Guilty As Charged?

Guilty As Charged?

Last week we mentioned that the end of the year often brings times of reflection.  We look back over the year to see if goals were met (or not).  This process could bring on bouts of guilt over unmet goals.  Maybe if I tried harder, maybe if I’d just given it more time, if I just had more willpower – and the reasoning goes on and on.  No one likes that feeling of guilt.  There are times when your enemy, the devil, tries to lay guilt on you when you don’t deserve it.  It’s one of his weapons.  But there are times when the feeling of guilt is trying to tell you something.  One of the definitions of guilt is “a feeling of responsibility or remorse for some offense, crime, wrong, etc., whether real or imagined.” The etc. could be many things such as not accomplishing a goal that was set.  But guilt is not necessarily a bad thing.  In many situations, guilt is the appropriate response to have because it reveals a truth to us about ourselves.  There’s been more than a time or two when I’ve done the wrong thing or not done the right thing and felt “guilty”.  This feeling of guilt works to expose something that is wrong in our lives.  The next time you are feeling nagged by guilt, don’t immediately feel bad.  Use it to examine the situation to see where you might have gone wrong and begin to make it right. Guilt requires a response from you before it will go away.   It will linger and nag you if you don’t!

23 For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard. Romans 3:23 (NLT)

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So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus. Romans 8:1 (NLT)

7 Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance. Luke 15:7 (ESV)

Git ‘er done!

Git ‘er done!

This is the last Food For Thought for 2018.  Where did the year go?!  This is often the time that we reflect back through the year and wonder if we accomplished what we wanted to.  Do not be discouraged or disappointed in yourself for unmet goals.  They are not failures, they are accomplishments that haven’t been reached yet.  It is not a failure unless you’ve given up.  Remember, 2018’s finish line is 2019’s starting line! So rev up your motivational engines and let’s blaze across that line with motors racing!  Unmet goals from 2018 are in our crosshairs and new targets are not far behind. Pursue the “get ‘er done” mentality!  But most importantly, remember that you are not in this race alone!  You might be in the driver’s seat, but the Holy Spirit is riding shotgun with map in hand calling out the directions so you reach each destination at the exact right time. Pay attention to your navigator for He is crucial to accomplishing your purpose.  We wish you all a very blessed Christmas and a prosperous new year!   

2 Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.  Hebrews 12:2 (NIV)

2 Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we’re in. Study how he did it. Because he never lost sight of where he was headed—that exhilarating finish in and with God—he could put up with anything along the way: cross, shame, whatever. And now he’s there, in the place of honor, right alongside God. Hebrews 12:2 (MSG)

Don’t Hold Your Breath

Don’t Hold Your Breath

Has anyone ever told  you they would do something for you and you’re still waiting?  Many reasons (excuses) are offered as to why they have not yet been able to do it, but you’re still on their to-do list.  You begin to wonder just how long their to-do list is, or perhaps they continue to rearrange the order of the items on that list and somehow you keep slipping to the bottom.  We’ve all experienced this, or worse, been the procrastinator.  But the simple truth is:  if something is important enough to us, we get it done. And if not, it remains perpetually pending. And it’s not a good feeling to be left pending.  Examine your life.  Your integrity and character is almost entirely based on your words and whether you are true to them.  Are you a person of your word?  Can people depend on you?  Are others able to rely on what you tell them and know that what you say will come to pass (sooner rather than later).  Our words mean absolutely nothing if our actions do not back them up.  Know the difference between making a promise you can’t keep and making a promise you don’t want to keep.  When you legitimately can’t keep a promise there is usually a good reason, but when you don’t want to keep a promise, there is always a poor excuse.

