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SUBMISSION TO GOD’S WILL …… MAY 5, 2019

Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. James 4:7 ESV

When you submit yourself to God, as a Christian, you are giving yourself to his will, purpose, and plans. It is understanding that you were purchased by the blood of Jesus, and you are no longer your own. (1 Corinthians 6:19-20) It is willfully giving your life to God by abiding and living in accordance with Biblical teachings. It is living under God’s authority by becoming a slave with the desire to obey only him by serving no other master. (Romans 6:16-20) Living submissively is impossible to do in your own strength, and unless you have the Holy Spirit living within you…. you will fail. As a Christian, how well are you living the above description of submission? If you say, “I need to live more like this,” then let us look at where to begin.

SUBMIT YOURSELF THEREFORE TO GOD:
Always remember, everything begins in the mind and then moves to the heart. 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 mind on the things of the Spirit. For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for IT DOES NOT SUBMIT to God’s law; indeed it cannot. Romans 8:5-7 ESV Submitting to God is not living by your own understanding, but trusting Him in all things. Trust in the Lord with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths. Proverbs 3:5-6 NKJV Submitting to God is an immediate and ongoing process in life. You will never submit to him until He becomes the desire of your heart and then your heart will desire only Him to be in control of your life. Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart. Psalms 37:4 ESV

RESIST THE DEVIL:
I have known many people … myself included …. who at times find resisting temptation so very difficult, but it is imperative in order to submit to the will of God. The true Christian way of living is not easy and will be a battle at times but don’t grow weary or give up. Remember to always dress for battle against the evil one. Be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. Ephesians 6:12 ESV (all the armor and its purpose is described in verses 13-18) The reason we fail to live as we should or loose a battle is normally because we were not ready and are spiritually underdressed— not having put on all the armor of God. Just as one dresses physically for the day, one should dress inwardly for spiritual battles. Be sober- minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. RESIST HIM firm in your faith….. 1 Peter 5:8-9a ESV

HE WILL FLEE FROM YOU:
Jesus, in the wilderness, was tempted by the devil to sin, but Jesus resisted and when the battle was over, the devil left him. (Matthew 4: 1-11) Note verse 11……. Then the devil left him, and behold, angels came and were ministering to him. Matthew 4:11 ESV I don’t believe this was an easy time for Jesus, for when this time of tempting was over, angels came and ministered to him. The reason the devil will flee from us is not because of who we are but because of who Christ is within the Christian. When Jesus is Lord of your life, you will desire to live Holy because you will love God more than you love your sin. You will want to submit to Him as Savior and Lord and the desire to sin will diminish. When you focus upon the light, it will overcome the darkness. (John 3:16-21)

APPLICATION:……. LIVE ON PURPOSE FOR GOD
Make it a point while you are submitting to put on the whole armor of God. (Ephesians 6:11-18) Make a plan not to fail or live defeated by the devil in whatever part of your life he continually attacks. Failing to plan is a plan to fail. Sometimes that plan is to flee….. Flee from the situation, places, or people that continue to enhance the temptations. When you cannot flee, remember to put on the armor which is for the purpose of standing. (Ephesians 6:13) When you stand using this armor, the devil will flee from you. Live in continual submission to God, and live on purpose for Him.

Because of His Grace ~ Pastor David

WALK LIKE JESUS …… April 28, 2019

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: 3-6 ESV
What does it mean to walk in the way that Jesus walked? We know that he lived a perfect life by never sinning, performed miracles, and taught great crowds of people. He was and is the most amazing person that has ever lived on the face of the earth. It would be frustrating to believe that you or I could live and do all that Jesus did in the very same way. Jesus was God in the flesh, and we could never do what he did or does because we have a sin nature. Yet the verse states that we are to walk as Jesus walked. God knows our limitations, and so he will not ask us that which is impossible for us to do. However, He will enable us by the indwelling Holy Spirit to walk in three very important ways as a Christian.

