Articles

Obey the Truth of the Gospel

Obedience. The word conjures up images and thought of behavior and performance for many people. Legalistic pastors and leaders often teach on obedience in an effort to spur people on in their works – trying to make people fall in line and follow rules and regulations; leading many people into guilt, despair, confusion and fear when they fail… wondering how they could ever measure up, “be good enough” or be accepted and approved-of by God.

New Covenant obedience as defined in the scriptures, however, shows us a different kind of obedience. One not founded on the works or self-effort of man, but one based on the perfect work of Jesus Christ. This kind of obedience is backwards to man’s idea, and the thinking of the world. The world says that we must perform to become… we must perform properly to become accepted. However the scriptures tell us that in the New Covenant, we believe that through Christ, we have become accepted already, and we perform because we are New Creations through the Spirit. In reality, our belief is our obedience. We are obedient to the truth. And this is what we will be studying today.

Relax, God is Not Angry With You

I’ve encountered many people throughout my years, whom I have shared the truth with, that God is not angry with them. And many times, their response, was “I wish I could believe that.” They couldn’t receive the truth of God not being angry with them, because they were measuring His attitude towards them using a different standard. Instead of looking at the truth in scripture, they were looking at their current circumstances, their emotions and feelings of the moment, to gauge God’s mood, instead of what His eternal word says. When things were going well, God was obviously happy, and when things were not going well, God was obviously displeased. And so for these people, thy were constantly living a roller-coaster of ups and downs. Never on a solid foundation, but always on the shifting sand of the present moment.

However, God does not want us to live that way… that’s not the abundant life that He came to give us. He paid a high and precious price to reconcile us with Himself – and that is not a maybe, or a half-hearted reconciliation. Jesus has done a complete work, one that has a sure result; one that we can be confident in, and one that does not waiver back and forth like the wind, or get tossed around by the waters of daily life. What we will be studying today is why you can be absolutely sure of your status with God today. Why you can be bold and confident in your relationship with Him, and know beyond all doubt, why He is not angry with you today.

Seek First the Kingdom of God

One of the more notable statements made by Jesus can be found in Matthew 6:33, in which Jesus says that we are to seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all of the other things will be added to us. Now, as believers we have become fairly adept at seeking God’s righteousness, as that was made available for us by Jesus on the cross. Yet it is interesting that His righteousness was not the first thing mentioned by Jesus when telling us what to search for. Jesus said that we are to seek first the Kingdom of God.

Now in many Christian circles, the Kingdom of God is not talked about very much; most people don’t even properly know what the Kingdom of God even is, or how to define it. We haven’t really sought it first as we were told to, but we have instead been seeking His Righteousness without His Kingdom. That’s why today in this study we will be examining what His Kingdom is, and what it means to seek (and find) the Kingdom of God.

Jesus Loves You (Even When You Don’t Feel It)

The phrase “Jesus Loves You” is powerful. Never has there been three simple words that have the ability to break bondages and transform lives like this one phrase. I have been in situations where this one simple phrase has totally delivered people, broken down emotional walls and set captive hearts free. And I have also been in situations where the phrase has been mocked, snickered at and downplayed to be less than what it is. The sad reality is that much of the latter, has actually happened by church-goers.

In many Christian-circles, we have reduced the powerful phrase “Jesus Loves You”, and we see it is something less, because our own vision and understanding of it has been lessened. I have talked to believers who respond to the phrase “Jesus Loves You”, with a “Yeah but…” – I know He loves me, but I still need more, kind of mentality. We fail to see the vastness of His love, and all that it includes. Today we will be looking at the wonder and majesty that is the love of God, demonstrated in Jesus Christ, and by seeing the truth, we can receive it for all that it is.

The Gift of God’s Love

One question that seems to come up over and over is the question of activity. People have said to me that they want to “do things for God”, they want to be useful and they aren’t sure what He wants them to do. I’ve heard the frustration and confusion and uncertainty in the voice of people when they tell me how they feel like they are stagnating and they are searching all around for some way that they can be “used by God” and that thought and that drive consumes them, and they feel as though their life and time is being wasted doing nothing.

