Psalm for the Day

Monday, May 30, 2011

Progressive Growth

“Don't  I have the right to do with you people of Israel what the potter did with the clay?  You are in my hands just like clay in the potter's hands”.   Jer. 18:6  GNT


As Christians we must believe in progressive growth.  When God begins a work, the result there of must be to His satisfaction.   He viewed the work of His Son on Calvary and was satisfied.

Is He satisfied with the progressive growth in your life?

This does not mean that our condition at a given moment is perfect morally, but it does mean that like a potter He is satisfied with our progress.

The basic thing God looks for in us is not the absence of flaws but the attitude of moldable clay.  He can easily workout the flaws, but He cannot do a thing with clay that is hard, brittle and crumbly.   Brittleness means there has been a hurt somewhere along the line and ‘you’ have not gotten over it.

“Lord, I want to be the best clay, soft and conformable to Your image.  You ask, “Can I not….deal with you as this potter does?””  (Jer. 18:6)   

“Yes, Lord, you can----abundantly and perfectly!”

“Yet we who have this spiritual treasure are like common clay pots, in order to show that the supreme power belongs to God, not to us.”   2 Cor. 4:7  GNT

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Childishness or Mature Christian

 “But you must never stop looking at the perfect law that sets you free. God will bless you in everything you do, if you listen and obey, and don't just hear and forget”.    James 1:25  (CEV)

We must be careful not to be impatient with God, for impatience is childishness, and childishness is an obstacle to God’s working in us.  

Moses was childish when he cried out, “You have not rescued your people at all”. (Ex. 5:23 NIV)   He thought God should have delivered His people from Egypt immediately and since God did not respond that way, Moses impatiently exploded against God.

Childishness destroys the very character of God in us.  It says, “God promised but He has not fulfilled His promise”.  It declares that God’s actions must be compressed into my time schedule and it must be done my way.

It is likened to the frustration of a baby who cannot control his/her parents, who cannot cope with an adult world.   Childishness is essentially trying to bring God down to earth and forcing Him to obey earthly laws instead of the laws of heaven.

Am I a sulking Christian?

Do I have to have my way?

Do I flare up like Moses, pout like King Saul or sulk like Jonah?

Do I get mad at God because I cannot control Him?

The remedy for childishness is not time because many people are still childish in later years.   The solution is to take a good look at ourselves.   Nothing stops the pouting better than a good look in the mirror.

That is why we must use our Bible constantly like a mirror.   It will tell us what we need to know about ourselves.

James tells us if we look closely at the spiritual mirror and allow it to correct us, we will be “blessed” in what we do. (James 1:25)

That is the maturity we should all strive for, to become mature in Christ and be blessed in what we do.

So if you're serious about living this new resurrection life with Christ, act like it. Pursue the things over which Christ presides”.    Col. 3:1  Message Bible

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Temptation or Obedience

“Keep watch and pray, so that you will not give in to temptation. For the spirit is willing, but the body is weak!”   Matt. 26:41  NLT

“The seeds on the rocky soil represent those who hear the message and receive it with joy. But since they don’t have deep roots, they believe for a while, then they fall away when they face temptation”.   Luke 8:13  NLT

The longer we serve Jesus as a disciple the more different temptation becomes.

In our natural state, temptation was a problem only if there as a chance we would get caught.

In our spiritual state, it becomes a problem because it upsets the delicate balance between assumed spirituality and real spirituality.

Temptation, for every disciple, has two hazards:  time; taking a short cut, or being impatient with God and method; substituting a different way for God’s way or taking things into our own hands.

Every temptation forces us to reexamine our spiritual foundation and to choose whether we will wait for God’s time or seize our own time.   In this way God teaches us obedience; to wait.

The closer we walk with God, the more subtle temptation becomes.  It is like approaching a bright light; the closer we get, the sharper the shadows are.  The temptation of Jesus in Gethsemane was far more subtle than the temptations He suffered in the wilderness.   Each new level of commitment for us opens up a whole new range of possible deviations from that commitment.

When we are tempted we are consoled by Jesus, who is ‘touched with the feeling’ of our infirmity (Heb. 4:15 KJV).    He cannot remove our temptation, nor can He be tempted for us, but He understands the battle we are in, and He prays for us (Lk 22:32).    He cheers us on and He will never leave us nor forsake us (Heb. 13:5).

