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My God is…Served 1 Samuel 12:20-24

I Samuel 12:20-24 – And Samuel said to the people, “Do not be afraid; you have done all this evil, yet do not turn aside from following the Lord, but serve the Lord with all your heart; and do not turn aside after useless things that cannot profit or save, for they are useless. For the Lord will not cast away his people, for his great name’s sake, because it has pleased the Lord to make you a people for himself. Moreover as for me, far be it from me that I should sin against the Lord by ceasing to pray for you; and I will instruct you in the good and the right way. Only fear the Lord, and serve him faithfully with all your heart; for consider what great things he has done for you.

Do not be afraid; you have done all this evil

“Forget this; I’ve already messed up so badly, why bother?” Have you ever felt that way? You’ve sinned, you feel bad about it, but you don’t turn away from the sin. Sometimes our shame from our sin is exactly what helps to keep us in our sin. Maybe this hasn’t happened to you, and I hope it hasn’t, but it has happened to me. I have sinned and then said, well I crossed that line, now what’s the difference. What does it matter if I change my ways, people will always know me for that sin. These are lies by the way. The devil wants us to hold on to our sin. Satan will use whatever he can to keep us from standing in the grace of God. When we act like this, whether it is a brush with the law, drinking, sex, drugs or using profanity, we do not have to remain in the sin. You and I have not gone beyond God’s grace. We can’t. We can never go so far that God cannot redeem us. His mercy and grace are waiting for us. We don’t have to fear the wrath of God or the judgement of people, because when we repent and turn from our sin, God is faithful with His mercy and grace.

Do not turn aside from following the Lord, but serve the Lord with all your heart

heart-love

We need to keep our focus on the Lord. When we’re tempted to say we’re a hopeless case, our focus is on ourselves. We’re saying we’re too far gone, we’ve made too big of mistakes, but as Christians, we don’t need to fear how far gone we are or how big our mistakes are, because God, who is capable of all things is bigger than our mistakes. He can forgive us and give us mercy beyond any of our failures. So what are we to do when we realize we are in the midst of sin? We need to serve the Lord with all our heart. We need to refocus. We need to keep our eyes on God. It’s important that we surround ourselves with people who feel the same way about God. We need to have Christian friends and acquaintances who will hold us accountable and point us back towards God when we go astray. The Lord can use our friends to redirect us back to Him when the sins and pleasures of this world distract us from God.

Do not turn aside after useless things that cannot profit or save, for they are useless

Our world is very focused on ourselves. We talk about what we have achieved for ourselves. What we want. What we deserve. But outside of God, everything else is useless. With God, all things have more meaning. It isn’t wrong to be successful, but if it distracts us from our Lord and His saving grace it is. It isn’t wrong to be in love with someone, but if it distracts us from God, it is wrong. The good in this world is only good as long as we are focused on God. It is only good because of what God has done for us. Without the saving grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, all our works are like dirty rags. Our accomplishments, our money, our legacies are nothing without them being centered on Jesus Christ. Only with God at the center of our actions can anything be “good”. God is the source of all goodness.

Only fear the Lord, and serve him faithfully with all your heart; for consider what great things he has done for you.

God has done so much for us. We need to put God at the top of our list and serve Him. Put Him at the center of your life and things will change. You can be sure of that. Some people won’t like it. Some people will disown you. Some people will ridicule you, but we can stand strong, because the Lord is good and will bring us through all trouble and we will be able to enjoy eternal life with Him in heaven. God has made sure, through Jesus’ death and resurrection, that we will be blessed for all eternity. He is not going to get rid of those who love Him, who put Him first in their lives. He loves us, and because He loves us, we are free to serve Him in everything we do. Because of His love, we are free to turn from our sin, not become a hopeless case. He can turn our lives around. When we put Him first, changes will be made in our lives. By His strength and mercy, we no longer have to give in to things that are destructive. We can live free of the burden of our sin, and stand strong in the grace and forgiveness provided by our Lord Jesus Christ. Stand free. Stand Strong. Turn from Sin. Cling to Him.

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Posted by on October 16, 2013 in 1 Samuel, My God is Served

 

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My God is…proving His love for us Romans 5:7

Romans 5:7 – But God proves his love for us in that while we still were sinners Christ died for us.magnifying-glass

Prove it!

Have you ever said those words to someone? It’s often said after someone has said something unbelievable. We don’t think something is true, and we are willing to bet the person telling us can’t prove what they are saying. Sometimes we say “Prove it” to those who claim to love us. Maybe their actions aren’t lining up with their words. In our house, we prove a lot of things by looking them up on the internet (everything’s true on the internet, right?).

