Posts Tagged ‘attitude’

Rejoice Always

February 23, 2015

I Thessalonians 5:16 says “Rejoice always!”  There are times in life when this is  easy and times when it is not.

I.  Rejoice in Blessings:  I Chronicles 19:16

 “O Lord our God, all this abundance that we have prepared to build You a house for Your holy name is from Your hand, and is all Your own.”

Everything that we have has come from God.  We may think that our own abilities and hard work have earned us the material things that we possess, but who gave us the abilities?  Who gave us the opportunities?  Who helped the results of our efforts to be favorable?  It is appropriate to rejoice in the blessings that God has given to us.  When things are going well it is easy to rejoice.

II.  Rejoice in Trials:  II Thessalonians 1:4-7

 so that we ourselves boast of you among the churches of God for your patience and faith in all your persecutions and tribulations that you endure, which is manifest evidence of the righteous judgment of God, that you may be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you also suffer; since it is a righteous thing with God to repay with tribulation those who trouble you, and to give you who are troubled rest with us when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with His mighty angels,

God is with us even in our times of trial.  We are not alone.  God will give us wisdom and strength to endure the times of trials.  We can rejoice that we do not face our trials alone.  God will give us the wisdom to know what to do, and the strength to do it.

We can rest assured that the wicked will be punished.  We do not rejoice in their destruction.  We pray for them to repent, but there is a sense of justice in knowing that the wicked who have not repented, will be punished.

The faithful will be rewarded.  If not in this life, then in the next.

III.  Rejoice in Death:

Luke 10: 20: 

Nevertheless do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rather rejoice because your names are written in heaven.”

Revelation 20:11-15:

Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away. And there was found no place for them. 12 And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God, and books were opened. And another book was opened, which is the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books. 13 The sea gave up the dead who were in it, and Death and Hades delivered up the dead who were in them. And they were judged, each one according to his works. 14 Then Death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. 15 And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire.

As Christians we can rejoice that our names are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life.  Our lives on this earth may be difficult at times but we have a hope that goes beyond this world.  Our true reward is in the life to come.

We do not rejoice in the destruction of the wicked.  Rather we warn them of the judgement to come upon those who do not repent and call upon the name of the Lord Jesus.  We rejoice along with the angels in heaven whenever a person turns from their sins and finds salvation in Jesus Christ.

To rejoice always seems like a difficult challenge, but when we think about it we realize that in times of blessing, in times of trial and even in death, we have reason to rejoice.  For in life, and in death, God is with us.

These are the sermon notes from 2/15/15.  Any advertisements that might appear are placed by WordPress.  I have no control over them, nor do I receive any money from them. 

Live For God

February 9, 2015

I came across a phrase in my Bible reading this week.  It struck a chord with me and I would like to share it with you.  I Kings 15:14 reads:

But the high places were not removed. Nevertheless Asa’s heart was loyal to the Lord all his days.

I have been a Christian since I was a small child.  I did not have a time of rebellion against God.  If the only thing that people say about me at the end of my life is that I “was loyal to the Lord all his days” that would be a good thing.  Almost as good as “Well done, good and faithful servant”spoken by the Lord.  The primary desire of my heart is to live for God.

Colossians 3: 1-11

If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory.

Therefore put to death your members which are on the earth: fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. Because of these things the wrath of God is coming upon the sons of disobedience, in which you yourselves once walked when you lived in them.

But now you yourselves are to put off all these: anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy language out of your mouth. Do not lie to one another, since you have put off the old man with his deeds, 10 and have put on the new man who is renewed in knowledge according to the image of Him who created him, 11 where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcised nor uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave nor free, but Christ is all and in all.

I.  Set Your Mind On Things Above (v2)

Are our lives consumed with the things of this world?  Are we spending all of our time and energy pursuing goals that are based in this world?  Remember, we are to “seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to us.”  (Matthew 6:33)  This does not mean that we use seeking God as a tool to get what we really want to posses.  We should honestly have as our first desire, the desire to please God, to do His will in our lives.  Let us focus on the things of God.  Yes, we do need to remain grounded by this life.  We do need to be good students, or employees.  We need to pay the bills and live our lives, but our first desire should be to seek God.

