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What LIBERTY Really Is This 4th Of July …

Patrick Henry was a great statesman and a great speaker. He was also a great patriot during the infancy of this nation. As a lawyer, he defended the character under which the colonies were founded in America. He resisted the “Stamp Act” with the words: “Caesar had his Brutus; Charles the First, his Cromwell–and George the Third may profit from their example. If this be treason, make the most of it.”
His most famous speech, though, was before the Virginia Assembly in 1775, when British troops were advancing to enforce King George’s rule on Virginia. At the conclusion of one of the most fiery speeches ever delivered, Patrick Henry cried, “Is life so dear or peace so sweet as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take, but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!” And the fire of freedom was lit that still burns in this great nation.

The Statue of Liberty stands across from the Island of Manhattan in New York. Soldiers, on their return from overseas, often speak in awe of the feelings they had as they sailed into the harbor and viewed the “Torch of Freedom” in Lady Liberty’s hand. To the Christian, the Statue of Liberty and the Cross of Jesus Christ have kindred meanings. Both symbolize the highest and noblest in freedom and liberty. Both stand as beautiful and glorious ensigns of a liberated people.

Jesus came into our world on a mission of liberty.  He said …

Luke 4:18
18 The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised,

Specifically, the Bible teaches that there are at least three oppressions from which Jesus came to liberate us. The Bible says, “In the past, the law held us like prisoners, but our old selves died, and we were made free from the law. So now we serve God in a new way with the Spirit, and not in the old way with written rules.”

Romans 7:6
6 But now we are delivered from the law, that being dead wherein we were held; that we should serve in newness of spirit, and not in the oldness of the letter.

The Old Testament law was a system of rules and regulation that only served to condemn us, but Jesus “canceled the debt, which listed all the rules we failed to follow. He took away that record with its rules and nailed it to the cross.”

Colossians 2:14
14 Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross;

The Bible also says, “And because you belong to him, the power of the life-giving Spirit has freed you from the power of sin that leads to death.”

Romans 8:2
2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.

Because Jesus has given us his Spirit, sin no longer has any power over us and neither does death.

This country was founded by people who trusted more in the liberty found in Jesus than in the liberty granted even by our own Constitution. What we often forget is that in declaring their independence from England, our forefathers made an equally strong declaration of dependence upon Almighty God. The closing words of their Declaration solemnly states: “With a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor.” It is important that we remember this very basic declaration of their dependence, because the United States today is rapidly forgetting the God of our fathers, the God who gave this nation its birth and its greatness—the only source of true liberty.

god-in-control

Regardless of where life leads, be sure that God is still in control of all that happens…

I am reminded of….
A small boy was playing with his sailboat at the edge of a lake. When the wind pulled the sailboat away from the shoreline and out of his reach, he began to cry as he saw it moving farther and farther away from him.
An older boy came to the scene and began throwing stones at the boat. The smaller boy cried, ‘Why are you throwing stones at my boat?’ The older boy said, ‘You don’t know what I’m doing. I’m throwing stones on the far side of the boat to create some waves to bring the sailboat back to you. Trust me; I know what I’m doing.’

God knows what He is doing when He throws the stones in our lives. They are meant to draw us closer to Him, not to drive us from Him. He is not cruel.

Romans 8:28

28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.

I think of Joseph…
Genesis 50:20
20 But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive.

There is no such thing as coincidence in the life of the child of God. There is only providence!

Not everything God does is pleasant, but everything God does is right!

 

please-god

Remember that what seems so important now is only temporary.

In the light of eternity, what other people think of you right now isn’t going to matter at all. In fact, it probably won’t even matter in just a few years. Can you remember the people whose opinions mattered the most to you in high school? How important are those people’s opinions of you today? It’s probable that they don’t matter at all today. What seemed so important then is now irrelevant. People-pleasing is always a short-term thinking activity. The benefits never last. Everything around us today tells us that wealth, success, and fame will earn us the approval of others, but the truth is, none of these values will last. They are all temporary.

God says…
1 John 2:17
17 And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.

“The world and everything in it that people desire is passing away; but those who do the will of God live forever.”

Remember that I only have to please one person!

If what I do pleases God, it is always the right thing to do, and I can stop worrying about everyone else’s reactions. This dramatically simplifies life. It also keeps me from the sin of idolatry.

The first two of the Ten Commandments are…
Exodus 20:3-4
3 Thou shalt have no other gods before me.
(1) “You must not have any other god but me,”)
4 Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth.
(2) “You shall not make for yourself an idol of any kind.”)

