Not a Sermon only a Thought

Obstacles to Forgiveness

Matthew 18:21-35

Forgiveness can be defined as letting go of both resentment and the right to return hurt. On the other hand, unforgiveness demands that the guilty one pay for the wrong he or she did.

According to these definitions, unforgiveness looks very much like justice, and forgiveness seems inequitable. That’s why we have such a hard time with it. Forgiveness goes against our natural sense of fair play. Yet God calls us to forgive those who don’t deserve it!

To avoid offering a pardon, we dwell on the wrongdoing until our desire to retaliate seems totally justified. Convinced of our right to be angry, we demand repayment, thinking, Releasing a person from deserved punishment is unfair!

The Father faced the same dilemma. All humanity had sinned and deserved eternal separation from Him. He couldn’t simply forgive sin arbitrarily, because He’d then cease being just. Our forgiveness is possible only because divine justice was satisfied by the Son’s payment for our sins. As a result of Christ’s sacrifice on our behalf, God is free to righteously forgive us.

When we accepted the Lord’s forgiveness, we gave up all rights to hold anything against anyone else. An unforgiving heart is miserable because it is far from God, who is the source of all peace and joy.

Does the thought or sight of someone arouse harsh feelings within you? Holding onto a grievance will keep you imprisoned in emotional turmoil, but letting go will set you free. Christ has provided the key of forgiveness. Take hold of it, unlock the door, and walk out into the light.

Keith posted:

 

The Father faced the same dilemma. All humanity had sinned and deserved eternal separation from Him. He couldn’t simply forgive sin arbitrarily, because He’d then cease being just. Our forgiveness is possible only because divine justice was satisfied by the Son’s payment for our sins. As a result of Christ’s sacrifice on our behalf, God is free to righteously forgive us.

 

How silly does someone has to be to accept this crock?

If God forgiving people is arbitrarily is unjust how can God arbitrarily sacrificing his son be just?

What use is a God if he can only become free to forgive others is his son dies. That same son who Christians insist is still alive.

The biggest con job ever pulled.

The Process of Forgiving

Matthew 6:9-15

Forgiving those who have seriously hurt us is one of our most challenging assignments as believers. And merely having a desire to obey God or say the right words does not necessarily accomplish the task. Old memories and pain can slip back into the mind, stirring up emotions of anger and injustice.

Though we have a responsibility to take the initiative soon after suffering harm, forgiveness for deep hurts is a process. Begin immediately to prevent a root of bitterness from developing. But remember: The deeper the hurt, the more time it will take to work through forgiveness. Never become discouraged—the Lord will walk with you each step of the way.

Confession to God is the beginning of the process. Come before Him, admitting any resentment and acknowledging it as sin. As you lay your anger and hurt before the Lord, let Him begin to heal your broken heart.

Sometimes the process can also involve going to the offender and confessing your sinful attitude toward him or her. This is a time not to build your case or itemize the culprit’s wrongs but simply to admit your own. Although the offense against you may seem greater than your unforgiving attitude, avoid the temptation to rank sins. And leave judgment to God.

Forgiveness brings freedom from the agitation that accompanies resentment. In working through the process, you’ll begin to see through God’s eyes—and with His compassion—when you look at the person who hurt you. Eventually, you will be able to thank the Lord for the opportunity to learn forgiveness and live in His lavish grace.

ksazma posted:
Keith posted:

 

The Father faced the same dilemma. All humanity had sinned and deserved eternal separation from Him. He couldn’t simply forgive sin arbitrarily, because He’d then cease being just. Our forgiveness is possible only because divine justice was satisfied by the Son’s payment for our sins. As a result of Christ’s sacrifice on our behalf, God is free to righteously forgive us.

 

How silly does someone has to be to accept this crock?

If God forgiving people is arbitrarily is unjust how can God arbitrarily sacrificing his son be just?

What use is a God if he can only become free to forgive others is his son dies. That same son who Christians insist is still alive.

The biggest con job ever pulled.

