Finding Yourself or Finding God?

We live it a society that has many artificial foods. Each product is intended to be just like the genuine product. In fact, they even use a name that indicates that you cannot tell the difference between the two products. When many of these products are tested years later, the results of the test show that the product may in fact be harmful.

Christianity is no different that these foods. There are people who will try to convince you that you can become god. Many of you have heard the phrase “I can do all things.” People will tell you that it is in the Bible so it must be true.

Philippians 4:13 (NKJV) Paul says: I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. When you read the entire text you will find that Paul is giving God the credit for all that God has allowed him to do. However, the message that people like to hear is: “I can do all things by my own strength.” This makes them feel important. They believe they can do anything they want to do.

Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. This is how you can recognize the Spirit of God: Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, but every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you have heard is coming and even now is already in the world. 1 John 4:1-3(NIV)

Being focused on self and wanting to be god is not a new concept. It has been around since Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit. Today people are still listening to Satan’s argument. However, if we want to know real thing, we will find that the opposite is true; we cannot do anything without God’s strength. The Bibles says if we want to know the real joy of following Jesus, we must deny ourselves, in other words, we must become nothing and let Christ become everything.

Luke says it this way in Luke 9:23-26:

Then he said to them all: Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. 24 For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will save it. 25 What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit their very self? Luke 9:23-25(NIV)

What are the results of following your fleshly desires and doing whatever you please?

The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God. Galatians 5:19-21(NIV)

What happens when you sacrifice your fleshly desires, and follow God’s leading?

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other. Galatians 5:25-26(NIV)

Throughout the Old Testament, God shows the results of His power and the results of man’s power. Repeatedly God overpowers fleshly man. For instance, in the story of David and Goliath, Goliath is thinking that he could do whatever he pleased. He thinks he is infallible. His daily routine was to come before Saul’s army and dare them to kill him. However, when David saw Goliath and heard what Goliath was saying, David was determined to slay the giant.

God had been with David when a lion attack his sheep and again when a bear attack his sheep. David had experience God’s power in his own life. He knew God would give him the strength to slay Goliath.

David got permission from the King to stand against Goliath. This is what David said to Goliath after Goliath ridiculed him for being only a little boy.

“You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the Lord Almighty, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. This day the Lord will deliver you into my hands, and I’ll strike you down and cut off your head. This very day I will give the carcasses of the Philistine army to the birds and the wild animals, and the whole world will know that there is a God in Israel. All those gathered here will know that it is not by sword or spear that the Lord saves; for the battle is the Lord’s, and he will give all of you into our hands.” 1 Samuel 17:45-47(NIV)

David did kill Goliath. He did not kill the giant because he was god and could do it in his own strength. He did it because of the strength of the God of Israel.

Throughout the Gospels, the writers tell of God’s power through the life of His son Jesus. After the death of Jesus, God showed his awesome power by raising Jesus from the dead, thus overcoming death. It is because God gave Jesus victory over death that we will be able to live forever in Heaven. There has never been another person who has been able to overcome dead.

God has shown His love to us by sending His only begotten Son into the world that we may have eternal life. If we cannot believe the power and love that God has already shown to us, we will never have the eternal satisfaction of being reconciled to God for eternity. Adam and Eve were satisfied for a very short time as they tasted the forbidden fruit, but guilt soon took over and they hid from God.

Trust God with all your actions. Rely on His strength and not your own strength. God gives you hope for tomorrow but following selfish desires only brings hopelessness.

 

NOTE: All scripture used in this blog have been downloaded from www.biblegateway.com

The Rainbow

I find the rainbow to be an interesting symbol, especially when the rainbow is associated with the same sex marriage decision made by the Supreme Court.

If one were to study Genesis 6-8, they would find that the world had become corrupt. The women had been forced into co-habitation relationships. The people had turned to their fleshly desires. They had forgotten that is was God who formed man in his image. Their thoughts were evil all the time. The world had become so evil that God wished he had never made man. It appears the way society was acting then is very similar to the  way society is acting today.

When human beings began to increase in number on the earth and daughters were born to them, the sons of God saw that the daughters of humans were beautiful, and they married any of them they chose. Then the Lord said, “My Spirit will not contend with humans forever, for they are mortal; their days will be a hundred and twenty years.”

The Nephilim were on the earth in those days—and also afterward—when the sons of God went to the daughters of humans and had children by them. They were the heroes of old, men of renown.

The Lord saw how great the wickedness of the human race had become on the earth, and that every inclination of the thoughts of the human heart was only evil all the time. The Lord regretted that he had made human beings on the earth, and his heart was deeply troubled. So the Lord said, “I will wipe from the face of the earth the human race I have created—and with them the animals, the birds and the creatures that move along the ground—for I regret that I have made them.” But Noah found favor in the eyes of the Lord. Genesis 6:1-8(NIV)

Noah was the exception, however. God found that Noah was a righteous man; a who still believed in God regardless of what society was doing; Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord. God chose Noah to save the world from their sin. God did destroy all the people of the world, but He saved Noah and his family. God also saved two of every kind of animal and bird.

