29 May 2009

Give Thanks by Don Moen

Have you thanked Him today? For His Mercy,Grace, Longsuffering, Patience, Providence, Forgiveness, The Cross, and most of all His Love for sinners like you and me. Thank You Lord Jesus for saving me from myself. Thank you for giving me life through your precious blood. THANK YOU!

26 May 2009

My Little Sinner

I came across this when I was researching for my sermon this weekend. Who says we are without original sin! You need to give your head a shake and think AGAIN! Maybe this will help convince you! Try this test this on your toddler at home! I have proof that toddlers have orginial sin.
This is my little sinner of 23 months and I love him dearly, but he failed the test! And so did I when I was his age! Why? Because "in sin my mother conceived me" Ps 51:6I
Thank you Lord Jesus for saving me from myself.
Thank you Lord Jesus for saving me from my sin.
Thank you Lord Jesus, thank you!

Evidences of Original Sin

1. If I like it, it’s mine.
2. If it’s in my hand, it’s mine.
3. If I can take it from you, it’s mine.
4. If I had it a little while ago, it’s mine.
5. If it’s mine, it must never appear to be yours in any way.
6. If I’m doing or building something, all the pieces are mine.
7. If it looks just like mine, it’s mine.
8. If I saw it first, it’s mine.
9. If you are playing with something and you put it down, it automatically becomes mine.
10. If it’s broken, it’s yours.
Does this help you change your mind?

