Sunday, July 28, 2013

Forgotten God - Francis Chan

Most of us assume that what we believe is right. (Of course, it's why we believe what we believe) but have never really studied for ourselves. We're told, "this is the way it is" and don't question. The problem is much of what we believe is often based more on comfort or our cultures tradition than on the Bible.
(Acts 17:11) "Now these Jews were more noble than those in Thessalonica; they received the word with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so." --> Even the Bereans were lifted up as good examples because they questioned the things they were taught. They made sure even the apostles' teachings were in line with what was written!
 We should expect our new life with the Holy Spirit to look radically different from our old life without Him.
In today's culture we think we're strong enough to live on our own --> WRONG. Even if our church growth can happen without Him. Lets be honest, if you combine a charismatic speaker, a talented worship band and some hip, creative events, people will attend your church. Yet this doesn't mean that the Holy Spirit is actively working and moving in the lives of the people who are coming. It simply means you've created a space, that's appealing enough to draw people in for an hour or two on Sunday.
   --> the worst part is that when your outside the church's walls and interact with the Christian and non-Christians in the same sphere can you really tell the difference? Many non-believers seem more joyful, welcoming and at peace than Christians today.
   If its true that the Sprirt of God dwells in us that our bodies are the Holy Spirits temple, then shouldn't there be a HUGE difference between the person who has the Spirit of God living inside of him and the person who doesn't?
 Christians talk about being born again and say that they were dead but now have come to life. We have become hardened to those words, but they are powerful words that have significant meaning. Yet when those outside the church see no difference in our lives, they begin to question our integrity. Our sanity or even worse our God. And can we blame them? --> (James 3:11) "Does a spring pour forth from the same opening both fresh and salt water?"
 What do we do with the fact that Jesus says its better for his followers to have the Holy Spirit? Do we believe Him? If so, do our lives reflect it?
---> (John 16;7) "So some of his disciples said to one another, "What is this that he says to us, 'A little while, and you will not see me, and again a little while, and you will see me'; and, 'because I am going to the Father'?"
First of all --> it is impossible for us finite humans to completely understand an infinite God.
Second --> many of us don't need more knowledge about the Spirit from a cerebral vantage point- what we need is experiential knowledge of his presence.
Third --> we can never "go back" only forward, seeking what it means to live faithfully in the time and culture where God has placed us.
" I don't know what the Spirit will do or where He'll lead me each time I invite Him to guide me. But I am tired of living in a way that looks exactly like people who don't have the Holy Spirit of God living in them. I want to consistently live with an awareness of His strength. I want to be different today from what I was yesterday as the fruit of the Spirit becomes more manifest in me."
It pains God to see His children hold back from relationship with the Holy Spirit out of fear that He won't come through. How much it grieves Him to watch His children ignore the promises He's made throughout Scripture due to fear that those promises won't be kept. Empowering His children with the strength of the Holy Spirit is something the Father wants to do. It's not something we have to talk Him into. He genuinely wants to see us walk into His strength.
(Luke 11:13) "If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!"
The truth is the Spirit of the living God is guaranteed to ask you to go somewhere or do something you won't normally want or choose to do. The Spirit will lead you to the way of the cross, as He led Jesus to the cross and that's definitely not a safe or pretty or comfortable place to be.
--> the Holy Spirit doesn't seek to hurt us, but he seeks to make us Christlike and this can be painful!
If you don't want to know or do His will genuinely, why should you ask for His presence at all?
We need the Spirit in order to live faithfully. But we also need one another as we work out our faith.
What you believe absolutely determines how you act.
When Jesus (the Holy Spirit) dwelled among the disciples they were different; we read of Stephan, the 1st martyr. We see Peter, a changed, courageous man. We see Paul (formerly Saul) go from killing Christ followers to becoming one and showing many others how to do so too. They were no longer timid or confused; they were bold and inspired and began to declare and live the gospel of Jesus through the power of the Holy Spirit. --> HUGE moment in their lives! (Acts 2:38-39) "And Peter said to them, "Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promises is for you and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to himself."
 When Peter preached the gospel that one day around 3,000 people became part of God's kingdom and accepted the gift of the Holy Spirit.
  • The Holy Spirit is a person who has personal relationships with not only believers, as we have seen, but also with the Father and the Son. We see the Spirit working with them multiple times through the scriptures. (Matthew 28:19, 2 Corinthians 13:14) 1st "Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit" 2nd "The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all."
  • The Holy Spirit is God
→ He is not a lesser or different kind of Being than God the father and God the Son.
(Acts 5:3-4) "But Peter said, 'Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and to keep back for yourself part of the proceeds of the land? While it remained unsold, did it not remain your own? And after it was sold, was it not at your disposal? Why is it that you have contrived this deed in your heart? You have not lied to man but to God." → Peter refers to the Holy Spirit as God. This is vital to remember. When we forget about the Spirit, we really are forgetting God.
  • The Holy Spirit is eternal and Holy
→ Because the Spirit is Holy and dwells in us, our bodies are Holy sanctuaries from God’s vantage point.
  • The Holy Spirit has his own mind and He prays for us.
→ (Romans 8:27) "And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God." In any given situation, we may not know exactly how we should pray or what we should do. But we can take confidence in the fact that the Holy Spirit knows our hearts and the will of God and He is always interceding on our behalf.
  • The Spirit has emotions
God created feelings. The Spirit is grieved when there is a breach in relationship. Because He is the creator of emotions, I believe that the Spirit grieves more deeply than we can even understand.
  • The Holy Spirit has His own desires and wills
→ The Spirit has a plan for our lives
  • The Holy Spirit is omnipotent, omnipresent and omniscient.
→ He’s all powerful, all knowing and present everywhere. (Zech. 4:6, Psalm 139:7-8, and 1 Corinthians 2:10) 1st "Then he said to me, 'This is the word of the Lord to Zerubbabel: Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, says the Lord of hosts." 2nd "Where shall I go from your Spirit? Or where shall I flee from your presence? If I ascend to heaven, you are there! If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there!" 3rd "These things God has revealed to us through the Spirit. For the Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God."
(Isaiah 40:13) "Who has measured the Spirit of the Lord, or what man shows him his counsel?"
