Blessedness

Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God, Matthew 5:8.  “Back to the basics.” We hear that phrase a lot -- so many things in life can be fixed when we return to basic principles. That lesson was at the heart of Jesus' Beatitudes (Matthew 5:3-11). Nine times He said, "Blessed are [those] ..." referring to people who put the kingdom of God first in their lives.

Blessedness is more than happiness. It is similar to the Hebrew concept of shalom, or peace, the contented, stable, peaceful relationship one has with man and God. Blessedness is an Old Testament concept that was picked up by Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount. In Psalm 1 -- the psalm chosen to introduce Israel's hymnbook -- the psalmist begins just as Jesus did: "Blessed is the man who ...."

The psalmist says we are blessed when our "delight is in the law of the LORD." That is, we are blessed when our thoughts and actions are consistent with God's values and priorities as found in Scripture. It's the same message Jesus gave to His audience: Center your heart on God and you will know Him now and forever.

It's good to be happy in this world, but even better to be blessed by God. Blessing comes from getting back to spiritual basics. Blessedness does not lie in externals.

Will You Come With Us?

Over the next few weeks we will be placing special emphasis on our in-house missionaries; the Loggins, Violas, and the Boutins.  Each of these families has dedicated themselves to ministries on an international level, and we have the responsibility to help them in every way possible to fulfill this calling given to us in Matthew 28

On April 6th we will have a “Will You Come With Us?” Sunday to help raise additional funds for these families, and we need your help!  It will be a big event and I hope that you will plan to come and enjoy Christian fellowship with a lunch, inflatables for the children, good music, and an Easter basket auction along with a few extra dollars to help them reach their financial goals.  God will bless our church as we do everything we can to send these families on the mission field supported by our prayers, finances and encouragement.

I look forward to seeing you at this special event for White Stone Church and our missionary families.


-Cameron

Missions Emphasis Service, Luncheon, and Auction

This year, White Stone Church will give 14% of its tithes and offerings to international, area, and local ministries.  These include: Highland Lakes Camp and Conference Center, Austin Baptist Association, Jewish Relief Fund, Angel House Soup Kitchen, the Loggins Family Ministries, and the Viola Family Ministries.

Over the next few weeks we will be placing special emphasis on our in-house missionaries, the Loggins and the Violas.  Each of these families has dedicated themselves to ministries on an international level and we have the responsibility to help them in every way possible to fulfill this calling. 

On April 6th, we will have a special service to help raise additional funds for these families, and we need your help.  It will be a big event!  I hope that you will plan to come to enjoy Christian fellowship, lunch, games, good music, and an Easter basket auction, and come with a few extra dollars to help them reach their financial goals.  God will bless our church as we do everything we can to send these families into the mission field supported by our prayers, finances, and encouragement.

Cameron

Prayer for Fasting

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Father, it is the heart of White Stone church to seek Your face and strength, not only Your hand. (Psalm 105:4).  You have declared a holy fast to cry out to you Lord (Joel 1:14). Sovereign God we want to honor You as first in our lives, so we offer to You the things that would turn our focus from You Lord. Father You have said that You put your instructions deep within us, and have written them on our hearts. (Jer. 31:33) Tune our ears to hear You Holy Spirit about what we should fast from, and as it gets difficult, remind us that You are with us to give us Your strength (Psalm 86:16). As we fast Jesus, we invite You in to invade and demolish strongholds of pride, unforgiveness, bitterness, anger, perversity, self-centeredness,  or anything that is keeping us bound from all of the great things You have planned for us to honor You and bring You glory (Eph. 4:31). We ask You Holy Spirit to loose your power so that all the fruitYou have already implanted in us would begin to flourish as a spring garden. “The Lord your God will change your heart and the hearts of all your descendants, so that you will love him with all your heart and soul and so you may live!" (Deut. 30:6). God this is our heart’s desire and we know that You are able to do more than we could ask or imagine. Thank You for what You are about to do in White Stone, Your Church.

21 Days of Fasting, Giving, and Praying

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There is Life…and there is living…are you ready to start really living out God’s plan for your life?  Because there’s more to life…more to faith…more to you—God gives you the formula for success.  It boils down to two words:  God First!  Matthew 6:33 says, “Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness.”  How do we seek Him first?  Can’t say it enough—through fasting, giving and prayer. 
Fasting is a discipline that helps to shift our priorities.  It puts Him first and allows us to hear His plan, receive His direction and His blessings.  If you want success in your life, in your marriage, in your work—putting God first is the key.

Fasting in January is much like praying in the morning to establish the will of God for your entire day. I believe if we will pray and seek God and give Him our first and best at the beginning of the year, He will honor that sacrifice and bless our ENTIRE year! If you are one of those people who sense God has more for your life, take the first step and believe for more of Him.  Start the year off right and discover the rewards of putting God first!  I look forward to what God will do in our lives and in our land as we seek Him together throughout these 21 days.  

Pastor Cameron


Some Fasting Methods

Full Fast

Drink only liquids (you establish the number of days).

Daniel Fast

The idea behind what is known as the Daniel Fast is gleaned from the Old Testament passage found in Daniel 1:8-14. In it, a young man by the name of Daniel is a captive in Babylon where he is taught Babylonian customs and prepared to serve in the court. Daniel and his closest friends turn down the king's diet of wine and rich foods and Daniel speaks with the chief official about an alternative diet. The official is concerned the health of Daniel and his friends will suffer if they eat nothing but vegetables and water, but Daniel talks him into a ten-day trial period. At the end of the ten days, Daniel and his friends look healthier than those eating the king's diet.

The Bible does not command God's people to follow the Daniel fast. This is an account of one young man's personal convictions regarding diet. He didn't want to be assimilated into the Babylonian culture. Turning away the king's food was one way to separate himself as one set apart for God.

Partial Fast

A partial fast is from 6:00 am to 3:00 pm or from sun up to sundown. You can select from three types of fasting —a Full Fast, Daniel Fast or give up at least one item of food.

Fasting to Experience God's Power

Because fasting takes our focus off of ourselves, it opens us to experience God's power. You can find anecdotal testimonies of people who have experienced God's power in miraculous ways as a result of fasting. However, these stories don't offer real evidence to back them up.

Corporate Fasting

Corporate fasting is a time when a group of believers joins in fasting and prayer. This group may be a family, such as when Esther told her uncle to fast and pray, or may be a group from a church or churches. In fact, it can incorporate any group of believers even if they are separated by miles. This fasting is most often connected with specific prayer requests.

Biblical Examples

Samuel Fast

The Samuel fast found in 2 Samuel tells of the account of Samuel instructing the Israelites to separate themselves from the world. They had drifted far from God's will and were persecuted by the Philistines. Along with getting rid of the false gods, Samuel told them to fast and pray. This is really another example of corporate fasting.

Paul Fast

St. Paul's conversion was a dramatic one. A bright light appeared and he fell from his horse. As a blind man, he fasted and prayed as he sought God's will for his life. (Acts 9:1-22)

John the Baptist Fast

John the Baptist lived life in the wilderness and ate a limited diet of locusts and wild honey. While that isn't going to be the diet of choice for most people today, this fast represents separation from the world.

 

Start this year off right and discover the rewards of putting God first!  I look forward to what God will do in our lives and in our land as we seek Him together.