Was Mary’s Virginity Important?

The virgin will conceive a child! She will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel, which means ‘God is with us. Matt 1:23
 
We all know that the Bible tells us that Mary was a virgin when Jesus was conceived in her womb.  But is that a big deal? YES!  If she were not, then Jesus was just another holy man or a prophet.  But if she was, then He truly is God in the flesh.  God loved us so much that he did not just sent us another man to speak for Him, but His own Son, to die for us.
 
Pastor Ray Pile


Jesus

 “She will bear a Son; and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.” Matt. 1:21
 
This is what the angel told Joseph about his soon-to-be born son.  Mary and Joseph did not have to deliberate about what to call their son.  God had told them…Jesus.  His name means “God saves”.  That’s because Jesus would die so that we could be saved, forgiven, and allowed into heaven.  It’s the only way.  If God didn’t forgive sinners, there would be no one in heaven.  But Jesus made a way!  Praise His name!
 
Pastor Ray Pile


He Sees Your Hurts

You keep track of all my sorrows..You have collected all my tears in your bottle. You have recorded each one in your book. PSALM 56:8
 
It is sad that so many think that God is cold, distant and unloving.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  He sees our struggles and pain.  He sees every tear that you have shed and all the sorrows that you have encountered.  In fact, He is ever mindful of your hurtful past.  Don’t ever think that God doesn’t care just be cause He is silent at times.  He sees, He knows, and He cares.
 
Pastor Ray Pile


Give Thanks

Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank Him for all He has done. Phil. 4:6
 
This is a commandment from the Lord.  Don’t worry but instead pray.  However, don’t leave off the last part.  It’s easy to pray about our needs but forget to thank God for what He has done.  Thanksgiving must always be a part of our prayers.  It’s not because God needs our gratitude but because we do.  Giving thanks builds our faith for our current situation.  It helps us focus on the faithfulness of God.  Ask and pray, but always remember to give thanks.
 
Pastor Ray Pile


Praise Jesus Together!

Jesus said, “For wherever two or three people come together in my name, I am there, right among you!” Matt. 18:20
 
I’ve heard people say, “I don’t need to go to church, I can have church all by myself.”  You can worship God all by yourself, but you cannot have church all by yourself.  By definition, church is people gathering together in His name to worship Him.  We should all have our private times of worship and prayer.  But we need to meet with other Christians to worship Him and to encourage one another.  The Bible even warns us not to neglect meeting with others on a regular basis.  Yes, worship God on your own, but also come together with others and experience His presence in a unique way.
 
Pastor Ray Pile


You Can Know

These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know that you have eternal life. I Jn 5:13
 
God wants you to know if you’re going to heaven.  You don’t have to just “hope so”.  It would be cruel of Him to make you wait to find out for sure until after you die.  You can know now that you will spend eternity with Him.  Trust that Jesus paid the price for your sins on the cross and surrender your life to Him and you can know!
 
Pastor Ray Pil


God’s Closer Than You Think

God is our shelter and our strength. When troubles seem near, God is nearer, and He’s ready to help. Psalm 46:1
 
Sometimes God can seem a million miles away.  But He’s not.  He’s closer to you than your problem is.  Your prayers do not have to ascend to the far reaches of heaven.  He is a friend that sticks closer than a brother.  He’s right there with you now, so talk to Him. Tell Him all about it.  He hears it all and cares.  He’s ready to help you in your darkest hour.
 
Pastor Ray Pile


Speaking In Tongues

I thank God that I speak in tongues more than any of you. I Cor. 14:8
 
The topic of speaking in tongues is a controversial one.  Different churches have various beliefs concerning it.  One thing is clear however, the Apostle Paul, who wrote this verse, was glad that he spoke in tongues.  Evidently it was an important part of his spiritual life.  Yes, the gift can be abused and misused.  It’s use is to be regulated in the church.  But nevertheless, it is a gift from God that apparently Paul valued very highly.  He even encouraged it’s use for others.  So how about you?  Is speaking in tongues a vital part of your prayer life?
 
Pastor Ray Pile


He Has a Plan for YOU

For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope. Jer. 19:11
 
God has a wonderful plan for your life.  But He doesn’t force it on you.  It doesn’t just automatically happen.  The first step is for you to surrender your life to Him.  Make Jesus the Lord of your life.  Turn all your plans and dreams over to Him and accept His plan for you.  I can tell you, His way is a LOT better than anything that you’ve dreamed.
 