If the Holy Spirit dwells within you, a number of things should be a part of your life.
  • The Spirit helps us speak when we are in precarious situations and need to bear witness. (Mark 13:11; Luke 12:12) 1st "And when they bring you to trial and deliver you over, do not be anxious beforehand what you are to say, but say whatever is given you in that hour, for it is not you who speak, but the Holy Spirit." 2nd "For the Holy Spirit will teach you in that very hour what you ought to say."
  • The counselor teaches and reminds us of what we need to know and remember. He is our comforter, our advisor, our encourager and our strength. He guides us in a way we should go. (Psalm 143:10) (John 14:16, Acts 9:31, 13:2, 15:28, 1 Corinthians 2:9-10, 1 John 5:6-8) 1st "Teach me to do your will, for you are my God! Let your good Spirit lead me on level ground!" 2nd "And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever." 3rd "So the church throughout all Judea and Galilee and Samaria had peace and was being built up. And walking in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit, it multiplied." 4th "While they were worshipping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, 'Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them" 5th "For it has seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us to lay on you no greater burden than these requirements" 6th "But, as it written, 'What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him'- these things God has revealed to us through the Spirit. For the Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God." 7th "When Jesus saw him lying there and knew that he had already been there a long time, he said to him, 'Do you want to be healed?' The sick man answered him, 'Sir, I have no one to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up, and while I am going another steps down before me.' Jesus said to him, 'Get up, take up your bed, and walk."
  • From the Spirit we receive power to be God’s witnesses to the ends of the earth. It’s the Spirit who draws people to the gospel, the Spirit who equips us with the strength we need to accomplish God’s purposes. The Holy Spirit not only initially draws people to God, He also draws believers closer to Jesus. (Acts 1:8, Romans 8:26, Ephesians 3:16-19) 1st "But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth." 2nd "Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groaning too deep for words." 3rd "That according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith- that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fulness of God."
  • By the power of the Spirit we put to death the misdeeds of the body. The Spirit sets us free from the sins we cannot get rid of on our own. This is a lifelong process we entered into, in partnership with the Spirit, when we first believed. (Romans 8:2) "For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ jesus from the law of sin and death."
  • Through the Spirit we have received a Spirit of adoption as children, which leads us into intimacy with the father, instead of a relationship based on fear and slavery, the Spirit bears witness to us that we are His children. (Romans 8:15-16) "For you did not receive the Spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, "Abba! Father!" the Spirit himself bears witness with our Spirit that we are children of God"
  • The Holy Spirit convicts people of sin he does this both before we initially enter into right relationship with God and as we journey through this life as believers (John 16:7-11, 1 Thess. 1:5) 1st "Nevertheless, i tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you. And when he comes, he will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgement: concerning sin, because they do not believe in me; concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father, and you will see me no longer; concerning judgement, because the ruler of this world is judged." 2nd "because our gospel came to you not only in word, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction. You know what kind of men we proved to be among you for your sake."
  • The Spirit brings us life and freedom where the spirit is, there is freedom, not bondage or slavery. In our world that is plagued with death, this is a profound truth that points to real hope. (Romans 8:10-11, 2 Corinthians 3:17) 1st "But if Christ is in you, although the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness. If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you."
  • By the power of the Holy Spirit we abound with hope because our God is a God of hope, who fills His children with all joy and peace.
(Romans 15:13) "May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope."
  • As members of God’s kingdom community, each of us is given a manifestation of the Spirit in our lives for the purpose of the common good. We all have something to offer because of what the Spirit gives to us. (1 Corinthians 12:17) "If the whole body were an eye, where would be the sense of hearing? If the whole body were an ear, where would be the sense of smell?"
  • The fruit of being led by the Spirit of God includes (Galatians 5:22-23, 2 Corinthians 3;18)1st "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law." 2nd "And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit"
→ These attitudes and actions will characterize our lives as we allow ourselves to be grown and molded by the Spirit. The Spirit is our sanctifier.
The Holy Spirit has given you a supernatural ability to serve the people God has placed around you. If God cares enough about His church to give you this Spirit empowered ability, shouldn’t you care enough about the church to use that gift for the same purpose?
The apostle Paul wanted to go to heaven, but He was torn because he loved the church so much. His love for the church was the only thing that kept him tied to life on earth. (Philippians 1:23-25) "I am hard pressed between the two. My desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better. But to remain in the flesh is more necessary on your account. Convinced of this, I know that I will remain and continue with you all, for your progress and joy in the faith."
The way of the Spirit is not a gentle downhill grade, often walking with the Spirit is an uphill trudge through all sorts of distractions and difficulties. But while the path is winding and difficult, you are constantly moving in a particular direction and that direction is set by the leading of the Spirit. At some point along the way you agreed with God that you were not meant to be ruled by your fleshly desires and passions (like anger, self-indulgence, immorality and obedience) and you removed the central role that these things once had in your lives. We were made to lay down our lives and give until it hurts.
→ We are most alive when we are loving and actively giving of ourselves because we were made to do these things. It’s when we live like this that the spirit of God moves and acts in and through us in ways that on our own we aren’t capable of. This is our purpose for living. This is our “hope” (Romans 5:5) "And hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us."
It takes faith to believe God is truly like the prodigal son’s father, who from afar, “saw Him and felt compassion, and ran and embraced him and kissed him” Luke 15:20 "And he arose and came to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion, and ran and embraced him and kissed him."
→ the father made it absolutely clear that His son was to be forgiven, with no questions asked.
→ (Romans 8:1, Romans 8:39, 1 John 1:9) 1st "There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus." 2nd "Nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord."
The God of the universe is not something we can just add to our lives and keep on as we did before. 

