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12:00 PM   [27 Jan 2019 | Sunday]

Escaping Hypocrisy

  Have you ever thought to yourself, I’m a hypocrite?  Perhaps, someone has accused you of being one.  We’ve all had hypocritical moments, the stereotypical “say one thing, but do another.”  Is that a true sign of a hypocrite in itself?  Before grouping yourself in that category, consider what it means.  By definition, a hypocrite is an actor.  It is one who pretends to be someone he or she is not.  Everything for the most part is for show.  First question: are you a pretender, or did you legitimately ask Jesus to be your Lord and Savior while surrendering your life to Him?  Second question: since you are human, more than likely you’ve thought, said or done something incongruent with the Word of God.  If that is the case, how did it make you feel?  Did it pierce your heart and make you sorry?  Did you find yourself repenting?  If you answered yes to these questions, then perhaps you don’t belong in that category after all.  Why?  A true-blue hypocrite could care less!  Maybe it time to figure out where the inconsistencies come from.

   While in the world, each of us learned things that were ingrained in our hearts and mind.  They were stored up in our brain which is the physical depository of our mind.  Many like to compare the mind and the brain to a computer.  The mind is the software and the brain is the hardware.  In the course of growing up in the world, there had been corrupt files inputted into the brain’s memory.  Malware hidden in Trojan horses by the enemy found a way in and has played havoc with our thought process.  Like a computer, these corrupt files need to be purged.  Our brains need to be rewired.  The process is called renewing of the mind, of which the Bible has a lot to say.

   Romans 12:2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

   One important thing we can do to escape hypocrisy is making a quality decision to no longer be conformed to this world.  That means not seeing how much like the world we can live and still be considered a Christian.  One way to do that is simply focusing on the things of God, versus trying to avoid being like the world.  By putting your mind on Christ, the world will have no place in it.  By living a holy and righteous life, you won’t ever have to worry about sin.  There are too many things about that statement to adequately cover now, so we’ll narrow it down to a few passages of Scripture for the time being. 

   In relation to sin, remember this one truth in case you feel stuck: “Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. For he that is dead is freed from sin (Romans 6:6-8).  “For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace” (Romans 6:14).  In Jesus Christ, you are no longer a sinner; furthermore, sin does not have dominion over you; unless, you decide it does.  Be sure to read all of chapter six for fuller context.  “This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh” (Galatians 5:16).

   In terms of righteousness and holiness: “But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof” (Romans 13:14).  “That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man (that, in reference to your former manner of life, you lay aside the old self), which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness” (Ephesians 4:22-24).

   Jesus gives us a clue when He quoted Isaiah while confronting some scribes and Pharisees: “This people honoureth Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me” (Mark 7:6 [Isaiah 29:13]).  One thing that is clear, a hypocrite’s heart is far from God.  That being said, the farther away from God you move, the more like a hypocrite you will feel.  Conversely, by being mindful of your relationship with Him and spending more time in His Word, the more you will renovate your mind.  And of course, the more authentic you feel. Do know, however, that our authenticity is not based on feelings; it is based on truth. Sincerity vacates hypocrisy!  As your mind renews, your life changes.  Philippians 1:6 Being confident of this very thing, that He which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.  Be uplifted, you are being changed.  To a degree, how fast you change is up to you, and that is based on how much you cooperate with Him.

www.perfectfaith.org

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12:00 PM   [20 Jan 2019 | Sunday]

Tired of Being Tired?