THE WAY IN OBEDIENCE:
And going a little farther he fell on his face and prayed saying, “My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will.” Matthew 26:39 ESV …………. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even the death on the cross. Philippians 2:8 ESV
Jesus lived in obedience to His Father’s will. He never asks of us, as Christians, to do that which He himself wasn’t willing to do. Obedience is evidence of the salvation received from God through his Son Jesus. Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, to make you OBEY its passion. Romans 6:12 ESV……. Do you not know that if you present yourselves to anyone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one who you obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness. Romans 6: 16 ESV True obedience is to follow in the steps of Jesus and serve Him as Lord and Master of your life. “Impossible!” you might say, but you must remember you did not have the power to save yourself from sin, and you don’t have the power to overcome it by yourself. I can do all things through him who strengthens me. Philippians 4:13 ESV To walk in obedience is to walk like Jesus walked.

THE WAY IN FORGIVENESS:
Forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. Colossians 3: 13 ESV
Jesus came to offer forgiveness to all who would confess and repent of sin. The sin for which we confess and repent is the very sin that Jesus took the punishment for upon the cross. The next time you might say, “They just hurt me badly, I just cannot find forgiveness in my heart for them,” ask yourself, Is this how you would want Jesus to look at you and the sin you committed? This is not to downplay the hurt you may have experienced, nor the fact a person might not deserve forgiveness, but the Christian needs to give grace as grace has been given to them. Remember the words of Jesus upon the cross when being crucified, “Father forgive them, for they know not what they do.” Luke 23: 34 ESV To give forgiveness where forgiveness is not deserved is to walk like Jesus walked.

THE WAY IN LOVE:
So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love. 1 Corinthians 13:13 ESV
Love should be the address where every Christian lives. If someone was asking directions to the Christians life, it should go something like this….. take the street on the right called Faith and travel several blocks till you come to Hope Street; turn left and go a little ways, then turn right on Love and you will find them there. It was always where you would find Jesus…… loving people wherever he went. He especially loved those whom others didn’t, and perhaps for the first time they experienced the true touch of love. It changed their lives, and it will change the lives of those around us if we will walk as Jesus and show love —and in some cases undeserved love- toward others. God showed his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:8 ESV Sin brings and brought great pain to God who loves beyond measure, and proving His love for us, He sent His only Son to die in our place. Emulating another person’s life shows admiration for that person and shouldn’t we be like that towards God? Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. AND WALK IN LOVE, AS CHRIST LOVED us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. Ephesians 5:1-2 ESV


APPLICATION:
While only three of the many attributes of Jesus’s walk was presented today, know there are many other ways in which Jesus walked that we should emulate. Being like Jesus can be a battle because we are dealing with our flesh which is contrary to the Holy Spirit. Never give up… always press on to the calling which as Christians we have been called to— that is to emulate Jesus’s life by letting His light shine through us. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven. Matthew 5:16 ESV Let me close with this challenge……… Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, ……. SO WALK IN HIM, …… rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving. Colossians 2:6-7 ESV

Because of His Grace ~ Pastor David

Believing in the Resurrection …… April 21, 2019

He is not here, but has risen. Luke 24:6 ESV

When Jesus resurrected from the dead no one was anticipating him to do so. In fact, some, when going to the tomb after the Sabbath, were doing so to finish the burial process and discussed among themselves who would roll the stone out of the way. (Mark 16;1-3) Having seen the stone rolled away and been told by an angel that He had risen, they ran back to a place where the others were hiding in fear, to tell them that He had risen. Had those in hiding believed in the resurrection they would have been at the tomb waiting… not hiding. Even after being told by those who had seen Jesus, Thomas said, “Unless I see in His hands the marks of the nails, and place my finger into the mark of the nails, and place my hand into his side, I will never believe.” John 20:23 ESV Truth is, according to Mark 16:14, the elven didn’t believe at first that He had risen and Jesus rebuked them for their hardness of heart and unbelief. Unbelief is so dangerous, for it is the very means by which Satan will take many captive, to the peril of their life/soul. It is imperative to believe concerning the resurrection, for it is what the Christian’s entire life is based upon. Without the resurrection it would have been proven that Jesus was simply a man and not the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! John 1:29 As I teach and am convinced: “What you believe will determine how you live.”

