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How to Get the Spring Back in Your Spiritual Step

Posted on March 25, 2018 By In Encouragement , Religion With no comments

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.

1 John 1:9

A few nights ago I was watching the talking heads on a popular TV news/commentary program. As I listened to the ongoing debate, I marveled at the radically different viewpoints of the opposing sides. The more they talked the more they contradicted one another. The only real truth that I could extract from their political ramblings was that somebody was lying. The question was “who?”

We have all seen courtroom dramas where a defendant is ordered to take an oath to “tell the whole truth and nothing but the truth.” We expect criminals to make such a promise but we make no such demands of our elected officials. For example, the oath of office for a U.S. congressman is:

I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter: So help me God.

Even though politicians do not take an oath that requires them to be truthful, I don’t think it is too much to expect of them.  But to be fair, I suppose that in all areas of life we have concerns about the veracity of the information and claims represented by others. We live in an age where integrity is fading and in which right and wrong are less clearly defined. Truth is defined by the intent of the moment and not by the reality of the heart. The politician, for example, views truth as that which is needed now to promote his or her agenda. That, of course, can change with the wind.

In today’s focus scripture we are told to “confess our sins.” God wants “the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.” He wants us to acknowledge our transgressions against Him. Today’s form of truth will not hold up under God’s scrutiny. We can only rightly confess based on His perfect and holy standard.

In 1 John 1:8 we are told, “If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.” The mere thought or assertion that you have no sin is a lie. In fact, God has declared that you are a sinner (Ro 3:23) and when you refuse to confess your offences then you are, in effect, calling God a liar. Then in verse 10 John writes, “If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word has no place in our lives.”

In yesterday’s message, Check the Reading on Your Sin Meter, I made the point that if you are a Christian, you know when you have sinned and you know the sins you have committed. Part of the work of the Holy Spirit is to bring sin matters to our attention and to impress upon us the need for getting things right with God.

The strength of any relationship is trust and at the core of trust is truth. Trust cannot exist without truth. Jesus said that He is “the way, the truth, and the life.” (John 14:6) God has been completely truthful with us and He expects no less than “the whole truth” from us. Nothing else will do.

Let’s face it. None of us likes to own up to our wrong doing. Such honest disclosures to others are humiliating and embarrassing. We also know that we run the risk of stirring up the wrath of the offended party. Kids keep things from their parents, parents keep things from their kids, spouses keep things from each other, and employees keep things from their bosses. Ultimately this behavior weakens relationships by eroding trust.

Just remember, you will never surprise or shock God by your confession. He already knows what you’ve been up to anyway. He has given you the key that opens the door to a closer relationship with Him. And just look at what happens when you are honest with God: “he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” He is faithful. He will forgive. He will purify you from all unrighteousness. Full disclosure of every sin against God results in a closer relationship with Him.

Sin hinders your walk with God and slows the flow of blessings into your life. Your prayers lose power and your confidence in God’s provision diminishes. You become spiritually deficient and the abundant life becomes the mediocre life. But it doesn’t have to be that way.

Turn your spiritual life around by being open and honest with God. Confess your sins today and every day. Open your heart, bare your soul, and humble yourself before Him. Your relationship with God will grow stronger and you will experience new spiritual vitality in your walk with Him. It’s time to put a spring back in your spiritual step.

For more on this topic, check out this article: How to Walk by the Spirit

Reprinted from The Forever Notebook, Book 1 (January – March) Get your copy here: Paperback and eBook/Kindle formats.

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How to Win Spiritual Battles

Posted on January 27, 2018 By In Encouragement , Religion With no comments

For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.

Ephesians 6:12-13

Have you ever hit a place in you Christian life that you feel like you are taking one step forward and two steps back? Would you say of yourself that nothing comes easy for you? When you do get a victory does something almost always come along to steal your joy?

In today’s selected scripture the Apostle Paul talks of a struggle that is common to the Christian experience. There is a resisting force at work in this world that stands in opposition to our attempts at Christian ministry and spiritual growth. This force works to hold you back, hinder your progress, and put you on the sidelines of the faith.

When you are serious about growing in Christ and serving Him, as you should be, you will inevitably encounter this force of opposition. At first glance you may see this force as the troublemakers in the church or a particularly bothersome coworker. As problems and difficulties grow it is only natural to look for someone or something to blame. Paul reminds us that in such times “our struggle is not against flesh and blood.” If you are going to be able “to stand” and overcome this opposition it is important that you know who and what you are fighting.

In Ephesians 6:11, Paul identifies the head of this enemy force as the Devil. His evil legions are comprised of rulers… authorities… the powers of this dark world… and…the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” Paul wants you to understand that this battle cannot be won on a human level for this is a spiritual battle. More importantly, you should recognize that God has equipped you with everything you need for surviving and winning.

Satan’s objective is to thwart the work of Christ through you. He does not want you to grow spiritually and thus become a productive worker for the Lord. His work is devious, deceiving, and devouring. He can make your good work appear evil. He can make you, the good guy, look like the bad guy. When Christians are working together for a common purpose he will seek to disrupt, divide, and destroy. Paul warns us to be prepared to take a stand against “the devil’s schemes.”

Have you been wounded on the battlefield of faith? Have you been sidelined by hurt feelings, disappointment, discouragement, or disillusionment?

Unfortunately, the wounds of battle have taken many Christians out of the game. It causes some to stop their attempts at spiritual growth and others to pull out of Christian service. Is that you? Or, are you at the point where you are considering throwing in the towel? Just remember, when you give up…Satan wins. Paul exhorts us “to stand.” His instruction is to “put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.”

God provides each of us with armor and weapons for fighting “the spiritual forces of evil.” Please take time to read the verses 14-18. Here we are told how to stand and fight. Our protective armor consists of “truth,” “righteousness,” “the gospel,” and “faith.” Our offensive weapon is the word of God (“sword of the Spirit”). In verse 18, Paul then admonishes us to “pray.” The battle can only be won with spiritual armor and spiritual weapons since this is spiritual warfare.

You don’t have to be sidelined. You don’t have to lose. God has given you all you need to stand, fight, and win. Lashing back at or trying to get even with people will do nothing to stop the struggle. In fact, such tactics will likely make things worse and you’ll be playing into the enemy’s hands. “Your struggle is not against flesh and blood.” Don’t fight the symptom….fight the cause. This is spiritual warfare.

For more on this topic, check out this article: Your Thorn of Trouble that Won’t Go Away

Reprinted from The Forever Notebook, Book 1 (January – March) Get your copy here: Paperback and eBook/Kindle formats.

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