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Sermon of the Week 
Wednesday, December 30 2015

A New Covenant for a New Year

Because if we can grasp the New Covenant, then we can activate the New You which the New Covenant makes available….and if that happens *….. then we can declare a Happy New You, and not just a Happy New Year…. The Truth is that we all have areas where the “Old You” is seeking to step into and acquire the “New You”…. I’m talking about all those areas that seem to be just beyond reach, but we know that some how there is a way to make it there, if we just knew the way and could find the right combination, that door could be unlocked and opened…. Let me introduce you to the one who said that He was the door….

John 10:9 I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.

The Greek word for pasture is (nom-ah', and it is simply a place to be sustained or nourished) but the Greek word (nom'-os, is a place where the Shepherd leads us, protects us and provides for us)

There are places that God has provided for us, that can only be reached and entered into, when we follow the Shepherd, and He brings us into it, so we do not get discouraged and we don’t quit and give up, because so many things are paving the way for what is to come…. There is a progressive element which means that what you have and what you are now, may not be what you will have and what you will become, but it is the stepping stones which are bringing you there….YOUR TEST IS PART OF YOUR TESTIMONY!

STAY WITH THE SHEPHERD, TRUST THE SHEPHERD, He knows how to get you there! Don’t just follow the sheep that are following the shepherd. Paul said “Follow me as I follow Christ”.

Look at Hebrews 8:6 “But now He (Jesus) has obtained a more excellent ministry, by which also he is the mediator of a better covenant, which was established upon better promises. v7 For if that first covenant (the old testament) had been faultless, then should no place have been sought for the second (the new testament).

Instead of talking in terms of resolutions, we need to talk in terms of Covenant. There are covenants we have with others, there are covenants we have with ourselves and there are covenants we have with God.

A covenant is a binding contract, a mutual agreement, an “if you snooze you lose”, commitment, it is usually a guarantee backed by viable collateral, it’s also referred to as a pledge, a bond which can only be redeemed when the terms are fulfilled, it’s known as a pact and in bible times it was an oath sealed by blood, it is also an arrangement based on the character and integrity of those entering into the contract.

The document drawn up may be a deed, a lease, a law, a marriage license, a certificate of ownership or the record God has given us called the bible. When I grew up, a man’s word was his bond or covenant….When God speaks, covenant is established. He means what He says and He says what He means….

Covenants are agreements that bring about a relationship of commitment between people or God and his people. The Jewish faith is based on the biblical covenants made with Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, and David.

There’s a vast difference between resolutions and covenants…. Resolutions declare that a person will attempt to do a thing, but there is nothing binding about them. A covenant declares that a person will do a certain thing and there are consequences if they do not.

When we come into covenant with God, Jesus covers us with grace, mercy and favor…. But when we break our covenant through denial, disobedience and then rebellion, we place ourselves under the law and step outside of grace. And the law is a cruel task master….it’s what Satan uses to attack us with, because no one can fulfill or measure up to the law! Only Jesus could fulfill the law….when we repent, He brings us out from under the penalty of the law and under grace….

A man named Bill, was a month late, for a long overdue neurological exam. The doctor said, Bill. How can I get you to understand that nervous disorders require prompt and regular attention." "Well”, Bill said, “I was simply following your orders, Doc, you told me to avoid all the people who irritate and upset me". (Resolutions can’t overcome denial)

Resolutions are like bringing a pig inside the house, putting it in the bathtub, scrubbing it, polishing its nails, putting a ribbon in its hair, brushing its teeth and dousing it down with Chanel No. 5. But what's going to happen the first time you open that door and pretty little pig sees a mud hole? She's going to go right straight to the mud hole and wallow to his heart’s content. Why? Because she likes it. Because it's in her nature. There has to be something more than just think better, do better, and look better, that is involved. There has to be something more.
Fred Craddock, who is a veteran pastor, has said that what he would do differently if he had his ministry to do over again, would be to " have a clear and concise governing metaphor. A governing metaphor is a view of life that would provide a mission statement, which would define his approach to preaching and a perspective for his entire life."
What did he mean? Well, you've probably heard some of these governing metaphors recently "Life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you're going to get." That was a governing metaphor of life for Forrest Gump.

Someone else might say, "Life is like a script, already written”. God opens up the heavens, drops down His will and it is unchangeable, it is eternal and you are not going to go until your time comes, and everything is predetermined, no matter what." Life is like a script. Some people live their lives by that governing metaphor.

The governing metaphor of others might be, "Life is like a battle." For someone who’s a recovering alcoholic, or a guy who has lost his job and can’t find work, or maybe the single mother, who’s scrapping by every day with bills and children to care for, or maybe the person with a prolonged illness, or a homeless person who’s destitute and looking up to see the bottom. Life is like a non-stop battle.

For some folks, their governing metaphor is "Life is like a journey." This has probably been the most common Christian way of looking at life. Even our language reflects it. "We've come to the end of the line." "We've come to the forks of the road."

"We're sojourners in this life." “In the sweet by and by, we will meet on that beautiful shore”. Or “We’ll understand it better by and by”.. We read of Abraham and we read of Paul's missionary journeys, and we talk of Jesus walking to and through the area of Jerusalem and that region…."Life is like a journey."

My question is, “What was Jesus’ governing metaphor”? And I believe it might be Luke 17:20 “And when He was demanded of the Pharisees, when the kingdom of God should come, he answered them and said, The kingdom of God does not come with observation, v21 Neither shall they say, Lo it is here! or, lo it is there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you”.

The kingdom of God, the very character, the very personality, the very essence of God himself, can be ours, and He is within us, in the here and now!

We need a new view for a new you, that will govern everything we do and say in this New Year of our life. Not just to do better, look and think better, but what we need is transformed thinking that will be our new Governing metaphor.

That's what Jeremiah talked about when he said, "This is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel. I will put my law in their minds, I will write my law on their hearts."

It will be an internalization of the true substance of faith. It will be at the very core of our being and at the heart of our existence. It will be characterized by a relationship with God which will reflect in our relationships with one another and the world around us. He said, "I will be their God and they will be my people."

It will be a relationship that we can have with the living, eternal God. We can know God more accurately, without the distortions of a long distance relationship mentality. We can talk to God and listen to God. God will be our constant companion each and every moment for the rest of our lives. No longer a “somewhere out there God”…. Or a “God up in heaven” God…. But “Emmanuel”….. God with us and in us! That’s not just something you put on and take off… it is part of what makes you who you are and why you do what you do….

In one comic strip in the cartoon section of the paper….the daughter who is very environmentally informed, is offered a large check. A wealthy CEO, has made a $120 million profit from an idea that the daughter gave him and he wishes to give her a ten percent share. But the money represents ill-gotten gains from polluting and violating the ocean, so the daughter says she wants none of it.

Later the daughter apologizes to her dad for not taking the money. Her father replies, “I understand, it’s OK. But we really could’ve used that $12,000.” When she explains to him that ten percent of $120 million is not $12,000, but $120,000, the dad has a heart attack.

The dad’s bad math makes me think of Christians who don’t appreciate all that Jesus has done for us and made available to us. Christians must have some bad math, because they don’t know what makes the new covenant new, they assign a low value

to grace. It’s only worth $12,000. It’s a nice gift, but hardly enough to live on.

