Nov

13

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Categories: God's Word

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What is Meditation?

meditationThe period of European history known as the Dark Ages were just that—dark. Mortality rates were exceptionally high. Medical advances could not keep up with the spread of disease. Poverty and illiteracy were pervasive. And on top of all that, the light of God’s Word was monopolized and distorted by the Roman Catholic Church. Only the religious elite had access to Scripture, and most of them manipulated and perverted its message beyond recognition.

That darkness gave way to the Reformation. The Protestant Reformers recovered the gospel and made Scripture accessible to the common man. They rejected the idea of a pope who presumed to speak for God on earth. God spoke through Scripture and the Reformers devoted themselves tirelessly to the labor of making it readily available in the language of the people.

Today, people all over the world can own and study the Bible in their own languages. That great blessing for Christians brings the responsibility to study God’s Word. And from that study, believers have the joy and duty of representing the Creator and proclaiming His message.

Those fundamentals, when incorporated into your study of Scripture, will progressively grow your knowledge of God and yourself, and cultivate a well-rounded biblical worldview. It is in His Word that God has chosen to reveal Himself to us in an intimate and saving way. He owns us, knows us, and holds us responsible to know, understand, and proclaim Him on His terms and not our own.

Scripture is sacred and we should treat it as such by carefully handling its truth. Paul exhorted Timothy to study Scripture as a workman “accurately handling the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15). The tradesmen of Paul’s time needed to carry out their work with precision and great care. Paul was saying that the same sort of approach is needed when studying Scripture.

God instructed Israel concerning that very issue:

These words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up. (Deuteronomy 6:6–7)

In other words, you ought to have God’s Word running around in your mind all the time. If you’re reading a portion of the New Testament thirty times in a row, as previously suggested, it will penetrate and shape your thinking. It should lead to meditation, which takes all the dimensions of study we’ve discussed and molds them into a unified understanding of biblical truth.

The word meditate can evoke thoughts of empty minds and eastern religions. But it is more likely that Hindus and Buddhists borrowed the term from the Bible and twisted its meaning to conform with their false religions. From the time of Joshua’s military conquest of Canaan, we hear the Lord instructing His people to meditate on God’s Word (Joshua 1:8). So what does meditate mean? Biblically, it means to focus your mind on one subject.

In Deuteronomy, God tells His people that they should bind His words, “as a sign on your hand and they shall be as frontals to your forehead. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates” (Deuteronomy 6:8–9). God says He wants His Word everywhere.

David highlighted the role meditation plays in our sanctification when he wrote the first Psalm. The blessed man is one who meditates both day and night on God’s law rather than seeking counsel in the fellowship of unbelievers (Psalm 1:1–3). It is the key to his perseverance and fruitfulness as a child of God.

Meditation is no less needed today. We live in a culture that continually assaults us with distractions through billboards, television, the Internet, and more. God says that we should keep His Word perpetually in front of our eyes, filling our minds and conversations wherever we go.

Paul clarified what our minds should feed on:

Whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things. (Philippians 4:8)

Ultimately, our ongoing relationship with God hinges on sound biblical study. He places monumental importance on knowing, proclaiming, and worshipping Him rightly. And Scripture is the engine driving all of those things. The Dark Ages may have ended, but those who neglect to study and meditate on Scripture shun the light of God’s Word and continue to walk in willful darkness.

 

 

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Jul

18

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Categories: Truth For Today

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The World in Crisis – Can You Make a Difference?

The World Crisis 2012

 

“The word that most adequately describes this age is crisis. Political convulsions, national upheaval, racial unrest, rebellion against the existing order and outright revolution are becoming almost normal. We know that tomorrow’s headlines will probably bring some new crisis to our attention.

Many people are asking, “Where is history heading?” A careful student of the Bible will see that God controls the clock of destiny. Amid the world’s confusion, God’s omnipotent hand moves, working out His unchanging plan and purpose; and the kingdoms of this world shall become the Kingdom of the Lord Jesus Christ, “For He must reign till He has put all enemies under His feet” (1 Corinthians 15:25).

Jesus Christ is coming to earth again. It is Christ who is in control, and He will determine the outcome. If the Bible is clear on any point, it is this: “To those who eagerly wait for Him He will appear a second time” (Hebrews 9:28).

