Tuesday, March 27, 2012

I find myself overthinking GOD

Romans 10: 4 Christ is the culmination of the law so that there may be righteousness for everyone who believes.

============

Confusing isn’t it? I mean one preacher says if I just give my money I will be closer to GOD. Another says when I sin I’m far away from GOD. Another says I’m not doing enough for GOD and yet another is saying I’m trying to “work” my way into heaven.

And this “belief” thing… what’s that all about? One group rang my bell and said only a certain number would be saved yet they do not believe there is a Hell. Saved from what? Another told me all roads lead to GOD and GOD would never punish humans. Another said GOD has nothing to do with it is my inner peace that counts. What should I follow?

  • A tactic Satan uses is confusion about GOD.
  • A plan the enemy uses is really an attack on humans to keep them from following GOD.
  • A strategy sin uses is to take my mind off of a very easy relationship and to make it very complicated and difficult to follow.

When GOD said “I will be your GOD and you will be MY people” HE took care of everything. GOD saw every sin I would ever commit and still wanted a relationship with me but HIS own decree separated me from HIM forever. HE decided to do something about it so HE volunteered to take the consequence of HIS own decree.

HE became a human and walked the earth without committing a sin. HE was murdered because of jealousy, envy and political power desires of the religious people. Sin thought it had won but it lost. When GOD died on the cross, HE said “It is finished!” meaning nothing else has to be done.

Wait, you mean JESUS don’t you? Yes, JESUS is GOD along with the FATHER and HOLY SPIRIT who are equal and never fight for power or top billing.

  • My belief is that everything in “the Law” or GOD’s Bible is true.
  • My belief is that all words in the Bible must apply to everyone who ever lived.
  • My belief is that the entire Bible is written to reveal JESUS being GOD which gives me a relationship with the FATHER and the HOLY SPIRIT.
  • My belief is that the more I “sincerely do” for HIM the more HE rewards me but HE has already “done” enough for me.

GOD said “take MY yoke upon you and learn of me for I am gentle and humble at heart and you will find rest for your souls. For MY yoke is easy and my burden is light.” In other words ease up, believe, do and I will always be with you.

  • Are you making GOD too complicated?
  • Are you confused about how HE works in your life?
  • Do you think HE is ignoring you?
  • Can you stop guessing about GOD and stop assuming how HE “works” and just follow HIM?

Monday, March 26, 2012

Are you jealous yet?

Romans 9: 16 It does not, therefore, depend on human desire or effort, but on God’s mercy. 17 For Scripture says to Pharaoh: “I raised you up for this very purpose, that I might display my power in you and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth.” 18 Therefore God has mercy on whom he wants to have mercy, and he hardens whom he wants to harden.

============

Looking at the news I saw another singer who had lived their life reckless meet some sort of demise. With little sympathy I thought “serves them right.” “I mean if I had their money, I would do something good with it!”
  • Jealous is actually anger at GOD’s plan.
  • Envy is actually a form of saying to GOD “YOU did this wrong.”
  • Covetousness is actually a statement to GOD that HIS grace is not sufficient enough and I want more!
Usually when I pout about what someone else has or does, it is because I want what they have. My jealous, envious, covetous heart seeks something that is not mean for me. I whine like a child pointing at the things GOD is trying to keep away from me. Then I throw out a statement, “Haven’t I been good?” as if that is supposed to move GOD to give me what I want.
  • GOD raises up who HE wants to raise up for HIS purpose so I should not be jealous of HIS choice.
  • GOD tears down who HE wants to tear down so I should not be angered if HE chooses me.
  • GOD has mercy on who HE wants to have mercy on so I should not get upset when my enemies prosper.
  • GOD hardens who HE wants to harden but my acts of love toward them are still very important.
One would say, “Well what’s the use? If GOD is going to do what HE is going to do then I don’t have a choice!” GOD has given me choices and will help me along with those choices. If I choose to be greedy then a terrible thing could happen. HE could enable me to be wealthy and harden my heart to never give, and then HIS wrath would be against me and my greed.

“What?! I thought GOD was merciful!” you say. YES, GOD is infinitely merciful, grace-filled and loving, but HE wants me to point my life in HIS direction. You see, GOD is a jealous GOD and wants my complete attention.

