‘Born Again’ Believers Faith Test…

Hebrews 11:6 “But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.”

‘Born Again’ Believers Faith Test…

When trouble abounds in your life which question do you ask?

‘Why me? ‘or, ‘What is God trying to teach me? ‘

Think about the difference before you pass on from those two questions. The easiest to ask and our flesh begs us to do so is the first one. The second will require the faith that says God knows best for my life and His ways are better than mine. It may come down to whether we think our ways are better than God’s. Before you say that’s ridiculous think about all the reasons you apply to why trials come your way and what your thought process is when they do. And remember….

Isa 55:8 “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord.”

James 1:2-3 “My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience.”     As a ‘born again’ believer God has a purpose for trials and tribulations in our lives. When we fail to recognize that truth than we also fail to learn what our God is trying to teach us. And He loves us so much that He will probably bring that trial back our way, so we learn. Another reason for difficult moments coming into our lives is in the form of discipline. We truly do reap what we sew. That discipline also shows God’s love for us.

Gal 6:7 “Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap.”

Heb 12:6-8 “For those whom the Lord loves He disciplines and He scourges every son whom He receives. It is for discipline that you endure, God deals with you as with sons; for what sons is there whom his father does not discipline? But if you are without discipline, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate children and not sons.”

How do I react to the trials and discipline from God?

Proverbs 15:10, 11 “Harsh correction is for him who forsakes the way, and he who hates reproof will die. Hell, and destruction are before the Lord; So how much more the hearts of the sons of men.”

Have a great day seeking the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, Jesus!! And remember to accept trails and discipline sent from God and to learn the lesson the FIRST TIME! And even more importantly if this logic seems to not make sense to you then maybe you have not been ‘born again’. Listen to what God says about those outside of His family.

 John 3:3 “Jesus answered and said to him, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born [a]again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”

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

If you are one of His children, the beauty is that He loves us enough to send trials to spiritually mature us and discipline to correct us.

If you are not one of His then He is offering you the free gift of salvation. But don’t wait. This could be the last moment or chance you have.

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Listening to God…

Listening to God…

Can I sit and be taught by God today?

II Tim 3:16, 17 “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.”

But aren’t those the books and teachings of men?

II Peter 1:20, 21 “Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.”

“Let us seek to know Him in the Word. It is in the Word we will find the Holy Spirit. Don’t read too many other things. Some of you will say, “Look who’s talking!” Well, go ahead and say it, I don’t mind; but I am reading fewer and fewer things as I get older, not because I’m losing interest in this great, big, old suffering world, but because I’m gaining interest in that other world above. So I say, don’t try to know everything. You can’t. Find Him in the Word, for the Holy Ghost wrote this book. He inspired it, and He will be revealed in its pages.”

–A.W. Tozer

That being the case…
II Tim 2:15 “Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needs not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.”

 

So, who’s feet did you sit at this morning to start your day?
Sitting before the Lord

“Here then I am, far from the busy ways of men. I sit down alone; only God is here. In His presence I open, I read His Book; for this end, to find the way to heaven. Is there a doubt concerning the meaning of what I read? Does anything appear dark or intricate? I lift up my heart to the Father of lights: ‘Lord, is it not thy Word, “If any man lack wisdom, let him ask of God”? Thou ‘give’s liberally and upbraids not’. Thou hast said, ‘If any be willing to do thy will, he shall know.’ I am willing to do, let me know thy will. I then search after and consider parallel passages of Scripture, ‘comparing spiritual things with spiritual’. I meditate thereon, with all the attention and earnestness of which my mind is capable. If any doubt still remains, I consult those who are experienced in the things of God, and then the writings whereby, being dead, they yet speak. And what I thus learn, that I teach.”

–John Wesley, Preface to Standard Sermons

It does take commitment.

Romans 12:1, 2 “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be you transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good, and perfect will of God.”

Serving the Master…

Luke 9:27 “If anyone will come after Me, let them deny themselves,
take up their cross daily, and follow Me.”

Serving the Master…

The Master was searching for a vessel to use.
On the shelf there were many,
which one would He choose?

Take me cried the gold one,
I am shiny and bright and of great value
And I do things just right,
my beauty and luster will outshine the rest
and for someone like You Master, I would be best.

The Master passed it with no word at all.
He looked at a silver urn, narrow and tall.

I’ll serve you Dear Master;
I’ll pour out your wine and be at your table whenever you dine.
My lines are so graceful and my carving so true,
and silver will always compliment you.

Unheeding, the Master passed on the brass,
it was wide mouthed and shallow and polished like glass.

Here! Here! Cried the vessel,
I know I will do.
Place me on your table for all [men] to view.

Look at me, cried the goblet of crystal so clear,
my transparency shows my contents so dear.
Though fragile am I, don’t cross me,
I will serve you with pride,
And I am sure that I will be happy in your house to abide.

