We're Better Together

Written by: Tim Wood

And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.  (Hebrews 10:24-25 ESV)

 These verses make it clear that we are better together. Contained in this passage is a negative command and a positive command. The negative command: don’t neglect meeting together.  We need each other.  We go farther when we meet together. The positive command: encourage one another. When we meet together encouragement is top priority. God knows we all need encouragement.

We encourage one another by “stirring up one another to love and good works.” Notice that this verse doesn’t just call us to stir up one another but to consider how to do it. We should be thinking of ways to stir up our brothers and sisters in Christ. Encouragement should be pre-meditated. The word “stir up” literally means to sharpen an edge. Meeting together with other believers in faith filled community is a call to be proactive in sharpening the edges of our spiritual life. Proverbs 27:17 says, “Iron sharpens iron and so one person sharpens another.”

Meeting together is an important ingredient to stirring up one another. We can’t encourage people if we don’t see them. We can’t sharpen edges if we don’t know what’s going on in someone’s life. We can’t pray effectively for one another if we don’t meet together. Meeting together stirs up and strengthens the body of Christ.

Everyone faces challenges. Financial challenges. Family challenges. Career challenges. We need each other to make it through the challenges of life. This is why the Bible commands us to meet together and to encourage one another.

We’re better together. Are you in a small group faith community that encourages you in your walk with Christ? I’m praying that you will pray and consider meeting together with other believers. It’s part of our vision and it’s for your good and God’s glory!



Three blessing from reading God's Word

Written by: Tim Wood

For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.   (Romans 15:4)

 Another one of our core values at EVC is to read and study the Bible. This supports our vision of developing a relationship with God’s Word. We believe the Bible is the perfect and complete word of God. We don’t stop at reading and studying the Bible, we put it into practice in our daily life. The transforming power of God’s word is experienced as we put it into practice. Romans 15:4 teaches us three blessings that we gain as we read, study and practice the word of God.

 1.      The blessing of learning.

“Everything was written to teach us.” We must be willing to learn what the scriptures teach if we expect to be encouraged by the truth of scripture.  Is my life open to be instructed by God’s word? Am I willing to be persistent and consistent in coming to the scriptures to learn? The growth that the scriptures bring us doesn’t show up automatically. I need to humbly receive the word of God to learn.

 2. The blessing of endurance and encouragement.

When the instructions of the Scriptures are properly understood, they produce endurance and encouragement.  Endurance and encouragement are the blessings to keep going when you don’t feel like it. Where does endurance come from? It comes from the Scriptures.  Notice the encouragement we gain from 2 Corinthians 4:16–18: We do not lose heart . . . For this slight momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison . . . We look to the things that are unseen . . . because the things that are unseen are eternal. The Scriptures will give you God’s perspective on things, and when believed and practiced, we experience endurance and encouragement.

3. The blessing of hope.

Everyone needs hope. It’s hope that will keep you going in a tough time.  Your feelings will lie to you and tell you to quit. God’s word says, “Don’t grow weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap harvest if we do not give up” (Galatians 6:9).  Jesus said, “I tell you the truth, no one who has left home or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields for me and the gospel will fail to receive a hundred times as much in the present age and in the age to come.”  The Scriptures offer hope.

Are you reading the Bible? Are you learning from the Bible? Are you obeying what you learn? The Word of God is powerful. Read it. Study it. Meditate on it. Practice it. As you do, you will be blessed!

 

Worship God - Psalm 145

Written by: Tim Wood

 The best way to develop a relationship with God is to worship Him in spirit and truth (one of our core values at EVC). David, who wrote many of the Psalms, was a worshipper of God. He had character flaws. He made mistakes. He didn’t have a perfect family. But that didn’t stop him from worshipping God with all his heart. Thankfully, God doesn’t require perfection from us to worship Him. He does require that we bring our real self and our whole heart to praise His Name.

Psalm 145 is a psalm written by David. In this Psalm, he shows us how to posture ourselves before God in worship.

1. Submit to God as King over your life (Verses 1-2).

I will exalt you, my God the King; I will praise your name for ever and ever. Every day I will praise you and extol your name.