II.  Christ is Our Life (v4)

As born again Christians, we have a new life in Christ.  The old man has died, and we have a new life in Christ.  This is because of the Spirit of Christ, which dwells in our hearts through our faith in Jesus.  It is not simply a refocus of our old life, it is a new creation in Christ.  He is our life source.

III.  Die to Sin (vv5-9)

Since Christ is now our life source, we are to put to death the old nature and it’s ways.  All forms of sexual immorality, covetousness, which is an improper longing for things of this world, anger, and even filthy language should be removed from our lives.  Our society freely embraces all these things, but we are called to come out from among them and be separate.  Our lives should be different because of the Spirit of Christ that dwells in us.

IV.  Put On the New Man (v10)

The old nature is to be put to death.  We are to put on the new nature.  We should continue to grow in our knowledge of God and of His Word.  We grow in this knowledge by spending time in prayer and in the Bible.  God will guide us by His Spirit to develop more and more into the image of His son.

V.  Unity (v11)

We should recognize an essential unity with all believers in Jesus Christ.  We may go by different names, we may have some different practices, and even some different beliefs, but all who have the Spirit of Christ are essentially one in Him.

May God help us in our efforts to live for Him, not just for a moment, but for a lifetime.

These are the sermon notes from 1/25/15.  Any advertisements that might appear are placed by WordPress.  I have no control over them, nor do I receive any money from them.   

 

Complete the Work

February 5, 2015

There are times when we feel like giving up.  That we cannot carry on.  That we cannot overcome the obstacles that we face.  It is especially at those times that we need to remind ourselves of whom we serve and who is working in us.

I.  Trust in God:  II Samuel 22:2-4

And he said:

“The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer;
The God of my strength, in whom I will trust;
My shield and the horn of my salvation,
My stronghold and my refuge;
My Savior, You save me from violence.
I will call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised;
So shall I be saved from my enemies.

The Lord is my rock.  This is an image of stability.  As we trust in the Lord He provides a sense of assurance.  Everything will work out in the end.  We can have confidence in Him.

God is our source of strength.  We can do more with the help of God than we would ever do on our own. God will strengthen us for the journey that He has set before us.

God is my shield.  The devil cannot harm me, except for what God allows.  God does allow some things to get through to us, to test us to see if we will trust Him, to see how we will respond.  The tests and trials of this life make us stronger, and they are a witness to those around us.

When we are in trouble we should call upon the Lord.  He will give us wisdom and strength as we trust in Him.  He is worthy to be praised, for through Him, we can be victorious over whatever may come our way.  We shall be saved from our enemies by the grace of God which works through us.

II.  God Will Complete the Work in You:  Philippians 1:6

 being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ;

We can have confidence in God.  He does not leave His work unfinished.  He continues to work in our lives until we leave this world.  The work begins even before salvation as He prepares our hearts through the circumstances of our lives.  Then we are saved, and a new life in Christ begins.  We grow to maturity in Christ.  Then we live a life of service to God.  It is a rich, full life.  The work that God does in us is never completed in this life.  We continue to grow and develop more and more into the people that He means for us to be.  He continues His work, both in, and through us.

III.  Let Your Light Shine: Philippians 2:12-16

 Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; 13 for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure.

14 Do all things without complaining and disputing, 15 that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, 16 holding fast the word of life, so that I may rejoice in the day of Christ that I have not run in vain or labored in vain.

To work out our salvation does not mean to earn our salvation, it means to live out our salvation.  If we are saved, then we should live like we are saved.  If we are a child of the king, we should live like He would want us to live.  If we have been born again, we should live a new life in Christ.

A part of this new life is to have the right attitude.  The work that we do is not always fun or glamorous.  Sometimes it is boring, difficult, even nasty. We should do our work without murmuring or complaining.

I think that this is a great verse for all children to memorize while they are young, and be reminded of constantly when they are teenagers. (v14)

Our lives should be different from people who are not living in a relationship with Christ.  The light of Christ has shown into our lives.  Now the light of Christ should shine through our lives.

We can trust God with our lives.  He will complete His work in us.  His light should shine through our lives.

To God be the Glory.

These are the sermon notes from 1/11/15.  Any advertisements that might appear are placed by WordPress.  I have no control over them, nor do I receive any money from them.

