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!

Friday, July 27, 2012

Before you can walk on water, you have to be “in” the boat!

Scripture Read: Judges 6:17-18: So Gideon said to Him, “If now I have found favor in Your sight, then show me a sign that it is You who speak with me. “Please do not depart from here, until I come back to You, and bring out my offering and lay it before You.” And He said, “I will remain until you return.”

Application: : In all the years I have spent with You Lord, I have found that so many of Your children struggle with finding the direction You have for them in life. So many of us relate and struggle in the same way as Gideon, as he asks for “The Direction God is leading him to. In the same way we may ask for “God’s direction”. Like Gideon we too, struggle with “faith”. Yet, we can find a key principle in discovering the answer to finding God’s direction for each one of us in the story of Gideon’s request.

 First, we need to be clear in our terms so we can determine what we are seeking. When we discuss God’s plan for our life, we should break in down into two terms.  His will” and His direction ~ for our lives.

Scripture is clear that God’s “will” for life is universal. –  His “will” is that all should “know” Him and be saved. Anyone that is a child of God should offer themselves to God.  Everyone should be standing in His will. What is most important is that we should not even bother trying to find His direction until we know for sure we are standing in God’s will! Why should God give individual direction if a person is not willing to yield to His universal will?

Romans 12:1–2  Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.

Often we ask for God to lead using the term “will”, which is not wrong,  but I have found it helpful to use the word “direction” to help me better walk through this process and understand where I’m going. When I am in the “will” of God – that means I am not serving sin, I am serving Him, I am not thinking or living like the world, my mind is filled with His Word – then I can move in the direction I sense He is leading me to. This is so much healthier than playing games with God, like opening the Bible and dropping your finger on a passage hoping God will cause your finger to fall randomly to what He is trying speak to you. That is treating His Word like a fortune cookie! “Words of Knowledgecircumstances that “seem” right, dreams, or seeking some sign you made up in your head are often judged correctly as silly and can be disastrous some times.

God’s direction, is personal for each individual. Only that person and God can confirm what is truly God’s desire for that individual. So, how can you “know”? Notice, even Gideon does that. The first thing he moves to do is to worship God. Isn’t that the universal desire God has stated for all His children? There is not one “child of God this does not apply to. When we  ~ worship Him,  ~ offer all we are to God, ~ remaining in the Word (which will transform our way of thinking into God’s way of thinking), ~ ministering for Him, then we are ready for God to illuminate His “direction to where His “desires for our individual lives.

Just live close to God, be open for what ever He desires and you will here His voice…even if it is a whisper! Our Dad deeply desires to make us into the maximum of what we can be and to guide us to that place where we will experience the greatest peace and contentment. He could do that with a snap of His finger, but then we would lose the fruit, the growth in faith and all eternal investment. The reason God allows us to seek for His direction in our lives is for our benefit, not His! True, It delights His heart when we grow and experience His joy, but He is God. He needs nothing. His focus of love is so unselfish and we are the benefactors of it. Thanks Dad!

Meditation Questions: Are you living in everyway you can everything God has commanded us to live right now? If not, why? If you will not obey something God expects of all His children why would He show you something more specific to do? If a person won’t obey a general rule, what will they do with more specific rules? Isn’t possible that the best chance to know where God is leading is to follow what you already know first? Do you think God wants to guide you? What does your answer show you? 


Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Mañana, Mañana, Mañana is good enough for me!

One More Time - Mañana, Mañana, Mañana is good enough for me! ☛Probing Proverbs 6:3-5 follow my advice and save yourself, for you have placed yourself at your friend’s mercy. Now swallow your pride; go and beg to have your name erased. Don’t put it off; do it now! Don’t rest until you do. Save yourself like a gazelle escaping from a hunter, like a bird fleeing from a net.☚ That old nemesis…procrastination!...

Why do now what you can put off until tomorrow?? Wisdom has already warned us about becoming indebted to someone, but continues with a clear warning about what most of us usually do…”getting to it later”, or “when I find the time.” The only “time” anyone ever “finds” is when they discover a watch on the ground that someone dropped! 

