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. 

Thursday, August 28, 2014

On the subject of persecution...

By faith these people overthrew kingdoms, ruled with justice, and received what God had promised them. They shut the mouths of lions, quenched the flames of fire, and escaped death by the edge of the sword. Their weakness was turned to strength. They became strong in battle and put whole armies to flight.Women received their loved ones back again from death.

But others were tortured, refusing to turn from God in order to be set free. They placed their hope in a better life after the resurrection. Some were jeered at, and their backs were cut open with whips. Others were chained in prisons. Some died by stoning, some were sawed in half,[d] and others were killed with the sword. Some went about wearing skins of sheep and goats, destitute and oppressed and mistreated. They were too good for this world, wandering over deserts and mountains, hiding in caves and holes in the ground.

All these people earned a good reputation because of their faith, yet none of them received all that God had promised. For God had something better in mind for us, so that they would not reach perfection without us.

Hebrews 11

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

There Arose A Great Storm

Anytime you are on the front lines of battle and you are doing something for the kingdom of God, the enemy attacks against your life will escalate.

Even Jesus came under such attack when He was preparing to cast a legion of demons out of the demoniac of Gadara. Mark 4... Violent winds seem to show up from nowhere, attempting to capsize Jesus' boat.  Read it and you will see "and there arose a great storm". The phrase, "there arose" is taken from the Greek ginomai. This word discribes something that happens unexpectedly or catches one off guard.

I'm sure that Jesus' disciples, being experienced fishermen, launched their boat in perfect weather. Nothing was overcast. No bad weather was brewing. They expected a perfect night for sailing.

Who has ever been there? Everything was thumbs up. A-OK. Everything looked very positive and good.  ...."when suddenly there arose a great storm of wind." The Greek for "great" here is "mega"... as in megastorm.

Get the picture?

Another point to understand is that it was a mega storm of WIND. Not a mega storm of rain, thunder, lightning, etc.  This obviously was an attempt to destroy or hinder Jesus and His crew of disciples. Because on the other side of that lake was one of Satan's most prized possessions, the demoniac of Gadara. He did not want Jesus to make it to the other side. So Satan made his move, his best strike against the kingdom to prevent or undo the work of Jesus.

I'm sure you know what happened next. Jesus exercised His authority of that mega storm of wind and the waves it kicked up. The Word says "the wind ceased and there was a great calm."

If Jesus is your Lord, then you are no different than Him. Your attack will come on the brink of your victory. Satan will try to shake you. He will try to paint a bleak and dark picture of your future. Prepare yourself now.

  • Put on the whole armor of God.
  • Take authority over the wind and waves that come suddenly. (mega is no problem for Jesus)
  • Be deligent about covering yourself in prayer, along with family, business, church, finances, ministry.
  • Leave no "doorways of sin" open.
  • Get ready to see a demonstration of God's power in your life!

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Psalms 8:3-4

When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers,
The moon and the stars, which You have ordained,
What is man that You are mindful of him,
And the son of man that You visit him?

Tuesday, September 3, 2013


Grumbling and complaining. There is nothing worse than to have to listen to another person constantly grumble and complain. It's like fingernails on a chalk board, a dripping faucet, barking dogs in the middle of the night, or even worse... whining children. We all hate it when it comes from someone else but why do we do it ourselves? Why do we think of it as just a minor thing that's really not so bad?

How serious do you think it is when we complain? Let's see what God says.

Do all things without complaining and disputing. Philippians 2:14

Now when the people complained, it displeased the Lord; for the Lord heard it, and His anger was aroused. So the fire of the Lord burned among them, and consumed some in the outskirts of the camp. Numbers 11:1 (ouch!)

How long shall I bear with this evil congregation who complain against Me? I have heard the complaints which the children of Israel make against Me. Numbers 14:27 (congregation plus complaining against God equals evil. HMMMMMM...)

The carcasses of you who have complained against Me shall fall in this wilderness, all of you who were numbered, according to your entire number, from twenty years old and above. Numbers 14:29 (carcasses? As in dead bodies. Yep.)

Therefore I will not restrain my mouth; I will speak in the anguish of my spirit; I will complain in the bitterness of my soul. Job 7:11 (not restraining the mouth leads to anguish of the soul which leads to more complaining which then results in bitterness. I am beginning to see a trend.)

In 1 Corinthians, Paul tells us: Moreover, brethren, I do not want you to be unaware that all our fathers were under the cloud, all passed through the sea, all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea, 3 all ate the same spiritual food, and all drank the same spiritual drink. For they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them, and that Rock was Christ. But with most of them God was not well pleased, for their bodies were scattered in the wilderness. Now these things became our examples, to the intent that we should not lust after evil things as they also lusted. And do not become idolaters as were some of them. As it is written, "The people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play."

Next, Paul goes on to say this: Nor let us commit sexual immorality, as some of them did, and in one day twenty-three thousand fell; nor let us tempt Christ, as some of them also tempted, and were destroyed by serpents;  nor complain, as some of them also complained, and were destroyed by the destroyer. 1 Corinthians 10:1-10  Paul is listing the failings of the children of Israel, and ends with saying that some of them complained and they were destroyed by the destroyer. Don't let this slip by! Now, who was this destroyer? Go to Revelations 9:11. And they had as king over them the angel of the bottomless pit, whose name in Hebrew is Abaddon "Destroyer", but in Greek he has the name Apollyon "Destruction". 

A word of caution, guard your tongue.
Guard your heart.
Guard your mind.
When you open the door to complaining and grumbling, you open the door to hell... you welcome in the Destroyer and the destruction begins.