 

Thanks Be to God

December 15, 2014

Recently, my mother was very ill.  It was serious enough that all four of her children gathered together from different states to be with her as she went into surgery.  With the help of a lot of prayer, she came through and has since recovered enough to return to her own apartment in a senior center.

I Corinthians 15:54-58

 So when this corruptible has put on incorruption, and this mortal has put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written: “Death is swallowed up in victory.”

55 “O Death, where is your sting?
O Hades, where is your victory?”

56 The sting of death is sin, and the strength of sin is the law. 57 But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

58 Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.

I.  Victory Over Death

As we talked with my mother about the surgery she said more than once “If the good Lord wills, I’ll come through this.”  There were two things that were important in that statement.  First, her life was in God’s hands.  She placed her trust, not in the doctors, but in God.  Second, although unsaid, it was understood that if she didn’t make it through the surgery, it was all right.  She was ready to go.  Her trust in God allowed her to face a surgery that she might not survive because death had lost its’ sting.

My mother lived out her faith in a difficult situation.  Each one of us who are believers should be able to place our trust in God who has overcome death and who holds our lives in His hands.

Thanks be to God.

II.  Victory in Life

We recognize that God has given us the victory in life as well as in death.  Our lives have purpose and meaning, even if we do not always see or understand. All good gifts ultimately come from God.  There are many  simple pleasures in this life.  Most important is the love of God, family and friends.

Thanks be to God.

III.  Be Steadfast

Since we believe that we can have victory either in life or in death, it is easier to remain steadfast.  We do not quit.  We do not give up.  We continue to carry out the purpose that God has for our life.  We know that our labor for God is not in vain.

Thanks be to God.

These are the sermon notes from 11/23/14.  Any advertisement is placed by WordPress.  I have no control over them, nor do I receive any money from them.

Palm Sunday

April 14, 2014

Palm Sunday is the beginning of Holy Week.  On Palm Sunday we celebrate the triumphal entry of Jesus into Jerusalem.  Next Sunday will be Easter Sunday, when we celebrate the resurrection of Jesus.  In between these two Sundays of celebration are Maundy Thursday and Good Friday.  These two days are tremendously important.  On Maundy Thursday, among other things, are the washing of the feet of the disciples by Jesus, the first celebration of the Lord’s Supper, the prayer in the garden of Gethsemane, and Judas’ betrayal of Christ.  On Good Friday we have the crucifixion.  The primary reason that Jesus came to earth.  He was after all, “the lamb of God, who came to take away the sins of the world”.   If Jesus had not died for us, we would still be left in our sins.  There is no other way for us to be forgiven than through the sacrifice of Jesus.

I.  Rejoice:  Luke 19:28-40

 When He had said this, He went on ahead, going up to Jerusalem. 29 And it came to pass, when He drew near to Bethphage and Bethany, at the mountain called Olivet, that He sent two of His disciples, 30 saying, “Go into the village opposite you, where as you enter you will find a colt tied, on which no one has ever sat. Loose it and bring it here. 31 And if anyone asks you, ‘Why are you loosing it?’ thus you shall say to him, ‘Because the Lord has need of it.’”

32 So those who were sent went their way and found it just as He had said to them. 33 But as they were loosing the colt, the owners of it said to them, “Why are you loosing the colt?”

34 And they said, “The Lord has need of him.” 35 Then they brought him to Jesus. And they threw their own clothes on the colt, and they set Jesus on him. 36 And as He went, many spread their clothes on the road.

37 Then, as He was now drawing near the descent of the Mount of Olives, the whole multitude of the disciples began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice for all the mighty works they had seen, 38 saying:

‘Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord!’
Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!”

39 And some of the Pharisees called to Him from the crowd, “Teacher, rebuke Your disciples.”

40 But He answered and said to them, “I tell you that if these should keep silent, the stones would immediately cry out.”

The disciples rejoiced over the mighty works they had seen.  After all, they had seen a multitude fed from a few loaves and fish, they had seen the lame walk, the deaf hear, and the blind see.  They had even seen the dead brought back to life.  There was much about which to rejoice.

Do we rejoice about what Christ has done for us?  We may not have had quite the same spectacular stories as the early disciples, but do we not have stories of the faithfulness of God?

