Who Can Win the Battle–1 John 5 Part 1

It is great to distinguish yourself.  One need only open You tube to find countless examples of people working to set themselves apart and establish their place in this world.  We are also called to be set apart. And God, being the father that he is simply wants us to be set apart from a world gone bad.  So How do we set ourselves apart?

In this passage we see three factors that make us unique. 1) Believing Jesus is the Christ (Messiah). 2) Loving God and Loving his kids.  3) Keeping his Commands–By faith.  It is mostly a matter of trust–trusting God to be God, trusting Christ to be the risen Savior and trusting God’s plan to be designed to make us like him and to prepare us for Eternity.  If we do that, we will be SET APART.

God Bless You

Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ[a] has become a child of God. And everyone who loves the Father loves his children, too. We know we love God’s children if we love God and obey his commandments. Loving God means keeping his commandments, and his commandments are not burdensome. For every child of God defeats this evil world, and we achieve this victory through our faith. And who can win this battle against the world? Only those who believe that Jesus is the Son of God.

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.

Marraige–Ephesians 5 part 2

Having officiated at several weddings, I have realized there are few verses more helpful to couples than the passage in Ephesians 5.  The bottom line–Submit to God and to one another.  Marriage is an amazing and mystical covenant that transforms 2 perfectly good human beings into one.  But, to accomplish such a miracle, both need to submit to God and each other. The world would have it go the other way–no submission.  Equal rights and self-protection are pillars of  the current world view.

That is why God calls us to be different.  If we continue to live differently according to God’s will, then we replace the world’s illusion of independence with God’s gift of freedom.  Marriage is God’s picture of his desire for the covenant he has with us. In every relationship based upon love, the desire is to see the one we love freed from anything that would entrap or entangle them.  God says–to be free in marriage, don’t take the throne, take the knee.  Be great–by submitting and sacrificing for each other.  As you seek to promote one another, two perfectly good human beings transform into one awesome married couple.  One awesome married couple is the best picture of all the attributes of God wrapped into one. That is why when you are with a couple that lives a life of mutual submission, you never want to leave.

God Bless You

21 Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.

22 Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. 24 Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.

25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her 26 to make her holy, cleansing[b] her by the washing with water through the word, 27 and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. 28 In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself.

I Samuel 24 part 2–The Inevitable Truth of God’s Power

Saul knew he was licked. Or so it would seem.  David could have easily killed him and taken the kingdom that was given to him.  But, David trusted God and spared Saul’s life.  In a moment of lucid thought, Saul was able to see and hear the truth.  David was clear—I could have killed you, but that is not my task.  God sees what is happening—he can and will decide the right course.  Saul knew that was true and that he should never have taken the path he chose—so for the time he simply asked David to spare his family and then he went home.

Even evil can see God’s work and leadership.  In difficult moments in life, we see the worst of us do noble acts.  We see the seemingly godless people come to the realization of God and His power.  What is sad, however, is that when we who know the truth act as Saul did, and intentionally choose independence from God over freedom in him; then we become people we would neither recognize or want to be around.  But, even in those times and places in our journey, we can wake up and turn back…Saul did.  When we repent, God is faithful to forgive and restore—if we submit to His leadership. There is no magic formula, there is no quick fix.  There is simply our daily commitment to follow God and his eternal commitment to protect, provide and lead us to an eternity with him.

God Bless You

 12 “May the Lord judge between us. Perhaps the Lord will punish you for what you are trying to do to me, but I will never harm you. 13 As that old proverb says, ‘From evil people come evil deeds.’ So you can be sure I will never harm you. 14 Who is the king of Israel trying to catch anyway? Should he spend his time chasing one who is as worthless as a dead dog or a single flea? 15 May the Lord therefore judge which of us is right and punish the guilty one. He is my advocate, and he will rescue me from your power!”

16 When David had finished speaking, Saul called back, “Is that really you, my son David?” Then he began to cry. 17 And he said to David, “You are a better man than I am, for you have repaid me good for evil. 18 Yes, you have been amazingly kind to me today, for when the Lord put me in a place where you could have killed me, you didn’t do it. 19 Who else would let his enemy get away when he had him in his power? May the Lord reward you well for the kindness you have shown me today. 20 And now I realize that you are surely going to be king, and that the kingdom of Israel will flourish under your rule. 21 Now swear to me by the Lord that when that happens you will not kill my family and destroy my line of descendants!”

22 So David promised this to Saul with an oath. Then Saul went home, but David and his men went back to their stronghold.

God’s Amazing Presence–I Samuel 19 part 2

There is something inevitable about God’s presence.  When we are truly in his presence he remains Large and in Charge.  We so often try to control God’s plan only to find that such control is but an illusion. Saul had decided to take his kingdom into his own hands and Kill God’s anointed King. He sent troops to capture and Kill David and even chased him personally.  But, Both Saul and his men were stopped—Not by some band of Warrior angels, but, simply by God’s spirit. The spirit completely stripped and disarmed Saul—before Samuel…That had to be different than Saul planned.

