How to Dethrone the Stomach God

It’s Day 2 of our 7-fasting. So far so good. Thousands of people from our different churches in Victory and Every Nation have joined the fast. But to tell you honestly, when I was feeding my girls for lunch, I was tempted to take the next bite of chicken adobo. But I overcame!

I am re-posting a blog from Pastor Steve Murrell:
Food is a powerful force. What, when and how much we eat can be a deadly and spiritual decision. Consider this:
– The first commandment was about food.
– The first temptation was about food.
– The first sin was about food.
Food and appetite – what we do with both is kinda important.
I have often told you before and now tell you again even with tears, many live as enemies of the cross of Christ.
Their destiny is destruction, their god is their stomach, and their glory is in their shame. Their mind is on earthly things.
(Phil 3:19, 20)
Could this “their god is their stomach” comment somehow be connected to the “enemy of the cross” idea? I’m afraid so.
I don’t want to be an enemy of the cross, so I’m intentionally dethroning the stomach god this week. And the process is brutal. I feel like if I drink any more water, I’ll grow gills, and scales.
I dethrone the stomach god at the beginning of every year – but somehow he manages to make a comeback – usually during holidays.
How do I keep him off the throne? Maybe the cross is the key. Gotta kill that false stomach god, before he gets too big.
Happy fasting everyone! See you in our prayer meetings!

Source: Faith

A Fresh Vision Of God

2010. A new year . . . a new decade.

So many things happened last year – both good and bad. For our nation as well, many triumphs and many tragedies. We saw about 13 typhoons hitting our country with Ondoy and Pepeng leading the highest number of casualties and damage caused. The Maguindanao massacre shocked not only the Filipinos here but also sent tremors abroad. But despite the tragedies, we also had our share of triumphs. Two big news were the following: Manny Pacquiao’s 7th boxing title and the win of Efren Penaflorida as CNN’s Hero of the Year.
There are different emotions that come up at the beginning of the year. Some have fear of the future; others are filled with anxiety and worry not knowing how to pay the bills accumulated during the holidays; still others have wounded faith because of many unmet expectations during the past year.
But despite the ups and downs, one thing is still the same. God’s steadfast love never ceases! His mercies are new every morning.
Let us not put limits in a limitless God. No limits, no border, no boundaries. Let’s put our faith in God!
NO LIMITS WITH A LIMITLESS GOD.
Many people write faith goals and new year’s resolutions. But many of these are statements of “I will” – I will lose xx pounds. Or I will read my bible more this year. Or I will save this much in my bank account. Or I will finally get married this year. But instead of “I will”, maybe it is better to write a declaration of “God will”. When we focus on what we can do, it often results in frustration, failure and discouragement. But when we focus on what God can do, the burden suddenly shifts from us to Him. God is willing. He is able.
Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to the power that is at work within us (Eph. 3:20)

Source: Faith

Resurrection and Judgment (Sunday Recall Nov. 1, 2009)

My sermon outline:
Heb. 6:2 instruction about baptisms, the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment.

All saints and all souls day. This is the time that people remember their dead. I remember my son because it is just about this time that it happened. (Six years ago, he got sick of TB meningitis, got paralyzed and eventually died after two months)
So many participate in the pagan Halloween practice – Trick or treat (no biblical).
Thousands of Filipinos flock the cemetery to visit and pay respect for their dead.
Q. Why is there such a fascination to know more about the life beyond this life?
Many would like to unveil the mystery the spiritual world.
Why are we talking about death?
Tension: Your view of eternity will determine how you live today.

3 competing views of life after death:
1. Annihilationism – when you’re dead you’re dead (You can live any way you want)
2. Re-incarnation – better luck next time. If you did not perform well in this life, then you can come back in another life form i.e. dog, tree, mouse, mosquito, etc.
3. Resurrection – there is life after death. All the dead will rise up (not like zombies) and will either eternally live with God in heaven or will be eternally be condemned.
The resurrection of Christ is at the center of Christian faith!

