Not a Sermon only a Thought

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Attaining God’s Best

Psalm 145:18-19

Yesterday we saw that idolatry involves giving something or someone priority over the Lord—and it leads to missing His best. Scripture also warns about other obstacles that hinder our receiving God’s blessings.

As followers of Jesus, we are to pray to our heavenly Father when we desire or need something (Phil. 4:6). Sadly, many of God’s children fail to do so. Some are “too busy” to bring their requests to the Lord. Others talk to the Lord in a general or mechanical way, without the genuine, heartfelt communication He desires.

Christians should come humbly before His throne, bringing requests with a submissive spirit (1 Peter 5:5-6). This means that we are to yearn for God’s will above all else—even above what we think is best. It is important to acknowledge that He may have something better in mind. Then, as we faithfully pray, God may remove or alter certain longings so that our desires begin to align with His.

Furthermore, the Bible tells us to approach God with confidence and faith (Heb. 4:16; James 1:6). In other words, when we pray and seek the Father’s will, we should anticipate that He will answer. As Isaiah 64:4 reminds us, God “acts in behalf of the one who waits for Him.”

Our Father desires to pour blessing into the lives of His children. Don’t allow prayerlessness to prevent His best. Express your needs and wants to God confidently and specifically. Then submit your will to His, and wait expectantly. He is faithful—you will see!

I have been waiting for 50 years. I probably need to phone him and ask him what's taking so long.

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!

Expectation of Suffering

Philippians 1:27-30

One of the greatest gifts we can give new believers is the knowledge of what they can expect in the Christian life. After receiving the forgiveness of sins and being made new creations in Jesus Christ, they might expect that life will be wonderful from that point forward. And indeed, it is because we have the Holy Spirit and Christ’s peace and joy within us. However, there is also the potential for suffering.

Christ saved us from sin, not from trouble. All the pain, suffering, hardship, and problems in the world originated in the Garden of Eden, with Adam and Eve’s transgression. From then on, mankind has lived in a fallen environment and in personal bondage to sin. Christ set us free from the guilt and penalty of our wrongdoing, but He has not exempted us from the pain and trouble that is common to man.

In fact, once we believe in Christ, an additional area of trouble becomes possible in our life: suffering for Christ’s sake. We’d like to think that everyone around us will be just as excited about Jesus’ offer of salvation as we are. But in reality, there are many opponents to the gospel. At times family members may disparage or reject us and people at work make fun of us. In some areas of the world, believers suffer physical and even fatal persecution.

So what are we to do, and how are we to behave? When the world stands against us, we desperately need the fellowship and encouragement of the church. Together, we conduct ourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel, stand firm in one spirit, and strive together for the faith.

Test Yourself

Hebrews 3:12-19, Hebrews 4:1-2

Many of us love the Bible because it’s filled with words of assurance, promise, and encouragement. However, it also contains warnings that we’d be wise to consider and heed. Like the nation of Israel in the wilderness, the church throughout history has also had some people who were characterized by unbelief.

Jesus said that although many call Him Lord, the proof of salvation is displayed in an obedient life (Matt. 7:13-23). You may have noticed the fruit of salvation—or the lack of it—in your church. Consider the following signs that may indicate a person in need of salvation:

• They are oftentimes involved in conflict and disunity in the church because they lack the fruit of the Spirit.

• Sometimes they prefer the spectator role and are reluctant to get involved or make a commitment to a local congregation of believers.

• If they are serving in the church, they may feel frustrated because they are trying to do the supernatural work of God without the power of His Spirit.

• They have trouble understanding the Bible but little desire to read it.

• Because they are resisting the Spirit’s conviction, they are uncomfortable or irritated when the pastor gives an invitation for salvation.

The purpose of God’s warning isn’t to have us judge the salvation of others; rather, He wants us to both examine ourselves and lead people to the truth. The consequences are eternal, so it’s important to do as Scripture says: “Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith” (2 Corinthians 13:5). Pray that God will enable you to point others to Jesus—and that He’ll help you to grow ever more Christlike.

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