STEEL AND CONCRETE, January 2002 "Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us.... " (Hebrews 12:1)

January 2002

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"Chariots of Fire"
by Vangelis
Davecats Midi Pages

by Brother Gregory Wamsley

The Race Set Before Us
Williams College, Williamstown MA

The new year has begun. All over America people are fearful. Expressions of fear, phobias, and anxiety plagues society. To see the greatest impact of terrorism in America's heart just look at their lives and actions. In Luke 21:26 it says, "Men's hears failing them for fear...." I've learned a great deal about fear from God's word. I'd like to share some of it with you. According to God's word we are to "...Live by faith" (Romans 1:7). Fear is faith perverted. It's the opposite of faith. After Adam's sin in the garden, fear became a strong force in his life. He said to God, "I was afraid" (Gen. 3:10). When Satan comes to me with fear I know that there is faith available to me in Jesus. If we put our faith to work It will always overcome fear. I'm reminded that fear is bondage:

Hebrews 2:14-15: "Therefore, since the children share in flesh and blood, He Himself likewise also partook of the same, that through death He might render powerless him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, and might free those who through fear of death were subject to slavery all their lives."

When I became fearful as a little boy, I ran to my father or mother. Today, if I become fearful, I run to God my Heavenly Father.

Romans 8:15: "For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, "Abba! Father!"

Today I'm adopted by God, my spirit man was recreated. Eternal life flooded my heart when I accepted Jesus Christ into my life as Savior and Lord. My reborn spirit doesn't produce fear. It can, however, receive it, act on it, or be put in bondage by it. Fear is a spiritual Satanic force.

2nd Timothy 1:7: "For God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but of power and love and discipline."

This evil spirit works against believers at every opportunity. Satan tries to make it look like God's promises and faith don't work. It's his job to attack Christ's work on the cross and challenge the faith-filled promises of God with fear-filled lies. People live in fear and doubt and don't even realize it. When one operates their life in fear, fear takes root in their spirit. Satan wants us to be living a negative life. I have heard some say, "A little fear is a good thing." If they are not talking about the fearful reverence towards God, then that statement isn't true. To keep fear out of your life, live by faith. Live God's way by the direction of His word. The worst thing we could do is act on fear. As a man of faith, I'm to meditate on God's word. The fear I see in society's lives is not from God. Those who belong to God have faith.

Isaiah 54:14-15: "For the mountains shall depart, and the hills be removed; but my kindness shall not depart from thee, neither shall the covenant of my peace be removed, saith the LORD that hath mercy on thee."

Through faith the believer steps through the smoke of fear and doubt, putting a stop to Satan's wicked attacks. God offers the believer protection from the wicked one:

1st John 5:18: "We know that whosoever is born of God sinneth not; but he that is begotten of God keepeth himself, and that wicked one toucheth him not."

Fear is one of Satan's greatest weapons. In 2nd Corinthians 10:4-5 we are told that the weapons of our spiritual warfare are not carnal, but powerful through God to the pulling down of Satanic strongholds. In 2nd Kings 6: 15-17, Elisha prayed and God opened the young man's spiritual eyes and showed him that around him was an army of horses and chariots of fire. Believers have angels as spiritual weapons to protect them:

Psalm 91:11-12: "For He will give His angels charge concerning you, To guard you in all your ways. They will bear you up in their hands, That you do not strike your foot against a stone."

When we walk in faith and not fear, we walk in God's protection. When I was unsaved, my fears were unfounded and they rarely manifested. Today I'm reminded of Christ's words:

Matthew 10:28: "And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell."

All through the Bible, the term "Fear Not" is found. John said "Fear Not" to the daughter of Zion (John 12:15). The Angel(s) said "Fear Not" to Paul (Acts 27:24), to Joseph (Matthew 1:20), to the shepherds (Luke 2:10), to the priest, Zechariah (Luke 1:13), to Mary (Luke 1:30), and also to both Marys at Christ's tomb (Matthew 28:5). Christ himself said, "Fear Not" to the little flock (Luke 12:32), to His friends (Luke 12:7), to Jairus (Luke 8:50), and also to Simon (Luke 5:10). In these times of uncertainty, He is telling you too, "Fear Not." As terrorism prepares to take on many faces, the words of David Wilkerson are: "When that time comes, a question will arise for Christ's Church: Will the Lord's people be at rest? Will we trust in his promises to keep us? Will we be confident in Him, knowing we're wrapped in His arms? Will we "Fear Not," no matter how dark things get?" I ask, do we really need bomb shelters, gas masks, and hiding places? All of us believers who belong to Him have Him. He is our peace and protection. All believers have no need to fear what may or may come. 2001 is done. Truly may 2002 be a year of "Fear Not" for you.

