Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Breastplate of Righteousness.

So Pastor Ron Siedel talked about the breastplate of righteousness a few weeks ago and I thought I would share with you what I learned from it.

Ephesians 6:14-15 "Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace."

Christ is the might we should walk in.. We can give up arrogance and be humble. He also said that we should practice what we are learning. I really liked when he said we should be an audio visual Christian and not a secret agent for Christ. If we draw near to the Lord throughout the day then the devil will flee.

Shoes-the gospel of peace

Can Satan really destroy your testimony once you are a born again Christian? I don't think he can.

Apart from Christ we can do nothing. Readiness-the general meaning of preparedness. It brings peace.

Ephesians 6:13 says "Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm."

Stand firm, dig in so that you may be unmovable.

Gospel of peace is referring to the good news that you and I enjoy as believers for we are at peace with God. The unsaved person is not at peace with God. They are ungodly, sinful, and at present an enemy of God. In our relationship we stand in the confidence of God's love for us.

Romans 8:37-39 "No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord."

How's our faith? Are we still trying to lift up our hands by ourselves or are we doing things in the strength of His might?

I hope we are not trying to do things with our own strength.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Lord Set My Heart on Fire

Loving Abba in heaven above
Thank you for giving us Your love
Your wonderful saving grace
Amazes me each day

Your presence in my life is what I desire
Oh Lord give me a burning passion and set my heart on fire.
To be so bold to share with the lost
How they are dying and therefore need the cross

For we have all broken your commands
And could not ever meet your demands
Of the one who is perfect and just
And we are sinners who lie, steal, blaspheme and lust.

But God made a way
On that awesome and powerful day
So that we who were sinners were once lost might be made free
For God sent his only son Jesus Christ to die on the cross for you and me

He was the only sacrifice
Who would suffice
So he went to the cross
To pay that price
And three days later rose from the grave
And is alive to this very day

What God requires now from us
Is that we repent, turn away from our sins
Such as lying, blasphemy and lust
And in Him alone put our faith and trust

Then Oh Lord please give us that same burning passion and desire
And set our hearts in love with You and totally on fire
To share with those like you had someone share with me
About the law and the gospel so that we might be set free
And when they die will not see hell but see eternity.

by Michelle Miano

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Blasphemy and Movies

So I was reading from a John Macarthur day to day devotional I received a few weeks ago. The devotion for the other day really struck a nerve.

It said "Everything we do, think, say and communicate is a reflection on the name of God, since we have been called by His name and wear it as our chief identity. When are you most likely to forget that you bear the name of Christ, that you carry the responsibility for doing nothing to defame or discredit it?"

As I thought about that I think most people forget that they bear the name of Christ is when we watch movies that blaspheme our Lord's precious and holy name. They go about watching movies and paying to see movies even though they know it will have the blasphemy in it. Sometimes they don't even care. Entertainment is more important.

Have you ever thought about what our Lord would think if He was here and saw us watching that??

But God is all knowing so he knows you are doing that. You can't hide it from Him. And I'm sure he has a very sad look on His face wondering why in the world would my children give money and take part in something that blasphemes my name which is breaking one of the 10 commandments. Blasphemy is something that God tells us we shouldn't do. So we don't do it. Alright that's good. But how is listening to someone else blaspheme any better. It isn't.

Romans 1:32 says "and although they know the ordinance of God, that those who practice such things are worthy of death, they not only do the same, but also give hearty approval to those who practice them."

See even though we don't blaspheme ourselves we are giving hearty approval of the actors and actresses that do blaspheme because we are watching those movies that have it in it, buying the Dvd's, and seeing the movies in the theaters.

Did you ever look at it that way?

Now I've dealt with this issue myself in the past so I'm not saying I'm perfect or I've always had this point of view. But after many times reading that verse and having long conversations with my dad who first felt this way and I am currently not watching any movies that have blasphemy. Although I do struggle with this from time to time with certain movies I used to really enjoy watching when I was younger.

You ask "What about TV?"

Well I don't have an issue with that because we don't have television. No cable or anything at all. We just use a television to watch family movies. We use to have some DVD's with blasphemy in them but those have been thrown away.

