Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Consistently Obey God''s Word!

Numbers 32:11-13

Surely none of the men that came up out of Egypt, from twenty years old and upward, shall see the land which I sware unto Abraham, unto Isaac, and unto Jacob; because they have not wholly followed me:

We can all stand to improve in consistently obeying God’s Word.  Like Joshua, you may need reminders to be strong and courageous to consistently increase the habit of using God's Word daily. 

How can we obey God's Word  if we don't know what He is asking from us? 

Without fail all the success stories in the bible have been where the characters obeyed without question what God instructed them to do, and came out the winner, and equally all the disasters have been were people did NOT obey God, but had a better idea and followed that instead. 

Romans 1:21 For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened.

You may need to recall that God will enable you to lead your family and will never leave you as you obey Him. You may need His reminder that He is calling you to spiritually lead, guide, and protect those under your care. Your success in spiritual leadership of your family is directly tied to your commitment to the Word of God.

Q) What kind of commitment to Christ does your family see in your recent actions?

Q) What kind of sacrifices are you making to encourage your family obey God?

Write three steps you will take this week to increase your families use of God’s Word.


Christian Prayer: An Interpretation For All Of Us
The model for Christian prayer in Matthew 6 is known as the Lord's Prayer. Many of us have recited this prayer for years, but have never truly meditated on its meaning. The following are spiritual snippets based on the Lord's Prayer that can help deepen your prayer life with God:
"Our Father" - God wants us to approach Him as "Heavenly Father" (Aramaic:Abba). He wants to take care of us and protect us. God desires intimacy. Remember, He has infinite love and grace. God wants us to be secure in His family as adopted children and heirs through Christ Jesus! 

"Which Art in Heaven" -- Look up to God. Fear Him and revere Him. He is all-powerful and can deal with all our problems, even the big ones. But He loves us so much that He doesn't stay up there. 

"Hallowed be Thy Name" -- Holy, holy, holy. Approach God with awe and wonder. Live a life that honors Him. 

"Thy Kingdom Come" - "Take this job and love it!" Working on behalf of God's kingdom is the ultimate joy. Bloom where you're planted. Do everything as unto the Lord. Find your gifts and use them. Be open to God's leading each day. 

"Thy Will Be Done" - God is the potter; we are the clay. God keeps us spinning on His potter's wheel, shaping and reshaping us as He bathes our lives in tears to make us more Christ-like so He can use us for His will. Submit by remembering your Baptism daily. Keep your clay moist through daily prayer. 

"On Earth as it is in Heaven" -- Thy will be done - not my will be done! 

"Give Us This Day Our Daily Bread" - Trust! God will provide for our needs. His eye is on the sparrow and I know He cares for me. 

"Forgive Us Our Debts as We Forgive Our Debtors" -- Forgiveness = Submission. Don't carry your own backpack - submit everything to Him. In our weakness, God sends His strength and peace. 

"Lead Us Not Into Temptation" - Watch for unrecognized temptation. Pray, so you won't fall. We are tempted every day. It deepens our walk and strengthens our faith - but be careful of spiritual blindness. Open my eyes, Lord, to my blind spots - use honest friends and family.
"Deliver Us From Evil" -- The Evil One, Satan. We are saved from death to life. Jesus is more powerful than Satan - God is I AM! 

"For Thine Is the Kingdom (obedience), and the Power (confidence)and the Glory (joy), Forever" -- This is our Father's world. Everything we have is His. He is the ruler! 

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Self Sabotage

Self-Sabotage, Temptation, and Fear.

1 Corinthians 16:13-14 - Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong. Do everything in love.

1) Self inflicted sabotage isn’t something that just hits you.

It’s an invasive enemy. - It seduces and lures you in.
You’re devoted to your career, working hard and doing it all. You feel accomplished and needed. But, over time you wonder why you’re the only one still at the office that really cares? You begin to realize that all the emergencies make their way to you. The flattery falls flat as each compliment ends with the sting of a last minute assignments, or family expectations are dropped in your lap.
Maybe the temptation of the chasing the “ American Dream” - working hard, making money, achieving goal, and objectives look, taste, and feel really good. Until one day the drive to juggle the 60+ hours a week, the 24/7 on call status, and take care of a crisis family. Add to the fact due to you're business of chasing the American Dream you have neglected your faith, and not taken good care of yourself emotionally, spiritually, or physically.

Sound like someone you know?

Next stop….full-fledged burnout. It snuck up on you. Maybe you didn’t realize that things weren't balanced like you thought. In the end you had depleted all of you're emotional, spiritual and physical reserves and start searching for your escape route.

Q) Is your schedule busy to bring glory to God's name? 

