Tag Archives: goodness

Communion

Today’s message summary of January 7, 2018 from Pastor Gus Brown:

Communion is something that many churches do every first Sunday.  Some will do it every service.  There is no set time to do it according to Scripture, but whenever it is done, it is to be done in remembrance of Jesus Christ.

When we come to the table, are we doing it out of ritual or tradition?  Is it being done just for participation?  Is it being done out of habit or because people might think that I am in sin or to keep others from being suspicious of me?

1 Corinthians 10:18-21

Consider the people of Israel. Do not those who eat the sacrifices participate in the altar?  What am I saying then? That food sacrificed to idols is anything, or that an idol is anything?  No, but I do say that what they sacrifice, they sacrifice to demons and not to God. I do not want you to be participants with demons! You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons. You cannot share in the Lords table and the table of demons.

You have to decide what table you are to feast at.

There comes a point where you have to make a commitment and say to yourself, “I totally commit to the Lord Jesus Christ.”  “I belong to Him, and therefore I cannot do what the world wants me to do.”

You and I have to make that choice.

1 Corinthians 11:17

A man should not cover his head, because he is the image and glory of God. So too, woman is the glory of man.

People observe your actions.  If you are living in an unrighteous manner, and if you do not take Communion seriously, then it does the body of Christ damage.  There must be a people of one heart and one mind in Christ.  God sees your heart of faithfulness and obedience, and when He sees this effort, He will make provision for you.  God will always provide for His work.

The people who have the mind of Christ have no reason for division within the body.  God will take care of the details if everyone has the mind to put Him first.

God says there is nothing impossible for Him (Matthew 19:26).  Only by the grace of God are we yet standing.

1 Corinthians 11:18-22

For to begin with, I hear that when you come together as a church there are divisions among you, and in part I believe it. Indeed, it is necessary that there be factions among you, so that those who are approved may be recognized among you. When you come together, then, it is not to eat the Lords Supper. For at the meal, each one eats his own supper. So one person is hungry while another gets drunk! Dont you have homes in which to eat and drink? Or do you despise the church of God and humiliate those who have nothing? What should I say to you? Should I praise you? I do not praise you in this matter!

There has to be a distinction of those that are faithful and that are following Jesus Christ.  Let that be you.

Communion represents a sense of order within the church.  It is not a ritual, but it is also not to mock who Christ represents.  We are all saved because of the work that Jesus Christ has done for us.  God wants us to really understand, within the process, that I am sinful, but also see how holy He can make me.

All of this is done not because of deserving anything, but because of love for His people.

1 Corinthians 11:23-26

For I received from the Lord what I also passed on to you: On the night when he was betrayed, the Lord Jesus took bread, and when he had given thanks, broke it, and said, This is my body, which is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.

In the same way also he took the cup, after supper, and said, This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me. For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lords death until he comes.

 

Matthew 26:17-25

On the first day of Unleavened Bread the disciples came to Jesus and asked, Where do you want us to make preparations for you to eat the Passover?

Go into the city to a certain man, he said, and tell him, The Teacher says: My time is near; I am celebrating the Passover at your place with my disciples.’” So the disciples did as Jesus had directed them and prepared the Passover. When evening came, he was reclining at the table with the Twelve. While they were eating, he said, Truly I tell you, one of you will betray me.

Deeply distressed, each one began to say to him, Surely not I, Lord?

He replied, The one who dipped his hand with me in the bowlhe will betray me. The Son of Man will go just as it is written about him, but woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! It would have been better for him if he had not been born. 

 Judas, his betrayer, replied, Surely not I, Rabbi?

You have said it, he told him.

 

Note that we should never come to the table without settling matters of sin in our heart (coming as a betrayer), but rather come with the understanding as to how you are blessed and to remember God’s goodness.

As you travel through the Old Testament, there were many instances where people built altars as a way of remembering God’s goodness.  Communion is a reminder of what Jesus Christ did for us on Calvary, and for His sacrifice for us.  It is a reminder of His love for us.