Let me tell you today that while I certainly understand the heart behind those feelings and the desire to do something, I must also tell you today that the answer I give to each person who expresses those feelings to me is the same… and it is a word from God that catches a lot of people off-guard.. maybe God wants you to not do anything right now, but receive His love. You see, most people are so busy looking for something to do for God, they have forgotten the real reason why they were created in the first place – to be filled with the Spirit and the fullness of God and receive His love. This is what we will be studying today.

Understanding Strongholds and Freedom

As believers, when we hear the phrase “stronghold” most of us think of demons, evil powers and maybe even demonic possession. The term stronghold has come to be used in our language as an almost blanket term for the things I just mentioned, and many times people use the word almost as a default for when they cannot label a bondage to be something else. This practice has led to a lot of confusion, frustration and even fear over the years as people begin wondering if they have a stronghold, and if so, are they demon possessed, or oppressed.

I have actually had people ask me flat-out if they had a demon (either through possession or oppression). The very fact that they would ask such a question, is an indicator that these subjects are not being talked about or clearly taught well enough. So today we will be studying the topic of strongholds, to see what the Bible actually says about them, and how to be free from them through Jesus Christ.

God Has Spoken Through Jesus

Do you want God to speak to you? Have you been desperately searching for a word from God? Many people want to hear from God, but they are uncertain exactly how to know whether He has spoken to them or not. Often-times I hear people say, “well, I think He spoke”, and other times people want so desperately for Him to speak that they become deceived and start believing a lie, sometimes for years. I hear the frustration of people when they say, why can’t God just make it simple to hear His voice!

Well, God has made it simple. God has spoken. And what He has spoken is so profound and so vital for each and every person, that once heard and received will change your outlook and your entire life. Today we will be studying exactly how and what God has spoken to us, and by seeing this truth, we will not be uncertain any longer.

The Restoration of Your Image

Let me begin straight-away by telling you that I used to be a very fearful, introverted an angry person. I used to have all kinds of negative, thoughts, negative feelings and negative emotions. I used to let those things define me, define who I was, and define my future as well. However while I was too blind to see it back then all those years ago; none of that was true, that was not truly who I was, and my destiny in Christ was far greater than those petty things.

Since then, I have learned that my experiences are not all that unique. There are a lot of people still living by their thoughts, feelings and emotions, and allowing those things to direct and define their existence. However, I want to share with you today that just as myself, your destiny is far greater than those things. Your destiny is to have your image restored to the way that God intended. To be lifted out of whatever pit you may find yourself in and to be dusted off and cleaned-up – not through your own works or self-efforts, or painful suffering and endurance as all of the man-made religions of the world tend to portray… but by the glory of Christ and the power of His Spirit. This is what we will be studying today.

Understanding Your Relationship

I used to think that being a believer meant regular church attendance, remembering and reciting Bible verses, and obedience to the Law. I tried my best to do all of those things, and indeed I felt “religious”, I felt like I was part of “the club”, but inside I was still just as empty, just as hurting and just as dead as I was before… only now there was a layer of religiosity covering the vacuum on the inside of me like a bandage.

Since then, there has been a Christian slogan going around that has become rather popular: Christianity is not a religion, it is a relationship. You may have heard that slogan before – it is catchy, and it is absolutely true; no question about it. But do we really understand it? I know that I didn’t when I first heard it. Sure, I acknowledged that Christianity was a relationship; it was a clever thing to say, but deep down nothing really changed – I was still completely dominated by traditions, still bound by rules and religion and letting those be a poor substitute for a genuine relationship with God… and I was still just as empty, just as hurt and just as dead as before.

The Power of Love

God is Love. A lot of people have that sign hanging in their homes, or as a sticker on their car, some even have it tattooed on their body. But do you know that there is great power, even divine power in love? We often don’t stop to think of the implications of that statement that God is Love; and not just any kind of love, but divine love. You see the world has greatly corrupted the idea of love… some see it as synonymous with sexual intercourse, while others see it as something cruel and hurtful. However divine love is not like our corrupted human ideas of love. Divine love is so much more, and so much better, and so very powerful

The Bible says that we can have all knowledge, all wisdom, and all understanding, but if we do not have love, we are empty… we are noise without substance, and what we will be studying today, is the power of divine love. Because there are many who think that love is weak, but in reality, it is the strongest and greatest of all.