Wednesday, November 25, 2009
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
Saturday, November 21, 2009
This song should help brighten someone's day. If we would just quit worrying about the things we can't control, how much more peaceful would our lives be. I'm encouraging you today to just leave all of your problems and concerns in God's hands. No one can fix it like God can.
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
We're in a battle brothers and sisters and we need to fight the good fight.
So then, if Jesus does it all - saving us and sanctifying us - what is the battle about? What are we fighting for?
The battle is letting Christ mature us (surrender) sooner rather than later, for the sake of the Kingdom. It's a spiritual battle to allow Christ to reign in us; to submit to who Christ is uniquely in each us for such a time as this. Jesus already won the War, but He desires to passionately love others through us now. His motivation and urgency is love.
So, what is The Mission? The Mission is to love one another. We're called to love one another and those who don't know Jesus with Christ-like love (selfless, graceful, merciful, humble) and to spur one another on toward love and good deeds. Each of us in the body of Christ have been given gifts and talents and many of you are clear about an assignment God has given you as well - much like each soldier in the armed forces has a specific assignment. But, our Mission is to love God and love one another. Assignments are secondary. We can be frustrated and allow anxiety into our lives by focusing on assignments while not being clear and mature about The Mission. Keep your eyes and hearts on The Mission.
The Church isn't fighting well as a unit. We too often focus on our assignments at the expense of The Mission. We're not fighting for one another to the best of our ability. We often leave our wounded comrades behind while we take care of our assignments. Sometimes we don't even notice our hurting comrades, or we're afraid to enter in to their pain or messy circumstances. There are times we even rub our spiritual salt into their wounds. Often, we spend energy guarding our assignments so we can make sure we get our due credit. This is not the way to fight the good fight. If we're struggling to love our spiritual brothers and sisters in an attitude of humility and selflessness, then how do we love those outside the Faith? Our Mission is to love one another and those who don't know Jesus with passion, grace and mercy SO THAT the world can see and experience Christ-like love.
A bumper sticker says "Christians aren't perfect, just forgiven". True enough; but we could have much more impact for the Kingdom of God (The Mission) if, in humility, we demonstrated Jesus rather than parading our Christian slogans. They will know we are Christians by our love. God's power is made perfect (manifested) in our weakness. The more surrendered we are to each other and to God, the more The Mission is accomplished.
This doesn't work unless our desires and passions are for The Mission. If our energy, time, and resources are more focused on what we can get from one another (marriage, employment, Christian service, etc.), or from the world (cars, houses, blessings, etc.) we end up being distracted from The Mission and that is what Satan is up to. Keeping our eyes on The Mission helps us love each other with encouragement in the midst of the battle. Sports teams that suffer from individualism implode on themselves and rarely reach the pinnacle of their sport, even with great talent. Many a team have reached the greatest heights with few superstars simply by deferring to one another and playing as a team. As we honestly surrender our lives to Jesus our hearts are changed and our desires are changed toward love and the Kingdom and less about ourselves.
If you're not experiencing that deep and passionate desire for the Kingdom, and you want it, be honest about it with yourself and with God. Then, ask God to give you His desires. Be persistent. He wants to know that you really want Him and his desires. Wait and be ready to receive. You'll begin to experience the abundant life Jesus promised - a life filled with Him and loving in Him.
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
Give Glory to God – Nothing Hidden
The desire to give glory to God extends beyond praise and worship. Telling God the truth expresses His glory. Achan, a Judahite, violated a sacred ban by stealing gold, silver, and fine clothing. He involved himself and his house in the destruction of Jericho. “Then Joshua said to Achan, ‘My son,give glory to the Lord, the God of Israel, by telling the truth. Make your confession and tell me what you have done. Don’t hide it from me’” (Joshua 7:19).
To give glory to God:
- Acknowledge His omniscience (all-knowing), i.e. He is just.
- Repent and make an open confession before Him.
- Present a complete truthful account–-nothing hidden.
Give Glory to God – Blessed or Cursed
By concealing the truth we fail to give glory to God, incurring His wrath. The prophet, Jeremiah, urged God’s people to repent and confess their pride. “Listen! Do not be proud, for the Lord has spoken. Give glory to the Lord your God before it is too late . . .” (Jeremiah 13:15-17). Offering God our “second best” in worship, profanes the name of the Lord. As a faithful Levite, Malachi, notes the deceit of the priests as well as the laymen by offering corrupt, i.e. blemished sacrifices (Malachi 1:13-14). Once again God demanded the truth. “If you will not hear, and if you will not take it to heart, to give glory to My name,’ says the Lord of hosts, ‘I will send a curse upon you, and I will curse your blessings. . .’” (Malachi 2:2 NKJV). In Revelation, the gospel of everlasting truth is to be proclaimed by all creation–-to give glory to God. In the heavens, an angel appears to the apostle John: “‘Fear God,’ he shouted, ‘Give glory to him [God] . . .’” (Revelation 14:6-7). The very foundations of the antichrist in the world shook as God’s judgment fell upon those who rejected the truth. Those who denied God’s glory and power blasphemed with lies. “They cursed the name of God . . . They did not repent and give him glory” (Revelation 16:8-9).
