The Unshakables Part 4 – Building a Right Foundation

The Unshakables Part 4 – Building a Right Foundation  

What happens when my world is shaken up – Do I run to God or run from God? That really is determined by your foundation in Christ – You can build a life that is anchored, immovable, and indestructible.

All of us will experience a giant shake-up at some point. We will be striving towards accomplishing plan A when plan Q gets thrown into our path. Life changes all around us and some of these changes shatter our world. This can be a death, a sudden illness, an accident, a job loss, bankruptcy, a natural disaster, or any number of things that we never dreamed of preparing for.

•Earthquake this past week in Mexico City 7.5

•3rd game of the 1989 World Series in San Francisco 2.9

•in 1995, Kobe Japan, 33,000 people injured, 5,470 killed, 300,000 homeless, destroyed 144,000 buildings. What was the cause? The ground shook for only 20 seconds.

•Scientist and engineers are working on techniques for building earthquake resistant buildings. Their Goal – structures must have strength, flexibility, and proper foundation to withstand the shaking.

(Luke 6:46-49 NIV)46 Why do you call me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say? 47 As for everyone who comes to me and hears my words and puts them into practice, I will show you what they are like. 48 They are like a man building a house, who dug down deep and laid the foundation on rock. When a flood came, the torrent struck that house but could not shake it, because it was well built. 49 But the one who hears my words and does not put them into practice is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation. The moment the torrent struck that house, it collapsed and its destruction was complete.”

The determining factor of a right foundation – Determines the stability of your life during shifting; Determines the strength of your life when under storms; Determines the structure of your life (How high determines how deep)

It is to your advantage to become settled and fixed on the Word of God so that the shaking comes it will not shake you.

Our Right Foundation 

We believe the Bible is the unchangeable, inspired Word of God to all people. It was written by human authors under the supernatural guidance of the Holy Spirit. It is the supreme source of truth for Christian beliefs and living.

500 Year of the Reformation  – The Reformers did not see themselves as inventors, discoverers, or creators. Instead they saw their efforts as Rediscovery. •The looked back to the Bible for the mold by which they could shape the church and reform it.

•There was a reformation of church life, practice, and doctrine

• One of the 5 Solas of the Reformation were – Sola Scriptura (Scripture alone): The Bible is the final authority in all matters of life and Godliness. (

In America, Bibles are everywhere. You can find them in grocery stores, bookstores, motel rooms, everywhere. They’re available in all sizes, shapes, translations, versions, leather bound, paperback. Every year the Bible out sells every other major bestseller. Last year there were 500 million Bibles published in the world in 18,000 different languages. In America we are glutted with the word of God on the airways, radio, TV, books, magazines. It’s everywhere. Yet millions of people still miss the blessing of the Bible.

The Bible is not just a book; it is a God breathed, God indwelt, God inspired message. We are to believe what the Bible says, not what we think it says of what someone else says that it says.

The Bible is God’s Word to man, written and preserved for eternity. It is God’s official declaration and final decision. When invoked, it sets the standard to which all circumstances must conform. it is the absolute truth and the foundation of our Christian Faith.

The Scriptures contains the mind of God, the state of man, the way of salvation! Read it to be wise, we believe it to be saved, and practice it to be holy. Read it slowly, frequently, prayerfully. It is a mine of wealth, a paradise of Glory, and a river of pleasure. It is the book of all books!

1. The Scriptures are Supernaturally Inspired By God

2 Timothy 3:16-17 AMP – Every Scripture is God-breathed (given by His inspiration) and profitable for instruction, for reproof and conviction of sin, for correction of error and discipline in obedience, [and] for training in righteousness (in holy living, in conformity to God’s will in thought, purpose, and action),17 So that the man of God may be complete and proficient, well fitted and thoroughly equipped for every good work.

“The Bible is alive, it speaks to me; it has feet, it runs after me; it has hands, it lays hold of me.” Martin Luther

“If we take the supernatural out of Christianity all we are is a philosophy”

2 Peter 1:20-21 ESV knowing this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture comes from someone’s own interpretation. 21 For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.

Charles Spurgeon said – “The Book is a divine production; it is perfect, and it is the last court of appeal, the judge which ends all strife. I would as soon dream of blaspheming my Maker as of questioning the infallibility of His Word.”

•••Scripture is of no private interpretation. God has an intended meaning for each passage. There is only one correct interpretation. God did not gives the Bible so that we could find in it what we want it to mean. God gave us the Bible so that we could study it diligently to find out what it actually means. Many applications but only one interpretation.

The Bible Is An Eastern Book

•It was not written for theologians.

•It was never intended to be exhaustive, only comprehensive.

•It was written with a supernatural frame of reference.

•It’s the oldest book in the world—whose Author is still alive.

•It can best be understood from the standpoint of experience.

•It is a “living” document. It’s Author hovers over the pages.

•The Holy Spirit will never lead you to do anything contrary to what He has already written.

Interesting Insights Concerning The Bible

•The Bible is a library made up of 66 books.

•Two main sections: the Old and the New Testament.

•The Old Testament has 39 books

•The New Testament has 27 books.

•These 66 books, have a total of 1,189 chapters

•The chapters total about 31,273 verses.

•The Bible was divided into chapters only 800 years ago.

(More than 1100 years after New Testament written.)

•In A.D. 1551 the New Testament was divided into verses.

•20 minutes a day, read the whole Bible in one year.

Pope Francis said, “If faith is to be strong and healthy, it must be constantly nourished by the Word of God.”

2. The Scriptures were not given to increase our knowledge but to supernaturally transform our lives

Mark Twain said, “It ain’t the those parts of the Bible that I can’t understand that bother me, it is the parts that I do understand.”

“People do not reject the Bible because it contradicts itself but because it contradicts them.”

Joshua 1:8 NIV – “Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful.”

Scripture has 4 Senses to it – St. Thomas of Aquinas

•Literal – the actual meaning of the words

•Allegorical – the figurative sense of the words

•Moral – the meaning of the words that spurs us to a moral, christlike life•Anagogical – (leading) the mostly hidden, mystical sense of the rods, often pointing to some aspect of the afterlife

Psalms 1:1-3 ESV Blessed is the man[a] who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; 2  but his delight is in the law[b] of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night. 3  He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers.

3. Knowing God’s Word enables you to Know God

John 5:39 NIV–  “You study the Scriptures diligently because you think that in them you have eternal life. These are the very Scriptures that testify about me..” 

John Calvin said, “We owe to the scripture the same reverence which we owe God bc it proceeded from Him alone and has nothing belonging to man mixed with it”

God and His Word are the same – It’s not just words on a page, its a person – Jesus Christ.

John 1:1-5 ESV – In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life,[a] and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

Everything we are spiritually is because of God’s Word at work in our life. Therefore you will never be more spiritual than you are scriptural.

John 6:63 ESV –  It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh is no help at all. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life.

Growing in the knowledge of the Word of God is essential to growing in the SuperNatural! The Words of God is the Works of God!

4. God’s Word will Outlast Any Shaking 

Matthew 24:35 ESV – Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.

Bottom line: God’s word is eternal. Hold on to it! It will last longer than your problems

I Peter 1:23-25 ESV since you have been born again, not of perishable seed but of imperishable, through the living and abiding word of God; 24 for “All flesh is like grass and all its glory like the flower of grass. The grass withers, and the flower falls, 25 but the word of the Lord remains forever.” And this word is the good news that was preached to you.

“God’s Word is not obsolete, it is absolute.”

John 15:4-7 ESV Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned. If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.

5. Read the Scriptures Habitually

Luke 4:16-19 ESV  And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up. And as was his custom, he went to the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and he stood up to read. 17 And the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was given to him. He unrolled the scroll and found the place where it was written, 18 “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, 19 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.

The Secret to your spiritual success is hidden in the daily routine of reading God’s Word

Lectio divina – Sacred Reading. It has 4 steps that we can apply today.

•Lectio – a selection or a reading

•Meditatio – Thinking over or meditation

•Oratio – Speaking or praying words

•Contemplatio – Contemplation

pastedGraphic.pngSpending time with God should be a lifelong habit, not a passing fancy. Research shows you need to do something for about six weeks straight to build a habit. Make God’s Word part of your life today — and for the rest of your life.

Hebrews 10:16 ESV – “This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, declares the Lord: I will put my laws on their hearts, and write them on their minds,”

“In our prayers, we talk to God, in our Bible study, God talks to us, and we had better let God do most of the talking.” – D.L. Moody

John 8:31 NKJV – Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed.

When you get interested in God’s Word you get interested in God

•You can hear it, You can read it,You can study it,You can memorize it, You can meditate on it, and You can apply it

Charles Spurgeon said, “Nobody ever outgrows scripture, the book widens and deepens with our years.”

