did you hear what he did?

Based on what I read on Facebook and see in the news, there is so much hostility in this world. People get angry at others based on the silliest things. …  Granted, there are many things going on that people are doing that appear stupid and insane, but still we must remember that God did not give us the responsibility to judge others, or a commandment to get angry at those who hurt us:

if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.  But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins. – Matthew 6:14-15

I think if we all back up, we will realize that we are all guilty of doing some things we shouldn’t have. Yes, some are worse than others, but we are all guilty of being wrong on occassion (yes, even me :-). 

I believe we must overcome this, however, forgive those who hurt us. After all, we too are sinners and have sinned against God. We must forgive others as God forgave us.

Help us, God our Savior, for the glory of your name; deliver us and forgive our sins for your name’s sake.
Psalm 79:9

 

restoration from sin

Yesterday was an interesting day. I read the book of Amos; it’s not very long. But the interesting part is how everything (throughout the day) fit together like a puzzle.  Let me explain through the Scripture and the activities:

Amos 1:3  “The people of Damascus have sinned again and again…

Amos 2:1 “The people of Moab have sinned again and again…

Amos 2:4  “The people of Judah have sinned again and again…

Amos 2:6 “The people of Israel have sinned again and again…

See a pattern?  Now, read this, which I saw yesterday on a poster:

Then if my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and restore their land. – 2 Chronicles 7:14

Need more?  I also read this yesterday:

Amos 9:11 “In that day I will restore the fallen house of David. I will repair its damaged walls.

I no longer believe in coincidences. I happen to believe that all things work out for a reason…

And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God – Romans 8:28

So you may be asking, “Now what? How does all this fit together?”  First: If you read closely, to me, the combination of all these things reminds us that if all these people sinned (and I didn’t list all of them), then how much better are we? Haven’t we sinned? Second: God tells us that if we, His people, humble ourselves and turn back to Him (God), then He will heal us. 

What are we waiting for?  We know we’ve sinned (individually….and as a country).  Let’s turn this country around NOW and seek God!

a prayer for forgiveness

. . . sometimes we feel like we can do no good. We may feel that we have greatly let down God in everything we do. However, God gave us the Bible to remind us that He is a loving God, willing to forgive, and that we are not without hope!

The Bible even shows us that some very great and Godly men also failed at times:

2 Samuel 24: 10 David was conscience-stricken after he [committed the sin], and he said to the LORD, “I have sinned greatly in what I have done. Now, O LORD, I beg you, take away the guilt of your servant. I have done a very foolish thing.”

Thanks to God, we too, can pray this same prayer! However, God does not want us to think that we can sin, pray for forgiveness, and then suffer no consequences. There are consequences for our actions. The passage above is followed by a response by God to David:

15 So the LORD sent a plague on Israel from that morning until the end of the time designated, and seventy thousand of the people from Dan to Beersheba died.

David’s sin was great, and so were his consequences. Remember, though, . . . David was a man “after God’s heart.” He was a devout Christian, following the ways of God, but he still sinned, and had to pay the price.

As we go about our activities in this world, we, unfortunately, will also sin. We will fall to temptation and have to pay the consequences. However, there is hope in the Lord!  The Lord promises to make David a “great name” among the people of the earth (2 Sam 7:9). God promises an EVERLASTING covenant with him (2 Sam 23:5). This is verified in the gospels of Matthew and Luke where we find that God’s only Son, Jesus, comes from David’s ancestry.

I can think of know better way to be known by, than to be a part of what Jesus has done and will do. The neat part though… is that WE HAVE THAT OPPORTUNITY TOO!  We can be a part of Jesus’ kingdom when we come to him for Salvation. We too can share in the heavenly eternity that God created for only His children!  If you want to share in this opportunity, click this link and read about how to come to know God today:  http://whativaluemost.com/Gospel_main.aspx

John 3:16″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.

Recall Notice

The Maker of all human beings (GOD) is recalling all units manufactured, regardless of make or year, due to a serious defect in the primary and central component of the heart.

