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Monthly Archives : October 2019

Follow As Disciples .… October 27, 2019

And He said to him, “FOLLOW ME.” Matthew 9:9  Mark 2:14   Luke 5: 27

        Before people were called Christians, they were referred to as disciples. To be a disciple was to be recognized as one who followed Jesus; one who was a student of his teachings.  It is important to be identified as a follower of Christ and his ways, not just bear the title …. Christian.   Many times when we refer to someone being a Christian, we identify that with a time when they walked an aisle in a church or had some other type experience.  While this should  be a testimony of when you began the journey of following Jesus, make sure it is not your identity of being Christian.  For your identity as a Christian should be based upon the evidence of Christ in your life.  Evidence that is based upon the way you live and on following the teachings of Jesus.  Here are some thoughts we might reflect upon to evaluate how closely we are following.

Does My Life Give Evidence?

       By this we may know that we are in him;  whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way he walked. 1 John 2: 5b-6 ESV ( read vs 1-5a for full context of this verse)  

    To walk in the same way would be to follow. Walking is an action of moving forward and you will move forward in the ways of Christ only if you are following him.  This following requires surrendering ourselves to God.  Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.”  Matthew 16:24 ESV. These words of Jesus were also recorded in Mark 8:34  and Luke 9:23 but in Luke’s account  a word was added“take up his cross DAILY and follow me.”   The only way you will take up a cross is by keeping your eyes on Jesus and not your flesh.  For the ways of the flesh is what we are crucifying on the cross ….. the way of sin.  If you follow Jesus, it will be more evident every day, for you are becoming more like Christ by crucifying the ways of the flesh NOT embracing it.

How Do I Love Others?

     A new commandment I give to you,  that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.  By this all people will know that your are may disciples,  if you have love for one another.  John 13:34-35 ESV

     Do you want others to know Jesus?  Then show his love by how you love each other as brothers and sisters in Christ.  In many cases the only way the world will come to know Jesus is by how we display his love for one another.  The love Jesus had for his disciples was evident as you can see when studying the  scripture, yet they made many mistakes during the time they followed him.  We don’t love people because they are perfect;  we love people because we chose to do so…. Just the way Jesus loves us.     

Am I Making Disciples?

     Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father  and of the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.  And behold I am with you always to the end of the age.  Matthew 28:19-20 ESV

     Take notice … Jesus didn’t say, “Go make Christians”  He said, “Make disciples”.  I understand the identity we place upon calling those in Christ, Christians; but in reality, Christians are disciples told to make more disciples who don’t simple identify themselves by a title but by a lifestyle—  A lifestyle of walking/following one who commands us to live in a way that will cause others to want follow in the ways of his teaching.   If disciples are not made for Christ,  then know full well that the Devil will have people making disciples for him and his ways.  

Application:

      First and most important, make sure you are a Christian/ Disciple, for you cannot teach what you have not received / believed.  Also, make sure you understand this isn’t about teaching others to just be good. It is compelling them to repent of sin and become a follower of Jesus.  With the two afore mentioned points,  live well by studying the Bible and teaching what has been revealed to you by the Holy Spirit.   Identify any area of your life where you are not being a good teacher by example and take steps to change.  We follow Jesus who lived the perfect life and was sinless, thus showing us how to live.  While we can be forgiven of sin, may we live a life that shows we love God much because he taught us how to love.  

Because of His Grace ~ Pastor David

Obey …… October 20, 2019

To obey is better than sacrifice. 1 Samuel 15:22b  ESV

     This message To Obey Is Better Than Sacrifice was spoken by Samuel to Saul after Saul had not  listened to God concerning how to conduct the battle with Amalek.  (1 Samuel 15: 1- 21)  Saul had listened  to the people  (vs 23-26) instead of God’s instruction, and it cost him dearly. He was rejected by God as king over Israel.  The cost of not obeying God, as a Christian, is expensive and carries a cost the Christian does not want to pay.  How can and do we obey God in our day when we don’t have a Samuel who hears directly from God and then instructs us how to proceed?  Answer….. We have the Holy Spirit dwelling within us, and we have the Bible which is God’s word to and for us.  Let us therefore…..

Set our mind on the Spirit: 

     For those who live according to the flesh, set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, set their minds on the things of the Spirit. Romans 8:5 ESV   

     If you want to live to obey, then you must focus on what is important.  When the Spirit of God controls   you, you will reflect often upon God.  You will grow in your love for Him and love what God loves.  The world and the things of the world will become less important to you for they will not be the desire of your heart.  God, however will become very important to you and the desire to please him will grow stronger in your life.  This desire will not simply be an acquaintance relationship with him but a longing to know him as Lord of your life.  When this becomes your mind’s focus, the desire to obey will become a priority in your life. 

