What Do You Do When You No Longer Want To Serve God? 1 Corinthians 15:58

God Loves You
There are times when everyone who serves the Lord gets discouraged.  What does the Bible say to do then?

"Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain." 1 Corinthians 15:58,

STAND FIRM
This is stated like a command, but that means it is a choice, so it must be in your control.  To stand firm means:
     * To take ownership of enduring.
     * To choose to not give up.
     * To prepare for the long haul.
     * To refuse to retreat.

LET NOTHING MOVE YOU
In ancient warfare soldiers would stand in a row side by side facing the enemy; each one had to keep their place beside others and not let the enemy conquer the one place they held.  To give way would mean defeat to the one who yielded and the comrades on each side.

There are many things that try to move us away from service, we must learn to recognize them, turn from them, and deal decisively with them.  

ALWAYS
Always means not just once in a while but at every turn and every opportunity.  There is no room for the attitude where you stand firm in one situation and then yield in another.

GIVE YOURSELF FULLY
These three words offer much to think about.  We are to give ourselves away and if that is our attitude then discouragement or defeat are not considerations.  Discouragement and defeat are opposed to giving yourself away because it implies you were hoping to gain something, but giving yourself away is the sacrifice of yourself and all rewards.

WORK OF THE LORD
One of the effects of salvation is that God has made us His servant/partners.  We do good works and we do them as if we were His hands and feet.

It is not our work- it is His work.  We are not responsible for success or failure, after all the Bible teaches Jesus has already won the victory.  Our purpose is not the outcome but the work.

KNOWING
Knowing means you are certain and assured.  We can know that our work is valued by our Lord.

NOT IN VAIN
So many things we do are vain and wasteful, but even a glass of water given in His name will not lose its reward.  (Matthew 10:42, Mark 9:41). If it is done in the Lord it is not vain.

You might do many and mighty great works but they must be in the Lord, so those works are in fellowship with and in concert with His purpose and His will.  If our works have the guidance of the Lord in keeping with his Word they will be worthy of the "Well done good and faithful servant" (Matthew 25:23).

If you want to learn more about coming to God see my other blog about salvation.

(c) Adron Dozat

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Can God Find Your Lost Soul?

You feel like you have wandered from God and have gone too far.  You feel like you cannot find your way to or come back, but you can take comfort that God may be searching for you.

"For this is what the sovereign Lord says; I myself will search for my sheep and look after them." Ezekiel 34:11.

FOR THIS IS WHAT
This verse starts with an affirmation, a concrete statement.   It is one you should to pay attention to because if God says it you can count on it.

THE SOVEREIGN LORD
Here God uses a double title: Sovereign and Lord.  God is sovereign in that He is king of all and final authority; in all things there is no higher person or office.   He is Lord as the one who has ultimate command and absolute ruler.

I MYSELF
It is God alone who searches for you- who better?  God does not need another to find his sheep, and God is not willing for another to look for his sheep.  Salvation is from God and even though we have the gospel, and the church is charged with spreading the gospel, it is God who finds His sheep.   He may use the church or others to accomplish His will in finding them but salvation comes from God alone.

SEARCH
To search is to look with dedication, and to look intently without giving up.  It is not a quick scan but it is the diligent looking where you overlook nothing and investigate every place.  It takes time and effort.

God is not searching because he doesn't know where you are; He is searching as in using all avenues and resources to bring you to Him.

MY SHEEP
The word, my, is a word of ownership. This verse was written for God's people, Israel, in ages past but the reference speaks to anyone who responds to the Lord's call today.   God calls those who come to him, "mine."

LOOK AFTER THEM
Sheep are very needy and no other creature is as dependent on human care as sheep are.  A shepherd cares diligently watching and protecting the sheep morning and night.  In the same way God longs to care for his sheep.

Like the shepherd who looks for his sheep over the hills and valleys God has looked from far away and has seen us and our need.  He sees that we are struggling with weakness, pain and sin.  Out of love He sent his son to take our sins on himself and bear their punishment,  His death as our substitute satisfied the judgment of God and his resurrection proves that he has power to give us abundant life here and eternal life.

We must not be the sheep who run from the shepherd.  God calls us to him but we must come.

If you want to learn more about coming to God see my other blog about salvation.