Pastor Ray Pile


The Most Valuable Thing In The World

And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul? Is anything worth more than your soul? Matt. 16:26
 
Your soul is the most valuable thing you have. It is so valuable that Jesus gave His life so that you soul could be in heaven.  It’s more important than good health or happiness or any possesion.  So what value have you placed on your soul?
 
Pastor Ray Pile


It’s Not About You

You are not the owner of your own body. You have been bought at a high price! Therefore bring glory to God in your body for it belongs to Him. I Cor. 6:19-20
 
“It’s my body, I can do with it what I want” some have said.  Wrong!  Jesus Christ paid a tremendous price on the cross to ransom you from satan’s power.  He purchased you and your freedom.  A big part of salvation is acknowledging that we belong to Him.  That puts a whole new light on things.  We’re His.  We should live to bring glory and praise to Him, not just satisfy ourselves.  That kind of thinking isn’t very popular these days, but it’s the truth.
 
Pastor Ray Pile


Because Of Jesus

Because of Christ and our faith in him, we can now come boldly and confidently into God’s presence. Eph. 3:12
 
The Bible says that we can come to God in confidence, not in ourselves but in Christ.  We can never earn the right to pray or approach God about anything.  Only because of our faith in Christ can we confidently expect God to hear our prayers.  Jesus gives us access to God.
 
Pastor Ray Pile


Spiritual Gifts

Now about the gifts of the Spirit, brothers and sisters, I do not want you to be uninformed. I Cor. 12:1
 
It may be hard to believe, but there are some Christians who do not know about the gifts of the Spirit and how they can help their everyday lives.  The rest of I Cor. 12 lists them and talks about them at length. They can be an important part of every Christian’s life.  They are special ways that God can assist His children to live for Him, minister for Him, and help others.  Do you know about them and the impact that they can make on your life.  Read about them and find out.
 
Pastor Ray Pile


The Ultimate Guide

The Lord says, “I will guide you along the best pathway for your life. I will advise you and watch over you. Psalm 32:8
 
God is not just a causal observer.  He is very involved in our lives and is always there to lead us on the right path.  We may not always sense His presence and guidance, but He is always there.  Now, we can choose to do otherwise.  But He is guiding us by His Word, His Spirit, and His servants.  Stop and listen.  Ask Him what He wants you to do.  Read His word.  Listen to godly counsel.  God wants to help you to achieve what’s best for you.
 
Pastor Ray Pile


Rest For The Weary

“Come to Me, all you who are struggling hard and carrying heavy loads, and I will give you rest.” Matt 11:28
 
Jesus was talking here to people who were struggling to obey all of the religious rules of the day.  It was too much for them to bear.  He called them to come to Him.  Jesus did not come to give us more rules, He came to help us obey and serve God.  Religion just makes demands that no one can follow, true Christianity enables us to live for God.  His strength in us gives us the ability to do far more than all of the religions of the world ask.  If all you have is religion (rules and commandments but no life), dump it and come to Jesus.
 
Pastor Ray Pile


He Hears You

I love the Lord because he hears my voice and my prayer for mercy. Psalm 116:1
 
We wonder sometimes if God really hears our prayers.  The answer is an overwhelming “YES”.  When we come to Him and honestly confess our sins and ask for mercy, He hears us.  When we open up to Him about our failures and faults, He hears us.  When we ask Him to forgive the terrible things we have done or said, He hears us.  God is especially attuned to us when we get real about ourselves and ask for His compassion.  That’s the kind of God we pray to.
 
Pastor Ray Pile
 


You Only Live Once

Make the most of every opportunity in these evil days. Eph. 5:16
 
A  friend of mine said, “You never know when you’re doing something for the last time”.   Opportunities are fleeting and time marches on.  We need to use the time we have wisely.  The opportunity you have today may be gone tomorrow.  So love, forgive, speak the truth while you can.  Don’t put off what you know you should do.  You never know.
 
Pastor Ray Pile


God Knows Best

A WORD FROM THE WORD
 
All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right. II Timothy 3:16
 
The Bible is very useful in our everyday lives.  It shows us the way to go and the way not to go.  God inspired it for our benefit and good.  It is His “instruction manual” for us, His creation.  Since He made us, doesn’t it just make sense that He knows how best we should live and what is good for us?
 