He never lets us go, no matter how often we fail, because He has put His life in us and He has determined that His life must not fail.  “Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.”  Heb. 2:18 NIV

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”. I Cor. 10:13 NIV

Friday, May 27, 2011

Me or Jesus?

“You may think that everything you do is right, but remember that the Lord judges your motives.”    Prov. 21:2  GNT

“Wicked people are controlled by their conceit and arrogance, and this is sinful.”  Prov. 21:4  GNT

Our service for Jesus must not be hindered by self-effort; “For Christ (the Messiah) sent me out not to baptize but [to evangelize by] preaching the glad tidings (the Gospel), and that not with verbal eloquence,  lest the cross of Christ should be deprived of force and emptied of its power and rendered vain (fruitless, void of value, and of no effect)”.   I Cor. 1:17 Amp.

It is so easy to think that we are doing Jesus a service, when in reality we are feeding our own ego.  Jesus did not use theatrical devices when preaching the gospel, lest His natural talents and abilities get in the way.

The moment we become inclined towards our natural instincts is the moment we rob the cross of its persuasive power.

The cross is a power all by itself.  “And I, if I be lifted up…..will draw all men to Myself.” (John 12:32)      God does not need me for what I am in myself; He only needs me as a vessel to send His power through.

Our greatest problem as a servant of God is to keep the “me” from getting in His way.   What God has promised to bless is not “me” per se, but the free-flowing message of the cross through “me”.   God is obligated to honor His Son, not “me”, and He only honors “me” when “I” in turn honor His Son.

“Lord, help me to understand that You called me, not because there is some intrinsic value in me, but only because You desire to reveal Your Son in and through me.   I may draw people by means of personality, speaking gifts or talents, but that does not mean I am accomplishing Your purposes through me.”

I must be willing to follow the biblical formula; I must die if I would live; I must be submissive as Moses if I would lead people from slavery to freedom.

The great consolation is: not what “I” did for Christ, but what He was pleased to do through “me”.

“And the grace of our Lord was poured out on me abundantly, along with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus.”   I Tim. 1:14 (NIV)

“Let every man test his own work. Then he will be proud of his own work. He will not be proud because he thinks his own work is better than someone else's work”.  Gal. 6:4  WE

Thursday, May 26, 2011

The Point of the Sword



“Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother, “This boy is assigned to be the cause of the falling and rising of many in Israel and to be a sign that generates opposition so that the inner thoughts of many will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your innermost being too.”   Luke 2:34-35  CEB


“Lord, I realize that to be a follower of Jesus I must feel the point of the sword”.  The prophecy of Simeon to Mary, “….a sword will pierce even your own soul” (Luke 2:35 KJV), is true of anyone who is willing to let Christ be formed in them.

The pain of following Jesus is not merely rejection by the world or even loved ones.  It is the rejection of self.   The other kinds of pain….the ones caused by man…are easily borne because Jesus is our Comforter and Companion.

The pain of self-rejection is one that has no antidote.   The very cure for that pain is the One who allows the pain in the first place, Jesus.  Therefore, there is nothing to do but bear the growth of Jesus in me.

The pain of the sword is a lifelong experience, since self is always with me and will fight bitterly against every attempt to put my “flesh” (selfishness) to death.

My flesh sometimes cries out loudly for expression, whether by lust, greed, pride or revenge and this expression runs up against the sword of Jesus.  The pain of Jesus is the pain of an alternative: I cannot have Jesus and my sinful desires at the same time.     

The only consolation I have in this painful battle is the same one Mary had….bring Jesus to birth, it is worth it all!    To see Him “formed” in me and visible to someone else is worth all the anguish and rejection.

To see Him loved, worshipped and accepted by others, as Mary eventually did, is my ultimate delight and joy.  “Faithful is He who calls you, and He also will bring it to pass” (I Thess. 5:24) is the word for me today, as I allow Jesus to be formed in me.

“There's far more to this life than trusting in Christ. There's also suffering for him. And the suffering is as much a gift as the trusting”.  Phil. 1:29  Message Bible

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Pursuing a Pure Heart

“But I, the Lord, search all hearts
and examine secret motives.
I give all people their due rewards,
according to what their actions deserve.”   Jer. 17:10  NLT

Purity of heart should be the main focus of a true Christian.

