Category Archives: Sermon Application

truths that are true no matter how i feel…

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Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.  Proverbs 3:5-6

Daniel 4:35 (ESV) all the inhabitants of the earth are accounted as nothing, and he does according to his will among the host of heaven and among the inhabitants of the earth; and none can stay his hand or say to him, “What have you done?”

For the Lord is a great God, and a great King above all gods.In his hand are the depths of the earth; the heights of the mountains are his also. The sea is his, for he made it, and his hands formed the dry land. Psalm 95:3-5

Jeremiah 32:17,26-27 (ESV) [17] ‘Ah, Lord God! It is you who has made the heavens and the earth by your great power and by your outstretched arm! Nothing is too hard for you…. [26] The word of the Lord came to Jeremiah: [27] “Behold, I am the Lord, the God of all flesh. Is anything too hard for me?

Isaiah 26:4 “Trust in the LORD forever, For in GOD the LORD, {we have} an everlasting Rock.

Nahum 1:7 The LORD is good, A stronghold in the day of trouble, And He knows those who take refuge in Him. ]

Psalms 36:7 How precious is Your lovingkindness, O God! And the children of men take refuge in the shadow of Your wings.

Romans 11:33 (ESV) Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways!

Job 11:7-9 (ESV) “Can you find out the deep things of God? Can you find out the limit of the Almighty? [8] It is higher than heaven—what can you do? Deeper than Sheol—what can you know? [9] Its measure is longer than the earth and broader than the sea.

Hebrews 4:13 (ESV) And no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account.

Chron. 6:14 (ESV) and said, “O Lord, God of Israel, there is no God like you, in heaven or on earth, keeping covenant and showing steadfast love to your servants who walk before you with all their heart,

Neh. 9:17 (ESV) They refused to obey and were not mindful of the wonders that you performed among them, but they stiffened their neck and appointed a leader to return to their slavery in Egypt. But you are a God ready to forgive, gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love, and did not forsake them.

Psalm 36:7 (ESV) How precious is your steadfast love, O God! The children of mankind take refuge in the shadow of your wings.

Psalm 98:3 (ESV) He has remembered his steadfast love and faithfulness to the house of Israel. All the ends of the earth have seen the salvation of our God.

Psalm 136:2 (ESV) Give thanks to the God of gods, for his steadfast love endures forever.

Micah 7:18 (ESV) Who is a God like you, pardoning iniquity and passing over transgression for the remnant of his inheritance? He does not retain his anger forever, because he delights in steadfast love.

Romans 8:39 (ESV) nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

1 John 3:1 (ESV) See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him.

Eph. 2:4-5 (ESV) But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, [5] even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ— by grace you have been saved—

Romans 8:28 (ESV) And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.

Hebrews 11:6 (ESV) 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.


Trust is not a passive state of mind. It is a vigorous act of the soul by which we choose to lay hold on the promises of God and cling to them despite the adversity that at times seeks to overwhelm us. – Jerry Bridges

“To say that God is omniscient is to say that He possesses perfect knowledge and has no need to learn. But it is more: it is to say that God never learned and cannot learn.” – A.W. Tozer

“Wisdom is the application or use of knowledge to devise the best ends, to be accomplished by the best means possible” – Bruce Ware

The wise man is not afraid of his inability, because he knows that Christ’s grace is sufficient. However, the wise man is afraid of the delusions of human strength, because those delusions will keep him from seeking the grace of Christ. The wise man can glory in weakness because he knows of the sufficiency of Christ. The wise man is approachable, able to be corrected. The wise man is humble, waking up every morning saying, “I am a person of great need. Thank you, Lord, that you are in my life. There’s hope for me.” – Paul Tripp

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pictures

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the last 2 years of my life in “pictures”:

1. suitcases at the cross, covered fully in blood. red sheets all around, overhead. completely forgiven.

2. seed in ground. Master Gardener knows how much water and heat it needs to grow. seed doesn’t know the end result, but the Gardener does. He will tend his plant perfectly until it grows into what its supposed to.

3. child in waves. Father takes her there to train her. He won’t let her drown, even when she’s scared to death… even if she swallows some water. She will be okay because He is behind her holding her up, even when she can’t feel it.

4. dark night. stars are still shining. don’t forget to look up, its not completely dark.

5. out of valley. up to a mountain. the climb is hard. the road is steep and there are dangerous cliffs. there is fog. God goes before and is behind and on each side and guards each step.