  • Is your attention focused on looking for some relationship outside of GOD’s will?
  • Are you looking to obtain more stuff or keep your stuff?
  • Are you jealous of someone who is doing “better” than you?
  • Can you focus on the plan GOD has for you without jealousy, envy or covetousness?

Friday, March 23, 2012

Nothing can stop me!

Romans 8: 31 What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?
------------
 37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

============

All odds seemed to be against my past.  Growing up where I grew up, when I grew up, how I grew up, one would never say “he would be the leader of technology for a large corporation.  Home computers where only a concept and the exposure to technology in my neighborhood was exempt.

My education in technology was limited in high school and during college my GPA was barely above average. I had no connections, no map laid out and no understanding of how things worked. GOD put all the right people in my life to grow me.

  • When all odds are against me I feel like giving up.
  • When trouble faces me I feel like throwing up my hands.
  • When difficulty confronts me I ask “why me again?”

Faith in GOD means knowing HE is there for me no matter what the circumstance looks like. Things could look thoroughly bleak yet HE is right there protecting, leading and guiding me to a better place.

  • Can anyone ruin HIS plan for me? NO!
  • Can I ruin HIS plan for me? NO! 
  • Can any circumstance ruin HIS plan for me? No!

GOD is way too powerful to have HIS plans ruined by anyone’s sin, including my own.  HE truly has a wonderful plan for me and by being connected to HIM, nothing can stop me especially by following HIS will!

  • What is holding you back from doing what GOD wants you to do?
  • Do you have fear, doubt and worries?
  • Can you put your trust in the LORD to lead you to a better place?
  • Won’t you stare adversity in its face and tell it to fight with GOD instead of you?

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Is GOD fair?

Romans 9: 14 What then shall we say? Is God unjust? Not at all! 15 For he says to Moses,

   “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy,
   and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.”

============

Watching others get away with crimes or sin was provocative. I mean the frat guys would somehow get “the test” and I had to struggle. A group of guys who were good at keeping their jobs could toss anyone out on their ear and I had to watch. Someone else could act one way towards people and I couldn’t. GOD doesn’t seem fair!!

  • What’s fair to me is not “just” for GOD.
  • What I think is fair is really a form of getting my way.
  • What’s fair to me is really an incomplete picture of what fairness really is.

Aren’t you glad I’m not GOD? I mean I would zap all the “bad” guys and keep all those who acted like they liked me. GOD is truly different in the way HE thinks.  HE has compassion on murderers, rapists and thugs who are truly repentant in their behavior meanwhile HE is harsh on those who act goody, goody thinking they can manipulate HIM.

GOD knows something I don’t know. HE knows the heart.  Deep inside of the person who seems to be getting away with everything GOD sees something I can’t quite imagine. HE sees the ability for HIS child to return back to HIM. HE also sees when I am being sinful and trying to cover it up with “goody, goody.”

  • I actually don’t want GOD to be fair with me because I deserve death according to HIS decree.
  • I actually don’t want GOD to be fair with me especially when I sin and want HIS forgiveness.
  • I actually don’t want GOD to be fair with me because I would miss out on HIS gift of grace.

When my lip is poked out and I am throwing a pity party because GOD seems to be doing more for others it’s actually jealousy and envy at work in me rather than praise. It takes time to see GOD loves the most heinous sinner. The only relationship I should worry about is my relationship with GOD and there will be no envy.

  • Are you jealous that someone is living an “easy” life and you are struggling?
  • Are you able to pray for good things to happen to those who have wronged you?
  • Will you ask GOD for compassion on your enemies today?
  • Can you let go of the issues you have with others so GOD can let go of the issues HE has with you?

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

I “hope” it will happen

Romans 8: 24 For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have? 25 But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.

============

With wind and snow hitting my face staring down the street was all I could do to make the bus come faster. It was helpless to look at my watch because that seemed to prolong the bus. All I could think about was the warmth I would experience and then my mind would drift into imagining getting a seat this time.

My excitement turned into elation as an empty bus arrived with all the windows closed and the heat blasting!

  • When I set a time on GOD to do something it is always wrong.
  • When I think GOD should solve a problem my way in my time I guess wrong.
  • When I see that GOD is taking HIS time I panic instead of being patient.

When there is a problem in my life GOD seems to be in no rush to fix it. The winds of issues spray in my face and it seems like GOD just sits there. I mean HE has all the power and here I am powerless to take care of the situation.