Psalm 51:6 says, “Surely you desire truth in the inner parts…..”   The pure in heart are those whose minds, motives, affections and principles have been cleansed by faith in Jesus and through the washing of rebirth.  (Titus 3:5)   

They seek not only to have their external actions corrected, but they desire to be holy in their heart.    True Christians know that man looks on the outward appearance but God looks into a man’s heart.  (Gal. 2:6, I Sam. 16:7)

The pure in heart care nothing for the things that lead man into sin.   Anyone who is focused on pursing the Kingdom of God and His righteousness will be inwardly pure.

Inward shame, deceit, pride and moral sin cannot coexist with a pure heart devoted to God.

The pure in heart will see God.  (Matt. 5:8)   None but the pure in heart will be able to look upon the face of God.   He cannot behold iniquity nor could the impure stand to look upon God’s purity.   The unclean will never enter into God’s dwelling place.

Receiving Jesus as Savior and Lord will cover your sins under His blood.  They will be forgiven and forgotten, causing you to become a new creature in Christ Jesus.  This change will turn you from sin-centeredness and selfishness to God.

Those who cry out to God as King David did in Psalm 51:10, “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me,” will see God. 

Righteousness

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness..”   Matt. 5:6 KJV

Jesus is speaking of a righteousness that is genuine to the core.  Our Lord wants people to examine their hearts and motives.

What are your treasures?

Who is your master?

Who or what controls you?

Do you have hidden or selfish motives?

Christians who hunger and thirst for God’s integrity, virtue, purity of life and righteousness will be given it; IF they truly desire His correction in thinking, feeling and acting He will give them a filling with the Holy Spirit so they can enjoy the righteousness of God.

Righteousness is everything God desires man to acknowledge and obey.  When you have a genuine hunger and thirst for God’s righteousness you will hate sin. Righteousness and sin are incompatible.

Being filled with God’s righteousness begins with an inner longing to have sin cleansed from the heart and the righteousness of God residing down deep within.   To hunger and thirst for righteousness is to desire with our entire being to live and walk the way God says to live and walk.

“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.” (Matt. 5:6)    This goes beyond the conventional and traditional teachings of the Scribes, Pharisees and many churches today.   This righteousness only comes by the supernatural power of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit of God.

Monday, May 23, 2011

A Secret to Life

“If the Spirit of God, who raised Jesus from death, lives in you, then he who raised Christ from death will also give life to your mortal bodies by the presence of his Spirit in you”.   Romans 8:11   GNT

One of the secrets to finding meaning in this life is to understand what God means in regard to having Christ dwell in your heart.  To ‘dwell’ means to give Christ full permission to take up full residence by His Spirit in your heart.

The idea is letting Jesus come into your heart and life that He may be a ruling master, so that He may take every part of your life and use it for His Father’s purposes.   Your first and most important meaning of being created is that you reflect the likeness of Christ through all you do. 

You are created for His glory not your own.   What God is saying is, “Let Me tell you what your purpose is and then you can start to enjoy your life.”   This is why the Holy Spirit moved the apostle Paul to write, “…He died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for Him who died for them and was raised again.”  (II Cor. 5:15)

You will find the real meaning of your life as you let the Holy Spirit dwell within your heart.   Allowing Jesus to be both Savior and Lord of your life literally brings your soul, which was once dead in sin, back to life.  (Rom. 8:11)

Paul’s prayer for the Ephesians is also for us today, “I pray that out of His glorious riches He may strengthen you with power through His Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith.”  (Eph. 3:16-17)

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Sin Will Make You Stubborn

“If people escape the moral filth of this world through the knowledge of our Lord and savior Jesus Christ, then get tangled up in it again and are overcome by it, they are worse off than they were before.    It would be better for them never to have known the way of righteousness than, having come to know it, to turn back from the holy commandment entrusted to them.    They demonstrate the truth of the proverb: “A dog returns to its own vomit, and a washed sow wallows in the mud.”     II Peter 2:20-22  GNT

It would appear that the ‘sow, having washed and return to wallow in the mud’ reinforces the same sentiment that it does not make sense to be washed, to be cleansed, to be purified and to become filthy with sin once again. 

The person who makes an outward profession, absent of an inward transformation will soon return to the old way of life.

Likewise, the apostate gives an initial display of repentance and outward change as though they had embraced the truth.   It becomes evident eventually that their nature has not changed.

This coupled with their rejection of the truth, indicates that they were never spiritually transformed. (Titus 3:5)    They are still worldly in nature.