II.  Weeping:  Luke 19:41-44

Now as He drew near, He saw the city and wept over it, 42 saying, “If you had known, even you, especially in this your day, the things that make for your peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes. 43 For days will come upon you when your enemies will build an embankment around you, surround you and close you in on every side, 44 and level you, and your children within you, to the ground; and they will not leave in you one stone upon another, because you did not know the time of your visitation.”

Luke immediately follows the story of the triumphal entry into Jerusalem with this recital of Jesus weeping for the coming destruction of Jerusalem.  Jerusalem was to be destroyed because “they did not know the time of your visitation”.  They had not accepted, truly, that Jesus was the Messiah.  This prophecy came true when Jerusalem was destroyed by the Roman army in 70AD.

The close proximity to the story of the triumphal entry reminds us of the mixture of emotions that Jesus must have felt.  Sure, He enjoyed the celebration of Palm Sunday, but He fully understood the events of the coming week.  He also knew that not all would receive the gift of salvation that would be offered.  There is a curious mixture of joy and sadness.

We too, should have a burden for the lost.  We should pray that God would touch their hearts, that they would respond to the gospel and be restored like prodigal children coming home to the Father.  Yes, we can celebrate, but we should also, at times, weep for the lost, and pray that God would work through us to reach them with the gospel.

On a related note, this mixture of emotions goes both ways.  During times of testing or trials, when life is painful and difficult; we can rejoice in the knowledge that, in Christ, we are victorious.  That in the end we win.  That Christ is with us always, even in the days of darkness.

III.  Cleansing:  Luke 19:4-46

Then He went into the temple and began to drive out those who bought and sold in it, 46 saying to them, “It is written, ‘My house is  a house of prayer’, but you have made it a ‘den of thieves.’”

The triumphal entry, weeping over the city, and now the cleansing of the temple.  The account in Luke is filled with powerful emotions.  In this section Jesus is distraught over the way that they house of God was being treated.  Some have used this portion of scripture to condemn bake sales in the foyer, or any kind of fundraising sale in the church building.  I think that they have missed the point.  The various fundraisers that go on in a church are not for personal gain.  They are for worth while causes. However there are some issues that we should face regarding our attitude towards the house of God.  Are we attending merely for the sake of appearance?   Perhaps, we are concerned about status?  Maybe we are simply trying to network to further our business.  Certainly, it is possible to have the wrong attitude towards church attendance.  We should be gathering together to pray, to worship, to learn, and to both encourage, and be encouraged by our brothers and sisters in Christ.

Palm Sunday is a wonderful day of celebration, but as we celebrate, let us remember to pray for the lost, and to maintain a right attitude in our own hearts towards the house of God.

These are the sermon notes from 4/13/14.  Any advertisements that may follow this blog are placed there by WordPress.  I have no control over them, nor do I receive any payment from them.

God is Enough

July 6, 2013

Here are the sermon notes from 6/30/13.

I.  Don’t Complain:  Numbers 11:1-6

Now when the people complained, it displeased the Lord; for the Lord heard it, and His anger was aroused. So the fire of the Lord burned among them, and consumed some in the outskirts of the camp. Then the people cried out to Moses, and when Moses prayed to the Lord, the fire was quenched. So he called the name of the place Taberah, because the fire of the Lord had burned among them.

Now the mixed multitude who were among them yielded to intense craving; so the children of Israel also wept again and said: “Who will give us meat to eat? We remember the fish which we ate freely in Egypt, the cucumbers, the melons, the leeks, the onions, and the garlic; but now our whole being is dried up; there is nothing at all except this manna before our eyes!”

How quickly the people had forgotten what God had already done for them.  They had been slaves in Egypt.  God had brought them out of Egypt, working miraculously in a number of ways.  They were now free.  God had provided manna for them, in addition to the flocks and herds that provided meat and dairy products for them.  I can understand how they would grow weary of the same food day after day, but they were not appreciative for what God had done for them.  When they complained, they were telling God that His provision was not good enough.   They wanted more.

We too, need to be careful.  God has provided for us in many ways.  He has brought us out of spiritual darkness, and into His light.  Yet, sometimes we too, look around at what we have, and are not satisfied with the provision of the Lord.

Furthermore, the children of Israel had continually before them the pillar of smoke by day, and the column of fire by night:  the physical symbols of God’s presence and favor.  Yet this too, was not enough and they complained.

