Returning to Holiness ~ God’s Word

How did yesterday go?  Did God convict your heart?  Did it make you squirm?  Good!  Me too!  Squirming helps us to move forward on this journey!

used bible

For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.” Romans 15:4 KJV

It is God’s will that every believer keep God’s Words in their mind all the time.  We have to make the daily decision to learn God’s Word ~ it just doesn’t miraculously appear.  In my talks with other believers, this seems to be hardest to do… to spend the time with God in study and prayer.  Yet, it’s one of the most important!

Honestly answer all the questions.  Don’t answer with how you think you are “supposed” to answer!  We can only be filled with God if we are willing to empty ourselves and allow Him to fill us up.  Be willing, be honest, be thorough in your confession.

Questions for Reflection

Is it your habit to seriously read and study God’s Word daily?  Do you meditate on key verses?  Does God’s Word have a big or little place in your thought during your day? Have you failed to write down key verses that speak to your needs in your life?

You cannot love God and not love His Word.  When you neglect God’s Word you are, in a sense, neglecting God.   How can we know His will for us if we don’t know His Word?  How can we make decisions if we don’t know His Word?  We can’t!

Confess the sin of not spending time in God’s Word.  Now make a personal commitment to embrace time in God’s Word.

“Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts.”  James 4:3 KJV

How many times have you had a list of requests for God?  We are always giving Him our lists of wants, of needs but do we think about what we can give to Him?  We can become so selfish!

Questions for Reflection

Are you guilty of seeking God for what He can do for you than out of genuine love for Him? Do you sense that your thoughts are mixed with selfish desires rather than seeking God’s glory?  Are you aware of the desire to be noted and praised by people rather than seeking God’s pleasure? Are you unwilling to pray God’s will when it doesn’t fit your plan? Do your love and worship decrease when things don’t go according to your plan? When you are disappointed, do you “cool off” toward God?

If God convicted your heart of selfish, impure or shallow motives to spending time with Him, confess these sins.  Ask God to give you a deep purity and purpose for His kingdom.

“This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me.  But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.”  Matthew 15:8-9 KJV

God does not want insincere worship or empty ritual!  The whole essence of worship is to bow before God in total reverence and surrender.  We forget that the extreme holiness and majesty of our Creator.  We compromise with sin but we still want God to honor our prayers.

Questions for Reflection

In coming to worship, is your main purpose to bow before God in total repentance and obedience?  Is your mind filled with holy fear, reverence and awe? Do you mostly seek His benefits?  Do you set aside a day for God or just go to church on Sunday? Have you taken the Lord’s Supper without deep examination and personal repentance?  Do you often sing the worship hymns without deeply reflecting on the words? Do you listen to sermons without much thought of immediate to God’s instructions?

Insincere, ritualistic worship is a serious sin.  Do you need to confess a shallow reverence and worship of God?  Confess your sins and trust God to grant you the spirit of genuine reverence and worship.

“And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure.” 1 John 3:3 KJV

The pursuit of holiness should be the predominant aim of every Christian.  It is the pursuit of a holy mindset.  When we are spirit-filled there is a burning thirst to experience Christ’s holiness in every area of your being.

Questions for Reflection

Is your mind filled with thoughts of how to experience greater holiness?  Do you often say “I wish I was more like Jesus” and then do nothing or very little to pursue spiritual cleansing?  Do you make consistent time to allow God to search every area of your life?  Do you regularly read comprehensive lists of Scriptures designed to thoroughly examine your heart?

In Matthew 6:33 KJV, Jesus said we are to, “Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness.”   Confess to God and ask Him to grant you a heart that hungers for Him, for a holiness that is genuine.  God will answer this prayer every time!

Personal Reflection

What specific Scripture has God brought specific conviction?  What thoughts have God told you to change? Which do you need to address first?

How do these sins affect your relationship with God and others?

Has God given you specific Scripture promises to help you overcome each sin?  What are they?

In what specific ways are you prepared to change your thoughts?  What thoughts will be the replacements?

 

 

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Returning to Holiness ~ Sins of Thought

Are we ready to begin?  To delve deep?  To walk closer with Christ?  This journey may be totally uncomfortable ~ but oh so worth it!

jumbled thoughts

According to God’s Word sin begins in the heart and mind.  Matthew 15:19 KJV “For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies.”  Our thoughts and attitudes must be under God’s control or we will never know the fullness of life in Christ.

Let’s take a minute to think about how Satan attacks us?  Satan cannot attack us physically but he can fill our minds with inappropriate, sinful thoughts…he tries to develop strongholds in our thinking, doubts, so we can be led into sin and away from God.  How many times have you thought, “Well, it will be okay, it’s only this one time.”?  That one time leads to another and another leading you further from God and deeper in with Satan and his lies.

Proverbs 23:7 KJV tells us, “For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he: Eat and drink, saith he to thee; but his heart is not with thee.”  God is telling us the importance of fully allowing our minds to rest in Christ.  What you think is what you are is true without a doubt.

