Blog

01
Apr

Day 10 of Prayer & Fasting

Psalm 32:5 (ESV)

5 I acknowledged my sin to you,

and I did not cover my iniquity;

I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the Lord,”

and you forgave the iniquity of my sin. SELAH

Even though it is very easy for people to keep secrets from other people, David knew that there was nothing that he could hide from God.

David also knew that there was nothing that he could do to fix his sin away from God.  When our clothes get dirty, we wash them.  When we find something in our teeth, we get it out.  SIN is something that is so deep it cannot be removed by human efforts.  Only God can do it.

Application:

The key word from the text today is SELAH.  It is a term that generally means PAUSE.  Different psalmists would use this word to create space for reflection.  In a song, we would call this an instrumental were a musician would solo.

Here David wrote in the PAUSE to reflect on the amazing realization that God had forgiven the iniquity of his sins.  TODAY, take time to PAUSE and reflect on how God has removed the iniquities of our sin on the cross.  Take time today to reflect and appreciate everything Jesus has done for us.

31
Mar

Day 9 of Prayer & Fasting

Daniel 9:7-8 (ESV) 7 To you, O Lord, belongs righteousness, but to us open shame, as at this day, to the men of Judah, to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and to all Israel, those who are near and those who are far away, in all the lands to which you have driven them, because of the treachery that they have committed against you. 8 To us, O Lord, belongs open shame, to our kings, to our princes, and to our fathers, because we have sinned against you.

More than a week into this fast, you should’ve noticed a repeating theme. REPENTING FOR OUR SINS. I know it seems repetitive but there is a reason for it. The devil and his demons will use everything in this world to get us to forget about our sins so that we can walk in them, leading us farther away from God.

We must never forget two things. ONE: we are sinners. TWO: we have a Savior!

Ephesians 2:14 (ESV) 13 But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.

Application:

Jesus has done everything necessary for all of us who find ourselves far from God to come near once again. We must be aware of our flesh while purposeful walking in the spirit so that we may remain close to Christ.

30
Mar

Outcast Week 2

Week 2

Text: Luke 19:1-10

Topic: Mercy, Compassion

Main Idea: As the story of Zacchaeus illustrates, Jesus loves even the people we view as “unlovable.”

Discussion Questions:

  1. What is one thing that stood out to you from this week’s message?
  2. Who would be deemed by our culture as unlovable or an outcast?
  3. Why was Jesus’ pursuit of Zacchaeus such a surprise/offense to everyone?
  4. How did Zacchaeus act out his change of heart? How have you experienced and demonstrated transformation because of your relationship with Jesus?
  5. Is there anyone in your life you might have labeled “unlovable”? How can you show them God’s love?
30
Mar

Day 8 of Prayer & Fasting

James 4:9 (ESV) 9 Be wretched and mourn and weep. Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom.

Psalm 38:17 (ESV) 17 For I am ready to fall, and my pain is ever before me.

When some think of the Christian walk, most don’t associate it with sadness but rather joy.  I’m not saying Christians should be walking around with long faces.  We should be the happiest people on earth.  But there is something true that both the Psalmist and James are communicating.

Our JOY is ultimately connected with our sorrow over sin.  Jesus Himself said on many occasions, the one who is forgiven more is happier than the one who has been forgiven less.

Your desire for God is directed impacted by your feelings towards the sins you have committed against Him.   This is why I love Thomas Watson quote saying, “Until sin be bitter, Christ will not be sweet.”

Application:

If your heart has gone cold towards God, remember from where He has saved you and everything that He has done for you!  Ask Him to break your heart over sin and over those lost in sin the way it impacts Him.  This way, not only will God awaken your heart but it will help others to find the same life God that has done so much for you!

29
Mar

Day 7 of Prayer & Fasting

Titus 2:11-14 (ESV)

11 For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, 12 training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, 13 waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, 14 who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works.

There are many teachers and preachers around the world who are misguiding many people when it comes to sin.  Many say since “Once saved, always saved” a person can continue to live in sin because God’s grace has you covered.  Others even go as far as saying that Jesus defeated the devil and sin on the cross and that neither exist anymore.  But is that what God’s Word teaches us?

Recognizing you are a sinner and repenting for your sins is step one.  Steps two on are focused on living more like Jesus and leading others to Jesus.  Why would we continue to live a life that is so offensive to God after all that He has done to forgive those same offenses?

Excusing one’s lifestyle and any sinful behaviors is SELFISH.  It’s as simple as that.  How dare we respond to Jesus’ SELFLESS act of love by giving up His life on the cross by choosing to keep our own lives to ourselves?

Application:

Are their any attitudes or behaviors in your life that you are excusing?  It’s not good enough to tell God, “Everyone does it” or “This is who I am”.   It’s not good enough for God to be your God.  He must be your LORD.  He calls the shots, not you.  Surrendering to God’s Will is the next step to repenting of your sins.

29
Mar

Day 6 of Prayer & Fasting

Acts 11:17-18 (ESV)

17 If then God gave the same gift to them as he gave to us when we believed in the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I that I could stand in God’s way?” 18 When they heard these things they fell silent. And they glorified God, saying, “Then to the Gentiles also God has granted repentance that leads to life.”

These words that the Apostle spoke are so wonderful because in them he confirms that salvation is not reserved for a select few.  It is for everyone and anyone who chooses to believe and receive!  All that is required to gain this freedom is for them to recognize and confess their sins against God.

2 Timothy 2:24-25 (ESV)

24 And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil, 25 correcting his opponents with gentleness. God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth,26 and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, after being captured by him to do his will.

The Apostle Paul is encouraging Timothy just how to maximize his liberty in a way that will lead others to salvation as well.  If the words in Acts 11 are wonderful, these words from Paul very sobering.