  • Fortunately for me GOD provided the HOLY SPIRIT to bring comfort to me at the right time.
  • Fortunately for me GOD gave me the HOLY SPIRIT who reminds me of times past HE has brought me through.
  • Fortunately for me GOD imparted the HOLY SPIRIT to give me wisdom where I have none, patience where desire overflows and hope when defeat stares me in the face.

Faith is the substance of things “hoped” for, the evidence of things not seen. GOD wants me to have faith that HE “has” and “will” take care of everything. HE grows the hair on my head and watches over my feet. All of my situations are HIS to do as HE pleases so I will put my hope in HIM.

  • Where is your hope?
  • What are you hoping for?
  • Are your hopes aligned with GOD’s plan for you?
  • Are you living a life of purpose and faith or are you nervously waiting on evidence with doubt?

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Please GOD as often as you can.

Romans 8: 5 Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. 6 The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace.

7 The mind governed by the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so. 8 Those who are in the realm of the flesh cannot please God.

============

Women with tight low cut dresses were everywhere. The music was jamming and there was a lot of laughter. As I sat down, I found myself surrounded by women. “This is the church for me, It’s better than a club!” I thought to myself.  I have no idea what the pastor preached.

  • When I live in lust I cannot please GOD.
  • When I am driven by my desires I cannot please GOD.
  • When I treat GOD as common as anything else I cannot please HIM.

I am glad the HOLY SPIRIT intervened then as HE does now.  Choices of lust and greed and power and you name it pop up and I say come on in! I would choose the wrong thing every time and the HOLY SPIRIT jumps in and says, “Don’t go there” or “Make peace” or “Serve” or “Tell them about GOD’s SON.”

  • Now that I have the HOLY SPIRIT inside me, I have a choice not to sin rather than a destiny to death.
  • Now that I have the HOLY SPIRIT inside me, I will still sin but sin is no longer the destination rather it’s a detour.
  • Now that I have the HOLY SPIRIT inside me, I have a choice to please GOD.

GOD understands when and why I sin. HIS grace is sufficient to save me and protect me from harm so there is nothing I have to do but believe in HIM. But when I reach towards HIM amazing things happen. GOD sees me, in my sinful way, trying to please HIM and is delighted by even the smallest task I do out of love for HIM.

If I gave someone a cup of water just because of JESUS, the FATHER and HOLY SPIRIT gets excited! The HOLY SPIRIT leads me away from sin more and more while pointing me to GOD.

  • Are you trying to please GOD while living any old way?
  • Do you feel stuck because you don’t know how to stop doing what you are doing?
  • Have you tried replacing what you are doing with serving others a little at a time?
  • Can you understand that trying to be sinless does not get you a closer relationship with GOD because HE already gave the HOLY SPIRIT to those who believe?

Monday, March 19, 2012

Why does GOD want me up so early?

Romans 7: 21 So I find this law at work: Although I want to do good, evil is right there with me. 22 For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; 23 but I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me.

24 What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death? 25 Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord!

   So then, I myself in my mind am a slave to God’s law, but in my sinful nature a slave to the law of sin.

============

Seven Thirty arrived quickly after being out the night before. I heard the phone call so I picked up the receiver and hung it back up again. Then I unplugged the phone so I could sleep. My roommate said “Aren’t you supposed to go to church this morning?”

“I’ll go next time,” I said. After a while, the group stopped trying. I mean it’s just a party, why does GOD want me up so early anyway?

  • Inside of me lies a sin nature that is at war with GOD.
  • Inside of me contains a battle between “following my urges” and “following GOD.”
  • Inside of me holds what is against GOD and what is for GOD.

Seems a little unfair that I am born with a sin nature that automatically sends me to Hell, doesn’t it? I mean what kind of GOD would create me specifically to go to Hell? Is there any way that I can be saved from this terrible end? I mean GOD cannot go back on HIS decree that anyone who sins deserves death so even HE can’t save me right? Wrong!

  • GOD knew I would be born into a no win situation so HE volunteered to die in my place.
  • GOD didn’t place a problem in me rather HE gave me a solution namely JESUS.
  • GOD knew HE would easily win over sin so all I need to do is believe in HIM and HE will do the fighting.

Sometimes I think bad things happen to me when I “sin” and good things happen to me when I am “good” and that is probably so far from the truth, at least for me. I find that when I try to follow GOD I am actually declaring war against a being who is jealous of my relationship with GOD, namely Satan.