Q) In the last 24 hours how much of that time did you set aside for Christ? 

A Straighter Path
To end the self-sabotage is to wait on the Lord.
  1. Don’t react based on guilt.
  2. Let’s bring it to the Lord and ask our Father to help us discern what is true and what is lies.
  3. Don’t act based on feelings.
  4. Wether failure or success everything will work out for God's Kingdom purpose!

Proverbs 3:6 In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

For every 10 men in the average church...

 For every 10 men in the average church...

* 9 will have kids who leave the church
* 8 will not find their jobs satisfying
* 6 will pay monthly minimum on credit cards
* 5 will struggle with pornography
* 4 will get divorced affecting 1,000,000 children a year
* Only 1 will have a mature Christian worldview
* All 10 will struggle to balance family, work, & faith. 

"It isn't that they can't see the solution. It is that they can't even see the problem.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Jesus (The Word)

Why is using God's Word daily so important to a Christian?

God's Word is to reveal the whole counsel of God to man, both what we are to believe concerning God and what obedience God requires of us. It is the revelation of God in its abiding covenantal form. In it we find God and His will and glory; our relationship to Him laid out and established in terms of creation, fall, redemption, faith and life. It centers on our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, from beginning to end.

It's purpose is to communicate the message of Salvation to all who believe, to re-establish their relationship to God, to accomplish His purpose. It reveals God to man, reveal man's heart and need, establish the covenant of redemption in Jesus Christ, and nurture the soul as the Holy Spirit makes it the Word of life.

Jesus was the Word - JOHN 1:1-3  

1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 

2He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made through Him, and without

Him nothing was made that was made.

Whatever this "Word" (John 1:1) is, what claims are being made above?
A. The Word is someone who can be referred to as a "Him" (John 1:3).
B. He was "with God" (John 1:1). 
C. He "was God" (John 1:1). 
D. He existed from "the beginning" (John 1:1 & 2).
E. Everything was "made through Him" (John 1:3).

To start, are these 5 claims at least internally consistent with the rest of the Bible?
Since John 1:1 talks about "in the beginning", let's go to the beginning of the Bible and look for the answer in the opening chapter of Genesis: "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. 2 The earth was without form, and void; and darkness was on the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters. 3 Then God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light. 4And God saw the light, that it was good; and God divided the light from the darkness. 5 God called the light Day, and the darkness He called Night. So the evening and the morning were the first day. 6Then God said, “Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters.” 7 Thus God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament; and it was so. 8 And God called the firmament Heaven. So the evening and the morning were the second day. 9 Then God said, “Let the waters under the heavens be gathered together into one place, and let the dry land appear”; and it was so. 10And God called the dry land Earth, and the gathering together of the waters He called Seas. And God saw that it was good. 11 Then God said, “Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb that yields seed, and the fruit tree that yields fruit according to its kind, whose seed is in itself, on the earth”; and it was so. 12 And the earth brought forth grass, the herb that yields seed according to its kind, and the tree that yields fruit, whose seed is in itself according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. 13So the evening and the morning were the third day. 14 Then God said, “Let there be lights in the firmament of the heavens to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs and seasons, and for days and years; 15 and let them be for lights in the firmament of the heavens to give light on the earth”; and it was so. 16 Then God made two great lights: the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night. He made the stars also. 17 God set them in the firmament of the heavens to give light on the earth, 18 and to rule over the day and over the night, and to divide the light from the darkness. And God saw that it was good. 19 So the evening and the morning were the fourth day.20 Then God said, “Let the waters abound with an abundance of living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the face of the firmament of the heavens.” 21 So God created great sea creatures and every living thing that moves, with which the waters abounded, according to their kind, and every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. 22 And God blessed them, saying, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas, and let birds multiply on the earth.” 23 So the evening and the morning were the fifth day. 24 Then God said, “Let the earth bring forth the living creature according to its kind: cattle and creeping thing and beast of the earth, each according to its kind”; and it was so. 25 And God made the beast of the earth according to its kind, cattle according to its kind, and everything that creeps on the earth according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. 26 Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth." (Genesis 1:1-26)

What are the second and third words of Genesis 1:3, 6, 9, 11, 14, 20, 24 and 26?
"God said,so according to the Bible, God created everything not with a magic wand or a snap of His fingers but through "Word" (John 1:1), hence "E" above.

When does this passage say all of this took place?
"In the beginning" (Genesis 1:1),  hence "D" above.

What is the fifth word in Genesis 1:26?
"Us", which means that whoever God is referring to is: (1) also God; (2) with God; and (3) someone who can be referred to by a personal pronoun, hence "A","B", "C" above. So A,B,C,D,E above are internally consistent in the Bible.

