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Monthly Archives : August 2019

If I Were God …. August 25, 2019

What would you do if, for just one day, you could be God? Would you heal all the sickness in the world? Eradicate all pain, suffering, and evil from the face of the earth? Fix every situation that seems to not make sense as viewed through your eyes? Remove all prejudice, hate, and bullying? Make every day perfect …not too hot….not too cold? Death, oh yes… there would be absolutely no more death. You would make it so the lion and the lamb could happily rest side by side with no worries. In short, you would simply make everything perfect as you perceive perfection to be. Everything would be free under your direction as god…. as long as….. no one had a choice, for to give anyone a choice would mess it all up. Therefore everyone would be robotic in doing exactly as you determined by coming and going as you decreed. No, no , no, you’d say, everyone would be able to move freely in choice and enjoy life just as long as they don’t do anything to mess it up. So, in order to prove that they have freedom to make choices, I will show them a tree with fruit and tell them not to eat from it. I will tell them that if they eat from it, all that I made perfect will be lost. NOW you can’t say they are robots, for they have a choice.
Sooooooo, I ask, “What would you do if someone did eat from that tree?” Your response …. “I’d just erase them and start over in order to keep the world perfect.”
Now we know why we aren’t God. People can supposedly tell God everything he should be doing, and in doing so are basically telling him they could do a better job. If someone has a difficult time with believing God could exist with all the evil they see in the world, then they are focusing on the outward condition of things and not their inward self. God did make everything perfect, but the personal responsibility of the choice not to obey God is why things are as they are….. then and now. Every person must take responsibility for their actions and choices in life. You might say, “I didn’t choose a certain situation in my life.” To which I will respond, “But you can choose how you will deal with that situation.” Always remember we are created in the image of God, not created to be a god. He created us on purpose and for a purpose…. his purpose. God gave us a mind with which to reason and think …. thus we are not robots.
This is what I have observed over the years. Some people try to understand God by their own reasoning and make him fit in a box of their understanding. Then there are those who seek him as one would seek treasure, knowing his ways are unexplainable. These seekers know there is no box of reason that could contain him. In faith, treasure seekers understand God is the creator of all things, and while they have reason …. reason is not their God.
Unfortunately not much has changed since the garden…. people still listen to the temptation of Satan hiss…. “You will not surely die. For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” Genesis 3:4-5 ESV The attempt to be God will only bring death and defeat just as it did in the garden. This world will never change until it understands that God’s thoughts and ways are always higher than ours.

For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. Isaiah 55: 8-9 ESV

GOD’S THOUGHTS:
Have you ever made the statement, “What were they thinking?” Adam and Eve sinned in the garden and God sent them out of the garden knowing full well everything that would happen in the future. In today’s way of thinking this would be call a birth defect and the advice would be…. abort and try again. God, the creator of all life, does not think this way. Life is valuable to him and rather than abort life, he chose to be sacrificial by giving his own life through his son Jesus. God was wronged by our choosing to sin, yet he did not destroy the life he created. Adam and Eve were not robots then and neither are we today. God made it possible for us to be redeemed by restoring us to a right relationship with him. There are basically two choices. You can blame God for the world’s condition or accept responsibility for it and repent. Your choice, either way, will effect yourself and those around you. We might not understand what God was thinking when he chose to redeem rather than start over, but let me make a suggestion… he was thinking about you. (John 3:16)

GOD’S WAYS:
Two ways of life present themselves to us every day: God’s way and Satan’s way. God’s way is life and Satan’s way is death. God, from the beginning, created life and Satan introduced us to death. God’s way is higher than death, for he conquered death through his resurrection from the grave. He has made life possible for everyone that calls upon his name. He will give them the gift of eternal life through Jesus by forgiving their sins. For everyone that calls on the name of the Lord will be saved. Romans 10:13 ESV

APPLICATION:
God’s ways and thoughts are beyond our comprehension, but not beyond our reach….Not beyond our reach for he reached out to us, becoming flesh and living among us. History is rich concerning his coming and there is only one thing for us to do: Believe! Search for God as one searches for treasure and when, in searching, you come to a place where you might not understand his way or thought….. keep searching in faith. Satan will try to convince you through lies and deception to live contrary to the teachings of God. Don’t let the reasoning of this world’s logic become more important than your reason for God. Live thankful!!!! Even though it didn’t make sense for God to send his Son to die in our place rather than start over… He still did it. That alone is reason enough to live for him.

