Tuesday, May 31, 2022

Freedom From Condemnation

Tuesday, May 31, 2022

Therefore, no condemnation now exists for those in Christ Jesus, because the Spirit's law of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death. Romans 8:1-2

Freedom From Condemnation

In the realm of human experience, there are positive emotions – “I feel happy, affirmed, contented, hopeful", and there are painful emotions – I feel embarrassed, used, neglected, frustrated."  Though no one wants to experience painful emotions, they are a natural part of life.  No one wants to be embarrassed, used, frustrated, or neglected, but most people realize that, to some extent, painful emotions are inevitable.

But there is one heart-wrenching, spiritually-debilitating emotion that God never wants us to experience, one that we should never accept as just a part of life: condemnation.  Condemnation means to judge as unfit, to pronounce sentence, punishment, or judgment.  It is simply, to damn.  Condemnation says I remember you in a negative way each time I think of you and regardless of who you are now.

In the life of a believer, this sense of worthlessness is not from God.  There is no condemnation because Christ took the sentence, punishment, and judgment for our sin. Condemnation might cause us to think:
     I can't do anything right.
     I'll never be as good as other people.
     I'm a terrible person.
     I'm not important to anyone.
     It's my entire fault.
     I'm not worthy of receiving your love.

In contrast, God would say to us:
     Your soul is more valuable than everything that is in the world (Luke 9:25).
     I loved and valued you so much that I gave my Son for you (John 3:16).
     I have accepted you, just as you are (Romans 5:8, 15:7).
     You are of great value to me (Matthew 6:25-34).

It’s important to know the difference between condemnation and conviction.  True conviction is good for us (healthy thoughts and emotions that lead us to repentance), but thoughts and feelings of condemnation are unhealthy.  Relative to the source of condemnation and conviction: Condemnation comes from Satan, others, and our personal conviction comes from the Holy Spirit.  Satan, the accuser of the brethren (Revelation 12:10) ministers condemnation, not conviction.  

Many people suffer under the burden of condemnation; it clings to their soul like barnacles on the side of a ship.  It is part of Satan's strategy to "kill, steal, and destroy the abundant life that God has promised us (John 10:10).  God desires that we be set free from feelings of condemnation we have encountered in the past, that we not minister condemnation to others, and that we become lovingly involved in helping others be set free. 

Therefore if the Son sets you free, you really will be free.  John 8:36 

Monday, May 30, 2022

Greater Love

Monday, May 30, 2022 

The memory of the righteous is blessed, But the name of the wicked will rot.  Proverbs 10:7 

Greater Love

Sacrifice. The surrender of something for the sake of something else. Every sacrifice takes a greater love than we possess on our own. It is the kind of love our Heavenly Father gave to us in the sacrifice of His son, Jesus. His shed blood bought our freedom from sin, death, and hell, and replaced them all with salvation and promised eternal life. 

Today is the official Memorial Day holiday, the last Monday of May.  Many people see it as just a 3-day weekend, a time for cookouts and parties. But for those who have lost someone because of war or military action, it means much more than a day off. Every American ought to recognize this day in honor of those who spilled their blood to make America what she is today-free, strong, and a nation worth fighting for. 

I cannot help but think that this Memorial Day freedom means a lot more to us because our freedom has been compromised in the last couple of years. These events have brought a new perspective on how much freedom we really have when just a little is taken.  It stings.  We are blessed in America and we are blessed because of those who fought to give us what we have – precious freedom.

True Patriotism

Merriam Webster defines patriot as “one who loves his or her country and supports its authority and interests.”  Note the first key phrase: “One who loves…” Patriotism is an expression of LOVE. Love calls us to sacrifice, and who has sacrificed more than the American Soldier? John 15:13 says, “No one has greater love than this, that someone would lay down his life for his friends.”

·         In just over two-hundred years more than one million men and women have given their lives opposing tyranny and defending the helpless and oppressed. 

·         These patriots have freely and valiantly sacrificed their lives upon the altar of freedom for you and for me.

Because men and women have died for this country, we have the right to 
preach God’s word freely; to live at peace in our own homes. 
We have the right to pursue peace, prosperity and happiness

The cost of freedom is blood. 

On Memorial Day we give thanks for sacrifice. All the heroic acts on battlefields throughout history have made our country what it is today. We enjoy freedom and wealth that are unequaled. Our freedom and our luxuries have come and been maintained at a great price.  All of us are not called upon to die heroically or sacrificially.  We should never be ashamed that we are alive, yet many abuse the liberty we have received by selfish indulgence on pleasures that weaken the moral strength of this great nation.