You are a waste of time trying to communicate with. You clearly don't read and understand anything about the bible. This fact is innumerable here on this forum. Previous of such was when YOU stated, "Adam, Eve and Satan were perfect when they originally lived in heaven" You are a laughing stock dude; clearly shows your ignorance towards understand. The biggest communication problem is YOU don't listed to understand YOU listen to reply.

Go read and get some understanding...for your own sake. While you at it ask yourself these few questions.

Are animals still being offer up as a sin offering, are the Jews, Christians or Muslims doing so? What changed or have not changed?

Keith posted:
ksazma posted:
Keith posted:

 

The Father faced the same dilemma. All humanity had sinned and deserved eternal separation from Him. He couldn’t simply forgive sin arbitrarily, because He’d then cease being just. Our forgiveness is possible only because divine justice was satisfied by the Son’s payment for our sins. As a result of Christ’s sacrifice on our behalf, God is free to righteously forgive us.

 

How silly does someone has to be to accept this crock?

If God forgiving people is arbitrarily is unjust how can God arbitrarily sacrificing his son be just?

What use is a God if he can only become free to forgive others is his son dies. That same son who Christians insist is still alive.

The biggest con job ever pulled.

You are a waste of time trying to communicate with. You clearly don't read and understand anything about the bible. This fact is innumerable here on this forum. Previous of such was when YOU stated, "Adam, Eve and Satan were perfect when they originally lived in heaven" You are a laughing stock dude; clearly shows your ignorance towards understand. The biggest communication problem is YOU don't listed to understand YOU listen to reply.

Go read and get some understanding...for your own sake. While you at it ask yourself these few questions.

Are animals still being offer up as a sin offering, are the Jews, Christians or Muslims doing so? What changed or have not changed?

What does your response have to do with your comment above?  What worth is God if he has limitations? He is not worth his plate of rice if he needs someone else to shed blood to make him free to forgive.

Secondly, from the beginning, those who sacrificed animals for some religious benefit were highly misguided. So are those who feel that God needs to shed a man's life for the same reason.

ksazma posted:
Keith posted:
ksazma posted:
Keith posted:

 

The Father faced the same dilemma. All humanity had sinned and deserved eternal separation from Him. He couldn’t simply forgive sin arbitrarily, because He’d then cease being just. Our forgiveness is possible only because divine justice was satisfied by the Son’s payment for our sins. As a result of Christ’s sacrifice on our behalf, God is free to righteously forgive us.

 

How silly does someone has to be to accept this crock?

If God forgiving people is arbitrarily is unjust how can God arbitrarily sacrificing his son be just?

What use is a God if he can only become free to forgive others is his son dies. That same son who Christians insist is still alive.

The biggest con job ever pulled.

You are a waste of time trying to communicate with. You clearly don't read and understand anything about the bible. This fact is innumerable here on this forum. Previous of such was when YOU stated, "Adam, Eve and Satan were perfect when they originally lived in heaven" You are a laughing stock dude; clearly shows your ignorance towards understand. The biggest communication problem is YOU don't listed to understand YOU listen to reply.

Go read and get some understanding...for your own sake. While you at it ask yourself these few questions.

Are animals still being offer up as a sin offering, are the Jews, Christians or Muslims doing so? What changed or have not changed?

What does your response have to do with your comment above?  What worth is God if he has limitations? He is not worth his plate of rice if he needs someone else to shed blood to make him free to forgive.

Secondly, from the beginning, those who sacrificed animals for some religious benefit were highly misguided. So are those who feel that God needs to shed a man's life for the same reason.

Everything to do with your ignorance towards understanding.

Investing in Eternity

Matthew 28:18-20

The Christian life is an active life—one dedicated to working, serving, sharing, and helping. Too often we think that being a believer simply means showing up for church each Sunday morning and dropping something into the offering plate. That’s a good habit, but if it’s the sum of your commitment, you’ve missed the mark.

There is a call that the Lord put on everyone who would follow Him—namely, He’s called us to go into the world and make disciples. You may say, “Well, that applies just to missionaries and ministers, right?” No. Teaching others about the Savior is the responsibility of all who claim the name of Jesus.

