Wednesday, March 9, 2016

"Why do bad things happen to good people"

"Why do bad things happen to good people"

A few minutes with Joel

Joel often gets a chance to answer sincere questions that people have after our Revival Meetings. I thought it would be good to take a moment and get some of them on video so that others who are searching for answers could be helped by them as well.

Joel Petrofsky

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

The Fellowship Of The Unashamed

I had a chance to share a little bit of my story about how the Lord radically changed my life and I had my video camera running so I thought I would share it. It managed to capture quite a bit of what I wanted to share even though there were many other details I could have added. Hopefully it will be a blessing to any who have the time to watch it.

God bless!

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Growing in Jesus - lesson 9 "Our Wages"

Growing in Jesus                         - lesson 9

Our Wages

     Sinning  earns a wage just like working for someone earns a wage. Wages add up and can be measured over time and so can the wages of sin.

     I’ve been thinking about this because it’s not like instant death for every bad thing we do. It is simply a guarantee that over time these will be the wages we have earned for our actions.
  We often think about how nothing good we can do will be what gets us into heaven. We think about how salvation is an amazing gift from God to us,  however what we choose to do on earth  does earn a wage. If we labor for sin the wages are death. Every sin has so many consequences. Think about how burned out a person becomes when their job is their whole focus on life. Or their drugs and alcohol are their passion. Or their quest for another lover tonight. The wages of sin are earned and paid out. If we spend our time gossiping we will reap wages for it. If we devote ourselves to the perfect house or the perfect vacation we will have payment for it. This is why we want to seek the Lord earnestly so that the wages we earn on a daily basis will be wages that lead to life and not death or a dead end.

     Every action bears fruit and earns a wage. This is why who we are in secret really matters. Every part of what we do earns a wage. The wages of sin will be death and the wages of obedience will be life not only for ourselves but for everyone around us. Just like if I buy food for my family with my wages than we all enjoy what my wages have paid for. If we serve the Lord both in secret and openly we will also be providing food that everyone around us will share in.

     What we do is where our wage comes from. If we seek out and pursue sin we will earn a steady build-up of death that will eat our lives away until eventually we die physically as well. We will earn bitterness, resentment, crude humor. We will earn anger, hate, swearing. We will earn emptiness, and depression. We will earn despair and hopelessness. We will earn life without meaning or purpose. We will earn children who leave us and go off and wreck their lives and destroy more lives around them. The wages of sin earn death.

     The wages of obedience to the Lord bring life. They lead to joy and peace and contentment. They lead to usefulness, unselfishness, diligence, patience, and love. They lead to a blessing for everyone around us. What we do in secret and in public is where our wages come from. 

     Let us seek the Lord earnestly so that everything we do will bear good fruit and reap wages unto life!

God bless!  

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Growing in Jesus - Lesson 8 - Being Disappointed

Growing in Jesus        Lesson 8

Being disappointed

  Being disappointed by something not happening is a sign that our heart sincerely desired for it to happen.

    The other day I was talking to an old gentleman and he was sharing about how when he got saved as a young man he was dissatisfied with his Christian walk just being so uneventful and uninspiring and he wondered what that meant because he didn’t have any other Christians around who were living any different from himself and everything just seemed very dry. Then as he was reading his Bible through he read about the Holy Spirit in the book of Acts and he said to himself, “That’s what I need! I need the Holy Spirit!” So he scraped up enough money to go from Nova Scotia to a meeting that was happening down in the southern states that talked about having the Holy Spirit. After 4 days of being there he was disappointed that he hadn’t received what he had come for and he turned to the Lord and said well I guess maybe this just isn’t real or I can’t have it. The next day the Lord visited him and filled him with the Holy Spirit! I was struck by how pleasing to the Lord it was that this gentleman was disappointed. He was disappointed because he sincerely wanted what the Lord had said he was possible if he asked for it. I was thinking about how glad the Lord’s heart was that someone wanted His gift so much that he was disappointed at not receiving it. The disappointment was evidence that it meant something to the person.

     So often we try to not want anything to much so we won’t be disappointed. How many times do we not want to put our heart into something so that if it doesn’t happen it won’t really matter to us? It seems interesting to me that because we were disappointed it was a sign that it did matter and is that much more rewarding when it is fulfilled. When we are disappointed it is because nothing else can take the place of the thing we have set our hearts on. 

     Now, disappointment is often used to take our hearts off of things here on earth in order for the Lord to get our attention and set our affections on Himself. But it also can be God’s gauge to see how much you actually want the things you pray for here on earth or how earnest you are to be about the things He has told you that He has for you to do. Often it seems that the things He Himself tells us He is going to do fall into the same category of coming against endless disappointments.  I think about Abraham not receiving his son for so long so that taking Sarah’s maid and having children with her makes perfectly logical sense to both of them and the Lord doesn’t step in to intervene or to even suddenly make Sarah pregnant and speed up His plan so that Abraham won’t make any regretful decisions. It seems like the devil is always right there to give us a logical new solution that makes sense to us when the Lord doesn’t seem to be doing what He has told us. The devil gave Jesus logical ways out for each of the temptations in the wilderness and any one of them could have made so much sense to Jesus that He could have just done them. 

