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Monthly Archives : January 2017

FREEDOM …. John 8:31-32 … January 22, 2017

     If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free. John 8:31-32 ESV

 

     The statement, “freedom is never free” is true for many different applications. In America we live free by the sacrifices of many service men and women – some with their lives, and others who still carry physical or mental scars. Yet they all gave for the sake of freedom – freedoms all Americans enjoy. There are those who re thankful and those who do not understand nor appreciate the sacrifices that were made. Many who are truly thankful may never be able to express how thankful they are but will always try. There are others who use the very freedom provided, despising those who sacrificed for them. Evaluate for a moment what this freedom means. Freedom doesn’t mean you may do whatever you want, it means you may chose to do what is right. Then the question will arise, who determines what is right? Yes, there needs to be a standard or principle by which right and wrong are made clear. Where are such standards to be obtained? What person has the right to establish such principles by which others should live? Have you considered the one who paid the ultimate sacrifice – God the Father? He paid your debt, so you could be free. Free not for just a lifetime, but for eternity and providing you with heavenly citizenship. Citizenship that comes only to those who have been redeemed by the blood of His Son Jesus, the one who made the ultimate sacrifice on the cross bearing the sins of all who repent and choose to be His disciples. This is true freedom.

Permanent freedom! Jesus told those who believed in Him the way to live and experience true freedom.

 If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples: John 8:31 ESV When filling out certain forms for various reasons, the question is asked, “What is your permanent address?” This is where you live/abide. Abiding in God’s word is where the Believer’s address should be. Believers live and abide in Jesus who is the word made flesh. (John 1:1 & 1:14) In him we live and move and have our being. Acts 17:28ESB The believer’s desire should be to live with their address being – JESUS.

 And you will know the truth: John 8:31a ESV To know truth is to know Jesus. Jesus said, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life.” John 14:6 ESV Have you ever heard someone say, “When everything came to light we realized the truth”? Jesus also said, “I have come into the world as light, so that whoever believes in me may not remain in darkness.” John 12:46 ESV When you live in darkness you live blinded to the truth. We are all born with this blindness to truth because of sin. We were all in the bondage of darkness without hope/freedom until …. Jesus.

 And the truth will set you free: John 8:31b ESV So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed John 8:36 ESV … Set free from the power of sin and its dominion and bondage in our lives. To give us hope knowing we are not who we were, but we are not yet who we will be in Christ. Freedom living in the grace by which we have been saved. It is making right choices and living the way he taught us to live. Freedom to do what is right.

 My prayer for you……. may you learn this freedom by experiencing the saving grace of God.

Because of His Grace ~ Pastor David

Sanctification …. 1 Thessalonians 4:3 … January 15, 2017

For this is the will of God, your sanctification 1 Thessalonians 4:3
 
 
The word sanctified simply means “set apart for purpose” ( Wiersbe’s Expository Outline on the New Testament)
 
     I have heard people ask, “What is God’s will in for my life?” The answer……sanctification. Christians are to be set apart from the normal or logical way of thinking that the world employs. Ask yourself what does it mean to be a Christian; what makes you as a Christian different than the world?
 
First, as a Christian you must always remember you are no longer your own; you belong to God. The ultimate purpose of the Christian is to bring God glory and honor. Your life is no longer your own or just about you.
 
Second, when becoming a Christian, you become the bride of Christ. Your actions and thoughts are to be exclusively His and not shared with the world. Just as God ordained marriage between one man and one woman, He ordained the Christian walk to be between Himself and His bride. This was made clear when He said, “You shall worship no other gods.” (Exodus 34:14)
 
Third, God called you to be a vessel of honor. A vessel of honor because you are the temple of the Holy Spirit. To indulge in any behavior or action that is dishonoring to this vessel will dishonor God and fail to show that you have been set apart. Do not linger in sin allowing it to control you. The world may tell you indulgence in behavior unfitting for a Christian is normal, but for the Christian it is abnormal.
 
Christ did not die so that you would continue in sin but to set you free from the bondage that enslaved you and ultimately cost you more than you can imagine. You are to be more that conquerors in Christ. Possess your vessel in Holiness and Honor for it is the will of God and your calling as a Christian.
 
Because of His Grace ~ Pastor David

Living in the Light …. John 12: 46 … January 8, 2017

     I have come into the world as light, so that whoever believes in me may not remain in darkness. John 12: 46 ESV

When I was a young child, I remember a sleepless night due to limited light in my bedroom. This small amount of light only allowed me to see shapes of different items in the room, causing my imagination to run wild. I saw a man standing in the corner and a wild animal on the dresser ready to pounce. There were other images I saw that night that were all lies, and because of the low light and a wild imagination, I was robbed of rest. Hours I laid in bed with my focus dancing from lie to lie, only because I could not see the truth of what the objects really were. The morning sun rose and light began to fill the room and my needless fear was relieved as I saw each item for what it really was. When my fears were relieved, I closed my eyes and fell into a deep relaxing sleep….no more fear. I was surrounded by light. Three things Jesus reminds us of with the words he spoke in John 12:46.