What is to be the attitude of the Christian toward the fact of Christ’s coming? One man said to me, “Well, the Lord is coming soon; so what is there to do about anything?”

Such a fatalistic attitude is not the one taught by the Lord Jesus Christ. When He told His disciples of His return to earth, He said, “Do business till I come” (Luke 19:13), and “Blessed is that servant whom his master, when he comes, will find so doing” (Matthew 24:46).

Dwight L. Moody once said, “I look upon this world as a wrecked vessel. Its ruin is getting nearer and nearer. God said to me, ‘Moody, here’s a lifeboat. Go out and rescue as many as you can before the ship sinks.’” If the end seemed about to come in Moody’s day (he died in 1899), how much closer must we be to the climax of history?

If there was ever a time when we should man the lifeboats and go out and rescue as many as we can, it is now. That is why we proclaim the Gospel in the strategic centers of the world wherever we can.

We believe this is a day of glorious opportunity to proclaim the saving grace and power of Christ, and to declare the Gospel against the opposition of every false ideology.

George Whitefield, the great English evangelist, said, “I am daily waiting for the coming of the Son of God.” But he did not sit down and do nothing. He burned out his life in proclaiming the Gospel of Christ.

The prophet Daniel lived in a pagan nation and under the worst possible conditions. He knew that God’s judgment was about to come, but he did not fold his hands and wait for it to strike. He opened wide his windows toward Jerusalem and prayed. And he walked with God.

It would not seem that the reign of Ahab and Jezebel in Israel would have been a good setting for the ministry of a great prophet of God. But Elijah walked with God during that dark period, and he used the treachery of cowardly King Ahab and the clever strategy of the evil Queen Jezebel as a backdrop against which to reflect the glory and power of God.

Crisis times are times when Christ should be proclaimed. Although there has never been a worldwide revival, I believe we may be on the verge of one now. The Spirit of God is making His power felt throughout the world. From Africa, Asia, Latin America and North America, from the islands of the sea and from Australia, there are reports of the activity of the Spirit of God. This is a glorious time to be alive.

I have found that people everywhere, all over the world, will respond to the Gospel of Jesus Christ if we present it simply, with Christian compassion.

There are some who are in deep despair. I receive many letters daily from people who are discouraged, depressed and ready to give up. They are yielding to the pessimism of our times, to the mood and spirit of our day. A man in England wrote, “It’s too late to do anything about the world.”

That isn’t true. All is not lost. We still have the Bible, and “the word of God is not chained” (2 Timothy 2:9). We still have the Holy Spirit. We still have the fellowship of believers. We still have the prayers of God’s people. We still have an open door to most of the world for proclaiming the Gospel.

There is much to be gained. Remember, Jesus said: “Blessed is that servant whom his master will find so doing when he comes” (Luke 12:43).

I would like to give you three keys that will open doors of usefulness and power for you. The first is the key of humility—humility born of honest self-evaluation. It is essential for all people to realize their own weaknesses, sins and failures. The Bible says, “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us” (1 John 1:8). The word for sin here is hamartia; it means “missing the mark, failing, falling short.”

To confess that we are sinners is the most difficult thing for us to do, because we are so proud. We want to feel that we can be good and honorable and decent without any help from God.

But God has declared, “There is none righteous, no, not one” (Romans 3:10), and since “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23), that means me.

The Bible tells me that I have sinned.

My conscience tells me that I have sinned.

My reason tells me that I have sinned.

Every part of my nature points an accusing finger and cries, “Guilty! Guilty! There is none righteous!”

John Bunyan said, “When I saw John Bunyan as God saw John Bunyan, I did not say I was a sinner; I said that I was sin from the top of my head to the soles of my feet.”

Great prophets were used of God because they were humble. They saw themselves as God saw them and realized the truth about themselves. When you confess with Isaiah, “I am a man of unclean lips” (Isaiah 6:5), you will stand on the threshold of a victorious life. When you face the fact of your own inadequacy, your own failure, your own sinfulness, you have taken the first step toward gaining a glorious and wonderful personal victory that will carry you through the days of crisis that lie ahead.

The second key is the recognition that God’s standard of a holy life is not attainable by human effort. God is first of all concerned with what you are. What you do is the result of what you are.

There is no way that we by ourselves can generate sanctification. Our sanctification is Christ. There is no way we can be holy. Our holiness is Christ. This caused Paul to write: “not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith” (Philippians 3:9).

