Tuesday, February 24, 2009

What's your purpose?

Is your purpose in life to be the best wife, mother, sister, soul-winner, employee----or you fill in the blank---that you can possibly be?

Do you set high goals for yourself, and work hard to attain them, believing that achieving them is fulfilling your destiny?

What would you say if I told you that none of the above is why we are here on this earth?! Would that surprise you?

Well, believe it or not, but it's true---nothing on the above list is the reason why we are here!

Yep, that's right! Phil. 2:13 says, "
For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure. "

II Thess. 1:11 also states,

"Wherefore also we pray always for you, that our God would count you worthy of this calling, and fulfil all the good pleasure of his goodness, and the work of faith with power:"

In fact, the first chapter of Ephesians reiterates over and over that we are to be "to the praise of his glory".

Our sole purpose, then, really and truly, is to live for HIS glory and HIS good pleasure.

Kinda changes things, and gives us a whole different perspective on things and the circumstances we face in our day-to-day existence, doesn't it?

If we would really take hold of this truth, I think it would transform our thinking and our very lives! Everything we do would take on new significance!

We would truly live Col. 3:17: "
And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to G-d and the Father by him." and I Cor. 10:31: "Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God."

Wow---I don't know about you, but this truth really puts into perspective these Scriptures:

"What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's." I Cor. 6:19,20

Monday, February 23, 2009

Conviction....or Condemnation?

Sometimes I think that we do not recognize the difference between being under conviction and under condemnation. Yesterday, in our ladies' SS class, I attempted to explain how to know the difference between the two.

The enemy is very clever as well as very subtle. He loves to twist the truth, to confuse us, to put false guilt upon us, to get us so turned inside out and sideways, that he gets our focus on other things to the point that we lose our effectiveness and miss what the L-rd is really trying to do in our lives.

The Bible tells us that, "
All scripture[is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:" II Tim. 3:16 As we read the Word of G-d, the Holy Spirit will guide us into all truth (John 16:13).

Hebrews 4:12 tells us how G-d's Word does it's job: "
For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart."

As we fellowship with the L-rd through His Word and prayer, and as we live day by day, walking with Him, the Holy Spirit does a work in our hearts. Conviction of sin is one way in which the Holy Spirit deals with us. Sometimes He also nudges our hearts about things that may not be sins, but things that the L-rd doesn't want us to allow as part of our lives any longer. The L-rd deals with each of us as individuals.

Conviction is a healthy thing!
It is evidence that our consciences are not seared (I Tim. 4:2)!
Conviction helps us to progress along in being conformed to the image of the L-rd Jesus Christ (Romans 8:29)!

But, dear friends, conviction is not condemnation. And, condemnation is not conviction!

While conviction is the work of the Holy Spirit, condemnation is the work of the law, which we all were under before we were saved.

Romans 8:1 tells us, "
There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit."

If we have never been born again, we are still under the law, thereby under condemnation. But, when we have received forgiveness of our sins and made a child of G-d by faith in the Blood of Jesus Christ, we are no longer under the law and condemnation.

However, even after we're saved, we have an enemy. He no longer has power over our souls, but he still walks about as a roaring lion (Eph. 6) wanting to defeat and destroy us. He uses condemnation to try to bring us back under the law and weaken us.

If you belong to the L-rd, your sins being forgiven, He has cast all your sins behind His back and into the depths of the deepest sea! (Isa. 38:17; Micah 7:19) The L-rd promises to remember them no more! After we belong to the L-rd, when we sin, we are told in I John 1:9 that, "
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness."

Being human, even after we've confessed those sins to the L-rd, we have trouble forgetting them. Some of us, without realizing it, carry around a load of regrets. The enemy enjoys mocking us, reminding us of our sins again and again, really rubbing it in, making us feel like hopeless failures!

So, what do we usually do? We pray, trying to make sure that the L-rd really forgives us, but He doesn't want to be reminded of our sins!

See how the enemy sets us up?! We're already forgiven. Those sins are under the blood. The L-rd remembers them no more. But the enemy gets us all down in the mully-grubs and feeling unworthy, guilty, ashamed, conflicted----over something that has already been settled, done away with and forgotten!

That's how condemnation works.....the enemy is good at that! The L-rd gives us forgiveness and the victory, and the enemy wants to push us back to defeat all over again!

Next time the enemy uses the condemnation tactic on you, remember Romans 8:1, and remember that the L-rd has given us the victory: "
But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. " I Cor. 15:57 And what is our victory?
I John 5:4 says, "
For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith. "

Friday, February 6, 2009

Wayward Children

"Hear, O heavens, and give ear, O earth: for the L-RD hath spoken, I have nourished and brought up children, and they have rebelled against me." Isa. 1:2

Take heart, mothers.....even the L-rd has wayward children!

Don't we blame ourselves when our children go astray? We do the best we can to rear them according to the Word of G-d, and they still seek their own way and fall into the snare of the enemy.

But, hey-----G-d is the PERFECT parent, is He not? Even He has rebellious children! But the Bible is clear, that G-d's rebellious children are going to come back to Him. All throughout the book of Isaiah, it makes it clear, that one day, all Israel will be gathered together again, and will mourn Him Whom they have rejected, and will once again worship the L-rd G-d.

Proverbs 22:6 is forever true: "Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it."

This Scripture is true for us, something we can count on as we pray for kids gone astray.

After all, haven't we all gone astray, turned every one to his own way as it says in Isa. 53:6? Who among us can claim to be a perfect child, can claim that we have never gone astray?

But---His mercies fail not!

"If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land. " II Chron. 7:14

Herein is the key: we must humble ourselves and we must repent!

All sin is a result of pride. Remember Lucifer? Pride is what caused his fall. Eve? Pride---to be like G-d, she ate of the fruit. At its root, all sin is prideful. So, there is only one remedy when we have sinned in going our own way: we must humble ourselves in order to then repent--turn from--our sinful way.

It takes a humble heart to admit that one has been wrong. It takes a humble heart to stop making excuses for wrong behavior. It takes a humble heart to confess to the L-rd that you have messed things up by doing things your own way instead of obeying Proverbs 3:5,6! It takes a humble heart to truly repent!

Repenting is not just acknowledging that you've done wrong. Repentance is a turning from that wrong.....going the other direction totally! There's nothing gradual about repenting. You either repent, or you don't. You can't turn from sin a little bit and follow the L-rd. Repentance is a total turning from sin.

Here are further promises of G-d to those of us who will humble ourselves and repent:

Psalm 34:18---"The LORD is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit."

Psalm 51:17---

"The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise."

Isa. 57:15--"For thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy; I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a
contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones."

Friends, the L-rd is coming soon. When he does, we who are His true children will not be going our own way any longer. We will then have to stand before the judgment seat of Christ.

Paul tells us in II Cor. 11:31---"For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged." Wouldn't that be so much better, for us to humble ourselves, repent, and follow the L-rd before He has to deal with us Himself, as we see in the next verse, "But when we are judged, we are chastened of the Lord, that we should not be condemned with the world."

G-d's Word and His promises are true.