The Master came next to a vessel of wood.
Polished and carved and it solidly stood.

You may use me Dear Master,
The wooden bowl said,
but I’d rather you’d use me for fruit; please no bread.

Then the Master looked down and saw a vessel of clay,
Empty and broken, it helplessly lay.
No hope had that vessel that the Master might choose,
to cleanse and make whole, to fill and to use.

“Ah, this is the vessel I’ve been hoping to find;
I will mend it and use it, and make it all mine.
I need not the vessel with pride in itself,
nor the one so narrow to sit on the shelf.
Not the one who is big mouthed, and shallow and loud,

Nor the one who displays its contents so proud.
Not the one who thinks he can do all things just right,
But this plain earthen vessel filled with My power and might.”

Then gently, He lifted the vessel of clay,
mended it and cleansed it and filled it that day.

He spoke to it kindly, “There’s work you must do.
Just pour out to others, and I’ll pour into you.

Most of the first 12 disciples were simple fishermen, not theologians or Bible College professors. That provides me with the confidence that I can be used just as they were for I am as they were, a jar of broken clay requiring my Lord’s shaping. Our Lord never asks us to walk in our own natural strengths and abilities but to walk dependent upon His strength and abilities.  That dependency forces us to our knees which is a wonderful place to be. God then can become our source of wisdom, knowledge and strength. The following verse really helps explain it better than I ever can;

2 Cor. 12:9 “And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.”

Matthew 11:28-29 “Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.”
((   ))
O   O
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Till Jesus returns!

Who is Jesus….

John 1:1&14 “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” “And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.”

Who is JESUS…

IN CHEMISTRY, HE TURNED WATER TO WINE.

IN BIOLOGY, HE WAS BORN WITHOUT THE NORMAL
CONCEPTION.

IN PHYSICS, HE DISPROVED THE LAW OF GRAVITY WHEN HE
ASCENDED INTO HEAVEN.

IN ECONOMICS, HE DISPROVED THE LAW OF DIMINISHING RETURN
BY FEEDING 5,000 MEN AND THEIR FAMILIES WITH TWO FISHES & 5 LOAVES OF BREAD.

IN MEDICINE, HE CURED THE SICK AND THE BLIND,
WITHOUT ADMINISTERING A SINGLE DOSE OF DRUGS.

IN HISTORY, HE IS THE BEGINNING AND THE END.

IN GOVERNMENT, HE SAID THAT HE SHALL BE CALLED
WONDERFUL, COUNSELOR, PRINCE OF PEACE.

IN RELIGION, HE SAID NO ONE COMES TO THE FATHER
EXCEPT THROUGH HIM.

JESUS HAD NO SERVANTS, YET THEY CALLED HIM MASTER;
HAD NO DEGREE, YET THEY CALLED HIM TEACHER;

HAD NO MEDICINES, YET THEY CALLED HIM HEALER.

HE HAD NO ARMIES, YET RULERS FEARED HIM.

HE WON NO MILITARY BATTLES, YET HE CONQUERED THE WORLD.

HE COMMITTED NO CRIME, YET THEY CRUCIFIED HIM.

HE WAS BURIED IN A TOMB, YET HE LIVES TODAY.

HE WAS HONORED TO SERVE AS A LEADER WHO LOVES US!

JOIN US AND LET’S US CELEBRATE HIM;

HE IS WORTHY.

SO REMAIN IN GOD AND SEEK HIS FACE ALWAYS.

AMEN

John 10:27-30 “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father’s hand. I and My Father are one.”

Hebrews 12:2 “Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.”

Songs for Every Occupation and Occasion…

Psalm 100:1, 2 “Make a joyful shout to the Lord, all you lands! Serve the Lord with gladness; Come before His presence with singing.”

Songs for Every Occupation and Occasion…

The Dentist’s Hymn:…………………..Crown Him with Many Crowns
The Weatherman’s Hymn:………………..There Shall Be Showers of Blessings
The Contractor’s Hymn:………………..The Church’s One Foundation
The Tailor’s Hymn:……………………Holy, Holy, Holy
The Golfer’s Hymn:……………………There’s a Green Hill Far Away
The Politician’s Hymn:………………..Standing on the Promises
The Optometrist’s Hymn:……………….Open My Eyes That I Might See
The IRS Agent’s Hymn:…………………I Surrender All
The Electrician’s Hymn:……………….Send The Light
The Shopper’s Hymn:…………………..Sweet By and By
The Realtor’s Hymn:…………………..I’ve Got a Mansion, Just Over the Hilltop
The Doctor’s Hymn:……………………The Great Physician

For those who speed on the highway – a few hymns:

45 mph………………..God Will Take Care of You
55 mph………………..Guide Me, O Thou Great Jehovah
65 mph………………..Nearer My God To Thee
75 mph………………..Nearer Still Nearer
85 mph………………..This World Is Not My Home
95 mph………………..Lord, I’m Coming Home
Over 100 mph…………..Precious Memories
………………………………………………………
Give me a sense of humor, Lord,
Give me the grace to see a joke,
To get some humor out of life
And pass it on to other folk .