Pastor Ray Pile


Light to the Dark

As people understand Your Word, it brings light to their lives. Your Word makes even simple people wise. Psalm 119:130
 
We all need “illumination”.  This is a dark world in many ways.  God’s Word brings light to our lives and wisdom to even those of us who are simple.  We do ourselves a favor when we take time to read it for ourselves and let His light shine in our dark world.  Let His Word brighten your path and give you wisdom.
 
Pastor Ray Pile


God Is Listening

Because of Christ and our faith in him, we can now come boldly and confidently into God’s presence. Eph. 3:12
 
We may wonder if God hears our prayers.  We may even doubt if He listens to us.  The good news is that our faith in His Son gives us access to God.  He promises to hear us, not because of our goodness, but because we have accepted His Son.  So the next time you are reluctant to pray because of something you’ve done or said, remember that you can still come boldly to God because of Jesus.  He gives us confidence to pray and know that we are heard.
 
Pastor Ray Pile


Just Come To Jesus

You are unwilling to come to Me so that you may have life. JOHN 5:40
 
Jesus said that there are those who want to go to heaven, but refuse to come to Him.  They will go to church, do good things, give money, and even give of their time to good causes.  It’s amazing the religious “hoops” some people are willing to go through but not just go to Jesus. Friends, that’s the only way.  We can’t get there without coming to Jesus, humbling ourselves, and accepting His gift of eternal life.  He alone is the way to God. (John 14:6)  Don’t try some other way.  It simply will not work.  Take the path provided by the death of Jesus.  Come to Jesus.
 
Pastor Ray Pile  


We Have Purpose In Him

You know that in the past the way you were living was useless. It was a way of life you learned from those who lived before you. But you were saved from that way of living. I Peter 1:18
 
It kind of hits hard to realize that our life was useless before we got saved.  I mean, were we really that bad?  The Bible says that Christ came to ransom us from a life that was pointless and had no purpose.  We were busy and other people might have liked us but from God’s perspective, we were spiritually unproductive.  Christ came to give our life meaning and purpose.  He died so that we could be set free to serve Him.
 
Pastor Ray Pile


Give Thanks

Rejoice always! Pray constantly. Give thanks in everything, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. I Thess. 5:16-18
 
Many people want to know the will of God for their lives.  Here it is in the Bible.  He tells us to rejoice, pray, and give thanks in everything.  That’s His will for us.  If you want to know more of His will, make sure you’re already doing what He has said is His will.  Rejoice, pray, and give thanks in everything (not necessarily for everything).  If you do that, then and only then you will know His will in other areas of your life.
 
Pastor Ray Pile


You Make The Choice

Come close to God, and He will come close to you. James 4:8
 
You are as close to God as you want to be.  He is simply waiting on you.  If you desire to draw closer to Him, no matter what you have done, He promises to draw close to you.  You can’t blame God, or a church, or your parents.  You decide how close to God you are.  He’s waiting on you.
 
Pastor Ray Pile


He Knows You

 
He certainly knows what we are made of. He bears in mind that we are only dust. Psalm 103:14
 
Perhaps you grew up with a father that had too high of expectations for you.  You felt that you could never live up to them.  The good news is that God really knows you.  He understands you better than anyone else.  He keeps in mind your weaknesses.  That is why He is always there to help you in your struggles.  He knows you best and yet loves you most.
 
Pastor Ray Pile


Rejoice In The Lord

 
Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice! Phil. 4:4
 
How can I do that?  Evidently whoever wrote this in the Bible doesn’t have the problems I do.  You’re right.  He had worse ones.  It was written by Paul when he was in jail for preaching about Jesus.  So how could he rejoice?  The key is that he tells us to rejoice IN THE LORD.  I may not be happy about my circumstances but I can always rejoice in who God is and His faithfulness.  My joy is not in what I’m going through but it is in Him.  We can always rejoice in the Lord, for He never changes.
 
Pastor Ray Pile


Forgiveness

 
But if we own up to our sins, God shows that He is faithful and just by forgiving us of our sins and purifying us from the pollution of all the bad things we have done.  I John 1:9
 
God offers us total forgiveness for anything that we have done.  He will completely and permanently erase it from our record.  The only condition is that we have to confess it to Him, and I don’t mean in a general sense.  None of this “If I have done anything wrong” stuff.  You know what you did.  Own up to it and admit it to God.  Tell Him what sins you have committed and He is faithful to His promise to forgive you.  Jesus paid for your forgiveness if only you will get real with God and honestly admit what you have done.
 