The Spirit who raised Christ from the dead is not someone we can just call on when we want a little 

extra power in our lives. Jesus Christ didn’t die in order to follow us. He died and rose again so that 

we could forget everything else and follow Him to the cross, to true Life. (2 Corinthians 4:7-11) "But 

we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to 

us. We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, 

but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so 

that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies. For we who live are always being given 

over to death for Jesus' sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh."

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Where I get my blogs, my journal !

True Faced

“I’m so tired faking it. Can others see behind my mask? Do I dare let you in? What if I told you who I am? I long to be real.”
Trust God and others with who you really are. “God hath given you one face, and you make yourselves another.” -Shakespeare.
God has big dreams for our lives. → His dreams for you are ultimately not really about you. This stunning dream always involves others. → God’s dreams for us reflect his heart. If we are not maturing in sync with his heart, how would we distinguish others-centered dreams from self-centered dreams? 
God couldn’t help us until we trusted him with who we really were. We admire people who live the TrueFaced life, but our loss of hope has found us into desperately trying to discover safety from behind our masks. In a very real sense, we are all performers. Because of sin we’ve last confidence that we will always please our audience and so we put on a mask. As an unintended result, no-one not even the people we love, ever get to see our true face.
Where mask-wearing become started? → Adam & Eve “Apple Incident” → God calls out to Adam”Where are you?” knowing very well where he is and Adam responds “I heard the sound of you in the garden, and I was ‘afraid’ because I was naked; so I hid myself” → There they are, the opening steps to the dance of “mask-wearing” I become ‘afraid’ because something I did or was done to me made me feel naked → And this nakedness cried out to be covered. Nothing feels more frightening or lonely than nakedness. Not knowing how to allow myself to be covered, I ‘hid’ myself. → It hides what is true about you. → that day all humanity learned how to look over our shoulders, how to glance furtively, how to say one thing and mean another, how to hide fear, deceit and shame behind a thin smile.
Mask wearers usually fall into one of three groups.
1) Living in the land of ‘doing just fine’
2) Searching for the next ‘new’ tecchnique
3) Those wearing pedigreed masks.
1) “Doing just fine”  → We need to acknowledge the truth: We are not fine! → We’re hurting, lonely, confused and frightened.
→ we are convinced there is no real help for our issues and that the best thing we can do is to hide our true identities.
2) “New” technique → We go from book to book, seminar to seminar, church to church looking for the next “new” technique promising to help change us.
→ We believe that if others could spend a moment inside us they would be disgusted by what they discover.
We read about concepts and strategies that have promised to change us, but we remain unchanged. 
This, hidden, pretend person disgusts us most. We marshall all of our best appearances and smile a lot. 
3) Pedigreed mask → Our home, and family and hobbies are almost as perfect as we are. → we do not need help and answers, because we are those two things. 
We are not vulnerable. We do not need to be, for we are self-sufficient. (Rev. 3:17) "For you say, I am rich, I have prospered, and i need nothing, not realizing that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind and naked."
→ We deny that we even wear a mask, but the truth about us is this; Those who know us best, wish they could tell us that, our mask is coming apart. They long to get past our mask. So that they could love us and know us and know our love, but we have kept them at such a distance that they’ve given up. 
One of the really good gifts we could receive would be the ability to see where we are and how we got here. → We need to see that our controlling behavior isn’t a response to something happening in the present. It is triggered by some sin in the past that never got resolved.
A mask is only the public proof that an infection is spreading through my body. Inside me, there is a seditious, self-destructive process compelling me to hide what is really true about me. It is TIME to unmask this dark dynamic that compels me to fashion a mask. 
We may try to ignore sin or STUFF it away, but through it may lie dormant for awhile, unresolved sin is always buried alive.
Nothing in us can absorb sin. Even when we are the ones, being sinned against, we still cannot handle sin, because sin done to us will always ignite the nature of sin already in us. So, we give ourselves permission to act out sinfully. *Sin does not play fair.
→ Good news is we can stop the damage at any time by applying God’s resources and power to resolve that sin. 
*Six of the many damaging behaviors resulting from UNRESOLVED sin. 
1) Highly sensitized to my own sin and judge the sin of others.
2) Lose my objectivity in a crisis and I become the issue. 
3) I hide my sinful behavior and became vulnerable to more sin.
4) Unable to be loved or to love.
5) Become susceptible to wrong life choices 
6) Attempt to control others.
It is very expensive to wear a mask. No one not even those we love get to see our true face. → We never experience love of others because when we wear a mask, the mask receives love! Mask wearing thwarts our maturing, the very path into the dreams God intended for us. God designed release of influence this way on purpose, because immature people have an incredibly negative impact on those they influence, incredibly, negative impact on those they influence. Our mask convinces others that: 
• They too must live a two-faced life
• present an idealized person
• hide what is true about them
• new life in christ doesn’t really work
• they’ll remain stuck in their unresolved life issues
• it’s better to be unknown than to risk rejection
• self protection is their only hope
When we wear mask, we teach others:
• to live in a guarded fear
• to live a life of comparison, envy and jealousy
• to trade vulnerability for the veneer of safety
We aren’t only ACTORS we are also DIRECTORS, in a HORRIBLE play.
People wear mask for many reasons. 
• Fear we might not be accepted or worse that we may be viewed as unworthy of acceptance because we have ALREADY proven ourselves unacceptable.
• Fear that others won’t protect us and might leave us feeling naked and alone. 
All mask wearing is a product of pretending something to be true in our lives that our experience denies. All of us need to be able to recognize our patterns of hiding.