We may not have the physical symbols of God’s presence, but we have His Word that He will never leave us or forsake us… but for many, that is not good enough.

II.  Be Content:  Philippians 4:10-13

But I rejoiced in the Lord greatly that now at last your care for me has flourished again; though you surely did care, but you lacked opportunity. 11 Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content: 12 I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. 13 I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

We love to claim verse thirteen.  We want the strength to be able to do all things.  Yet, we must first learn the importance of verse eleven.  We must be able to be content in Christ, whatever our external circumstances may be at the moment.

III.  Trust in God:  Proverbs 3:5-6

Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
And lean not on your own understanding;
In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He shall direct your paths.

We can indeed trust that God will guide us in our decisions.  If we have turned to Him for guidance, even if we have not heard an audible voice, we can trust that God will direct our steps.  Faith and trust go hand in hand in the life of the believer.

IV.  Delight in God:  Psalms 37:3-5

Trust in the Lord, and do good;
Dwell in the land, and feed on His faithfulness.
Delight yourself also in the Lord,
And He shall give you the desires of your heart.

Commit your way to the Lord,
Trust also in Him,
And He shall bring it to pass.

As Christians our greatest joy should come from being in the presence of God.  No one, and nothing of this world can take God away from us.  We can, however, easily be distracted and caught up in the affairs of the world.  We need to keep God first in our lives, and then everything else will come into line.

God is enough for us.

 

Yield!

February 28, 2012

When the light is green it is your right to drive through the intersection.

Way back in high school, I was driving home after class, when I had an interesting event.  I had stopped at a red light, a block away from my house.  When the light turned green I started to accelerate, but I noticed a truck coming out of the corner of my eye.  He wasn’t slowing down.  I stepped back on the brake and watched him sail through the intersection directly in front of me.  I can still see the look on his face as he realized, too late, that the light was red.  My friend who was riding with me, said “Wow!  I’m glad you were driving!  Greg or John would have accelerated right into the path of that truck.”

I learned an important lesson that day.  I had the right to drive through the intersection, but to avoid a collision, I needed to yield.  That lesson has served me well through decades of driving both automobiles and motorcycles.   You may have the right-of-way, but sometimes it is right to yield for the sake of safety.

Knowing when to yield is important in many other parts of life.  There are many situations where we can either stand firm, or “yield” the right of way.  This is true in family matters, work issues, neighbors, politics, and so on.  The first step is to recognize that things do not have to always go our way.  The second step is even harder.  That is being able to recognize when to stand firm, and when to yield.

Valentine’s Day

February 14, 2012

Today is Valentine’s Day.

This will be a great day for some people and a lousy day for many others.  I believe that many in  American society have a distorted view of love.  True love is not simply the infatuation of a moment, or of a few weeks or months, or even years: but rather it is a life-long commitment of going through life together.

For better for worse, for richer for poorer, in sickness and in health, for as long as we both shall live.

True love is not a fleeting passion,  but a commitment to share in the varied experiences of life together; and to find ways to make the most of the journey.

Increasing Godly Love

December 5, 2011

This is a practical follow-up to the message last week on loving God and loving people.

Write out I Corinthians 13:4-7 on a 3 by 5 card and tape it to your bathroom mirror.

Love suffers long and is kind: love does not envy: love does not parade itself, is not puffed up:  does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil: does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth: bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.  (NKJ)

In the morning read through the verses, then ask God to help you demonstrate godly love throughout the day.  Each time that you are in the bathroom read through the verses.  At the end of the day, read through the verses and ask yourself in what ways you succeeding in showing godly love, and in what ways you failed.

I strongly suspect that we, and those around us, would see an increase in godly love demonstrated in our lives.

Adjustments

June 27, 2011

Today is the first day of the summer classes.  I enjoy teaching, but the summer session is a serious encroachment on my schedule.  We meet four days a week for three hours. From the time that I leave home, until the time that I return, it is about  four and a half hours each day.  The problem is that I already have trouble finding the time to get things done.  Now that I will have less time available, I will need to make major adjustments to my daily schedule.  I do believe that there is enough time to do what God wants me to do.  I will pray for guidance that I will use my time wisely.  It is like budgeting money, which I am very good at, now I will have to budget my time.