     So generally we have two reactions to disappointments. We can either trust that the delay’s come from a heart of love towards us and rejoice in faith while not letting go of God’s promises to complete His work or we can fall into despair and get angry and bitter at God or just silently depressed and than take the logical new course that the devil will be sure to offer us at that moment. Sin is always right at our door when we stand at this crossroad. It is a scary place because it is so hard to stand up against the devil’s temptations when we feel like God will never answer us. 

     Disappointment is a sure sign to the Lord that you care about what He has promised but it is not and excuse to then go and live like you will always be disappointed. This is not an excuse to have self pity or bitterness. It is merely a test to see if you care and is meant to remind you that the Lord is faithful and just like the old gentleman received the Holy Spirit the next day, so also the Lord is preparing to do all He has promised for you.

     When the Lord comes through it will teach us that it is right to press forward in all that He has said and shown and when we are the most discouraged is when we should probably be praising Him the most because it is the surest sign that He is doing something wonderful.  “Blessed are those who mourn for they shall be comforted.” Matt. 5:4 


Thursday, September 10, 2015

Growing in Jesus - lesson 7 "Serving the Lord in secret (continued)"

Growing in Jesus      - lesson 7

The eye is directed by what we do in secret

     “The lamp of the body is the eye, if therefore your eye is clear, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in you is darkness, how great is that darkness.  Matthew 6:22-23

     This lesson carries on from the last lesson on serving the Lord in secret. The eye is governed by our secret life. If our secret life is to pursue all manner of sin than the eye is always full of darkness and whatever it sees is colored by it’s desires.. However if our secret life is to be diligently serving the Lord and in doing all manner of things that He approves of, then our eye will be looking for what is good and joyful and full of life! Our eye will be looking for ways to be doing acts of kindness and love and will be continually seeing others needs.

     If we sin in secret will we not serve the Lord in secret? This is a good question to ask ourselves over and over again. Our secret life is our real life and everything we do springs up from it. Who we are in appearance to everyone is our fake life in comparison. Eventually our secret life will come out and take over our outward life.  Everything we have actually been striving for and pursuing will come forth and bear visible fruit.

     Have you ever seen someone do something worthy of being rewarded and then wanted to be the one who gave the reward? This is how our Heavenly Father is. He wants to take care of rewarding every thing you do that nobody sees, or ever will see. This is the part that He personally loves to take care of and oversee. He is not worried about the things you do that other people reward you for. He is concerned with the things you do that no one will ever know about or see. So many times it seems like our greatest struggles and accomplishments are ones that nobody will ever see. All the times when we chose to leave what we were doing in order to stop and help someone. All the times when we overcame an inner struggle to do what is right when no one was watching. All the times we had patience instead of getting upset. All the times when we fought to surrender something God was asking us to let go of. These are the things that will not lose their reward. Every secret thing that you do is known by your Heavenly Father and He has made it His own personal care in order to bless each of those hidden things. In other words, those secret victories you win are the ones most blessed by the Lord!
     Every time you take a thought captive or hold your tongue or refrain from saying something that you know will only stir up strife, these are the victories that no one will know about because they didn't happen. No one can thank you for something they didn't know you didn't say. Most of the time we fail at this point because then we go on to tell them what we could have said and hadn't... You see, we are always trying to make our obedience to the Lord visible instead of secret. But when you take every thought captive and do what is right in the face of difficulty, the Lord is watching and He will not let your victories go unrewarded. These hidden victories matter more to Him pretty much than anything else you can do, because they refine your character and are the tests He lays out for you. Tests that show what He can trust you with because you have proved yourself faithful in the littlest of things.

     Next time you sit down to pray and read your Bible think about these things. Your secret life is the most real part of your life. Every time you do what is right in secret it will not be in vain. Those are the things the Father Himself is watching over to bless and reward.

God bless!

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Growing in Jesus - lesson 6 "Serving the Lord in secret"

Growing in Jesus       - lesson 6

Serving the Lord in secret

     “And whenever you fast, do not put on a gloomy face as the hypocrites do, for they neglect their appearance in order to be seen fasting by men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full. But you, when you fast, anoint your head, and wash your face so that you may not be seen fasting by men, but by your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will repay you.” - Matthew 6:16-18

                         If we sin in secret, will we not serve the Lord in secret?

     Lying is sinning in secret because we are trying to cover something up. We always steal in secret or else it will get taken back from us. We lust in secret. We covet in secret. We break rules in secret. Then why do we want public recognition for the things we do for God when is seems to be that the things we do in secret are the ones that matter most to us and are closest to our heart?

