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May 15, 2017, 10:01 AM

Know Who You Really Are


“The angel of the LORD appeared to him and said to him ‘The LORD is with your, O valiant warrior!’” Judges 6:12

Gideon must have been shocked.  He may have even laughed at the angel’s proclamation.  Gideon had been hiding from the enemy while trying to thresh some wheat at a winepress so that it would not be stolen from him.  

But God knew the truth, and God never makes mistakes.  Despite Gideon’s doubts, fears, and questions; God knew exactly who Gideon was and How God was going to use Gideon.  

God knows exactly who you are too.  He knows you are not who you pretend to be, not who you are afraid to be, and not even who you secretly fear you might actually be.  

God has a purpose and a plan for you.  He has hand picked you for a task of Godly proportions.  He has picked you because He knows who you really are, because He made you and knows what great things He can do through you.  

Perhaps like Gideon, you too have questioned the wisdom of the Lord.  Perhaps you have doubts about what God can do through you.  Perhaps you are reading this and not even aware that God has a plan and purpose for you. 

Because of these doubts, you, like Gideon, may have begun to give excuses about How God is wrong about you.  Gideon argued that he was the youngest in his family.  Gideon doubted God’s power because the trouble that was plaguing his life and country.  

God did not accept Gideon’s arguments.  God knew that He would use Gideon to lead an army of 300 to defeat an army of thousands of thousands.  God knew that Gideon would be used to turn a backsliding nation back to the ways of God.  God knew that Gideon was a warrior, courageous, and a leader.  He was all these things because God made him all these things as He worked through Him.  

What is it God knows about who you are?  Who is that you can be as God works through you to accomplish His purposes for your life? 

It did not become obvious to Gideon that God was right about him until God proved it to him.  

Won’t you let God prove to you who you really are.  So that you can know?

Remember that what Gideon was above all else was a servant.  He served the Lord mightily as God worked through him, and you can do the same.  




May 12, 2017, 9:21 AM

Unbreakable!


“For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:38-39

Sometimes in life, often due to our own actions or circumstances, we encounter the feeling that God does not love us, or that his love is somehow less than it has been or could be.  

Nothing could be farther from the truth.  

I saw an illustration of the unbreakable nature of God’s love that I want to share with you.

A pastor took two pieces of lumber, each about a 3 feet long, while 1.5 inches deep and 3.75 inches wide, and said that one board represents us and the other represents God’s love.  He then held the boards far apart and said that when we sin or when the circumstances of life come crashing down around us, that we feel we are far from God’s love.  

To demonstrate how unbreakable and inseparable God’s love is for us, the pastor then took a piece of Iron, about 1/4 of an inch thick and 2 inches wide while being just short of 3 feet long and said it the iron represented Christ.  He  placed the iron bar between the two boards.  He then attached the two boards with screws around the perimeter of the metal sandwiched inside.  When he was done with the screws he wrapped the boards in duct tape, and held it up for us all to see.  

I got the point...did you?

Nothing was going to break that bond or those boards.  

Our feelings often lie to us.  Our perception of reality is often skewed.  If we want to experience a joyful, stable, courageous Christian life, we must believe by faith that God loves us and will never leave us.  

God loves you no matter what based not he clear and reliable promises of His Word.   

The battle to continue to believe in God’s love, NO MATTER WHAT, is the real battle ground of faith in the Christian life.  

Strive not to sin.  Strive to obey His calling in your life.  But both of these are made more possible by the faithful believing that God’s love is UNBREAKABLE.




May 10, 2017, 2:06 PM

Useless Worship and Worthless Fires.


“’Oh that there were one among you who would shut the gates, that you might not uselessly kindle fire on My altar! I am not pleased with you,’ says the LORD of hosts, ‘nor will I accept an offering from you.'” Malachi 1:10

Church attenders are often more interested in the style of worship than the substance of the worship. If we the worship service is energetic, entertaining, and ends in an emotional high with people visibly responsive,  we are prone to consider it a successful worship service.  

But, God is far more interested with the substance in worship over the style of worship.  God is also far more interested in the consistent heartfelt worship of consistent obedience throughout the week than He is of an our of passionate energy on one particular day.  

In Malachi 1, God says that he would rather we close the doors to the church, and not attend than to worship with sin in our hearts and lives!  That is a bold statement.  

Church has become an offering of convenience in the American church today.  We show up for church when we want to.   We give tithes and offerings, when it is affordable.  We praise if we have the energy left to praise after we have done everything else we have wanted to do leading up to the church service.  Then we do go to church, many often feel they have done their duty for the week and can get back to what they really want to do with the rest of their day and week. 