5 but whoever keeps his word, in him truly the love of God is perfected. By this we may know that we are in him: 1 John 2:5(ESV)

23 You shall be careful to do what has passed your lips, for you have voluntarily vowed to the LORD your God what you have promised with your mouth. Deuteronomy 23:23 (ESV)

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If a man vows a vow to the LORD, or swears an oath to bind himself by a pledge, he shall not break his word. He shall do according to all that proceeds out of his mouth. Numbers 30:2 (ESV)

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Moreover, it is required of stewards that they be found trustworthy. 1 Corinthians 4:2 (ESV)

Evidence of Things Not Seen

“You have to receive it by faith!” Has anyone ever told you that? It is usually easier said than done, depending on what it is you are standing in faith for. Receiving by faith is having the object of your faith before it is physically manifested. If you have it physically manifested, then you don’t need faith to believe for it. This faith (receiving before any physical manifestation) is the evidence of things not seen that Hebrews 11:1 speaks of. It is the same thing that we find in Mark 11:24. Jesus says to believe that you receive WHEN YOU PRAY. You don’t have it physically manifested when you pray for it because if you did, you wouldn’t have to pray for it. But you believe in faith that you do have it. The reason we can believe in faith for things we do not see or do not yet have is because we have a God who is faithful. If God’s Word says we should have it, then you have every right to expect it. It makes no difference how you “feel”. Feelings are carnal. The promises of God are spiritual. You cannot receive spiritual things carnally. So you shouldn’t expect to receive them by “feeling” them. Receive them by believing in God’s Word!

Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. Hebrews 11:1 (NKJV)

Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them. Mark 11:24 (NKJV)

18 while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal. 2 Corinthians 4:18 (NKJV)

24 He who calls you is faithful, who also will do it. 1 Thessalonians 5:24 (NKJV)

Smile!

This week/weekend officially opens the holiday season, going from Thanksgiving to Christmas and then on to the New Year.  It usually involves a lot of lists, errands, shopping, organizing, planning, cooking, decorating, more shopping, and well, you get the picture.  Amid all of this busyness, we often neglect what really matters – people!   So “Food For Thought” would like to remind you each day from now until we ring in 2019, to take time to appreciate those in your life that bring you joy, comfort, encouragement, humor, companionship, reassurance, peace and love, whether they be your spouse, children, parents, siblings,  aunts/ uncles and cousins, friends, neighbors, co-workers – oh, the list could go on and on.  When you boil it down, it’s the people in our lives that really matter.  Don’t allow anything to come between you and the people in your life.  Examine differences, disagreements and estrangements that may be separating you from the ones most important to you.  Don’t allow differences to become regrets. Life is too short to waste on things that don’t matter.  Be that person who makes someone feel good about themselves.  Be the kind of friend that you want in your own life.  And smile at people!  It really does make a difference!    ☺

31 Do to others as you would like them to do to you. Luke 6:31 (NLT)

31 “Here is a simple rule of thumb for behavior: Ask yourself what you want people to do for you; then grab the initiative and do it for them! Luke 6:31 (MSG)

31 And as you would like and desire that men would do to you, do exactly so to them.  Luke 6:31 (AMP)

People Aren’t Your Enemy!

There are many times in our daily lives that people get the best of us and we have to utter under our breath “I’m not fighting against flesh and blood!”. People can be unfair, underhanded, or maybe even cruel in their dealings with others, but the Word of God tells us we are not fighting against people (flesh and blood). And it’s important to remind ourselves of this on a daily basis.  The Word says our enemy is of the unseen world, or is spiritual, not physical.  The Bible speaks about the god of this world, who is Satan.  Satan is also called the prince of the power of the air (Eph. 2:2) and the ruler of this world (John 12:31) and he is at work in the hearts of unbelievers. As believers, we have been rescued from Satan’s world of darkness and God has provided us with the appropriate armor to fight such an enemy (Eph. 6:13-18).  Anyone who is not a believer has been blinded by him and is under his influence.  But even believers, if we cast off our armor, can lose our stance and fall prey to Satan’s wiles. Remember, people are not your enemy.  Satan is.  But he uses people who have either been blinded by him or have allowed him to influence them.  The armor that God has issued to you is all you need to fight this fight.  So keep it on and don’t waste your time and energy fighting the wrong enemy!

