with a group of Dutch-Indonesian church.  After praying about it, we felt it was the Lord’s leading and sold our house and a lot of our belongings and stored the rest.  Shortly after we arrived in Holland, I discovered I was pregnant with our third child.  We were stationed in a town in central Holland called Ede to pastor a small church.  Our oldest son, Steve, was in 5th grade, and the transition into a Dutch school with the language difference was too difficult for him, so we enrolled him in the American school on a base about an hour from where we lived.  

One morning on their way to school, my husband was in a car accident.  The car was totaled and my husband and son ended up in the hospital.  Thankfully their injuries were not serious.  I was alone in our apartment with son, Mark, age 5, with no telephone and no means of transportation and very little knowledge of the Dutch language.  A wonderful man from our congregation broke the news to me and drove me to the hospital.  When Sunday arrived, a minister was sent to fill the pulpit in the church.  He expressed how happy he was to be there, made no mention of my husband and did not lead in prayer for him.  That afternoon he visited Ted in the hospital and told him the Lord was trying to talk to him.

My reaction was, we sold almost everything we had, came clear around the world because we felt the Lord was leading us, but he had to put my husband in the hospital to talk to him?  It was one of the lowest points in my life.  If I would have had a phone, I would have called my Mom!!!  But the only person with me was my 5-year-old son.  That evening I called out to the Lord.  Do you want us to stay here?  Do these people even want us here?  What should we do?  What are we going to do without a car? How is everything going to get paid for? I picked up my Bible and thought, “I’ll read my favorite Psalm,” which was Psalm 34.  As I thumbed through the Bible the thought came to my mind, “No, read Psalm 37.”  I had no idea what Psalm 37 said.  I turned to Psalm 37 in my King James Bible (only translation we had then.) and began to read.  When I came to verse 3, the words jumped off the page!!  I knew it was God speaking to me.  “Trust in the Lord and do good; so shalt thou dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt be fed.”  My questions were all answered in that one verse.  We were to stay in Holland, do the work of ministry and God would take care of us!!  And that’s what happened.  We stayed in Holland for four years.

P.S.  My third son was born 2 months after that incident and 2 ½ years later, Pastor Ben was born.

Naomi Brinkman

 

A song written by Dottie Rambo, expresses the message from Sunday so well, I want to share it here.

 

IN THE VALLEY HE RESTORES MY SOUL

When I'm low in spirit I cry Lord lift me up

I want to go higher with Thee

But the Lord Knows I can't live on a mountain

so He picked out a valley for me

Chorus

He leads me beside still waters 

somewhere in the valley below

He draws me aside

to be tested and tried 

but in the valley He restoreth my soul

 

It's dark as a dungeon 

and the sun seldom shines

And I question Lord why must this be

Then He tells me there's strength in my sorrow

and there's victory in trials for me.

Dottie Rambo

Passion for the house // You give them something

Sunday blog
Passion for the House
November 17, 2019

YOU GIVE THEM SOMETHING TO EAT

Jesus and his disciples were in a remote place.  They had gone there to basically recoup.  The disciples had just returned from ministry, and they had also learned that John the Baptist, cousin of Jesus, had been beheaded by Herod.  Jesus had been doing so many miracles that when people heard where he was, they came by the thousands.  Scripture says there were 5,000 men plus women and children.  A conservative estimate is that there were probably around 15,000+ people who had followed Jesus to this out-of-the way place. A long way from any nearby towns.

Jesus spent the day teaching them and healing all who were sick. When the disciples urged Jesus to send the people away at the end of the day, Jesus said, ‘You give them something to eat.” They were aghast!!  How were they to feed so many people, and even when they discovered a boy who had 5 loaves and 2 fish, they still didn’t know how they would feed the crowd.  But Jesus took what they had, blessed it, broke it, gave it to them, and everyone ate their fill.  The Greek verb used in John 6:13 translated “eaten,” “indicates that the people had been provided with a big meal, of which they had partaken eagerly.” (Vines Complete Expository Dictionary, page 193)

Jesus could have miraculously placed the bread and fish into the hands of the people, but he invited the disciples into the process of feeding the people.  He does the same today.  He tells us regarding the hungry multitudes of this world, “You give them something to eat.” Even though this world is teeming with people, millions are still in a remote place spiritually. God has committed to us the Bread of Life.  Just as the 5000 were provided with a big meal, Jesus, the Bread of Life, is the only one who satisfies the spiritually hungry and He will more than satisfy all hunger.  

