Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Worship the Right God

Tonight I watched a neat sermon titled, "Worship the Right God." The pastor talked about how our view of God's commandments are limited and reminded us of 4 reasons why we were given the 10 Commandments. Here are my notes below if you are interested in hearing more:

10 for Today (the 10 Commandments): Worship the Right God
Heritage Church – John Bray

Hug a Porcupine Skit:
“I just like porcupines.” “Porcupines are dangerous.” “Don’t knock it until you try it.” “I don’t have to try it to know it’s not good for me.” “Can you believe that guy? Trying to impose his judgments on my lifestyle?! If I want to go around hugging porcupines, that’s my business. It’s his job to get rid of my chest pains.”

We tend to do the same thing – we take worldly things that are damaging and hug them tightly to ourselves.  Most of us don’t like it when others tell us what we have to do. There’s something in us that makes us want to push back. We tend to think of the 10 Commandments as rules and limits - that are old-fashioned and things that are trying to keep us from enjoying life. But anytime we do something God tells us not do to, it’s like picking up a porcupine. Anytime we violate God’s plan, we bring damage to ourselves.

Exodus 19
Vs. 5, 6 – “If you will obey Me and keep My covenant, you will be My own special treasure from among all the nations of the earth… You will be to Me a kingdom of priests, My holy nation.” Does that sound limiting to you?

4 Words to Remember (about our attitudes on why the 10 Commandments were given):
1.       Protection – the 10 Commandments were given for our protection; they are to act as guidelines to keep us from harm (ex: parent and child relationship – parents tell us no to things they know will harm us; they do this to keep us safe). The Lord loves us and wants to protect us.
2.       Promise – “covenant” or treaty; He wants us to obey Him, so He can bless us. We need to remember that we pay the consequence for our actions. We are known to pay attention to Him some of the time, yet we want Him to bless us all of the time.
3.       Personal ­– “Love the Lord YOUR God.” God is a personal God and He wants a personal response.
4.       Synecdochical – define: a figure of speech in which a part is used for the whole, the whole for a part, the specific for the general, and the general for the specific, or the material for the thing made from it; we have to take God’s Word as a whole and obey all of His commands rather than choosing which ones we will follow.
First Commandment = Have no other gods but Me and Me alone (idolatry – putting our trust in something in place of God)
Examples: Pleasure/Happiness (“I just want to be happy.”) God wants us to be holy and when we are holy, then we will be happy in return. Popularity is another example. We say or don’t say things in order to fit in, because popularity is more important to us than honoring God. Possessions/Security can also be an idol. We need to remember that possessions cannot protect us.

The problem is that we have made God the God of American culture rather than viewing Him as the personal God He has always been.

We tend to use these phrases:
“This isn’t exactly what God commanded, but I think…”
“I know this isn’t exactly right, but I think…”
“God may not be entirely happy with this, but I think…”
Or the ever popular, “This may not be the best thing to do, but I think…”

We think and so we do. And we think that is good enough. But in the end, these things do not provide enough security and they eventually will leave us empty.  Seeking pleasure outside of God’s path often messes up our lives. We need to remember how fleeting popularity is.

Let us stop trusting ourselves to know what is right or to make decisions on our own rather than trusting in God and putting our faith in Him.

3 Affirmations to Consider:
1.       Say, “God is passionate about me.” In the rest of the world, you matter based on what you can produce, how much money you make, if others feel you can help them, or how much power/popularity you have. But God looks at you and simply says, “You matter!” God values you. Not because of what you look like, how much money you have, or how much power you have. He just looks at you and says, “I am the Lord your God. And because I say you matter, you do.” Your life has incredible value. And since your life matters to God, it matters what you do.
2.       “God can be trusted with my life.” God wants us to find true purpose, true satisfaction, and ultimate meaning. He loved us so much that He died for us.
3.       Decision – “God is God in my life.” Acknowledge Him as Lord of your life. Place Him on the throne and keep Him there. Do not push Him off so that you can make room for your plans.
So what? So what am I going to do now that I have heard this message?
May we listen to God’s instruction, decide in advance to obey His commands, and stop picking up porcupines and squeezing them and then wondering why we’re in pain. I pray that today we say to God, “You are God, my God. I choose to live Your way.”

