VIDEO Waiting – Faith, Trust, Believe

Waiting

Wait on the Lord; be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart; wait, I say, on the Lord! Psalm 27:14

Everyone is familiar with the “count to ten” rule. When tempted to speak impulsively or rashly, walk away while counting to ten—ten seconds or possibly ten minutes. Waiting before speaking can often calm one’s emotions. Likewise, when tempted to make an impulsive purchase: Wait ten days, then decide if the purchase is something you really need. Often you will decide the item is a “want” rather than a “need,” and the money you save will be most welcome.

Waiting in a hurry-up world is not easy. That’s especially true when it comes to waiting on the Lord. God’s timetable doesn’t change; He acts according to His purpose and will. We may be in a hurry, but God is not. (There are no instances of Jesus running in the four Gospels!) When we are tempted to launch out or lash out, waiting on God for His wisdom and perspective often provides the calming guidance we need.

Are you in a hurry today? Remember—God is not. Walking with Him, at His pace, will get us where we need to be at the right time.

Teach us, O Lord, the disciplines of patience, for to wait is often harder than to work.  Peter Marshall

 


Psalm 27:14 KJV – Faith, Trust, Believe

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Why Do We Find It So Hard to Forgive?

man extending flowers to woman

One reason we resist forgiving is that we don’t really understand what forgiveness is or how it works. We think we do, but we don’t.

Most of us assume that if we forgive our offenders, they are let off the hook — scot-free — and get to go about their merry ways while we unfairly suffer from their actions. We also may think that we have to be friendly with them again, or go back to the old relationship. While God commands us to forgive others, he never told us to keep trusting those who violated our trust or even to like being around those who hurt us.

The first step to understanding forgiveness is learning what it is and isn’t. The next step is giving yourself permission to forgive and forget, letting go of the bitterness while remembering very clearly your rights to healthy boundaries.

Granting Forgiveness

  • Forgiveness is not letting the offender off the hook. We can and should still hold others accountable for their actions or lack of actions.
  • Forgiveness is returning to God the right to take care of justice. By refusing to transfer the right to exact punishment or revenge, we are telling God we don’t trust him to take care of matters.
  • Forgiveness is not letting the offense recur again and again. We don’t have to tolerate, nor should we keep ourselves open to, lack of respect or any form of abuse.
  • Forgiveness does not mean we have to revert to being the victim. Forgiving is not saying, “What you did was okay, so go ahead and walk all over me.” Nor is it playing the martyr, enjoying the performance of forgiving people because it perpetuates our victim role.
  • Forgiveness is not the same as reconciling. We can forgive someone even if we never can get along with him again.
  • Forgiveness is a process, not an event. It might take some time to work through our emotional problems before we can truly forgive. As soon as we can, we should decide to forgive, but it probably is not going to happen right after a tragic divorce. That’s okay.
  • We have to forgive every time. If we find ourselves constantly forgiving, though, we might need to take a look at the dance we are doing with the other person that sets us up to be continually hurt, attacked, or abused.
  • Forgetting does not mean denying reality or ignoring repeated offenses. Some people are obnoxious, mean-spirited, apathetic, or unreliable. They never will change. We need to change the way we respond to them and quit expecting them to be different.
  • Forgiveness is not based on others’ actions but on our attitude. People will continue to hurt us through life. We either can look outward at them or stay stuck and angry, or we can begin to keep our minds on our loving relationship with God, knowing and trusting in what is good.
  • If they don’t repent, we still have to forgive. Even if they never ask, we need to forgive. We should memorize and repeat over and over: Forgiveness is about our attitude, not their action.
  • We don’t always have to tell them we have forgiven them. Self-righteously announcing our gracious forgiveness to someone who has not asked to be forgiven may be a manipulation to make them feel guilty. It also is a form of pride.
  • Withholding forgiveness is a refusal to let go of perceived power. We can feel powerful when the offender is in need of forgiveness and only we can give it. We may fear going back to being powerless if we forgive.
  • We might have to forgive more than the divorce. Post-divorce problems related to money, the kids, and schedules might result in the need to forgive again and to seek forgiveness ourselves.
  • We might forgive too quickly to avoid pain or to manipulate the situation. Forgiveness releases pain and frees us from focusing on the other person. Too often when we’re in the midst of the turmoil after a divorce, we desperately look for a quick fix to make it all go away. Some women want to “hurry up” and forgive so the pain will end, or so they can get along with the other person. We have to be careful not to simply cover our wounds and retard the healing process.
  • We might be pressured into false forgiveness before we are ready. When we feel obligated or we forgive just so others will still like us, accept us, or not think badly of us, it’s not true forgiveness — it’s a performance to avoid rejection. Give yourself permission to do it right. Maybe all you can offer today is, “I want to forgive you, but right now I’m struggling emotionally. I promise I will work on it.”
  • Forgiveness does not mean forgetting. It’s normal for memories to be triggered in the future. When thoughts of past hurts occur, it’s what we do with them that counts. When we find ourselves focusing on a past offense, we can learn to say, “Thank you, God, for this reminder of how important forgiveness is.”
  • Forgiveness starts with a mental decision. The emotional part of forgiveness is finally being able to let go of the resentment. Emotional healing may or may not follow quickly after we forgive.