The third key is reliance on the Holy Spirit. To paraphrase Galatians 5:16—“Walk by means of the Spirit.” In Romans 8:14 Paul writes: “As many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.”

You cannot live the Christian life by yourself. The Holy Spirit must live in you and express Himself through you.

Paul said, “The life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me” (Galatians 2:20). “Likewise you also, reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:11).

Sin shall no longer rule or dominate you when you are allowing the Holy Spirit to live Christ’s life through you. It is living by faith, living by trust, living in dependence upon God.

If we look to our own resources, our own strength or our own ability, as Peter did when he walked on the water, we will fail. During these crisis days, we must remember that many stumble along the road of life. We must rescue as many as we can before catastrophe strikes.

God is at work in the midst of crisis. In the midst of the problems, pessimism and frustrations of our day, God is doing His own work. Let us realize that there are certain things we cannot do. Let us be faithful in the things He has called us to do.

Will you surrender totally to Christ? As you look forward to the day when Christ shall return, be up and about your Father’s business—give of your income, spend time in prayer, be faithful in worship, tell others about Jesus Christ—and you will discover the usefulness, the optimism, the confidence, that belong to God’s children.”

Billy Graham 1962

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Sep

12

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Categories: Marriage

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Are You Supposed to Marry a Believer?

marry a believerPeople have all kinds of ideas and notions on whom they are to marry, how they go about finding “the one” to marry, and the list of standards and ideals they have for the one they marry.  Let’s clear up a few things, shall we?

The bible doesn’t say anything about waiting for your soul mate to get married. It also doesn’t say anything about God having that one special person just for you…although people will argue with me on that one! What it does say is that we are to get or find a spouse—that means you don’t sit and wait for God drop one into your lap.

The only other clear directive to believers is to make sure that the person you marry is also a believer. (See 1Corinthians 7:39 and 2 Corinthians 6:14.) Notice that scripture doesn’t tell us to marry a person who simply says he or she is a believer.  There is a huge difference between the two, but in all honesty, most people don’t get that.

Far too often single people—especially women—will date anyone who claims to be a Christian regardless of whether or not they have any real evidence of action to back that report up. You are not a Christian just because you went to church as a child, or because you attend services on Christmas and Easter. Even sitting in church every Sunday doesn’t make you a Christian any more than sitting in your garage makes you a car.  There are signs that you need to look for when trying to evaluate a person’s commitment to their faith. And make no mistake, it is exactly what you should be doing during the dating process.

Does the person actually show the fruit of their proclamation of faith? Does he regularly attend worship? Is she actively involved in a local church body? How often does he read his bible, pray, or fast? Is she a generous giver who volunteers her time, money and also tithes? Or is this person someone who just stamps “Christian” on their life but is not living out the Christian disciplines? Are they impatient, inflexible, demanding and selfish? Do their behaviors reflect the heart of a true believer or do they act no differently than those pagans in the world around us?

You need to really look at the person you are interested in and honestly assess their commitment to self- restraint, denying their flesh, exercising sacrificial attitudes and a devotion to truly following Jesus Christ. Check the fruit. Are they the real deal, or just some facsimile or counterfeit of a genuine believer? Far too often single people will jump into a relationship and get all emotionally tangled with another person who claims to be a believer but in reality, is living like total hell.

They don’t read the bible, pray, give to or even attend a church regularly. Some of these men and women may attend church but are out there living just like the heathens when it comes to dating by freely giving oral sex or fornicating their little brains on the first few dates. Clearly there are those who say they are a Christian, and then there are those that truly live as one.

Singles out there in the dating pool must be more discerning and less duped and dense when it comes to choosing the person they will be yoked to in marriage. Don’t make the common mistake thinking all that matters is what a person says in regard to their faith. This is definitely a time that actions speak louder than words, and you need to see their faith in action.

 

Love Note To A Very Special Person…You

Remember how it felt when you received a love letter from your true love?  It was a note of encouragement telling you how much you are loved.  How would you like to receive a love note from God? The one who loves you with an

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Dec

12

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Categories: Faith, Grace

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Although You Are in the Battle – You Never Walk Alone

We finished our last post with Romans 7:24; “Wretched man that I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death?” That was Paul’s cry out from the frustration he was feeling. In his heart and in his mind he wanted to follow after God, but in his flesh he keep listening to beckoning and calling of the sin that was still present.