The Freedom the Cross Bought

Every day we enjoy and take for granted the freedoms that soldiers have bought with their blood.  But we also have another freedom that was bought with blood.  The person responsible for giving us this freedom didn’t wear fatigues; he wore a crown of thorns. He won the war against Satan and sin for us with His shed blood on Calvary. He waged war and fought for us and because of His sacrifice we can be free from the bondage of sin and an eternal prison in hell.  

So on this Memorial Day remember the soldiers who have fought in wars over the years.  Think about the way you live, what you have, and what freedoms you enjoy.  We are a blessed nation.  We don’t realize how blessed we are because we do not know any different.  Today, and every day, remember those who sacrificed to give this to you and your family.  Don’t take it for granted.  Many lost their lives so we can live as we do.  

Thank God for your freedom and thank Him for the sacrifice of His son.  Thank Him for freedom from sin and for the gift of everlasting life.  

It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore, keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery. Galatians 5:1

Sunday, May 29, 2022

A Wholehearted Servant Part 2

 A Wholehearted Servant Part 2

The Warrior’s Final Victory

Joshua 14

After years of war and conquest the land of Canaan is finally under the control of the people of Israel.  Now with the fighting at an end, the work of dividing up the Promised Land between the remaining tribes had to be done. Caleb, the Kenizzite, an eighty-five year old warrior, steps forward to claim what is rightfully his by God’s promise.  He’s waited forty-five years for his reward.


As Christians, we need to do more than just expect God's promises; we need to appropriate them.

Caleb Requests - Joshua 14:12

·  Most older people are more apt to talk about conflicts gone by than to take on a new one.

·  Always be bold about claiming the promises of God.

Caleb Receives - Joshua 14:13-15

·  God not only preserved the promise for the man, but God also preserved the man for the promise.

·  You can’t take a vacation from your vocation.

·  The name of the place Caleb inherited was named Hebron. This means "Fellowship.”

·  Beware leaving a place for the giants to return

·  Israel battled the Canaanites from the exodus to the exile.

·  God has a place of victory, peace and power for us, but we must be willing to claim our possession. It isn't for the faint-hearted, but it is for the faith-hearted.

Lessons of Today’s Message:

1.     We’re never done till God takes us home.

2.     God has been preparing you for today’s task your whole life long.

3.     Claiming the Promise of God may require effort on your part.

4.     To the young: Be patient. It might take 45 years, but God will keep His promises.

5.     Never underestimate what God can do through someone older than you.

Friday, May 27, 2022

Finishing Well

Friday, May 27, 2022 

Finishing Well by Donnie O'Fallon

Sam, in his last Sunday and his final sermon at North Side, challenged us to Finish our Race Well! You see, to be saved is to begin and be in a new race. The author of Hebrews is exhorting his Christians readers to go on to victory in spite of their struggle and trials. I believe the writer of Hebrews was the Apostle Paul. He says to them in Hebrews 12:1-2 these words: 

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set bear us, looking unto Jesus, the founder and perfected of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the same, and is seated at the right of the throne of God.” (ESV)

In Chapter 12  of Hebrews, Paul gives the example and application of the Hero’s Of the Faith in chapter 11. The context is the setting of a relay race. 

*   The Place: A great arena

*   The Preparation: The readers are preparing to run their race.

*   The Effort: The manner of running

*   The Aim: To be victorious for Jesus’ sake

This relay race in the Christian life is a team effort. This team of runners are preparing to run in competition. The continuity of such an effort is this: The first runners are to run as if he/she is the only one who would cross the finish line. The runner in the third heat has a good time because the first runners picked up and came on and did their very best. 

He is saying the runners of the first two heats have not, and will not, receive a reward until all the runners are in and the final finish line is crossed.

The Christian life is so tied to the ones who have gone before, and those who are yet to come, and those who are caught in the middle. We will have the incentive to give our very best in our own day as we run our race. Salvation is the gift that puts us in the race.

1.     Get In the Race - Ephesians 2:8-9. There are three kinds of folks in the world: a) those who make things Happen, b) those who watch things happen, c) those who wonder what happened? Don’t have a hope so salvation, have a know so salvation. get in the race.

2.     Don’t be Slowed Down“…lay aside every weight and sin…” Paul also said, “This one thing I do.” The goal of the Christian life is to be played out in pleasure, business, recreation, and interests in every part of life.