Just look at the first word of Matthew 28:19. What does Jesus say? His charge to us is “Go!” In today’s terms, He’s saying, “Get out of your comfort zone. Go love someone who’s different than you. Get up, look at the world around you, and tell someone about Me.”

This is not a suggestion. Nor is it a word to only a handful of believers. If you’ve been saved by the blood of Christ, then Jesus is talking to you!

Making disciples doesn’t mean you must quit your job and become a full-time missionary to some remote region. But you could walk outside, knock on a neighbor’s door, and demonstrate the love of Christ to that person. You don’t need a show-stopping sermon to minister to others; you simply need a willing, open heart.

What can you do right now to make disciples? Think about the steps you can take today to respond to God’s call on your life.

cain posted:

Oi Kaz..BroKeith gonna make you a disciple if you drop your guard.

Cainsta bai, my guess is that bro Keith has not made any new disciples on GNI. If folks agree with his sermons that would only be because they were already followers of the Gospels. Sermons don't appeal to outsiders. Discussions and thought provoking arguments do. Bro Keith doesn't seem equipped for that.

It has been nearly a decade now since I decided that I will keep preachers and politicians at arms length.

Expressions of God’s Goodness

Lamentations 3:22-25

Imagine someone asking you if God has been good to you. What ideas pop into your head? Do you think about material possessions like a luxury car or a big house? Those things are nice, but even if you do not have any external signs of His blessing, you can still say that God has been good.

God’s goodness is expressed through His mercy. We usually talk about the Lord’s mercy in relation to His salvation plan, which provides for our rescue from slavery to sin. However, God is also concerned when we are suffering. The blind beggar Bartimaeus called out to Jesus for mercy, and the Lord responded by healing the man’s eyes (Mark 10:46-52). Nothing in Bartimaeus deserved mercy, but it is God’s nature to respond to the needs of His beloved children.

God’s goodness is expressed through His grace. None of us, no matter how well behaved we might be, deserve God’s favor. Yet because we are helpless to save ourselves, the Lord in His goodness took our guilt upon Himself and suffered the death penalty in our place. Upon salvation, we are invited to live by God’s grace and thereby constantly receive His support and help.

God’s goodness is expressed through His love. The Pacific Ocean, as vast as it is, seems like barely a drop compared to the Lord’s boundless love. No sin we can commit could ever place us beyond the reach of His faithfulness.

Think of all that the Father has done for you! He sent His son Jesus to die for your sins. Now He offers you mercy and grace to live by. The heavenly Father is indeed good.

A Model of Hospitality

3 John 1:1-8

After reading today’s passage, can you name the man to whom John addressed this letter? We’d be wise to take note of Gaius because John describes him as a beloved elder who walked in truth, acted faithfully in whatever he did, and loved strangers who visited the church as traveling evangelists and teachers.

Although this letter was written to Gaius around A.D. 90, the first mention of him in Scripture is over 30 years earlier, during Paul’s third missionary trip. He was originally from Derbe in Asia Minor—a town Paul visited on his first two journeys. Gaius apparently left home to accompany the apostle on his last trip; during that time he was dragged by a mob into a theater in Ephesus because of Paul’s preaching (Acts 19:28-32). He was also part of a group of men who traveled with Paul through Macedonia (Acts 20:4).

Since Gaius was a common name, some scholars wonder if the Bible’s referring to several men. But either way, his hospitality, love, and faithful service to the church are noteworthy. In Corinth, Gaius served as host not only for Paul but also for the entire church (Romans 16:23). And he was still practicing hospitality and serving as an elder when John wrote to him several decades later.

Hospitality isn’t reserved only for those who find it easy. Romans 12:9-21 contains a long list of commands that apply to all believers, and among them are admonitions to contribute to the needs of the saints and practice hospitality (v. 13). Gaius is a wonderful example for us because he was willing to be inconvenienced and open his home to the believers he knew as well as to those he didn’t.