Another thing that I feel strongly about is the type of movies believers should watch. I know I might be a rare case but I hold my convictions strongly. It is against my conscience to watch any rated R movie. To watch rated R movies would be sin for me. I've never seen a rated R movie and I never want to. I've only seen 9 PG-13 movies and I don't think I want to see any more PG-13 movies either. Why watch movies that have a stronger rating when they are just going to be filled with more of the things that our Lord would not want us to watch? Again it is our desire to be entertained that is more important than our own Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

I have had to stand for my convictions of not watching those movies a couple of times. One time was for a college class. My professor wanted us to watch the movie Crash for our final and it was an English movie. What does a rated R movie like Crash have anything to do with English I would like to know. Nothing. So I told him I could not watch the movie for my final and he's like "Why?" I told him because of my strong beliefs that I shouldn't watch those movies. He said "You shouldn't stick your head in the sand like an ostrich." I told him I wasn't and that I couldn't watch because of my religious beliefs. He saw that I wouldn't be swayed.. He told me that he would have to talk to his boss about what alternative I could do. He came back with an answer to me after I had to ask him again. He said I could write a paper about something if I really didn't want to sit in class and go to the TLC lab to do my paper while they watched the movie. I said "Thank you." I took the paper and left the class. God blessed me that I didn't watch that movie and stood for my convictions. Thankfully my professor gave me an B on the paper and a B for the class. :)

So I strongly ask you my friends to ask yourself this question.

"What is more important to you? Endless hours of pleasing you and most likely blaspheming our Lord or is Christ more important in your life. I hope I am not sounding harsh but I felt that God had laid this on my heart to share with you and I just want you to at least think about it.

Thanks so much.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Blessings and Trials

Blessings can come in all shapes and sizes
And some can come in be in the form of surprises

Everything has a reason for being there
Even though we may not think life is always fair

God always has a purpose for us and a plan
Although we may not always understand
As Christians all we need to do is reach out
For our Lord's loving and caring hands
And he will guide us through the shadow of the land

The Lord gives and takes away
We should be grateful for the friends that are here to stay.

When we struggle with hurt and pain
We need to remember that Christ will only use it for His glory and gain!

The reason why my friends can you see?
What better reason than because he gave us the pain in our life
Is so that we could trust in Him, grow in our faith and maturity.

Great, awesome, and mighty is He.
For He will never leave those
Those who repent, and put our faith and trust in Him and believe.

by Michelle Miano

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Single Goodness

Notes from a workshop I went to about singleness:

Society looks at singleness as a lack of something when it really is not.

Fruit of the Spirit of Goodness-Single

Goodness definition: Moral and spiritual excellence(Eph 5:8-10). Goodness is active not passive. It is kindly aggressive (Romans 15:14). Single and being joyful and at peace about it may not always work hand in hand. Your highest calling is to be a child of God. Marriage is temporary. Redemption is eternal.

God is Good

Psalm 136:1 "Give thanks to the Lord for He is good. His mercy is everlasting."

Everything else works out when we think God is Good. Goodness=loving kindness. As we grow in Him we grow in goodness

God gives good gifts

James 1:16-18 "Every good thing bestowed and every good gift is from above, coming down from the father of lights, with whom there is no variation, or shifting shadow."

Trials and testing of believers. Psalm 37:4-Righteousness shine forth. Desire his righteousness.

Singleness is a gift from God and so is marriage

1 Cor 7:7 "I wish that all men were even as I myself am. However, each man has his own gift from God, one in this manner and another in that."

Singleness is a gift from God given specifically for the purpose of His Eternal Kingdom and Glory

1 Cor 7:35 "I want you to be free from concern. One who is unmarried is concerned about the things of the Lord, how he may please the Lord.. I say these things for your benefit... to secure undistracted devotion to the Lord."