God Bless!
<3 Shannon

“I Am New” – Jason Gray

Sunday, December 19, 2010

We Are His

I was driving home from work today and while I was listening to 103.7(country) the song “If I die young” by The Band Perry was playing (which I recommend to everyone to listen to.)  There was one line in the song that really stood out to me.  The line is “Funny when your dead how people start listenin’  Take a second to let that verse sink in...Funny when your dead how people start listenin’
  • In a lot of cases this is a true comment.  Only when someone close to them passes away is when they realize how short life really is.  It is when people figure out the truth that there is more to life then on this earth.  For all throughout the Bible it states that the days are evil.  Why do we come together and think about Heaven and God at funerals,but not on a daily basis.  How many people do you think take time out of their day to think about God and other people other then themselves?  Are you one of them?
  • For it says in the Bible Luke 16:8-9:  And it is true that the children of this world are more shrewd in dealing with the world around them than are the children of the light.  Here’s the lesson:  Use your worldly resources to benefit others and make friends.  Then, when your earthly possessions are gone, they will welcome you to an eternal home. 
This passage was told by Jesus to his disciples.  Not only was Jesus warning the disciples, He is warning us.  We are ALL children of the light!  People who are homeless,poor,middle class, rich, different background, you name it we are all The children of the light.  We are all chosen by God to live for him and not ourselves.  For when we live for ourselves we will never know the truth even if were right in front of our eyes.
Luke 16:19-31
Jesus said,”There was a certain rich man who was splendidly clothes in purple and fine linen and who lived each day in luxury.  At his gate lay a poor man named Lazarus who was covered with sores.  As lazarus lay there longing for scraps from the rich man’s table, the dogs would come and lick his open sores.  Finally, the poor man died and was carried by the angels to be with Abraham.  The rich man also died and was buried, and his soul went to the place of the dead.  There, in torment, he saw Abraham in the far distance with Lazarus at his side.  The rich man shouted,”father abraham, have some pity!  Send Lazarus over here to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue.  A am in anguish in these flames.’  But Abraham said to him,” Son, remember that during your lifetime you had everything you wanted, and Lazarus had nothing.  So now he is here being comforted, and you are in anguish.  And besides, there is a great chasm separating us.  No one can cross over to you from here, and no one can cross over to us from there’  Then the rich man said,”Please, Father Abraham, at least send him to my father’s home.  For I have five brothers, and I want him to warn them so they don’t end up in this place of torment.  But Abraham said,”Moses and the prophets have warned them.  Your brothers can read what they wrote.’  The rich man replied,” No, Father Abraham! But if someone is sent to them from the dead, then they will repent of their sins and turn to God.”  But Abraham said,”If they won’t listen to Moses and the prophets, they won’t listen even if someone rises from the dead.
Brothers and Sisters of Christ I dare you to live outside the box.  Extend your hand to someone in need.  It could be someone you are very close to or to someone you do not know at all.  God knows your heart.  He is the beginning and the end of everything you do.  Do not lose sight of the fact we are all His.
God Bless
Bobby C.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

“For When I Am Weak…”

Just recently I was listening to a worship set from LifeChurch.tv and I heard the most amazing message. I felt it was well worth sharing! Enjoy

 "So to keep me from becoming proud, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger from Satan to torment me and keep me from becoming proud. Three different times I begged the Lord to take it away. Each time he said, 'My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.' So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong." - 2 Corinthians 12:7-10

