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reformedct
Jan 3rd 2009, 04:07 AM
Im going to say something that I believe most here can relate to. I have prayed many times to Jesus to set me free from all of my sin. I know by faith I can overcome any and all sin as Christ has set us free, but what i mean is that i dont even want to DESIRE to do evil or sin. I wish so badly that God would just remove all sinful inclinations out of my body so i can live the life He wants from me, but every day i find myself fighting to live righteoussly, sometimes succeeding, sometimes failing.

My question is, how much control do we have over our own hearts?? I believe that if i somehow could intensify my love for God from my heart i would intensify my hatred and rebellion against evil and sin.

It can be so discouraging when i just simply do what is right, but inside not always wanting to do it. It makes me feel like a religious robot sometimes, simply obeying commands i dont even want to obey. Dont get me wrong, i want to obey God, but i want to DESIRE to obey more

I have been praying for about a month now and i just dont see a whole lot of change on the inside. It is very discouraging. Does anybody have a story or maybe can share on how your love for God has grown, or how you love God more? It is my belief that God want me to DESIRE to obey Him, not just obey Him because He said so.

The scary thing is that I dont have any power to change my own heart, only God can do that. It scares me because sometimes i wonder if He ever will change it, as it has been awhile since i have felt a very strong love for God

Someone please help out if you can

karenoka27
Jan 3rd 2009, 04:10 AM
Read this and let me know what you think:

Romans 7: 21-"So I find this law at work: When I want to do good, evil is right there with me. 22For in my inner being I delight in God's law; 23but I see another law at work in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within my members. 24What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? 25Thanks be to God—through Jesus Christ our Lord!"

reformedct
Jan 3rd 2009, 04:19 AM
Read this and let me know what you think:

Romans 7: 21-"So I find this law at work: When I want to do good, evil is right there with me. 22For in my inner being I delight in God's law; 23but I see another law at work in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within my members. 24What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? 25Thanks be to God—through Jesus Christ our Lord!"

lol i think that describes me to the T. The only problem however is that i have been praying to Jesus to change my heart and it doesnt seem like there has been a whole lot of improvement. There has been SOME improvement though, to the Glory of Christ. I was blessed to hear an aquaintance mention to me that she had seen a change in my life. The way i talked was different. I used to tell vulgar jokes and now i was talking about acceptance in Christ. Some of the things I engaged in earlier this year before i got saved were down right shameful, and im glad i have been completley changed from these things. but not everything has changed yet.

I am finding out that i am horrifically selfish and self-centered. I actually noticed many times this week how selfish i really can be. I am extremely lazy (21 year old male college student). I also am still fighting against lust, which i know God hates and should have no part in the Christian life. I can be very mean spirited and sarcastic at times and it just scares me at times. If i am saved why am i still acting like this? And if im not saved, why not? I have prayed to Jesus to frogive me and transform me and to this day i believe Him to be the One and ONly Way and i am trusting in Him, however it is frightening because there should be far more change than this. It feels like God is being very silent with me lately and i hate it. I just want Him to show me a sign or show me some encouraging thing or Word or something. I just feel like im not getting anything from God, like im not connected or something

mikebr
Jan 3rd 2009, 04:23 AM
Im going to say something that I believe most here can relate to. I have prayed many times to Jesus to set me free from all of my sin. I know by faith I can overcome any and all sin as Christ has set us free, but what i mean is that i dont even want to DESIRE to do evil or sin. I wish so badly that God would just remove all sinful inclinations out of my body so i can live the life He wants from me, but every day i find myself fighting to live righteoussly, sometimes succeeding, sometimes failing.

My question is, how much control do we have over our own hearts?? I believe that if i somehow could intensify my love for God from my heart i would intensify my hatred and rebellion against evil and sin.

It can be so discouraging when i just simply do what is right, but inside not always wanting to do it. It makes me feel like a religious robot sometimes, simply obeying commands i dont even want to obey. Dont get me wrong, i want to obey God, but i want to DESIRE to obey more

I have been praying for about a month now and i just dont see a whole lot of change on the inside. It is very discouraging. Does anybody have a story or maybe can share on how your love for God has grown, or how you love God more? It is my belief that God want me to DESIRE to obey Him, not just obey Him because He said so.

The scary thing is that I dont have any power to change my own heart, only God can do that. It scares me because sometimes i wonder if He ever will change it, as it has been awhile since i have felt a very strong love for God

Someone please help out if you can

What about God keeps you from loving Him more? Maybe you have a wrong belief about God. I am of the opinion that you can only love Him to the degree that you believe He loves you. (Not to the degree that He loves you but to the degree that you believe He loves you.)

My love for Him has grown by leaps and bounds. When I learned that there was nothing that I could do to make Him love me more and nothing I could do to make Him love me less I fell in love with Him all over again. My love is much deeper this time around.

The words to a song called Serve Hymn came to mind. Its by a guy named Andrew Peterson.

High this mountain, broad this sea
Still, my sin ran deeper
Grave offense my soul did wreak
Against creation's keeper
But see what power so fell and fair
Has stayed His holy justice
God Himself all Hell did bear
How great His love for us is

(chorus)
So serve Him, O serve Him
He who brings the morning
O serve Him, Only serve Him
He who brings the morning

Ev'ry hour is a precious boon
Ev'ry breath is a mercy
Ev'ry glimpse of yonder moon
A balm upon this journey
How vast the heavens above this place
So small beneath His glory
Still He stooped and showed His face
And poured His mercy o'er me

Jesus, our Messiah King
For those who don't deserve Him
Conquered death all life to bring
So seek His face and serve Him
O serve Him

mikebr
Jan 3rd 2009, 04:28 AM
lol i think that describes me to the T. The only problem however is that i have been praying to Jesus to change my heart and it doesnt seem like there has been a whole lot of improvement. There has been SOME improvement though, to the Glory of Christ. I was blessed to hear an aquaintance mention to me that she had seen a change in my life. The way i talked was different. I used to tell vulgar jokes and now i was talking about acceptance in Christ. Some of the things I engaged in earlier this year before i got saved were down right shameful, and im glad i have been completley changed from these things. but not everything has changed yet.

I am finding out that i am horrifically selfish and self-centered. I actually noticed many times this week how selfish i really can be. I am extremely lazy (21 year old male college student). I also am still fighting against lust, which i know God hates and should have no part in the Christian life. I can be very mean spirited and sarcastic at times and it just scares me at times. If i am saved why am i still acting like this? And if im not saved, why not? I have prayed to Jesus to frogive me and transform me and to this day i believe Him to be the One and ONly Way and i am trusting in Him, however it is frightening because there should be far more change than this. It feels like God is being very silent with me lately and i hate it. I just want Him to show me a sign or show me some encouraging thing or Word or something. I just feel like im not getting anything from God, like im not connected or something


Ravi Zacharis says that God didn't come to make bad people good but to make dead people alive. If you were still dead would we even be having this conversation.

Ephesians 3.14-21
For this reason, I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven
and on earth derives its name, that He would grant you, according to the riches of His
glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man; so that Christ
may dwell in your hearts through faith; and that you, being rooted and grounded in love,
may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height
and depth, and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be
filled up to all the fulness of God. Now to Him who is able to do exceeding abundantly
beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, to Him be
the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen.
NASB

karenoka27
Jan 3rd 2009, 04:30 AM
lol i think that describes me to the T. The only problem however is that i have been praying to Jesus to change my heart and it doesnt seem like there has been a whole lot of improvement. There has been SOME improvement though, to the Glory of Christ. I was blessed to hear an aquaintance mention to me that she had seen a change in my life. The way i talked was different. I used to tell vulgar jokes and now i was talking about acceptance in Christ. Some of the things I engaged in earlier this year before i got saved were down right shameful, and im glad i have been completley changed from these things. but not everything has changed yet.