Shift Pt.7 – Relationships

Shift-Series

Shift Pt.7 – Relationships

Philippians 2:1-8 ESV – So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus,[a] who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant,[b] being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross

Here is a fact: God has made us to have relationships. 

We can have a relationship with Him and we can have a relationship with other people. Since the fall of Adam and Eve – maintaining relationships have been a major struggle between man and man – and man and God.

God sends people into our lives. How we treat them determines whether they stay

God gives us things to use and people to love, NOT things to love and people to use.

The Purpose for People in your Life

Mark 12:30-31 NIV – Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’[a] 31 The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’[b] There is no commandment greater than these.”

Life is filled with givers and takers. A person in your life who does not increase you will inevitable decrease you.

You must discern the people in your life. You must decide how much time you’re going to invest in others. We meet and become acquainted with many people in the course of our lives, however there are 3 levels in which we must recognize.

The 3 Levels are:

  1. Relationship
  2. Friendship
  3. Companionship

Your past, present, and future is always connected to people.

Relationships are founded on the discovery that you need people to be a success in life. The help us define who we are and what we can become. We can trace all our successes to pivotal relationships.

•Relationships are painful. Relationships are wonderful. We all live in the drama that plays out between these 2 truths.

•NO Relationship is without Challenges. Here are 2 challenges you face in every relationship: 1. False Expectation 2. Unfulfilled Promises

First, You can’t expect others to read your mind. False expectations occur when we refuse to talk things out.  Do not harbor or hide your hurts and disappointments in a relationship. A seed of bad timing or misspoken word can take root – hurting you and hurting others.

Hebrews 12:14-15 NIV – Make every effort to live in peace with everyone and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord. 15 See to it that no one falls short of the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many

Secondly, never promise what you cannot produce. Unfulfilled promises come from unrealistic schedules and pressures that WE self-impose. Simply learning to say NO now, can save you from “I’m Sorry” later.

James 5:12 NLT But most of all, my brothers and sisters, never take an oath, by heaven or earth or anything else. Just say a simple yes or no, so that you will not sin and be condemned

When you understand the purpose for people in your life you will discover that: 

  1. You will be appreciated
  2. You will be celebrated or
  3. You will be tolerated
  4. You will be terminated

•I’ve been all 4 at certain times in my life

2 Things must Increase for Relationships to move to the next level:

  1. Increase of Quality of Time
  2. Increase of Quality of Shared Information

Example: Jesus, who is the world’s foremost expert on relationships

John 15:13-15 NIV – Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. 14 You are my friends if you do what I command. 15 I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.

•Laying down my life (Time)

•Everything I’ve made known to you (Information)

Relationships teach us that we were not created to succeed alone. Friendships teach us that true success is a shared destiny.

Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 NIV – Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor:10 If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up.

You must discern the people God has placed in your life to complete you.

Relational Preconditions

Our relationships determine the direction and quality of our lives.

1. Am I willing to change? 

Matthew 18:3 NIV  And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.

You will never change your life until you change the way you think.

Romans 12:2 ESV  Do not be conformed to this world,[c] but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

Its not what you can get from a relationship but what can you give. Value people.

Nabi Saleh Owner of Gloria Jeans Coffee – “We aren’t in the coffee business, serving people. We’re in the people business, serving coffee.”

2. Am I willing to put others first? 

Mark 9:35 ESV  And he sat down and called the twelve. And he said to them, “If anyone would be first, he must be last of all and servant of all.”

You can tell how successful a person is by the way they celebrate the success of others

We have not come together to compete with one another, but to complete one another

Philippians 2:3 MSG “Don’t push your way to the front; don’t sweet-talk your way to the top. Put yourself aside, and help others get ahead.”

If you have a choice between making yourself or people around you look good, choose people around you!

3. Am I willing to let go of the past? 

I Corinthians 13:4-5 NIV Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.

Much criticism has to do with the unfortunate nature of people and their selfishness, arrogance, and jealousy

Colossians 3:13 ESV – bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive

Apologizing does not always mean you are wrong, it just means that you value your relationships more than your ego

4. Am I willing to Love as Jesus did? 

John 13:34-35 ESV – A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. 35 By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”

Jesus was saying that The Church is not about religion, it’s about relationships.

Romans 12:10-11 ESV-  Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. 11 Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit,[a] serve the Lord.

How to have a SHIFT in Relationships

1. Strengthen my Important Relationships

When right people enter your life, right things happen. Right people are those who will build you and not tear you down. They are excited about your potential and dreams.

Galatians 5:13-15 NIV – You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh[a]; rather, serve one another humbly in love. 14 For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”[b] 15 If you bite and devour each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other

Dr Carl Menger said, Our environment shapes us more than our DNA or heredity

2. Heal my Strained Relationships

Romans 12:17-18 NIV – Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. 18 If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.

I dare you to make that call! Go make that visit!

Colossians 3:13 ESV – bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.

James 5:16 “Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed.”

3. Disconnect from Harmful Relationships

People who take you down and not up, they make withdrawals but never deposits. They abuse and misuse you. They gossip about you instead of guard you

I Corinthians 15:33 ESV Do not be deceived: “Bad company ruins good morals

People who are more critical than complimentary

Proverbs 13:20 ESV – Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm

II Corinthians 6:14 NIV – Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness?

(2 Corinthians 6:14-17 Message)  “Don’t become partners with those who reject God.  God himself put it this way: ‘I’ll live in them, move into them; I’ll be their God and they’ll be my people.  So leave the corruption and compromise; leave it for good,’ says God.  “Don’t link up with those who will pollute you.”

4. Initiate new Meaningful Relationships

Ephesians 2:19 NIV – Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people and also members of his household

Your spiritual family, the Church, will last for eternity

Proverbs 18:24 NIV – One who has unreliable friends soon comes to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.

Questions to Ask Myself About meaningful relationships In My Life

  • Are my relationships inspiring me to love God?
  • Are my relationships inspiring me to love the church?
  • Are my relationships inspiring me to make wise choices?
  • Do my friends love and accept me for who I am?

How to do thisConnect (Life Groups) At GraceTown we believe that life change happens best in the context of relationship and community. Life Groups provide a place to care for one another, and partner for spiritual growth and kingdom impact. We promote a “free market” approach that capitalizes on existing relationships and affinities.

“I am more than I am, but less that we are. I sought my God but my God I could not see. I sought my soul, but my soul eluded me. I sought my friend, and I found all three,”

Jesus said in Matthew 18:20, For where two or three are gathered in my name, there I am in the midst of them.”

Acts 2:42-47 ESV – And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. 43 And awe[a] came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles. 44 And all who believed were together and had all things in common. 45 And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need. 46 And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, 47 praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved.

The Love of God

the-love-of-god

The Love of God 

I John 3:1 NIV – See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him.

3 Facts that Drive me to Communicate the Love of God

1. Everyone is Looking for Love

“Bart, with $10,000 dollars, we’d be millionaires! We could buy all kinds of useful things like…love.” Homer J Simpson

The quest is around us everyday in the music we hear and the movies we watch, and the books we read. The desire is woven into the fiber of our being. From the moment we came out of the womb, we have been looking for someone to feed us, hug us, care for us, affirm us, forgive us when we mess up, support us, and tell us that we matter.

No matter who we are, there is a universal need among human beings to be loved.

2. Just as there is a universal quest for love, there is a universal answer to that quest

If everyone has the same problem, there must be a universal solution. The answer is God.

3. There’s a tragic disconnection between the universal need and the universal answer.

There are 6 billion people in the world who are desperate for love and there is a God with limitless resources who wants to love them.

Defining the Love of God

God’s love is his holy disposition toward all that he has created that compels him to express unconditional affection and selective correction to provide the highest quality of existence, both now and forever, for the object of his love.

We can’t provoke, trick, convince, earn, or win God’s love. God doesn’t love us for who we are or what we do, but  because of who He is.

Agape – Unconditional, giving, sacrificial, and boundless love:

Matthew 5:44 NIV – But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,

John 15:13 NIV – Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.

God Loves us Unconditionally

Romans 5:8 ESV – but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

The Love of God is a rhapsody in red, a swirling narrative of blood and forgiveness

•God doesn’t love us for what we do, but He loves us because of who he is.

•man bases love on performance….If you….I will

•God loves us for what He finds in Himself – LOVE.

•No matter what you do – God cannot stop loving you.

“God sees the best in the worst of us, knows the worst about the best of us, and loves us all without condition or exception.”

•When you know that God loves you unconditionally, you can love people unconditionally.

Christianity is a love affair. NOT a code of ethics, rules, or Philosophy of Life. The Cross of Christ was not to produce a nice moral people – but LOVERS OF GOD!