You’ve come to Jesus Christ and have asked Him to forgive you and cleanse you from the sin that so easily dominates your thinking and your living. You want to follow after Him with your whole heart, mind, and soul, but there is still that ugly old boss that thinks he can still order us around. You hate him and you don’t want to live under his domain any longer.

Chapter six of Romans talks about us being free from the penalty of our sin. We have been set free, not only from the penalty of our sin, but also over the dominance of sin. It has no more authority over us. We have been redeemed, we have been bought back from sin’s domain and we now belong to Christ. We have been adopted into His family by faith in the finished work of Jesus Christ on the cross. We can now say yes to God and no to sin.

“So you too consider yourselves  dead to sin, but  alive to God in Christ Jesus.” Romans 6:11

Now for the first time in our lives we can say no to sin and yes to God! The door has been open and we can freely walk into a relationship with the God who created you and me and this entire universe…but sins influence is still there. The battle lines have been drawn. Who are we going to listen too and who are we going to obey?

That’s the battle that we see in Romans chapter seven. Read and re-read it. See if you don’t see the same battle and the same struggle, going on in your own heart and mind, that Paul is describing in chapter seven.

Then we come to the first verse of Romans chapter eight…“There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.”

No condemnation means no judgement. You and I will never be judged for our sin, that penalty was paid for by the blood of Jesus Christ. The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. He did it once for all of humanity, and if you have become a member of His family, by faith in the finished work of Jesus Christ on the cross, you are set free from the penalty and judgement of your sin. That’s been established and will never change.

But there is a war going on, and the old man still wants to boss you and I around.

Romans 6:4…”just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too may live a new life.”       

How do we overcome this struggle and how do we live the victorious Christian life? By the power of the dynamite power of the Holy Spirit in our lives.

"The Sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God." Eph. 6:17

Take a look at the apostles. They lived with Jesus, they were taught by Jesus, and they even performed great works for God, while Jesus was still on earth, but that was not enough. Jesus told them that it was important that He go away, and that the Father will send them another comforter.

The Holy Spirit means, one sent alongside to help. Despite the teachings and the things that the apostles had learned, they were not going to be able to do anything until the Holy Spirit would come, and make His dwelling inside each and everyone of them.

“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the farthest parts of the earth.” Acts 1:8

The word power used in this verse, is the same Greek word used in Romans 1:4. It’s the word dynamis, which we get our English word, dynamite. The dynamite power of the Holy Spirit, would come upon the apostles and enable them to spread the gospel, or good news of God, throughout all the world. In the book of Acts, Christ’s church was born and it still is alive and spreading the truth of God throughout all the world, by the same power that raised Jesus back to life again.

It’s by this same power of the Holy Spirit, in your life and mine, that we can live the new life that God wants us to live. You and I can’t live the Christian life, only God can live His life in and through you and me today.

“I have been crucified with Christ,  and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. So the life I now live in the body, I live because of the faithfulness of the Son of God,  who loved me and gave himself for me. Galatians 2:20

How to walk in the power of the Holy Spirit
1) INVITE: Make sure that you have personally invited Christ to be your Savior. “But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared,
he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life” (Titus 3:4-7).
2) CONFESS: Confess sin to God and ask for His cleansing.“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness” (1John (1John 1:9).
3. YIELD: Ask the Holy Spirit to fill you (empower, control).“Don’t be drunk with wine, because that will ruin your life. Instead, “be continuously filled with (controlled by) the Holy Spirit” (Ephesians 5:18 – literal translation). “Holy Spirit, I invite you to take control of my life. I ask you
to be the dominating influence in me. Produce your fruit in me. I can’t do it on my own.” “Holy Spirit, I ask you to empower me to accomplish what is beyond me. Show yourself strong in my life, so that I may bear fruit for God.” “Holy Spirit, teach me how to pray right now. Intercede
through me, Spirit, for you alone know the mind and will of God in this matter.”  “Holy Spirit, I need you to help me put to the death the deeds
of the body. I can’t overcome this on my own. Give me the  victory today.”  “Flee immorality. Every other sin that a man commits is  outside the body, but the immoral man sins against his own  body” (1Corinthians 6:18).