The Passion to Obey

John 14:15

For a sermon I wrote several years ago, I jotted down a list and titled it “The Evolution of a Passion to Obey God.” A passion to obey the Lord doesn’t typically just spring up, full-blown, when we get saved. We do enter our new life in Christ with a desire to please Him, but a determined pursuit of His will develops more slowly and over time.

In fact, when we first believe, we’re typically motivated by fear concerning the consequences of disobedience. This barely qualifies as reverence for God, because it’s more about us than Him. But as we progress in our faith and form a commitment to obey the Lord, we develop a deep love for and devotion to Christ. Wouldn’t you rather follow Him out of love than out of fear?

Progressing from one motivation to the other begins with what you might expect: a growing knowledge of the Lord. As we dig into God’s Word, we learn who He is—His heart, His character, His will. We begin to see how He has provided in the past and trust that He’ll provide in the future. People like Mary, David, and Paul weren’t satisfied with what the world had to offer, and we won’t be either once we witness God’s hand at work. We’ll recognize the wisdom of obeying our heavenly Father—not just because of the promised blessings, but because He knows what’s best and loves us.

Where are you on the spectrum between fear and devotion? It is my hope that you’ve committed to obeying God and that you’re reading His Word daily to learn how to stay faithful to those intentions. God wants your best—your passionate pursuit of His will—and is giving His best to you.

Bro Keith have you checked any of the threads by yugi? The one on "Life's amazing secrets" wasn't too bad, only problem I had was on occasion another language was thrown in and I couldn't understand what was being said but the majority is in English.

A Commitment to Obey

Psalm 1:1-6

Scripture proclaims God’s great power and majesty while also revealing His deep mercy and love. He is worthy of wholehearted, passionate submission but doesn’t often get it. Are you among the few who offer themselves to Him without reservation?

Complete obedience is a choice to follow God regardless of the consequences. This means that we obey the Lord even if our friends choose a different path or when suffering and embarrassment are guaranteed. Seeing His will done is more important than our own comfort or personal ambition. We commit the consequences to God and cling to His promises: He will never leave us (Deut. 31:6), and He makes good out of every situation (Rom. 8:28).

Notice the word commitment in the title of today’s devotion. I’m not writing about obedience that is born of the moment (as in, I choose to follow God in this instance) but about total submission as a way of life. Setting restrictions on compliance is so tempting—we want to be able to change our mind when obeying upsets our lifestyle, the final result is unclear, or we’re just plain scared. But let me ask you this one sobering question: If Jesus Christ is the Lord of your life, what right do you have to limit how and when you’ll do His will?

Believers have no right to set their own limits; their one criterion for making decisions should be, What does God want me to do? The answer at times may cause suffering, but obedience is always right. And following God in all things is the surest path to favor and spiritual growth.

cain posted:

Bro Keith have you checked any of the threads by yugi? The one on "Life's amazing secrets" wasn't too bad, only problem I had was on occasion another language was thrown in and I couldn't understand what was being said but the majority is in English.

I have not look at the entirety of the video. Why you asked?

Sufficient Grace

2 Corinthians 12:7-10

I thought the Christian life was going to be easier than this. Have these words ever entered your mind? Sometimes we come before our heavenly Father, thinking that He will fix all of our problems and devote Himself to our happiness and comfort. However, that is not the reality portrayed in Scripture. The apostle Paul was a man whom the Lord used greatly, and yet his life was anything but easy.

In fact, at one point Paul thought his pain was too much to bear, and he begged God to remove it. There’s nothing wrong with asking the Lord to relieve our suffering, but what should our response be if He doesn’t? The apostle probably had no idea that His experience would find its way into the Bible, to comfort and guide believers throughout the ages. The promise God gave him applies to us as well: “My grace is sufficient for you” (2 Corinthians 12:9).

God’s grace could be defined as His provision for us at the point of our need. The problem is, there may be times when it doesn’t seem the Lord is truly meeting our need. But He frequently sees deficiencies, outcomes, and complications that we don’t. His goals for us involve spiritual growth, the development of Christlike character, and strong faith. And trials play a vital role in achieving such things.

