Jon Ponder – Testimony

If you take 10, you can hear (and see) this amazing testimony of Jon Ponder (convicted of bank robbery) and the way Jesus Christ saved him to turn his life around. This was a video from the recent Republican National Convention. I was also blessed by the support of President Trump for this man and the organization that helps prisoners get a second chance at life through Jesus Christ (not ashamed). Don’t want to be a spoiler, but at the end of the video President Trump grants Jon a “Full Pardon.” Reminds me of what Jesus has done for those of us who place their faith in Him.

Ephesians 4:28 “Let him who stole steal no longer, but rather let him labor, working with his hands what is good, that he may have something to give him who has need.”

Service Changes at CCEM and an update on Geo.

August 15, 2020

To all our church friends and family:

Just wanted to touch bases regarding our decision to have an 8AM service outdoors, and a 10AM service indoors, tomorrow, Sunday, August 16, here at Calvary Chapel El Monte.

It’s definitely something we’ve been praying about; and as we’ve prayed, things began to line up. We were facing extreme heat this Sunday, and then a recent Judicial decision in favor of the church, culminated in a peace in our hearts to provide an option in service locations.

I respect the fact and realize that some people are still self-quarantining because they or a loved one close to them is more vulnerable. I hope you can catch our studies online, stay connected, and if you’re struggling, please don’t hesitate to contact us for prayer.

I also realize that some people prefer an early service outdoors for numerous reasons, including the fact that the ventilation is obviously much better. Prayerfully it will be decent weather at our 8AM service; we’ll have more tents, ice water, and Lord willing a mister to cool you off.

And then there are those who prefer to be indoors. If that’s you feel free to come, we simply ask that you consider others and lean on the side of safety. If we do our best to eradicate this virus I believe God will honor our efforts. 

May the Lord Himself lead all of you individually and as a family. Tomorrow’s study is a rich portion of Scripture as we study the Faithful Church of Philadelphia (Revelation 3:7-13).

Your brother in Christ,

– Manny

p.s. – many of you were praying for Geo who recently was rushed to ER. Thank God he’s home with his family and doing better.

Selections from Song of Solomon

Manny & Shelly read this devotional together.

This morning I read Song of Solomon chapters 1-8

If you’re married and want God’s blessings on your Agape and Romantic love, this is a great book to read. I’m so blessed with my wife Shelly – the greatest gift after salvation.

Here are some highlights and thoughts from today’s reading:

The Song of Solomon can be seen as a love relationship between God the Father and Israel, Jesus and His Bride (the Church), or the love between a husband and wife. I leaned towards the latter this time around (for the most part).

3 times in the book we have that exhortation, “I charge you, O daughters of Jerusalem…do not stir up nor awaken love until it pleases.” (until the time is right).

• Isn’t that the way it is (should be) for us as Christians? Don’t stir it up. WAIT on the Lord, He will bring that person your way when you’re both ready!

Song of Solomon 2:10, “My beloved spoke, and said to me: ‘Rise up, my love, my fair one, and come away.’”

• I love that, “Come away…” And together we ride off into life, as husband and wife, the Great Adventure.

Song of Solomon 2:16, “My beloved is mine, and I am his.”

• After marriage we belong to each other, we take care of each other. Paul said the same thing in 1 Corinthians 7:4.

Song of Solomon 3:4, “Scarcely had I passed by them, when I found the one I love. I held him and would not let him go.”

• So applicable in marriage – til death do us part, don’t let anything separate you. Also applicable in our relationship with the Lord, hold tight Manny, hold tight, ‘cuz the world is trying to rip Jesus out of your heart.

Song of Solomon 4:9, “You have ravished my heart, my sister, my spouse; you have ravished my heart with one look of your eyes.”

• Look what you’ve done to my heart, my sister, my spouse. I’ll never forget the first day I first set eyes on Shelly. I can still see her beauty, her smile, her dimples, her big brown eyes, her thick bushy beautiful brown hair, her sculptured curves – and after just one look, I somehow knew I would marry her.

Song of Solomon 5:16b, “Yes, he is altogether lovely. This is my beloved, and this is my friend.”

• This must be the heart of our marriage relationship – friendship; the deeper the friendship, the greater the trust, we can tell each other secrets, we can be there and help each other for the rest of our lives.

Song of Solomon 6:9a, “My dove, my perfect one, is the only one.”

• The only one. Out of all the billions of women alive, out of all the fish in the sea, Shelly, you’re the only one for me!

Song of Solomon 8:7a, “Many Waters cannot quench love, nor can the floods drown it.”

• The storms and Tsunamis of life will hit hard, but true love will prevail, endure it all, it is absolutely impossible to drown true love, and that true love is rooted in a true and genuine relationship with the living-loving God.

Song of Solomon 8:13, “You who dwell in the gardens, the companions listen for your voice – Let ME hear it!”

