Archive for November, 2016

Are you preparing your heart to seek the Lord? We have a responsibility, as the people of God, to seek out the Lord, to seek to serve Him; to be continually preparing our heart to seek the Lord. Notice in the verse below: what was the evil that was done?

II Chronicles 12:14 “And he did evil, because he prepared not his heart to seek the LORD.”

How did he do evil? – “because he prepared not his heart to seek the LORD.”

How about you? Are you daily preparing your heart to seek the Lord that day? What are some ways we could do this preparing on a daily basis? Psalm 5:3 helps us with the answer “My voice shalt thou hear in the morning, O LORD; in the morning will I direct my prayer unto thee, and will look up.”  – We need to start off everyday with prayer and Bible reading. This is a key way in which we prepare to seek the Lord out each day.

Ezra 7:10 is the antidote to II Chronicles 12:14. We need to take Ezra 7:10 as a  verse we seek to live out every day. Don’t let II Chronicles 12:14 be able to be spoken about your life; instead seek to be an Ezra 7:10 Christian every day!

Ezra 7:10 “For Ezra had prepared his heart to seek the law of the LORD, and to do it,…” – Every morning of every day prepare your heart for that day to seek the Lord out and His will. Be a prepared Christian everyday. Be prepared because your  enemy is always prepared to bring you down and ruin your testimony. Prepare your heart every morning to seek the Lord every day.

 

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Everyday we should see God in His creation: in the food we eat, the air we breathe, the friendships we enjoy, and the love and pleasure family brings. We should thank God for all of life’s joys, large and small, and allow them to draw us to Him.

I Thessalonians 5:18 “In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.”

“In Everything Give Thanks”!

Interesting illustration to this post. On our way to church this morning my wife was stopping to pick up donuts for our class and she slipped and fell; injuring her foot pretty bad. So much so I had to take her back home. As I was driving her home I turned to her and said, maybe not the smartest thing to do, but I turned to her and said “you need to give thanks for hurting your foot this morning“. Thankfully my loving patient wife chuckled in her pain after I said it. Then when I got back to the church she became the illustration to the lesson.

I Thessalonians 5:16-18 “Rejoice evermore. Pray without ceasing. In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.”

For this reason is that all things work together for good to them that love God; therefore, every situation may be a subject of gratitude and thankfulness.  While you live for God, prosperity and adversity will be equally helpful to you. For this is the will of God, that you should be always happy; that you should ever be in the spirit of prayer; and that you should profit by every occurrence in life, and be continually grateful and obedient; for gratitude and obedience are inseparably connected. (Romans 8:28 – And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.)

It is God’s will that we rejoice always and that we are to pray without ceasing. It is also God’s will that in everything we are to give thanks. In every circumstance, in every situation, in every problem, in every trial, in every hurt foot, we are to give thanks. Not only are we to be thankful in everything, but also we are to be thankful for everything. (Ephesians 5:20 – Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ;)

Matthew Poole speaking of this thought said “God still by fresh mercies gives fresh occasion for thanksgiving, and we must accordingly continue our thanksgiving through the whole course of our lives without weariness.”

THE NEED TO GIVE THANKS

Ingratitude displeases God. It is included among the sins that would be prevalent in “perilous times”. (II Timothy 3:1-5 – his know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.) The wrath of God will be revealed against those who are unthankful. (Romans 1:18-21 – For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness; Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them. For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse: Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.)

We are to have the attitude of gratitude.We are to be thankful for what the Father has done for us. (Colossians 1:12-14 – Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light: Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son: In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins:) We are to be abounding in thanksgiving. (Colossians 2:7 – Rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving.) Thankfulness ought to be part of the garment we put on. (Colossians 3:12-15 – Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering; Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye. And above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness.)Thankfulness should be a complement to our prayers. (Colossians 4:2 – Continue in prayer, and watch in the same with thanksgiving; & I Timothy 2:1 – I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men;)

Thankfulness is the key… To overcoming anxiety. (Philippians 4:6-7 – Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.) Thankfulness is the key to obtaining peace that surpasses all understanding. (Philippians 4:6-7) Thankfulness is the key to praying without ceasing and being able to always rejoice. (I Thessalonians 5:16-18 – Rejoice evermore. Pray without ceasing. In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you) – When we give thanks in everything we will start praying without ceasing. When you pray without ceasing you will begin to rejoice always. Thankfulness is the key! If we desire to have a peace which passes all understanding and joy that is inexpressible (I Peter 1:8) then we need to develop the attitude of gratitude and be thankful in everything.