What do we know about death and eternity?
1. Life is short.
Psalm 90:10 – The length of our days is seventy years— or eighty, if we have the strength; yet their span is but trouble and sorrow, for they quickly pass, and we fly away.
–        What are we living for?
–        Most of the things that we pursue are temporal in nature.
–        We need to fix our eyes on eternal things.
2. Death is certain.
Heb. 9:27 Just as man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment,
Heb. 9:28 so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many people; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him.
We are all destined to die.
According to the latest statistics the mortality rate is still 100%. Everybody will die.
What will happen in the judgment is determined by how you treated Christ in your lifetime. Why? Because our sin separates us from a holy God.
But there is good news: Jesus died to pay the penalty for our sins and He didn’t stay dead. He rose up again to save us. Those who call upon the Lord will be saved. If you ask Him, he will forgive your sins. If you are saved, then your name will be written in the Lamb’s Book of life. Nothing can blot it out from there. And the angels in heaven will rejoice.
3. We will all face judgment.
The thought of being judged by somebody can be sobering/ scary. Can you imagine if God will be the one judging you?
John 5:28 “Do not be amazed at this, for a time is coming when all who are in their graves will hear his voice
John 5:29 and come out—those who have done good will rise to live, and those who have done evil will rise to be condemned.

What will take place in the judgment? (Separation of sinners and righteous)
1. Great white throne judgment – many Christian scholars believe that this is for the unbelievers; judged by works but we know that works cannot save us. We are saved by grace not by works. Those whose names are not found in the Lamb’s book of life will be thrown in the lake of fire.
Rev. 20:12 And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Another book was opened, which is the book of life. The dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded in the books.
Rev. 20:15 If anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.

2. Judgment seat of Christ – only for believers
2Cor. 5:10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive what is due him for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Your eternal destination is not determined in the judgment seat of Christ. It was already determined while you were on earth and you put your faith in Christ.
What is being judged there? Good works, not salvation. This is the time when God will give rewards to Christians for the works they have done while on earth. Salvation has been given when we put our faith in Christ (while on earth). This is the time when rewards will be given.
1Cor. 3:12 If any man builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw,
1Cor. 3:13 his work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each man’s work.
1Cor. 3:14 If what he has built survives, he will receive his reward.
1Cor. 3:15 If it is burned up, he will suffer loss; he himself will be saved, but only as one escaping through the flames.
–        The day will bring it to light.
–        Fire will test the quality of each man’s work.
Will you receive a reward?
Don’t build your life on material things (sticks) but on things that endure to the end (costly stones). Our words, actions, and motives as Christians will be judged.

MAINPOINT: YOUR VIEW OF ETERNITY WILL DETERMINE HOW YOU LIVE.

Source: Faith

Baptism and Laying of Hands (Sunday Recall Oct. 25)

Heb. 6:2 instruction about baptisms, the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment.

Last week, we talked about repentance from dead works and putting our faith in God.
Repentance is a relationship. Turning away from an old master and turning to a new master.
As part of hygiene, we were taught to wash our hands before eating. Taking a bath is a normal routine for us. Filipinos are fond of taking a bath. I heard of foreigners who prefer to hire Filipinos as employees because we are a clean race. We normally take a bath twice a day.
Transition: What do the Jews believe about baptism and laying on of hands?
Old testament practice:
Numbers 19: 19b-20 – The person being cleansed must wash his clothes and bathe with water, and that evening he will be clean. But if a person who is unclean does not purify himself, he must be cut off from the community, because he has defiled the sanctuary of the Lord.
No “baptism” word in the old testament, but a Law on washing and cleansing.
Who or what needs washing & cleansing? It’s done ceremonially! No man can come in the sanctuary of the Lord unless he is clean.
Objects: utensils, things in the temple (dedicated to God), clothes of an unclean person
People:  Levitical priests (Aaron’s sons) – for consecration before entering the tent of meeting or altar so that they will not die
– To cleanse those who touched unclean animals or dead things
Bathsheba – was bathing when David saw her to have purification after menstrual cycle (2 Sam. 11)
Naaman – In 2 Kings 5, the prophet Elisha told him to wash in the Jordan to have cleansing.
Wrong Understanding of Baptism:
1. “Pouring”
Baptism comes from the Greek word “baptizo” which means “immersion”.
The first mention of Baptism in the bible was during the time of John the Baptist wherein he would baptize a repentant sinner in the Jordan river.
Pouring is done only when there is no water available.
As Filipinos, we are familiar with infant baptism. Binyag or kumpil which meant that a baby being baptized is being welcomed into the Christian world and whose original sin will be cleansed.
2. “Cleanses sin”
Baptism does not save you and will not save you. We are saved by trusting in what Christ did on the cross. He died as a payment for our sins. Our act of doing baptism cannot add to what Jesus did. His work on the cross is complete. “It is finished.”
Matt. 3:15 Jesus replied, “Let it be so now; it is proper for us to do this to fulfill all righteousness.” Then John consented.
–        Jesus did it not to be cleansed but as a proof of righteousness. With his baptism, he identified with humanity’s sin and failure becoming our substitute.
3.  “Baptismal Formula”
Acts 10:48 So he ordered that they be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. Then they asked Peter to stay with them for a few days.
– Some people think we need to baptized in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. While some do it “in Jesus name”.
What Baptism is:
1. Baptism of Repentance
Mark 1:4 And so John came, baptizing in the desert region and preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.
John’s baptism – altar call; public declaration (show picture)
–        Modern preachers do the contemporary altar call to ask people if they want to make Jesus as Lord.
–        John’s baptism is a baptism of repentance. It was a form of altar call and a public declaration that they are believers.
2.  Newness in Life
Rom. 6:3 Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death?
Rom. 6:4 We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.
We identify with the death, burial and resurrection of Christ in baptism.
3.  Baptism of the Holy Spirit
Acts 2:38 Peter replied, “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.
Acts 2:39 The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off—for all whom the Lord our God will call.”
–  The Holy Spirit fills us with good things in order to be a blessing to other people.
Baptism is a declaration that we belong to Christ.
ON LAYING ON OF HANDS:

