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Monthly Archives : September 2019

Don’t Put God In A Box …. September 22, 2019

I had an instructor in college that used to make the statement…. “God in a box.” He would teach that people try to place God in a nice and neat little box of their understanding. I fear that there have been times in my life, and perhaps still are, when I place God in a box of my limited understanding. What does it mean to put God in a box?

First, let me tell you that it is impossible to do. there are many ways in which we might try, but it is impossible. Impossible because no one nor anything can limit God. As I taught last Sunday concerning God’s ways and thinking… … “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, and your ways are not my ways. This is the LORD’s declaration. For as heaven is higher than the earth, so my ways are higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.” Isaiah 55:8-9 ESV God is not limited by denominations, sinful people, rich or poor people, talented or untalented, for all is controlled by the sovereign God. Throughout the Bible, God uses all things to accomplish his purpose. There are more boxes people might attempt to place God in, but I want to discuss three.

The Box of …. God Could Never:

More than once, I have heard these statements, “God could never love me”, …. “God could never forgive me”, “God could never understand me”, and on the list goes. This little box for God is based mostly on the logic of man and not the truth of God. From a human standpoint there is nothing logical about God. Know that the thought process of, “God could never”, is because of unbelief. Unbelief will always foreshadow the “God could never” way of thinking. The fact is, God does love you; he will forgive you; and he more than understands you, for he created you. We are the reason God sent his Son. Jesus said, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whosoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God. John 3:16&18 ESV

The Box of …. God Would Never:

There are beliefs that God would never use a sinful man, would never send a person to hell, would never allow bad things to happen to Christians, would never ______________ (fill in the blank). The “God would never” mentality is, again, based on human logic and not the words or teachings of God. Does God use sinners to accomplish his purposes? Yes. (Joshua 2:1-22 Rahab the prostitute) Would God send someone to hell? Yes. (Luke 12:5) Does God allow bad things to happen to good people? Yes. (2 Corinthians 11:24-28) God is God the Creator of all that is or ever will be. He spoke the world into existence and all that was made was done so by him. God does not need council nor direction in how he reasons or thinks. He is God, and he answered to no one, AND all will answer to Him.

The Box of …. God Should Never:

The box of “God should never” is akin to telling God what he should and should not do. We must remember God is sovereign in all his works and ways. God does not need our opinion, for God is in control of all things and in him we live, move, and have our being. Acts 17:28a ESV We are who we are not because of our wisdom and righteousness but rather because of God’s imputed wisdom and righteousness in us. God is on his throne and needs council from no one. He is to be worshipped and praised for there is none like him. God is more than just good …. He is Wonderful, Councilor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Isaiah 9:6b ESV ………….. GOD IS AWESOME!!!

APPLICATION:

So how do you apply this? Worship God. (Romans 12:1) Love and Seek God. (Proverbs 8:17) Pray without ceasing. (1 Thessalonians 5:17) Desire God, and he will give himself to you. (Psalm 347:4) Meditate upon him. (Psalm 1:1-3) Whatever you do, don’t limit God in your understanding or try to contain him in some neat little box. God will pour out understanding upon you, not because I say so, but because he promised. (Jeremiah 29:13) … Matthew 7:7)

Because of His Grace ~ Pastor David

God, I Don’t Understand …. September 15, 2019

For my thoughts are not your thoughts, and your ways are not my ways. This is the LORD’s declaration. For as heaven is higher than the earth, so my ways are higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts. Isaiah 55:8-9 ESV

So many times I don’t understand the workings of god. But in reality, am I supposed too? It is called faith- Faith to believe and trust that God will do all that he has promised. Sometimes I think we might be guilty of saying or thinking, “God, if you would like my opinion….” The problem is, however, I fear our opinion is not an opinion at all. Rather it is how we expect God to take care of an opportunity that has brilliantly disguised itself as a problem or challenge in life. It is during these times that faith can grow when trusting God’s promises as his child…..even if we don’t understand the why’s of the life situations.

Over the years, I have heard many statements such as, “I don’t understand why this is happening to me. I’ve been good and served God.” …. “I don’t understand. Why would God __________ (fill in the blank); they were/are such a good person.” “Why does God let all the bad things we see happening in the world, happen?” There will always be questions, but GOD IS ALWAYS in control. Again…..even though we might not understand the situations in life, we can trust God.
We will have faith in someone, be it self, Satan, or God. Hopefully your faith is in God, for he presently is, and will be, at the end of all things as we know it, in control. He is on his throne and is King of kings and Lord of lords. All things will be accomplished according to his will and in his timing, without exception.

To help us understand this truth, the Bible records events that show how God was in control of situations that happened in people’s lives….including his own. Here are a couple of examples.

