Friday, August 30, 2019

Fear – Friend or Foe

For God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but of power and love and discipline. Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord or of me His prisoner, but join with me in suffering for the gospel according to the power of God… 2 Timothy 1:7-8

We all have certain fears, and are faced with things in life that cause us to be fearful. Instead of letting our fears handle us, we need to learn to handle our fears.  Fear can occur anywhere we sense the possibility of pain or loss. Fear can empower us for action, or paralyze us and make us more susceptible to the danger at hand.  If we don’t handle it the right way, it can take over our lives. That’s why it’s critical that we understand our fears. Whatever the root of the fear is, there is one thing that is always constant: Fear is an emotion, and like any emotion, it can be redirected.  
Many times when we as children of God are faced with a problem and fear begins to grip our hearts we rush off to talk to a friend or to seek council from a church leader.  This in and of itself is not wrong, but we need to realize that at the very moment fear takes hold of our lives we have someone much greater to talk to and that is the Lord.  He can handle our fears and calm our hearts. Sometimes we are faced with problems  we try to solve them our own way rather than seeking God's way. This can lead to fear bercasue we cannot see things as He does. We cannot solve things with our human solutions as He can, and we may begin to see things as hopeless.   
Having a personal relationship with the Lord will provide the confidence in God we need to trust Him with all our fears.  We can see in the life of David three reasons how fis relationship with the Lord gave him confidence in the Lord:
  • The Lord was his light.- (gave him guidance)
  • The Lord was his salvation. (gave him hope)
  • The Lord was his stronghold. (gave him strength)
David's enemies tried to kill him. Entire armies surrounded him and waged war against him. Yet, in spite of all these things we are told that he still remained confident in the Lord.
The LORD is with me; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me? The LORD is with me; he is my helper. I will look in triumph on my enemies.  It is better to take refuge in the LORD than to trust in man.  It is better to take refuge in the LORD than to trust in princes. All the nations surrounded me, but in the name of the LORD I cut them off. They surrounded me on every side, but in the name of the LORD I cut them off. They swarmed around me like bees, but they died out as quickly as burning thorns; in the name of the LORD I cut them off.  I was pushed back and about to fall, but the LORD helped me. The LORD is my strength and my song; he has become my salvation. Psalm 118:6-14  
As children of God the closer we can get to the Lord, the better we are going to be able to deal with our fears and life's problems when they come into our lives. We can see that as long as David dwelt in the house of the Lord and stayed in fellowship with God he was protected and safe.  And as long as we as God's children stay in fellowship with the Lord He will continue to protect and help us whenever we are faced with problems.
 Admit your fears- Nothing can ever really be conquered until it is identified. Admit them to yourself and to God. Commit your fears to God- Verbally declare your decision to give your fears over to the Lord.  Release your fears to God- and finally stand firm in faith and refuse to allow your fears to intimidate you.

The LORD is my light and my salvation– whom shall I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life– of whom shall I be afraid?  When evil men advance against me to devour my flesh, when my enemies and my foes attack me, they will stumble and fall. Though an army besiege me, my heart will not fear; though war break out against me, even then will I be confident. Psalm 27:1-3

Thursday, August 29, 2019

Sheep or Goat?

When he finally arrives, blazing in beauty and all his angels with him, the Son of Man will take his place on his glorious throne. Then all the nations will be arranged before him and he will sort the people out, much as a shepherd sorts out sheep and goats, putting sheep to his right and goats to his left. “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Enter, you who are blessed by my Father! Take what’s coming to you in this kingdom. It’s been ready for you since the world’s foundation. And here’s why: I was hungry and you fed me, I was thirsty and you gave me a drink, I was homeless and you gave me a room, I was shivering and you gave me clothes, I was sick and you stopped to visit, I was in prison and you came to me.’ Then those ‘sheep’ are going to say, ‘Master, what are you talking about? When did we ever see you hungry and feed you, thirsty and give you a drink? And when did we ever see you sick or in prison and come to you?’ Then the King will say, ‘I’m telling the solemn truth: Whenever you did one of these things to someone overlooked or ignored, that was me—you did it to me.  Matthew 25:31-40