 How many overextend themselves because they have not learned what true rest is?  The workaholic who says he is industrious and not lazy, is actually running.  Work ethic is a good thing, and better still, is doing all things as unto the Lord.  “I’m not a workaholic!”  Alright, then sit quietly alone in an empty room, without outside stimulation such as your T.V. or smartphone.  See how long you can do it without feeling anxious.  Can you do it and experience perfect peace at the same time?  Let’s go one step farther: work a 40 hour workweek with no overtime.  “I need money.”  Some people put themselves in a jam, so they have to work.  It’s called self-sabotage.  To be sure, working overtime in itself does not necessarily mean a person is a workaholic.  That being said, let’s go even further: no projects when you get home.  Can you be in a state of peace without activity or some form of entertainment?  If you feel driven, then more than likely, you’re not being Holy Spirit led.  Oh, this does include those who volunteer for everything at church.  Nothing wrong with volunteering in itself; but do keep in mind, doing a “good thing” does not necessarily qualify as the right thing.  We can get so busy that we miss God and the opportunities He has for us.  In some cases, “busy” is a code word for avoidance.  Ironically, the peace that people are chasing after, will continue to elude them as long as they keep chasing it.  Running away from something will never bring true peace.  That means if you’re facing a mountain, the idea is to have faith in God and speak to the mountain; not run around it over and over (see Mark 11:22-24).

   Yes, it is a trust and control issue.  Some don’t trust, so they try to control.  What does that have to do with the workaholic, alcoholic or any other type of addict?  Some of those mountains are painful and cause much fear.  Because they’re afraid He might make them face those fears, they refuse to trust God with the results.  In short, they try to control the circumstances in order to avoid pain; and yet, by facing it with Him, it can be eliminated forever.  Overworking yourself is not doing all things as unto the Lord.  Look at the phrase itself: “overworking yourself.”  That is being led by the self, and that is not allowing Holy Spirit to lead.  If you cannot say “no” when it’s appropriate, then all that volunteering might be signaling there are affirmation issues.  If you are tired of being tired, then there is a solution.

    Hebrews 4:10 For he that is entered into His rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from His.  Stop what you’re doing, and wait on the Lord.  The bottom line is you have to do things on His terms, if you are going to experience the abundant life He has for you.  Don’t confuse that statement with having tons of money.  It could include it; but even some who have more than they could possibly spend, still feel they don’t have enough.  Consider this: “But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and raiment let us be therewith content” (1 Timothy 6:6-8).  Money does not buy peace.  It may give relief from a creditor or pay the utility bills you so you have light and heat.  However, money and material possessions have no eternal value, so they don’t exactly qualify as true abundance.  God’s idea of abundance goes far beyond our limited thinking.  Likewise, His peace goes beyond understanding, and that means having it in the most dire of circumstances.  As long as you try to stay busy in the quest of pain avoidance, you’ll never experience such peace.  One final thought: there are those who are wired for busy.  It’s part of their design and unique relationship with God.  They’re in a state of rest, and they actually can sit still in His Presence.  This blog is aimed at helping runners stop running and actually find peace. 

www.perfectfaith.org

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12:00 PM   [13 Jan 2019 | Sunday]

Love is Holy

 Love is holy.  It is an aspect of love that is not often considered by most.  If you pull back the curtain and look more carefully, you may take greater stock in the way you view and approach love.  It is easy to be flippant with the word itself, especially when someone doesn’t grasp its true meaning.  We know that perfect love casts out fear (1 John 4:18), but would we love others more effectively if we have a healthy fear or reverence for love?  After all, are we supposed to be more careful with the things of God?  Remember also, God is love (see 1 John 4:16).  With that mind, consider Proverbs 1:7, The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction.  Furthermore, Proverbs 9:10 says, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the Holy (One) is understanding.”

   By treating love with reverence, we will love others in a more profound way.  Moreover, we will love as God loves, especially since we are made in His image.  Just thinking about holiness being attached to love might increase our mindfulness and intentionality to love others well.  While we freely give love, and in so doing, give of ourselves in like fashion, it behooves us to take care in the way we express it.  For example, we cannot merely mouth the words, “I love you;” there has to be intention and action girded in truth behind them. 

