Self-Discipline vs Self-denial

(Touch not; taste not; handle not; Which all are to perish with the using;) after the commandments and doctrines of men? Which things have indeed a show of wisdom in will worship, and humility, and neglecting of the body; not in any honor to the satisfying of the flesh. Colossians 2:21-23

The idea of self-discipline seems so good. I only wish we were all able to genuinely produce whatever type of change we wanted to see in ourselves. I was recently asked what is the difference between self-discipline and self-denial. I said self-discipline is pushing ourselves or putting pressure on ourselves to change and self-denial is saying no to self altogether. The pressure of self-discipline is often maintained through goals or rules. The emphasis is generally on working and doing as the means to change. If we change as a result of self-discipline, we feel proud of what we have accomplished. This type of practice may help us deal with the first two areas that are not of God: the lust of the eyes, and the lust of the flesh; Yet will, more then likely, fill us completely full of the third areathe pride of life, which also, is not like God. Self-discipline then is busy and noisy which is the opposite of the gratefulness to the Lord who wants us to grow in Him.

On the other hand, self-denial is not merely saying no to ourselves, as it is saying yes to the Spirit of God. When I say yes to the Spirit of God, it is an automatic no for myself.  So the Spirit of God gains control of my life. It is something God does in and for us. Let me ask: Is the way we get more of  God through self-denial or do we get more of God, which results in less of us? Isn’t this self-denial? Please, do not try to deny yourself to get more of God because you never will. Why don’t we decide now to pursue more of God, and we will surely find, that will mean less of us! 

He must increase, but I must decrease. John 3:30  

Don’t say I must decrease so that He can increase, but rather say He must increase therefore I must decrease. It is dangerous to get the decrease ahead of His increase. 

Blessed Is He That’s Not Offended!

Developing a walk in the spirit will likely create many offenses in your flesh. To be offended means: being resentful or annoyed, typically as a result of a perceived insult: One of the major attacks of the enemy is to destroy the unity in relationships. “For in many things we offend all. If any man offend not in word, the same is a perfect man, and able also to bridle the whole body.” James 3:2. If you haven’t yet reached perfection, which most of us haven’t, here are several ways that you can handle being offended. I’ve collected a list so that we can receive some assistance in this frustrating struggle:

  •  When a comment seems offensive, keep in mind that it may not be aimed specifically at you. The comment may be casual and the person is unaware that you are taking it personally.
  • Consider the context that things are being said or done. Many times, you may have misunderstood and taken it wrongly.
  • Avoid being too sensitive, as it is a sure way to be easily offended.
  • Tell yourself that the person may be having a bad day and didn’t realize how they came across. Don’t judge and avoid jumping to conclusions.
  • Talk to the person about how you feel. The person might not realize that they offended you. Talking over the issues can help to resolve misunderstandings, hidden anger and frustration.
  • Think positively and stop brooding over the offense. Thinking too much often makes you jump to conclusions that are oftentimes not based on fact.
  • Stay away from self-pity when offended. It can destroy your confidence and make you miserable.
  • Pray for the ability to forgive and forget the offense if you have been truly offended.

The Plan

 

As I was sitting in the office this week looking over the vision plan for the next seven years, I began thinking back to when I was around nineteen years old. The Georgia Lion’s Camp for the Blind was looking for counselors. We would be spending the summer giving those who were visually impaired the opportunity to experience an array of activities such as horseback riding, swimming, canoeing, and fishing. Before the campers were to arrive we had to get prepared for them. I would spend two weeks learning how they felt and what it was like to be blind. For training, my eyes were blindfolded, and then they assigned a personal guide who would be taking us by the arm and leading us from place to place. I remember the frustration of having to depend on that person. They took me everywhere. When I wanted to eat, they would take me to the cafeteria and help me get whatever I was eating in my mouth. When I needed to use the rest room, they would have to take me and line me up with the urinal. The temptation to peek was overwhelming .Were these guys really paying attention to the things they were leading me into? Did they really care where I was about to step or were they manipulating me for their own amusement. I know there was a lot of laughing going on.

For that whole week, walking blindfolded taught me something that I didn’t even remember until this day!   It taught me the value of vision. The word of God declares in Proverbs 29:18 (KJV) “Where there is no vision, the people perish.” Vision is the key to any undertaking. We must be able to see the future and lead people to the place God has prepared for them. “If the blind lead the blind, both will fall into a ditch.” If we as leaders do not know where we are going, then where we are leading people is only for our own amusement.

For years we can teach about faith and right relationship with God, but where are we going as a church body? What is ahead of us? We need Seers again who can take us by the hand and lead us into a victorious life. When I say vision, I’m speaking of a personal plan.  Leaders need a plan!