I John 4:7-8, 21 NIV Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. 21 And he has given us this command: Anyone who loves God must also love their brother and sister.

Dimensions of God’s Love 

Ephesians 3:17-19 NIV – so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, 18 may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, 19 and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.

There is no instrument that can measure how much God, out of His infinite being, cares for you and wants your best!

CS Lewis said, “Though our feelings come and go, God’s Love for us does not.”

Psalm 36:5 NIV– Your love, Lord, reaches to the heavens, your faithfulness to the skies. 

How God Thinks about YOU

1. God’s Thoughts, intentions, desires, and plans are always for your good and never for your harm. 

Jeremiah 29:11 NIV – For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

When God thinks about you, he thinks about goodness and blessings. No matter how the immediate surroundings may look, God sees the big picture and has plans for your benefit.

James 1:17 NIV – Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.

“God loves each of us as if there were only one of us.” Augustine

2. God is kind, open, approachable, frank, and eager to be your friend 

John 13:12-15 NIV – When he had finished washing their feet, he put on his clothes and returned to his place. “Do you understand what I have done for you?” he asked them. 13 “You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and rightly so, for that is what I am. 14 Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. 15 I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you.

“I have found God to be cordial and generous and in every way easy to live with.”- A.W. Tozer

He is the most loyal and attentive friend you could possibly have

Romans 5:10-11 NLT – For since our friendship with God was restored by the death of his Son while we were still his enemies, we will certainly be saved through the life of his Son. 11 So now we can rejoice in our wonderful new relationship with God because our Lord Jesus Christ has made us friends of God.

Joseph Scriven penned the words of that great hymn, What a friend we have in Jesus, All our sins and griefs to bear! What a privilege to carry Everything to God in prayer! Oh, what peace we often forfeit, Oh, what needless pain we bear, All because we do not carry Everything to God in prayer!

3. God emotionally identifies with your pain, joy, hopes, and dreams, and has chosen to allow your happiness to affect his own. 

John 11:33-36 NIV –  When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come along with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled. 34 “Where have you laid him?” he asked. “Come and see, Lord,” they replied. 35 Jesus wept. 36 Then the Jews said, “See how he loved him!”

Although he is an infinite God of the universe, our pain causes him pain, our joy gives him a life, our hopes bring excitement to his heart, and when there is tragedy he weeps with us.

This self existing God needs no one, yet he has chosen to be so emotionally identified with our ups and downs, and our dreams and hopes.

Hebrews 4:15 NIV – For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin.

4. He takes pleasure in you just for who you are completely apart from your performance and / or accomplishments

God is telling these rebellious people how he stands over them singing and rejoicing.

Zephaniah 3:17 NIV – The Lord your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves. He will take great delight in you; in his love he will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing.”

“God loves us; not because we are lovable but because He is love, not because He needs to receive but because He delights to give.”- C.S. Lewis

Psalm 145:8-16 (NIV)  8 The Lord is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in love.The Lord is good to all; he has compassion on all he has made. 

Psalm 103:4-5 who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion, who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.

How Do We Respond to God’s Love

1. We Must Receive

John 3:16-17 NIV – For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.

 “Love deems this world worth rescuing.” – Philip Yancey

I John 2:2 NIV – He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.

Titus 2:11 NIV – For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people.

2. We Must Believe

I John 4:13-16 NIV – This is how we know that we live in him and he in us: He has given us of his Spirit. 14 And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. 15 If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in them and they in God. 16 And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them.

3. Saturate Your Mind with the Truth of God’s Love for us

Romans 8:38-39 NIV – For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,[a] neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

God wants us to know that nothing – not even our own junk – can separate us from his love

4. Then Give it All Away

Jesus Last instructions to his disciples

John 13:34-35 NIV – A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. 35 By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”

“The significance of the law of love is precisely that it is not just another law, but a law which transcends all law.”- Reinhold Niebuhr

The more of God’s love we give away, the more he supplies. It’s the gift that keeps on giving.

I John 3:16-18 NIV – This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters. 17 If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person? 18 Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.

“The litmus test of our love for God is our love of our neighbor”  – Brennan Manning

I Corinthians 13:13 NIV –  And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

Why is love greater than faith and hope? Faith involves the present. Hope involves the future. But love transcends time. Love existed before anything existed.

Love will never need a casket because it has no funeral! Salvation is a sticky story, a messy manuscript, but it’s also a lovely one. Love is the bond that glued God to humanity.  Nothing can pry apart what God has welded together!

In 1923 Fredrick Lehman penned the words to his classic Hymn “The Love of God”

The love of God is greater far , Than tongue or pen can ever tell.

It goes beyond the highest star, And reaches to the lowest hell.

The guilty pair, bowed down with care, God gave His Son to win;

His erring child He reconciled And pardoned from his sin.

O love of God, how rich and pure! How measureless and strong!

It shall forevermore endure— The saints’ and angels’ song.

When hoary time shall pass away, And earthly thrones and kingdoms fall;

When men who here refuse to pray, On rocks and hills and mountains call;

God’s love, so sure, shall still endure, All measureless and strong;

Redeeming grace to Adam’s race—The saints’ and angels’ song.

Could we with ink the ocean fill, And were the skies of parchment made;

Were every stalk on earth a quill, And every man a scribe by trade;

To write the love of God above, Would drain the ocean dry;

Nor could the scroll contain the whole, Though stretched from sky to sky.

God’s Love and Passion for YOU

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God’s Love & Passion for You

I’m not preaching to the perfect today! But to those of us who don’t have it all together. The hurting, hopeless, and helpless. The stressed out, the successful, the prosperous & the poor. The messed up, misfits, frustrated , those of us with flaws, the imperfect, people who have had moments of indiscretion, weakness’s & failures. I’m talking about Noah who got drunk, David who murdered & commit adultery, Abraham who lied, Thomas who doubted, & Simon Peter, who denied & cursed Christ.

God’s love for us is enormous, extravagant, endless….God doesn’t love us sometimes….He loves us All the Time. He loves us unconditionally.

CS Lewis said, “Though our feelings come and go, God’s Love for us does not.”

Psalm 36:5-7 NIV– Your love, Lord, reaches to the heavens, your faithfulness to the skies. 6 Your righteousness is like the highest mountains, your justice like the great deep. You, Lord, preserve both people and animals. 7 How priceless is your unfailing love, O God! People take refuge in the shadow of your wings.

The Msg – God’s love is meteoric, his loyalty astronomic,His purpose titanic, his verdicts oceanic. Yet in his largeness nothing gets lost; Not a man, not a mouse, slips through the cracks.7-9 How exquisite your love, O God! How eager we are to run under your wings, To eat our fill at the banquet you spread as you fill our tankards with Eden spring water. You’re a fountain of cascading light, and you open our eyes to light.

The central message of the Bible is the gospel, or good news, about the person and work of Jesus Christ. In 1 Corinthians 15:1–4, Paul provides the most succinct summary of the gospel: the man Jesus is also God, or Christ, and died on a cross in our place, paying the penalty for our sins; three days later He rose to conquer sin and death and give the gift of salvation to all who believe in Him alone for eternal life.

I Corinthians 15:1-4 ESV -.Now I would remind you, brothers,[a] of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you—unless you believed in vain. For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures,

CS Lewis said, “God who needs nothing, loves into existence wholly superfluous creatures in order that He may love and perfect them.”

We Drastically Underestimate God’s Love for us. Why?

1. It is easy to feel Common to God

Since there is 7 billion people how can I feel special to God? Luke 15 Jesus tells 3 parables with the same theme – lost sheep, lost coin, and lost son. Jesus’s point: Every single peron is a VIP to God.

2. It is easy to feel Alone

We are never out of God’s sight. He never leaves us nor forsakes us. Hebrew children in the fiery furnace.

3. It’s easy to feel unlovable because of our failure or sin

The Answer: 

John 3:16 KJV – For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

HOW TO SETTLE YOUR ETERNAL DESTINY

1. ACKNOWLEDGE GOD’S GREAT PASSION

“God SO loved the world…”

1 John. 4:9-10 (NLT)  “God showed how much He loved us by sending His only Son into the world so that we might have eternal life through Him. This is real love…He sent His Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins.”

We are the Beloved of God

1 John 3:1 (Amp)  “What an incredible quality of love the Father has shown us, that we should be permitted to be called and counted as the children of God!”

But God’s love for you all through the Bible and through Jesus’ example explains that His love is four-dimensional for you.

Ephesians 3:17-19 NIV – so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, 18 may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ. 19 and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.

•How long is God’s love? Long enough to last forever

•It is wide enough to be everywhere. There is no place that you could go in life that God’s love is not with you.

•It’s deep enough to handle everything. No problem, no pressure, no stress, no difficulty.