God allows our masks to crack and chip and distort because He loves us so much. Call out to the living God “Father, can you show me a way out of this maze? It’s all I’ve ever known. I know you long for it to be different between you and me. I know you long for my life to count and for me to experience joy, hope and the dreams you have for me. I have nothing to lose but a life that wasn’t working anyway. Come reveal to me my true face, reflecting yours”
Mask-wearing is sometimes even more pronounced in Christians than in those still seeking Christ. God wants to see His reflection in our faces, but the trouble with paper-mache is that it doesn’t reflect.
“Two roads diverged in a wood, and I, I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.” -Robert Frost.
In the room of GRACE, everyone seems virtually alive. The people are obviously imperfect, full of compromise and struggle, but they’re authentic enough to talk about it and ask for help. Many have a level of integrity, maturity love, laughter, freedom and vitality. Our motives direct what we value and how we act. Our motives ultimately determine our actions.
Motive → Value → Action 
If our primary motive is TRUSTING God we find out that He is incredibly pleased with us. 
If my life motive is an unwavering determination to please God. Then my value will be striving to be all God wants me to be. And my action will be working on my sin to achieve an intimate relationship with God.
→ When we embrace the motive of pleasing God and live in the Room of Good intentions, we reduce godliness to this formula: More right behavior+ Less wrong behavior = Godliness.
→ It sets us up to fail and live in hiddenness. Once we choose the path of pleasing God, the bondage of performance persistently badgers us. Our determination to please God traps us in a formula that affixes our masks so tightly that we’ll need jackhammers to get them off! 
( 1 Samuel 13:5-15) → God told Saul “To obey is better than sacrifice.” He knew Saul’s obedience would be the evidence of his trust. We have already been changed, and now we get to mature into who we already are. 
• I am blessed (Ephesians 1:3) "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every Spiritual blessing in the heavenly places."
• I am chosen and holy (Ephesians 1:4) "Even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him."
• I am adopted (Ephesians 1:5) "In love he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will"
• I am favored (Ephesians 1:7-8) "In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace. which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight." 
• I am close to God (Ephesians 2:13) "But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ." 
*How can we show that we value our identity? → By trusting what he says is TRUE about us.
If you brought a caterpillar to a biologist and you asked him to analyze and describe it’s DNA, He would tell you that scientifically it is a butterfly! → God has wired into a creature that doesn’t look like a butterfly, a butterfly “identity” → Because the caterpillar is a butterfly in essence it will ONE day display the behaviour and attributes of a butterfly.--> the caterpillar matures into what is already true about it.
*Why do so many people say the right thing but then live the wrong life? 
We discover the room of GRACE, God reveals a breathtaking protection that brings us out of hiding. → God says “What if I tell them who they are? What if I take away any element of fear in condemnation, judgement, or rejection? What if I tell them I love them, will always love them? That I love them right now, no matter what they’ve done. As much as I love my only son? That there’s nothing they can do to make my love go away? What if I tell them there are no lists? What if I tell them I don’t keep a log of past offenses, of how little they pray, how often they’ve let me down, made promises that they don’t keep? What if I tell them they are righteous, right now? What if I tell them they can stop beating themselves up? That they can stop being so formal, stiff and jumpy around me? What if I tell them I’m crazy about them. What if I tell them, even if they run to the ends of the earth and do the most horrible, unthinkable things, that when they come back, I’d receive them with tears and a party? What if I tell them that if I am their saviour, they’re going to heaven no matter what- it’s a done deal? What if I tell them they have a new nature-saints, not saved sinners who should now “buck-up and be better if they were any kind of Christian, after all He’s done for you!” What if I tell them that I actually live in them now? That I’ve put my love, power and nature inside of them, at their disposal? What if I tell them that they don’t have to put on a mask? That it is ok to be who they are at this moment with all their junk. That they don’t need to pretend about how close we are, how much they pray or don’t, how much bible they read or don’t. What if they knew they don’t have to look over their shoulder for fear if things get too good, the other shoe’s gonna drop? What if they knew I would never, ever use the word punish in relation to them? What if they knew that when they mess up, I will never “get back at them?” What if they were convinced that bad circumstances aren’t my way of evening the score for taking advantage of me? What if they knew the basis of our friendship isn’t how little they sin, but how much they let me love them? What if I tell them they can hurt my heart, but that I never hurt theirs? What if I tell them they can open their eyes when they pray and still go to heaven? What if I tell them there is no secret agenda, no trapdoor? What if I tell them it isn’t about their self-effort, but about allowing me to live my life through them? → God isn’t interested in changing you, he already has! → He wants you to believe that so that he can get on with the process of maturing you into who you already are. Trust opens the way for this process. If you don’t trust God, you can’t mature, because your focus is messed up. Effort is a response that God uses to work together with me on my sin, to mature into that person with whom he is already pleased. Effort born out of striving to please God never ceases to tire us. Effort born out of resting in His presence never ceases to renew us. 
The goal is not for you to get all your “stuff” solved, you never will. There is an endless list of stuff. God is gracious to reveal only a snippet at a time. The goal is to learn to depend on-to-trust-what God says is true about you. So that together you can begin dealing with that stuff.
*I am loving more and sinning less. I am influencing people’s lives in ways that previously i could not even imagine. I am living an exhilarating life. I am living the Fathers dreams for me, His very well loved child. Trusting God’s view of me has been the most intense, most difficult and most comprehensive maturing and releasing process I have ever experienced. 