Communion is also a reminder that I do not have to carry the burden of sin.  Confession of sin is necessary.  We are to examine ourselves to make sure that we are sincere in our faith.

2 Corinthians 13:5-9

Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith. Examine yourselves. Or do you yourselves not recognize that Jesus Christ is in you?unless you fail the test. And I hope you will recognize that we ourselves do not fail the test. But we pray to God that you do nothing wrongnot that we may appear to pass the test, but that you may do what is right, even though we may appear to fail. For we cant do anything against the truth, but only for the truth. We rejoice when we are weak and you are strong. We also pray that you become fully mature.

Everything that God has said has either come to pass or will come to pass.  God speaks truth; therefore, Communion is something to be taken very seriously.

1 Corinthians 11:26-32

For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lords death until he comes.

So then, whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of sin against the body and blood of the Lord. Let a person examine himself; in this way let him eat the bread and drink from the cup. For whoever eats and drinks without recognizing the body, eats and drinks judgment on himself. This is why many are sick and ill among you, and many have fallen asleep. If we were properly judging ourselves, we would not be judged, but when we are judged by the Lord, we are disciplined, so that we may not be condemned with the world.

 

As you come to the table, please take the time between you and the Lord and reflect upon His goodness.  If you need to say, “Lord, forgive me,” then do it.  If you need to ask the Lord for cleansing, then do it.  God wants to meet you where you are in your time of prayer.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Why Should Christians Care About the Church?

Today’s message summary of July 2, 2017 from Pastor Gus Brown:

The church gets criticized in many different ways.  People who attend will often say that it can be boring.  Please understand that, when you love someone, it is not boring.

Other criticisms include that the church is old-fashioned or not modern enough.  Note that the world who never go to church will offer their own critiques of church that people who do attend church will agree with.  Church is not just for Christians–it is for anyone who desires to know more about Jesus Christ.

The church experience should be one where Christians really love the church.

Ephesians 5:23

…for the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the Church. He is the Savior of the body.

One of the biggest issues about loving the church is missing the fact that Jesus Christ is the head of the church.  We serve a sovereign God.  We have to believe it along with simply stating it.

Ephesians 1:22

And He put everything under His feet and appointed Him as head over everything for the church.

Colossians 1:18

He is also the head of the body, the church; He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that He might come to have first place in everything.

You are to love the church because Jesus Christ leads it.  It is a place to come to learn and grow, and yes, to be sharpened.

Ephesians 5:25-27

Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ love the church and gave Himself for her to make her holy, cleansing her with the washing of water by the word. He did this to present the church to Himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or anything like that, but holy and blameless.

The church’s purpose is to help the people of God holy.  It is done through the work of the Holy Spirit, and He is the Teacher within the church about holiness.

If the church does not get involved with you, the relationship between you and the church is only superficial.  Your participation in church allows you to hear the wisdom of others through God’s guidance.

Ephesians 5:29-30

For no one ever hates his own flesh but provides and cares for it, just as Christ does for the church, since we are members of His body.

Another reason to love the church is that Jesus Christ and the church are one.

Ephesians 5:32

This mystery is profound, but I am talking about Christ and the church.

The church is the bride of Christ.

2 Corinthians 11:2

For I am jealous over you with a godly jealously, because I have promised you in marriage to one husband–to present a pure virgin to Christ.

The church is like Eve–Adam’s bride.  Eve came out of Adam (Genesis 2:22).

Romans 11:36

For from Him and through Him

and to Him are all things.

To Him be the glory forever. Amen.

John 6:44

No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him, and I will raise him up on the last day.

2 Corinthians 11:3

But I fear that, as the serpent deceived Eve by his cunning, your minds may be seduced from a complete and pure devotion to Christ.

When it comes to The Trinity, we have to learn to dance with God.  The Church was designed by God to be a dance studio to teach us to stay in step with Jesus, the Holy Spirit, and the Father.  We are dancing with all three.