Jesus never was, and never will be interested in the grandiose religious things we sometimes fill our lives with. Rather He is concerned with the little things you and I do, the less glorious tasks, maybe the ones that gets our hands dirty.  I am talking about mission work.  Helping the underpriviligded or vulnerable, the hungry, thirsty, sick, imprisoned, or the mentally or physically disabled.  
There are many ways we can help others.  Jesus cared enough about the needs of the poor and vulnerable that he said when we help them it is the same as if we had done it for Christ Himself.  We can participate in serving in many different ways from serving food to donating money to rolling up our sleeves and working on different projects like cleaning public parks or repairing houses or homeless shelters. If we look for ways to serve we will find them.  
Jesus refers to the sheep on His right as being the ones who helped the people in need. The ones on His left, who did not help, He calls goats.  The sheep are referring to Christians who sacrifice to help those who need help. He says they are blessed by His Father and can enter His kingdom and Take what’s coming to you in this kingdom. It’s been ready for you since the world’s foundation.
There is no wrong answer. If you don’t have money to give, you can give time.  You don’t have to be rich or give a lot of money to help.  Time is valuable and time spent with another person who needs some encouragement – one on one – is valuable.  Unfortunately sometimes the less fortunate are looked down on and passed by or dismissed. Hard times break hearts and crush souls. A little love and encouragement, along with a hot meal or a bag of groceries can make a difference in someon’s life. 
I don’t know about you but I for sure want to be on the sheep side of the King and not with the goats. How many do you pass by or overlook? How many times could you sacrifice a little bit of time to reach out and serve?  Jesus was passionate about it and wants us to be too.  How can you serve out this in your life?  Make room today –Whenever you did one of these things to someone overlooked or ignored, that was me—you did it to me.  

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

Happiness

by Lara Cook
You will show me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore. Psalms 16:11
Happiness isn't found by pursing it; it is a by-product of pursuing GodEveryone wants to be happy.  Blaise Pascal a 17th century philosopher said this concerning happiness. "All men seek happiness. This is without exception. This is the motive of every man, even of those who hang themselves." Unfortunately, all too often when we seek happiness in any earthly form, we end up at the end of ourselves.  Chasing earthly pleasures to find happiness only results in pain, heartbreak, debt, betrayal, and the list goes on.  When we seek happiness in God, we can find true happiness from someone who will never quit on us. 
We all have an opinion of what makes us happy and we allow our circumstances to determine our happiness.  The apostle Paul found himself arrested and being brought before King Agrippa. The way I look at it there is not a lot of happiness to be found in this scene. However listen to the words of Paul: I think myself happy, King Agrippa, because today I shall answer for myself before you concerning all the things of which I am accused by the Jews… Acts 26:2  Happiness used here speaks of being supremely blessed and well off. If happiness is to be measured by circumstances then Paul has no business being happy! He ought to be miserable and mad because his circumstances are not producing happiness.  But Paul understood that his happiness was not measured by his circumstances. He was supremely blessed because he knew his God was the source of his happiness.
If happiness for us comes only through maintaining a sufficient flow of favorable circumstances, life will be pretty hard on most of us.  Even if we could determine our happiness by circumstances we would not be happy for long because we cannot control our circumstances. So happiness pursued through circumstances will quickly become inconsistent circumstantial happiness to us!
Our happiness in this life will never be found in pursuing the things of this world. God does want His children to be happy, contrary to some popular belief.  But He doesn’t want us to be happy over holy.  Holiness should be our goal and in striving for and seeking holiness we can find true happiness.  The world is not going to make us happy or holy.  The world will make us sad and unsatisfied.  Only the pursuit of God can make us both happy and holy.  Not only will pursuing Him bring us happiness, but also the realization that He pursued us first.  He wants to have a relationship with us and He demonstrated His love for us on the cross through Jesus Christ.  He calls us out and tracks us down to give us the only thing that brings lastinghappiness – His love, mercy and the gift of eternal life.  
Everything this world offers, including some of the people, will rob you when you go looking for what they can offer you.  They take your life and your soul.  Mark 6:8says What can it profit a man to gain the whole world yet forfeit his soul?   Jesus won’t take your soul.  He won’t disappoint, He won’t give up or walk away, He won’t turn his back on you.  He gives life.  He gives wealth – heavenly wealth.  Quit chasing happiness and start pursuing Christ now for a lasting and true happiness. 