https://www.focusonthefamily.com/marriage/divorce-and-infidelity/forgiveness-and-restoration/forgiveness-what-it-is-and-what-it-isnt

Paul’s Visit To Heaven

Text: 2 Corinthians 12

Paul is speaking of himself in the third person…and he is giving his personal testimony of the time when he was caught up into the third heaven. He says it happened 14 years ago and as you count back and study the Book of Acts, it is probable that this took place on his first missionary journey and perhaps when he was stoned at Lystra and left for dead…maybe that’s when the Lord caught him up into the third heaven and gave him a glimpse of that…we don’t know that for certain.

But, in these opening verses we need to understand why Paul is including this. The first few verses, Paul is speaking about of his own personal experience of God catching him up and showing him a vision of what it meant to be in heaven with the Lord.

Read 1-10:

A third heaven and a thorn in the same chapter. My, how real that is to the Christian experience. Do we ever get to the place we think that heavenly experiences exempt us from all difficulties. It is true in the life of many of you here this morning that in the very same chapter of your life you have experienced a high spiritual exaltation and a low Satanic depression.

Did you know that heavenly experiences are dangerous? And those that are blessed of God and those among whom and in whose midst God moves, that there comes to those kinds of people a very special kind of danger. You’ll notice in verse 7 Paul mentions twice this statement, “unless I should be exalted above measure, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh”…lest I should be exalted above measure…” Paul was frustrated like some of you have been at the turn of events…In one minute he’s caught into Paradise. Not a living soul has ever made that trip and come back except Jesus Christ. Paul said “I saw things…well, it’s not lawful for me to write about them…I saw things that you wouldn’t believe if I told you…I was caught up into Paradise…I don’t know if I was in the body or in the spirit…it doesn’t make any difference…I was there! And I saw the glories of that place and God gave me an abundance of revelations. But, he said, “after that a very frustrating thing happened to me…suddenly I was thrown into the valley of depression…I was thrown into the depths of despair…and I prayed three times for God to deliver me from this and He never did it.”

I think that’s a startling and frustrating response to a man’s prayer. I know that there are many of you here this morning who can identify with the Apostle Paul. You’ve been a little frustrated at some of the things that have happened to you because in one minute God has so marvelously blessed you and one minute God has lifted you up almost to the third heaven…you’ve made it to the second…and if you stood on your tiptoes you could almost have seen over to the third heaven….you never dreamed life could be so filled with joy…you never dreamed there could be so much ecstasy in just living everyday life…God has lifted you up to heavenly places and you’ve walked in that realm of glory and you’ve been praising the Lord and rejoicing…your heart just as light as air and all of a sudden, you fall flat on your face. Mountains of obstacles stand in your way. Depression comes upon you. Difficulty comes…sickness settles upon you. Infirmities, distresses, persecutions, and you can’t figure out what in the world’s going on. What’s happened? And you pray, “Lord, remove this thing…what’s going on? Lord, remove this thing..” And yet, God doesn’t answer in the way you want Him to answer.

You see, it’s not inconsistent as far as God is concerned for you to be lifted up to the third heaven one moment and to have a thorn a “messenger of Satan” in the next moment. And really the greatest revelation that Paul ever had in his life was not the revelation that he received when he was caught up to the third heaven…it was the revelation he received when he had the thorn in his flesh.