CONFUSION AT FIRST: ……… JOHN 20:1-18
Those who had followed Jesus in life were overwhelmed in the reality of his death and did not understand that he had risen. Mary Magdalene came to the tomb early, while it was still dark, and saw that the stone had been taken away from the tomb. So she ran and went to Simon Peter and another desciple whom Jesus loved and said, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid him.” John 20:1 ESV I do not believe any of us today, if living in that moment, would have understood that Jesus had resurrected from the dead. If we had seen him beaten, crucified, and die, our thoughts, as theirs, would have been, “He is gone”. We, as they, would have believed the only explanation was — someone stole his body. But this confusion only lasted for a while, for Jesus would not have us……

LOOKING FOR LIFE IN THE WRONG PLACES:
While they were perplexed about this, behold, two men stood by them in dazzling apparel. And they were frightened and bowed their faces to the ground, the men said to them, WHY DO YOU SEEK THE LIVING AMONG THE DEAD? Luke 4-5 ESV If you believe you can look in a graveyard for answers you are looking in the wrong place. This is why we should not look in our own hearts for answers, but in the One who can make the dead heart alive with understanding. While there was confusion at first, the understanding of the resurrection changed everything. They ceased to hide and began to thrive in proclaiming the gospel of the good news….. JESUS IS ALIVE!!!!!! They didn’t preach it in the graveyard but in the world. They did so because they believed not only what they had heard but what they had seen. We today have not seen Jesus in the flesh as he once walked, so where does that place us in this gospel?

BLESSED:
Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet believe.” John 20:29 ESV Christians, by faith, believe the Bible is true, and that it is … His-story and the future all in one book. Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. Hebrews 11:1 ESV Christians believe that Jesus is the Son of God. He lived a sinless life, making him the perfect lamb of God to be sacrificed for the punishment of our sins. He died, was buried, and rose again on the third day, conquering sin, death, and the grave. He returned to his Father and is coming again, breaking open the grave of every believer and catching up those who remain in the air to live with him forever. We will one day join with the angels to praise and worship him forever in our eternal home that he promises to prepare for us. GLORY!!!!

APPLICATION:
Live on purpose for God and give evidence of the resurrection of Jesus Christ in your life/heart. 1 John 2:1-6

Because of His Grace ~ Pastor David

JUSTIFIED…… April 14, 2019

For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are JUSTIFIED by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. Romans 3:23-25 ESV

Justified… just-as-if-I’d….. never sinned. I learned that little breakdown of the word ‘justified’ from a teacher years ago, and it gives a clear understanding of the meaning of the word. This is not implying that we do not or have not sinned. It simply means this is how God views us when we, in faith, believe in the redemptive blood of Jesus Christ and receive the gift of grace. (Ephesians 2:8-9) No one will be justified before God based upon their works. However, our works will give evidence of the fact that we have been redeemed from sin and are justified. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared before hand, THAT WE SHOULD WALK IN THEM. Ephesians 2:10 ESV God redeemed us from our sins on purpose and wants us to work/walk for him on purpose in the works he has prepared for us.

FOR ALL HAVE SINNED:
Most people remember the words of Jesus to the men who had brought a woman caught in the act of adultery to him for judgement. “Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.” John 8:7 ESV Many people look at Christianity as a religion of judgement upon others, but for authentic Christianity this is not true. Jesus said, “If anyone hears my words and does not keep them, I do not judge him; for I did not come to judge the world but to save the world.” John 12:47 ESV The Christian work of today is to present the gospel – good news – to the world, which is exactly what Jesus was doing. He went on to say, “The one who rejects me and does not receive my words has a judge.” John 12:48 ESV … God. This doesn’t in any way suggest that sinning was acceptable to Jesus, for it was and is not. When the men had dropped the stones and walked away, Jesus said to the woman, “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 Jesus was telling her to change and not continue in a sinful lifestyle. Every person in this world is a sinner and needs Jesus as savior – for all have sinned. When sharing the gospel to the world, it is not to bring judgement upon anyone but to offer a new life in Christ.

JUSTIFIED BY HIS GRACE AS A GIFT:
I have heard it said concerning a person who has died, “That was a good person and they are in a better place.” That is a true statement only if they have received the gift of grace from God for salvation. To imply a person went to heaven based upon their own goodness is to say that they lived as perfectly as Jesus in this life. This would also imply that Jesus wasn’t necessary and the gospel….good news of salvation in Christ alone…would not be true. This would no longer be a gift, for that person would be receiving the reward of heaven based upon their works. Let me give some verses to make this point. Yet we know that a person is not justified by works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ, in order to be justified by faith in Christ and not by works of the law, because by the works of the law no one will be justified. Galatians 2:16 ESV …. As it is written: None is righteous, no, not one. Romans 3:10 eSV …. For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. Romans 3:23 ESV … Jesus answered him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.” John 3:3 ESV