Repent and confess sin:

    For you will not delight in sacrifice, or I would give it; you will not be pleased with a burnt offering.  The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.  Psalm 51: 16-17 ESV

     A heart that is broken before God is a person / heart that acknowledges their disobedience of God.  This heart will desire to make right whatever wrong it has done in order to live obediently before God.  The word of God is clear… if we repent and confess our sin, he will forgive us our sin. (I John 1:9 & to those who do not know him Act 2:38-38) Repentance is turning  from doing what is displeasing to God, and doing on purpose what is pleasing to God. 

Note the last three words….what pleases God.  When a person tries to please God by doing what they deem to be good works (sacrifice) to appease God for their sin of disobedience ……they will fail.    The reason for God’s displeasure is that there are no works done as a sacrifice for sin that will please him…. period.  The sacrifice for all sin was completed by Jesus on the cross, and to try to offer any other type of sacrifice is to attempt to bargain with God.  If you sin with no remorse, you are not close to God nor do you love God with a love that pleases him. If you love me,  you will keep my commandments.  And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another helper, to be with you forever, even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him,  for he dwells with and will be in you. John 14:15-17 ESV

Walk in the Spirit:

          For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do.  By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin,  he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, WHO WALK NOT ACCORDING TO THE FLESH BUT ACCORDING TO THE SPIRIT.  Romans 8: 3- 4 ESV

     As stated above, the Bible is God’s word to us today and we know what we know because of his word the Bible….. For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and  intentions of the heart.  Hebrews 4:12 ESV ………. Whoever says “I know him” but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him, but whoever keeps his word, in him the love of God is perfected.  By this we may know that we are in him: whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked. 1 John 2: 4-6 ESV  ……

One way to walkin the Spirit is to learn and know the word of God and live it on purpose.   Jesus  showed us how to walk in the Spirit, and we should walk as he walked for he walked with the focus of doing this Fathers will.  And being in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even the death on the cross. Philippians 2:8 ESV

Application:

     Make sure you are in Christ and by this I mean… know you are a Christian.   Not in name only, but know you have been redeemed by the blood of Jesus.  Do not mistake doing works with being redeemed.  The first and most important step in obeying is to believe.  The greatest work you will ever do will be to believe. (John 6:29) Followed by the confessing of your sins, and then as a disciple of Jesus, follow him.  Your belief will cause you to obey, and this will please God; for you will have received the Holy Spirit and will be walking in the Spirit. 

As a follower of Jesus, know he walked as he would want you to live… OBEDIENT.  To follow someone means to walk where they have walked, or in the case of Jesus, walk in life as he taught us to live.  In short, as I have said many times….. LIVE ON PURPOSE FOR GOD!!  This is to obey him and desire to please him with your  whole life. 

Because of His Grace ~ Pastor David      

Are You Growing Weary? …. October 13, 2019

And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. Galatians 6:9 ESV

Are there times you think, “What’s the point?” This thought process might happen as you grow tired of and weary in life. You try to do everything right, and yet it seems that life grows more and more difficult or the pace gets more hectic. You are tired and wish things could slow down a bit, but you don’t see any relief in sight. “Tired and weary” almost doesn’t describe the feeling of the overwhelming emotion that comes from deep within.

Yet scripture tells us, as Christians, we are not to give up. No matter how difficult your day may seem….. don’t give up. Even though it might seem easier or simpler to just stop trying, you must press on. Why? Because we have a promise from God…. you will reap in due season. We must not look back but rather keep our eye on the prize… the goal of the hight calling you have in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 3:14)

Let Us Not Grow Weary of Doing Good:

Weariness comes when we attempt to function in our own strength. We operate in our own strength when we are not focusing on the Lord. This happens when our task is works-based rather than grace-based. A prime example of this in scripture is the contrast of Mary and Martha.

Now as they went on their way, Jesus entered a village. And a woman named Martha welcomed him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to his teaching. Martha was distracted with much serving. And she went to him and said, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her to help me.” But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are troubled about many things but one thing is necessary, MARY HAS CHOSEN THE GOOD PORTION, which will not be taken away from her.” Luke 10:38-42 ESV

Simply put, when our service becomes more important than Jesus, our troubles begins. Does God want us to do good works?…. of course, but not at the cost of losing or forgetting how much we should love him. Desiring God will give you strength to do the stuff you need to do. Do not try to function in your own strength, for when you do, you will lose the joy. And when you lose joy, you lose strength.

