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!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Humble Pie can be very sweet when we are the one’s cooking it.

Scripture Read: Judges 8:1-3 Then the men of Ephraim said to him, “What is this thing you have done to us, not calling us when you went to fight against Midian?” And they contended with him vigorously. But he said to them, “What have I done now in comparison with you? Is not the gleaning of the grapes of Ephraim better than the vintage of Abiezer? “God has given the leaders of Midian, Oreb and Zeeb into your hands; and what was I able to do in comparison with you?” Then their anger toward him subsided when he said that.

Application: Gideon teaches us two great lessons here when it comes to choosing how to avoid conflict with unreasonable people. We must understand that first we have to make a conscious decision of how we want to live. If we desire what God encourages in 

Romans 12:18 If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men 

then before we even encounter this situation we must have already made a lifestyle choice to avoid conflict if and when possible. I say “possible” because sometimes we must enter into conflict, but if we are honest much of the conflict we encounter could be avoided if we chose to seek peace. Now, let’s learn from Gideon. His response reveals two attitudes of the heart that we should imitate if we desire to avoid conflict. First, Gideon exhibits no pride: “But he said to them, “What have I done now in comparison with you?” Gideon still does not see himself as some great person, he is just a vessel that God has chosen to use. 

So instead of getting into a bragging contest about who has done what, he just takes the lower road which is actually the higher road in God’s eyes. There is nothing wrong with feeling good about the things we do that are right when it comes to our walk with the Lord. However, when we begin to think that we alone accomplished it or that “God is lucky to have me” a fall will be right around the corner. If Gideon had decided to shoot back at the men of Ephraim “well God chose me, not you!” he would suddenly have found himself with a war on two fronts! By remaining humble, he took nothing away from God, yet left the men of Ephraim with their sense of integrity. 
By taking the humble road Gideon also models the second heart attitude that is important here. The principle is found in Proverbs 15:1 A gentle answer turns away wrath, But a harsh word stirs up anger. Our best chance to avoid a verbal conflict is this truth. Stop focusing on who is right, or if you got your point across. As I said, obviously there are times we have to confront an issue and it will cause conflict, but we will not look at those instances at this time. When it is not an issue worth dying for, try applying Prov. 15:1 – you will find your life having more peace than war! The sad part for the men of Ephraim is that they continue this behavior and it destroys them when Jephthah draws the line in Chapter 12, which we will see sometime in the future.

Meditation Questions: When you are confronted with a conflict, what are the steps you take? Are they planned and prayed through or are they reactionary? How many ways do you show that you seek peace? If you cannot name any, what does that show? Do you try to notice your volume when dealing with a conflict? Is that important? Why? Why is it wrong to seek “peace at any cost”? Peace is very important, but what is most important? Why do you say that? What does that show?

Monday, November 12, 2012

The three letter word that is the real problem – SIN

Proverbs 7:24-27 So now, sons, listen to me, and pay attention to the words I speak. Do not let your heart turn aside to her ways do not wander into her pathways; for she has brought down many fatally wounded, and all those she has slain are many. Her house is the way to the grave,  going down to the chambers of death.

Proverbs 7 is a tremendous in-depth dissection on how sin works and the cost involved. The example chosen by the Lord is a foolish young man, and an immoral wife. However, the principle communicated here extends to all sin. In closing this section look at the two warnings that are given. "Do not let your heart turn aside" and "do not wander". Both are separate actions, yet still connected in essence. The first action deals with discipline, the second deals with focus; the aspect of a “lack” connects both. The reason our heart turns aside is because we fail to discipline our life in a way that keeps our heart close to God. If this foolish young man had been disciplined in his life he would not have entertained the thoughts of sin he did. The longer he entertained those thoughts the more acceptable the sin became to him. This is exactly the warning James gives us:

Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted by evil, and He Himself does not tempt anyone. 14 But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust. 15 Then when lust has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and when sin is accomplished, it brings forth death. 16 Do not be deceived, my beloved brethren. James 1:13–16

When we allow thoughts to continue to cook in our mind the conception of sin is right at the door. Paul tells us to discipline our thoughts. When a sinful thought comes to our mind if we discipline our mind to reject it, our heart will not turn aside.

We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ 2 Corinthians 10:5 

Secondly, when we lack focus we will wander. Try walking with your eyes closed, you will wander and may end up wandering into a dangerous situation. If this young man had been focused on walking close to God his feet would have moved in the opposite direction of where the immoral woman was. When we lack focus on what we want our life to mean and count for, we may awaken only after we have wandered into a circumstance or a mistake that never needed to happen. Wisdom is beseeching us to not lack discipline or focus. 

Lastly Wisdom challenges the reality of what we perceive the sin to be. In this example the young man thinks the woman's house is the place for pleasure, but whatever the sin, the lack of reality exists. “Fame will make me happy” ; “money will solve my problems”; “marriage will keep me from being lonely”; - the right job, the trophy, or the designer home...all of these things, neutral in themselves, can become sin when they become the god we pursue. All...all promise a false reality and even become, like the house of the immoral woman, the way to the grave. The quality that makes existence "life" will be separated (death) from us. All things, relationships, possessions and positions only bring quality to our life when these things have been given to us by our Lord because we First sought Him!

“For this reason I say to you, do not be worried about your life, as to what you will eat or what you will drink; nor for your body, as to what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? 26 “Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they? 27 “And who of you by being worried can add a single hour to his life? 28 “And why are you worried about clothing? Observe how the lilies of the field grow; they do not toil nor do they spin, 29 yet I say to you that not even Solomon in all his glory clothed himself like one of these. 30 “But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, will He not much more clothe you? You of little faith! 31 “Do not worry then, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear for clothing?’ 32 “For the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. 33 “But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. Matthew 6:25–33