GOD IS! … AM I?

The Bible says, “…God is with thee in all that thou doest:”  (Genesis 21:22)

Questions to ask yourself:  Am I with God in all that I do?  Am I following His leading or my own?  Am I in His perfect will for me or do I have my own plans?  Who is really in charge of my life?  Who do I want to be in charge of my life?  Me or the Lord.  

Am I with God in all that I do?  Notice that I didn’t say, is God with me, in all that I do?  I said, am I with God.  If I am in God’s will and doing what He wants me to do then God will be with me.  I don’t have to worry about where He is going to be.  It’s me that I have to worry about.  Why?  Because my old nature is opposed to doing what is right. 

If anyone understood this it was Paul.  Look what he has to say in what I call the great “do, do” chapter of the Bible.  Turn to the book of Romans chapter seven.  Let’s start with verse fifteen.

(Romans 7:15-23)  For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I.  If then I do that which I would not, I consent unto the law that it is good.  Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me.  For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not.  For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do.  Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me.  I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me.  For I delight in the law of God after the inward man: But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members.

When you think about Paul after his conversion you think of a fire and brimstone kind of preacher, a man who was almost martyred for his faith not once but many, many times and someone who was a righteous and godly man.  He was all of these things but he also wrestled with his flesh and his old nature.  You can tell from these verses that it was a problem that was very real to him and that he had to deal with constantly.   

I know from experience in the ministry myself that after every great victory for God in a person’s life there is usually a great defeat from the devil.

It is somewhat comforting to know that the apostle Paul went through the same kinds of things that we do in our Christian lives today.  If he hadn’t then we wouldn’t know how to handle them ourselves.  For it is in the writings of Paul that we find many verses that not only comfort us but also, edify us and exhort us to stay in the battle. 

Am I in His perfect will for me or do I have my own plans?  As Christians we are not here to do what we want to do.  Even Jesus did not come to this earth to “do His own thing.”  The Bible says in John 6:38 “For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me.  Now if Jesus Christ, the Son of God, was willing to submit to His father, and do what God wanted Him to, what excuse could we possibly have for not being as obedient to God?  

As Christians we are children of God.  Children are commanded in the Bible to do one thing and that is to be obedient.  (Colossians 3:20)  Children, obey your parents in all things: for this is well pleasing unto the Lord.  God is our parent.  He is our Father.  Jesus said in John 14:15, “If ye love me, keep my commandments.  Do we love God?  One of His commandments was to go and preach the gospel to all creatures.   

In John 4:34Jesus saith unto them, My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work.  Jesus “meat” or what sustained Him spiritually was to do God’s will.  The work that He talks about here is the salvation of souls.  The greatest work that we can accomplish as Christians is to see people get saved.  This is God’s will for every Christian.

Who is really in charge of my life?  Who do I want to be in charge of my life?  Me or the Lord.  The Bible says man cannot serve two masters.  We cannot walk in the flesh and in the Spirit at the same time.  We cannot desire the things of the world and the things of the Lord at the same time.  If we are to grow spiritually in our Christian walk then there will come a time when we have to make a choice as to who we are going to follow and what we are going to do.

The Bible says, “…God is a jealous God…“  (Deuteronomy 6:15)

Questions to ask yourself: Am I jealous for the things of God or the things of the world?  God wants all of me, does He truly have it?  Is there any part of me that I am still holding on to?  Can God use me fully if I am not fully surrendered to Him? 

If you really want to serve the Lord there will be a price to pay and there will be those who will oppose you.  So settle it in your heart before you make your decision (Luke 21:14) then do what the Lord wants you to do.

The Bible says, “…God is in all things that we call upon him for…”  (Deuteronomy 4:7)

Questions to ask yourself: Am I in everything that God wants me to be in?  Am I faithful in my church attendance, in my prayer life, my Bible reading, tithing to the Lords’ work, in soul-winning and witnessing?  Will He bless me if I am not?  Should He?    

To be faithful means to be loyal and constant in the performance of duties or services.  There are certain things in the Christian’s life that he doesn’t have to ask God if he should do.  Here are just a few: 


CHURCH ATTENDANCE

(Matthew 18:20)  For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.

There are things you cannot get from the Bible or from God by staying home and “trying” to have church by yourself.  First of all you will only be faithful in doing this for about two weeks.  Then the cares of the world will creep in and keep you from worshipping God on your own.  You must be in church.  Make it a habit.   