2. Meditate on God’s power (Verses 3-6).

Great is the Lord and most worthy of praise; his greatness no one can fathom. One generation commends your works to another; they tell of your mighty acts. They speak of the glorious splendor of your majesty—and I will meditate on your wonderful works. They tell of the power of your awesome works—and I will proclaim your great deeds.

3. Celebrate God’s character (Verses7-9).

They celebrate your abundant goodness and joyfully sing of your righteousness. The Lord is gracious and compassionate; slow to anger and rich in love. The Lord is good to all; he has compassion on all he has made.

4. Trust God to provide (Verses 14-16).

The Lord upholds all who fall and lifts up all who are bowed down. The eyes of all look to you, and you give them their food at the proper time. You open your hand and satisfy the desires of every living thing.

5. Call out to God in prayer (Verses 17-19).

The Lord is righteous in all his ways and faithful in all he does. The Lord is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth. He fulfills the desires of those who fear him; he hears their cry and saves them.

6. Realize you were made to praise Him (Verse 21).

My mouth will speak in praise of the Lord. Let every creature praise his holy name for ever and ever.

I will worship God is spirit and truth. That’s the best way to develop a relationship with Him.

 

 

I will trust God (EVC Core Value)

Written by: Tim Wood

When I am afraid, I put my trust in you.” (Psalm 56:3)

One of our core values at Evergreen Valley Church states this: “I will trust God in all areas of my life.” This core value supports our vision of developing a relationship with God. One of the best ways to grow in our relationship with God is to trust Him. Every day I can choose to trust God. In every situation I can choose to trust God. However, it’s difficult to trust God when everything seems to be falling apart. It’s difficult to trust God when you’re afraid.

Fear is a primal emotion and it’s experienced by everyone, even those we think are strong. I just finished reading an autobiography about Chuck Yeager who broke the sound barrier as a test pilot in 1947. Yeager admitted to being afraid several times in his life and not just in an airplane. Even the strongest and heroic among us experience the intimidation of fear in their life. We all do.

David was well acquainted with fear. In Psalm 56, he mentions being afraid three times. In verses 3 and 4 he writes, “When I am afraid, I put my trust in you.  In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust; I shall not be afraid. What can flesh do to me?”

Again, in verse 11 he writes, “In God I trust; I shall not be afraid. What can man do to me?” David describes what is causing his fears. People are trampling him, oppressing him and attacking him. People are stirring up strife and watching his steps. David can either fear what people are doing or trust God. He chooses to trust God.

He doesn’t say: “When I am afraid, I will panic. When I am afraid, I will fall to pieces or run and hide.” NO! David says, “When I am afraid, I will put my trust in you.” David chooses to trust God’s power. God’s providence. God’s promises. We can too.

Trusting God is being confident that God’s positives are greater than my negatives. Trusting God is a lasting antidote to fear.

Whatever is causing fear in your life you can choose to say, “I will put my trust in God.” What a great truth to keep in the front of our minds, “I will not fear; I will trust God.”

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.  In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.”  (Proverbs 3:5-6)

 

 

Praying for your Spiritual Growith

Written by: Tim Wood

What do you pray about most?  How do you pray for others? If you are like me, most prayers are filled with current circumstances. A sickness. A decision. A tragedy. We normally pray for something we are struggling with – health concerns, financial problems or relational difficulties. There is nothing wrong with praying about these things. We should pray about these things. However, we should spend as much or more time praying about our spiritual growth. If you take an inventory of your prayers, how much time do you spend praying for God to change your heart, your character?

Fortunately, there are several verses in the Bible to help us pray for spiritual growth in our life as well as the lives of others. Here are some examples:

Ephesians 3:19 - (Pray) to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God. 

Hebrews 13:21 –(Pray that God will) equip you in every good thing to do His will, working in us that which is pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be the glory forever and ever. Amen.

Romans 15:13 – (Pray that the) God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you will abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Ephesians 1:17 – (Pray) that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you a spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of Him.

2 Thessalonians 3:5 - May the Lord direct your hearts into the love of God and into the steadfastness of Christ.

You will always pray the right thing when you pray the Scriptures. This is God’s will for you. This is God’s will for your friends and your family. Pray it!

Be like Epaphras in Colossians 4:12, “Epaphras, who is one of your number, a bond slave of Jesus Christ, sends you his greetings, always laboring earnestly for you in his prayers, that you may stand perfect and fully assured in all the will of God.”