• Humility attracts Grace
•Grace changes our life focus
•Grace lets God handle sin
•Grace melts masks
•Grace changes how we treat each other and our sin issues.
1) Humility requires trust. Humility believes that I can trust God to teach, direct and protect me. Humility also believes that God has provided others in my life to do the same. Humility: Trusting God and others with me. We never deserve Grace- it is always unmerited but we can invite grace into our lives, we can attract it. How? By trusting God. God gives His grace to those who trust Him. Trust, humility and grace guide us into an astonishing life. → Pride shuts grace down. I am a person already deeply pleasing to God. 
2) Consider this diagram. In this life, we who have trusted Christ will always have sin issues, and we will always have the identity God gave us. They are constants. Unchanging results. 
•Working on my sin issues → 
•Trusting who God says I am → 
^^ Which one of these two constants defines my life focus? Which offers me the hope of experiencing the other? (2nd one!) 
→ trusting who God says I am lays the foundation for maturing. 
How I view myself is the most revealing commentary of my theology.
• It tells me about my relationship with God
• My relationship with others
• Whether my trust is in myself or in God
• If I am maturing into Christ’s likeness.
If the only thing we recieved by Christ’s atoning death was a “get out of hell” card, then we have no hope of living a life worth living. Our life is as bleak as it was before we ever come to know Him.
Grace teaches us to trust that God can handle our sin and only God.
What if we could both stand together, looking at my sin, not for the sake of condemnation, but to solve it together? What if we took responsibility for the fact that we are the ones who sinned, and then with God at our side turn to trust His provision for the very sin that we’ve just committed? What if we truly believed we were without condemnation? What if grace was that strong? 
God does not ask us to get our act together or to stop sinning so much before we can enjoy this realm (heaven).. God wants only one thing from us: God wants us to become more dependent upon Him. 
We no longer see one another with our sin between us. We begin to discover that our character is actually formed in relationships. We stand in front of each other truefaced. We see one another as saints who sin, rather than as sinners who are saved. If we truly believe in our hearts that we are saints, than we’re able to stand with each other in the reality of our sin. 
But if we don’t believe that, and instead view each other as sinners we will demand that others work on their sin in order to have a relationship with us. “You are a saint with some pretty deep issues that are freaking me out at this particular moment. But you are my sister/brother. I will not walk away from you.” The godly are those who trust God with themselves. PERIOD !
God’s influence system requires personal maturity. --> 
• We cannot profoundly influence others without maturing. 
•We cannot mature without finding resolution to our sin issues. 
•We cannot find resolution to our sin issues without trusting who God says we are. 
God’s dreams for us are the ultimate goal.
Working on my sin issues --> Maturing --> God’s dreams for me --> Trusting who God says I am -->
You cannot attract God’s grace with a humble heart. God designed us to influence others. When our theology gives us permission to see Christians as sinners, we give ourselves permission to reject them.
“Grace is the face that love wears, when it meets imperfection.” -Joseph R. Cooke
Love --> The 1st gift of grace, acts as a solvent to lift our masks. It acts as a balm that can begin to heal our unresolved sin so that we never want to put on a mask again. --> Those who receive this gift live in profound and sacred health..
*In God’s world, receiving love comes before giving love.
We learn how to love only when we first learn how to receive the love of God and others. 
When we are ready to receive love, we will know, because we will begin to experience a process with the following steps. 
• I understand I have needs
• I realize that having my need met is experiencing love.
• I freely admit that I desire to be loved.
• I choose to let you love me.
• I let you love me- on your terms, not mine.
• I am fulfilled when I have experienced love.
• I am now able to love others out of my own fulfillment.
1) A need is something required and indispensable, a must.
we see our needs as a weakness. Sin influences people to define the innate needs as weaknesses. “I don’t need you” is the language of the wounded heart. 
If we see needs as weaknesses, we will hide our needs and limitations and call it self-reliance. Or we’ll pretend that we have no needs and call it independence. Or we may believe no one should ever have to meet our needs and call it strength. Or we believe that as we get “more spiritual”. We outgrow our needs. This, we say, is maturity. 
Some of us confuse our needs with sin! --> Needs are not sin. He created us with needs. But sin has distorted understanding of needs. 
2) Needs give us the capacity to feel loved.
 --> If we deny we have needs, we will not experience love. If we withhold our needs, we can’t receive the love others have for us. And, if we don’t know love, we’ll be stuck with open wounds that will not heal. 
--> And with need unmet we are truly unhappy people. 
3.) Deep within each of us desires to be loved. --> Yet there’s pain and ask with love.
We convince others that we have no longing to be loved. --> I will take care of myself. I won’t get that close again. God hand wired needs into us- they don’t go away. Our castle walls don’t come down just because someone says they should. They start coming down when we admit :
1) We have needs 
2) We can only experience love when our needs are met.
3) We really, really want to be loved.
4) & 5) The degree to which I let you love me, no matter how much love you have for me. That wouldn’t have been a problem, except the “let” requires trust! We cannot let another person love us unless we trust the person. 
Lost in the darkness. Silence surrounds you. Once there was morning. Now endless night. If I could reach you, I’d guide you and teach you. To walk from the darkness back to the light. God won’t let us down; even when others do. --> This solid strength of trusting God-wins can’t let us down- allows us to move toward others in love despite the risk. 
When the requirements of our souls- our needs are met, it satisfies us. 
When we don’t know how to deal with our sin we try to hide it. 
Repentance isn’t doing something about our sin, rather it means admitting that we can’t do anything about our sin. Every act of repentance depends on an act of redemption. To redeem means “to liberate by payment or to release from debt or blame.” 