     So much of what God would have us to do is in secret. So many sacrifices of our time, help, money, care, work, and endurance are made with no one noticing unless we tell them. Our heavenly Father says that it is right and blessed by Him to do these things in secret that He Himself might be the one who rewards us. If we do things hoping to be recognized for our labors we rob ourselves of God’s rewards. However if we do things to be seen by Him He will bless us in another way. The thing about the Lord is that He is the master of giving good gifts.

     What do we think His good gifts are? Think about what some of them might be.

                  Some of His good gifts are:

     _ His help in getting hard jobs accomplished.
     _ Arguments smoothed out.
     _ Providing for our needs on time.   (Particularly ones we don’t know we have yet because they come upon 
         us suddenly)
     _ Beautiful weather when there are outdoor things that can’t be put off for even one more day.
     _ Sudden opportunities to minister.
     _ Answers to prayer.
     _ Getting this lesson prepared.

     What does it mean to have your reward in full when we have done it for earthly recognition? 

     One of the problems is that the minute someone says we have done something amazing, we pretty much stop what we were doing because there isn’t any further reward to go on and because we find the reward only temporarily satisfying.  Or if no one thanks us for our work we stop because it feels like the job is too thankless to bother finishing and we just give up and become depressed. If our motives are other people’s opinion then we will soon find whatever we are doing to be unsatisfying.

     However, if we do anything for the Lord we will have a reward that doesn’t seem to be one that we can measure. Abraham’s reward is still growing and it seems to me that all of the Lord’s rewards are the same no matter what area of our lives it is in. 
     If you plant one seed of wheat and carefully watch over it, it will produce 50 seeds. (aprox.)  Then if you take those 50 seeds and carefully plant them they will turn into 2500 seeds. If you again plant those they will turn into 125,000 seeds and continue exponentially from there! This is the fruit from just 3 growing seasons! This is how the Lord thinks and works This is why doing things for Him in secret is the reward we should be looking for. His rewards are not shallow like a person congratulating you. Think about how if you ate the first seed you would have nothing to plant or if you ate the 2500 seeds the growth would stop there but by the third season there is so much available that now you can eat of it and have plenty to give away besides! Receiving the praise of man is like just eating the first seed. 
     We crave to have some immediate gratification for our labor so we eat it instead of planting it. Doing things in secret is to not eat the seed but to plant the sacrifice that it might grow into more seed. We may go hungry for 2 seasons of growing but by the third season there will spring up a reward for our secret labors unto God that is abundant beyond anything we can imagine. 

     If we think of any of our labors for the Lord in the 3 season rule we will have a much easier time understanding the seasons of waiting to be satisfied by our labors. But by the end of the third season there should be an abundance to give out to many as well as enough for ourselves!


     _  What do we think His good gifts are? Think about what some of them might be and write them out.

     _  Write out a verse or two that have spoken clearly to you either over the years or recently that helped you 
          hold fast to the Lord’s promises when you have waited for the Lord’s reward for your labors.

     _  What are some of the other earthly rewards we could look to that would seem to satisfy us but only will 
          for a moment instead of long term like what the Lord offers us?

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Growing in Jesus - lesson 5 "Playing with the devil’s bait"

Growing in Jesus                        - lesson 5

Playing with the devil’s bait

     “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will hold to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.” - Matthew 6:24

     This verse is again dealing with where our treasure is there will our heart be also. What our hearts are set on is what we serve.

     Every day it seems like there is always something trying to turn our attention back to some desire for the world. Some little thing grabs our attention and we step back into thinking that those things are more important than they are, again. What a battle it is to keep our hearts fixed on our Heavenly Father! Why does it seem to be so easy to step back and forth all the time. Going back to our old distractions (or some new one) is like taking a flower and carefully planting it in  fertile and well watered soil and then uprooting it suddenly and putting it in sandy and dry soil and then repeating the process over and over again. Then we  wonder why their seems to be no growth! This is how we are when we spend time letting go of our old lives and start spending time with the Lord and then get distracted and put the Lord to one side and focus back on the old things again. Then we wonder why we have no joy or growth in our Christian walk!

     Our adversary is continually trying to slip things into our lives to see if we will bite for his bait again. If we do it will be inevitable that we will also get the hook and line that goes with it. This line is impossible to get free from in ourselves. Just like the fish could have a full understanding about the fishing line to, but it has no physical way to free itself and quickly discovers again that it has no will in the matter as to where it goes from then on. It can’t stop itself from being pulled up. It’s will has no overriding authority on the hook and line. So we don’t want to be enticed by the bait anymore do we? Because at some point the hook will grab us again if we keep playing with the bait.

     This is why it is so important not to look back at our old lives and to be careful and watchful for any new ways that will come up to lure us in again. We don’t want to trade the good soil Jesus has just planted us in, for dry dusty sand. We will never grow in that environment but will wither up and die. 

     _ Write out a list of things you know are stealing your time. Things that come up every time you had planned to enjoy being with the Lord. These are the things that the devil is using to rob you of the water you need to survive. What can you do to not let these things get in the way anymore?
     _  Write out a verse or two that illustrates how your time with the Lord will change your life.