   Jesus said, “If you love Me, keep My commandments” (John 14:15).  Obedience to God is a sign of our love for Him.  If one rebels against His commandments or resists His will, where is the love? “I love you; but I can’t do it.”  Can’t or won’t?  If not, why? Scripture tells us that Jesus was moved with compassion (see Matthew 9:36; 14:14; 15:32 et al.).  What moves compassion?  The thing by which faith operates -love (see Galatians 5:6)!  You cannot walk by faith apart from love; much less be truly obedient.  True obedience submits out of love.  Doing things out of fearfulness or terror is not so much obedience as it is compulsion or coercion.  Love obeys, and obedience loves.  Jesus commanded us to love one another.  God said, “Be holy, for I am holy.”  To be holy is to be set apart or sacred.  It shares in God’s purity, which means love is pure.  Think deeply about love and what it means to God, and what it means to love one another.   

www.perfectfaith.org

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12:00 PM   [06 Jan 2019 | Sunday]

To Know Yourself

  How many are searching to know themselves -their true selves?  Do you put yourself in that category?  If you truly  want to know yourself, get to know God.  Stop and think a moment.  What is the first characteristic of mankind mentioned in the Bible?  Here’s what the Word says:

   “And God said, Let us make man in Our image, after Our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. So God created man in His Own image, in the image of God created He Him; male and female created He them” (Genesis 1:26-27).

   That’s right, we’re made in the image of God, and that is the first thing you need to know about yourself.  Obviously, that image has been marred because of sin, which means it’s hardly recognizable today -at least in the world.  One important thing to note is God made the Ultimate Provision to restore the true image -Jesus!

   Why would someone search for his or her identity in nature?  While it is true you see God in nature, because He does reveal Himself through it.  Romans 1:20 For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made . . . But do remember, nature has been created; it is not the Creator.  Centering briefly on the fact He reveals many things about Himself in creation, here some things on which to reflect.  When you consider the vastness of the universe and everything in it, and yet it cannot contain God, then you become more aware of His Majesty.  Still, as you consider the delicate details of every living organism, you are awakened to the fact there is no detail too small for Him to capture.  In fact, He created the fine details.  What does that say about you?  You were created with greatness and great care.  You were fearfully and wonderfully made (see Psalms 139:4).  There is nothing about you that is accidental!  If you have a disconnect with God, you may have a hard time seeing greatness within you, not to mention how much value you hold in His heart.  This leads to another very important component in how you see yourself deep down: how you view God.

   For example, if you don’t see Him as good, you may never really see goodness in yourself.  And this does refer to believers.  Apart from His goodness, there is no one good.  Romans 3:10 As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one.  Romans 3:23-24 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; Being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.  How can you see good in anyone, perhaps especially yourself, if you do not see the Creator as good to begin with?  Many people judge God because they don’t know Him.  If you find yourself being critical with Him, perhaps you don’t know Him as well as you would like to believe.  This might also partially explain why some are so critical of themselves, not to mention, others.  If you think about it, does it make sense that a created being would criticize his or her Creator?  By the way, humans are the only ones who do that, and this reveals a few things: one is we are not mere animals.  Although, it does appear animals have a leg up on mankind.  At least they know better than to criticize their Maker!  In fact, all nature praises and glorifies God every moment of every day.  A second thing it reveals is we have been given a free will, and that shows a third element: God is patient, merciful, gracious and very kind!.  If He wasn’t these things, many would be suffering beyond what they could possibly imagine.  In fact, that demonstrates another beautiful thing about Him:  God does not want humanity to suffer.  2 Peter 3:9 The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.  Ultimate suffering or ultimate peace is up to us.  He gives us the freedom to choose.  His love has no strings attached, and that reveals another aspect about you: you were created for love, by Love.

   By now, more than likely you have heard the phrase, “To thyself be true.”  Here is a simple truth: if you want to be true to yourself, be true to God!

   Psalms 150:6 Let every thing that hath breath praise the Lord.  Praise ye the Lord!  

www.perfectfaith.org

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