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Sun Stand Still - Steven Furtick

Some Christian conversion stories may be more significant than others, that does not make them any more significant than others. God gives people the exact experiences He wants them to have in order to shape the specific destiny He’s designed for them. Sometimes the best way to discern what God wants to do in your life is to hear about the discovery process in someone else’s life.

Accomplishing the impossible is all about seeing the invisible.

            When God speaks He does not stutter. When He awakens you to your calling the snooze button stops working.

Time can take you out of your dreams. Routine can weaken your prosperity toward audacity.

Seize- If you want to see God do something impossible in your life, you’ve got to open your heart and mind to God’s vision for your life.

Activate- Audacious faith starts when you choose to step out in strength that’s not your own. Pursuing God’s larger purpose for your life will propel you to pray audacious sun stand still prayers.

Make your move- When you act boldly to do God’s supernatural answers, you’ll find yourself in the middle of a move of God.

This kind of faith doesn’t just change you it also enables you to be part of changing the world.

Seizing God’s vision means deciding that you will not spend another day surviving your work environment, family dynamic or dysfunctional situation. Instead you’ll bring substantial change for the glory of God. That’s a purpose you can build your faith on.

Biblical audacity is a mind-set that approaches God with confidence and believes Him for the impossible. It’s not an activity, it’s an approach. It isn’t qualified by what you do; it’s all about how you do what you do.

Audacious faith- It describes an attitude and a set of actions that are deeply rooted in, even required by, your conviction that all things are possible with God.

It’s not wrong to feel fear, it is wrong to let that fear have the last word in your life.

The people who accomplish the most astounding things for God’s glory aren’t the people who feel the least fear; often they're the ones who deal with the most intense fear. But instead of letting that fear disable their dreams, they start increasing their capacity for faith.

God doesn’t just show you which wave He wants you to jump next. He also positions His strong arm underneath to sustain you every step of the way. He knows every fear you’re facing. He knows all the uncertainties your navigating only their not uncertainties to Him.

A high calling for your life is God’s gift to you. It’s not something you earn. It’s the product of grace. When you ask God to do the impossible He usually instructs you to do something uncomfortable and inconvenient.

Salvation is free. Obedience can be very costly. God chose to accomplish the redemption of this world, by His grace and through the willingness of Jesus to sacrifice His life. God will accomplish the impossible vision He has planted in our heart, by His grace and through our willingness to sacrifice our life for the sake of Jesus.

Grace is something God works in you and by that grace He works faith out of you.

When you really understand God’s work in you, your natural desire will be to surrender your life to Him, to obey Him unconditionally. Before God can do impossible works in your world, you need to let Him do a deep work in your heart.

God is more interested in our internal, spiritual condition. So the apostle Paul talks about a “circumcision of the heart.” One that isn’t mercy, “Outward and physical” (Romans 2:28-29)

            This circumcision involves God cutting away everything in our lives that doesn’t bring glory to Him; teaching us to trust in Him alone. God has to work in us before He can work through us.

*When God removes something from our lives, it’s not because He’s trying to take away something good, it’s because He’s trying to make room for something better.

*God always gives back so much more than He takes away.

(Hebrews 12:11) "For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it." 

He who lives by the approval of others will die by the absence of the same. Don’t let anybody but God himself put it in your place.

(Romans 8:18) "For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us."

*The size of our vision isn’t even determined by who God is. The scope and the impact of your vision will be determined by who you believe God is.

True faith is founded on what you believe about God and what He is capable of. The key is getting a clear and correct view of God, believing that God is actually who He says He is. And that He can do what He says He can do.

(Psalm 62:11-12) "Once God has spoken; twice have I heard this: that power belongs to God, and that to you, O Lord, belongs steadfast love. For you will render to a man according to his work." 

*Difficulties are going to come. Walking with God sometimes means walking through trials. But instead of focusing on your situation, remember God’s goodness. God is with you to help, save and heal.

Twelve Audacious Faith Confessions.

1.     I am fully forgiven and free from all shame and condemnation.

a.    (Romans 8:1-2; Ephesians 1:7-8; 1 John 1:9) 1st "There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death." 2nd "In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight." 3rd "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness."