Husbands, do you have a plan to lead your family?  Mothers, do you have a plan to lead your children? Business owners, do you have a plan to lead your business? Pastors, do you have a plan, a written plan, to lead God’s people? A plan shows me how I am going to get from where I am to where I’m going, systematically. It helps me balance the tasks and prioritize the importance of each activity so that nothing hinders me from heading forward. The more responsibilities that we have on our lives the bigger the plans must be. We must put our lives in some kind of order. Moments must be managed and you can’t manage your moments without a plan. If we don’t plan our day, we will walk into it waiting on someone else to tell us what is important. If we have no plans for our day, then it is up for grabs. But if it is “our day”,  then we need to determine what is important before it gets here; otherwise we’ll waste time, and time is a limited commodity. Every day we wake up without a plan, we are vulnerable to manipulation.

Let’s pray together throughout the next several weeks so that every leader will know what it feels like to be led and that they will pray and ask God for the plans that he has prepared for our future.  Come on husbands, wives, pastors and leaders, let’s hear from heaven for God to give us a plan!

  Jeremiah 29:11   For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.

 

HOW CAN I CHANGE MY LIFE?

HOW CAN I CHANGE MY LIFE?

Ask This Questions To God

Genesis 32:22-32  

       Genesis 32:22-32 – An incident from the life of Jacob illustrates the process God uses to change our lives.  After this event, Jacob was never the same again.

I.  PHASE ONE: ___Crisis__________________________________________

        “So Jacob was left alone, and a man wrestled with him till daybreak.  When the man saw he could not overpower him, he touched the socket of Jacob’s hip so that his hip was wrenched as he wrestled with the man.”  (vs. 24-25)

                God uses crises to: get our attention

            We never change until: until the pain becomes greater than the fear of change. 

 II.  PHASE TWO: ____Commitment_________________________________________

        “Then the man said, `Let me go, for it is daybreak.’ But Jacob replied, `I will not let you go unless you bless me.'” (vs. 26)

 God often waits to resolve a problem to see if He wants to see if we really mean business

                Many people miss God’s best because: they give up too soon

        “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.”  Gal. 6:9

 III.  PHASE THREE:_____Confession_______________________________________

        “The man asked him, `What is your name?’ `Jacob’, he answered.”  (vs. 27)

                “Jacob” means “I’m a cheater” Deciever

        Lesson:  I’ll never be able to change my weaknesses until: until I admit them.

               What’s my name?

 IV.  PHASE FOUR:____Cooperation_________________________________________

        “Then the man said, `Your name will no longer be Jacob, but Israel, because you have struggled with God and with men and have overcome. … then he blessed him there.  So Jacob called the place Peniel, saying, `It is because I saw God face to face …”  (vs. 28-30)

        (vs. 31) Note:  Jacob walked with a limp for the rest of his life.  It was to be a constant reminder of 2 truths:

 1. The reminder to Jacob, constantly, as he limped the rest of his life was that Jacob was to depend on God and not his own strength

 2. It was a reminder to Jacob that it is never God’s will to run from a personal problem.  Running doesn’t solve it.  Running away never solves a problem.  If I’ve got a problem in my character — a defect — to hide it, ignore it, deny it is to run from it. 

 You don’t have to stay the same!

        “So get rid of your old self, which made you live as you used to … and put on the new self, which is created in God’s likeness … ”  Eph. 4:22-23 (GN)

        Jesus said, “… You must be `born again.'”  John 3:7

Which Phase are you in?

1. Crisis or Conflict- This is the begining point for change

2. Commitment- You must want a change more than the comfort of staying where you are.

3. Confession – You may not be what Jacob was but tell God what you are… Liar, Lust, Anger, Fear, adulterer,whatever you are admit to God your identity and he can chage it.

4. Cooporation- Leave with the strongest thing about you becoming weak and the weakest thing becoming strong.

Its time to move to the next one!

Ask God to Help you today move on in the process of Change! Never Give Up!

Seven Things the Devil Does Not Want Us to Do

Seven Things the Devil Does Not Want Us to Do!

Ephesians 6:1-20

INTRODUCTION:  HE DOES NOT WANT US TO:

 I. GO TO CHURCH—Hebrews 10:25

He knows at church— 

  1. You will hear the Word of God be preached.
  2. The Holy Spirit will convict you.
  3. You will receive needed encouragement. 

II. PRAY—Luke 11:1-9

He knows that— 

  1. Your Prayer will bring God’s power.
  2. Your Prayer brings greater consecration.
  3. Your Prayer brings you into victory.