Only a life lived by the influence, motivation, and power of the Holy Spirit, are we ever going to be walking the victorious Christian life. Which voice are you going to obey? You have a new master and He loves you with a love that no man can understand nor explain. His desire is to live in you and conform you into the image of His son, the Lord Jesus Christ.

1Peter 2:2  “As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow by it.”

John 15:3  “Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you.”

“For those who live according to the flesh have their outlook shaped by the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit have their outlook shaped by the things of the Spirit. For the outlook of the flesh is death, but the outlook of the Spirit is life and peace, because the outlook of the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to the law of God, nor is it able to do so. Those who are in the flesh cannot please God. You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God lives in you. Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, this person does not belong to him. But if Christ is in you, your body is dead because of sin, but  the Spirit is your life because of righteousness.  Moreover if the Spirit of the one  who raised Jesus from the dead lives in you, the one who raised Christ  from the dead will also make your mortal bodies alive through his Spirit who lives in you.

“So then,brothers and sisters,we are under obligation, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh (for if you live according to the flesh, you will  die),  but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body you will live.  For all who are led by the Spirit of God are  the sons of God.  For you did not receive the spirit of slavery leading again to fear,but you received the Spirit of adoption, by whom  we cry, “Abba, Father.”  The Spirit himself bears witness to our spirit that we are God’s children. And if children, then heirs (namely, heirs of God and also fellow heirs with Christ) – if indeed we suffer with him so we may also be glorified with him.” Romans 8:5-17




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May

12

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Categories: Faith, True Beauty

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Tummy Tuck, Breast Implants – Will Changing Your Physical Appearance Really Make You Happy?

I was watching a very popular show the other day, that is on network television, in the morning. There are four doctors on the program and each one of them represent a different area of the medical field.

One doctor is female, one from the male side of medicine, one a children’s doctor, and one is a plastic surgeon, or cosmetic surgeon. I think the word plastic surgeon is more appropriate, because that’s what they do, they inject and insert plastic in bodies to make them look younger, hotter, and sexier.

I see this as a very big problem, especially with the women in our world today.

The world breeds discontentment with ourselves, and actually with the God who made us, because it’s good marketing for the products and services that they sell and it makes them a lot of money. To the tune of almost 40 billion dollars a year.

After a women goes through the process of having children, or just the normal process of aging, everyone’s body changes. The world holds that, don’t you want to stay young and sexy for as long as you can, carrot out in front of people, and they run after it as fast as they can.

The majority of people that fall prey to this marketing machine are women but there are also men that go this route as well.

The under-laying factor in all these people is discontentment with themselves and their marriages and other relationships. They are insecure people that don’t want to be out of the loop. They want to be with the in crowd and they want to be the center of the action. Truth and reality are things that they struggle with.

My wife worked for a real estate company and her boss was a millionaire. They had money, two beautiful children, a successful business, but she was not happy with herself and there were some cracks starting up in their marriage. She wanted breast implants.

Michael Jackson - Not Only The King of Pop, but The King of Cosmetic Surgery

This lady is a beautiful women and in my opinion, didn’t need these surgeries, but she went and not only had the breast implants, but also the lip injections. My big question is why is she doing this?

Now everyone will say, it’s for me, or I want to look good for my husband, but is it really? With discontentment, comes the allurement of other eyes and the attention from other sources, that these surgeries will bring. If you are not content with yourself or your marriage, you can be sure, the world will bring some new sources to your door.

I’m not saying that these are things that will happen, but there are natural tendencies that human nature will follow, and you need to be aware of them and how they work or you will fall prey to them and just become another statistic.

I am a Christian, I am a follower of Jesus Christ, and these are situations that every child of God should be aware of. If you are only getting fed from TV and what the world and magazines are saying about you, and how you should look and feel, and your mind and heart are being molded by what they all have to say, you are on the wrong road. You will fall victim to them, not if, but when it happens.

Start finding out what the One who made you has to say about you. Find out why He wired you the way He did. There is a reason why He put you together the way He did. He wants to use you for His purposes and bless you beyond anything that you can think or imagine.

The world says it can change you and make you happy, but God says He wants to give you real contentment and real joy in living. He will give you life and give it to you to the fullest measure. Run to Him, and not to the imaginary mirror that the world holds up for you to see yourself in.

