Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Dealing With Holiday Stress

Luke 10:38-42 38 Now as they went on their way, Jesus entered a village. And a woman named Martha welcomed him into her house. 39 And she had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord's feet and listened to his teaching. 40 But Martha was distracted with much serving. And she went up to him and said, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me.” 41 But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, 42 but one thing is necessary.  Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.”

On the Sunday before Christmas, a little boy and girl were singing their favorite carol, Silent Night.  The boy concluded the song with the words, “sleep in Heavenly beans.”  The girl elbowed him and said, “Not beans, peas.”  For many, the song may as well end with beans or peas because, for them, the Christmas season doesn’t end with peace.  In the passage above, we learn that Martha was experiencing stress.  She was distracted, anxious, and troubled. 

Some holiday stress creators include shopping for gifts, attending holiday parties, putting up decorations, cooking, wrapping gifts, fighting traffic, funding the holiday budget, gathering with family members without offending other family members, gaining weight, sending Christmas cards, hearing “Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer”, and so many more. 

Everyone experiences some degree of stress.  Stress can result from feeling annoyed, threatened, pressured, excited, scared, worried, hurried, angered, frustrated, or criticized, etc.  Think about a rubber band for a moment.  It can be stretched and then it returns to normal when the external force is removed.  If stretched for a long time, it can lose its elasticity and will eventually snap. 

Stress can cause headaches, stiffness in the neck, shoulders, jaws, arms, legs, hands, irregular heartbeats, dizziness, indigestion, nausea, difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep, waking up tired, anger, irritability, and a myriad of other negative issues. 

Martha became distracted with much serving.  We, too, can get distracted by the things we feel are seemingly necessary.  It is easy to miss out on the “one thing” that “is necessary” by making priorities of some things that don’t deserve priority.  Martha was serving.  Mary was worshiping.  Martha was distracted.  Mary was focused.  Martha was worried.  Mary was contented.

Mary realized the most important thing was to spend time with Jesus.  Preparation for an event is not to be compared with spending time in the presence of Him Who is the central figure of the event.  She chose the “one thing” that was most important and it could not be taken away from her.  Parties come and go but spending time with Jesus is life-changing.  We must never get so busy during the holidays that we neglect the quiet and peaceful worship of, and fellowship with, our Lord Jesus.

To deal with holiday stress, consider this:
1) Understand what Christmas is really all about. 
 2) Plan ahead. 
 3) Let others help. 
 4) Lighten your calendar.  Remember, some things and events are optional. 
 5) Stick with your budget. 
 6) Put priority on your most significant relationships:  Christ, spouse, family, closest friends.

On the night Jesus was born, Angels sang “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!”  During this Christmas season, may each of us choose to spend time with Jesus, the Son of God, Who came to save us from our sin.  Don’t allow the celebration of the most peace-filled night in history to become the most stress-filled time of the year.

Silent night! Holy night!
All is calm, all is bright
Round yon virgin mother and Child.
Holy Infant, so tender and mild,
Sleep in heavenly peace;
Sleep in heavenly peace.

Silent night! Holy night!
Shepherds quake at the sight!
Glories stream from heaven afar;
Heav'nly hosts sing Alleluia!
Christ, the Savior, is born!
Christ, the Savior, is born!

Silent night! Holy night!
Son of God, love's pure light
Radiant beams from thy holy face,
With the dawn of redeeming grace,
Jesus, Lord, at thy birth;
Jesus, Lord, at thy birth.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

For Whom are You Thankful? Who Is Thankful For You?

Romans 1:8 (KJV) First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for you all, that your faith is spoken of throughout the whole world.
Philippians 1:3 (KJV) I thank my God upon every remembrance of you,
1 Thessalonians 1:2 (KJV) We give thanks to God always for you all, making mention of you in our prayers;
2 Thessalonians 1:3 (KJV) We are bound to thank God always for you, brethren, as it is meet, because that your faith groweth exceedingly, and the charity of every one of you all toward each other aboundeth;
Philemon 1:4 (KJV) I thank my God, making mention of thee always in my prayers,

It is the season to give thanks.  We do well to remember those for whom we are thankful and be a person for whom others are thankful.  May each of us live in such a way as to bless others.  May we make someone’s burden lighter.  May we touch someone so deeply that he or she senses the hand of our Lord Jesus at work within.  May we cause someone to feel loved and accepted unconditionally.  May we bring cheer and happiness to those around us.  May those we love never feel alone.

