If we are honest with ourselves, we all have areas where we want to see change.
Fill in this blank. I want to be more ______ (patient, kind, bold, loving, compassionate…) or a better _______ (husband, father, wife, worker….)
Will I ever get there? How do I get there? Where will the change come from? Do these questions sound familiar? They do if you are anything like me.
If you are like me and you want to see change, here are 2 truths found in God’s Word that should encourage:
God Is Love, Love Hopes All Things
1 John 4:8 God is love.
1 Corinthians 13:7 7 Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
We cannot say that “God hopes all things” (1 Cor 13:7) in the same way that we would hope about future events. After all, He knows the future as well as the past. But, God is a loving Father that “pulls for” his children just like a good human father wants to see his children thrive and advance in ... Continue Reading.
During the month of February, we are calling the church to fast one day a week for the month of February. As we have done the last few years, we are calling the church to fast for 4 Wednesdays in the month of February starting February 5th. Many people have never heard of the idea of fasting much less taken part. With that said, here is some background on what fasting is and how it can be used to draw closer to God:Fasting- What is It?
Fasting is the abstaining of some good thing (most often food and/or drink) for a time period in order to devote oneself to God. Fasting is often combined with times of prayer as a way to devote oneself to God.
Fasting – In the Bible In the Old Testament, fasting was often done as a group of people realized they needed to seek God’s will for their life or the lives of their community. Since most of the Old Testament centers around the relationship of the nation of Israel and God, ... Continue Reading.
Jesus once said “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.”- Matthew 4:4
Just as not eating bread (food) will cause our physical bodies to waste away, not hearing the Word of God will cause us to starve spiritually. We need to be hearing from the God who has created us.How do we hear from God?
The most common way we can day-in and day-out hear from God is by reading the Bible, God’s written Word. Even Jesus, God Himself, was a man of written Word. The verse I quoted earlier was actually Jesus quoting Old Testament Scripture to answer the devil’s temptation in the wilderness. The devil found an opportunity to tempt Jesus to turn stones in bread since the devil knew Jesus was fasting (not eating for spiritual reasons) and was hungry. Jesus relied on the truth found in the Scripture to fight off sin (following the devil’s command) and know His Father’s will.
If Jesus leaned on the Word and was God….how much more for us!
1) Your Heart Follows Your Treasure
For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.2) Helps Prevent Serving Money
“No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.”3) You’ll Reap What You Sow
2 Corinthians 9:6-7
The point is this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.4) Proves A Desire to Do Good is Genuine
2 Cor 8:1-2, 8
We want you to know, brothers, about the grace of God that has been given among the churches of Macedonia, for in a severe test of affliction, their abundance of joy and their extreme poverty have overflowed in a wealth of ... Continue Reading.
Recently, I was asked if Bend City teaches that home schooling is the best way to educate your kids? Short answer: No. In fact, we don’t teach any particular venue is the BEST venue to educate your kids.
My wife and I have, in fact, chosen to home school our kids for now, so I definitely see the benefits….and definitely know the challenges. Since parenting is the most difficult thing I’ve done and I’ve heard other parents agree, I know that no matter what method one choses, IT WILL BE A CHALLENGE. A challenge that should have us seeking God every step of the way. For a great explanation of why we don’t see this issue as “closed-handed” (meaning that it has a clear right answer), please watch this:
For more reading on the issue here are perspectives on the 3 options that were recently posted on the Gospel Coalition website:
If you are a Christian, there was likely a time when you first realized that knowing Jesus should change how you live. Jesus, after all, doesn’t just call us to believe in Him for the forgiveness of sins but also to follow Him in obedience. You can’t have one without the other. He must be both Savior and Lord.
So, when that moment came, it is likely the life lived to that point was lived without regard to Jesus’ commands and desires. Bottom line…things needed to change.
The sequence of events usually goes like this. Someone does not believe that they were guilty of sin and needed saving from anything. Thus, this person has no desire of follow a God that they do not believe in. This person gives no thought of what God would want as they go about in day-to-day decision-making.
Then, that person comes to realize that they are a sinner in need of God’s grace and that Jesus is the only possible Savior. They put their faith and trust in Jesus Christ and are forgiven of ... Continue Reading.
Recently at bedtime my boys and I read through Hebrews 11 which is known as the “faith chapter”. Essentially the writer of Hebrews defines faith as “the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen” (ESV) and then gives examples of men and women in the bible that had faith and their faith produced some sort of action. I’ve read this many times, but this time was struck by the variance of actions that the different characters did. Not a complete list, some of the actions were: offering a sacrifice, building a boat, moving to an unknown land, offering a son as a sacrifice, blessing of sons, giving directions for burial, hiding a child, refusing to live in riches, and on and on.
And although the act that was prompted by faith was different for each man or women, they were all commended by God because their hope in God moved them to action. Faith resulted in action…
It is a very basic equation: if what God has said is true then I….(fill in the blank)
33 Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways!
34 “For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who has been his counselor?” 35 “Or who has given a gift to him that he might be repaid?”
36 For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen.
There are a few important truths that one needs to understand before we are willing to submit to the God’s Word as the guide for our life. One main one is found in verse 33: we must believe God’s ways are “inscrutable”. This word means “unable to be searched out” or when put within verse 33 we are taught that God’s ways are unable to be figured out. What does this mean?
Well, we know that it does not mean that God wishes to be unknown by his creation since John 1:18 says that Jesus came that we might know God. The Father sent Jesus in the flesh that we might know Him. He wants us to ... Continue Reading.
John 14:21 21 Whoever has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me. And he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him.
If we come to a verse that seems to be a contradiction to another section of the bible, we can never throw out what seems to be the inconvenient verse. God’s Word is true……all of it! In fact, what we should do is dig into those “contradictory” verses and find out what they mean in relation to each other. Many times what we find is a deeper, more impactful truth.
If you’ve been exposed to solid, truthful teaching of the Scriptures, you may read John 14:21 and ask: how does that work with Ephesians 2:4-5?:
But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved
The John verse seems to say that we are loved because we love God, but the Ephesians verse seems to say that we ... Continue Reading.
36 When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. 37 Then he said to his disciples,“The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; 38 therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.”
Over 2,000 years ago, Jesus was traveling through all the cities and villages around Jerusalem and he noticed that there were many, many people that were confused on what God was like, what it meant to follow God, and who the people could look to for help in the midst of a broken world. The spiritual leaders of the day had become more interested in sideline issues, whether it was meticulous law keeping or status within the nation of Israel, than the huge, glaring needs right in front of them. The people needed help, Jesus had compassion, and Jesus called for workers. Here we are exiting 2012 and entering 2013, and the conditions (although culturally different) are the same. People are still harassed and still needing help.
Who will help?
If you are reading this, ... Continue Reading.
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