Because of His Grace ~ Pastor David

But God …. August 18, 2019

But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners Christ died for us. Romans 5:8 ESV
But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ— by grace you have been saved. Ephesians 2:4-5 ESV

Think about this for a moment…. GOD became flesh and died …. then rose from the dead, conquering death. Why? Answer…. Love. Couldn’t God have just as easily snuffed out Adam and Eve and started over? People ask me all the time, “if God is so good why doesn’t he do something about the world’s condition?” and I think ……. He did…. BUT GOD shows his love for us in that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us. Romans 5:8 ESV The question becomes, “why do we expect things to be different or better in this world if we don’t follow his teachings and commandments?” We can look at others all day and question the reasons they are doing this and that, but we cannot control them, nor should we want to…. we can only control our own choices. When I think about what would have happened to me if God had not intervened in my life, it causes me to love him more. What would have happened, You asked? I would have died unforgiven of my sin. BUT GOD did not let that happen because of his mercy, love, and grace.

BUT GOD’S MERCY
Rich in mercy- that describes one of God’s many attributes. His mercy covered all the consequences of my sins and for that I am grateful. I will not blame him for the failures in my life nor in the lives of others. He, in mercy, did not give me what I truly deserved, but instead he gave me life. Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! ACCORDING TO HIS GREAT MERCY, he has cause us to be born again to a living hope through resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. 1 Peter 1:3 ESV Oh Lord, that more people could see their need for the gospel… the good news of the mercy of God.

BUT GOD’S LOVE
God has shown his love for us by doing something for the world far greater than many may ever see or understand. For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16 ESV ….. For one would scarcely die for a righteous person— though perhaps for a good person one would dare even die—BUT GOD showed his love for us in that while we were still sinners Christ died for us. Romans 5:8 ESV…… Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. John 15:13 ESV This last Bible verse reminds me of a verse of a precious hymn, “What a friend we have in Jesus, all our sins and griefs to bare, and what a privilege to carry everything to God in prayer.” (Joseph M Scriven)

BUT GOD’S GRACE
Grace, just as we sing in the song, is truly amazing. It was grace that taught my heart to fear and grace my fears relieved. It is by grace that we are able to see our sin and then understand that sin caused death; and without God’s forgiveness, we will be judged for/in our sins. (This is what we are ‘taught to fear’). When we look at the righteous requirements of the law in order to be justified before God, many words come to mind…. overwhelming, impossible, no hope, doomed, frustrated, and on this list of words could go. To be justified by the law would mean a person would have to keep the law perfectly, not breaking even one of the laws of God. For whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has become guilty of all of it. James 2: 10 ESV
BUT GOD, by grace, made it possible for us to be forgiven of all sin and live justified before him. ( just- as- if-I’d- never- sinned)… (And grace my fears relieved.) This is NOT cheap grace, for it is grace made possible by the sacrificial death of Jesus on the cross. Without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins. Hebrews 9:22b ESV (Hymn)…. Jesus paid it all, all to him I owe, sin had left a crimson stain, He washed it white as snow. ( Elvina M. Hall 1865)

APPLICATION:
As a Christian, reflect this week upon the fact that if it were not for the …BUT GOD… experiences in your life, you would be without hope. You would have no testimony of the mercy, love, and grace of God in your life. Enjoy this time of reflection with such precious songs as ….Amazing Grace…. What A Friend We Have In Jesus….. and…. Jesus Paid It All. Give him the worship he is more than due….. To God Be The Glory ….. another great hymn you can sing.
If you are not a Christian, seek Him in the mist of whatever storm or life experiences that are happening in your life. He may not calm the storm, but He will go through it with you. Please understand that unless there is a BUT GOD moment in your life, all the above will be a moot point when you stand before him one day. The gospel is the good news that Jesus came and did all the above for you so that YOU can experience BUT GOD.

