The Importance of Commitment

Hebrews 10:24-25 (Holman Christian Standard Bible), “And let us be concerned about one another in order to promote love and good works,  not staying away from our worship meetings, as some habitually do, but encouraging each other, and all the more as you see the day drawing near.”

Our human nature sure can be a pain. Even though my new nature in Christ is His nature, that old man sure tries to resurrect itself. I have been thinking about the importance of belonging and faithfully attending a local church. I love mine, hate to miss any service, and so whenever the doors are open, you will find me there. However, for a lot of people that just isn’t so. I don’t understand it frankly, except to chalk it up to that same human nature. We quite often find ourselves in a pickle or face to face with what seems to be a grand predicament, or maybe a whole set of problems all at one time. We find ourselves looking for a “specialist” who can set things straight. Now days we don’t have to even “let our fingers do the walking” through the yellow pages, all we have to do is grab our smart phones and do a quick search.

How many of us will run to a doctor, lawyer, therapist, psychologist, dietitians, financial advisor, or counselor? We expect them to fix or at least help us with our mountain (trouble). I expect that from the world, but why are God’s children going to the world first? Our senior pastor brings this point up quite often. We run here and there and when they can’t fix it, or we end up facing yet another issue days later, then we turn to God. How many time have we heard, or God forbid, said, “The only thing left to do is pray”? No, we should first pray! He is doctor, mentor, counselor, father, advisor, He knows us inside and out, He knows our problems, issues, weaknesses, and He knows exactly what we need, and when we need it.

Once we get stuck in the worlds ways of handling problems, we end up running to all of these appointments, setting our schedules around them. We wouldn’t miss one for any reason short of death! You know how hard it is to reschedule an appointment with a specialist. But, when was the last time you missed church? We will miss a service, a prayer meeting, or bible study for the smallest reasons. Did you stay up too late, the kids weren’t cooperating, the dog ran away, your favorite show is on, or just too tired, well then stay home. God understands… right?

I think that is so backwards. How do these worldly people with some fancy letters behind or in front of their name rate as more important than our brothers and sisters in Christ, or more able than God?

How easy is it to tell a doctor all your embarrassing bodily issues,  to tell a counselor all of your weird dreams or troubles, or talk about your financial mess to a financial advisor? How hard is it to go up and ask for prayer during a service, or to call a friend from church to confess your mess and ask for prayer? It shouldn’t be that way.

I remember a conversation with a family (relative) member about sharing something with my pastors and their reply was, “you told your pastors that!” I answered, “if I can’t tell them, who can I tell.” God places us, hand picks us for each local body. If we seek Him, He will put us with believers that are to now be our FAMILY. Sometimes we may act a little dysfunctional, just like our natural families, but unlike in the natural, we have a supernatural Father! He will help us work things out when we are humble and real with Him, each other, and ourselves.

A local church is where we can share our troubles and our triumphs. We can pray for one another, laying hands on the sick, helping out, and encouraging one another. If “Church” to you is just a building that houses a social group who sometimes asks for your money, or if “Church” is something you do once a week, month, or year as a duty, then you might as well stay home. However, if “Church” is a family that happens to meet in a building, and you go to be with your Father and be in relationship with Him and your brother and sisters, you’ll want to go.

I’ll say it again. I love going to church! Is my church family perfect? Ha! No, but do we love each other? You bet we do. Most of them know me inside and out. They’ve seen the good, the bad, and the ungodly parts of me. I can be real, they know they can too. I am committed to them, and to the growth and upkeep of our family. I pay my tithe, I volunteer, I help out where I can, I offer time, resources, and finances to my church. We hang out together and not just at service.

Everything going good for you? Great! Go to church and give God the glory. Having some issues? Get up, no excuses, and GO to Church! You’ll find help there. “But, my church isn’t like that…” I hear you say.

Find a new one! So what if your parents, or your boss go to “that church”, ask God to place you in a church family. Then listen and obey. You may have to sit through a few services, visit a few churches, talk to a few people, but God will help you find your family.

Book Review for “Hero’s Lot” – Christian Fantasy

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What is the book about? With the King Near Death, Will the Kingdom Fall?

When Sarin Valon, the corrupt and dangerous church leader, flees the city of Erinon and the kingdom, Errol Stone believes his troubles have at last ended. But he and his friends still have dangerous enemies working against them in secrets and whispers.

In a bid to keep them from the axe, Archbenefice Canon sends Martin and Luis to Errol’s home village, Callowford, to discover what makes him so important to the kingdom, and in that journey they discover amazing new secrets about the workings of Aurae.