By Unknown Author

21 May 2009

Transforation of the Heart

There's much to be said in the Bible about the heart. Prov 4:23 says "Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life". When a person becomes a Christian, he or she is given a new heart. This brings a new nature that is pleasing to God, because without that new heart we are seen by God as filthy rags. Why must a person receive a new heart? Because scripture says in (Jer 17:9) "The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?". This would be the center of what the heart is and what it's capable of; it is wicked to the core. The heart of man, like marble, is stone-cold and as we see in the next verse, the Lord knows this. "I the LORD search the heart, I try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings". The Lord is called the Knower of the heart. To Him alone can this verse be applied; it is from Him alone that we can have the ability to understand the instruction by which we can in any way know ourselves because the heart is wicked. Charles H. Spurgeon says "The heart of man is compared in Scripture to the nether millstone, and in another place it is even compared to the adamant stone; it is harder than the diamond; it cannot be cut; it cannot be broken; it cannot be moved" (1). God sees our heart as wicked and unclean, but by His grace and long-suffering towards man, He tells us that He will teach us how we can obtain a heart that loves and wants to obey a holy and perfect God. Using passages in the books of Proverbs and Romans, we will examine what the Bible says about the natural state of Man's heart and how that can and must be changed in order to be acceptable in God's holy presence. Firstly, how does the world view the heart? The world sees the heart as the vital center and source of one's being, emotions, and sensibilities. It is the repository of one's deepest and sincerest feelings and beliefs; the seat of the intellect or imagination, emotional constitution, basic disposition, or character; one's prevailing mood or current inclination; capacity for sympathy or generosity; compassion; love; affection (2). The world also views the heart in that "It means to let our feelings, dreams, and gut-instincts lead us through our lives, from moment to moment, rather than simply becoming and being what our own mind and society has planned for us all along; as we renounce the understandings and activities of mankind we must find our compass within ourselves, if ever we are to continue forward, towards a life of wholeness and beauty" (3). I once heard a wise man say that there is a Greek word for this view, it sounds something like "baloney". Seriously, this makes a wonderful statement about 'self' and 'me' and what's in it for my self-righteousness. This statement is very similar to the view of the Pharisees and the Judiazers of biblical times. Proverbs says in 21:2 "Every way of a man is right in his own eyes: but the LORD pondereth the hearts". To truly answer the question of the heart, we must turn our thinking away from the disturbing and selfish understanding of the world's view. We can only do this by taking a deeper look into the matter of the heart using information from the greatest authority and sovereign King. We have the word of God, His holy scripture; what does the Bible say about the heart? There is much information about the heart we can glean from the book of Proverbs. Prov 21:1 says "The king's heart is in the hand of the LORD, as the rivers of water: he turneth it whithersoever he will". Even though the worldly kings seem to have all things at their command, they are not able to bring their own purposes to pass unless God has appointed them to do so. We tend to forget the reason we breathe today is because a holy and perfect God allows us to. Prov 16:9 says "A man's heart deviseth his way: but the LORD directeth his steps". The word 'deviseth' means to strike out by thought; to plan; to scheme. Man is always trying to please self and to do things his own way and make grand plans about what he will do. There is nothing the Lord does not know about our life, and he has known what direction we would take since before the beginning of time. Already, in just these couple of verses, we are able to clearly see that the world's view of one being in control of one's own life and purposes of the heart, is contradictory to the scripture. We know this because the Bible clearly tells us "... the LORD directeth his step". Prov 3:5 says "Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding". If we lean on our own understanding, we are destined to fall and we will be destined to face our end at the Great White Throne judgement. We must put all our trust in the LORD. God is the Fountain of all good. He has made us; we are His creation intended to be dependent upon Him. God requires us to be conscious of that dependence through both sensing a need and desire for Him. As we are shown in Rom 1:16-21, the just shall live by faith. When we look at Prov 14:30, "A sound heart is the life of the flesh: but envy the rottenness of the bones", we are shown that a "sound heart" is a heart made so only by the grace of God. In this sound heart, we would find the principles of truth, righteousness, and holiness. It is a heart free from wrath, anger, and envy, and other similar passions and worries. This contributes much to the health of the body, and the comfort of life. Conversely, a heart full of envy and jealousy destroys the body through emotional and spiritual decay. What does the Bible say about the wickedness of the heart and the results of that wickedness? Rom 1:21 says "Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened". This means the whole inner man became worthless and senseless. The heart of man is easily darkened by wrong thinking and selfish behavior, which we know as sin. As a result of the wickedness of their hearts, their conduct was evil and even their imaginations (thoughts) were nothing but evil continually. Darkness is natural to the hearts and understanding of all humankind, which is enlarged by personal sin. Satan is very concerned with ensuring people continue in darkness, and even God, in His perfect judgement, sometimes gives up the hearts of men to judicial blindness. This was precisely the case of the people referred to in Rom 1:21. "The tongue of the just is as choice silver: the heart of the wicked is little worth". (Prov 10:20) There is little worth to a heart that is wicked and evil. There is nothing good that can come from the heart when it is in bondage to sin. Rom 2:5 says "But after thy hardness and impenitent heart treasurest up unto thyself wrath against the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God". Hardness of the heart leads to total destruction and separation from a holy God; it only leads to the final judgement at the Great White Throne (2 Pet 2:9), (Job 21:30). If a person thinks that his or her heart is not wicked, they are only fooling themselves. They need to read Prov 28:26, which tells us "He that trusteth in his own heart is a fool...". It is foolishness on the part of men to trust in the wisdom and counsel of their own hearts, to lean to their own understanding, in things both natural and civil. A person who trusts in his own understanding is destined for destruction because, as we have already established through scripture, a person is incapable of doing what