12 For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places. Ephesians 6:12 (NLT)

4 Satan, who is the god of this world, has blinded the minds of those who don’t believe. 2 Corinthians 4:4 (NLT)

1 Once you were dead because of your disobedience and your many sins. 2 You used to live in sin, just like the rest of the world, obeying the devil—the commander of the powers in the unseen world. He is the spirit at work in the hearts of those who refuse to obey God. Ephesians 2:1-2 (NLT)

12 always thanking the Father. He has enabled you to share in the inheritance that belongs to his people, who live in the light. 13 For he has rescued us from the kingdom of darkness and transferred us into the Kingdom of his dear Son, Colossians 1:12-13 (NLT)

Don’t Throw Out Your Playbook At The Polls!

A playbook is a manual that contains a team’s strategies and plays.  In football, the playbook contains various plans of action for moving the football toward the goal.  The opposing team has the responsibility to “read” the players in hopes of figuring out what play they will use so they can prevent the ball from progressing down the field and ultimately take possession of it themselves.  If a player doesn’t know the play, or doesn’t correctly run the play, it could mean disaster. As a Christian, one might say that our playbook is the Bible.  It has nicely laid out for us our “plays” in life.  And when we follow those plays, we find success.  But when we do not, setbacks or failures usually follow.  There are right and wrong ways to life that are clearly spelled out in our playbook.  They are not open to personal opinion or interpretation. We cannot go off and do our own thing, apart from what God has said, and think the play will succeed. We go to the polls this Tuesday.  There are issues of life that are clearly spelled out in black and white in the Word of God that cannot be compromised on.  It shouldn’t make any difference what a political party says about an issue.  What does the Bible say about it.  That should be your guide.  That should be your “play”.  Don’t throw out the playbook on Tuesday when you cast your vote.  And if you don’t vote, you will not only lose yardage, you may lose the game.

13 Choose some well-respected men from each tribe who are known for their wisdom and understanding, and I will appoint them as your leaders.’ Deuteronomy 1:13 (NLT)

2 When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice; But when a wicked man rules, the people groan. Proverbs 29:2 (NKJV)

34 Godliness makes a nation great, but sin is a disgrace to any people.  Proverbs 14:34 (NLT)

1 I urge you, first of all, to pray for all people. Ask God to help them; intercede on their behalf, and give thanks for them. 2 Pray this way for kings and all who are in authority so that we can live peaceful and quiet lives marked by godliness and dignity. 1 Timothy 2:1-2 (NLT)

Faith To See

If a person cannot see an object because he is blind, does that mean that the object doesn’t exist?  If a person cannot hear an oncoming train, does that mean that the train doesn’t exist.  You would say “of course not!”. Our five senses help us to receive information about what is in this natural world.  And when we can’t see, hear or feel a thing, we still know that thing exists.  Just as we have our five senses to receive things in this natural (carnal) world, we have faith to receive things in the spirit realm.  The promises of God, and there are many, all exist in the spirit realm because God is a Spirit.  His Words are Spirit.  We cannot use carnal methods (our senses) to receive spiritual things (God’s promises).  We must receive by faith.  But so many times, when people don’t immediately see (with their senses)  the things they pray for, they don’t believe their prayer was answered.  The Word says that when we pray, if we believe (have faith), we have what we ask for. You don’t need faith for things you can see, but for things that are unseen. When something we pray for isn’t manifested in a way that our carnal senses can perceive them, that has absolutely no bearing on whether we have them. Be assured that your faith is all the evidence you need of the reality of the object of your prayers!