This is due to a malfunction in the original prototype units code named Adam and Eve , resulting in the reproduction of the same defect in all subsequent units. This defect has been technically termed “Sub-sequential Internal Non-Morality,” or more commonly known as S.I.N., as it is primarily expressed.

Some of the symptoms include:
1. Loss of direction
2. Foul vocal emissions
3. Amnesia of origin
4. Lack of peace and joy
5. Selfish or violent behavior
6. Depression or confusion in the mental component
7. Fearfulness
8. Idolatry
9. Rebellion

The Manufacturer, who is neither liable nor at fault for this defect, is providing factory-authorized repair and service free of charge to correct this defect.

The Repair Technician, JESUS , has most generously offered to bear the entire burden of the staggering cost of these repairs. There is no additional fee required.

The number to call for repair in all areas is: P-R-A-Y-E-R.

Once connected, please upload your burden of SIN through the REPENTANCE procedure. Next, download ATONEMENT from the Repair Technician, Jesus , into the heart component.

No matter how big or small the SIN defect is, Jesus  will replace it with:
1. Love
2. Joy 
3. Peace
4. Patience
5. Kindness
6. Goodness
7. Faithfulness
8. Gentleness
9. Self control

Please see the operating manual, the B.I.B.L.E. (Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth) for further details on the use of these fixes.

WARNING: Continuing to operate the human being unit without correction voids any manufacturer warranties, exposing the unit to dangers and problems too numerous to list and will result in the human unit being permanently impounded. For free emergency service, call on  Jesus .
 
DANGER: The human being units not responding to this recall action will have to be scrapped in the furnace. The SIN defect will not be permitted to enter Heaven so as to prevent contamination of that facility. Thank you for your attention!
 
– GOD

 
P.S. Please assist where possible by notifying others of this important recall notice, and you may contact the Father any time by ‘Knee mail’!


the Holy Spirit

Why doesn’t the Holy Spirit come upon us more often?

This is a great question that I think a good many Christians ask when attempting to grow in their Christian faith.

Other relevant questions include:
Why don’t I feel closer to God?
What am I doing that is holding me back?
Why isn’t my church growing?

The answer, I believe, can be found in Acts 2:1  “When the Day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all with one accord in one place.” This simply and purely shows us the example that we need to follow as a church and as individuals. The Apostles, in this case, were together, in fellowship, but also in unity.

How many times today are we in conflict with each other, within our church, and within our own body? We struggle. With sin in our lives, we are in a fierce spiritual battle where evil is attempting to overcome the good in our life. Yet, if we simply allowed God to work in our lives, listening to His guidance, then maybe we wouldn’t have it so hard. Then, and only then, can unity help us to grow together, accept each other (despite past experiences and emotions), and we can start allowing the Holy Spirit to work a good work in us. Revival may break out and the growth of the church may go far beyond what we could ever imagine.

So, how do we start? With you. And me. We have to start within ourselves. We can’t expect others to change if we aren’t willing to change. There has to be a start to our change and the best place is inside ourselves. One by one we can affect change and help others through us. So let’s not wait any longer. Let’s begin the process now. It’ll be a great journey – living with the Holy Spirit hovering over and around us the whole time.

What is the result of such a change? Acts 2:43-47 finishes the story of this miraculous moment in time: 

43Everyone was filled with awe, and many wonders and miraculous signs were done by the apostles. 44All the believers were together and had everything in common. 45Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need. 46Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, 47praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.


separation anxiety

Lately I’ve spoken at length of sin. But let’s discuss briefly what sin does and doesn’t do to us:

Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love? Does it mean He no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or hungry, or destitute, or in danger, or threatened with death?  – Romans 8:35

The good news is that the answer is NO! Sin only separates us from God when we allow it too. How does it work then? We know that God and sin cannot be present together, for God is Holy. However, we do sin, and as many youth testified last night, many of us sin every day. Does this mean that God isn’t with us EVERY DAY????

Well, that comes back to choice: our choice. If we decide to sin everyday, then I believe that God has to be absent from us. However, if we “inadvertantly” sin, but quickly confess it, repent (turn away) and try to follow God again, then God won’t be far away from us. He’s kind of just waiting around the corner, asking to be in your life.  