Thursday, April 5, 2012


PERSONAL PREPARATION FOR HOLY COMMUNION(cf. page 156 in the front of Christian Worship: A Lutheran Hymnal)

Q: What does God tell me about myself in his holy Word?
A: He says that I am a sinner and deserve only his punishment.

Q: What should I do if I am not aware of my sins or am not troubled by them?
A: I should examine myself according to the Ten Commandments and ask how well I have carried out my responsibilities as a husband or wife or single person, as a parent or child, an employer or employee, a teacher or student?

Have I loved God with all my heart, gladly heard his Word, and patiently endured affliction? 

Have I been disobedient, proud, or unforgiving?  

Have I been selfish, lazy, envious, or quarrelsome? 

Have I lied or deceived, taken something not mine, or given anyone a bad name? 

Have I abused my body or permitted indecent thoughts to linger in my mind? 

Have I failed to do what is right and good?

Q: When I realize that I have sinned against God and deserve his punishment, what should I do?
A: I will confess before God all my sins, those which I remember as well as those of which I am unaware. I will pray to God for his mercy and forgiveness.

Q: How do I receive his gracious forgiveness?
A: His Word assures me that Jesus led a pure and holy life for me and died on the cross for me to pay the full price for all my sins. Through faith in Jesus, I have been clothed in my Savior's perfect righteousness and holiness.

Q: What further assurance do I have that Jesus is mine and I am his?
A: In Holy Communion he gives me his body and blood together with the bread and wine as a truly life-giving food and drink to unite me with him and my fellow believers. By means of this sacrament, Jesus not only forgives my sins but sweeps away all my doubts about his love for me, gives me his own strength to live a God-pleasing life, and grants me a joyful foretaste of heaven.

Q: How can I be sure that I receive all these blessings in the Lord's Supper?
A: I have his own word spoken as his last will and testament on the night before he died. There he tells me: "Take and eat; this is my body. Drink from it, all of you; this is my blood which is poured out for you for the forgiveness of sins. Do this in remembrance of me."

Q: How will I respond to this priceless gift from Jesus?
A: I will daily thank and praise him for his love to me. With his help I will fight temptation, do my best to correct whatever wrongs I have done, and serve him and those around me with love and good works.

Communion Prayers:
Lord Jesus, with joy and gratitude I now come to your table to receive the precious food of your life-giving body and blood. May it strengthen me to remain in you as you remain in me, so that I bear much fruit in devoted service to you and in acts of kindness to others. Amen.
Lord, I am not worthy to be a guest at your holy table. But you are the friend of sinners, and you will not cast me out. This bread is your body, which bore my sins upon the tree. This wine is your blood, which purifies me from all guilt. At your invitation, I come rejoicing. Receive me, my Savior. Amen.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Baptizing them in the name.........

When my wife and I presented Lindsey before God and our home congregation the world was in love with our daughter. One hour later after she was baptized the world hated her. I announced these words before the dinner prayer. One of Tracey's Uncles approached me and couldn't believe I could "say such a cruel thing."
From the promises that are attached to baptism in the Bible, we know and believe that the Holy Spirit uses this sacrament to work faith in human hearts. And with faith comes forgiveness of sins – even when an infant may not be consciously or mentally aware of it. Saving faith is not a matter of a human being expressing intellectual or volitional decisions about God, but a matter of God changing hearts and destinies by his power and in love.
When this gift of faith is nourished, nurtured, strengthened, and preserved in a person through repeated use of the gospel (by reading and hearing God’s Word and by receiving the Lord’s Supper with its gospel message), the believer may cherish and recall the unconditional promises God made to him at his baptism. These remain a source of comfort for us all, just as Paul spoke of it in Galatians 3:26-27 and Titus 3:5-7.
If this gift of faith given in baptism is tragically neglected, eventually despised and lost through unbelief (through a neglect and rejection of God’s Word and sacrament), the infant baptism is not the fault or problem, and God’s promises made at that time still stand. The person need only be brought back to divine promises in Christ and will then again cherish his baptism.
If a person is brought to faith through God’s Word later in life and without the privilege of baptism, that person will surely seek baptism and value it as another opportunity to have the Holy Spirit work in the heart to strengthen that faith. 
This is the point of the words you quote (“Believe and be baptized” – from Mark 16:16 or perhaps Acts 2:38). 

When faith is first received through baptism, it is to be strengthened and preserved through the Word; 
when faith is first received through the Word, it is to be strengthened and preserved through baptism. 
How gracious God is and how powerfully the Holy Spirit works through all his chosen instruments!