is honest and good in the eyes of a sovereign God. Prov 17:20 says "He that hath a froward heart findeth no good: and he that hath a perverse tongue falleth into mischief". Someone who is habitually obstinate or crooked will fall into misery. He will not obtain the favor of God, nor a good name, good credit, or good reputation among men. A 'perverse tongue' literally means "a fork of flame, evil speaker". Again, this behavior will only lead to destruction and wrath from God. We see in Prov 6:18 that "An heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief" is the beginning of all forms of wickedness. Similarly, Prov 1:16 guarantees that men with an evil heart will naturally "... run to evil, and make haste to shed blood". Nothing good comes from the heart of man. This is the reason why Jesus had to come to this earth to be our propitiation for sin. The heart is evil and wicked and God requires judgement. The only possible way to receive a new heart has been made available to us through the shed blood of the Lord Jesus Christ. This leads us to the fact that man cannot change his own heart. Because Romans 10:9-10 says "That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation", we know that it must be an act of God through Christ Jesus our savior. We can only get a new heart through confession that He is Lord, and to believe in our heart and follow. We must have faith in our heart that Jesus died for our offenses, and has been raised for our justification, and depend solely on Him for that justification, in order to be saved. Rom 2:29 says "But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God". We need to realize that everything we do should show praise and honor to the God who created us in His own image. The fall of man brought sin into His creation and we must first be reconciled to Him in order to have eternal life. We must praise Him for His righteousness. We must be a worshipper of God in Spirit and in truth. As Deut 10:16 says, "Circumcise therefore the foreskin of your heart, and be no more stiffnecked". We must submit and not be disobedient to God; we need to cut off all the evil affections of our heart. Rom 6:17-18 says "But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you. Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness". In order to have a changed heart, it first must come from God who is the giver and sustainer of life. We are products of His greatness; in order to be a part of His righteousness, we must receive a new heart. Sin brought all men under a sentence of condemnation, and Christ bore the execution of this sentence in himself for His people. As a result, we as Christians are free from the bondage of sin, have passed from death to life, and will never enter into condemnation. We can have this assurance because of the end of Prov 28:26: "....but whoso walketh wisely, he shall be delivered". A wise person will be delivered, which means released, rescued, and most importantly, preserved by the loving and caring hands of God. What are we delivered from? We are delivered from eternal death and destruction and His righteous judgement. Every unwilling person who thinks they are good enough to face a holy God in their own strength will face that eternal condemnation. The Bible views the heart of the self-righteous as an abomination and wicked. "They that are of a froward heart are an abomination to the LORD: but such as are upright in their way are his delight". (Prov 11:20) The Lord takes delight in the upright in heart, those with integrity, one who walks in the truth of God and His righteousness. Prov 3:5 says "Trust in the LORD (we must put all our trust in the Lord), with all thine heart; (your whole heart must trust in the Lord, you must have faith in the Lord) and lean not unto thine own understanding". God is the Fountain of all good. He has made His intelligent creatures dependent upon Himself and He requires us to be conscious of that dependence. He has promised to supply what we need and He commands us to believe by faith in His promise, looking to its future fulfillment. We are to do this without doubt, or fear - a willing and whole heart, as this verse indicates ("with all thine heart"). We cannot rely on our ourselves for salvation because, as we have already examined, our heart is deceitful and wicked. We are counted as fools if we think we can achieve salvation on our own merits. The Bible speaks of a rich young man who built bigger and better barns to make himself feel better about his soul, as seen in Luke 12:19. "And I will say to my soul, Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry". We cannot have this thinking when it comes to our souls and the heart issue, because Jesus has something very important to say about this in verse 20. "But God said unto him, Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided?" Without a new heart we are as good as spiritually dead and cast into hell. "this night thy soul shall be required of thee" What the rich man should have said, if he had a renewed heart, is found in Rom 1:16 "For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek". Salvation, the one overwhelming necessity of perishing men, is revealed in the word of God. Salvation is by grace through faith, it is a free gift from God. That is the only way to obtain a new heart to replace the wicked heart with which every person is born. This is further proven in Prov 20:9 which tells us "Who can say, I have made my heart clean, I am pure from my sin?" John Bunyan said "One leak will sink a ship; and one sin will destroy a sinner." No man is innocent of sin. The only possible way a person could be declared clean would be to testify that the blood of Jesus Christ has cleansed them from all unrighteousness. He is pure from his sin, who is justified freely through the redemption that is in Jesus. A man can never say "...I made my heart clean, or "... I am pure from sin" as a result of his own righteousness. To make that kind of statement, he or she would be claiming that they are a good and decent human being who has no sin, and that Christ's sacrifice on the Cross was insufficient for them. The Word of God has something to say about such a statement in 1 John 1:8 "If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us". Verse 10 further shows us "If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us". The Bible clearly tells us that if one claims never to have sinned, that one is calling God a liar. In the Greek, it means a "falsifier", and that is blasphemous of a holy and infinite God. If we think that we can make ourselves better people, as some would like to think (as seen from the previous statements about how the world views the heart), "....we must find our compass within ourselves, if ever we are to continue forward, towards a life of wholeness and beauty" (3), we are making God a liar. We are only able to receive the heart of righteousness though Christ Jesus our LORD, not through ourselves or our 'inner being'. The bible is very clear on this issue, and as we see in John 14:6 "Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me", there is NO other way. The bible is very clear and direct - no person will ever see the Kingdom of God unless they deny self and follow the Lord by faith. It's the gift from God and no one else. We cannot make it on our own. We cannot obtain eternal security by our own merit because, again, Eph 2:9 