I am finding out that i am horrifically selfish and self-centered. I actually noticed many times this week how selfish i really can be. I am extremely lazy (21 year old male college student). I also am still fighting against lust, which i know God hates and should have no part in the Christian life. I can be very mean spirited and sarcastic at times and it just scares me at times. If i am saved why am i still acting like this? And if im not saved, why not? I have prayed to Jesus to frogive me and transform me and to this day i believe Him to be the One and ONly Way and i am trusting in Him, however it is frightening because there should be far more change than this. It feels like God is being very silent with me lately and i hate it. I just want Him to show me a sign or show me some encouraging thing or Word or something. I just feel like im not getting anything from God, like im not connected or something
I believe He is changing your heart. What He is doing is showing you first what you are seeing in yourself. Our Lord wants us to hate sin. It is only when we see those things in us can we even see them as sin and begin to hate what God does. It's those subtle things like selfishness and being self centered that many don't even recognize as sin. I think you are on the right road my friend.
Psalm 139:23-24-"Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts,See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting."

karenoka27
Jan 3rd 2009, 04:32 AM
Ravi Zacharis says that God didn't come to make bad people good but to make dead people alive. If you were still dead would we even be having this conversation.
NASB
This reminds me of something I heard in church. The pastor said, "may people see church not as a place for saints,but as a hospital for sinners."

mikebr
Jan 3rd 2009, 04:34 AM
This reminds me of something I heard in church. The pastor said, "may people see church not as a place for saints,but as a hospital for sinners."


And Jesus answered and said to them, "It is not those who are well who need a physician, but those who are sick.

reformedct
Jan 3rd 2009, 04:35 AM
I must say that most of my frustration comes from my current confusion over salvation and how it works.

Do we get saved and stop sinning all together? if this is true i have never been saved

What happens when we sin? Do we lose it all?

WHat happens when we are not experiencing any great deal of growth? Obviously we should be concerned whether or not we are saved

I think much frustration comes from my confusion toward my standing in Gods eyes and how my relationship with Him works.

I dont really understand repentance. To what degree must we repent before we believe? does repent mean to never sin again or never do what we did before again? if so, what does that mean when we sin? Does that mean our orignal repentance was false?

there are just alot of questions and unfrotunately if you ask 50 christians for an answer you will get 50 different answers. When i read the Bible there are so many ways that one can interpret a cripture that it doesnt really help much

this confusion leads to a hesitancy to obey God. If i am not saved, why should i obey? there is no point if i am not saved right? but at the same time, I dont want to live a life of sin either. Sin may have temporary cheap thrills type pleasure, but in the end i just want Jesus. thats all. I just want Jesus to show up in my room and talk to me. I know it sounds dumb and corny but if i could just talk to Jesus face to face i feel that i would be OK.

How can i know that the Spirit is guiding me? When i read the Scriptures and come to a certain understanding, here come a horde of Christians saying my interpretation is wrong. its just so frustrating. I wish i could just talk to God in person one on one. Salvation is not something i wanna cruise through. I want to know everything about it. How it works from top to bottom. I need to know the paramaters of salvation so i can locate myself and see if i am indeed in the boundaries of salvation. I hate ambiguity in the area of this matter

mikebr
Jan 3rd 2009, 04:43 AM
Paul talks about being an enemy in your mind. Repentance is a change of mind and the kindness of God leads us to repentance. Do you believe that God is kind? Do you believe that He loves you unconditionally? Do you need to change the way you think about God? Read 1Corinthians 13 and every where it says love put God in its place. Do you believe those things about God? When you do you will find rest and peace. This will change you.

4 God is patient, God is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, (http://biblebrowser.com/1_corinthians/13-4.htm) 5 does not act unbecomingly; He does not seek His own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, (http://biblebrowser.com/1_corinthians/13-5.htm) 6 does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; (http://biblebrowser.com/1_corinthians/13-6.htm) 7 bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. (http://biblebrowser.com/1_corinthians/13-7.htm)
8 God never fails (http://biblebrowser.com/1_corinthians/13-8.htm)

karenoka27
Jan 3rd 2009, 04:51 AM
I believe you are saved. You have the Holy Spirit within you convicting your heart of sin. We have a nature in our flesh that fights against our spirit while we are alive. It is a constant battle within.
Matthew 26:41-"Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the body is weak."
When you come to a message board such as this,you will get different opinions. I too get frustrated as people often speak as one who knows the mind of God. God challenged Job for thinking he knew Him.
Don't get discouraged. It really is a good thing when we come to the end of ourselves and say like Isaiah in Isaiah 6:5-"Then said I, Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts."

You are saved if you know without a doubt that you are a sinner. You know that there is no hope for you to be in the presence of God because your sin keeps you separated. However, you also know that God sent His Son Jesus Christ to this earth to do what man could not do for himself. He paid the penalty for sin by dying on the cross for you. He was then buried and rose again,conquering death once and for all who believe in Him!:pp

crossnote
Jan 3rd 2009, 06:49 AM
Hint: Heart, cleansed by blood,

Hint 2. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
(1Jn 1:9)

Hint 3. How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?
(Heb 9:14)

ProjectPeter
Jan 3rd 2009, 01:32 PM
I must say that most of my frustration comes from my current confusion over salvation and how it works.

Do we get saved and stop sinning all together? if this is true i have never been saved

What happens when we sin? Do we lose it all?

WHat happens when we are not experiencing any great deal of growth? Obviously we should be concerned whether or not we are saved

I think much frustration comes from my confusion toward my standing in Gods eyes and how my relationship with Him works.

I dont really understand repentance. To what degree must we repent before we believe? does repent mean to never sin again or never do what we did before again? if so, what does that mean when we sin? Does that mean our orignal repentance was false?

there are just alot of questions and unfrotunately if you ask 50 christians for an answer you will get 50 different answers. When i read the Bible there are so many ways that one can interpret a cripture that it doesnt really help much

this confusion leads to a hesitancy to obey God. If i am not saved, why should i obey? there is no point if i am not saved right? but at the same time, I dont want to live a life of sin either. Sin may have temporary cheap thrills type pleasure, but in the end i just want Jesus. thats all. I just want Jesus to show up in my room and talk to me. I know it sounds dumb and corny but if i could just talk to Jesus face to face i feel that i would be OK.

How can i know that the Spirit is guiding me? When i read the Scriptures and come to a certain understanding, here come a horde of Christians saying my interpretation is wrong. its just so frustrating. I wish i could just talk to God in person one on one. Salvation is not something i wanna cruise through. I want to know everything about it. How it works from top to bottom. I need to know the paramaters of salvation so i can locate myself and see if i am indeed in the boundaries of salvation. I hate ambiguity in the area of this matterThis will be long and several post... but if you read this then hopefully you will understand how to proceed without getting caught up in the "I wonder" trap. :)

A.W. Tozer said, “To escape the error of salvation by works we have fallen into the opposite error of salvation without obedience.”

Romans 6:16 Do you not know that when you present yourselves to someone as slaves for obedience, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin resulting in death, or of obedience resulting in righteousness?
17 But thanks be to God that though you were slaves of sin, you became obedient from the heart to that form of teaching to which you were committed,
18 and having been freed from sin, you became slaves of righteousness.
19 I am speaking in human terms because of the weakness of your flesh. For just as you presented your members as slaves to impurity and to lawlessness, resulting in further lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves to righteousness, resulting in sanctification.
20 For when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness.
21 Therefore what benefit were you then deriving from the things of which you are now ashamed? For the outcome of those things is death.
22 But now having been freed from sin and enslaved to God, you derive your benefit, resulting in sanctification, and the outcome, eternal life.
23 For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.