In Due Season We Will Reap:

Reaping is a result of sowing; and what we reap, will be what we have sown. Note Galatians 6:8, For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. It is important to understand that if weariness comes because a person has not sown of the Spirit, then it is time to replant. Plow up all that is not important in your life and plant God’s peace in your heart. Always remember, that which is not of God will wear you down when you continue to plant bad seeds and reap that harvest. Have you planted a time of just being still in your life? If you haven’t, you will miss the fact that He is God, and this is one truth you do not want to miss. The harvest which comes from sowing stillness/time with God, will be renewed strength. (Isaiah 40:29-31)

Do Not Give Up:

You can do all things through Christ who strengthens you. (Philippians 4:13) You will need to rest due to your limitation but…… don’t give up. When you put your hand to the plow, don’t look back. Look straight ahead and move forward Cultivate in your heart good works for the glory of God. Not just works for the sake of doing works, but do what you do to and for His glory. When doing works for His glory, the task will take on a different motivation. This motivation will help to keep your focus on what is important……. Jesus. Self-focus will cause you to become discouraged and weary, but when Jesus becomes your reason, life will have purpose in all you do.

Application:

Focus on the person of Jesus Christ as the motivation for all that you do. That “doing” will often be siting at the feet of Jesus listening to His teachings … just as Mary did. If you are growing weary, then it is time to rest at His feet so that you won’t give up. Do this and you will reap a harvest of ……. peace, love strength, joy, mercy, grace faith and ______________ (fill in what is needed in your life.) The seeds we need to plant in our life are memorized scripture. What takes root in our life is what we plant in the soil of our hearts. If you sow to the flesh, you will reap the results of what you have planted. If you sow of the Spirit, the results will be amazing, for you will be growing in Christ.

Because of His Grace ~ Pastor David

Feeling Vs. Knowing .… October 6, 2019

There is a way that SEEMS RIGHT to a man, but the end is the way of death.  Proverbs 14:12 ESV

     When doing  a word search in the Bible of the word feel, you will find verses referring to how a person feels when describing a particular situation.  This teaching is not to debunk the fact that feelings are an important part of who we are as people.   Are there times, however, when we should not trust our feelings concerning matters or situations in our lives? 

The short answer is….yes.  Feelings are the way we describe emotional times such as happiness, sadness,  excitement, concern, confidence, love, hate,  etc.  We must be careful to make sure our emotions / feelings aline with biblical truth.  For a feeling to be a healthy feeling, it will and must aline with biblical truth.  Biblical truth will keep you in check by not letting you live your life just by your emotions / feelings.  Again, feelings are important, but be careful because there is such a thing as unhealthy feelings disguised as good.  What makes them unhealthy?  Let me use a scripture that will answer that: There is a way that SEEMS RIGHT to a man, but the end is the way of death.  Proverbs 14:12 ESV.  So how do we live life having feelings, yet know that we are living in the truth of God’s way?

STUDY, STUDY,  STUDY:

     Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needed not be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. 2 Timothy 2:15 KJV

          Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth. 2 Timothy 2:15 ESV

     If a person really wants to be accomplished in something, they will study that subject.  If a person wants to build something, they will study the plans or blueprints for that project.  I have observed many people who are accomplished in their work and enjoy doing what they do.  In fact some of those people are enthusiastic about what they do to the point that they are willing to tell you everything they can about what it is they do.  The reason they are able to do so is because they have given their life to that occupation or task, and they love what they do. 

As Christians we are challenged to study God’s word to be able to relay truth to the world.  To study the Bible is to grow in your knowledge of God.   To grow in the knowledge of God, as a Christian, is to love him more.  It is the blueprint for life in how to build your life for kingdom purpose…. His purpose.  You will dedicate yourself to what or who you love.  

FOLLOW  JESUS:

     Jesus experienced emotions just as we do today.  He cried concerning Lazarus’s death.  (John 11:35)  He wept over Jerusalem. (Luke 19:41) He experience agony. (Luke 22:44)  I believe he laughed with children and rejoiced with others, and of course we know he felt and feels love for us.  He was totally God and totally man, thus he experienced all we experience yet without sin. (Hebrews 4:15) 

My point in all I just wrote is to show that Jesus has strong emotional feelings, yet feelings did not take him to the cross.  Obedience to His Father’s will did.  Note, when praying in the garden the night  before his crucifixion, He said,  “Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me.  Nevertheless, not my will, but yours be done. Luke 22:42 ESV  If he acted upon what he was feeling…. agony… he would not have followed his father’s will. 

The point is this. What we feel does not need to govern our life when it is not in line with God’s will.   Jesus said this, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.” Luke 9:23 ESV  What are we denying ?  -Ourselves and the mind set, “It is all about me.”   John the Baptist said it best,  “He must increase but I must decrease” John 3:30 ESV

So you ask, “How do I take up my cross and follow daily?”  Answer- I appeal to you therefore brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is you spiritual worship.  Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by TESTING you may discern WHAT IS THE WILL OF GOD, what is good and acceptable and perfect.  Romans 12: 1-2 ESV……..And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.  Galatians 5:24 ESV   This, with study and the desire to live in obedience, is how we live by truth and not feelings. 

