Conformed

Romans 12:2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.

When we are saved, we must stop being conformed to this world.  That means we need to be shaped by this world.  We ought to be shaped by Christ.  We need to look like Him and act like Him and become more like Him.  When we are saved, we are not saved as finished beings.  We do not instantaneously become perfect.  It is a process we go through for the rest of our lives.

This process is called sanctification.  It involves removing the dirt and filth from this world and becoming more like Christ.  It is not something that just happens, it is something we need to work for.  It can be hard to change the ungodly habits we have become hooked on, but it is worth it.  This world is garbage, but Christ is wonderful.  Strive for the best in your life and do not settle for the scum that this world wants you to have.

The good news is that Jesus is there to help us on our journey.  It works things into our lives which knock off our rough edges and smooths us out.  He is the master potter and He knows how to shape us His clay.  Trust Him to know what to do and what is best for you.

It is time for we in His church to be conformed to Him and by Him.  We need to take on His shape.

Oh Lord, I thank you for trying to shape me.  Forgive me for fighting it.  Help me to learn how to fully submit to You.  Amen.

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Trust – Peace

Isaiah 26:3 “The steadfast of mind You will keep in perfect peace, Because he trusts in You.

Romans 15:13 May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

One of the main side effects of trusting in God, is the incomprehensible peace of God.  His peace, is so wonderful.  It keeps us calm in tense situations.  When our world seems to be falling apart, God’s peace helps us hold everything together.   It helps us from going tit for tat when others are tearing us down.  It helps stay above the fray.  This peace attracts many to the love of God.  The unbelievers see it believers and want to have that.

This is peace is a reward for trusting in God.  It is a gift to all believers, but it is used best by those who are walking closely with God and fully trusting in Him.  Trust helps anchor us, so that we will stand firm in the storms of life.  His peace gives this anchor strength when the  hard times blow.

God’s peace is not available to those who do not belong to Him.  If you have not come to Jesus by faith and trusted in Him for salvation, you cannot have this peace.  You really need it, if you  do not have it.  We live in stressful and hard times.  Many people strive for any kind of peace.  They are tired and have been beaten down for the constant stresses of life.  Is that you?  Come to Jesus.  He will take your stresses and replace it with His peace.  It is a great trade!  Make today the day Your trust in Him.  Cry out to Him and ask Him to save you.  Ask Him to forgive you.  Believe in Him as the only way to get to Heaven.  Believe that He died to pay the penalty for Your sin.  Trust Him that His promises of salvation is true.  Trust in Him as your Savior.  And You will get the wonderful peace of God!

Oh Lord, I thank you for Your peace.  It is really beyond comprehension and wonderful.  I would be lost without it.  Thank you for be faithful and following through.  Thank you for being who You are.  Amen.  

Trust – Surrender

Isaiah 64:8 But now, O LORD, You are our Father, We are the clay, and You our potter; And all of us are the work of Your hand.

Jeremiah 18:4 But the vessel that he was making of clay was spoiled in the hand of the potter; so he remade it into another vessel, as it pleased the potter to make.

In order to fully trust in God, we need to surrender to Him.  We need to surrender our wills.  We need to surrender our wants and desires.  We need to surrender our thoughts.  We need to surrender our actions.  We need to surrender everything to Him.  It is called emptying ourselves to make room for Him.  This can feel risky and make us uncomfortable to do, but it is worth it, because He is faithful.

A good illustration, which is used in the Bible, is of a potter and clay.  God is the potter and we are the clay.  The clay is shaped and formed by the potter.  It is a fully surrendered piece of a matter in the hands of the potter.  He can do anything with it.  Now, if I was the potter, you probably would not want to be surrendered to me.  My daughter received a pottery set a few years ago for Christmas.  It contained a pottery wheel, some clay, and some shaping tools.  When we inexperienced people tried to make something it was a mess.  The clay did not form in my hands the way my mind imagined it.  I kept putting holes in it and it kept falling apart.  Clay in the hands of an unskilled person is dangerous.  However, the good news is God is very skilled.  He can shape us the way He wants and form us  to be what He wants.  His creations are wonderful and display His full skill set.