warns us that it is "Not of works, lest any man should boast". Eze 11:19 says "And I will give them one heart, and I will put a new spirit within you; and I will take the stony heart out of their flesh, and will give them an heart of flesh". We need to look carefully at the word "I". God declares it is to be the free gift of His Spirit; not of man but only by God's sovereign plan. 2 Cor 5:17 says "Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new". In the Greek, 'new' implies a new nature; the old nature passes away, it is gone or perishes. It is a wonderful comfort to realize all things become "new" when you receive a new heart. Previously, we were full of pride and wrath, now we receive meekness and humbleness. Formerly, we had our heart concerned with this life and lived for this world alone, without God. But upon salvation, God now becomes our treasure, our desire, and we don't concentrate only on the things which are seen anymore (material), but at the things which are eternal (spiritual) in Christ Jesus our Lord. Therefore, "old things (my old and wicked heart) are passed away", and the void in our life is filled with Christ Jesus. What happens when we receive a new heart, and what are the results of becoming this new creature? As seen in Rom 10:10, there is an instant transformation. "For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation". We must believe in our heart, which is an act of the will and not just the emotions. Rom 10:13 says "For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved". It is not solely with the intellectual understanding, but with a faith that is sincere. No other faith can be genuine than that which influences the whole mind and heart. All sinners are able to be saved ("for whoever shall call upon.."); all will have their guilt pardoned and receive a new heart that is purified, ONLY if their desire is genuine. Matt 5:8 says "blessed are the pure in heart, For they shall see God". This is referring to those whose minds, motives, and principles are pure. They are those who seek not only to have their external actions correct, but also desire to be holy in heart. Man looks at the outward appearance (actions), but God looks at the heart (motives). We can only receive a new heart when we recognize the depravity of our own heart because it is so easy to be blinded by our self-righteousness and pride. Matt 6:21 says "For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also". When we become a child of the Living God, our affections will of course be fixed on the treasure - the Lord in all His splendor and majesty. To possess treasure in heaven is to possess evidence that its purity and joys will be ours in the future. 1 Peter 1:4 tells us we are called "To an inheritance (a gift that belongs to the children of God) incorruptible (no principles of immoral living or decay in it) and undefiled (nothing impure can enter it), and that fadeth not away (will never fade away), reserved in heaven for you (inheritance appointed for us, and kept by the One who will certainly grant it to us)" This wonderful verse is reserved for us as Christians. This is what our new heart brings - everlasting life with a holy and gracious Father who loved us first; One who desired that we should spend eternity with Him (Col 1:5) (Matt 25:34) (John 14:2). A renewed heart also brings other results such as a desire to worship God and to put Him as the center of one's life. Prov 2:2 says "So that thou incline thine ear unto wisdom, and apply thine heart to understanding" We need to listen to His wisdom (Christ's), and to the instruction of wisdom (which is the Gospel), because it is the product of divine wisdom. This wisdom only comes from God. When you are a child of the living God, you will desire to know more about and more from the blessed LORD. What is the focus of our wisdom when we have a new heart in Christ Jesus? As Prov 2:2 states, we should "apply thine heart to understanding". We need to develop a spiritual and attentive understanding of the Gospel and the truths of it through exercise of the heart. This will signify the intensity of the mind and an earnest, hearty desire after knowledge. We see this demonstrated in the life of Mary, mother of Jesus, in Luke 2:19. "But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart". Ignatius of Antioch said "My dear Jesus, my Savior, is so deeply written in my heart, that I feel confident, that if my heart were to be cut open and chopped to pieces, the name of Jesus would be found written on every piece." We must ponder all things that the Lord teaches or shows us through the help of the Holy Spirit, and meditate on His wonderful truth. We must keep all these things in the only place where they will never leave - our "hearts". Ps 119:112 says "I have inclined mine heart to perform thy statutes alway, even unto the end". What exactly does "Inclined mine heart" mean? In Hebrew, this means 'to stretch out, to extend, as the hand; to incline, to bow, to depress'. All Christians should be bowing down in reverence to a holy God. In this verse, the idea is that he had consciously given that direction to the inclinations (desires) of his heart. This is referring to an act of choice or the will, meaning he had made it a serious intention to obey the will of God over the will of self. We have been purchased from the slave market and we now belong to Him. 1 Cor 6:19-20 says "What? Know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's". As a Christian, we have been purchased, ransomed and redeemed. We are bound to give ourselves to God only, flee from an immoral life, and to keep His commands. Even though we are counted righteous in God's eyes, we will still sin. However, as seen in Romans 6:1-2 "What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?", we should always strive to abstain from any form of evil. The results of a victorious Christian life will be continual service to the Lord in joy and excitement. Jim Elliot said "Always seek peace between your heart and God, but in this world, always be careful to remain ever-restless, never satisfied, and always abounding in the work of the Lord." We must remain faithful and growing, as the Psalmist says, "... even unto the end". Through examining a few of the verses in the books of Proverbs and Romans, we can see that the human heart is naturally full of sin and wickedness. We can know that God sees all hearts and desires that they return to fellowship with Him. The only possible way to be reconciled to God is if we have a new heart and therefore a new nature. This new heart can only be received through acknowledging our sin, and the atoning work of Christ through His death and resurrection. Because of the wonderful grace of God, Jesus was the propitiation for all the world's sin. Johnathan Edwards said "Grace is but Glory begun, and Glory is but Grace perfected." This grace will be bestowed on every person who denies self. This is in direct conflict with the world's view and the New Age philosophies of today. According to the Word of Truth, the Bible, we must repent of our sin and follow Christ Jesus. It is the free gift He offers everyone; it is up to each individual to receive it into our hearts with gladness. If we foolishly believe that our hearts are 'good' and we can save ourselves, our decision will lead only to total darkness and separation forever from a holy and sovereign LORD.