The problem with sin is not so much that we do it, but that we do it regularly. Jesus showed us that living a sinless life IS possible – He did it! He was the example of how to live. He didn’t judge others, He didn’t condemn people, He didn’t hate anyone, He didn’t do what He wanted to do as a human being . . . No!

He did love everyone, He did lift everyone up, He did what God wanted Him to do.

That’s HARD! Well, not really…. What we need to do is have a change of focus.

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! – 2 Corinthians 5:17

We must have a re-adjustment in our attitude and a whole new outlook in life! Take time today to pray to God, not just for forgiveness of your sins, but for a whole new focus on life. Many times when we are sinning and want to come back to God, we merely confess our sins, turn away, but then slowly revert back to our old ways of sinning (I know – because I’m just as guilty as anyone else). However, if we change our outlook, if we change our true desires in life – it may serve to take our focus off of “not sinning” to focus on “doing God’s Will.”

It’s been proven that if you try not to do something, that your mind stays focused on it, and the human body desires that which it is told it can’t have. So let’s try instead to forget the sin, (after all – God’s already forgiven you once you ask), and instead focus on doing right, focus on what God wants you to do. The old saying “WWJD?” – try it out – What Would Jesus Do?

God created choice

4 This is the account of the heavens and the earth when they were created. . . . 
the LORD God made the earth and the heavens- . . . the LORD God formed man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.  8 Now the LORD God had planted a garden in the east, in Eden; and there he put the man he had formed. . . .15 The LORD God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it. 16 And the LORD God commanded the man, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; 17 but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die.” – Genesis 2:4-17

In the very beginning, God created LIFE. Just following life, God created CHOICE. When he placed man on earth, he gave man the opportunity to name all of the animals, and gave him Free Will. God told Adam about the trees in the Garden of Eden, but allowed man to make a choice over whether to eat from them or not. The command God gave was to NOT eat “from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die.”

God still gives us choices EVERY DAY! It is those choices that determine our destiny. Some choose to follow their own way. They struggle with life, don’t understand why they are under stress and why “bad” things happen to them. Others choose God.  They are under stress too, but devout Christians understand that “bad” things happen to help strengthen their faith and help them help others through their hard times.

As I continue reading up in preparation for VBS this week, I find that the truth behind this passage is not so much about God’s “creation,” but about the invention of CHOICE that God gave us. We need to remember, however, that these choices were not given without guidance. God gave us the Ten Commandments in Exodus 20, so that we might have some direction in life. He gave us CHOICE to see how we would react. We all know that our actions determine consequences. And many times we say “I’m prepared to accept the consequences.” Yet, HOW can we be prepared to accept the consequences when we truly don’t understand how drastic the consequences are?

If we choose sin, the Bible is very clear on the consequences

Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin is death.

Is that sin that YOU want, really worth dying for? Not in a literal sense, but in a truly physical sense?

about lying . . .

A clergyman was walking down the street when he came upon a group of about a dozen boys, all of them between 10 and 12 years of age.

The group surrounded a dog. Concerned lest the boys were hurting the dog,the clergyman went over and asked “What are you doing with that dog?”

One of the boys replied, “This dog is just an old neighborhood stray. We all want him, but only one of us can take him home. So we’ve decided that whichever one of us can tell the biggest lie will get to keep the dog.”

Of course, the reverend was taken aback. “You boys shouldn’t be having a contest telling lies!” he exclaimed. He then launched into a ten minute sermon against lying,
beginning, “Don’t you boys know it’s a sin to lie,” and ending with, “Why, when I was your age, I never told a lie.”

There was dead silence for about a minute.

Just as the reverend was beginning to think he’d gotten through to them, the smallest boy gave a deep sigh and said: “Oh..All right, he won…give him the dog.”