We are safe to be clay in the hands of God.  We are safe to be fully surrendered to Him.  We are safe to be formed by Him.  We are safe to be sculpted by Him.  We are in goods hands, when we are in the hands of the Almighty God.  We do not have to fear, to surrender our lives to Him.  God knows what we need, in order to become what He wants us to be.

This leads to a paradox.  To fully live, we need to lay down our lives and surrender them to God.  When do this and fully trust in God, only then will we truly live.  Only then, the great adventure of life will begin.

Trust in God and surrender your life to Him!

Oh Lord, You and You alone are the only One who is trustworthy enough to surrender our lives to.  You are faithful and skilled in what You do.  You know how to shape me and form me into being who You want me to be.  Help me to fully lay down my life and surrender it to You.  Thank you for having my best interests in mind.  Amen.

Trust – Obey

Deuteronomy 9:23b But you rebelled against the command of the LORD your God. You did not trust him or obey him.

Obedience is a logical partner with trust.  It is one thing to say that we trust God, obedience shows that we do.  If we say that we trust God and yet do not obey Him, we show us ourselves as liars and hypocrites.  We say one thing and yet do another.  Obedience is the proof in the pudding of our trust.

If we say that we trust God and yet do not obey Him, not only are we a liar, we show ourselves as saying that God is also.  A lack of obedience shows that we do not trust God to keep His word.  A life of obedience shows that we do trust God to say what He says He will do.

True trust takes a step of faith and surrenders our life to Him.  We do what He wants, not because it saves us, but because we believe He knows what is best for us.  God tells us what He to do, because He wants us to avoid falling into snares and traps.  I tell my kids what to do, because I know from experience what ways not to go.  They can choose to trust me and avoid trouble or they can doubt me and get caught up in it.  The same is true for what God tells us to o.

When God gave the law to the Israelites, it was not meant oppressive.  The rules and laws He set up was for their best.  He wanted the people to stay away from sinful things.  He put guidelines up as guard rails.  He warned them time after time to stay on the path, for there was danger off it.  He knew what was best for them.  Just like He knows what is best for us.

If we full trust God, we will surrender our wills to Him and obey Him.  We accept that His ways are right and for our best.  I life full of trust in God, is one lived in surrender.  We choose to do things God’s way and not our way.  This very thing is what stops most of us from trusting God fully.  We are afraid that we will no control over where He will take us.  Sadly, that is the wrong perspective.  When we live a life full of trust, we get experience God’s great adventure He has planned for us.  We need not fear God’s plan, we just need to submit and obey.

Trust and obey, because there is no other way…

Oh Lord, forgive for having not always obeyed You.  Forgive me for not full surrendering my life to You.  Oh God, I know You are faithful.  I know Your ways are higher than my ways, but yet I do not always fully trust in You.  Forgive me and help me to do better.  Help me to live a life of surrender and obedience.  Amen.

Trust – No Fear

Psalm 23:4 Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me

Psalm 56:11 In God I have put my trust, I shall not be afraid. What can man do to me?

When we learn to completely trust in God, we realize we have reason to fear.  For God is with us and nobody is greater than God.  We can walk with confidence knowing that nobody can or wants to stand up to Him.  For even if they would try, they would be soundly defeated.  No man can stand up to God.  Do not worry about man, worry about living a life that gives God the glory.  We have no reason to be afraid or scared.  No matter where we walk or what we walk through, we know God is with us.

David knew this, because he trusted in God.  He trusted God when a lion or bear attacked his flock and David killed the beast.  He trusted God, when he called out the giant.  He trusted God, when then the king was trying to kill him.  He trusted God, when his own son launched a coup against him.  David knew what it meant to walk through the valley of the shadow of death, he did it many times in his life.  He knew God was with him and because God was with him he could live with no fear.  He trusted God that God’s rod and staff would protect him and comfort him.  And every time God proved Himself faithful.

The same is true for you and me.  No matter what we face, know that God is with you.  Trust Him to walk through it with you.  Trust Him to hold your hand and comfort you.  Trust Him to scare away the bullies and meanies of life.  Trust Him to have your best interests in mind.  Trust Him to be faithful in all that He promises.