(c) Adron Dozat 

Is Complaining a Bad Sin? Numbers 11:1

God Loves You
We all complain at some time or other, sometimes we call it venting, or expressing ourselves, but what does God think about it?

"Now the people complained about their hardships in the hearing of the LORD, and when he heard them his anger was aroused. Then fire from the LORD burned among them and consumed some of the outskirts of the camp." Numbers 11:1.

THE PEOPLE
Today, in the age of grace and the modern church a person might think they have a special covenant and get an exception on some things.  The people of Israel were God's chosen people, they were special but God gave them no slack on the issue of sin.

COMPLAINED
Complaining expresses selfishness, arrogance, superiority and immaturity. Complaining is the opposite of gratitude.  It insults God who is so generous, grants favor and gives life.

One wonders what they had to complain about.
     * God had delivered them from slavery and they escaped Egypt.
     * They carried away treasure of Egypt with them.
     * God was living among them as with no other people.
     * He provided them with the food of angels.
     * And God was leading them to a land of promise.

Yet with miracles and blessings they still complained.

IN THE HEARING OF THE LORD
It is not just that God is all knowing- He hears the unspoken words as well as the shout, but it was compounded because those complaining were supposed to be His people and a light to the nations.

The issue was not proximity, though they were close to the Lord, and the tabernacle which represented the presence of the Lord, the issue was status- they were his people so the attitude of complaining was intolerable.

HIS ANGER AROSE.
No one would want to be on the receiving end of God's wrath.  To say His anger arose suggest it grew and manifested itself in the extreme.

FIRE CONSUMED
Complaining cost them and fire consumed edges of the camp.  The people did other sins at other times but the judgment against complaining was the most dramatic which should cause us to think God is really against it.

That God only burned the perimeter shows his anger was mixed with mercy as if God were not happy to carry out judgment.

We may find forgiveness through Jesus for our sins but we still cannot continue in sin without consequences.

The people of the church today do not get any extra leniency for sin than did people of ancient Israel.  We must not temp the Lord's anger.  We must be vigilant to guard against it.

If you want to learn more about finding God and freedom from sin see my other blog about salvation.
 
(c) Adron Dozat

Can You Grow In Grace Or Are You Just Given A Unique Amount?

God loves you.
The Bible teaches that we are given grace but can we increase it or grow in grace?

"...Be on your guard, so that you are not carried away by the error of unprincipled men and fall from your own steadfastness.  But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, To him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity." 2 Peter 3:18.

BUT GROW
We are admonished to be on our guard and we are admonished to grow; if we are told to grow in grace then it must be something we are able to do, and even seems we have a responsibility to grow.

"But"
Growing in the Lord counteracts error and lawlessness.  When we grow in our knowledge of His Word, the Bible, we learn what pleases Him and what offends Him. Since we live in relationship with the Lord then our relationship deepens.

GROW
The first mark of growth is change, if there is no change there is no growth, if there is no growth then there may be no life.

Not all grow at the same rate or speed, daisies grow in a season but an oak tree may take decades.  Not all growth is observable, sometimes things are happening inside that can't be seen from the outside.

GRACE
We have many cute little ways to explain things that the Bible teaches and it is OK to a point, we often say grace is Gods Riches At Christ's Expense.  That is nice and technically true but grace is a lot more than that, that acronym is chapter one of an encyclopedic truth.  The Bible has many references to grace- some suggest favor, and some suggest a relationship in God of which He gives approval.

HOW DO WE GROW IN GRACE?
There is a one time experience of grace associated with salvation, and our lives become a continuation of that experience.  As we came to God for salvation so in the same way we must come to him for daily needs, guidance, power.

Grace has a relationship with faith. Whatever faith expression you used when you came to Jesus is the same way you must come to him daily.  If you expressed faith by the idea that you accept Jesus than use the same thought that you accept victory or growing in him.  If you express faith in that you ask Jesus into your life use the same expression each day and ask to grow. Live faith and you will grow in grace.

Part of living the faith life is living a disciplined life.  Practice the discipline of reading your Bible every day, spending quality time in prayer, participating in the fellowship of others of faith.  Do the good works He inspires you to do.

LORD
Growing grace will lead you to become more submissive to Jesus as Lord. You cannot grow in grace if you are rebelling against Jesus and his teaching.