1. To ORDAIN & COMMISSION SPIRITUAL LEADERS
2. To minister the BAPTISM OF THE HOLY SPIRIT
3. To impart SPIRITUAL GIFTS
(Joshua from Moses; Timothy from elders; Acts 6)
4. To impart FAMILY BLESSING.
Fathers – have a special role in the releasing of the blessing for the children
Hands should be used to bless and not to hurt.
– Hands are not used to discipline but the rod.
5. To minister HEALING.
Praying for sick people. Authority of believer.

MAINPOINT: SINCE WE BELONG TO CHRIST, WE MUST BE A BLESSING TO OTHERS.

Source: Faith

What To Give The Typhoon Ondoy Victims

Is. 55:1 “Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come, buy and eat!  Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost.
Is. 55:2 Why spend money on what is not bread, and your labor on what does not satisfy? Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good, and your soul will delight in the richest of fare.
In the feeding and relief distribution, I saw people lining up for relief goods for hours. Some of them line up from morning in order to get the much-needed packs by evening. In the news, some people are fighting just to have some canned sardines and instant noodles. We went to several evacuation centers to do medical missions, relief distribution and feeding program and saw people who are distressed; many of them grieving because they lost everything that they have. But when they get the bags or the food they have waited for, you will see their faces light up. But it dawned on me that these things that we are giving them would only satisfy their stomachs for a few hours and then they will go hungry again.
Relief, as the word connotes, is really just a temporary remedy to their huge problems. Many of them had the problem of poverty and hunger even before the typhoon hit.
Different government agencies, companies, private individuals and media organizations are also doing relief work. Some have moved on from relief to rehabilitation and rebuilding. They offer things that will only fix the problem temporarily. But as a church, we have something to offer that will last. We need to give them a better solution. Besides giving them a pack of food and mineral water, we can also introduce them to the Bread of Life and the Living Water. People need the Lord. He is inviting us to come to Him because He is the only One who can truly satisfy. I believe that during times of disasters, people hearts are more open to receiving comfort from the Prince of Peace.
Is. 55:6 Seek the LORD while he may be found; call on him while he is near.

In photo:  Children of the evacuees in Alabang Elementary School praying as Carlo Santos (Head of Kids Ministry) leads them while the parents are queing up for the  relief/ food distribution.

Source: Faith

Jesus and The Storm

Last Saturday (September 26), we witnessed the fury of tropical storm storm Ondoy as it unleashed massive rains that caused damaging and rampaging flood waters throughout Metro Manila. Billions of pesos worth of property damaged and more than two hundred lives lost. Many even lost their homes.
All over Metro Manila, we see the different areas where the fierce floods had destroyed property – cars, houses, etc.

Several of the Victory churches cancelled their services last Saturday and Sunday. Others including us decided to do a worship and prayer service. We decided to postpone our new series preaching and instead minister encouragement and comfort to the people.