Too many times we focus on our weaknesses, instead of the power and the strength that we have in Christ. You see He overcame all of our sin and our guilt and our depravity and our weaknesses on the Cross through the blood of Jesus Christ. And when we put our faith in Him; when we acknowledge Him as our Savior, that power comes and it lives inside of us. So when we trust in Him to take care of our problems, to be our strength, we can overcome anything. It says, “In Him all things are possible. (see Matthew 19:26) I can do anything through Christ who strengthens me. (see Philippians 4:13) But apart from Him we can do nothing. (see John 15:5)”

See the enemy wants to take us over here and isolate us. He wants to get us alone where we surely will fail. He wants to distract us and just keep us wallowing around in our own pride and in everything else. Because we are such a prideful people, we equate weakness with being weak. A lot of times we feel like we need to do everything ourselves.

After reading this message, I encourage us to remember the Truths in God’s Word and proclaim to the Lord the lyrics:

“You are stronger. You are stronger. Sin is broken. You have saved me. It is written, ‘Christ is risen. Jesus, You are Lord of all.’” – Stronger by Hillsong United


Note: I have posted the lyrics to this song on the Day by Day Devotional wall.

I pray you were as encouraged as I was after hearing this message. It is packed with Truth and promises that God can, in fact, get us through any trial when we give our burdens to Him and claim His strength. May we remember these Truths when we face the hardships in life and praise Him for the work that He will accomplish through our difficult circumstances.

God Bless!
<3 Shannon

“Give Me Faith” – Elevation Worship

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Don’t Wait Until It’s Too Late

Have you ever heard of the quote, “What they don’t know won’t hurt them?”  Everyone lies. Sorry to be blunt, but it is true. Whether it was in your past or is still in your day-today life, you’ve lied. People cover their situations and twist their story to benefit themselves. By all means, who is ever gonna know except for me, right? Wrong.

For this devotional I’m using text from Acts 5:1-11:
1 But there was a certain man named Ananias who, with his wife, Sapphira, sold some property. 2 He brought part of the money to the apostles, claiming it was the full amount. With his wife’s consent, he kept the rest.  3 Then Peter said, “Ananias, why have you let Satan fill your heart? You lied to the Holy Spirit, and you kept some of the money for yourself. 4 The property was yours to sell or not sell, as you wished. And after selling it, the money was also yours to give away. How could you do a thing like this? You weren’t lying to us but to God!” 5 As soon as Ananias heard these words, he fell to the floor and died. Everyone who heard about it was terrified. 6 Then some young men got up, wrapped him in a sheet, and took him out and buried him.  7 About three hours later his wife came in, not knowing what had happened. 8 Peter asked her, “Was this the price you and your husband received for your land?” “Yes,” she replied, “that was the price.” 9 And Peter said, “How could the two of you even think of conspiring to test the Spirit of the Lord like this? The young men who buried your husband are just outside the door, and they will carry you out, too.” 10 Instantly, she fell to the floor and died. When the young men came in and saw that she was dead, they carried her out and buried her beside her husband. 11 Great fear gripped the entire church and everyone else who heard what had happened.”

After reading this, does it remind you of someone you know? Does it remind you of yourself? Every day Satan is at work, filling peoples’ hearts just as he filled the hearts of Ananias and his wife, Sapphira.  Ananias and Sapphira were not thinking about God, but were thinking about money.

Believers and non-believers all know earthly life does not last forever (All part of God’s design). Know that if you are trying to hide something from just one person or from a whole classroom of people, God knows! Why risk your salvation for temporary earthly pleasure (lying to get: money, girls, guys, etc.)?

Last thing I want to mention is from the last sentence from the reading (Acts 5:11):
“Great fear gripped the entire church and everyone else who heard what had happened.”
God’s mercy is beyond what anyone could ever imagine. He is patient and He is just. He knows your heart and He is willing to forgive no matter where you are in life, but don’t wait. Don’t be the one who waits until you stand before your Creator, continuing to lie to cover things up – the time is now.

God Bless

Bobby C.