The apostates with their religious profession along with some outward change soon revert to the dictates of their real nature.   Individually, each one of them is still the corrupt “old man,” controlled by his lust.  (Eph. 4:22)

Peter had explained the dynamics of the new nature earlier in II Peter 1:3-4.  The new nature produces godly living, which brings glory to God.  The new nature prevents believers from ever returning to the filth and immorality of this world.  We have escaped the pigpen of the world and God intends that we remain free from it.

A dog may return to its vomit, a pig may return to the mud, but a true Christian will return as the Prodigal Son to the Father.

My friends, watch out!  Don't let evil thoughts or doubts make any of you turn from the living God.   You must encourage one another each day. And you must keep on while there is still a time that can be called "today."   If you don't, then sin may fool some of you and make you stubborn”.    Heb. 3:12-13  CEV

Saturday, May 21, 2011

We Are Not Free To Sin

“When an evil spirit goes out of a person, it travels over dry country looking for a place to rest. If it can't find one,   it says to itself, I will go back to my house.   So it goes back and finds the house empty, clean, and all fixed up.

 Then it goes out and brings along seven other spirits even worse than itself, and they come and live there. So when it is all over, that person is in worse shape than at the beginning. This is what will happen to the evil people of this day”.   Matt. 12:43-45  GNT

An apostate has had a taste of freedom and exposure to Jesus.  But they reject or resist the rules and love of Jesus. 

Jesus frees us from sin.  We are not free to sin.   If people refuse to follow Jesus’ Word their only option is to follow someone else’s word or their own.  

Each time a person sins they make it easier to yield to sin and it becomes harder to resist the temptation.  They weaken their desire to submit to God and resist the devil.  

When a person engages in sin they are opening the door for more sin and all ‘its relatives’ to come and stay awhile.

“…Jesus said to those who believed in him,
“If you obey my teaching, you are really my disciples;  you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free……I am telling you the truth: everyone who sins is a slave of sin””.   (John 8:31,34 GNT)

An apostate will turn their backs on God’s Word and return to a life-style of personal pleasure and hidden sins.   They have rejected the gospel and will find fault with God’s Word.  They will always twist the Word around to meet their interpretation, to justify their actions, belief and decisions.

I Timothy 6:14 tells us we should “….obey completely and fully all that you have been told until our Lord Jesus Christ returns”.

It would seem that the apostates have some familiarity with God’s Word and basic Christianity.  The NT speaks of people who desire the position of teacher or pastor or the recognition as true Biblical leader but fall short of being truly born again.   (II Cor. 13:5, II Tim. 2:18-19, I John 3:7-8)



The person who has known the truth and departed from the truth is on a perilous journey, more dangerous than the person who has never heard the truth.   They received a glimpse of perfection and grace but refused the Light and embraced the darkness.    Apostle Peter speaks of the ‘way of righteousness’ or what we might call the path of righteousness.   The apostate has left that narrow road and has opted for the broad way that leads to destruction.

How sad, to know the truth and then reject the truth only to embrace the lie of the wicked one.

“But it has happened to them according to the true proverb: A dog returns to his own vomit, and a sow, having washed, to her wallowing in the mire.”  II Peter 2:22  (NKJV)

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Jesus is our Righteousness

“I am listening to what the Lord God is saying;
he promises peace to us, his own people,
if we do not go back to our foolish ways”.   Psalm 85:8  GNT

Let us hear the warning of Jesus Christ, “…See, you have been made well. Sin no more, lest a worse thing come upon you.” ( John 5:14)

In II Peter 2:20 we read about the terrible judgment on those who claim to know Christ and those who claim teaching authority but are content to live a life of personal and private corruption:  “…when people escape from the wickedness of the world by knowing our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and then get tangled up and enslaved by sin again, they are worse off than before”. (NLT)

Christians are certainly capable of sin.   Christians can and do sin.

A true Christian is different from the apostate when it comes to the issue of wanting or desiring to remain in sin.

It is a choice and a deep love for Christ that keeps a true Christian from remaining in sin.

Pride, selfishness and rebellion will help keep a person entangled in sin.

Anyone can fall into sin but a true Christian will not stay there.

“Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage”.   Gal. 5:1 NKJV

When a person is trapped or falls into the snare or the net; this is the person who is unwilling to break free from the net.  The result is moral disaster.

