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Forgiveness

Forgiveness

And they sent a messenger unto Joseph, saying, Thy father did command before he died, saying, So shall ye say unto Joseph, Forgive, I pray thee now, the trespass of thy brethren, and their sin; for they did unto thee evil: and now, we pray thee, forgive the trespass of the servants of the God of thy father. And Joseph wept when they spake unto him. (Genesis 50:16, 17 KJV)

You know the story of how Joseph’s half brothers hated him and they sold him as a slave and killed a goat and soaked his coat in blood and made his father Jacob to think he had been killed by a wild animal.

Joseph is sold into Egypt but God is with him. God reveals Pharaohs dreams to Jacob, when no one else could interpret them. Pharaoh makes him ruler over Egypt next only to Pharaoh.

So after a great famine, Joseph’s brothers go to Egypt to buy corn, and after their second trip Joseph reveals who he is, and eventually their Father Jacob and the whole family moves to Egypt.

After Jacobs death the brothers are afraid that Joseph will take revenge now, so they send this request for forgiveness and Joseph wept.

Joseph probably wept because he had already forgiven them a long time ago.

As Christians, we have to forgive. Remember the parable Jesus told about the man that owed a debt he could not pay and his master ordered him to be put in prison, and all that he had to be sold, and he fell down at his masters feet and cried be patient with me and I’ll pay thee all. The master had pity and forgave all the debt. But then that same man went out to one who owed him much less than what he had been forgiven for. The man did him the same way in asking him to be patient and he would pay him, but he wouldn’t have mercy on the man and had him cast into prison.
When his Lord found out, he said shouldn’t you have had mercy, like I had pity on you? So he put the debt back on him and sent him to the tormentors for the debt to be paid.

I don’t want my sin debt put back on me. I’m thankful for the forgiveness my Master shown me. Even though those people have not asked me for forgiveness, I forgive them anyway.

Now Joseph tells his brothers, you meant it for evil, but God meant it for good, to save much people alive.
Romans 8:28 says And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.

I found a light hearted story that I want to share. I don’t know who wrote it. I didn’t get an Authors name but I think you’ll enjoy it. It’s a funny story about how sometimes things seem bad but God uses them for good.

Glasses
There was a man during the Great Depression who was a carpenter, who one Saturday volunteered his services at his Church to build some crates for some materials that had been gathered to send to an orphanage in china. So he spent his Saturday building crates and nailing them up and finally took them to the post office and sent them off to china. Later he was in his pickup truck going home and reached for his glasses, when he couldn’t find them, he realized that they must have fallen off inside one of the crates and they were on their way to china. And he said, Lord, I’m trying to serve you and now this! (We’ve probably all said something like that out of frustration before). This was during the Great Depression so the glasses probably seemed like a fortune to replace. Well anyway, a year past and the director of that orphanage in China came to the US and to the little Church and spoke to the congregation and said, I would like to thank you for those crates that you sent. It was during war time and communists had came through and ransacked the orphanage, so it was timely gifts. But he said, most of all, I’d like to thank you for the glasses! The congregation looked at each other surprised. Glasses? There were no glasses on the list. There was a carpenter in the back row whose ears perked up though. He said the Commies came through and destroyed everything and they destroyed my glasses. He said with it being war time we didn’t have the means to replace them and as a result I was getting terrible daily head aches. He said my staff was praying fervently for God to somehow provide glasses. He said, when those crates arrived, and they pulled the tops off, they saw sitting right on top a pair of glasses. They immediately brought them to me and I tried them on and they were the perfect prescription. The congregation was saying praise God, Hallelujah, not knowing where the glasses came from. But in the back was a carpenter with tears streaming down his face because he realized the Master Carpenter did know what he was doing.

We can be assured that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.