Dancing and relating to Jesus, the Holy Spirit and the Father is no simple thing.  No one gets the hang of it quickly or permanently.  Why?  Because there is always a new step you have to learn and another turn added within the dance.  With all of this, you still will have to follow His leading.

It seems difficult, if not impossible, but the Holy Spirit is a great teacher.

John 14:17

He is the Spirit of truth.  The world is unable to receive Him because it doesn’t see Him or know Him. But you do know Him, because He remains with you and will be in you.

Without God, it seems wrong, or even foolish, and even sometimes downright stupid to dance with Jesus.  But you know better because you know Him and trust in Him.

Do you really know the Holy Spirit and understanding His voice?  His presence?

The church carries us through the pain and darkness of our lives.  It is there to be the light when there is no light.  It is there to provide encouragement.  It is there for us until we learn to dance smoothly with Jesus, and become actively involved in church life.

Once you become more active in church life, then you really will begin to grow.  Not just within the four walls of the building, but when you are living for Christ everywhere you go.

The church is a partial fulfillment of the kingdom of God here on earth.  It serves as a primary agent of the kingdom.

Colossians 1:13

He has rescued us from the domain of darkness and transferred us into the kingdom of the Son He loves.

It is in the church the inward disciplines with outward expressions of spiritual maturity take place.  The church is where you learn to be sharpened.

Acts 17:11

The people here were more open-minded than those in Thessalonica, since they welcomed the message with eagerness and examined the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so.

Proverbs 27:17

Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another.

Ecclesiastes 4:9-10

Two are better than one because they have a good reward for their efforts. For if either falls, his companion can lift him up; but pity the one who falls without another to lift him up.

We begin to grow in the church:

Because one is able to excise the fruit of the Spirit.  It does not mean one is mature, but it is a lifelong process.

Galatians 5:22-23a

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faith, gentleness, self-control.

True transformation determines our growth, but our desire is to look more like Jesus Christ in our everyday actions.


You and Me – Missionary Conference 2014

A special thanks to Joseph and Maria Howard, Christian and Missionary Alliance international workers for their service and for being a part of this year’s Missionary Conference.  For more information on Joseph and Maria’s ministry in West Africa, select here.  

The following is a summary of a message from Joseph Howard, C&MA missionary from Mali and Burkina Faso, Sunday, November 2, 2014:  

Mali is a large country, about the same size of Texas, and Burkina Faso is about the size of Ohio. In those countries, there are about 35 million people. Men and women live there who are much like you and me, to do all that they can to provide for their families.

1 John 1:1-4

1 What was from the beginning,

what we have heard,

what we have seen with our eyes,

what we have observed

and have touched with our hands,

concerning the Word of life—

2 that life was revealed,

and we have seen it

and we testify and declare to you

the eternal life that was with the Father

and was revealed to us—

3 what we have seen and heard

we also declare to you,

so that you may have fellowship along with us;

and indeed our fellowship is with the Father

and with His Son Jesus Christ.

4 We are writing these things

so that our joy may be complete.

 

The church that we meet in is very small, but we meet together and praise the Lord Jesus Christ. There are some that are practicing as Muslims but they are reciting Arabic prayers that they do not understand themselves. My wife and I have shared with them who God really is. He is a God of the present and today. He is the great I AM!

Many of the people in Mali and Burkina Faso are fishermen, who are referred to as Bozos in the native language. In the communication with the natives of the area, the people understand God to be one who is angry because of our sin, and people are to understand that God is indeed in the present and that Jesus Christ is the One who is present. In 1 John, God is referred to as being in the present.

What have you seen about Jesus today in the present? It’s important for you to communicate God’s present goodness. God has given us the opportunity to speak about His goodness to others as you proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ.

I love to talk about Jesus Christ freely to others, yet there was a time when I was very ill and I had to rest. God tells us, at times, to “be still and know that I am God.” We need to understand that God has to do a work in your own life in order for you to learn more about Him and be able to speak to others about Christ. One of the first verses I learned in Africa was John 14:6 (I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.)