So we’re not giving up. How could we! Even though on the outside it often looks like things are falling apart on us, on the inside, where God is making new life, not a day goes by without his unfolding grace. These hard times are small potatoes compared to the coming good times, the lavish celebration prepared for us. There’s far more here than meets the eye. The things we see now are here today, gone tomorrow. But the things we can’t see now will last forever. 2 Corinthians 4:17-18

Tuesday, August 27, 2019

Sufficient for Everything

by Lara Cook
Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.  1 Thessalonians 5:17-18

Paul gave the Thessalonians three things to remember in striving to live a Christian life.  These three things we would do well to remember also.  They are good for hard times in our lives, anything we may go through, and for everyday living as well.
Rejoice Always
– If you have ever been in the middle of unbearable circumstances, then you know how hard it is to rejoice always when the walls are falling down around you.  And yet, this is what we are called to do.  Even when it is hard, we are to rejoice.  What can we rejoice about when difficult circumstances surround us? We can rejoice because we can give it to Him.  He loves us and wants us to hand it over to Him because He wants to take care of it for us.  
Pray Without Ceasing– God loves it when we talk to Him.  We are His children and He wants us to be in a state of communication with Him always.  It is easy to pray when something happens, but the temptation is also there to reach for a quick fix to our problems.  Praying usually requires waiting and trusting.  We want to fix things fast.  God is the perfect answer to all our needs and we always have instant access to Him. Keep your connection to Him open and talk to Him about everything as you go through your day.  And when you are having to wait for an answer, keep praying. 
Give Thanks in All Circumstances- Even when the walls are falling down around you there are still things that you can be thankful for.  Gratitude causes us to focus on the One who has given and His provisions for our good.  Gratitude rebalances the scale of our circumstances when we are in troubled times. Satan loves to see us forget God’s past blessings and care in a time of trouble.  
No one ever wants to say “Thank you” for hard times. But the verse does not say “Give thanks forall circumstances.”  It says to “Give thanks inall circumstances.”  Still hard, but it changes everything. God is in all the circumstances of our lives – good and bad. This does not mean that He causes all the hard things to happen to us, but it means He is there.  Look for Him.  Seek Him and His peace and wisdom.  Ask what you are supposed to be learning and doing.  All the circumstances of our lives happen for a reason.  It may not be directed at us, but we are serving a purpose there. 
To help keep an attitude of giving thanks in all circumstances:
  • Find something to be thankful for everyday.
  • Discipline your mind to focus on what you are thankful for in diufficult situatuions.
  • Find and meditate on thankfulness in scripture.
  • Don’t let an ungrateful attitude take over – stop it immediately when it pops in your head.
  • Encourage and show gratitude to others around you.
When our mind is jumbled and our emotions stirred, these three simple things (not always simple to do) are easy to remember. Rejoice. Pray. Give thanks.  The last part of the verse helps us to see just how important this is.  Paul says it is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you… If we are sad, angry, hurt, discouraged, hopeless, it is His will that we rejoice, pray, and give thanks.  We can trust Him with everything if we obey and follow His will for our lives and obey. 


