Baptism at Singles Retreat - 147 Baptized!!!

*******************Baptism at Singles Retreat 147 Baptized!!! ***********************

* Sharing times in the Word and looking for growth. Let's Commune Together!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Consider – God is our brother!

Scripture Read: Hebrews 2:11 For he who sanctifies and those who are sanctified all have one source. That is why he is not ashamed to call them brothers

Application: We would not want to call an insect our brethren – yet I think we have more in common with an insect than You do with us Lord. You are indescribable God! Our mind makes You small, by trying to figure You all out and place You in the box we have made for You. If we are honest when we read Your Word we can see that we really don’t get it. Lord we want to live as close to You as we can yet our flesh seems to get in the way. In spite of that though we should celebrate that the God of all gods calls us brothers! Our life should be lifted by that thought. Joy should over flow at this truth! Please empower us to press on in our desire to be close to You. We desire to have such a close relationship with You that even when the enemy tries He cannot use us to shame You!

Friday, May 13, 2011

The tool of Sanctification

Scripture Read: John 17:17 Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth; Ephesians 5:26 that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word; Acts 20:32 And now I commend you to God and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up and to give you the inheritance among all those who are sanctified.

Application: Notice how much the idea of sanctification is tied to the use of the Word. This is where the imbalance must be. Yes we want to live a sanctified life – but if we are not really in the Word the only possible sanctification that can take place is through the power of the flesh – which is not sanctification – it is self-reformation. We must step out in faith and really discipline ourselves to spend time in the Word – then as we exert effort to grow in Christ – it will be empowered by the Word of God. We must remember that the sweat that comes from exerting effort to yield to His will is very different than the sweat produced through the work of the flesh. When we reform ourselves we build pride, arrogance and self-righteousness. When we exert our new man’s will to yield to God it will grow a sanctification produced by God Himself. We may know this intellectually but how many of us are practicing it. I am astounded in counseling sessions how little of the Word individuals are getting into their lives. I do not think less of them because I have the same struggle. But when I committed myself to place that as a priority in my life – the fruit the Spirit has produced has amazed me. We want to be close to God but do not put the greatest tool He has to use into us. Lord - we want to spend more time in Your Word. Produce a love for it in our life. Grant us Your grace and Spirit fill us to seek a burning love for Your Word. We want to be sanctified by Your power Lord. We ask this all in the name of Your Son Jesus. 

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Teaching ourselves to do the unnatural naturally

Scripture Read: Rom 6:19 I am speaking in human terms, because of your natural limitations. For just as you once presented your members as slaves to impurity and to lawlessness leading to more lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves to righteousness leading to sanctification.

Application: In our desire to be set apart for God and to live toward Him – even though we know the lion share of the work is from Him – we have to take seriously our part. The word states God’s part – But it is not all on Him …

Sanctification - ἁγιασμός hagiasmós - Hagiasmós refers not only to the activity of the Holy Spirit in setting man apart unto salvation and transferring him into the ranks of the redeemed, but also to enabling him to be holy even as God is holy[1]

Notice what is our part in this – the Presentation! Yes the real work is God’s but we must present ourselves. We have to face the fact that especially in the beginning it will be a conscious presentation. The longer we train our flesh to submit to our new man the easier it will become. The difficulty is that when we were in the flesh we usually presented ourselves to sin in an unconscious state – we just did what came natural – that is our goal in the other direction now. To live Holy will happen only after habitual conscious presentation to do what is right, then it will become second nature.

Zodhiates, S. (2000). The complete word study dictionary : New Testament (electronic ed.). Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Endurance is the key against what so easily entangles us.

Scripture Read: Heb 12:1-2 Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 

Application: As we consider sanctification we experience a clear sense from scripture that we are t realize we are not alone. Many have come before us and are a testimony to us of what God can accomplish through someone yielded to Him. Two words in this passage really nail it here

Easily entangles - εὐπερίστατος euperístatos; from perí - around, and hístēmi to stand. Easily surrounding or encompassing, easily besetting, as sin (Heb. 12:1). Others translate this adj. relating to sin as “the sin so full of peril which so easily subjects one to calamity” (a.t.), since the noun perístasis (n.f.) sometimes means impediment, calamity.

Endurance - ὑπομονή hupomoné̄; to persevere, remain under. A bearing up under, patience, endurance as to things or circumstances. Hupomoné̄ is associated with hope (1 Thess. 1:3) and refers to that quality of character which does not allow one to surrender to circumstances or succumb under trial - In the metaphor of the race (12:1) ὑπομονή reminds us of the tense perseverance to victory which is necessary if the prize is to be won. “The Christian runner must rid himself even of innocent things which might retard him. And all that does not help, hinders. It is by running he learns what these things are. So long as he stands he does not feel that they are burdensome and hampering.” Thus, the word “weight” has the idea of “encumbrance.” [1] [2]

Father – We really do hate the sins that entangle us so easily – We do not understand them nor how to experience final victory. How do we fix our eyes on Christ – this is our desire and yet we see failure far too often. God grant us the grace to live more conscious then ever and see the rest of my life honor You more than any other time. Jesus we want to be like You! Holy Spirit fill us with the appetites that drove Christ and empower us to scrap off the appetites that our flesh loves.  Thank You Father for making us one with Your Son. Thank You for all the examples of sinful people that – when they yielded to You – were able to see Your character reproduced in them and despite their failures – because of Christ You used them to bring You glory. Father help us live out our life glorifying You the best we can – Help us Lord Jesus – this is our desire!!!

