Sunday, 25 September 2016

resting in purity

Do you ever wrestle with feelings of guilt and unworthiness? I know I have.

Have you made mistakes from which you can never seem to recover? Are there blemishes on your record that just won't go away no matter how hard you try to erase them?

Have you done things that people won't ever forgive?

Every one of us has sinned and as we are probably aware the result of that sin is going to be eternal separation from God and an eternity of torment.

Every one of us has done things of which we are thoroughly ashamed and often our past comes back to haunt us again and again. The result of sin brings with it guilt - and I mean guilt with a  capital "G".

In lots of ways we can be very thankful for guilty feelings because without them we wouldn't be driven to get these feelings forgiven and forgotten. So maybe our guilty feelings can be the catalyst to a real and ever rewarding walk with Jesus through this topsy turvy life of ours.

When we ask for forgiveness and truly repent of our sins even the most heinous ones can be slaughtered at His cross - they can be blotted out forever.

Admitting that you're wrong can never be easy but it is essential if we come to Jesus to have our sins forgiven - we have "all sinned and come short of His glory" Romans 3:23.

As far as God is concerned, nothing is more extreme than sin. That's why He requires us to admit our guilt in order to receive his forgiveness.

We can't have our cake and eat it too. we need to give up our illusions and perpetual 'rightness' and acknowledge our need for him to make us right.

Just think about what Jesus did on that cross. He took your guilt, your shame, your mistakes, your blemishes on Himself - and destroyed them forever.

Sadly a lot of Christians wallow in their past sins always remembering their former selves. Memories which should have been forgotten but strangely cannot be. Are you like this?

Corinthians chapter 2 tells us the "The old has gone the new has come" - we are new creations in Jesus - what he did for us that terrible day was amazing and ultimate - He took our sins and buried them forever. Part of our 'old' life which Jesus killed for us was the remembrance of sins - that is now gone - Jesus has forgiven us and he has forgotten our past.

I feel one of the biggest; No! HUGEST reasons so many of us Christians are living defeated lives is because of guilt.

Guilt makes us feel dirty and worthless - it robs us of confidence in God and if we let it, it will even rob us of our faith.

Guilt can thrive and grow if we continually bring up the past to ourselves - thinking about how we messed up - where we went that led us on a path that we will always regret - who we went with and how that person/s life and fate intertwined with ours and could so easily have had disastrous consequences.

The enemy loves to trip us up and set the traps he knows will cause us to stumble. We have to learn from our past and not let our past define us for the future. We can learn from our past the areas where satan loves to call his stronghold and so stop him dead in his tracks.

Although we rarely admit to needing it, God's mercy is available to us on a daily basis. God abounds in mercy, and he loves to share it with us.

Many Christians present a facade that says "Hey everything is Ok" They like to walk tall and pretend they don't need anything from anyone. However, if the truth be told, all of us have doubts and fears, including unresolved guilt and feelings of self-condemnation for past mistakes.

God longs for you to bring these innermost wounds to him; his mercy extends beyond what you might expect. God will NEVER turn away a repentant heart.

So whats the point of all this?

If you are Christian, in God's eyes  you are perfect. Spotless. White as snow. Don't let your feelings of guilt drag you down. rest in the purity that has been given to you.









Saturday, 10 September 2016

Wolves in sheep's clothing

In our Aussie chat through Twitter on a Wednesday night we have been studying "The Sermon on the Mount" and we have all learnt/learning so much - God is speaking in very real and amazing ways to us.