There are three believers that shared with us about their experiences in Jesus Christ that are members of the church. They willingly share their love for Christ. It is important for you to be able to share about Jesus in order that others can see Jesus Christ in you. That is your goal.

The three believers I mentioned are now shunned by their families. They had shunned their traditions and the norms of society for His testimony in their lives. They have done great things where they are to have people ask the question about what is different about them. We are invited to have people “come and see” who Jesus Christ is through your life…to see Jesus through your words and actions.

That is the cry of our hearts…to let people see Jesus Christ through us. God is ever-present and in control. Let people see Him through you.


After Salvation–What Comes Next?

Today’s message summary from Pastor Gus Brown:

Today, we are starting a new series pertaining to salvation, but this series is more about how one is to behave after one gets saved. Salvation, in itself, helps to remove some of the struggles of life. It doesn’t remove them completely, but now we have, along with the ability to endure life as it happens and to see the hope through a growing relationship with Jesus Christ. There must be a desire to grow in your salvation; otherwise, you will miss out on the blessings that God bestows upon you and the maturity that comes with a healthy relationship in Jesus Christ.

Salvation is real. It is real if you allow yourself to experience the goodness and blessings of God.

Why were you born?

Were you born to carry on a name or to be a part of a family? Was it to be a great professional or something like that?

Do you know that you were born with a real purpose?

Your purpose for being born the first time and the second time is that you might know God. The second time is your salvation–to be born again for the purpose of having a real relationship with God, the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

To be born again is a real privilege. You are born again because God reveals Himself to You for who He really is.

God knows who you are, but now you have to get to know them (the Father, Son and Holy Spirit). Your real purpose in life is to have a relationship in which you learn and experience the person of God.

  1. The first blessing that God grants us is to know Him and to experience Him.

Psalm 14:1-4

1 The fool says in his heart, “God does not exist.”

They are corrupt; they do vile deeds.

There is no one who does good.

2 The Lord looks down from heaven on the human race

to see if there is one who is wise,

one who seeks God.

3 All have turned away;

all alike have become corrupt.

There is no one who does good,

not even one.

4 Will evildoers never understand?

They consume My people as they consume bread;

they do not call on the Lord.

 

Psalm 40:1-3

1 I waited patiently for the Lord,

and He turned to me and heard my cry for help.

2 He brought me up from a desolate pit,

out of the muddy clay,

and set my feet on a rock,

making my steps secure.

3 He put a new song in my mouth,

a hymn of praise to our God.

Many will see and fear

and put their trust in the Lord.

 

God helps us to see the purpose of life. Without the first birth, we could never experience the second birth.

John 17:3

This is eternal life:

that they may know You, the only true God,

and the One You have sent—Jesus Christ.

 

God blesses a person with life and the ability to experience it.

John 17:4

I have glorified You on the earth

by completing the work You gave Me to do.

 

Romans 5:1-2, 10

1 Therefore, since we have been declared righteous by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. 2 We have also obtained access through Him by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God.

10 For if, while we were enemies, we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, then how much more, having been reconciled, will we be saved by His life!

 

  1. To know and to be known by God is very important. To not do this is to not experience His blessings.

Matthew 6:33

But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be provided for you.

 

In order to see God’s blessings in big things, we need to see how he blesses us in the smallest of things. It’s all about appreciation for what you have.

Psalm 73:25-26

25 Who do I have in heaven but You?

And I desire nothing on earth but You.

26 My flesh and my heart may fail,

but God is the strength of my heart,

my portion forever.

 

Jeremiah 1:5

I chose you before I formed you in the womb;

I set you apart before you were born.

I appointed you a prophet to the nations.

 

Exodus 33:17

The Lord answered Moses, “I will do this very thing you have asked, for you have found favor in My sight, and I know you by name.”

 

John 10:14

“I am the good shepherd. I know My own sheep, and they know Me.

 

2 Timothy 1:12

and that is why I suffer these things. But I am not ashamed, because I know the One I have believed in and am persuaded that He is able to guard what has been entrusted to me until that day.