III. WITNESS—John 4:28-29

He will— 

  1. Bind you with business so you have no time to witness.
  2. Bother you so your life is not a witness.
  3. Break you from being able to witness.

IV. TRUST GOD—Job 13:15

He knows a trusting soul—

  1. Receives continual eternal life.
  2. Refuses to be defeated
  3. Refreshes the soul with renewal. 

V. READ THE BIBLE—Hebrews 4:12

He hinders us from reading the word because it:

  1. Gives us the mind of Christ
  2. Makes us ready for Heaven.
  3. Separates us from thinking like Hell. 

VI. SEPARATE FROM THINGS OF THE WORLD—Ephesians 5:11

The un-separated life— 

  1. Is unproductive and is fruitless.
  2. Is filled with the works of darkness.

VII. YIELD TO THE SPIRIT—Ephesians 5:18
       The Spirit-filled life— 

  1. Brings us into a fruitful purpose.
  2. Brings God’s powerful gifts.
  3. Brings us into the glory of God.

 

THE MIRACLE OF A MOTHER

BISHOP’S BLOG

SUNDAY, MAY 13, 2012

         TEXT:  JOHN 2:1-11

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The best example of motherhood that I can think of is Mary, the mother of Jesus!   Can you imagine being chosen to bear God’s Son?    I wonder what traits God looked for as He chose the mother of Jesus.  Can you imagine the fear and perplexities of raising God’s son?  Mary had to deal with Jesus’ humanity first and was later the instrument used  to pull forth His divinity by initiating His ministry when she called forth His first miracle at a wedding feast in Cana of Galilee.

As she dealt with His humanity, she had to bathe him, feed him, diaper him, and probably even spank Him just as any other mother.  After all, she had to discipline him, teach him, train him in all ways, for she was preparing Him to handle the demands of the most important profession ever—the Salvation of the world.   Jesus, our Kinsman Redeemer, grew up to take our humanity and nail it to the Cross.  Then He gave us the opportunity to receive His divinity as a result of His Death and Resurrection.

When Jesus was 30, the event that began His public ministry was His first miracle at a wedding in Cana of Galilee.  Notice that His first miracle is dealing with another first—the first institution that He created—the institution of marriage.    God loves the institution of marriage, the union of one man and one woman, which is the portrayal of Christ and the Church.   Even His last miracle—the Marriage Supper of the Lamb—dealt with the same institution.

The Wedding Feast is representative of Israel.   This particular wedding feast was held on the third day, representative of another third day—Jesus’ Resurrection—when the New Wine was supplied.    When they ran out of wine and needed more,   Mary came to Jesus.   At this time, Israel likewise had run out of what they needed.  Perhaps you too have run out of something you need—such as strength, energy, love, joy.   Mary saw their need, and she knew who could help, so she said to Jesus, “They have no wine.”  –John 2:3

Jesus replied, “Woman, what have I to do with thee?  Mine hour is not yet come.”—John 2:4

This is not the only significant time that Jesus emphasized a certain hour.  He did so again as His earthly ministry drew to a close.  When Jesus prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane just prior to His betrayal by Judas,  He began by saying, “Father, the hour is come.”  –John17:1

When Jesus’ mother called on him to meet the need at the wedding feast, Jesus had to deny His humanity, represented by His earthly mother Mary; He had to deny His flesh produced by Mother Earth in order to fulfill His purpose.  He came to redeem the souls of men, which Satan had taken.  Thus He responded to His mother as “Woman,” for she represented a human relationship–His humanity,

At this wedding feast, we see the power of a mother as Mary reached in to pull the Father from the Son—to pull out His deity.  At this point, His deity was to take over His humanity.   Mary began to pull from Him that which He was sent to do—to glorify the Father.  She reached into His death so that she could pull out His life.  She was reaching into His future—into Eternity.   This is the same thing that we do when we pray.

Mary turned to the servants and said, “Whatsoever he says unto you, do it.” (John 2:5)   Here the Power of the Mother is that she recognized the Power of His mouth.  After all, He is the Word that was in the beginning and always will be.

Then Jesus said, “Fill the water pots with water.” (John 2:7)  These water pots are significant because they were the ceremonial pots used to hold the water that would wash the dust and dirt from the outside but could not cleanse the inside.  Jesus was going to utilize these same ceremonial pots, but the contents would change from water into wine symbolizing that the Water of the Word was not enough.  It must be changed into the Spirit–the New Wine—which would do something from the inside out instead of the outside in.  This shows us that what Jesus did in the beginning in His first miracle is what He came to do in His last hour.