Here was the sermon I shared during the Sunday services (Sept. 27):
Mark 4:35 That day when evening came, he said to his disciples, “Let us go over to the other side.”
Mark 4:36 Leaving the crowd behind, they took him along, just as he was, in the boat. There were also other boats with him.
Mark 4:37 A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped.
Mark 4:38 Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion. The disciples woke him and said to him, “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?”
Mark 4:39 He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Quiet! Be still!” Then the wind died down and it was completely calm.
Mark 4:40 He said to his disciples, “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?”
Mark 4:41 They were terrified and asked each other, “Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him!”

How can we survive the storms of life?
Notice that Jesus said, “Let us go over to the other side.” It is important to note that his intention is to go to the other side and not in the middle of the lake and drown. If he says something, he will definitely fulfill it even if there are obstacles. Also he said,” Let us go. . “ and not just “Go”. His intent was to go with his disciples and not just to leave them.

Lessons from the story:

1.  Storms will come.
Storm came in the life of Jesus as well. He and the disciples found themselves in the middle of a strong storm out on the lake.
Storms are part of life. Here in the Philippines, storms will hit whether we like it or not. The question is’ “Are we prepared for it?”
1Pet. 4:12 Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you.
But even with the promises of God, we can still experience disappointments. Endurance and faith in God are the keys.
Hebrews 6:19 “We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure”
There are some people here today in whose life a storm is raging. For some it is financial. For others it is a health issue. Still others are being swamped in the area of relationships.
Just like the disciples, you may ask “Lord, don’t you care if I drown? Are you aware of what I am going through?”
A storm does not mean that God does not love you or is punishing you or is angry at you.
2.  Jesus is with us in the storm.
If you are going through a storm, one person you want in your boat is Jesus.
The problem of the disciples was not that Jesus wasn’t with them. He was with them but he was asleep. It was the only recorded verse where we see Jesus sleeping.
Other passages indicated that even late at night or early in the morning, Jesus is awake. In fact, he rebuked the disciples one time for sleeping instead of praying.
It seemed odd that Jesus would be sleeping in a storm. It seemed like He doesn’t care or He is too tired. We all have been in situations like this. You are in the middle of a crisis and it seems like God is off somewhere taking a nap. You get a silent treatment to your prayers. He does not seem to respond to your needs.
But could the real reason be that: He is at peace because he is in charge.
Mark 5:36 “Don’t be afraid; just believe.”
After he rebukes the storm, he rebukes his disciples. He asks them two questions: “Why are you so afraid?” and “Do you still have no faith?”.
He is hoping that his faithfulness in the past will cause you to trust him in the future.
Is. 43:2 When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;
and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.
ILLUSTRATION:
When we ride the roller coaster, we look forward to the thrill that we’ll get out of the ride. We are not really scared because of the harness and the safety measures that are in place. But what if before riding the roller coaster, you read assign that says “WARNING: There is a 50% chance that this roller coaster might breakdown during your ride due to worn-out parts!” Will you still go for the ride? The reason why you are thrilled riding in the first place is because of the confidence and security that your ride will be safe.
We are actually riding the roller coaster of our lives. Jesus is our harness and our security. And no matter how bumpy the ride will be – with all the ups, downs, twists, turns, flips, dips; you can be confident because the One holding you is reliable and trustworthy. In fact, we can let go of our hands!
3. Jesus will calm the storm.
Storms are temporary. At His perfect timing, He will speak to the elements of the storm “Quiet! Be still!” We need to be patient and just see the deliverance of God.
1Pet. 3:12 For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and his ears are attentive to their prayer,
4.  Jesus reveals himself in a storm.
Mark 4:41 They were terrified and asked each other, “Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him!”
The disciples have seen miracles in the past- healing of the sick, casting out of evil spirits, etc.  But the disciples saw the Creator and Lord that even the wind and waves will obey Him.
In the gospels, the disciples keep coming to new revelations of who Jesus is in the context of some crisis. Abraham knew God as Jehovah Jireh as he was going up Mt. Moriah. Noah met God as a giver of new life in the storms and flood. Daniel met the tamer of lions in the lion’s den. This is also true in our lives. Expect to know God deeper in a crisis.
MAINPOINT:  TRUST THAT JESUS WILL CALM THE STORMS OF LIFE.
If you don’t understand God’s hand, trust his heart.