NO PAIN NO GAIN

When we are physically out of shape and then decide that we are going to change our ways we find that in order to correct this we must endure significant pain. There is never anything easy about training in the beginning stages. However, disciplined training leads to physical agility and strength. It can even make a difference in a persons overall health. But when you get through the initial struggle and discomfort of putting your body into submission you will find that you begin to actually excel at and enjoy the physical activity. By comparison... spiritual fitness is by far more important.

1 Timothy 4:7 But have nothing to do with worldly fables fit only for old women. On the other hand, discipline yourself for the purpose of godliness;
8 for bodily discipline is only of little profit, but godliness is profitable for all things, since it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come.
9 It is a trustworthy statement deserving full acceptance.
10 For it is for this we labor and strive, because we have fixed our hope on the living God, who is the Savior of all men, especially of believers.


1 Corinthians 9:24 ¶Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may win.

You must make the decision; either you will enter the race and run or you will sit on the sideline and be a mere spectator.

25 And everyone who competes in the games exercises self-control in all things. They then do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable.
26 Therefore I run in such a way, as not without aim; I box in such a way, as not beating the air;
27 but I buffet my body and make it my slave, lest possibly, after I have preached to others, I myself should be disqualified.


Hebrews 12:1 Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance, and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,
2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.


GOING FOR THE PRIZE WITHOUT RUNNING THE RACE


Scott Peck said, “There are many people who... want, and believe that it is possible to skip over the discipline, to find an easy shortcut to discipline. Often they attempt to attain it by simply imitating the superficiality of saints... Some even believe that by such imitation they have really become saints and prophets, and are unable to acknowledge that they are still children and they face the painful fact that they must start at the beginning and go through the middle.”


2 Peter 1:5 Now for this very reason also, applying all diligence, in your faith supply moral excellence, and in your moral excellence, knowledge;
6 and in your knowledge, self-control, and in your self-control, perseverance, and in your perseverance, godliness;
7 and in your godliness, brotherly kindness, and in your brotherly kindness, love.
8 For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they render you neither useless nor unfruitful in the true knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.
9 For he who lacks these qualities is blind or short-sighted, having forgotten his purification from his former sins.
10 Therefore, brethren, be all the more diligent to make certain about His calling and choosing you; for as long as you practice these things, you will never stumble;


Today we try to take the new converts from faith and we tell them that now they must go out there and love everyone. We base this on the fact that Jesus said the two greatest commandments is to love God with all of your heart.... and love your neighbor as you love yourself. While this is certainly true we must understand what Peter is telling us here.

Faith is where it all begins. We BELIEVE in Jesus and this is the starting line. Love is the finish line.

When speaking of love we naturally think of 1 Corinthians 13. In this passage we can easily see that the prize is not the gifts. Paul makes this clear because he states that there will come a time when the need for the gifts will cease. But love... it will never stop. The key to all of this can be found in the first verse of the 14th chapter... “PURSUE LOVE.” That is what we are running after... the finish line. Peter clearly understood this. Faith is the start and love is the finish line.

Notice though that all of the other stuff in between faith and love. In between the starting line and the finish line. This is why we must train and we can clearly see that there is no shortcut between the two. You cannot love everyone until you first love your Christian brothers and sisters. You cannot love everyone until first you achieve self-control, etc.

This is our training ground. This is where we'll start and in the end... we will all understand the importance of following these various steps and doing so in proper order. So tomorrow we start some basic training... then on to maturity.

ProjectPeter
Jan 3rd 2009, 01:34 PM
BASIC TRAINING

If I were to ask you what was the first decision that every person MUST make before becoming a Christian most of you would say that you must simply believe. That thinking however can cause eternal problems.


John 2:23 ¶Now when He was in Jerusalem at the Passover, during the feast, many believed in His name, beholding His signs which He was doing.
24 But Jesus, on His part, was not entrusting Himself to them, for He knew all men,
25 and because He did not need anyone to bear witness concerning man for He Himself knew what was in man.

We can see here that there are many that actually believed in Jesus however knowing their hearts... Jesus didn’t commit himself to them. Look at this passage... right before one of the most known passages of Scripture in John 3:16.

Luke 14:26 "If anyone comes to Me, and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be My disciple.
27 "Whoever does not carry his own cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple.
28 "For which one of you, when he wants to build a tower, does not first sit down and calculate the cost, to see if he has enough to complete it?
29 "Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation, and is not able to finish, all who observe it begin to ridicule him,
30 saying, `This man began to build and was not able to finish.´
31 "Or what king, when he sets out to meet another king in battle, will not first sit down and take counsel whether he is strong enough with ten thousand men to encounter the one coming against him with twenty thousand?
32 "Or else, while the other is still far away, he sends a delegation and asks terms of peace.
33 "So therefore, no one of you can be My disciple who does not give up all his own possessions.
34 "Therefore, salt is good; but if even salt has become tasteless, with what will it be seasoned?
35 "It is useless either for the soil or for the manure pile; it is thrown out. He who has ears to hear, let him hear."

Jesus tells us that before we BEGIN we should count the cost. This is step one. This is where so many of us messed up. We go out and about and we find people who are sick, lame, and lonely and then we quote a few pet Scriptures and lead them in the sinners’ prayer. What we have failed to do is this; give them the truth, letting them know the price that they will have to pay. Then we need to step back and allow that person to contemplate the cost. Then they can rightly choose.

This passage teaches us that we will have to love Jesus more than anything. More than family, friends, even ourselves. Jesus uses the family as an example here because it shows the extreme in which we must love Him. This is how radical this new lifestyle is.

The idea that there is a cost to being a disciple of Christ seems to be so foreign to people today that I am always amazed when it manifest itself in the form of shock when I mention it.

2 Corinthians 11:23 Are they servants of Christ? (I speak as if insane) I more so; in far more labors, in far more imprisonments, beaten times without number, often in danger of death.
24 Five times I received from the Jews thirty-nine lashes.
25 Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned, three times I was shipwrecked, a night and a day I have spent in the deep.
26 I have been on frequent journeys, in dangers from rivers, dangers from robbers, dangers from my countrymen, dangers from the Gentiles, dangers in the city, dangers in the wilderness, dangers on the sea, dangers among false brethren;
27 I have been in labor and hardship, through many sleepless nights, in hunger and thirst, often without food, in cold and exposure.
28 Apart from such external things, there is the daily pressure upon me of concern for all the churches.
29 Who is weak without my being weak? Who is led into sin without my intense concern?
30 If I have to boast, I will boast of what pertains to my weakness.
31 The God and Father of the Lord Jesus, He who is blessed forever, knows that I am not lying.
32 In Damascus the ethnarch under Aretas the king was guarding the city of the Damascenes in order to seize me,
33 and I was let down in a basket through a window in the wall, and so escaped his hands.

This is the type of cost. No, you may not have to go through the exact things that the Apostle Paul went through, yet the possibility does certainly exist. We must consider this. How much do we love Jesus? Enough to go through these things? We have been comfortable, especially in the Western World, and have been able to practice Christianity with very little fear of any such thing as this. But times are changing. Columbine High School comes to mind. The young lady that took the stand for Jesus even while facing death. She was faced with a moment of truth here and she chose to take a stand for Jesus even at the cost of her natural life. Her reward in heaven is great. The option that she had... deny Christ and live. Stand for Christ and die.

Matthew 10:33 "But whoever shall deny Me before men, I will also deny him before My Father who is in heaven.

2 Timothy 2:12 If we endure, we shall also reign with Him; If we deny Him, He also will deny us;

Very straightforward... no real room for misinterpretation. Certainly when we stand before God we will be standing before a Just God. I can only tell you what the Scripture says and this is an example of a young lady that counted the cost and made the right choice... loving Christ even more than her own life. To deny Christ might have saved her on this earth but her eternal life would have resulted in death had these young boys killed her regardless of her stand.