Undistracted devotion to God. Not for me but for the sake of the kingdom to be advanced. Singleness can be a matter of suffering in our lives. Tis better to love and lose then to not love at all.(1 Peter 2:9, 2 Cor 1:6-7) Don't sit and wait for that special person to come, go out and work in the fields (Eph 1:4-5) Gift of being single=gift of grace. We are given unique abilities. When we are single we have more time to use these and to do things for others that we might not be able to do because of the lack of time we would have to do them once we were married.

She asked us if marriage was becoming possibly an idol for us?

God intends for all, married or single--to pursue him alone as the sole source of our soul's satisfaction.

Ephesians 1:4-5 "For he chose us in Him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in His sight. In love He predestined us to be adopted as His sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with His pleasure and will."

Our Response to Singleness

1. Memorize Scripture

Meditate on the Word instead of spending your time ruminating on your loneliness

2. Chase Contentment

Pursue it. Life a lifestyle of thankfulness for what you have.

3. Develop Boundaries

Be careful with your relationships and your time.

4. Become Accountable to the Family and Church

Keep one another in check.

5. Reject the World's Encroachment

How do you spend your time and money? How do you encourage the church?

6. Go Against the Odds

Don't play marriage poker. God will bring the spouse at the right time. Start serving now. If God really wants you to get married than if even if you were serving in Mongolia among the goats than God could bring you the spouse there in the field.

7. Practice Hospitality

This is not an option. We should practice this in our homes and in our lives. Think "How can I care for people that could just use a little bit of love?"

8. Pursue Families

Watch the families around. Sometimes we can have unrealistic expectations of what a family should look like and sometimes we just need a reality check.

9. Do not be Slothful in Zeal, be Fervent in Spirit, Serve the Lord

Romans 12:11 "Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord."

Become passionate for the sake of the kingdom. Take some risks for Jesus. If you are single and you die it really doesn't matter so just go out.

Key Point to Remember:


Monday, May 11, 2009

God's Gracious Guidance: Is Your GPS Turned On?

This is still more notes from the womens conference that I went to.

You have received this guidance assistance at salvation:

Personal/Perfect/Precious/Pure and Holy

John 16:13 "But when He, the Spirit of truth comes, He will guide you into all truth.."

Try the triple A plan for daily guidance and reliable directions

Acknowledge you need for help -Hebrews 4:16, Go to the throne of grace
Ask for directions- James 1:5, John 16:13, Matthew 7:7
Act on the directions or instructions- Matthew 16:24-25

Proverbs 16:9- God owes you nothing.

Your course of life could change by a phone call. Sometimes we think circumstances are sovereignty and its all for your benefit and God's glory. He's the one in charge. He's already working before we get there. He's not only with me now, he's already there ahead of you too. He goes ahead of you, arranging the details. He's at work in the future while we live in the presence. We like shortcuts and sometimes we can be impatient. Sometimes we don't think the guide knows best. When we say no to God we are quenching the Holy Spirit. Be ready to move. God leads those who move on faith and are already moving.

The Red Sea Rules: The Same God Who Led You In Will Lead You Out by Robert J. Morgan

Rule 1- Realize that God means for you to be there where you are. (Exodus 14:1-2)

Lord tests our faith and sometimes leads us through perils for reasons known only by the Lord right now but might tell you later. Sometimes we can cause our own pain by our selfishness and stupidity.

Rule 2- Be more concerned for God's glory than for your relief. (Exodus 14:3-4)

Sometimes we ask the wrong questions like "Why me?" We should ask how can God be glorified in this situation? This is a totally different perspective.

Rule 3- Acknowledge your enemy, but keep your eyes on the Lord. (Exodus 14:5-9)

Sometimes we feel like we are being pursued by the enemy but we don't need to be intimidated by Him according to 1 John 4:4, and Ephesians 6. Every time we resist temptation we honor God and glorify Him.

Rule 4- Pray! (Exodus 14:10)

Cry out to the Lord. James 5:16. God always makes a way whether prolonged or not.

Rule 5- Stay calm and confident and give God time to work. (Exodus 14:13-14)

Call and wait. Someone will show up. Christians should not be controlled by our emotions but by the Holy Spirit.