Pastor Ray Pile


Be Real

 
How long will you forget me, Lord? Forever? How long will you look the other way when I am in need? Psalm 13:1
 
Sometimes it seems that God is not listening.  He feels a million miles away.  We have all experienced that.  When that happens, tell God.  Express your frustrations to Him.  The Psalmist David did.  Let Him know how you feel.  He won’t be offended or get mad at you.  Pour out your heart to God and get honest with Him.  Don’t play religious games.  Often it’s when we get real with God that we can truly experience His presence.
 
Pastor Ray Pile


But God is Better

 
They were more concerned about what people thought of them than about what God thought of them. John 12:43
 
We all want people to like us.  The problem arises when we want their approval more than God’s.  It’s nice to have friends, but we need to think about who we really want to please.  Our friends may let us down.  They may not be there when we really need them.  They cannot get us to heaven.  Let’s care more about what God thinks of us than people.
 
Pastor Ray Pile


He Will Come Again

Jesus said, “I will come again”
 
There are a lot of different ideas about the second coming.  There have always been people who have tried to predict the time.  Others have pointed to certain current events as a sign of His return.  Christians have even foolishly argued about these matters. The main point is that He is coming again!  It may not be when or how some people predict, but He will come.  He promised it and He never lies.  It is the blessed hope of all Christians.  The only real question is-Are you ready for it?
 
Pastor Ray Pile


Love Always

 
But most important, love each other. Love is what holds you all together in perfect unity. Col. 3:14
 
We will always have disagreements between one another.  That is inevitable.  But we can still have unity.  True unity does not come from always agreeing, but from always loving.  That is true in a marriage and in a community.  We may not always see eye to eye, but we can choose to always love.  That is the perfect bond of unity.  That is the glue that will hold us together when things are trying to tear us apart.
 
Pastor Ray Pile


Prayer

 
but I have prayed for you…  Luke 22:32
 
Jesus was talking to Peter here.  He knew that Peter was going to be tempted and tried.  The most powerful thing Jesus could do for His friend was pray for him.  We have that same remedy when people we love face problems.  We can pray for them.  I hear people say, “You’re in my thoughts” or “I’m thinking of you”.  I don’t need your thoughts, I need your prayers.  Prayer is more powerful than any of us realize.  Let’s do something that will really help. Let’s pray!
 
Pastor Ray Pile


But God

 
But God raised Him from the dead. Acts 13:30
 
The worst had happened to Jesus. The most powerful nation in the world had performed it’s most excruciating execution on Him.  He was sealed in a tomb. It was over.  But God raised Him from the dead.  “BUT GOD…” Those are the two best words in the Bible.  No matter how bad things seem in your life, there’s a “BUT GOD…” around the corner.  He has the final say.  He is the ultimate authority.  You may have received some bad news. But God has the last word. 
 
Pastor Ray Pile


He Came To Save You

 Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners. I Tim 1:15
 
This being Holy Week, we think about the real meaning of Good Friday, Easter, and Jesus.  It all boils down to this: Jesus came to save sinners.  Yes, He taught great truths and performed great miracles, but the main reason He came was to die for us sinners so that we can be saved.  So I must ask the question.  Are you saved?  Have you received what Jesus came to die for?  He didn’t come to enlighten you, or to inspire you, or to lead you.  He came to save you.  Has he?
 
Pastor Ray Pile


Our Own Way

 
Each of us has turned to his own way; But the Lord has caused the iniquity of us all to fall on Him. Isa. 53:6
 
The bad news is that every one of us have, at many points, gone our way rather than God’s way. We knew His way but chose our own for selfish reasons.  The good news is that Jesus received the punishment for our sinful choices.  And by that I mean the whole punishment, not just a part.  Jesus paid the entire price for our disobedience to God.  I don’t know about you, but for me, that is really good news.
 
Pastor Ray Pile


Even When He Is Silent

 
God has said, “I will never fail you. I will never abandon you.” Heb. 13:5
 
I must admit that there are times that it seems God has failed me.  It appears He has abandoned me.  But those are feelings, not reality.  God never leaves us or forsakes us.  He is always there for us.  Even when He seems a million miles away, He is closer than your next breath.  Just as I believe in the sun, even when it’s not shining, I believe in God even when He is silent.
 