And I want you to know this morning the greatest revelation from God you will ever receive and the most profitable revelation you will ever receive from God will not be one that you would receive by being caught up into Paradise today and having your eyes exposed to all the glories of that place, but the most profitable and the greatest revelation you will ever receive is the revelation you can receive this morning from understanding the ministry of the thorns. Why in the world does God do it like.

As I was studying this passage I began to remember other incidents in the Bible and I found that this is God’s method of working. If you’ll go back and trace the great prophets and great heroes of the Old Testament and even in the New Testament, you’ll find the same thing is true. Even Jesus, after His baptism when the heavens opened and the Spirit of God descended upon Him as a dove, and the voice from heaven cried out, “This is My beloved Son in whom I am well pleased”…immediately after that, Jesus was plunged into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil…to fast and to pray for 40 days.

After Moses’ greatest spiritual experience came his most severe times of testing. It was after Elijah conquered the prophets of Baal on Mt. Carmel and witnesses the fire of God falling that we find him whimpering under a juniper tree, praying that he would die.

So, I want you to know this morning if some of you have come from mountaintop experiences into the valleys of depression…I want you to know you’re in good company. Don’t be surprised, and ask, “Well, why does God do it this way? Why after God gave Paul that marvelous vision and that abundant revelation did He allow Satan to buffet him with a thorn in the flesh.”

Here’s the reason He did it…God did it to keep Paul useable. God did it to keep Paul useable. God does it in your life to keep you useable. I said a moment ago…Heavenly experiences are dangerous. You know why? Because they have a tendency to make us spiritually proud and presumptious. Paul recognized he was in danger of becoming spiritually proud and presumptious because he said twice in that seventh verse, “Lest I should be exalted above measure…lest I should be puffed up and think that God had favored me above me other people…Now, I had it made and I could just coast the rest of my life on this marvelous experience. Because, you see, there is nothing that will so soon disqualify you for God using you and glorifying Himself than your spiritual pride and presumption.

God can only glorify Himself through us and God can only use us when we’re kept in the position of humility and abasement and weakness.

Now, I want us to do four things as we look at this passage of Scripture this morning…

Let’s establish this priniciple…
1) Verse 9: “And He has said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient
for you, for power is perfected in weakness.’”
(My strength is brought to completion in your weakness.

God says, “Paul, the reason I’m doing this…” and He says to you this morning, “Christian, the reason I allow these difficult things to come into your life is because your weakness is the stage on which I display My power and My strength.” You see, the condition for God displaying His power in our lives is not OUR strength and OUR ability…it is our WEAKNESS and our INABILITY.

Let’s read in 1 Corinthians 1:
“For consider your calling, brethren, that there were not many
wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble;
but God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame
the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to
shame the things which are strong and the base things of the
world and the despised, God has chosen, the things which are
not, that He might nullify the things that are, that no flesh
should boast before God.”

Notice three times in these verses…God has deliberately chosen the foolish things of this world to shame the wise and God has deliberately chosen the weak to shame the things which are strong, and God has deliberately chosen the base things of the world to nullify the things that are…that no flesh should boast before God…glory in His presence.

Three times Paul says that God doesn’t simply use what He can…God isn’t simply getting along the best way He can with what He can get…God has deliberately passed by the great, the noble, the strong, the wise…God has deliberately chosen the foolish, and the weak, and the base things of the world…Friend, God doesn’t use you in spite of your weakness, He uses you because of your weakness.

You say, “Well, I have so much ability.” Well, God can use that if you’ll give it up like Paul did in Phil. 3…”But what things were gain to me I counted as garbage.” I have a little pet peeve. The pet peeve is to hear somebody talk to a lost man like this, “Oh, you have so much ability, there is so much you could do for the Lord…if you’d just give your heart to Jesus there is just so much you could do for God.” That is the world’s greatest mistake. We talk about some Christians who are carnal and living lives of defeat and we say, “Oh, if they’d just get right with the Lord…what they couldn’t do for the Lord!” Listen, God deliberately chooses the things that are base and weak. God does not use you in spite of your weakness. I wish we could understand this. We think that God is just getting along the best way He can and God just has to make do with what He has.

Listen, Paul says that God deliberately chooses these things so that He can be glorified and exalted and the only way God can use you is when He can be glorified in you. God is not going to use this church if He cannot be glorified in the using of it. The only way God will be glorified in the using of our lives and our bodies is if we recognize our utter weakness and inability. So, God is constantly reminding us that we’re just dust and He lets these thorns in the flesh come to us to remind us that we are weak…to show us our weakness and inability.

