Archive for the ‘Grace’ Category

Royal Flush

Posted: March 4, 2012 in Forgiveness, Grace, guest post

Post by Jesse Newell

At a particular time of day in a particular place in the state of Virginia a man decided to end someone’s life. The victim is 32 years of age, husband, and father of three. Reading a article about murder always makes thoughts careen through my head. Who was the victim? What was the confrontation about? Could it have been avoided? Sorrow for the widowed wife, and concern for her children. The most prominent thought is; where is the justice for the family? Justice, a word that every Christian ponders, whether they know it or not. We’ve spent most of our Christian lives pondering over our past sins and what the consequences will bring, secret or known. Will we get the justice we deserve? The answer to this question will lead us down two distinct paths: truth, and a lie.

If you’ve been to any Christian small group you will know that usually they are safe places to tell another brother or sister what you are struggling with. The Bible says to boast in our weaknesses, to acknowledge them and seek help. However, there are times where this turns away from the scriptures and parallels with our own selfish hearts. Every one of us has done things we’re not proud of and wish we could hop in a flux capacitor and punch our old self square in the jaw. But we can’t, and we settle with guilt that squeezes the very joy out of us. We play this game with other Christians comparing our sins to their sins. Conversations that go like this: “you think what you did was bad? Let me tell you about this-” or “no man I’ve hurt people, you don’t know what it means to hurt someone.” We play this psychological game of poker with each other thinking our sin was greater than our buddies sin. That somehow we have the straight flush and we’ve collected the chips of who’s sin hurt the most. It sounds exactly like grown men comparing each others cars, houses, jobs, status, and bank account. That we somehow have to win, when winning at this game leads to death. This attitude leads us down a road that undermines what Christ did on the cross. It leads us to a false gospel. Belief that even though Jesus forgives us, yet we can’t forgive ourselves is not humility it’s pride. Forgiveness of one self is important for it shows humility and trust in Christ. Saying you can’t forgive yourself is akin to putting your sin above God’s grace. Our perception is altered in the belief that we know Jesus suffered for us, but we too have to suffer, struggle, to pay for our sins. It’s telling Jesus that yes he died on the cross, but it wasn’t enough. This goes completely against the Gospel of grace.

“When people work, their wages are not a gift, but something they have earned. But people are counted as righteous, not because of their work, but because of their faith in God who forgives sinners.” Romans 4:4-5

The truth is we don’t need to suffer, feel ashamed, and ultimately die because Jesus already did.

“It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.” Galatians 5:1

One of the heaviest things in the world is guilt. I get a mental image of a man in chains, in a jail cell, hungry, and parched with thirst. The above verse calls it a yoke of slavery. Young Christians, including myself, struggle with laying before Jesus everything. Our concerns, problems, health, and shame. Yes, shame. Because the beauty of the cross was that Jesus not only took our sins but also our shame. Regardless of how light or how dark your sin is, Jesus trumps our straight flush with a royal flush, he declares us pure and holy. While sin is powerful to destroy relationships, bring pain, sorrow, misery, and ultimately damnation. It is powerless against God’s grace.

“This includes you who were once far away from God. You were his enemies, separated from him by your evil thoughts and actions. Yet now he has reconciled you to himself through the death of Christ in his physical body. As a result, he has brought you into his own presence, and you are holy and blameless as you stand before him without a single fault.”
Colossians 1:21-22

I’m writing about this topic because I’ve struggled myself with it for so long and have seen its draining attributes. Holding back forgiveness destroys effective repentance and limits our ability to serve God in the church.The last few months I’ve continued to be overwhelmed with God’s freedom he wants in my life. The joy in serving him has now exploded for the shackles of my guilt have been thrown off. I’ve walked out of the jail cell, and from the kindness of Jesus, not because I deserved it. He told the Judge, I love this man, and I’ll pay his fine.

Father God, thank you for putting this on my heart, and showing me the areas of my life that you want to intercede in. I ask that you humble me so I can get beyond myself. Forgive me for my self-pity and anxious heart. Thank you Lord for your Son, and the freedom that He brings. In Jesus name. Amen.

Advertisements

Have you seen the Lord?

Posted: February 10, 2012 in Forgiveness, Grace, Harvest Youth

This is not a trick question, and there are no wrong answers I swear, and I do not think any less of you if you answer either way.

Who here thinks they are wicked?

Who thinks they have seen God?

Some of us say we are Christians, but we don’t live like one.

I said it last week, do you think that God leaves you when you walk out this door, or do you realize that the Lord truly sees everything.

I think that some of you have not seen the Lord, or you think you have, but you haven’t.

3 things happen when we see the Lord, as you will see in Isaiah 6

1) It exposes us
Isaiah 6:5 who is me… I am a man of unclean lips… and because my eyes have seen the Lord.

Do you know who Isaiah is?

He was regarded as a prophet, made multiple prophesies about the coming of Jesus Christ, and was a Godly man, yet when he saw the Lord, he knew he was ruined.