Every human being is either under the influence of an external force, either God or the devil, and they both leverage conviction, but with different results.  The conviction of sin either can lead us away from God or it can lead us to Him.

The Apostle Peter and Judas Iscariot both were remorseful over their actions towards Jesus.  Peter denied ever knowing Jesus, and Judas surrendered Jesus to the authorities for 30 pieces of silver.

Peter was extremely remorseful.  When he realized what he had done, he ran off and cried bitterly, repenting to God.  Not to long later, the risen Jesus restored him and forgave him.  Judas was extremely remorseful over what he had done to Jesus.  He tried to fix it but couldn’t.  He too ran off, but instead of running to God, he went and hung himself.

Application:

Is there anything in your life that is keeping you from repenting and returning to God.  Don’t let regret and sin keep you from finding true freedom that Jesus is offering you today.

27
Mar

Day 5 of Prayer & Fasting

2 Chronicles 7:14 (ESV)

14 if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.

If you’ve ever studied at a university or college you know that there are certain “prerequisites” that a student MUST take first, in order to take more advanced courses and ultimately earn their degree.

The same things works when it comes to God.  There is a certain prerequisite that every person needs in order to see God do and complete a mighty work in your life.  Here are four prerequisites.

  1. Recognizing that you are a sinner
  2. Humbling yourself before God
  3. Confessing your sins and your faith in Jesus
  4. Seeking after God on a personal level

When you follow these prerequisites, you will begin to experience a transformation that will penetrate every thought, feeling, and action.

In the same way you can’t run without learning how to stand, you must first learn to stand before God with faith in Christ.

Application:

As we are approaching the end of our first week, make sure that you are not skipping any of the above steps.  As you approach God, make sure you know where you stand with Him.  When we draw near to God with humility, confession, you will see God draw near to you and draw out the best out of you.

26
Mar

Day 4 of Prayer & Fasting

Luke 13:1-5 (ESV)

13 There were some present at that very time who told him about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices. And he answered them, “Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans, because they suffered in this way? No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish. Or those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them: do you think that they were worse offenders than all the others who lived in Jerusalem? No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.”

Jesus used two current events to refute a teaching that the religious leaders in Israel taught the people.  The deception was that the more a person sins the more the suffer because of their sins.  The level of suffering was what people used to know where they stood with God.  This is a horrible lie.

People love to fall into this comparison trap.  We judge ourselves based on the standard of another individual.  We do this because it makes us look better.  “At least Im not like that guy!”.  In reality, God doesn’t judge us by comparing ourselves to other human beings but rather God judges us based on how we compare to Him!  None of us are going to come out looking good in this scenario.

Sin is NOT connected to suffering.  How many people have you ever seen SUFFER by doing the RIGHT thing and not the wrong?  To God, sin is sin is sin.  The amount of sin that we commit doesn’t matter.  What does matter is our awareness of our own sin.

Application:
If you’ve ever said, “No one is perfect”, you have just condemned yourself.  You are confessing that a certain level of perfection exists and no human being has ever or will ever achieve it.

As you continue to repent, as God to help you become MORE aware of the presence of God in your life but also the presence of unchecked sin.  Be open to God and allow Him to clean out your house.  And more importantly, stop comparing your faults to another.  We ALL have failed short of God’s standard of perfection (Romans 3:23).  Own up ti your sins and that you are a sinner in need of a Savior.  Do this and watch God give you a sense of purpose, even in the midst of pain and suffering.

26
Mar

Day 3 Prayer & Fasting

2 Peter 3:9 (ESV)

9 The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.

What an terrific and equally terrifying statement from God.

Here we get a glimpse of the character of God.  He is not sitting on His throne with a massive fly swatter seeing who messes up so He can swat each sinner.  Instead, we see an active God who is kind, good, and loving.

Like any good father, He doesn’t want anything bad to happen to His kids.  Because He actually IS a good father, He isn’t going to just spoil us by giving us everything we want, how we want it, and when we want it.

Many complain that there is too much evil in this world, but here God is telling us that He hasn’t dealt with it yet so that MORE of us can be saved!

Application:

God is patient but it does have it’s limit.  There will be a day where God will make all things right and judge sin.  Don’t waste another minute without receiving the grace, mercy, and love that Jesus is extending to you!  Repent, return to God, give Him your past and surrender your future.  He says He WILL fulfill His promise to raise you to new life through Christ, but you must first believe and receive in that promise!

24
Mar

Day 1 of Prayer & Fasting

Acts 17:30-31 (ESV)

30 The times of ignorance God overlooked, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent, 31 because he has fixed a day on which he will judge the world in righteousness by a man whom he has appointed; and of this he has given assurance to all by raising him from the dead.”

No one is without excuse! God has done everything necessary for us to find our way back to Him. All that is required is that we REPENT.

Repenting is not repeating an apology to God.

To REPENT basically means to CHANGE YOUR MIND about God & yourself.

You MUST see yourself as a sinner in need of a Savior. Repenting isn’t just for the unbelievers. Christians should develop the daily habit of repenting as well, not to secure our salvation but to allow God to continue the work of sanctification = making us more like Him.

Repenting is ESSENTIAL for our Christian walk because… – it keeps us humble – it keeps us dependent on the Holy Spirit – it keeps us from being lead away by sin.

APPLICATION: Repent

1 John 1:9 (ESV) 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

The Apostle John makes an amazing statement, saying that when we confess what we know about God will take care of things that we don’t know about! If you want to see God MOVE in your life, make the first move.

CONFESS

REPENT

HUMBLE YOURSELF BEFORE YOUR GOD!