Archives For hope

Guilt Can Be A Good Thing

January 6, 2014 — 2 Comments

myself-458891-mImage Credit

Guilt can be a good thing if it’s helps you to see you have sinned against God. However, please hear this…guilt will never forgive you or heal you. The goal of course is to break free from the sin that so easily entangles you. After all, our calling is to be conformed to the image of God. God is shaping our character to reflect Him and His kingdom virtues. We are supposed to be salt and light to a world crying out for healing. We can’t be salt and light while living in open lifestyle sin.

When you sin against God and ignore the leading of the Holy Spirit you grieve Him. Since our path is narrow according to scripture, any other path leads away from God. To surrender to temptation is to choose to walk a path not intended. The aftermath of that choice is often guilt. Guilt only becomes bad when it leads you away in self-pity and self-seeking healing. Runaway Guilt is Adam and Eve running and hiding from God. Convicting guilt is from the Holy Spirit and leads to life.

What then is the answer after the fall? The answer is conviction. Conviction is the voice of the Holy Spirit. Conviction is the voice of reconciliation. Conviction draws you toward God to receive forgiveness from any and all sin committed. I’ve often said there is a difference between a man facing the cross and asking God to forgive him, than the one who is facing away from the cross trying to hide it all.

Hiding leads to guilt in the shadows and the weight of sin remains. Guilt that faces the cross leads to life and forgiveness. A great example of facing the cross is Peter. When Peter sinned, he confessed, and God forgave him. Adam on the other hand blamed God while trapped in guilt and tried to hide it. The desire of God is for each of us to bring our guilt to him. On the cross, Jesus died for your sins. He was the innocent for the guilty, so it is only at the foot of the cross that guilt is relieved. Now drop that fig leaf and be healed.

1 John 1:9 (NKJV)

9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

Image Credit

narrow

Standing before my Heavenly Father on that great last day will be full of Joy as my answer for living in His eternal kingdom will be, “Jesus.” You can’t build eternal life on anything other than God. Any other foundation is faulty and will produce a sure fall.

The way is narrow for a reason. It is narrow because He loves you so. He left no room to over-think eternal life. The words of His grace have called to each of us, “”I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” John 14:6

John 3:17 teaches that God didn’t send His Son to condemn the world. Instead, He sent His Son that the world might be saved through Him. We didn’t need condemnation; we needed salvation. We were already under condemnation because of unbelief. However, when we believe on Christ and turn to Him in repentance, condemnation is washed away.

The hope of the believer is the Resurrection. In our resurrected bodies We will at last be fully human as He has purposed from the beginning. We will reflect the image of God perfectly and forever. One day, heaven and earth will come together forever and His glory will flood the universe. I hope to see you there.

church

There are two things I’m sure of. One, God is always faithful, and second, it’s possible to make an idol out of timing.  In 2 Timothy 2:13 it teaches us, “If we are faithless, He remains faithful; He cannot deny Himself.” In other words, God is going to accomplish all things necessary for His glory alone. It’s not ultimately about us; it’s about God.

As to the second truth I’m sure of, timing is in God’s hands alone, and if we focus on the timing rather than God, we make timing an idol. I’ve done this many times in my Christian walk with God. I’ve been hoping for something, waiting for something, and wondering more about God’s timing than about God. Needless to say, it wasn’t until I got my focus off timing that God moved.

God created your life and cares more deeply about it than you do. God birthed His church and cares for it more deeply than you do. I guess you could add two more things to my list that I’m sure of. When it comes to your life and to His church, you can believe His plan is perfect and better than your plan. If fact, Ephesians 3:20, speaking of God says that He is, “…able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us,”

The power at work in us is God the Holy Spirit. He prays and knows the perfect will of God in and through us for His glory alone. The more we focus on God and not the circumstances or the timing of something that needs to happen, the faster God seems to move and get the job done for His glory.

For example, the church I now pastor was in need of a permanent church building. We had been  looking for over a year and a half. Nothing seemed to open for us. We were renting and doing okay, but still, we had no home of our own. Money in the bank was great and if we found something we could surely move on it with confidence.

However, God had a better plan. His plan was to get us to the place where it was impossible to point to our timing or money as the answer. Through a course of events,  the bulk of our money had dried up. We had money in the bank to meet the bills but nothing, and I mean NOTHING to go toward a property of our own.

Little did we know, God was dealing with a group of people who had a church, and was praying to God for His perfect will. The church was founded in 1917 and after many wonderful years God now had a next step plan. They were  feeling called to look for another church to continue moving forward with God’s plan.

One of the ladies in the other church was praying, and God showed her the face of a lady in our congregation. That prayer led to about two weeks of talk and prayer between our two church families.

To make a beautiful story short, (I will give a full account in our church history book) with no money to offer them to buy the building and much prayer from both our churches, they heard God speak and tell them to give us the building free and clear. What a magnificent miracle! Our timing was replaced with God’s timing and with no money hardly in the bank; God did what man couldn’t do.