By Mike Andrews

16 May 2009

The Importance of Worship to the Christian

What does the word worship mean?

· Excellence of character and dignity
· Worthiness.
· A title of honor, used in addresses to certain magistrates and other of respectable character.
· Chiefly and eminently, the act of paying divine honor
· Exercises adoration, confession, prayer, thanksgiving.

The Greek word for worship is proskuneo (Pros-koo-neh-o) to prostrate oneself (reverence and adoration). It also means to fawn or crouch. The Bible says “But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. God is Spirit, and those who worship (to prostrate oneself, reverence and adoration) Him must worship in spirit and truth." John 4:20-24

Who does our worship belong too?

The world says:
We are the world
We are the life
We are to be worshipped
We are all gods
We deserve to be praised and adorned

What does the Bible say about this worship?

· Acts 14:15 “and saying, "Men, why are you doing these things? We also are men with the same nature as you, and preach to you that you should turn from these useless things to the living God, who made the heaven, the earth, the sea, and all things that are in them,”
· Acts 10:26 But Peter lifted him up, saying, "Stand up; I myself am also a man."
· Isa 42:8 I am the LORD, that is My name; And My glory I will not give to another, Nor My praise to carved images.
The disciples knew this form of worship was wrong and false and unpleasing to God. We MUST worship the true living GOD.
Exo 20:3 "You shall have no other gods before Me.”
John 5:23 “that all should honor the Son just as they honor the Father. He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent Him”
1Cor 10:31 Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.
Rev 4:10- 11 the twenty-four elders fall down before Him who sits on the throne and worship Him who lives forever and ever, and cast their crowns before the throne, saying: "You are worthy, O Lord, To receive glory and honor and power; For You created all things, And by Your will they exist and were created."

Real worship acknowledges God as extremely valuable and precious. Worship means ascribing all glory to Him because He is:

1. Perfectly holy
2. All- powerful
3. All- knowing
4. Omnipresent which flows A) Goodness
B) Mercy
C) Truth
D) Wisdom
E) Power
F) Salvation

Is NOT optional
Is NOT a suggestion
Is NOT a take it or leave it suggestion
Is NOT about what we can get out of it
Is NOT about making myself feel better

To be perfectly blunt Worship has absolutely nothing to do with us. Worship is and always will be all for the One who gives us life and air to breath, so that we can glorify the Lord of our salvation to the world. Something to ponder for the Christian if our worship does not come from the heart then it’s vain and empty, it’s not authentic worship. Which means worthless and unpleasing to God.

(Ps 95:1-11) Oh come, let us sing to the LORD! Let us shout joyfully to the Rock of our salvation. Let us come before His presence with thanksgiving; Let us shout joyfully to Him with psalms. For the LORD is the great God, And the great King above all gods. In His hand are the deep places of the earth; The heights of the hills are His also. The sea is His, for He made it; And His hands formed the dry land. Oh come, let us worship and bow down; Let us kneel before the LORD our Maker. For He is our God, And we are the people of His pasture, And the sheep of His hand. Today, if you will hear His voice: "Do not harden your hearts, as in the rebellion, As in the day of trial in the wilderness, When your fathers tested Me; They tried Me, though they saw My work. For forty years I was grieved with that generation, And said, 'It is a people who go astray in their hearts, And they do not know My ways.' So I swore in My wrath, 'They shall not enter My rest.' "

This is what it means to worship Him. It’s not the mountain or a thing or a ritual, or to make you feel good about yourself. Here are 7 Biblical truths to help you in your Christian walk when it comes to the importance of worship.

1. Worship is personal (v2)

2. Worship requires participation (v2)

3. Worship is practical (v2)

4. Worship’s point of meeting is focusing on God (V3)

5. Worship’s purpose is to bring glory to God (v6-v7)

6. Worship is primarily a matter of the heart (v8)

7. Worship is a humble desire of the spirit (v9)

John Piper said “All of history is moving toward one great goal, the white-hot worship of God and his Son among all the peoples of the earth. Missions exist because worship doesn't. Worship is ultimate, not missions, because God is ultimate, not man.... When this age is over, and the countless millions of the redeemed fall on their faces before the throne of God, missions will be no more. It is a temporary necessity. But worship abides forever” So worship Him with a genuine heart of adoration and praise for His sovereign goodness. How through a living sacrifice “ Through Him then let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that acknowledge his name”. Heb 13:15

To Him Be the Glory

09 May 2009

Thinking Biblically About Homosexuality

Names of God's Children

If you are a child of the living God, you are no longer called a sinner; "For you were like sheep going astray, but have now returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls" 1Peter 2:25. We are still a sinners but God looks at us not as sinners, but as His precious children. Why? Because of what Jesus did on the Cross for you and me, sinners saved by sovereign grace.
Jesus, is the Overseer and Lover of our souls, as the Good Shepherd. Jesus said in John's Gospel "I am the good shepherd; and I know My sheep, and am known by My own. As the Father knows Me, even so I know the Father; and I lay down My life for the sheep." John 10:14-15.
The Bible has many names for God's children, sinners who are saved by His
wondrous grace and mercy.

