Monday, January 30, 2012

He is who He says He is!

Hebrews 11:6
But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.

While reading this passage on Sunday the words, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, stood out to me.

Many times we ask God to pour out his blessing in our lives but we fail to believe his word. We go to God with problems, requests, and needs but do we truly believe that they will happen?
Without much thought we allow the ways of this world to be our ways when we ask for things that God has already done. We are in effect telling God we believe we just don’t believe that it can happen that way.

This past week our drummer stepped out of his vehicle to come to worship practice and popped his ankle. Within an hour it was the size of a grapefruit and we were planning an acoustic set for Sunday worship. We all prayed for him to be well and also discussed how long he might be out as it looked bad.
Now we are a faith driven congregation that believes God is who he says and can do what he says he can do but the flesh took over our thoughts, instead of seeing in the spirit we saw with our flesh.
On Sunday morning he came in completely healed. The initial response was I can’t believe he is walking on that ankle. Then I remembered reading this passage before leaving the house.

We must get into his word into our hearts, and spirits and meditate on them daily.

For he who comes to God must believe that He is,

Have a blessed week!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Closet Christians

Last night I read an article about a gentleman named Chuck Smith, one of the founders of "the Jesus movement" in the sixties. He talked about how he and his wife used to go down to Huntington Beach to witness to the kids that were hanging out. He also talked about a gentleman named Lonnie Frisbee that would hitch hike just so he could witness to the people that picked him up.

This article got me thinking about Christians today and how far we would go to spread the gospel. The truth is most of the church today act as if they are members of an elite club and are not looking for new members. What I mean by that is the largest part of the body of Christ today care for their fellow man and will pray for them but don't do anything to share the good news of Jesus Christ. It is not that they don't love each other it is just not acceptable today to share your faith, so no one presses the issue.

In the early days of the church Peter, Paul, James and other early founders were imprisoned and executed for spreading the gospel. In fact in countries across the world today people are killed for what they believe.

Would you still attend church if there was threat of imprisonment, would you carry your bible if it meant public persecution, would you wear a cross if it meant you may be killed? Many of us if given these predicaments would hesitate before answering these questions. It is human nature to fear these things but according to God's word we are not of this world or subject to the fears of our past. But satan being the ruler of this world knows human nature and preys on our unbelief and fears.

Romans 12:1,2
1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. 2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.

In order for their to be a real change in the world today the Church and we as Believers have got to come out of the closet and profess to the world our beliefs and not be ashamed of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Romans 1:16,17
16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek. 17 For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “The just shall live by faith.”

Mark 16:15
15 And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Giving until it feels good!

Giving until it feels good!
Last week we talked about what it means to give and the way that giving has been twisted into something far beyond what God meant for it to be. It seems today that some have used giving as a way of making one feel guilty for what they have or have been blessed with, almost as if Christ was never crucified or raised from the dead.
I have searched through the bible and have not found the scripture that says God did not want us to be prosperous or live in abundance. In fact I have found several scriptures that say just the opposite, that God wants us to prosper, he wants us to have an abundant life. I find if you want someone to know how to love, you must first show them love, God showed us His love through His Son. If you want someone to be a blessing you must show them what it means to be blessed, God gave us every spiritual blessing in heavenly places in Christ Jesus.

Isaiah 55:1,2
1 “Ho! Everyone who thirsts,
      Come to the waters;
      And you who have no money,
      Come, buy and eat.
      Yes, come, buy wine and milk
      Without money and without price.
       2 Why do you spend money for what is not bread,
      And your wages for what does not satisfy?
      Listen carefully to Me, and eat what is good,
      And let your soul delight itself in abundance.

Jeremiah 31: 13-15
3 “ Then shall the virgin rejoice in the dance,
      And the young men and the old, together;
      For I will turn their mourning to joy,
      Will comfort them,
      And make them rejoice rather than sorrow.
       14 I will satiate the soul of the priests with abundance,
      And My people shall be satisfied with My goodness, says the LORD.”

