July 2020 - In This Issue:

Romans 12:2
2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

J.B. Phillips – “Don’t let the world around you squeeze you into its own mold.”

Constriction is a method used by many snakes to kill their prey. The snake will wrap one or two coils around its prey to shut off the blood flow which leads to unconsciousness and death.

Just a few years ago in Canada, a 100-pound African rock python escaped from its enclosure in a nearby pet shop.
It slivered its way through the ventilation system and fell through the ceiling into the bedroom where two young brothers ages 4 & 6 were sleeping. These two young boys had their life squeezed out of them in the dead of night.

This world and its world system are like a slivering python that seeks to wrap its coils around us.The world wants to squeeze us into its mold. The closer you live to the world the more likely you are going to find yourself in the grip of the world.

When the Apostle Paul was gathering firewood in Acts 28; a snake fastened on to his hand. He didn’t stare into its eyes or whisper in its ear. He didn’t do a dance and speak in tongues. He shook the snake off into the fire.
Paul wasn’t looking for a snake to handle but when a snake was looking to handle him; he killed it.

1 Corinthians 10:9
9 Neither let us tempt Christ, as some of them also tempted, and were destroyed of serpents.

Daniel didn’t go looking for lions but when he found himself surrounded by lions; God delivered him.

Proverbs 6:27
27 Can a man take fire in his bosom, and his clothes not be burned?

If you play with fire, you’ll get burned! You can’t hold hands with the world without getting burned. It is a system of values, a mindset, and a worldview that is energized by the enemy of your soul, whose goal is to kill and to steal and destroy. It is designed by the devil to:
  • Mess up your life
  • Ruin your relationships
  • Separate you from God
  • Make you emotionally depressed 
  • Cause you to physically go into areas that will ruin your life 
The goal of the world system is to destroy you! The world is not a pet but a predator! Don’t allow the world to squeeze you into its mold because it will choke the life out of you.

This world is passing away along with its lusts and passions. There are powers in this world that are constantly pulling at your flesh and mind.
  • The lust of the flesh is the passion to feel.
  • The lust of the eyes is the passion to have, or to possess. 
  • The pride of life is the passion for position and recognition.
This world system will pull out all stops to seduce you from your love for God with pleasures, possessions, and positions. Once the world has seduced you and once the world gets a grip on you; it is the death grip of bondage.

This weekend our nation is celebrating 244 years of national freedom. On July 4, 1776, 56 members of the Continental Congress, voted to sign the Declaration of Independence proclaiming autonomy. The signing of that Declaration led to the establishment of the United States as a free nation but our freedom is being threatened today!
Our greatest threat is not from terrorists; our greatest threat to our national freedom is forgetting God.
Psalm 9:17
17 The wicked shall be turned into hell, and all the nations that forget God.

We don’t ever want to be in bondage again as a nation after tasting freedom for 244 years. What joy there is in freedom, the freedom to live without oppression; the freedom to live without fear from a dictator that rules with an iron fist.

When the Israel was set free from bondage, the women got out their tambourines and sang and danced after they crossed the Red Sea. They said goodbye to Egypt and to a life of slavery.

When the Pilgrims were set free they celebrated at Plymouth Rock and came together for a time of thanksgiving unto God.

When the Colonists were set free they celebrated the signing of the Declaration of Independence; guns and cannons were fired to be heard around the world and women banged pots and pans together in celebration.

When the Slaves were set free after Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation, they put on their best clothes and waited for the sun to come up on a new day. They began to sing, “Free at last, free at last”.

But the greatest freedom in all the world is to be free from the death grip of the bondage of sin! Sin will take you so low until it looks like there is no hope! Once you’ve ever been freed from that death grip of bondage you don’t ever want to go back. You don’t ever want to be shackled again.

Galatians 5:1 
1 Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.  
We are thankful for the new bus the Lord blessed us with for our travels.
It was because of the generosity of our people that we were able to upgrade from a fifteen passenger van to this 30 passenger bus.
Special thanks goes to Ray Nelson and James Griffin for driving to Anson County to purchase the bus, to Kevin Cooper for spearheading the painting, to Todd Tucker of TNT Signs & Graphics, Ray Nelson and Shelley Smith for securing the purchase of the graphics for the bus.
We recently had our parking lot resurfaced by CROCKER ASPHALT SERVICES, they did an outstanding job of making our parking lot look new again.

A big shout out to Bobby Hunt & Floyd Wheeler for installing our speed bumps.
The "old guys" still know how to swing a sledge hammer!
We celebrated "Graduate Recognition Sunday" in June. Our four graduates are from left to right: Ashlyn Hobbs, Jonathan Bishop, Jonae Johnson & Isabella Zapata.
A great big thank you to our Youth Pastors: Ed & Beth Baker. They made a presentation for each graduate and served a delicious meal for them along with their families. A job well done!
Stan Widener - married father with wife and most children present.
Dwight Kelly - married father with wife and most teens present.
T J Broadwell - youngest married father present with both wife and bible.
(We celebrated Father's Day by recognizing all our dads, offering a prayer in their behalf and giving gifts.)
These are unprecedented times and trying to have church is a real challenge. The predominant emotion that most are feeling is “fear”. Every time it seems that things are quieting down or leveling off, there is a spike and fear returns.

Having church through social media is just not the same as being in the church worshiping with fellow believers. We are thankful for the means to broadcast and we are aware that we are reaching a far greater audience but for those of the household of faith, it is very, very difficult not being in the house of God.

We are so grateful to be currently having in house church on a regular basis but our hearts go out to all those that have health issues and are not able to attend for fear of contracting the virus. We are very respectful of all those who wish to wear masks or gloves and who wish to keep their distance as we maneuver through these uncharted waters.

We encourage you to pray for the health of our congregation, for the congregations around this world and for our nation. We are trusting God for His protective care, His keeping power and His healing virtue.

This virus (pestilence) that is plaguing the world, has come for a purpose and it will not leave until that purpose is accomplished.

Isaiah 46:9-10 Amplified Bible 
9 “Remember [carefully] the former things [which I did] from ages past;
For I am God, and there is no one else; I am God, and there is no one like Me,
10 Declaring the end and the result from the beginning,
And from ancient times the things which have not [yet] been done,
Saying, ‘ My purpose will be established,
And I will do all that pleases Me and fulfills My purpose,’

God rules the entire universe and nothing happens without His knowledge.

We like to make plans and to be in control of our lives but that’s not always possible, especially now. People are confused and troubled, not knowing what will happen next.
They are like the people of old who cried, “Watchman, what of the night?” When will this long night be over?
That's why it's so important for the church to be the church! People need a place where they can come together to pray about their fears and frustrations and be encouraged by the fellowship of the saints and the Word of God.

The closer we get to the coming of the Lord and the tribulation, the more we will see things happening that appear to be coming from the abyss, unleashed on this earth.
It is a warning for the lost to get saved and for backsliders to return to Him. It is a call for believers to look up knowing the Lord will soon come.

You can be sure that despite all the chaos and confusion, God is still on His throne, He is still in control and He will accomplish His purpose.

Even though we don’t have all the answers to the questions, God does!

9 “Remember [carefully] the former things [which I did] from ages past; For I am God, and there is no one else; I am God, and there is no one like Me,

No matter what we’ve gone through in the past, God has always made a way for us and He’ll do it again.

We are nearer home than we were yesterday!

Bishop Rick D Brackett
Matthews Church of God
517 E John St.
Matthews, NC 28105