Job Didn’t Understand:

Job was an extremely wealthy man, having 11,000 plus animals. He and his wife had a wonderful family of seven sons and three daughters. the Bible teaches that God described Job like this: “there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, who fears God and turns away from evil. Job 1:8 & 2:3 ESV Think about that!! God described Job as the only one on the earth that lived with such a testimony. Who did he describe Job’s character to? Satan.

Satan, being a destroyer of all that God made good, told God the only reason Job served Him was because He had protected and blessed him, and Job would curse Him to His face if He hadn’t blessed him so. (Job 1:9-12) God allowed Satan to touch all that Job had, but he could not touch Job. (Job1:12) Believing he would curse God, Satan was more than happy to take everything (literally) from Job in one day- except his wife.

However, Job did not do so, but instead said, “Naked I came from my mother’s womb and naked I shall return. The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.” In all this Job did not sin or charge God with wrong. Job 1:21-22 ESV Now you can understand why God said of Job that there was “none like him on the earth.” Job 2:9-10 ESV

Satan again made a challenge to God concerning Job which involved his health. God allowed Satan to touch his health but not take his life. (Job 2:4-8) Job’s wife even came to him and said, “Do you still hold fast to your integrity? Curse God and die.” But he said to her, “You speak as one of the foolish women would speak. Shall we receive good from God, and shall we not receive evil?” In all this Job DID NOT sin with his lips. Job 2:9-10 ESV I do not believe Job had any idea of the conversation between God and Satan… but in faith he still followed God, even without understanding why all this was happening to him.

Satan wars against all that God has made good and is more than happy to destroy you, as he tried to do with Job. There are many questions that can arise concerning the story of Job’s life, but there is one thing you can know… God was in control. God told Satan what he could and could not do. Note in Job 1:7 & 2:2 ESV … It says, “Satan answered the Lord.” And the truth is, Satan will always answer to God. God, who is on his throne, is and always will be King of kings and Lord of lords.

The Disciples Didn’t Understand:

Reflect back to the Garden of Gethsemane when Jesus had finished praying, and they came to arrest him. Peter attempted to protect Him at one point, and all the disciple ended up running in fear. Then all the disciples left him and fled. Matthew 26:56b ESV The One they thought was going to be an earthly king was now headed to a cross, and they feared perhaps that they would be next.

Jesus would be king, but not in this world as they had hoped and presumed. At this point in time Jesus was the Lamb of God to be sacrificed for the sins of the world. Nothing that happened to Jesus was unforeseen by God. His arrest, his trial, and his crucifixion happened not by chance but just as it was foretold in prophecy in order that the scripture would be fulfilled. Even though the disciples did not understand, God was in control, and his plan of redemption was right on schedule as he planned.

Wouldn’t you and I perhaps have given God our opinion that he could implement a plan for the forgiveness of sin in a little less painful way than crucifixion? God wants us to see the cost and price of sin, and to see the cross and the suffering that Jesus endured so as to give us a clear picture of that cost.

I Don’t Understand:

I have received God’s redemption for me by his death, burial, and resurrection from the dead. In faith I confessed my sin before him and received the precious gift of forgiveness and eternal life given to me by God. But why would God, who can do anything that he pleases, choose to die in my place and provide redemption for me? I know the answer is love, and this is the correct answer. But again … why? He could have simply erased man from the easel of creation and started over. Isn’t that what we would have done, and have done, so to speak, to those who have done us wrong? If we could have given God our opinion, we might have said to erase them and start over.

But his thoughts and ways are so much higher than ours. His way is the way of mercy, grace, forgiveness, long-suffering/patience, and so much more than could ever be written, describing the awesomeness of God. There is so much I still don’t understand in my limited understanding of all that is. But this I believe: God is in control, and I am so thankful for his way of thinking and doing things, for it is much higher than mine. For me to think any differently would be to say I am my own God. I know the pat answers as to why, but I am still amazed and in awe of God, who is so much more than I could ever comprehend or explain in this life. So in faith, even in the struggles of life and my limited understanding, I will follow him.

APPLICATION:

Believe. In faith, believe all that you can understand, and when life does throw the unexpected that you don’t understand…. Believe and know God is in control despite the “whatever” in life. This is easier to write or say than do. This is why you look at the teaching of Job, the disciples, and a host of other accounts in the Bible concerning undisclosed outcomes for those who experienced them at the time.

Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever. Hebrews 13:8 ESV …. He is the first and the last and the beginning and end of all things. (Revelation 22:13) HE IS GOD AND HE IS IN CONTROL, no matter what lie Satan will try to convince you is true. When struggling in the battles of unbelief, pray ….Lord, I believe, help my unbelief. Mark 9:24 God, who created us, knows we are frail and are dust. But God, whose thoughts and ways are unfathomable, died for this clump of dust and gave it life.