It does not mean the transformation will be painless, for we can be self-centered by nature.  If Jesus had been self- centered, he would have had the disciples wash his feet instead of washing theirs.  With this example, let  us remember Jesus’s teaching.  Truly, truly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master, John 13:16a ESV  Joy… happiness in the Lord … is a result of obedient living no matter the cost- no matter the feeling.  

APPLICATION:

     Don’t  just read the Bible. Memorize it. Dwell and meditate upon it.  Remember the teaching of Psalm 1: 1-3  and Psalm 119:11   Examine everything you feel as a person, that involves your life.  Is there anything that you feel that contradicts scripture?  If so, crucify that feeling on the cross of repentance.  Memorize the scripture that revealed the inconsistency of that feeling and use it to battle that feeling.  Again, let me make clear that we are people of emotion and feelings, and sometimes we have a feeling that something isn’t right but cannot put our finger on it. I believe the Holy Spirit guards our hearts and minds and when you experience this, search the scriptures and pray for wisdom. There was a reason for  Proverbs 14:12…. because we can be deceived if we don’t pay heed to it. 

Because of HIs Grace ~ Pastor David

Singing In His Presence …. September 29, 2019

Submit yourself therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. James 4:7-8 ESV

There are times in live that some people feel overwhelmed, alone, destitute, abandoned and hanging on to hope by a thread. I assure you this IS NOT how God wants a person to feel, yet I have experienced this in my life and have heard other Christians express the same experience. When I personally experience this, it is normally because I have lost focus on what is important. It is during these times that I need to … be still and know He is God. (Psalm 46:10) However, I also know there are times when Satan attacks us, seeking to rob us of joy.

I believe singing is extremely important for the Christian to do. I call singing the personal battle plan for every season in life; seasons of loneliness or abundant fellowship, loss or victory, sadness or joyfulness, and this list could go on. I believe you see my point. On multiple occasions in the Bible we are instructed to sing…. (1 Chronicles 16:8-10 & 16:23, Psalm 9:11, 30:4, 33:3, 95:1, 96:1, 98:4, 105:2)

Don’t sing just for the sake of singing, but in worship of God. This singing is to acknowledge His presence and to believe, not based on feelings, but believing His promises as truth. Promises such as: I will never leave nor forsake you. Hebrew 13:5b ESV … truths such as: Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? ….. No, in all these things we are MORE than conquerors through him who loved us. Romans 8:35: 37 Let us reflect upon how this was lived out by some of the followers of Jesus in the past, and how we are instructed to live.

Paul and Silas:

Paul and Silas were doing as they were instructed, by teaching, ministering and preaching. When they encountered a woman with an evil spirit, they cast out that spirit in the name of Jesus. Was this exciting to the people? Not to those who owned this woman as a slave and made much money because of this evil spirit. Long story short, they took Paul and Silas before the authorities, and they were sentenced to a beating and placed in jail. (Acts 16:10-24)

About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them, and suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken. And immediately all the doors were opened, and everyone’s bonds were unfastened. Acts 16:25-26 ESV The rest of the story is that the prison guard and his whole house were saved. (Acts 16:27:34)

How We Are To Live:

Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing praises. James 5:13 ESV Isn’t this what Paul and Silas were doing? In suffering they pray3ed, and because of their happiness in Christ, they sang. The circumstances of life should not be the barometer of our faith in God. Our faith in God should be the barometer for how we live in all circumstances. This is the testimony to the world of our faith in God. This doesn’t make us super humans; rather it is an expression of our need and dependence upon God. It is how we should live, and we should encourage fellow believers to do the same. Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 ESV

Application:

The first thoughts that come to your mind will influence how you face the season of life. Living every day with a thankful thought process in faith will set the direction for everything you experience. Scripture is EXTREMELY IMPORTANT in this growing process. No matter what difficulty or overwhelming experience you face…. there is a scripture for that. One scripture used many times in difficult situations is this…… I can do all things through him who strengthens me. Philippians 4:13 ESV When I have said or I have heard someone say, “I can’t do this, ” it is always because the focus is upon our strength and not His. I am not talking about a physical strength, but a strength that is needed where the battle is being fought ….. in the mind.

When I read historical accounts in the Old Testament about armies that went to battle, the singers and musicians were placed in front as they marched. Let me encourage you to never go into mind battles without a song in your heart. If you don’t have a song like I just described… find one. A song that means much to you in your relationship and walk with God. Be ready at a moment’s notice to pray and sing that song when Satan brings battles into your mind.

What is a scriptural principle concerning this that applies to what I just said? Submit yourself therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. James 4:7-8 ESV Submit to prayer, worship and singing, for this is not what Satan wants, nor will he participate in it. Live strong and on purpose for God…. Bring him much glory for he is worthy of glory and praise.

Because of His Grace ~ Pastor David

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