Then when they learn that God’s gift is worth far, far more than that, they’re in total shock, at what was always available to them, but they have failed to enjoy it and experience it.

If I were to lay a key on the platform and tell everyone that the first to come pick it up could have it…. Probably no one would take the offer because no value has been assigned to it. But if I told you it was the key to a new Porsche and whoever took the key would own the Porsche….I think there would be a stampede. Jesus told us that He had made available to us, the keys to the Kingdom of God, and whoever took the keys would have access to the kingdom… Now we have value that is ascribed to the key…and Jesus is the Key to the kingdom! If you receive Him, you have access to the kingdom!

“Emmanuel”, is a name, which is also the description of a new covenant, which God entered into with us…. it’s the A.D. covenant….Written in the flesh and blood gift of God the Son… We no longer think B.C. “Jehovah”…. But the A.D. expression of the God head…. “Emmanuel”, God with us and in us!

We are part of a covenant that has “forgiveness” at it’s core….we live in the shadow of forgiveness… That means we are a transformed people. Our covenant of forgiveness doesn’t just mean we do better, think better, look better. These things become true because He has made us better with the transforming power of Jesus' death on the cross and the power of the Holy Spirit within our lives, within us, living at the very core of our being, giving us not only the desire to obey Him, but the inner power to reflect Him.

The contracts we enter into with others and the contract we enter into with ourselves, all become possible because of the inner covenant power, we have with and through Emmanuel!

Galatians 5:1 “Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ has made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage. V25 If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit”.

The word “live” is a verb, therefore it always shows action and that action is possible because of the liberty which is ours through the forgiveness we have received, and the grace which originates in God and not in us….

Because of the new covenant….

There’s Grace and Favor…. in the old covenant, you did it, to get it, but in the new covenant, Jesus did it and you get it all….

There’s rest…. in the old covenant, it was do, do, do,… in the new covenant, it is done, done, done!

There’s new life…. in the old covenant, scripture tells us there is always a veil over the face, but in the new covenant, the veil is removed and the full glory of the Lord is revealed.

There is union and intimacy…. In the old covenant God lived in a temple you could never enter, but in the new covenant, you are the temple of the Holy Spirit, where He has taken up residence….His presence alone, changes a shack into a palace, a failure into a success, a poor boy into a “there’s much more” boy, sickness and frailty into wholeness and vibrancy, Dead people into fully alive saints of God!!!

We see the Father’s heart…. The old covenant was about obligation, but in the new, we love and we forgive and we show mercy, because He first us, showed us mercy when we were far from Him, and forgave us.

If you don’t see God as your loving Father and see yourself as his dearly-beloved child, you have not fully apprehended all that Christ accomplished on your behalf and what is still waiting for you to experience and enjoy.

Before Jesus, no one called God Father. After Jesus, every New Testament writer used this term of endearment and relationship.

God is not writing a new covenant on paper somewhere, to add to the mountain of documents in the files and vaults of Religion. He's not printing it on something that we can hang on our wall. He’s putting the covenant within our character and within our personality, changing the very essence of who and what we are. And who we are is FORGIVEN!!!

Colossians 2:9,10 "For in Him," (that is, in the Man Christ, who is our nature, our Head, our root, our flesh, our bone), "dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily"

So we see that Jesus is the full expression of God….

And we also see in John 1:16 "Of His fullness have all we (believers) received, and grace for grace".

God is fully in Jesus and Jesus is fully in us and has qualified us and positioned us for new life in Christ in this new year….!

It’s the same for all of us…. we come before Him and we confess, "God, I'm a sinner, I'm lost and I cannot do for myself what only you can do." We confess our sin, then we turn from our sin and turn toward God.

We turn from a life that is against God, to a life that is toward God. We start walking in a new direction, because we’re not that person anymore. Our life takes on new meaning and purpose as we walk in repentance, confess what He can do through our lives, and ask Jesus Christ to come in as the Lord of our life. He comes in, and He does what we cannot do…. He FORGIVES, and His forgiveness brings transforming power into our lives as we receive the touch of redemption!!!!

Isaiah 9:2 “The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light: they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them has the light shined”.

All over the world, people of every race, color, and creed have been celebrating the light that shown over Bethlehem. That light has grown in it’s brilliance until the whole earth has heard of it’s power. In every language, in every form of the arts, the light has been celebrated.

It overpowers the darkness of fear, doubt, ignorance, denial, rebellion, religious distortions and error, and now that light, leads the way for us to enter a new year of hope, and of possibilities yet unseen or imagined.

As a matter of fact as I was meditating on the new year… I heard an inner voice saying “ I will do more than you have ever seen, in 2016”.

Mr. Sutherland's walked the boarding areas of the train station on a frequent basis. You see his only son, Wilfred, was a soldier in the War, shot down in the conflict. They did not know if he bailed out or if he was captured or if he died. The father never gave up hope. Within his heart was a hope that his son was still alive. On Christmas Day, he thought he saw his son in a crowd around a train station, but before he could get there the individual was gone. The father felt in his heart that his son was still alive.

There was still hope that possibly he was suffering from some kind of amnesia. So the father liquidated all of his resources and began making posters with his son's picture, putting his own name, address and phone number on them. He looked and looked for his son. Every Christmas would find him at that train station with a heart of hope, watching and waiting for his son to come home.

Like that father, God has been waiting all our life to introduce Himself to us as He truly is and He’s waiting for us to know the power of His forgiveness, and He is eager for us to know Him as “Emmanuel” God with us and in us.

He’s waited in the good times and the bad times, in the ups and downs, in the highs and the lows. He’s waited in the agony and the ecstasy of our lives…. He desires to be more than a good up there, or out there….He desires to be the God in there, not far off, but within us by Divine covenant that is stronger than any document on earth.

This New Year, Instead of resolutions, may we have a revelation of a new covenant revolution!

Prayer…. Lord Jesus, as I enter into this New Year, may the witness of Your Spirit saturate my heart and mind. In all that I do, I acknowledge your holy presence and give thanks for the wisdom, strength, and peace, which you give to me. Father, thank you that your constant Presence in my life, is a faithful witness to me, giving insight, and inspiration, and gently guiding me in making wise and compassionate decisions.

I know that nothing can touch my life without Your permission. I choose to resist the enemy of my soul and submit myself to You. I know that You only desire and have already provided what is best for me in everything, at all times, and it is planned by the Father, purchased by the Son, and sealed by the Holy Spirit. In You Lord, we have A love that can never be fathomed, A life that can never die,

A righteousness that can never be tarnished, A peace that can never be understood, A rest that can never be disturbed, A joy that can never be diminished, A hope that can never be disappointed, A glory that can never be clouded, A light that can never be darkened, A purity that can never be defiled, A beauty that can never be marred, A wisdom that can never be baffled, and resources that can never be exhausted. Thank You, In Jesus' name…. Amen

Posted by: AT 09:12 am   |  Permalink   |  Email
Wednesday, December 23 2015

The List…..

I know it’s a bit late, but has everyone gotten your Christmas list all made out and in the hands of all those who can make it a reality?!!!