Cast your cares on the LORD and he will sustain you;
he will never let the righteous be shaken.
Psalm 55:22

Monday, August 26, 2019

Know That You Know

by Lara CookWe know that everyone who has been born of God does not keep on sinning, but he who was born of God protects him, and the evil one does not touch him.  We know that we are from God, and the whole world lies in the power of the evil one. And we know that the Son of God has come and has given us understandingso thatwe may know him who is true; and we are in him who is true, in his Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God and eternal life.  
1 John 5:18-20

People talk about faith being an intangible thing but the truth is that God gave us something very tangible to believe in = His own Son!  The ones who walked and talked with Him on this earth and the ones who sat at His feet, as well as the ones who witnessed His miracles have given us an account and they saw with their very own eyes.  So, no maybe we cannot see God, but we have the stories of those who did, and John was one of those people.  He tells us there are three things we can know for sure: 
  • We know that everyone who has been born of God does not keep on sinning - but he who was born of God protects him, and the evil one does not touch him.  For the Christian who keeps on sinning, there is a huge trade-off – the conviction of the Holy Spirit weighing heavily on you.  You may choose to continue to sit in sin because its pleasurable or you may have an addiction. God does protect us, sometimes He even rescues us out of the bondage sin, but He can only protect you so much from yourself.  A person has to be willing to be delivered for it to stick.  Otherwise they keep running back to the prison of sin. If you are struggling with sin find an accountability partner or mentor. Ask someone to pray over you and with you. Realize you can’t do it in your own power and get help. 
  • We know that we are from God -and the whole world lies in the power of the evil one.   There are two forces at work in this world and we are in one or the other.  If we are God’s children then we are from Him and belong to Him.  Our job is to reach the ones on the other side under the power of Satan.  John says in 1 John 2:2- He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world.Jesus Christ died for the sins of the whole world – everyone. We can rest in the fact that we are from God, set apart.
  • We know that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding …we may know him who is true; and we are in him who is true, in his Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God and eternal life.  Jesus has come and has given us understanding for a specific purpose – so we could know Him who is trueand we are in Him who is true,in His Son Jesus Christ who is the true God and Eternal Life.  
Sometimes having faith is hard so we have to know that we know.  We have to hold to the facts that the Word of God gives us because our if we try to feel our faith, it will fail us every time. Feelings are not reliable because they change and sometimes often!  The word of God is constant and true as is God’s love for us.  It doesn’t change according to any circumstance.  
The words of John above are something we can definitely hold onto, no matter what happens in our lives. Our God is the One True God who is eternal life.  When we become His children, He protects us  and we are in Him.  The world is under the power of Satan and even though we may be affected by some of the things that go on in this world, nothing can snatch us from Him.  We belong to Him forever.
Scripture to Claim: And this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.  John 17:3

Sunday, August 25, 2019

Hurt…It’s Personal Part 2


People don't always hurt us because they want to.  The very nature of fallen man means that we fail and, in so doing, hurt others.  Hurt is the most frequently experienced painful emotion and, if not properly managed, can lead to anger, fear, and condemnation.  Learning to handle hurt is important to all relationships.
Hurt is connected to trust and makes us vulnerable.
Violated trust causes us to feel we have been used or deceived resulting in hurt and anger.
Hurt, like hate, can feel like power but is pain.
Paul’s Example of Handling Hurt – II Corinthians 1-2
  • The pain of being forgotten for your service causes hurt. 
  • The questioning of our character causes hurt.
  • Being bigger than your hurt can help others heal.
  1. I. The Dangers of Unresolved Hurt
  • The Danger of Emotional Imprisonment by Hurt
  • Ruminating - to go over in the mind repeatedly
  • The Danger of Becoming Your Hurt
  • This is assuming a victim stance or martyr attitude.  Whiner
  • The Danger of Closing Your Heart to Avoid Hurt 
  • Losing vulnerability to avoid pain is not a healthy option. 
  1. II. The Rebuilding of a Hurt Heart
  • Confess its Control 
  • Realize its Consequences 
  • Refuse its Continuance
The Antidotes for Hurt
  • ComfortPs 147:3
  • Forgiveness2 Cor. 2:6-7