Pastor Ray Pile


Sin No More

 
Jesus said to her, “Neither do I pass sentence on you; be going on, and sin no more.” John 8:11
 
Many people miss this part of the story about the woman caught in adultery.  Jesus told the accusers, “Let him who is without sin cast the first stone.”  But after they left, He told her that He would not stone her either, but that she should stop sinning.  Jesus mixed love and justice.  He loves us, but He also wants us to stop doing the things that hurt us and others.  Jesus does not condone sin, but tells us to turn away from it.  Jesus not only forgives but He also warns.
 
Pastor Ray Pile


WE Are The Church

 
When you come together as a church… I Cor. 11:18
 
This phrase jumped out at me the other day.  We don’t come to church, we are the church.  The church is not a building. It is imperfect people of faith who regularly come together to encourage, love, and build up each other.  Their common bond is Jesus Christ and what He has done for them.  Sad to say, many just come to a service, but never really connect with others.  
Week after week we can end up experiencing the house of God without making any sort of connection to the family of God.  That is not what church is all about.  Let’s stop thinking in terms of buildings or services and start realizing that the church is God’s people everyday. 
 
Pastor Ray Pile


From Bad to Good

You meant to hurt me, but God turned your evil into good. Genesis 50:20

 
We serve a great God.  He is able to take those 
things that are meant for evil in our lives and turn them into good.  He can take the worst situations, and redeem it for our benefit.  There isn’t anything that He cannot recycle for good.  God does not cause everything that happens in our lives, but He can take the most awful things and turn them around for our good and His glory.  Praise His Name!
 
Pastor Ray Pile


It’s Not About You

 
“Anyone among you who wants to be great must serve the others.”  Mark 10:43
 
So often we think in terms of what we receive.  We ask, “What’s in it for me?”  We even approach church that way.  We want what makes us happy and meets our needs.  Jesus talked about serving instead of being served.  So tell me, how do you serve others?  How do you serve your church?  How do you serve the Lord?  It’s not about what you get out of it but what you put into it.
 
Pastor Ray Pile


Marriage

 

“Marriage is to be honored by all, and husbands and wives must be faithful to each other. God will judge those who are immoral and those who commit adultery.”  Heb. 13:4
 
Marriage is God’s idea.  He created it.  He meant it to be a loving, exclusive relationship between one man and one woman.  We are commanded to honor the institution of marriage and never do anything to undermine or weaken it. Many today have discarded it and called it useless and unnecessary.  It’s not.  It is God’s perfect plan.  Let’s honor marriage and God by doing it His way.
 
Pastor Ray Pile


Do You Believe In or Believe On?

 
So they said, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household.” Acts 16:31
 
Almost everybody believes in the fact that there was a man named Jesus.  But there is a difference between believing in someone and believing on someone.  I can believe in a plane but it is not until I believe on the plane that it gets me anywhere.  So the question is not if you believe in Jesus but do you believe on Him?  Have you put your trust in Him for your salvation?  Have you accepted what He did on the cross as the total and complete payment for all your sins?  Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved.
 
Pastor Ray Pile


Heaven

The Scriptures say, “No one has ever seen, no one has ever heard, no one has ever imagined what God has prepared for those who love him.” I Cor. 2:9
 
We can’t imagine what heaven is like.  It is so much better than what we have thought.  It isn’t floating around on a cloud with a harp.  We don’t become angels.  It is far beyond what we could dream or ever imagine.  There are, however, two things that are certain.  First, it will not be boring.  We will never get tired of it.  Second, it will not disappoint us.  It will exceed all of our expectations.  So, have you made sure that you will end up there?
 
Pastor Ray Pile


Do You Give Jesus First Place?

 
Jesus is to have first place in everything. Col. 1:18
 
We say we believe that.  But is it true?  Look at your weekly schedule.  Is Jesus in first place, or does He just get the leftovers of your time?  How about your finances?  Do they reflect how important you say He is in your life?  What about your children’s activities?  Do sports and dance classes keep your children from learning about Him?  Seriously, just how important is Jesus to you and your family?  Give Him first place in everything.
 