He hurls temptations and circumstances that would normally turn me away from GOD; BUT GOD has placed HIS HOLY SPIRIT in me to fight a victorious battle. I cannot lose with GOD!

  • Do you think your sin nature is winning?
  • Do you believe sin is getting the best of you?
  • Can you believe that GOD has already taken care of your sin nature?
  • Can you be encouraged that GOD understands your sin and loves you dearly?

Friday, March 16, 2012

I belong to someone else

Romans 7: 4 So, my brothers and sisters, you also died to the law through the body of Christ, that you might belong to another, to him who was raised from the dead, in order that we might bear fruit for God.

============

After weeks of preparation, I was finally ready for the interview. I met with the hiring manager and he told me about the company but said something very strange. “Our group handles the porn that goes in the rooms, it’s a big seller.” Of course they made me an offer.

My first thought was to take the job.  Maybe I won’t notice the porn or the fact that I would have access to it and this job pays really well. I knew deep in my heart what I had to do… I turned down the position.

  • Belonging to GOD is sometimes difficult especially when temptations are placed in front of me.
  • Belonging to GOD is sometimes hard especially when I’m tired and weary.
  • Belonging to GOD is sometimes exasperating especially when I want “my” way, not HIS way.

The world will look at me like I’m crazy when I follow the one I belong to.  HE says “Go to strange places and speak about MY SON.” HE also says, “Trust in ME when everyone doubts you.” BUT HE also said “I will never leave you.”

Bearing fruit is a lifelong process. Some days I bear a little and others a lot. GOD, through HIS mercy, has shown me what compassion really looks like. HE talks to me because I belong to HIM.

  • I give up my will when I belong to GOD.
  • I spend time with HIM when I belong to GOD.
  • I do things differently when I belong to GOD.

GOD has some marvelous plans for me so I want to stick as close to HIM as possible!

  • Are you living a life that is not pleasing to GOD?
  • Do you think your “good” actions can clean your mess?
  • Won’t you stop trying to be someone else and be what GOD wants you to be?

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Thanks for the “gift!”

Romans 6: 22 But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life. 23 For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

============

Na├»ve and impressionable and scared, I took on my first career.  I had no idea what a corporate structure was about and I really had nothing tangible to offer. When people requested things from me, I looked like deer in headlights! I had to learn everything.

One day my boss walked in my office and said “I’m sending you to training.” “What a gift” I thought. I’m getting trained without asking for it! To this day I am grateful for my first supervisor. I mean, he recognized something in me that others seem to discount.

  • GOD has declared that any sin I commit deserves death for the sentence.
  • GOD has declared that even my birth is conceived out of sin.
  • GOD has declared that I was sentenced to be separated from HIS love eternally and to face HIS ever increasing wrath forever.

Wait, you mean even my birth which I had nothing to do with, declares me a sinner? Yes!  BUT GOD decided to give me a gift.

  • GOD’s gift of love is HIS SON who took on my punishment.
  • GOD’s gift of love is HIS SON who died in my place.
  • GOD’s gift of love is HIS SON who is now alive and believing in HIM saves me.

GOD did it all! HE saw I would never choose HIM yet HE chose me. HE freed me from “having to” sin, in other words HE freed me from being a slave to sin and its consequences. Wait a minute, “you still sin” you say. Yes but now I have a choice whereas before I only had sin and death.

I can choose righteousness over sin and on many occasions I do. Sometimes my selfishness gets in the way but GOD has me growing daily. HE has truly given me a “gift” which is eternal life.

  • Do you feel you have no options in life but to follow sin?
  • Do you feel like giving up trying to please GOD thinking HIS standards are too high?
  • Can you believe HE has already taken care of your life and has a wonderful plan for you?
  • Will you stop acting like a slave to sin and give your entire life to following GOD’s ways?

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

One “man” rescued me!

Romans 5: 18Consequently, just as one trespass resulted in condemnation for all people, so also one righteous act resulted in justification and life for all people. 19 For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous.

============

“Liquor run” was designated to me since I had the car. Our phone rang twenty one times in ten minutes; I know this because I counted. “Where is the party” people asked. The number of people was getting too large so I coaxed a person living in my old dorm to reserve a room for us to have a “meeting.”