Give Glory to God – The Beauty
Those that choose to give glory to God discover reasons to celebrate daily. In our adoration, we set aside our fleshly nature to be set apart for God. As we worship the Lord of heaven and earth, we experience the beauty of His holiness (1 Chronicles 16:25-29). The reasons for giving glory to God can never be exhausted.
In Psalm 96, all earth is summoned to give glory to God. When Christ completed His work on earth, He entered into His glory in heaven. Clothed in robes of majesty and crowned in glory, the beauty of holiness is personified in Christ Jesus (Psalm 96:4-9). The psalmist, David, seems to be summoning the angels to give glory to God as well, worshipping Him in the beauty of His holiness. Even in thunder and storms, God’s glory resounds (Psalm 29:1-3).
As we worship in true holiness, the real beauty of God Himself is revealed. It is the beauty of the angels giving Him glory in the heavenly realm; it is the beauty of the saints, partaking of God’s divine nature.
Monday, November 16, 2009
Wisdom: “Wisdom is the ability to devise perfect ends and to achieve these ends by the most perfect means.” In other words, God makes no mistakes. He is the Father who truly knows best, as Paul explains in Romans 11:33: “Oh, how great are God’s riches and wisdom and knowledge! How impossible it is for us to understand His decisions and His ways!”
Infinitude: God knows no boundaries. He is without measure. This attribute by definition impacts all of the others. Since God is infinite, everything else about Him must also be infinite.
Sovereignty: This is “the attribute by which He rules His entire creation.” It is the application of His other attributes of being all-knowing and all-powerful. It makes Him absolutely free to do what He knows to be best. God is in control of everything that happens. Man still has a free will, and is responsible for his choices in life.
Holiness: This is the attribute that sets God apart from all other created beings. It refers to His majesty and His perfect moral purity. There is absolutely no sin or evil thought in God at all. His holiness is the definition of that which is pure and righteous in all the universe. Wherever God has appeared, such as to Moses at the burning bush, that place becomes holy just for God having been there.
Trinity: Though the actual word is not used in the Bible, the truth of God revealing Himself in three persons is included. The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are all called God, given worship as God, exist eternally, and are involved in doing things only God could do. Although, God reveals Himself in three persons, God is One and cannot be divided. All are involved completely whenever One of the Three is active.
Omniscience: “God possesses perfect knowledge and therefore has no need to learn. God has never learned and cannot learn.” Omniscience means all-knowing. God knows everything, and His knowledge is infinite. It is impossible to hide anything from God.
Faithfulness: Everything that God has promised will come to pass. His faithfulness guarantees this fact. He does not lie. What He has said in the Bible about Himself is true. Jesus even said that He is the Truth. This is extremely important for the followers of Jesus because it is on His faithfulness that our hope of eternal life rests. He will honor His promise that our sins will be forgiven and that we will .
Love: Love is such an important part of God’s character that the apostle John wrote, “God is love.” This means that God holds the well-being of others as His primary concern. For a full definition of love, read 1 Corinthians 13. To see love in action, study the life of Jesus. His sacrifice on the cross for the sins of others is the ultimate act of love. God’s love is not a love of emotion but of action. His love gives freely to the object of its affection, those who choose to follow His son Jesus.
Omnipotence: Literally this word means all-powerful. Since God is infinite and since He possesses power, He possesses infinite power. He does allow His creatures to have some power, but this in no way diminishes His own. “He expends no energy that must be replenished.” When the Bible says God rested on the seventh day, it was to set an example for us and our need for rest, not because He was tired.
Self-existence: When Moses asked who he was talking to in the burning bush, God said, “I AM THE ONE WHO ALWAYS IS.” God has no beginning or end. He just exists. Nothing else in all the universe is self-caused. Only God. In fact, if anything else had created Him, that thing would be God. This is a difficult concept for our minds since everything else we will ever encounter comes from something other than itself. The Bible says, “In the beginning, God.” He was already there.
Self-sufficiency: The Bible says that God has life in Himself (see John 5:26). All other life in the universe is a gift from God. He has no needs and there is no way He can improve. To God, nothing else is necessary. He does not need our help with anything, but because of His grace and love, He allows us to be a part of advancing His plan on earth and being a blessing to others. We are the ones who change, but never God. He is self-sufficient.
Justice: The Bible says that God is just, but it is His character that defines what being just really is. He does not conform to some outside criteria. Being just brings moral equity to everyone. When there are evil acts, justice demands there be a penalty. Since God is perfect and has never done evil, no penalty would ever be necessary; however, because of His love, God paid the penalty for our evil deeds by going to the cross Himself. His justice needed to be satisfied, but He took care of it for all who will believe in Jesus.