You are the:

Beloved of God (Rom 1:7)
Beloved Brethren (James 2:5)
Children of God (John 1:12)
Sons of the Living God (Rom 9:26)
Sons of the Most High (Luke 6:35)
Children of the Promise (Rom 9:8)
Dear Children (Eph 5:1)
Elect of God (Col 3:12)

The Faithful (Ps 12:1)
The Godly (2 Pet 2:9)
Heirs of God (Gal 4:7)
Holy Priesthood (I Pet 2:5)
The Just (Hab 2:4)
Little Children (1 John 2:1)
Living Stones (1 Pet 2:5)

Special People (Titus 2:14)
Slaves of Righteousness (Rom 6:18)
Sheep of Christ (John 10:1-16)
Servants of Christ (1 Cor 7:22)
Salt of the Earth (Matt 5:13:16)

Isn't it wonderful to be called all these things by a holy and loving God who came to this earth to bare our wrath so that we could have life with Him for all eternity? Praise Him for his everlasting love to sinners such as us. Praise Him because you are His precious child.

Praise Him, Praise Him!

02 May 2009

LORD, Teach Me How to Pray

There are few subjects in the Christian life more puzzling to more of God’s people than prayer. Many Christians today are often confused by prayer and usually ask:
1. What is Prayer?
2. Does prayer change things or does prayer merely change the one who is praying?
3. How should we pray?
4. What should we pray for?
5. Can we be sure that God always hears prayer?
6. Can we be confident that He will answer our prayers?
A. Prayer is to express our submission to the Sovereignty of God and our trust in His faithfulness.
B. Prayer is a means by which we express all that is in our hearts to our loving and wise Father.
C. Prayer is not to give God information because God knows everything.
D. Prayer brings us into reverent communion with God, worshipping Him and acknowledging Him as the Giver of all things.
E. Prayer is our way to Communicate, humble ourselves by acknowledging that without Him we can do nothing .
Prayer is also a command to Christian’s "Be careful for nothing; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. Phil 4:6. You must ask by prayer and supplication without this He has not promised to help you. Jesus said "Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. Matt 7:7. We must ask, seek and knock for Him to hear our prayers. He demands obedience. If we are not asking, or seeking Him through prayer then we are not breathing. I think Martin Luther hits the nail on the head when he said "To be a Christian without prayer is no more possible than to be alive without breathing." To go further Corrie Ten Boom said "Is prayer your steering wheel or your spare tire?" Jude half brother of Jesus said in his letter “it’s very hard to stumble when you’re on your knees” (v24). Remember when one of Jesus' disciples said "Lord, teach us to pray, as John taught his disciples." Turn to Luke 11:1-4. This is the standard, the basis in how you and I are to treat prayer Look at how Jesus starts off His prayer “Hallowed” or “sanctified” (which really means I separate everything by):
1. Treasuring “Your Name Lord”
2. Reverencing “ “
3. Honouring “ “
4. Glorifying “ “
5. Cherishing “ “
6. Esteeming “ “
7. Praising “ “
8. Magnifying” “

All born again Believers WILL desire to pray with a heart of adoration to a God who is infinitely wonderful and glorious!

Pray to God ......................................... Our Father who is in Heaven
Exalt Him saying .................................. Hallowed be thy name
Submit to Him seeking ............................ Thy Kingdom come, thy will be done
Look to Him pleading ............................ Our daily bread (sustenance)
Confess to Him pleading .......................... Forgive us our debts (sins)
Depend on Him asking .............................. Lead us not into temptation
Trust in Him requesting ........................... Deliver us from evil