You say, “I’m in the pits right now!” God’s love is there

•Then it is high enough to overlook your mistakes. God loves to forgive. He loves to help you start over.

Martin Luther said, “This is the ineffable and infinite mercy of God which the slender capacity of man’s heart cannot comprehend and much less utter – the unfathomable depth and burning zeal of God’s love toward us.”

2. APPRECIATE GOD’S GREAT PRESENT

“that He GAVE His only begotten Son…”

Rom. 3:24-25a (Mes) “Out of sheer generosity God put us in right standing with himself. A pure gift. He got us out of the mess we’re in and restored us to where He always wanted us to be. And He did it by means of Jesus Christ. He sacrificed Jesus on the altar of the world to clear that world of sin.”

Rom. 5:6-8 (NIV) “You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

•God doesn’t love us for what we do, but He loves us because of who he is.

•man bases love on performance….If you….I will

•God loves us for what He finds in Himself – LOVE.

•No matter what you do – God cannot stop loving you.

“God sees the best in the worst of us, knows the worst about the best of us, and loves us all without condition or exception.”

2 Cor. 5:21 (LB) “God took the sinless Christ and poured into Him our sins. Then, in exchange, He poured God’s goodness into us.”

Ephesians. 2:8 (Mes) “Saving is all His idea, and all His work. All we do is trust Him enough to let Him do it. It’s God’s gift from start to finish!”

3. ACCEPT GOD’S GREAT PROPOSAL

“that WHOEVER BELIEVES in Him…”

Titus 2:11 (NIV) “For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people.”

Col. 3:11 (LB) “One’s nationality or race or education or social position is unimportant; such things mean nothing. Whether a person has Christ is what matters, and He is equally available to all.”

Rom 3:22 (LB) “God says He will accept and acquit us – declare us “not guilty” – if we trust Jesus Christ to take away our sins. And we all can be saved in this same way, by coming to Christ, no matter who we are or what we have been like.”

2 Cor. 6:2 (NIV) For he says,“In the time of my favor I heard you, and in the day of salvation I helped you.”[a] I tell you, now is the time of God’s favor, now is the day of salvation.

4. ANTICIPATE GOD’S GREAT PROMISE.

“should not perish but have EVERLASTING LIFE!”

“God so loved the world…” That’s His passion and I admit and recognize it. “…that He gave His only begotten Son…” That’s His present that He wants to give you. “…that whosoever believes in Him …” That’s the condition, that’s the proposal. “…should not perish but have ever lasting life.” That’s the promise. “Should not perish but have everlasting life.”

Did you know that you were made to last forever? One day you’re going to die. That’s going to be the end of your body. Your heart’s going to stop. But that’s not going to be the end of you.

Notice God’s promise.

1 Peter 1:3-5 (NLT) All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. It is by his great mercy that we have been born again, because God raised Jesus Christ from the dead. Now we live with great expectation, and we have a priceless inheritance—an inheritance that is kept in heaven for you, pure and undefiled, beyond the reach of change and decay. And through your faith, God is protecting you by his power until you receive this salvation, which is ready to be revealed on the last day for all to see.

1 Peter 1:3-4 (Mes) “What a God we have! … Because Jesus was raised from the dead, we’ve been given a brand-new life and have everything to live for, including a future in heaven, and the future starts now!”

Ps. 34:8 (Mes) “Open your eyes and see how good God is!”

Salvation because of Love

“God’s power to save us is greater than our sin that condemns us”

 “Love deems this world worth rescuing.” – Philip Yancey

I John 2:1-2 NIV – My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have an advocate with the Father—Jesus Christ, the Righteous One. He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world. 

God won’t just take your sin away from you; He’ll put it so far away from you that you can’t find it anymore. That’s how forgiven you’ll be!

(Romans 10:9-10) “That if you confess with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved.”

Will You Accept God’s Love Today?

A – I’m already a Christian
B – I’m believing today
C – I’d like to consider it a bit more
D – I don’t ever intend to make that decision

“Dear God, I’m ready for a change. I don’t want to stay the same. I need a fresh start with You. Today I open my life to knowing You. Forgive me for living my life my way. Today I invite Jesus to be the Lord of my life. Jesus I want to know You. I put my faith in You. Give me the power to change. In Your Name I pray. Amen.”

Christmas at the Movies: How the Grinch Stole Christmas

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How the Grinch Stole Christmas

Luke 2:8-10 NIV –  “And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night.  An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified.  But the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.”

I think one of the missing things in Christmas today – joy. For many – Christmas isn’t so holly jolly

Every Who down in Who-ville liked a Christmas a lot…

But the Grinch, who lived just north of Who-ville did NOT!

The Grinch hated Christmas! The whole Christmas season!

Now, please don’t ask why. No one quite knows the reason.

It could be his head wasn’t screwed on just right.

It could be, perhaps, that his shoes were tight.

But I think that the most likely reason of all

May have been that his heart was two sizes too small.

But, whatever the reason, his heart or his shoes

He stood there on Christmas Eve, hating the Whos,

Staring down from his cave with a sour, Grinchy frown

At the warm lighted windows below in their town.

For he knew every Who down in Who-ville beneath

Was busy now, hanging a mistletoe wreath.

“And they’re hanging their stockings!” he snarled with a sneer

“Tomorrow is Christmas! It’s practically here!”

Then he growled, with his Grinch fingers nervously drumming

“I MUST find some way to stop Christmas coming!”

Hmmm… it seems like a Christmas has always had that kind of effect on some people

The Joy Robbers 

• Bad Things That Shouldn’t Happen, But Do, Good Things That Should Happen, But Don’t

  • Past Experiences
  • Present burdens that are heavy
  • Future hope is distant

Which causes…

1. Confusion.  distraction. turmoil, jumble, mess, disarray. perplexity; bewilderment:

•A university student was seen with a large “K” printed on his T- shirt. When someone asked him what the “K” stood for, he said, “Confused.” “But,” the questioner replied, “you don’t spell “confused” with a “K.” The student answered, “You don’t know how confused I am.

Romans 7:15, 18 LB “I don’t understand myself at all, for I really want to do what is right, but I can’t. I do what I don’t want to—what I hate. No matter which way I turn I can’t make myself do right. I want to but I can’t.”

 2. Frustration. a feeling of dissatisfaction, often accompanied by anxiety or depression, resulting from unfulfilled needs or unresolved problems.

Romans 7:21 LB “It seems to be a fact of life that when I want to do what is right, I inevitably do what is wrong.”

3. Discouragement. depression, dejection, hopelessness. despair.  deterrent, damper, impediment, obstacle, obstruction.

Romans 7:24 The Message –   I’ve tried everything and nothing helps. I’m at the end of my rope. Is there no one who can do anything for me? Isn’t that the real question?

Joy intense, ecstatic, exultant happiness, expression of that feeling, to enjoy, fill with pleasure and satisfaction.

Words that describe Joy – amusement, animation, bliss, cheer, comfort, delight, gladness, good humor, jewel, luxury, rapture, refreshment, wonder, sport, treasure

1. Joy will change my approach to life.                                                                                                               

Think about all the different aspects of your life – Emotions will affect it more than anything else.

Nehemiah 8:10 NIV – Nehemiah said, “Go and enjoy choice food and sweet drinks, and send some to those who have nothing prepared. This day is holy to our Lord. Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.”

You are stronger when your attitude is strong – emotions are solid. It will give you an uncommonly positive perspective on life.

2. Joy will turn my problems into blessings.

It has the ability to turn bad things into good things

Psalm 126:5 NIV  “Those who sow in tears will reap with songs of joy. “ 

Psalms 30:5 ESV – For his anger is but for a moment, and his favor is for a lifetime.[a] Weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes with the morning.

3. Joy will affect those around You

It is contagious and can totally change the dynamic of your Christmas

Psalms 126:1-2 NIV – When the Lord restored the fortunes of[a] Zion, we were like those who dreamed.[b]2 Our mouths were filled with laughter, our tongues with songs of joy. Then it was said among the nations, “The Lord has done great things for them.”

How to Get Your Christmas JOY back

1. Take responsibility for your own emotions.

So easy to blame others – but it’s up to you. Choosing the way you’re going to view life – people

For most of us – our attitude will not take care of itself. Remember – it’s not a feeling – it’s a choice. If you don’t like the situation that faces you – change it

Hebrews 12:1 NIV  “Let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.”

You cannot determine what happens to you. But you can determine what happens in you

The best way is to start off each day – decide – get rid of stuff

Dear Lord,

So far today, I am doing all right.  I have not gossiped, lost my temper, been greedy, grumpy, nasty, selfish, or self-indulgent.  I have not whined, cursed, or eaten any chocolate. However, I am going to get out of bed in a few minutes, and I will need a lot more help after that.  Amen.