An idol is anything I put first in my life before God. If someone’s approval matters more to me than God’s, then that person has become an idol in my life. Jesus pointed out that it is impossible to have two gods in your life:

Matthew 6:24
24 No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.

“No one can serve two masters.”

You have to decide. As Paul said…
Galatians 1:10
10 For do I now persuade men, or God? or do I seek to please men? for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ.

This truth, that I have to please only God, is an important key to becoming resistant to being manipulated by disapproval from others. The reason Jesus was not swayed by criticism or the fear of rejection is that he lived for an audience of One.

He said…
John 5:30
30 I can of mine own self do nothing: as I hear, I judge: and my judgment is just; because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me.

“I don’t try to please myself, but I try to please the One who sent me.”

To be like him, we must do the same.

happinessisachoice

You don’t need their approval to be happy!

Happiness is a choice. You are as happy as you choose to be. What other people think of you cannot rob your happiness unless you allow them to rob it.

It is a fact of life that on our broken planet filled with broken people, there will always be those who will demean how you look, dislike what you do, disapprove of what you believe, dispute what you say, and disrespect who you are. But they cannot control your emotions unless you let them. Disapproval doesn’t have to devastate you. As a pastor, I have talked to so many people who have invested much of their time and energy in trying to please an unappeasable person, most often a parent or other family member. When I ask if all their effort has paid off, the answer is always “no.” I then share the truth that is tough to take at first but is ultimately liberating: “If you haven’t gotten their approval by now, you’re not going to get it. The problem isn’t you. They are the problem. They are unappeasable.” But here is the good news, the truth that will set you free: You don’t need their approval to be happy! So let it go! Stop wasting emotional energy on something that is never going to happen and something that isn’t necessary for you to be happy. They are miserable, but you don’t have to be. There is no sane reason for both of you to be miserable! Instead of focusing on that unappeasable person, refocus on Jesus, who accepts you unconditionally. The more important Jesus becomes to you, the more free you will be from the disapproval of others. Jesus promised it.

John 8:36
36 If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.

Getting to know Jesus personally and intimately can free you from many things: the burden of guilt, the poison of resentment, the stress of overwork, the pressure of materialism, the habits of addiction, and the fear of death. But one of the greatest freedoms Jesus offers is being liberated from the fear of disapproval. That is a key to peace of mind. If you are looking to any human being to either make you happy or keep you happy, you are going to be disappointed eventually. No human being has the capacity to meet all your needs and keep you constantly happy. Only God can meet all your needs. No person has the ability to give you all the security, approval, acceptance, and love you need, regardless of what they may promise you. If you expect them to meet needs that only God can meet, you are being unfair to them, you are setting them up for failure, and you are setting yourself up to become bitter. On the other hand, God has repeatedly promised to never forsake you, never abandon you, and never reject you.

The Bible says…

Psalm 27:10
10 When my father and my mother forsake me, then the Lord will take me up.

“Even if my father and mother abandon me, the Lord will hold me close.”

This is a truth you can count on, a solid rock on which you can build your identity, your security, and your happiness.

God has repeatedly promised to never forsake you, never abandon you, and never reject you.

pleaseing-everyone

Remember that even God can’t please everyone!

At every sporting event, fans on each side pray for their team to win. In every election, voters in each party pray that their candidates will win. Someone is always disappointed! Some days farmers are praying for rain while children are praying for sunshine. Other days, some people pray for snow while others pray for no snow. The list could go on and on. Even God can’t please everybody. Only a fool would try to do what even God can’t do. It is impossible to make everyone happy at the same time. Even if you could make everyone like you, it wouldn’t be a good idea. It would only mean that you have no convictions you deeply believe in and no principles you are willing to stand for.

Jesus said…
Luke 6:26
26 Woe unto you, when all men shall speak well of you! for so did their fathers to the false prophets.

“Woe to you when all men speak well of you!”

Only a fool would try to do what even God can’t do. It is impossible to make everyone happy at the same time. Even if you could make everyone like you, it wouldn’t be a good idea. It would only mean that you have no convictions you deeply believe in and no principles you are willing to stand for. Always remember that even God can’t please everyone!

GOD’S WORD TRANSFORMS US.

Posted: November 22, 2016 in Uncategorized

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GOD’S WORD TRANSFORMS US.

Spiritual growth is the process of replacing lies with truth.
Before you are saved satan does his best to fill your mind with lies..

Satan is a lier and has been from the beginning.

Spiritual growth is the process of replacing lies with truth.
God is truth…
1 Timothy 2:4
4 Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.

Jesus prayed…
John 17:17
17 Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.

