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Can God really forgive ME?

January 24, 2011

>Can God really forgive me?

“You don’t know what I’ve done. I’ve done some things that you can’t even imagine. I know He’s real and that He does forgive some people, but not me; I’ve made some mistakes that I have to live with for the rest of my life. I regret it, but it’s too late now.”

Does that sound familiar?

Or how about this:

“I’m stuck in this sin. I just cannot stop. I really don’t think God can forgive me again.”

These are legitimate questions, and I think more of us have struggled with them at some point or another than we would like to admit. I know I have.

Whether God’s forgiveness is a struggle that is keeping you from a relationship with Him, or you’ve had a relationship with Him and are worried He’s just going to give up on you, don’t worry; there is hope. Just stick with me for a second.

It’s hard knowing that Jesus died for our sin. I feel guilty about it, I mean, it is my fault. I think the popular song has it right when it says, “it was our sin that held Him there.” But here’s the thing, He knew what He was doing. John 10:17-18 explains that He freely chose to lay down His life for us. He knew what He was getting Himself into and yet He did it anyway! That’s how much He loves us. He let us kill Him. If He can forgive us for that, He can forgive us for anything.

So instead of doubting Him, thank Him.

1 John 1:9
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.

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A prayer

November 8, 2010

God, please teach me how to pray. Spirit, may you guide my words; You know what’s best for me. Selah.

God I want more of you in my life. I ask for more of you. Please take control. I surrender my will; Holy Spirit please come fill me, saturate me. I want more of You. May Your presence rain down on me and may You reign in me. You are all I want, You’re all I need, please be my everything.

May I be still and listen to You God. Please speak clearly to me. My heart’s desire is to know and love You. Father, please pour out your mercy and grace on me. Oh, Lord revive my soul. I long to hear Your voice. Your presence is all I need. May Your work be done in me and trough me. May everything I do bring glory to Your name. You deserve all glory and honor King of Kings and Lord of Lords. Emmanuel, God with us; may You take center stage of my life. May You be first, then others, and finally me.

Father, may I be producing good fruit. May the fruit of the Spirit be evident in my life. May I exemplify supernatural love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. May I live and walk by the Spirit. May I walk hand in hand and step in step with You. Not a step ahead, nor a step behind, but following You as You lead and direct.

Father forgive me for my filthiness. I desire to live for You. Please give me self-control that could only be from You. Lord, please use me as an instrument of Your love. May Your grace and love flow through me, may I be overflowing with Your presence. Lord renew me and transform me. I desire to see a revival breakout. God change our hearts, may we come back to You. May we be a people longing to see Your will done. May we be a generation that brings you glory. May we exalt you above all else! Be lifted high Emmanuel. Father we desire for heaven to invade Earth. May Your kingdom come and Your will be done on Earth as it is in Heaven.

God help me to see things that way you do. Open up my eyes Lord. Give me the capacity to love as you do, sacrificially and truly. Please break my heart for what breaks Yours. May I be a living sacrifice unto Your name. May You be glorified above all else. Lord please reign in me. God I ask for Your power in my life. Supernatural power. Power that can’t be accredited to me because of it’s clearly and wholly of You. I ask for an outpowering of Your Spirit to accomplish your purposes, not to fulfil my agenda. God erase my agenda and lead me in Yours. You are all I want, God You’re all I need. Please satisfy me oh Lord, the author of my salvation. The rock of my life. Continue your work in me until it is complete. Guide my path and direct my steps. May I be in constant communion with You. God invade my life, invade this place oh Lord. Fill me with Your presence. Cleanse me and purify me oh Lord. Wash me white as snow. Forgive me of my sins. Father thank you for all that you do for me. Thank you for your love. May you receive all the glory, honor and power. It is in your sons name, the precious name of my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, that I pray these things.

Amen.

>You Are Not Your Own

November 1, 2010

>Be forewarned, there is some harsh language in this. Sexual Immorality is a big deal. It’s a sin that plagues both the world and the Church. As I’ve been reading through 1 Corinthians it was something that the church of Corinth really struggled with. Paul reminds them of exactly what they are doing. It’s disgusting.

