Monthly Archives: January 2016

Set your mind on things above

The risk for Christians is to allow our minds to be distracted by the things in the world around us. Perhaps worse than distracted is that we sometimes focus and set our minds on those things. Sometimes we want to gain riches, other times fame, perhaps prestige or honors but the only thing that we should set our mind on is the things that are above where Christ is.

“Seek first the Kingdom of God”, Jesus said. This is not possible if your mind is not set on things above.

You can listen to the sermon here.

A more acceptable sacrifice

Abel offered a more acceptable sacrifice….and he did it by Faith.

Living by Faith means that we will offer sacrifices by faith…just like Abel did. We will offer the best, we will offer what God asked for, and we will offer it willingly!

Today’s lesson explores the example we have in Abel and you can listen to it here.

 

What is God’s purpose for my life?

This is a question that we ask ourselves from time to time. Especially when we are young(er) in life, say 16-24, and at a point where we are going to choose a career and make many choices (marriage, kids, education, where to live, etc) that will affect our lives for the next many decades, if God gives us that much time.

With the many verses that we could use, I would like to answer that question in broad terms with two verses.

For David, after he had served the purpose of God in his own generation, fell asleep and was laid with his fathers and saw corruption, (Act 13:36)

and

And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him. (Heb 11:6)

David did something so simple: He served the purpose of God in his own generation.

We don’t have to do something big and grandiose in order to win God’s favor. We don’t even have to affect the whole world or leave a legacy that lasts throughout time. Simply serving God where and when you are is a good thing and one could argue that in so doing you will have a bigger impact than if you “tried” to serve God in some grand way. David made mistakes, but he was a man after God’s heart and so his repentance was never far away…neither was God’s word!

Psalm 119, written by David,  stands out as a testament to the power of God’s word, its value, and its necessity in the life of the person who would follow God.

The other verse cited above, Hebrews 11:6, says basically that we need faith to please God. But what is “Faith”? While the word is used in a few different ways, this time it is used in regards to the “trusting obedience” that one who pleases God has. There are two components to faith then: Trust and Obey (Do you remember that song?).

Faith, of course, is not something that we just dream up. We don’t wish for something and then live our lives as if what we wished for, or what we want, will come to pass. Faith is dependent on a something solid (substance) and which we trust (are convicted about) to be true. (see Heb 11:1 KJV). I believe that one such item, and the one we have readily available to us today is God’s word, the Bible!

So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. (Rom 10:17)

If you hear it in the word of God, you can trust it to be so and, as it pertains to the commands, obey them and so show that you are living by faith. This is what living by faith means….living by what you read in God’s word.

Having faith in God that your sports team will win the next big game is NOT living by faith because God never said you would win. Having faith that you will get a raise at your next evaluation is not living by faith because God never said you would get a raise. Having faith that your new business will succeed is not living by faith because God never said you would.

If you doubt these statements just go talk to any Christian sports player, any Christian employee, or any Christian business owner and ask them what happened when they lost that game, didn’t get the raise, or lost their business. Did God fail them? Is faith not enough? When it is defined in such a way as to reward you or make your life easier, and yet not found in the Scriptures, then not only is faith not enough, it is not really faith.

So what does God want from me? The answer is simple: Live by faith.

The sports player follows the rules, treats his opponents with love (even as he competes against them), and knows that whatever skills he has, God gave him that ability. The employee works as unto the Lord not just when the boss is looking, doesn’t steal time or company property (e.g. pens, paper clips, tools) and the business owner is fair to his customers, produces a quality product, and shows integrity.

Why would those be examples of living by faith? Because the Bible references each of them. The Bible may not tell you how to drive a car (i.e. the skill) but it does tell you HOW to drive when on the road (i.e. obey the laws, be courteous, be wise and not foolish).

So when it comes to our life; do what ever you want that is “by faith”. Don’t choose a path that is unjust, don’t fail to show mercy, don’t fail to walk with God.  (Micah 6:8)

The above should lead you to one inescapable conclusion: “I have to know what God’s word says to know what God wants of my life.”

I am not suggesting that you need to know it all by memory in order to answer the question. You can ask yourself right now, is there something in my life that God does not approve of? If you stop doing it, you are living by faith. Is there something that God would have me to do (honor parents, visit sick, etc.)? If you start doing it,  you are living by faith.

Living by faith is what God wants of you. Now go live the life God wants for you!

If you would like to listen to a sermon on the idea of “living by faith”, click here.

 

 

Show Mercy

In this lesson, presented, Sunday January 18th a.m. we talk about the beatitude of Mercy.

Do you show Mercy? What are some reasons why we don’t show Mercy? How can we show Mercy?

The likelihood is that everyone believes that they show Mercy, sometimes called compassion. But a good question to ask might be: Can we do a better job of showing Mercy.

There are many reasons why people do not show Mercy. One reason is most likely this: They didn’t show me mercy. But that is hardly a good reason to return the (dis)favor. Considering how much we do against God’s character and Holiness and yet still want His mercy, perhaps we should not consider revenge to be a desirable characteristic.

There many ways to show mercy. One of those is how you speak about a person when they are not there. Gossip and character assassination are definitely not merciful characteristics.  In a fight, at least, the person can start out defending themselves. When Gossip is involved, the chance to defend themselves never existed. Speak to build a person up not tear them down.

More is dealt with in the sermon.  We hope you enjoy listening to it.

Living by Faith

And without Faith, it is impossible to please Him. Heb 11:6

What does it mean to live by faith? Are there examples of others living by faith which we can learn from? Of course there are! Tons!

Our afternoon lesson begins a series entitled “Living by Faith” and, after this introduction lesson will look the lives of some who we consider to be examples of “living by faith”

You can listen to the lesson here

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