The important issue is how we respond. If all you want is relief, you could descend into anger and doubt. But if your desire is to become the person God wants you to be, you’ll see each trial as an opportunity for Christ to display His character and strength in you.

Keith posted:
cain posted:

Just wanted your take on it.

You are attempting to have me say something disparaging about Yugi videos or comments, it's not happening brother.

I beg your pardon!

Can you not converse on any other matter than what you copy and paste here? In that particular video the swami (or whatever the head dude is called)  made mention of being a good Christian which I found quite interesting coming from his teachings/religion.

Your post to me show you think in the negative, perhaps you should learn what it is to be a good Christian.

ksazma posted:
Keith posted:
cain posted:

Just wanted your take on it.

You are attempting to have me say something disparaging about Yugi videos or comments, it's not happening brother.

Why do you think that your response would have to be disparaging?

I don't have a need to critical of Yugi belief. Did he challenge me about my belief, No! So why should I make comments about what he's posting.

cain posted:
Keith posted:
cain posted:

Just wanted your take on it.

You are attempting to have me say something disparaging about Yugi videos or comments, it's not happening brother.

I beg your pardon!

Can you not converse on any other matter than what you copy and paste here? In that particular video the swami (or whatever the head dude is called)  made mention of being a good Christian which I found quite interesting coming from his teachings/religion.

Your post to me show you think in the negative, perhaps you should learn what it is to be a good Christian.

You should learn what is conjecture. As I stated before I never look at the video in its entirety. I've no intent on making any comments about Yugi post.

cain posted:

Conjecture is exactly what you are guilty of. 

Proverbs 18:2. A fool takes no pleasure in understanding but only in expressing his own opinion.

Did you see where I mention I didn't look at the video in its entirety, so why should I comment without having full knowledge of what was being said.

cain posted:

Conjecture is exactly what you are guilty of. 

Proverbs 18:2. A fool takes no pleasure in understanding but only in expressing his own opinion.

Proverbs 15:28. The heart of the godly thinks carefully before speaking;
the mouth of the wicked overflows with evil words.

Resisting Fleshly Appetites

Ephesians 2:1-7

The Holy Spirit guides believers to make wise and godly decisions. But when Christians fail to listen, they can instead make choices that appeal to the flesh.

After the serpent spoke to Eve, she no doubt took a long look at the tree of the knowledge of good and evil (Gen. 2:17; Gen. 3:3, Gen. 3:6). Whatever she might have thought about the tree before, she now saw it with new eyes— flesh-focused eyes. Genesis 3 tells us that the forbidden tree appealed to Eve in three ways: It was good for food, delightful to look at, and desirable to make one wise.

In other words, the tree could fulfill three legitimate human appetites: the desire for tasty meals, beauty, and wisdom. There is nothing wrong with these God-given yearnings. The Lord created a variety of food and an earth filled with breathtaking sights so that people could enjoy them. He also offers the Holy Spirit as a source of His true wisdom and knowledge. In fact, it is the Spirit who teaches believers to keep fleshly appetites under control and in balance.

Meanwhile, Satan works hard to corrupt healthy desires. He abhors seeing people’s appetites satisfied. What he wants is to watch a person lusting after a good thing until he or she is controlled by the impulse to have it.

The devil is pleased when people make themselves slaves to a desire that—in the proper context—the Lord intended to be enjoyed freely. A believer walking in the Holy Spirit rejects gluttony, preferring desires that are within God’s boundaries instead. That’s how we get His very best.

Who Are “the Lost”?

Luke 19:1-10

Zaccheus worked as a chief tax collector for the Roman government. His profession caused him to be despised by his fellow Jews. When Jesus sought him out and asked to visit his home, the crowd was dismayed—the Lord was associating with someone whose conduct made him a sinner in their eyes. The Savior responded, “For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost” (Luke 19:10).

The word lost is a biblical term used to describe the spiritual situation of everyone who has yet to receive Jesus Christ as his or her personal Savior. In this state, a person is separated from God—there is physical life but no spiritual connection to the heavenly Father. Lost doesn’t have to do with physical location; it speaks instead of spiritual deadness (Eph. 2:1), when the mind is blind to the truth of God.

