Posts Tagged ‘forgiveness’

Pastor Ron Lewis:  Faith Bible Church, Warren, Pa.


This week Pastor Ron Lewis helps us understand why it sometimes seems like God james5_16doesn’t answer our prayers.  Sometimes it seems they only go as high as the ceiling and no further.  What hinders our prayers?  Does God hear all of our prayers? Does God hear everyone’s prayers?  This sermon will help you become a victorious prayer warrior!

Notes:

A.

B.

C.

D.

E.

F.
Please click on the link below to listen to this very helpful sermon.

Ineffective Prayers

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1corinthians15_10

Philippians 3:13b-14 (NIV)“…But one thing I do: Forgetting what is
behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to
win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”

Paul is speaking in this scripture to the Philippians. He is telling them that he
has learned to forget the past and lean forward or strain toward what’s ahead.
It means to consider the past done with and settled. We can’t go back and do
it over. But, we can go on with a new outlook as we put the past behind us.
This will apply to people in different ways, because of our different
backgrounds.

One thing that comes to my mind immediately is forgiveness for
those who have hurt us in the past. This is not always easy, but it is God’s will
for us, and when we do his will we begin to feel the peace he has for us in that
situation. I believe a lot of our anxiety comes out of holding unforgiven hurts
inside. By letting them go we can begin to heal.

Paul speaks about pressing on toward the goal to win the prize for which
God has called him. For us that prize is Heaven and all the glory to be found
there. It will be wonderful! And, there are no anxiety attacks in Heaven!
So, with God, it is possible to get a new outlook, a fresh start. We can put
the past behind and press on with God. This is great to know and encourages us
as we continue to battle fear. Let’s try not to dwell on our past fearful
feelings. Let’s try to put them behind us and know that God has something better
for us ahead. Let’s pray and read the Word, and learn how healing it can be.

Dear God, please bless this word to each and every one who reads it. Allow
them to ask you to search their hearts for anything that they need to forgive. In
Jesus’ name. Amen.

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Joe Casey: Faith Bible Church, Warren, Pa.


 

Ephesians 5:22d   This week Joe Casey continues his series on the fruit of the Spirit. This time he lands on “patience.” Why were we created in the first place?  What is our purpose in life?  We were created to bear good fruit and glorify God.

Notes:

Longsuffering (Patence)                                       galatians5_22-23

1. Negative Example

2. Positive Example

Please click on the link below to listen to this very helpful sermon.

Fruit of the Spirit – Patience – Joe Casey

 

 

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Happiness is an emotion based on circumstances.  If things are going well, then we are happy, but if some trial comes up we become unhappy.  You see God did not promise that everything would be hunky-dory once we became a Christian.  We still will have trials in our lives.  There will still be illnesses, job loss, accidents, death, disappointment, relationship issues and more.  So, as Christians we cannot expect to be happy all the time.  Just as non-believers life throws us curves.

I’ve been a Christian for about 37 years.  Have I been happy all that time? No!  I’ve had my ups and downs like everyone else.  We are all human and live in this cursed world.  Sin is all around us and it effects each of us.

What makes a person happy?  I believe it is different for each of us.  What makes me happy might not make you happy.  One thing that makes me happy is fishing. I just love to sit on the dock, or out in a boat, and wait for that big one to strike my bait.  What anticipation and what happiness when it happens and I actually land it.  There are many other things that make me happy.  Some as simple as a smile on a child’s face.  Or, when the birds are at my feeder.  To hear the bird songs in the spring time puts a smile on my face, and, oh yes, to listen to the peepers.  I know that spring is near, and that makes me happy!

I remember before I was a Christian my happiness came from going out and partying, or getting a raise at work, or being able to purchase a new car.  Things like that made me happy for a time.  But, it would wear off and I’d be on the search for another thing to make me happy.

When a person says they are a Christian and they are unhappy I wonder what it is that they are searching for.  Maybe they expect more than God has promised.  He has told us that in this world we will have tribulation.

(John 16:33 YLT)  these things I have spoken to you, that in me ye may have peace, in the world ye shall have tribulation, but take courage–I have overcome the world.’


What can make a person unhappy? There are all kinds of things here are a few:

  • CHURCH

Yes, I said church!  I remember going to church and every time coming away with a feeling of disappointment and unhappiness over the time I spent there.  If our church is not giving out the Word of God in a sytematic way, then we are deprived of the food we need to feed our soul.  We need feeding and we crave it as Christians.  Also, we crave fellowship and friendship with other like-minded individuals.  My church wasn’t feeding us the food we needed.  We had tons of music and a very short canned sermon sprinkled with more stories and jokes than Bible.  I would go home and feel empty.  I had to get out of that modern church and find a good Bible teaching church.   I did that and it was like the difference between night and day.