God is not satisfied with a relationship of convenience.  He is not satisfied with part of your life or a portion of your heart.  He deserves, and demands it all.  

God loves us regardless of anything.  It is a perfect love that can never change. He never loves us less or more based on what we do, or don’t do.  His love for us is eternal.  

If you were to rate God’s love for you, it would always be a 10!  

But, if you were to rate How pleased God is with you, what would it be?

Pleasing God is all or nothing.  

So how can we keep from lighting useless fires in worship?  By giving Him 100% first.  Give Him 100% of your heart.  Give Him 100% of your energy.  Give Him 100% of your heart.  Consistently walk with Him all week.  Spend time in His word and in prayer.  Prepare for worship by worshipping him always.  Prepare you heart by asking Him to prepare you heart for worship and allowing Him to prepare your heart for worship.  Ask Him to show examine your life and show you anything that might be preventing you from giving Him your all.  

Then what will happen?  Well don’t be surprised if you have a battle on the way to church.  Don’t be surprised if satan does not try to throw something in your way to prevent you from going to worship at church.  But, keep your cool and resist the devil and He will flee from you.  

Go all in with God and great things will happen.  God will be glorified and He will be glorified in you, if you will give Him all that you have. 

Close the doors on the distractions of the world and God will throw open the doors of blessing on you.   

Let your Worship be Worthwhile and Your Fires of Offering and Sacrifice burn bright for God's Glory!




May 8, 2017, 9:40 AM

The Place to Air Your Laundry


If I wanted to complain, gripe/bash others, and talk about all those who have done me wrong all day, I probably could do it.  But what good would it actually do?  

Does it feel good to get it off my chest?  Maybe, for a short period; until I realize that off my chest means it is now staring me in the eyes.  Few if any are actually going to listen, and even if they do there is nothing they can really do except have their day/perspective twisted and ruined by my problems.  

How many people am I poisoning with my own bitterness when I constantly complain to others about my difficulties, hurts and pains?  How many attitudes of others am I damaging by my own vitriol?  How many lives am I dragging down by my own poor perspective.  

Now, I am not saying that there is not a time and place to be able to vent.  But most airing of grievances is not constructive at all, and it certainly does not help when you spread the minutia around to everyone that you know.  

The good news is that there is one to whom we can turn to that not only will always have time to listen, but also cannot be poisoned or persuaded by negative attitudes.  He is the only one that can bring a solution or give you the peace, grace, and strength that is needed to endure.  His name is God and He loves you and cares about you.  

“casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you.” - I Peter 5:7
 

Even better news is that He can change your outlook, perspective and attitude. He can reveal and remind you off all that you have been blessed with and shift your focus to where it needs to be.  When you are thinking of how things in life are not fair He can remind you of the unfairness of sin, and of the cross of Christ.  He can turn your eyes to focus on the God who loves you despite all the things wrong in life and remind you how one day He will make all things right and new.  

Turn to God not others with your needs, you will find that through Him and His strength that instead of spreading venom to your own detriment, you will sing a news song for His glory!

 




May 5, 2017, 2:41 PM

Living and Forgiving


“...Now return to the Lord your God, for He is gracious and compassionate,
slow to anger, abounding in lovingkindness and relenting of evil.”  

Joel 2:13

Are you quick to show mercy and forgiveness?

When your children mess up, do you cut them a little slack?  When a coworker drops the ball, do you cover for them?  When a spouse, friend or anyone else for that matter says something hurtful, do you let it roll of your back. 

We can be so magnanimous over our efforts to show compassion and forgiveness, but our efforts will always pale in comparison to what an Almighty God demonstrates towards those that belong to Him.  

In the Old Testament the Israelites where always turning their backs on Him, marrying people they were told not to, worshipping false gods, and committing countless wicked acts in direct and deliberate violation of His commands.  Yet, while God did judge the people for their sins and allowed them to face the consequences of their actions, He remained ready to forgive them when any would turn back to Him.  

In both society and in the church we tend to judge people and write them off after what we perceive as an indiscretion is committed; particularly one against us personally.    We tend to respond with anger, hate, and bitterness towards others and then become incensed with anger if the tables are reversed.

It would do us well to remember that we all deserve destruction and Hell but yet  we were given Jesus and offered mercy, grace, and forgiveness by a loving God.  

We would do well to remember the forgiveness that God gives to us and live out our lives carrying out the example that He has shown and demonstrate forgiveness, love, compassion, and understanding to people who desperately need it.

We certainly did need it and thank God that He saw fit to give it. 

Won’t you find it in your heart to offer the same to someone today?


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