High Standards, Higher Grace

At Men’s Prayer Breakfast on Saturday we planned on discussing Matthew 5-7 but in the end we didn’t even get through Chapter 5 because there is so much to unpack.

One point that was brought up was the difficulty of doing a lot of what Jesus is saying.

During the discussion it came to me, “high standards, higher grace”.

We do have high standards to follow as Christians but the Grace of God far exceeds are failures.

This does not give us a license to sin or ignore God’s commands.

No it should give you hope and more reason to follow God’s commands. Because while God’s standards are high it’s not just His grace that is higher but His love and His mercy.

Have a Blessed Week,
Chris

Matthew Chapter 5:
https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Matthew%205&version=NIV

Discerning If You Heard From God: Test Three

The third and final way to test if you’re hearing God is the one I’ve been teasing as the most important. Did what you hear contradict scripture?

This is unbelievably crucial. 

God is NOT a hypocrite. 

God does NOT contradict Himself. 

Study the Word of God and make absolutely sure that what you think you’re hearing from God goes along with the Bible. 

Sadly an example I’ve heard a few times is when a person is in sin they say, “I feel like God told me He wants me happy”.

That is completely unbiblical and God would never do that.

God is not calling you to sin or live against His Word. He doesn’t have a new message that will change scripture. 

Matthew 24:35 (ESV), “Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.” 

God’s Word is eternal and He is calling you to righteousness, repentance and submission to His Word. 

If God speaks to someone it will coincide with His Word not go against. 

If you’re unsure if what you hear is Biblical than you need to read your Bible. 

Remember John 1:1 (ESV), “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” 

The Word of God is the most important way to test if you’re hearing from God. 

That’s the bottom line. 

Study His Word and you will hear from God every day no matter what. 

Have a Blessed Week, 
Chris 

Discerning If You Heard From God: Test Two

Hello everyone, 

Last week we covered one way to test if you’re hearing from God, please feel free to go check that out. 

A second way to test if you’re hearing God is, are you only hearing things that you want to hear? Does everything you hear about yourself, what you want, what is expected of you exactly what you want to hear? Is what you hear in your mind or through others who claim they’re speaking from God just tickling your hears? Are you being drawn away from church or living a Christian life? Is everything you hear about making your life easier? 

For example, if you keep hearing, how wonderful you are and that we are all sinners so don’t feel guilty. Just be you. Things like it’s okay it was only a white lie or a little sin.

That certainly isn’t God.

I am of course not saying God won’t say anything nice to you or offer encouragement or tell you that He loves you but what I am saying if everything you hear is just telling you what you want to hear then that is not from God. Because that is not life as a true Christian. 

Now are you hearing God tell you what you need to change? Is God exposing to your sins and leading you on the path to sanctification? Is God challenging you to serve Him better? To go out and live for Him? Are people telling you things that you need to hear, not just want? Are people drawing you into service to God? Is what you hear causing you to be a better follower of Christ? 

If you can say yes.

That sounds like  messages from the Lord to me. 

Why?

Because that is what we are called to do, live a self-sacrificial life. Constantly walking down the narrow path, serving Christ, suffering and make changes along the way to be the way God wants us to be. Praising Him along the way when blessings come and praising Him when trials come. 

Next week I am going to take a week off but after that it will be my final entry of the series. The most important test. 

Have a Blessed Couple of Weeks, 
Chris 

Discerning If You Heard From God: Test One

The first way I will discuss to test if what you heard is from God is a relatively easy one. Did what you hear come true? 

An example of this, did you think you heard God tell you that you were going to get a certain job you applied for and in the end you did not get the job? Well then what you heard, no matter the source, was not true. Don’t make excuses or come up with reasons as to why it did not come to pass. Simply realize that was not God but either your own mind or someone else’s wishful thinking. 

Let’s not speculate, just trust in the Lord and recognize that was not Him. Don’t feel down about it and don’t condemn someone who misspoke to you. Instead go to the Word of God. Because even if you didn’t hear a word from the Lord, you have the Word of God at your fingertips. Praise God. 

