Monthly Archives: October 2012

Let Us Glory in God


Morning glory flowers, not quite mature, sooc

 

Notes from Pastoral Teaching 10-30-12

 

For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified. And I was with you in weakness, and in fear, and in much trembling. And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man’s wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power: That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God.
(1 Corinthians 2:2-5)

 

The foundation of our faith is Jesus Christ and Him crucified. Everything that we say and do is centered around the fact that Jesus came into the world to die for our sins, rose from the dead, and is soon to return for a church without spot or blemish (see Ephesians 5:27).

When people look at our lives, they should see Christ. When we are not mindful to live in a way reflecting the attributes and character of Christ, we will either be a hindrance to others or we will rob ourselves of the benefits that come from living a Spirit-filled, Christ-centered life.

Each of us has spiritual gifts and talents. However, these things are for Christ’s glory. It is important that we adopt a spirit of humility and that we do not boast of these accomplishments and talents. We can do nothing apart from him, therefore, we should allow the power of God to lead us in all that we do. As the prophet Jeremiah said in Jeremiah 9:23-24, “Thus saith the LORD, Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, neither let the mighty man glory in his might, let not the rich man glory in his riches: But let him that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth me, that I am the LORD which exercise lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness, in the earth: for in these things I delight, saith the LORD.”

 

 

 

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What to Do with an Unwelcomed Change


Lemon

And there were four leprous men at the entering in of the gate: and they said one to another, Why sit we here until we die? If we say, We will enter into the city, then the famine is in the city, and we shall die there: and if we sit still here, we die also. Now therefore come, and let us fall unto the host of the Syrians: if they save us alive, we shall live; and if they kill us, we shall but die. And they rose up in the twilight, to go unto the camp of the Syrians… (2 Kings 7:3-5a)

At the time of this passage, there was a severe famine throughout the land. The four lepers were outcasts of their community and were forbidden to dwell within the city due to their highly contagious disease. Faced with these facts, they were aware that they would either die from the disease or from the famine. Instead of welcoming death, they decided to do something about it.

At some point in our lives, we will encounter an unwelcomed changed: an illness, financial problems, family problems, job loss, etc. Regardless of what form it may take, it is an unexpected interruption to our lives. In these situations, we will are tempted to give up and admit defeat. However, as believers in Christ, we are victorious overcomers, so, we are obligated to fight. Should we allow the enemy to win the souls of our unsaved friends and loved ones? Should we allow sickness and disease to ravage our bodies? Should we allow financial problems to cause our lives to deteriorate? Or do we fight back?

Life will give you lemons, but what you do with the lemons makes all the difference. You can make lemonade or you can squeeze the lemons in your eyes and cry. You can make a profit by selling the lemons or you can eat them. You can even use the seeds in the lemon and plant them and make more lemons. You can make a lemon cookies or you can use them as home decor for your coffee table. Whatever you decided to do with life’s lemons, just do something.


The Difficulty of Change


Man thinking on a train journey.

 

 

Change can happen one or two ways: immediately or gradually. Most often, however, change is a slow process because it is process of unlearning and learning. We unlearn destructive thought patterns and behaviors and then we learn how to practice wholesome thinking and righteous behavior. The old way may remain present in our minds, if we allow it.

 

You are in control of your mind. You are in control of your actions. Ultimately, you make the final choice of whether to do right or wrong. However, without the Word of God and the Spirit of God to assists us, we will continue to fail again and again. We need something more powerful to overcome the power of sin in our lives. On our own, we cannot win against sin.

 

Years ago, when I was new to Christ, I had a horrible mouth. I had a reputation for being mean, short, and having a bad attitude. When God began to deal with me, I desired to change. The job I had at the time would not allow me to read my Bible except during break time. So I would write scriptures on pieces of scrap paper and put them in my pocket. Throughout the day, I would pull out those pieces of paper and memorize them. Day and night, I would meditate on scriptures about the tongue until it became a part of me. Eventually, the Word of God began to change me. God taught me to hide His Word in my heart and to meditate on it day and night. Therefore, I was able to replace wrong thinking with right thinking.

 

Change is not easy and it doesn’t always happen overnight. However, the difficulty of a road should not hinder us from travelling that road. Are you ready for a change? Are you ready to travel a path you have never walked on? Are you ready to experience new heights in Christ? Start in the Word of God. Whatever your issue, seek God’s word on it. When you find the scripture that pertains to you, mediate upon it day and night. Memorize it. Allow it to become a part of your everyday life, so much so, that you wake up in the morning thinking about it. Change requires that we endure the discomfort and pain of stepping out of our comfort zone.