Definition of PROVE

transitive verb
1archaic : to learn or find out by experience
2a : to test the truth, validity, or genuineness of <the exception proves the rule> <prove a will at probate>
 : to test the worth or quality of; specifically : to compare against a standard —sometimes used with up or out
 : to check the correctness of (as an arithmetic result)
3a : to establish the existence, truth, or validity of (as by evidence or logic) <prove a theorem> <the charges were never proved in court>
 : to demonstrate as having a particular quality or worth<the vaccine has been proven effective after years of tests><proved herself a great actress>
4: to show (oneself) to be worthy or capable <eager to prove myself in the new job>
The definition above that really hits the mark for the verse we’re looking at is 3a, “to establish the existence, truth, or validity of”. How do we know that God loves us? This verse tells us straight up why.
But God proves his love for us in that while we still were sinners Christ died for us.
The whole of scripture is testimony and proof of God’s love, but here, St. Paul is urging us to look at the proof of Gods love that is Jesus Christ. Sending His own Son, God was willing to sacrifice the most important things that we might have eternal life. That we might be able to live with Him in eternity.
While we still were sinners
Not only is the proof in the fact that God the Father would give up His Son Jesus or that Jesus gave up His own life for us, but the real kicker, the part that really speaks to me is that God did that while we were still sinners. We hadn’t gotten our act together. We weren’t some big shot. We weren’t some important religious leader. We weren’t overly devout. We weren’t faithful to God, our spouses or families. That’s when He loved us. While we were still sinners. Before we recognized Him as our savior God loved us. He didn’t require anything of us when He loves us. He loves us no matter the condition of our heart. He knows our hearts better than we know it ourselves. He knows we’re still sinners, but He wanted to provide a way that all sinners would be able to have a future of holiness in heaven with Him. That we would forever be able to be glorifying Him in all we do. This side of heaven we are truly blessed if we are able to glorify God in any way. In heaven, it will be like breathing.
Are you looking for proof?
 

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My God is…The Way John 14:6 (again)

John 14:6 Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except

Think you're getting in?

Think you’re getting in?

through me.”

I don’t think I’ve done this since I started writing my blog, but today I’m going to revisit a verse. I prayed that God would tell me what I should write about, and this is what came to my mind. Forgive me if it feels repetitive.

I want to get in

I’ve been standing in line for over two hours. The line in front of this night club is going nowhere slowly. I want to get in and see what it’s like. I want to sit on the fancy couches, spotting famous celebrities. I’m sure once I’m in, they will all realize how awesome I am and welcome me into their fold.

Lights Start Flashing

It’s clear that someone important has just arrived. The paparazzi are gathered around, lights flashing and some are pushing and shoving just to get a better shot. I stand on my tiptoes. I try to see who it is, and if I’m lucky, catch their attention so they will let me go in with them.

Turned away

With his entourage in tow, the famous man walks up to the bouncer. It’s clear he’s got the clout to be in a place like this. It’s even more clear to me that I don’t. What was I thinking? How did I ever think I was going to get into a place as awesome as this. As the Celebrity spoke to the bouncer, you could see his face turning red. His voice began to escalate. He was being refused entrance. He wasn’t going to get in. He pulled out his wallet, and tried to give the bouncer a wad of cash. Embarrassed and confused, the celebrity restrained himself from hitting the bouncer, perhaps only because the paparazzi were there. He got back into the limo and drove off.

I can get you in

From somewhere behind me I heard someone whisper in my ear, “I can get you in.” I turned around and saw a man standing there. He told me that he was the son of the owner of the nightclub. All he had to do was to tell His dad that I was with him. That’s it. Now, to look at this guy you wouldn’t think he was something special. He wasn’t bad-looking, but he wasn’t flashy or dressed to impress. He was normal. I didn’t know what to think. I had been in line for hours. If I got out of line now, I might not ever get into the club. If this guy was lying, I was going to be up a creek.

No one’s getting in

You could hear the bouncer telling the crowd that no one was getting in unless they were on the list. I knew I was doomed. I looked at the man behind me and said. Please, let me meet your father. He smiled and led me to the front of the line. Out from the door came a white-haired man. He gave the man with me a hug and pat on the back. He looked at me and said, Jill, we’ve been waiting for you. I’ve got a special spot just for you. Follow me.

Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”

Jesus is our only way to get into heaven. No matter how beautiful, rich or influential we are here on earth, without believing in Jesus Christ, we’re never getting into heaven.

Are you getting in?

 

 
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Posted by on May 22, 2012 in John, My God is the Way

 

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My God is…the Gate John 10: 7-10

John 10:7-10 Therefore Jesus said again, “Very truly I tell you, I am the gate for the sheep. All who have come

I am the gate

I am the Gate

before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep have not listened to them. I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. They will come in and go out, and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.