Source: Faith

Suffering of A Close Friend

As I closed the series on Genuine, I shared in my sermon a story of a close friend regarding her journey of pain and suffering and the outcome of her life now that she is a Christian.
This is the story she told me:

She was raised in a well to do family as a young girl. Her parents have established businesses. Their house was the biggest house in their neighborhood then. People came in and out of their house because there was always food for everyone. Where there is food, there is a crowd.
She was a menopause baby – born 13th from a mother aged 43.
She had tetanus when she was 4 that almost took her life.
Lost her mother when she was 7years old in a tragic truck accident. A speeding truck lost its brake and turned to the sidewalk where her mom was and hit her. Her mom suffered a broken skull and died on the spot.
At age 8, father abandoned the family because he got depressed due to loss of his wife.
Lost their family home through a fire. Not a single thing in the house was saved except the clothes they were wearing. She was 9 years old.
Rebuilt the house but only to lose it in lawsuit because the other party bribed the judge (10 years old). She saw her house being bulldozed to the ground.
Lost all their vehicles and taxi business because of a betrayal of a family friend.
Eventually lost their business and stocks because of mismanagement of her father. In other words, they lost everything.
All siblings were distributed to different relatives just to survive. She was 10 years old then.
At 11 years old, she worked in the market selling fish and other seafood so she can continue her elementary school. She would wake up at 3am everyday then work until 11am then go to school from 12-6pm.
None of her siblings were able to finish school. She studied hard so she can be a scholar and continue her studies. She continued working through HS and college so she can cover other school expenses.
Her father died of emphysema when she was 24.
Her second eldest sister, died of cancer.
In a span of 2 years, 3 other siblings died. One sister to renal failure, a brother to cardiac arrest and another brother to asthma.
Lastly and most painful of all sufferings, she lost a child due to sickness.

Then I asked her, “How do you view life now having experienced all these?”
She answered, “The way I view life changed when I became a Christian. We still go through suffering and pain but we know that God never leaves us nor abandons us. I am grateful to God for my life. I was also blessed when I married you. ”
Yup. This is the story of my wife Shirley. I asked her permission to post this in my blog. I hope this can give hope and encouragement to those who are going through difficult situations. Though life may seem unfair many times, we serve a God who is abounding in loving kindness and mercy. He is a God who give us hope and a bright future. He is a God who can restore things and make them new.
I haven’t met anybody who suffered so much in life as my wife (maybe Job) and still manages to serve God and her family.
She is able to see God in her sufferings and continues to hang on to Him.
2Cor. 1:5 For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows.

Source: Faith

Sunday Recall (August 9, 2009)

We are in week 2 of our series GENUINE. We are talking about the kind of faith that serves as evidence of our walk with God.

What is the faith that God honors?  If the Bible says that without faith, it is impossible to please God, then what kind of faith is it that pleases God?
James 2:14 What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save him?
James 2:15 Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food.
James 2:16 If one of you says to him, “Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it?
James 2:17 In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.
James 2:18 But someone will say, “You have faith; I have deeds.” Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by what I do.
James 2:26 As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead.

James, the brother of Jesus wrote it for the Jewish believers scattered in the Gentile nations; written to expose hypocritical teachings and to teach Christian behavior.

The reformer Martin Luther had a problem with the Book of James.
–       He discovered God’s grace in the book of Romans “The just shall live by faith.” That justification is a gift of God and nobody is good enough to deserve the favor of God and the good works in not necessary for a person to get saved.
–       James insists that faith alone is not sufficient but that it must result in changed behavior.
–       He began to question if James should be part of the NT. He even suggested that the epistle might be a forgery and relegated it as part of the appendix in his bible but later accepted its canonicity.
–       But there were no inconsistencies with James. It lies in the emphasis.
–       Salvation is by God’s grace through faith and can’t be earned.
Eph. 2:8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—
Eph. 2:9 not by works, so that no one can boast.
But notice the next verse.
Eph. 2:10 For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
The reality of someone’s profession of faith will be demonstrated by their actions.

Paul’s focus is on salvation by faith alone in Jesus – for new believers.
James’ focus is on the evidence of salvation or service – for Christians already. What happens after you get saved.
If salvation is likened to a tree, then both Paul and James would agree, that the ROOT of the tree is faith alone, but the FRUIT of the tree is good works.

“How we live” will determine what kind of faith do we have?
James illustrates 3 kinds of faith people have.
1. DEAD FAITH
James 2:18 But someone will say, “You have faith; I have deeds.” Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by what I do.
James 2:17 – In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.