The night held plenty of laughter until two guys took the merriment a bit far causing a fight. I wonder if I should have held this party.

  • There are times I lead a lot of people to my sin.
  • There are times I drag people down to my mess.
  • There are times I pull people away from GOD rather than towards HIM.

I look back at Adam and think “man, why did you eat that fruit?!” I mean now I have no alternative but to sin and die. GOD saw that sin would ruin the entire human race so HE decided to do something about it. HE volunteered to become a human and take on the challenge of living a perfect sinless life.

HE accomplished this mission and allowed HIMSELF to be murdered by HIS own creation. HE took my punishment for every sin I have ever done or will ever do. HE rescued me in spite of me turning my back on HIM time and time again.

  • JESUS volunteered to become a human and the FATHER and HOLY SPIRIT agreed.
  • JESUS became a human and lived a sinless life even though HE was tempted far more than I ever will be.
  • JESUS allowed HIS own creation to murder HIM even though HE did nothing wrong.
  • JESUS was raised from the dead and is now placed above everything where HE belongs.

It was JESUS who rescued me and I didn’t even know I needed to be saved. Now that I know what HE did for me, I feel driven to turn people towards HIM instead of dragging people into my sin.

  • Are you causing others to fall because of your lifestyle?
  • Are you dragging people down instead of picking them up?
  • What are you purposefully doing for GOD?
  • Are you seeking HIM because you want to avoid punishment or because you love HIM?

Monday, March 12, 2012

How to gain “power”

Romans 5: 6You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. 7 Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. 8 But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

============

Twelve forty five had arrived and my next class was quickly approaching. The card game was getting good and I was definitely winning. I decided to blow off the class. I mean what could they be talking about that I couldn’t pick up later? Well I found out they talked about a lot after failing the class.

My Dean had a discussion with me and told me he was developing my schedule for the next semester. I felt powerless.

  • I feel powerless when I sin.
  • I feel powerless when I am not following GOD.
  • I feel powerless when I have not followed GOD and I am in trouble.

When I have gone on my own path and things are messed up I feel powerless to the point that I can’t even ask GOD for help. I mean HE can’t be that forgiving right? Wrong!!

  • GOD saw every one of my sins and died for me anyway.
  • GOD saw my entire life and knew I would not choose HIM so HE chose me.
  • GOD saw the sin I’m going to commit next month and decided HE would take the punishment.

GOD demonstrates HIS love for me this way, in the middle of my sinful habits JESUS died for me. HE longs for me to stop my sinful habits but knows my limitations. HE had to do something for me because I wouldn’t give HIM a second look. I would go through life powerless.

Power is what GOD wants me to have, not like a superhero where it is internal but as a utensil that gets plugged into HIS omnipotence. HE has all the power I need and HIS grace is truly sufficient to clean my sin. HE is the judge and has determined me righteous even though I don’t deserve it. With GOD I can have unimaginable power to be used for HIS purpose alone.

  • Do you feel powerless about some situation?
  • Do you feel powerless about your sin?
  • Do you know GOD took care of all of your sins from birth to death?
  • Knowing what GOD has done for you, what do you want to do for HIM?

Friday, March 9, 2012

HE will do what HE promised

Romans 4: 18 Against all hope, Abraham in hope believed and so became the father of many nations, just as it had been said to him, “So shall your offspring be.” 19Without weakening in his faith, he faced the fact that his body was as good as dead—since he was about a hundred years old—and that Sarah’s womb was also dead. 20 Yet he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, 21 being fully persuaded that God had power to do what he had promised.

============

I had to stop saying “I promise” because of so many broken promises. Because of so many factors outside of my control the words “I promise” can become empty and shallow. “I promise I will call” or “I promise I will remember” are superseded by busy schedules and unforeseen circumstances.

The result of my broken promise can hurt the proposed benefactor.
  • When I break my promises I am viewed as unreliable.
  • When I break my promises I am perceived as being selfish.
  • When I break my promises I am thought of as being “slick” or “shifty.”
It takes faith to believe GOD will keep every promise HE ever said.  So far HE hasn’t broken one yet. GOD said to Abraham, “You will be the father of many nations” and it came true.  Even at his old age, he and his wife conceived children. This was impossible! Imagine your ninety five year old grandparents having a child!