Few of us will likely be faced with the issue of dying for the cause of Christ. Knowing that we will say that there is no way that we would ever deny Christ. But then that begs the question... how do you live your life?

Titus 1:16 They profess to know God, but by their deeds they deny Him, being detestable and disobedient, and worthless for any good deed.

If your lifestyle is contrary to godliness then you are in fact denying Christ.

We have filled the churches up today with converts who have said the sinners prayer but they have never truly counted the cost. They have said the prayer but they haven’t truly repented and turned to God. The sad reality is that we have been responsible for sending more people to hell than we will ever get to heaven. Get people to “convert” and then wait a few months and look around. Where are they? We are filling hell with backsliders. All because we failed to share with them the cost.

If a person decides that they understand the cost and they are willing to pay that price then it is assured that they have faith and are at that starting line.

ProjectPeter
Jan 3rd 2009, 01:35 PM
VIRTUE

This word is often confused with godliness. Although it is naturally a trait that one would see in a godly person that is not what this word means. The classic Greek definition here is just simply this... the God given ability to perform heroic deeds. In other words it is the God given ability to perform deeds of excellence. In other words we become an asset to society.

We now desire to live a good life, and we have a new standard of conduct. There is a world full of good people who do good things and act like they should. There are also those that are immoral as the day is long. But once you have true faith in Jesus then something happens inside of them. They are recipients of grace and that grace is teaching them things and the Holy Spirit is doing a good work on them.

It doesn’t say that God will give you virtue. It tells us that we are to add to our faith virtue. It is something that we have to work on. But always remember on each of these steps what it says in the third verse of 2 Peter 1.

2 Peter 1:3 seeing that His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence.

God has given to us the diving power that we need to attain these things. He has supplied us with everything that we need. It is as simple as that really and it is also simply up to us to use this divine power and obtain these things.

ProjectPeter
Jan 3rd 2009, 01:36 PM
KNOWLEDGE



Knowledge of God through knowledge of the Word of God.

Knowledge of the Word is designed for:

Regenerating- James 1:18; 1 Peter 1:23
Quickening- Ps 119:50, 93
Illuminating- Ps. 119:30
Converting the soul- Ps. 19:7
Making wise the simple- Ps 19:7
Sanctifying- Jn 17:17; Eph. 5: 26
Producing Faith- Jn 20:31
Producing Obedience- Dt 17:19-20
Producing hope- Ps 119:49; Ro 15:4
Cleansing the heart- Jn 15:3; Eph 5:26
Keeps off the destructive path- Ps 17:4
Admonishing- Ps 19:11; 1 Cor 10:11
Comforting- Ps 119:82; Ro 15:4
Rejoicing the heart- Ps 19:8; 119:111
Performs effectively in you- 1 Thes 2:13

ProjectPeter
Jan 3rd 2009, 01:37 PM
SELF-CONTROL

This means to simply hold oneself in. A Christian is to control the flesh with its intense passions and desires. There is a common teaching today that blames the devil for most all of our ills. This is extremely important to look at because it causes tons of error in many people life. People rebuke the “spirit of _______ (whatever fits you fill in the blank)” and yet these “spirits” don’t seem to go away. There is a reason for that.

This is the step where I believe that most Christians get stopped at. People make an attempt to control their flesh but they find that those passions and desires are sure enough intense and then somewhere along the line they begin to fight the wrong enemy. They are fighting and rebuking the devil when in fact their greatest enemy stares them in the face any time that they look into a mirror.

Galatians 5:17 For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please.
18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the Law.
19 Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality,
20 idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions,
21 envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you just as I have forewarned you that those who practice such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,
23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.
24 Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.
25 ¶If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit.
26 Let us not become boastful, challenging one another, envying one another.

This is why Peter puts this in this particular order. Virtue, guided by knowledge, actually disciplines desire and makes it the servant and not the master of your life. You need the knowledge in order to know how to live this new life.

Our old sinful nature still craves its sin. It is no different than a crack addict who craves cocaine. When you follow the desires of that sinful nature the fruit that is produced is contrary to what the Spirit desires. This is a war that is waged inside of you constantly... one that you will always be faced with while you reside in the nasty now and now.

I have heard people rebuke the “spirit of lust” many times... or the “spirit of jealousy” etc. These things can naturally enter into the demonic however it is important to see here that these things start out in the flesh. Even demonic activity such as sorcery etc. The way to keep this stuff from entering into the demonic realm is to crucify it in the fleshly realm. Kill it now before it takes root and takes you into a near impossible situation.

We are constantly at war with our flesh. It desires to do what is contrary to the Spirit and there are those that teach that since you are merely human and carnal then you are going to do carnal things. But in the words of the Apostle Paul....

Galatians 6:7 Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap.
8 For the one who sows to his own flesh shall from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit shall from the Spirit reap eternal life.

Don’t be deceived into this type thinking. He also says this...


Ephesians 5:3 ¶But do not let immorality or any impurity or greed even be named among you, as is proper among saints;
4 and there must be no filthiness and silly talk, or coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks.
5 For this you know with certainty, that no immoral or impure person or covetous man, who is an idolater, has an inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God.
6 Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience.
7 Therefore do not be partakers with them;
8 for you were formerly darkness, but now you are light in the Lord; walk as children of light

Philippians 3:17 ¶Brethren, join in following my example, and observe those who walk according to the pattern you have in us.
18 For many walk, of whom I often told you, and now tell you even weeping, that they are enemies of the cross of Christ,
19 whose end is destruction, whose god is their appetite, and whose glory is in their shame, who set their minds on earthly things.


1 Thessalonians 4:3 For this is the will of God, your sanctification; that is, that you abstain from sexual immorality;
4 that each of you know how to possess his own vessel in sanctification and honor,
5 not in lustful passion, like the Gentiles who do not know God;
6 and that no man transgress and defraud his brother in the matter because the Lord is the avenger in all these things, just as we also told you before and solemnly warned you.
7 For God has not called us for the purpose of impurity, but in sanctification.
8 Consequently, he who rejects this is not rejecting man but the God who gives His Holy Spirit to you.

Is there any doubt what we are being taught here? You can’t ignore God and get away with it. You will reap what you sow. If you disobey God then you will face the terrible anger of God. Don’t be fooled by men who try and excuse sin. If your conduct is bad then you are an enemy of the cross of Christ and your future is one of eternal destruction. If you do not live by these rules then you aren’t denying the rules of man but you are in fact rejecting God.

Sinners live this way because they are in fact sinners. But we have to choose whom we will follow. The ways of the flesh... or the way of the Spirit.

ProjectPeter
Jan 3rd 2009, 01:39 PM
PERSEVERANCE


Endurance, patience or constancy under suffering in faith and duty. This is the staying power, which would die before it would ever give in. Self-control must be in place before you can ever achieve this. Here we are in control of our flesh... enter the spiritual.

Oswald Chambers said, “Until we are born again, this is the only temptation we understand. But by regeneration we are lifted into another realm where we face the kind of temptation our Lord faced... Satan doesn’t tempt us to do wrong things; he tempts us in order to make us lose the possibility of being of value to God. Temptation is a suggested short cut to the realization of the highest at which we aim. Not at what we understand as evil, but towards what we understand as good. At this point satan doesn’t come along the line of tempting us to sin, but on the line of shifting the point of view, and only the Spirit of God can reveal this as a temptation of the devil.”

What a marvelous understanding! Satan comes at us, not with the obvious sin. Think about this... You already have your flesh under submission. You already have and continue to grow in knowledge, so you know better than to kill, steal or have sex with the next-door neighbor. There is the teaching out there that satan is stupid. That is a very dangerous mindset to fall into. This attitude causes people to grossly underestimate the enemy.