II Peter 2:21 he said, “It would be better if they had never known the way to righteousness than to know it and then reject the command they were given to live a holy life”.  (NLT)

Sin drags you down!  Sin drags down the character and will of a person. 

Sin never lifts you up or encourages you!

The Bible teaches us we can submit to God and resist the devil and he has to flee. (James 4:7)   The way of righteousness is Jesus and He made it possible for God to count us righteous.   The holy commandment of God is His Word.  We are judged by what we know.   It would be better never to know about Jesus or God’s Word than to know and reject both Jesus and God’s Word. 

The Apostle Peter is offering a comparison in this passage not an option.  He clearly teaches us that when a person knows the truth and turns back to their old nature they will find themselves in a worse position.

The apostate not only persists in deception but delights in it.  They not only resist God’s help and forgiveness but they teach others to do the same thing. 

The apostate is a slave to sin but the true Christian is free to do the will of God.

“People who conceal their sins will not prosper,
but if they confess and turn from them, they will receive mercy”.  Prov. 28:13  NLT

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Repentance

“But if we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from everything we’ve done wrong”.     I John 1:9  CEB

When we really repent, we turn from our sins and we continue to turn from them.  There are many places in the Bible where even believers in God are called upon to repent.

Repentance involves sorrow for our sins and for our sinful ways.   However it also involves a sorrow that will cause us to change these ways.   Esau was sorrowful and he wept bitterly but his ways were not changed and he did not receive the promise.  (Heb. 12:16-17)

The Bible tells us that there is a sorrow of this world that leads to death and a godly sorrow that leads to repentance and salvation.  (II Cor. 7:10)

It seems much repentance, today, is not of the godly sort, people often repent only because they get caught in their sins or they repent for other selfish reasons.

As one old preacher said, “A lot of our repentance needs to be repented of.”

It is of utmost importance that we repent of these sins of which the Holy Spirit is convicting us of.  If we refuse and cover our sins the Bible assures us they will be brought to light.

God desires that our hearts become broken over our sins.

Repentance is more than turning away from sin.  It is a positive turning towards God and His Kingdom.

One of the most amazing stories of repentance is the story of the Prodigal Son.  In his selfishness and rebellion he squandered his inheritance by living carelessly in a foreign land.   He finally came to the end of himself and his resources and found himself in a pigpen eating with the pigs.

In that pigpen he had a change of heart.   He turned from his rebellion and selfishness and he turned towards home to his father.   (Luke 15:20)

God is longing for everyone to repent in the same way as the Prodigal Son.

True repentance often involves restitution.   That’s something we can learn from Israel.   The broken relationships with other people must be mended if repentance is sincere.   Often we cannot just say that we are sorry or just privately confess it to God and expect restoration.   We need to ask forgiveness and show by our actions that there is a real and permanent change in our attitudes.

God overlooks ignorance of these things in times past, but now directs everyone everywhere to change their hearts and lives”.    Acts 17:30  CEB

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

God Sees the Heart Part II

“……..he will bring to light the dark secrets and expose the hidden purposes of people's minds…”  I Cor. 4:5  GNT
All sin is an assault against our holy God, whether it is done in public, private or secret.
God who sees even the innermost secrets of the heart, sees our sin clearly, no matter how well we have covered it up or hidden it.
Jesus in His Sermon on the Mount (Matt. 5) was pointing out that anger arises from the same moral defect as murder; and the person who lusts suffers from the same character flaw as the adulterer.
Those who engage in thought-sins are guilty of violating the same moral precepts as those who commit acts of murder and adultery.
A lustful person has no right to feel morally superior to a wanton fornicator. The fact that a person indulges in lust is proof that they are capable of immoral acts as well.   When a person hates another they show that they have murder lurking in their heart.
Jesus, in His Sermon on the Mount, was teaching us to view our own secret sins with the same moral disgust we feel for wanton acts of public sins.
Those who sin secretly actually intensify their guilt because they add the sin of hypocrisy to their offense.   Hypocrisy is a consequential sin in its own right.    It also produces a debilitating kind of guilt because by definition hypocrisy entails the concealing of sin.    And we know the only remedy for any kind of sin involves a sincere confession and repentance.
Hypocrisy permeates the soul with a predisposition against genuine repentance. That is why Jesus referred to hypocrisy as the “leaven of the Pharisees.”  (Luke 12:1)
Hypocrisy also works directly against the conscience.  There’s no way to be hypocritical without searing the conscience.   So hypocrisy inevitably makes way for the most vile, soul-tainting, character-damaging secret sins.  Therefore, hypocrisy compounds itself, just like leaven.
Your secret life is the real test of your character.  
Your secret life reveals your integrity or lack of.
Do you want to know who you really are; take a look at your private life….especially your innermost thoughts?  
What consumes your thoughts?
We must ‘gaze’ into the mirror of God’s Word and allow it to reveal and correct the real thoughts and motives of our heart.
“As he thinks in his heart, so is he…..”   Prov. 23:7  NKJV