Psalm 101 “I will sing of mercy and justice; To You, O Lord, I will sing praises.”

Could this be the day Jesus returns…

Could this be the day Jesus returns…..

Jesus came once to live a sinless life, die for OUR sins and be the first to be resurrected from the grave. As the Son of God, He today sits at the right hand of the Throne of God making intercession for sinners. That is you and I. He is our Savior if we have trusted Him as our Lord and Savior.

Here is a test for us this morning. Answer the following question. Make sure you stop and think about your answer.

  • Do you feel Jesus could return TODAY?
  • Do my actions and priorities proclaim the same??
    • If I do then my actions will give me away!

Jesus will return! How do I know? Scripture tells us so. We are some 1900+ years closer than when we first heard that the Church was in the ‘last days’. When you read scriptures you see that the 1st Church expected His return at any moment. So, how much more should we expect His return now that we are so much closer?

Rom 13:11,12-14 “And do this, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep; for now our salvation is nearer than when we first believed. The night is far spent, the day is at hand. Therefore let us cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light. But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts.

John 9:4 “I must work the works of Him that sent me, while it is day: The night comes, when no man can work.”

Are you and your family ready? If Jesus does return today it will be to rapture or take His church out of this world and then the tribulation period begins. You or your family members do not want to be “left behind”!

Jesus promised to return a second time!

John 14:1-4 ““Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also. And where I go you know, and the way you know.”

ARE YOU READY?

The Beauty of being Empty…

John 3:30 “He must increase, but I must  decrease.”

Matthew 5:6  “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, For they shall be filled.”

The Beauty of being Empty

We spend a lot of time trying to be full.  Full of happiness, full of love, full of a positive self-image, the list goes on and on.  We try to fill our wallets, our stomachs, our closets and our time.  I wonder though, instead of focusing on trying to be full, should we be working to empty ourselves?  How can we refill with what is good if we do not first empty out all that is wasting valuable space inside of us?  When I ask this question, I gain a better understanding of John 3:30, “He must become greater, I must become less.”  In order for me to be filled with God, I must step aside and make room for Him to fill me.  I must empty out all that is wasting space and make room for something so much bigger and better to change me from the inside out.

That sounds great….but what does it mean to be “filled with God?”  When I try to make myself happy through making money, shopping, eating, etc., I am focused on a temporary fill that provides a false sense of happiness that only leaves me feeling emptier in the end.  I find myself thinking thoughts like, “If I just had ______, I would be happy or if I only had ______, my life would be better.”  However, it is only a matter of time before I am finding myself thinking these same thoughts with different desires.  At times, we can be unaware of a void in our life. Poet, Antonia Porchia states, “we become aware of the void as we fill it.”  It’s good to take a life inventory every once in a while and ask ourselves, am I making conscience choices with the way I spend my time, money, etc. or am I trying to fill a void in my life that can only be filled by God?

In fact, when I stop to think about it, I realize that it is often having “things” that cause me to feel empty!  Just when we think we have the cutest shoes ever made, we see someone with cuter shoes.  After getting the latest smart phone, it seems like the next day a newer version hits the market.  Even our relationships can cause us to feel empty.  People will, not can, but will let us down.  As hard as we try, we cannot please everyone and we will let others down as well.  I think if we are being honest, we would all agree that there are times when we check Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter to catch up with friends and we find ourselves feeling jealous or “less than.”  When we are feeling like something is missing, it is a great time to challenge ourselves to fill that void we are experiencing with something positive, and there’s nothing more positive than God.

God doesn’t want us to feel empty, but He will allow this miserable feeling so we will be motivated to refill and find happiness that we never imagined we could experience. Sometimes things have to get worse before they get better or emptier before we fill up. Romans 15:13 says, “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”  True joy and true peace can only come from one place, and it is not the mall or a special person in our life. God can and often times does put people in our lives who we experience joy with and who help us through difficult times and that is awesome!!  But those blessings are extras in our life and not what we should attempt to fill our lives with.

Challenge:  Identify one thing that you try to fill your life with that isn’t God.  Then, to help fill your life the right way, make conscience choices regarding the everyday, small choices you make.  Examples would be the words you say, the music you listen to, the way you treat your family……and make sure to fit God in by talking to Him throughout the day and reading what He has to say to you in the Bible.

So, the next time you are thinking that being empty is so terrible, remember the empty tomb and what a wonderful blessing that is to us all.  Take some time today to empty out what’s wasting space in you and fill up with something worthwhile!

Mat 28:19, 20 “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen.

 

Acts 4:31 “And when they had prayed, the place where they were assembled together was shaken; and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and they spoke the word of God with boldness.”