Why would a prophet say that he is a man of unclean lips? I mean who is righteous if not the prophet of the Lord.

Unclean lips means ethically unclean, which if you look up wicked in the dictionary, that’s what it says.

In the Old Testament, the Lord did not speak directly to anyone, except the prophet.

So the only guy that God is talking to knows he is wicked, yet when I ask teenagers if they think they are wicked they usually say no… strange.

WHEN WE SEE THE LORD, IT EXPOSES US.

We see how sinful we are, we don’t try to justify our wicked actions and thoughts.

When we see Him, we know we are sinful… We know when we see the Lord.

2) It exposes our culture
Isaiah 6:5 I Live among a people of unclean lips

How often do you try to justify hanging out with the wrong crowd? Are you trying to justify it now?

Do you have friends that constantly bring you down, yet you still hang out with them and they do not change?

Do you bring your friends up, or do they bring you down?

James 4:4 whoever desires to be a friend of the world has become an enemy of God.

I’m not saying you can’t have a friend who is not a Christian, but eventually if they are not willing to let you live the life you are trying to live, and they constantly are trying to get you to sin, then you have a choice to make.

3) It turns us into world changers
Isaiah 6:8 God says, “who shall I send?” Isaiah says, “Here I am send me.”

HOW CAN WE CHANGE THE WORLD IF WE DON’T KNOW THE WORD?!?!?!

John 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

Psalm 40:7 See I have come in the volume of the book

Psalm 42:2 I thirst for God, the living God. When can I come and appear before God?

When we truly see God, we see that we are evil, that our friends are doomed, and that we have to do something.

Be a world changer.

Let this be the theme for your year and your life.

Here I am, send me –Isaiah 6:8

God bless,
Dan Fogarty.

100%Grace and truth

Posted: March 22, 2011 in Grace, Norfolk Adventures, Truth

We need to have 100% Grace and 100% truth in our lives –Steve Kelly head pastor of Wave Church in Virginia Beach Virginia

How true is that!  Have you ever meet someone who is so grace based that they ignore clear direction from scripture? Some say that since Jesus came we can do whatever we want… but scripture clearly says otherwise.  Paul when addressing the church in Galatia wrote,

”The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.” Gal 5:21-23 NIV

  • Sexual immorality would include anything other than kissing in a relationship that is not a marriage!
  • Idolatry covers anything you worship, like your TV, money, sex, cars, ext..
  • Honestly… not many people use witchcraft these days! Lol
  • Hatred, whoa!  You mean I can’t hate my boss who is an inconsiderate jerk?… nope! Nor can we hate anyone.  We have to forgive people and move on! This is not an option people
  • Discord means to disagree.  Now this does not mean that we cannot have our own opinions, but have you ever meet the Christian who knows the Bible so well he is annoying?  I mean the guy that’s always picking fights with people about the petty details… are you that guy?  Or do you like to start quarrels and arguments?  The Bible says you should not be doing those things.
  • Ever been jealous?  Is it a habitual thing where you are comparing yourself to others all of the time?  Not good.
  • Do you blow up allot?  Sometimes this is me… I have a hard time keeping my emotions in check sometimes, I need the blood of Christ!
  • Are you selfish?  Is it to the point that you are effecting those around you constantly?  That’s a no no to!
  • Do you envy others?  Are you one who compares yourself to those around you and wish you had what they have? Don’t do it… you do not know what’s in there head, they might be worse off than you!  I’ve had people in the Army say things like, “Man I wish I could do what you do…” I would like to say to those people that I do not have it all together.  For instance, sometimes I have nightmares of Iraq, sometimes I have a hard time focusing, I have been diagnosed with PDHD (I do not claim that), I have 2 bum knees and a bad neck…. And I do not have a firm grasp on my temperament all of the time… none of us have arrived, but we need to keep pressing on and not make sinning a habit or a GRACE thing!   I need enough grace without adding some on by disobeying God’s clear teaching.
  • Drunkenness! But I thought Jesus turned the water into wine and got allot of people drunk… no way!  Jesus would not sin, and did not sin… drunkenness in wrong, right?
  • Orgies, do we even have to talk about this one?

So, just from a few lines of scripture we can see that God does not want us to practice such things.  That does not mean that we will never slip up, that means you should not be practicing sin!  Grace is abundant with the Lord, but we do need to obey God’s teaching in the scripture in order to receive grace.  Paul says that he did the things he did not want to do, we all do, but we press on toward perfection knowing that we will not fully obtain it until we are called home with Jesus.

Here is some truth, not everyone who says, “Lord, Lord” will enter Gods kingdom.  It is the ones who do the will of God that will enter His rest (Matt 7:22).  Are you sinning in an area of your life that you know is wrong?  Do you want to know how to get out of it?  Stop doing it!!! Seriously, I know it sounds like a hard thing but you can do it!  God is faithful, and He will not allow you to be tempted farther than you can handle (1Cor 10:13).Trust in the Lord today while there is still time.

May you have 100% grace and 100% truth in your life.