SAVIOR
Grace is one of the expressions of salvation that the Bible uses.  If you have not trusted Jesus as savior you cannot grow spiritually.

To learn more about coming to Jesus as your savior see my other blog.

(c) Adron Dozat

If this has been an encouragement to you will you consider a small gift to keep it going?  Thank You.

Can God Give Success Over Really Big Problems or Just Small Ones? Joshua 6:2

We all have different areas of failure but can God give us success over big problems?  There is encouragement in God's words to Joshua.

"Now Jericho was tightly shut up because of the Israelites. No one went out and no one came in. Then the Lord said to Joshua, "See, I have delivered Jericho into your hands, along with its king and its fighting men."  Joshua 6:2.

A LITTLE BACKGROUND
The people of Israel crossed the Jordan River and entered the Promised Land in the neighborhood of the biggest and most fortified city of the region- Jericho.  Conquest would be costly if not impossible.

SEE
The invitation to see was to become aware of the important facts.  It is not that their adversaries were safely shut up inside or that they were afraid of Joshua and his army, but The Lord wants Joshua to see that God has delivered it to him.

I HAVE DELIVERED
This is written in the past tense.  It is remarkable since Jericho had yet to fall and Joshua still had to march his men around the city for seven days first, but God speaks as if it was already done.  If God says it is done then it is done no matter if it is past, present, or future.

Delivering something suggests it is in your possession, it is in your control and you have authority to deliver it.  God said I have delivered Jericho because as God He possessed it, had control over it, and had authority to deliver it

INTO YOUR HANDS
It went from God's hand to his hands.  He gives Joshua possession of it and authority over it.

When something is put into your hands it is easy, you just hold out your hand palm up and plop there it is.  You don't work for it or buy- it you just receive it.

ALONG
God gave the city along with the king and the fighting men, God left nothing out.  If the king or fighting men escaped it would mean protracted fighting and resistance.  When God gives victory He does not overlook anything.

VICTORY
The city was Joshua's but he still had to lead a fight, he still had to march and obey God's commands.  You may not be a Joshua but God has given victory in Christ, he puts victory in our hands but we still have to take it.  We have to believe His promises and obey His commands and take possession of it.

To learn more about how you can have a relationship with God see my other post.

(c) Adron Dozat

How Can God Be Love And Still Be Justice?

God Loves You
This is a short post looking at how God can be a God of love and still be just.

______________________


We like the idea that God is love, but we struggle with judgment.  How does God have it both ways?

"Love and faithfulness meet together; righteousness and peace kiss each other." Psalm 85:10

LOVE AND FAITHFULNESS
Love is more than just warm fuzzy feelings.  Even though it includes care and affection it must have more or it will be meaningless.

Faithfulness is character, it is honest and reliable.  You can't truly love without being faithful.  For faithfulness to be true it must be universal, for it is not real faithfulness if it is present in one case such as the rebel and not there in another case like the law or Ten Commandments.

MEET TOGETHER
If God is only love he would be useless, and if God was only faithful he would be a dreadful judge; but God is the perfect combination of both where the two don't just temper the other, (that would be compromise and therefor unfaithful) but in God both are fulfilled.

RIGHTEOUSNESS AND PEACE
Righteousness is being without compromise in justice, it is the state of being sinless, and acceptable before God.

Peace is freedom from disaster, judgment, or fear.

KISS EACH OTHER
The poetry these three words takes the idea of unity not only to an extreme but more, since righteousness and peace are at odds because righteousness requires judgment and peace is freedom from judgment, the image is of becoming joined in a purpose that is greater than either one singly.

GOD IS GRACE TOO
We often quote 1 John 4:8 that "...God is Love..." and rightly so, but it hardly sums up his love in light of faithfulness and righteousness.  To be a God of only Love would compromise righteousness and faithfulness, but God is full of grace and grace finds the way that love alone cannot and righteousness alone cannot.

He shows his love and satisfies justice by sending his son to fulfill the requirements of righteousness and die as our substitute.  God's love compels him to act to rescue sinners from judgment and his justice is satisfied in the payment for sin by the substitution of Jesus' death in our stead.  The ultimate place where love and faithfulness meet and where righteousness and peace kiss is on the cross where Jesus died to be our righteousness and give us peace.

This shows God as perfect and righteous and loving.


(c)Adron Dozat