The Choices We Make

A blog by Kimberly Wolfe:

God is moving in our church. Last night’s youth service was filled with the Holy Spirit. Those who missed it, missed out on a very meaningful, heart-touching time with God; and I just wanted to share with you what the experience meant to me! Most of you know that last night wasn’t the first time God moved within the youth service; it was just the first time that I have been present when it happened. The only times I have felt The Holy Spirit in the past two plus years was when we went to “The Blaze” or to Pigeon Forge. In fact, several days ago, I was complaining to James that it seemed as though God was leaving me out, that I was being “left behind.” Every time I couldn’t be at church, (whatever the reason), would be the time James would come home and say, “You missed an awesome service! Everyone was talking about how The Spirit spoke to them tonight!” Those were bittersweet moments for me because I was happy for everyone else having that wonderful experience, but at the same time was jealous because they “got it” and I didn’t!
HOWEVER, no matter what my reason was for not going to church on those other nights, whether it was because Wesley was sick, because I wasn’t feeling well, or because I needed time alone at home to get something done – I WAS THE ONE WHO MADE THE CHOICE NOT TO GO TO CHURCH. God was NOT leaving me behind. I was leaving HIM.
My reasons for not attending on those nights were just excuses, some justifiable and others not so much. My point isn’t that we should never miss church NO MATTER WHAT, (although we should do our best to ALWAYS attend church.) My point is, DON’T BLAME GOD WHEN YOU ARE LEFT BEHIND! You see, I realized this morning that I was blaming God for “moving” and not allowing me to come along. I was envious of everyone who was “allowed” to go with Him. But this was Satan’s way of thinking – Satan was putting these thoughts into my head and telling me that God didn’t love me as much as he use to. Satan was using the time I missed church to his advantage. He knew I was tired and weak spiritually, hadn’t taken the time each day to re-fill my spiritual tank, and didn’t allow it to be filled at church because I didn’t go! Satan was watching me and waiting to strike just like a snake in the grass! He struck me. He bit. He made me fall.
But, by the Grace of God, I fell to my knees! See, Satan forgets that each time he knocks me down a little, I come back fighting hard! My heart, mind, spirit, and soul has and forever will belong to God. Satan may break my flesh at times, but God is always there to pick me up and heal me.
The Holy Spirit is moving people in our world today! God has never stopped using people to do His work. People have stopped ALLOWING God to use them!
We take God for granted! Even as Christians, maybe more so because we are Christians, we take God for granted. Just like we tend to take for granted our parents, grandparents, or siblings, we take for granted that no matter what we do, God will still love us. Yes, He will still love us, but the more sin we allow to separate us from God, the less He can BE WITH us and the less He can use us to help others. God and sin cannot co-exist within us. We chose one or the other every moment of every day. Every decision we make in our lives – yes, I emphasized EVERY – whether they are conscious or unconscious decisions, we chose God or we choose sin. There is no in between.
Did I choose sin just because I couldn’t go to church one night? Not deliberately; however, because I chose to “take a night off” and didn’t spend time with God during those times away from church, I opened up the opportunity for Satan to attack. Satan didn’t “make me do it.” I CHOSE not to go to church, not to spend time reading my bible, not to spend time in prayer, and to push God aside for the things I WANTED to do at that moment. I ALLOWED Satan in.
I’m writing this down for myself, just as much as I am for you all, as a reminder to make God Choices. This has been a learning experience for me and I hope if you are also having these feelings you have learned that God loves you – He didn’t leave you behind – He didn’t leave you out.
CHOOSE GOD! He’s waiting for you!

it’s obvious!

Galatians 5:19  The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy.
Wow – Paul tells us that sinful acts are “obvious.” Yet…how many times do we claim: “Well, I just didn’t know…” or maybe “I didn’t think…”
It appears from this Scripture that we don’t have an excuse for our sins.
So…what’s the good news? 
“Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures . . .”  1 Cor. 15:3-4
Sometimes I like saying “If it’s in the Bible more than once – it’s REALLY important:
“For Christ also died for sins once for all, the just for the unjust, so that He might bring us to God, having been put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the spirit . . .” 1 Peter 3:18
Trust in God today and let Him forgive you of your sins, whatever they may be.