  • YOUR MARRIAGE

You may be in a marriage that isn’t going so well.  You may be a Christian, but your spouse isn’t.  That can make for all kinds of unhappy times.  In that case you are not equally yoked and think from two different views.  This causes many conflicts.  I didn’t have that problem, but I do know people who do.  One of my friends had that problem. They had conflicts about going to church.  Many times the unbelieving husband would not go.  It made it hard as the wife wanted her children in Sunday school and she wanted to worship the Lord at church.  Another problem they had was over giving money to the church. They had many arguments over this.  God tells us to do that but the husband would not hear of it.

(2 Corinthians 6:14 ASV) Be not unequally yoked with unbelievers: for what fellowship have righteousness and iniquity? or what communion hath light with darkness?

  • NOT MARRIED BUT LIVING TOGETHER

I also know of people who are not married but are living together.  They can’t find true happiness because they are living in sin.  God instituted marriage between a man and a woman and that is the only one he will bless.  If a couple are just living together and are not married they can expect God to disclipine them.

(1 Corinthians 7:2 KJV) Nevertheless, to avoid fornication, let every man have his own wife, and let every woman have her own husband.

(Matthew 5:27 ASV) Ye have heard that it was said, Thou shalt not commit adultery:

  • UNFORGIVENESS/ VICTIM OF ABUSE

Maybe you are a Christian, but have unforgiveness in your heart.  If so, you really need to study what the Bible says about forgiveness and apply it to your life.  It will make a world of difference. Unforgiveness holds us hostage.  It actually hurts us much more than the other person.  As Christians we must forgive as God has forgiven us.

Mark 11:25-26 KJV And when ye stand praying, forgive, if ye have ought against any: that your Father also which is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses.  (26)  But if ye do not forgive, neither will your Father which is in heaven forgive your trespasses.

There were people in my life that I had to forgive once I became a Christian and realized this.    Sometimes the person we need to forgive has already passed away.  When that happens we can pray to the Lord and tell Him the whole thing.  We can pour our heart out to Him and He will listen.  Then we can tell the Lord that we forgive that person for what they did to us.  It is a very freeing thing to do.

I know people who hold grudges.  That is sure to bring them unhappiness.  They are always bringing up past hurts and rehearsing them again and again.  When they do that it is like reliving the past.  They must forgive even if it is for their own peace of mind.  We can forgive others and let the Lord take care of the rest.

Romans 12:19 KJV Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.

Do you see yourself as a victim?  Has life been hard and you’ve been abused in the past in some way?  If so, again you need to study about forgiveness.  You will have to learn to put the past behind you.

Philippians 3:13-14 ASV (13)  Brethren, I count not myself yet to have laid hold: but one thing I do, forgetting the things which are behind, and stretching forward to the things which are before,  (14)  I press on toward the goal unto the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.

  • SELFISHNESS

I believe that selfishness is the number one cause of martial and relationship problems today.Is there selfishness in your life? We can become very unhappy when we don’t get our own way.  What does the Bible say about this? We are to think of others as more important than ourselves.

Philippians 2:3 KJV Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves.

One time shortly after I was saved I could not understand why people behaved the way they did.  I prayed and asked God why and it was as though He placed this one word in my mind: SELFISH.
As time went on and I put this word to the test I found it to be true.  People are selfish, and that is the root of many, if not most problems.

Matthew 16:24 ASV  Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man would come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.

  • MATERIAL POSSESSIONS

What about possessions?  Do you think that having just one more thing will make you happy?  Do you have to have the latest fashion, electronics, furnishings?  Do you think a new car, or home would make you happy? If you won the lottery would that make you happy? What thing that you don’t have now, if you could get it, would make you happy?

Matthew 6:19-21 ASV Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon the earth, where moth and rust consume, and where thieves break through and steal:  (20)  but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth consume, and where thieves do not break through nor steal:  (21)  for where thy treasure is, there will thy heart be also.

Today I’m content most of the time.  I don’t need a lot when I realize how much God has given me.
He has adopted me into His family, given me a citizenship in Heaven, made me a saint, and has for me an inheritance that far outweighs anything here in this life.  Oh, I have so much to look forward to and that brings me great joy!

  • DISAPPOINTMENT WITH GOD

Perhaps you feel disappointed with God.  When you became a Christian you might have had the idea that everything would be great from there on out.  That view is sometimes given to a new convert, but it is not the truth.  God tells us that we will have troubles in this world.

Sometimes people don’t realize that God is sovereign.  This is very important!  He is sovereign over everything that happens to us.  Nothing can happen without his permission.  He is totally in control.  Just knowing that takes the pressure off us.  We can rest in the knowledge that He loves us and wants the very best for us.

