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!

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Discouragement: Pt 4 The problem is not the problem; the problem is the path through the problem!

When walking through a cemetery you will see stone after stone that states RIP = rest in peace. So many say the same thing…but you notice immediately if there is one that is out of the ordinary…here are some real epitaphs that break the rut of RIP:

In a Ribbesford, England, cemetery:  Anna Wallace, The children of Israel wanted bread; And the Lord sent them manna, Old clerk Wallace wanted a wife, And the Devil sent him Anna.

In the Boot Hill Cemetery, Tombstone, Ariz.:  Here lies Lester Moore, Four slugs from a forty-four; No Les - No More

In a Uniontown, Pa., cemetery:  Here lies the body of Jonathan Blake; Stepped on the gas, Instead of the brake

In a Silver City, Nev., cemetery:  Here lays Butch, We planted him raw. He was quick on the trigger, But slow on the draw.

A lawyer's epitaph in England:  Sir John Strange, Here lies an honest lawyer, And that is Strange.

In a Georgia cemetery:  "I told you I was sick!"

One definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over, the same way and expecting a different outcome. That is exactly what will lead to crippling discouragement. Living in a rut will lead to loss of hope; we must take action to break that circle of despair that leads to discouragement. 

We have already seen the first step we need to take is to: Set The Record Straight! We do that when we - Deal With Guilt & Deal With Lies

Step two is just as important:

{2} Separate yourself from sources of discouragement - NOT THE PROBLEMS, BUT SOURCES OF PROBLEMS! We all have problems, the problem with how we handle our problems is that we keep feeding the problem from the same source, foolishly hoping it will change. We need be proactive in discovering new avenues of help for dealing with problems. Here are some practical ways.

         a. Establish a time and place to commune with the Lord.

Don’t intend to do it…Do it! You say, “Easy for you Nate, you're a Bible teacher!” That is even more dangerous! My Bible can become my dead textbook that I teach lessons from, which never impact my life!

John 5:39–40 “You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; it is these that testify about Me; and you are unwilling to come to Me so that you may have life.

Remember the Pharisees knew what the Scriptures STATED, but not what they MEANT! We need to be alone with God, with nothing on the agenda but to commune with Him. It helps to take the issue you are dealing with, and instead of looking for a verse or two, seek texts of Scriptures that speak to that issue.

·      Overwhelmed - Ps 102
·      Obedience - Ps 37 & 73
·      Sin in you life - Ps 51 & 32
·      Career disappointment - Phil 3 & 4

         b. Turn off people with little or no faith

Do not treat them mean or rude, but disallow their lack of trust to impact you.

Proverbs 24:7  Wisdom is too high for a fool; in the assembly at the gate he has nothing to say.

Proverbs 26:4-11 Do not answer a fool according to his folly, or you will be like him yourself. Answer a fool according to his folly, or he will be wise in his own eyes. Like cutting off one's feet or drinking violence is the sending of a message by the hand of a fool. Like a lame man's legs that hang limp is a proverb in the mouth of a fool. Like tying a stone in a sling is the giving of honor to a fool. Like a thornbush in a drunkard's hand is a proverb in the mouth of a fool. Like an archer who wounds at random is he who hires a fool or any passer-by. As a dog returns to its vomit, so a fool repeats his folly.   

Psalms 14:1 The fool says in his heart, "There is no God." They are corrupt, their deeds are vile; there is no one who does good.

Remember, Joshua and Caleb trusted God, but the people listened to the lack of faith from the other spies and their hearts were turned! Numbers 13 & 14

c. Seek out examples.

This happens by allowing yourself to be discipled, mentored and coached by more mature believers…bad news – this takes time! So you have to decide what you want, an existence with lots of stuff, but no heart to enjoy it, or a LIFE with less stuff, yet with a heart excited about living. Contrary to movies say…we cannot have it all! Quality life requires more than part time effort. Read Christian Biographies and be encouraged to imitate them.

Hebrews 12:1 Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.

1 Corinthians 10:1–6 For I do not want you to be unaware, brethren, that our fathers were all under the cloud and all passed through the sea; and all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea; and all ate the same spiritual food; and all drank the same spiritual drink, for they were drinking from a spiritual rock which followed them; and the rock was Christ. Nevertheless, with most of them God was not well-pleased; for they were laid low in the wilderness. Now these things happened as examples for us, so that we would not crave evil things as they also craved.