Any promise GOD said, HE will keep.
  • When HE said, “anyone who believes in MY SON will be saved” HE meant it.
  • When HE said, “I will never leave you or forsake you” HE meant it.
  • When HE said, “Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see GOD” HE meant it.
GOD has promised so much that it is hard to believe HE loves me as much as HE does. Wealth, fame, popularity, great relationships are all part of HIS promises. You have got to be kidding, HE promised all that? YES!

GOD is building mansions in a place where the streets are paved with gold where I will know everyone and they will know me where everyone cheered for me when I first believed that JESUS saved me from eternal separation from HIM. 
  • Do you believe GOD’s promises for you?
  • Do you know all the things HE promised you?
  • Can you take time to read your Bible to see what GOD has promised you?
  • Will you begin to act like one of HIS children instead of acting like a child?

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Being Blessed

Romans 4: 6David says the same thing when he speaks of the blessedness of the one to whom God credits righteousness apart from works:

 7“Blessed are those
   whose transgressions are forgiven,
   whose sins are covered.
8Blessed is the one
   whose sin the Lord will never count against them.”

============

Someone asked me to pray that they got a particular job. I prayed they didn’t get the job. Someone asked me to pray for their marriage. I prayed they got divorced. Someone asked that I pray for their spouse to be cured. I prayed and the person passed on.

Wow! I don’t “feel” blessed. “Didn’t I do a lot for YOU GOD? Why don’t YOU hear me?”

  • When I think I can “work” my way into GOD’s graces, I fail miserably.
  • When I think I can be “good” for a period of time in order to get what I want, I am trying to manipulate GOD.
  • When I think I can perform supernatural tasks without GOD’s permission, I am trying to draw the attention to me rather than pointing to HIM.

I often wondered why my requests were being ignored by GOD. I mean they seemed good at the time. Then I wondered if I was “blessed.” If HE ignored my prayer am I really blessed or even worse, am I saved? Oh no! What shall I do?

  • When GOD says I am blessed, there is nothing I can do to not be blessed.
  • When GOD says my transgressions are forgiven, HE means all my transgressions.
  • When GOD says my sins are covered, every sin I have committed or will commit “are covered.”
  • When GOD says HE will not count my sins against me, HE WILL NOT COUNT MY SINS AGAINST ME!

One thing I can count on is GOD cannot and will not lie to me. When HE says something HE will do it. My “feelings” and “attitude” and “emotions” sometimes get in the way of seeing how “blessed” I am. No matter how bad the situation seems, “I am blessed!” This is the Great News I can tell someone else.

  • Do you “feel” blessed or do you “know” you are blessed?
  • Do you doubt GOD can forgive you or do you know GOD “has already” forgiven you?
  • Do you tell GOD what to do or do you ask GOD what HIS will is?
  • Do you realize GOD knows you are special so can’t you try to act like you “are’ special to GOD?

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Let me get that mud off your face

Romans 3: 22This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference between Jew and Gentile, 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.

============

Growing up where and when I grew up limited my exposure to other races. I mean I had been exposed to other races but for the most part I stayed to my own. Then I heard some of the awful things other races had to say about my race and other races. “How dare they?” I thought to myself outraged!

As I retreated back into my group I heard them talking about other races only this time I didn’t feel outraged but justified. I mean they started it right?

  • Insulting any of GOD’s creations is an insult to GOD.
  • Any demonstration of evil towards “any” human is a demonstration of evil towards GOD.
  • If I talk down to people who are “sinners” as if I’m not then GOD has an issue with me more than them.

As I have said many times before “we are all in the mud, throwing mud at each other saying ‘you have mud on your face’.” Humans like to feel superior to one another and I have to admit it does feel nice! We quickly point out flaws. I made a lot of money pointing out flaws. BUT GOD sees an entirely different picture.

  • GOD sees me and everyone else in the same mud and only HE can clean us up.
  • GOD sees me and everyone else as sinners and only HE can save us.
  • GOD sees me and everyone else with loving eyes and does not want a single soul to be lost so HE allowed HIS SON, who volunteered, to be sacrificed instead of us.

I am not superior to anyone. I know GOD’s Bible well and yet I still sin. In fact GOD will hold me to a higher standard for doing wrong and knowing better. YET GOD loved me so much that HE took my sins and threw them “all” away. I get amazed at that every time I say it. I am justified freely by HIS grace because JESUS paid the greatest price for me which was HIS life.