The pastor knows what every member of his congregation needs spiritually.  God gives the pastor special insight.  God may have the pastor preach a particular message that is just for you in order to help you with some spiritual problem that you are facing, one that you may not even recognize yourself.  If you are not in church you will not receive God’s direction on it. 

There have been many times when my husband has preached a message and afterwards told me that he was under the power of the Holy Spirit and that it was for a certain person but that person was not there.  And borrowing the notes of someone who was there or asking them to tell you what was preached does not have the same impact as being there yourself and witnessing the leading of the Holy Spirit.   

(Hebrews 10:25)  Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.

The fellowship of other believers is also of vital importance in your life for encouragement.  One of the happiest times during your week should be when you are at church worshipping the Lord and fellowshipping with other believers.  There are too many people in your life who drag you down and discourage you along the way.  Why forsake the one time during the week when you can associate with those who believe the way you do.  Don’t deny yourself this pleasure.  Be faithful to church.         

PRAYER LIFE

(1 Thessalonians 5:17)  Pray without ceasing.

One of the most effective weapons we have as Christians is the power of prayer.  I’ll let you in on a little secret.  You won’t get answers to your prayers if you don’t pray.  Stop and think about that for a moment.  Yes, others can pray for you but don’t let that stop you from praying yourself.  God wants to hear from you. 

If you don’t know how to pray; learn.  How?  The same way a child learns to walk, by taking baby steps and plenty of practice.  If you do it this way, one day you will be running and then soaring with the eagles, which is a type of prayer warrior in the Bible.  If you are not praying now because you are afraid or don’t know how to begin to pray or what to say please see me after the meeting and I will sit down and help you take those first steps.        

One of the biggest mistakes that is made with regard to prayer is making up your mind about something first and then praying and asking God to abide by your decision.  I hate to be the one to tell you this but it doesn’t work that way. 

Be careful what you pray for.  God just might answer your prayer.  Psalm 106:15 says, “And he gave them their request; but sent leanness into their soul.  In other words God might let you have what you want because of your stubbornness but once you get it you will not be happy with it.  Ask the Lord what you should do and abide by His decision. 

Learn to ask God about everything, little things as well as big things.  Then wait for His answer and accept it.  That will be the hardest part.  But if you realize that God doesn’t make mistakes and that He wants the best for you and knows exactly what you need then you should have peace about whatever His answer is.      


BIBLE READING

(Psalm 119:11)  Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.

I teach on this every chance I get.  Look back over your notes from my lectures and you will find it in every message that I have given.  Why?  Because it is so important!  Read your Bible and memorize Scripture.  Use your “Sword of the Lord” against the devil when he attacks you.  Make a special time each day for reading.  Try and make sure it is at a time when you will not be interrupted.  If you have small children or babies you may have to get up early before they do.  Pick a time of the day when it is the quietest and the cares of the world are the least pressing. 

Don’t skip a day and think you will make up for it the next day.  You won’t.  If you keep up this pattern before you know it you will have so much to make up for that it will discourage you and you will stop reading altogether.  Be consistent so you will develop a good habit of reading it. 


The Importance of The Bible

The Bible is the inspired, infallible Word of God.  The Bible contains the mind of God, the state of man, the way of Salvation, the doom of sinners, and the happiness of believers. 

Its doctrines are holy, its precepts are binding, its histories are true, its prophecies are accurate, and its decisions are immutable. 

Read it to be wise, believe it to be safe, and practice it to be holy.  It contains Light to direct you, Food to support you, and Comfort to cheer you.  It is the traveler’s Map, the pilgrim’s Staff, the pilot’s compass, the soldier’s Sword, and the Christian’s Charter.

Here Paradise is restored, Heaven opened, and the gates of hell disclosed.  Christ is its grand subject, our good its design, and the glory of God its end.

It should fill the memory, rule the heart, and guide the feet.  Read it slowly, frequently, and prayerfully.

It is a Mine of Wealth, a Paradise of Glory, and a River of Pleasure.

It is given to you in life, will be opened at the Judgment, and will be remembered forever.

It involves the highest responsibility, will reward the greatest labor, and condemns all who trifle with its sacred contents.
(Moments with the Book, P.O. Box 322, Bedford, PA 15522, 814-623-8737, gospel-lit@mwtb.org)


TITHING

(Malachi 3:8)  Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed me. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed thee? In tithes and offerings.

Don’t give your hard-earned money to a preacher or a church or an organization.  Give to the Lord’s work.  Does that sound like a contradiction?  Well it isn’t.  It is Scriptural for a pastor to receive his salary from the church which comes from the tithes and offerings.  His designated salary should be enough to take care of him and his family.  Don’t expect the man to work for nothing.  But it is not Scriptural for him to dip into church funds for his own needs.  So don’t give to an individual. 