Monday, May 16, 2011

God Sees the Heart

“But the LORD said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The LORD does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.”  I Sam. 16:7 NIV

Jesus’ explanation of the law is a devastating blow against the lie that image is everything.
Jesus taught repeatedly that hidden sins carries the very same guilt as one that manifests itself in the worst form of ungodly behavior.
Those who hate others are as guilty as those who act out their hatred; and those who indulge in private lusts are as guilty as wanton adulterers. (Matt. 5:21-30)
Christians are not to think of hidden sins as somehow less serious and more respectable than the sins everyone sees.
The Bible tells us “God sees not as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”  (I Sam. 16:7)
No sin……not even a whispered curse word or a fleeting evil thought is hidden from God.  We need to realize and understand that God Himself is the only audience for hidden sins.  If we really believed God does see and hear everything we do, we might be less inclined to blow off our sins so easily.
The Bible also declares that God will one day judge the secrets of every heart. (Rom. 2:16)   He “will bring every act to judgment, everything that is hidden whether it is good or evil.”  (Eccl. 12:14)
Hidden sins will not remain a secret. “The Lord (will) bring to light the things hidden in the darkness.”  (I Cor. 4:5)    Jesus said, “There is nothing covered up that will not be revealed and hidden that will not be known.  Accordingly, whatever you have said in the dark shall be heard in the light, and what you have whispered in the inner rooms shall be proclaimed upon the housetops.”  (Luke 12:2-3)
Those who think they can evade shame by sinning in secret will discover one day that open disclosure of their secrets before the very throne of God is the worst shame of all.
It is silly to think we can mitigate our sin by keeping it hidden.   It is a folly to tell ourselves that we are better than others because we sin in private.  It is the very extent of folly to convince ourselves that we can get away with sin by covering it up.
“But each of you
   had better tremble
   and turn from your sins.
   Silently search your heart
   as you lie in bed”.   Ps 4:4 CEV

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Secret Sins

“He who covers his sins will not prosper,
      But whoever confesses and forsakes them will have mercy”.                  Prov. 28:13
NKJV      
People can block the power of God in their lives because of secret sins.
We are accountable for our sins.  Our relationship with Christ can become separated and fellowship is broken when we chose to live with secret sins.
Many times after we commit our sins, we then try to justify them, excuse them and rationalize them.   We feel we must defend ourselves by blaming others or convincing ourselves that “it’s really not that bad.”  However hiding the sin is worse.
Sin that comes between man and God is bad but the worst part is when we try to hide it.
For the most part, the “Achan” ….one who hides their sins, puts up a good front. They do all the right things, they try to convince everyone they are good, upright, honest Christians and that they are servants of God and givers.
“Achan’s” sin is not in public and not in the house of God, but it is hidden in his/her home.    
They live under the cloud of denial and deception that there is nothing wrong with their life because they attend church, worship and give money in the offering.
Sadly, it is not so much in public but in private that our lives dishonor God.
God is just, merciful and loves you!  But God must judge and punish unconfessed and unrepented sins. He is willing to forgive when we confess our sins.
Remember failure, defeat and the wrath of God does not come upon us because we have sinned, it is because we covered our sins.  We do NOT hate them!   We do NOT weep over our sins.   We do NOT take God’s Word to heart and allow our hearts to be broken. We choose to continue living with secret sins because we want to be in control.
Repentance means dying to our flesh and totally surrendering to Jesus Christ.
People do not go to hell simply because they are sinners. They go because they will not repent of their sins.   It is a choice and God will not infringe upon our free will.
I John 1:9  “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
Are you willing to diligently search your heart’s desires?
Are you willing to examine all the things you do, think and love in order to find the “Achan” in your life?
Are you a Pharisee, doing the outward deeds of Christianity to be seen by men?