Remember God’s Power - Joseph

Friday, August 23, 2019

Forgiveness

For if you forgive others for their transgressions, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.  But if you do not forgive others, then your Father will not forgive your transgressions. Matthew 6:14-15

In our lives we may have past issues that we have resolved on the surface but allowed embers to burn deep inside.  Without resolving one’s hurt and anger, it is virtually impossible to forgive the one you feel has hurt you.  After the hurt and anger are resolved, forgiveness becomes a simple choice — we either choose to forgive or choose to hang on to our hurt, anger and resentment.  But we must understand what forgiveness really is and how we can use it to set ourselves and others free.
God’s greatest gift was the gift of faith enabling us to have a relationship with Him.  God’s second greatest gift is forgiveness enabling us to have a relationship with others and for God to have relationship with us.  Forgiveness is a source of emotional health and freedom. It has the power to set us free from the hurts of the past, whether we are talking about ten minutes ago, or ten years ago.
The definition of forgive is:1. To excuse for a fault or an offense; pardon.  2. To renounce anger or resentment against.  3. To absolve from payment of (a debt, for example).
To forgive is to grant pardon without harboring resentment.  This does not mean that forgiveness ignores the hurt or the consequences.  To forgive someone of something and not deal with what caused the hurt is to merely move forward only to be hurt again because we have not addressed the cause. Forgiveness is literally for both parties involved.  They need your forgiveness and you need to forgive in order to be able to heal.  
Satan has found a tool that can ravage the land of any man's life in the inability to forgive others or self.  “Beware lest a root of bitterness well up within you and by it many be defiled.” Hebrews 12:15There is no greater deterrent to good relationships in business, marriage, family, the church and with ourselves than bitterness.  Bitterness is a force of destruction and bondage. It destroys people and relationships; it makes us prisoners of our hurts and hatred, and can also become a source of depression.
The only response to wrong that the Word of God commends the Christian to is love.  There is no right to judge, condemn, criticize or hate.  This requires more than a human understanding or response. Forgiveness is not an option for the believer. We are to forgive others as we have been forgiven.  For most of us (all of us if we will admit it), that’s a whole lot of forgiveness. Understanding forgiveness doesn’t make it easier to forgive, but it does make it more meaningful and understanding the process could make us more likely to offer the forgiveness we are commanded to give.
Overlooking a transgression is to look beyond the transgression as well as the transgressor. It is the power of God working in us that enables us to look beyond. As we forgive, we bring glory to God ... for we are never more like God than when we forgive. 

Scripture to Claim:
The discretion of a man makes him slow to anger, and his glory is to overlook a transgression.  Proverbs 19:11