Romans 8:28 ASV And we know that to them that love God all things work together for good, even to them that are called according to his purpose.

The Bible also teaches us to be content in whatever state we are in.  Paul is a wonderful example of that.  He went through all kinds of trial and tribulations.

Philippians 4:11 ASV  Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therein to be content.

Also, a fruit of the Spirit is joy.  For a Christian even when times are very hard we can still have the joy that God has given us inside.  This is a gift from God, and it helps us through tough times.

Maybe I’ve touched on why you are an unhappy Christian, and maybe not. Write into the comments section and share what makes you unhappy and we can search the scriptures to find the answer for you.  I would love to hear from you.  You can also email me privately if you wish.


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1Jn 3:5 NASB  You know that He appeared in order to take away sins; and in Him there is no sin.

So many times I’ve thought about how Christ died on the cross to forgive me of my sins.  What a wonderful thought it is to know that the God of all creation would actually forgive ME an unworthy, selfish, rebellious sinner.  It has always boggled my mind that he would do that for me.

But, the above verse tells us He actually not only came to bear our sins on the cross and forgive us of our sins, but to “take away sins.”  Did you get that?  He came to take them away!  That means we don’t have to sin any more!

Wow! What a revelation that was to me!  When we become a Christian we become a new creation in Christ.  Our old self is recreated.  We are brand new.  Yes, we still have our old bodies, but we are new inside, in our spirit.  

Sometimes, I’ve written a long email to someone.  I’ve spent an hour or more and looked up scripture and pasted in several quotes.  Finally, I’m almost finished and I either hit a wrong key, or my computer acts up, and in a blink of an eye that email that I’d spent so much time on completely disappears.  Something has taken it away, and it can never be found or recovered again.  I simply have to start all over again! 

I think when Christ takes away our sins it is something like that.  He actually takes them away never to come back to us.  Those sins are gone!

In the Old Testament there is a good example of the meaning “take away sins.” 

Lev 16:21 LITV  “then Aaron shall lay his two hands on the head of the living goat, and shall confess over it all the iniquities of the sons of Israel, and all their transgressions, and all their sins, and shall put them on the head of the goat, and shall send it by the hand of a chosen man into the wilderness.”

This sin offering was laid upon the head of the scapegoat.  The goat then was sent away forever with the sins upon him.  Get the picture?  That is what Christ did for us on the cross. He took our sins away forever.

But, you say, “Wait a minute, I still find myself sinning at times.  I thought you said our sins were taken away.”

Those sins were taken away when we became a born-again Christian.  We were sanctified, made righteous and holy in God’s sight.  But, we still have our old flesh that we live in as long as we are in this world, and our righteousness will not be complete until we get to Heaven.  In the meantime, we are striving to become more and more like Christ.  We do not have the disposition to sin anymore.  We really don’t want to sin, but sometimes in a weak moment we do.

Yes, we do fall and sin at times, but it is not our way of life now.  If you are a true Christian you will see that your life has been transformed.  You are not the same person as you were before.  When you do sin, you will feel it in your spirit and not be able to live with it.  You will confess it and repent of it and get right with God.  That is what a true Christian does.

On the other hand if you call yourself a Christian but you still live your life the same way as before you got saved then you need to question if you are truly a Christian.  It is impossible for a true believer to continue to live in sin.  Your conscience won’t let you do that.  You are a NEW creation. 

2Co 5:17 LITV  So that if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new!

Here again the scripture says, those old things have “passed away.”  They are gone, “taken away,” by Christ. 

The bottom line is this:  Once we are a true Christian we do not have to live in sin anymore!  Isn’t that great?  Sin does not have to control us anymore!  Now, we have a choice.  Before it wasn’t up to us as the devil controlled us, but now, God has given us a choice.  We can choose to reject sin in our lives! 

The way we do this is by living close to God.  We obey the scriptures.  We ask God to allow the Holy Spirit to give us the courage, and strength we need to overcome any sin that keeps us from living the way we should.

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Factors That Contribute to Your Growth as a Christian
By Adrienne Carlson

If you are a Christian, I’m sure you feel blessed to be one. The oneness you enjoy with God is compounded when you grow as a Christian through the years. And the factors that contribute to your growth as a true Christian are:

1.  Faith: To be close to Jesus, you must have absolute faith in his teachings and the way of life that he has advocated through the Bible. You must believe that he is the one and only true God, the one who is responsible for all that we are and all that we are blessed with.

2.  Obedience: Once we accept that Jesus is our Christ and savior, we must obey his word without question. Only then can we prove that we are growing spiritually as Christians. The Bible teaches us certain values, all of which are reinforced when we go to church regularly and listen to the word of God.

