|Today||2023年3月06日 - 2023年3月10日|
Just Add Faith
|2|| For indeed the gospel was preached to us as well as to them; but the word which they heard did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in those who heard it. NKJV|
Although there seems to be many types of Christians, we have explained how really there are only two types of Christians. There are Cultural Christians and there are Committed Christians. Cultural Christians are people who profess Jesus but they do not walk in His power or authority. They go to church out of a sense of duty and tend to see being a Christian as rules to follow. They tend to become legalist. Committed Christians are passionate people who know Jesus and are more focused on the relationship with God than being attached to rules or tradition. Their worship is lively and you can really sense the presence of God emanating from them. (If I have the choice of going to a Cultural Christian church or staying home, I would stay home and spend time with God there). I love to be around Committed Christians.
The interesting thing about both groups is they have all heard the gospel. The difference is the reaction. Basic physics tells us for every action there is a reaction. We have all heard the Gospel but it is a matter of what we have done with it. How did you react to it? Do we see being a Christian as being a package of laws, restrictions, and a burden, or do you see it as freedom and blessings. When you go to a church of Committed Christians you should feel freedom. The Word says in 2 Cor 3:17
Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.
Your life of being a believer does not come down to God and “His will”. Many people get trapped in always trying to guess His will even though it is clearly laid out right in the Bible before them. God wants our lives to be bringing heaven on earth. ‘Your will be done, on earth as it is in Heaven’. It comes down to you and your will. This is really clear in the Word. I will be blessed, I will get up and be in church, I will tell people about Jesus, I will NOT fear. In Hebrews, we see that the Word worked for some people that heard it. But in the same verse we see it did not work for others. Why not? They did not have faith.
We started our church in our living room and quickly moved to a city hall as. We knew that God wanted us to focus on young people and young families but the limitations of the public space (we couldn’t always get the same time or days) was not how God wanted us to operate as a church so we began looking for a place to meet. Financially speaking, we did not have the money to buy or rent any type of facility but we began looking in faith. We found our place but were unable to get the location. By faith, we knew that was the place for church but we could not get in. We believed in faith as we continued to meet at the city owned hall but began preparing to get our space. We started looking for a builder and thinking about what we were going to do once we got our space. We knew that was the place for us so we just thanked God for the space and waited, thanking Him for the space every time we thought about it. It took a year, but by mixing a bit of faith with our plans we were able to get our first building. We are believing God for even more as our church grows and overflows from our first location.
Life is so much the same. If you need something, don’t just say, “I wish I had …” Add faith and action to it and really believe God for it. When God created the world He did not just say, I wish I had light. No! He said, let there be light! What happened? There was light.
There are two types of people who hear the Word. Those who just hear and those who hear in faith, act in faith, and believe by faith. Add faith to your life today!
The God Supply-What You’ve Got
|25|| And they said to him, 'Lord, he has ten minas!' 26 'I tell you that to everyone who has, more will be given, but from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away. ESV|
God is our supply, but if we want to do more for the kingdom, we have to be faithful with what He has given us. Are you faithful with what God has given you? Here comes the God supply!
Watch Out For Religious Tradition
|8|| See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ. ESV|
Many arguments were made and wars were fought because of religion. By the dictionary definition, Christians are considered by the world as being religious. The English dictionary defines religion as a system of beliefs. However, believers know better than that.
We know being a believer is about having a living and active relationship with Yahweh through Jesus the Messiah. Just because I call myself a Christian, does not actually mean that I am. It is about personally knowing the Creator of the Universe.
We have to be diligent to protect our hearts and minds. We have to make sure what we are listening to is in line with the Word of God. You see here in Colosians 2:8 the Bible defines religion. Religion is human traditions or some translations say the traditions of men. I don’t know about you, but I have absolutely zero interest in following human traditions. Human tradition is a path leading nowhere. Human traditions are sometimes pulled into Christianity. That is when Christianity just becomes a religion. This is what we call Cultural Christians.
There is no life in religion because it is just ‘human tradition’ according to Colossians. However, there is something behind religion that we all need to recognize. When you see the idols of South Asia, or the so called ‘gods’’ pictures in a restaurant why do we sense darkness? The reason is there are powers behind religion. The New Living Translation Bible shows that very clearly in Colossians 2:8
Don't let anyone capture you with empty philosophies and high-sounding nonsense that come from human thinking and from the spiritual powers of this world, rather than from Christ.
Religion is the humans’ attempt to get to God, but most of the time religion is the influence of demons trying to deceive people. Why? If people get tied up in some cult, the enemy hopes that they will never listen or even be open to the message of the Kingdom. If you get tied up in tradition, then you won’t be able to walk in the power and the gifting of the Holy Spirit.