      2. I act in audacious faith to change the world in my generation.

a.     (Josh 10:12-14; John 14:12) 1st "At that time Joshua spoke to the Lord in the day when the Lord gave the Amorites over to the sons of Israel, and he said in the sight of Israel, 'Sun stand still at Gibeon, and moon, in the Valley of Aijalon.' And the sun stood still and the moon stopped, until the nation took vengeance on their enemies. Is this not written in the Book of Jashar? The sun stopped in the midst of heaven and did not hurry to set for about a whole day. There has been no day like it before or since, when the Lord heeded the voice of a man, for the Lord fought for Israel." 2nd "Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I am going to the Father." 

     3. I have no fear of anxiety; I trust in the Lord with all my heart.

                        (Proverbs 3:5-6; Phil. 4:6-7; 1 Peter 5:7) 1st "Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths." 2nd "Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of god, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." 3rd "Casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you."

     4. I am able to fulfill the calling God has placed on my life.

                        (Luke 6:38; Philip 4:13) 1st "give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you." 2nd "I can do all things through him who strengthens me." 

     5. I am fully resourced to do everything God has challenged me to do.

                        (Deuteronomy 8:18; Luke 6:38; Philip 4:13) 1st "You shall remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you power to get wealth, that he may confirm his covenant that he swore to your fathers, as it is this day." 2nd "give and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you." 3rd "I can do all things through him who strengthens me." 
     6. I have no insecurity, because I see myself the way God sees me.

                        (Gen 1:26-27; Psalm 139:13-16; Eph 5:25-27) 1st "Then god said, 'Let us make man in our own image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.' So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them." 2nd "For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother's womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them." 3rd "Husbands love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish."

     7. I am a faithful spouse (If you’re single, you can slip future in there) and a godly parent, our family is blessed.

                        (Deuteronomy 6:6-9; Eph 5:22-25; Col 3:18-19; 1 Peter 3:1-7) 1st "And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates." 2nd "Wives, submit to your husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands. Husbands love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her" 3rd "Wives, submit to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord. husbands, love your wives and do not be harsh with them." 4th "Likewise, wives, be subject to your own husbands, so that even if some do not obey the word, they may be won without a word by the conduct of their wives, when they see your respectful and pure conduct. do not let your adorning be external- the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear- but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God's sight is very precious. For this is how the holy women who hoped in God used to adorn themselves, by submitting to their own husbands, as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him Lord. And you are her children, if you do good and do not fear anything that is frightening. Likewise, husbands, live with your wives in an understanding way, showing honor to the woman as the weaker vessel, since they are heirs with you of grace of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered." 
 8. I am completely whole- physically, mentally and emotionally.

                        (Psalm 103:1-5; Matt 8:16-17; 2 Corinthians 5:17; 1 Peter 2:24) 1st "Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless his holy name! Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits, who forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit, who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy, who satisfies you with good so that your youth is renewed like the eagle's." 2nd "That evening they brought to him many who were oppressed by demons, and he cast out the spirits with a word and healed all who were sick. This was to fulfill what was spoken by the prophet Isaiah: "He took our illnesses and bore our diseases." 3rd "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come." 4th "He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed."

9. I am increasing in influence and favor for the kingdom of God.

           ( Gen 45:4-8; 1 Sam 2:26; Acts 2:37-47) 1st "So Joseph said to his brothers, 'Come near to me, please' and they came near. And he said 'I am your brother, Joseph, whom you sold into Egypt. And now do not be distressed or angry with yourselves because you sold me here, for God sent me before you to preserve life. For the famine has been in the land these two years, and there are yet five years in which there will be neither plowing nor harvest. And God sent me before you to preserve for you a remnant on earth, and to keep alive for you many survivors. So it was not you who sent me here, but God. He has made me a father to Pharaoh, and lord of all his house and ruler over all the land of Egypt." 2nd "Now the boy Samuel continued to grow both in stature and in favor with the Lord and also with man." 3rd "Now when they heard this they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, 'Brothers, what shall we do?' And Peter said to them, 'Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is for you and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to himself' And with many other words he bore witness and continued to exhort them, saying, 'Save yourselves from this crooked generation.' So those who received his word were baptized, and there were added that day about three thousand souls. And they devoted  themselves to the apostles' teaching and the fellowship to the breaking of bread and the prayers. And awe came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles. And all who believed were together and had all things in common. And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need. And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved."

10.  I am enabled to walk in the sacrificial love of Christ.

                        (2 Thess. 2:16; 1 John 3:16; 4:9-12) 1st "Now may our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God our Father, who loved us and gave us eternal comfort and good hope through grace." 2nd "By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers." 3rd "In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we have loved God but that He loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us."

11. I have the wisdom of the Lord concerning every decision I make.

                        (2 Chronicles 1:7-12; Proverbs 2:6;  Ecclesiastes 2:26; James 1:5) 1st "In that night God appeared to Solomon, and said to him, 'Ask what I shall give you.' And Solomon said to God, 'You have shown great and steadfast love to David my father, and have made me king in his place. O Lord God, let your word to David my father be now fulfilled, for you have made me king over a people as numerous as the dust of the earth. Give me now wisdom and knowledge to go out and come in before this people, for who can govern this people of yours, which is so great?' God answered Solomon, 'Because this was in your heart, and you have not asked for possessions, wealth, honor, or the life of those who hate you, and have not even asked for long life, but have asked for wisdom and knowledge for yourself that you may govern my people over whom I have made you king, wisdom and knowledge are granted to you. I will also give you riches, possessions, and honor, such as none of the kings had who were before you, and none after you shall have the like." 2nd "For the Lord gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding." 3rd "For to the one who pleases him God has given wisdom and knowledge and joy, but to the sinner he has given the business of gathering and collecting, only to give to one who pleases God. This also is vanity and a striving after wind." 4th "If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him."