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5 ways to deal with “Carnal Christians”

5 Ways to Deal with “Carnal Christians”

by Brian Croft

Scripture addresses those who belong to Christ, and those who do not. There are those who possess the Spirit of God, and those who do not. But is there a 3rd category? Many, especially in certain circles in American Evangelicalism, would claim there is a 3rd category commonly labeled a “Carnal Christian” or a “Nominal Christian.” This 3rd category is described as those who profess to know and follow Christ, but whose life does not reflect it. They would claim to follow Christ just enough to escape hell, but not enough for Christ to affect any aspect of their life. Some feel God is obligated to present a “get out of hell free card” as a result of a one time decision long ago that involved praying a prayer, or walking an aisle. The most common proof text for this position is found in 1 Corinthians 3:1-4 and the way Paul addresses the Christians there in the Corinthian Church.

The reason so many think Paul is addressing Carnal Christians in this passage is because of how he refers to them (3:1). He just explained that it is only the spiritual man who knows Christ and possesses the mind of Christ (1 Corinthians 2:16), not the natural man. Now, he addresses them as “brethren” (3:1) and writes but he, “Could not speak to them as to spiritual men, but as to men of flesh, as babes in Christ (3:1).” Paul is not writing to the Corinthian church affirming there is this middle category of a Christian, but writes in this way to confront the clear sin in their midst that forces Paul to address them as immature in their faith.

Look back and read the first things Paul wrote to them in 1 Corinthians 1:4-6 was that, “The grace of God was given to them in Christ (1:4), they were enriched in Him (1:5), and that the testimony of Christ was confirmed in them (1:6).” Paul is in no way condoning a category of a Carnal Christian, but simply addressing Christians in Corinth who are not maturing in their faith as they ought. Paul implies their lack of pursuit to maturity is one reason there is division among them (1:10). They are remaining “Babes in Christ” (3:1).

Pastors, how do we deal with this type of person in our churches? Those who profess Christ, but whose lives do not reflect it?

1) Recognize there is no biblical category for a Carnal Christian. Just because there are those who meet the characteristics of a “Carnal Christian” in our churches does not affirm this as a legitimate biblical category of a Christian. This person is simply deceived and needs Christ. There is no salvation without the cost that comes with it (full submission to Christ).

2) Try to discern whether someone is simply unconverted, or just immature in their faith. We are not God, so we must tread cautiously here. But we can watch someone’s life and determine if there are evidences of grace in their life as they battle and struggle with an immature faith. Or, if there are no evidences of grace in them apart from simply their profession.

3) Involve solid believers in your church to evaluate those people with you. Because of #2, we must involve other mature, gracious leaders in our church in our evaluation of these people. This will also guard a pastor from concluding too quickly someone’s unregenerate state because of some personal hurt that person could have brought to the pastor.

4) Change the way you take in members into your church. The best, long-term solution to dealing with “Carnal Christians” is to make sure you guard the front door more closely for the future. Have an intentional process to take in members and do all you can to learn about their life, faith, conversion, and reasons they desire to join your church. This is not a quick solution, but the patient, wise decision for the long-term rarely is.

5) Preach the gospel. One of the greatest joys I have experienced is to watch church members converted. That may seem like a strange thing to say, but do not assume when you take a church all the members are converted. Preach the gospel for all those present. It will encourage the faithful saints, awaken the lost, and hopefully jolt some who may have been living a lie for years and would truly take hold of Christ. One of the greatest teaching moments in almost 10 years for me at our church was to baptize a few members as true believers in Christ who thought they belonged to Christ, but did not.

The power of the gospel is powerful. It is powerful enough to convert the lost, lift up the discouraged saint, and even powerful enough to awaken a “Carnal Christian” to swallow his/her pride and finally and sincerely admit the lie they had been living and turn to Christ.

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Hold on to the Promise

 

The promise is the gift of eternal life that we have through Christ Jesus.

God told Abraham, through your seed shall all nations be blessed, and that’s continued through Jacob but it’s fulfilled through all of us that are saved, because the word tells us that when we are saved we’re adopted in and become Abrahams seed, from all nations, all who are in Christ are Abrahams seed.

 

Gen: 25: 29-34

29 And Jacob sod pottage: and Esau came from the field, and he was faint:

30 And Esau said to Jacob, Feed me, I pray thee, with that same red pottage; for I am faint: therefore was his name called Edom.