3.     Don’t be Tripped Up “…that besets us…”, besets means to entangle, habits, pleasures, self-indulgences associating.

4.     Don’t Quit Running“…run with endurance.” The Greek word, “agony” means a second effort, a struggle in conflict.

5.     Finally Keep your Eyes on the Goal - “…looking Unto Jesus.” Our glance is to be on the path of life, but our gaze must remain on our Lord, our strength; our refuge our help our hope! 

Jesus says to you and me, “I put you in the race, I’m the goal you run to, I’m the strength with which you run.” Never lose sight of the of the prize!

Thursday, May 26, 2022

Finished and Completed

Thursday, May 26, 2022

Looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.  Hebrews 12:2 

Finished and Completed

For some people, finishing something is hard. Finishing a project, an assignment, or some daunting task we don’t want to do. We may start well, and with good intentions, but that is where is ends. We have good intentions, but they will not get the job done by themselves. 

We do the same thing in our walk with Jesus. We start a Bible study but do not finish. We start a ministry but never follow through. As Pastor Sam pointed out Sunday, there are many things that causes Christians to fizzle out. 

  • Time – We say we don’t have time for serving, or we don’t have time for a quiet time, but the real heart of the matter is that we have not made those things a priority in our lives. In different seasons we may not be able to serve, and that is understandable. But in every season of our lives, we need to make spending time with the Lord a top priority. If you have small children, it may be 10 minutes one day and 30 minutes the next. But we make time for what we place value on in our lives. Make it a priority to give Him some time every day. 
  • We have been hurt – We have been hurt so we stay away from church. It is hard to go back to the places we were hurt, but our hurt feelings should not be more important than being in church and worshipping God. People should not be able to hurt our feelings enough to turn us away from God, because our allegiance is to Him, not them. That does not make it okay for us to hurt one another, but it is also not okay to make hurt feelings a reason to stop going to church and serving the Lord. 
  •  We are not getting fed/not connected – Are you trying to get connected? Are you opening up your heart and mind so you can be fed? Or are you hung up on the choice of the songs for Sunday morning, or the lesson in Bible Study that you are not interested in? Is God trying to teach you something that you are not hearing? Step out of your comfort zone and make some new friends. Find a Bible study that looks interesting to you. We cannot be fed unless we open ourselves up to what God is telling us. 

We can make a lot of excuses to not follow through on commitments we make. What if Jesus had decided that He did not want to finish His work here on earth? Where would we be if He had decided that He didn’t want to shed His blood for us after all? What if He had backed out at the last minute? 

We would be lost with no hope of salvation and eternal life. But thank God Jesus did finish what He came to do. He endured the pain of the cross, while focusing on the future and a promise for all of salvation and eternal life. 

 “It is finished” - John 19:30

Jesus completed the work of salvation and eternal life of the cross. Three important things were finished on the cross:

  • Finished and completed were the sufferings of Christ – He would never experience pain at the hand of wicked men, and He would never again have to bear the sins of the world. 
  • Finished was Satan's stronghold on humanity – Jesus destroyed the power of death over all of humanity.
  • Finished was the atonement for salvation – On the cross, Jesus took on our sin and exchanged them for life – eternal life in Him. 

God had this plan for you and me and Jesus completed it through His death on the cross and resurrection from the grave. I am so thankful that Jesus finished and completed His work here on earth for you and me. 

Wednesday, May 25, 2022

Don’t Hold Back

 Wednesday, May 25, 2022

I did not shrink from declaring to you anything that was profitable and teaching you in public and from house to house, testifying both to Jews and to Greeks of repentance toward God and of faith in our Lord Jesus Christ. Acts 20:20-21


Don’t Hold Back

As we have been talking about this week, the Apostle Paul wrote a letter to the Ephesian elders when he knew he was headed to prison, and most likely death. He wanted to make sure that they carried on the work of the Lord. He had been a teacher, a mentor, and had given them a living example to follow. One of the examples he had given them was that he had not held anything back from them. He had taught them everything he could about God and the gospel. He was an example of teaching in public and witnessing from house to house, sharing the gospel with all people. This example was not only for the church in Ephesus, but for us today as well. 

In the last couple of years our country has experienced so much upheaval of our lives. It has felt like the world was spinning out of control, and in some ways it still does. We are still dealing with some fear and anxiety about our present circumstances, as well as the future. As Christians we have the hope of our salvation, and the promise of eternal life in heaven no matter what happens here on earth. Our hope and security cannot be found here on earth - we should have learned that lesson well. But there is a whole lot of people out there that do not know our Savior. They do not have the hope of salvation that we have, nor the promise of eternal life. Though none of us knows the day or the hour that the Lord will return, we do know that every day we get one day closer. Time is of the essence for us to share the gospel while we still can. There are people who need Jesus. They need to be saved. They need to hear the gospel, and like Paul, we do not need to keep this to ourselves. 