I think it’s safe to say that most men need a lot of help in finding that perfect holiday gift. It just isn’t a talent that a lot of men have. Sometimes the hints have to be especially large. Well this morning, I’d like to help all of the men present to discover what will be the perfect gift for the wife this Christmas. We all know that women love perfume. They love to smell nice.

Perhaps men, you’ve bought perfume in the past. But I’m not talking about just any perfume. I’m talking about Marilyn Miglin’s “Parfum”. We all know the first question any man will ask before making a considerable purchase. “How much will it cost?”

Well men, you will be relieved to know that Marilyn Miglin’s perfume only costs $500 for a one ounce bottle! Just imagine how wonderful your wife will smell when she is wearing this perfume!

She will smell almost as good as the woman whose husband buys her Clive Christian’s Sandalwood and Indian Jasmine perfume. Clive Christian’s product sells for a mere $1,820 per bottle. But you get 30 mili lieters so at least this will last her about a month. But men, just imagine how wonderful it will be to hug your wife coming home from work and smell $1,820 perfume on her neck?

But why would you stop there? Why would you buy her the second most expensive perfume in the world? Because the most expensive perfume in the world is Arthur Burnham’s Gianni Sulman. It only costs......$74,555 per ounce. Now all you men, have no excuses this year. All you have to do is just head right out and get it before it’s gone!

Have you ever gotten some of those horrible Christmas gifts, that make you wonder what someone was thinking…. Let me give you some examples… the neck tie with Christmas lights that actually light up and blink until you become nauseas…. How about the sweater that would win any ugly sweater contest, held anywhere….Then there’s the sneakers that have flashing lights every time you take a step, Or what about the gift that you can’t wait to re-gift and after you do, you see it at the local Salvation Army store right after Christmas…..

Well, I wonder what Jesus thinks about the things we offer Him, that we think He really should be excited about, but then again perhaps it’s kinda like some of the things I’ve just described to you, on the high end and the low end….So, I’m thinking….. If Jesus gave us His Christmas list, what would be on it?

My message today is “The List”….

“What do you give someone that has everything?” Not only would you think they have everything, but they made everything as well!!!!! Fortunately for us, the Lord left His Christmas wish list for everyone to read. After all, if you don’t know what to give someone, you should just ask them, “What would you like?”

The Lord actually did leave His wish list for everyone to read, and He gave the responsibility of delivering it to us, to a prophet. Usually prophets are even longer winded than pastors, but this prophet seems to be an exception. He wrote it all down, in one of the books referred to as the minor prophets, not because they were any less than all the other prophets, but because their books were short…. And it’s in the little book of Micah, which is named after its writer.

He wrote down the list, so we would know it, and wouldn’t forget it.

Micah lived about 700 years before the birth of Christ. He was a country boy from the little town of Moresheth a few miles outside Jerusalem. Scholars tell us that he lived about the same time as his fellow prophets Isaiah and Hosea. In fact, many think he and Isaiah were good friends because parts of the books they wrote sound very similar.

A character profile of Micah, could be summed up in the following words and phrases: blunt, direct, terse, plain-spoken, no-nonsense, a straight arrow kind of guy. He loved the common man and hated corrupt politicians. In fact, his book is basically a condemnation of religious and political leaders who use their position to take advantage of other people. Micah was a prophet of social reform.

Three phrases describe the situation in Micah’s day, which was much like the times we live in today…

1. There was International Tension. Israel was caught between three warring nations—Assyria, Egypt, and the Philistines. Israel’s relationship to these nations amounted to a kind of voluntary national slavery.

2. There was Religious Corruption. Again and again Micah railed against priests who took bribes and then said whatever people wanted to hear. It seems like all the leaders were on the take and were all about the almighty dollar.

3. There was Moral Chaos. It was every man for himself, the rich ripping off the poor, the leaders scamming cheating everyone. The merchants couldn’t be trusted, the authorities couldn’t be trusted, and you couldn’t even be sure about those in your own family.

Reading the book of Micah would have been like reading a recent edition of the Miami Herald.

Although this list is only 1 verse long, it tells us exactly what the Lord wants from us for Christmas this year.

The list is in Micah 6:8… This verse has been called the greatest verse in all the Old Testament. It sums up what God really wants from you and me. This is the kind of verse you ought to commit to memory, write out on a card, and put it on your mirror so you can look at it every day. It tells us exactly what God looks for in our life at Christmas and all year.

Micah 6:8 “He has shown you, O man, what is good. And what the LORD requires of you? To act justly, to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.”

The first thing listed here is “to act justly”…The Hebrew word is “Mishpa”. Often in the Old Testament this word is applied to God’s own character. It tells us that the Lord is just—he is absolutely fair and righteous in all of his dealings. He will always do right by every person. Justice means “treating people right because of how the Lord would treat them.”

In the Bible this concept is applied in some very pro-active ways: caring for the poor, remembering the widows and orphans, not plowing the corners of your field so the hungry can gather enough to eat, speaking the truth, paying a fair wage, dealing honestly with others, no cheating, no extortion, and refusing to take advantage of those who are less fortunate than you are.

The Lord of Heaven, was willing to be rejected, despised, mocked and finally crucified, and yet was willing to take our judgment, and take our place, and justify us and qualify us for God’s favor instead of His wrath, and position us for His grace, instead of punishment. Christmas is a celebration of the Lord’s favor….

The second thing The Lord has on His list is “To Love Mercy”

The Hebrew word is Hes-ed, which means “loyal love” or “patient love.” It’s the word sometimes translated “his mercy endures forever.”

It means loving the unlovely even when they don’t love you back. It speaks about our obligation to care for people who may not care for us. It’s not about feelings, it’s about the principle of receiving the Lord’s blessing…. He said “blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy” You can’t plant onions and expect mangos to come up! You get what you sow…

But, let me give you a simple definition of mercy: Doing unto others as you would have the Lord and others do unto you. In just a few days 2015 will be history. Think back across the last 12 months. If you have been blessed? Then bless others. If the Lord has forgiven you… Then forgive others. Has God lifted you up when you were down? Then lift others up when they are down. Has God overlooked your faults? Then overlook the faults of others.

The word translated “mercy” is also translated as “lovely” or “beautiful.” It is a quality that will make you beautiful to the Lord and to others. I call it “Hope for the Ugly and help for the Homely”. Show mercy and people will think you are beautiful!

I know you’ve heard it, but people don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care!

If there is one thing that the babe in a manger shows us, it is the mercy of God that would cause Him to be willing to become a helpless, weak, and dependent baby, that He might grow to experience all of life as we know it, so that He might allow us to experience the mercy of Heaven as only He can show it!

The Christmas season is a celebration of the Lord’s mercy!

The third thing which we see on “The List” is “To walk humbly with your God” It comes from the word “tsaw-naf” It means to wrap or clothe yourself in humility as a garment.

It speaks of an attitude that is the opposite of pride. What is humility? It’s having a right view of yourself because you have a right view of God. Humility doesn’t mean, “I’m a nothing, I’m a worm, I’m useless.” That’s not humility, that’s self-pity, which is really another form of pride that is turned inward but the focus is still on yourself.