Don’t give to a church if that church is not using the money it collects to help its widows and orphans and the poor people of its congregation.  A church should not be in a building program unless there is standing room only at every service.  A church does not need to spend your money on fancy decorations and cosmetic modifications when it does not have an altar for the people to pray at.  So don’t give to a church.    

Don’t give to an organization if the pastor is wearing $500 shoes and living in a mansion and being chauffeured around in a limousine while those who are supporting him are starving.  Don’t give your money unless you know what it is being used for.  So don’t give to an organization.     

Give to God’s work.  Give to a ministry that preaches the gospel.  Give your money to a work that gives out gospel tracts, for free, to try and get people saved.  Give your money to a ministry that teaches the Bible without compromising doctrine.      

How much should you give?  Only what God requires.  A tithe is 10% of your income.  (Numbers 18:26)  Thus speak unto the Levites, and say unto them, When ye take of the children of Israel the tithes which I have given you from them for your inheritance, then ye shall offer up an heave offering of it for the LORD, even a tenth part of the tithe. 

Let me clarify that even further.  The tithe is the first 10%, not the last.  If you don’t put aside your tithe first and give the Lord what is due Him at the beginning of the month, you will not have any of it left at the end of the month.  I have never seen this to fail.

Don’t “borrow” from your tithe money because you need it for something else with the intention of paying it back.  You won’t.  You will forget about it.  I have never seen this fail either.   

If you have no income at all then you can tithe your time.  Help someone out who is less fortunate than you are.  Look around you.  There is somebody like that.    

The important thing to remember is to give God the first and the best.       


SOUL-WINNING

(James 5:20)  Let him know, that he which converteth the sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death, and shall hide a multitude of sins.

Learn how to lead someone to Christ.  Memorize soul-winning verses from the Bible.  But whatever you do know what you are doing.  We are talking about the eternal salvation or damnation of a person’s soul.  Attend soul-winning classes at church or have someone who knows what they are doing teach you. 

There is no greater joy in the Christian life than leading someone to Jesus Christ and knowing that you have saved that soul from everlasting torture in the fiery furnace of hell.  The souls that we lead to the Lord are the precious jewels that will adorn our crowns in heaven.  (Daniel 12:3)  And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever. 

These are the crowns that we will cast at the feet of the Saviour.  Gather some jewels for your crown.  (Revelation 4:10-11)  The four and twenty elders fall down before him that sat on the throne, and worship him that liveth for ever and ever, and cast their crowns before the throne, saying, Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.


WITNESSING

(1 Peter 3:15)  But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:

Tell others about Jesus Christ.  You may not know how to lead a person to the Lord but at least you can witness to them of what Christ has done for you in your life.  Tell them how you got saved.  Tell them why.  If you can’t lead a person to the Lord then bring them to church or to someone who can.  There’s an old saying that is appropriate here: “Don’t just stand there, do something!”

The Bible says, “…God is a consuming fire…”  (Deuteronomy 4:24)

Questions to ask yourself: Am I a consuming fire?  Have I gotten rid of all the things in my life that are displeasing to God?  Have I burned up all the dross?  Have I turned my back on all the sin and worldly pleasures that God hates so much?  

Do you have bad habits in your life that are stumbling blocks to other Christians, to those that you are trying to witness to or in your own walk with the Lord?  Have you gotten victory over the way that you talk and the things that you say?  Would people know that you are a child of God by the way that you dress?  Can you control your temper, your moods and your attitude or do they control you?  Are you still refusing to be submissive to your husband?  Are you disciplining your children with the intention of helping to make them responsible young men and women for God’s service?  Have you given up your love of trashy romance novels, Hollywood movies and checking your horoscope every morning to see if you should get out of bed?  Do you still long to hear gossip and rumours? 

The Bible says in 1 John 2:15,”Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.  Do you love the things of the world more than God?  I hope not. 

The Bible says, “…God is not the author of confusion…”  (1 Corinthians 14:33)

Am I living a life full of double standards?  Do I look, dress, talk and act one way in front of lost people and another way in front of my pastor and the church folks?  Who do I think I am fooling?  GOD??   

