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Saturday, January 20, 2018

Promised Change

Change in in a believer’s life is expected. See what Paul has to say on the subject in his letter to the church in Ephesus. Therefore, be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. - Ephesians 5:1-2 (ESV)

Two Things to Know about Change:

1. God never changes.
"For I the LORD do not change; therefore you, O children of Jacob, are not consumed." - Malachi 3:6

2. Believers are to change and be transformed. 
1 Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. 2 Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. - Romans 12:1-2

How do these Biblical truths effect you? 

Where are you in this “transformation process”?

Friday, January 19, 2018

We Change

It is true that God never changes, but God is also a God of new ideas, of innovation. God is a God who uses change. We must pray for new visions. We cannot be content with what is. We must crave what can be. That which holds our attention will determine our actions!

If you want to be distressed - look within. If you want to be defeated - look back.
If you want to be distracted - look around. If you want to be dismayed - look ahead.
If you want to be delivered - look up! When we focus our attention upon the Lord:

Setbacks will become springboards! Obstacles will turn into opportunities! Barriers will turn into blessings! Cowards will become courageous!

We can learn from Moses. Hebrews 11:27 tells us: " By faith he left Egypt not fearing the wrath of the king; for he endured, as seeing Him who is unseen." Those last words are words which should instruct us. Moses’ eyes were on God and he was able to endure. The Living Bible says: he " kept right on going!" Moffatt’s translation says, " He never flinched."

Moses had staying power - even with all the changes that challenged him. That power is available to all of us.

Moses kept his eyes on God, not the obstacles. He endured in his eighties, in his nineties, and on into his hundreds. He endured despite the contempt of Pharaoh, the stubbornness of the Hebrews who grumbled, maligned him, complained, and rebelled. He endured amidst the criticism of those closest to him. He fixed his eyes on the Lord, and never looked back.

You and I can do the same! We can endure by fixing our eyes on our Lord, and allowing His changes to happen in our lives. Amen?

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Eyes Up

God is calling His church to have a renewed vision. We must have a passionate and clear vision of what God has called us to do and of what we need to be. Too often we have taken our feet off the pedal and looked too long in the rearview mirror at past glories.

Someone has said: “When we have more memories than dreams, life is over." When we have greater memories than dreams we will never make a difference in changing our world for God. We must know where we are going and what we are going to do!  We must dream great dreams! The challenge before us is to aim high. Low aim is a crime - it’s a sin!

God told Isaiah in Isaiah 43:18-19: “Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.” You and I can do the same! We can endure by fixing our eyes on our Lord.

God calls us to be courageous:

Even when the evil seem to prosper

Even when the wicked seem to be winning

Even when the pressure seems to be unbearable

Even when the critics won’t shut up

Even when big people act contemptibly small.

Even when we feel as though we’re all alone

Even when a lie is called truth, and the truth is called a lie.

As you stand on the edge of a new change, a new challenge, a new commitment -- look at Christ! Whatever it is you are facing - look at Christ! With our eyes on Christ we can go forward fearlessly, and know that the things which are shaken will only reveal the Eternal and Unmovable God! Bring on the changes -- world do your worst!

God uses ordinary people totally committed to Him to make a difference in a changing world. One person can make a difference!

What is He calling you to do today?

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Insights to Sharing

We see in Luke 19:1-10 the story of Jesus meeting Zacchaeus. It says that the “church people” murmured or muttered. What was the problem? Jesus was talking to, and then going to this sinner’s house!

This highlights three things about sharing the Gospel message:

1. God is a seeking God.

2. God calls us by name.

3. Jesus identifies with us as individuals.

We, the church, need to be more like Jesus. If someone was lost in the woods or drowning wouldn’t we try to save them? Do we approach sharing the gospel with the same determination and passion?

Are we applying the lessons that Jesus taught us: going out in the community, taking time and interest in others? Many churches believe if they keep things nice, do things the way we’ve always done it, and open the doors then people will come. Now this is not a judgment on what was, but realization that time has change. We have new opportunities to apply timeless Christ principles – if we are willing. Amen?

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Focused Wisdom

Do you see life’s meaning through God’s eyes and wisdom? Have you lost your focus?

In Ecclesiastes 12 some of Solomon’s last recorded words were: (Ecclesiastes 12:13-14) 13 Now all has been heard; here is the conclusion of the matter: Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the duty of all mankind. 14 For God will bring every deed into judgment, including every hidden thing, whether it is good or evil. Praise the Lord! I think he finally got it. It’s not about us – it should always be all about God.

Another wonderful source of wisdom (Fearing God and keeping his commandments,) is found in Matthew 5:1-20. Also known as the Sermon on the Mount and The Beatitudes. Listen to the instruction that Jesus gives to us here.

    1 Now when Jesus saw the crowds, he went up on a mountainside and sat down. His disciples came to him, 2 and he began to teach them.  He said:

3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven

4 Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted

5 Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth

6 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled

7 Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy

8 Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God

9 Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God

10 Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

11 “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. 12 Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

Who are blessed here according to Jesus?

What outcomes are promised?

Sounds like wisdom to me. Amen?

Monday, January 15, 2018

Bring It

In 2 Chronicles 1:6 Solomon sought the Lord at the Tent of the Meeting, offering 1,000 sacrifices, in order to please and hear from the God.

What would be your 1,000 offerings?

The answer to this question can be found in Hebrews 13:15-16Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise—the fruit of lips that openly profess his name.16 And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.

It’s not a finite number, but it’s a continual offering and sacrifice of praise through four ways that pleases God.

1. Honoring Him with what comes out of our mouths. Everything we say should bring God glory.
2. Openly professing the Name of Jesus as Savior. This is the “applying the Word to my life” part. You witness and share Jesus with your lifestyle.
3. Doing good – being godly. We are called to be righteous, holy and just in all our dealings with the world.
4. Sharing with others – loving your neighbors. Jesus said it best that we are to love our neighbors as much as we love ourselves. This is where “being Jesus with skin on” can come in to play.

How’s your continual offering and sacrifice of praise of doing?

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Year of 180

This is Hopewell Baptist Church's 180th anniversary year! We will be celebrating that milestone all year long. I have also proclaimed this as the year of 180. When we do a 180 degree turn it changes our direction to the exact other way. There are things in all our lives that deserves this change – for the good and away from the bad. This should be a discipline in our own lives and churches.

In God's family just like our human family there are always expectations. Jesus has given different talents to different people, & He expects those talents to be used (even if it means doing a 180). Matthew 25:21 says, “His lord said to him, ’Well done, good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.’” Jesus wants us to grow. 2 Peter 3:18 instructs, “but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory both now and forever. Amen”.

God wants us to realize our potential. He expects us to do our best. Colossians 1:28 teaches, “Him we preach, warning every man and teaching every man in all wisdom, that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus.”

What expectations do you need to focus on and what 180’s need to be in your future?