We will discuss the following 10 questions, one each week, beginning on Thursday, June 23, 2011 at 6:30 p.m. at Impact Church in Detroit. These questions, found in Marcia Ford’s book “A Conversation with God for Women” will be the basis of our weekly Woman 2 Woman sessions. I hope you can join us!
- Why do we have to face temptation?
- Did Jesus experience human emotions while on earth?
- How can the Bible still be relevant?
- Is there a purpose to life?
- Do we have to go to church?
- What about women in ministry?
- Why aren’t some prayers answered?
- How can we love unlovable people?
- Why are there restrictions on sex?
- How can we respect an ungodly boss?
BONUS: What about people who continue to sin?
There is a lot of talk these days about winning. Even in children’s competitions, rather than allowing them to experience loss so that they can one day appreciate victory, all of the competitors leave with medals or trophies. While it’s true that you don’t have faces with frowns or sobs of tears, they miss a valuable lesson.
You learn more from your failures than you do from your successes. We know this to be true because of an old saying “practice makes perfect”. While perfection is not always attainable, we do find a measure of success after completing the task numerous times. This is the case whether you’re practicing your handwriting or trying to pass the boards. When you keep at it, you learn what works well, and what does not.
In order to win, or finally reach that level of success you seek, perseverance is key. “Therefore I am ready to persevere and stand my ground with patience and endure everything for the sake of the elect [God's chosen], so that they too may obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus, with the reward of eternal glory” (2 Timothy 2:10). Whatever you do, don’t give up, don’t give in. Keep at it so that God gets the glory in your life. It is only through our Lord and Savior that victory is ours.
I started this book and could not put it down until I was finished. It draws you in with the story of a successful young man who is living the life he’s always planned -the career, the wife, the kid, the house…until tragedy strikes. I’ve read some of Jerry B. Jenkins other books, but it was something about this one that reverberated deep in my soul.
Now, I’m not usually an emotional person, but the climax of the book made me flat out heave with sobs. You might not think that’s a good thing, but not only is it good to cry, but it lets you know some things about yourself that you may not have realized. The life lessons for me was three-fold.
- Life is precious, so value every moment spent with your loved ones, especially those you live with.
- Success in our own eyes pales in comparison to that of the Father. (He knows the thoughts He thinks towards you, thoughts of good, not of evil, to bring you to an expected end ~Jeremiah 29:11)
- We can have no other gods before Him, so be careful who you give your worship and adoration. Our spouse and children can quickly become idols IF we are not committed to Christ. This is true whether you are a new believer or have been going to church since you were a child.
We never know when tragedy is going to strike in our lives, but regardless what we go through, God can turn it around for our good. I want to emphasize that God is not the author of confusion, but He does allow our choices to ultimately bring us closer to Him.
Restoration is the underlying theme in this book. Whether you are familiar with law enforcement, gang wars, or any other type of criminal activity, this novel offers a refreshing look at God revealing Himself to His children. As the end draws near, you begin to see that God really does offer us second chances to get it right. In all truth, it’s a fulfillment of Proverbs 22:6 “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old, he will not depart from it”.
You may know the author from the famous Left Behind series novels. This book is the first in Jerry B. Jenkins new police trilogy. It’s a great reminder of the cost of sin, but the greater cost that Christ paid to take away our sins. I can’t wait to read the next in the series from this very gifted evangelistic novelist. I liked this book so much, that I’m giving one away. Be the first to comment on this review if you want to receive a gift certificate to receive your own copy of The Brotherhood: A Precinct 11 Novel.
I received a complimentary copy of this book for review purposes from Tyndale House. A positive review was not required and the opinions expressed here is strictly my own views of the book. Please visit www.tyndale.com for more information on this book or author.
In my studies this past week, I found this refreshing passage of scripture. It’s Psalm 103:1-5. Housed within that text are five ways of being renewed – strong, overcoming and soaring like an eagle. I like to think of it as five steps to a new you, and it starts with not forgetting one of God‘s benefits.
- Don’t forget the sins that you have been forgiven of;
- Don’t forget the diseases that you have been healed of (Dis-ease is anything that causes you to be uneasy in addition to physical ailments);
- Don’t forget that God has redeemed your life from death, hell and corruption;
- Don’t forget that God wraps you in beauty & dignity and crowns you with His loving kindness and tender mercy daily;
- Don’t forget that God satisfies your mouth with good – so speak life into your own situation.
Remembering these things will cause us to be more grateful, more humble and more pleasant to be around. These things are good reminders as we go through our day that “I am still here and it’s by the grace of God”. Allow His Word to renew you each day.
Are you a part of this benefit plan?
- God is our Refuge + Strength… (alyssagill.wordpress.com)
Okay, I couldn’t resist. Today is 1/11/11 and this posted at 1:11 a.m. The question simply is: Who’s #1 in your life? Can you look at Psalm 73:25 and honestly say that it is true in your life?
“Whom have I in heaven but You? And I have no delight or desire on earth besides You.” (Psalm 73:25 AMP)
Are there things we desire over God? Are there things that we place above God in our lives? Do the things in the world give us more joy than Him or our relationship with Him? Is that why we don’t seek Him first? (Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you - Matthew 6:33KJV). It’s a good reminder that we have not “arrived” yet. Stay humble and keep seeking His face.