  • Have you ever disliked a certain group of people without fully understanding them?
  • Maybe you don’t mistreat other races, how about gender, age, sexual orientation, criminals or politicians?
  • Is there someone you need to understand and actually learn how they want to receive your compassion?
  • Does GOD love “that” person too?

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Unfaithful

Romans 3: 3What if some were unfaithful? Will their unfaithfulness nullify God’s faithfulness? 4 Not at all! Let God be true, and every human being a liar. As it is written:

   “So that you may be proved right when you speak
   and prevail when you judge.”

============

I have been unfaithful many times! Not the way you are thinking but in many ways I have proven to show “unfaithfulness.” Like the time I left work to relax in my apartment, I was unfaithful to the job at hand. The time I decided to go on a date without asking my parents and I went missing the entire day, I was unfaithful to their guardianship.

How about the time GOD told me to remain pure in thought and deed and… you get the picture.

  • I have been unfaithful to GOD when I doubt HIS plan for me.
  • I have been unfaithful to GOD when I refuse to change my ways for HIM.
  • I have been unfaithful to GOD when I take matters into my own hand.

Unfaithfulness has some difficult consequences. My relationship with GOD is less than optimal when I don’t have “faith” in HIM. I mean I can believe HE exists, I can even believe JESUS died for my sins, but do I actually have “faith” that GOD can lead “all” my decisions, not just the big scary ones. Unfortunately the answer is “no.”

  • When I am unfaithful, GOD is faithful.
  • When I think I can do life by myself GOD says “you need ME and I will always be there.”
  • When I make the mistake of thinking I can live my life any old way, GOD steps in and corrects me and is “just” for doing so.

Many think unfaithful means cheating on husbands or wives or boyfriends or girlfriends and this is true. Even a longing glance at someone else is a degree of unfaithfulness which I am guilty of. But how many times have I decided GOD is wrong and I am right and I deserve to do “this” sin because HE will forgive me anyway so “I’m cool.”

GOD wants me to focus on HIS grace not mine, HIS love not mine, HIS mercy not mine. Only HE is righteous.

  • Have you been unfaithful?
  • What thought just popped into your head?
  • Are you willing to tell those you have been unfaithful to?
  • Can you tell GOD about your unfaithfulness and “move on” because you “are” forgiven?

Monday, March 5, 2012

It’s the inside that matters.

Romans 2: 28 A person is not a Jew who is one only outwardly, nor is circumcision merely outward and physical. 29 No, a person is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is circumcision of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the written code. Such a person’s praise is not from other people, but from God.

============

Although I knew the answer, I just wanted to be sure so I checked her answer. I looked on both sides to see if the coast was clear then I got a good vantage point on her answer sheet. “Wait I see something slightly different on her sheet” I thought to myself.

As I was busy looking trying to change my answer, I failed to notice her noticing me. “He’s cheating off my paper she exclaimed.” Caught! “Think, think...” “No I didn’t” was the only lie I could think of. The teacher snatched my test and compared the answers and saw they were different. “Whew, I got away with it. I should be more careful NEXT time.”

  • Thinking I can get away with sin only leads me to more sin.
  • Thinking I can get away with sin puts me in a very bad place with GOD.
  • Thinking I can get away with sin keeps me from having a repentant heart and even GOD can’t change it.
A relationship with GOD means I accept HIS ways while knowing mine are sinful. Even my birth was consecrated in sin so I have no excuse. My heart has sin in it because that is just my nature. BUT GOD decided to do something amazing with my life.
  • GOD saw my sinful heart and “circumcised it” cutting away enough sin to hear HIS message.
  • GOD saw my sinful heart and led me to believe in HIS SON and gave me the HOLY SPIRIT to guide me.
  • GOD saw my sinful heart and gave me the option of following HIM or following death.
Every little sin I think I get away with only opens the way to more and more sin. Soon I find myself in a mess that I don’t know how to get myself out of. GOD wants me to give my sin to HIM daily so I don’t get too far off the path. In fact HE wants me to take the focus off “my” sins so I can help people focus on HIM.

My inward change cannot be seen by humans, in fact they will still accuse me of sins and wrongs I haven’t committed, BUT GOD sees my heart and praises me while giving me purpose.

  • Are you stepping away from GOD’s path little by little?
  • Do you think you “got away” with that sin?
  • Won’t you take just a little step towards GOD today?
  • Can’t you ask for “a little” forgiveness from HIM as you first step?

