Monday, August 13, 2018

Come Up Higher

My word for the day is hope.

Hope is a vital entity in life. When it seems hope is gone, diminished, or even shaky, it affects every other area of life. The thing about hope is- it's about unseen things. Hope refers to something you don't have, but desperately want or need or have been promised. When hope is absent, you begin to believe you will not attain that unseen thing. Depression, bitterness, isolation, and grief are companions of lost hope.

Without hope, you give up on a lot of things and I'm not talking about extravagant things, but just ordinary peace, joy, love, the goodness of God, kindness from others, faith, and especially your future.

Diminished hope turns you into a person who believes they are not deserving of good things.

Diminished hope makes you believe that you are insignificant to others.

Diminished hope makes you give up on your dreams, your potential, your calling, and your destiny.

Diminished hope is a plan canceller.

Diminished hope steals your days and it steals your years.

Diminished hope is the thief of health and happiness.

Diminished hope is a liar that paints a different picture of you, trying to make you forget who God made you and His intentions for you.

Diminished hope makes you believe that God has forgotten you.

That is a lie. He has not forgotten you.

Lift up your weary face to a God who has been calling your name. Turn to Him and cry out to Jesus! He is our hope.

God is the restorer of hope. He has hope for you and for me. We can take our empty hope cup and hold it up to Him to be filled today. Let Jesus love you today.

That is my prayer. God, give us hope and cut off the things in our lives that steal hope! But mostly, let us know and experience your LOVE today, that we will be restored in LOVE, FAITH, and HOPE!

Romans 13:12-13

12 For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known.

13 And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.

Saturday, August 11, 2018

The sooner we switch into war mode, the faster we will tap into the moral resolve needed to defeat personal oppression and secure victory. As we are changed, so we can begin to influence the world around us. So rebuke passivity and take authority over self-pity. God will give grace to prevail.
-Frances Frangipane #WarMode

Friday, September 22, 2017

On Repentance and Forgiveness

Dealing with forgiveness- forgiveness that you need to receive and forgiveness that you need to give. There is no better, cleaner feeling than to have everything right with man, but especially everything right with your Maker, God.

Many times we equate repentance and forgiveness with acts God calls the sinner to. But the truth is, no matter how long you have been walking with Christ, you will need to be in the habit of asking for and giving forgiveness. It's because we are still dealing with our prideful flesh, our sinful nature, and our hard core instinct of self preservation. All these things are opposed to God and His ways. 

In Acts 2, when Peter began to tell the multitude about how it was their hands that crucified Jesus, and put him to death. At that point, they were cut to the heart by the truth of what he was saying and they cried out to Peter, "What must we do?" He said “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is to you and to your children, and to all who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God will call.”

What we need on a regular basis, is to have our cold hearts "cut" by the truth of God. We need to digest the Word of God and let the Holy Spirit speak to us about what things we have swept under the rug, figuratively. We humans like to focus on other people's sin but would rather bypass any observation or inspection of our own sin. 

The big one is you have to give it, in order to get it. Yes, you have to forgive those who have hurt you in order to receive forgiveness yourself. I know. It's hard. But it's worth it.

Lots of times we see scripture on a page, in a sermon, on a card and we just glance through it, but I'd like to ask the reader to read the following scripture, just like the Lord has lead me to, and let the Holy Spirit speak to you as you read. 

If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 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 that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us.
1 John 1-8-10

But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses. Matthew 6:5

“For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses" Matthew 6:14, 15

Judge not, and you shall not be judged. Condemn not, and you shall not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. Luke 6:37

Then Peter came to Him and said, “Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? Up to seven times?”Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven. Matthew 18:21-22

The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us,not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.
2 Peter 3:9

And do you think this, O man, you who judge those practicing such things, and doing the same, that you will escape the judgment of God? Or do you despise the riches of His goodness, forbearance, and longsuffering, not knowing that the goodness of God leads you to repentance? But in accordance with your hardness and your impenitent heart you are treasuring up for yourself wrath in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God,
Romans 2:3-5

Now I rejoice, not that you were made sorry, but that your sorrow led to repentance. For you were made sorry in a godly manner, that you might suffer loss from us in nothing. 10 For godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation, not to be regretted; but the sorrow of the world produces death.
2 Corinthians 7:9-10

In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace, which He made to abound toward us in all wisdom and prudence, Ephesians 1:7

Blessed are those whose lawless deeds are forgiven,
And whose sins are covered;
Blessed is the man to whom the Lord shall not impute sin.
Romans 4:6-8

but He whom God raised up saw no corruption. 38 Therefore let it be known to you, brethren, that through this Man is preached to you the forgiveness of sins; 39 and by Him everyone who believes is justified from all things from which you could not be justified by the law of Moses.
Acts 13:37-39

As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten. Therefore be zealous and repent.
Revelation 3:19

The Unforgivable Sin
“And anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man, it will be forgiven him; but to him who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit, it will not be forgiven.
Luke 12:10

Simple Prayer: Father, I am a sinner. I know that my thoughts, actions, and words have grieved you. I know that on my best day, doing my kindest act, that my goodness is filthy rags in Your sight. There is no righteousness in me. But Your Word says that if I confess my sins You will be faithful to forgive them. So I confess these things to You: ____________________ (name your sin to the Father)  and I repent for sinning. I ask You to forgive me and cleanse me from all unrighteousness.

