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Monthly Archives : November 2019

Living Thankful .… November 17, 2019

     Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another is all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with THANKFULNESS in your hearts to God.  And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving THANKS to God the Father through him.  Colossians 3: 16-17 ESV

     Christians should lead and be true examples of what it means to be thankful.  I dare say there is nothing more confusing to the world than for one who claims to know and have Jesus in their life and then communicate ingratitude.  Ingratitude projects frustration and bitterness which will give a very poor understanding to the world of who and how we should be in Christ.  Is there ever a time in the Christian’s life that projecting unthankfulness is acceptable?  Not according to scripture…. give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. 1 Thessalonians 5: 18 ESV  The only way the Christian will be able to live in perpetual thankfulness is to, “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly,” Colossians 3:1a ESV 

It is much easier to give thanks when things are going well, but when things are difficult it can be more challenging.  The key to staying thankful is staying focused… Set your minds on things that are above, not things that are on earth.  Colossians 3:2 ESV In other words, don’t focus as much on a particular situation, but rather focus upon who you know God to be…. even when things might not make sense.  He is sovereign over all things and nothing escapes his eyes…. nothing.  To live thankful is to live believing,  “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” Hebrews 13: 8 ESV  When a person attempts to make God make sense in their mind, it is to attempt to put God in a box of their understanding….. which is an impossible task.   God states this concerning Himself… 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 way higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.  Isaiah 55:8-9 ESV     

TEACHING THANKFULNESS :

      For a person to be thankful to God, they first need to understand who God is and all that he has done.  This foundational teaching of God begins in Genesis and goes throughout the entire Bible.  In Genesis we understand that God made everything that was made and God saw that it was good. (Genesis 1:10, 1:12, 1:18, 1:21, 1:25….  In fact,God saw everything that he had made, and behold it was very good.  Genesis 1:31 ESV  Everything that God made was good and perfect until sin was introduced to Eve by the serpent.  God, in his mercy, put together a redemptive plan to make possible forgiveness and restoration of all that sin destroyed.  That is mainly the relationship that he had with Adam and Eve before they sinned. 

It is amazing how God can take nothing and make it something.  Every person that has believed and accepted the redeeming grace of God is made new in Christ Jesus. If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation.. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.  ALL THIS IS FROM GOD, who through CHRIST reconciled us to himself.  2 Corinthians 5: 17-18a ESV 

The first and most important fact for which the Christian should be thankful is God redeeming them from their sin.  The moment sin entered into the world God knew he would send his son to die for our sins.  For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. 2 Corinthians 5:21 ESV   Focus upon this fact as a Christian, and you will live thankful and proclaim to others in thankfulness this truth in your life.     

SING WITH THANKFULNESS:

      Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly……………… singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with THANKFULNESS in your hearts to God.  Colossians 3: 16-17 ESV

      I will give to the Lord thanks due to his righteousness, and I will SING praise to the name of the Lord, the Most High. Psalms 7:17 ESV

     SING praises to the LORD, O you his saints, and thanks to his Holy Name. Psalms 30:4 ESV

    It is good to give thanks to the Lord, to SING praises to your name, O Most High  Psalms 92:1 ESV

   SING to the LORD with thanksgiving; Psalms147:7a ESV

      If you are a Christian, singing should grow sweeter for you, as it is a way to give and express thankfulness to God.  Understand this is a song of worship from the heart for God and His enjoyment.  He hears the song of the heart which makes it beautiful to him even if all others credit you as not a singer.  Perhaps this would even fall under the category of making a joyful noise in some cases.  Never the less, God enjoys the songs of praise for him, from his children.      

LIVE THANKFUL:

           And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving THANKS to God the Father through him.  Colossians 3:17 ESV

     The test to know if you are living as a Christian in everything is this…….. am I able to thank God at the end of my speech or actions for what I said or did.  As Christians we must remember we are ambassadors for Christ, and we represent Him to everyone around us by how we live. (2 Corinthians 5:20  Ephesians 6:20 ) 

You might be in a situation for which you might ask, “How can I thank God for this situation?”  We don’t thank God for the sin / action of someone that may cause you a great deal of pain, but we can thank God for the knowledge that He died even for the sin of the person doing you wrong.  We thank him for that understanding; for to have that understanding gives evidence that you know and hopefully have experienced the power of such great forgiveness yourself.  Jesus’s disciples and many other saints through the years have died martyr’s deaths for their belief in Jesus.   I have read about many of those accounts, and I was impressed that while dying, a song sprang from their lips, a prayer of forgiveness for those who where harming them, and many other actions that would be indicative of a believer / ambassador.                  