You remember over in 2 Chronicles 26, King Uzziah was a man God had greatly blessed (Remember we’re establishing the principle that God’s strength is made perfect when we’re weak)…

“And in Jerusalem he made engines of war invented by skillful
men to be on the towers and on the corners, for the purpose of
shooting arrows and great stones. Hen his fame spread afar,
for he was marvelously helped until he was strong.”

Now, there is a modern success story…King Uzziah has gained power and he’s gained prosperity and he says, “Here’s what we’re going to do…when we have to fight battles now, we’ve got it made. I’ve had skillful men to invent engines and we’re going to set these on the towers and my name is spreading abroad all over the land…I’m becoming famous…”
“…he was marvelously helped until he was strong…”

King Uzziah was marvelously helped by God…how long?…as long as he was weak, but when he became strong there was no more help…

“But when he became strong, his heart was so proud (lifted
up) that he acted corruptly…”

Listen, you know what happens in the lives of a great many Christians who enter into the spiritual life and God begins to bless…your heart is lifted up to your own destruction and the principle by which God operates in our lives is to remind us that we’re dust and He’s constantly weakening us and drawing out of us our OWN strength so that He can be glorified in our lives.

When D. L. Moody first went to Britain years ago, one of the British reporters went to interview and watch D. L. Moody as he preached and conducted his services, because he was trying to find out the secret of this man’s success. Here’s what he wrote…

“Mr. Moody uses bad English, has a high pitched voice,
speaks with a nasal tone, is overweight and generally rough.
I can see nothing in Mr. Moody to account for the success
of his work.”

And when Moody read that, he said, “That’s the secret! There is no way to explain this work except for the power of God!”

Now, some of you have been praying, “Lord, use me.” Alright, the first thing God has to do if He’s going to use you is to weaken you and to abase you and to humble you.

Now, that’s the principle…let’s examine the process:

How does God do this? Paul says “lest I should be exalted above measure, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh…” This is the process. God says, “I can only use you, I can only be glorified in your life when you’re weak. Now, here’s how I’m going to make you weak.” “There was given to me a thorn in the flesh.” That word “thorn” means a “wooden stake” that impales someone to a cross or to a tree. The verb form of that word means to crucify. And here’s the picture that Paul is painting…he says, “there was given to me a stake that nailed me to the wall and nailed me to the floor…” Now that’s about as helpless as you can get.

Paul says, “I besought the Lord three times to remove it.” Now, if anybody has their prayers answered, it ought to be the Apostle Paul. Man, I’d like to have him praying for me. Well, I want you to know this is a startling response…God didn’t remove that thorn in the flesh. Paul prayed three times…I bet that’s the first he ever had to pray three times for anything in his life, and he was frustrated just like some of you have been.

Some of you have said, “Oh Lord, I could serve you better if you’d change circumstances…Lord, if you would put me in a different position. If you would give me a different situation…What is the “thorn in the flesh” for you this morning? You know, I think it’s significant that Paul does not identify his “thorn in the flesh.” Some people say we know that Paul was married because he said he had a thorn in the flesh. Well, that’s just speculation. Paul doesn’t identify the thorn in the flesh. Why? Because what it was is not important. It may have been some physical disease or infirmity…it could have been anything. We know that it wasn’t spiritual or moral defeat because God would have removed that. But it was something that Paul looked upon as a handicap. He was given a thorn in the flesh…a physical handicap or obstacle. And Paul said, “Lord, I could serve you so much better if you’d just remove this and change this…” Is that the way you pray?

Women pray, “Lord, I could just serve you so much better if you’d just change my husband.” Men pray, “Lord, I could just serve you so much better if you’d just change my wife, or move me to another position or to another town, or if you’d just give me this or give me that, or just change this circumstance in my life…then, I could just serve you!!”

Is that the way you’ve been praying? I want you to just notice something. Here is Paul’s great revelation. He says, “There was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan, to buffet me.”

