Posts Tagged ‘God’

indexHave you ever thought about how limited your knowledge is? Think of all of the books in your school or local library and guess how many of them you have read. Probably not even a shelves worth. There are so many things that go on in science, literature, politics, or mechanics that we can never know a small fraction of what they all do or mean.

Now think about God and his knowledge. He knows everything because he created everything. He is the God who split the Red Sea and brought Lazarus back to life. He is the God who brought the ten plagues on Egypt and healed the paralytic. Not only is he knowledgable, he is powerful. So, why do we come to him in prayer with what we only know in our little box of knowledge or how things should work in our little universe?

Paul tells the church in Ephesus that they can pray big prayers. God can do more than we can even ask or think. He also does it through us and it all brings glory to Jesus. You see, we can pray big prayers because they will point to Jesus and not ourselves. We won’t get the credit, but He will.

As you are praying for this New Year, ask God to help you step out of your comfort zone and to direct you to the big prayers he wants you to pray. Should you be praying for the person who would “never” change their ways and follow Jesus? Should you be praying for God to change a community and that wants nothing to do with him? You get the idea, right?

Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen. (Ephesians 3:20-21 ESV)

eraseHow many times have you done something you know was wrong, but you justified it by just saying, “God will forgive me?” If you’re like most Christians, you’ve done it more than once, but most people will publicly deny it. So this morning we’re not going to ask for a public admition, we’re just going to take a look at why it’s so wrong, and he Bible says about it.

So what’s the problem with asking for forgiveness after you’ve committed an act you knew was wrong? The biggest issue with repetitive sin is that is shows that we have a lack of the Holy Spirit. If our walk with the Lord is the way it should be, then our desire to sin is either easier to resist, or it doesn’t happen as often. Now this doesn’t mean we’re beyond hope, it means that we need to ask Jesus to point out the areas in our lives that need spiritual attention. We need to ask the Holy Spirit to come into that black part of our heart that still craves the sinful nature, and to replace it with the healing and love of the Lord. When that part of our heart is replaced, it becomes easier to resist the sins that the flesh finds so enjoyable.

I’m sure there will be people who look at this blog and start thinking about people they know who are guilty of repetitive sin. To those people, I say to look into your own lives first. Romans 3:23 says that we have ALL sinned and fallen short of the glory of God, so we need to examine our own lives, because I can almost guarantee that all of us commit some sort of repetitive sin.That doesn’t make us beyond the point of no return, it means that we are all sinners, yet eligible for forgiveness because Jesus gave His life so that we could have a second chance.

This blog isn’t aimed at anyone but myself. I woke up this morning and the Lord laid it on my heart to discuss this issue that is so seldom talked about, but incredibly important in our Walk with the Lord. He laid it on my heart that I need to search my soul and Him to replace the dark spots I’m trying to hide, and replace it with His love. It’s a hard thing to do, but I encourages us all to give it a try… Let me know how it works out for you…:)

 

Below are some great scriptures and how they can help you understand and get over repetitive sin.

 

1 John 3:6-10 No one who abides in him keeps on sinning; no one who keeps on sinning has either seen him or known him. Little children, let no one deceive you. Whoever practices righteousness is righteous, as he is righteous. Whoever makes a practice of sinning is of the devil, for the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil. No one born of God makes a practice of sinning, for God’s seed abides in him, and he cannot keep on sinning because he has been born of God. By this it is evident who are the children of God, and who are the children of the devil: whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is the one who does not love his brother.

 

Romans 7:15-25 For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate. Now if I do what I do not want, I agree with the law, that it is good. So now it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me. For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing. …

 

Hebrews 10:26-27 For if we go on sinning deliberately after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a fearful expectation of judgment, and a fury of fire that will consume the adversaries.

 

1 Corinthians 10:13 No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.

 

1 John 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

 

Flee also youthful lusts: but follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart
2 Timothy 2:22

Youthful lusts are not limited to physical attraction. They include excessive desires for popularity, acceptance, worldly success, or academic achievement.

The lusts that Paul warns us against are any of the short-sighted cravings of youth for personal pleasure or gain, rather than for personal godliness. Youthful lusts include any hunger or ambition that distracts from our pursuit of true righteousness, faith, charity, and peace.

Interestingly, Paul is not content with our fleeing youthful lusts; he commands us, alternatively, to pursue hard after (the word “follow” is very strong in the original language) a pure-hearted devotion to God. We will not experience the vibrant, joyful, fulfilling Christian life until we are not only trying to avoid sin but are also seeking after Christ.

And one of the greatest encouragements for people as they pursue Christ is to follow after him with those that call on the Lord themselves out of a pure heart. Good friends are a great help to the Christian life, and are especially crucial when you are young.