Back in Erinon, Errol is unjustly accused of consorting with spirits. Convicted, his punishment is a journey to the enemy kingdom of Merakh, where he must find Sarin Valon and kill him. To enforce their sentence, the church leaders place Errol under a compulsion–he must complete his task, or die trying.

My Review:

What a great sequel. Hero’s Lot is book two of the “Staff and the Sword” Christian Fantasy Trilogy. So far I am very much enjoying these books. Some of it mirrors our own Church history, but most of it is pure fantasy. The main character is so real, flaws and all. All of the characters are well rounded and make you feel like you know them personally. I have laughed and cried, gotten angry and sad, but always had a hard time putting them down. Worth the money to buy them, or find them at the local library. Book one is offered free, Kindle version on amazon, book two is 5.99 and three is 9.99. I downloaded the free one, couldn’t find book two at the library, so purchased it, now I am borrowing book three! Will be checking out more from this author, be forewarned this is not a light read! It will take some time and some emotional toll. I give it five stars! No swearing or sexual content, there is fighting and violence. I can recommend for teens and up.

Live Your Life Worthy Of God

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I Peter 1:13-24 (ESV), “Therefore, preparing your minds for action, and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, since it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.” And if you call on him as Father who judges impartially according to each one’s deeds, conduct yourselves with fear throughout the time of your exile, knowing that you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your forefathers, not with perishable things such as silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot. He was foreknown before the foundation of the world but was made manifest in the last times for the sake of you who through him are believers in God, who raised him from the dead and gave him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God. Having purified your souls by your obedience to the truth for a sincere brotherly love, love one another earnestly from a pure heart, since you have been born again, not of perishable seed but of imperishable, through the living and abiding word of God; for “All flesh is like grass and all its glory like the flower of grass. The grass withers, and the flower falls, but the word of the Lord remains forever.” And this word is the good news that was preached to you.”

We aren’t worthy; nothing we could have ever done would have made us so. God knew that, He still does. That’s why He sent One who was. His Son, Jesus Christ, Immanuel, God With Us, is worthy. So in His worthiness we are accepted by God the Father. After having said all of that I don’t want you to think that there isn’t anything we have to do. We can’t just accept all of that wonderful, precious sacrifice and continue on with a life in this world. It isn’t just a free ticket to heaven and a get out of hell free card. We can’t continue to be conformed to this worlds passions and lusts.

God saved us for a purpose. His desire is that all men might be saved. It wasn’t just me, even though His plan wouldn’t have changed if I had been the only one who sinned. How selfish would it be if we had the means to help every poor person in the world, but didn’t want to share our money? We have been given something so much more than finances. Shouldn’t we want every person we meet to have this same salvation?

I Timothy 2:4 (Douay-Rheims Bible), “Who will have all men to be saved, and to come to the knowledge of the truth.”

Jesus said that if we loved Him, we would do what He said. Then He told us to preach the gospel, heal the sick, and to cast out demons. We are supposed to live a life that glorifies God, lives that are worthy of Him. No, there wasn’t anything we could do to earn this worthiness, but now that it has been given to us, aught we not to walk in it, to live like we are? Our verse in I Peter tells us to prepare our minds for action. It isn’t about what we aren’t supposed to do. It’s not a long list of things and activities we are never to participate in, clothes we shouldn’t wear, things not to eat and drink. It is all about what we are supposed to do. We are supposed to live a life worthy of Him. Doing what Jesus asked us to do. Help others, serve one another, pray at all times, love the brethren, encourage and exhort one another, and the list goes on. Just because it is a long list, doesn’t mean it isn’t attainable.

I Thessalonians 2:11-12 (NIV), “For you know that we dealt with each of you as a father deals with his own children, encouraging, comforting and urging you to live lives worthy of God, who calls you into his kingdom and glory.”

God is the one who sanctifies us, sets us apart. We are now blameless. It is time we stop trying to do penance, or to somehow live by a certain set of rules and guidelines to earn anything from God, or worse yet to be accepted by men. If our total concentration is on trying to clean our own mess up, how will we ever fulfill the purposes that God has planned for us?

I Thessalonians 5:23 (AMP), “And may the God of peace Himself sanctify you through and through [separate you from profane things, make you pure and wholly consecrated to God]; and may your spirit and soul and body be preserved sound and complete [and found] blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ (the Messiah).”

It’s time to be the Church and stop playing Church.

Hebrews 12:28-29 (NIV), “Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, For our God is a consuming fire.”

Romans 14:17-18 (ESV), “For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking but of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. Whoever thus serves Christ is acceptable to God and approved by men.”

Matthew 15:8 (KJB), “This people honoureth me with their lips, but their heart is far from me.”

God gave us free will. We have a choice. Are we really going to live for Him, or live for ourselves? Are we His children or are we products of this worlds systems?