My last blog on 'Worrying' was inspired by Matthew chapter 6 and today's effort comes straight from Matthew 7 from verse 13 where I read from my Living Bible:-

"Heaven can be entered only through the narrow gate! The highway to hell is broad and its gate is wide enough for all the multitudes who choose its easy way. But the gateway to life is small, and the road is narrow, and only a few ever find it.
Beware of false teachers who come disguised as harmless sheep, but are wolves and will tear you apart. You can detect them by the way they act, just as you can identify a tree by it fruit. You need never confuse grapevines with thorn bushes or figs with thistles. Different kinds of  fruit trees can quickly be identified by examining their fruit. A variety that produces delicious fruit never produces and inedible kind. And a tree producing an inedible kind can't produce what is good. So the trees having the inedible fruit are chopped down and thrown into the fire. Yes, the only way to identify a tree or a person is by the kind of fruit produced.
Not all who sound religious are really good people. they may refer to me as 'Lord,' but still won't get to heaven. For the decisive question is whether they obey my Father in heaven. At the judgement, many will tell me 'Lord Lord we told others about you and used your name to cast out demons and to do many other great miracles. But I will reply, 'you have never been mine. Go away for your deeds are evil.'

So who are these 'false teachers' that Jesus is talking about here and what is their role/aim in today's church?

Well I'm afraid they can be just about anyone - Jesus tells us that many 'religious' type people are actually false in their teaching and if we don't watch them they will lead us astray and sadly I feel many have been led astray already in this old world of ours.

Jesus also tells us that many of these 'false teachers' will stand out among us due to their "fruits" or what comes out of their mouths or what doesn't - NOW we have to be a tad careful here that we don't start "judging" we have to draw a line where discerning and not judging comes into this analysis.

Discerning what is false is, according to Jesus, obvious - These 'teachers' will tell us exactly what we want to hear and certainly not about God's judgement and what it will mean to the unbeliever. They won't want to get into unpleasant subjects such as these - no way! They would much rather talk about how and why we can relieve pressure form our lives in today's world. Human concern is their catchcry and it seemingly is beautiful and it is, but they deny that working of Christ in people's lives and the leading of God's Holy Spirit. Even denying entirely the sacrifice of Jesus on that terrible yet beautiful day over 2000 years ago.

These people are usually prideful with a life totally consumed by themselves. Denying the very authority of God that they spruke of so widely and vehemently that they delight in. 2 Peter 2:10 says (again in my Living Bible)

"He (God) is especially hard on those who follow their own evil, lustful thoughts, and those who are proud and willful, daring even to scoff at the Glorious Ones without so much as trembling"

Luke 6:39 says that "A blind man cannot lead another blind man can he? They will both end up falling into a pit"

That's exactly how it is when false teachers invade our homes, churches even our workplaces - they deceive us and then both of us will end up in hell for eternity! Their whole aim is to lead us happily traipsing along behind them singing as we go to the very beautiful and wide gate which ultimately leads to destruction - just like Jesus said.

So how are you feeling about your own Christian walk with Jesus? If you are truly following Jesus as one of his own, are you trusting Him daily?
Have you got evidence of the Holy Spirit living inside of you as Jesus promised you would have on accepting Him? (see Galations 5: 22-23)
Has your very nature changed? Jesus said we would be 'new' creatures upon accepting Him - Can others see a change in you?
Do you love others as Jesus has loved you? Now that's a biggie  - Jesus said by their love you will know them (John 13:35)
Are you being obedient to Jesus? Do you feel like you are becoming more like Him in every way.

These are 'signposts' if you like, pointing you to God the Father and knowing that you are secure in His love, mercy, grace and forgiveness.

So how should we react to others who are masquerading as sheep but are actually wolves prowling around seeing you they can deceive?

"Live and let live" is a popular cultural philosophy. If someone believes in something that you disagree with, the socially acceptable thing to say is  "whatever works for you is okay with me."

But that's not an option where God's truth is concerned. If you hear someone misrepresenting Christianity or the Bible, you are scripturally bound to speak up. God expects His redeemed people to be just as zealous as he is in defending His truth.

We mustn't let our lack of theology hold us back . It takes courage and boldness to be a follower of Jesus and sometimes we need both to confront a false teacher or a misdirected believer.

I pray this week that we will ask the Holy Spirit to guide our words and help others to understand God's truths.

The Return of the king

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