APPLICATION: 

     Evaluate everything you say or do and ask yourself, “Am I living and speaking as I should?”  I dare say that in all our lives we have room for improvement, and seeing where improvement is needed…. repent, turn around, and move in the opposite direction.   If you complain, look for a way to give thanks.  If you act / behave with a non christian action …. change.  Find a scripture that applies to your speech or action and memorize it to use in the battle to change.  Remember… GIVE THANKS in all circumstances for THIS IS THE WILL OF GOD IN CHRIST JESUS FOR YOU. 1 Thessalonians 5: 18 ESV

Because of His Grace ~ Pastor David

A Disciple of Holiness .… November 10, 2019

     One definition given concerning being holy is this….  set apart for the service of God or a divine being : SACRED .(Merriam Webster)  True holiness is impossible to obtain by ourselves because of our sin nature. Yet we are called to be holy before God.  Being holy is not simply being good, for there are many people who are morally and ethically good, so that is not what makes a person holy.  The question is, “How does one become holy before God?” 

This a very important question because the Bible teaches to strive for peace with everyone, and for holiness without which no one will see the Lord.  Hebrews 12:14 ESV   The simplest explanation is this; a person becomes holy when the righteousness of God is imputed into his life by the Holy Spirit.  It is a gift from God that washes the evidences of sin from us, so that God might be recognized in us.  When we are recognized as Holy by God, it is because He does not see us, but rather he sees his holiness in the presence of the Holy Spirit within us…..  Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, Whom you have from God?  You are not your own,  for you were bought with a price.  So glorify God with your body.  1 Corinthians 6:19-20 ESV 

This is grace, mercy, kindness, love, and whole host of words describing how God willingly blessed us with the Holy Spirit.  Being the Temple of the Holy Spirit is literally having the presence of God living in you.  God is Holy; therefore, His presence has made you Holy before him.  With this gift we have been called to live, giving evidence of his presence in our lives.                    

CALLED TO BE HOLY:

     As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, since it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.  1 Peter 1:14-16 ESV… For God has not called us for impurity, but in holiness.  1 Thessalonians 4:7 ESV

       Our actions do not make us holy, but our actions will reflect and give evidence of the Holy Spirit’s presence in our lives.  Obedience to God is only possible if you become a follower / disciple of his word.  Over the years I have heard and even have said myself, “I can’t believe I use to do this or that”..…concerning a behavior, action, or thought process.  What changed?  As I studied or remembered God’s word and by the prompting of the of Holy Spirit, I became convicted.  Conviction came because the Holy Spirit does not have fellowship with sin.  For a person to walk in holiness is for a person to intentionally want to reflect Jesus in their life by following his life teachings.  That is what a disciple does… they follow, learn, and live on purpose with a desire to bring glory to God.

BE A TEMPLE / VESSEL OF HONOR:

     Therefore,  if anyone cleanses himself from what is dishonorable, he will be a vessel for honorable use, set apart as HOLY, useful to the master of the house, ready for every good work. 2 Timothy 2:21 ESV

     You will become a vessel of honor when you grow to love God more than you enjoy your sin.  Loving God is how we grow more into the image of Christ  and reflect his holiness.  This is not a self righteous lifestyle; rather,  it is a lifestyle of desiring and bringing glory to God by being a reflection of his grace.  It’s not bringing attention to ourselves but rather attention to God’s ability to save us from death.  

Sin is pleasurable and this is why it is so difficult to become a vessel of honor.  The war between the holy and the unholy, wages war in our lives and will do so until we die and are raised with a new body without this sin nature.  But until that time, we must remember the battle has already been won on the cross for the forgiveness of our sin.  Therefore through His grace, press on in the battle to reflect God’s holiness and remember that you  are not in the battle alone.  You can do all things through him who strengthens you.  Philippians 4:13 ESV

APPLICATION: 

       I hope I have made it clear that in and of ourselves we cannot make ourselves holy.  Only God can do that, but we can take the responsibility of living on purpose in the pursuit of holiness.  Here are some scripture to utilize in that pursuit. 

Arm yourself…..I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you.  Psalms 119:11 ESV

 Live on purpose…..    Therefore, if anyone cleanses himself from what is dishonorable, he will be a vessel for honorable use, set apart as HOLY, useful to the master of the house, ready for every good work. 2 Timothy 2:21 ESV

 Rest is His grace…….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. Titus 3:5-6 ESV

Because of His Grace ~ Pastor David

Becoming A Disciple of Jesus .… November 3, 2019

     People do not generally wake up one day and say, “I am going to be a follower of Jesus Christ.”  However, in the course of that day, they cross paths with someone, or they experience something that introduces them to Jesus in a way they have never heard, seen, nor understood before.  Many know about God but never really knew him, while others knew nothing of him, yet in both situations they came to know him as the Lord, Savior, Redeemer, Master and King of their life.   What made the difference?  The drawing and insight that comes only by the Holy Spirit.