REDEMPTION IN CHRIST JESUS:
We are justified only because we have been redeemed by the blood of the lamb. John the Baptist described Jesus as follows, “Behold the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” John 1:29 ESV…. Every person must accept the truth that ….. 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 The only work that needs to be done by a person is this… Then they said to him, “What must we do, to be doing the works of God? Jesus answered them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent.” John 6:28-29 ESV Jesus said to him, “I am THE way, THE truth, and THE life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” John 14:6 ESV From Genesis to Revelation this is the message of the gospel…. salvation is in Christ alone.

APPLICATION:
To apply all that is written above, one must first BE RECEIVED BY FAITH. Then, as a Christian, live every day in thankfulness for the great gift of salvation that God has given you through his Son Jesus. Echo the words of David, “I will extol you, my God and King and bless your name forever and ever. EVERY DAY I WILL BLESS YOU and PRAISE YOUR NAME forever and ever. Great is the LORD and GREATLY TO BE PRAISED, and his greatness is unsearchable.” Psalm 145:1-3 ESV Being justified by God will make you see things differently, for you will be seeing things through the eyes of the Holy Spirit which lives within you. Always remember…. 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 3:5-7 ESV Live thankful and on purpose for God.

Because of His Grace ~ Pastor David

OBEDIENCE …… April 7, 2019

For as by the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man’s obedience the many will be made righteous. Romans 5:19 ESV

I have heard more than one person say, “What I do is no one else’s business.” While this sentiment contains some truth, we must remember that the repercussions of a person’s choices will affect others. We live in a world that is so interconnected, that every choice that is made affects someone in some way…. be it for good or for bad. The fact is, this has been true throughout all history. When Adam and Eve chose to eat the fruit from the tree which God told them not to eat, sin was birthed into the world. This one act of disobedience has affected every generation to this present age. When Jesus, God’s only Son, was birthed into this world, His act of obedience changed the world…. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on the cross. Philippians 2:8 ESV In understanding this truth and the principle of cause and effect, how should we, as Christians, live?

AS SLAVES:
Do you not know that if you present yourselves to anyone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness? Romans 6:16 ESV
Bob Dylon wrote a songs years ago with this lyric: “You’re gonna have to serve somebody; Well, it may be the devil or it may be the Lord, But you’re gonna have to serve somebody.” So every person must answer the question, “Whom do you serve?” Some might say, “I don’t served the Lord OR Satan,” but in reality that is not true, for you will serve one or the other. The reason this is true is because where you will spend eternity will be based upon whom you have obeyed, and whom you chose in this life to believe.

INTENTIONALLY:
But Peter and the apostles answered, “We must obey God rather than men.” Acts 5:29 ESV
In obedience we serve God intentionally. Peter and the apostles had been imprisoned for teaching about Jesus and were told to cease such teachings. When they were found teaching after being told to stop, they were asked why they had chosen to continue to do so; the answer was simple for them: We must obey God. This reminds me of the hymn, Trust and obey, for there’s no other way to be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey.

OBEDIENTLY:
To obey is better than sacrifice. 1 Samuel 15:22 ESV
Sacrificing your time, as we might call it, is not necessarily pleasing to God. God wants an obedient heart that is willing to listen and do his will. Outward sacrifice does not necessarily show inward obedience; however, inward obedience produces a life pleasing to God and will be evident as a living sacrifice before God. (Romans 12:1-2)

APPLICATION:
Therefore, PREPARING YOUR MINDS FOR ACTION, and being sober minded, set your hope on the garce that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. 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 1:13-15 Remember, as I have taught multiple times, everything begins in the mind. It is necessary for you to prepare your mind for obedience. It must be intentional to live in obedience for God, but it is not necessarily easy. Living for God must be the desire of your heart in order to please Him, and to please Him, you must obey Him. So I challenge you as well as myself …… live on purpose in obedience to God.