When our live here is over what do you want to hear Him say? “His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’ (Matthew 25:21) Or, “And throw that worthless servant outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’” (Matthew 25:30)

I know that is a little extreme, that you are probably thinking to yourself, “but that man wasn’t saved.” I also know that you can accept Jesus as your savior, be guaranteed heaven, and still live a pretty carnal life. I also have to admit than when people persistently, constantly, and stubbornly continue to live this way, I can’t help but wonder if they are truly saved. Salvation is a process. We all have to work it out with fear and trembling. However, a living thing is a growing thing. Are you maturing in the things of God? Can other see changes in your life? Are you making an effort to draw closer to God? The more we know Him, the greater our love grows. The more we love Him, the greater our desire is to please Him.

Are you living a life worthy of God?

Opportunity Prayer

Father, I pray that You help me to walk as You want me to, live the way You intended, and to build Your Kingdom with all boldness and zeal. That I not waste one minute, one penny, or one opportunity to serve You and others in love and gratitude.

I Corinthians 9:19-23 (ESV), “For though I am free from all, I have made myself a servant to all, that I might win more of them. To the Jews I became as a Jew, in order to win Jews. To those under the law I became as one under the law (though not being myself under the law) that I might win those under the law. To those outside the law I became as one outside the law (not being outside the law of God but under the law of Christ) that I might win those outside the law. To the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all people, that by all means I might save some. I do it all for the sake of the gospel, that I may share with them in its blessings.”

Confession From Romans

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I am dead to sin and alive in Christ.
Sin is not my master, for I am not under the law, but under grace.
I am free from sin and a slave of righteousness.
I will exult and triumph in times of trouble, and rejoice in my suffering knowing that it is working patience in me.
I am not condemned.
Because I am led by the Spirit of God, I am a child of God.
His Spirit bears witness with mine that I am his child.
I am an heir and a joint heir with Christ.
I will suffer with Him and be glorified with Him.
The suffering of this present time are not to be compared to the glory that will be revealed in me.
I will wait with patience and composure for those unseen things I hope for.
God causes all things to work together for my good, because I love Him and am called to His purpose.
I am predestined to be conformed to the image of Christ.
God is for me, so no one can be successfully against me!
I am convinced! Nothing can separate me from the love of God!

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If you read my last blog about an attitude adjustment, you may have noticed some things that need changing. It occurred to me that I left you hanging… So, let’s say we need some adjusting, how do we go about it? First, repent. Ask God, and anyone else who may have been a witness to your bad attitude, to forgive you. That is always the first step to change. Next, you have to choose to change the way you think and speak. Before church, thank God for your Church Family, your Pastors, leaders and those who serve. Be honored and thankful that you get to serve yourself, (if you aren’t ask if you can, volunteer.) Ask God to help you serve with His Joy. Choose to go to church because you love Him and look at your service as an extension of that love instead of a duty or obligation.

We also need to change the way we look at others. When a negative thought comes in, before you blurt it out, cast it down and replace it with something positive. It may be hard at first, but even if all you can think of is “they have nice shoes”, then so be it. It’s a start. Never despise small beginnings. At work, be thankful for a job! Choose to see your employer as a vessel that God chose to use to bless you financially. Remember, your boss didn’t start that business to provide for you- he started it to provide for himself and his family. He has just accepted your request to work in exchange for an agreed upon amount of money. You can’t get mad because he drives a jag and you a pinto. He has all the headaches that come with owning a business and the responsibility. He also made all the investments to get the business up and running. Respect and honor your bosses and supervisors at work. Refuse to participate in the grumbling and complaining. Pray for those in authority over you. Not a “change them” prayer but a “change me” prayer.

Ephesians 6:5-8 “Slaves, be obedient to those who are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in the sincerity of your heart, as to Christ; not by way of eye service, as men-pleasers, but as slaves of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart. With good will render service, as to the Lord, and not to men, knowing that whatever good thing each one does, this he will receive back from the Lord, whether slave or free.”

When you adjust your attitude, with God’s help, you will see great changes. You will have more joy, have more patience, less worry and stress. You will love people more, hear God clearer and you will definitely be more fun to be around!

Book Review for “Brave New Century” -Christian Fiction

http://www.amazon.com/Brave-New-Century-Lisa-Lickel-ebook/dp/B00GMQ3X6O/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1384717628&sr=1-1&keywords=brave+new+century

This was a great grouping of short stories. I really liked “Brave New Century”. A good weekend read, or you can read a story every evening before bed. All the stories are written about the New Century. They all have a romance written in and a smidgen of history. Good for teens and up. I give it 4 stars.