Because of His Grace ~ Pastor David

Fear …. September 8, 2019

The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom. Proverbs 9:10 ESV

The Bible teaches us to fear the Lord, and that is wise to do, (Psalms 111:10, Proverbs 1:7 & 9:10 ) but I thought we were told that fear is not of God. So why is there so much instruction concerning fearing God? For example in the Psalms we are taught over 60 times to fear God and in Proverbs more than 15 times. This is just two of the many books teaching the fear of the Lord. You might suggest this is just an Old Testament teaching, but it is not so. (Matthew10:28, Luke 1:50, Romans 3:18, 1 Peter 2:17) We can try to make it something else concerning the teaching of fear, but I believe if it was meant for something else, the word fear would not have been used. This sounds so contrary to how we are taught concerning God toward us. We hear that God is a loving God who would not send anyone to hell. As unpopular as this may be to say, God does exactly what he said he would do from the beginning…. punish sin. This is exactly what He did with his own Son on the cross at Calvary. His Son knew no sin and was the perfect lamb of God who took the punishment and wrath we deserved for our sins. This should help us understand the seriousness with which God looks at sin and, yes, should cause us to evaluate sin differently. When we sin, we are acting in total disobedience to God and ultimately wronging him by the choice to sin. David said to God concerning his sin, “Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight, so that you may be justified in your words and blameless in your judgement.” Psalms 51:4 ESV. In a very general statement I believe this is part of the reason we see so little regard for the things of God in our day. There is no fear of the judgement of God for unforgiven sin. When God’s ways have become a way but not the way, and Satan has convinced many, just as he did Adam and Eve…. God really doesn’t mean what he says, then you have ceased to have a healthy fear of God. But the serpent said to the woman: “YOU WILL NOT SURELY DIE.” Genesis 1:4 ESV God said they would die and when they ate the fruit they experienced spiritual and ultimately physical death. God did not mince his words then and he doesn’t do so today.

I DON’T LIKE FEAR:
Fear is a most uncomfortable feeling, and I understand the reason why many may look at this message with much criticism. The fear I am teaching is not a negative fear but a healthy fear. It is an understanding that God is who He is and will do what He says, concerning sin. The lack of fear is to believe there is no consequence for our actions….. surly you will not die. Example: I don’t refrain from speeding just because there is a law that tells me how fast I can safely travel on a certain stretch of highway; I don’t because I understand there is a consequence if I do. If I do speed and a policeman pulls me over and tickets me, he rightly does so because I broke the law. When we honor the law, we do so for the fear of the consequence of breaking that law, and the one who has the authority to implement the consequence of breaking the law. It is not a fear that causes me to hide every time I see a policeman, for that is an unhealthy fear, but one the causes me to do what is right.

GETTING RID OF FEAR:
Wait, I thought you said we are suppose to fear? Don’t mistake worldly fear for Godly fear. The fact that God, knowing we are law breakers who, in truth, have not the ability to keep the law perfectly in love and mercy, paid our fine. God has no pleasure in judging the sinner according to their poor choices and inabilities. Thus He has provided a way for the consequence of sin to be paid. As sinners we come to God standing before him like in court and say, “I’m guilty as charged concerning the breaking of the law, but please have mercy upon me.” God, being just yet full of love and grace, provided a way to punish the sin but still have mercy on the guilty. God has provided the payment before you have ever come before him for judgement. For the sake of simplicity let me give you this example… Jesus has the payment for your fine of breaking the law and comes to give it to you. He tells you that God, the judge, will judge you guilty but wants to show mercy, “so He has told me to pay your fine before you ever arrive at your court date.” Your reply, “What a kind and merciful judge”, and you tell of his grace and mercy with much thanksgiving to all who will listen. Or, you will say, “No, I have kept every other law better than most and I’m not being that bad of a person; I can handle this on my own.”…… Tell that to the policeman who is writing you a ticket for speeding. That is why it is call the Gospel…. Good News!!! When we come before God, we will do so before his throne. He is King of Kings, and there will be no place in which to appeal. God, being just, will pronounce judgment. How He judges a person will depend upon what they believe. The person who says, I don’t need God, in essence has become their own god and will be judged accordingly. Remember, if Satan was and is no match for God, as powerful as He is…. you absolutely will be no match. You need an advocate who will intercede on your account. That advocate is Jesus, who will speak on your behalf and say, Father, this is one who received the payment you provided for their offense. Satan as prosecutor will cry guilty, and God will say the consequence for the offense is paid in full. It is called perfect love… God’s perfect love…. There is no fear in love, but perfect love cast out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love. 1 John 4:17-18 ESV If God’s love is not in you by the Holy Spirit, the consequence of sin has not been paid in your life. To rid yourself of ungodly fear, you accept and believe in the love of God and in His Son, Jesus.