Have you ever locked yourself out?

There is nothing as precious as getting into your home when you’re locked out. It may start like this. You walk up to the door thinking your spouse is home. You reach for the door, it’s locked. You realize the other car is gone. You jiggle the handle again. No problem, you think, I have a key here somewhere. No luck. Your pockets seem deeper than ever as you practically pull down your pants trying to dig the non-existent key from your pocket. Unfortunately you have always felt keeping a key hidden outside was a security risk, so you don’t have a back up. You have not made friends with your neighbors, so none of them have a key either.

You start to strategize. You think, if I were a burglar, how would I get in. I’m not breaking into my own home. I’ll call my husband. He doesn’t answer. Normally this alone would send you into a rant, but right now you have bigger issues than him not answering the phone. You try all the windows, hoping your husband has not diligently locked them all. But of course, his efficiency has doomed you. You’re desperate to get in.

Have you ever locked yourself out?

Sometimes we lock ourselves out from heaven. We’re desperate to get in. We want eternal life. We want there to be something after death, but we want to be free to do whatever we want. We want to be open-minded. We want to believe that people of all religions go to heaven. Sadly that thinking locks us out of heaven. The only way to heaven is through the gate. Through Jesus Christ. All are welcome, but only those who believe that Jesus died and rose again to save them from their sins and strengthen their faith will be able to walk through that gate.

God doesn’t lock the gate

God is always there. He never locks the gate. He never keeps you from entering heaven. That’s why he sent Jesus, so that no matter what religion you were before, no matter what sins you’ve committed and no matter how pretty you are, you can enter heaven through the gate, Jesus Christ.

I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved.

Whoever. Some people say that Christians are bad because they say their the only ones going to heaven. The truth is we’re the only religion where you going to heaven isn’t somehow reliant on your own actions. Everyone is allowed in, if they come through the gate, Jesus Christ. Whoever enters through Jesus will be saved. We will not be saved by being good, giving away money, going to church or anything else. We go to heaven only because Jesus died for us.

I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.

God wants what’s best for us. When we believe and know where we’re going when we die, we are given freedom in grace that allows us to live fully. We don’t have to worry about tomorrow, because our future is planned out for us. We are going to heaven. In response to His great love, we may very well do the things I listed above, but not to gain entrance to heaven, but as a reflection of the love He has given to us. We are free to do what we want, but if we believe in Christ, our wants will change to match His.

Are you able to live life to the full?

 

 
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Posted by on May 17, 2012 in John, My God is the Gate

 

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My God is…The Way John 14:6

John 14:6 Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”

GPS Tracking Disaster

I can hardly live without my GPS. I use the GPS on my iPhone nearly every day. I type in the location I want, and then it gives the directions I need. Most of the time, my GPS is right. Sometimes it’s not very clear in the directions it gives. Though my GPS hasn’t failed me totally, there are those who have been completely led astray. Some have followed the GPS instructions into lakes, the middle of nowhere or even the Pacific ocean.

Looking for clear directions

We don’t like to be lost. We want to know what is the fastest, shortest and safest way to where we’re going. We don’t want to hit construction, traffic or dead ends. It’s the same way in our Spiritual life. There are a lot of “systems” out there that promise to get you where you want to go, but only one can be trusted to get you there.

The directions are clear

In the verse from John above, we see Jesus clearing up the directions to heaven. He doesn’t want to leave any room for confusion. Jesus says, ““I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”  So how do you get to Heaven? How do you get where the Father is? Through your faith in Jesus Christ. He is the way. The only way. His way is available to everyone, but sometimes people get set on the wrong path. They get told a different direction is better. Jesus promises He is the Way. Following other directions will likely make you end up in the lake.

GPS – God Positioning System

As we go through life, sometimes we get off path. We get distracted by the things of this world; money, sex, success and selfishness. We don’t keep our eyes on the Way, Jesus Christ. God has given us a GPS (God Positioning System) to help keep us on our path toward Jesus Christ. The Bible is our GPS. It points us always towards Jesus, and through the word and the Holy Spirit, the GPS will lead us to our salvation through the acts of Jesus Christ. He died on the cross so we might spend eternity with Him in heaven.

What is your destination? 

Where are you going? Do you know? Do you want to be in heaven after you die? How are you going to get there? Not all paths lead to heaven, but we know of one that does, Jesus Christ. With faith in Christ Jesus, you can be confident of where you’re going. You know the path, and He makes your way straight.

 
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Posted by on May 15, 2012 in John, My God is the Way

 

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My God is…My Comforter 2 Corinthians 1:3-5

2 Corinthians 1:3-5 – Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ.

Who comforts us in all our troubles© Willie B. Thomas

I can be overprotective. Not in the sense that I don’t let my boys do anything. In fact in some ways I’m way more permissive than some parents. My boys are free to ride their bikes downtown, crossing the highway. They are able to stay home alone for long periods of time, but there are things that make me crazy.