The drawing is something that really cannot be described, but it happens from deep within.  It is more than a feeling, and yet it is like nothing you’ve ever experienced before.  It can take place in the mind, gut, heart, or however else you would try to describe the experience, but it is unique to the individual person.  I have heard many testimonies over the years, and one thing I have come to understand is that it seems to be expressed in people’s lives differently, yet it is just as real in each individual person.  One person will say, “I really didn’t feel anything. It was something I just knew that happened to me.”  Another person might not be able to stop shouting, or weep uncontrollably.   I’ve even seen some laugh with uncontrollable joy.  It’s the same Jesus that they all experienced and followed that day, but just as our personalities are different, so can our experience of becoming a disciple / follower of Jesus Christ be different.  The reason is that the Holy Spirit works in everyone’s life individually.  That is why we call it many times a personal relationship with Jesus. 

So I come to the point I would like to ask today, “Do you know him as a follower, which is personal, or do you just have a knowledge of him?”  If you just have knowledge of him, I want to introduce you to a path you can follow to become….. a disciple /follower of Jesus.  You may ask, “How would I know if the Holy Spirit is speaking to me and drawing me to be a follower?”  Answer…. if you are interested in what I have just written perhaps you might need to stop at this point and just pray this simple prayer,  “Holy Spirit, help me, show me,  and reveal to me how to become a follower of Jesus.”  So let us begin the walk down the path.

BELIEVE:

     If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and BELIEVE in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.  For with the heart one BELIEVES and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved.  Romans 10:9-10 ESV

    The thief  on the cross did not say any fancy words. He simple said, “Jesus , remember me when you come into your kingdom.”  Luke 23:42 ESV   Jesus replied to him, “Truly , I say to you, today you will be with me in paradise.”  Luke 23:43 ESV  Where is the believing in this statement?   It is in the heart, which represents life.  I believe the heart is used to describe spiritual birth because we understand from a physical sense that without a heart,  you cannot live.  Always remember that how a person lives gives living proof of what’s in the heart.  When you believe, you will live differently because the Holy Spirit will take up residence in your heart.   (1 Corinthians  6:19 ) 

The confession of the mouth is simply what you believe, that has changed in your heart and is evident by the way you live.  You believe Jesus is Lord not just over the world but over you and that God raised him from the dead.  Without a death there would be no resurrection, and without resurrection there would be no life.  Death is for the punishment and penalty of our sin, and resurrection is for the ultimate victory that conquers  the power and effect of sin.  

CONFESSION: 

     If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.  If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.  1 John 1:9-10 ESV 

     When we believe that Jesus, God’s only Son,  came into the world to die for our sins,  we should be grieved,  yet many are not.  In fact today some might not understand they are sinning for they do not understand sin by definition as explained in the Bible.  Then there are others who know but simple don’t care . You must ask, “Why did Jesus die?”  Answer: as the result of the sin of disobedience in the garden by Adam and Eve.  Every person after Adam and Eve has been conceived in sin except Jesus, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit.  If you believe that Jesus died in your place for your sins, then you should confess your sins in repentance to God.  Tell God you are sorry that your sin cost Him so much and ask for His forgiveness.   Without exception we have all  sinned.  To say any different would be, as the verse states above,  calling God  a liar.  When we all stand / kneel before him, that would not be what you would want your legacy from your short journey on earth to reflect.  

BE BAPTIZED:   

     And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized, everyone of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” Acts 2:39 ESV

     This would be my plea to everyone who has not yet become a follower of Jesus.   Baptism will not save you, but it gives testimony of the death of the old man within you and resurrection of the new man within you.  Baptism is one of the outward confessions of obedience towards God.  Jesus showed us how important it was to do by being baptized  himself.  After He was baptized, the next three years before his crucifixion was a public ministry where he lived.  When you say,  “I will follow him,” let it  be from where he started… being baptized.  

APPLICATION:      

     What I have written above only scratches the surface of what it means to follow Jesus, but it is the place to start.  Make it public concerning your decision to follow Christ and then follow him in baptism.  If you don’t understand how to make it public, speak with me,  and I will help you, for it is not difficult.  Hopefully as a Christian / Follower of Christ you will do your best to utilize the teaching from above to lead others in the way of Christ.  This is not a formula, as there are many other scriptures which can be used to help someone find the way of salvation and to become a follower of Jesus.  Let me encourage you to be burdened for someone the way Jesus was burdened for you.  He saved your life and made you to be a spokesperson to those that he still wants to save. 

Because of His Grace ~ Pastor David

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