Spend some time this next week in prayer asking God to reveal to you those areas in your life that you need help in.  If you are honest about getting victory in your life over sin and you ask the Lord for help He will show you what you need to do.  Don’t try and deal with the issues all at once but take them one by one.  Prayerfully work through them.  Let the Holy Spirit lead and direct you.  If you seriously and humbly want to change some things in your life then allow the Lord to show you.  Listen to His still small voice.  There may be things that He brings to your mind that you don’t want to deal with.  Those are the first ones that you should get taken care of.  Don’t resist God.  He wants to help you.  Don’t quench the leading of the Holy Spirit.  He wants to comfort you.  Get alone with God and get victory in your life.  

The Bible says, “…God is a merciful God…”  (Deuteronomy 4:31)

Questions to ask yourself: Am I merciful with others?  Can I forgive and forget or just forgive?

I believe that there are four kinds of forgiveness.  The greatest and perhaps the most important forgiveness of all is when we confess Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour and God forgives us of our sins.  (1 John 1:9)  This is a cleansing kind of forgiveness.   

The second type of forgiveness is when we forgive others.  (Luke 17:3-4)  Take heed to yourselves: If thy brother trespass against thee, rebuke him; and if he repent, forgive him.  And if he trespass against thee seven times in a day, and seven times in a day turn again to thee, saying, I repent; thou shalt forgive him.  This is where we often run into trouble.  We forgive because we are commanded to but we cannot always forget.  This kind of forgiveness must not be conditional but complete.  We must forgive and forget.  Don’t hold grudges.  It will hinder your walk with the Lord.         

The third type of forgiveness is when we have to forgive ourselves.  This is perhaps the hardest forgiveness of all.

I believe that Peter experienced this.  He repented and got things right with the Lord but he also had to forgive himself for what he did.  The Bible says he wept bitterly.     

This is a condemning kind of forgiveness.  We do it with reservations.  We know that God forgives us because He promised that He would.  We have no problem with that but for some reason we just can’t forgive ourselves.  Why?  Other than God nobody really knows how wicked we are except us.  And for that reason alone we condemn ourselves to a life of mental punishment.  This is a hard forgiveness to get victory over.  But we must.  For if we don’t it will kill us spiritually.        

The last kind of forgiveness involves us forgiving the Lord.  What?  Impossible you say.  What could God ever do to us to make us need to forgive him?  It is not what God did.  It is what we think He did.  People get mad at God, hate God, get bitter or angry with God or turn their back on Him because they blame God for something that happened in their lives.  I’m sure you have seen it or even experienced it yourself. 

You are diagnosed with terminal cancer and have four young children.  Your husband is an alcoholic and beats you.  Your baby dies.  Your child is born retarded or handicapped.  “Why God?”  “I prayed.”  “I begged you.”  “Why do you allow such things to happen?”  There are all kinds of reasons why God allows things to happen.  But they are God’s reasons.  (Isaiah 55:8-9)  For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD.  For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.

When bad things happen it is not the time to resent the Lord but to draw closer to Him.  Be still and know that I am God.” (Psalm 46:10).  Don’t become bitter and don’t hate God.  Forgive God and go on.  

The Bible says, “…God is in the generation of the righteous.”  (Psalm 14:5)

Questions to ask yourself: Am I teaching my children to know, love and serve God with all their heart, soul and mind?  What kind of example am I being for my children?  Do I practice what I preach?

Am I raising my children according to the principles of the Bible or are they raising me according to the philosophies of the world?  Am I in charge of their upbringing as I am admonished to be in the Scriptures or are they in charge of their own upbringing as taught by the government? 

Do my children listen when I talk to them or am I interrupting their television viewing?  Do they obey me when I tell them to do something or am I cramping their lifestyle by making them take out the garbage?  Will they need years of psychological evaluation if I require them to keep their rooms clean?  If you have to tell your children to do something more than once, if you have to beg, bride or threaten then you are not in charge and you are not raising your children according to God’s Word.  If your child does not obey the first time you tell him to do something then he is a disobedient child no matter how “good” he is.    

Several years ago when I was living in the states I had a missionary family stay in my home for one night while they were home on furlough.  At the time they had eight children ranging in age from 13 years to 6 months.  After church that evening we were all sitting in the living room, the adults were talking and the children were quietly occupying themselves with reading and various other activities.  At 9:30 the father said, in a normal tone of voice, “Time for bed.”  All at once each one stopped what they were doing, got up and went upstairs to get ready for bed, the older ones helping the younger ones and the oldest taking the baby.  Not one of them said, “But, Dad, I’m not tired.  But, Dad, I don’t want to go to bed.  But, Dad, do I have to?  But, Dad, I’m not finished with what I’m doing.”  Not one ‘BUT’ out of any of them, just immediate obedience. 