And what is pride? It’s having too large a view of yourself because you have too small a view of God. Selfy sticks are in big demand these days….and it is estimated that over 30 million dollars will be spent for them in the U.S. alone for Christmas. If you want to really make a lot of folks happy this Christmas, get them a Selfy stick, Ha! When your God is big, pride will be impossible, because all of the focus, all of the honor, all of the praise and all of the glory will be His.

Humility is knowing and living like “Every good thing I have in life is a gift from the Almighty. Some have more, some have less. It matters not to me. I thank God for what I have and I’m going to do the best I can with what God has given me, and I’m going to leave the outcome with Him.”

If we live that way, it will save us so much trouble. We won’t be tripping over our own egos and we won’t have to get into a power game at work or get sucked into the rat-race or sell our convictions to get ahead. We won’t get angry at the silly comments people make. Humility enables us to be who we are in Christ. And we don’t have to worry about what others think. Just because folks get offended doesn’t mean they’re right!

What does the Lord want from you this year at Christmastime? The list has three Simple Words… “Justice … Mercy … Humility”.

Rightly understood, those three words form the sum total of your Christian duty. If you have those things, God will be pleased as you present them unto Him. If you don’t, nothing else makes much difference.

He came to establish justice!

He came to show mercy!

He came to lift up the humble!

The manger is about God in the flesh, identifying with our fears, our weaknesses, our curses, our failures, our limitations, and our temptations…

Let the wrongly accused rejoice, For their justifier is born.

Let the sick and infirmed rejoice, For their healer is born.

Let all under the curse rejoice, For their Redeemer is born.

Let the weary and worn rejoice, For their Comforter is born.

Let the rebels rejoice, For their Master is born.

Let captives rejoice, For their Liberator is born.

Let All the earth rejoice, For Jesus Christ is born.

The Bible says in John 1:12 “To all who receive him, to those who believe in him, he gives the right to become children of God”.

Let’s share together a closing prayer….

Father, thank you for the marvelous gift of your son, Jesus Christ, whose birth we celebrate. We thank you for your love and mercy.

We ask that the true message of Christmas would come to the people of this city, of this state, of this nation, in the name of Jesus. May your hand of guidance, provision, and comfort be upon those who are in need, those that are in hospitals, those that are alone, the elderly and the young. Open the eyes, and the hearts of all people, that we may have an understanding of our need for you, and make You our choice this Christmas. May we have a deeper hunger and desire to seek You with all of our heart. May the power of Your divinity help us answer the high call to forgiveness and a redeemed life.

Lord, we still find ourselves living in a world that is far too broken. Forgive us, O God, and let us be willing to love without the restrictions that come from fear, greed or pride. Open our hearts to receive Your life and increase our vision with each new day that our lives may be filled with Your glory and Your peace.

You were touched by our poverty that we may be assured of Your abundance. You shared our weakness that we may share Your glory. In Jesus name, Amen.

Posted by: AT 11:26 am   |  Permalink   |  Email
Tuesday, December 08 2015

So Many Today Fall In Love With an Idea But They Miss the Reality that is the foundation for the Idea….

How many have fallen in love with the idea of Christmas, but they have excluded the one, who wants to have a personal relationship with them, that this season is actually celebrating.

It’s like going to someone’s birthday party and totally ignoring the birthday person… instead of giving gifts to the birthday person, everyone gives gifts to one another and give no gifts to the person that the party is all about. There’s love and joy all around, but no love for the Birthday person, even though it’s their time to enjoy our adoration and appreciation. You might say, “who in the world would ever do that”, but we do it year after year with Jesus, who came at Christmas to redeem us and transform our lives.

Jesus is pushed back, behind the Christmas trees, the wrapping paper and ribbons, the parties, the decorations, Santa Clause, the shopping malls and all the commercialization of the season of His birth. Not exactly what He had in mind, when He emptied Himself of His divinity and took on the form of a baby laid in a container that the cattle and camels ate out of, in a barn for the animals.

The life of Jesus began with birth and ended in death and this happens to all human beings and will happen to us, our lives began with birth and will end in death. No one is getting out of here alive, but we are born and choose to live and not die. We want to put the event of death off as long as we possibly can.

But Jesus was born and chose to die and not live. All the Roman soldiers put together could not have made Him die, if He had not chosen to die. But He wanted so much, to give us a second chance, a chance to experience the transforming power of His salvation, that the bible says, “He actually counted it all joy, to endure the cross and the shame”, so we could be joined back to the Father and we could live forever as God originally intended, before sin entered into the world and death by sin….

The Birthday of Jesus is the pivotal point in the life of every believer, and all creation, because it is the doorway through which eternity was restored to us. Eternities before a little baby was given the name Jesus, He was the Word…that created all things, He was the second person of the Godhead, and still is…He alone was able to create for us a second chance by breaking the power of the curse. It is something we will be celebrating thousands of years from now, with Christ in His kingdom, when time is no more and a new heavens and earth have become a reality.

Yes, we love the God Idea of Christmas, but we love the eternal covenant between God and man, which came with and was embedded in the song of angels….”Peace on Earth, Good Will To Men”….

Many folks become enamored with the idea of serving, because it’s the thing you are supposed to do at this season of the year, but it doesn’t make it from January through November…..

Jesus was the ultimate servant and though He was the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, he humbled himself and became a servant. There are many who serve for reasons that are ulterior, they serve to get noticed, they serve out of obligation, they serve to get accepted socially, they serve to look spiritual, and some believe that salvation is based on their works of service. Jesus told His disciples that the “greatest among them were those who were the servants of all” but He also told them

Matthew 6:2 “Therefore when you bring your gift, do not do it for recognition, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory of men. For I say unto you, They have their reward”. (it’s the only reward they are going to get)

I believe that lots of things in this world have shifted and become repositioned, because God truly became one of us in Jesus. I believe that things such as free education, the abolition of slavery, the notion of the equal dignity of every human being, that there is no distinction between Jew and gentile, slave or free, male or female, and various civil rights movements that have come about, all began in the servant spirit of Jesus. A person may not like Jesus, but no one can ignore the effect He has had upon the world we live in!

I believe that when this baby grew up and touched and healed the leper and ate with the tax collectors and the prostitutes that God was touching and serving as He sat and ate with people like us. …. The true servant does not start with an external concept, but instead, operates from an inner passion which springs out of an inner transformation. God does His best miracles through ordinary, simple servants like Mary and Joseph—and like you and me!

We have the power to do amazing things . . . if we are willing to sacrifice some of our own comfort for the good of others. God is not as interested in our comfort as He is that we be conformed to His image.

Ruth went to her mail box and there was only one letter. She picked it up and looked at it before opening, but then she looked at the envelope again. There was no stamp, no postmark, only her name and address. She read the letter: Dear Ruth, I'm going to be in your neighborhood Saturday afternoon and I'd like to stop by for a visit. Love Always, Jesus!