3.  Acceptance: Being a true Christian means accepting who we are and all that has been given to us in life. While we can try to do all we can to uplift our status, we grow as Christians when we accept our lot without complaining or blaming other people for our troubles and miseries.

4.  Forgiveness: This is probably one of the hardest acts to perform, but as a Christian who wants to grow, you must be able to forgive even those who have wronged you grievously, because only when you are able to forgive are you able to let go of the past and grow as a Christian. Conduct: The way you behave in your interactions with other people and in various situations defines how you grow as a Christian. A good Christian abides by the values that the Bible has taught us in every little part of their lives.

5.  Evangelism: When you grow as a Christian, you want to spread the word to the whole world. You must teach the word of Christ to people who are not aware of his goodness and mercy. And to do this, you must know how to approach people and talk to them without hurting their sentiments. Evangelism does not imply force; rather, you grow as a Christian when you are able to spread the word of God and tell people of his greatness through your actions.

This guest article was written by Adrienne Carlson, who regularly writes on the topic of online Bible Colleges.    Adrienne welcomes your comments and questions.

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We have to understand that God’s way and man’s way of solving problems are different.  If we are not believers then all we have is man’s way.  Man’s way of solving problems includes such things as psychology, philosophies and ungodly theories.  On the other hand the Word of God has been given to believers as the sole source for solving man’s problems.  The Bible is sufficient for problem solving.

What is the biggest difference between man’s way and God’s way:  SELF

We try to please self, comfort self, rely on self, fulfill self, forgive self, exalt self, and to love self.  We are basically selfish people.  It’s all about ME.  That is man’s way.

While God’s way is applying the Word of God to our problems.

The other day I wrote a piece called, Key to Recovery.  In it I stated that the key is developing an intimate relationship with God.  That is so true.

In order to have an intimate relationship with anyone we have to get to know all about them.  It’s the same way with God. 

I’d like to expand on that thought a bit and think about the benefits that believers have been so graciously given by our wonderful Heavenly Father. It will help us to get to know God better as we see how much He loves us and what He had done for us.

When we know God in a personal way He bestows upon us certain benefits.  All true believers have these benefits, but not all true believers enjoy them, or even realize how loving and kind our heavenly Father has been to us.  It would be helpful if we go through some of these benefits and remind ourselves what a marvelous God we serve.

1. We are forgiven of all our sins. Every one of us had a death sentence upon us.  For God said in Rom 6:23 NASB “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” We were spiritually dead because of sin.

But, God, in His marvelous grace, made a way for our sin payment to be paid in full.  Jesus Christ hung on the cross on our behalf.  He canceled what we owed to God for sin, and satisfied God’s justice.  Because of His great love for us our sins are forgiven, past, present, and future.  Now that is mind boggling to me.

Col 2:13-14 NASB When you were dead in your transgressions and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He made you alive together with Him, having forgiven us all our transgressions, having canceled out the certificate of debt consisting of decrees against us, which was hostile to us; and He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross.”

2. At the time we are born-again we actually become a new creation.

2Co 5:17 LITV So that if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new!

Sometimes it is hard to understand this new change because we do not look any different on the outside. We have the same bodies and the same physical problems.  So, the new creation has to be on the inside. 

What does it mean that we are a new creation?  We are born again spiritually and we actually become new in the inner man. This is a divine act of God. Our old views of life are passed away and we now have new views.  We see things differently than before. 

I remember when I was young I was arrogant and prideful.  I don’t like to admit it, but I looked down my nose at certain people.  Usually, they were the poor and unlovely people.  In some twisted way I thought those people deserved what they got.  I had no pity for them.  At one point I too became impoverished and the shoe was on the other foot.  Part of that lead me to find the Lord. 

After conversion to Christ my views toward people changed a great deal. Then when I saw poor people I had real sympathy in my heart toward them.  I looked at them as beautiful souls that the Lord created and I wanted to help them if I could.  Sometimes I would see a poor soul on the street and I would pray for them.  My whole attitude changed toward people, and I wanted to tell them all about my precious Savior.  I also began to understand why people acted the way they did.  I could see the selfishness that I couldn’t see before.  It was as if my eyes were opened for the first time. 

Barnes in his commentary talks about the “old things have passed away.”

“…, it is also true that old things pass away. Their former prejudices, opinions, habits, attachments pass away. Their supreme love of self passes away. Their love of sins passes away. Their love of the world passes away. Their supreme attachment to their earthly friends rather than God passes away. Their love of sin, their sensuality, pride, vanity, levity, ambition, passes away. There is a deep and radical change on all these subjects – a change which commences at the new birth; which is carried on by progressive sanctification; and which is consummated at death and in heaven.”

Isn’t it wonderful what God has done for us?  He has allowed us to be changed in a way that we could have never done on our own.  Do you see change in your life?

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