 

  1. Too many people live life in a state of failure. Why?

There is an absence of a relationship with God.

 

John 17:15-17

15 I am not praying

that You take them out of the world

but that You protect them from the evil one.

16 They are not of the world,

as I am not of the world.

17 Sanctify them by the truth;

Your word is truth.

 

Philippians 1:6

I am sure of this, that He who started a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.

 

John 14:16, 18, 26

16 And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Counselor to be with you forever.

18 I will not leave you as orphans; I am coming to you.

26 But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit—the Father will send Him in My name—will teach you all things and remind you of everything I have told you.

 

  1. There are two concepts that determine your experience of victory and blessings in your life–maturity and freedom.

Ephesians 4:13-15

13 until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of God’s Son, growing into a mature man with a stature measured by Christ’s fullness. 14 Then we will no longer be little children, tossed by the waves and blown around by every wind of teaching, by human cunning with cleverness in the techniques of deceit. 15 But speaking the truth in love, let us grow in every way into Him who is the head—Christ.

 

Luke 22:31

Simon, Simon, look out! Satan asked to sift you like wheat.

 

John 10:10

A thief comes only to steal and to kill and to destroy. I have come so that they may have life and have it in abundance.

 

2 Peter 1:3

His divine power has given us everything required for life and godliness through the knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and goodness.

 

1 Corinthians 10:23

“Everything is permissible,” but not everything is helpful. “Everything is permissible,” but not everything builds up.

 

When we acknowledge the truth and wisdom of Jesus Christ, we mature in the faith.

Satan knows how to block out growing and blessings in the faith:

  1. To be against the things of God. Satan tries to make you believe that God wants you to have it.
  2. He keeps your mind on your past life. You are to forget the past and press on.
  3. Keep you prone to failure.
  4. Controlled by your bad habits. The fact is that you can change your habits.
  5. Confusion. Remember that God is not the author of confusion.
  6. Blinded to the truth.
  7. Refuse to listen to or hear the truth. Faith enables you to receive truth.
  8. We will not speak truth to self. You have to accept the truth when other people give it to you.
  9. We choose to believe a lie. Remember that Satan lies all of the time (John 8:44).
  10. He wants you to believe that you don’t have a godly inheritance. You do have a hope and a future.

Always remember that God is able to guide you into a better life. He is the Author and Originator of your faith, and He delivers on His promises. You have to trust that He can and will do these things for you.


The Fruits of The Spirit – Self-Control

Today’s message summary from Pastor Gus Brown:

Galatians 5:22-23

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faith, 23 gentleness, self-control. Against such things there is no law.

 

Self-control is the measure of keeping one to remain focused on following Jesus Christ. It is an area that is controlled by the Holy Spirit. A lack of self control comes from being controlled by the flesh. Fleshly control is an opening to demonic influence. The Holy Spirit is present to allow for self control but a person must yield to the Spirit in order to maintain self control.

In Galatians 5, it is noted that the law is present because of sin, but it is the fruits of The Spirit that are beyond the law because you are acting in self control under God’s presence.

Self-control helps to capture all of our emotions. It is the virtue of one who masters his desires and passions, especially his sensual appetites.

Paul witnesses to Felix:

Acts 24:24-25

24 After some days, when Felix came with his wife Drusilla, who was Jewish, he sent for Paul and listened to him on the subject of faith in Christ Jesus. 25 Now as he spoke about righteousness, self-control, and the judgment to come, Felix became afraid and replied, “Leave for now, but when I find time I’ll call for you.”

 

Felix is being addressed because he is in desperate need of exhibiting self-control. He has been through three marriages. He needed to hear from Paul about:

1. Faith in Christ

2. Righteousness

3. Self-control

4. Judgment to come

 

Paul is in control.

Matthew 10:19-20

19 But when they hand you over, don’t worry about how or what you should speak. For you will be given what to say at that hour, 20 because you are not speaking, but the Spirit of your Father is speaking through you.

 

You may feel you have a right to take action against a person for their mistreatment of you.