Faith should be alive and not dead.
If faith is dead then it is not real faith.

James questions the genuineness of the believers’ faith without evidence of good works.
Dead faith is when you say you trust God and believe in Him and yet you do nothing to put your faith into work.

ILL: James illustrates one who sees a brother/sister in need and yet does nothing to help.
2. HEAD FAITH
James 2:19 – You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that — and shudder.

Intellectual assent is agreeing on our head but not translating on how we live.
Agreeing on with a set of Christian teaching is incomplete.
Your may have the right theology but even the demons have a right theology. They believe in one God; they believe in the Trinity, in the deity of Christ, that he died for the sins of the world; and yet they are not saved.
Many people will miss heaven by 18 inches. It is the distance between your head to your heart. Unless your faith goes from your head to your heart and eventually change your life then that faith is a useless faith.

“Issue in the church today.  Churches are filled with people on Sunday who have no intention of doing anything for God during the week.  They sit back and listen to the sermon, but they rarely take it and apply it to their lives.” – Daniel Owens
3. GENUINE SAVING FAITH
James 2:21 Was not our ancestor Abraham considered righteous for what he did when he offered his son Isaac on the altar?
James 2:22 You see that his faith and his actions were working together, and his faith was made complete by what he did.
James 2:24 You see that a person is justified by what he does and not by faith alone.
James 2:26 As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead.

It was faith and action working together.

Every step (action) is a step of faith.
Active obedience demonstrates that our faith is genuine.
First Justification by God – brings salvation
Second justification by people around us- evidence of our faith and salvation
v. 18 – I will show you my faith by what I do
“show” Greek “deiknuo” which means expose to the eyes
Expose your good works to the world around you so that they may see your faith is genuine.
MAINPOINT: LIVE WHAT YOU BELIEVE.  

If we live what we believe, people will believe who we live for.
Matt. 5:16 In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.
Are you heavenly minded but not earthly good?
Are people convinced that you are a Christian because of what they see lived out in your life?
May the life that we live be consistent with the faith that we profess.
Next week, we’ll talk about the power of the tongue.

Source: Faith

Magic Eye or Mirror

Do you remember the time when you saw one of those Magic Eye posters, those that have a 3D image hidden in an abstract geometric pattern?  When they first came out, I remember seeing a group of people standing around these unusual paintings. They told me that if I stare long enough, there will be an image that will pop out of the picture. It took awhile before I got the technique. At first, I tried looking near then slowly move far. Or even tried crossing my eyes. And then voila! An image appears.

What 3D object do you see in the picture?
Many people think that God’s Word is like an optical illusion that if they stare at the Word long enough then a revelation will pop out that will change their life forever. Its not the revelation that changes our lives. It’s the application of the Word through the power of the Holy Spirit that  changes our lives.
In contrast, the Word is more like a mirror that reflects who we really are. It tells us who we are and who we are not.
The Word reveals who we are in light of who God is. He sets the standard for our life.
And once we find out, we are to do something about the Word. Don’t just read or listen to the Word. Let’s do it!
James 1:23 Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror
James 1:24 and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like.
How do you view the Word – Magic eye or mirror?

Source: Faith

Disturb Us, LORD

Have you ever prayed a dangerous prayer? One that will take you out of your comfort zone and maybe give you a feeling like you are hanging from a 500-foot cliff.
Sir Francis Drake once prayed a prayer that still sends tingle to my spine. The prayer goes:
“Disturb us, Lord, when we are too pleased with ourselves. When our dreams have come true because we dreamed too little. When we arrive safely because we have sailed too close to the shore. Disturb us, Lord.”
The truth is this prayer disturbed me! But then I realized that this is probably the most touching and trusting prayer that any child of God can pray to his Heavenly Father. It shows the reliability and faithfulness of God- that He will not give us any trials that will destroy us nor give us too much blessing that will lead us to forget Him.
Jer. 29:11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
Do you trust God enough that you are willing to let Him take you to a place of utter dependence on Him? Are you willing to let God take away anything that will hinder your walk with Him? Are you willing to lay down your plans for your future, your career, your family, your ministry, your life in order to have His will for you which is always good, pleasing and perfect?
Then I dare you to pray that prayer.
“Disturb us, Lord . . . .”

Source: Faith