12. I am protected from all harm and evil in Jesus name.

                        (Gen 50:20; Psalm 3:1-3; 2 Thess. 3:2-3) 1st "As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today." 2nd "O Lord, how many are my foes! Many are rising against me; many are saying of my soul, there is no salvation for him in God. But you, O Lord, are a shield about me, my glory, and the lifter of my head." 3rd "And that we may be delivered from wicked and evil men. For not all have faith. But the Lord is faithful. He will establish you and guard you against the evil one." 

** Faithfully Jesus led the perfect life we could not live. Faithfully he went to the cross and died the death we should have died. Faithfully God raised Him from the dead, defeated the sin and death and opened the way of life for all who will believe.

            (2 Tim 2:13) “If we are faithful, He will remain faithful, for He cannot disown himself.”

            (Romans 6:1-2) "What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it?" 

*God can’t make anything miraculous out of your mistakes, if you don’t call it what it is and deal with it accordingly.

** God sent His own son to redeem your life because you could never redeem yourself.

The most powerful sin in your life is the one you haven’t confessed yet.

* Sometimes God has to let the sun go down so that His glory can shine through our lives. The darker it gets in our situations, the brighter God is and His goodness and grace can shine through you for the world to see.

*Hope is a desire, Faith is a demonstration.

Hope wants it to happen, faith causes it to happen and acts as if it’s already done.

Hope is the blueprint, Faith is the contractor.

*If you continue to plant, overtime, there may come a day when you see signs of life springing up all around you. But it doesn’t start with a harvest. It starts with a seed that initiates a process.

            Too many people forget the promise and forfeit the payoff because they faint in the process. It’s human nature to want to skip straight from the promise to the payoff. The process is invaluable. The process is a time of strengthening. It’s a place to rely totally on God. The process is the way we grow to know God, and that’s really the whole point. If all God wanted to do was get right to the happy ending. We’d all be in heaven.

That’s not all God wants and deep down that’s not really all you want either. You want to learn to walk by faith, not by sight. And you can’t learn that without walking through periods of complete darkness. The apprehension and out-level fear you’ll feel in these stories may make you turn back and pursue something safer.

            Between the promise and payoff there’s always a process and that process is the breeding ground of faith. That process has the potential to draw you closer to Jesus than you’ve ever been before. The process is the point.

Mocha with Max- Max Lucado

            God loves you simply because He has chosen to do so. He loves you when you don’t feel lovely; He loves you when no one else loves you. Others may abandon you, divorce you, and ignore you, but God will love you always no matter what.

            “I’ll call nobodies and make them somebodies; I’ll call the unloved and make them beloved” → Romans 9:25 (msg)

            God loves you, personally, powerfully, and passionately. Others have promised and failed. But God has promised and succeeded. He loves you with an unfailing love.

God views your life the way you view a movie after you’ve read the book. When something bad happens, you feel the air sucked out of the theater. Everyone else grasps at the crisis on the screen. Not you, Why? You’ve read the book; you know how the good guy gets out of the tight spot. God views your life with the same confidence. He’s not only read your story…He wrote it. His perspective is different, and his purpose is clear → (Jeremiah 29:11) "For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope."

            Your place in heaven was more important to Christ than His place in Heaven, so He gave up His so you could have yours.

 For some of you, your journey has been long, very long and stormy. Some of you have shouldered burdens that few of us could ever carry. You have challenges that outweigh the strength. And you are tired. It’s hard for you to see the city in the midst of the storms. The desire to pull over to the side of the road and get out entices you. You want to go on, but some days the road seems so long.

            God never said the journey would be easy, but he did say the arrival would be worthwhile.

Remember this: God may not do what you want, but He will do what is right...and best.

He’s the father of forward motion. Trust Him. He will get you home. And the trials of the trip will be lost in the joys of the feast. If you don’t know how to stop, the result can be painful, true on bikes, true in life.

The things we worry about → 40% never happen, 30% regard unchangeable deeds of the past, 12% focus on the opinions of others that cannot be controlled, 10% center on personal health, which only worsens as we worry about it, 8% concern real problems that we can influence. → not only is worry irrelevant, doing nothing; worry is irrelevant, distrusting God. → Worry is an option not an assignment.

Focus less on the problems ahead and on the victories behind.

A glimpse into the past generates strength for the future.

(Matt 6:34 msg.) 

“God isn’t going to let you see the distant scene. So you might as well quit looking for it. He promises a lamp unto our feet, not a crystal ball into the future. We don’t need to know what will happen tomorrow. We only need to know He leads.” -Max Lucado.

“Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.” ( 1 Corinthians 13:6) → in this verse lies a test for love.

Here’s an example, a classic. A young couple are on a date, his affection goes beyond her comfort zone. She resists. But he tries to persuade her with the oldest line in the book “But I love you. I just want to be near you. If you loved me...”

→ this guy doesn’t LOVE her, He may love having SEX with her. He may love her BODY. He may love BOASTING to his buddies about his conquest. But he doesn’t LOVE her. TRUE LOVE will never ask the “beloved” to do what he or she thinks is WRONG.

LOVE doesn’t tear down the convictions of others. Quite the contrary.

“Love builds up” (1 Corinthians 8:1)

Ask yourself: Do I influence this person to do what is right?