1 Samuel 24:4-6

4 so they said to him, “Look, this is the day the Lord told you about: ‘I will hand your enemy over to you so you can do to him whatever you desire.’” Then David got up and secretly cut off the corner of Saul’s robe.

5 Afterward, David’s conscience bothered him because he had cut off the corner of Saul’s robe. 6 He said to his men, “I swear before the Lord: I would never do such a thing to my lord, the Lord’s anointed. I will never lift my hand against him, since he is the Lord’s anointed.”

 

1 Samuel 26:7-10

7 That night, David and Abishai came to the troops, and Saul was lying there asleep in the inner circle of the camp with his spear stuck in the ground by his head. Abner and the troops were lying around him. 8 Then Abishai said to David, “Today God has handed your enemy over to you. Let me thrust the spear through him into the ground just once. I won’t have to strike him twice!” 

9 But David said to Abishai, “Don’t destroy him, for who can lift a hand against the Lord’s anointed and be blameless?” 10 David added, “As the Lord lives, the Lord will certainly strike him down: either his day will come and he will die, or he will go into battle and perish.

 

Self-control is a quality for anyone in leadership.

Titus 1:8

…but hospitable, loving what is good, sensible, righteous, holy, self-controlled.

 

Titus 2:2

Older men are to be level headed, worthy of respect, sensible, and sound in faith, love, and endurance.

 

1 Timothy 3:2

An overseer, therefore, must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, self-controlled, sensible, respectable, hospitable, an able teacher.

 

1 Corinthians 9:25

Now everyone who competes exercises self-control in everything. However, they do it to receive a crown that will fade away, but we a crown that will never fade away.

 

Having knowledge of God’s Word helps to build us up in self-control. Training under God’s Word requires it, and it will teach you how to rely more and more on the presence of God in your life to rely upon Him in maintaining self-control.

The value of self-control is perseverance (patience).

 

2 Peter 1:6

…knowledge with self-control, self-control with endurance, endurance with godliness.

 

Self-control can bring you respect (honor). It teaches how to avoid strife.

Proverbs 20:3

It is honorable for a man to resolve a dispute,

but any fool can get himself into a quarrel.

 

Self-control (calmness) brings rest. It provides the ability to work things out.

Ecclesiastes 10:4

If the ruler’s anger rises against you, don’t leave your place,

for calmness puts great offenses to rest.

 

Without self-control, you can only display the flesh at its worst and all of its foolishness.

Proverbs 14:29

A patient person shows great understanding,

but a quick-tempered one promotes foolishness.

 

2 Timothy 3:3

…unloving, irreconcilable, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, without love for what is good.

 

You are being evaluated by others in your words, actions and behaviors to see if you really are who you claim to be–a Christian. The Christian is expected to have self-control. Living a life of carnality will show only a lack of control.

God wants you to be able to have the joy of the presence of the Holy Spirit by operating in self-control. When the characteristics of the fruits of The Spirit are manifested before others, the very presence of God and His power can be experienced by others as you remain faithful to Him.


Your Mind and Thoughts

A continuing study on the impact of sin.

Today’s message summary from Pastor Gus Brown:

Galatians 5:16-17

The Spirit versus the Flesh

16 I say then, walk by the Spirit and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh. 17 For the flesh desires what is against the Spirit, and the Spirit desires what is against the flesh; these are opposed to each other, so that you don’t do what you want.

God gives each one of us a mind. While God wants you to use your mind for the purpose of serving God and glorifying Him, it is up to you to determine whether you will follow God or follow the ruler of this world, Satan.

Romans 7:21-23

21 So I discover this principle: When I want to do what is good, evil is with me. 22 For in my inner self I joyfully agree with God’s law. 23 But I see a different law in the parts of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and taking me prisoner to the law of sin in the parts of my body.

Sin is never eradicated or destroyed.

God deals with sin in two ways:

1. He frees us from sin, for we are slaves of sin.

2. He delivers us from sin.  He rescues us from the perils of sin.

Note that once you are in sin, you alone cannot walk away from it on your own power or ability.