APPLICATION:
There is no secret formula for becoming a Christian, but the person who wants to rid themselves of their guilty status before God must first admit their guilt. The thief on the cross did this when he said, “Do you not FEAR God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? And we indeed justly, for WE ARE RECEIVING THE DUE REWARD OF OUR DEEDS BUT THIS MAN HAS DONE NOTHING WRONG.” And he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” And he said to him, “Truly I say to you, today you will be with me in paradise” Luke 23: 40-43 ESV You admit and acknowledge your guilt and the perfect sacrifice, (Jesus), calling upon him for salvation. And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved. Acts 4:12 ESV If you are a Christian, tell the good news that you have been redeemed by the blood of the Lamb of God, and though guilty, you have been pardoned. When you have been forgiven much, the natural reaction should be to love much, for you have been freed from the fear of death and the consequence of sin… Therefore go and sin no more, and share the gospel/good news that this is available for all who will call upon the name of Jesus.

Because of His Grace ~ Pastor David

Is This Even Possible …. September 1, 2019

Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you; go and from now on SIN NO MORE” John 8:11 ESV

The focus of thought is this…. is it possible to arrive at a point where we sin no more? The short answer is no. So why did Jesus tell the woman to sin no more? This is my understanding of Jesus’s teaching. Knowing we’ll never be sinless this side of heaven, Jesus instructs us to change the choices of life from which he has rescued us. The woman was caught in the act of adultery and, according to the law of Moses, should’ve been stoned. When her accusers left her, Jesus stood up and said to her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” She said, ‘“No one Lord.” And Jesus said, “ Neither do I condemn you; go, and from now on sin no more.” John 8: 10-11 ESV Remember Jesus’s words concerning his purpose for coming into the world? For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. John 3:17 ESV If we’re able to get to the point at which we never sin, we would reach perfection and there would be no need for a Savior, thus nullifying the meaning and purpose of the gospel. WE ALL NEED THE SAVIOR… JESUS!!!! May I share concerning two types of people and their attitude toward sin? These two types are just my thoughts. You may have other categories, but I wish to reflect upon these two in reference to today’s topic.

Those who do sin and simply do not care:
The fool says in his heart, “There is no God.” They are corrupt, doing abominable iniquity. Psalm 53:1 ESV
The person who does not believe in God will live by his or her own standards of right or wrong. Because God, in their thinking, does not exist, the issue of right or wrong as set forth by God also does not exist. There is no absolute truth (God) within this thinking, so moral and ethical decisions are based only upon what this person believes to be true. The definition of sin, as described in the Bible, is of little concern to this person, for their values are based upon their definition of right and wrong. The gospel of Jesus coming to die for our sin is a fairy tale, at best, to this persons.

Those who sin but want to sin no more:
No one who ABIDES IN HIM keeps on sinning; no one who keeps on sinning has either seen him or known him. 1 John 3:6 ESV

No one born of God MAKES A PRACTICES OF SINNING, for God’s seed abides in him; and he cannot keep on sinning, because he has been born of God. 1 John 3:9 ESV

As a Christin you are saved by grace and not works of your own righteousness. (Ephesians 2:8-9) Jesus paid the debt for our sin upon the cross and set us free from the condemning power of sin. Satan accuses us before God because of sin and God’s reply is, “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” Romans 8:1 ESV As Christians we understand the great price that was paid for our sin, and our desire should be to……SIN NO MORE. God never rescues a person from sin so they can continue to WILLFULLY live in sin. Because of the sin nature of a person, sin can and will continue to be a battle, but it should no longer define that person. The presence of the Holy Spirit in a
person’s life will never let that person sin successfully again. The Spirit will convict the true Christian of sin, and God will discipline those who sin and are His. (Hebrews 12: 3-7) The reason we should desire to sin no more is simple…. LOVE. If you love me, you will keep my commandments John 14:15 ESV … there was a Pharisee that ask Jesus this question, “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the greatest and first commandment.” Matthew 22:36-37 ESV Why would a person love God so intensely?….. Because they realize that they have been forgiven much. (Luke 7: 36-50)

Application:
How do we battle sin in our lives? First we acknowledge the fact that as a Christian you are the bride of Christ and to sin would be akin to having an affair. I know this sounds rather harsh, but unless you treat your sin harshly, you are in danger of embracing it. To battle sin you must know that you cannot do so on your own, for you are no match for the sin nature, so you use the word of God. I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you. Psalm 119:11 ESV Build up an arsenal of scripture in your heart/mind to use when the pressures of sin attacks. Also, stay alert….. Be sober minded ; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. 1 Peter 5:8 ESV Finally, be dressed in God’s armor designed for spiritual warfare. ( Ephesians 6: 10-18) Live victorious in the strength and power of his might (Philippians 4:13) You may take some hits and arrows along the way, but praise be to God! you are more than conquerers in Christ Jesus.

Because of His Grace ~ Pastor David

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