As a believer, we have to protect our hearts and make sure we do not become religious folk. Anyone can get bound up in human tradition. I have met people who call themselves Christian just because their grandfather or grandmother was a Christian. Being a believer is not some meaningless tradition, it is a relationship that you and I have to keep up. Jesus wants us to have a passion for God and a passion for His people. Deuteronomy 6:4-5 summarizes it beautifully,
|4|| "Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one! 5 You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength. NKJV|
Do you know God? He wants to personally know you.
Got the Picture?
|5|| We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ, ESV|
In the King James version of the Bible, the old English translation translates arguments as imaginations. It really gets you thinking because why would we need to destroy imagination? In this case we are to destroy, throw out, and get rid of imaginations that go against the knowledge and the Kingdom of God. Imaginations are very powerful. The enemy can use them to put us into bondage or fear. However, as a believer of strong faith your imagination can be used in conjunction with your faith. Some people say, you are what you eat. This is very true, if you eat junk food you will not be strong. You have to eat foods that are natural and not processed. For your mind, it is very similar. You are what you think you are, is also very true.
In America, we have many sports but American football (not soccer) has got to be one of the most popular, surpassing baseball. The summer between Junior High and High Schools I went to football practices at my new high school. It was a big program with 4 coaches to run the teams. The coach recognized the importance of teamwork, fitness, but also the condition of the mind. I remember going through a Saturday seminar where they were teaching the kids to control their thoughts. I will never forget them repeatedly saying, ‘Get the Picture’.
You were taught to use your imagination and visualize yourself running the play, If you were the quarterback, visualize yourself throwing a pass, a fullback would picture themselves running through the opponents’ line, the defensive players would picture themselves tackling the offensive players with the ball, or sacking the quarterback. You were supposed to picture yourself executing the play well. Once we got our imaginations in line that summer, then we began to train for the game.
Whether in a game or in practice, the quarterback was taught to give the play in the huddle before running the play and say, ‘Got the picture?’ The players were to use their imaginations to picture themselves running the play. Using our imagination really helped us. Even though the team was never really famous for having great players, they were always able to take the players they had and do great things. Virtually, every year they would go to the state championships. Imagination is even more important as a believer.
As a believer, you are to picture yourself healthy and well, you need to picture yourself laying hands on the sick and seeing them recover, you need to picture your children growing up in the ways of the Lord, picture yourself singing on the worship team… But just like any successful team, it is not just about using your imagination, you also have to be at church on Sundays, be in the Word during the week, spend time fellowshipping with the Father.
Don’t let your imagination run wild. Control it and use it for the glory of Yahweh. How are picturing yourself?
Dealing With The Skeptic
The Glow Of The Presence
|30|| So when Aaron and all the children of Israel saw Moses, behold, the skin of his face shone, and they were afraid to come near him. 31 Then Moses called to them, and Aaron and all the rulers of the congregation returned to him; and Moses talked with them. NKJV|
When you spend time with God, it will change you. In 2008 I took a trip to Sydney Australia; I wanted to be in Japan and really didn’t want to be in Australia. However, I decided to take advantage of it. I booked a hotel near the site I was supposed to be at all week. After the meetings, I grabbed a sandwich or yogurt and headed directly back to the hotel. In the hotel room, I disconnected the TV and pulled out my notebook and computer and listened to a series of messages via my computer. I would praise Him in the morning and spend time with Him before I walked a couple blocks up the street to my meetings. It was powerful and I could feel my faith grow dramatically each day during those five days. I had plans to meet one guy for dinner on Wednesday during the week, but I felt I needed to get back to my room and into His presence that week. I cancelled that meeting and dedicated my time with the Father.
Moses had a similar experience. He was in the Sinai Peninsula between current day Israel and Egypt. He saw the manifested presence of Yahweh descend on the mountain. He went up to where He was. As Moses spent time in His presence, he was energized. It was not just a spiritual thing. When he returned to his people waiting at the base of the mountain, the people saw the presence of God on him. They not only noticed it, they were afraid of him because He was so permeated with God’s presence. If we get around the filth of the world, it is easy to get dirty spiritually. That is why we need Yahweh. But if we get into His presence each day, we will have the supernatural power of God each day with us.
When I came back from a week of being in God’s presence, I was energized. That Sunday I preached a message and one of the guys came to me after church saying, “Pastor, your face is glowing”. That comment was an inspiration to me. Even though they didn’t know it, I had been in God’s presence especially long that week. The people at our church could sense that something was different.
When you spend time in God’s presence, He gives you joy inexpressible. You are energized and your can sense His presence with you. You can sense His power on you. When you share Jesus with people, you can feel the direction of the Holy Spirit of what you need to say to that individual because God knows their issues. When you pray for the sick, you see healing manifest. When people come to you with issues, you know immediately what is demons, and how to deal with them. You see them flee at the mighty Name of Jesus. It is like the Holy Spirit enhances your senses. What you would normally not sense, you see very clearly around you. You see what God sees.
It is awesome to get into God’s presence. It is a spiritual charge that nothing can beat. Get into His presence each day this week and see what a difference it makes in your life.