Salvation is a gift, and you don’t work for a gift. It’s free! You can’t earn it nor can you buy it!
Fact is, you will not make it to heaven based on what you do nor what you’ve done. Your ticket into heaven is based solely on what has already been done for you by the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ,
If you are saved and dipped in the blood of Jesus Christ; great! This message is intended to reach those who are curious, confused, and/or have refuse to received this free gift.
With all joking and kidding aside, the Bible is unfolding right in front of your eyes and if this message is speaking to you please use this time to make it right before God!
Romans 3:24 says, “All need to be made right with God by his grace, which is a free gift. They need to be made free from sin through Jesus Christ” (NCV).
Jesus Christ already did it. He paid for your salvation on the cross, and it’s now a free gift that’s offered to you. That’s why when Jesus was hanging on the cross, He said, “It is finished.” He didn’t say, “I am finished,” because He wasn’t. He’s still alive today. The “it” is your salvation. The plan to provide grace for every person is finished.
The best Christmas gift you could ever receive isn’t sitting under a tree, rather “it’s” sitting at the right hand of God! When you truly understand grace, you’ll accept it, because it is the greatest gift you will ever be offered.
Some people think it’s strange or odd that we are commanded to be strong? Some will say we can only be what we are, and it is worse than futile to say to a weak man, “Be strong.”
When being strong seems impossible I often remember the words God said to Paul each time he plead for God to remove the thorn lodge in his flesh. God said in 2 Corinthians 12:9 (NLT), “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.”
Obviously, Paul finally got the ‘point’ and his response to God back then should be our response to God today. He said in verses 10 and 11, “So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”
It’s of no coincidence, whenever it’s necessary for us to faithfully stand and be strong, then we often feel most of our weakness; but in those times we are summoned to seek God for His strength because like he said, “His strength is made perfect in our weaknesses.”
Thankfully, the Lion of the tribe of Judah can give to us lionlike strength to victoriously face any situation, trial or circumstance which in turn will enable us to continue moving forward towards God’s goodness, God’s blessings and God’s glory!
What is God’s rest? Well, I’ll be the first to testify that it is not found by sleeping. Additionally, God’s rest is not rest from daily work or physically exhaustion. God’s rest is that profound peace that He dispenses to those who trust, love and obey Him regardless of circumstances.
Moses and several others biblical characters were caught between a rock and a hard place a time or two in their earthy story. In fact, when Moses didn’t know who God was going to send with him to lead the people out of Egypt, he cried out to God in Exodus 33:12 and God responded to his concern in verse 14 and said to him, “My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.”
You may think you’re alone in this battle, but I assure you ma’am or sir that you’re not! God is with us and because of Jesus Christ we are beneficiaries of every single last promise written and spoken by God himself!
In I Chronicles 14 (NLT) we learned that when God elevates you, the enemy will often plot and scheme in a malicious attempt to eliminate you!
In verses 8-10 of I Chronicles 14, the Bible says, “When the Philistines heard that David had been anointed king over all Israel, they mobilized all their forces to capture him. But David was told they were coming, so he marched out to meet them. The Philistines arrived and made a raid in the valley of Rephaim. So David asked God, “Should I go out to fight the Philistines? Will you hand them over to me?”
The LORD replied, “Yes, go ahead. I will hand them over to you.”
Then in verse 11 we learn the fate of the Philistine army; “So David and his troops went up to Baal-perazim and defeated the Philistines there. “God did it!” David exclaimed. “He used me to burst through my enemies like a raging flood!” So they named that place Baal-perazim (which means “the Lord who bursts through”).
The enemy is persistent and he wants nothing more than to take from you what God has given to you! One would think after the first butt whipping the Philistines received they would’ve backdown once and for all, but no! They charged at David and his troop again and in verses 13-16 we find the second deployment experienced the same fate as the previous one!
The point of my message today is that it doesn’t matter what type of enemy we are battling, God fights all of our battle for us! I encouraged to re-read verse 11! Notice, the first thing David declared after he and his troops defeated the Philistines infantry the first time: “God did it!”
So, if you are waiting for God to burst through your situation remember that if God guaranteed David’s victory before the battle begun, He is most certainly capable of doing it again! It doesn’t matter how many times the enemy comes at you!! Always seek God first before heading into battle and then declare this Baal-perazim promise over your life and over the lives of those you hold dear to your heart and God guarantees that you too will be in position to declare; ‘God did it!’
In I Thessalonians 5:17 (NLT) we are encouraged to, “Never stop praying”! The problem many of us have is that we mistakenly stop praying after God gave us what we asked for.
Prayer is as important to life as oxygen. If we depend on oxygen to live naturally, we should equally depend on prayer to live spiritually. Our spiritually dependence in prayer should permeate in everything we do! So, even when we are not speaking consciously to God, we should possess a deep, abiding dependence on Him that is woven into the very fabric of our faith.
In short, God has called us to be people of prayer, and regular communication creates intimate fellowship with our Savior. Through our time with Him, we discover His goodness, faithfulness, mercy, grace, and wonderful direction for our lives. We also find the strength and wisdom for every turn on our paths so we can experience all He has created us for.
When we develop a prayerful outlook, eventually our communication with the Lord becomes our first instinct in every situation — not only when we face a challenge or encounter a difficulty. And in time, it will never occur to us not to pray.