• How many husbands would say that to their wives? “Let me hear it. Talk to me babe, don’t just talk to your friends, talk to me, tell me your heart.”

Song of Solomon 8:14, “Make haste, my beloved…”

• As Song of Solomon comes to an end, I can’t help but shift gears to the other Beloved of the book, how it pictures the relationship of  the Lord Jesus with His bride (the Church). In closing we pray, “Make haste, my beloved, come Lord Jesus, “O Lord, come.” (1 Corinthians 16:22b)

Excerpts from Ecclesiastes

This morning I read Ecclesiastes 8-12

Here are a few verses that stood out, and some things the Lord showed me. Praying for all of you who truly believe, that you’d have a blessed day walking with God!

Ecclesiastes 8:12, “Although a wicked person who commits a hundred crimes may live a long time, I know that it will go better with those who fear God, who are reverent before him.”
– Some people are tempted to think that it doesn’t really do any good to live Godly. Here we discover that “it will go better with those who fear God…who are reverent before Him.”

Ecclesiastes 9:9, “Live joyfully with the wife whom you love all the days of your…life that He has given you under the sun, all your days…for that is your portion in life, and in the labor which you perform under the sun.”
– How huge is that my friend? Live joyfully with the wife whom you love! I removed the words “vain” and “vanity” because I know that every person and even every pain has a purpose…nothing is in vain.

Ecclesiastes 9:10a, “Whatever your hands find to do, do it with all of your might…”
– It was Jim Elliott who said, “Wherever you are, be all there! Live to the hilt every situation you believe to be the will of God.”

Ecclesiastes 9:17, “Words of the wise, spoken quietly, should be heard rather than the shout of a ruler of fools.”
– When it comes to listening to a preacher, it “should be” all about content, not delivery, and definitely not volume…but not too many people see it that way nowadays.

Ecclesiastes 11:5, “As you do not know what is the way of the wind, or how the bones grow in the womb of her who is with child, so you do not know the works of God who makes everything.”
– We don’t know how, but we do know that God is moving like the wind, and we should be growing as His children, we don’t know how, but we’re confident God is making everything beautiful in its time (Ecclesiastes 3:11).

Ecclesiastes 12:9–11, “9 And moreover, because the Preacher was wise, he still taught the people knowledge; yes, he pondered and sought out and set in order many proverbs. 10 The Preacher sought to find acceptable words; and what was written was upright—words of truth. 11 The words of the wise are like goads, and the words of scholars are like well-driven nails, given by one Shepherd.”
– He still taught…(even though people are more interested in delivery or eloquence – 9:17). He sought to find acceptable words, acceptable to God, words that are upright, and true. The words of the wise are goads of conviction, and nails of a cross whose end is death to self, and whose origin is the Savior Himself. God help me to take up my cross. 

Ecclesiastes 12:13–14, “13 Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God and keep His commandments, for this is man’s all. 14 For God will bring every work into judgment, including every secret thing, whether good or evil.”
– Drop the mic 🎤 Solomon.

More than Food? (Sowing and Reaping)

John 4:37-38, “For in this the saying is true: ‘One sows and another reaps.’ I sent you to reap that for which you have not labored; others have labored, and you have entered into their labors.”

I’m not a farmer, per se, but I think I know how to plant seeds. Every once in a while, I’ll reap, I’ll pull a lemon, a kumquat, or different pieces of fruit off my friend’s trees, even though I didn’t plant those trees.

Well, just as that’s true physically, Jesus is saying this is true spiritually. We should be sowing and reaping for the salvation of souls.

Jesus went out of His way to win the Samaritan woman and then the subsequent village to salvation. This was His heart, His mission, His passion. He wanted His disciples to have that same heart, to the point that evangelism and soul-winning would be more important to them than food – that this type of activity would be their satisfaction and sustenance…but they needed to know about spiritual agriculture, the general pattern. Jesus told His disciples, “One sows and another reaps.” Jesus was sending them to reap in a great harvest, but others had labored and sown before them. I can’t recall exactly where I heard this quote, but someone once said, “This truth brings humility to the reapers and encouragement to the sowers.”

Christian friend, whoever you are, keep sowing seeds, loving on people, fishing for men and women, praying for their salvation, and don’t be discouraged if you’re just sowing seeds. If you do get to see some come to faith, stay humble, knowing that others have labored in the field of that heart before you, but praise God you were used by Him, for salvation is of the Lord.

Jesus has a heart for the lost – and He wants us to have that same heart. Even though we’re not all gifted as evangelists, we can all do the work of an evangelist (2 Timothy 4:5).

Can you think of anyone in your life who needs to be saved? Is the Holy Spirit laying anyone on your heart? Are you looking for those “open doors” of opportunity each day to plant or reap? I hope so. I pray this would be more important to us than the very food we eat each and every day (John 4:32-34).

Until the whole world hears…your brother in Christ,

– Manny

I want to know Christ more, and make Him known…