Teresa and I give thanks for our family and friends, especially those who stand by our side as we do the work of an evangelist.  These people are to us as Aaron and Hur were to the prophet Moses, holding up our hands as we endeavor to provide leadership and ministry with the anointing of the Holy Spirit.

First, we are thankful for those who pray for our ministry.  This prayer covering shields us from the attack of the enemy.  He attacks but he cannot defeat us.  He may knock us down but he cannot knock us out.  He is bound in failure because of Him to Whom our family and friends pray for our protection and success.  Prayer brings good to us rather than the evil that the enemy intended.  Recently, a man told me the Lord had revealed things to him about an experience in my life and ministry.  He said the Lord has set me free and is launching me into a greater ministry than I have ever known.  What a Word from the Lord!  May it be so!  I believe I am seeing this Word fulfilled.  God is raising up people who pray for us and our ministry each day.  We are thankful.

Second, we are thankful for those who promote our ministry.  Since March 2015, we have been honored to operate with the designation from Evangelism USA as National Evangelist of the International Pentecostal Holiness Church (IPHC).  It is my understanding that Teresa and I are the first itinerant evangelistic ministry to have this official designation, though the IPHC has been blessed with countless numbers of powerfully anointed evangelistic teams through the years.  We are grateful to the leadership of the IPHC on every level; general, conference, and local.  The IPHC General Officials encourage us through their lives and ministry.  The Conference Superintendents and Evangelism Directors who use us and encourage their pastors to invite us to minister in revivals, retreats, camp meetings, and special services help to open doors of opportunity for us.  Pastors, whose invitations allow us to minister in local churches, give us a place to utilize our abilities and exercise our spiritual gifts. 

People who log on to www.micksnider.org or LIKE the Mick Snider Ministries Facebook page and LIKE and SHARE posts from it or our personal Facebook pages help us reach more people with the message of Jesus Christ.  Each LIKE, SHARE, and COMMENT is a blessing to us and others.  We are thankful.

Third, we are thankful for those who provide for our ministry.  Since 1979 when Teresa and I left our employment as a therapist in a chiropractic practice and a steelworker, respectively, we have been in full-time ministry.  God, through the generosity of people, has provided for and met every need we have had.  As an evangelist, we have no set minimum fee for our services.  Some have asked if being the National Evangelist for the IPHC means that the denomination arranges my ministry schedule and financially underwrites my ministry.  The answer to both questions is no.  We operate completely by faith.  Admittedly, this means we experience times of sufficiency and shortfall. 

Most revival meetings run Sunday through Wednesday, five services.  In general, a full-time evangelist is able, at the most, to conduct about forty weeks of meetings each year due to the church calendar being affected with holidays, vacation seasons, Conference events, and other church events, etc., all of which prevent a local church from scheduling an evangelist for a revival.  This means the evangelist has about twelve weeks each year as down time with no income.  While the people in each local church do their best to provide a meaningful offering, the churches cannot offset a full fiscal quarter of no income for an evangelist.  God is touching the hearts of congregations, individuals, families, and business owners and using them to provide financial support each month to help offset the shortfall.  The regular and faithful giving of churches and our ministry partners makes it possible for Teresa and me to do what we do. 

Prayer support can be given on a 24/7 basis.  Financial support can be given in a couple of ways.  The quickest way to get funds to us is to write a check payable  and send to Mick Snider Ministries, Inc., 6809 S 1ST Street, Broken Arrow, OK, 74011.  Because Mick Snider Ministries, Inc. is recognized by the Internal Revenue Service as a 501 (c) 3 non-profit corporation, we provide a letter of thanks and acknowledgement to assist donors with their tax returns.  Another way to help fund this ministry (this may take about three months for the funds to arrive in our office) is to give through a local IPHC congregation or write a check payable and send to Evangelism USA, P.O. Box 270420, OKC, OK, 73137.  NOTE:  Giving through the IPHC must be marked with the account #03129PxMSnider. 