Today as we gather together separated by life-saving social distancing, remember that we are forever united more than ever in spirit. Although we face enormous challenges ahead, the opportunities that lies before us are so much bigger.
I know that for some of you today is very difficult. Some of you are grieving the loss of a loved one gone home to be with the Lord coupled with separation anxiety from loved ones stemming from adhering to the CDC social-distancing precautionary guidelines.
Well, I wanted to share a little good news with you by reminding you with God on our side it really doesn’t matter whether we are in isolation, with love ones, or alone we can still experience abundance. Jesus reminds us in John 10:10 that He came to give us live and life more abundant!
Despite the climate we are in and the rocky road ahead of us, God has given us a reason to be thankful. I Chronicles 16:34 says, “The Lord is good and His love endures forever!”
Thankfulness requires diligence and training our hearts to be thankful despite the pain, grief and heartaches does many good things. It gives credit where credit is due. It keeps us from bitterness, arrogance, prolonged grief, discouragement, and depression. It protects us from letting our lives be defined by what we don’t have. It keeps us humble and reminds us of our need for God. Hence, the reason we can enter His gates with THANKSGIVING and His courts with PRAISE!
“Now it shall come to pass, if you diligently obey the voice of the LORD your God, to observe carefully all His commandments which I command you today, that the LORD your God will set you high above all nations of the earth. And all these blessings shall come upon you and overtake you, because you obey the voice of the LORD your God: Blessed shall you be in the city, and blessed shall you be in the country.
Blessed shall be the fruit of your body, the produce of your ground and the increase of your herds, the increase of your cattle and the offspring of your flocks. Blessed shall be your basket and your kneading bowl. Blessed shall you be when you come in, and blessed shall you be when you go out.
The LORD will cause your enemies who rise against you to be defeated before your face; they shall come out against you one way and flee before you seven ways. The LORD will command the blessing on you in your storehouses and in all to which you set your hand, and He will bless you in the land which the LORD your God is giving you.
The LORD will establish you as a holy people to Himself, just as He has sworn to you, if you keep the commandments of the LORD your God and walk in His ways. Then all peoples of the earth shall see that you are called by the name of the LORD, and they shall be afraid of you. And the LORD will grant you plenty of goods, in the fruit of your body, in the increase of your livestock, and in the produce of your ground, in the land of which the LORD swore to your fathers to give you. The LORD will open to you His good treasure, the heavens, to give the rain to your land in its season, and to bless all the work of your hand. You shall lend to many nations, but you shall not borrow. And the LORD will make you the head and not the tail; you shall be above only, and not be beneath, if you heed the commandments of the LORD your God, which I command you today, and are careful to observe them” (Deuteronomy 28:1-13).
We all have an inner critic. At times this little voice can actually be helpful and keep us motivated toward goals—like when it reminds us that what we’re about to eat isn’t healthy or what we’re about to do may not be wise. However, this voice can often be more harmful than helpful, particularly when it gets into the realm of excessive negativity. This is known as negative self-talk (aka) ‘stankin’ thinking!
In short, negative self-talk is any inner dialogue you have with yourself that may be limiting your ability to fully believe in God and/or yourself.
I’ve heard it said, “Your faith can move mountains, but your doubt can create them.” Quiet as it’s kept, no voice influences your demise or rise as quickly than your own inner voice. Proverbs 18:21 cautiously admonitiones, “The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love to talk will have to eat their own words.”
Overcoming negative self-talk means developing an accurate sense of identity (who you are) and living from that place. This internal resolution can be a matter of life and death. Why? Because every success or failure in life is first filtered through a sense of identity and your identity is found in only in Christ. Ephesians 2:10 confirms: “For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things He planned for us long ago.”
If negative self-talk is not your issue than perhaps other people’s opinions about you are swaying the pendulum in the wrong direction. Well, Cornelius Lindsey said, “If you don’t make people’s opinion the source of your joy – their opinions can never be a source of your pain.” I haven’t found a scripture in the Bible that says, ‘The joy of the people is our strength, but I’ve read in Nehemiah 8:10, “The joy of the Lord is our strength.”
Bottom line, God made you and He is the only one that gives your life true meaning. He’s the most stable and unchanging force in existence. When you fully embrace your personal relationship with Him, you literally carry His presence inside of you.
The good news is that God’s word can deliver you from negative self-talk and the tired ole repetitive antics the enemy uses to immerse you into self-doubt, disappointment and confusion. In 2 Corinthians 10:5, you are given the battle plan for victory in this area: “casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ.” Did you know that you can’t hold two thoughts at the same time? This is one of God’s built in fail-safe that you can exploit to your advantage.
I’ll submit to you that if you change the way you think of yourself, the world around you will change and fall in line with how you see yourself! Paul confirms there is power in positive thinking. He said in Philippians 4:8, “Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whateverthings are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy-meditate on these things.”
The only way you will be successful in defeating negative self-talk and/or the erroneous opinions of others is to make Bible study, prayer, and meditation a lifestyle so that you can distinguish truths from lies. In your prayer ask God to silence every voice in your head so that you can clearly hear His voice. Ideas that argue against the truth or don’t line up with our Shepherd’s voice must be captured and made to submit to Him.
You are not defined by the negative self-talk conversation your have with yourself nor the senseless chattering opinions of other people. You’re a son or daughter of the living God and are hereby defined by Him and Him alone!
(If this message isn’t applicable to your situation please share it with someone who you believe can benefit from this word of encouragement.)