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Apr

22

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Categories: Faith

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The Walk of Faith

Someone asked me, “what is faith?” I think a lot of people ask that question, and I know that I’ve had that question myself, off and on during my Christian life. What do we mean when we say, “we have faith?”

Well we all have faith, but in different things. We have faith when we get into an airplane, we have faith when we get behind the wheel of an automobile, and we have faith when we sit into a chair, that the chair will hold us up and it won’t collapse on us. (I’ve had that happen, by the way.) This is faith that all of us carry every single day of our lives.

We need faith to live, and we need faith to live eternally with God. It’s how our walk with God is initiated. “For by grace you are saved through faith, and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God; it is not from works, so that no one can boast.” Ephesians 2:8-9.

Is it just a leap in the dark, like so many say today? Is it just an, “I hope so”, or “I think this is the way”, statement? Not at all. God gave you a brain, use it. He doesn’t want you to check your brain at the door.

“Now faith is being sure of what we hope for, being convinced of what we do not see.” Hebrews 11:1

Walk of Faith

Now there are not to many things in this world today, that you can be sure of and not to many things that you can be convinced of, but God says you can be of Him.

Chapter 11 of the book of Hebrews is the faith chapter. It goes through all of these people in the bible and talks about the faith that they had in God and what He said. You see, this is not about the great faith these people had, but it’s about the faith they had in a great God. The subject is God, and faith is the vehicle that God uses to work in our lives.

Faith in God is simply believing God is who He said He is and believing what He said. “But without faith it is impossible to please Him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” Heb 11:6

Now that is going to take some knowledge and study to get to know Him, because how can you believe and trust what someone says if you don’t know them. That would be a leap in the dark. Would you get married to someone you just met? No, although some people do, and end up in divorce court before the year is out.

If you have stepped into a relationship with Jesus Christ, and you believe He took the penalty for yours sins on the cross, and you know enough about Him to trust Him with your eternal destiny, than why don’t you move further along in this relationship and really get to know Him so deeply and personal, that His thoughts will be your thoughts and His concerns will be your concerns.

Now I’m not talking about a robot mentality, that’s not what it is at all. Take someone who has been married for fifty, sixty, or even seventy years, they just have to look at each other and they can tell what that person is feeling, simply by a touch or a look. Wouldn’t it be so nice to know God that well. You can!

Let’s just read one example of faith from Hebrews chapter 11. Abraham.

“By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac. He had received the promises, yet he was ready to offer up his only son.  God had told him, “Through Isaac descendants will carry on your name,” and he reasoned that God could even raise him from the dead, and in a sense he received him back from there.” Hebrews 11: 17-19.

God tested Abraham’s faith in Him. (read Job 23:10, James 1:2-3, 1Peter 1:6-8). Abraham knew that God promised His seed would come through Isaac. Abraham had waited a very long time for the birth of Isaac, and now God is telling Abraham to offer Isaac on the alter. That went against everything that God said and everything that God was to Abraham, because Abraham knew God very well.

So when God asked Abraham to offer up Isaac, he didn’t flinch one single bit. It says, “he reasoned that God could even raise him from the dead“. Notice that he reasoned. He didn’t leave his brain at the door. Abraham reasons to himself, “well God said Isaac is the one, I’ve been waiting a long time for him, he just wouldn’t take him away after He promised…I guess He will just raise Isaac back from the dead.”

For all intense and purposes, Abraham was going to sacrifice Isaac on the alter, so God’s word says he basically did receive him back from the dead. You can read the whole story in Genesis chapter 22.

That’s faith my friend. Do you think Abraham could have expressed such a strong faith in someone that he really didn’t know that well? To many of the people who are in our churches today, have met Jesus Christ, but they don’t know Jesus Christ.

There were many others who didn’t receive the end reward of their faith, but it didn’t diminish it at all. They still went to some horrible deaths believing God all the way. “But others were tortured, not accepting release, to obtain resurrection to a better life.” Hebrews 11: 35 It goes on to say that the world is not worthy of them.

Where is your faith today? Do you know Him? I mean, do you really know Him? Are you looking forward to seeing Him when you exit this world as if you were going to be reunited with a very good friend that you haven’t seen in a very long time.

That’s how He wants you to know Him. You can by taking time every single day in His word. He wants to talk to you, and He wants to hear from you today.