31 And Jacob said, Sell me this day thy birthright.

32 And Esau said, Behold, I am at the point to die: and what profit shall this birthright do to me?

33 And Jacob said, Swear to me this day; and he sware unto him: and he sold his birthright unto Jacob.

34 Then Jacob gave Esau bread and pottage of lentiles; and he did eat and drink, and rose up, and went his way: thus Esau despised his birthright.”

Esau, despised his birthright. The birthright was his inheritance, and not just any inheritance but it meant to become head of the household, and receive a special blessing from his father. It should have been precious to Esau. But he sold his inheritance for one meal. What are people selling out for today? But he was hungry, tired and hungry. And the food smelled so good. It’s all he could think about at that moment. People are selling out for drugs, alcohol, sex outside of marriage, worldly lusts. Listen don’t sell out. Nothing compares to the promise we have in Christ Jesus.

 

Jacob:

Jacob and Esau were Grandsons to Abraham. Abraham and Sarah had Isaac in their old age. Isaac and Rebekah had Jacob and Esau. When you read the story, Jacob and Esau were twins, Esau came out first but Jacob was clutching Esau’s heel. Maybe Jacob was trying to pull Esau back and come out first, I don’t know but Jacob was a deceiver. He deceived Esau out of his birthright and later he deceives Esau out of his blessing. But God had already chosen Jacob. He told Rebekah, two nations are in your womb, and the older shall serve the younger. But Rebekah must not have full trusted God, because look at:

 

Gen: 27:1-10

And it came to pass, that when Isaac was old, and his eyes were dim, so that he could not see, he called Esau his eldest son, and said unto him, My son: and he said unto him, Behold, here am I.

And he said, Behold now, I am old, I know not the day of my death:

Now therefore take, I pray thee, thy weapons, thy quiver and thy bow, and go out to the field, and take me some venison;

And make me savoury meat, such as I love, and bring it to me, that I may eat; that my soul may bless thee before I die.

And Rebekah heard when Isaac spake to Esau his son. And Esau went to the field to hunt for venison, and to bring it.

And Rebekah spake unto Jacob her son, saying, Behold, I heard thy father speak unto Esau thy brother, saying,

Bring me venison, and make me savoury meat, that I may eat, and bless thee before the Lord before my death.

Now therefore, my son, obey my voice according to that which I command thee.

Go now to the flock, and fetch me from thence two good kids of the goats; and I will make them savoury meat for thy father, such as he loveth:

10 And thou shalt bring it to thy father, that he may eat, and that he may bless thee before his death.”

 

So why did she get impatient and take matters into her own hands. Why do we sometimes get impatient with God and not hold on to his promises or try to speed him up or not fully trust what he said?

 

Esau wants to kill Jacob:

So now when Esau finds out Jacob stole his blessing, he wants to kill Jacob and Rebekah sends him away to her brother Laban to save his life. He meets Rachel, falls in love with her, works 7 years for her, but Laban deceives him and gives him Leah instead. Get this, when he confronts Laban about it, Laban say’s I couldn’t give the younger before the first born. Oh the irony! Years later God instructs Jacob to return home. So he takes his family and possessions and returns home but he’s afraid of Esau, so he sends messengers to Esau with gifts, the messengers return and tell Jacob, Esau is coming to meet you with 400 men! Jacob fears for his life and separates his people and possessions in groups, he thinks, if Esau’s men kills this group, maybe that group will escape. But last of all, he gets separated from everyone and he’s all alone, When he’s alone, he has this encounter with God.

 

 

Gen: 32: 24-28

24 And Jacob was left alone; and there wrestled a man with him until the breaking of the day.

25 And when he saw that he prevailed not against him, he touched the hollow of his thigh; and the hollow of Jacob’s thigh was out of joint, as he wrestled with him.

26 And he said, Let me go, for the day breaketh. And he said, I will not let thee go, except thou bless me.

27 And he said unto him, What is thy name? And he said, Jacob.

28 And he said, Thy name shall be called no more Jacob, but Israel: for as a prince hast thou power with God and with men, and hast prevailed.”

 

Jacob held on even with his hip out of joint, for an example no matter what we go through, no matter how painful it is, if you hold on to God and don’t let go, he will bless you.