Well, you mean to tell me that a thing can be of the devil and of God at the same time? That’s right!! It was a messenger of Satan and yet a gift of grace at the same time!! I think that’s good. You know, God uses the devil. That must frustrate him something awful. The devil comes along and he says, “You know, I’ve got something that’s just going to wipe you out! You’ve been causing me no little trouble…” (You know, Paul was known in hell…those people over in Acts who tried to cast out the demons…the demons said, “Jesus, I know…and Paul, I know…but who are you?) Well, Paul was famous in hell…he was a constant thorn in the devil’s flesh and so, Satan said, “Paul, I’m just going to wipe you out…I’m going to destroy your effectiveness…I’m going to destroy your ministry…you just had this tremendous spiritual and you think you’re on top of it all…I’m going to show you what I can do.”

And Satan inflicted him with a thorn in the flesh. And God says, “Thank you, Satan…just what I wanted you to do…you played right into My hands…because I know Paul real well and Paul was beginning to get a little bit ‘holier than thou’ attitude. He was beginning to coast just a little bit. He was beginning to get lifted up just a little bit through all of these great experiences that he’s had and I want to thank you for playing right into my hands.”

Listen, if God couldn’t use the devil, He’d kill him. The only reason God allows the devil to do what he does is because God is using him.

Now, listen, what’s your thorn in the flesh this morning?
Is there some difficulty…not talking now about moral or spiritual difficulty. Those things always removes. It may be physical illness. It may be a job situation that you wish could be changed. It may be a thousand things…it’s your thorn in the flesh.

God allows Satan to buffet you. Why? So He can keep you useable.

Alright, let’s move on…

Let’s explore now the possibilities of this principle…
The principle is: God’s power is made perfect when I am weak.
The process is: God makes me weak by giving me thorns in the flesh…difficulties.
Now, the possibilities of this:

Verse 9: “Most gladly will I glory in my infirmities in order that the
power of Christ may rest upon me.”

There are two glorious possibilities once you realize the principle by which God words. First of all is:

I can have victory in the midst of my difficulties.

Paul says “Most gladly will I glory…” That word, “glory”, means to give a “shout of triumph.” Sometimes people want to know if shouting in church is Scriptural. It is…the word “glory” means to shout. Paul says, “I will give a shout of victory in my distresses.” Why? Because it changed his viewpoint of distresses. The revelation of God changed the way he looked at things that came into his life.

Now, listen. I want you to remember this…If there is a thorn in your flesh, if there is situation that seems to be unbearable, if there is a circumstance in your life that presents difficulty and distress and you pray and God won’t remove that…then the next thing you’re to do is to praise Him for it, because God is going to use that to glorify Himself in your life.

Now, the first thing Paul prayed (I think he did right)…He prayed. He wanted it to be removed, but after it was not removed, he realized then through the revelation of God that God is saying, “I want this to stay here because this is a ‘minister’ that I have given to you. I’m going to use this.” Now, you need to change your viewpoint of difficulties and distresses and obstacles in your Christian life. If God will not remove them, then you know that God is using them for His glory.

Now, I repeat…we’re not talking about spiritual and moral failure. You can never use sin as an excuse this way. It’s things that are not morally and spiritually wrong. But you begin to praise God for them…and when a Christian realizes the principle by which God operates in his life, he can look upon any distress and any persecution, any difficulty, any tragedy, and say, “I will give a shout of victory in this, because I know God is using this, and He wants to use it if I’ll allow Him to glorify Himself in my life.”

The second great possibility is:

Not only victory over distresses and difficulties, but the power of Christ is made available to us.

He says, “Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities
that the power of Christ may rest upon me.”

That word “rest” means “a tent spread over us”. It’s the only time it’s found in the New Testament. Paul says, “The power of Christ is like a tent spread over me and I live under the shelter of the power of Christ. And every day of my life, and every moment of my life I am sheltered by the power of Christ and the power of the risen Lord abides on me and is made available to me.”

But, I want you to notice the power of Christ dwells on him and abides on him only when he glories in his distresses. Did you notice that? It’s a chain reaction there. Some of you say, “Well, now Preacher, I’ve had difficulties, I’ve had distresses, I’ve had infirmities, but I haven’t seen the power of Christ in my life…I haven’t witnessed the power of Jesus glorifying in my life…” No, because you’ve not gloried in those infirmities…you’ve complained and griped and grown bitter. You know what will turn the trick? When you get Paul’s viewpoint, the heavenly viewpoint and you agree with God and you say, “God, I know that you’ve sent this now as Your gift of grace and I praise You for it and I glory in it, because I know it means You’re working in my life.”

Now, the last thing…Let’s enter into the provision.