Well, Ruth was amazed that the Lord would want to visit her. I'm nobody special, she thought. I don't have anything to offer." Ruth remembered her empty kitchen cabinets. And thought to herself, “I'll have to run down to the store and buy something for dinner." She reached for her purse and counted Five dollars and forty cents. She threw on her coat and hurried out the door. A loaf of French bread, a half-pound of sliced turkey, and a carton of milk...leaving her with grand total of twelve cents to last her until Monday. But still, she felt good as she headed home, her meager supplies held tightly in hand. "Hey lady, can you help us, lady?" Ruth had been so absorbed in her dinner plans, she hadn't even noticed two figures huddled in the alleyway. A man and a woman, both of them dressed as best they could to keep warm. "Look lady, I ain't got a job, ya know, and my wife and I have been living out here on the street, and, well, now it's getting cold and we're getting kinda hungry and, well, if you could help us, lady, we'd really appreciate it."

Ruth looked at them both. They were dirty, they smelled bad and, frankly, she was certain that they could get some kind of work if they really wanted to. "Sir, I'd like to help you, but I'm a poor woman myself. All I have is a few cold cuts and some bread, and I'm having an important guest for dinner tonight and I was planning on serving that to Him." "Yeah, well, okay lady, I understand. Thanks anyway." The man put his arm around the woman's shoulders, turned and headed back into the alley. As she watched them leave, Ruth felt a familiar twinge in her heart. "Sir, wait!" The couple stopped and turned as she ran down the alley after them. "Look, why don't you take this food. I'll figure out something else to serve my guest, He should certainly understand." She handed the man her grocery bag. "Thank you lady. Thank you very much!" "Yes, thank you!" It was the man's wife speaking, and Ruth could see now that she was shivering. "You know, I've got another coat at home. Here, why don't you take this one." Ruth unbuttoned her jacket and slipped it over the woman's shoulders. Then smiling, she turned and walked back to the car, without her coat and with nothing to serve her guest. "Thank you lady! Thank you very much!" they continued to call it out to her… Ruth was chilled by the time she reached her front door, and she was worried because Jesus was coming and she didn’t know what she would serve Him. She noticed another envelope in her mailbox. "That's odd. The mailman doesn't usually come twice in one day." She took the envelope out of the mailbox and opened it. It said “Dear Ruth: It was so good to see you again. Thank you for the lovely meal. And thank you, too, for the beautiful coat. Love Always, Jesus.” PS….As you have done it unto the least of these, you have done it unto me….Matthew 25: 40

We’re talking about how folks fall in love with an idea and completely miss the reality…..Many fall in love with the Idea of marriage instead of the beauty and reality of what being married truly is.

They believe if Cinderella can find her prince charming, everything will be magic castles, fantasy land, and all their mountains will have Cool Whip on top, and their valleys will be the Garden of Eden….Then they wake up one morning and find instead that they are Goofy and the Ice Witch and their family is a cross between the “walking dead” and the Munsters.

Marriage is not just an event, but it is a system of values, principles and attitudes. When a couple says “I Do” to the preacher, that should mean, I will help you unpack your baggage if you’ll help me unpack mine!

After the terrible event of Columbine, where families were torn apart with the tragic and horrible violence of that day….One of the students who experienced that momentous day, wrote the following…. “The paradox of our time in history is that we have taller buildings, but shorter tempers; Wider freeways, but narrower viewpoints; We spend more, but have less; We buy more, but enjoy it less. We have bigger houses, but smaller families; More conveniences, but less time; We have more degrees, but less sense; More knowledge, but less judgment; More experts, but more problems; More medicine, but less wellness. We have multiplied our possessions, but reduced our values. We talk too much, love too seldom, and hate too often. We’ve learned how to make a living, but not a life; We’ve added years to life, but not life to our years. We’ve been to the moon and back, but have trouble crossing the street to meet the new neighbor. We’ve conquered outer space, but not inner space; We’ve cleaned up the air, but polluted our souls; We’ve split the atom, but not our prejudice. We have higher incomes, but lower morals; We’ve become long on quantity, but short on quality. These are the times of tall men and short character; Steep profits and shallow relationships. These are the times of world peace, but domestic violence and abuse; We have more leisure, but less fun; There are more kinds of food, but less nutrition. These are the days of two incomes, but more divorce; Of fancier houses, but more broken homes”.

Next I want to look at the fact that we often fall in love with The idea of Christianity instead of the transforming reality of Christianity. It’s kind of like saying I love horseback riding but I don’t like horses, or I love swimming, but I don’t like the water!

Paul says in Philippians 3:9 “That I may be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith: v10 That I may know Him, and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings”.

What we see instead is…The Self-centered view “I’m looking out for number one!” or the Exclusive view “I’m looking for people who are just like me.” Then there is the Licentious view “I do whatever I feel like doing, if it feels good do it!”

There’s the Fragmented view “Why don’t we just all pursue our own thing.”

Then you have the Impotent view “Our problems seem unsolvable and the answer unattainable, so what does it matter."

There is the Suspicious view, “Everybody has an angle, so what’s your angle?…”

and last we have the Hollow view “I get whatever I want – but I still, always have this empty feeling.”

We must realize that without having our thought life governed by the word of God, our thinking gets out of line with God’s thinking, and we spend most of our lives doing things contrary to what is really best for us. God was communicating, but we were not on His wave link. We were tuned to other things. Without ongoing communication, we’re headed for a heap of trouble.

When couples fight, it’s because there is a lack of communication, and each one is operating on a different channel than the other. When communication breaks down in a marriage so do many other things. The husband and wife are out of harmony, trust gives way to suspicion, there is no peace in the home, they become at odds with one another, they imagine evil things, and the relationship becomes hostile. Lack of communication brings about error, and makes us easy prey to deception…We give into evil desires…The carnal mind takes over….We cop out by telling God that everybody else is doing it …

Because we were alienated from God, we became strangers to His way of thinking and we became enemies of God in our own thinking. Sin corrupted our way of thinking about God. Wrong thinking leads to further sin, which perverts and destroys our thoughts about GOD. When we are out of harmony with God our natural condition was to be totally hostile to His standards and values.

Gandhi, who brought about non-violent revolution in India, is quoted as saying “Christianity would be a great system of belief if it weren’t for the Christians who claim it”

If the Lord asked you, "Do you love me?"

You might answer, "Of course, Jesus! You are my Lord and Savior!" Then He might ask, "If you were physically handicapped, would you still love me?" You might look down at your arms, legs and the rest of your body and wondered how many things you wouldn't be able to do, the things that you took for granted. And you might answer, "It would be tough Lord, but I would still love You."

Then, He might say, "If you were blind, would you still love my creation?" Well, how could you love something without being able to see it? But if you thought of all the blind people in the world and how many of them still loved God and His creation. You would probably answer, "It's hard to think of it, but I would still love you, Lord." The Lord might then ask, "If you were deaf, would you still listen to my word?" Well, how could you listen to anything if you were deaf? Then you understand, that listening to God's Word is not merely using your ears, but your heart and His Spirit. And you answer,"It would be tough, but I would still listen to Your word, Lord." Then the Lord might ask,"If you were mute, would you still praise My Name?" Well, Lord how could I praise, without a voice? But it occurs to you that God wants you to sing from your very heart and soul and it never matters what you sound like, and praising God is not always with a song, but when we are persecuted, we give God praise with our silent words of thanks. So you answer,"Though I could not physically sing, I would still praise Your Name, Lord. But then the Lord might ask you, "Do you really love Me?" And you answer boldly, "Yes Lord! I loveYou, because You are the one and true God and You alone know my deepest needs and desires!" But God asks you, "If YOU LOVE ME, THEN WHY DO YOU DISOBEY ME?" "Why are you ashamed of Me? Why aren’t you spreading the good news? Why do you make excuses when I give you opportunities to serve in My Name?"