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Hidden Sins Part V

“..you are not yet spiritual. You are jealous and argue with each other. This proves that you are not spiritual and that you are acting like the people of this world”.        I Cor. 3:3  CEV
Physical sickness and trouble is often a sign of God’s displeasure for our sins.    In I Cor. 11:27-32 there were many who died and others who were sick and weak as a result of God’s judgment on their sins.   Though they were Christians they were not prospering and it was because their sins were hidden and unconfessed.
James 5:16 tells us to “confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed.”
Other Scriptures also indicate that sickness is often the natural result of sin.   Prosperity can be hindered by hidden and unconfessed sin.
Revival is hindered when the power of God is blocked by hidden sins.
Unconfessed sin in the hearts and lives of God’s people ….sin in the churches….sin in the preachers….sin in the elders......sin in the congregation will stop the flow of God’s power and presence.
If hearts are not being broken and lives are not being changed, then sin is the reason.
Far too many people and churches have covered their sins and consequently there is no change and no growth.
There are times God demands action instead of words!
“So if you are about to offer your gift to God at the altar and there you remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar, go at once and make peace with your brother, and then come back and offer your gift to God”.     Matt. 5:23-24   GNT

Hidden Sins Part IV

“He who covers his sins will not prosper,
      But whoever confesses and forsakes them will have mercy”.  Prov. 28:13 NKJV
Sin that is unconfessed, sin that is excused, sin that is unlamented, sin that is ‘justified’, sin without any self-judgment is certain to bring the wrath of a holy and righteous God!   You will never get away with hidden sins.
There is a terrible curse of God on hidden sins.   One of the most extraordinary examples of the fact that God cannot abide hidden sins is found in Joshua chapter seven.
One man had sinned and that sin marred the fellowship between God and His people.  One sin completely stopped the flow of His power.
The sin of Achan brought defeat and ruin to Israel.   (Josh. 7:2-5)
This proves that sin will bring a curse upon our lives, our families, our churches and nation.   Sin causes separation from God! That separation opens the door for Satan to enter in.  He will use deception to hold you in denial, to continue living under the false pretense of being in God’s presence.
The Word clearly states Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. (II Cor. 11:14)
Hidden sins bring failure, shame and disgrace.
   “…it is no wonder. Even Satan tries to make himself look like an angel of light.  So why does it seem strange for Satan's servants to pretend to do what is right? Someday they will get exactly what they deserve”.   II Cor. 11:14-15  CEV

Monday, May 9, 2011

Hidden Sins Part III

“You will never succeed in life if you try to hide your sins. Confess them and give them up; then God will show mercy to you”.   Prov. 28:13  GNT
Our “will” is the power by which the mind makes choices and then acts to carry them out.   At first a person engages in some forbidden pleasure because they want to, but if they keep going back to it, they soon find that they have no strength to resist it.  They have no will power to resist and a battle between right and wrong engulfs.
Once a thought or act becomes a habit, it is a short step to a necessity.  The old adage is true: “Sow an act and reap a habit; sow a habit and reap a character; sow a character and reap a destiny”.
You will reap with you sow…….good or bad fruit.     People can look at your life and see the type of fruit you are producing: good or rotten fruit.   They will be able to see how much or lack of Jesus reigns in your heart.   There will be evidence of change: good or bad.  They will see Christ emerging or no growth…...a stale…..decaying life.    Your life will be just like it was last week, last month, last year …..No change!
Hidden sins will prevent growth in Christ; consequently there will be no change: just an increase in deception, lies and denial.
A person harboring hidden sins learns how to play the “game” of Christianity by the greatest teacher himself, Satan.
   
“I wish my head were a well of water,
      and my eyes a fountain of tears,
   so that I could cry day and night
      for my people who have been killed.
 I wish I had a place to stay in the desert
      where I could get away from my people.
   They are all unfaithful,
      a mob of traitors.
  They are always ready to tell lies;
      dishonesty instead of truth rules the land.
   The Lord says, “My people do one evil thing after another
      and do not acknowledge me as their God.

  Everyone must be on guard against their friends,
      and no one can trust their relatives;
   for all relatives are as deceitful as Jacob,
      and everyone slanders their friends.

 They all mislead their friends,
      and no one tells the truth;
   they have taught their tongues to lie
      and will not give up their sinning.
   They do one violent thing after another,
      and one deceitful act follows another.