Because of His Grace ~ Pastor David

TRUST …… MARCH 31, 2019

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. Proverbs 3: 5-6 ESV

Have you ever trusted someone only to be let down? A co-worker, friend, parent, spouse, or (fill in the blank). It can be one of the most devastating things that can happen to a person. Any time you have trusted someone and that trust was broken, it makes trusting again difficult. Trust is broken by unfaithfulness, broken promises, lies, and again…. (fill in the blank). I believe this could even be one of Satan’s strategies in causing people not to want to trust God. God wants to be a heavenly Father to the fatherless, but someone who has had a father that let them down, might react by saying, “I don’t need a father.” How about the teaching of a friend who sticks closer than a brother, Proverbs 18: 24b ESV? Have you had someone you considered a friend fail you when you needed them the most? The church is referred to as the bride of Christ, but maybe you had a spouse who wasn’t faithful and you might not be interested in anything that compares itself to a marriage. There could be many comparisons of situations that cause you to have difficulty trusting; but to never trust is to never heal, for we were made to interact in trusting relationships. This does not mean you trust everyone, but you must learn to choose wisely those in whom you put your trust. Jesus is one such person to choose, as Savior, friend, and Lord, in whom you can place unreserved trust.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart:
By faith you believe and trust Jesus, and make Him Lord of your life. The heart represents life. When you trust Him with all your heart you are in essence saying, “I’m trusting you with my life.” This trust requires you to take down the barriers of distrust and open yourself to a relationship based on unadulterated hope, faith, and love. It’s a trust believing everything that is taught by Jesus. You believe that He is the only Son of the living God which became flesh and lived with us yet without sin. You believe He came to die and as a result take away the sins of the world….. your world…. your sin. You trust him when He says, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” Hebrews 13:5b ESV You rest when you remember His words, “I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and NO ONE WILL SNATCH THEM OUT OF MY HAND.” John 10:28 ESV.

Do not lean on your own understanding:
Trust at times will stretch you by making you vulnerable. If I totally have my mind wrapped around an issue or situation, I have a comfort level that is acceptable to me. However, when I hear the words “trust me”, it is because I might be viewing a situation differently than the person in whom I am choosing to place my trust. It also might be because I’ve trusted before and was hurt or let down. Trust in the Lord means you believe God when He says, “For as the heavens are higher than the earth’s so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” Isaiah 55:9 ESV We must always remember, it was our own understanding that introduced sin into the world. If Adam and Eve had trusted God’s words they would have never eaten the fruit from the tree. And the Lord God commanded the man saying, “You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, but of the tree of knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.” Genesis 2:17 ESV Something might seem so good or right to us, but if God says no….. trust Him.

In all your ways acknowledge him:
God is to be, and should be, involved in every area of a Christian’s life. In him we live and move and have our being. Acts 17:28 ESV Trusting Him is wanting him to have that place in your life. To acknowledge Him is to make Him known by how you live and how you speak concerning Him. (Luke 12:8)

He will make straight your paths:
I like the KJV translation of this verse which says, “And he shall direct thy paths.” The point is, God leads you in the way that you should go. The fastest way to someone or to a place is a straight or direct path based on the road map given to find a person or place. The Bible can be such a road map, revealing the way to God, and given by God for us to follow. In order to find life, we must trust His words on His map to do so. We are to take up the cross and follow him… Matthew 16:24, Mark 8: 34, Luke 9:23. This is not a literal cross, but a cross which represents sacrifice of the old life for a new life in Christ. We are to do as it teaches in Romans 12:1 … to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship…. As he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct. 1 Peter 1: 15 ESV These two verses are just two such teachings/directions in God’s road map for our lives. Life is a pilgrimage in living every day on purpose for God.

Application:
You cannot follow someone if you are not going in the same direction. 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 Jesus is the way; and if you follow Him, you must trust that he is the only way to God. He is the map / way that leads to God. Trust and believe in the words of Jesus and make His teachings the reason you do everything you do. If you have done this, then the next step is to take one step at a time and follow. People tend to look at the journey and become overwhelmed, but this is not how the Lord wants you to live. Trust Him for today and do not worry about the travels of tomorrow, for that will be another day. Today needs to be the focus in trusting Him. Do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Matthew 6: 34 ESV If you have an area in which you feel you do not trust Him, then find in God’s word a promise concerning that issue, memorize it and use it to battle your lack of trust in that area. Live on purpose for God.