Thursday, August 22, 2019

Secret of Grace

And he said unto me, “My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness.”  2 Corinthians 12:9  
The apostle Paul knew the secret of grace.  In the face of opposition, God gave him a revelation.  Why is this verse so important?  Because Paul truly depended on God.  He recognized that whatever came against him, he didn’t have to fight it in his own strength.  He trusted in God’s ability and strength to continue in the work of the ministry.   
How are we to get to the other side of whatever we are facing?  The same way – by grace through faith (by God’s ability and our faith in that ability).  Just as we operate in faith, we need to operate in His grace.  How can we activate the grace of God in our lives?
1.   Simply ask for it.  God will not withhold any good thing from those who walk uprightly. Hebrews 4:16, Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.  God’s ability is ever ready for us.  We need only ask.
2.   Be humble.  Pride will always get in the way of God’s grace.  Think about the person who is lost, driving around for hours trying to find a certain location, when they know they could just stop at the gas station and ask for directions.  What keeps them from just stopping?  Usually pride!   The “I know how to do this” or “I can handle it” attitude never cuts it when it comes to grace.  If you could do it yourself, you would have done it by now.  God’s ability works best in a thoroughly yielded vessel.  But He gives a greater grace. Therefore it says, "GOD IS OPPOSED TO THE PROUD, BUT GIVES GRACE TO THE HUMBLE."  James 4:6
3.   Know the Word.  When you know the Word, you’ll be fully persuaded of God’s ability. In fact, the more intimate knowledge you have of God, His ability will be multiplied in your life.  And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work.  II Corinthians 9:8 
4.   Be patient.  Being delivered from a problem is not the only work of grace.  Actually, grace is better known for delivering us in the problem. Grace is the power that sustains us until deliverance happens. After you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself perfect, confirm, strengthen and establish you. 1 Peter 5:10
5.   Trust God.  Just holding on may not be evidence of faith.  We may fear letting go because where we are is more comfortable than where we might land if we let go.  Faith may call for us to let go and trust God.  If I have asked God for grace and wisdom, humbled myself to His plan and confirmed it in the Word I need to be willing to go where He leads to stay in the channel of His will.  Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time, casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you. 1 Peter 5:6-7 
God wants us to be everything He created us to be.  He not only has a plan for our lives, He also has a power available to bring it to pass.  Draw upon it in each and every situation.  God’s best is ahead of you, as you take hold of His grace.
Scripture to Claim:

Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. I thank my God always concerning you for the grace of God which was given you in Christ Jesus, that in everything you were enriched in Him, in all speech and all knowledge, 1 Corinthians 1:3-5

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

That One Voice

No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it. 

David knew about battles.  He was just a shepherd boy, but he had fought a bear and a lion, and now he was asking if he could fight the giant, Goliath, who was threatening the Israelite army.  He was literally a kid, bringing lunch to his brothers, who had no experience.  But he heard the words Goliath shouted day after day and he wanted to go to battle with him. Goliath, the giant, came out every single day and shouted to the Israelite army, taunting them, insulting them, harassing and mocking them.  He had them paralyzed with fear.  The ones that had tried to fight him so far had not lived to tell about it. No one was lining up to go next and David convinced Saul that The Lord who delivered me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine. 1 Samuel 17:37  The Lord did deliver David and Goliath went down.  David knew that it was God who slew the giant that day and not him. 
The little harmful things that we let into our lives can become giants. They may start out as small, but left unchecked, they grow until they are giants and can consume us.  We try to fight it and wish we hadn’t started it.  What giants are in your life?  What is that one voice that taunts and mocks you daily? We all have giants of some form we are battling.  It could be fear, anxiety, addiction, anger, rejection, or many more.  The single voice of one giant shut down a whole army and the voice of a giant in our ear can shut us down too.  The Israelites were a group of people that God had done miraculous things for – removed them from slavery in Egypt, split the sea wide open for them to escape across, guided them through the wilderness and provided mana and water and brought them to the promised land.  Yet they had forgotten all He had done and had no faith that He could deliver them from this giant. We forget all the God has already done for us and how powerful He is just like the Israelites.
Jesus is completely able to take down any and all giants in our lives. No matter how formidable or looming or hopeless it may seem, He is the overcomer. No matter how loud the voice is, He is the giant killer.  Just as David did not slay the giant, we also will not be able to slay any giants.  The giant falls because of Jesus, not us.  Put your trust in Him today and let the giants fall.

“I have the right to do anything,” you say—but not everything is beneficial. “I have the right to do anything”—but I will not be mastered by anything.  1 Corinthians 6:12

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Just. Pray.

