Confession is Great for the Soul–1 John 1 final

I heard in a sermon a few weeks ago that no one simply drifts into a great life.  We were designed by God to be intentional and God Like.  That is why sin has had such a terrible impact upon us and upon the world as a whole.  The natural man defaults away from God and drifts toward a selfish and empty life.  Even with eternity in the balance, men choose to be separated from God naturally.

But God chose differently.  Through his spirit, we are drawn back to him.  In that, if we confess our sin–our natural desire to be Lord of our own life, and follow his lead and begin the personal relationship with him as Lord of our lives–our affirmative decision to surrender allows him to forgive us and restore our eternal life and journey with him.

While simple, it is by no means easy.  we have to choose each day to follow him and not run our own show.  But, when we choose that life–we have a Great Life Indeed!

God Bless You

This is the message we heard from Jesus[c] and now declare to you: God is light, and there is no darkness in him at all. So we are lying if we say we have fellowship with God but go on living in spiritual darkness; we are not practicing the truth. But if we are living in the light, as God is in the light, then we have fellowship with each other, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, cleanses us from all sin.

If we claim we have no sin, we are only fooling ourselves and not living in the truth. But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness. 10 If we claim we have not sinned, we are calling God a liar and showing that his word has no place in our hearts.

Jesus Begins–Mark 1 part 2

God’s plan for Jesus was very deliberate.  For thirty years, Jesus grew up, worked and operated as a normal guy.  But at 30, it was time to complete his mission.  He was baptized, filled with the spirit, commissioned by the father and sent into battle.  His first 40 days were completed in the desert.  There he fasted, prayed and went to war with the enemy.  The battle was brutal but God won. Jesus was attended by angels and then he was off to change the world.

God’s plan in our lives is equally deliberate.  We are called, and as we follow him we are prepared for battle.  Like Jesus, we need to prepare for the battle and seek his help as we fight it. Then we must also be ready to minister wherever we go.  Jesus modeled that, lived it and in Matthew 28 called us to do it.  “As you are going, make disciples—baptizing them in the name of the father, son and spirit. Teaching them what I have taught you and remember I am with you always—even to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:19-20

God Bless You

At that time Jesus came from Nazareth in Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. 10 Just as Jesus was coming up out of the water, he saw heaven being torn open and the Spirit descending on him like a dove. 11 And a voice came from heaven: “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.”

12 At once the Spirit sent him out into the wilderness, 13 and he was in the wilderness forty days, being tempted[g] by Satan. He was with the wild animals, and angels attended him.

14 After John was put in prison, Jesus went into Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God. 15 “The time has come,” he said. “The kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news!”

Matthew 4 part 1–The Battle Begins

Jesus did not take lightly the task before him. He was led by the spirit into the wilderness where he fasted for 40 days. What an enormous burden—as a human, stripped of his power and Godly authority, Jesus now faced the enemy for a full on battle. There is so much to grab. First- Jesus fasted for 40 days—what a commitment and sacrifice. But it was also a time of clarity– Jesus did not underestimate the enemy, instead he prepared.
Next, The actual battle was not significantly different than ours. Satan tempted Jesus with the lust of flesh—turn the stone to bread; the lust of the eyes—I will give you all this if you will simply bow down; and the pride of life—Jump, God won’t allow anything happen to YOU, you are the chosen one. We, like the Lord, have the tools to walk away, prayer, scripture and the knowledge that the enemy will never provide anything that God has not already prepared for us. We simply need to be patient and submit to his leadership.
Finally, Jesus had the word so engrained in his thought, that battling was easy—Jesus had answered the questions well prior to Satan’s test. We have to know and commit to the right direction well prior to being tempted. We do this through his word and prayer. We build accountability and fellowship in our lives so we need not face the battle alone. Then we cling to the promise of his provision and protection and simply employ the word as a weapon and a shield in our lives—The battle is clearly not an easy one. It requires preparation, recognition and fortification. Help me Lord to employ those in my life.
God Bless You
4 Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted[a] by the devil. 2 After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. 3 The tempter came to him and said, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.”
4 Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’[b]”
5 Then the devil took him to the holy city and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. 6 “If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down. For it is written:
“‘He will command his angels concerning you,
and they will lift you up in their hands,
so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.’[c]”
7 Jesus answered him, “It is also written: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’[d]”
8 Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. 9 “All this I will give you,” he said, “if you will bow down and worship me.”
10 Jesus said to him, “Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.’[e]”
11 Then the devil left him, and angels came and attended him

Esther 4 part 3 What do I Do Now…

Esther realized that she had been inserted into God’s plan.  Her Uncle had made clear the truth—God’s plan will be executed, our choice to be a part is a step of faith, but one that does have consequence. Esther knew what she had to do, she called upon God’s people to fast and pray.  She and her folks joined them in fasting and praying and at the end, she agreed to approach the King even if it meant her very life.

We have to have the right attitude about God’s plan, our submission and our faith. We have to believe God will do what he has set out to do. We then have to submit to prayer and obedience even fasting to prepare to hear from him and see his mighty work.  Then, finally, we have to step out in faith even at risk of life and livelihood to allow him to show his glory and protect and provide.  There are no short cuts to honoring God.  We simply have to follow him and trust his leadership.  When we choose to disobey, he still executes his plan through others, but we lose out on the opportunity to benefit from his plan.  Obey, seek him and watch him work in your life—that is how we are allowed to be a part of his amazing journey.

God Bless You

12 When Esther’s words were reported to Mordecai, 13 he sent back this answer: “Do not think that because you are in the king’s house you alone of all the Jews will escape. 14 For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father’s family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?”

15 Then Esther sent this reply to Mordecai: 16 “Go, gather together all the Jews who are in Susa, and fast for me. Do not eat or drink for three days, night or day. I and my attendants will fast as you do. When this is done, I will go to the king, even though it is against the law. And if I perish, I perish.”

17 So Mordecai went away and carried out all of Esther’s instructions.