Because of His Grace ~ Pastor David

HUMILITY …… MARCH 24, 2019

Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Philippians 2:3 ESV

The opposite of humility is pride, and the Bible teaches that…… Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall. Proverbs 16:18 ESV Pride brought destruction by causing the fall of the angel now recognized as Satan, as well as all the fallen angels who are recognized as demons . It caused Adam and Eve to lose the joy and fellowship they experienced with God in the garden. In the world today pride continues to cause destruction and causes all types of pain, grief, and loss. I once heard a minister on the radio say, “Pride is the mother of all sins, for pride gives birth to every sin known to man.”
The sin of pride keeps a person from having a relationship with God by proclaiming self dependance, saying, “I don’t need God,” and being cheered on in deception by Satan. So how do you overcome the sin of pride and live in humility? Obviously, humility does not proclaim self. Could you imagine someone saying, “Look how humble I am”? Most often, humility shows itself by the life a person lives while serving others . The more surrendered your life is to God, the more you will emulate the life of Christ. So let us look at the example Jesus lived as He walked among us.


Let each of you look not only to his own interest, but also to the interest of others. Philippians 2:4 ESV
In short…. life is not about me. In a, “It is all about me” -centered world, surrender is not the normal way of thinking. Jesus came as a servant of His Father, and the Christian should desire to live the same way…..sent by our heavenly Father. The moment we have a “serve me” mentality, we stray away from the example Jesus lived out loud before us. The Son of Man came not to be served but to serve. Matthew 20:28 & Mark 10:45 ESV Jesus served His Father by living the perfect life, and ultimately cared for our interest by providing the way of escape from our sins.


Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. Philippians 2:5-7 ESV
As I have taught multiple times…. everything begins in the mind, and humility is a mindset of living on purpose with the purpose God has for you. Jesus, who absolutely deserved to be worshipped, emptied himself of who is he was and became a servant. He washed feet, fed the hungry, and healed the sick. He kept his mind on the purpose for which he ultimately came… to save sinners and to provide eternal life for all who would believe.


Being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Philippians 2:8 ESV
A book title by Max Lucado says it best: “He chose the Nails.” He who could have called legions of angles, who deserved to be worshipped, who absolutely did not deserve to die, chose to do so in the most agonizing way. The ultimate picture of humility was God’s Son dying on a cross intended for us. He did not do it because we deserved it; He did it because He loved us. True humility will always be an act of love for God and others. Humility is the seed that blooms as the beautiful flower of a life that brings God much glory.


APPLICATION:
Start right where you are. Be careful not to compare yourself to others, for comparison is one of the killers of humility. God has enabled you with gifts for the purpose of serving others. Humility grows through serving others in obedience. As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace. 1 Peter 4:10 ESV Humility is to be God-focused, expecting nothing in return but done for the purpose of bringing Him glory. It is seeing your need for God to do a work in and through you and to complete the purpose for which you were made. Live on purpose for God in humility. Consider others, and most importantly Him, as more important than yourself.


Because of His Grace ~ Pastor David

Kindness …… March 17, 2019

Be kind to one another…. Ephesians 4:32a ESV

My mind has been thinking about kindness all week long. I have asked myself over and over, “What does being kind to someone really look like?” Is it handing money to someone who is holding a sign? How about taking cookies to the neighbor next door, or a meal to a sick friend? What does pure, unadulterated, with-no-strings-attatched kindness look like? I suppose if I were to ask multiple people that question, I would receive multiple definitions or opinions. So how do I answer that question? According to a dictionary, the definition is: “the quality of being friendly, generous, and considerate.” As in all questions in life, we should look to Jesus for the answers, for in every way, He ultimately lived examples of kindness toward those around him. Let us take the three dictionary definitions and compare them to how Jesus lived.

FRIENDLY: This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. John 15:12-13 ESV Being friendly can create a good feeling, but what about being friendly to those who don’t deserve it? I see Jesus laying down His life for those who would later be His friend, before they even considered being so. In other words, being friendly could require sacrifice on our part to accomplish something greater than could ever be imagined. Jesus was criticized by those who saw Him hanging around with sinners. The Son of Man has come eating and drinking, and you say, “Look at him! A glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!” Luke 7:34 ESV Remember Jesus never sinned; He was the perfect Lamb of God, and it did not keep Him from showing kindness to those he encountered every day. Jesus displayed kindness from the cross when He spoke these words, “Father forgive them, for they know not what they do.” Luke 23:34 ESV He could have called twelve legions of angels. (Matthew 26:53) Being friendly is easy toward those who are friendly, but being so to those who are not friendly may require sacrifice on your part…. sacrificing YOUR personal rights, attitudes of the flesh, and comforts, for the purpose of the gospel. As Christians, we should set the example ….. that’s what Jesus did for us.