     I have come into the world as light: The world can be a cold dark place, but when His light illuminates the darkness that overwhelms our souls, we can see. See hope where there might have been despair. See joy in the mist of sadness. See life where once death was the victor. See God as He really is … as light. God is light, and in him is no darkness. 1 John 1: 5b Jesus is God made flesh and is the light in our lives that will remove the fear of uncertainty.

     So that whoever believes in me: Believing is important because whatever you believe will determine how you live. The person that does not believe in Jesus lives knowing that he/she will one day die. The person that lives believing in Him will live knowing they will never die.

    May not remain in darkness: When using a flashlight, you can see far enough ahead of you to be comfortable when taking the next step. The darkness of sin overwhelms the souls of men that walk and stumble in its darkness. Jesus obviously is more than a flashlight, but the principle applies when traveling through life. Jesus is the guiding light of the soul that is overcome in the darkness of sin. He is the light that will lead you to an abundant life in Him when you confess your sin, repent, and believe. Believe that He is the light of the world.

Because of His Grace ~ Pastor David

MOVING FORWARD ….Philippians 3:13 … January 1, 2017

     Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead. Philippians 3:13 ESV

     There are those who live so much in the past that it makes it difficult to move forward. It can be important to reflect on past experiences but to live there can inhibit new experiences and opportunities. There are some experiences and past mistakes in life that are best forgotten, but many times those seem to linger in our memories the most. Satan is more than willing to remind you of failures in your life. Jesus, however, is more than willing to forget your past and give you a future worth living. More than one time were people’s failures staring them in the face in the presence of Jesus, and He would do a precious work in their lives making them new. Jesus was and is merciful, forgiving, kind, loving, and more than our vocabulary could ever express. This is why in Paul’s writing of Philippians 3:13 he made three important statements.

Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own:
The life Paul lives, after coming to know Jesus as Savior, was dramatically different than his life before Christ. Paul could have bragged more than anyone concerning self righteousness, but to live in his past perceived righteousness would never allow him to see his need for Jesus. It wasn’t until Jesus appeared and spoke to Paul on the road to Damascus that Paul saw himself for who he really was without Jesus. A man lost and without righteousness needed to experience eternal life… The righteousness that can only come through Jesus Christ. But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life. Titus 3: 4-7 ESV

But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind:
I would dare say that Satan was more than willing to remind Paul of his past. I believe Paul made every effort to forget his unchangeable past to focus on his incomprehensible future with Christ. When I remember things that I wish I had done differently in my life, I remind myself of the grace in which I experienced and have in Christ. This grace and mercy causes me to love Jesus more because he chose to forgive me rather than condemn me. This is what Jesus did in the life of Paul, in my life, and in the lives of any who will believe and follow him. Remember the woman whom Jesus forgave; this is what he said of her. “Therefore I tell you, her sins which are many, are forgiven – for she loved much . But he who is forgiven little , loves little.” Luke 7: 47 ESV  The only thing we should reflect upon from our past is how much for which we have been forgiven. This will cause you to love Jesus and others much and to be merciful to others the way Christ was towards you. Other than that remembrance … move forward.

Straining forward to what lies ahead:
What does lie ahead in our lives? We don’t always know, but what we do know is that God knows and when we put our trust in Him, we can face the uncertainties of life. It is called faith, and in pleasing God, we must learn to grow in faith. God desires for us to trust him with our whole being. I don’t know about you but sometimes that might be the straining part. We can become so self reliant that we forget God. Our flesh can be so strong, in self will, that God is an after thought. I know that in the most difficult times in my life I would cry out to God, and in those times I grew closer to Him, for I realized my abundant need for Him. It is called growing in faith and perhaps God allowed those times to draw us closer to him. Let me encourage you to strain forward no matter what the circumstance in you life… good or bad. You need to know God will never leave you. Make it a point in your life never to leave Him, be faithful and live in faith even when life might not make sense. God said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” Hebrew 13 :5b

      Be encouraged in the new year for God already knows all that will happen, and He has chosen to make you a part of it. Live it to the fullest until the Lord calls you home. The day belongs to the Lord, for he has made it. Rejoice. Don’t live in the past for which you cannot change nor improve. Move forward in the Lord living intentionally for Him to bring Him much glory.

Because of this Grace ~ Pastor David

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