The following is paraphrasing and quotations from 1 Cor. 6:12-20; Matt 5; Jeremiah 2:13; James 1:13-15; Romans 12:1-2 as well as some of my own words.

When we put of faith in Christ and commit to following Him we become members of the Church, the body of Christ. We become part of something bigger than ourselves. Should we then take members of Christ and make them members of a prostitute?! Don’t you know that two become one flesh?! We are already one with the Lord in Spirit! Don’t even think about sexual immorality! Run from it! God says, “My people have committed two sins: They have forsaken me, the spring of living water, and have dug their own cisterns, broken cisterns that cannot hold water. ” He explains that His people left Him, this perfect bubbling spring of fresh water for a well that has only a bit of muddy water and will dry up because it isn’t even able to hold water. They left the perfect for something that won’t even satisfy! They are whores who leave the one that loves and cares for them and trade it in for something that is only temporary and won’t satisfy. It’s disgusting! They were drawn away be their own desires and then, as James explains, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death. This adultery, this love affair with sin leads to conception and then leads to this stillborn baby. All the excitement of the pregnancy is gone when in your hands you hold a lifeless baby. As God’s people, this is what sin looks like and does. It does not satisfy, its disgusting and disappointing. Jesus says that even in looking at a woman with lust we have commited adultery. We need to run from sexual sin! Therefore…present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind… Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.

>Be Immitators

October 29, 2010

>We often hear the passage where Paul tells the Corinthians to imitate him as he imitates Christ, but often we forget the context. In 1 Corinthians 4 Paul gives this list of the way he responds to things:

To the present hour we hunger and thirst, we are poorly dressed and buffeted and homeless, 12and we labor, working with our own hands. When reviled, we bless; when persecuted, we endure; 13when slandered, we entreat. We have become, and are still, like the scum of the world, the refuse of all things.

While reading this I felt bad about some of these that I struggle with, but he then goes on to say:

14I do not write these things to make you ashamed, but to admonish you as my beloved children.

He doesn’t write it to condemn the Corinthians, but rather to exemplify Christ-like living.

Who do you know living like this that you could learn to imitate?

Are you living in a way that those who would imitate you would be imitating Christ?

>The -ism’s That Plague the American Church

October 15, 2010

>Each of these has significant impact on the way church is done in America.

narcissism
nihilism
materialism
capitalism?
consumerism
hedonism
activism

Think about how these affect your view of church and the way in which you approach church ministry. How should the church respond to these views that are ingrained within our society?

Can you think of any others?

>Have Some Self-Control and Control Yourself

April 13, 2010

>Presented with the question of ‘how to be disciplined’ by a friend not long ago, I answered the same way I had answered when I’ve asked myself that question in the past. I said that requesting it from God in prayer and then just doing seemed to be the answer. I probably should have explained these further, and how I had come to those conclusions, but I decided to go with the more concise answer. Anyway, he replied to the second part, reminding me that “just doing it” was discipline. Once again, I had gone through this with myself in the past, so I wasn’t surprised by the remark. Nonetheless, the question stayed without me throughout the day. If becoming disciplined requires discipline, how do you ever start?

Before, I explain the answer that I came up with, let me further explain my initial response. I feel like often times those of us who have grown up in the church stray from the cliche Sunday School answers, or at least they have lost their meaning. Let me remind you that they became cliche because the actually are the answer to most of the questions. In James’ letter he explains that we don’t have it, because we didn’t ask God for it. (This is in the beginning of chapter 4. Notice also your motives play into it, as well as faith (chapter 1)). This seems extremely simple, but how often do we actually go to God and ask Him for something, especially when it’s something He desires us to have and expect Him to provide it? The second half of this point stems from the idea that discipline and self-control are synonymous in my mind. In Galatians 5 Paul lists the fruit of the Spirit. Many of you know them, but I’ll list them anyway. They are love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Now although I can display these things to a limited extent on my own we know that they are not the fruit of the flesh. Those are listed just prior to the fruit of the Spirit. If these things are then from God, should they not look different then when we try them in our own might? It seems that these nine traits should be of supernatural amounts in our life if we are living by the Spirit. I can feel a tangent and a sermon coming on, so I’ll try to stay on track on not go to much deeper. This is all to remind us that true we can’t have true-self control, it needs to come from God and be based on our relationship with Him. Again, cliche but true.

