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, September 21, 2013

The difference between the righteous and the unrighteous

Probing Proverbs 10:6-7 Blessings are on the head of the righteous, But the mouth of the wicked conceals violence. The memory of the righteous is blessed, But the name of the wicked will rot.

The Scripture does not pull any punches when it comes to comparing those that follow God from those that do not. The subtle deception is that many do not keep before themselves when they read these passages, “Who’s” perspective is evaluating the lives involved. We tend to look from our short temporal view and some of the principles seem to be left wanting.

The righteous receives blessings like an anointing (the head). These could be blessings (praises) from people in their lives, but we obviously know that not all righteous individuals are appreciated by this world. However, viewing it from God’s perspective whether the world acknowledges it or not, God will bless with peace, purpose and joy now, and rewards in eternity. Sadly, God’s view of the wicked judges the motives. A wicked person looks out for themselves and serves “self” which will lead to violence, whether it be in deed, word or even thoughts. The legacy of the righteous goes into eternity, while the wicked ends and decays…soon to be forgotten. What is so tragic is that no one has to end like that.

The only difference between the righteous and the wicked is one simple little word – “grace.” All humans on their own will never be righteous in God’s eyes because they are controlled by their sinful nature…all of us! What makes the difference for anyone, is when they have become humble enough to understand that they can never live righteous on their own, and they embrace the Truth that the grace that God extends from Jesus Christ will pay for their sin in total, put to death their sin nature, produce a new nature in them that will allow them to live righteously. We become children of God by trusting belief in the forgiveness Christ purchased through His death and resurrection. That is why our righteousness can never be viewed as ours – that is called self-righteousness and is nauseating to God. The Pharisees were full of this attitude, judging themselves better than others.

Luke 18:10–14 “Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector.  “The Pharisee stood and was praying this to himself: ‘God, I thank You that I am not like other people: swindlers, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. ‘I fast twice a week; I pay tithes of all that I get.’ “But the tax collector, standing some distance away, was even unwilling to lift up his eyes to heaven, but was beating his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, the sinner!’ “I tell you, this man went to his house justified rather than the other; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but he who humbles himself will be exalted.”

A true child of God knows that his or her righteous originates in Christ and grows as intimacy with Christ increases. God creates in us something we could not create in ourselves. What we are blessed and rewarded for is our willingness to obey and follow God.

Don’t try and become righteous by your works, it will never happen. Allow God to make you righteous by trusting in His Son to redeem you.

Where are you in your relationship to your Maker right now? Do you want to know Him? Tell Him and read the gospel of John – there you will discover what Jesus did for you. Are you a child of God, yet you life lacks joy? Perhaps you have begun to live your life on your own power. Read Galatians and discover how important a life of faith is!

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

15 minutes in the spotlight…is ONLY 15 minutes!

Judges 10:1-6 Now after Abimelech died, Tola the son of Puah, the son of Dodo, a man of Issachar, arose to save Israel; and he lived in Shamir in the hill country of Ephraim. He judged Israel twenty-three years. Then he died and was buried in Shamir. After him, Jair the Gileadite arose and judged Israel twenty-two years. He had thirty sons who rode on thirty donkeys, and they had thirty cities in the land of Gilead that are called Havvoth-jair to this day. And Jair died and was buried in Kamon. Then the sons of Israel again did evil in the sight of the Lord, served the Baals and the Ashtaroth, the gods of Aram, the gods of Sidon, the gods of Moab, the gods of the sons of Ammon, and the gods of the Philistines; thus they forsook the Lord and did not serve Him.

One more look at this passage before we move on. We looked at the fact that there was no mention of repentance and cleansing from idols last time. There is another silent truth communicated, and in this day and age it is very important. Here in a record of the judges, where the works of each judge is described in detail, there is almost no information about these men here…which is a great lesson for us, because we live in a society where everyone wants their 15 minutes in the spotlight. 
I am a trained teacher of a seminar called “Cat and Dog” theology. The point of the seminar is to challenge Christians to evaluate how they approach their relationship with God. The “cat” thinks: You feed me; you groom me; you pet me; you love me = “I must be God!” The “dog” thinks: You feed me; you groom me; you pet me; you love me = “You must be God!” We have far to many “cat” believers out there! They think it’s all about them. So how does this passage help us understand that? It makes us ask the question “could I be the judge that is just mentioned, but not highlighted?” Another example is the Exodus:

Deuteronomy 24:18 “But you shall remember that you were a slave in Egypt, and that the Lord your God redeemed you from there; therefore I am commanding you to do this thing.

If we were told that we had to be a slave in Egypt, we would deal with it…because we know that Moses is coming and we will be delivered! But wait! What if God chose to make you one of the slaves that were in the previous NINE generations before the exodus? How would you feel about knowing the will of God for your life was to be born a slave, live a slave and die a slave? That does not resonate with the prosperity preachers of our day! Preaching a message that makes it clear that what should really matter to every believer is to be in God’s will…even if that means being a slave your whole life, will not fill any football stadium churches! I admit I find it uncomfortable to imagine my life that way. Yet, there were faithful, God loving and God honoring Jewish slaves for NINE generations in Egypt!

If I am honest I must admit that I desire to be recognized, feel important and remembered for contributing to something substantial. This is a normal human desire. The question is – do I allow this to control me, or do I yield to a greater Truth? Even as a slave in the 7th generation, if I live my life for God, I will be recognized…by God! I am important…in God’s eyes, even if I, myself do not see it. In eternity I will be remembered by my Lord as one that was faithful to Him…the pyramids will all be dust…but I will be written in the book of my God as Faithful! Will anything this world can offer now, matter then?  Seek His spotlight – His bulb NEVER burns out!

Meditation Questions: What do you feel when people do not notice what you have done? Is it wrong to enjoy applause when you have done something good? If so, why? If not, why? What’s the balance? What is the difference in these thoughts: “You are given credit for what you did?” “You are honored for how you lived?” “You get the glory?” What do you want to be remembered for? What would your epitaph say?