If anyone sees his brother committing a sin not leading to death, he shall ask, and God will give him life—to those who commit sins that do not lead to death. There is sin that leads to death; I do not say that one should pray for that. All wrongdoing is sin, but there is sin that does not lead to death.  1 John 5:16-17

It is heart breaking when we have a loved one who is involved in sin.  We can’t force someone to stop doing what they are doing, or to come to church, or to love God.  It is even harder when the activities they are involved in are putting their life in danger.  But there is only so much we can do.  John gives the best advice about what to do for our “brothers” who are struggling with sin. John tells us to pray for them.  Straight up, praying for them is the best thing we can do.  God has not appointed us to be His moral and spiritual police.  We are not to point fingers and gossip and condemn.  We are to simply pray.  And nothing is more powerful than prayer.  
Let’s be honest, it is extremely hard to justpray, especially when the person is close to you. We feel a desperation in our hearts, or we may feel anger if we have been hurt by their sin.  We feel like we need to dosomething – or saysomething.  If we do or say something when it is not the way God wants it handled, we can make things worse. All actions and words should be prayerfully thought out and laid before the Lord.  In our humanness, sometimes we understandably react without thinking and certainly without praying.  But John says we should just pray, and the result of our prayer will be that God will give them life.  James 5:20says that Whoever turns a sinner from the error of his way will save him from death1 John 5:16 above saysif anyone sees a brother commit a sin…he should pray, and God will give him life.  That is what we want!  We want them to turn away from the death sin brings and into the life Jesus Christ gives with redemption. 
The second part of the passage is a little unsettling to most of us. There is sin that leads to death; I do not say that one should pray for that. All wrongdoing is sin, but there is sin that does not lead to death.  There are many differing opinions among scholars about what the sin that leads to death is.  Based on the context of 1 John, some believe that John was talking about denying Christ and unrepentant sin, refusing to obey God’s commands, loving the world and hating others.  Basically, this is rejection of God and everything He stands for and living in intentional, calculated sin.  John is not telling them to pray for someone who is rejecting God, but he is not sayingdon’tpray for them either.  I believe that God always wants us to have an attitude of prayer for those who are lost or living in sin around us.  Who are we to say if they are beyond God’s help?  That is only something God can say so I believe He wants us to pray for those people as well.  
So, pray.  Pray for your family, brothers in Christ, and those who seem beyond help.  Pray for them that they will have eyes to see and they will be given the life He promises.  Pray, release them to God, and find peace for yourself.  Just. Pray. 


To open their eyes, so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.  Acts 26:18

Monday, August 19, 2019

Seeking God’s Will

…so as to live for the rest of the time in the flesh no longer for human passions but for the will of God … in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. To him belong glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen. 1 Peter 4:2, 11 ESV
 
Sometimes in life trying to determine what is God’s will or what direction He wants us to go is a great mystery.  These days we don’t actually hear His voice or literally see the writing on the wall.  Trying to discern the right path to take can be scary.  In chapter 4 of 1 Peter, the “will” of God us the Greek word Thelema, which means the purpose, what is determined, or what God wants.  Peter gives four things as guidelines to finding the will of God for us.
Be Serous and watchful in prayer… The end of all things is at hand; therefore be self-controlled and sober-minded for the sake of your prayers.  1 Peter 4:7  God calls us to be sober minded, to be self-controlled.  That means not making any impulsive decisions, but to bathe our decisions and choices in prayer and thoughtfulness. 
Love Earnestly… Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins. 1 Peter 4:8 The word for love used in this verse is “agape”, which means unconditional love.  It is the kind of love that God has for us, an unconditional, covenant love. God’s unconditional love for us covered all our sins.  When we can unconditionally love others, our love covers the offenses of others.  
Be Hospitable Without Complaining…Show hospitality to one another without grumbling. 1 Peter 4:9 Be kind.  Always be ready to receive, accept, and help others anytime.  Kindness is the Father’s love in action.  
Minister With the Gifts Given by Grace…As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace.  1 Peter 4:10  God has given us all special gifts and talents.  Are you using your gifts for His glory?  Are you using them to serve others well? 
These guidelines from Peter are the foundation for life – If we are living our lives according to His word, then He will lead us in our search to Glorify Him.  



Scripture to Claim: 
But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. Matthew 6:33

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