Jesus took something small and did something great with it.  What do you have that you consider small that you can give to Jesus, and allow him to multiply it?  A small talent, a gift of being kind, contributing to the needs of others, a gift of hospitality, encouraging, showing mercy?  (Rom. 12:4-8)

Romans 10:14: “How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they had not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can they preach unless they are sent?  Not everyone is called to be a missionary or a preacher, but we can participate in the “sending.”  God takes what we give to him and multiplies it to spread the Gospel.

Each of the disciples gathered up a whole basket of fragments. Luke 6:38 says “Give and it will be given to you, good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over will be given into your lap.”  It is impossible to out-give God.  He always returns to us more than 100%. Giving to God is the best investment anyone can make, both for this life and the life to come. 

Naomi Brinkman

 

What do you have?

SUNDAY BLOG

November 10, 2019

PASSION FOR THE HOUSE

 

WHAT DO YOU HAVE?

2 Kings 4:1-7 The wife of a prophet was left a widow along with her two sons.  Women in those days had no means of support other than their husbands or families.  There were some debts outstanding and her creditors were going to make slaves out of her sons to pay the bill.  So she went to Elisha, the chief prophet.  He asked what she had in her house.

The first word out of her mouth was “Nothing.”  Then she remembered she had a small flask of oil  Elisha told her to borrow containers from all her friends and neighbors, bring them into the house, shut the door, and fill the containers with oil. She did as she was told and filled all the containers. Then Elisha told her to sell the oil, pay her debt and live on the rest. God used the little she had to supply a need.

I think God asks us the same thing: “what do you have?”  And often our answer is the same as the widow’s: “Nothing.”  Until we remember, oh, I have a little bit of talent. I can sing, I like to entertain, I can cook a pretty good dinner, I can play a musical instrument, I have organizational skills, I have tech skills, I’m friendly, I could probably be a greeter, etc.  Just as the widow brought containers into the house to fill, we need to bring whatever we have into “the house,” the House of God, the Church. God will take what we offer him and use it to supply a need.

When God called Moses to go to Egypt and deliver the Israelites, he protested that he didn’t have the ability, he couldn’t speak, “What if they won’t believe me?” God asked him what he had in his hand. It was a dirty, old shepherd’s staff.  I think Moses might have wondered why God was interested in his staff. But God used it to stupefy the Egyptians, to open the Red Sea, and bring water out of a rock.  

I wonder if the widow questioned what Elijah told her to do?  That is not inferred in Scripture.  But, putting myself in her place, I think I would have wondered just a bit, how my little bit of oil was going to fill all the containers I collected.  It took a leap of faith on her part to keep on pouring.  Imagine her excitement when the first container was full of oil, and she asked her sons to bring her another one.  I think after a few more successes she could have thought, “I can really get into this.”  You might feel the same way when God uses something you have given to him to minister to someone or bless them.  

A young lady in one of the churches my husband pastored was pregnant and not feeling well.  She and her husband were living in a travel trailer and I went to visit her one day. I saw her sink full of dirty dishes and without even thinking, I said, “I’m going to wash our dishes,” and proceeded to do so.  Years later I saw that young lady, now much older.  She said, “Do you remember when you visited me and did my dishes?  You will never know how much that meant to me, and blessed me.”  I thought, “Wow, just doing someone’s dishes blessed them?”  Jesus said if we give a cup of cold water in his name we will be blessed.

I think the Lord continues to ask, “What do you have.”  Instead of answering, “Nothing,” let’s take the little we have a give it to the Lord and watch him multiply it to bless others and meet a need.

Naomi Brinkman

 

Repent and be baptized

SUNDAY BLOG
Passion For the House
November 3, 2019

 

Repent and Be Baptized

On the Day of Pentecost when the Holy Spirit was poured out upon the 120 gathered in an upper room in Jerusalem, Peter stood up and preached a powerful message, and the hearts of many were pricked with conviction.  They asked what they should do, and Peter’s answer was “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins.” Acts 2:38-41

The message on Sunday dove into the subject of what it looks like to believe in Jesus Christ.  As Peter preached, the first step is repentance, a 180 degree turn from the lifestyle previously lived. I accepted Christ into my life as a child, so I really didn’t have a life of sin to repent of.  But all through my life I’ve had to make the decision over and over to not engage in sinful behavior.  I’ve had to choose to walk in love and forgiveness, in longsuffering, in joy and peace.  So, in this sense there has been a 180 degree turn from sin.

The second step that Peter preached, was to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ.  Often times people say baptism is “an outward show of an inward work.”  And it is that, but it is so much more.

