Thursday, June 11, 2015


 Recently I heard a couple of sermons, although from different perspectives, they both covered the need for us to get out of our comfort zone and be all that God has called us to be. One pastor challenged us in two ways.  First he encouraged us to pray and make sure that the things we’re doing in the church are for the sake of the Kingdom of God and not for our own glory. I would add to that, and not so that we can have control over a particular area in the church. Then he challenged us to step out and be passionate about the things of God with the understanding that we will one day be judged for how we lived our lives for the Lord.
     Now before you jump the gun, his message was not a “salvation by works” message. Rather it was an enlargement of James 2:17 which says, “Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.”  We must prove ourselves that we are truly serving Jesus.
     The second pastor I heard preach made the following statement: “Getting comfortable spiritually will lead to complacency.” He said this statement was shared among some ministers who realized that they had grown satisfied with where they were at spiritually and had lost their passion to win people to the Lord.
     Perhaps you have grown complacent in your passion for the things of God. Or, maybe God has been speaking to your heart about stepping into a particular area of service and you’ve been holding back in fear of not being qualified. The first thing I’d like to share with you is a quote I’ve heard often. “God doesn’t call the qualified, he qualifies the called.”  In the Amplified Bibles, look at what 2 Corinthians 3:5 says. “Not that we are fit (qualified and sufficient in ability) of ourselves to form personal judgments or to claim or count anything as coming from us, but our power and ability and sufficiency are from God.”  We can’t do it on our own!  So, what are some things we can do to feel more prepared to step out of our comfort zones?
Be Mentored – “As each one has received a gift, minister it to one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.” 1 Pet 4:10
     I have shared this with you before.  If you know God is speaking to your heart to serve in some capacity, find a Christian who is mature & has experience in being a leader and place yourself under their mentorship. Being mentored means learning and serving under the one whom God places you so that when the time comes for you to branch out on your own you will understand both serving and leading. Thus you will be a “Servant Leader.”
Be Studious - Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. 2 Timothy 2:15
     Most importantly, read the bible!  However, there is an abundance of books, courses, and workshops out there for you to learn from.  Just make sure that whatever you expose yourself to that is in line with the bible.  Ask the person mentoring you if they have any recommendations of what to study.  Now a word to pastors & church leader… Next to receiving our salvation. There is nothing that can give us more joy than to pour our lives into another person to help spread the Kingdom of God through their lives.  As leaders this is what we’re called to do – equip, train and edify. (Ephesians 4:11)
Be Empowered – “…Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,' says the LORD of hosts.” Zechariah 4:6
Be Ready – “14 Do not neglect the gift that is in you, which was given to you by prophecy with the laying on of the hands of the eldership. 15 Meditate on these things; give yourself entirely to them, that your progress may be evident to all. 16          Take heed to yourself and to the doctrine. Continue in them, for in doing this you will save both yourself and those who hear you.” 1 Timothy 4:14-16
    Remember, when we try to do things in our strength they will not last. We must rely on the power of the Holy Spirit to lead us in all that we do.  And we must make sure that what we’re doing is a “God thing”, not a “good thing”. I tell my students all the time – “Something may come along that’s godly, even something that God could bless, but it might not be his best for your life.”  We must be sure that Satan is not deceiving us when he disguises himself as an angel of light. (See 2 Corinthians 11:14)

     Until next time, be a modern day Peter and step out of the boat to let Jesus lead you!

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Are You Letting the World In? - Part 2

           In our last post, we looked at three areas of life where the devil likes to set traps for us. First, we looked at the Lust of the flesh.  We learned that this is where the devil tries to get us to choose our own will instead of the will of God. We talked about how the devil disguises himself as something good, causing us to doubt God’s will for our lives. 
     Next, we talked about the Lust of the eyes.  This is where the devil tries to get our eyes off of the Word of God. Satan brings things along that appear to us to be more important than the Word of God in our lives. If we’re not careful, that very thing will pull us away from the scriptures, and we will miss out on the truths God has for us.
     The last thing we discussed was the Pride of life. This comes against our worship of God. We want to worship ourselves, or other things or people, instead of God. We become caught up in what “we” want to do, what “we” think is best, etc.
     Now I want us to take a few minutes to see how we can escape the traps that Satan tries to set for us.
     First, Capture your thoughtsFor the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ.” 2 Corinthians 10:4-5
     We must take our thoughts captive. We can’t allow them to run wild or be the controlling factor in our lives.
     Second, Evaluate the thought“Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy-- meditate on these things.”  Philippians 4:8
     Assess what you’re thinking. Does it line up with the scriptures? If I act on it, what will be the result? Can I praise God for the thought?
     Third, Confess the wrong you’ve done – “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us.” 1 John 1:9
     Confessing our sin means to admit that it’s there. Once we can admit the problem, the next step is to repent of the sin. Repent means to turn away from. In other words, you make a decision to walk away from that kind of behavior and turn to God and his ways.
     Fourth, Resist “Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.” James 4:7
     Resisting temptation cannot be accomplished by will power alone. You need the power of the Holy Spirit. That’s why this verse tells us to first submit to God, and then we can resist the devil. Now let me share something about this thing called sin that may help you more easily resist temptation. What is happening when we face a temptation? Here it is: we’re tempted to meet a legitimate need in a wrong way, through the world, the flesh, and/or the devil, by living independently of God. 
     Here’s an example. You’ve been rejected in the past and desire so badly to be loved. So you go to the clubs, meet someone of the opposite sex, and allow yourself to live in a promiscuous way. After going through various relationships, you’re still not satisfied. Why? Because you are trying to get the love you need from sources other than God. Author Neil Anderson says this about temptation: “Temptation’s hook is the devil’s guarantee that what we think we want and need outside of God’s will can satisfy us. Don’t believe it.”
    Here’s another scripture about the process of temptation. “But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death.” James 1:14-15
     Space does not permit me to expound on this verse, as much as I would like. Simply put, when we “toy” with fleshly desires and thoughts instead of resisting them, we will eventually fall prey to them. And that will lead to spiritual death. My friend, nothing and no one is worth missing heaven for!
     As we close, let’s look at one more scripture that will help us to have victory over these areas. Look at what Zechariah 4:6 says. “… 'Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,' says the LORD of hosts.”  The bottom line, my friend, is that in and of ourselves, we do not have the power to overcome temptation or anything else in our lives. We must rely on the power of the Spirit of God to strengthen us during our times of weakness. You are not alone in your battle. Jesus is standing there just waiting for you to ask for help. Ask him. I know you won’t be disappointed.