Proverbs 16:1-2

1 The reflections of the heart belong to man,

but the answer of the tongue is from the Lord.

2 All a man’s ways seem right to him,

but the Lord evaluates the motives.

Your thought process is affected by many different factors (your friends, worldly influences, and even demonic influences). You can experience conflict in your thought process, especially in your own flesh.  God has to be a part of your thought life in order that He can reason with you.  He helps you to sort out any voices that conflict with Him.  It’s up to you to listen to God’s voice and allow for His reasoning.  He is the voice that keeps you away from sin.

If we follow a principle to guard our thoughts and hearts, we will be receptive to God’s voice.

Philippians 4:8

Finally brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable—if there is any moral excellence and if there is any praise—dwell on these things.

1.  Is it true?  (speaking the truth, truthful)

2.  Is it noble?  (honest character, honorable; showing high moral qualities, ideals or deeds)

3.  Is it right?  Is it just?

4.  Is it pure?  (avoid carnality; free from every fault, clean)

5.  Is it lovely?  (acceptable, pleasing)

6.  Is it admirable?  (well spoken, repeatable, good report)

7.  Is it excellent?  (virtue, moral goodness)

8.  Is it praiseworthy?  (a commendable thing)

The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of truth.  He will give you what is best for you if you listen to Him, but you have to trust Him and believe in His Word.  The enemy will try to discourage you with thoughts that God does not want the best for you.  It is important for you to distinguish God’s truth from Satan’s deception.  When your thoughts are weighed against God’s reasoning and His truth.  He helps us with our thoughts and leads us to truth.

Proverbs 16:20

The one who understands a matter finds success,

and the one who trusts in the Lord will be happy.

You have a choice to make.  God makes known His will through His Word.  It should be a matter of prayer for each of us as we seek the truth and His will in our life.  We must choose to do God’s will or we will be outside of it.

John 7:17

If anyone wants to do His will, he will understand whether the teaching is from God or if I am speaking on My own.

Luke 10:38-42

Martha and Mary

38 While they were traveling, He entered a village, and a woman named Martha welcomed Him into her home. 39 She had a sister named Mary, who also sat at the Lord’s feet and was listening to what He said. 40 But Martha was distracted by her many tasks, and she came up and asked, “Lord, don’t You care that my sister has left me to serve alone? So tell her to give me a hand.”

41 The Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and upset about many things, 42 but one thing is necessary. Mary has made the right choice, and it will not be taken away from her.”

It is important for each of us to listen to God speak in order to process our thoughts with the proper care and consideration.

After God has replied to our prayers and petitions and weighed our plans and thoughts, we still need to commit to the Lord’s plans.  This is an important step in trusting The Lord.  Your success is in the Lord’s hand.  It all has to work out according to His will.

Proverbs 16:3-4

3 Commit your activities to the Lord,

and your plans will be achieved.

4 The Lord has prepared everything for His purpose—

even the wicked for the day of disaster.

Proverbs 16:9

A man’s heart plans his way,

but the Lord determines his steps.

If you commit your plans and thoughts to God, His promise is that He will direct your steps.  He is faithful.  He wants you to succeed.


Growing Through Adversity

No one wants or welcomes adversity in his or her life. There are some that would prefer to dictate how the events of life should occur and try to avoid adversity, but we all should conclude that we can’t control the “ups and downs” in life. When there is difficulty, this is a test as to what we believe as followers of Jesus Christ. It requires faith and trust in Him and the remembrance that God is in control.Adversity is not a bad thing; in fact, it is good thing, because it challenges our faith and provides opportunities for growth in our faith and trust in Jesus Christ.

Job 14:1

Man born of woman is short of days and full of trouble.

Adversity is what can be defined as “commotion,” or the condition of being physically agitated… restlessness, an uneasy or nervous state… a disastrous failure or defeat.