Satan is subtle. When satan came against Jesus he didn’t come against him with drugs, sex and rock-n-roll or any likeness thereof. He came at Him with things that were right technically and he simply tried to get Jesus to use right the wrong way and at the wrong time. Jesus gave us a perfect example of the way that people were going to treat the gospel message.

Matthew 13:18 "Hear then the parable of the sower.
19 "When anyone hears the word of the kingdom, and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what has been sown in his heart. This is the one on whom seed was sown beside the road.

This is the person that hears the Word of God and just doesn’t get it at all. What word was sown is snatched away by satan.


20 "And the one on whom seed was sown on the rocky places, this is the man who hears the word, and immediately receives it with joy;
21 yet he has no firm root in himself, but is only temporary, and when affliction or persecution arises because of the word, immediately he falls away.

This person, unlike the previous one, hears the Word and receives it with JOY. But even though they received it... was joyous about it... but because of no firm root in himself he simply falls away because of affliction or persecution, which is sure to come. They receive it with joy but they cannot get past the problems that come with fighting the flesh and their very own ego. Someone makes “fun” of them and pride and or fear jumps up and they drop Christianity like a hot iron.

People go to churches today or they watch Television Ministries. They listen to the message being preached and it is easy to understand receiving it with joy. Listen to what is being predominately preached today. Say this simple prayer and that makes you a child of God. As a child of God your worries in life are over. You will have stuff... Jesus loves you regardless of how you are... no need to work on changing your life, just wait and live and let God... all in His timing. There is no conviction of sin. There is no reality even that you will suffer persecution from the world and that will consist of people that you count as friends and your own family. Certainly it is easy to receive this message with joy. Yet like many others... they fold up Christianity and toss it aside like yesterdays newspaper as soon as they are persecuted by their friends and family... people wanting to remain in their sin because their sin is their friend.

You will be accused of being judgmental because as soon as you mention Christ people get uncomfortable around you. You don’t even have to say much at all. The mere fact that you now claim Christianity causes a general dislike and people will want to avoid you for that very reason. I will even go as far to say that if people aren’t by and large avoiding you then how can one claim to even have a small measure of the Holy Spirit indwelling them? This same Spirit that was sent to convict the world of sin.

2 Corinthians 2:15 For we are a fragrance of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing;
16 to the one an aroma from death to death, to the other an aroma from life to life. And who is adequate for these things?
17 For we are not like many, peddling the word of God, but as from sincerity, but as from God, we speak in Christ in the sight of God.

Two verses that should speak loudly to all of us.


22 "And the one on whom seed was sown among the thorns, this is the man who hears the word, and the worry of the world, and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful.

Worries of the world and the deceitfulness of riches... chokes out the Word... one cannot serve two masters. How familiar is this to anyone that has spent time in a local body. It may well start out innocent enough. People begin to think that they are strong enough to miss a little church, not read as often... pray, worship, etc.

Today we face so many struggles in a world that is no longer Christian friendly. Everywhere we look, society is spitting in the very face of God and His Word. It is easy to become so involved in the cares of the world, so much that it seems to control our every thought and all of our time. We make a feeble attempt to get out from underneath the weight of the world. Then in our attempt to fix things we generally allow church attendance, studying the Word and prayer to be moved to the back burner.

Hebrews 10:24 and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds,
25 not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more, as you see the day drawing near.

How we heap upon ourselves more difficulties in an already difficult situation. We simply step into disobedience to the Word the moment we forsake these things. We need a grip on reality here. Difficult times should be reason to go to church, pray, worship and these other things we know we ought to do, yet we make it an excuse to miss doing what we know we should do. We stand up and testify, thanking God for the new, higher paying job that He has supplied us with. The reason that we needed that higher paying job was to pay off the huge amount of debt that we have created in our carelessness and lack of faithful stewardship with what God has provided us with. By the time we get this new job we are so behind in bills that is seems that this new job certainly must be from God because it offers us the way out. The next thing you know another prayer has been answered! You work on Sunday and they pay you double time! Then we have the audacity to stand up and thank God for supplying this answer to our prayer.

Here is a news flash for you... GOD HAD NOTHING TO DO WITH IT. If God orchestrated such as that then God contradicts His own words.

Naturally this isn’t a very popular stand to take and folks will even find it offensive. But we need to take the baby bottle from between our lips and understand what we are doing to ourselves. We must trust God to take care of our needs and instead of looking for a way out, seek first the kingdom of God and righteousness.

We must do what we are to do. Even if it means given up that much needed dollar. There are so many ways that satan will try to tempt you. His main function in life is to steal the Word in you. Give satan that inch and you can rest assured that the mile is well on the way. Then you find yourself choking to death on the cares of this world until you become lifeless and produce no fruit.

One of the greatest keys to perseverance will be in recognizing the wiles of the devil. Be on guard, be armed and shielded up... we will need this to finish the race.

ProjectPeter
Jan 3rd 2009, 01:41 PM
GODLINESS

This means to live reverently, loyally, and obediently toward God. The key word here is obedience. You will need all of the above-mentioned traits to accomplish this task. Many people confuse this with the first step in the list “moral excellence/virtue”. It is not the same. There are sinners who have virtue (to a degree) but sinners cannot be godly. There is another word that we can use here and it is a word that seems to frighten many people... that word is holiness.

It means being set apart for God, being separated from the sin of this world. Metaphorically it means morally pure, upright, blameless in heart and life, set aside from a common use to a sacred use. It means that we are to live close to God, by living like God. Not as God but like Him. It is an activity of the Holy Spirit, setting man apart unto salvation and transferring him to the ranks of those that are redeemed. God is holy and righteous. Holiness is God-living and even it can be said that it is the act of conforming to God and His will.

The most common belief it seems in Christianity today is that holiness is merely a target that we are to aim for and one that we can’t possibly achieve as long as we are wearing this suit of flesh. We are taught that it is not possible for us new creatures to live a life free from sin. Well... I say that this is a lie from satan himself. Jesus tells us that we are to be perfect as God is perfect or holy as God is holy. For those that want to argue the point that the word perfect means maturity then that is fine. It still fits just fine. The word means complete. It's ultimate completeness, or perfectness, is love.


1 John 4:16 And we have come to know and have believed the love which God has for us. God is love, and the one who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him.
17 By this, love is perfected with us, that we may have confidence in the day of judgment; because as He is, so also are we in this world.
18 There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves punishment, and the one who fears is not perfected in love.
19 We love, because He first loved us.


How can this be... ask yourself this question. Would Jesus tell us to do something that was in fact impossible for us to do? I would say no... were he to do that then it would be a lie.


John 5:14 Afterward Jesus found him in the temple, and said to him, "Behold, you have become well; do not sin anymore, so that nothing worse may befall you."


John 8:11 And she said, "No one, Lord." And Jesus said, "Neither do I condemn you; go your way. From now on sin no more."


What does this mean? What a foreign concept to many of us. That we can actually GO and sin NO MORE. Today we seem to think that sinning is normal. But God has given us the divine power to attain even godliness.

In this you will certainly meet with resistance and even persecution from many in the church. Nice little nicknames will follow... “too spiritual”, “holier than thou,” even “weird and strange” will likely enter the mix. But we must be as the Berean's and search the Scripture and find what God expects of us... remembering the cost.