Baptism is recorded in all four Gospels, the Book of Acts and the Epistles.  Hebrews 6:1-2 calls baptism an elementary teaching; in other words, one of the first foundation stones that we build upon.  

The word “baptize” means “to dip, to plunge, to immerse.”  That is why at Canvas Church we use a baptismal, and submerge candidates completely in water, rather than sprinkling or pouring water on their heads. (I saw a picture in an old Bible of Jesus standing in the River Jordan and John the Baptist pouring water on his head!!!  Scripture says “when he came up out of the water” the heavens opened and God, the Father spoke). Mark 1:10

Baptism is a very real, spiritual experience.  Col. 2:12 KJV “Buried with him in baptism, wherein you also are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God who has raised him from the dead. The NIV version says “your faith in the power of God.”  Just as the Holy Spirit brought transformation in your life when you accepted Christ at salvation, so there is a working of the Holy Spirit (an operation) in your life at baptism. Death (Rom. 6:3-11), Burial (Col. 2:12), Resurrection. (Col. 3:1i-4, Rom. 6:4-5) 

Baptism is identification with Christ.  In salvation we accept Christ’s death, burial and resurrection. In baptism we are identified with this threefold fact.  By baptism we stand as “dead.”  By immersion we bury the “dead,” and by rising out of the water, we rise to walk in newness of life. 

May we learn to live as Paul when he says “My old self has been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. So I live in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.  Gal. 2:20.NLT  Baptism is a step in that direction.

Naomi Brinkman

Passion for the house // Loose him and let him go

SUNDAY BLOG

PASSION FOR THE HOUSE

October 27, 2019

John 11:1-44

LOOSE HIM AND LET HIM GO

Burial customs in the Middle East during the time that Jesus was on earth were to wrap the corpse in white cloths from the neck to the feet.  The head was covered with a large white handkerchief.  Lazarus, who had been dead for four days, was buried in this manner, in a cave with a stone rolled in front of the opening. When Jesus got to the village of Bethany where Martha and Mary lived, after speaking with them, he asked to be shown where Lazarus had been buried.  

Jesus instructed that the stone be rolled away, then after speaking with his Father, called in a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out of the tomb!”  Have you ever heard the phrase, “It was loud enough to raise the dead?”  Well, Jesus’ loud call did raise the dead!!  The Passion Translation says, “There in front of everyone, Lazarus, who had died four days earlier, slowly hobbled out – he still had grave clothes tightly wrapped around his hands and feet and covering his face!”  Then Jesus said something interesting: “Unwrap him and let him loose.”  

I like the analogy of this being a picture of those who are “dead in trespasses and sin.”  Jesus is still calling for those who are spiritually dead to come out of their tombs of sin, and he raises them to new life.  I believe he is still saying to us today regarding those who rise up from spiritual death, “Unwrap them (or loose them) and let them go.” Maybe you know someone who is still “hobbling.”

If you have been a Christian for any length of time, you know that learning to walk with Jesus is a process, and a growing from day to day.  I don’t think that process stops until we stand before Jesus in our heavenly home, or until Jesus returns to this earth. There’s a lot of “loosing” that needs to take place when someone first comes to the Lord, and Jesus invites us into that process. God asks us to come alongside new believers and baby Christians to nourish them with the milk of the Word, (1 Pet. 2:2) and to be examples; (1 Tim. 4:12) encourage new believers to get involved in a Community Group where they can have fellowship with other believers.  I John 1:7: “But if we walk in the light as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another and the blood of Jesus, His son, purifies us from all sin.” 

Maybe there is still loosing within us that needs to take place as we learn to walk with the Lord and “lay aside every weight and sin” that so easily besets us. Heb. 12:1

Martha protested about removing the stone from the opening of the tomb because “by this time there is a bad odor for he has been there for four days.”  The King James Version doesn’t word it so delicately.  It says, “by this time he stinketh!”  Jesus didn’t address that at all.  He knew that as soon a new life began flowing through Lazarus’ veins, that stench would soon disappear. There might be some things about a new believer that we think stinks, but the same is true for them as it was with Lazarus.  As soon as the river of life begins flowing through a person, “old things pass away and all things become new.”  (2 Cor.5:17)

The question was asked on Sunday, “Do You Believe?”  Do you believe that God has the power to bring those dead in trespasses and sin into life?  Do you believe that God gave you the mandate to participate in the “loosing and letting go” of those being raised from spiritual death?  Do you believe?

Naomi Brinkman