God will not be mocked, controlled or usurped.  His plan will ultimately prevail and as we watch—we will see his hand at work. He will protect us in the presence of our enemies.  He will send the right provision for our lives and friend or foe—in his presence he will run the show.  Walk with him, follow him humbly and watch his presence rule the day—He is Lord!

God Bless You

18 When David had fled and made his escape, he went to Samuel at Ramah and told him all that Saul had done to him. Then he and Samuel went to Naioth and stayed there. 19 Word came to Saul: “David is in Naioth at Ramah”; 20 so he sent men to capture him. But when they saw a group of prophets prophesying, with Samuel standing there as their leader, the Spirit of God came on Saul’s men, and they also prophesied. 21 Saul was told about it, and he sent more men, and they prophesied too. Saul sent men a third time, and they also prophesied. 22 Finally, he himself left for Ramah and went to the great cistern at Seku. And he asked, “Where are Samuel and David?”

“Over in Naioth at Ramah,” they said.

23 So Saul went to Naioth at Ramah. But the Spirit of God came even on him, and he walked along prophesying until he came to Naioth. 24 He stripped off his garments, and he too prophesied in Samuel’s presence. He lay naked all that day and all that night. This is why people say, “Is Saul also among the prophets?”

I Samuel 17 part 1–The Giant is Real and Large

Israel had a very real problem.  They had an enemy with a champion that was almost 10 feet tall. That champion wore armor that was heavier than most in the Israelite army.  That giant wanted to fight any soldier from Israel winner take all. From Israel’s perspective, there was little to win and everything to lose.  Anyone looking at what the army faced, they had a very real problem.  It was not only sheer fear that kept the volunteers from lining up, it was the thought of a failure leading to the capture of the entire army.  From Saul down everyone understood the size of the giant and the implications of failure.

In our lives, we also face giants.  Whether spiritual, emotional, financial or professional, those giants are most times very real and very large.  When facing them, we, like the Israelite army not only analyze the problem personally—but also we look at the effect it has on those we care about and care for. What we see, though is that through our eyes, many of the giants we face are simply too big and too powerful for us to face.  BUT, from the Lord God’s perspective, they are nothing.  As we face each day and each giant, we have to walk by faith and believe that GOD not us is charged with facing the giants.  He alone will met and defeat them no matter how real or large they are.  Sadly, it takes patience and faith to meet the giants and face them—but, as we will see, doing so can change the world.

God Bless You

A champion named Goliath, who was from Gath, came out of the Philistine camp. His height was six cubits and a span.[a] He had a bronze helmet on his head and wore a coat of scale armor of bronze weighing five thousand shekels[b]; on his legs he wore bronze greaves, and a bronze javelin was slung on his back. His spear shaft was like a weaver’s rod, and its iron point weighed six hundred shekels.[c] His shield bearer went ahead of him.

Goliath stood and shouted to the ranks of Israel, “Why do you come out and line up for battle? Am I not a Philistine, and are you not the servants of Saul? Choose a man and have him come down to me. If he is able to fight and kill me, we will become your subjects; but if I overcome him and kill him, you will become our subjects and serve us.” 10 Then the Philistine said, “This day I defy the armies of Israel! Give me a man and let us fight each other.” 11 On hearing the Philistine’s words, Saul and all the Israelites were dismayed and terrified.

God as Warrior–I Samuel 14 part 3

When we follow God’s Lead, it can completely change the world.  Israel was stuck on the sideline—no weapons, afraid and hopeless.  Jonathan trusted the Lord and followed him into battle and God caused a panic, re-invigorated the Israelite troops and routed the mighty Philistine army. All because Jonathan followed the Lord into battle.

In our lives, there are times when the battle seems lost, troops defeated and hope completely gone.  But, as we continue to follow the Lord into Battle, he can completely change the course of the battle and the condition of our hearts. He gives strength to the weary and hope to the hopeless.  He brings victor out of certain loss and humility out of utter pride. If we remain faithful, he will lead us to victory in his time. We can never give up, give in or lose hope.  Help me, Lord to follow you into battle and to see your mighty hand disrupt and defeat our enemy!

God Bless You

Then panic struck the whole army—those in the camp and field, and those in the outposts and raiding parties—and the ground shook. It was a panic sent by God.[a]

16 Saul’s lookouts at Gibeah in Benjamin saw the army melting away in all directions. 17 Then Saul said to the men who were with him, “Muster the forces and see who has left us.” When they did, it was Jonathan and his armor-bearer who were not there.

18 Saul said to Ahijah, “Bring the ark of God.” (At that time it was with the Israelites.)[b] 19 While Saul was talking to the priest, the tumult in the Philistine camp increased more and more. So Saul said to the priest, “Withdraw your hand.”

20 Then Saul and all his men assembled and went to the battle. They found the Philistines in total confusion, striking each other with their swords. 21 Those Hebrews who had previously been with the Philistines and had gone up with them to their camp went over to the Israelites who were with Saul and Jonathan. 22 When all the Israelites who had hidden in the hill country of Ephraim heard that the Philistines were on the run, they joined the battle in hot pursuit. 23 So on that day the Lord saved Israel, and the battle moved on beyond Beth Aven.