“But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be the honor both now and on that eternal day.” 2Peter 3:18

 

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THE LOST FORTUNE

For years the rock served as a doorstop on John Reed’s North Carolina farm. The old Hessian farmer’s son Conrad found the seventeen pound rock in the creek bed but no one thought much of it. It wasn’t until 1802 that a Fayetteville jeweler examined it and then offered $3.50 to the farmer for the stone. John sold it for that price but in the days that followed it was revealed that the yellowish rock was seventeen pounds of solid gold. Adjusted for inflation that means that $300,000.00 of gold in our day was sold for the equivalent in today’s dollars for a little over 50 bucks ($50.00). Like the old German farmer John Reed, many have come to think of eternal life –something with great value –to be something ordinary.

In a materialistic culture as we have in America, we can think of the gift of eternal life to be something ordinary and of little value here and now. We must learn that the prize of eternal life has great value while we are on earth. Eternal life itself isn’t just limited in impact to the future. An American minister named Reverend Ike preached a prosperity gospel. Ike used to speak mockingly of evangelical Christianity as offering only “pie in the sky in the sweet bye and bye.” That isn’t true. The Scriptures reveal that eternal life isn’t simply about the future. I am going to tell you a secret that is more precious than gold and it can liberate you from spiritual bondage.

When we hear the expression “eternal life” we are inclined to think about existence after death. In addition, we are prone to think of eternal life as referring to time and duration – things that will last forever. However, according to John 17:3 this isn’t the main idea behind the concept of eternal life. You may have heard it before and you may have heard it many times but eternal life isn’t just about the future, it is about a relationship. Our relationship to God. Read Jesus’ words carefully, “And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.” (John 17:3.) The word know is speaking of a personal or firsthand knowledge of God. The first time this word for “know” appears in the New Testament is in Matthew in reference to the physical union between Mary and Joseph. Matthew 2:25 tells us that Joseph, “…did not know her till she had brought forth her firstborn Son.” Although this is a different kind of relationship, it still helps us to recognize that the word “know” is used of a firsthand, personal knowledge of another individual.

Let me clarify my point. You must be clear in your thinking and distinguish between “knowing God” and “knowing about God.” We know God by seeking Him by studying the Bible, by meditating upon His Word, through times of prayer, through times of worship and by purposefully obeying His commands. A person needs to seek a supernatural understanding of God’s Word, and he cannot be content with an intellectual understanding of the Bible and God alone. Two of the greatest evangelical voices in the 20th century warned against failing to distinguish between knowing God and only knowing about God. The first voice is, J. I. Packer, who admonishes us about making knowing God just an intellectual endeavor when he writes:

“If the decisive factor was notional correctness, then obviously the most learned biblical scholars would know God better than anyone else. But it is not; you can have all the right notions in your head without ever tasting in your heart the realities to which they refer; and a simple Bible reader and sermon-hearer who is full of the Holy Ghost will develop a far deeper acquaintance with his God and saviour than more learned men who are content with being theologically correct. The reason is that the former will deal with God regarding the practical application of truth to his life, whereas the latter will not.” (J. I. Packer, Knowing God.)

It is possible to know about God without experiencing Him. It is possible to have only an intellectual understanding of who God is It is possible to fail to experience God as the Psalmist invites us: “Oh, taste and see that the LORD is good; Blessed is the man who trusts in Him!” (Psalm 34:8.)

The second voice is A. W. Tozer, who gave a similar warning. In his book The Divine Conquest he spoke of those who seek God in books alone. He then contrasted the person who has only a second hand knowledge of God with one who knows Him firsthand. Tozer says the person who knows God on a personal level will consider an approach on an intellectual basis alone to be a perversion. He wrote that the man who knows God firsthand will be repulsed by such an idea and will say:

“‘I have heard Him and observed Him. What have I to do any more with idols?’ For he cannot love a God who is no more than a deduction from a text. He will crave to know God with a vital awareness that goes beyond words and to live in the intimacy of personal communion. “To seek our divinity merely in books and writings is to seek the living among the dead; we do but in vain many times seek God in these, where His truth too often is not so much enshrined as entombed.” (A. W. Tozer The Divine Conquest.)

