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I know your deeds, your hard work and your perseverance. I know that you cannot tolerate wicked men, that you have tested those who claim to be apostles but are not, and have found them false. You have persevered and have endured hardships for my name, and have not grown weary. Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken your first love. Remember the height from which you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first. If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place. revelation 2: 2-5
This year as a church we’re looking at finding out who God has made us to be and how He has gifted us and how to get activated in using those gifts.
BUT before we get activated – and even if we’re on the journey of finding out who we are and what we’re called to – we need to have our own authentic real connected in love fired up passionate full on committed relationship with God.
It’s a what came first, the chicken or the egg?
It has to be real and it has to be our heart motivation to know and love Him and make Him known.
we may be uber talented but if we have no relationship with God we will not be serving His kingdom in a humble right manner.
Disclaimer: we’re all flawed and we’re all human and we’re all sinners but a consecrated committed disciple is different from a oh yeah whatever Christian.
But we want to be a person who embrace the call and purposes of God, who believe He is real and that He is the hope of the world
A person who pursue Him and find Him
A person who will dream and live and be marked for eternity, not just breathing and living but living with purpose and destiny
Determined to know Him
Determined to keep knowing Him
Determined to live to please Him
In the face of seemingly impossible odds God is up in heaven, not stressed at all. God is confident of His work in and through us.
Any ministry and service and adventure you have with God needs to come out of the overflow – out of the heart and core of who we are… otherwise its not sustainable.
Or pleasing in the sight of God.
First love: in revelation 2: 2-5 I know your deeds, your hard work and your perseverance. I know that you cannot tolerate wicked men, that you have tested those who claim to be apostles but are not, and have found them false. You have persevered and have endured hardships for my name, and have not grown weary. Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken your first love. Remember the height from which you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first. If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place.
The Ephesians were doing plenty of work and using their giftings. They were pursuing the call of God and active in their church and community.
But it wasn’t been done from a place of overflow in their lives. It wasn’t originating from love for God.
You see, God isn’t after our behaviour. He is after our heart.
Behaviour and change and transformation and obedience flows out of love from God and love towards, love for God.
Those that are in love with God and know His love for them respond with love.
You see the most important thing to realize in the world is that God loves you.
“God loves you simply because he has chosen to do so. He loves you when you don’t feel lovely. He loves you when no one else loves you. While we may theologically and intellectually understand the transaction, motivated by love, that took place at Calvary, the reality must reach our hearts in order to complete its course. We are loved. Let the words linger in our ears. We are loved.” ~ Max Lucado
Out of knowing that everything else will flow.
Security instead of insecurity
Peace instead of fear and worry
Hope instead of hopelessness
Righteousness by love instead of compromise
Vision instead of disorientation
You are loved. Loved.
How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! 1 john 3:1
Greater is the one who is in you than the one who is in the world. 1 John 4:4
in this life we have an enemy. a defeated enemy, but one who is lashing out because of his defeat. every time we step out and draw near to God and take some land the enemy will try to strike back and kill, steal, destroy, restrict, hinder. his tactics are oppression and temptation. he will lie to us and tell u we are not good enough or he will try to lure us into sin. he is like a roaring line trying to ensnare us away from God. his suggestions are lies. his accusations are lies. as christians we need to be aware of spiritual realities and deal with them accordingly. every time something goes wrong or you feel stink it is not the devil. but sometimes it is.
remember – GREATER is HE – is GOD – is the CREATOR – is the SAVIOUR – is the KING OF KINGS – in you, living inside you, dwelling within you – than he that is in the world…
Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand…. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one… Ephesians 6
Faith in God deflects that attack of the enemy. When you have faith in God you realize you are forgiven, protected, empowered, called, chosen, cleansed, transformed.
When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your sinful nature, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, having canceled the written code, with its regulations, that was against us and that stood opposed to us; he took it away, nailing it to the cross. And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross. Colossians 2:13-15
“The devil’s fears are always falsehoods. His suggestions are always lies, and if lies, they cannot harm. If fear comes from Satan, then we can conclude there is nothing to fear.” John G. Lake
be aware of what is going on in your life. live intentionally and awakely. be alert. its not a matter of expecting contention, but when it comes, be aware and alert and prepared.