Psalm 19:14 NIV–  “May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer.”

Remember: The walls we build around us to keep our the hurt and sadness, also keeps out the joy

2. Develop a high appreciation for life.

John Wooden—“Things turn out best for the people who make the best of the way things turn out.”

Ecclesiastes 5:19 NIV –   “When God gives any man wealth and possessions, and enables him to enjoy them, to accept his lot and be happy in his work–this is a gift of God.”

We cannot choose how many years we will live

But we can choose how much life those years will have

We cannot control the beauty of our face

But we can control the expression on it

We cannot control life’s difficult moments

But we can choose to make life less difficult

We cannot control the negative atmosphere of the world

But we can control the atmosphere of our minds

Too often – we try to choose and control things we cannot

Too seldom – we choose to control what we can – our attitude

3. Say something positive in every conversation.

This is hard – but can change the dynamic of every situation

Proverbs 16:24 NIV –   “Pleasant words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.”

You ever notice some people have no filter?

Best way is to pray daily…

Psalm 141:3 NIV–  “Set a guard over my mouth, O LORD; keep watch over the door of my lips.”

People can frustrate you – must train our eyes. Look for the best in them – bring out their positive qualities

Philippians 2:3-4 NIV-  “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves.  Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.”

How?  People who have a high appreciation of life…Know that God is going to work it out for the good

Romans 8:28 NIV –   “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”

How do we change the size of their hearts?

(CLIP FROM MOVIE from the top of Mt. Crumpit to the end which reads as follows):

Three thousand feet up! Up the side of Mt. Crumpit,

He rode with his load to the tiptop to dump it!

“Pooh-Pooh to the Whos!” he was ginch-ish-ly humming.

“They’re finding out now that no Christmas is coming!

“They’re just waking up! I know just what they’ll do!

“Their mouths will hang open a minute or two

“Then the Whos down in Who-ville will all cry BOO-HOO!

“That’s a noise,” grinned the Grinch, “That I simply MUST hear!”

So he paused. And the Grinch put his hand to his ear.

And he did hear a sound rising over the snow.

It stared in low. Then it started to grow…

But the sound wasn’t sad~ Why, this sound sounded merry!

It couldn’t be so! But it WAS merry! VERY!

He stared down at Who-ville! The Grinch popped his eyes!

Then he shook! What he saw was a shocking surprise!

Every Who down in Who-ville, the tall and the small,

Was singing! Without any presents at all!

He HADN’T stopped Christmas from coming! IT CAME

Somehow or other, it came just the same!

And the Grinch, with his Grinch-feet ice-cold in the snow,

Stood puzzling and puzzling: “How could it be so?

“It came without ribbons! It came without tags!

“It came without packages, boxes or bags!”

And he puzzled 3 hours, till his puzzler was sore.

Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before!

“Maybe Christmas,” he thought, “Doesn’t come from a store.

“Maybe Christmas… perhaps… means a little bit more!”

And what happened then…?

Well… in Who-ville they say that the Grinch’s small heart grew 3 sizes that day!

And the minute his heart didn’t feel quite so tight,

He whizzed with his load through the bright morning light

And he brought back the toys! And the food for the feast!

And he… HE HIMSELF…!

The Grinch carved the roast beast!

———————————————-

Did you realize what a beautifully theological story this is?

What changed the heart of the Grinch?

It wasn’t the ribbons, it wasn’t the tags

It wasn’t the packages, boxes or bags

It was the witness of the people down in Who-ville…the witness of people that the Grinch had always hated because of the Christmas they celebrated.

It was their singing and their joy that changed the Grinch

God wants you to have your JOY back! 

THE WELLS OF JOY (Genesis 26) 

A. THE PHILISTINES STOPPED UP ALL THE WELLS

1. They thought this would drive Isaac away.

2. They attempted to cover up his source of refreshing and strength.

3. The devil would like to do the same to you.

4. He wants to stop up your JOY WELL and cover it up.

B. GOD COMMANDED ISAAC TO REDIG THE WELLS

1. Some of you need to redig the wells.

2. You need to uncover the well which the devil has sought to

hide from you.

3. Isa 12:3  “Therefore with joy shall ye draw water out of the wells 

        of  salvation.” 

4. The devil may try to stop your JOY-WELL up, but you’re going to

unstop those wells.

Psalms 43:4 NIV – “I will go to your altar and you my exceeding joy in PRAISE”!

How to Quit Playing God

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How to Quit Playing God

Back in the 1960’s there was a famous book written by Eric Burn called Games People Play. A couple of years later another book came out, Games Christians Play. It was an interesting book that dealt with games Christians play in the name of the Lord. I want us to look at the deadliest game — the game of playing God.

Here is a delightful piece of truth: “There is a God. You are not Him”

James 4:11-12 NIV – Brothers and sisters, do not slander one another. Anyone who speaks against a brother or sister[a] or judges them speaks against the law and judges it. When you judge the law, you are not keeping it, but sitting in judgment on it. 12 There is only one Lawgiver and Judge, the one who is able to save and destroy. But you—who are you to judge your neighbor?

James says that the way we play God is by judging other people. Anytime I judge you, anytime you judge me, we’re playing God. It’s only God’s responsibility to judge other people.
I want us to look at Why we judge other people, Why shouldn’t we judge, When is it wrong to judge other people, and How do you break the habit of judging other people. You’ll be a lot happier if you learn how to deal with this issue.

“Any fool can criticize, condemn, and complain, and most fools do.” – Benjamin Franklin
We judge people for judging people because judging people is wrong
WHY DO WE LIKE TO JUDGE OTHERS?

1. We tend to judge other people is to excuse our own faults

Romans 2:3 NIV – So when you, a mere human being, pass judgment on them and yet do the same things, do you think you will escape God’s judgment?

You think by pointing the finger at somebody else, God is going to forget what you’ve done, or when you point out how somebody else has fallen then you don’t look so bad. We use it as an excuse to blame others. We love to accuse others and excuse ourselves

“If the only way I can make myself look good is to criticize you, something is seriously wrong with me.”- Warren W. Wiersbe

2. We tend to judge other people and that’s because it appeals to our
How to Quit Playing God

Back in the 1960’s there was a famous book written by Eric Burn called Games People Play. A couple of years later another book came out, Games Christians Play. It was an interesting book that dealt with games Christians play in the name of the Lord. I want us to look at the deadliest game — the game of playing God.

Here is a delightful piece of truth: “There is a God. You are not Him”

James 4:11-12 NIV – Brothers and sisters, do not slander one another. Anyone who speaks against a brother or sister[a] or judges them speaks against the law and judges it. When you judge the law, you are not keeping it, but sitting in judgment on it. 12 There is only one Lawgiver and Judge, the one who is able to save and destroy. But you—who are you to judge your neighbor?

James says that the way we play God is by judging other people. Anytime I judge you, anytime you judge me, we’re playing God. It’s only God’s responsibility to judge other people.
I want us to look at Why we judge other people, Why shouldn’t we judge, When is it wrong to judge other people, and How do you break the habit of judging other people. You’ll be a lot happier if you learn how to deal with this issue.

“Any fool can criticize, condemn, and complain, and most fools do.” – Benjamin Franklin
We judge people for judging people because judging people is wrong

WHY DO WE LIKE TO JUDGE OTHERS?

1. We tend to judge other people is to excuse our own faults

Romans 2:3 NIV – So when you, a mere human being, pass judgment on them and yet do the same things, do you think you will escape God’s judgment?

You think by pointing the finger at somebody else, God is going to forget what you’ve done, or when you point out how somebody else has fallen then you don’t look so bad. We use it as an excuse to blame others. We love to accuse others and excuse ourselves

“If the only way I can make myself look good is to criticize you, something is seriously wrong with me.”- Warren W. Wiersbe

2. We tend to judge other people and that’s because it appeals to our
pride.

Proverbs 26:22 NIV – The words of a gossip are like choice morsels; they go down to the inmost parts.

Why is it? When somebody is gossiping, usually we are all ears! We just can’t wait to hear what’s being said. Why? There is a natural innate ability of gossip or slander to capture our curiosity.

II. Why Should I Not Judge Others?

James gives us three reasons why we shouldn’t judge other people.

It’s unchristian

James 4:11 NIV – Brothers and sisters, do not slander one another. Anyone who speaks against a brother or sister[a] or judges them speaks against the law and judges it…

Why “brothers”? In the first place we shouldn’t judge one another because we’re all part of the same family.

•••I heard about a guy who came to a pastor one time and said, “I don’t have but one talent.” The pastor asked, “What’s your talent?” The man said, “I have the gift of criticism.” The gift of criticism does not come from the Holy Spirit but from the devil. The pastor was wise and thought about the parable in the Bible and said, “The guy who had only one talent went out and buried it. Maybe that’s what you ought to do with yours.”