Man’s sinfulness was established through the disobedient action of the first human being—Adam. When he supported Eve’s plan and disobeyed God, his nature became one of rebellion, and all generations from then on have inherited his sinful flesh tendencies. Everyone is born into this world with a nature bent away from God (Rom. 5:12).

Zaccheus was a sinner because of his lost condition, not because of his greedy profession. Good behavior doesn’t make us a Christian, nor does bad conduct disqualify us. The tax collector received salvation through faith in Jesus. By trusting in Christ as Savior, we, like Zaccheus, are no longer lost; we’re made spiritually alive. Hallelujah!

Loved but Lost

John 3:16-19

Through faith in Jesus, we move from our lost condition to adoption into God’s family. Unless we trust in Christ, we face permanent alienation from the heavenly Father. On judgment day, each person’s eternal destiny will be determined, based on that individual’s spiritual state. Members of God’s family will live in heaven with Him. But those who remain blind to divine truth, which is found only in Jesus, will be sent away to live in eternal torment (Revelation 20:12-15).

Many people struggle to reconcile this teaching with the concept of a loving God. They reason that love would not condemn anyone to torment. The truth is, the Father desires reconciliation with man—not separation. His love for us motivated Him to provide all we need to receive forgiveness and thereby be reconciled to Him. It is man’s choice to refuse or accept God’s provision of Jesus as the remedy to the sin problem. An unsaved person can’t blame God for his eternal state; his suffering will be due to his own rebellion against the Lord.

A second common objection says, “Love would accept people on the basis of their moral lives and good deeds.” This argument assumes that God ignores sin and bases His decision about heaven on behavior. But since He is holy and just, He won’t allow sin to go unpunished. Because of His great love, however, He provided a way for our sin debt to be paid—through Jesus’ atoning death.

God shows no favoritism. He extends love toward the whole lost world and invites everyone to come to Him through faith in His Son Jesus Christ.

God’s Answers to Prayer

Matthew 7:7-11

Too often, believers view God as a great cosmic Santa Claus: We think of our prayers not as petitions but as demands. Then, if God does not grant our request, we’re thrown into a faith crisis, believing He no longer answers us. The real problem, however, is that we misunderstand the Lord’s three answers to prayer:

1. Yes. We love this response! There is nothing more exhilarating or faith-inspiring than to watch the Lord move mountains to provide what we once considered impossible.

2. No. Here is where the problems begin for us. But we must accept the fact that God says no to some of our requests. This is certainly not because He’s greedy or uncaring—on the contrary, He is generous, loving, and concerned about His children.

Matthew 7:11 does not say God will give “everything to those who ask Him,” does it? No, it says that the heavenly Father will give what is good to those who ask. Quite often, giving “what is good” means that He doesn’t agree to things He knows are wrong for us.

3. Wait. This answer can be even harder than a flat-out no. Yet some things that are good and godly may still be wrong for us today. Remember, God is eternal; He sees all time at the same time. If He regards tomorrow’s blessing as a curse today, He’ll withhold it for a season until we’re ready to receive it.

Friend, do not be misled if God’s response isn’t what you expected—or wanted—to hear. Instead, praise the Lord for answering our requests the way He knows they should be answered!

Time for Success

Ephesians 5:15-17

Every night before falling asleep, I write down my goals for the following day. Upon waking, I read through the list in order to focus my energy on what is most important. If this were not part of my routine, the limited hours available would not be utilized effectively.

The Bible clearly teaches us to use our days wisely. Time is a gift. Almighty God has given each person a span of days to live on earth. But our life is fleeting and uncertain—James compares it to a vapor that “appears for a little while and then vanishes away” (James 4:14). Time is also irrevocable—we cannot simply go back and start over.

Considering this, it is foolish to waste such a precious resource. Yet all too often we do. Let’s be alert so we can avoid the following hindrances to living fully and purposefully:

Misplaced priorities result in wasted opportunities. Our values will determine the emphasis we place on each activity and the amount of time we allot to it.