Trust Him and have no fear!

Oh God, if You are with me, what can mere man do to me?  Nothing!  You are greater than all else.  No one can stand up to You.  You are all-powerful and mighty.  Nobody is like You.  Help me to live a life with no fear and a life full of trust in You.  Amen.

Trust – Even When You Do Not Understand

Proverbs 3:5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart And do not lean on your own understanding.

Romans 8:28 And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.

We are called to trust in God, even in the times we do not understand what is going on.  We are not promised an explanation from God for everything we go through.  His promise is not to one day fully explain to us why things happen in our lives.  His promise is to be faithful and walk beside us.  His promise is to never leave us nor forsake us.

Sometimes we struggle because we do not understand and we got stuck asking “Why?”.  God does not mind us asking why, as long as we do not get stuck there.  We are not to lean on the reason why, but on Him.  That is why Solomon tells us to not lean on our own understanding.  There are things in this life, we will never fully understand.  We can take comfort in the fact that God knows and He is faithful.  Paul says that He takes all of things that make us ask why and uses them for our benefit.  He uses them for our good.   It does not matter what you are going through, you can know God is there for you and has your good in mind.

Even when you do not understand, keep trusting in God and lean on Him!

Oh Lord, You do not promise us an explanation, but You do promise to be faithful.  You are so faithful.  Help me to keep trusting in You and leaning on You.  The why’s do not matter as long as You are involved.  Thank you for loving me and working things for my good.  Amen.

Trusting God

Proverbs 3:5-6

5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; 6 in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.

Trusting in God is essential for the Christian walk.  Trusting in Him, anchors us to Him.  When the storms of life rage, we are not shaken because of this trust.  When we fully trust God, we are able to submit to Him, for we live knowing that He will take care of us.  No matter how bad the situation is, when trust Him to walk with us through it and to lead us past it.

Trusting in God and believing in Him are not the same thing.  Trusting is deeper than belief.  Belief is believing that God can do something.  Trusting is know God will do something.  We sometimes get those confused. The Bible says that even the demons believe in God.  God calls us to not only believe, but to trust in Him.

Many of us, myself included, struggle to live a trusting life.  It is easy to trust God when things are going good, but its hard sometimes when everything seems to go wrong.  For our good, we need to learn trust in God.  He is faithful, but sometimes our pride gets in the way of fully trusting in Him.  We are going to look at trusting this week and learn how we can start trusting God more.  This is something I definitely need!

Oh Lord, forgive me for not trusting You more.  Teach me, Lord, to fully trust in You.  Help me to anchor myself to You.  You are so amazing.  You are so faithful.  Amen.

The Name of God – Salvation

Acts 4:12 “And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved.”

The name of Jesus Christ is the only name we can call on to get saved.  That name and that man are only hope of being saved from the fiery lake of Hell.  A lot of people today believe that there are many ways to Heaven.  What a load of garbage.  This thinking leads many people to Hell.  The Bible, look at the verse above, clearly tells us that Jesus is the only name that we can call on to be saved.

It is very flawed thinking that God would make many ways to Heaven.  Nobody deserves to go to Heaven.  It is not a right we are born with.  We are born sinners and because of that all deserve to go there for eternal punishment.  But God loved us so much that He made a way for us to be saved and He made an easy way.  We do not have to earn money to pay a fare to go, for we can never, ever earn enough.  The cost is much too high.  He made the way a free gift.  He covered all of the costs.  Jesus paid it all on the cross.  Now He is offering the way to Heaven at a free price, a gift.  Now it is up to us to accept that gift or it will be wasted.  Think about that, the heavy price Jesus paid on the cross is just wasted when people do no accept it.  How sad.

So the ultimate question is, have you accepted that gift or are you letting it go to waste?  Please do let this gift go to waste, it is much too valuable.  It came at too high of a price.  Call out to Jesus and ask Him to save you.  Tell Him, that you want to accept His free gift of salvation.  Confess your sins to Him and ask Him to forgive you.  If you have not done so, please do so today.

There is Salvation in the Name of God!