I’m not sure what is going on in your life today, but you can know one thing for sure…God is able to move in your life for His glory without you having anything to give to Him at all. All you must do is keep your eyes on the one that has His eyes constantly on you.

sheepfence

Caution! Looking over the fence can lead to cutting your chin. A better usage of your chin is to bow it in prayer, thanksgiving at the feet of Jesus. Bowing your chin in prayer and thanksgiving acknowledges Christ as Lord. Cutting your chin on the fence revels the desire to be the center of the universe and last I checked, neither you, nor I can run the universe. The call of the Christ follower has never been to look for what we already have. We have everything. We have been rescued. We have Him.

I guess looking over the fence started in the garden. God assured Adam and Eve that He had everything in control and hadn’t missed a detail. He even gave details about the tree to leave alone. Guess what? That tree soon became their “fence.” The enemy introduced a very seductive word. That word was introduced to get them to look over the fence. That word was, “surely.” The serpent spoke, “You will not surely die.” In other words,  the lie was, “You don’t have all that you need.”

Looking over the fence is a hard one to resist. We all want answers that fit with how we think it should be or how we think it ought to be. Therefore, we often think to ourselves, the answers I’m looking for are surely on the other side of the fence. After all, I can smell the barbecue goodness coming from the other side. I can hear the laughter of plenty. They never seem to hurt or want for anything on the other side of the fence.

Life always seems better elsewhere, but it’s not.  What is out of our touch, or inaccessible, often seems of more wealth than what is present and sanctioned in our life on God’s side of the fence. It seems to be in our human nature to desire what we can’t have, and at the same time despise what we have right under our feet.

I’ve often found I start looking over the fence when I stop ministry to God. Ministering to God is the safest place to be. When I totally surrender to the beauty of sitting at His feet, the fence has no power and the voices on the other side grow strangely dim, and my soul gives way to a song.

“You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup runs over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life; and I will dwell in the house of the LORD Forever.” Psalm 23:5-6

candle-from-barefootprimatives-blogspot

I’m not a big fan of cursing the darkness. As a Christ follower,  we should be primarily concerned with being salt and light. While it’s true, the Bible calls us to reprove the works of darkness, reproving darkness and cursing the darkness are two different approaches entirely.

Cursing the darkness is throwing condemnation at those who are outside of Christ, while reproving darkness is shining our light as to awaken the sinner from their sleep. The first is done in the same spirit Jesus rebuke James and John for when they wanted to call fire down on those who rejected Christ. (See Luke 9:54)

The latter is done in the Spirit of love that understands that those outside of Christ are under condemnation already, and we have no need to throw more their way. (See John 3:18) If we are to win the world to Christ, we must do so in the greatest power know to man, which is the love of God.

Hate never reached or rescued anyone, but love has proved time and time again to rescue the most hardened heart. Jesus died to prove love real. We are called to do more than talk about grace; we are called to demonstrate grace to everyone. Yes, Even the ungrateful and evil. (See Luke 6:35)

In Ephesians 5,  we are called to take no part in unfruitful works of darkness. We are told to expose them. We expose them by  letting our light shine, and be visible, not by trying to curse the darkness and win a religious argument. When we love like Christ, His light shines and awakens the sleeper from darkness to light.

Many Christ followers need to return to trusting in the love of God to win the lost. We need to  stop trying to win them by persuasive arguments of men, arguments of condemnation.

Allow me to say it again, Hate never reached or rescued anyone, but love has proved time and time again to rescue the most hardened heart.

heart-centred

1 Corinthians 13:13 says, “And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.”

It has been said that, “Love alone is credible; nothing else ought to be believed. This is the achievement, the “work” of faith…to believe that there is such a thing as love…and that there is nothing higher or greater than it…”

When heaven and earth come together, and all things are put to right, It’s my conviction we will not need faith or hope anymore; we will only need and partake of God’s love which is eternal. That is how beautiful and powerful the love of God is.

In this present world,  we need faith. In this present world,  we need hope. In the world to come we need neither faith nor hope, for God’s love will be complete and all consuming. Death, hell and the grave will be  cast away forever.

How powerful and beauty is God’s love I’m referring to? Jesus left all of glory for you and me because of His love. He lived among humanity because of His love. He washed the feet of His disciples showing love that was indescribable. He died upon a cross demonstrating His love for all that will repent and turn to Him for rescuing from their sins.

I think of the beautiful words in Zephaniah 3:17, where the Lord is said to be in their midst, and a mighty one who will rescue them. It goes on to say that he will even rejoice over them with gladness and will quiet them by His very love. It even declares God will gloat over them with loud singing.

Yes, God’s love is great for His children and His love is credible. Even though, the world around you may fall apart, His love will always pull you close to His heart. You are His. If you have been crucified with Christ, you no longer live, but it is Christ who is living on the inside of you.