What is that provision. Paul says, “Lord, take this thorn from my flesh.” God gave him a better answer. God said, “I’m not going to take the thorn from your flesh…I’m going to give you something better….My grace is sufficient for thee…My grace is sufficient for thee.”

The provision! He doesn’t say, “My grace will be sufficient.” He doesn’t say, “My grace can be sufficient.” He says, “My grace is sufficient, right now, present tense…My grace is sufficient.” I think that has to be the world’s greatest understatement. “MY GRACE IS SUFFICIENT FOR THEE,”

He could have said a lot of things. “My grace just completely overwhelms every problem.” No, He says, “My grace is sufficient for thee.”

You heard the story of the man who purchased a Rolls Royce. It’s the policy of the Rolls Royce corporation not to publish the amount of horse power of their engines. And this man paid all that money for the Rolls Royce and he felt like he had a right to know how many horsepower he had under that hood. Well, he kept asking them, and they kept sending him back letters “it is our policy not to disclose the amount of horsepower that we put in our engines.”

The man just got so angry about it and he kept on and kept on… he went to the head office and sent telegrams, he demanded to know and the people said, “We’ve just to give this fellow some kind of answer. He’s never going to let us alone.” So, the next time he wrote, demanding how much horsepower was in his Rolls Royce, he got back a telegram with one word on it: “ADEQUATE”

That’s what God says…Paul says, “Lord, You just don’t know the problems I’m going through. Lord, look at my situation. Lord look at this difficulty…Look at this infirmity…Lord, do something!” God says, “My grace is adequate…My grace is sufficient for thee.”

So Paul says, “Thank You, Lord…I know it is..I’ll take it by faith. Praise the Lord for difficulties. Praise the Lord for infirmities. Praise the Lord for thorns from the devil. His grace is sufficient for me.”

And, it’s sufficient for you, no matter what the situation is. That’s how God’s been working in your life.

This past week…these past months…this past year, some of you have been perplexed about the turn of events in your life. You’ve given Jesus everything you know to give Him. You’ve totally, without reservation, yielded it all to Him and not been able to understand it. Lest you be lifted up above measure, there was given to you a thorn the flesh, so you might walk, not in the power of your own strength or experiences, but knowing that His grace is sufficient for you.

© Ron Dunn, LifeStyle Ministries, 2005

 

Paul’s Visit to Heaven

Bold Access to the Throne

teen-dad-car-key

Have you ever had an important problem that you needed help with and you asked your father, “Dad, I need your advice on something”? Dads like feeling important and challenged. They want to share their wisdom. But what about asking Dad for the little things — like the car keys, money, or even permission to leave the house? All too often we fear asking too many questions. We fear becoming a pest, or we fear rejection.

However, we have a Heavenly Father who says it is His good pleasure to give us the kingdom. He wants to give good gifts to His children. We can just walk into the throne room anytime. That’s right. The door is not locked because it is not even shut. It is wide open. We have access to our Father every moment of every day.

It’s never inconvenient to go into the heavenly throne room of God and say, “Father, I am confident that You hear me and will answer me, so I am making my requests known to You.” He said in His Word to come boldly, so just go on in there and speak to your Father. He is our Abba Father; that means He is our Daddy God.

“Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” Hebrews 4:16(NIV)

We have been given so much more than the keys to the family car; we have been given the keys to the kingdom that unlock blessings as we believe God and exercise our faith and our rights as a child of God. We are told to ask and it shall be given unto us.

“If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.” Matthew 21:22(NIV)

“Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom.” Luke 12:32 (NIV)

When we go to our Heavenly Father, we can trust He has the best answer for us. It may be a yes, a no, or a wait. He sees the beginning from the end. He knows what to give us, so what are you waiting for? Walk on in. You can boldly access the throne room of grace. Your Father is waiting to meet you this very moment.

Copyright © 2008 Cathy Irvin, used with permission.

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Evolution vs Christianity: Survival of the Fit OR Unfit

Ever since the time of Charles Darwin, evolutionists have used the phrase ‘survival of the fittest’ to describe one of the basic tenets of their religion. Physically stronger individuals surviving while those that are weaker die off. Healthier individuals survive longer than the sickly. Sometimes it is the larger or more elaborately colored and ornate that have the best chance to reproduce and keep the species going. The expression ‘Nature, red in tooth and claw’, though originally from a poem by Tennyson, is often used to describe evolution’s ‘survival of the fittest’.