Oh Jesus, I thank you for all that You did to save me.  I thank you for the price You paid so that I and every one else might be saved.  Please be with those who have not accepted Your free gift and lead them to.  It was much too high a price for You to pay for it to be wasted.  You are so great and so mighty.  Great is Your name.  There is no name that is higher than Yours.  Amen!

The Name of God – All Sufficient

Exodus 3:14 God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM “; and He said, “Thus you shall say to the sons of Israel, ‘I AM has sent me to you.’ “

“Whatever God is, and all that God is, He is in Himself”

– A.W. Tozer in Knowledge of the Holy

When Moses asked God His name, God replied that “I am who I am”.  It is a description of completeness and sufficiency.  He is all-sufficient and in need of nothing, including mankind.  Tozer also said “He is what He is in Himself”.  God is not in need of anybody or anything.  We as people on the other hand, need both God and other people.  I need my wife.  I am better with her, because she adds to my life.  She strengthens me in areas where I am weak, as I do for her.  We need each other.  Jesus does not need me.  He is already complete and sufficient all by Himself.

In the Book John, seven times Jesus refers to Himself as I am.  When He used that term, He was clearly calling Himself God.  He is complete in all of these statements.  Nothing can be added to them to make them better.  Notice, He says “I am” and not “We are”.  We as the church cannot make God any better than He is all by Himself.  There is nothing we can add to Him, to increase Him.  For instance, He said I am the bread of life.  There is nothing that can be added to make that bread better.  It is the best that it can be, all by itself.  God is the best God could ever be, all by Himself.

Unlike God we are lacking and not complete.  We are not-self sufficient.  At times, we talk ourselves into believing we are, but we are not.  We were made to serve God, but sins makes us not sufficient to fully serve Him.  But yet, He still desires us.  He desires to complete us and make us whole.  And one day we will be made complete, when we finally get to Heaven.  This will be done because of what God has done for us and not because we deserve it.  When we are with Him in Heaven, we will not lack anything.  We get everything out of His completeness and sufficiency.

The name of God reveals all of this.  He is everything.  His being is whole and complete.  The really good news is that God has always been fully sufficient and will always be fully sufficient.  Nothing can ever change that.  His sufficiency can never run out.  Is lasts forever and ever, just like Him.  How wonderful!

Dear Lord, You are fully sufficient.  You lack nothing.  You are great and awesome.  Nobody is like You.  I find my full completeness in You.  I need You, Oh Lord.  Amen.

The Name of God – Power

Acts 3:6-8

6 But Peter said, “I do not possess silver and gold, but what I do have I give to you: In the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene -walk!” 7 And seizing him by the right hand, he raised him up; and immediately his feet and his ankles were strengthened. 8 With a leap he stood upright and began to walk; and he entered the temple with them, walking and leaping and praising God.

This cripple beggar had the same routine every day.  Every morning he would be carried to the gate of the Temple, to beg for money.  Every night, he had to be carried home.  This had been his whole life, for he was crippled from the day of his birth.  But this was a new day.  Two men are walking toward him and they will forever change his life.  They will not give him money, but instead something  so that he might be able to earn money.  The older stopped and said that he could give him money, but promised something even better.  He tells, this life long cripple, to stand in walk, in the name of Jesus Christ.  There is power in the name!

I do not believe we have the power now days to heal people like Peter did.  I believe this was something that was given to the Apostles.  But that does not mean, that the name of Jesus is not powerful.  In His name, people’s lives are still changed.  People are transformed from a poor beggar into somebody who is rich in faith.  Like this cripple, when people encounter Jesus, their lives are still changed and never the same again.

One example is the Apostle Paul.  Paul was originally known as Saul and he persecuted the church.  Putting Christians to death for following Jesus.  Paul had experience with Jesus and his life was forever changed.  He went from being a persecutor to the persecuted.  He would travel all the world, bringing the Gospel to new areas.  He was changed by Jesus.  He experienced the power that is Jesus’ great name.

There is power in the name!

Oh Lord, there is power in Your great name.  Mighty things can be done because of it.  Thank you for the power.  Thank you for the greatness of Your name.  Amen.