I think that when one gives it should be until he feels good not until it hurts. That is the reason I used a question mark at the end of last week's subject line. I have seen too many people use that phrase as if it were the right thing to do to give until it hurts but I feel if it hurts you then you are not giving freely or generously. I believe Paul has nailed it with his words in the following passage when he says let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver. If I read this correct if I were to give until it hurts then more than likely I wouldn't be very cheerful.

2 Corinthians 9:7,8
7 So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver. 8 And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work.

Have a blessed week,

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Giving until it hurts?

This morning I was watching a television evangelist and was troubled by what I heard. This gentleman was asking the people to sow a seed of a thousand dollars, that in so doing God would bless them. To begin with God does not bless you by how much you give, although we are told to give and take care of each other, we will cover that more in depth in this series, he blesses you according to his grace and your faith. That is not what really troubled me as these false prophets are all around us and after all Jesus warned about them many times, too many to list them all.

Matthew 7:15,16
15 “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. 16 You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles?

The part that troubled me was the next part when one of his associates started reading quotes from people that had called in with their “donation”. The gentleman went on to say that many of the people were calling in and putting the whole $1,000 on their credit card and that some had asked if it could be put on a stretch pay like HSN has, to take out $100 a month from their card. The gentleman then said, ”Of course I would not want them to miss out because they do not have all the money upfront.”

I believe this sort of thing is what is taking our great nation down the path that it is on. Most of us in America are guilty of running up debt on things we don’t need. I am not condemning anyone as it is so hard not to conform to the world’s system, but it is not biblical and it bothers me to have a preacher who claims to be spreading the gospel so blatantly going against the bible.

I believe one should tithe and support their church and give generously but you should not go into debt to do so. The widow gave all she had but she didn't borrow so she could give more and be blessed according to her gift. As Jesus said,“Truly I say to you that this poor widow has put in more than all;" you see we are blessed by what he gave, not by what we give.

We will cover more on what it means to give as we continue this series. Please be a blessing to someone you meet this week.

Deuteronomy 28:11,12
11 And the LORD will grant you plenty of goods, in the fruit of your body, in the increase of your livestock, and in the produce of your ground, in the land of which the LORD swore to your fathers to give you. 12 The LORD will open to you His good treasure, the heavens, to give the rain to your land in its season, and to bless all the work of your hand. You shall lend to many nations, but you shall not borrow.

Ephesians 1:3-6
3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, 4 just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, 5 having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, 6 to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He made us accepted in the Beloved.

Monday, January 2, 2012

In the beginning!

Hello everyone,

We are starting a new year and with the new year I thought it would be good to go back to the beginning.

Genesis 1: 1,2
1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. 2 The earth was without form, and void; and darkness was on the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.

Like the earth in the beginning of our lives or anything we have done we are without form and void. I think about learning guitar when I think about without form and void. My poor parents listening to me in the beginning of my guitar playing would have definitely agreed.

Any time we start something we are like toddlers learning to walk it is difficult and awkward and we fall and make mistakes. In Genesis God started by creating the earth knowing he was making a paradise for us to live. I believe he also knew that even though we were in paradise it would be impossible for us to live freely without making mistakes. That is a good thing for us as with knowing we would make mistakes he also had a plan for redemption and a fresh start with no prior scores.

With the start of a new year I think of new beginnings and the born again spirit one can have by accepting Christ as his Savior. I always think of Paul when I think of fresh starts as Paul was the champion of fresh starts and new beginnings. He was the biggest persecutor of the Way and one event on the road to Damascus made him the biggest proponent for The Church.

As you contemplate your New Year's resolutions start them with the resolve Paul talked about in the following passage by renewing your mind first and accepting the blessing God has already given us.

Romans 12:1,2
 1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. 2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.

Have a blessed week,