(Ps 27:7) Hear, O LORD, when I cry aloud; Be gracious to me and answer me! This is the confidence to every believer that is walking in the will of the Father who is in Heaven. Our hearts must plead to God for our everyday strength, and for those who are perishing. Pleading your petition to a holy God that He will answer your prayer for someone or many you know. Charles H. Spurgeon says "If sinners be damned, at least let them leap to Hell over our bodies. If they will perish, let them perish with our arms about their knees. Let no one go there unwarned and unprayed for." Keep yourselves in the love of God. By holy lives and prayer, not in your own strength, but "in the love of God”. John Piper says “prayer is the Christian’s vital breath. If you do not treasure breath, you do not treasure life. If you don’t treasure prayer, you don’t treasure eternal life. If you don’t love prayer, you don’t love GOD”. How do I keep myself from that kind of behaviour? Listen to Jude, he said “ keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ that leads to eternal life.” Jude 21. But what happens when we treat prayer like a ritual or a way to win favour with a holy God? Jesus gave a clear warning "And when you pray, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do, for they think that they will be heard for their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him. Matt 6:7-8. What Jesus was saying is, Do not pray like the world!
1. Hypocrites (Job 27:8-9) “for what is the hope of the hypocrite”
2. Self righteous (Luke 18:11-12) “God I thank You that I am not like other men”
3. Proud (Job 35:12-13) “they cry out, but He does not answer...”
4. Idolaters (Rom 1:23) “and changed the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man...”
5. Cult worshippers (1 Kings 18:26) “as the worshippers of Baal” and of Diana of Ephesus

(1) Prayer is an Action
Ÿ Kneeling (Eph 3:14)
Ÿ Looking up (Ps 5:3)
Ÿ Lifting up the soul (Lam 3:41)
Ÿ Lifting up your heart and hands (Ps 62:8)
Ÿ Pouring out the soul (1Sam 1:15)

(2) Prayer is Dedication all the Time
Ÿ All the time (1Thess 5:17)
Ÿ In everything (1Tim 2:8)
Ÿ In the morning (Ps 119:147)
Ÿ Response to chastening for sin (Isa 26-26)
Ÿ Suffering and joyful times (James 5:13)

(3) Whom will God Answer?
Ÿ Those who seek God with all their heart (Ps 34:4)
Ÿ Those who what upon God for Him to answer (Ps 40:1)
Ÿ Those who ask according to His will (1 John 5:14)
Ÿ Those who pray in most holy faith; pray in the Holy Spirit (Jude 20)

Oswald Chambers says "Jesus Christ carries on intercession for us in heaven; the Holy Ghost carries on intercession in us on earth; and we the saints have to carry on intercession for all men." Prayer can be hard work. But that should not keep us from praying, even if it requires us to sacrifice:
A. T.V time
B. Social life or functions
C. Your comfort zone
Prayer is vital to our sanctification remember when Jesus selected His 12 apostles “In these days He went out to the mountain to pray, and all night he continued in prayer to God. And when day came, He called his disciples and chose from them twelve, whom he named apostles:” Luke 6:12-13.
Ask yourself:
1. Am I willing to pray all night long for something so important?
2. Do I really believe that my prayer will change anything?
3. Do I believe by faith, He will answer?
4. Have I been experiencing a quiet, peaceable, godly and morally honest life because of the quality of my prayer life?
5. Have you specifically been praying for those in authority over you (church leaders, our government)?
The only way to answer these questions is to do it. If you find it to hard, here is something that might help you as it did me. I found this help when I was being discipled from the book ‘ The Fundamentals of the Faith' by John MacArthur. When I was first saved I really didn't know how to pray as the disciples did when they asked Jesus. "Lord, teach us to pray ...”Luke 11:1. John gives us 4 Important areas to concentrate on when we come to Him in prayer, John calls it "the ACTS of prayer".

Adoration: Reflect on God Himself. Praise Him for His attributes, His majesty, His gift of Christ.

Confession: Admit to God you have sinned. Be honest and humble. Remember, He knows you and loves you.

Thanksgiving: Tell God how grateful you are for everything He has given you, even the unpleasant things. Your thankfulness will help you see His purposes.

Supplication: Make specific requests. Pray for others first, then for yourself

Please stop trying so hard, or holding your breath and pray to a God who loves you and desires to hear from His children crying out to Him with adoration, confession, thanksgiving, and with our supplications to Him. Why? Because He deserves our obedience and love and most of all because He is the reason we breathe each and every breath through the gift of prayer!

Slavery Can Be Fun

Church, Walk Worthy of One Another

Do we as Christians think that God owes us anything? Do we think that He is our get out of jail card and we can continue to live our old selfish lives in the presence of His holiness? See when a person follows the Lord Jesus they are making a statement "I no longer live, but Christ lives in me". It means that I'm never coming back because He owns me, He is the master and Lord of my life. So I ask the question:

What does it mean to walk, or live the Christian life? Does it mean!