The generosity of God and those He uses to support Mick Snider Ministries, Inc. provides the funds necessary for our personal needs and those of the ministry.  Each church that assists with the expenses of airfare, car rental, lodging, meals, etc. blesses our ministry immeasurably.  The individuals and businesses who partner with us are of inestimable value.  We could not fulfill our mission without the faithful support of our family, friends, and partners.  We are grateful.

So, if you ever wonder if anyone is thankful for you, the answer is a resounding YES!  We who minister under the name Mick Snider Ministries and those to whom we minister are thankful for you.  We are grateful.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Hope ~ Part 2

Hope ~ Part 2

Hebrews 6:17-19 KJV 17 Wherein God, willing more abundantly to shew unto the heirs of promise the immutability of his counsel, confirmed it by an oath: 18 That by two immutable things, in which it was impossible for God to lie, we might have a strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us: 19 Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, and which entereth into that within the veil;

An anchor must be lodged in something solid in order to provide security and stability.

A Sure Ground for the Saints’ Hope is:

1)      The Love of God
The grand old text of the Bible, John 3:16, teaches that God loved the world so much that He gave His only Son and whoever believes in Him will have everlasting life.  God loves us with an everlasting love.  If, according to Romans chapter 8, nothing can separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord; then, our Hope is sure and steadfast.
2)      The Death of Christ
Christ died for us.  He laid down His life for His sheep.  We are redeemed by the precious blood of Christ.  He met all of the righteous demands of a holy God so that we through His substitution might be saved.  Since His death atoned for our sins, our Hope is sure and steadfast.
3)      The Resurrection of Christ
The question is asked in Romans chapter 8, “Who can condemn those who believe in Jesus?  It is Christ who died, yea, rather that is risen again.”  He died for our sins and was raised back to life for our justification.  Since all who believe in Christ are justified, our Hope is sure and steadfast.
4)      The Intercession of Christ
From Romans chapter 8, we understand that after the resurrection of Jesus, He ascended to Heaven and was seated at the right hand of God to make intercession for us.  Another passage in Hebrews reveals that He ever lives to make intercession. Jesus told Simon Peter, “I have prayed for you” and He said to His Father, “I know that thou hearest me always.”  Christ’s intercession is a sure ground for our Hope.
5)      The Mercy of God
Psalm 33:18 declares. “Behold the eye of the Lord is upon them that fear him, upon them that hope in his mercy:”  Elsewhere, we learned His mercy endures forever.  Accordingly, our Hope is sure and steadfast.
6)      The Promise of God
God, of whom it is said in scripture, has given promises and it is impossible for Him to lie.  He has given us exceeding great and precious promises.  His promise is that He will never leave nor forsake us.  Therefore, our Hope is sure and steadfast.
7)      The Power of God
The divine grip of God holds believers in such a way that no one can pluck us out of His hand.  We are kept by the power of God, through faith, unto salvation.  His power is able to keep believers from falling and preserve them eternally.  So, our Hope is sure and steadfast.

Circumstances and situations are often like powerful storms that threaten our safety and peace of mind.  May we never forget that we are not without an anchor to give us stability and security.  We have hope. 

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Hope ~ Part 1

Many people speak of having hope, keeping hope alive, losing hope, and having no hope.  The Book of Hebrews teaches that Hope is an Anchor of the Soul, both sure and steadfast.

This Hope is not the hope of being rich, or being healthy, or living a long life.  It is the Hope that gives stability to one’s life despite setbacks and challenges. 