6. looking at life with a pillow in front of my face. my problems and trials are the pillow. its all i can see. but learn to move it aside and see all God has done. give thanks. He has richly blessed me.

7. army attacking. standing alone in green field. thousands coming on every side. no armor. cried for help. looked back up and see angel warriors surrounding me. fighting for me because i’m precious to God. He won’t forsake me or let me die… i’m His precious child and He paid a costly price for me. He will protect me.

8. the battle is over. i’m not harmed. but i’m too weak to stand. its the middle of the day but all i want is sleep. i can’t move. i’m afraid the army will return. then i realize i’m being held. i’m safe in His arms.

9. acorn falls from a tree. the acorn thinks it fell prematurely. needs to stay and grow. instead its planted. the weight of the dirt seems unbearable. at first it fights, death is painful. it rains. the acorn is cold, alone and sad. then it remembers what it was told earlier… death comes, then comes a beautiful tree. pain, then growth. the acorn longs for that growth, longs to be a big beautiful tree. knows death is the only way.

10. walking on a road. the path is dark. the light guiding me is dim. forces in the darkness are attacking… loud, relentless and mean. the light seems smaller. must keep following. must keep trusting. no matter what, keep moving and trusting. He is faithful… remember His promises. standing still is not an option. sitting down would be wrong. walking cannot be done in own strength. must walk by faith. must put into action what seems impossible. go.

epic failure

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this week has just been one of “those weeks.”

you know the ones I mean, right?  the one where everything seems to be a mess.  and when it can’t get messier, it some how does?  yup. one of those.

 if i had to pick a theme for this week, it would be “epic failure.”  my mistakes this week for some reason have not seemed like “little” ones, rather “heroic” mistakes.  ha.  :) 

tuesday night I came home from work to make homemade spagetti sauce with tomatoes from the garden.  lo and behold, the tomatoes had simmered for too long and were hopelessly beyond hope.  after trying for 2 hours or so to doctor it up, we ended up dumping it out and saving the veggies to use with some new tomatoes. 

i cried. 

thanks Sarah, for once again, faithfully pointing me to the cross… pointing me to to the humor and hope found in that silly situation and for making me smile as you shared your story of the chocolate cake that catapulted off the counter.  :D

its been a good week at work, just long.  we are running out the production of a vehicle at the manufacturing plant where I work and I am in charge of all the planning details for the runout.  Needless to say, there’s lots to remember. lots of details to coordinate and lots of miscellaneous things that can fall through the cracks.  There was a major computer error today, and, I had no clue how to fix it.  I spent about 3 hours trying and thing just kept getting worse.  Praise God for a helpful IT support guy in Germany that was willing to stay at work late to fix the issue and reset the program!

Despite my feelings, despite my failures and despite my countless sins, my God has proven Himself faithful to me yet again through these past few days.  there seems to be nothing to cling to this week as I look around and see all my fruit in ruins on the ground, but the Master Gardener seems to still be lovingly (albeit painfully) tending the branches still.  He has surrounded me with people who have patiently loved me in spite of my sins, people who have loved me as necessary and corrected me as necessary.  Praise God for both, as they are both a valuable asset to our Christian walk (and praise God for friends He’s given me that are “friend” enough to do both!!)! 

He has given me department managers that despite my lack of experience in my new job, are thankful for me and make an effort to mention that (on almost a daily basis).  Wow.  I don’t want to forget the gift that is.  I’m very aware their thankfulness is not a result of my “great” ability to do my job (because I mess up daily) but rather is a gift from God – an instrument used by my Savior to encourage and bless me.  I’m thankful for my health.  I was able to go to the gym last night for the first time in a few weeks (just finished the body detox program that I was on for the last few weeks). 

I can see God working.  I know He will continue.  He is faithful.  He will not forsake.  I can trust in that.  When I look around and as a result of my “tree,” I see fruit that keeps falling off and lying on the ground in what seems to be a useless way, I can still thank my God for the fruit that He produces in my life.  That fruit, even the fruit that in my mind is not as “perfect” as it should be, can still bring glory to Him.  I long for my life to bring Him glory, whether that is a life of successes or a life of epic failures.  Now, don’t get me wrong, I would much rather have a life of successes.  