You don't have to live in fear. If you have never accepted Jesus Christ as your Savior and Lord, I urge you to do so now. Pray to God the Father and tell him you are a sinner in need of a Savior. Accept Christ as you Savior and repent from all sin, and read God's word, the Bible, to build up your faith. "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved. . . " (Acts 16:35).

by Bro. Jeffrey D. Garvin, Sr.

Year after year you find more people making promises to keep their word to whomever they've given it. They later find out they didn't have what it took to see things through. You might say to yourself, "That's something to thing about." It may be something thought about, but it's usually not dealt with in the heart. Matthew 12:33 says, "Either make the tree good, and his fruit good; or else make the tree corrupt, and his fruit corrupt: for the tree is known by his fruit."

What kind of tree do you want to be? In Mark 8:23-24 people are looked at as trees in the eyes of the man who had been blind. What are we to think in times like these? God used a tree to tell us something. We could see how strong we could be if we'd let him plant us His way. We'd be able to go through the hard times in life. We may bend a little but we won't break. We'd be like a tree planted by a river of water that cannot be moved.

Jesus Christ wasn't just the reason for the season, he's the reason for the New Year too! When the Garden was spoken into existence, God put it just where he wanted it to be. It was his own personal garden east of Eden. He loved it so much that he placed his best creation next to it, and the river of water that was to give it drink. It was pleasant to look at and very good to eat from. In Genesis 2:8,0 it was known as the tree of life. Remember, the tree that is so pleasant today is you whom the Lord God has made. You are special and this is something to keep in mind. May God bless you all year long, his "Human Trees."

author unknown

The cheerful girl with bouncy golden curls was almost five. While with her mother at the checkout stand, she saw a circle of glistening white pearl in a pink foil box. "Oh please, Mommy, can I have them? Please, Mommy, please!" Her mother checked the back of the box. Looking back into her pleading blue eyes, she said, "A dollar ninety-five. That's almost $2.00. If you really want them, I'll think of some extra chores for you and in no time you can save enough money to buy them for yourself. Your birthday's only a week away and you might get another crisp dollar bill from Grandma."

When Jenny got home, she emptied her penny bank and counted out 17 pennies. After dinner, she did more than her share of chores and she went to the neighbor and asked her neughbor if she could pick dandelions for ten cents. On her birthday, Grandma did give her another dollar bill and at last she had enough money to buy the pretty fake necklace.

Jenny loved her pearls. They made her feel dressed up and grown up. She wore them everywhere, even to bed. The only time she took them off was when she went swimming or had a bubble bath. Mother said if they got wet, they might turn her neck green.

Jenny had a very loving daddy and every night when she was ready for bed, he would come upstairs to read her a story. One night when he finished the story, he asked Jenny, "Do you love me?"
She replied, "Oh yes, Daddy. You know that I love you."
"Then give me your pearls."
"Oh, Daddy, not my pearls. But you can have Princess, the white horse, from my collection. Remember, Daddy? The one you gave me. She's my favorite."
"That's okay, Honey. Daddy loves you. Good night." And he brushed her cheek with a kiss.

About a week later, after the story time, Jenny's daddy asked again, "Do you love me?"
"Daddy, you know I love you." "Then give me your pearls."
"Oh Daddy, not my pearls. But you can have my baby doll, the brand new one I got for my birthday. She is so beautiful."
"That's okay. Sleep well God bless you, little one. Daddy loves you." And as always, he brushed her cheek with a gentle kiss.

A few nights later when her daddy came in, Jenny was sitting on her bed. As he came close, he noticed her chin was trembling and one silent tear rolled down her cheek. "What is it, Jenny? What's the matter?"

Jenny didn't say anything but lifted her little hand up to her daddy. She opened her hand and inside was her little fake pearl necklace. With a little quiver, she finally said, "Here, Daddy, it's for you."

With tears gathering in his own eyes, Jenny's kind daddy reached out with one hand to take the dime-store necklace, and with the other hand he reached into his pocket and pulled out a blue velvet case with a strand of genuine pearls. He gave the pearls to Jenny. He had them all the time. He was just waiting for her to give up the dime-store stuff so he could give her genuine treasure.

So it is with our Heavenly Father. He is waiting for us to give up the cheap things in our lives so that he can give us beautiful treasure. Isn't God good? Are you holding onto things, which God wants you to let go of? Are you holding on to harmful or unnecessary partners, relationships, habits and activities that you have come so attached to that it seems impossible to let go? Sometimes it is so hard to see what is in the other hand but do believe this one thing ~ God will never take away something without giving you something better in its place.