The second thing that I told him was just do it. In the past I thought asking for it and trying to do it was all that we could do. As my baseball coach always used to say, “Practice doesn’t make perfect. Practice makes permanent.” This is to say, that although we won’t be perfectly disciplined or self-controlled, but the more we get in the habit of it, the more natural it comes. I think the key word there is habit, and don’t get me wrong, I know this is much easier said then done. I definitely know. I still struggle with this often.

So now that I’ve explained my two part answer, lets get back to the part where this was on my mind throughout the rest of that day. Although I felt my answer was decent, and I knew I had some backing for it, I wondered what really practicing that might look like. How do you start? What are realistic goals to set? Then different things I heard cause the Spirit to remind me of the sermon I had just preached a few weeks earlier. I spoke out of Philippians 3. This passage is really well known. Paul is explaining how he lives focused on the end goal of fully knowing Jesus Christ. That was it! Whenever we are disciplined, it’s because we are putting off the short-term satisfaction for the long term gratification. In summary, a person of self-control is one who consistently evaluates life’s decisions through the lens of eternity. Hopefully this makes sense, but to make sure, I’ll keep rambling. Whenever your struggling with being disciplined about doing or not doing something it is because you want to do the thing that matters in the long run, not the thing that is temporarily easier or more enjoyable.

What I am saying is, I still hold to my initial answer, prayer and practice. The only difference is the practice is continually reminding oneself to press on toward the goal, constantly looking forward.

So go pray, and go practice.

>Adjusting What Needs to be Adjusted for God’s Glory

January 7, 2010

>So it’s been quite a while since I posted, and I don’t even have that good of a reason. I was busy with school finishing for the semester, but even once that was over I just never sat down and did it; but that time is over, I just got back from Passion 2010 (an amazing conference) and basically am bursting at the seems. I’ve told people about it, but i still have more to let out, so here you go.

There were many great speakers with many great points, but for now, I’m just going to talk about one speaker, and one point. That is, Beth Moore and her second point.

2. “God equips us by adjusting us.”

This may not seem too meaningful or deep, or even applicable. I mean, okay, he adjusts me, but what difference does that really make in my life, and what does that even look like? I mean I’m adjusted, but to what and why? Beth explained that God often intentionally puts us in situations in which we don’t fit. When we are there, we need some adjusting, and that doesn’t mean we need our situation adjusted. It also doesn’t mean that we need the people to be adjusted; what it does often mean is that we need to adjust to the people. What this involves is a change in attitude and perspective, and these lead to a change in character, God’s goal in that whole process.

So were put in situations we don’t fit in, with people we can’t stand and we need to love them, and we need a change in character to do this. Beth explained that we need to adjust to the people that bring out the worst in us, so that God can bring out the best in us.

This whole process of adjusting is really Him just refining us. It’s obviously hard, and it hurts at times, but the goal is to become more pure. It reminds me of this story I once heard. A woman, curious about what the process of the refinement of gold looked like went to a blacksmith. When she got there she asked him how it happens, and what he does in the process. He explains he holds the metal there in the fire watching it closely, feeling the heat. He never stops watching it, worried he might melt it. She then asked him how he knew when it was done, and he quickly replied, ‘oh that’s easy, when I can see my reflection in it.’ I think that’s just such a great image of what God does with us. He puts us through the hard times in order to purify us, but He’s right there with us the whole time, and we’re not done until we properly reflect Him.

So God adjusts and refines us, and as the point says, he does this to equip us. What is he equipping us to do? Let’s look at Hebrews 13 to find out. Verses 20 and 21 say:

May the God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, equip you with everything good for doing his will, and may he work in us what is pleasing to him, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.

So God is equipping us, through adjustment and refinement, to do His will. We’re made to do good things, and to fulfill His will, which ultimately leads to His glory.

So don’t fight it, and the next time you don’t fit in, don’t adjust the surroundings, but allow God to adjust you. It’s for His glory.