Notice it says, “Brothers, do not slander…” Circle “slander”. The word “slander” and the word “devil” are the same word. The word “devil” means slander. The Bible calls Satan the accuser of Christians. He’s the slanderer of Christians. What does this mean? The devil’s number one activity is going around and putting people down, to slander them and put them down, malign them. We are most like the devil when we slander. When we speak against somebody else (including all kinds of criticism, maligning, judging) we’re doing the devil’s work for him.

2. It’s unloving

James 2:8 NIV – If you really keep the royal law found in Scripture, “Love your neighbor as yourself,”[a] you are doing right.

Is it illegal? Is there a law against judging in the United States? He’s talking about the Royal Law

When I judge you, I’m breaking the Royal Law — the law of love — “Love your neighbor as yourself.” We say, “It’s just words and people will forget them.” People don’t forget words. You always remember them. It’s unchristian and unloving.

If you judge people you don’t have time to love them. Mother Teresa

3. It’s unjustified

James 4:12 NIV – There is only one Lawgiver and Judge, the one who is able to save and destroy. But you—who are you to judge your neighbor?

The word “lawgiver” is used six times in the Old Testament and only once in the New Testament. The six times in the Old Testament it refers to God. The same thing here — it’s referring to God. Only God has the right to judge. It’s in God’s job description. It’s not in your job description to judge people. He has not commissioned you to talk to everybody about everybody else.

We always tend to react to our weaknesses in others. What we see is usually just a mirror of self.

III. WHEN IS IT WRONG TO JUDGE OTHERS?

There are some places in Scripture where it says it is wrong to judge. The Scripture does say in some places that we are to judge certain things. We’re to judge ourselves, and we’re to judge certain matters.

1. Romans 2:1-3 NIV – You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge another, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things. 2 Now we know that God’s judgment against those who do such things is based on truth. 3 So when you, a mere human being, pass judgment on them and yet do the same things, do you think you will escape God’s judgment?

The time when it’s wrong to judge other people is when I’m practicing the same sin. I don’t have any right to speak up, if I lack the personal integrity, I’m guilty too.

Remember the woman caught in adultery? What did Jesus say to the Pharisees? “He who is without sin cast the first stone.” They all walked away.

2. Matthew 7:3-5 NIV – “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? 4 How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? 5 You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.

This is a good example of the fact that Jesus told jokes. Hebrew humor is humor by exaggeration. Jesus is making a point here with humor. He’s saying it’s wrong to judge when it blinds me to my own faults. If judging you causes me to not look at myself realistically, then it’s wrong. We are great speck analyzers, nitpicking specks when we have a logjam in our own eye.

The inevitable result of being a judgmental person is in v. 2 “In the same way you judge others, you’ll be judged.” If you are critical to other people, you’ll be criticized.

3. John 7:24 NIV –  “Stop judging by mere appearances, but instead judge correctly.”

It’s wrong to judge others when you draw conclusions based on outward appearance. We tend to make our impression of people in about the first 15 seconds and most of that is in the way that they look. We judge people, we size them up. Their face, clothing, hairdo. If you judge just on the basis of appearance, that’s unwise.

I Samuel 16:7 NIV – But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”

4. John 7:51 NIV – “Does our law condemn a man without first hearing him to find out what he has been doing?”

That’s a rhetorical question. The obvious answer is “no”. It’s wrong to judge when you condemn somebody before you hear the facts. It is unwise to make a judgement about somebody before you know all the facts.

If you study scripture you’ll find that even if your conclusions are right about that person you’re still wrong — because you did it without getting the facts. There is always more than one side to a story. There are three sides to a story: your side, their side, God’s side. Usually we have partial truth.

HOW DO YOU BREAK THE HABIT OF JUDGING OTHERS

Remember that I’ll be judged by the same standards that I use to judge other people.

Matthew 7:1-2 NIV – “Do not judge, or you too will be judged. 2 For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.

The way we judge others — the same measure we mete out is the same measure we get back. If you want something to help you break the habit of talking critically about other people, remember that. What you dish out will be dished back to you. What you sow you’re going to reap.

2. Remember that each of us is accountable to God.

Romans 14:12-13 NIV – So then, each of us will give an account of ourselves to God.13 Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in the way of a brother or sister.

You’re not accountable to me in the ultimate sense of every area of your life. I don’t have to report to you. But one day we’re all going to stand before God and then God is going to know our motives. How’s God going to judge? He’s going to judge honestly, fairly, truthfully. It won’t be based on heresy, rumors, third hand passed down stuff, but based on the facts.

God settles the score. One day we’ll all be judged by the Lord and we’ll give an account to Him

3. Remember how much God has been merciful to me.

James 2:13 NIV –  because judgment without mercy will be shown to anyone who has not been merciful. Mercy triumphs over judgment.

There is a principle greater than criticism. It’s the principle of forgiveness. The principle of mercy.

Jesus said, “Blessed are the merciful.” Matthew 18 is the story of the unforgiving servant. He owed $50,000 to his master. His master forgave him. He went out and found the guy that owed him $5 and strangled the guy because he wouldn’t pay him. When the master heard about it he took the servant and said, “If that’s the way you want to play the game, OK. You’re unforgiving, it will be unforgiven of you.” The Bible says we’re to be merciful because God has given us so much mercy. The reason why I have to be patient with you is because God is patient with me. The reason you have to be patient with me is because God is patient with you. That’s the way it goes. None of us get what we deserve. If we did we wouldn’t be here. It’s all by God’s grace.

If God’s been gracious with us we need to be gracious with others. The most forgiving
person is the most forgiven person

Poem I read this week called “The Wrecking Crew”

I stood on the street of a busy town
Watching men tearing a building down
With a ho heave ho and a lusty yell
They swung a beam and a side wall fell
I asked the foreman of the crew
“Are those men as skilled
As those you’d hire if you’d wanted to build?
Ah, no, no indeed,
Just common laborers are all I need
I can tear down as much in a day or two
As would take skilled men a year to do
And then I thought as I went my way
Just which of these two roles am I trying to play?
Have I walked life’s road with care,
Measuring each deed with rule and square?
Or am I one of those who roam the town
Content with the labor of tearing down?

Prayer:
This is an area that every one of us have to deal with — a critical attitude, being judgmental. If you want to find some fault in somebody you can. Everybody is imperfect. It’s all in what you decide to look at. If you choose to make friends in life one of the things you have to do is overlook their faults. Love the good parts in them and overlook the bad parts. If you want to have a successful marriage you have to learn to stop criticizing and questioning your mate’s motives. Look at the good parts in their life. Why do we spend an entire session just on this? Because it’s one of the most common problems. James says it’s really playing God. Only God has the right to judge, evaluate and criticize someone. He’s got all the facts. He’s impartial. We’re not. It’s not our place. It will be a liberating experience when you realize that God has not called you to judge other people but He’s called you to be accountable to Him.

Would you pray a prayer like this in your heart, “Lord, help me to quit playing God. Help me this week to not be critical and judgmental, to watch my mouth and not gossip and pass on damaging information, but to build up others and to share only those things that encourage and lift up. Lord, thank You for your grace in my life. Thank You that You don’t give me what I deserve but You give me what I need. Help me to do that to others, to pass on to them what they need. I pray this in Jesus’ name. Amen.”.

Proverbs 26:22 NIV – The words of a gossip are like choice morsels; they go down to the inmost parts.

Why is it? When somebody is gossiping, usually we are all ears! We just can’t wait to hear what’s being said. Why? There is a natural innate ability of gossip or slander to capture our curiosity.

II. Why Should I Not Judge Others?

James gives us three reasons why we shouldn’t judge other people.

It’s unchristian

James 4:11 NIV – Brothers and sisters, do not slander one another. Anyone who speaks against a brother or sister[a] or judges them speaks against the law and judges it…

Why “brothers”? In the first place we shouldn’t judge one another because we’re all part of the same family.

•••I heard about a guy who came to a pastor one time and said, “I don’t have but one talent.” The pastor asked, “What’s your talent?” The man said, “I have the gift of criticism.” The gift of criticism does not come from the Holy Spirit but from the devil. The pastor was wise and thought about the parable in the Bible and said, “The guy who had only one talent went out and buried it. Maybe that’s what you ought to do with yours.”

Notice it says, “Brothers, do not slander…” Circle “slander”. The word “slander” and the word “devil” are the same word. The word “devil” means slander. The Bible calls Satan the accuser of Christians. He’s the slanderer of Christians. What does this mean? The devil’s number one activity is going around and putting people down, to slander them and put them down, malign them. We are most like the devil when we slander. When we speak against somebody else (including all kinds of criticism, maligning, judging) we’re doing the devil’s work for him.