GENEROUS: 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. John 13:34 ESV If your acts of kindness are just for making you feel good, then it is for selfish reasons. But if it is to be obedient to God, then it doesn’t matter how it makes you feel. I want you to think of kindness in love as something that will bring much glory to God, and let that be your motivation. Jesus spoke these words, For I came down from heaven, not to do my own will but the will of him who sent me. John 6:38 ESV …. I glorified you on earth, having accomplished the work that you gave me to do. John 17:5 ESV What greater love can we give, than to show kindness? That should be evident in the life of the Christian because God has generously poured His love into our hearts. God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. Romans 5:5b ESV Being generous with kindness can feel a lot like work because kindness is not easy to show in every situation…especially to those who have not been kind to us. Remember, we are to: let your light shine before others, so they may see your good works and GIVE GLORY to your Father who is in heaven. Matthew 5:16 ESV

CONSIDERATE: Have you ever met someone who seems to make life all about them? And you would like to say, “It’s not about you!” In reality, we might need to say to ourselves, “It’s not about me.” Consideration is something that is taught to a person and normally doesn’t come naturally. We train children how to share and be considerate to their friends, and rightly so, for it can improve their life experience. Perhaps it is time for some retraining of ourselves to be more considerate to those who might not deserve it. Let’s look at how Jesus lived this by example…. Let each of you look not only to his own interest but also to the interest of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being in the likeness of men, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even the death on a cross. Philippians 2:5-8 ESV Jesus considered us important enough to empty himself and die on a cross. Do you suppose we could empty ourselves by showing kindness and pointing people to the cross? This is not an easy work, but it is a work worth doing in a world that so badly needs to see the love that God has for them. It is in acts of undeserved kindness that Christ is revealed….. just like he has done for us.

APPLICATION: Be kind to one another. Ephesians 4:32a This next week, do something on purpose for God in an act of kindness toward someone who might not deserve it. To a person who cuts you off in traffic….smile and wave. To someone who cuts in front of you at the coffee shop…. buy them coffee and wish them a great day. To someone who is unkind to you in a store or at work…. give them a kind word or blessing. You are not responsible for their actions, but you are for yours. Be like Jesus…. even when they don’t deserve it, for this is how He has treated us…. while we were yet sinners…. He died for us. (Romans 5:8)

Because of His Grace ~ Pastor David

Forgiveness …… March 10, 2019

     Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you. Ephesians 4:32 ESV

     The Bible provides us instructions for living, for all areas of our lives. One such instruction is the need to forgive when wronged or hurt by someone. Not forgiving can be compared to having a cancer in the soul that causes much pain and destroys any hope for the joy and happiness one should be experiencing in life. When a person is unforgiving, it multiplies the hurt experienced. It can also be compared to a wound that is uncared for and becomes infected. It intensifies and prolongs the pain. In short, no good thing can come from being unforgiving. The best way to start the process of forgiveness is to follow the example set by Jesus.

BE KIND:
    Every action in life creates a reaction. The action of kindness can defuse a situation before it escalates into the action of destruction. Kindness is not weakness; in fact, it is quite the opposite, because it takes more strength to be kind when kindness is not deserved. Kindness is showing love toward a person even when that person may not deserve it. Remember how God loved us?
     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 – and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his GRACE IN KINDNESS toward us in Christ Jesus. Ephesians 2:4-7 ESV
     Be kind to others by remembering the great kindness God has shown you…… even when it wasn’t deserved. God’s action created reaction in every person that has ever experienced His grace.

TENDERHEARTED:
     God wants to protect us by instructing us to have tender hearts. Tender hearts are teachable, but hard hearts bring destruction into a person’s life.
     Blessed is the one who fears the Lord always, BUT WHOEVER HARDENS HIS HEART WILL FALL INTO CALAMITY. Proverbs 28:14 ESV
     Hearts are hardened when a person continues to do and go their own way with no regard to how God has called them to live. God has called us and instructed us to forgive others when they have wronged us.

