Sunday, May 8, 2016

The Pursuit Of God

"You adulterous people, don't you know that friendship with the world is hatred toward God? Anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God. Or do you think Scripture says without reason that the spirit he caused to live in us envies intensely? But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says: "God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble." James 4:4-6

A good friend once challenged me with this question, 

"If you don't feel close to God, who moved?"

His point was well taken. The truth is I can be as close to God as I want to be. So can you! He longs for intimate fellowship with us.

So, what is it that keeps you from enjoying that close fellowship with God?

Sometimes it is other people.

Here are several examples:

You can allow another person to get between you and God

If you are in a relationship with a nonbeliever that can draw you away from God.

If you over-invest in a relationship where you spend all your time and energy focused on a person that can distract you from God.

You might get wrapped up in your children, running to their activities and events. Before you know it your week-ends are all spent traveling and you neglect the fellowship of your church. Soon you become a stranger with God.

Sometimes it can be other pursuits.

Here are some examples:

You might get preoccupied with a hobby and spend all of your spare time involved in it.

You might get caught up in a sports activity and focus your time and energy bowling or golfing or fishing and not have time for God.

You might get involved in outdoor recreation and spend all your week-ends boating or camping or riding a motorcycle or RV.

After several weeks or months of devoting yourself to these pursuits you suddenly find your heart cold toward God.

Always it is your pride.

All of these things we have mentioned are good and wholesome in themselves. But when you place more importance on them than you do on your relationship with God, they get between you and Him. But when that happens the problem is not them - it is you! You have placed your pleasure, your needs, your enjoyment ahead of God. That is the essence of pride.

James reminds you that God is a jealous God. He demands to be first in your life. If you are going to choose Him and decide to serve Him, He must hold first place in your affections, your thoughts, and your time. He will not occupy second place to your pride, your pursuits or other people.

These verses pronounce some harsh judgments on those whose pride comes between them and God. He calls them "adulterers". Do you want to be an adulterer?

He says God opposes the proud. Do you want to be in opposition to God?

If you are not as close to God as you once where or as close as you want to be - who moved?

Have you allowed something or someone to come between you and God?

If so, how do you think that is going to work out for you?

What are you going to do about it?

May 8, 2016

I found this thought today and wanted to share Mother's Day "by the Book".

What does the Bible say about moms? Here are some Bible quotes you can use for inspirational greeting cards, personal devotions, or preparing a Bible study/sermon about Mother’s Day. Each of these scriptures about mothers are quoted from the ESV translation.

Motherhood Before the Fall

"Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed.". (Genesis 2:24-25 ESV)

Sons Should Follow their Mother’s Teaching

"My son, keep your father’s commandment, and forsake not your mother’s teaching. Bind them on your heart always; tie them around your neck. When you walk, they will lead you; when you lie down, they will watch over you; and when you awake, they will talk with you." (Proverbs 6:20-22 ESV)

Mother’s Must Correct their Children

"The rod and reproof give wisdom, but a child left to himself brings shame to his mother." (Proverbs 29:15 ESV)

Children Must Honor their Mother (and Father)

“Honor your father and mother” (this is the first commandment with a promise), “that it may go well with you and that you may live long in the land.” Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord. (Ephesians 6:2-4 ESV)

Timothy’s Mother as Faith Example

"I am reminded of your sincere faith, a faith that dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice and now, I am sure, dwells in you as well."  (2 Timothy 1:5 ESV)

Jesus Provided for His Mother Before He Died

"When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to his mother, “Woman, behold, your son!” Then he said to the disciple, “Behold, your mother!” And from that hour the disciple took her to his own home." (John 19:26-27 ESV)

Warning to Provide for Your Aged Mother

"Honor widows who are truly widows. But if a widow has children or grandchildren, let them first learn to show godliness to their own household and to make some return to their parents, for this is pleasing in the sight of God. She who is truly a widow, left all alone, has set her hope on God and continues in supplications and prayers night and day, but she who is self-indulgent is dead even while she lives. Command these things as well, so that they may be without reproach. But if anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for members of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever." (1 Timothy 5:3-7; 1 Timothy 5:8 ESV)

Women Who Believer are Like Mothers to Jesus

"While he was still speaking to the people, behold, his mother and his brothers stood outside, asking to speak to him. But he replied to the man who told him, “Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?” And stretching out his hand toward his disciples, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers! For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.” (Matthew 12:46-50 ESV)