Rule 6- When unsure, just take the next logical step by faith (Exodus 14:15)

Just move forward by faith. God as far as you can reach and God will open the rest of the way. Plodding is better than plotting. One step at a time.

Rule 7- Envision God's enveloping presence. (Exodus 14:19-20)

God's presence in the trial is better than exemption from the trial. Difficult times sensitize us to God's nearness.

Rule 8- Trust God to deliver in His own unique way. (Exodus 14:21-22)

Sometimes the Lord doesn't take us out the way we want Him too. He doesn't always view deliverance the way we do.

Rule 9- View your current crisis as a faith builder for the future. (Exodus 14:30-31)

Faith isn't something you can just muster up. Faith is grown and it is tested. The Lord gives you a trial to put what we have been taught into practice. It helps you become stronger and more mature for the next trial.

Rule 10- Don't forget to praise Him. (Exodus 15:1-2)


Monday, May 4, 2009

Intimacy with Others

More notes from the conference that I went to

Intimacy with Others

Our whole world revolves around relationships. We have to a mandate to obey. It is not an option. We are not to isolate ourselves. We can not be loners. We have to have intimate fellowship with believers.

Mark 12:29-31 says "The most important one," answered Jesus, "is this: 'Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.' The second is this: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' There is no commandment greater than these."

We need to take our natural love for ourselves and put it on others.

Self-esteem is not a biblical view but one that is too often promoted and is very worldly.

2 Timothy 3:2 says People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy,"

Too often self-esteem and self actualization is promoted. I've noticed this in all my child development classes I'm taking. They all promote this thought. I never thought that this was actually bad until I went to this conference. But now that I think about it it is wrong. Self esteem and self actualization is all about me, me and oh yeah me. Nothing about others.

There are several essentials to having intimacy with others.

1. Right Attitude

2. Humility (Phil 2:3-4, Rom 12:10)
This is where it all starts. People will be attracted to you and want to be friends with you when you show humility

3. Serving others
One way we can find out what our spiritual gift is by serving. If we go out and serve others most times that spiritual gift will just show itself what it is. We need to develop the mindset to minister to others and not people ministering to you. We need to have a desire to serve others.

4. Communicating with and to others

Why should we speak?

a. To pass on truth and tell others about God(Eph 4:25, Ps 66:16)

b. Minister to others (Eph 4:29, Heb 3:13)

c. Encouragement.

How should we speak?

Proverbs 15:28 says The heart of the righteous weighs its answers, but the mouth of the wicked gushes evil.

Think before you speak. Speak with restraint, gently, wisely, and at the right time. Speak sweetly and with pleasant words and with wisdom and kindness. Speak quietly, in love, and always with grace.

In other words LOVE

The kind of motive defines our love. True love is motivated by joy not duty. Duty is legalism. Once we invest in them you will then love them. (1 Jn 4:7,11)

Barriers to Intimacy with Others:

1. Pride
Think you are better than someone else. People should be like us. Seeking out people who are just like us. I think I do this a lot. Judging the motives of others.(1 Cor 4:5) We should believe the best of everyone. Lack of forgiveness-can or will not forgive

Romans 12:3 says For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you.

2. Fear
Of what people think of you will lead to a lack of transcendency. (Prov 29:25)

3. Malice

4. Deceit-craftiness

5. Hypocrisy
Pretending to be what you are not. Concealing true motives

6. Envy

7. Corrupt Communications(Eph 4:29, James 8:6)
Extremely careful about what we say(Math 12:34)

a. Prideful speech-Speaking in an arrogant way. Not listening (Prov 18:2) Self talk- always talking about yourself.

b. Negative-grumbling, complaining(Phil 2:14) Complaining is always directed at God even though we don't mean for it to be. Remember God is sovereign. No one wants to be around someone who is negative.

c. Hasty

d. Caustic- Sarcastic, criticism

e. Injurious- Gossip/slander/lies. Truth not spoken in love. Deception and lies destroys trust and relationships. Go to the person that you are having an issue with and not others about the problem

8. Busyness- Just too busy


Selfishness leads to self focus and lack of concern for others. It is never too late to start doing what is right. You should not be shy or say I don't want or can't get out of my shell.