So, young people, remember to flee away from sinful temptations, follow after Christ as your Lord, and look for good friends who will pursue Christ with you.

meekness-12-1-2011In today’s world, there’s an opinion that says we have to be strong and obtain the treasures of life by ourselves. That the word meek conveys thoughts of a person being a cowering, shriveling, weakling. If you think that way, then you aren’t keeping up with the Bible. Meekness is not a split-second decision, but a way of life. Someone has described Biblical meekness as “putting the bit in your own mouth and handing the reigns over to God.” It is an humble attention, and giving everything over, to the will of God.

The meek also shall increase their joy in the Lord – Isaiah 29:19a

The meek are often mistaken in our day as being weak. But meekness is actually great strength, under control – God’s control. Great faith, great commitment, and great determination are rneeded on a daily basis to live a meek life before God. When He requires sacrifice, meekness trusts completely and gives willingly. When He demands obedience, meekness cancels out our selfish desires, crucifies personal ambition, and performs joyfully the good will of God.

It is for this reason that the joy of the meek is continually increasing. Their pleasure is not found in personal circumstances; their happiness does not come about  from worldly popularity; their fulfillment does not come from public success.

The meek find their joy in the Lord. Therefore, the more they have of Him, the more they experience of Him, the more they know of Him, the more their joy is increased. And the more their joy is increased, the more they desire to plant their joy in the Lord and not in this world.

What about you? Have you found the dependable and lasting and ever-increasing joy that comes from a life of complete submission to our good and wise and glorious God?

 

Matthew 5:5Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.

 

Matthew 5:3Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

 

Matthew 11:29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.

 

Romans 12:3 For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned.

DavidHave you ever looked at a situation and had it overshadow your faith in God‘s ability to overcome it? Don’t worry, it’s happened to all of us at one time in our lives. So to help you to regain your faith in God, and to give you the strength to fight the battles in your life, I’ve summarized the story of David and Goliath below. To read the story in it’s entirety, go to 1st Samuel. At the end of this saga, I want you to consider a few questions to help you through your struggles. Use what David went through as an example of how to tackle the difficult times in your life. The obstacles in your life are nothing but Goliaths, and you are the David. Pray on them, gird up, and put that rock right between the eyes of your situation. Having said that, here we go my friends……

The Philistine army had gathered for war against Israel. The two armies faced each other, camped for battle on opposite sides of a steep valley. A Philistine giant measuring over nine feet tall and wearing full armor came out each day for forty days, mocking and challenging the Israelites to fight. His name was Goliath. Saul, the King of Israel, and the whole army were terrified of Goliath.

One day David, the youngest son of Jesse, was sent to the battle lines by his father to bring back news of his brothers. David was probably just a young teenager at the time. While there, David heard Goliath shouting his daily defiance and he saw the great fear stirred within the men of Israel. David responded, “Who is this uncircumcised Philistine that he should defy the armies of God?”

So David volunteered to fight Goliath. It took some persuasion, but King Saul finally agreed to let David fight against the giant. Dressed in his simple tunic, carrying his shepherd’s staff, slingshot and a pouch full of stones, David approached Goliath. The giant cursed at him, hurling threats and insults.

David said to the Philistine, “You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the Lord Almighty, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied … today I will give the carcasses of the Philistine army to the birds of the air … and the whole world will know that there is a God in Israel … it is not by sword or spear that the Lord saves; for the battle is the Lord’s, and he will give all of you into our hands.”

As Goliath moved in for the kill, David reached into his bag and slung one of his stones at Goliath’s head. Finding a hole in the armor, the stone sank into the giant’s forehead and he fell face down on the ground. David then took Goliath’s sword, killed him and then cut off his head. When the Philistines saw that their hero was dead, they turned and ran. So the Israelites pursued, chasing and killing them and plundering their camp.

Points of Interest from the David and Goliath Story:

• Why did they wait forty days to begin the battle? Probably for several reasons. Everyone was afraid of Goliath. He seemed invincible. Not even King Saul, the tallest man in Israel, had stepped out to fight. Also, the sides of the valley were very steep. Whoever made the first move would have a strong disadvantage and probably suffer great loss. Both sides were waiting for the other to attack first.

• David chose not to wear the King’s armor because it felt cumbersome and unfamiliar. David was comfortable with his simple slingshot, a weapon he was skilled at using. God will use the unique skills he’s already placed in your hands, so don’t worry about “wearing the King’s armor.” Just be yourself and use the familiar gifts and talents God has given you. He will work miracles through you.

• David’s faith in God caused him to look at the giant from a different perspective. Goliath was merely a mortal man defying an all-powerful God. David looked at the battle from God’s point of view. If we look at giant problems and impossible situations from God’s perspective, we realize that God will fight for us and with us. When we put things in proper perspective, we see more clearly and we can fight more effectively.