Sanctification requires revelation. The Spirit of God uses the Word of God to make us like the Son of God.

If we are going to become more like Jesus everyday we must fill our lives with his Word.

Why do we need Gods word?

2 Timothy 3:17
17 That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.

So what is this verse saying?
“Through the Word we are put together and shaped for the tasks God has for us.” “Purpose”

Hebrews 4:12
12 For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.

God’s word will tell you who you are and what you are all about….

1 Peter 1:23
23 Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.

God’s Word is unlike any other word. It is alive.

When God speaks, things change. Everything around you all of creation exists because “God said it.” He spoke it all into existence. Without God’s Word you would not even be alive.

James points out…
James 1:18
18 Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures.

In other words… “God decided to give us life through the word of truth so we might be the most important of all the things he made.”

The Bible is far more than a doctrinal guidebook. God’s Word generates life, creates faith, produces change, frightens the Devil, causes miracles, heals hurts, builds character, transforms circumstances, imparts joy, overcomes adversity, defeats temptation, infuses hope, releases power, cleanses our minds, brings things into being, and guarantees our future forever! We cannot live without the Word of God! Never take it for granted.

It is so important that You and I should consider it as important to our lives as much as food.

Job said…
Job 23:12
12 Neither have I gone back from the commandment of his lips; I have esteemed the words of his mouth more than my necessary food.

God’s Word is the spiritual nourishment you must have to fulfill your purpose. The Bible is called our milk, bread, solid food, and sweet dessert. This four-course meal is the Spirit’s menu for spiritual strength and growth. Peter tells us in …
1 Peter 2:2
2 As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby:

ARE YOU BEING TRANSFORMED DAILY BY GOD’S WORD?

What Is Driving Your Life?

Posted: January 21, 2016 in Uncategorized

What Drives Your Life? Picture

What Drives Your Life?

I observed that the basic motive for success is the driving force of envy and jealousy!

Ecclesiastes 4:4
4 Again, I considered all travail, and every right work, that for this a man is envied of his neighbour. This is also vanity and vexation of spirit.

The man without a purpose is like a ship without a rudder a waif, a nothing, a no man. THOMAS CARLYLE

EVERYONE’S LIFE IS DRIVEN BY SOMETHING.

Most dictionaries define the verb drive as “to guide, to control, or to direct.” Whether you are driving a car, a nail, or a golf ball, you are guiding, controlling, and directing it at that moment. What is the driving force in your life? Right now you may be driven by a problem, a pressure, or a deadline. You may be driven by a painful memory, a haunting fear, or an unconscious belief. There are hundreds of circumstances, values, and emotions that can drive your life. Here are five of the most common ones:

Many people are driven by guilt.
They spend their entire lives running from regrets and hiding their shame. Guilt- driven people are manipulated by memories. They allow their past to control their future. They often unconsciously punish themselves by sabotaging their own success. When Cain sinned, his guilt disconnected him from God’s presence, and God said,

Genesis 4:12
12 When thou tillest the ground, it shall not henceforth yield unto thee her strength; a fugitive and a vagabond shalt thou be in the earth.

“You will be a restless wanderer on the earth.”

That describes most people today wandering through life with troubles. We are products of our past, but we don’t have to be prisoners of it. God’s purpose is not limited by your past. He turned a murderer named Moses into a leader and a coward named Gideon into a courageous hero, and he can do amazing things with the rest of your life, too. God specializes in giving people a fresh start. The Bible says,

Psalm 32:1
32 Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered.

“What happiness for those whose guilt has been forgiven! … What relief for those who have confessed their sins and God has cleared their record.”

Many people are driven by resentment and anger.
They hold on to hurts and never get over them. Instead of releasing their pain through forgiveness, they rehearse it over and over in their minds. Some resentment- driven people “clam up” and internalize their anger, while others “blow up” and explode it onto others. Both responses are unhealthy and unhelpful. Resentment always hurts you more than it does the person you resent. While your offender has probably forgotten the offense and gone on with life, you continue to stew in your pain, perpetuating the past. Listen: Those who have hurt you in the past cannot continue to hurt you now unless you hold on to the pain through resentment. Your past is past! Nothing will change it. You are only hurting yourself with your bitterness. For your own sake, learn from it, and then let it go. The Bible says,

Job 5:2
2 For wrath killeth the foolish man, and envy slayeth the silly one.

“To worry yourself to death with resentment would be a foolish, senseless thing to do.”

Isaiah 26:3
3 Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.

The next time you are driven by the troubles of this life, stop and focus on God.

It is only through Jesus that we can find perfect peace.