“...everything lives where the river flows...” -Ezekiel 47:9

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Category: Pastor’s Corner

Avoid the Root of Bitterness

Did you know that bitterness is a root? Hebrews 12:15 reads, “Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled.” So, what is a root? A root is a source that is under the surface. Roots don’t directly manifest or make them known, but are a source of nutrition or fuel for other elements that are on the surface. A root’s job is not to manifest on the surface, but to brew under the surface and fuel things that are on the surface. The same is true with bitterness in a person’s soul. It’s a hidden element that lies under the surface, and out of it springs up anger and other negative emotions against others and against the circumstances around us.

Those who have a root of bitterness find it easy to get upset over things that others around them are doing. Bitterness is a root, thereby making it harder to identify and expose than many surface issues. Nevertheless, it is a deadly poison that needs to be released. If left alone, it will grow and fester, and it has the ability to spring up many surface issues such as anger, hatred, etc.

Bitterness can be caused by a traumatic experience that was forced upon you unwillingly by another. It can be caused by disappointment and shattered hopes and dreams. Also, it can be caused by unforgiveness and refusing to let go of an offense. Bitterness can be caused by rejection by someone you loved and who was supposed to love you.

The root of bitterness prevents you from having great relationships with others. It will keep you from enjoying life and will make you look at life through a selfish point of view. Additionally, the root of bitterness will prevent you from having fellowship with God. Your fellowship with God will be affected because the root of bitterness grieves the Holy Spirit, hinders your prayer life and your worship.

Finally, what are the keys to the eradication of the root of bitterness? First, let God reveal it (Psalm 139:23-24). Second, let grace remove it (Hebrews 12:15). Lastly, let God replace it (Hebrews 12:14).

In Everything Give Thanks

In the United States, Thanksgiving Day is celebrated on the fourth Thursday in November. But did you know that seven other nations also celebrate an official Thanksgiving Day? Those nations are Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Japan, Korea, Liberia, and Switzerland. According to most historians, the pilgrims never observed an annual Thanksgiving feast in autumn. In the year 1621, they did celebrate a feast near Plymouth, Massachusetts, following their first harvest. But this feast most people refer to as the first Thanksgiving was never repeated. Oddly enough, most devoutly religious pilgrims observed a day of thanksgiving with prayer and fasting not feasting. Yet even though this harvest feast was never called Thanksgiving by the pilgrims of 1621, it has become the model for the traditional Thanksgiving celebrations in the United States.

Here is the historical time line of Thanksgiving in America:

  • 1541 – Spanish explorer, Francisco Vasquez de Coronado, led a thanksgiving Communion celebration at the Palo Duro Canyon, West Texas.
  • 1565 – Pedro Menendez de Aviles and 800 settlers gathered for a meal with the Timucuan Indians in the Spanish colony of St. Augustine, Florida.
  • 1621 – Pilgrims and Native Americans celebrated a harvest feast in Plymouth, Massachusetts.
  • 1630 – Settlers observed the first Thanksgiving of the Massachusetts Bay Colony in New England on July 8, 1630.
  • 1777 – George Washington and his army on the way to Valley Forge, stopped in blistering weather in open fields to observe the first Thanksgiving of the new United States of America.
  • 1789 – President Washington declared November 26, 1789, as a national day of “thanksgiving and prayer.”
  • 1800s – The annual presidential thanksgiving proclamations ceased for 45 years in the early 1800s.
  • 1863 – President Abraham Lincoln resumed the tradition of Thanksgiving proclamations in 1863. Since this date, Thanksgiving has been observed annually in the United States.
  • 1941 – President Roosevelt established the fourth Thursday in November as Thanksgiving Day.

This Thanksgiving we pray everyone will enjoy their family and friends. Also, remember to give thanks to the Lord for everything and in everything.

Overcoming the Obstacles in Our Lives

In Joshua chapter 6, the people of God had to decide whether they would continue the journey to where God wanted them—would they move forward in spite of the obstacles, or would they once again retreat into safety? From this passage of scripture let’s look at three key principles on how to overcome the obstacles that oftentimes keep us from following the will of God for our lives.

First, we overcome obstacles through communication (Joshua 6:1-2)

The major obstacle facing Joshua and the people of Israel was Jericho. If they couldn’t conquer this city, then all hope for the Israelites was gone. The questions to be asked are, how would they reach the city and how would they scale the wall?

Joshua had a God who communicated with him. God told Joshua, “See, I have delivered Jericho into your hands, along with its king and its fighting men, and provided the plan for taking Jericho.” Whatever your obstacle, God’s willing to cross it with you. He is committed to communicating with His people and to providing strength, comfort, and hope. If you are up against a wall and want to know how to deal with it, don’t try to overcome under your own strength. Your first plan of action should be to have a little talk with God.

Second, we defeat difficulties through compliance (verses 6-7)

In the midst of such a great obstacle, Joshua complied with the plan of God. Though he may not have completely understood the plan or its significance, he followed God and moved the people to action. God could use a man like Joshua because he was a man of faith and a man of obedience. He simply followed as God instructed and the people followed.

God instructed the people of Israel to carry the trumpets, with the ark of the Lord following for six days, and they were not to speak (verses 8, 10). On the seventh day they were to follow this routine with one addition. They were to shout in glory to God because the city had been delivered to them.  This was an act of faith and obedience and their obedience to God produced wonders. We don’t read of a negative spirit, disbelief, or discouragement. Compliance is the key to the moving of God’s mighty hand in our lives.

Finally, impossibilities become possibilities through confidence (verses 20-21)

It was uncommon common sense to believe that God could make the impossible possible. Yet in the end the walls fell.  
The walls were not the problem, the people were the problem. We are always the problem. God has the power to do as He chooses, but He desires that we act in obedient faith. When we do, He takes care of the walls and it all.
In conclusion, Joshua and the people of god demonstrated deep confidence in the power of God. Do you have that kind of confidence? If so, then you can overcome the obstacles in your life. Remember the three C’s to overcoming obstacles are communication, compliance, and confidence.