• When the giant criticized, insulted and threatened, David didn’t stop or even waver. Everyone else cowered in fear, but David ran to the battle. He knew that action needed to be taken. David did the right thing in spite of discouraging insults and fearful threats. Only God’s opinion mattered to David.

Questions for Reflection:

Are you facing a giant problem or impossible situation? Stop for a minute and refocus. Can you see the situation more clearly from God’s vantage point?

Do you need to take courageous action in the face of insults and fearful circumstances? Do you trust that God will fight for you and with you? Remember, God’s opinion is the only one that matters.

Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another. (Proverbs 27:17 ESV)

When you are stuck in sin, what are you compelled to do? Are you compelled to engage other believers and prayerfully work through sin’s power in your life? Hopefully that is the case, but for many believers we urge ourselves to withdraw, retract, and disengage from those who would walk through our sin with us. This is the last thing we should do! It can be embarrassing admitting we have messed up.

Let us remember, as Christians, we are called to confess our sins to one another (James 5:16).  This is not an irrational rule meant to shame us into compliance. Contrarily, it is intended for our benefit and building one another up in love and grace. What we seem to forget is that what we struggle with others have or do as well. Our Christian brother or sister has already been through what we have and can be there to help us through it. Don’t let pride keep you in sin!! We may be grieved by our sin but continue to live in it because we aren’t confessing it and being sharpened in our fight against it. Repentance is much more than feeling sorry about our sin, it is literally turning around and going the opposite direction.  Rather than living in the dark and returning to sin, confess your sin to a brother or sister and stay accountable to him or her. When this happens, you will find you both become sharper, more useful tools for the Lord.

Who sharpens you?

giftI hate to sound like I’m putting a damper on the millions of people having a Merry Christmas, but please don’t forget the ones that aren’t. I have a friend who gives up her Christmas Eve to spend time in a nursing home over 100 miles away so the residents there will have someone by their side. I think a lot about this gesture and wish more people would do something like this, because there’s nothing worse than being on the outside world of being alone looking through the window into the house of someone surrounded by friends and family. I humbly ask your forgiveness for sounding like such a gloomy Gus, but I just want us to remember those who wish they had someone to spend Christmas with.

For those people who are feeling alone and depressed at this time of year, here’s something to think about. It is my prayer this Christmas that you can rest in the reality of Christ! I know from personal experience that no matter how challenging the circumstances, how discouraged or how lonely you may feel at Christmas, God truly loves you and is with you wherever you may be. “The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him ‘Immanuel’ – which means, ‘God with us’.” Matthew 1:23 Will you take time this Christmas to believe that God is good, that He loves you and that He is with you? Will you place your burdens upon Jesus today? Christmas is about God’s unfathomable love for mankind and His everlasting gift of His Son, our Lord and Savior, JESUS! “For God so loved the world that He gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16 I know that it can be hard getting out of the circle of sadness and back into the light of the Lord, but with the help of the Lord, you CAN do it. Let me know if I can pray for you, and I’ll be there for you.

Let’s remember that giving and receiving presents is an awesome feeling, but remember that Jesus took the route of humility, of being born in a manger with just Mary and Joseph, rather than in the spotlight. He did it for the least of the people. Make this Christmas extra special by starting a tradition that makes someone else feel good. A stranger or a family member, it doesn’t matter. Fel free to enjoy your Christmas with the ones that bring you joy, but don’t forget the ones that may stretch you a bit, that will be your giftto yourself.

 

  • Isaiah 7:14 Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.

  • Luke 1:35 The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God.

  • Matthew 1:18-24 This is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be with child through the Holy Spirit.  Because Joseph her husband was a righteous man and did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly.  But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit.  She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.”  All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet:  “The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel”–which means, “God with us.”  When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife.

  • Luke 2:9-14 An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified.  But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.  Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord.  This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”  Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,  “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests.”

  • Isaiah 9:6-7 For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.  Of the increase of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the LORD Almighty will accomplish this.

  • Luke 2:1-20 In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world.  (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.)  And everyone went to his own town to register.  So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David.  He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child.  While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born,  and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.  And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night.  An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified.  But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.  Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord.  This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”  Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,  “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests.”  When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”  So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger.  When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child,  and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them.  But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.  The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.

  • Matthew 2:1-12 After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem  and asked, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star in the east and have come to worship him.”  When King Herod heard this he was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him.  When he had called together all the people’s chief priests and teachers of the law, he asked them where the Christ was to be born.  “In Bethlehem in Judea,” they replied, “for this is what the prophet has written:  ” ‘But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for out of you will come a ruler who will be the shepherd of my people Israel.’ ”  Then Herod called the Magi secretly and found out from them the exact time the star had appeared.  He sent them to Bethlehem and said, “Go and make a careful search for the child. As soon as you find him, report to me, so that I too may go and worship him.”  After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen in the east went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was.  When they saw the star, they were overjoyed.  On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold and of incense and of myrrh.  And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route.