Paul said that he had shown them how to teach, how to share from house to house, and how to testify to all people about repentance toward God and faith in our Lord Jesus Christ. We need to feel the urgency to do this now - today. We have this gift that we need to share. We have this hope that others need, and they are seeking but do not know where to find it. We have the answer they need. 

Do you have family, friends, or neighbors that you suspect, or know, that they do not know the Lord? Maybe you have been putting it off because it is a hard conversation. Souls are at stake.  We need to quit shrinking from declaring the profitable words of the gospel they need to hear. 

As children of God, we know that our salvation was bought with the shed blood of Jesus Christ, because God loved us so much. If we want to truly show others the love of God, we will do more than just feed them when they are hungry. Feeding them when they are hungry is showing them the love of God, but it cannot stop there. We must share the gospel with them so they can have the hope we have in our salvation and the promise of everlasting life that we can stand on when the ground shakes beneath us. 

Paul loved and cared about the people he witnessed to. He had evangelism down because he knew how to connect with the people he was speaking to. He engaged them by empathizing with them because he knew and understood why they thought the way they thought. He was able to say to them “I was blind, but they helped me to see.” By that he meant that he once was blind like they are, but now he could see the truth of Jesus Christ. He was not condemning and judging them but identifying with them – both Jews and Romans. 

More than anything Paul wanted them to know the good news of Jesus Christ, and he was willing to take risks for people to know that truth. He suffered because of these risks he took to tell others about Jesus. Right now, we have the freedom to tell others about Jesus and not suffer the way Paul did, so we need to get busy doing the will of our Father. 

Like Paul, more than anything, we need to want others to know the good news of Jesus Christ, and we need to do something about it while we still can.  Are you holding back? Are you keeping the good news of the gospel to yourself? Don’t hold back. Pray about it and then with the boldness of the Holy Spirit reach out to those that God has already laid on your heart. You know who they are.

Tuesday, May 24, 2022

It Is Not About You

 Tuesday, May 24, 2022

Now from Miletus he sent to Ephesus and called the elders of the church to come to him. And when they came to him, he said to them: You yourselves know how I lived among you the whole time from the first day that I set foot in Asia serving the Lord with all humility and with tears and with trials…  Acts 20:17-19


It Is Not About You

Paul wrote this passage to the Ephesian elders when he knew he was headed to prison, and most likely death. He wanted to make sure that they carried on the work of the Lord. Paul was an example to them. He loved them and taught them. He encouraged, as well as admonished when needed. He knew he would most likely never get to spend time in person with them again, but he had some important words he wanted to them to remember. 

Anyone who has been effective in ministry knows that true ministry cannot ever be about you. If you are in ministry for you, you need to re-evaluate the call you think is on your life. Ministry is not about making money. It is not about fame and notoriety. It is not about having the most likes or followers on Instagram. True ministry is messy. It is not perfect and it most likely will not make a great social media post or make you rich and famous. Often it will make you unpopular with some people. And there will be tears and trials.   

Authentic ministry cannot be about our plans, our expected outcomes, or our timelines. All these things must be surrendered  before Him so we can clearly hear Him and follow His leading. Trying to do God's work, our way, with our expectations, and with our own timeline will lead us directly to the wilderness. 

The first thing we have to do when we are ministering to people is to get ourselves out of the way if we want to authentically minister to people. When I say minister – I don’t mean just the ministerial staff at a church. Every believer is a minister. God puts people in our lives every day that we can minister to. We are all called to share the gospel and to love people with the love of God. It will not be convenient, and sometimes it will be very unexpected, which is why we always need to be open and ready when a God moment comes our way. 

Paul had been an example of serving in humility, with tears and with trials. He planted this church in Ephesus. He had fed them milk as baby Christians and provided direction when needed. He was not serving himself, or the people of the church. He was serving God. Although helping people is a very “godly thing” to do, engaging in ministry only to help people is not what God wants from us. He wants us to serve HIM. Paul wanted the focus to be on Jesus, not himself. This is why he boasted in his weakness. He wanted others to see that only in Jesus was his weakness made strong. 