The worst thing that we can do is run away from life in response to moments of adversity. If believers are “more than conquerers,” then why run away…what are we running from? Adversity should, in fact, should be drawing us closer to God rather than away from Him. Depending upon where you are and what you are going through, it may require a consistent act of continually seeking Christ, in many ways, just to endure the hardship. It also requires compliance and agreement with God’s Word, which means humility and surrendering to Him as to whatever He wants to do in our live…whether we like it or not. It is a matter of obedience to God’s Word, and the joy realized with the peace of God that allows us to transcend beyond the adversity.

We are to have peace with God in order to have the peace of God.

Romans 5:1

Therefore, since we have been declared righteous by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Romans 8:5-8

5 For those whose lives are according to the flesh think about the things of the flesh, but those whose lives are according to the Spirit, about the things of the Spirit. 6 For the mind-set of the flesh is death, but the mind-set of the Spirit is life and peace. 7 For the mind-set of the flesh is hostile to God because it does not submit itself to God’s law, for it is unable to do so. 8 Those whose lives are in the flesh are unable to please God.

Philippians 2:5

Make your own attitude that of Christ Jesus.

John 14:27

“Peace I leave with you. My peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Your heart must not be troubled or fearful.”

In our adversity, we should always be mindful that we are walking with the Lord in fellowship through our life and our actions. This will enable each of us to know that we have the peace of God in our lives.

John 16:33
“I have told you these things so that in Me you may have peace. You will have suffering in this world. Be courageous! I have conquered the world.”

Peace is the very thing that God provides for us in the midst of difficulty.

It is important to seek the Lord and live in God’s peace and avoid the things that can disrupt your peace. Those who will readily criticize you and make claims that you never do anything right should be avoided (constructive criticism with justification is much different from harsh, unreasonable criticism). Another stumbling block is to compare where you are a person against that of where you perceive someone else is. There is no real peace when you are taking the focus off of God. The disruption of one’s peace also comes from carnality of the flesh, which prevents seeking the Lord in all things. It implies operating on one’s own strength instead of relying upon God.

Matthew 20:24-27

24 When the 10 [disciples] heard this, they became indignant with the two brothers. 25 But Jesus called them over and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles dominate them, and the men of high position exercise power over them. 26 It must not be like that among you. On the contrary, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, 27 and whoever wants to be first among you must be your slave.

1 Timothy 1:5
Now the goal of our instruction is love from a pure heart, a good conscience, and a sincere faith.

Ephesians 4:7
Now grace was given to each one of us according to the measure of the Messiah’s gift. For it says: When He ascended on high, He took prisoners into captivity; He gave gifts to people.

Adversity reveals the real life that we are living in Christ (or without Him). Are we living according to God’s standards and expectations?

1 Corinthians 6:19-20

19 Do you not know that your body is a sanctuary of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, 20 for you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body.

1 Corinthians 10:31

Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do everything for God’s glory.

Romans 2:21

…you then, who teach another, do you not teach yourself? You who preach, “You must not steal”—do you steal?

James 1:2-3

 2 Consider it a great joy, my brothers, whenever you experience various trials, 3 knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance.

His glory is revealed in us by our commitment to living the life that glorifies Him.

His glory is revealed to us in these three areas of life:
1. Goodness
2. Faithfulness
3. Servanthood

Goodness reflects how well we treat others in spite of our adversity. Faithfulness has to do with your word being your word, because you are living according to God’s Word. Servanthood refers to how you serve others with the desire to serve Christ and glorify Him, and not because you are looking for special recognition.

Each of these becomes our agenda in life only when we believe that God is sovereign and totally in control. He has absolute authority over everything in His creation.

John 19:10-11
So Pilate said to Him, “You’re not talking to me? Don’t You know that I have the authority to release You and the authority to crucify You?” “You would have no authority over Me at all,” Jesus answered him, “if it hadn’t been given to you from above. This is why the one who handed Me over to you has the greater sin.”

John 3:27
John responded, “No one can receive a single thing unless it’s given to him from heaven.”

Matthew 10:29
“Aren’t two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them falls to the ground without your Father’s consent.”