Here are some parallels:
1)    An Anchor provides stability and security to a ship in a storm.  A mariner must have an anchor when he is in danger of rocks and sand bars.  Without it, the vessel will be in great jeopardy.  Our hope in God, through Jesus Christ, gives a sense of peace and calmness during the times of trouble.
2)    An Anchor, when cast into the water, takes hold of something which cannot be seen.  Our Hope is in Christ Jesus, Who is in Heaven.  We cannot see Him as He intercedes for us as the right hand of the Father.  But, our hope is that He Who died on the cross for our sins is now our Advocate in Heaven.
3)    An Anchor takes hold of a rock in order to keep a vessel from shipwreck.  Christ is the solid Rock which keeps a soul safe in perilous times and prevents spiritual shipwreck.
4)    An Anchor is attached to a vessel by use of a rope or cable.  Faith is the cord that attaches Hope to our soul.  Hope without faith is of no benefit to us.  In Hebrews 6:19-20, Hope must be cast within the veil, where the fore-runner, even Jesus, has entered.

Here are some disparities:
1)    An Anchor is cast downward into the water.  But, the Anchor of the soul is cast upward into Heaven.
2)    An Anchor may let go or be broken.  Hope, the Anchor of the soul is both sure and steadfast.  If Hope is lost, everything is gone.  But, Hope does not disappoint us. 

Here are the words of an old hymn that can strengthen and help us:

My hope is built on nothing less, than Jesus’ blood and righteousness.
I dare not trust the sweetest frame but, wholly lean on Jesus’ name.
On Christ the solid Rock I stand,
All other ground is sinking sand.
All other ground is sinking sand.

Check back soon to read Hope ~ Part 2 in the next Truth In Love Blog. 

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Let's Talk About Sin

Sin is a wretched condition and action that, in the words of one speaker, will "take you further than you meant to stray, keep you longer than you meant to stay, and cost you more than you meant to pay."  Some disbelieve in the existence of such a condition or activity because to believe such is to acknowledge the existence of absolute law.  The Bible, the Word of God, is the authoritative law in which we learn about sin.

God was not willing to allow fallen people to simply die in their sinful state so, in His mercy, He revealed to mankind that all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.  Though all were guilty of sin and under the curse of sin, no one knew about sin until God revealed its presence, its power and its penalty.  Let's talk about sin and its DEFINITION.

In Psalm 51, rather than suggesting he messed up, made a mistake, or goofed, David referred to his wrong-doing as sin, transgression, iniquity, and evil.  According to Proverbs 14:21, "Whoever despises his neighbor is a sinner..."  In Romans 14:23, the Apostle Paul teaches that "whatsoever is not of faith is sin."  Knowing what is right and choosing not to do it is sin according to James 4:17.  The Apostle John reveals the seriousness of sin in his first general epistle by stating, "sin is the transgression of the law" and "all unrighteousness is sin".  He goes on to say in chapter three verse eight, "Whoever makes a practice of sinning is of the devil..."  Now, let's talk about sin and its DECEITFULNESS.

Wisdom in Proverbs 14:12 discloses "There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death."  It is imperative that one never forget the warning of Matthew 12:36 that every human will stand before The Creator to give an account of each deed and even every careless word.  The disbelief of those who claim there is no judgement of sin does not negate its reality.  People often try to justify actions with the declaration that the deed hurts no one but herself or himself.  The absence of one who dies or is imprisoned as a result of breaking the law greatly impacts the spouse, children, friends, and loved ones left behind.  Sin never appears in the beginning as it does in the end.  The siren call of sin causes people to think they will get by with what ensnared and enslaved others.  When Lot chose to go to Sodom, no one could have told him he would rise as a civic leader in such a vile place.  He never dreamed that his choice would cost him two of his daughters, that he would offer angelic guests to be abused by the Sodomites, that his wife would become a pillar of salt, or that two of his daughters would arrange to get him so drunk  on two successive nights that he would not know when each got in or out of bed with him, and that each incestuous encounter would produce a child that would be an enemy of the nation of Israel.  One can continue the discussion with the events of Luke 15 regarding the losses incurred by the prodigal son.  When we see how deceitful sin is, we then learn about its DESTRUCTIVENESS.