1. A happier life
2. More money
3. More success
4. More friends
5. More prestige
6. A greater fulfillment of self
7. Better marriage
8. Better children
9. Better health
10. Better home and personal possessions

If you answered Yes to all those things, then you really don’t understand what it is to live and walk the Christian life. Well! What’s the answer then? What is it to walk the Christian life? There is one thing we need to understand, before we can walk worthy as a Christian, we need to understand what it means to be redeemed.

Redeemed means: To buy back from the “Slave Market”, delivered from bondage, distress, penalty, liability, or from the possession of another, by paying an equivalent. (Eph 1:7) “In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace” We have been purchased with a great price, that none of us can pay back!
Ask yourself this question:

1) Has your heart been changed by that redemption?
2) Are you amazed each and every day that you have been purchased from that Slave Market by the precious blood of Jesus?

If you have said YES! Then you will do, and follow His guidelines with a heart that desires to walk worthy and serve your Master. The One and only, who purchased you with His Blood. Christ the LORD. (Read the Text Ephesians 4:1-6)

Paul also said earlier in his letter “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them” Eph 2:10. We are His workmanship, His handiwork. Good works" cannot be performed until we are new "created unto" Him. Paul never calls the works of the law "good works." We are not saved by good works, but we were created to do, good works. Walking in Unity is our reasonable service. How do we do that? How do we walk in unity? There are 4 things Paul mentions in these verses that we must do in order to walk worthy!

1. Lowliness: means Humility, humbleness of mind. (v2)

(1Pet 5:5) Likewise, you who are younger, be subject to the elders. Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for "God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble." We are to have a humble and gracious heart towards others, young men listen to the wisdom of your peers. Do not be proud or boastful because that’s not walking worthy with lowliness of mind.

2. Gentleness: means "kindness, goodness of heart," rendered "gentleness" (v2)

(1Tim3:3) “not a drunkard, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money”. We must not cause division against the unity of the church. We must be gentle! We must seek God and His wisdom to find strength in times of conflict and disagreements.

3. Long-suffering: means "to be patient, long-suffering, to bear with, “to be long-tempered," (v2)

(1Thes 5:14) And we urge you, brothers, admonish the idle, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with them all. We must correct a fallen brother or sister, help and encourage the ones that are having a bad day, help the ones who are weak in faith and knowledge, strengthen them, hold them up by the power of the Word which is the Authority over our lives.

Pray for your fellow believer
Pray for the unity of the church
Pray for salvation for the lost
Pray, pray, pray

4. Bearing with one another in Love: means to support as a burden." It is used with the meaning “to take up," as in picking up anything, stones, “to carry" something, “to carry" on one's person or in one's body. "To bear" a burden, whether physically, as of the cross, or metaphorically in respect of sufferings endured in the cause of Christ, it is said of physical endurance, way of carrying off. (v2- v3) We must have a enduring love for one another, I think Paul says it best to the beleivers in Galatia about the true meaning of baring one anothers burdens. "Bear one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. Help one another in all situations of life, because you are commanded to fulfill that requirement". In John's Gospel we see jesus say "A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another". John 13:34

All these characteristics are vital for unity to happen in and out of our Christian walk. These are be continued throughout our walk minute by minute, day by day. They are unconditional, a requirement by every believer, without questioning or complaining. We are all the same in Christ. Different backgrounds but are indwelled with one Spirit. Walk in unity! (v4)

This gives the same meaning in (2Cor 13:11) Finally, brothers (finally Christian), rejoice. Aim for restoration, comfort one another, agree with one another, live in peace; and the God of love and peace will be with you. Listen to this verse again! What do we see in this little verse? Your Christian walk should aspire to the highest degree of holiness. Be of good comfort. Be of one mind, desire, labour in Unity for the sake of the Saviour Jesus Christ the redeemer of our souls.

1. Rejoice with one another
2. Restore one another
3. Comfort one another
4. Make peace with one another
5. Do all these things and God will be with you! Have unity among the body of Christ (v4- v5)

1. How is your Christian walk today?
2. Is it worthy or is there something that needs to change today?
3. Are you concerned for your fellow believers or the local church?
4. Are you more interested in yourself?
5. Is your conduct pleasing to a sovereign and holy God?

Because remember you were purchased from the slave market by a:
1. Loving
2. Caring
3. Merciful
4. Holy
5. Perfect
6. A Lord above all, and His name is JESUS CHRIST our Redeemer and Savior

I like how John MacArthur sums up this wonderful text by saying “We are one people under one sovereign (over all), omnipotent (through all), and omnipresent (in all) God”. We serve an amazing God who saved us and loved us with an everlasting love. Walk worthy because He is worth it!