The Spirit alone gives eternal life. Human effort accomplishes nothing. And the very words I have spoken to you are spirit and life. John 6:63 (NLT)

I tell you, you can pray for anything, and if you believe that you’ve received it, it will be yours. Mark 11:24 (NLT)

Everything you ask for in prayer will be yours, if you only have faith. Mark 11:24  (Contemporary English Version)

 The unspiritual self, just as it is by nature, can’t receive the gifts of God’s Spirit. There’s no capacity for them. They seem like so much silliness. Spirit can be known only by spirit—God’s Spirit and our spirits in open communion. 1 Corinthians 2:14 (MSG)

1 NOW FAITH is the assurance (the confirmation, the title deed) of the things [we] hope for, being the proof of things [we] do not see and the conviction of their reality [faith perceiving as real fact what is not revealed to the senses]. Hebrews 11:1 (AMP)

Nothing Is Impossible With God

A favorite scripture of mine is the first part of Genesis 18:14 which says “Is anything too hard for the Lord?”  In this portion of scripture, Abraham was visited by three men, one of whom tells Abraham that by this time next year, Sarah will have a son. Sarah heard this and the Bible says she laughed silently to herself because she was an old woman past the child bearing age not to mention her husband was old too. To this, one of the men, whom the Bible says was the Lord, asked Abraham why Sarah laughed because after all, is anything too hard for the Lord? Now, we know that Sarah laughed because she had already gone through “the change of life” as we call it.  But did Sarah forget that, even in her child bearing years, she could not have children. As a young woman she was barren.  But the next year she did indeed bear a son.  So not only did God restore her body to it’s youth as far as reproduction goes, God also healed her from barrenness.  So what was done in Sarah’s body was even more miraculous than even she realized. So the next time you find yourself facing an impossible situation, don’t ask it like a question but state it as a fact – “Is there anything too hard for the Lord?”!

10 Then one of them said, “I will return to you about this time next year, and your wife, Sarah, will have a son!” Sarah was listening to this conversation from the tent. 11 Abraham and Sarah were both very old by this time, and Sarah was long past the age of having children. 12 So she laughed silently to herself and said, “How could a worn-out woman like me enjoy such pleasure, especially when my master—my husband—is also so old?” 13 Then the LORD said to Abraham, “Why did Sarah laugh? Why did she say, ‘Can an old woman like me have a baby?’ 14 Is anything too hard for the LORD? I will return about this time next year, and Sarah will have a son.”  Genesis 18:10-14 (NLT)

Mouse in the House!

Our church building is located in the country.  And, although being out in the country has many benefits, it has a few disadvantages.  Coming into the colder months of the year and with harvest going on, one of those disadvantages is mice!  We do all we can to prevent these little creatures from taking refuge in our building, but occasionally they manage to find the tiniest of openings to get in.  Sometimes you wonder how they can squeeze through such small openings.  But they can and they do!  And what a mess they will make.  This is also the way of sin. You do all that you can to follow after God and His Word  to close off access by the devil to any area of your life.  But he will manage to enter even through the smallest of openings that you give him.  And once he is in, look out! It’s surprising just how rapidly a quick glance or an idle word or an impure thought can advance if you give it an opening into your life.  If an opening goes unchecked, there will soon be an invasion and once there’s an invasion, hopes of ridding yourself of these pests is extremely difficult.  The old saying “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” is true.  Button up, batten down the hatches, plug up those holes!  This may mean getting rid of some magazines, turning off that channel or youtube video, or stop listening to that music.  Don’t give the enemy even the smallest of openings into your life because that is all it takes to be overrun with sin.  Don’t allow a mouse in your house!

And please don’t toss this off as insignificant. It only takes a minute amount of yeast, you know, to permeate an entire loaf of bread. Galatians 5:9 (MSG)

7 So let God work his will in you. Yell a loud no to the Devil and watch him scamper. 8 Say a quiet yes to God and he’ll be there in no time. Quit dabbling in sin. Purify your inner life. Quit playing the field. James 4:7-8 (MSG)