" I have blessed you with talents to serve Me, but you use them only for your own self. I have revealed My Word to you, but you do not grow and develop in my knowledge. I have spoken to you but your ears were closed. I have shown My blessings to you, but your eyes were turned away. I have sent you servants, but you went your own way. I have heard your prayers and I have answered them all, but you do not thank and praise me." "DO YOU TRULY LOVE ME?" But we could give no excuse and we had no answer. What could we say to this? Except "Please forgive me Lord."

And the Lord would answer, ”you are My creation. You are my child. I will never abandon you. When you cry, I will have compassion and cry with you. When you shout with joy, I will laugh with you. When you are down, I will encourage you. When you fall, I will raise you up. When you are tired, I will carry you. I will be with you till the end of days, and I will love you forever. Because that is what Grace is about, My child."

And He would stretch out His arms, as we see His nail-pierced hands.

Let me say, next, that many are in love with the idea of Church without the understanding of what that really means…They can quote the scriptures…. Matthew_16:18 “upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it”. We know about the 7 churches of Revelation chapter 2; Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamos, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia, and the Laodiceans.

We know that Jesus compares his love for the church to the relationship between a husband and wife…

Ephesians 5:25 Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it, v26 That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, v27 That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish”.

But in some places, we put the brakes on when it comes to being the church…..Someone said that until those inside the church, try to view things like those outside the church, then those outside the church will never know what it is to view things like those inside the church…. Take the “go” out of the gospel, and you just keep spelling out and reviewing religious stuff.

The bible emphasis was more on being the right kind of church, instead of constantly looking to find the right kind of church….This Changes Everything.

So, what does that church look like? Acts 4:21 “for they glorified God for that which was done. v32-35 And all the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of his possessions was his own, but they shared everything they had. With great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and much grace was upon them all. There were no needy persons among them. For from time to time those who owned lands or houses sold them, brought the money from the sales and put it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to anyone as he had need.” This tells us that….

1. It was United. “All the believers were one in heart and mind” 2. It did not have materialistic stuff as it’s priority. “No one claimed that any of his possessions was his own” 3. It was Selfless. “but they shared everything they had in common.” 4. It was Energized. “With great power they gave witness” 5. It was Life-tested and life-centered. “they testified daily” 6. It was Focused. “on the resurrection power of the Lord Jesus” 7. It was open and Inclusive. “They were of one heart and of one soul” 8. It was Spiritual. “for they glorified God for that which was done” “and great grace was upon them all.” 9. It was Healthy and Whole. “There were no needy persons among them. For those who owned lands or houses sold them, brought the money from the sales and put it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to anyone as he had need.”

We all have needs. There are no exceptions, and we all have blessings. Again, no exceptions. That is how Jesus’ built His Church, otherwise known as ‘the Body of Christ’ – a place where one member of the Body can use his or her blessing to minister to the need of another. He calls it the body that is fitly joined together and equipped by that which every member supplies.

Your supply is provided and comes according to not only your own needs, but the needs of those around you….whither it be faith, connections, provision, finances or relationships. We are joined for the good and blessing of one another in the bonds of Christ.

We are not just in love with a great idea, but we are in love with the greatest reality, the greatest hope, the greatest way of living, the greatest truth, the greatest destination, and the greatest love of all in Jesus our Lord and Savior!!!!

Posted by: AT 10:20 am   |  Permalink   |  Email
Wednesday, December 02 2015

*….All the turkeys can now feel safe until Christmas…They have all been given a one month reprieve! I can picture turkeys carrying signs that say eat more beef!

So now that Thanksgiving dinner is behind, I think it might be safe to have some humor at the turkey’s expense…..(see if you can handle a few of these)

-----What sound does a turkey’s phone make…Wing, wing, wing….

-----How can you tell a male turkey from a female turkey? The male is the one holding the remote control.

----Most folks don’t know that a turkey can jump higher than the Empire State Building, because the Empire State Building can’t jump at all!

*…..(Part 2) Celebrating Thanksgiving in a Brave New World (continued)

(Or, The “Can Do” Attitude Of Thanksgiving)

*…..This is about reinventing ourselves in all the areas where we put limits on ourselves and don’t allow ourselves to become our very best selves…

* These limits are our comfort zones, A comfort zone is a ceiling on our performance which is our emotional “No Trespassing Zone.”

Our outcomes are reflected in the comfort zones we currently have allowed ourselves to operate in.

*….We are compelled by our belief systems, to stay within these boundaries for their ease and familiarity, and seek ways to balance our lives so we can remain within the safe zones we have created for ourselves.

*…..We have to kick out the Judas Spirit, which is always trying to sabotage God’s plan for us, and cause us to self-destruct!

Judas was given the incredible opportunity to be on the inner circle with Jesus’ disciples. He was daily in the presence of God become flesh. The only limits were the ones Judas put on himself…

The Judas spirit will always oppose the plan of God for you….

Judas spirits are thieves that will steal your blessings.

Judas spirits love money and are easily distracted by the love of things.

Judas spirits will envy and covet the success of others..

Judas spirits will isolate folks from those who can help and develop them…

Judas spirits are divisive and defensive…

Judas spirits are untrustworthy

Judas spirits will throw you and anyone else under the bus

Judas spirits will even put thoughts of suicide in your mind.

Until the Judas Spirit is kicked out and given no place, you will never break out of the comfort zones that put limits on your life and keep robbing your blessing.

*…..Without meaning to, we can empower and enable the Judas spirit by empathizing with people, and wanting to be kind and understanding….

Don’t hesitate to ask those who are filled with negativity and the “I can’t attitude” to tell you why they feel that way….this allows them to sort through their own feelings if they are sincere about changing….

Don’t allow them to make you the villain and themselves the victim, because you are trying to help them deal with their negativity... that’s just their way of avoiding having to deal with the truth…

A chronic complainer and negative person, may try to make you feel bad by cutting you off, of staying away from you, when you try to help them help themselves….they are quick to play the victim….Don’t fall or it and get down on yourself….Sometimes God will remove people from your life to protect you….don’t run after them!

*….We tend to believe and accept the limits everyone has put on us all our lives, and we incorporate these things into the “I Can” or “I Can’t” beliefs about ourselves…

*…..Last week we closed with the three laws that destroy limiting beliefs..

(1) We must operate in The Law of subliminal Thought…..Our emotions, beliefs, attitudes, expectations, words, and actions, begin as thoughts before they’re actions.