Prayerfully read the all the following scriptures.

Matthew 1:22-23 KJV “Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?  And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.”

John 17:3 KJV “And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.”

Romans 8:16 KJV “ The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God.”

The first sin we must overcome is any doubts about our salvation ~ we cannot be pleasing to God if we have this doubt in our minds and hearts.  We cannot make any progress in our spiritual journeys until you are completely, utterly certain of your relationship to Christ. God doesn’t want you to live another day in doubt.

Honestly answer all the questions.  Don’t answer with how you think you are “supposed” to answer!  We can only be filled with God if we are willing to empty ourselves and allow Him to fill us up.  Be willing, be honest, be thorough in your confession.

Questions for Reflection

Do you have nagging doubts about whether you have been saved? Do you sense times that God is speaking to your heart or is that a foreign idea?  Do you have a personal relationship with Christ or do you just know “facts” about who He is? Can you remember a time when you were deeply convicted of your “lostness”?  Can you remember a time when you truly turned from sin and surrendered your life to Christ?  When you made your profession of faith was there a noticeable change in your life?  Do you have complete peace that you are forgiven of your sins and are destined for Heaven? Do you have a desire for Bible study and prayer?  Do you have a longing to be in church and with God’s children?  Are you known as a person of kindness?  Are you known as a person of love?

If you answered no to many of these questions, it’s imperative that you stop and get your relationship with Christ right!  The good news is that you can get it right!  God is willing and wants to give you the assurance you need.  Please stop and read “How to Be Certain of Your Salvation”.

If you answered yes then rejoice that your eternal security is in Jesus… let’s continue….

Questions for Reflection

Honestly reflect on the type of thoughts that occupy your mind.

Is your mind focused on with thoughts of Christ or with worldly things? Do you think more about work or recreation than spiritual growth and serving God?  Are you sometimes filled with unclean thoughts? Do you have angry or fearful thoughts? Do you frequently watch programs or movies that cause improper thoughts and feelings? Are you conscious of unclean thoughts or motives? Do you have thoughts that you would be ashamed for others to know about? Do you have a wandering eye? Do your affections and priorities often revolve around people and things more than Christ? Are more passionate about worldly things or spiritual things? Do you get more excited about work, sports, etc., than God’s kingdom?  To what or whom do you devote most of your thoughts and energies to? Is Christ the center of all of your life? Of your plans?  Is it a habit to seriously read and study God’s Word daily or is it another thing to cross off your to-do list? Do you meditate on key verses? Do you write down key verses that speak to you so you can apply it your life?

If you sense God’s conviction, be specific in your confession to Him. Decide how you are going to change your thoughts to remove the pattern of sin ~ it’s vital that you replace the wrong thoughts with thoughts of Christ.  Try to memorize Scripture that will give you a powerful way to over come the wrong thoughts. Would you share your scripture choices with us?   If many of your thoughts are undisciplined, worldly, confess this to Him and ask Him to transform your mind.  By God’s grace, you can change your affections and thoughts!  Praise His Grace!  Think of specific ways you need to set your affections and thoughts on Christ.

2 Corinthians 10:5 KJV “Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.”

Romans 12:2 KJV  “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.”

Matthew 22:37 KJV “ 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.”

Personal Reflection

What specific Scripture has God brought specific conviction?  What thoughts have God told you to change? Which do you need to address first?

How do these sins affect your relationship with God and others?

Has God given you specific Scripture promises to help you overcome each sin?  What are they?

In what specific ways are you prepared to change your thoughts?  What thoughts will be the replacements?

 

 

How to Be Certain of Your Salvation

Question: “How can I have assurance of my salvation?”

Answer:Many followers of Jesus Christ look for the assurance of salvation in the wrong places. We tend to seek assurance of salvation in the things God is doing in our lives, in our spiritual growth, in the good works and obedience to God’s Word that is evident in our Christian walk. While these thing can beevidence of salvation, they are not what we should base the assurance of our salvation. Rather, we should find the assurance of our salvation in the objective truth of God’s Word. We should have confident trust that we are saved based on the promises God has declared, not because of our subjective experiences.

How can you have assurance of salvation? Consider1 John 5:11–13: “And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life. I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life.” Who is it that has the Son? It is those who have believed in Him (John 1:12). If you have Jesus, you have life. Not temporary life, but eternal.

God wants us to have assurance of our salvation. We should not live our Christian lives wondering and worrying each day whether or not we are truly saved. That is why the Bible makes the plan of salvation so clear. Believe in Jesus Christ (John 3:16;Acts 16:31). “If you declare with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved” (Romans 10:9). Do you believe that Jesus died to pay the penalty for your sins (Romans 5:8;2 Corinthians 5:21)? Do you trust Him alone for salvation? If your answer to these questions is “yes,” you are saved! Assurance means freedom from doubt. By taking God’s Word to heart, you can have no doubt about the reality of your eternal salvation.

