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Check Yourself: Exam Your Lifestyle

1 Corinthians 10:31, “Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.”
The most reliable way to avoid the schemes of the devil is through self-examination.  Keeping a close check on your lifestyle can help you avoid participating in behavior that does not honor or bring glory to God.
1 Corinthians 6:12, “Everything is permissible for me but not everything is beneficial.”
In The Pursuit of Holiness, Jerry Bridges, asks four questions to help you exam your motives that may cause harm.
Ask yourself;
1) Is what I am doing helpful, physically, spiritually, or mentally?
2.) Does it bring me under its power?
3.) Does my behavior hurt others?
4.) Does it glorify God?
Contemplating these questions will help you exam your practices as well as keep you on guard from tempter’s schemes.
If you truly desire to honor and glorify God, you must Check Yourself, then ask the Lord to guide and direct your path.
Only the Lord is able to strengthen you and help you resist behavior that is not beneficial as a Christian.
Check Yourself: and strive to live out your days in a manner that will bring glory to God.

Distorted: Test What You Hear

Satan is committed to deception, destruction, and stirring up rebellion against God.  His tactics have been the same since the first temptation in the Garden of Eden; to distort God’s Word.
1 John 4:1, “Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world.”
The best line of defense against the distortion and twisting of Scripture is knowing what it says.
Whenever you hear teaching at church or receive information from a friend or another source about the Bible, check it out for yourself.
Test what you hear! 
Ask God to give you a wise and discerning spirit so that you can distinguish truth from the spirit of error.
Test What You Hear!!!

Stand Firm!

1 Peter 5:8-10, “Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.  But resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same experiences of suffering are being accomplished by your brethren who are in the world.  After you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself perfect, confirm, strengthen and establish you.”
Satan desires to disrupt and hinder your spiritual progress using clever tactics to keep you from looking to Jesus.
His goal; to keep you from praying and being deeply rooted in the Word of God.  He will try to overload you with the guilt of sin to bring out frustration and cause you to withdraw from God.
Essentially, he wants to rattle your faith and cause you to doubt God’s promises.  He will try to make you believe that your suffering is endless and victory is not possible.
But, Stand Firm!  Be of good courage, reject guilt and stand on the promises of God.  When you sin, confess it knowing the Lord will restore all who sincerely seek Him.
John 16:33, “In this world, you will have trouble; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”
Stand firm knowing there is victory in Jesus!

More Than A Conqueror

More than Conquerors
Romans 8:35-37, ” Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword?  As it is written,“For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.”  No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.”
If Christians were asked who their greatest enemy is, most would likely say, Satan.  He stirs up conflict and engages in battle seeking whom he may devour.  His desire is for you to war according to the flesh so that you use weapons that won’t fully protect you.
However, using the mighty and powerful arsenal of God in Ephesians 6, is the one sure defense against Satan.
Ephesians 6:10-17, Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might. Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.  Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm.  Stand firm therefore, having girded your loins with truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; in addition to all, taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.  And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.”
The choices you make with each encounter with the evil one will decide the outcome.
As a believer, you are called to stand firm using the powerful weapons the Lord has provided.  Just as a hunter wouldn’t try to kill a grizzly bear using a BB gun;  defeating Satan requires weapons suitable for the task.
Be ready for battle; put on the full armor of God.  You are more than a conqueror in Christ!
When you feel surrounded by the enemy, remember you are never defeated in Christ.
You are more than a conqueror in Christ!

The Accuser

Satan’s goal is to get our hearts and our conscience to trouble us. He attacks from many different directions to try to make you feel guilty even when there are no grounds for it.
He will try to make you feel guilty about everything under the sun, in trying to prevent you from being all God has called you to be.
He will try to deceive you and cause you to doubt the truth of God’s Word.  He will work on your mind to try to distract you from God’s Word.
His goal is to make you question your standing with God by causing you to think things like; “You didn’t pray right. You didn’t read your Bible right. You did not witness right. You weren’t bold enough. Your not strong enough.  You sin to much.
When you sin, he is right there accusing.  Everything that you do, he accuses you.
So how can you overcome his accusations?
First, turn to Jesus and confess sin in your life.
Second, turn to the Bible, which provides a great defense against his schemes.
Memorize, meditate, and pray from the Word of God which is a powerful weapon in defusing the lies of Satan.
When the Accuser brigs a case against you, there is One who will argue your case every time; Jesus Christ.   And He will always provide the best defense!
1 John 2,  “My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.”
Jesus will never defend your sins, but He will defend His children every time at the mercy seat.
Glory to the God!

Are You Ready For Conflict?

1 Peter 5:8, “be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.”
Peter warned followers of Jesus Christ to be on alert because the assaults of Satan come from many directions.
Satan launches spiritual attacks against you trying to affect your mind, emotions, and commitment to the Lord.
Those who have not received Christ are in spiritual bondage and held captive by sin and Satan. But those who have been redeemed by the blood of the Lamb must be ready for conflict!  Christians must be ready for spiritual warfare!
Even though you have been delivered from darkness and free from the dominion of Satan,  he will still try to wage war.
Fighting a spiritual war requires preparation.  The best way to get ready is by identifying areas of weakness in your life, turning away from obvious sin and seeking God for help.
When you go before the “Commander in Chief,” Jesus Christ, and ask Him to remove anything that is keeping you from experiencing victory, He will respond.
2 Corinthians 10:3-4,For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh, for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses.”
He will prepare and equip you so that you can escape the snare of the devil and enjoy the spoils of Christ triumph over Satan.
Are you ready for conflict?
There is Victory in Jesus!