2 Peter 3:10 But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, in which the heavens will pass away with a roar and the elements will be destroyed with intense heat, and the earth and its works will be burned up.
11 Since all these things are to be destroyed in this way, what sort of people ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness,
12 looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, on account of which the heavens will be destroyed by burning, and the elements will melt with intense heat!
13 But according to His promise we are looking for new heavens and a new earth, in which righteousness dwells.
14 ¶Therefore, beloved, since you look for these things, be diligent to be found by Him in peace, spotless and blameless,

Today since we can see the imminent return of the Lord, I must say to you, “WE MUST LIVE HOLY AND GODLY LIVES so as to be found pure, blameless and spotless on that day.”

We read throughout the Bible that we should be holy and righteous and godly and yet it seems that this entire concept escapes us. Look around you and inspect your own fruit. Things in the Bible that were deemed as holy were so by reason of being connected to God. The things not connected to God were naturally deemed as unholy things.

Would you have a party in your church? Maybe do some dirty dancing and suck up some brew. Put on some hard core Rock and Roll, fire up a joint and sit back, checking out the babes so as to determine which one you would like to conquer and maybe get to take a trip with you back into one of the Sunday School rooms for a little round of whatever happens? Maybe tell some dirty jokes and just plain live life well because who knows... tomorrow we might die? There are many that are shocked just by reading something like this... wondering in your mind how it is that I could even suggest such a thing as this even if trying to make a point. Your reaction is NOT IN GOD’S HOUSE!

Why not? Because we associate the church as being connected with God and therefore we consider it a holy place.


Romans 12:1 I urge you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship.
2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.

If your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit then why do you not count it as connected with God? Why is it not a holy place? Can we not see that the very ground that we plant our feet on is considered holy ground because the Spirit of God dwells in us?

It is taught by many that there are “carnal Christians” and we just have to wait on the Lord to change us or some such as that. The question that I ask is how can that be? How can someone be carnal like Christ? How can we be holy and yet carnal at the same time? This implies that we can have Jesus as our Savior but not as our Lord. It says that you don’t have to follow Christ but can instead follow your flesh.


It is easy to see how others can easily accept this teaching. It is an easy, no cost gospel. It also explains why many “Christians” are in the state that they are in today. People may say “THIS IS NOT WHAT I BELIEVE” yet were you to honestly examine your lifestyle you can clearly see that this is how you are living. The sinner can want to glorify God yet because he is a sinner... he is still unsaved. The true saint glorifies God because he loves God and because he loves God he obeys God.

John 14:15 "If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.


John 14:21 "He who has My commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves Me; and he who loves Me shall be loved by My Father, and I will love him, and will disclose Myself to him."


John 14:23 Jesus answered and said to him, "If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him, and make Our abode with him.
24 "He who does not love Me does not keep My words; and the word which you hear is not Mine, but the Father's who sent Me.


John 15:10 "If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love; just as I have kept My Father's commandments, and abide in His love.

John 15:14 "You are My friends, if you do what I command you.

James talks about the “carnal Christian.”

James 4:1 What is the source of quarrels and conflicts among you? Is not the source your pleasures that wage war in your members?
2 You lust and do not have; so you commit murder. And you are envious and cannot obtain; so you fight and quarrel. You do not have because you do not ask.
3 You ask and do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, so that you may spend it on your pleasures.
4 You adulteresses, do you not know that friendship with the world is hostility toward God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.[/b]


What we are living for is what determines how we are going to live and the moral character of our living. The motive of our heart is what counts for everything really. It is the real reason why we do whatever it is that we do. If self is our primary focus in life then our total moral character will reek of selfishness. This selfishness motive may continue to drive us but understand this one fact.... It can do NOTHING to please God.

Romans 8:8 and those who are in the flesh cannot please God.

If you are in the flesh you miss the mark... doing nothing pleasing to God. Sinning saints? God-like sinners? Why just stop at Carnal Christian. These things mean the same although they may not sound as pleasant.

Here is a simple truth. What fellowship has light with darkness? Good or bad? Selfish or loving? No biblical definition of a saint allows for fellowship with sin... the very thing that cost Jesus his life.

The idea that the only way that you can stop sinning is to die is nonsense. That would imply that death has more power than God. Death doesn’t have the ability to change mans moral character. God does.

It is true that we make mistakes. But when we sin is it a mistake? Sin is a choice that we make... a choice of self-gratification or self-indulgence. In other words, when a person sins it is an act of disobedience. If you profess Christianity, it then becomes an act of rebellion. Today you hear the excuse... “I made a mistake.” Did you?

Whenever you are faced with the chance to sin it is at that time that you can choose to either sin or not sin. If you do sin then it is because that is the choice that you made. It takes a conscience effort to not sin. But understand that this works both ways. It takes that same conscience effort to sin.

Godliness is living for God. Sin is living for flesh or self. Sin is not only a thought but it is a commitment. We choose whom we will serve... God or satan and that choice is our master until we choose otherwise.

ProjectPeter
Jan 3rd 2009, 01:42 PM
BROTHERLY KINDNESS


It is not often that you enter the gathering of believers and not hear someone state that they “love you brother/sister.” It has grown into something that people say simply because they feel that they are supposed to say it. Although it is certainly nice to hear and even nice to say... does it mean anything?

There are two types of love mentioned in this passage of Scripture. The first here is philadelphia which means a brotherly love or fraternal affection. In other words we are part of this band of believers in Jesus Christ and we should show that affection toward each other with acts of kindness.

John 13:35 "By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another."

Romans 12:10 Be devoted to one another in brotherly love; give preference to one another in honor;

1 Peter 1:22 ¶Since you have in obedience to the truth purified your souls for a sincere love of the brethren, fervently love one another from the heart,

1 Peter 2:17 Honor all men; love the brotherhood, fear God, honor the king.

1 John 2:10 The one who loves his brother abides in the light and there is no cause for stumbling in him.
11 But the one who hates his brother is in the darkness and walks in the darkness, and does not know where he is going because the darkness has blinded his eyes.

1 John 4:21 And this commandment we have from Him, that the one who loves God should love his brother also.

To say “I love you brother” is nothing more than mere words unless that “I love you” is active. I love you brother... here’s food that you need. I love you brother... here’s a glass of water because you are thirsty. I love you brother... come into my home and stay. I love you brother that is why I am here in the hospital or at your home taking care of what needs taking care of because you are sick or while you are in prison. It is not merely with my tongue that I say that I love you brother. What do you need? Are you hungry... I will feed you. Are you thirsty... I will give you drink. Are you cold... here is my coat. Are you weary... I will carry you. Are you in danger... I will die for you.

Matthew 25:35 `For I was hungry, and you gave Me something to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger, and you invited Me in;
36 naked, and you clothed Me; I was sick, and you visited Me; I was in prison, and you came to Me.´


1 John 3:14 We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brethren. He who does not love abides in death.
15 Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer; and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him.

16 We know love by this, that He laid down His life for us; and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.
17 But whoever has the world's goods, and beholds his brother in need and closes his heart against him, how does the love of God abide in him?
18 Little children, let us not love with word or with tongue, but in deed and truth.
19 We shall know by this that we are of the truth, and shall assure our heart before Him,
20 in whatever our heart condemns us; for God is greater than our heart, and knows all things.

ProjectPeter
Jan 3rd 2009, 01:44 PM
LOVE (AGAPE)

Who can mention love without automatically thinking of 1 Corinthians 13.

1 Corinthians 13:4 Love is patient, love is kind, and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant,
5 does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered,
6 does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth;
7 bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
8 Love never fails;


1. Patient- (Passive Love) no hurry; suffers long; bears; believes; hopes and endures all things.
2. Kindness- (love in action) never acts rashly or insolently; not puffed up or proud.
3. Generosity- (love in competition) not jealous.
4. Humility- (love in hiding) no parade; works and then retires.
5. Courtesy- (love in society) always polite; never rude.
6. Unselfishness- (love in essence) never selfish, sour or bitter; seeks only good of others; doesn’t retaliate nor seek vengence.
7. Good Temper- (love in disposition) never irritated; never resentful.
8. Righteousness- (love in conduct) hate sin; always gladdened by goodness to others; forgives; always slow to expose; always eager to believe the best. Always hopeful; always enduring.
9. Sincerity- (love in profession) never boastful; not conceited; not a hypocrite; always honest; always just; joyful; knows how to be silent; full of trust; always present.