"Believe is or not! A funny thing happened on the way to church!"
by Bro. Jonathan LeBlanc

I was asked to give my testimony. I first met Bro. Gregory Wamsley back at Patuxent Institution. I remember this jolly dude asking me if I knew Jesus Christ. I never had a father. He left Mom at my birth. Bro. Gregory always said, "God is the Father to the fatherless." As I watched him , I saw a type of inmate I'd not seen in all my 15 years of incarceration. I wanted the peace that lifer had. I had an outstanding sentence still to serve in Pennsylvania that I wasn't guilty of. Bro. Gregory once said, "You got that time for something you'd gotten away with." That's how he was, no punch-pulling, just straight uncut truth!

I accepted Jesus as Savior and Lord just before Patuxent turned me down. I was off to another prison up north. One year ago I was released with just a few dollars in my pocket and set out to travel south to live with my sister. I stayed in contact with Bro. Gregory, and he never missed a birthday or a letter. The words of his biblical guidance fell on "good soil."

Somehow, I felt secure though my future was uncertain. I stopped off at a mission. The man running it said, "I'm going to church. Want to go?" I said, Yes." I was introduced to a stranger who was going south the following day and said, "I'd be pleased to drop you off." Not only did God provide me with a ride, but he made it a Christian companion. The words of Proverbs 3:6 uttered by my jolly Brother came to mind: "Acknowledge Him in all thy ways and He will direct your paths."

I reached home to my loving sister. She said she had to get to know her new little brother. I'd been writing the pastor at Grace Chapel and told her we had an appointment to keep every Sunday. Sunday came soon enough. After being introduced to the congregation I was approached by a fellow member who offered me a $25.00/hr. Job in his delivery business. The problem was I needed a truck. I told him I didn't have a truck and he offered me another job at $9.00/hr. which I accepted.

I remember praying to God, saying, "Lord, I need a truck." Two weeks went by and one day I saw a truck on the roadside with its lights flashing. I stopped to see if I could be of help. I saw no one and then I heard a small voice calling for help. Down the bank there was a man (Mr. Green) on his back. He was disabled and he'd stopped to relieve himself on the roadside, and fell down the ditch. He got his body brace caught in the thickets and couldn't get up. He said he'd been there for over a day. Though I'd be late for church that morning, I'm glad I stopped to help. The man tried to offer me money on the spot, but I declined and told why I stopped. I shared my Christian conversion with him. Unknown to me, I found out later he'd taken my license plate number.

I was a little apprehensive being called to a lawyer's office a few months later. My first thought was, "Who's suing me now?" How surprised I was to find out that Mr. Green had died and left his town house to me. He had no kids or family. It was beyond belief.

The next day I met the lawyer to get the keys to my new (old) home. He said, "It's ALL yours!" I said "WHAT!" He said, "The will entitles you to the house, that is property and everything on and in it. I began to cry right there. Not only did God provide me with a truck (and an opportunity to now take the better job), but a home to boot!

After helping Mr. Green that day, I was late for church and had to attend the second service. I met the most special woman there. If I made a list for God to fill, she'd fit the bill. I always wanted a wife like her and kids, but my hedonistic life-style prevented it. She's a widow with three, count them ~ three, lovely angels: one boy, 6 and two little girls, 3 and 4 years of age. I'm now making good honest money. Come August 22, 2002, I'll bee a married man.

As I look back on all that's happened, one scripture my Brother shared is brought to mind by the Holy Spirit: "An I will restore to you the years that the locust has eaten..." (Joel 2:25a). The creatures in that scripture are representative of the wiles of Satan that enslaved my past life.

Today, I'm a child of God, and I tell you that my Daddy in Heaven knows how to provide for his little boy! To those who are about to be released I say: "Don't leave your Bible behind. God has a blessing just for you." Who knows? A funny thing might happen on your way to church!

"A cheerful word picks us up."
Proverbs 12:25

From "Life In The Word" Jan. 2002

A little boy opened the big family bible. He was fascinated as he fingered through the old pages. Suddenly, something fell out of the bible. He picked up the item and looked at it. It was an old leaf that had been pressed between the pages. Turning towards his mother, the child cried, "Momma, look what I found!" "What have you got there, dear?" his mother asked. With excitement in his voice, the boy answered, "I think it's Adam's underwear!"

"IN 2002"
by Michael Hodgin
In the year 2002 and beyond, it's better to give than to lend, and it costs about the same.

by Michael Hodgin
The truest measure of a man is how he measures up to Christ, or, as some believe, somewhere between the opinions of his mother and mother-in-law!

by Michael Hodgin
During his children's sermon, the pastor was talking to the children about the need for unity within the church. The pastor looked at the children and emphasized, "God wants us to be one." One of the youngest children, who was four, stood up and yelled, "I've already been one! I want to be five!"

2nd Timothy 1:7 "CENTRAL SCRIPTURE" Puzzle
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