This is the point of Jesus’ words in John. He is saying that eternal life is more than grasping the theological truths. It is about knowing God as a friend and companion. Eternal life is about knowing God personally, “And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.” (John 17:3.) When we come to Christ He may merely be a stranger, but we must seek a closer relationship with Him if we are to be healthy spiritually.

Consider three key benefits of a deep and personal knowledge of God. First, some come to Christ and are born again and find instant release from sinful behaviors. Others come to Christ and over the years find themselves mired in some sinful habit. No matter how long you’ve walked with the Lord or no matter how deep the pit in which you find yourself, the gift of eternal life can still bring release from spiritual bondage. The gift and benefit of knowing God is powerful in setting us free. According 2 Peter 2:20 the writer indicates that we escape the pollution of the world through a knowledge of God, “For if, after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ….” Certainly this verse refers in part to the release that we have from sin’s penalty when we trust Christ but there is something more here. This verse speaks of the pollution that surrounds sin. It isn’t merely release from the penalty of sin that comes through a knowledge of God; but the knowledge of God overcomes sin’s polluting and corrupting influence . The more we press in and learn to walk more closely with the Lord the less the grip sin and any kind of spiritual pollution will have on our lives.

Second, according to Daniel 11:32 our energy level and interest in spiritual things is goverened by our knowledge of God. “Those who do wickedly against the covenant he shall corrupt with flattery; but the people who know their God shall be strong, and carry out great exploits.” (Daniel 11:32) Daniel’s prophecy was speaking of the people of Israel and that their knowledge of God will cause them to be courageous. In our culture and our day we must be careful to not allow the things of this world to interfere and take God’s place in our lives. It should be obvious that the more distant our walk, the more fearful we will become. Like the apostle, many follow the Lord “afar off” and are then paralyzed by fear. (Mark 14:54.) A fearful Christian will find it comfortable to stick with what he knows even if it is robbing him. A Christian who has only a technical or second hand knowledge of God will be timid and find it difficult to tell others about Christ.

Finally, according to Ephesians 1:17-18 a person will increase in wisdom and understanding through a knowledge of God. In Paul’s prayer in Ephesians 1:17 the apostle prayed, “that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him.” Knowledge of God will expand our understanding of our world and wisdom will illumine our way. Wisdom is: the ability to anticipate the results of one’s decisions and it is the predisposition to do what is right (follow the way of righteousness). On the one hand by walking close with the Lord, a believer’s ability to see pitfalls and hidden dangers will be heightened. While we have the promise for wisdom in James’ epistle, “But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all men generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him.” (James 1:5.) In keeping with this verse wisdom is found by spending time with the Lord. The quest for wisdom through prayer will bring us into God’s presence, and wisdom will be granted to us as we walk with Him.

On the other hand, knowing God as a friend and companion will impact our ability to see things more clearly. It gives the believer the capacity to better appreciate the resources and lavish inheritance that is our’s in Christ. Notice this is the message of the next verse, Ephesians 1:18. Our capacity to understand our inheritance in Christ is expanded through our knowledge of Him, “the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints.” (Ephesians 1:18.) Our ability to see our eternal inheritance is overshadowed by the things of this world but knowing God breaks through the darkness. As a result, we need supernatural understanding to better grasp the blessings and benefits that have been poured out upon us.

Knowing God as a friend in your daily walk will help you face the struggle that you are having with sin. The more closely you know the Lord, the better your understanding of His devotion to you. The better you understand your destiny in Christ, the stronger you will be to face and reject paths that lead to self-destruction. The more confident you are about the Lord’s commitment to you, the easier it becomes to choose the path that will make you stronger.

There is a Rock by the doorway to your life and eternity and it is the Lord Himself. This Rock is more precious than gold, and there is no reason to be afraid since He can give you light for the darkness. This Rock is waiting for you to call. He loves you and He is listening.

The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer; My God, my strength, in whom I will trust; My shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. I will call upon the LORD, who is worthy to be praised; So shall I be saved from my enemies.(Psalm 18:2-3.)

Check out our web site: http://www.servantoflight.com

(Permission is granted to use the material as long as the URL and source information are given. Copyright, Keith Churilla, 2010.)

Copyright :: All Rights Reserved
Registered :: Fri Apr 30 07:34:28 UTC 2010
Title :: THE LOST FORTUNE
Category :: Blog
MCN :: EXY13-XGUFY-XRCKR

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