I almost got pulled down into that snake hole of regrets. Again. This time, though, I saw the way of escape. I said aloud to myself, “I am determined to forget what lies behind and to shut the door on regrets and lock it.
Today is real. I can live in today. The past is no longer a reality for me. I can’t live there. I am determined to live today!” (“Our lives are like water spilled out on the ground, which cannot be gathered up again.”—2 Samuel 14:14 New Living Translation)
Then I thought maybe Jesus was saying, “Come. Let us reason together. Though your sins were like scarlet, now you are white as snow. Every sin was washed away in the blood of the cross. Those sins were removed as far as east from west, forgotten never to be remembered again. Even your poor choices have not interfered with My continued love for you and goodness to you.”
God has loved me with an everlasting love. His plans cannot be thwarted. He can use everything in my life to make me into the person He wants me to be. He doesn’t regret making me His child. Jesus isn’t sorry He died for me.
Thank You, Father! Thank You, Lord Jesus!
(See 1 Corinthians 10:13, Philippians 3:13, Isaiah 1:18, Psalm 103:12, Romans 8:38-39, Jeremiah 31:3, Job 42:2, and Romans 8:28.)
The next-to-last paragraph of this sermon really spoke to me where it says, “…when I sin, one of the underlying things going on with me is that I am not loving God, or my neighbor, or sometimes, either one. It isn’t just that I need to behave better externally (though that is true) – it is also that I need to love God and my neighbor more.” Also, “…I have learned to…ask God not only to help me not to sin, but also to increase the love I have for Him and for my neighbor.” Thanks, Pastor Tom.
We are to love God with all of our being. According to Jesus, nothing is more important than this. If we love God with our entire being and put him first in our lives, everything else will flow out of that in a way that fulfills what God wants. If we don’t love him, we are just a clanging gong; nothing. We are not to act religious for the sake of being religious. It is meaningless to follow Christian morality unless we do it out of love for God.
If you truly love God, and also your neighbor, you will fulfill, not ignore, the moral teachings of the Bible.
To listen to the sermon, click the play button:
To download, right click on the link (or do whatever you do on a Mac) and save it to your computer:
Download Matthew Part 80
Matthew #80 Matthew 22:34-45
The third question with which…
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Several years ago, one friend told me how she came to faith in Jesus Christ. She had attended a church most of her life and thought her relationship with God was fine. Then she ran onto Ezekiel 18:4 (“For all people are mine to judge—both parents and children alike. And this is my rule: The person who sins is the one who will die.”
It haunted her. Finally someone told her the good news that “…God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin, so that we could be made right with God through Christ. (2 Corinthians 5:21)”
So she prayed and asked God for forgiveness for her sin because of Christ’s sacrifice. That day she believed in and received Jesus as her Savior and Lord. The last time I heard from her, she was still following Jesus.
My own commitment to following Jesus Christ began when I was a child and involved some stumbling. My friend and I came to Jesus differently, but we have this in common—we believe in Jesus Christ as the Son of God, the Messiah of Israel, our Lord and Savior, and the only Way to the Father. He is Truth and the source of life now and forever.
If your faith and trust are in someone or something else (such as your good deeds, your religion, a church, your parents’ faith, or a belief that God is okay with our doing what we please and/or ignoring Him), please ask God to show you the truth about Himself and about Jesus. Do it today. His love for you is so great, and His plan of redemption is so marvelous that I don’t want you to miss out on it. God longs for us to be with Him forever, and we can be if we choose to go His way.
Ecclesiastes 7:20 “Not a single person on earth is always good and never sins.”
John 3:16-18 “For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. 17 God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through him. 18 There is no judgment against anyone who believes in him. But anyone who does not believe in him has already been judged for not believing in God’s one and only Son.”
(All Scriptures New Living Translation)
People who think they have to be perfect feel driven much of the time. I speak from experience. We, in trying to reach perfection, succeed mostly at making ourselves (and likely those around us) miserable. How did I end up in this trap? For me it probably started as a desire to feel good about myself that took root in a crevice of pride and grew into striving to avoid the emotional pain of being corrected. I didn’t understand that the ache of driving myself to be always right was worse and longer-lasting than the pain of correction. I also didn’t grasp the fact that part of that hurt was caused by “all or nothing” thinking—for example, if I’m not 100% right, I’m a total failure.
Now that I recognize the problem, I asked for God’s help to break free. And He is helping. I still sometimes find myself spending my thought time on every mistake I can remember and feeling guilty for every sin (even though I’ve confessed them and received forgiveness–1 John 1:9.) So instead of keeping my eyes on Jesus, the author and finisher of my faith (Hebrews 12:2), I end up focusing on past failures.