That’s right my dear friend! God loved you so much when you turned to Him in repentance and faith, He moved in! Yes, God’s love is credible, and that love lives on the inside of you. He choose to love you eternal for His glory alone.  There is coming a day, Faith and Hope no more will give way to His eternal love and we will be with Him and the body of Christ forever. Think on that today and know you are eternal loved.

hopeassured

“Jesus entered Jerusalem and came into the temple…” (Mark 11:11)

When Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a colt to accomplish what he was born to do, he was embodying the greatest upstaging the world had ever witnessed, and it forever changed the world.

Jesus knew what was ahead of Him. It was to be the pinnacle of his story. He set his face like flint in order to meet it head on. He had been preaching the kingdom, and now he had to fully embody all that he had spoken of.

God was sending salvation, a rescuing to all those who would accept it. Evil was directed toward stopping the mission, like Pharaoh and his armies in Egypt. However, now was the time of the new Exodus, the greatest of all Passovers, and it was unstoppable.

Jesus turned over the tables in the temple and everything came to a standstill. To borrow a phrase from  N.T. Wright, It was a signpost pointing to the reality standing right in front of them. The temple was no longer needed. Jesus was the reality everything had been pointing toward.

Shortly after that Jesus served the disciples in the upper room and shared the story of the Exodus by placing it upon himself. Again, a signpost pointed to the reality that was now in front of them all. Jesus was untimely falsely condemned and placed upon the cross.

He cried from the cross, “It is finished.” He died and was placed into a grave, but the grave couldn’t hold Him. On the third day,  the stone was rolled away, and Jesus was alive forevermore.

I want you to know without a doubt today; your hope in God is not misplaced, it’s assured!

From Hope Assured-Easter Series Legacy Church

Merry Christmas

December 25, 2012 — Leave a comment

To all my readers I wish you a very Merry Christmas. I pray your day is blessed. Thanks for following the blog. Enjoy your day with friends and family.

ChristmasEnjoy a Christmas Message

The Untouchable God Became Touchable

 

 

bookcoverkindled2c

That so many Christians are satisfied with only a vertical relationship with God and feel no pull to the horizontal mission field they live in daily astonishes me. Ministry happens only in their lives by accident instead of on purpose. The problem is, God is not satisfied with that kind of life because He has created good works for them to be part of every day, if they would only look on the harvest field Jesus spoke of. We must remember God never sleeps, and He never slumbers. He is watchful and waiting on you to enter the field.

When I was a young man, my father bought some land and had a vision to farm it. We cleared several acres over several summers, and we had it stocked with many animals. The highlight of the acreage was our field of sweet potatoes – three acres of sweet potatoes! For those of you who love math, that is 14,520 sq yards of blood, sweat and tears. My father had a rightful expectation that the field would produce. After all, that is what a field that has been planted should do when it is looked after with care. I can remember working hard in the field alongside my father. I can still see his face now and the joy he got from the expected future.

When he would leave to run into town or some other errand, he would always say to my brother and me, “Work hard boys, I’ll be back.” We knew exactly what my father meant. He would be returning, and we were expected to continue working the field as though he was right beside of us. My brother and I would always try to work harder while he was gone so that when our father returned he would be well pleased. What brought him joy brought us joy. Why did my father work so hard? Why did my brother and I work so hard? There was a purpose; there was a future harvest. We simply wanted to see the greatest harvest possible. I know God the Father wants the same from us. He wants to seek the lost through us. That is what God desires to do through every believer. All He needs from you is the promise that He can interrupt you anytime and anywhere. When He gets you to that place, you will become a page being written under His mighty hand, and when the chapter is completed, all of Heaven will celebrate. What are you waiting on? The fields are white for harvest … get going. He is waiting on you.

 

Wright, Steve (2012-03-18). The Descent To Compassion (pp. 68-69).  . Kindle Edition.

You can purchase a copy of The Descent to Compassion on Amazon. Click Here

clocksad

Every now and again, I wake up in a bad mood, not wanting to face the day at all. I’m sure you have experienced the same thing in your life as well. I guess we all have those kinds of mornings. It is the human experience.

I’ve noticed if I don’t quickly turn my attitude around, it will be the filter for the whole day ahead of me, and that’s not a healthy thing.

We are blasted with news that is negative at almost every turn. There are times I take that negative to bed with me and sleep with it on my heart and mind. Not only does the night become a wrestling match, but I’m convinced that is part of the problem of waking up feeling bad, or in a bad mood.

All hope is not gone. You can turn your day around before you get to far down your daily walk.

Below are a few things I’ve found that help me.

1. Give it to God

If something negative is on my mind before going to bed, I take it to God. I give it to God before closes my eyes to sleep. The sunny day ahead is tied to going to bed with all my troubles placed into the hands of God.

2. See the sunrise of tomorrow

As I’m drifting off to sleep, I visualize the hope of the sunrise in the morning. It is going to be a new day and a good day. His mercies are new every morning. I speak that into my soul.

3. Pause before I start

When I first wake up, I sit on the edge of the bed for 5 minutes and think positive about my day. I think on good things. I focus my life and thoughts on Philippians 4:8, “whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things.”

4. Stand up after the pause with a positive attitude

Now my first steps are positive steps. I can now fully walk in the promise of Proverbs 3:6, “In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.