Those that are smaller and weaker are less likely to be selected by others. Those who are meek, poor, hungry, thirsty and are less aggressive than the more dominant members of the species are shunned, turned away, and not allowed to reproduce. In many societies they are often the ones that are eaten by predators or die from disease.  The ‘unfit’ end up being the unwanted discards of evolution. These individuals are given little to no chance of survival.

Evolutionary survival is only defined as being able to survive long enough to pass on your genetics to the next generation. After that has been accomplished, there really isn’t any further purpose to life. That’s all there is.

According to Scripture, who would be considered ‘fit’ and who would be considered ‘unfit’?

 

Genesis 6:5 – The Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.

Ecclesiastes 1:14 – I have seen everything that is done under the sun, and behold, all is vanity and a striving after wind.

Romans 3:10 – as it is written: “None is righteous, no, not one;

Romans 3:23 – for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 

Galatians 3:11 – Now it is evident that no one is justified before God by the law,

In reality you, me and every other person on earth falls into the category of the ‘unfit’ in God’s eyes. Yet Christianity is the exact opposite of evolution. Christ opens his arms to the ‘unfit’ and offers them a way to be saved. Consider his Sermon on the Mount: (Matthew 5:3-11)

Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.

Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.

Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.

Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.

Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons[a] of God.

Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account.

With evolution, these would be the individuals that would be less likely to be considered worthy to survive and carry on the species. However, in Christianity, these are the people that Christ blesses and welcomes into his kingdom for all eternity.

If all of mankind is unfit for salvation, then how does one go about becoming saved?

John 14:6 – Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

Matthew 10:32-33 – So everyone who acknowledges me before men, I also will acknowledge before my Father who is in heaven, but whoever denies me before men, I also will deny before my Father who is in heaven.

John 3:15-18 – that whoever believes in him may have eternal life. “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.  Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God. 

John 3:36 – Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him.

In evolution, every individual must fight to survive and be saved unto the next generation and no longer.  Death is the final chapter.  There is nothing to look forward to after you die.  You just cease to exist.

In Christianity, there is no fighting for survival. Death is not the final end to living. We have all eternity to look forward to. The only real question is where will you spend your eternity – in Heaven or in Hell? Eternal survival, better known as salvation, is a free gift from God, Ephesians 2:8-9:

For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.

All you have to do is to believe in Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior and confess your sins. It doesn’t matter if you are weak or strong, healthy or sick, rich or poor. All who confess their sins and believe in him are welcomed into his kingdom and will have assurance of their eternal salvation, 1 John 5:13:

I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life. 

Let me ask you two final questions:

  1. If you were to die today, do you know for certain whether or not you would go to heaven?
  1. If you did die today and found yourself standing before Almighty God and He were to ask you “Why should I let you into my heaven?” What would you say?

If you answer that you are a good person, you’re dead wrong. If you are unsure of your answers or feel convicted by the questions, contact someone at Evangelism Explosion International and they will be more than happy to help you.

by David Jolly

https://barbwire.com/evolution-vs-christianity-survival-of-the-fit-or-unfit/

You Make Mistakes But Don’t Be the Devil’s Doormat!

 

Stubbornness is not a great quality. Does anyone love trying to deal with a stubborn person? I think not. But, there is a time when I would encourage you to be that stubborn person! Really? Yes! It’s when you are dealing with the enemy of your soul, the devil.

In hard times and actually, at all times, the devil tries to discourage you with accusations and condemnation over every mistake and wrong choice you’ve made. It’s who he is. Jesus called him the father of all lies. But we are also told in Revelation 12 that he is the accuser of the brethren—that’s you and me.

Everyone makes mistakes and some bad choices. We all need to mature and improve by learning from God’s word, getting wise counsel, and making better decisions and right choices. But, sometimes we blow it and make not-to-brightdecisions that bring painful consequences. If that isn’t bad enough, it’s the time when Satan rages against your mind to take you down. And so, this is the time to be stubborn. Don’t fall to the devil’s accusations. Don’t give him victory by beating yourself up, or by quitting and giving up. Do that and you let him win. If you blow it, take it to God! Immediately! Acknowledge your mistakes and repent knowing He’ll forgive a sincere heart and help you navigate through the mistakes and possible pain that has come. He will help you! His grace will be there to help you!