Because of His Grace ~ Pastor David

Blessed Life …… Jeremiah 17:7 …. August 11, 2019

Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD. Jeremiah 17:7 ESV

In a world so infiltrated with the curse of sin, it is hard at times to see the many blessings with which God has blessed us. Satan’s desire is to destroy the joy that comes from these blessings, and in doing so, he destroys the strength that joy brings to the Christian. The joy of the Lord is your strength. Nehemiah 8:10b ESV It is spiritual warfare, and the battle ground is the mind which Satan desires to control. Make no mistake, spiritual warfare is real and at times can be overwhelming, but we have promises as Christians on which to stand…… He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world. 1 John 4:4b ESV……. In the world you will have tribulations. But take heart; I have overcome the world. John 16:33b ESV….. for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” Hebrews 13: 5b ESV There are many more promises / blessings on which to stand, but the question is this: Are you going to believe the lies of Satan or the truth and reality of God’s blessings? Believing and knowing does not always mean you will feel warm fuzzies inside, but believing produces a confidence and peace that only comes from believing. Let us look at past blessings, present blessing, and future blessings that only God has, does, and will provide for us.

PAST BLESSINGS:
We should never make the mistake of living in past blessings, but we also should not forget them. Remembering is important, but it is not a place for you to dwell. The reason it is important to remember past blessings is to praise God for the great things he has done. The people of Israel were delivered from Egypt by the hand of God, and God told them to move to the land in which he had promised them. The blessing of freedom they experienced was accomplished by the working of God, yet God did not free them to stay where they were. Had they not been obedient and left the land, I believe they would have ended up back in slavery. Remembering past blessings should increase the confidence we have in God to move forward in our walk and not to set up camp. Living in the past will make you a slave to the past.

PRESENT BLESSINGS:
God’s salvation by which we are saved / redeemed is a blessing, for we know that we have been redeemed by God though His Son Jesus and filled with the Holy Spirit. Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in heavenly places. Ephesians 1:3 ESV. (Read verses 4-14 to understand the full impact of this blessing) This blessing and all its benefits are not based upon any present circumstance you may find yourself in but rather upon the word of God. The world interprets blessings as a life with good health, being prosperous, and with few problems. I would agree these things are blessings, but they are only temporal blessings, whereas the salvation we have in Christ is eternal. When you focus on the temporal blessings, you will never totally grasp the blessings you have in Christ as a Christian.

FUTURE BLESSINGS:
No eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him. 1 Corinthians 2:9 ESV Only the Spirit of God could give insight to what is coming. For the Christian it is not humanly understood. I have often heard the statement concerning someone who has passed away, “They are in a better place,” and this is true if they knew Jesus as their Savior. However, in a better place is not what I think the future blessing to be. I believe the future blessing will be to look upon the face of God the Father and bow down to worship the one who saved me from my sins. When my faith has been made sight, and to live in the presence of my God, Creator, Redeemer, and Friend, is the true blessing of the future.

LIVING ON PURPOSE IN BLESSINGS:
As a Christian we know what we have been saved from, how we are to live, and where we are going…. past…present…future. To live in biblical blessings, one needs to read God’s promises /blessings from the Bible. Make it a goal this week to take your Bible and find as many promises and blessings as you can that we have as followers of God. Perhaps you might even want to make your theme song for this week, “CountYour Blessings”

Because of His Grace ~ Pastor David

Learning to Pray …… August 4, 2019

Now Jesus was praying in a certain place, and when he finished, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray, as John taught his disciples.” And he said to them, “When you pray, say: Father, hallowed be your name.” Luke 11: 1-2 ESV