Pastor Ray Pile


Pray For Our Leaders

 
Pray for kings and all who are in authority so that we can live peaceful and quiet lives marked by godliness and dignity. I Tim 2:2
 
Regardless of how you feel about our new president, we owe him the same scriptural duty as we did our previous presidents.  We are commanded to pray for him, as well as for all who are in authority.  It is easy to criticize or find fault with our leaders, but we must pray for them.  Pray that God will give them Godly wisdom and courage to do His will, and not just the politically popular thing.  We can disagree with them and even try to vote them out.  But we must pray for God’s hand to be on them and their actions.  They need it.
 
Pastor Ray Pile


Jesus Came For Your Imperfect Self

 
Come to Me, all you who are struggling hard and carrying heavy loads, and I will give you rest. Matt. 11:28
 
Jesus did not come for those who have no struggles, but for those who do.  He’s there for anyone who is struggling and weighed down with burdens.  He’s not calling those who “have it all together” but those who are fighting just to keep their heads above water.    He knows your battles and wants to give you peace in the midst of your conflict.  Don’t let your problems keep you from Jesus, but rather let them drive you to Him.
 
Pastor Ray Pile


Do You Know The TRUTH?

I can say this about them, they love God and want very much to obey Him. But they are misguided and do not know the right way. Rom 10:2
 
We have all heard it.  “It doesn’t matter what you believe in, just as long as you’re sincere.”  That is so wrong.  You can be sincere, but sincerely wrong.  The Bible says that there are people who love God, but are misguided and wrong.  That is why we need to know what the Bible says.  It alone is the infallible guide to truth.  We can’t blame our parents or even our church for misleading us when we have the Bible available to show us the way.  It and it alone reveals His way and His truth.  Read it.
 
Pastor Ray Pile


A Real Resolution

 We are looking for what God has promised, which are new heavens and a new earth. Only what is right and good will be there. 2 Peter 3:13
 
It seems like every year, people are looking forward to the new year.  They think that things will be different and better. But they seldom are. The Bible says that we should be looking forward to something that will really be different, a new heavens and a new earth.  Someday God is going to destroy everything we know and give His children a new universe to live in.  There will be no sickness, or pain, or death there.  Everything will be just and fair there.  And the best news is that everyone whose name is in God’s Book of Life will live there forever.  Is your name written there?
 
Pastor Ray Pile  


New Life

Anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun! 2 COR. 5:17
 
As we approach a new year, we think about a new start, a new beginning.  With Jesus, that is possible for everyone, everyday.  You don’t have to wait for New Year’s Day.  When we give ourselves to Jesus, all of our past is forgiven and forgotten by God.  Our slate is wiped clean.  But most of all, He is now with us to help us on our new journey.  We may stumble, but He is there to help us to get up and going again.  That’s the difference between religion and a relationship with Jesus.  Religion just has rules.  A relationship with Jesus gives us a Savior who is always there to help us.
 
Pastor Ray Pile 


Jesus Saves

She will bear a Son; and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.”  Mat. 1:21
 
Jesus did a lot of things.  He healed people, performed miracles, and taught life lessons.  But the most important thing that Jesus did was accomplished on the cross.  All those miracles and parables wouldn’t really help us if our greatest problem was not addressed.  We didn’t need a miracle worker or moral teacher near as much as we needed a savior.  We needed someone to die for our sins, pay the penalty for us, and rise again.  That’s what Jesus came to do.  That was His primary mission.  If you believe the teachings of Jesus but have not accepted His death for your sins, you’ve missed it…big time.
 
Pastor Ray Pile 


God With Us

 
A virgin will conceive and bear a Son, and His name will be called Immanuel (which is a Hebrew name that means “God with us”). Mat. 1:23
 
Jesus was the most unique person in all of history.  He was not just a messenger from God, a prophet, or miracle worker.  He was not just a great teacher or moral example.  He was the Son of God, God in the flesh.  He did not have an earthy biological father.  What made Jesus so special was not what He said or did but who He was.  The virgin birth was necessary for Him to be…God with us!  By the way, what have you done with Jesus?
 
Pastor Ray Pile


Because Grace

 
Because of His grace He made us right in His sight and gave us confidence that we will inherit eternal life. Titus 3:7
 
None of us are “right in His sight” on our own.  We must receive His grace for that to happen.  That’s what Jesus died for. Then, not only are we made right, but He gives us the assurance that we will spend eternity with Him. Wow!  We don’t have to wait until we die to find out that we are going to heaven.  Praise God for what Jesus did for us on the cross!
 
Pastor Ray Pile


Thank God!