Lord, I know I need to forgive anyone who has wronged me, so right now I forgive everyone who has wronged me in any way. I forgive: _____________________________

Now I know, Lord, that You have forgiven me because I believe Your Word, the Bible. I confess that You, Jesus, are Lord of my life. I will serve You and walk with You and read Your Word. I invite You into every area of my life to be King. I believe You died for my sin, were whipped for my healing, You were resurrected to life, and You are alive today and living in me. Draw me closer to You and fill me with Your Holy Spirit, the Comforter and Guide. I am a new creation in Christ and I have been set free.

I give You all the praise and all the glory for what You are doing in my life.
In Jesus name,

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Winning and Losing

Just my thoughts on the emotions of winning and losing:
I was in a workshop just last week that brought up the fact that most people born after 1985ish, sadly fall prey to the ideology that everyone should receive an award for participation. We no longer have winners standing with humility and losers standing with just the ambition to learn more and train harder. The purpose of the "participation award" was to alleviate the feeling of loss, sadness, etc, when a young person or his/her team did not "win". Parents did not want children to experience the pain of losing, but I'm telling you it's a part of life and they need to learn coping skills.

I'm afraid that this has led to many adults who cannot process a win with humility, nor a loss with grace. True character is revealed at these times. You have either been trained to be honorable and respectful to other humans at all times, or you haven't learned to navigate through the highs and lows of life, submitting everyone else to bragging/ hyped up self promotion or grown up selfish temper tantrums.

It's a lack of character when you loudly demean others, draw attention to yourself, and create chaos for others in the name of "expressing" your feelings, especially involving innocent bystanders. Everyone is tired of the current behavior of self-perceived winners and even self-perceived losers. More importantly, it should be a warning to parents and educators everywhere to stop "cushioning" the events of life for children. Let them learn from authentic experience.
It's not unlike the parable of the workers who were paid the same for different time spent working. Life does not always deal us what we think is fair. But the question is- what character will be seen in you?

For the believer, this means showing respect even when none is shown to you. I know it's hard, but it's our mandate.

God's Take on "Fairness"

“God’s kingdom is like an estate manager who went out early in the morning to hire workers for his vineyard. They agreed on a wage of a dollar a day, and went to work.

“Later, about nine o’clock, the manager saw some other men hanging around the town square unemployed. He told them to go to work in his vineyard and he would pay them a fair wage. They went.

“He did the same thing at noon, and again at three o’clock. At five o’clock he went back and found still others standing around. He said, ‘Why are you standing around all day doing nothing?’

“They said, ‘Because no one hired us.’

“He told them to go to work in his vineyard.

“When the day’s work was over, the owner of the vineyard instructed his foreman, ‘Call the workers in and pay them their wages. Start with the last hired and go on to the first.’

“Those hired at five o’clock came up and were each given a dollar. When those who were hired first saw that, they assumed they would get far more. But they got the same, each of them one dollar. Taking the dollar, they groused angrily to the manager, ‘These last workers put in only one easy hour, and you just made them equal to us, who slaved all day under a scorching sun.’

“He replied to the one speaking for the rest, ‘Friend, I haven’t been unfair. We agreed on the wage of a dollar, didn’t we? So take it and go. I decided to give to the one who came last the same as you. Can’t I do what I want with my own money? Are you going to get stingy because I am generous?’

“Here it is again, the Great Reversal: many of the first ending up last, and the last first.”

Matthew 20:1-16 The Message Bible

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Your Role In Bringing Your Children To Christ

Today, I want to talk to you about your role in bringing your children to Christ.

Not my role.

Your role.

I want to talk about the exciting prospect of your son or daughter coming to Christ, Repenting of their sins, and following Him. Not just merely, a hand raised in Kids Church.  Those are easy to get.  You could ask who wants to give their heart to Jesus and every single child will raise their hand.

What we want to avoid is a false sense of salvation in our kids.  If you come back to kids church, you will find that we do not treat your children as though they are all little miniature saints. We talk to them about sin, repentance, doing the 180, and following Christ. Think about the confusion a child will feel, if he or she thinks that because they raised their hand once, now they have eternal life.

“The truth is that, for any child (or adult) to be saved, there must be an understanding of the nature of sin. He must turn from his sin and trust in Jesus to save him. Eternal life comes not from saying a prayer or making a decision, but from “repentance toward God and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ” (Acts 20:21). Genuine salvation must be a work of God. 

We can have as much a part in the spiritual birth of our children as we have in the planting of a tree.  As parents we are make ready the soil of the child’s heart, plant the pure seed of the Word of God, keep away harmful influences, and faithfully water it with believing prayer.

Here is a biblical truth: if we want to raise Godly children, the best way to do it is to be Godly parents. Parents, whether you like it or not, your children will tend to follow your examples. Good examples and bad examples. What example are you setting for your children? If you want your children to respect what you say, they must respect you. That means they need to see you living the life, walking the walk, talking the talk. Don't talk about "doing the right thing", if you are not doing the right thing. It's called hypocrisy.

Hypocrisy kills respect. Your son or daughter will not respect you, nor follow your instructions, when they see you as a hypocrite.