2. It’s unloving

James 2:8 NIV – If you really keep the royal law found in Scripture, “Love your neighbor as yourself,”[a] you are doing right.

Is it illegal? Is there a law against judging in the United States? He’s talking about the Royal Law

When I judge you, I’m breaking the Royal Law — the law of love — “Love your neighbor as yourself.” We say, “It’s just words and people will forget them.” People don’t forget words. You always remember them. It’s unchristian and unloving.

If you judge people you don’t have time to love them. Mother Teresa

3. It’s unjustified

James 4:12 NIV – There is only one Lawgiver and Judge, the one who is able to save and destroy. But you—who are you to judge your neighbor?

The word “lawgiver” is used six times in the Old Testament and only once in the New Testament. The six times in the Old Testament it refers to God. The same thing here — it’s referring to God. Only God has the right to judge. It’s in God’s job description. It’s not in your job description to judge people. He has not commissioned you to talk to everybody about everybody else.

We always tend to react to our weaknesses in others. What we see is usually just a mirror of self.

III. WHEN IS IT WRONG TO JUDGE OTHERS?

There are some places in Scripture where it says it is wrong to judge. The Scripture does say in some places that we are to judge certain things. We’re to judge ourselves, and we’re to judge certain matters.

1. Romans 2:1-3 NIV – You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge another, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things. 2 Now we know that God’s judgment against those who do such things is based on truth. 3 So when you, a mere human being, pass judgment on them and yet do the same things, do you think you will escape God’s judgment?

The time when it’s wrong to judge other people is when I’m practicing the same sin. I don’t have any right to speak up, if I lack the personal integrity, I’m guilty too.

Remember the woman caught in adultery? What did Jesus say to the Pharisees? “He who is without sin cast the first stone.” They all walked away.

2. Matthew 7:3-5 NIV – “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? 4 How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? 5 You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.

This is a good example of the fact that Jesus told jokes. Hebrew humor is humor by exaggeration. Jesus is making a point here with humor. He’s saying it’s wrong to judge when it blinds me to my own faults. If judging you causes me to not look at myself realistically, then it’s wrong. We are great speck analyzers, nitpicking specks when we have a logjam in our own eye.

The inevitable result of being a judgmental person is in v. 2 “In the same way you judge others, you’ll be judged.” If you are critical to other people, you’ll be criticized.

3. John 7:24 NIV –  “Stop judging by mere appearances, but instead judge correctly.”

It’s wrong to judge others when you draw conclusions based on outward appearance. We tend to make our impression of people in about the first 15 seconds and most of that is in the way that they look. We judge people, we size them up. Their face, clothing, hairdo. If you judge just on the basis of appearance, that’s unwise.

I Samuel 16:7 NIV – But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”

4. John 7:51 NIV – “Does our law condemn a man without first hearing him to find out what he has been doing?”

That’s a rhetorical question. The obvious answer is “no”. It’s wrong to judge when you condemn somebody before you hear the facts. It is unwise to make a judgement about somebody before you know all the facts.

If you study scripture you’ll find that even if your conclusions are right about that person you’re still wrong — because you did it without getting the facts. There is always more than one side to a story. There are three sides to a story: your side, their side, God’s side. Usually we have partial truth.

HOW DO YOU BREAK THE HABIT OF JUDGING OTHERS

Remember that I’ll be judged by the same standards that I use to judge other people.

Matthew 7:1-2 NIV – “Do not judge, or you too will be judged. 2 For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.

The way we judge others — the same measure we mete out is the same measure we get back. If you want something to help you break the habit of talking critically about other people, remember that. What you dish out will be dished back to you. What you sow you’re going to reap.

2. Remember that each of us is accountable to God.

Romans 14:12-13 NIV – So then, each of us will give an account of ourselves to God.13 Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in the way of a brother or sister.

You’re not accountable to me in the ultimate sense of every area of your life. I don’t have to report to you. But one day we’re all going to stand before God and then God is going to know our motives. How’s God going to judge? He’s going to judge honestly, fairly, truthfully. It won’t be based on heresy, rumors, third hand passed down stuff, but based on the facts.

God settles the score. One day we’ll all be judged by the Lord and we’ll give an account to Him

3. Remember how much God has been merciful to me.

James 2:13 NIV –  because judgment without mercy will be shown to anyone who has not been merciful. Mercy triumphs over judgment.

There is a principle greater than criticism. It’s the principle of forgiveness. The principle of mercy.

Jesus said, “Blessed are the merciful.” Matthew 18 is the story of the unforgiving servant. He owed $50,000 to his master. His master forgave him. He went out and found the guy that owed him $5 and strangled the guy because he wouldn’t pay him. When the master heard about it he took the servant and said, “If that’s the way you want to play the game, OK. You’re unforgiving, it will be unforgiven of you.” The Bible says we’re to be merciful because God has given us so much mercy. The reason why I have to be patient with you is because God is patient with me. The reason you have to be patient with me is because God is patient with you. That’s the way it goes. None of us get what we deserve. If we did we wouldn’t be here. It’s all by God’s grace.

If God’s been gracious with us we need to be gracious with others. The most forgiving person is the most forgiven person

Poem I read this week called “The Wrecking Crew”

I stood on the street of a busy town
Watching men tearing a building down
With a ho heave ho and a lusty yell
They swung a beam and a side wall fell
I asked the foreman of the crew
“Are those men as skilled
As those you’d hire if you’d wanted to build?
Ah, no, no indeed,
Just common laborers are all I need
I can tear down as much in a day or two
As would take skilled men a year to do
And then I thought as I went my way
Just which of these two roles am I trying to play?
Have I walked life’s road with care,
Measuring each deed with rule and square?
Or am I one of those who roam the town
Content with the labor of tearing down?

Prayer:
This is an area that every one of us have to deal with — a critical attitude, being judgmental. If you want to find some fault in somebody you can. Everybody is imperfect. It’s all in what you decide to look at. If you choose to make friends in life one of the things you have to do is overlook their faults. Love the good parts in them and overlook the bad parts. If you want to have a successful marriage you have to learn to stop criticizing and questioning your mate’s motives. Look at the good parts in their life. Why do we spend an entire session just on this? Because it’s one of the most common problems. James says it’s really playing God. Only God has the right to judge, evaluate and criticize someone. He’s got all the facts. He’s impartial. We’re not. It’s not our place. It will be a liberating experience when you realize that God has not called you to judge other people but He’s called you to be accountable to Him.

Would you pray a prayer like this in your heart, “Lord, help me to quit playing God. Help me this week to not be critical and judgmental, to watch my mouth and not gossip and pass on damaging information, but to build up others and to share only those things that encourage and lift up. Lord, thank You for your grace in my life. Thank You that You don’t give me what I deserve but You give me what I need. Help me to do that to others, to pass on to them what they need. I pray this in Jesus’ name. Amen.”

“All Still: Finding Peace in a Noisy World”

stillness
“All Still: Finding Peace in a Noisy World”

(Psalm 39:4-5 NLT) “LORD, remind me how brief my time on earth will be. Remind me that my days are numbered, and that my life is fleeing away. My life is no longer than the width of my hand. An entire lifetime is just a moment to you; human existence is but a breath.”

My philosophy: Life is short. Do not waste your life. Live passionately.

We live in a very tense, uptight and fast paced world filled with hurry. We are frazzled, overwhelmed, & bewildered. Truth is we are addicted to noise

The Paradox of Our Time
The paradox of our time in history is that we have taller buildings, but shorter tempers; wider freeways, but narrower viewpoints.

We spend more, but have less; we buy more, but enjoy it less. We have bigger houses and smaller families; more conveniences, but less time;

We have more degrees, but less sense; more knowledge, but less judgment; more experts, but more problems; more medicine, but less wellness.

We drink too much, smoke too much, spend too recklessly, laugh too little, drive too fast, get too angry too quickly, stay up too late, get up too tired, read too seldom, watch TV too much, and pray too seldom.

We have multiplied our possessions, but reduced our values. We talk too much, love too seldom, and hate too often.

We’ve learned how to make a living, but not a life; we’ve added years to life, not life to years.

We’ve been all the way to the moon and back, but have trouble crossing the street to meet the new neighbor.

We’ve conquered outer space, but not inner space. We’ve done larger things, but not better things.

We’ve cleaned up the air, but polluted the soul. We’ve split the atom, but not our prejudice.

We write more, but learn less. We plan more, but accomplish less. We’ve learned to rush, but not to wait.

We build more computers to hold more information to produce more copies than ever, but have less communication.

These are the times of fast foods and slow digestion; tall men, and short character; steep profits, and shallow relationships.

These are the times of world peace, but domestic warfare; more leisure, but less fun; more kinds of food, but less nutrition.