If I am around and my boys are doing anything dangerous at all I get nervous. You know, dangerous things like; riding their bikes, playing football, walking on a ledge, exploring, hiking, climbing at a playground, or basically anything else that they could get injured in any way. Pretty much everything more than breathing makes my heart race a bit. Why? I have no idea. Perhaps it’s the fact that I’m very uncoordinated myself, and I know the likely hood of me getting hurt doing any of those things is high. My solution to my crazy over protectiveness? I send my husband.

This isn’t a new phenomenon. When I was a teacher, there was nothing I hated more than recess duty. I was nervous the whole time. Eventually another teacher (mother of 9) and I came to an agreement that I would do lunch duty, and she would take recess duty. Problem solved.

Outdoor school

So this brings us to this morning. I awoke at 4:30 am, anxious about my boys leaving for outdoor school this week. I thought about all of the things that could go wrong. Will they get along with the other kids, will they be safe, etc. I began to pray to God for comfort. I decided I needed a verse to focus on as I prayed, and I found the one above. I realized that I need to be comforted by God so that I can help my boys be comfortable with the situation.

So that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God

Many things in life seem uncomfortable. Like we may never have comfort again. Perhaps you’ve had a miscarriage, a child die, an illness, divorce, abandonment, or heart-break. When we’re going through these things it seems we might never recover. If we’re fortunate, the Lord will provide someone to walk along side us who has already experienced these troubling times. In time most of us do find comfort from the Lord. In fact true comfort only comes from the Lord. Our hope of everlasting life through Jesus Christ is often the comfort we need to help us to know that all things on this earth are temporary, but God’s love is forever. Let us not forget where we’ve come from, the challenges we’ve faced. The Lord has provided us comfort through those times so that we can comfort others.

How are you being called to comfort someone?

 
 

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My God is Merciful Micah 7:18-20

Micah 7:18-20 Who is a God like you, who pardons sin and forgives the transgression
of the remnant of his inheritance? You do not stay angry forever
but delight to show mercy. You will again have compassion on us;
you will tread our sins underfoot and hurl all our iniquities into the depths of the sea.
You will be faithful to Jacob, and show love to Abraham,
as you pledged on oath to our ancestors in days long ago.

Who is a God like you

When I was studying this verse, I noticed in the notes that phrase might be a pun on Micah’s name which means “Who is like the Lord?”. It’s a good question. Who is like that? Not me that’s for sure.

You do not stay angry forever but delight to show mercy.

What a beautiful thing to know about our God. That He doesn’t stay angry forever. He has every right to, but he doesn’t. Sometimes I think a parents love is like this. We get mad. Boy, do we get mad. But we don’t stay mad at our children. We love them in spite of themselves. They may drive us crazy, but we love them. Ok – some of you may know this is not a perfect reflection (especially if you put one of those Dr. Phil cameras in your house – you know some problems never go away!).

God delights to show mercy

When is the last time you were delighted. Close your eyes and think about it. I can think of a time I was recently delighted. My friend Tara sent me a present out of the blue. It was a very special, encouraging present. It was unexpected and amazing. My heart delights when I think about it now. Delight is such an amazing thing.

Definition of DELIGHT  de·light noun \di-ˈlīt, dē-\

1: a high degree of gratification : joyalso : extreme satisfaction
2: something that gives great pleasure <her performance was a delight>
archaic : the power of affording pleasure
It brings God joy to show mercy. 
He does show us mercy, doesn’t he. I know when I was in college, I was stupid. I made a lot of mistakes. It wasn’t until later that I found out that my mother had been praying all those years for my sister and I. She was praying that God would not give us the full consequences of our sins. That He would show us mercy. And thank God He did.
Are you given the full consequences of your sin?
In Romans 6:23 – “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” We’re told that the wages (consequences) of sin is death, but that’s not what God gives us. By His mercy he gives us more than we deserve. He gives us eternal life, because of Jesus Christ.
Why do good things happen to Bad people?
I’m sure your friends, Christians and non-Christians alike, have asked “Why do bad things happen to good people?”. But the truth is, we’re not good people. We’re sinners. I think a better question to ask is Why do good things happen to bad people. The answer is the Mercy of our God through Jesus Christ. Because of Him we don’t get the full consequences of our sin. I’m grateful my mom prayed this prayer for me, and today it is my prayer for my family and you as well. May you never have the full consequences of your sins, but instead receive the mercy given you through the death and Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ.
 
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Posted by on December 6, 2011 in My God is Merciful

 

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