Romans 6:23 declares, "...the wages of sin is death..."  The prophet Moses warned the nation of Israel  to "be sure your sin will find you out."  David's adulterous affair with Bathsheba left a path of grief and sorrow.  The husband of Bathsheba, Uriah the Hittite, was killed, impacting the lives of his family and friends.  The illegitimate child conceived in the adulterous act, died.  His son, Amnon, raped his daughter, Tamar.  David's son, Absalom, killed Amnon and in a great rebellion tried to take the throne away from King David, only to die by hanging from a tree with darts in his chest. One recognizes that, according to the prophecy, the sword never departed from the house of David.  The rebellion of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram caused the earth to swallow them and their families alive.  A married couple, Ananias and Sapphira, lied about giving an offering and each was struck dead.  Observe what sin did to the Lord Jesus.  He did no sin, knew no sin, and had no sin.  Yet, He became sin for us.  God laid on Him the iniquity of us all.  As our sin bearer,  He was forced to carry a cross.  He was flogged and beaten beyond recognition.  He had a crown of thorns thrust on His brow.  His hands and feet were nailed to the cross.  A spear was shoved into His side.  He was mocked, spat upon, and crucified because of our sin, not His.  What a destructive price He paid!  When He died in our place so that we would not be destroyed by our sin, He made available to all who believe the only DETERGENT for sin.

The prophet Zechariah foretold of a fountain that would be opened for sin and uncleanness.  Through the prophet Isaiah, God invites all who have sinned to “Come now, let us reason together, says the Lord: though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall become like wool."  None of the animals in the sacrificial system could completely deal with sin.  At best, sins were rolled forward for a year to be dealt with again.  Through the sacrifice and shed blood of Jesus Christ, sin is blotted out.  Our judicial record.is expunged.  A person who believes upon the Lord Jesus Christ, though guilty of heinous crimes against God, is forgiven and declared to be as though the person had never committed any wrong doing at all.  The Apostle Peter wrote that we are not redeemed by corruptible things like silver and gold or by the blood of bulls and goats.  He announced that we are redeemed by the precious blood of Jesus Christ!  A favorite song of believers asks a question, "What can wash away my sin?"  That hymn quickly answers the question with the truth "Nothing but the blood of Jesus."  Anyone singing that song eventually finds great peace in the chorus, "Oh! precious is the flow that makes me white as snow; No other fount I know, nothing but the blood of Jesus."  Hear the hope calling from 1 John 1:7-9, "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 cleanses us from all sin.  If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.  If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness."  

In closing, God hates sin.  Everyone is guilty of sin.  No one is righteous without the righteousness of Jesus Christ.  He became sin for us so we might be made the righteousness of God in Him.  God loved the world so much that He gave Jesus to die on a cross so all who place their trust in Him will be saved and forgiven of their sins.  We cannot do enough good things to be forgiven of sins.  We cannot stop doing enough bad things to obtain forgiveness of sins.  Salvation is only because of divine grace.  Sin abounds.  But, grace abounds much more!

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Blog and May-Blog

The decision to blog was not made out of boredom and a lack of other significant things to do.  It was born from a desire to share thoughts, ideas, sermons, resources, views on current events, etc.  From the beginning, I acknowledge that some things I will say, thoughts I will share, verbage I will use may or may not be original to me.  If so, wonderful.  If not, I will try to remember where it came from in order to give proper credit to whom it is due.  At times, it's a real challenge to remember where One read or heard something.  So there is my disclaimer.  I've made no promise to myself as to the frequency with which I will post.  Today, I Blog.  Tomorrow, I May-Blog.  With this venue, I hope to share blessing, insight, inspiration, and perhaps, a little enlightenment.  Someone said, "These people who think they know everything are a real pain in the neck to those of us who really do."  I make no claim to knowing a lot.  But, I do know a little and I hope to share some.

In this first brief blog, I want to say thanks to my wife of 36 years, Teresa, for standing faithfully by my side in life and ministry.  When she said, "I do," she had no idea all opportunities and obligations that vow would bring.  She is my dearest friend and most trusted confidant.  She performs so many selfless duties and tasks at our home and with our mothers so that I can travel in itinerant evangelistic ministry.  She shares in this great work.  So, I have no doubt that she will share in any blessings and rewards received.  We are in this together!

I look forward to sharing with anyone willing to read this blog.  Please remember, I am a preacher.  So, I May-Blog with some scriptural or religious overtones.  It's who I am and what I do.  May our journey be blessed with peace as we spend a few moments together following Jesus!