What do you think about some of the greatest religious issues of our time? Where do you stand?

"Jesus replied, "You are in error because you do not know the Scriptures or the power of God."
Matthew 22:29 NIV

Jesus does not remember our past sins. Once he has cancelled the debt, it is forgotton. It is only our own memory that continues to condemn us. Let go, let Jesus set you free today.

"...there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death."
Romans 8:1 & 2 NIV

Do you want to know the will of the Lord for your life? Develop a relationship with Him. Know and respect Him.

"The LORD confides in those who fear him; he makes his covenant known to them."
Psalm 25:14 NIV

Notice that in this verse, that things work for the good of those who are doing God's purposes. Good doesn't necessarily mean "easy" or "happy." What is good for us may be very difficult. But peace comes in knowing we are in God's plan during this time.

"And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose."
Romans 8:28 NIV

If the Lord always gives us what we want, what kind of outcome do we have? If you know the story of Samuel, you know that this turned out badly for the people.

"But the people refused to listen to Samuel. "No!" they said. "We want a king to rule over us. Then we will be like all the other nations, with a king to lead us and to go out before us and fight our battles." When Samuel heard all that the people said, he repeated it before the LORD. The LORD answered, "Listen to them and give them a king."
Samuel 8:19-22 NIV

In SS class we talked about the fact that if you know you can do something, it doesn't take any faith to do it. God works best with those who confess their weakness and allow Him to empower them.

"My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness."
2 Cor. 12:9 NIV

As Christians, it is our duty to live a life of service to others. We must be ready at any time to present His Gospel of Life, through our actions or our words.

"Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ."
Philippians 1:27

Can one man stand against many? Can one righteous man take a stand for Christ against many unrighteous?

"A little yeast works through the whole batch of dough."
Galatians 5:9

We look left and right and when we feel no one is looking we make a wrong choice. We seek cover of darkness or solitude to hide our sin. God is there, both seeing and sorrowing at our actions. He is ready to forgive. Know that He wants us to live a life of faithfulness and purity before Him.

"And [Moses] looked this way and that way, and when he saw that there was no man, he slew the Egyptian, and hid him in the sand."
Exodus 2:12

A recent Billy Graham movie on TV had one character say that he thought the way to peace was to "have it all." The Christian knows that the way to peace is to give it all to God and be CONTENT where He places you.

"I have learned to make ends meet in whatever situation I am. I know how to live simply and I know how to relish plenty; I am acquainted wiht all of it in every way, to be filled up and to be hungry, to enjoy abundance and to suffer privation."
Philippians 4:11-12 Berkley Translation

I picture a husband or wife that works 50 or 60+ hours a week, coming home exhausted, after their children have gone to bed. Slaving their lives away to "get things" for the family they never see or are too tired to enjoy.

"What benefit does the workman get from that for which he wears himself out?"
Ecclesiastes 3:9 Berkley

Paul stated the problem of struggling with sin very well. He said...

"For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate, I do. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do--this I keep on doing."
Romans 7:15, 17 & 18 NIV

Tomorrow, hear one suggestion about how to solve this problem.

Paul points out in Romans that we must set our minds on Christ to overcome the world.

"Those who live according to the sinful nature have their minds set on what that nature desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires."
Romans 8:5 NIV

Some of us are known for never being at a loss for words. But for most there comes a time when the hurt or concern for others is so deep that we don't know how to express it.

"...The Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God's will."
Romans 8:26 NIV

I often think how it is that all the darkness in the world cannot put out the light of one candle. There is nothing in this world, if I give it up to Christ, that can separate me from Him. Nothing.

"No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord."
Romans 8:37-39 NIV

We think that we have surrendered our lives to Christ. But then, in a tough situation, we are suprised and disappointed by how we react. We need a thorough cleansing by God.

"Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting."
Psalm 139:8-9 NIV

Realizing a deep "love relationship" with Christ means really spending time with Him and getting to know Him.

"I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead."
  Philippians 3:10-11 NIV

Do you ever find yourself thinking, "Oh, my goodness, I sound just like my father," or "just like my mother."

"Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God."
Ephesians 5:1-2 NIV

What would you consider to be a great find. What would really help you out?

"But godliness with contentment is great gain."
1 Timothy 6:6 NIV

What is your life full of, because of God's presence in you?

"Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls."
1 Peter 1:8-9 NIV

In the business world we seek a job that will give us fair compensation for what we do. I'm glad that, if we confess our sin, God does not give us fair compensation for what we do. He gives us GRACE.

"Sing, O Daughter of Zion; shout aloud, O Israel! Be glad and rejoice with all your heart, O Daughter of Jerusalem! The LORD has taken away your punishment, he has turned back your enemy. The LORD, the King of Israel, is with you; never again will you fear any harm."
Zephaniah 3:14-15

Whenever I read a verse like this, I chuckle. I remember when we were trying to explain to our young son that he should pray and ask God to deal with a bully that was giving him problems at school. A few days later he said, "I prayed and I prayed but nothing happened to him." We worked some more on that concept.

"The LORD works out everything for his own ends-- even the wicked for a day of disaster."
  Proverbs 16:4

Study the word. It is the key to receiving God's message for your life.

"Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ."
Romans 10:17 NIV --------------------

To be an obedient child, we must listen closely to the instructions of our Father. We must memorize them.

"My son, pay attention to what I say; listen closely to my words. Do not let them out of your sight, keep them within your heart;"
Proverbs 4:20-21 NIV

Do you always count the cost before you step out on faith? Don't think what it will cost but what you can give to build the kingdom. You have heard me quote it before, "He is no fool who gives up what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose."

"for he is the kind of man who is always thinking about the cost. "Eat and drink," he says to you, but his heart is not with you."
Proverbs 23:7 NIV

If God were looking for a righteous man, would I pass the test?

"I looked for a man among them who would build up the wall and stand before me in the gap on behalf of the land so I would not have to destroy it, but I found none."
Ezekiel 22:30 NIV

Are those you know accounted for?

"Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Does he not leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it?"
Luke 15:4 NIV

The best defense is a good offense...as the saying goes...

"Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life."
Proverbs 4:23 NIV

Who is in charge here in this crazy world?

"The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord; and he delighteth in his way."
Psalm 37:23 KJV

Hidden hurts? No one to talk too? I know someone who will listen.

"Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort."
2 Corinthians 1:3 KJV

Hidden hurts? God can fix them.

"Come, and let us return to the Lord; for He has torn, but He will heal us; He has stricken, but He will bind us up."
Hosea 6:1 NKJV

We should follow the word no matter what the crisis?

"Before I was afflicted I went astray: but now have I kept thy word."
Psalm 119:67 KJV

Tough day? Stressed out?

"For it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure."
Philippians 2:13 NKJV

Do you have teachable moments with God?

"But he knows the way that I take; when he has tested me, I will come forth as gold."
Job 23:10 NIV

Totally committed? We in the US may not be called upon to give our lives but some of you live in areas where you may. God keep you.

"Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him."
Job 13:15 KJV

Do we tend to encourage or discourage others?
"We have different gifts, according to the grace given us. If a man's gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to his faith.... If it is encouraging, let him encourage."
Romans 12: 6,8 NIV