In Luke 4, when Satan was trying to tempt Jesus in the wilderness, the Lord responded to every trial by speaking Scripture. He repeatedly quoted verses that met the lies and deceptions of the devil head-on.
Psalm 35:1-3 Contend, O LORD, with those who contend with me; fight against those who fight against me. Take up shield and buckler; arise and come to my aid. Brandish spear and javelin against those who pursue me. Say to my soul, “I am your salvation.” NIV
That was a prayer of David in a time of deep distress, a time when he felt himself surrounded by enemies pressing in against him and he saw no way to keep them out. So He cried out to the Lord and said, “Lord, take your stand against my enemies. Take up your mighty spiritual weapons and block the way against them.”
It always blesses me to consider that the final, great conclusive answer to that prayer of David came through David’s greater son, the Lord Jesus Christ, about a thousand years later. On the cross, Jesus did just that. He blocked the way against all the enemies of our soul. He stopped the way. He put and end to Satan’s claims. He set a limit to Satan’s territory. He created a boundary that Satan cannot pass over.
Remember this: the cross is God’s great stop sign. The devil may be moving in against us at full speed, but when we put up the cross, he slams on his brakes and comes to a screeching halt because he cannot pass the cross. That’s where Jesus stopped the way against all our enemies. – Derek Prince
We are in a battle for the souls of mankind. We war against Satan and all of the forces of evil in the universe. Satan has established his kingdom in the hearts of men and women. That kingdom must be destroyed and Christ’s kingdom established, no small task for the church. But it can be accomplished.
One weapon God has placed within the church that can tear down the strongholds of Satan was used mightily in both the Old and New Testaments and throughout the history of the church. It’s the life that is totally yielded to God. That person holds nothing dear to himself except Jesus and His glory. That life will contradict the culture of the day.
God is looking for men and women who will not be conformed to society but rather transformed by the Holy Spirit into the image of Jesus. This life will cry out, "I want Jesus more than I want anything!" Where are the men and women in the West willing to lose everything to gain God’s glory on earth? Too many of us think we can have God’s glory at little or no cost. Our tendency is to seek miracles rather than God. We seek to bask in the comfort of blessings rather than focus on "the old rugged cross, the emblem of suffering and shame." – Sammy Tippet
This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers. 1 John 3:15
i find this to be one of the most powerful and challenging bible verses ever.
it packs such a BAM
Jesus laid down His life for us.
and we in turn should serve others and lay our lives down for them.
not our rights.
not our agenda.
this is how we KNOW what love is… that word KNOW jumped out at me… we can KNOW beyond shadow of a doubt, we can KNOW by experience in very real tangible ways, we can KNOW and have complete confidence in the reality and fact of God’s love – we can KNOW what love is because Jesus demonstrates love in giving His life to rescue us.
This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice fort our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 1 john 4:9-11
this verse holds much meaning for me. it tugs at my heart.
a week before one of our housegroup guys died in a car accident at the age of 19 he shared this as his WOW moment of the week. he’d only been a christian about 9 months. he read it out in our housegroup and shared how amazing that it was that God loves us first. before we deserved it. that LOVE is God’s choice and God’s heart and God’s character. i read this passage out at his funeral.
but it also tugs my heart because it reminds me of God’s great love –that HE loved me FIRST. when i was in rebellion and ignoring and rejecting Him, He loved me. He conceived the plan for my rescue when i didn’t even know i needed a saviour.
we often ask ourselves – does God really love me? yes. He loved me first. my life is lived then in response - my LOVE is then in response to His great love.
and how is His love demonstrated? in that He sent Jesus to save us, that He sent Jesus to die upon the cross to rescue me
and in turn, because i am loved, because i am born again and loved by Father God – in response i should love other people, love should overflow from me to others
even when it costs
and even when it hurts
because this is the demonstration that God has given us