One idea that helps me get off the treadmill of perfectionism is to capture the memories of mistakes and forgiven sins before they bump the thought speed control up to “race.” Then I tell myself to think of those things as just reminders that I’m not God—never have been and never will be. And really, what a relief! I’m way too small to handle His job. Any human being is.
Psalm 46:10–“Be still, and know that I am God! I will be honored by every nation. I will be honored throughout the world.”
Isaiah 42:8 “I am the LORD; that is my name! I will not give my glory to anyone else, nor share my praise with carved idols.
(Verses are New Living Translation.)
Pastor Tom has done an excellent 4-sermon series on the homosexuality issue. He shares a very biblical view of the issue. They should be read or listened to starting with the first one and going in order 1-2-3-4. Here’s the link to the first one:
I just finished reading another excellent sermon by Pastor Tom: ARE THERE “EXTRA” REWARD IN HEAVEN? (https://revth.wordpress.com/2015/06/30/are-there-extra-rewards-in-heaven/) I highly recommend the sermon.
It reminded me of a book I read a few years ago–LIVING AS IF HEAVEN MATTERS by David Shibley. The subtitle of the book is “Preparing Now for Eternity. It helped me start living more purposefully for Jesus. I got the book from the author’s website (http://davidshibley.com/), but it is probably available from Amazon or other book dealers.
US gay marriage scotus – creation.com. US Supreme Court decision made. So what now?
Nehemiah 8:12 “And all the people went their way to eat and drink, to send portions and rejoice greatly, because they understood the words that were declared to them [the Book of the Law of Moses].”
Yes, what reason for rejoicing—to hear and understand God’s Word! (The people in this verse understood because the leaders and Levites “gave the sense and helped them to understand the reading….” –Nehemiah 8:8)
Thank You, Father, for the insight You give me into Your Word by Your Holy Spirit and by good teachers who “give the sense and help me understand.” Amen.
I’m reminded of a hymn we sang at church when I was a youth. The first verse says, “… Beyond the sacred page I seek Thee, Lord; My spirit pants for Thee, O living Word.”* The song in turn reminds me of Psalm 42:1-2, “As the deer pants for the water brooks, So pants my soul for You, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God….”
The “sacred page,” God’s written Word leads us to Jesus, the Living Word, and He satisfies our deepest thirst.
*“Break Thou the Bread of Life” by Mary Ann Lathbury and William F. Sherwin. Music and lyrics at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dp8oi0qjanU. More information about the hymn at http://www.lectionary.org/HymnStories/Break%20Thou%20the%20Bread%20of%20Life.htm
(Pictures public domain courtesy of http://www.publicdomainpictures.net/hledej.php?hleda=Bible&x=24&y=16 Bread picture by Gustavo Di Nucci; Bible picture by Petr Kratochvil.)
(Scripture quotes are New King James Version.)
Excellent sermon by Pastor Tom.
Healing in this life, or making this life better somehow, is ultimately meaningless unless we respond to Jesus in faith. Jesus is focused on the eternal person, the spiritual person. That’s where his priority is, and I think that is where our priorities should be also.
To listen to the sermon, click the play button:
To download, right click on the link (or do whatever you do on a Mac) and save it to your computer: Download Matthew Part 30
Matthew #30 . Matthew 9:1-8
This time, we will take the incident with the paralyzed man and his friends. Mark and Luke include the detail that the paralytic man’s friends couldn’t get him through the crowd, so they lowered him from the roof to set him in front of Jesus. Once again, there is no reason to assume that this contradicts Matthew. Matthew often omits details supplied by Luke…
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Excellent message by Pastor Tom. Reminds us that Christianity is all about Jesus–relationship with Him, surrendering to Him. It’s “not about earning points with God or bettering yourself, or peace, or making the world a better place” although these things may result from following Him. The important thing is knowing Jesus, trusting Him, obeying Him.
Sometimes it feels hard to be a real Jesus-follower when so many others seem to get by just fine ignoring most of what he said, and even call themselves Christians while doing it. But Jesus told us right here that that is how it would be.If we claim to be followers of Jesus, it seems only right that we don’t dispute what he said.
To listen to the sermon, click the play button:
To download, right click on the link (or do whatever you do on a Mac) and save it to your computer: Download Matthew Part 23
Matthew #23 . 7:12-29
Matthew 7:12 deserves honorable mention, but it isn’t my intention to preach an entire sermon on it. Jesus said:
In everything, treat others as you would want them to treat you, for this fulfills the law and the prophets. (Matt 7:12, NET)
We call this “the golden…
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