Zodhiates, S. (2000). The complete word study dictionary : New Testament (electronic ed.). Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers.
[2] Theological dictionary of the New Testament. 1964- (G. Kittel, G. W. Bromiley & G. Friedrich, Ed.) (electronic ed.). Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans.

Monday, May 9, 2011

A strange vicious circle.

Scripture Read: Romans 9:25-33 As He says also in Hosea, “I will call those who were not My people, ‘My people,’ And her who was not beloved, ‘beloved.’ ”26 “And it shall be that in the place where it was said to them, ‘you are not My people,’ There they shall be called sons of the living God.” 27 Isaiah cries out concerning Israel, “Though the number of the sons of Israel be like the sand of the sea, it is the remnant that will be saved; 28 for the Lord will execute His word on the earth, thoroughly and quickly.” 29 And just as Isaiah foretold, “Unless the Lord of Sabaoth had left to us a posterity, We would have become like Sodom, and would have resembled Gomorrah.” 30 What shall we say then? That Gentiles, who did not pursue righteousness, attained righteousness, even the righteousness which is by faith; 31 but Israel, pursuing a law of righteousness, did not arrive at that law. 32 Why? Because they did not pursue it by faith, but as though it were by works. They stumbled over the stumbling stone, 33 just as it is written, “Behold, I lay in Zion a stone of stumbling and a rock of offense, And he who believes in Him will not be disappointed.”
Application: Why was Christ the stumbling stone – and why do we feel it was so easy to receive Him. Why did we get it? Or are we deceiving ourselves and possibly not really saved? We can intellectually understand why He is a stumbling block – because the flesh wants to have something to boast about and Christ removes all that. So either we deceived ourselves and prayed because we are lazy and wanted an easy salvation or we really saw how sinful we were and knew there was no way to save ourselves. Many of us thought that Lord – we knew we were sinful and could not meet Your standards – yet we still struggle with the sin that remains in us. Because I am a missionary and travel so much I have met so many believers all over the world. We all call ourselves Christian yet I see for the most part we all have the same struggle even though the specific sins are different. Even the ones I meet who as I get to know them, seem to have such a deep life with You, but when I get to see behind the surface I find so much failing. This is a truth the enemy uses to turn Christ into being much more a stumbling block concerning sanctification than salvation. That sounds terrible and it is, but it is one of the tactics the enemy uses. By grace we have been saved – and eternally we have been delivered from the penalty of sin – but not it’s presence. Until we go home we will struggle with it and as we grow through sanctification we begin to experience a certain dilemma – the more we get to know Him the more sinful we see ourselves. This is where the enemy tries to deceive us. We begin to push in the flesh to be more like Him and not sin – but in the end we become defeated because while we are in the flesh the struggle will never end. When we convince ourselves that we can be perfect in the flesh, it exposes that we have not yet learned to really depend wholly on Christ to sanctify us – this still means sweat but not the same as works based sanctification. Lord help us to work through this – perhaps a word study on sanctify!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

God is God

Scripture Read: Romans 9:14-24 What shall we say then? There is no injustice with God, is there? May it never be! 15 For He says to Moses, “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.” 16 So then it does not depend on the man who wills or the man who runs, but on God who has mercy. 17 For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, “For this very purpose I raised you up, to demonstrate My power in you, and that My name might be proclaimed throughout the whole earth.” 18 So then He has mercy on whom He desires, and He hardens whom He desires. 19 You will say to me then, “Why does He still find fault? For who resists His will?” 20 On the contrary, who are you, O man, who answers back to God? The thing molded will not say to the molder, “Why did you make me like this,” will it? 21 Or does not the potter have a right over the clay, to make from the same lump one vessel for honorable use and another for common use? 22 What if God, although willing to demonstrate His wrath and to make His power known, endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction? 23 And He did so to make known the riches of His glory upon vessels of mercy, which He prepared beforehand for glory, 24 even us, whom He also called, not from among Jews only, but also from among Gentiles
Application:  Father – this passage causes all of us such a problem – not in understanding – though that is hard also – but we find that we are concerned about our spirit and attitude toward You. If the meaning is that You designed certain ones to go to hell – no chance or choice – we struggle with that – which is denying Your right to be God. If that is what God wants – who has any right to say anything? Many of us would consider our own child – what if it were my son– what if he was not chosen? Is that fair? Why even bother to teach him Your word? Again we can fight this battle forever – but more important to all of us is that we struggle with what we would call resentment against You if this is the way it is. How can someone that never had a choice be held accountable? Lord now I am the pot challenging the Potter. I really need more time with You. Help me to make it Lord – I do not want to think higher of myself than I ought – this also I believe allows me to be more complacent about sin in my life. Lord I desire to see You Holy – I have no rights to question You – yet I want You to know what I am struggling within my spirit. I am sorry Lord for my weaknesses – deliver me from my flesh and fill me with Your presence!