Image is Everything

1 Chronicles 29:17,  “I know, my God, that you examine our hearts and rejoice when you find integrity there. You know I have done all this with good motives, and I have watched your people offer their gifts willingly and joyously.”
What do you want to accomplish in order for it to be considered a success is God’s eyes?  
Is completing the task good enough?  Of course not!
Everything that Jesus did on earth reflected the image of His Father.  Everything that we do inside and out should reflect Jesus!
When the inside doesn’t match the outside, that’s hypocrisy.  We all are concerned with image to some degree; waning people to only see what appears to be our best.
The problem is, while we try to protect our reputation, the Lord knows our reality!
God is concerned with the condition of your heart.  The heart embraces the truth and is aligned with God’s purpose and plan.
What kind of image do you project to others?
Pride and self-centeredness can lead you down a path that lacks peace and joy.  
As you continue the journey of life, pray and ask the Lord to help keep your heart rightly committed to His plans.

Come, Now is the Time to Worship

One of the best teachings on worship can be found in the middle of a passage in John 4 as Jesus interacts with the Samaritan woman.
The questions she asks Him about a local worship controversy provides some wonderful insight regarding principles on Worship.
There was controversy over the right location for worship.  Samaritans were prohibited from the Temple in Jerusalem so they worshipped on Mount Gerizim.  The Jews believed the only proper place to worship was at the Temple in Jerusalem.
Jesus, however, clears this issue up.  Here is a look at the passage in
John 4:-19-24.
 The woman *said to Him, “Sir, I perceive that You are a prophet.  Our fathers worshiped in this mountain, and you people say that in Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship.”  Jesus *said to her, “Woman, believe Me, an hour is coming when neither in this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father.  You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews.  But an hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for such people the Father seeks to be His worshipers. God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.”
A time was coming when all people would have the opportunity to worship in the presence of the Living God because He sent His Spirit to dwell in all who believe in Christ.
-Worship is not tied to a location.  -Worship doesn’t happen in a way that we do not understand. 
Our worship is based on God’s residence in our lives.
Worship is our response to God for all who have an intimate relationship with Him.
Gathering together in a set location with other believers is totally acceptable, but never forget worship can happen anytime, anywhere.
Come, Now is the Time to Worship!

Rest Assured

Romans 8:1, “there is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.”
The Bible teaches that every human being will be brought before the judgment seat of God for an ultimate and decisive judgment (2 Corinthians 5:10), and Christ Himself will be the judge (John 5:27). But Christians will not be found guilty on Judgment Day (John 3:18a; Matthew 25:33–34).
To have “no condemnation” means you will be found innocent of the accusation, to have no sentence inflicted and no guilty verdict found. By the grace of God, believers in Jesus Christ will not face the condemnation of God.
So often, Christians fail to grow in their relationship with the Lord because of guilt due to sin in their life.
Satan wants you to believe if you falter you will never receive God’s approval, but that is one of his lies and schemes to try to keep you from repenting and turning to the Lord.
God accepts you completely and by his grace through the redemptive work of Jesus on the cross.   If you believe in Jesus as Savior and Lord, you are no longer under the penalty of His wrath; you are free from the bondage of sin.
 As a Christian, you are free from the “law of sin and death,” which means, although you commit a sin, the Law no longer has the power to condemn you.
You are not under the Law’s condemnation because Jesus fulfilled the expectations of the Law perfectly.  
As a Believer in Christ, you have the joy of being counted as righteous, because Christ is righteous (Philippians 3:9).
Rest Assured!

I’m Depending On You

I tried to make it on my own, didn’t work for me,
I stumbled and I kept falling down, continually
But then I turned around from my old ways and now I’m giving You all of my praise Lord, You’re the one that I’m leaning upon, right now and for the rest of my days,

I’m Depending On You Lord, I’m Depending On You
I can’t make it here all by myself, but I can make it here with You.  I’m Depending On You, Lord, look inside my heart and know that it’s true
Everyday in every way, Lord, I’m Depending On You

I’m still facing storms in my life, but today it’s okay, ‘Cause I’m sheltered in Your loving arms, where forever I’ll stay, And no matter what I’m going through, You give me peace, like no one else could do, And when people say they see the difference in me, I just tell them, Lord, what I’m telling You

I’m Depending On You, Lord, I’m Depending On You (by Kenny Glass)
Trusting God in times of doubt, when you are ready to fall apart; is the staple of true faith.
It rest solely on the faithfulness of God to exercise His love, grace, and goodness upon you.
The book of Job reveals the story of a man who trusted and depending on God in the midst of unthinkable turmoil and pain.  With implicit faith, Job depended on the Lord trusting in His sovereignty, character, and plan.
Job lost everything.  However, at the end of his story, he repents and sings great praise to God.
Job 42:2, “I know that you can do all things, and that no purpose of yours can be thwarted.”
The Lord desires to move each one of us from faith to more faith, strength to more strength, and grace to more grace.
As you face times of trial and tribulation, look to the Lord and depend on Him!
I’m Depending On You, Lord! I’m Depending On You!