Now if you are sitting there with your mouth open wondering how this miracle occurred it was no miracle at all.  This was not something they did for my benefit.  This was normal behaviour for this family.  You may be wondering how something like this happens.  It is called discipline.  It didn’t happen overnight and it didn’t happen without a lot of spankings and tears for the children and time and effort on the part of the parents.  But it can be done and this is the fruit.       

The Bible says, “…God is no respecter of persons:” (Acts 10:34)

Questions to ask yourself: Am I able to love the unlovable?  Do I care that they are lost and on their way to hell?  Am I able to accept others into my “inner” circle of friends or do I resent the intrusion?       

Jesus had tremendous compassion on people.  There are numerous examples of His healing people who were the outcasts of society.  People that others looked down on for one reason or another.  People who nobody loved.  Except the Lord. 

Jesus had compassion on those that were sick physically.  (Matthew 14:14)  And Jesus went forth, and saw a great multitude, and was moved with compassion toward them, and he healed their sick.

Jesus had compassion on those that had leprosy.  (Mark 1:40-41)  And there came a leper to him, beseeching him, and kneeling down to him, and saying unto him, If thou wilt, thou canst make me clean.  And Jesus, moved with compassion, put forth his hand, and touched him, and saith unto him, I will; be thou clean.

Jesus had compassion on those that were demon possessed.  (Mark 5:18-19)  And when he was come into the ship, he that had been possessed with the devil prayed him that he might be with him.  Howbeit Jesus suffered him not, but saith unto him, Go home to thy friends, and tell them how great things the Lord hath done for thee, and hath had compassion on thee.

Jesus had compassion on people who had no spiritual leader to guide them.  (Mark 6:34)  And Jesus, when he came out, saw much people, and was moved with compassion toward them, because they were as sheep not having a shepherd: and he began to teach them many things.

Jesus had compassion on people who were sinners.  (Matthew 9:12)  But when Jesus heard that, he said unto them, They that be whole need not a physician, but they that are sick.

Because we are human there are certain people that we just cannot love.  Does that shock you?  If you are honest with yourself you will have to admit that you do not love everybody that you should, like you should. 

q       What about that obnoxious person at work who is always getting the recognition that you deserve? 

q       What about that nosy neighbour who tells everyone on your street what goes on in your house? 

q       What about that little child who always has a dirty face and hands, a torn dress and no parents?  Do you really want your child playing with her? 

q       What about the punk down the street who deals drugs. 

q       What about the man upstairs who drinks and beats his wife? 

q       What about the prostitute on the street corner?

Of course you don’t love them.  But you should.  You should hate the sin but love the sinner.  Jesus hated the sin but loved the sinner.  God hated your sins but loved you enough to send His Son to die for you.             

(1 John 4:9-11)  In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him.  Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.  Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another.

Let Jesus be our example.  Learn to have compassion on people.  Love them for the Lord and to see them get saved.      

The Bible says, “…God is God of gods…”  (Deuteronomy 10:17)

Questions to ask yourself: Am I sure?  Or is my “god” money, fame, status, position, a better job, the “boob-tube”, a bigger home, a new car, clothes, etc.

(Matthew 22:37)  Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.

q       Do you put your husband above God?  Well he is the provider and protector of my family. 

q       Do you put your children above God?  Well physically I can’t have any more children so these are very special to me. 

q       Do you put your job above God?  Well I really do need to work.

q       Do you put money above God?  Well I never really was able to afford such things before.

q       Do you put relationships above God?  Well you see someday I hope we are going to get married but until then I have to make sure I keep him.

q       Do you put your possessions above God?  Well I’ve wanted this apartment or car or dress for a long time and I deserve it.  I went for many years without such things.

q       Do you put your status or position above God?  Well nobody else was really qualified and so they had to choose me.

q       Do you have a collection of dolls or stuffed animals or china teacups or figurines displayed somewhere in your house?  Well they were gifts and I just started collecting them.   

Putting anything above God for any reason is idolatry.

(Exodus 20:4-5)  Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth: Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me;

You may think that this is just talking about statues and images and icons and religious symbols.  It’s not.  The television set is an idol if we worship it by giving it a prominent place in our home and put watching it above reading our Bibles, praying, studying, our housework, our family.  Do your children have pictures in their rooms of sports heroes, movie stars, rock singers?  They are worshipping idols. 

Anything that you put above God, no matter what your motives are, is idolatry.  It is sin.  God hates it.

What is it that you put above God?   

God IS!   Am I?   Are you?