As far as the enemy of your soul, be stubborn! Get in his face and declare that you stand solely by God’s mercy and grace AND THAT YOU WILL STAND IN IT! You tell him you are forgiven, that God loves you, that Jesus died for your sins, and don’t budge!  He’ll try to give you a hundred reasons why that isn’t true for you. He’ll tell you that you’ve crossed the line too many times. He’ll tell you that God is tired of you and has abandoned you, and on and on! When that happens, be stubborn and don’t budge! Psalms 107:2 says, “Let the redeemed of the LORD say so…”  You say so! You say out loud, God loves me! God forgives me. God will never leave me. And then do your best to follow the counsel of His Word!

If sickness and disease comes against you and tries to steal your health or life, fight the battle! Get in the enemies face and despite any circumstances confronting you, say what David said in, Psalm 103:1-5. “Praise the Lord, O my soul; all my inmost being, praise His holy name. Praise the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits– who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion, who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.”

There is a godly stubbornness. It’s called being tenacious. It’s called “fighting the good fight of faith.” 1 Timothy 6:12 (NLT) says, “Fight the good fight for what we believe…” And then it says to be even more tenacious. Ephesians 6:13 (NLT) says, “Use every piece of God’s armor to resist the enemy in the time of evil, so that after the battle you will still be standing firm.”   

When I was a young Christian, my Pastor gave me one of the best pieces of godly counsel I ever received. He said, Don’t ever yield anything good that God has given you back to the devil. He may try to steal it, but in your heart and in the spirit, don’t let him have it. No matter what happens, fight for it. Take authority over him and declare Him caught. Pray that the angels of God help you get it back. NEVER yield your blessings to the devil. NEVER! The devil has no right to what God has redeemed you from and blessed you with! That was life-changing counsel and has helped me so much. I made it a core value in my life and  have lived that counsel every day since. It has made me strong in the Lord and the power of His might. It has made me tenacious against the devil.

It’s appropriate to listen to the wise counsel of others and learn what you can from your mistakes. But when it comes to the devil, do not be his doormat for condemnation and guilt. Stop devil-abuse! Be unmovable and stand on God’s word for His love, forgiveness, grace, mercy, and promised help. Declare what God has declared over you to his face! And continue to stand in faith until you have His blessing on your life and in your hand. Blessing belongs to you! Jesus died and left you this precious inheritance. Honor Jesus by standing strong as He did for you and I!

1 Thessalonians 5:17-21 (NLT) “Never stop praying. Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus. Do not stifle the Holy Spirit…. but test everything that is said. HOLD ON TO WHAT IS GOOD!”  

In His Love,
Pastor Tim Burt

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https://lisaandrews1968.wordpress.com/2019/01/27/you-make-mistakes-but-dont-be-the-devils-doormat/

You Make Mistakes But Don’t Be the Devil’s Doormat!

Eye Opening Prayer

Man praying in the grassy field

Thought you might enjoy this prayer given in Kansas at the opening session of their Senate. It seems prayer still upsets some people…

 When Minister Joe Wright was asked to open the new session of the Kansas Senate, everyone was expecting the usual generalities, but this is what they heard:

Heavenly Father, we come before you today to ask Your forgiveness and to seek your direction and Guidance.

We know Your Word says,’ Woe to those who call evil good,’ but that is exactly what we have done.

We have lost our spiritual equilibrium and reversed our values.

We have exploited the poor and called it The lottery.

We have rewarded laziness and called it Welfare.

We have killed our unborn and called it Choice.

We have shot abortionists and called it Justifiable.

We have neglected to discipline our children and called it building self-esteem..

We have abused power and called it politics.

We have coveted our neighbor’s possessions and called it ambition.

We have polluted the air with profanity and pornography and called it freedom of expression.

We have ridiculed the time-honored values of our forefathers and called it enlightenment.

Search us, Oh God, and know our hearts today; cleanse us from every sin and set us free.

Amen!

 

The response was immediate. A number of Legislators walked out during the prayer in protest. In 6 short weeks, Central Christian Church, where Rev. Wright is pastor, logged more than 5,000 phone calls with only 47 of those calls responding negatively.. The church is now receiving international requests for copies of this prayer from India, Africa and Korea .

 

With the Lord’s help, may this prayer sweep over our nation and wholeheartedly become our desire so that we again can be called “One Nation Under God”