Immutability: This simply means that God never changes. It is why the Bible says, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.”
Mercy: “Mercy is the attribute of God which makes Him to be actively compassionate.” Since God’s justice is satisfied in Jesus, He is free to show mercy to all those who have chosen to follow Him. It will never end since it is a part of God’s nature. Mercy is the way He desires to relate to mankind, and He does so unless the person chooses to despise or ignore God at which time His justice becomes the prominent attribute.
Eternal: In some ways, this fact about God is similar to His self-existence. God always has been and will forever be, because God dwells in eternity. Time is His creation. It is why God can see the end from the beginning, and why He is never surprised by anything. If He were not eternal, God’s promise of eternal life for those who follow Jesus would have little value.
Goodness: “The goodness of God is that which disposes Him to be kind, cordial, benevolent, and full of good will toward men.” This attribute of God is why He bestows all the blessing He does on His followers. God’s actions define what goodness is, and we can easily see it in the way Jesus related to the people around Him.
Gracious: God enjoys giving great gifts to those who love Him, even when they do not deserve it. Grace is the way we describe that inclination. Jesus Christ is the channel through which His grace moves. The Bible says, “The law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.”
Omnipresence: This theological term means “always present.” Since God is infinite, His being knows no boundaries. So, clearly He is everywhere. This truth is taught throughout the Bible as the phrase “I am with you always” is repeated 22 times in both the Old and New Testaments. These were even Jesus’ words of assurance just after giving the challenge to His disciples to take His message to the entire world. This is certainly a comforting truth for all who follow Jesus.
Friday, November 13, 2009
I want to talk to you today about the things that hinder you from receiving God’s promises for your life.
PRAYER: Lord open my eyes to see and my ears to hear what the spirit is saying to the church.
I. THE INSTRUCTIONS ARE NOT FLAWED “Now I am about to go the way of all the earth. You know with all your heart and soul that not one of all the good promises the LORD your God gave you has failed. Every promise has been fulfilled; not one has failed. In this passage Joshua is doing two things. He is letting Israel know that his earthly leadership is about to come to a close - I am about to go the way of all the earth. At the same time he is telling them that after he is gone there is something that remains that will continue leading them and that is God’s promises. For us to receive any of the promises of God the first thing we have to do is affirm in our hearts that this book – the Bible – is what we claim that it is, God’s word. And if we confess with our mouths that it is God’s word we must also believe in our hearts that it is. You know with all your heart and soul that not one of all the good promises the LORD your God gave you has failed. Every promise has been fulfilled; not one has failed. I want you to understand this one thing. God had given Israel the promise that He would give them the promised land. As soon as God promised it, it was done. As I said a couple of weeks ago the only thing left for Israel to do was to go in and possess what God had given them. Now Joshua says that not one of God’s promises has failed. But at this point Israel had not driven all the inhabitants of the land out and fully taken possession of the land. So how could it be said that God’s promises have not failed? You see, the problem isn’t the promise. The promise is perfect. The problem is that the recipients of the promise failed to believe the promise and in doing so they failed to believe the Promiser. When we fail to trust God’s word how do you think He feels? You see, the Bible is more than just a compilation of a collection of stories written by men. Unfortunately, that is how many people see the Bible. But it is the Holy Spirit inspired revelation of God Himself given to men that we might know Him. It gives you God’s plan for mankind. It shows you what His desire is for your lives. It reveals the blessings that God wants to pour out on you. It also reveals that there are conditions that must be met in order for you to receive these perfect promises. 1) You must be a child of God. Anyone who is not born again has no legal right to expect anything from the Father. The truth is unbelievers can pray all they want but the only prayer of an unbeliever that God will respond to is the prayer of repentance and salvation. (John 9:31) when you become a Christian your spiritual eyes are opened to the spiritual truths contained in the Bible and you begin to se the promises that are yours for the asking. 2) You have to ask in faith and believe that God hears and answers prayer. Hebrews 11:6, And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him. James 1:7 says that if anyone doubts that he can’t expect to receive anything from God. God’s word is not flawed. What is flawed is man’s distortion of the promises that God has given to all Christians. “God doesn’t do that anymore.” “That’s not what that really means.” Let me tell you, I believe the Word of God and no one can convince me that His promises are not true.
What is it in you that keeps you from receiving all the promises that God has for you?
Do you believe the word?
Do you know the word?
Do you act on the word?
Thursday, November 12, 2009
The Len Bias story has deeply touched and forever changed my life. I was only 6 years old when he died but I can't help but to be taken back by the enormity of his death. I am also really impressed by his mother Dr. Lonise Bias and how she not only dealt with the death of her son Len Bias but also how 4 years later she buried her murdered son Jay Bias.
Tuesday, November 10, 2009
It is not by chance that Christians go trough hardships and their faith is tested. It takes very hot oven to attain pure gold! It is the same with Christianity, God is not about theory, God wants to see our practice!