These are days of two incomes, but more divorce; of fancier houses, but broken homes.

These are days of quick trips, disposable diapers, throw-away morality, one-night stands, overweight bodies, and pills that do everything from cheer to quiet, to kill.

It is a time when there is much in the show window and nothing in the stockroom; Indeed it’s all true”
––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––
We are living in Overload

IF there is one term that describes the state of affairs in the lives of people today, it is OVERLOAD. We are Overwhelmed, Overworked, Overcommitted, Overanxious, Overmatched, and Overextended. Our tanks are on empty and we’re running on fumes.

Our world has become the world of the Red Queen of Alice in Wonderland: “Now here, you see, it takes all the running you can do to keep in the same place. If you want to get somewhere else, you must run at least twice as fast as that.”

Eccl. 7:29 (JB) God made man simple; man’s complex problems are of his own devising (The Message – God made men and women true and upright; we’re the ones who’ve made a mess of things.)

We work to much, sleep to little, hardly ever exercise, eat poorly, and are struggling or failing to find adequate time to spend with our families. We are too busy for our own good. WE NEED TO SLOW DOWN. Our lifestyles are destroying us!

I must first look within

“The great reason why life is troubled & restless lies not without, but within.” Look at yourself. Look at your lifestyle. Ponder these things. Our chaotic world and complex lives are crying out for a little order and simplicity.

(Matthew 7:3-4 NIV) “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, `Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye?”

We are very quick to pick out everyone else’s issues that Jesus is saying you and I better deal with us!

Psalm 139:23-24 – “Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.

Our lifestyles are not forced upon us. We create them with our choices. Life is not a hundred meter dash. It’s marathon.

I believe life should be lived passionately, and I believe that the day to day drudgery that stifles the greatness of the human spirit should be avoided at all costs.

How does one look within?

Through Prayer

Luke 18:1 NIV Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up.

•Prayer is the highest order of spiritual business. For it links a powerless human to the creative force of God’s sovereign power!

Colossians 4:3 NIV –  Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.

The greatest value in prayer is not what you can get from God but what you learn & become

•If you and I are too busy to Pray, we give our spiritual life a funeral!

“I pray because I can’t help myself. I pray because I’m helpless. I pray because the need flows out of me, all the time waking and sleeping. It does not change God. It changes me.” CS Lewis

Prayer is the most difficult thing in the world to do. In prayer we find ourselves standing on the edge of a deep, dark, abyss – the world of the divine, infinite, and eternal. We come face to face with ourselves and face to face with God.

Prayer is the great classroom of silence

Silence and Solitude

Psalm 131:2 NIV – But I have calmed and quieted myself, I am like a weaned child with its mother;  like a weaned child I am content.

Solitude – he state or situation of being alone or uninhabited place. privacy, peace
God wants to remove the noise of your life and create a space in which He can speak to you

Pythagoras, the greek philosopher and mathematician wrote “Learn to be silent. Let your quiet mind listen and absorb.”

When we spend time in silence, solitude, prayer, reflection, meditation it helps us remain focused on the things that are really important in this life.

“A life lived reflectively is a life lived effectively.” (Creates direction and inner peace)

You can learn more in one hour of silence than you can in a year from books

Richard Foster said, “Without silence there is no solitude”

Noise is the mouthpiece of the world. Silence is the mouthpiece of God. It’s where God gives us wisdom.

People actually fear Silence. Why? It introduces us to ourselves. It convicts, it silences, and challenges. But it also heals, consoles, comforts, clears the mind, and gives courage to a weary heart.

C. Stillness

Psalm 46:10 –  “Be still, and know that I am God;

Still – to abate, to cease, to let go, or to stop. The state or an instance of being quiet or calm

Exodus 14:13 KJV “And Moses said unto the people, Fear ye not, stand still, and see the salvation of the LORD…”

2 Chronicles 20:17 NKJV – “You will not need to fight in this battle. Position yourselves, stand still and see the salvation of the Lord, who is with you…”

Becoming still is an important key to knowing God. If we don’t fulfill the prerequisite of finding a place of stillness the implication is that we won’t know God.

Mother Teresa expressed it this way,“We need to find God, and He cannot be found in noise and restlessness. God is the friend of silence. See how nature—trees, flowers, grass—grows in silence; see the stars, the moon and the sun, how they move in silence… .We need silence to be able to touch souls.”

Sometimes life shakes us up a little. We become disoriented, overwhelmed, consumed by the day to day happenings of our lives. The British Navy has a practice known as an “ALL STILL”. When something goes wrong on a ship, particularly a submarine, the captain announces “All Still”. For 3 minutes no one is allowed to move or speak.
So our lives are an expression of what is within us. Life is an overflow of the heart

Proverbs 4:23 NIV – Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.

All Still – is an God opportunity to catch your breath and out things into perspective

Abba Poeman, one of the ancient desert fathers, taught his disciples, “If you are silent, you will have peace wherever you live.”

Philippians 4:7 NIV – And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

IF you don’t break the tensions of daily living, they will break you!

Why You Need Stillness
Nevertheless, here are three of my own reasons for practicing the discipline of stillness:
1. I want to maintain perspective. If I don’t make time to be still, then I find myself in reactive mode—influenced by hundreds of little voices with big demands.
2. I want to stay connected to my true self. I don’t want to get confused, thinking that I am the image I present to the world. They are related, of course, but I want to live from the inside out.
3. I want more internal margin in my life. While I have been pursing external margin in my calendar and finances, I also want internal margin—more room to notice what matters most and be thankful for it.

Matthew 11:28-30 The Message –  “Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”

Slow, down, breathe deeply, reflect deeply, pray deeply, live deeply!

How you can practice stillness
1. Schedule a time. For me, I schedule stillness first thing in the morning. It has become so precious to me, that I won’t want to start the day without it. I practice this first—before prayer, before Bible reading, before journaling, and before exercise.
2. Find a place. When I was on vacation, I sat outside by the pool. This was ideal. But it is not my real world. Now I simply go into my study or my back patio. The main thing is to find a place where you won’t be interrupted.
3. Set a timer. set aside fifteen minutes a day. In my limited experience this seems about right. It is amazing how my perception of this time changes from day to day. Sometimes it seems like forever. Other times, it goes by very quickly. I use the timer on my iPhone.
4. Relax your body. I simply sit in a soft chair with my eyes closed. I then systematically relax my body and get quiet. If you can’t sit still, then engage in any mindless physical activity, like rocking in a chair or watching some natural motion like fire or running water.
5. Quiet your mind. This is the biggest challenge for me. Just when I get still, I have some random thought or a whole flurry of thoughts. But I am getting better. a discipline that keeps your allotted time from being hijacked by an overly-active mind.
6. Be present. Don’t be regretting or celebrating the past. Don’t be worrying or dreaming about the future. Instead, collect your thoughts and be present—in this moment. It is the most important time you have. In fact, it is the only time you have.
7. Learn to return. This has been the most helpful component. In involves recalling a “place of peace,” where you had a particularly vivid experience of peace and stillness.

A New Year, A New Beginning

“A New Year, A New Beginning”

The old year ends, a new begins
With pages clean and new;
And what is written on each page
will now depend on you.

You can’t relive the year that’s past,
Erasing every wrong;
For once a year – or day – is spent,
It is forever gone.

But don’t give up in dark despair
If you have failed some test;
Seek God’s forgiveness and resolve
Henceforth to do your best.

Resolve each precious day to do
Things good and kind and pure;
Though days and years may pass away,
These things shall still endure.

You know not where your path may lead
Nor what’s beyond the hill;
But know that God walks at your side,
If you will do His will.

All things are possible with God,
Though days be bright or dim;
So do your best and know that you
Can leave the rest to Him. – Author Unknown

I Love this Poem

I Think Continually Of Those Who Were Truly Great
Stephen Spender

I think continually of those who were truly great.
Who, from the womb, remembered the soul’s history
Through corridors of light where the hours are suns
Endless and singing. Whose lovely ambition
Was that their lips, still touched with fire,
Should tell of the Spirit clothed from head to foot in song.
And who hoarded from the Spring branches
The desires falling across their bodies like blossoms.

What is precious is never to forget
The essential delight of the blood drawn from ageless springs
Breaking through rocks in worlds before our earth.
Never to deny its pleasure in the morning simple light
Nor its grave evening demand for love.
Never to allow gradually the traffic to smother
With noise and fog the flowering of the spirit.

Near the snow, near the sun, in the highest fields
See how these names are fŠted by the waving grass
And by the streamers of white cloud
And whispers of wind in the listening sky.
The names of those who in their lives fought for life
Who wore at their hearts the fire’s center.
Born of the sun they traveled a short while towards the sun,
And left the vivid air signed with their honor.