 

 

Foundation:

Matt: 7: 24-27

24 Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock:

25 And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock.

26 And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand:

27 And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it.”

 

The Rock of the foundation is Jesus Christ, one thing in common on both houses, the one built on the rock and the one built on the sand, the storms came on both houses. The difference is the one founded on the Rock stood and the other fell.

 

Trials:

The devil can’t do anything to us without God’s permission. Remember Job. God had to remove the hedge before the devil could do anything. He lost all his children and all his possessions in one day. Later he’s covered with painful boils from head to toe. He’s in so much misery, he wishes he was never born. His wife tells him to curse God and die. Don’t be too hard on her, those were her children and possessions, and she’s watching her husband being tormented. But Job say’s, you speak like a foolish woman. Later Job say’s, though he slay me, yet will I trust him. God restored Job and blessed him with double what he had before.

 

Summary:

It changes your outlook on things if you consider, God allowed me to go through this, How am I going to handle it? I’ll just hold on to the lord until he blesses me!

Don’t despise your inheritance

Wait on The Lord

Hold on to the lord

Trust The Lord in all things

 

 

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Trust in The Lord

 

Psalms 20

“1The Lord hear thee in the day of trouble; the name of the God of Jacob defend thee;

Send thee help from the sanctuary, and strengthen thee out of Zion;

Remember all thy offerings, and accept thy burnt sacrifice; Selah.

Grant thee according to thine own heart, and fulfil all thy counsel.

We will rejoice in thy salvation, and in the name of our God we will set up our banners: the Lord fulfil all thy petitions.

Now know I that the Lord saveth his anointed; he will hear him from his holy heaven with the saving strength of his right hand.

Some trust in chariots, and some in horses: but we will remember the name of theLord our God.

They are brought down and fallen: but we are risen, and stand upright.

Save, Lord: let the king hear us when we call.”

Life of David,

If you think about the life of David, he was blessed beyond measure because he trusted in God, but he still went through some struggles. Some were his own fault because of sins he committed but other times he suffered even when he did the right thing. Saul tried to kill him only because he was jealous of him, David had opportunities to kill Saul and probably would have been justified in self defense, but David said, I will not touch God’s anointed. Saul eventually fell and David was lifted up as King.

 

Read vs. 6-

Now know I that the Lord saveth his anointed; he will hear him from his holy heaven with the saving strength of his right hand.”

  I’m so glad The Lord hears me when I call. I’m so glad when I fall, and sometimes I do, that The Lord reaches down with that mighty hand and sets me back up on the solid Rock.

Read vs. 7-8-

Some trust in chariots, and some in horses: but we will remember the name of theLord our God.

They are brought down and fallen: but we are risen, and stand upright.”

Some trust in chariots and horses, some trust in their possessions, what they have, but we will trust in The Lord our God. They are brought down and fallen, their possessions perish with them, but we are lifted up.

All through the Bible, The inspired Word of God, all who put their trust and faith in The Lord are lifted up, and all that trust in themselves, or their possessions or false gods, they all fall.

Battles will come in our own lives and we must choose who we are going to trust in. Who do you trust in today?

Without Faith, it is impossible to please God.

When I think of faith, I think of Abraham, the father of our faith. If you think back to the promise, think back to when God tested Abraham and told him to offer his son Isaac. They went to the place that God told them to go, and it say’s in Genesis 22, that Abraham laid the wood for the burnt offering on Isaac as they walked to the place of the sacrifice. So imagine Isaac walking with the wood for the sacrifice on his back. Now imagine Jesus walking with the wooden cross on his back. Isaac said to Abraham, Where is the Lamb for the sacrifice? Abraham said, God will provide the Lamb! I don’t think that was a coincidence, I believe God was giving a sign at the beginning of the promise, that he would provide the lamb to redeem us from our sins.

God told Abraham, in you all nations, shall be blessed. So all nations that put their faith and trust in the Lord Jesus Christ, Whether Jew or Greek, bond or free, male or female, no matter what color your skin is, if your faith and trust is in the Lord Jesus Christ, we are one in Christ Jesus.