*…..Proverbs 23:7 "as a man thinks in his heart, (or at his center) so is he" That’s where what you really, really believe about yourself is, where your true values are, and where everything that motivates you in your behavior and actions is located..... *…..(2) We must operate in The Law of Permission -- Let’s remember, that permission is the power to act! It transforms what you believe deep inside, into behavior and outcomes that are governed by your belief system. We have now become that which we have permitted ourselves to be. I cannot become anything I have become, without my own permission... I may not believe anyone else, but I believe what I am constantly telling myself about myself. So, let go and check out what God is saying about you….He believed in you before you even knew yourself….and He doesn’t make any junk! When He does anything, He is able to say “It is Good”…

*….Isaiah 50:8 “Who will dare to give me a chance, says the Lord. Come, let us confer with one another. v9 Behold, the Lord will help me; who is he that can condemn me”? *….. Athletes had attempted to break the four minute mile, since the days of the ancient Greeks. Someone found the old records of how the Greeks tried to accomplish this. They had wild animals chase the runners, hoping that would make them run faster. They tried tiger’s milk: not the stuff you get down at the supermarket, I’m talking about the real thing.

Nothing worked, so they decided it was physically impossible for a human being to run a mile in four minutes. Our bone structure was all wrong, the wind resistance was too great, our lung power was inadequate. There were a million reasons it couldn’t be done.

Then one day someone who didn’t believe the limits everyone had put on the four minute mile, proved that the doctors, the trainers, and the athletes themselves were all wrong. And, miracle of miracles, the year after Roger Bannister ran the mile in four-minutes, three hundred runners broke the four-minute mile because everyone’s comfort zones had expanded and been recreated!

*…..(3) We must operate in The Law of Co-creation -- We can participate in Co-creating ourselves to be, to do, to have, to express, and to experience, whatever we choose in *… In Genesis 1:28 God said “Have dominion, be fruitful, multiply, and replenish the earth, I have given unto you every living thing".... It is God who created and commissioned Adam and Eve to abound with incredible potential, the sky was the limit, but they chose instead, the forbidden fruit, they chose limits. Satan wanted to keep them from becoming what they were designed and created to become.

Someone said, “As you begin each day, if you can believe the ocean of opportunity God has available for you, then you will carry the biggest bucket you can find”!

*….. Outward dominion comes from inner authority. God gave us Dominion (inner authority) over our own mind, body, emotions, Spirit, and our stuff.

*…..It’s not Happy people who are thankful, it’s the thankful people who are happy!

Experts say, that it takes 21 days to form a habit. And gratitude is no exception… Once the habit of gratitude has been formed, it sets in motion an upward spiral to everything in your life. It’s viral and it’s extremely infectous. You will even begin to see the good in all the bad which you have experienced in your life….

*….Our attitude is a pretty accurate reflection of our Character…God is more interested in building our character, than He is in getting us a good job, getting us a wonderful spouse, than having great children, than getting a bigger house etc, etc.

As a matter of fact, “God is more interested in your character than your comfort. God is more interested in making your life holy than He is in making your life happy.”

*…..Philippians 4:11-12, “Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content: I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need.”

Therefore while we pray and try to anticipate the way God will open up doors for us to meet our needs, I believe we need to look into our heart and see if God is trying to use the present circumstances, difficulties and challenges, to develop our character or transform our attitude towards certain situations or people.

This is especially true when we are faced with things that seem to have no clear solution at the present time. (by the way, time is your friend not your enemy)

*…..Rick Warren says, “Life is a series of problems: Either you are in one now, you’re just coming out of one, or you’re getting ready to go into one.” –

As I become willing to have God remove my defects of character, I am taking a big step into my maturity. Maturity is the willingness to accept the fact that we had a large part to play in most of our own problems. We accept responsibility for the effects of all of that on those around us. We don’t camp there, but we identify so we can move on in developing our character.

I read somewhere that life is a lot like a railroad track, and we are laying the tracks every day that our lives must travel upon…. I have a choice today about the kind of tracks I want to travel on in my tomorrows.

*…..The challenge for us is to understand the purpose in all of our problems!

The problems we face will either defeat us or develop us - depending on how we respond to them.

*….Ask yourself, is God using my problems to DIRECT me - Sometimes God must light a fire under you to get you moving. Problems often point us in a new direction and motivate us to make a change we would not otherwise make. Is God trying to get your attention?

*….Ask yourself, is God using my problems to INSPECT me - People are like teabags if you want to know what's inside them, just drop them into hot water! Is God testing your faith, or your commitment, or some area of your character, with a problem? What are the problems revealing about you, that still needs to be transformed?

*….Ask yourself, Is God using my problems to CORRECT me - Some lessons we learn only through pain and failure. It's likely that as a child your parents told you not to touch a hot stove. But you probably learned by being burned. Sometimes we only learn the value of something - health, money, a relationship - by struggling and working through it.

*…..Ask yourself, is God using my problems to PROTECT me - A problem can be a blessing in disguise if it prevents you from being harmed by something more serious. A friend of mine was fired for refusing to do something unethical that his boss asked him to do. His unemployment was a problem - but it saved him from being convicted and sent to prison a year later when his boss’s illegal actions were uncovered.

*…. Ask yourself, is God using my problems to PERFECT me. - Problems, when responded to correctly, are character builders. Your relationship to God and your character are the only two things you're going to take with you into eternity. God is constantly at work in our lives - even when we do not recognize it or understand it. But it is a lot easier and profitable when we cooperate with Him! *…..Romans 5:3-4 “We can rejoice when we run into problems. They help us learn to be patient. And patience develops strength of character in us and helps us trust God more each time, until finally our hope and faith are strong and steady.”

*…..Last week, We looked at the account of Peter and his vision while he was praying on the roof top, and God lowered a sheet filled with unclean animals and told him to take it and eat….Peter’s comfort zone would not let him go there, but God knew how to break him free, and it was part of the process in preparing him to break out, and minister to those at Cornelius’ house. Peter was being set free to share the gospel with those from all types of backgrounds and cultures. If God loved and accepted them, then that would be enough for Peter!

*…..To have a “Can Do” attitude, we must stop using “I Can’t” language when talking to ourselves or to others.

If you feel you can’t, then ask what it would take for you to be able to… Are there other ways it could be achieved, is there another method that could be used….

Instead of focusing on what you can’t do, focus on all that you can do… Instead of thinking about what you don’t have, instead, think about what you do have….

Instead of saying I can’t…..say…‘This is what I’m going to do….’

Instead of I can’t, say… ‘This is how I intend to deal with this…’

Instead of I can’t, say… “This is what I propose to do…”

Thinking and acting with a positive attitude can do more than anything else towards getting you wherever and whatever you want out of life. Having a positive attitude in whatever you do will make things easier, and even more enjoyable in doing it!

I want to give you seven simple but powerful tips to having a more positive attitude - and thus becoming a more powerful person. And in 21 days it will become a permanent part of your belief systems…. *…..Three women missionaries were on a train and they were getting to know one another...... they decided to tell each other what their greatest temptations were that they had to deal with. The first says, "My greatest temtation is sexual in nature. Every time I surrender to it, I put all the money I have earned in the poor box to help the homeless." The second missionary says, "My greatest temptation is drinking. Every time I surrender to it, I take all the money I have and I give it to help alcoholics overcome their addiction. So the first missionary says to the woman who hasn’t shared about her temptation, "Come on, we've told you our worst temptations. Now you have to tell us yours."