Be careful what you ask for because the answer comes when you least expect it. I often wondered why it seems easier for some to be intimate with God than others. As we’re going through the “Clutter to Clarity” series, one of the things I’ve learned is:
“If you undervalue yourself, you will tend to shy away from intimacy with God. You will keep God at arm’s length because you don’t feel worthy of His time and attention. The result is a life without the healing power of God’s love.” ~Nancy Twigg
All I can say is WOW. The opposite is just as dangerous. If you overvalue yourself, you will live life like you don’t need God. Either way, the enemy wins. Why is it that the enemy doesn’t seem to bother you when you pray sparingly and read your Bible in spurts? When you lack consistency in spending time with God, you pose no threat to his plans. The distractions come when you decide to give God your all. Don’t allow the distractions to discourage you. God desires to be close to you to speak into your life and change your current situation.
Ephesians 2:8 says that it’s only by grace that we have been saved. There is a new movie coming out in February 2011 called “The Grace Card” that speaks to the need for grace and forgiveness in our lives.
P.S. If you’re wondering why I choose to talk about TV shows and movies, it’s because there is a message in everything around us, IF we choose to pay attention. The things that we are most familiar with can minister volumes.
I came across a response to a person who was starting to feel that Christianity is not for them. They were praying, but did not “feel or see anything happening”. I believe many people have been there, but the answer is NOT in looking to new religions or other alternatives. Here is how one person responded:
It’s called the ‘Dark Night of the Soul’, poetic term for when someone raised in a particular belief starts to have serious doubts about it.
2 things can happen:
1. you’ll decide that Christianity is for you after all and go back to it;
2. you’ll reject Christianity and move on to something else.
If someone doesn’t believe if any religion this could mean they are atheist – someone who doesn’t believe there is a God – or agnostic – someone who is open-minded about whether there is a God or not. There is a lot of debate (some of it on these pages) about what these words mean exactly, whether you can be atheist and still be religious to a degree, etc.
Prayer alone may yield results; however, those results will not be the same as if we were in a committed relationship. In a committed relationship, you spend time with one another, you communicate – talking and listening, and you begin to understand the intent and the purposes in the other person’s heart. That’s how God is with us. He created us with purpose in mind. He knows the thoughts He thinks towards us, thoughts of good and not of evil to bring us to an expected end (Jeremiah 29: 11). We come to the table with our own thoughts and purposes for our own lives and this doesn’t always line up with his plans. (How many people have ever said “I never, ever though I’d be doing THIS”?) Because God desires our best, sometimes the answer to our prayers is “NO”. Does that mean God doesn’t love us? Not at all. We have to recognize that God is not Santa Claus or a genie in a bottle just there to grant our every wish.
Christians need sound Biblical teaching which is found in a local church where you hear the Word. Reading and studying the Word is a part of discipleship, also known as studying to show yourself approved unto God (II Timothy 2:15). Meditating on what you have studied is also a part of that equation (Psalm 1:2). It’s only after you have heard, read, studied and meditated on that Word that you can memorize it easier. After you’ve heard, read, studied, meditated and memorized the Word, then you can apply it to your life fully. (Notice how you usually only hear and read the Word on a Sunday morning, but everything else requires a deeper commitment.)
Is there any wonder why praying alone seems ineffective for Christians? Why study other religions when you don’t know the one you’re in very well? Is Christianity your lifestyle or just a title that you keep?
Comparison is often defined as an estimate of similarities and differences. When we look at all of the things that people tend to put before God, there is no comparison!
- The moon has no brightness compared to God’s glory and the stars are not pure in His sight (Job 25:5), yet some Christians follow horoscopes daily but refuse to read the Word of God. No comparison!
- Wonderful are the works He has done; no one can compare to Him (Psalm 40:5), yet some believers chose to worship the creation (job, money, house, car, possessions) instead of the Creator. No comparison!
- Man is created in the image and likeness of God, but cannot add one second to his lifetime, yet people still want to put their family (spouse, children, parents, siblings) before God, instead of keeping God first. No comparison!
- Why use the name of the Lord in vain when that is the only name you can call upon to be saved? No comparison!
- People try to find their own way by believing superstitions, calling psychics, mediums and talking to demons (pretending to be their dead relatives) when Jesus clearly said He is the way, the truth and the life (John 14:6). No comparison!
- Folks won’t honor God in their finances by tithing but will give daily sacrifices to the lottery and the casinos (then pray when they can’t pay their bills). No comparison!
The Church is the ekklesia, the called out ones. We are an assembly of people under one headship, Jesus Christ, the head of the Church, His bride. We are not the world, nor should we behave as such. Choose this day whom you will serve because indeed there is no comparison.
One of the things we often hear is what people feel they can’t do. “I can’t do (this)” or ”If only I could do (that)” is being worn as a “cloak of invisibility” or an excuse not to venture out of your comfort zone. The problem with staying in shallow waters is if you stay there too long, you end up catching all of the debris. If you’ve ever stood on the beach, eventually the seaweed and other debris (things other people didn’t want) ends up entangled around you. This can cause you to lose your balance (shift in priorities) or fall if you’re not careful.
Your “might” refers to your physical ability to do something. Not everyone can be the ideal height. Not everyone has the best physique. We don’t select the “physical man” we wear, (although we can contribute to its upkeep),but we can effect the spiritual man, with God as our help. What am I talking about? It wasn’t because of Christ‘s physical stature that He was able to bear the cross. He was full of the Spirit of God. Jesus, for the joy [of obtaining the prize] that was set before Him, endured the cross, despising and ignoring the shame, and is now seated at the right hand of the throne of God. (Hebrews 12:2)
What is it that you’ve had to endure? What is it that you’ve been avoiding because you thought it was too much. If God has given you the vision for it, He will give you the provision to maintain it. Remember, it’s not by power, not by might, but by His Holy Spirit, saith the Lord (Zechariah 4:6). You can do all things through Christ who gives you strength (Philippians 4:13).