In my life, I’ve put trust in a lot of things that I thought would satisfy me, I spent a lot of time, energy and money on things that were a complete waste. They just led to regret. But I have never regretted any time I’ve trusted in God. I’ve failed God many times, but God has never failed me and he never will.

What is your trust in?

In I think the late 90’s or early 2000’s, I watched a coworker destroy his life with alcohol. He had liver damage, the doctor told him he would die if he didn’t stop drinking, but he wouldn’t stop. He was depressed over a woman and would go home and start drinking and drink until he fell asleep. One morning he never woke up. He didn’t show up to work, the Boss called his brother, who went and busted his door in to find him on the couch. Autopsy said cause of death alcohol poisoning. I regret that I never remember talking to him about the Lord. But I’m telling you now, if your trusting in anything of the world, it will fail. Trust in God, He will never fail.

Read Galatians 3:13-14

13 Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree:

14 That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.”

 – That is us who believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, redeemed from the curse of the law. Saved by Grace through Faith.  What is your faith in?

Proverbs 3:5-6 say’s Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not unto your on understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him and he will direct your paths.

 

 

 

 

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Can You Miss God’s Will for Your Life?

Can You Miss God’s Will for Your Life?

by Stephen Altrogge

Decision making can be a paralyzing experience.

Say, for example, that you have been offered a new job in a different state? Should you take it? Well, it depends. What are the schools like in the area? What is the traffic like? Are there any nuclear power plants nearby? Is the increased salary worth the emotional cost of moving your family? Will you be forced to root for the Dallas Cowboys? All these different factors can make it difficult to decide.

Now, throw the whole issue of God’s will into the mix? Is it really God’s will for you to move? It seems like it’s God’s will, but maybe it’s not. What if you make a terrible mistake and somehow miss the will of God? Are you going to end up in some purgatorial situation because you accidentally missed God’s will?

The fear of missing God’s will is enough to paralyze any Christian. But here’s the question: can a Christian miss the will of God for their life? Could you somehow go your entire life being outside of God’s good plan for you?

It seems that the Bible teaches that, yes, you can miss God’s will. It also teaches that no, you can’t miss God’s will.

The way to miss God’s will is really simple: ignore the Bible. In the Bible God has told us exactly what we should do when it comes to making decisions. First, we should determine if our decision goes against anything clearly spelled out in the Bible. The Bible is clear that fellowship with other believers is necessary for our Christian growth. If taking a job will cut you off from fellowship with others, it’s not God’s will for you to take the job.

Second, we should ask God to give us wisdom. James 1:5–6 says:

If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting…

Getting wisdom from God isn’t a mystical, super-spiritual experience. It means asking God to help us think clearly and biblically about the decision in front of us. When we ask for wisdom we should believe God is going to give it to us. God isn’t trying to hide his good will from us. He wants to help us understand the right way to walk.

Third, we should ask the opinion of others. Proverbs 15:22 says, “Without counsel plans fail, but with many advisers they succeed.” This is so gloriously simple. Finding God’s will for your life is as simple as asking the opinion of other, godly Christians. Lay the situation out before them, and then let God speak to you through their counsel.

If we heed the counsel of scripture, we won’t miss God’s will. God isn’t hiding his will, or trying to trick us into making a bad decision. If we evaluate our decision by scripture, ask for wisdom, and then ask the opinion of others, we are doing what God requires of us. He promises to guide us through that process.

We don’t need to seek a subjective, mystical, spiritual feeling when it comes to decision making. Don’t get me wrong; sometimes God gives us peace about a decision, and that’s a blessing. But that’s not always the case. Sometimes we might not feel one way or another about a decision. In general, feelings are a very bad barometer of the truth. A feeling of peace can come from God, but it can also come from a lot of other things, like a glass of wine or a good nap. Plus, what exactly constitutes the “right” feeling when it comes to a decision? Is it peace? Or maybe joy? Or a sense of rightness?

The Bible doesn’t tell us what we’re supposed to feel about our decisions. Instead, it tells us how to make biblical, God-honoring decisions. So, if you have a big decision to make, don’t freak out. Instead, go to the Word, ask for wisdom, and get others involved.

Stephen Altrogge serves as a pastor at Sovereign Grace Church.
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