The servants filled the water pots up to the brim and He said, “Draw out now, and bear unto the governor of the feast.”  –John 2:8

The governor of the feast marveled when he tasted water that was made wine; he stated to the bridegroom, “Every man at the beginning doth set forth good wine; and when men have well drunk, then that which is worse: but thou hast kept the good wine until now.” –John 2:10

Have you ever wondered why God chose this turning water into wine as Jesus’ first miracle?  At times, Jesus referred to Himself as the vine.  The vine, of course, produces grapes, which in turn must be squeezed to produce juice which, after fermentation, turns into wine.  However, water must flow through the vine in order to produce grapes.   This is a lengthy process.  The Miracle of the Mother was her pulling out the creative capacity of the Father from the Son to eradicate what it takes time to produce through the natural process.   In like manner,  keep in mind that whatever you have drunk in life is always worse in comparison to your future, for Christ has saved the best till last for you as well.

Remember:  At the last supper, Jesus served wine and told His followers, “This do in remembrance of me.”   On the Cross, He became poured out wine.  When resurrected, He became new wine.  He wants us today to partake of His new wine—new life.

Thus –“This beginning of miracles did Jesus in Cana of Galilee, and manifested forth His glory; and his disciples believed on him.” –John 2:11

The Power of a Mother propelled Jesus into His public ministry, and the disciples believed.

POWER IN THE WORD

TEXT:

ACTS 1:3-8 After his suffering, he presented himself to them and gave many convincing proofs that he was alive. He appeared to them over a period of forty days and spoke about the kingdom of God.On one occasion, while he was eating with them, he gave them this command: “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.”  Then they gathered around him and asked him, “Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?”He said to them: “It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

ACTS 2:1-3 When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place.  Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting.They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. _____________________________________________________________________________________

Have you ever tried over and over to get something from God but have just not been able to make the connection?    Have you wanted to experience the power of God but just did not know how to have that power manifest?    Maybe you have waited for many years for your healing or for some other act of God, but have just not been able to experience it?  Perhaps you can relate to the paralytic by the pool of Bethesda in Jerusalem.  (See John 5:1-9)

A great company of impotent and afflicted people lay around the pool.  Periodically an angel came down and stirred the water, and the first who stepped into these wavy waters could be healed.  However, many at the pool did not have the ability to get into the miracle.  One such man, paralyzed from the waist down, had dragged himself as close as he could to the cure, so that he could get into the pool first.   This man’s legs did not work, but his arms did; yet he still could not get to the water fast enough.    For 38 years he had tried to receive the benefit from heavenly help but was incapable of doing so because nobody would help him out by getting him in and somebody always jumped ahead of him

But—one day Jesus visited the pool, entered the crowd and encountered this man; Jesus asked, “Wilt thou be made whole?” (John 5:6)

The impotent man replied, “Sir, I have no man, when the water is troubled, to put me into the pool:  but while I am coming, another steps down before me.”  [That sounds just like us, looking for help from others can keep us handicapped for a long time.]

Jesus said unto him, “Rise, take up thy bed, and walk.” (John 5:9)

And immediately the man was made whole, took up his bed, and walked.

He had finally experienced the POWER he had needed–an encounter with God through the person of Jesus Christ.

Most of us today are no different from this paralytic.   A part of us is working, but some part is not.   We operate as half a man, living half a life, incapable of living the life we need to live, wanting and needing something from God—something that only a personal encounter with Christ can cure.    We need His Power.  We know about the Power of God, but somehow we have not been able to make the right connection.

Without the right connection,  no power can be released;  without expectancy,  stored up energy (Power) cannot be released.  Sometimes this energy—this power—is released with the pressing  of a button, as with a light bulb or flashlight, or by flipping a switch to turn on a light.  However, sometimes a force—a push or a pull– must be used; or a negative and a positive must clash to create this power.

Our lives can never run right if we are not connected to the right Power Source.   God wants us to see the negatives of our lives.  He will allow us to exhaust ourselves of all self-sufficiency until we realize that only our connection to Christ produces that positive power.

The highest power source is a Word. The Word created the light of this world and keeps it continually burning.  The paralytic met the Word, which said, “Arise, take up thy bed and walk.”   The paralytic heard, but that was not enough.  He had to expect–to believe–that he could do what The Word said.   “And immediately the man was made whole.”

God’s Word must break through our minds for us to believe, to expect, the impossible—to expect power to be released.     He has promised us:  “Ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you.”   This power is only possible if we make the right connection:  if we wait for God’s power with expectancy and perseverance,

God’s question to us today is the same:  “Wilt thou be made whole?”