Saturday, March 3, 2012

I’m going to judge you wrong.

Romans 2:  1 You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge another, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things. 2 Now we know that God’s judgment against those who do such things is based on truth.

3 So when you, a mere human being, pass judgment on them and yet do the same things, do you think you will escape God’s judgment? 4 Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, forbearance and patience, not realizing that God’s kindness is intended to lead you to repentance?

============

Self-acclaimed church critic, no drinking, rule follower is what I had become.  I couldn’t even watch TV comfortably because it just had, what I thought, too much junk.  You see, I had come a long way from where I used to be. I promised GOD I would no longer cuss and spit and I felt HE should give me stuff in return. What could possibly be wrong with any of this?

  • When I think “I” have arrived I will get the impression it’s my duty to clean someone else up.
  • When I think “I” have arrived I will accept the improvements I have already made and become complacent towards further change.
  • When I think “I” have arrived I will judge others hoping they will “come up” to “my level.”

It is unhealthy to think to lowly or too highly of oneself. I mean if I think I have arrived then I am thinking too highly of myself and if I grovel like I don’t deserve anything then it is possible I don’t know who I am related to very well. GOD wants me to understand people make mistakes and so do I. HE wants me to correct my course as well as others while not judging.

  • Judgment says “I” am right and “you” are wrong, course correction says “we” are wrong and GOD is right.
  • Judgment says ”I” am righteous and “you” are not, course correction says “all have sinned” BUT GOD made a way to save us.
  • Judgment says “I” have accomplished a lot for GOD what about you?”, course correction says “GOD has done everything for us.”

Followers of CHRIST are obligated to help people stay on the course “and” correct people in love. Any judgment that makes “me” look better will not work. I should know, just ask my family. Here is how I think judgment works. Before I accuse “that” person of a specific wrong I better check my past to see if I haven’t done a form of the same thing.

Then I need to check my compassion level for wanting to restore the person rather than condemning them. Finally I have to check with GOD to see if HE even wants “me” to be the person to bring this to their attention. Judging is dangerous for me because “I” have to stand before GOD one day.

  • Are you judging someone over their lifestyle?
  • Is your message of Great News coming across as being a self-righteous snob?
  • Are you so heavenly bound that you are no earthly good?
  • Can you lighten up where you need to in order to win “that” person?
  • Won’t you drop your fight with “that” person so GOD can do HIS correcting?

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Get off the sex boat

Romans 1: 24 Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. 25 They exchanged the truth about God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen.

 26 Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural sexual relations for unnatural ones. 27 In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed shameful acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their error.

 28 Furthermore, just as they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, so God gave them over to a depraved mind, so that they do what ought not to be done.

============

Alcohol, teenage years and dorm rooms are not a good mix for sexual purity. I can attest to this because I fell in the grips of this specific sin. Amongst the guys it seemed like some sort of contest or a conquest of women and the institution was no help as they passed out bags of contraceptives. I guess sexual purity wasn’t so important, right? Wrong!

  • To GOD sex is pure to Satan sex is wild.
  • To GOD sex is reserved for marriage between a man and women to Satan it’s “anything goes.”
  • To GOD sex is special to Satan sex is common.

I tried to justify my actions by having a “girlfriend.” I mean maybe I was going to marry this one or that one but that doesn’t quite cut it when it comes to following GOD. HE wants me to have pure thoughts, deeds and actions which include controlling sexuality.

  • When I follow GOD’s plan sex is special between me and my wife.
  • When I follow GOD’s plan sex is a gift not a sensual pleasure.
  • When I follow GOD’s plan sex is not considered filthy and HE will keep me focused on HIS will.

GOD will allow my mind to become as depraved as I want it to be which is quite surprising. The more I disobey HIM, the more HE will “help” me disobey HIM. After a while I would find myself in a place where my witness was no longer real or accepted. There is something special about sex to GOD and Satan knows it. Maybe that’s why sex is Satan’s biggest assault on GOD’s people.

  • Are you following GOD’s “sexual” plan for you?
  • Are you deep into sensuality and sexuality and feel you cannot change your lifestyle?
  • Do you think pornography or a gay lifestyle or adultery or even “flirting” is alright with GOD?
  • GOD is forgiving to anyone for any sin, won’t you give your sexuality over to HIM?