Have you ever wondered what words Jesus spoke when praying to His Father? His prayers obviously were purposeful and powerful, as his disciples asked him to teach them to pray. They understood there was something that happened in prayer that influenced a person’s life in relationship to God. Think of all the miracles Jesus has done…. He walked on water, gave sight to the blind, made it possible for the crippled to walk, gave a deaf person the ability to hear, and even told a dead man to wake up. Yet there is no request for teaching them how to do miracles, but how to pray. Jesus would often go to a secluded place and spend time in prayer with his Father. Prayer is relational and built on love for the Father. When Jesus honored the request of His disciples, he said, “When you pray say: “Father, hallowed be your name.” Luke 11:2 ESV Father is the key word here. To call and recognize God as Father is not just a title but it signifies that you know him on a much different level. Also it is important to remember that His name is Holy.

FATHER:
Prayer is understandably a communication to and from God. But to pray to God as Father is to know him personally as your God. It is not simply knowing about him…. it is knowing Him! How have we come to know God as Father? It is through Jesus. Jesus said, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” John 14:6 ESV….. Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. John 14:9b ESV We can understand who God is and the character of God through His Son Jesus, but to know Him as our Father is only because we have believed in His Son Jesus and the salvation that we have in Him alone. We know him as Father not because we were conceived by the the Holy Spirit like Jesus was, but rather we have been born again by the Spirit of God with a spiritual adoption, being sealed by the blood of Jesus and His resurrection from the dead. So when we pray to him as Father, he hears us differently than he hears the world, and general prayers people pray. As an earthly father, I hear the words differently from my own children than I hear from other children. Obviously it is because they are my children; and therefore, we have a special relationship which is only present between me and my child.

JESUS’S PRAYERS:
Remember the question above, “Have you ever wondered what words Jesus spoke when praying to his Father?” One thing I believe for sure, because of scripture, is this- His words are not empty or
meaningless for the sake of anyone who might be listening. (Matthew 6:5-7) Listed below are prayers, places, and the way he prayed.
And rising very early in the morning, while it was still dark, he departed and went out to a desolate place, and there he prayed. Mark 1:35 ESV

And after he had dismissed the crowds, he went up on the mountain by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone. Matthew 14:23 ESV

After healing the leper, large crowds came…. But he would withdraw to a desolate place and pray. Luke 5:16 ESV

In these days he went out to the mountain to pray, and all night he continued in prayer to God. Luke 6:12 ESV

Now about eight days after these saying he took with him Peter and John and James and went up on the mountain to pray. And as he was praying, the appearance of his face was altered, and his clothing became dazzling white. Luke 9:28-29 ESV

Jesus prayed to His Father just before he was to start down the path of events leading to his crucifixion. This prayer was for his followers and all who would believe in Him…. All of John Chapter 17

Jesus, being in agony, prayed in the garden asking his Father if it could be possible for this cup (referring to the coming crucifixion) to pass from him. In fact he asked his father three times. (Matthew 26 39-44) Knowing his Father’s will, he said, “Nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done.” Mark 22:42 ESV

HOLY IS YOUR NAME:
The third of the ten commandments states, You shall not take the name of the Lord in Vain. Exodus 20:7 ESV God’s name is precious and the very speaking of his name for the Christian should hold a place of honor, reverence, and praise. Many songs have been written that give honor and praise to his name, but in no place should His name be more revered than the heart of the Believer. Worship, praise, and honor should only begin to describe how we view God’s Holy name. David writes in Psalm 8:1 ESV, O Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth! There are many other Psalms which makes reference to praising the name of the Lord, ( Psalms 7:17… 18:49 … 30:4 … 66:2 … 66:4 … 69:30 … 92:1 … 99:3 …113:1 … 135:3 … 148:5 &13 … 149:3) just to reference a few. May just the whisper of
His name cause a spirit of worship to spring forth in the heart of every Christian.

APPLICATION:
When seeking to spend time alone in prayer with God, may it always begin with the acknowledgment of your relationship with Him and His precious name. When you pray, use one of the Psalms written by
David to begin your prayer time with God. Find a special place where you can spend time with God.
Jesus often retreated to the mountains to be alone….. Find your mountain place and visit it often in prayer with God.

Because of His Grace ~ Pastor David

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