Our third step is the most difficult for we human beings:

         {3} Stand Still

1 Kings 19:9–13 Then he came there to a cave and lodged there; and behold, the word of the Lord came to him, and He said to him, “What are you doing here, Elijah?”  He said, “I have been very zealous for the Lord, the God of hosts; for the sons of Israel have forsaken Your covenant, torn down Your altars and killed Your prophets with the sword. And I alone am left; and they seek my life, to take it away.” So He said, “Go forth and stand on the mountain before the Lord.” And behold, the Lord was passing by! And a great and strong wind was rending the mountains and breaking in pieces the rocks before the Lord; but the Lord was not in the wind. And after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire; and after the fire a sound of a gentle blowing. When Elijah heard it, he wrapped his face in his mantle and went out and stood in the entrance of the cave. And behold, a voice came to him and said, “What are you doing here, Elijah?”

At times we need to come to the end of ourselves and just listen; then God will speak.

Psalm 46:10 “Be still, and know that I am God! I will be honored by every nation. I will be honored throughout the world.”

This does not mean STOP! It does mean…pause, quiet the noise, and calm the thoughts.

We should not make decisions in a discouraged state of mind; there is no sense of reality…if you believe there is a Living God that makes ALL things possible!

Meditation Questions: What inputs do you have in your life = people, books, TV, etc.? Pick a time to spend 5 minutes with God each day this week. Wait on any decision until you have become quiet in your heart and mind, so you can hear the Lord. What source of people of faith are you bringing into your life?

When we come back to this, we will look at certain things that must change.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Discouragement: Pt 3 You are a real sinner…TRUE…but what do you do about that?

From a child: I did a bad thing once. I took this money from my mother's purse for bubble gum. What made it worse, she bought me some for being good, while I'd been vice versa, So to speak--that made it                                                         worser.

Much of what discourages us stems directly from the fact that we are unwilling to set the record straight!

Establishing Certain Things

{1} Set The Record Straight
·      Deal With Guilt

Psalms 32:1-6 Blessed is he whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered. Blessed is the man whose sin the LORD does not count against him and in whose spirit is no deceit. When I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long. For day and night your hand was heavy upon me; my strength was sapped as in the heat of summer. Then I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity. I said, "I will confess my transgressions to the LORD"-- and you forgave the guilt of my sin. Therefore let everyone who is godly pray to you while you may be found; surely when the mighty waters rise, they will not reach him.

Psalms 38:4-10 My guilt has overwhelmed me like a burden too heavy to bear. My wounds fester and are loathsome because of my sinful folly. I am bowed down and brought very low; all day long I go about mourning. My back is filled with searing pain; there is no health in my body. I am feeble and utterly crushed; I groan in anguish of heart. All my longings lie open before you, O Lord; my sighing is not hidden from you.  My heart pounds, my strength fails me; even the light has gone from my eyes.

Guilt is not from God, conviction is. The difference is not how it feels at the beginning, but what it drives you to do. Here Paul is dealing with a church that had a sinning member that refused to stop, and the Church did not care. When they finally did discipline him, he repented, but the Church refused to forgive. 

So Paul warns them not to go beyond the Lord and then explains the difference of the sorrow caused by conviction – deliverance, versus that which is produced by guilt – separation. Conviction drives you to God; Guilt drives you away!

2 Corinthians 2:5-7 If anyone has caused grief, he has not so much grieved me as he has grieved all of you, to some extent-- not to put it too severely. The punishment inflicted on him by the majority is sufficient for him. Now instead, you ought to forgive and comfort him, so that he will not be overwhelmed by excessive sorrow.

2 Corinthians 7:10 Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death.

We have to face our sin and repent. We cannot continue in sin and expect guilt to go away.

Another issue we must face is the lies we are believing from the enemy:

·      Deal With Lies

I am alone

Matthew 28:19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20  and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age."

Hebrews 13:5 Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, "Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you."

Nothing good can come of this:

Romans 8:28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

This person is my enemy:

Ephesians 6:12  For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.

God is being mean to me:

Hebrews 12:6-11 because the Lord disciplines those he loves, and he punishes everyone he accepts as a son."  Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as sons. For what son is not disciplined by his father? If you are not disciplined (and everyone undergoes discipline), then you are illegitimate children and not true sons. Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of our spirits and live! Our fathers disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, that we may share in his holiness. No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.

I'm too weak to handle this:

2 Corinthians 12:9  But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me.

We have two more things we must establish before we are ready to walk through discouragement and come out the victor; we will deal with them next.

Meditation questions: Have you been honest about your sin? What does that look like? When you know you have sinned, what do you feel? What do you do with that? Is it moving you closer to God or farther away? What lies are you believing? Why? Where should you turn to expose that lie? When you believe you may be listening to a lie of the enemy, describe what you do. What’s the outcome?