God had a plan. God talked to Noah and told him to build an ark. Noah worked on the ark for 120 years. While Noah was building the ark, the people ridiculed him. He still trusted God and kept building the ark. God made a covenant with Noah saying that God would protect Noah, his family, and two of every kind of animal.

God gave the world 120 years to repent but the people did not improve their behavior. It continued to deteriorate. The flood came but Noah, his family, and a representative male and female animal from each kind were safe inside the ark. The people, who continued to sin and followed their fleshly desires, were destroyed by the flood.

After the destruction of the people who followed the fleshly desires of their heart. God caused the water to subside. The water subsided and God gave Noah a reminder of the promise God made with Noah, that he would never destroy all living creatures with a flood again.

Why then, would the rainbow be used to celebrate the Supreme Court’s decision to force same sex marriages on all states? Is it a reminder to people that we can either accept God, or reject God? If we reject God, God will turn us over to our sinful behavior, and we will die in our sin (See Romans 1:18-32). On the other hand, if we accept God, we will follow God, and will have eternal life with him.

The rainbow is a reminder of the covenant God made with Noah. Circumcision was a reminder of the covenant that God made with Abraham. The communion cup is a reminder of God grace offered to us. It represents the blood of Christ shed for us. Jesus paid the price for our sins. He made it possible for us to have eternal life with God.

When you see the rainbow, remember God’s love for us. It was so great that He sent His Son to die for our sin. He freed us from the guilt of our sin just as he promised.

NOTE: All scripture used in this blog were downloaded from  www.biblegateway.com

Are You Competing with God?

Why do people have jobs?

There are several reason why people have jobs. They want to pay the bills; they want to support themselves; they want new ‘toys’; they want health insurance; or they may want to establish their identity. The truth is that God supplies our needs, not our job. Our needs are supplied by God. Our job is the mission field in which God placed us.

The money we receive from our job is provided by God. When we begin to feel like we found the job or that we work at the job to earn money, our faith in God is not necessary. If these are your feelings and you lose your job, you will feel like the whole world has fallen in on you.

On the other hand, if you believe that God provided all your needs, you will be more concerned about telling others about God. You will go to work to demonstrate God’s love and to show others what God has done for you. When you are laid off, you will continue to trust God for you needs. Your faith will grow as God changes your mission field. If you sustain medical bills, God will provide for those bills if you let Him.

And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:19(NIV) God’s promise to us is to supply all our needs according to HIS riches. Please notice that the writer does not exclude our financial needs, our material needs, our social needs, or our physical needs. Meeting every possible need is what Jesus promised to those who are true disciples of God; those who have faith in God.

Disciples of God are people who are following Christ. Please note, not everyone who follows Christ is one of His disciples. For example, Judas Iscariot followed Jesus yet betrayed him. The Pharisees followed Jesus so they could “trap him”. Even though the Pharisees knew all the Laws God gave to his children, they were out to kill Jesus, the very Messiah whom they were supposed to be teaching the people about.

You see there were two types of followers. There were the followers who wanted to learn more about Jesus. The ones who want their faith in Him to grow. Then there were the followers who want to get Jesus out of the picture. These are the ones who claim they do not need Jesus; they are the ones who think they are ‘macho’ and do not need anyone to help them. These people believe they can have what Jesus has to offer and still keep all of their sinful desires.

True followers of Jesus are the ones who were willing to crucify themselves and their sinful desires. They are the ones whose faith in God grows stronger every day, because they have learned to trust God. They read their Bibles to learn more about God and His promises. They are the ones who put their faith in God, not themselves.

On the other hand, if you are trying to protect yourselves and your desires, you are following Jesus for the wrong reason. If you are expecting God to make YOU something great, you are following him for the wrong reason. You are trying to trust yourself, not God. When you do these things, you are in competition with God. You are reading passages of scripture that support your position and ignoring the scripture that opposes your position. You would rather follow the ideas of man than to stand up for God.

Jesus tells about a rich ruler in Luke 18 that knew all the right things to do. In fact he had done them since he was just a child. He knew the scripture and the commandments, but he was not willing to give up is natural desires. He was not willing to trust Jesus with everything.

18 A certain ruler asked him, “Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?”

19 “Why do you call me good?” Jesus answered. “No one is good—except God alone. 20 You know the commandments: ‘You shall not commit adultery, you shall not murder, you shall not steal, you shall not give false testimony, honor your father and mother.’ ”

21 “All these I have kept since I was a boy,” he said.

22 When Jesus heard this, he said to him, “You still lack one thing. Sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” Luke 18:19-22(NIV)

 If you are tired of competing with God, throw up the white flag! Surrender yourself and your desires to God. Experience a freedom that you have never known before. Let God supply all your needs according to His riches. Celebrate your newfound independence!

 

NOTE: Scripture used in the blog was downloaded from http://Biblegateway.com