 
O give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; For His loving kindness is everlasting. I Chr. 16:34
 
I hear it all the time.  “Thank goodness!”  “I thank my lucky stars”  “Knock on wood”  “I’m so lucky”  Why don’t you try thanking the One who’s really behind it.  Thank God!  You may get some funny looks from people, but it just seems to me that it is the height of rudeness to not thank the One who really deserves it.  You are not lucky or fortunate.  The stars have not smiled on you today.  This is not your lucky day.  You are blessed by God Himself!  Give credit where credit is due.
 
Pastor Ray Pile
 
 


Pray With Thanks

 Don’t worry about anything; on the contrary, make your requests known to God by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving.  Phil. 4:6
 
God commands us not to worry.  That’s hard!  But instead, He tells us to bring our worries to Him in prayer.  If something is big enough to worry about, it’s big enough to pray about.  However, He adds that we are to make our request, with thanksgiving.  Prayer is not just giving God our wish list.  It is also thanking Him for all that He has done.  The next time you begin to worry, stop, and pray instead.  But don’t forget to give Him thanks.
 
Pastor Ray Pile


Good Advertisement

 
Then their good character will shine through their actions, being a good advertisement for Christianity. Titus 2:10
 
Have you ever known a Christian whose life was a great advertisement for Christianity.  I have.  A person like that makes you want to be a Christian, not so much by what they say as the kind of life they lead.  I heard someone say, “Your life is speaking so loud that I cannot hear what you say.”  You see, Christianity is not just a set of beliefs.  It is a way of life that should be appealing to others.  Is your life a good advertisement for Christianity?
 
Pastor Ray Pile


Christians Are Not Christ

As Scripture says, “God’s name is cursed among the nations because of you.”  Rom. 2:24
 
Let’s be honest.  Sometimes Christians have done some pretty bad things in the name of Christianity.  God even calls us out in the Bible, saying that some people think less of God because of our actions.  That’s sad.  We fail at times to accurately represent the wonderful God we serve.  God is so much greater, so much more loving, and so much holier than any Christian or even church.  So don’t blame God when His followers mess up.  Christians may let you down, but He never will.
 
Pastor Ray Pile  


Just A Decision Away

 
God did this so that they would seek Him and perhaps reach out for Him and find Him, though He is not far from any one of us. Acts 17:6
 
None of us are far from God.  In fact, each of us is just a decision away from Him.  He wants us to seek Him.  But He is never far away, always available for you to find Him.  That is His plan.  He wants to be in your life, but you have to invite Him in.  He’s there, standing at the door.  Just reach out and you will find Him.
 
Pastor Ray Pile


My God Rules

Hallelujah! Our Lord God, the Almighty, rules! REVELATION 19:6
 
I don’t know who is going to win the presidential election next month.  I frankly don’t think that either candidate deserves my vote.  But one will win.  The Good News is that regardless of who does, God is still on the throne.  He is still in control.  That is something that will never change.  Sadly, we may not be able to trust those who govern from Washington, but we can always trust the one who rules on the throne in heaven.  Hallelujah!
 
Pastor Ray Pile


God Saves

 
In fact, God is patient, because he wants everyone to repent and no one to be lost. 2 Peter 3:9
 
I hear it far more often than I want. “God damn it!”  Not only is that taking the Lord’s name it vain, it is a lie.  God does not damn, He saves.  He does not want anybody to be lost but for all to truly repent and turn to Him.  The sad fact is that not all will be saved.  Many do not accept His free offer.  But He has done all He can so that you can spend eternity with Him. Have you repented?
 
Pastor Ray Pile


Act On It

 
They profess to know God, but by their deeds they deny Him. Titus 1:16
 
Most everybody say that they believe in God.  A whole lot of people claim to be Christians.  But the Bible says that there are those whose actions do not line up with their words.  The way they treat their spouse, those they disagree with, or a waitress who gets their order wrong does not reflect someone who truly believes in God.  Words are cheap.  Show me your faith in God by your actions.
 
Pastor Ray Pile


From The East To The West

How far has the Lord taken our sins from us? Farther than the distance from east to west! Psalm 103:12
 
Do you know how far it is from the east to the west?  In fact, it cannot be measured!  We can measure from the North Pole to the South Pole, but not from east to west.  That is how completely God has removed even our worst sins from us if we confess them and repent.  You may not believe it, but it’s true.  God cannot lie.  That’s what Jesus did for you on the cross.
 