Commenting on thankfulness and peace Albert Barnes said “The peace which God gives. The peace here particularly referred to is that which is felt when we have no anxious care about the supply of our wants, and when we go confidently and commit everything into the hands of God.”

HOW TO BE THANKFUL IN EVERYTHING

Remember all things work for good… If we love God and have responded to His call. (Romans 8:28 – And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.) Loving God presumes obedience to His will. (I John 5:3 – For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous.) Responding to His call presumes obeying the gospel. (II Thessalonians 2:13-14 – But we are bound to give thanks alway to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth: Whereunto he called you by our gospel, to the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.)

We can therefore glory in problems, trials and tribulations. (Romans 5:3-5 – And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; And patience, experience; and experience, hope: And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.) Knowing that it produces character. Knowing that character in turn produces hope.

We can therefore rejoice in persecution. (Matthew 5:10-12 – Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.) Knowing that the kingdom of heaven is ours. Knowing that our reward in heaven will be great.

We can therefore rejoice in trials. (James 1:2-3 – My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience.) Knowing that trials produce patience. Knowing that patience produces perfection and completeness or maturity. We need to express thanks in every prayer. We are to include thanksgiving with our prayer requests. (Philippians 4:6 – Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.) Every time you pray for something, first thank God for something.

“Count your many blessings, name them one by one, And it will surprise you what the Lord hath done.” – Johnson Oatman, Jr., 1856-1922

We are to express thanks in prayer even when we are facing hard times. Daniel is a great example of this. (Daniel 6:7-11 – All the presidents of the kingdom, the governors, and the princes, the counsellors, and the captains, have consulted together to establish a royal statute, and to make a firm decree, that whosoever shall ask a petition of any God or man for thirty days, save of thee, O king, he shall be cast into the den of lions. Now, O king, establish the decree, and sign the writing, that it be not changed, according to the law of the Medes and Persians, which altereth not. Wherefore king Darius signed the writing and the decree. Now when Daniel knew that the writing was signed, he went into his house; and his windows being open in his chamber toward Jerusalem, he kneeled upon his knees three times a day, and prayed, and gave thanks before his God, as he did aforetime. Then these men assembled, and found Daniel praying and making supplication before his God.) – Daniel made giving thanks a part of his daily prayers even when facing a life-threatening crisis, Daniel still gave thanks as always.

William Hendriksen has beautifully expressed the importance of giving thanks “When a person prays without giving thanks, he has clipped the wings of prayer, so that it cannot rise.” Ask yourself, do you want the full benefit of prayer in your life? Do you want the ability to rejoice always, in every circumstance? Then take the time to thank God in everything, and for everything (Ephesians 5:20) knowing all the while God can use it for your good (Romans 8:28). Do this and you will not only do what is God’s will for you, but you will become “more than conquerors” through the love of Christ and the love of God. (Romans 8:35-39 – Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.)

***This is part 6 of a 6 part blog series on Racism, the World & the Bible***

LOVE AND FORGIVENESS

LOVE AND FORGIVENESSRacism and prejudices can cause a lot of hurt both emotional and physically. All forms of racism, prejudice, and discrimination are affronts to the work of Christ on the cross. Racism and racial pride go contrary to God’s word. No one can justify racism from the Bible and no one can say the Bible is racist once an objective examination of the Bible, in its context, is done. The Bible commands us to love our neighbors. We need to work on loving all of mankind as the Bible teaches us regardless of where they come from, how they look or what color they are. Those that have been affected and hurt by prejudices and racism need to seek God’s help and practice forgiveness of those who hurt them. (Luke 6:37Judge not, and ye shall not be judged: condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned: forgive, and ye shall be forgiven:)