The third nun says, "My greatest temptation is that I gossip, and I can't wait to get off this train."

This woman needs the 21 day treatment!……

*….There are some lies that we believe about change….these lies keep us defeated and cause us to delay or put off entirely the changes we need to make….

*…..Lie #1 is that it’s all about grace and I don’t have to do anything to earn grace, it’s free and God accepts me just as I am….How many times has God said to me….”I love you like you are, but I love you enough not to leave you that way”!!!!

*…..We don’t strive to change so we can earn God’s love, approval, or acceptance. God has already promised that He has and will always love us. What spiritual development and growth does is to help us increase our practice of the presence of *…..God. “Grace is not opposed to effort, but doing what we do to earn God’s approval is contrary to grace, because earning is an attitude. When we do what we do to bring God pleasure, because of all He has done for us, it is a loving and positive action of gratitude.”

*…..Lie #2 Believing that change isn’t necessary…. If we go to work on a new job, they will train you so that you can change to better do that particular job… you can’t tell the job you’re on, to just accept you the way you are….(that’s just who I am)… you’ll be without a job in a heart beat!

*…..A soldier goes through training and it doesn’t matter how he may feel, he will get up when told, run, do rifle drills, report for duty, and dress according to the manual, no matter how he feels. Our mission, and calling is far more important, since eternal souls are depending on us to get it right. In order to get it right, we must constantly be growing, developing and changing. “Athletes, musicians, writers, scientists, and others progress in their fields because they are willing to continue to reinvent themselves. Unfortunately, there is a tendency to think that in matters of faith we should pray, meditate, study the bible and engage in other spiritual disciplines only when we feel like it.”

*…..Lie #3…I’m too busy… Listen, we all make time, energy, and find resources to do everything we think is important.

*…..If you don’t have time, it’s because it’s not important enough to you. The Ten commandments are not a suggestion, they are a command….If we know the bible, then we know that love is a command, giving is a command, witnessing is a command, forgiveness is a command, serving one another is a command…on and on we could go….. If we’re not making time, it’s because we’re making time for something else. This week, add up the time you spend on watching television, and you’ll realize you’ve got time.

*….“When you read God’s Word, you must constantly be saying to yourself, “This word is talking to me, and about me, and I need to pay attention.”

When we read in God’s word, what God says we are to become….then that becomes our to-do list for that time and season. We are a people who’s main objective and most important agenda is to become what God says we are to be!

The more we embrace these truths from Scripture about who we have become in Christ, the more stable, grateful, and fully assured we will be in this world.

*…..We Can all Have A Positive Attitude In just 7 Simple Steps….

#1. I will Take passionate action towards living my life fully each day. Don't just make it through the day, really live it. Sink your teeth into it and live it like it was your last day on earth. Wring every moment out of it and live each day with passion. Passion and a positive attitude are contagious. You will find others attracted to you who are just as passionate about life and living.

*…..#2. I will Act instead of reacting. Don't wait until something bad happens then try to deal with it. Be proactive and make something good happen. You are responsible for what you make of the life you have, and you only have one, so don't waste it. Create the best life you possibly can, one day at a time.

*……#3. I will Believe that each moment is perfect regardless of its outcome. Bad things happen. That is a fact of life, but that doesn't mean you have to allow it to drag you down. Good can come from everything, no matter how bad it may be at the time. If we really believe God’s word and the teaching of Christ, then surely we believe this. Learn to open yourself up to learn from, and gain strength from, the bad things that happen in your life. Learning to have a positive attitude even when bad things are happening will help you to get through the bad times even stronger and more determined to succeed.

*…..#4. I will Learn to always be grateful for what I have. It's a well-known fact among successful people that having gratitude will get you more than living like no matter what, you’re never satisfied. There's nothing wrong with having dreams and goals and desiring more out of life, but don't forget to be grateful for what you have already. Those who are never satisfied or grateful with what they have get into a "needy”, "poverty" mindset, where they think they never have had anything, and they’re doomed to never have anything.

A positive attitude attracts positive actions. Gratitude attracts positive, creative energy.

*…..#5. I will Seize the moment with wisdom, integrity, and honesty and I will not live with regret.. However, don't spend money that’s not yours, and put yourself in the poorhouse or take food out of your childrens' mouths, and clothes off of their back, chasing every get-rich-quick scheme that comes around the corner.

If you haven’t paid your bills, you’re stealing, because you’re using money that belongs to someone else. You don’t have any money to spend, until after the bills are paid. A bill is a contract, and it is a reflection of your character. You are a thief and a contract breaker if you spend money and neglect your bills. But if you have honored those you promised to pay, then don't be afraid to take opportunities that feel right.

*…..#6. I will always keep my sense of humor. I will laugh more than I do. I will protect my joy because it renews, replenishes, and refreshes me and makes me more pleasant and attractive to others. People like to be around those who find humor in even the most awkward moments. Learn to Laugh, and your days will become more positive, especially if you can learn to laugh at yourself. Don't take yourself, or life, too seriously. Life is much too short to waste it moping around in self-pity. A sense of humor can be the result of self-confidence and being secure with who you are.

People have mistakenly pictured Jesus as some hard nosed, long faced, stern, never smiling being. But scripture tells us that children were drawn to him everywhere He went, and children don’t like a sour-puss!!!!

*….#7. I will accept the power God has given me to take charge of my destiny. No one can take your dreams from you except for you. As long as there's still breath in your body, there is no limit to how much you can accomplish. Life is not something that is going on around you, separate and removed from you. It is what you make of it. And even by doing nothing you are still creating, shaping and molding your life, so why not get involved and create a life you want and can enjoy? Create the life you, yourself dream of.

*…..Start a R.A.K. revolution… that stands for Random Acts of Kindness revolution..... What if we were to go beyond what is required, and do more than is expected… it would make a much greater impact upon the lost, than arguing scripture with them, or trying to convince them of something we have not been living out before them, by *…..example!.. Ecclesiastes 11:1 "Cast your bread (seed) upon the water and in not many days it shall come unto you again....What if we had "Random Acts of Kindness Days' for 365 days a year on our calendars? A day when you are free to be the friend you want others to be. And together you live life, Free Of Limiting Beliefs…

*….Galatians 5:1 “Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage”.

Stop hoping and wishing, and decide to make a great life! You plus God are a majority!

As we break free of our limiting comfort zones, we can truly have Thanksgiving year, not just Thanksgiving Day, as we make our declaration again today…like we did last week…..

*…..I am free, I am happy; I am abundant in mind body and spirit, I am loved, and I am loving, Life is such a beautiful thing…I am surrounded daily with the beauty of life, I am one with God the Creator, I am fully present and in agreement as His Creation, through His grace and mercy, I am guilt free, and I am shame free. Everything is working for my good, I trust in God's greater purposes in all things, I now choose to expand myself and my life, I now choose to be successful and happy, I now choose to be unafraid, as I move forward, I now choose to know myself fully and discover New dimensions of God's plan for and through me, I now choose wholeness and acceptance. I now choose to be part of unconditional love, love, without limits.

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