We cannot let ministry be about ourselves, nor can we do ministry in our own power. It is only through the love of God that He has poured out on us that we can love others and minister to them the way He intends for us to do. If we lead them to keep turning to people, or even the church, they will be disillusioned eventually. He is the only one who can meet their real needs. Yes, the church can help meet physical needs, and spiritual needs with education, but we cannot be the ultimate fulfillment for them that they can only find in Him. Our main goal in ministering to others should always be to point people to Him.


Monday, May 23, 2022

Knowing Him and Making Him Known

Monday, May 23, 2022

…that I may finish my course and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify solemnly of the gospel of the grace of God. Acts 20:24 (NASB)

Knowing Him and Making Him Known

Have you discovered your purpose in life? Many spend countless hours and sleepless nights asking themselves questions like What it is that need to be doing? What is God’s will for my life? What value do I contribute to the world? We struggle when the seasons of our lives change – when we go from motherhood to an empty nest, or we retire, or lose a loved one. It is an identity crisis of sorts. But God created us all for just a couple of very specific reasons. These reasons are our purpose, our mission. And no matter what roles in our lives change, this mission for us never changes. 

What two purposes could be more important and more unchanging in our lives than to know Him and make Him known? No matter what season, no matter what circumstances, no matter what age, place, or career, these two will never not be a part of what He wants for our lives. 

First and foremost above everything else, God wants us to know Him. We search for fulfillment, and desperately pray and seek to fulfill our longings, all the while He calls us to something so much better – to fully know Him and love Him deeply. Only when we have this will we feel satisfied and whole in every season of our lives. Only when we have this can we go on to fulfill His purpose for us to make Him known. We must have this relationship and knowledge of God before we can share Him with the world. 

We spend a lot of time avoiding what we are left here by God to do. If we are still on this earth, (after we knowHim) we have one purpose above all – to share the Gospel with others – to make Him known. We sometimes avoid sharing the Gospel because we are uncomfortable with it or we don’t know what to say. With technology today, that is no excuse. There are plenty of videos online and other training avaliable for anyone who wants to know how to share the good news. You don’t have to have a seminary degree or work in ministry. In fact relationship evangelism is the best way many times. Any person that crosses your path is a divine appointment by God and an opportunity to advance His kingdom. Nothing in our lives happens by chance. 

These words in the verse above were part of a bigger passage where Paul was saying goodbye to the Elders of the Ephesian body of believers. He explains to them that he has been an example to them and lived this mission out in front of them. This is our mission too. It is partly a shared mission with the Body of Christ. Part of it is a responsibility you share with every other Christian, and part is an assignment that is unique to you. Our English word "mission" comes from the Latin word for "sending." Knowing Him includes being sent into the world as a representative of Jesus Christ. The mission Jesus had while on earth is now our mission as the Body of Christ. The church can become so involved in its local mission that it loses its eternal purpose.  We can get very busy doing “things” for the church, feeling like we have done our part, when there are still lost souls that need to be led to Him. All the “things” we do might help, but they don’t save anyone. 

We are made to do God’s work not FOR God but in HIS power and for HIS purpose. Satan is glad to let us do everything but that. When we start working to add believers to the number of the Body of Christ, He will start working to keep us from doing that. Therefore, it is so important that we do the right thing the right way. It all seems like good things that God would never have a problem with, but even when doing “good” things, it is so important to pray about what is truly God’s purpose

Are you confused or wondering what you purpose is? God has your purpose and mission  all planned out. Go to Him and ask Him to lead you in the most important thing you will ever do in your lifetime - know Him and make Him known.

 In the same way that You gave Me a mission in the world, I give them a mission in the world. 

John 17:18  (MSG)

Sunday, May 22, 2022

How I Lived Among You

 How I Lived Among You 

Acts 20:17-24

Saying “Goodbye” recognizes that something we value and consider essential to who we are, is ending. Saying goodbye is difficult, but it is necessary in our walk with Christ, our relationships with each other, and our own personal growth.


I Did Not Make My Service To The Lord About Me

More than wanting people to admire him, he wanted them to trust the savior.

Christian service is not about remarkable men and women, but a great savior who is able to save the weakest and guiltiest of sinners.

I Did Not Hold Anything Back

Conduct yourself as a proclaimer of God’s truth, not an intellectual, entertaining, people pleaser.

Proclaiming the gospel is more about obedience than conversion.

Finished My Course

Many people start well, but very few will finish the course.

There is credibility in completion.

·  Finished and completed were the sufferings of Christ.

·  Finished was Satan's stronghold on humanity.

·  Finished was the atonement for salvation.

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