   The Lord says that his people reject him”.  Jer. 9:1-6  GNT

Hidden Sins Part II

“You can't whitewash your sins and get by with it;
   you find mercy by admitting and leaving them”.    Prov.  28:13  Message Bible

Jesus warns His disciples to “beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and the Sadducees.”   He explains to them “that He did not tell them to beware of the leaven bread, but of the doctrine of the Pharisees and Sadducees”.  (Matt. 16:6-12)
The OT and NT both use leaven as a symbol of sin because of what it does to bread dough.  Once yeast enters the dough, it immediately begins to spread by breaking down in reaction to the dough’s sugars and produces a gas that puffs the bread up.
Like leaven, when sin enters a person’s life, it begins to corrupt and puff them up with vanity.  A person enslaved by habitual sin will have a difficult time growing in the grace and knowledge of Jesus because of sin’s corrupting influences.  Sin defiles and can permanently destroy our relationship with God and each other.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Happy Mother’s Day

Mom,
To me you are the best!
Your laughter can fill my heart,
In such a special way,
You are al the many little things
That make each day an inspiration.
A Mothers love is unselfish,
For she sees with her heart
And not her mind.
To me you are a hope and faith
That seems to know no end.
You are an understanding friend and encourager.
You are a helping hand when troubles come my way.
A Mother’s love cannot be bought,
It is priceless and free!
It gives more than it takes.
A Mother’s love remains forever!
You’re everything that I could wish for…..
Thank you, Mom for all the sacrifices you made for me!
I thank God for giving me you..….as my Mom!
I Love You Mom!
Happy Mother’s Day!

False Teachers/Show-Christians

“I pray that God will greatly bless you with kindness, peace, and love!
My dear friends, I was doing my best to write to you about the salvation we share in common, when I felt the need of writing at once to encourage you to fight on for the faith which once and for all God has given to his people.
For some godless people have slipped in unnoticed among us, persons who distort the message about the grace of our God in order to excuse their immoral ways, and who reject Jesus Christ, our only Master and Lord. Long ago the Scriptures predicted the condemnation they have received.
For even though you know all this, I want to remind you of how the Lord once rescued the people of Israel from Egypt, but afterward destroyed those who did not believe. Remember the angels who did not stay within the limits of their proper authority, but abandoned their own dwelling place: they are bound with eternal chains in the darkness below, where God is keeping them for that great Day on which they will be condemned.
Remember Sodom and Gomorrah, and the nearby towns, whose people acted as those angels did and indulged in sexual immorality and perversion: they suffer the punishment of eternal fire as a plain warning to all.
 In the same way also, these people have visions which make them sin against their own bodies; they despise God's authority and insult the glorious beings above.         
But these people attack with insults anything they do not understand; and those things that they know by instinct, like wild animals, [they] are the very things that destroy them.   How terrible for them!
They have followed Cain's example and have made the same mistake that Balaam did by caring only for money. They have also rebelled against God, just as Korah did.  Because of all this, they will be destroyed.
These people are filthy minded, and by their shameful and selfish actions they spoil the meals you eat together.
 They take care only of themselves.
They are like clouds carried along by the wind, but bringing no rain. They are like trees that bear no fruit, even in autumn, trees that have been pulled up by the roots and are completely dead.
They are like wild waves of the sea, with their shameful deeds showing up like foam. They are like wandering stars, for whom God has reserved a place forever in the deepest darkness.
It was Enoch, the seventh direct descendant from Adam, who long ago prophesied this about them:
         “The Lord will come with many thousands of his holy angels to bring judgment on all, to condemn them all for the godless deeds they have performed and for all the terrible words that godless sinners have spoken against him”!
 These people grumble, complain, blame others and live by their own selfish desires. They brag about themselves and flatter others to get their own way.
 But remember, my friends, what you were told in the past by the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ.  
They said to you, when the last days come, people will appear who will make fun of you, people who follow their own godless desires.  These are the people who cause divisions, who are controlled by their natural desires, who do not have the Spirit.
But you, my friends, keep on building yourselves up on your most sacred faith.  Pray in the power of the Holy Spirit, and keep yourselves in the love of God, as you wait for our Lord Jesus Christ in his mercy to give you eternal life
 Offer praise to God our Savior because of our Lord Jesus Christ! Only God can keep you from falling and make you pure and joyful in his glorious presence. Before time began and now and forevermore, God is worthy of glory, honor, power, and authority. Amen”.
Jude     (CEV/GNT)