 

 

 

 


A Fresh Start


Earlier this year, my hard drive died on my computer and I took it to a computer specialist. The next day, the computer specialist called me to tell me my hard drive had died and I would need a new hard drive installed. Unfortunately, he continued, installing a new hard drive meant that all of my files would be lost. I was distraught at the thought of losing all of my work and music that I had stored on my hard drive over a long period. When I prayed to God about the situation, he explained to me that I should look at this as an opportunity to start over.

Naturally, we don’t know how to do the right thing. When we come to faith in Christ, we have built a lifetime of wrong responses, wrong attitudes, and more wrong-ness. Our system is faulty. And we need a clean start. Our minds must be renewed. Our hearts must be regenerated. And so begins the conflict: how do I learn to do the right thing when I have spent my entire life doing the wrong thing?

At one point in his life, the Apostle Paul was a man in the midst of a conflict: wanting to live right but not knowing how; desire to do the right thing, but not being equipped to do so. In Romans 7:15-25, he describes his inner conflict. He says,

For what I will to do, that I do not practice; but what I hate, that I do. If then, I do what I will not to do, then I agree with the law that it is good. But now, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me; for to will is present with me, but how to perform what is good I do not find. For the food that I will to do, I do not do; but the evil I will not to do, that I practice. Now if I do what I will not to do, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me. I find then a law, that evil is present with me, the one who wills to do good. For I delight in the law of God according to the inward man. But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into capitiviy to the law of sin which is in my members. O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? I thank God – through Jesus Christ our Lord!” (Romans 7:15b-25a).

Does this sound familiar? Have you ever found yourself praying: “Lord, I want to live right, but I just don’t know how? How do I do it? Will I ever experiences Christ’s promise of being ‘free indeed’?” It can extremely frustrating when you seek an answer to a dilemma and it feels like the answer is within reach, but when you reach out to grasp it, it eludes you. So what was the answer?

We need cleansing by the Blood of Jesus. We need renewal. We need a fresh start. All of this possible is Christ, as He promised us, “All things are possible to him who believes.” Do you believe it is possible? If so, are you will to endure this fight? It’s a difficult fight, but with Christ, we can do it. We can do all things through him. This includes overcoming bad habits and finding a life of freedom. It is possible. So, get back in the fight and/or stay in the fight.

Tomorrow: Psalm 119, “How We Are Cleansed”

 


The Consequences of Sin


LORD, rebuke me not in thine anger, neither chasten me in thy hot displeasure.  
 Have mercy upon me, O LORD; for I am weak: O LORD, heal me; for my bones are vexed. 
My soul is also sore vexed: but thou, O LORD, how long? 
Return, O LORD, deliver my soul: oh save me for thy mercies’ sake. 
For in death there is no remembrance of thee: in the grave who shall give thee thanks? 
I am weary with my groaning; all the night make I my bed to swim; I water my couch with my tears. 
Mine eye is consumed because of grief…
(Psalm 6:1-7)

When most people talking about the consequences of sin, they are usually referring to physical/outward consequences. If a woman commits fornication, she may become pregnant. If a person commits adultery, he or she may face divorce. If a person misuses company time, they may lose their job.

However, there are inward consequences of sin, too, and those consequences are much more severe. Some of the inward consequences of sin are guilt, grief, shame, embarrassment, isolation, anger, depression, etc. These inward consequences are harder to bear because, often, we must bear them alone. Also, the thought life that comes along with these consequences may cause stress, loss of sleep, and can lead to sickness or even personality disorders.

Thanks be to God that we can come to Him to seek grace and mercy in a time of distress. We know that God is holy and just, and for this reason, some flee from His presence because they fear his judgment. Even when we guilt consumes us, we should always remember to turn to God with our thoughts, insecurities, and fears. Let us turn to Him with our tears. Let us turn to Him with our grief. Let us cry to Him and ask Him to cleanse us afresh and to make us whole again. He is faithful to do it, and it will be done according to our faith.


How Can I Be Cleansed?


Are you a believer that has been overcome by a fault? Have you found yourself tripped up by a besetting sin? Has guilt and shame consumed you? Do you desire freedom? If this describes you, no doubt, you have experienced a lack of peace and joy in your Christian walk, due to the amount of conviction you feel. The Bible teaches that we serve a God who is holy and He requires holiness of his followers. (See 1 Peter 1:13-16)

So what do you do? How can you be restored? How can you find victory and become a overcomer?

Rest assured, there is hope in Christ. In Christ, and through His blood, we can experience cleansing from sin. Over the next couple of days, we will look at a few scriptures instruct Christians how to find freedom in Christ.

We will look at the following scriptures over the next couple of days:

Psalm 119:9-16
Psalm 6
Romans 7

In the name of Jesus, we pray that some or many may find freedom through this study. Amen.

 


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