But I long for the song we sang last Friday in care group to be the cry of my heart:  “shall I take from your hand the blessings, yet not welcome any pain?  shall I thank you for days of sunshine, yet grumble in days of rain?  you are good when I’m poor and needy.  you are true when I’m parched and dry.  You still reign in the deepest valley.  You’re still God in the darkest night.  Oh, let your will be done in me. In your love I will abide.  oh, I long for nothing else as long as you are glorified.”

Musings on Motives

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… heart motives in my life as it applies from the sermon yesterday…

1 Peter 2:13 -17 Be subject for the Lord’s sake to every human institution, whether it be to the emperor as supreme, or to governors as sent by him to punish those who do evil and to praise those who do good. For this is the will of God, that by doing good you should put to silence the ignorance of foolish people. Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as servants of God. Honor everyone. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the emperor.

… so, as I have been thinking throught the “free-fall” sermon from yesterday, my heart and mind went to motives. what’s my motive for what I do? Is it my own personal gain or God’s glory? do I love others simply because its God’s will? do I fear God and honor everyone simply because its the right thing to do? or is there more to the “why” of what I do?

in order to do this – in order to live my life with others for the will of God, I must have something deeper motivating my actions. Otherwise it turns into a legalistic, joy-deprived, meaningless ritual.

So, on to the idea of motives… why do I want to get out of debt? Is it simply to have freedom from those chains or one day bless my husband with the painfully learned spiritual discipline of discipline itself? or should there be more to it than that?

what should be my motivation to lose weight? so I can buy new clothes? so people will notice and compliment me? so I will be more attractive? so I can simply live a healthier life and enjoy more activities? is that all that motivates this or is there really something more behind this?

what makes me able / willing to say no to my fleshly desires? why do I love others? submit to authority? obey my leaders? why do I serve with gladness? how is it possible to love “the unloveable”?

2 Corinthians 5:14-15 For the love of Christ controls us, because we have concluded this: that one has died for all, therefore all have died; and he died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised.

I should be motivated to change / motivated to obey because of His love. Because its the work on the cross of Christ that controls me, my desires for prideful self-advancement and self-glorification is not up to me to control. Its power was crushed that day on that cross through the words “it is finished.” I am not ruled by those desires, though at times they seem overwhelmingly strong. What rules me is a freedom found in Christ as Ruler. What motivates me is the mercy I see through Jesus. The humility of my glorious risen Savior is what empowers me in humility and service to others.

Because Christ loved and died for me, I have been given the strength to love others and die to myself. Because of my union with Christ, the obvious conclusion would be that I have died to my old self and raised again to New Life. That new life means service. But its not a drudgery… its a service of joy and gladness to a God who has freed my chains. Its my little way of sharing with others the grace He’s shared so lavishly with me.

… I’m not there yet. Well, in some ways I guess I am… I already AM one with Christ. I already AM able to resist temptation through the power of the Cross. But daily, I fail in acting upon that ability. And without action, the ability is meaningless.

This truth, fully understood, must result in change, according to James. God doesn’t want me to simply show honor to everyone, love my brothers and sisters, and fear Him because its the right thing to do. He wants it done in light of the cross, through His strength, in view of His mercy.

Wow. I’m seeing yet again how needy I am. I am completely reliant upon His grace to act upon me. I am needy of His ever-sutstaining grace.

The Importance of Being Earnest

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I Peter 1:22 -25 “Having purified your souls by your obedience to the truth for a sincere brotherly love, love one another earnestly from a pure heart, since you have been born again, not of perishable seed but of imperishable, through the living and abiding word of God; for “All flesh is like grass and all its glory like the flower of grass. The grass withers, and the flower falls, but the word of the Lord remains forever.” And this word is the good news that was preached to you.”

There is a transition in 1st Peter from faith to hope to love. Our faith results in hope, that hope and faith results in an outworking of love to others. Revelation (faith) always requires a response (hope and love). To Love means to be loving in our actions, speech and attitudes.

  • Definition: “earnest”
    Serious in intention, serious in purpose, serious in effort, to be sincerely zealous
    showing depth and sincerity of feeling.
    Fell seriousness as of intention or purpose
  • Synonyms: ardently, diligently, energetically, strenuously, intensely, intensively, painstakingly, throroughly, entirely
  • The Greek word earnestly could be translated as: Strongly, deeply felt and fervent
    This word is only used two more times in the New Testament:
    In the Garden of Gethsemane: Jesus prayed earnestly
    Peter was in prison: the people made earnest prayer- then the angel released him

Questions to think about:
Are you earnest enough?
Are you ardently (diligently) loving your family, who are Christians?
Children, do you intensely love your mom and dad who are Christians?
Parents, do we painstakingly love our children?
Do we entirely love our spouse/ friends or is our love conditional?
How is our earnestness? Is it enough?
Are we diligent with our Christian friends?
Are we energetic and strenuous enough in our love for those in our caregroup? If friends and caregroup don’t go together, then we are not earnest enough. It is not about others – this is about ourselves and whether we are earnest enough.
Are we intensively loving those in our local church?
Are we painstakingly and unwaveringly loving our Christian “enemies” – even though they are our brothers and our sisters?