Procrastination and perfectionism soak up valuable time. Avoiding both will help us make the most of our contributions to the kingdom of God.

Lack of concentration drains time of its potential. For example, we have to train ourselves to focus on reading God’s Word and not to get sidetracked.

What values determine how you utilize your time? Is there something that keeps you from living each moment in a way that pleases the Lord? Since it’s not possible to redo days you wish had turned out differently, ask God’s guidance and live more intentionally.

Using Time Well

Matthew 25:14-28

The Lord gives us resources and abilities, and He desires that we use them well. One such gift is time.

In order to manage our coming days effectively, we should continually review the one we’ve just lived: What activities did we choose? How much time did each take? What were the results? This discipline will reveal what is most important to us.

In looking closely at our assessments, we can determine what drives our decisions about how to use time. Some people merely respond to circumstances for a majority of their day. They jump from one thing to the next, handling whatever appears in their world at the moment—whether personal, family, or business matters. But this style of living misses the mark.

Other people spend their time according to desires. They want to relax, so they get home and watch television for the evening. Or they love to hunt, so they use their time to research equipment and locate wildlife in the forest. Desires are not bad, but they should not drive the bulk of our actions.

Thankfully, there are also people who live according to what they deem important. Loving God and serving others, for instance, are two biblical values that should, ideally, determine what we do with our time.

If you itemize your activities and their time consumption over the course of a week, you might be surprised at which are the predominant events. Each moment is a gift, so set aside a few minutes each evening to plan the next day. Then revisit how you spent the last 24 hours. This will help you to live purposefully.

How can you know God?

It all starts with accepting Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior. Jesus Christ provides a relationship with the Father and eternal life through His death on the cross and resurrection, see Romans. 5:10.

Romans. 10:9 promises, "If you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved." If you have not yet begun your personal relationship with God, understand that the One who created you loves you no matter who you are or what you’ve done. He wants you to experience the profound depth of His care.

Therefore, tell God that you are willing to trust Him for salvation. You can tell Him in your own words or use this simple prayer:

Lord Jesus, I ask You to forgive my sins and save me from eternal separation from God. By faith, I accept Your work and death on the cross as sufficient payment for my sins. Thank You for providing the way for me to know You and to have a relationship with my heavenly Father. Through faith in You, I have eternal life. Thank You also for hearing my prayers and loving me unconditionally. Please give me the strength, wisdom, and determination to walk in the center of Your will. In Jesus’ name, amen.

If you have just prayed this prayer, congratulations!

You have received Christ as your Savior and have made the best decision you will ever make—one that will change your life forever!

The Rewards of Patience

Luke 11:9-10

Photography has taught me a great deal about patience. My team and I once spent four days waiting to photograph the Matterhorn in Switzerland—inclement weather kept the peak totally hidden. On the last night of my stay, I went to sleep praying. Very early the next morning, I opened my eyes to see that huge white mountain glistening against the pitch-black sky. I was amazed to discover the modest hotel we’d selected had a view of the mountain!

Rather than wait until we reach heaven, the Lord sends many blessings to us now. However, we must not get ahead of Him if we hope to receive His gifts. Several things happen when we choose to be patient.

1. We see God at work. His way is the best way, and we become more aware of this when we observe Him working out His plan in our life.

2. We can achieve our objectives. The Lord knows the right moment to provide what we want or need. If we give up too soon or try to manipulate circumstances, we miss out on the fullness of what He wants to bestow.

3. We have God’s favor. When we are patiently waiting for His will, then He can freely bless us. The heavenly Father certainly wants to pour out His love on our life.

We are blessed when we abide patiently in God’s will. Unfortunately, we will all face circumstances in which we are tempted to be impatient. What determines whether or not we express patience is the value we place on whoever else is involved—another believer, a friend, a coworker, or God. Do you value the Lord enough to be patient with His timing?