  • God loves us without conditions, He loves us with impartiality. We too need to love others with the same standard, we need to not judge, not look down at people, not feel superior to people, we need to treat them with the same high respect and standard as God does us. Jesus teaches us that whatsoever we do to the least of our fellow brothers on earth we do to Him. Think about that statement. I would not want to intentionally miss treat anyone; knowing that by doing so I am also mistreating Christ. When you are mistreating someone you are mistreating someone made in the image of Christ and who He died for. (Matthew 25:41-46 – Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels: For I was an hungred, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not. Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee? Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me. And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.)
  • Racism has been plaguing mankind for centuries. Those that are victims of it need to forgive the perpetrators of it. (Ephesians 4:32– And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.) The racist person may not deserve your forgiveness but you need to give it just the same.

CONCLUSION: Let’s keep in mind what Galatians 3:28 says “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.” We need to recognize the Bible does not teach racism. The Old Testament marriage commandments were not racist they were basically the same as the New Testament commandment of not being unequally yoked. It could be said one of the main purveyors of racist thought and promotion of a superior race and inferior races in the 1800’s and early 1900’s was Charles Darwin with his books, the very title of one is racist in and of itself. The Bible is the exact opposite of racism. The Bible teaches us that all mankind is made in the image of God. The Bible teaches us that all are of equal value to God, equally loved By God and equally died for by Jesus on the Cross.

Judge Not!

Posted: November 5, 2016 in Divorce, hope, The Bible
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James 4:11 “Speak not evil one of another, brethren. He that speaketh evil of his brother, and judgeth his brother, speaketh evil of the law, and judgeth the law: but if thou judge the law, thou art not a doer of the law, but a judge.”

A friend came to me the other day so very upset. This friend is getting depressed looking for a church that “accepts” divorced people. This friend was actively serving the Lord in a couple of ministries in the church, they found out about the divorce and made this person step down from all their ministries. How dare any church treat anyone like this. Divorce happens for different reasons and for one did the Lord put the “exception” there for . Matthew 19:9a says “And I say unto you, Whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication….God hates divorce, and the divorced person hates it. But when it’s because of no fault of the innocent spouses because of fornication , God does recognize that, and in my opinion, and what I read about what the Bible says, that person is allowed to serve and minister in the church. Putting a limit on what one can or cannot do because of a divorce is shaming and belittling that person; you’re judging that person and that on so many levels is wrong!! God is the one who calls someone in a ministry NOT man!!(Romans 11:29)

There are so many different views on divorce. Study this topic and search out what God says in His word, it’s very simple. If you believe the Bible, you do not adjust the Bible to suit your belief on what you think it says, you need to adjust your beliefs to fit the Word of God. II Timothy 2;15aStudy to shew thyself approved unto God.…” Scripture does not contradict Scripture, it fits together like a puzzle. If the Bible doesn’t say it, you better be real careful about believing something the Bible doesn’t say!!

Divorced people need love and hope from family and friends and their church family. Church is not the place to judge, it is a place to demonstrate true Christian love. They need guidance ; they need pointed in the right direction. They don’t need to hear “man’s tradition” or the “way it’s always been taught”, they need real truth about what the Bible (God) says. God’s Word should be our guiding standard in our lives. Some “believers” insert their own clauses or exceptions into the reading of God’s word, while ignoring God’s clauses or exceptions. Please read Deuteronomy 4:2 and Proverbs 30:6.

So please Christian friends, don’t judge divorced people, have empathy , encourage them in the Lord; they have a story , divorce is not their identity, their identity is in Christ (Galatians 3:26). Divorce doesn’t make a person “bad”, just as you not being divorced makes you a good person (Romans 3:23). Don’t make a divorced person feel like a failure , don’t give them more to deal with by using “select” scripture to condemn them by your words and actions or attitude, love them and accept them as God loves you and accepts you!! (Matthew 7:1-2Judge not, that ye be not judged. For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.)