Here the Scripture uses the reality of nature as an illustration – if gazelles or birds relax and take their time…we will be enjoying them as a MEAL! When God leads us to do something or stop doing something, the wise thing to do is to act on that immediately. When there is a sense of urgency in our life when it comes to following God, we will find that we have a much greater harmony in our spirit, and a deeper intimacy with the Lord if we obey right away. The only thing we should put off is “the old man of our sin nature”!

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Show me the Sign!

Scripture Read: Judges 6:17 So Gideon said to Him,  “If now I have found favor in Your sight, then show me a sign that it is You who speak with me.

Application: We read that, Gideon has been chosen by the Lord to deliver the Israelites from their enemies. Clearly, he does not have an intimate relationship with his God yet, he knows who He is and has an intellectual knowledge perhaps. History documented in the Scripture tells us, the generation before Gideon, did not do what they should've done. They did not keep their side of the covenant or promise with the Lord so they knew of the Lord intellectually, but not experiencially, in an intimate relationship. Gideon was therefore struggling with Who this “Angel of the Lord” is and what He can really do; because Gideon did not ‘know Yaweh.  However, he remained open, but his faith is immature, he is struggling with what he really believes is happening. Gideon asked the Lord “show me a sign ~ SHOW me Your power that I’ve heard about.

First, let us not accuse Gideon of sinning because he asked for sign. God does not condemn Gideon for his request, so neither should we. On the contrary, Gideon’s name is read among the valiant men God used in what is often known as “The Great Hall of Faith”, in Hebrews 11:32  

“And what more shall I say? For time will fail me if I tell of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, of David and Samuel and the prophets. Through faith they conquered kingdoms, administered justice, gained what was promised.”

It may be easy and popular to make Gideon look bad because he initially walked by sight asking God to prove Himself, but we should tread careful when going beyond what Scripture states about him. There are other issues this passage raises:

* Is it wrong to ask God for sign? ~ Again, there may be passages that seem to affirm both YES & NO. The motive in any specific context is really what determines a right or wrong answer. So one cannot use Gideon  as a “proof text” to fit every circumstance or every individual that asks our Lord to prove He is real or is really leading them in a particular direction. That is disingenuous and not useful in this discussion. It's healthier to look at the principle that God teaches for us today in the New Testament. Speaking to this point, Paul, made it clear in his letter to the church of Corinth, how the child of God should move in their life: 2 Corinthians 5:7 

“for we walk by faith, not by sight”

Perhaps it would be healthier for us to envision what a mature child of God would act and do, then pattern our life after that, not a life seeking signs and asking God to prove himself. He has already done that, if we would only open our eyes. When we walk by faith we are telling God that we believe Him in spite of our lack of visual confirmation or of mental comprehension. We are not living with blind faith, because we know Who our God is; we are just refusing to allow our eyes to focus on the physical world and control our actions.

In some situations, I find it much healthier to step out in faith and then if my human frailty surfaces I will be like the father in the gospel of Mark  9:23–24:

And Jesus said to him, “ ‘If You can?’ All things are possible to him who believes.” Immediately the boy’s father cried out and said, “I do believe; help my unbelief.”

In my personal relationship with the Lord, I have found He prefers me to try, and fail, than not try at all when it comes to matters of faith. Asking for “a sign” could cause us to walk by sight and make the flesh feel safer, but the spirit suffers and does not mature, and we do not grow to “know Him.  (Strong’s # 03045 yada [pronounciation:yaw-daw], verb: know Him experientially, discern His presence in any situation). Oh father, help us to walk by faith trusting You instead of trusting our eyes!

Meditation Questions: When you step out in faith, what struggles do you deal with? Why do you think that is? What does that say about your faith? When was the last time you had to trust God? What did you go through? Was it worth it? Why? Would you rather be safe or grow? Can both exist at the same time? Why? Why not?