So, with that in mind, what’s the importance of “being earnest”?
Part of it is this … revelation requires a response. If I’m not earnestly loving those who God has placed around me, then that shows some other serious issues. If I’m not painstakingly seeking to serve, then I must question why the glorious revelation does not affect my steps. If I’m being unmerciful, maybe I should stop and look at the log in my own eye. If my actions don’t show love, can I truly say that I do? Love is not a feeling based on common understandings and goals – it is sacrificial – look no further than the cross.

I think that often in my life, I only tend to repent of as Jim called them “sins of commission” and I negelect the “sins of ommission.” It’s obvious that if/when I lie, I should confess. But when I fail to serve (fail to love), my response should be the same. I should be as brokenhearted and convicted over not loving my friends as I am when I deceive them.

We don’t have to be permanently dysfunctional because of our past. Even though everything in my heart condemns me, God is greater! “Woe is me” in Scripture leads to change, not a self-pity standstill.

What is the solution to all of this discouragement? verse 22 “obedience to the truth”. Our response to the gospel is because of our transformation by the gospel (we are to love one another earnestly). “Since you have been born again” – this is our hope for obedience in loving one another. Our hope is that our seed will not go away – the seed of the gospel, that will grow in us, is an imperishable seed, that will not go away, that will not perish – the gospel is alive and active and it abides in us – the new life we have been given will never be destroyed, it will never fade or fail – the seed is imperishable.

Because of who we already are, we are to act this way – loving one another earnestly – and our confidence begins and ends in the hope of the gospel. This command is not meant to be burdensome. Love one another earnestly is impossible but if we have faith in Jesus, we can do it through the gospel. The gospel is the power of God unto salvation for everyone who believes – it is the only hope for change.

We have been born again and because we’ve been born again, we are to obey and we can only obey because of the gospel, resting in the gospel. The gospel is the power and motivation for all obedience. It is our example, our motive and the power for everything that we need. The gospel is the Word of God, all that we need for life and godliness.

Looks like we’re back to the 2 answers: the gospel and pride. how do I love? by repenting of my pride / seflishness / etc. not by an “I’ll do better” attitude, rather by repentence and dependence on the gospel. My hope for love is the gospel. The importance of being earnest is because my life is a picture of the gospel. By being earnest, I display grace and Christ’s love to others.

by the way, if you look closely at the picture, you will find one guy confessing sin and the other sitting across the table just smiling. =)

Forsaken

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Mark 15:34 And at the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?” which means, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”

Something that hit me on Sunday was the fact that because of this verse – because God forsook his Son, He will never forsake me.

I did a searh this morning on http://www.biblegateway.com/ for the word forsaken. It’s amazing the # of times we (or the children of Israel or the disciples, etc) forsook God. And how also, God in his wrath forsook them and let them be captured, killed, etc…

But after the cross… all it refers to is…
2 Corinthians 4:9 persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed.

Hope

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Scripture Verse in focus: 1 Peter 1:3-9
Main Idea from the passage: We rejoice, because God has given us faith and hope and guards our faith and hope to the end.

1. What do you find yourself hoping in most often – other than Jesus? If you’re not sure – what you are hoping in could be revealed by what you are most disappointed or angry about in response to not getting it?

2. How have any of these hopes become idolatrous? Remember, an idol is not defined by what you want but that you want it too much. An idol can be anything you are willing to sin to get or any desire you sin to fulfill.

3. How was your understanding of your faith in God changed (or encouraged, etc.) as you heard about how God guards our faith?

4. Have you viewed God as a loving Father who only lets us suffer “if necessary” or have you had a different view of God? Why?

5. How can you practically change and begin to place more hope in God and the fact that He has given us faith and hope and guards our faith and hope?

6. How can you practically pursue keep your hope alive in Christ? (God keeps it but calls us to an active relationship with Him – what should this look like?)