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, March 20, 2014

Fruit: The big “C” of Joy – Connection…not Circumstance.

Spend a moment to try and think of things that irritate you: Buses that move over three lanes suddenly to let off people. Taxis that stop in the middle lane to see if someone wants a ride. Someone clipping their nails at church, or at a movie. Cell phones ringing during a prayer or sermon. People standing right in front of your seat during a movie and talking about where they will sit. Add your own.

Life can be very irritating…most people show it. God wants us to have the power inside to not allow circumstances to control us. Joy is a fruit that addresses this issue. Consider these questions as we look at joy:

·      What is the difference between Joy and happiness?
·      Give me a list of what Joy is not.
·      How true is – There is Joy in serving Jesus?

Define: Joy

·      Joy Defined: Gladness, Contentment, Satisfaction

         * An inward gladness not affected by outward sadness

** Interesting – this word is used most times in relation to the return of Christ.

Joy is something that everyone can sense but not put their finger on. 
Joy is not a plastic smile, it is not expressed outwardly the same all the time, It is not something you conjure up or convince yourself of.

Joy is a character fruit that is produced by God. How? It’s easy, but it is hard!

John 15:1-11 "I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. "Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit, He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit, He prunes it, that it may bear more fruit. "You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you. "Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you, unless you abide in Me.  "I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me, and I in him, he bears much fruit; for apart from Me you can do nothing. "If anyone does not abide in Me, he is thrown away as a branch, and dries up; and they gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned. "If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it shall be done for you. "By this is My Father glorified, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be My disciples. "Just as the Father has loved Me, I have also loved you; abide in My love. "If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love; just as I have kept My Father's commandments, and abide in His love. "These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made full. 

It’s easy, because the scripture tells us exactly how to have our joy full…abiding!

Vrs 11 "These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made full. 

It’s hard, because abiding takes focus and discipline. The old nature does not want to abide. When we live close to God our new nature grows strong…the flesh hates that. It is essential to understand how joy works. Most of my life I heard this statement: “There is joy in serving Jesus”…but after many years I have found that is not true. That statement makes me focus on “serving” and the reality is that serving can be great when everyone is one in the Spirit or people are receptive. However, when serving is filled with trials or people abusing you…the emotional lift of serving will be gone.
I have found that “There is joy in Jesus!” He remains constant and is the achor to my heart no matter what the circumstances are trying to do to my emotions. 

If you try to get your joy from serving you won’t last long – serving can be very hard.

But if you get your joy from Jesus that will affect your serving. You cannot fake it – people can see it in your eyes. 

The Importance of Joy:

When Nehemiah and Ezra were restoring worship to Israel, they had the law read to all the people. When the people saw how far they had gone from the Lord they wept and mourned. The counsel given is very important. 

Neh. 8:8-10 And they read from the book, from the law of God, translating to give the sense so that they understood the reading. Then Nehemiah, who was the governor, and Ezra the priest and scribe, and the Levites who taught the people said to all the people, "This day is holy to the LORD your God; do not mourn or weep." For all the people were weeping when they heard the words of the law. Then he said to them, "Go, eat of the fat, drink of the sweet, and send portions to him who has nothing prepared; for this day is holy to our Lord. Do not be grieved, for the joy of the LORD is your strength." 

Our joy is in Him, not circumstances or even our failures. To discover sin should cause remorse and repentance, but we should also experience Joy, because our God is focused on the "moment." If we have turned from our disconnection from Him, and reconnect, His joy that flows from His grace and mercy, like the Father of the prodigal, should be our focus. The enemy desires to keep us in guilt, God desires that we move from conviction, to repentance to Joy! 

It has been said “Love is the glue, Joy is what gets you through”

Are you counting on emotions to get you through? All it takes is a change in circumstances to change your emotions. Joy in Who He is never changes, in fact it intensifies when life is most difficult! 

Sunday, March 16, 2014

It’s only words…REALLY?

Probing Proverbs 10:10-13 He who winks the eye causes trouble, And a babbling fool will be ruined. The words of the godly are a life-giving fountain; the words of the wicked conceal violent intentions. Hatred stirs up quarrels, but love makes up for all offenses. Wise words come from the lips of people with understanding, but those lacking sense will be beaten with a rod.

Words…or the lack of them can cause a lot of damage. There is no doubt that there is a big difference between verbal abuse versus physical abuse, but that is like saying there is a big difference between losing $100,000 versus $1,000,000. One does hurt more, but the end remains the same…your still broke. All abuse has as its goal to inflict damage. Obviously, physical abuse is openly over the line, and can leave a person crippled or even dead. No excuse…man or woman…you need to walk away from that act. Even if you are hit first, walk away. Don’t give sin that victory. However, that does not lessen the damage words can do. From emotional scars, to someone giving up on life itself! There are thousands of suicides a year in this world, and the culprit is words…either said by someone or even within the mind of the broken person.

This section of Proverbs points out the power of words. The “winking” eye comes from the Hebrew  קָרַץ:

To compress the eyes (like the lips), to wink with the eyes behind another’s back, as done by a malicious and crafty man.[1]

The sad truth is that many times when someone should speak up they do not. This leads only to trouble. I am not talking about judging people; I am talking about confronting wrong with right. We do not have to guess what is right; God has given His standard in His book. I am also not suggesting we run around screaming and preaching at individuals, if a person does not want to hear you, you are just wasting your time. Sadly, even in church buildings today, where people come on their own volition, there are topics that will not be talked about, because it is politically incorrect to do so. This has led our society into deep trouble. People living “wrong,” because no one has held up for them to see what “right” is.

Notice the power of words in the rest of this Proverb…for both good and evil. A “babbler” talks just to hear himself talk, and it will lead to his undoing. When someone speaks the words that are from God, it is as refreshing as a fresh spring to a thirsty person. People who are seeking Truth are excited when they encounter it. Words when guided by sin will conceal and hide the reality of what is in the heart. How many young men and women have given themselves away based on the deception of a sinful person? Words that communicate hate do nothing towards peace and will add fuel to any fire. When words are founded in love, they will cover and forgive many wrongs. They will also offer healing to the individual that is hurting.

In the end, we all need to evaluate the source of our words. If we have God granted wisdom and understanding, we will be listened to by others as one that is wise. If our source is the wisdom of this world, based on half-truths and open lies, others will not respect us and if we continue to push our agenda, we will be punished. For some that happens in this life…once their 15 minutes in the spotlight has faded, or they have stepped out of line with the “elite” of this world, they will see how fast the world will turn on them. Some will become the “gurus” of this world’s wisdom, and tragically will not realize it until it is too late, when they face their Maker.

[1] Gesenius, W., & Tregelles, S. P. (2003). Gesenius' Hebrew and Chaldee lexicon to the Old Testament Scriptures (745). Bellingham, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.