This is perfection because this is exactly how Christ lived among us. Agape is unconstrained, unpremeditated, with no external causes- loving someone like God loves them. A diving love which is the sort of love that cannot really be defined. It can only be illustrated. An action instead of an abstraction. One will always find that the use of the word agape throughout the Bible is followed by what love does... predominately in active form.

Often times in counsel I hear most often, “I just want to be loved or feel loved.” The person that says that truly doesn’t have a clue what Jesus did on the cross some 2,000 years ago. This is a person that doesn’t understand the sacrifice that God made so that we can be participants in this most active display of love... the greatest display to exist in all of time. We spend hours upon hours trying to teach them to feel loved and it never works. Instead teach them the Word and about what God gave us. In that there is true love. In that understanding there is peace that passes all of our understanding. And when that knowledge has been attained then teach them these steps so that they can press on to maturity and show this same type of love to others.


1 John 4:7 ¶Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God.
8 The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love.


1 John 3:23 And this is His commandment, that we believe in the name of His Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, just as He commanded us.
24 And the one who keeps His commandments abides in Him, and He in him. And we know by this that He abides in us, by the Spirit whom He has given us.

Ephesians 5:2 and walk in love, just as Christ also loved you, and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma.

Galatians 5:6 For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision means anything, but faith working through love.

ProjectPeter
Jan 3rd 2009, 01:46 PM
Most people hit the wall at self-control. I figure that is as far as the vast majority of folks get and then they hit that wall because it ain't an easy thing to put down... the flesh.

One of the biggest points that I make is that we can't go from A-Z without dealing with B, C, D, E, etc. It just doesn't work that way although it is a great thought thinking we can't. But when we try, and we all do, that is when we find ourselves going this far only to get knocked right back to the starting line all over again.

So find that place where you are... find that knowledge how to attain self-control. Learn what it is going to take... what it means biblically... all of that. With that knowledge... you can focus on that next step which is adding that self-control to that knowledge.

Yes, you will have to concentrate. Things such as think before you speak. Stop a sec before you react to something and then react for the right reason making sure that you dig the flesh out. In time... that will become a habit. Often times folks ask "how long will this take?" and the simple answer is that I don't know. For different reasons it might take Joe a short time and Pete some extra time and Larry even longer. But the how long is not the issue. What is important according to that passage is that there is simply forward movement. If there is forward movement then you are doing what you are supposed to do and that's all you can do.

matthew7and1
Jan 3rd 2009, 02:07 PM
There are so many good, even great responses here....
I would only add that the nature of Jesus is to teach us how to fish so that we can feed ourselves. In a way I think that this is saying that we have to meet God half way. You are obviously proving a great effort in this area, but I would suggest:
Praise
Praise God in the morning when you wake up, when you are about to eat lunch and before you go to bed. Praise Him when there is no red light. Praise him when there's no line at the bathroom. Praise Him when you didn't bring your umbrella and the rain stops right before you leave work. Praise Him when you are able to rest at the end of a long day. Praise Him for having clean socks! :)
At least three times a day, take the time out to praise God, in a heartfelt way, for whatever you have appreciated in that time frame. Try and think of as many things that are good about your life or your day. And just praise God.
I believe that when you put yourself in a situation where you are making yourself look at how good God is to you, and how blessed you are, you will naturally start having a heart that loves God more and more.

Here's a story that is not directly related but applies:
A friend and I were discussing budget friendly and heartfelt ideas for Valentine's Day. She told me about how one year she bought a journal and then every time her husband did something that impressed her or that she appreciated, she wrote the date and the act. Of course she missed a few ... but at the next Valentine's Day she gave him the journal to show him just how much she appreciated all the things he did for her. She shared with me that in that time she learned to love her husband more then ever! Because she took the little bit of time to write each thing down, it resonated and stuck with her and was not easily brushed aside. She had always loved her husband but by learning to praise him for his good points it opened up a larger world of love to her heart for him.

I feel that the same is true in our relationship with God. If we stop taking for granted our everyday blessings, we will fall deeper in love with our lord and Savior all the time!

In addition, I will pray for you. What a noble thing to want your heart to be God's own.....:hug:

ProjectPeter
Jan 3rd 2009, 02:33 PM
Praise God in the morning when you wake up, when you are about to eat lunch and before you go to bed. Praise Him when there is no red light. Praise him when there's no line at the bathroom. Praise Him when you didn't bring your umbrella and the rain stops right before you leave work. Praise Him when you are able to rest at the end of a long day. Praise Him for having clean socks! :)I'll go you even a little better. :)

Praise Him even if the light is red... it gave you a little time to do just that.

Praise Him when there is a line in the bathroom... it gave you a little time to do just that.

Praise Him when the rain is still falling and you're waiting for it to let up... it gave you a little time to do just that.

Praise Him when you can't rest at the end of a long day... may as well while you're still up!

Praise Him even if the socks are dirty... at least you have socks! But I sort of like clean ones better too! :D

In summary... always Praise Him!

matthew7and1
Jan 3rd 2009, 02:43 PM
I'll go you even a little better. :)

Praise Him even if the light is red... it gave you a little time to do just that.

Praise Him when there is a line in the bathroom... it gave you a little time to do just that.

Praise Him when the rain is still falling and you're waiting for it to let up... it gave you a little time to do just that.

Praise Him when you can't rest at the end of a long day... may as well while you're still up!

Praise Him even if the socks are dirty... at least you have socks! But I sort of like clean ones better too! :D

In summary... always Praise Him!
I love it, agree with it and give Project Peter a giant wink!

Firstfruits
Jan 3rd 2009, 03:56 PM
Im going to say something that I believe most here can relate to. I have prayed many times to Jesus to set me free from all of my sin. I know by faith I can overcome any and all sin as Christ has set us free, but what i mean is that i dont even want to DESIRE to do evil or sin. I wish so badly that God would just remove all sinful inclinations out of my body so i can live the life He wants from me, but every day i find myself fighting to live righteoussly, sometimes succeeding, sometimes failing.

My question is, how much control do we have over our own hearts?? I believe that if i somehow could intensify my love for God from my heart i would intensify my hatred and rebellion against evil and sin.

It can be so discouraging when i just simply do what is right, but inside not always wanting to do it. It makes me feel like a religious robot sometimes, simply obeying commands i dont even want to obey. Dont get me wrong, i want to obey God, but i want to DESIRE to obey more

I have been praying for about a month now and i just dont see a whole lot of change on the inside. It is very discouraging. Does anybody have a story or maybe can share on how your love for God has grown, or how you love God more? It is my belief that God want me to DESIRE to obey Him, not just obey Him because He said so.

The scary thing is that I dont have any power to change my own heart, only God can do that. It scares me because sometimes i wonder if He ever will change it, as it has been awhile since i have felt a very strong love for God

Someone please help out if you can

Unfortunatley as long as we are Christians we cannot escape from temptation. When Jesus was praying for his disciples he said the following;

Jn 17:14 (http://bibledatabase.org/cgi-bin/bib_search/bible.cgi?BIBLE=48&BOOK=43&CHAP=17&SEARCH=jesus king lord&Read=Read&FIRST=OK&HV=14) I have given them thy word; and the world hath hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.
Jn 17:15 (http://bibledatabase.org/cgi-bin/bib_search/bible.cgi?BIBLE=48&BOOK=43&CHAP=17&SEARCH=jesus king lord&Read=Read&FIRST=OK&HV=15) I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil.