2 Corinthians 5:14-15 says For Christ's love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again.

The gospel is the wind in our sails that moves us not only to love Him but to love others. The main place that God manifested his grace is in us. Knowing Christ we can be givers and not takers.

Who are you really thinking about??? It shouldn't about ourselves but about our love for Christ and others. :)

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Intimacy with God.

So yesterday I went to this amazing women's conference at Grace Community Church. One of the topics we learned about was intimacy with God. For the next couple of posts I will be sharing with you what I learned and I hope it is an encouragement to you.

Intimacy with God

We were created to commune with God. We were made in God's image. Being made in God's image we were given things.

1. Special dignity
2. Dominion over everything
3. Man is a rational being
4. Spiritual being and able to relate to God.

Nothing else was created to have intimacy with God. Adam and Eve died spiritually after eating the fruit. They were not satisfied with the intimacy with God but wanted to be like God. In the first Adam we fail but in the 2nd Adam who is Jesus Christ we are born again. Justification is the opposite of condemnation. When justification happens it allows us to have a relationship with Him.

There are several benefits of intimacy with God

It gives us peace with God.

Romans 5:1-11 says Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us. You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God's wrath through him! For if, when we were God's enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life! Not only is this so, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.

Peace with God allows us to have continual access.

We can not only enter his presence but we can stay there. We have open access to his presence. We can go in at any time. He'll never put you on hold. We have continual access. (Romans 5:1-2, Hebrews 4:15-16)

Peace with God gives us confident hope.

Hope in the Bible is an absolute certainty and not wishful thinking which is the way we think hope is like. (Romans 5:3-4, 1 Peter 1:3-5)

Peace with God gives us abounding love.

It is abounding love. God's love is unlimited and unending. (Romans 5:5) Love is lavished upon us. We will not be disappointed because it is about God's love towards us and not about our love for God.

He desires in fellowship with us. Our response should be that we find our contentment, complete enjoyment in Christ. We are in the most intimate relationship with God and we should daily rejoice in that. We have the ability of living far above the circumstance. We can exult in Him. (Romans 5:7)

Flesh never can change but as we can grow in our faith we are able to battle it.

There are however potential barriers for Christian living and intimacy with God.

1. Not seeing God's character rightly.
This is when we doubt God's sovereignty, wisdom and love.

2. Faulty appreciation of the gospel
This is when we minimize the gospel. Some people think that the gospel is only the beginning and then they can work really hard after that. That is not true. The gospel is the beginning to salvation but it is so much more and sanctification.

Parable in Luke about the two prodigal sons was an example she used. Both were far away from the Father. One never knew it (older brother) and one did (younger brother). The older brother obeyed to be accepted (get what we want). It should be I am accepted therefore I obey. Older brother may not be saved. You may have some older brother tendencies such as

a. Your obedience is mechanical or joyless.
You think it is useful to obey. It is a means to an end. You think it is a duty.

b. You are always frustrated with what God is doing in your life.
Don't set limits on what he can ask of you.

c. Lack assurance of God's love.

Another barrier is priorities

1. Favoring task above God.
Let ourselves get too busy. Only one thing really necessary. It is like the story of Mary and Martha. Martha was too busy preparing things. Mary was devoted to listening to Christ and what he was teaching. Are we a room full of Martha's?

2. Elevating man above God.
This is when we delight in other peoples opinion. Our satisfaction should be in Him alone.

3. Treasuring things above God.

When we are too easily pleased we are shallow people because God can give us so much more.

One question she asked was "If God took everything precious away from you is He going to be enough?"

You already have intimacy with God as a true follower of Christ.

She also talked about God's transcendence is his otherness. He doesn't explain everything to us. God's transcendence gives us a high view of God which leads to worship. God's immanence is his mercy, grace, love and his nearness leads to rest. You can not neglect nearness and transcendence. It will not work out.

The last thing she told us was that need to preach the gospel to ourselves every day. Don't look at your own circumstances but instead look at the cross.

This is all the notes I took for the session about intimacy with God. I hope you are all encouraged by this.