Pastor Ray Pile
Grace First Assembly of God


He Loved First

 
We love Him because He first loved us.  I John 4:19
 
Before we even knew that there was a God, He loved us.  When we cursed and mocked His name, He loved us.  His love was first.  Then, when we come to know about Him and His love, our best response is to love Him.  There are people who believe in Him, but do not love Him.  They may even try to serve Him.  But the most important response to His love is to love Him back.  So here’s the question, do you love the God who loved you first?
 
Pastor Ray Pile
Grace First Assembly of God


Actions Speak Louder Than Words

 
These people, says God, honor me with their words, but their heart is really far away from me. Mark 7:6
 
I call it “God talk”.  God talk is when people say religious things or post them on Facebook  but their life does not demonstrate that they really believe what they’re saying.  They are just putting on a show by trying to sound religious.  Being a true follower of Jesus Christ is not so much what you say (or write), but what you do.  Your Facebook post may make you sound like a Christian, but your life shows what you really are. 
 
Pastor Ray Pile 


Hide and Seek

He did this so they might seek God, and perhaps they might reach out and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us.  Acts 17:27
 
Remember “Hide and Seek” with your kids.  We would hide, but not too hard.  We would let our kids find us and have a great time laughing together.  The purpose was not to hide, but, really, to be found.  God is not hiding from us, but He does want us to seek Him.  The good news is that if we will seek Him, He will let us find Him.  He is near to each of us if we will just reach out to Him.  And, oh the joy when we do!  
 
Pastor Ray Pile


You Are Special

 
Yes, God even knows how many hairs you have on your head. Don’t be afraid. You are worth much more than many sparrows. Luke 12:7
 
Some people think that God is “too busy” to be concerned about their lives.  The good news is that He is God.  He’s never busy.  He even knows how many hairs you have on your head. (Something you don’t even know about you)  He is intensely interested in you and your life.  You see, you are valuable to Him, because you are His special creation.  Now isn’t that good news?
 
Pastor Ray Pile


Let God Change You

 
God, create a pure heart in me, and renew a right attitude within me. Psalm 51:10
 
“Well that’s just the way I am!”  Many say that, but the good news is that you don’t have to stay that way.  God can change your heart.  He can make you different.  We all have excuses for being the way we are, but God is greater than any excuse.  He has the power to transform your life and make you a better person.  You make the choice.  You can stay like you are or you can let God change you.
 
Pastor Ray Pile


More Than Hope

He who has the Son has the life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have the life. These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know that you have eternal life. I Jn 5:12-13
 
You do not have to wait until you die to find out if you are going to heaven.  That is great news!  One of the great gifts that God offers us along with salvation is the assurance of our salvation.  If you have accepted His Son and His death as the complete and total payment for your sins, you are saved.  You can now live life with the knowledge that you have eternal life.  Because of Jesus, you don’t have to “hope” that you are going to heaven someday, you can know it for sure.
 
Pastor Ray Pile


You Can Do More

Christ is the one who gives me the strength I need to do whatever I must do. Phil. 4:13
 
“I can only do my best.”  Many say something like that when faced with a difficult task.  The good news is that Jesus can help you to do more than your “best”.  He does not just inspire you to be “all that you can be”. He helps you to excel and achieve more than would be possible without His help.  Don’t limit yourself to what only you can do.  Ask Him to give you the strength to do more.
 
Pastor Ray Pile


Praying For Those in Authority

 
Pray for kings and all who are in authority so that we can live peaceful and quiet lives marked by godliness and dignity. I Timothy 2:2
 
We live in a dangerous world.  There is so much violence.  We sometimes wonder what we can do.  The Bible tells us to pray for our leaders.  We should pray for them, even if we disagree with their politics.  We should pray that God will give them Godly wisdom and the courage to follow it.  We don’t ask for God to make them agree with us, but to rule in such a way that peace and tranquility will overtake the violence.
 
Pastor Ray Pile


Real Praise

 
Come, everyone! Clap your hands! Shout to God with joyful praise! Psalm 47:1
 
The worship of our God is not suppose to be dull and boring.  We serve an exciting God and our worship is to be exciting.  Way too often, the worship of God is just ritualistic repetition.  It is suppose to be alive and from a grateful heart. Religion may be weary and uninteresting, but a living relationship with an active God is refreshing and enjoyable.  Let’s give Him the kind of praise He deserves.
 
Pastor Ray Pile