Keith posted:

The Rewards of Patience

Luke 11:9-10

Photography has taught me a great deal about patience. My team and I once spent four days waiting to photograph the Matterhorn in Switzerland—inclement weather kept the peak totally hidden. On the last night of my stay, I went to sleep praying. Very early the next morning, I opened my eyes to see that huge white mountain glistening against the pitch-black sky. I was amazed to discover the modest hotel we’d selected had a view of the mountain!

Rather than wait until we reach heaven, the Lord sends many blessings to us now. However, we must not get ahead of Him if we hope to receive His gifts. Several things happen when we choose to be patient.

1. We see God at work. His way is the best way, and we become more aware of this when we observe Him working out His plan in our life.

2. We can achieve our objectives. The Lord knows the right moment to provide what we want or need. If we give up too soon or try to manipulate circumstances, we miss out on the fullness of what He wants to bestow.

3. We have God’s favor. When we are patiently waiting for His will, then He can freely bless us. The heavenly Father certainly wants to pour out His love on our life.

We are blessed when we abide patiently in God’s will. Unfortunately, we will all face circumstances in which we are tempted to be impatient. What determines whether or not we express patience is the value we place on whoever else is involved—another believer, a friend, a coworker, or God. Do you value the Lord enough to be patient with His timing?

You must have been easily fooled growing up by the boys around. Did they ever take your marbles and ran home, telling you that tomorrow they will double what they took?

When Facing Life’s Mountains

Zechariah 4:1-10

Today’s passage describes a vision God gave to Zechariah. In it, the mountain is an illustration of a barrier or hindrance. We might wonder what these strange dreams can teach us today, but though the imagery is foreign, the principles are repeated throughout the Bible and are still relevant for our lives.

Zerubbabel, leader of Judah, and a group of 50,000 people had been released by their Babylonian captors to return to Jerusalem. There, God’s people began to rebuild the walls of the temple, but they were attacked by those living nearby. Consequently, the people became discouraged and were ready to give up.

In verse 6, God reminded Zerubbabel through Zechariah that progress is made “not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit.” In other words, when God calls us to a task, He Himself assumes responsibility for removing hindrances. God went on to ask, “What are you, O great mountain?” (v. 7). Nothing but flatland would remain once He worked through Zerubbabel.

We are not to face seemingly insurmountable tasks in our own strength. Instead, we’re to rely upon the power of the Holy Spirit within us. We are like the lampstand that was to be kept continually burning in the temple. In Zechariah’s dream, the olive trees on each side of the lampstand were pouring oil directly into its bowl, with no help from the priests. The Holy Spirit was acting as the olive trees—He was God’s promise of continual help to the weary people. We, too, can trust the Lord to pour His Spirit into our life for help when we face a mountain of an obstacle.

Strengthen Yourself in the Lord

1 Samuel 30:1-8

After an exhausting three-day journey, David and his men finally arrived home to find a scene of devastation. Their homes were burned to the ground, and their families were missing. Utter despair engulfed them. David’s distress soon increased when his men’s grief turned into bitter anger and they spoke of stoning him.

Most of us won’t experience this extreme a situation, but we can identify with David’s discouragement. Sometimes despair follows a personal tragedy or loss, but it can also result from the weariness of ongoing daily pressures. Family problems, financial difficulties, and health issues may make discouragement a constant companion. The same can happen with emotional struggles over feelings of unworthiness, failure to overcome an addictive habit, the pain of criticism, or fear of inadequacy.

Despair can afflict anyone unexpectedly, but the Lord doesn’t want us to linger in a fog of depression. We often can’t avoid the situations that lead us into discouragement, but we do have a choice whether to stay in that condition. Instead of caving in to misery, David chose to strengthen himself in the Lord. He recognized that God was the only one who could give him the proper perspective on the problem and provide the guidance he needed.

When you’re discouraged, where do you turn? Perhaps the last thing you want to do is read Scripture and pray—initially, the passages may seem like meaningless words, and your prayers might feel empty. But if you persist in crying out to God, you’ll eventually experience His comforting strength.

Add Reply

Likes (1)
Keith
×
×
×
×
×