Jesus Himself assures those who believe in Him: “I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand” (John 10:28–29). Eternal life is just that—eternal. There is no one, not even yourself, who can take Christ’s God-given gift of salvation away from you.

We hide God’s Word in our hearts so that we do not sin against Him (Psalm 119:11), and this includes the sin of doubt. Take joy in what God’s Word is saying to you: instead of doubting, we can live with confidence! We can have the assurance from Christ’s own Word that our salvation will never be in question. Our assurance of salvation is based on the perfect and complete salvation God has provided for us through Jesus Christ.

Read more:http://www.gotquestions.org/assurance-salvation.html#ixzz31igG1TKx

jesus on the cross

 

Returning to Holiness – Preparing for the Journey

I’m beginning a journey…Returning to Holiness by Dr. Gregory R. Frizzell.  According to scripture, only cleansed hearts have mighty power with God…Hosea 10:12 KJV “Sow yourselves in righteousness,reap in mercy; break up your fallow ground: for it is time to seek the Lord, till he come and rain righteous upon you.”

Let me begin by saying, if you have accepted Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, you are saved! Nothing can change that ~ well, except for a complete, and total reversal from Him.  Ephesians 2:8-9 KJVFor by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: [it is] the gift of God:”

This journey is about walking more like Christ by learning to truly repent of our sins.

confession

The world is in a moral decline.  All we have to do is take a look at the news… things that were once wrong are not acceptable, there are rumors of war, there is rampant sickness… the world is in denial of the existence of God, of Christ.  Yet, through it all,  there are still many signs that God is touching His children.  Many believers and churches are seeing the miraculous movement of God’s spirit.

The key for experiencing God’s mighty presence and power in our lives is found in Isaiah 59: 1-2 KJV “Behold, the Lord’s hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear:2 But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear.”

Do you see the crucial point?

God is so willing to touch us yet unconfessed sin has blocked His power to answer our prayers. Have you ever rushed through your prayer times? Have you ever failed to review your day to see where sin may have built up between you and God? I have!

1 John 1:9 KJV “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

Psalm 139:23-24 KJV “Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead in the way everlasting.”

We must be willing to allow God to search our hearts! Though we may say that we ask God to search our hearts, do we really?  Or do we try to hold some things back from Him, from His all seeing eyes?  We must learn to speak our darkness, our errors so He may renew in us a clean heart, so He will cleanse us. We cannot gloss over what we think He must not see.  He sees all and we are only fooling ourselves when we fail to share errors with Him.  We must spend the time to get alone with God and allow Him to help us to thoroughly examine our lives.  We can’t hide things from God, even if there are times we want to.  He knows all things yet He wants us to come to Him.

Think about how you  received Jesus?  You received Him by simple faith and trusted the Word was true.  Though our flesh fights every step of the way, we must walk in victory over sin and self.  Sounds so simple, doesn’t it?  Yet we all know how difficult this walk is!  We struggle every day and will struggle until we meet with Him in Heaven…Sinners we are. Colossians 2:6 KJV gives us tremendous help, a place to lean when we feel overcome, “As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him.”

Let’s keep in mind on this journey…

Allow God to speak to your heart.  Pray through what you read, talk to God about it and He will talk to you.  If He reveals a sin to you, immediately confess it and trust Christ for victory.  Proverbs 28:13 KJV “He that coverth his sins shall not prosper: but who so confesseth and forforsaketh them shall have mercy.”  We need to allow Jesus to fill our hearts with His glorious purity and power.

Ask God for deep conviction and clear discernment.  We can not know our own hearts without God’s revelation to us.  Jeremiah 17:9 KJV says, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?”

Embrace this cleansing journey daily with God.  Daily confession and cleansing are the essence of walking in the Spirit. Psalms 86:3 KJV “Be merciful unto me, O Lord: for I cry unto thee daily.”

Confess your sins with the assurance of God’s mercy and blessing.  Do not be afraid of what God will show you.  Whatever sin you are shown, Christ already died for it!  God already knows about it anyway!  God doesn’t convict you to condemn you, but to set you free!  John 8:36 KJV “If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.”

Be prepared for spiritual battle.  Satan will hate what you are doing in this journey as you become clean before God and fully empowered by the Holy Spirit. James 4:8 KJV “Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you.  Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded.”

Ask trusted friends to pray for you in the areas that you need change.  There is great power when two or more pray in agreement together.  Don’t let pride keep you from confessing to others.  James 5:16 KJV “Confess your faults to one another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed.  The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.”

Incomplete confession leads to incomplete cleansing… Allow God to do a deep daily cleaning daily ~ you will experience life-changing discipleship!

Father, Thank You for Your glorious invitation!  May you grant us a passion for holiness ~ not just for blessings but because we love You. Let us not forget to wash our robes white.  As we enter now into Your holy presence may we hear and respond to Your desire to change our lives. By Your grace may we respond to Your urgent call.  In Jesus’ name we pray.  Amen.