FORGIVING:
     Have you ever heard the question, “How can I ever forgive them for what they have done to me?” Remember, forgiveness is setting yourself free from the pain and bitterness that will consume you if you don’t. Does a person who has hurt or sinned against you deserve forgiveness?…. probably not, but then neither did we, concerning our sin. (Romans 5:8) To forgive a person who has wronged you is to show outwardly what Christ has done for you inwardly. It is giving evidence of Jesus in your life and hopefully causing that person to see their need for salvation.
     Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. Romans 12:19-21 ESV
     Some might see this verse as a way to get even through kindness, but I do not believe that to be the intention of this passage. Rather, the “burning coals on his head” is God’s conviction of sin that will never rest until either destruction or repentance occurs. The hope of our actions is that we can overcome evil with good by seeing repentance and the salvation of God experienced in that person’s life.

APPLICATION:
     How can a person ever live with a forgiving mindset? By dressing the mind with God’s wardrobe.
     Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, FORGIVING EACH OTHER; AS THE LORD HAS FORGIVEN YOU, SO YOU ALSO MUST FORGIVE. Colossians 3:12-13 ESV

     This might seem extremely difficult, but remember… I can do all things through him who strengthens me. Philippians 4:13 ESV

Live strong in the Lord by living His word on purpose in your life!!

Because of His Grace ~ Pastor David

Contentment …… March 3, 2019

     Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. Philippians 4:11 ESV

     Contentment is a rarity in our society of want and perception of need. It can drive people to an early grave whose life goal seems to be obtaining more and more of the things which are really not important. Do not misunderstand, we are tremendously blessed, and I believe all the material blessings that we have, came from God.  But we also must remember as Christians …… God owns it all. When we hold tightly that which God has given to us, those thing tend to own us. When holding things tightly, your happiness will begin to depend upon those things. In reality you are in the prison of greed and status pride. Godly contentment is enjoying all that God has given you with thanksgiving, but knowing that your happiness is not tied to those things. It is also being thankful when you have not been blessed with things and being thankful when you are in want or need. Contentment is loving God and using things, not loving things and using God. When God the Father, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit is the focus of your life, as the old hymn says, “The things of earth will grow strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace.”

HOW MUCH IS ENOUGH?
    We must remember our position as Christians in Christ and not let the logic of our day rule or control our minds. But godliness with contentment is great gain, for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world. BUT IF WE HAVE FOOD AND CLOTHING, with these we will be content. But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs. 1 Timothy 6:6-10 ESV  This is not the normal mindset of a person – to only think about food and clothing; if not careful, the eyes will feed the greed in the heart. Greed believes you need and deserve more than you have already been blessed with. So what is the answer to “how much is enough”? According to scripture, if we have food and clothing we have enough. Let this cause you to look at everything else you have and realize you have been materially blessed beyond measure. But don’t let your happiness or contentment depend upon these material blessings. These words are easy to write or speak, but remember this mindset is one that is learned; it does not come naturally to the flesh. Paul made this evident in the verse above when he wrote, “for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content.”

DON’T JUDGE OTHERS:
     It is dangerous to look at the blessings of others and judge them for how they are managing the blessings of God in their life. This is not your place or responsibility, for it is God who will judge. When judging, you become outward/worldly focused, and it can cause a jealous spirit. You will compare the blessing of your life with what you perceive to be the blessings of another, and jealousy will begin to take root. Jealousy and contentment go together like water and oil…. they simply don’t. Paul, in the passage above, was speaking as to how he lived in all circumstances; may we learn from this and become light in the world by how we live. Let us look inward, learning how to live godly, that we might shine outwardly, bringing God glory. (Matthew 5:16)

APPLICATION:
     If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on the things that are on the earth. Colossians 3:1-2 ESV  This verse would be a good verse to focus upon this week while reflecting upon Philippians 4:11.  When thinking about Jesus, remember that when he walked upon the earth, he did not have earthly riches, but came to do the will of His Father. Christians are followers of Christ, and we must remember as servants that we are not greater than our master. (John 13:16 … 15:20) Let us not lose focus, no matter what our circumstances – be it blessed with plenty, or in need. Learn to be content by focusing on what is important …. our walk and relationship with God the Father, Jesus His Son, and the Holy Spirit.

Because of His Grace ~ Pastor David

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