The same still applies for us today.

Jas 1:12 (http://bibledatabase.org/cgi-bin/bib_search/bible.cgi?BIBLE=48&BOOK=59&CHAP=1&SEARCH=jesus king lord&Read=Read&FIRST=OK&HV=12) Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him.

1 Pet 1:6 (http://bibledatabase.org/cgi-bin/bib_search/bible.cgi?BIBLE=48&BOOK=60&CHAP=1&SEARCH=jesus king lord&Read=Read&FIRST=OK&HV=6) Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations:

God bless you!

Firstfruits

Sirus
Jan 3rd 2009, 07:41 PM
I have prayed many times to Jesus to set me free from all of my sin. I know by faith I can overcome any and all sin as Christ has set us free, but what i mean is that i dont even want to DESIRE to do evil or sin. I wish so badly that God would just remove all sinful inclinations out of my body so i can live the life He wants from me, but every day i find myself fighting to live righteoussly, sometimes succeeding, sometimes failing.Scripture never says our fleshly lusts and desires will be removed through prayer of removal.
2Co 10:3 For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh:
It’s no different than people asking God to help them not sin. That’s just not how it works. He has already provided the way of escape. The cross. Your crucifixion and death IN him and TO sin.
Your fight is by faith. The good fight of faith. To believe in your death IN him and TO sin. It’s the only way to overcome the flesh that promises and delivers a 100% success rate. The gospel never fails. Philosophy, Psychology, and Christian word power can only work some of the time so they are vain.



I have been praying for about a month now and i just dont see a whole lot of change on the inside. It is very discouraging. Does anybody have a story or maybe can share on how your love for God has grown, or how you love God more? It is my belief that God want me to DESIRE to obey Him, not just obey Him because He said so.I’m with mikebr. Maybe your view of God is wrong. If you are born again all the change required has been done. Your flesh was circumcised away on the cross with Christ and the Spirit was placed in side and has raised you to a new life. Now you just have to walk by faith in what God has already done to you. Now all you have need of is patience. Don’t think of patience in the modern sense of the word because that is not biblical patience. Character is developed over time through experiences -patience. You have a trial of your faith just like the rest of us. I have a story about lust I will share.



I also am still fighting against lust, which i know God hates and should have no part in the Christian life.For 15 'christian' years no amount of praying, fasting, praise and worship, bible reading, ‘church going’ had the slightest impact on lusting. When I learned I was dead. A dead man can’t sin. I am crucified yet live because Christ is in me. That my walk with God is by faith….that is, by what God says that I cannot see….that God says my flesh is dead to sin because it has been crucified and I am alive to bring forth fruit to God, I have been able to stare lust in the face and say I don’t want to, I don’t have to, I AM DEAD TO YOU!
You said you haven’t felt a strong love for Him for a while? Hehe, try what I just said, and feel an outpouring like you have never known. You’ll know how great and simple a gospel he has given us, just how easy it is, and how it is truly by faith (trust) in what He says. You’ll realize he truly has done it all and that all you have to do is believe it. It’s kinda like being born again, again (though not really)!!! You won’t have such a hard time with lust ever again. Oh it’ll jump out at ya all the time. You still have your flesh. But once you know how to walk by faith and please God and have that communion with him you won’t desire the lust anymore, you’ll desire HIM! So that’s what you’ll choose.



I have prayed to Jesus to frogive me and transform me and to this day i believe Him to be the One and ONly Way and i am trusting in Him, however it is frightening because there should be far more change than this.If you are born again you are forgiven. Leave it at the cross where it belongs and get up and walk! Go on unto perfection (Heb 6).

Who says there should be far more change? You or God?



What happens when we sin? Do we lose it all?Loose what all? Salvation? “fellowship”? Of course not. IF we sin we have a lawyer to present our case. It doesn’t say ask for forgiveness. It doesn’t say make a plea. It just says we have God to appear before God on our behalf.


WHat happens when we are not experiencing any great deal of growth? Obviously we should be concerned whether or not we are savedWhy does this require a question of salvation?


I dont really understand repentance. To what degree must we repent before we believe? does repent mean to never sin again or never do what we did before again? if so, what does that mean when we sin? Does that mean our orignal repentance was false?Repentance is a change of mind from our way towards God’s way. Now I am going to contradict what almost everyone will tell you. The definition of repentance is biblical repentance. In other words, people want to say repent of this or repent of that, and while I can be going to the store and repent and come home, that is not biblical repentance. Look up repentance and all usages and the only places you will find it applied to specifics is when one is near or at apostasy or not in good standing with God. Otherwise repentance is at the point of salvation in all instances!

People say, as I used to, if you haven’t stopped then you haven’t repented. I find that humorous now that I understand biblical repentance. You changed your mind. You want to do good but don’t know how to perform it. You have repented (changed your mind), you just haven’t walked by faith in your crucifixion with Christ as one alive from the dead.

ProjectPeter
Jan 14th 2009, 12:32 PM
Bumped for Mercy Child.

doubledcattle
Jan 14th 2009, 03:38 PM
fighting to live righteoussly



The Bible tells us to Fight the good Fight.


It doesn't say it's going to be easy. Stay in the word daily. Everyday read the Bible.

Steve M
Jan 14th 2009, 04:29 PM
You know, I've struggled with what was outlined in the first post. And over time, I can to know this truth.

When we're saved, our hearts aren't miraculously changed into something new.

But when we begin to act differently, then we begin to think different. New actions, over time, lead to a completely renewed mind.

When we begin to think differently, our heart begins to feel differently. Completely new thoughts lead, over time, to a completely new heart.

It's not overnight, but it IS miraculous.

My thoughts are not the same as they were a week after I was saved. Or a month. Or a year. Or FIVE years.

My heart is not the same as it was a week after I was saved. Or a month. Or a year. Or five years.

Through time, and with God's help, I have changed my life, renewed my mind, and seen dramatic change in my heart.

Do we have any say? Sure, but it takes time. It takes resolve. And it takes some serious change in our actions, first and foremost.

Sure, it'll feel at first as if you're acting contrary to your heart. But the only way to change your heart and bring it in line with the way it should be is to lead it there.

Actions -> Thoughts -> Heart.

But Americans thinks

Heart -> Thoughts -> Action

That's the Hollywood way. You have your epiphany, your heart and mind settle on a new course, and then you just settle into it, doing it and feeling right about it.

It just plain doesn't work that way in practice.

ProjectPeter
Jan 14th 2009, 04:36 PM
You know, I've struggled with what was outlined in the first post. And over time, I can to know this truth.

When we're saved, our hearts aren't miraculously changed into something new.

But when we begin to act differently, then we begin to think different. New actions, over time, lead to a completely renewed mind.

When we begin to think differently, our heart begins to feel differently. Completely new thoughts lead, over time, to a completely new heart.

It's not overnight, but it IS miraculous.

My thoughts are not the same as they were a week after I was saved. Or a month. Or a year. Or FIVE years.

My heart is not the same as it was a week after I was saved. Or a month. Or a year. Or five years.

Through time, and with God's help, I have changed my life, renewed my mind, and seen dramatic change in my heart.

Do we have any say? Sure, but it takes time. It takes resolve. And it takes some serious change in our actions, first and foremost.

Sure, it'll feel at first as if you're acting contrary to your heart. But the only way to change your heart and bring it in line with the way it should be is to lead it there.

Actions -> Thoughts -> Heart.

But Americans thinks

Heart -> Thoughts -> Action

That's the Hollywood way. You have your epiphany, your heart and mind settle on a new course, and then you just settle into it, doing it and feeling right about it.

It just plain doesn't work that way in practice.
Nor was it designed to work that way in practice. :)