Now on the other side If you hear a message from the Lord in whatever way that was clear and specific and it does come to pass, then praise God it appears the Lord spoke to you. 

Give all the glory to God and keep seeking after Him and studying His Word. 

I know this first entry was brief but I hope it helped. 

See you all next week. 

Be Blessed, 
Chris 

Scripture Reading Plan
Monday – Jeremiah 2:4-13

Tuesday – Psalm 112

Wednesday – Hebrews 13:1-8, 15-16

Thursday – Luke 14:1, 7-14

https://www.heritageloves.com/sermon-podcasts

Discerning If You Heard From God: Introduction

A common question I see asked is, “How do I know if what I heard is from God?” Today I am going to begin discussing answers to this question.

Originally I thought this was going to be just this week’s entry but I’ve come to realize this is a loaded topic so I am going to make this my next series. 

I want to start this off by saying, this entry will not be set out to prove any type of stance on the Gifts of the Spirit. I do not label myself anything in that department, this is not from a Pentecostal’s perspective or cessationist perspective. I am not going to even lay out my beliefs. All I am doing here is addressing those who are wondering about ways to test what they have heard to see if it is from God. I am going to give three different ways, they’re many more I am sure but I will be giving just the three. The third is the most important. 

Now when it comes to “hearing God” there is a lot of different ways people think they’re hearing from God. It can be on their own through their mind in prayer, through a dream, plenty of other ways I’m sure as well. 

And of course through the Bible! Yes, the Word of God. Read that first and foremost. That is your best bet if you want to hear from God. Many times reading scripture has given me the answer I needed. 

Sometimes you get messages from other people, whether it be a subtle confirmation on something you have been praying about, a more bold proclamation from someone claiming they have a message from the Lord (this of course you certainly want to test). I really could go on and on. 

Whether subtle or bold, we should, “test all things” like scripture says but do so with a gracious and loving heart. Not out to debunk a message but also not out confirm something just because you want it to be from God. 

Also look out for vagueness, if you hear in your mind or from someone else something like, “Good things are coming your way” or even, “Troubles are coming”. That is true no matter what, that is far too vague to know if it is from God. 

The following three weeks (with a break for Labor Day) I will be discussing the three before mentioned ways to test if what you’re hearing is from God with examples to help. 

I hope this helps those who need it. 

Have a Blessed Week, 
Chris 

So What Are You Going To Do About It?

My Pastor yesterday preached a great sermon yesterday on Isaiah 1:1,10-20. There is a lot I could unpack as there is a lot that stood out to me but the truth is I want to focus on one part at least for now.

A little note on my Pastor, he likes to stay informed. He listens and reads to all different sides of an issue to understand things. During the sermon he mentioned how people love to call into radio programs and complain, they get very worked up and angry. They complain, vent and complain some more. One particular radio host likes to ask the caller at the end of their rant, “Now what are you going to do about it?”

I don’t know who that radio host is or what they believe but what a great question to ask.

We get upset, angry, grieved about the sins of the world and we are justified in those emotions. There is so much evil, pain and sorrow in the world.

But after thinking about these things lets ask ourselves, “Now what are you going to do about it?”

What we need to do about it is follow Christ and live a self sacrificial life of servitude to God. Spreading the Gospel not just in our words but in our actions. Love people, take care of people, tell them about their savior.

Because the true answer to the question, “Now what are you going to do about it?” is what God wants me to do about it.

Have a Blessed Week,
Chris

Scripture Reading Plan:

Monday – Isaiah 5:1-7

Tuesday – Psalm 82

Wednesday – Hebrews 11:29-12:2 (Hebrews 11:1-3, 8-16)

Thursday – Luke 12:49-56

The Story of Christmas

Christmas in July?! With Christmas in July being marketed more and more. Why not post the meaning of Christmas for Throwback Thursday?

The Good Word

Christ Born of Mary

And it came to pass in those days that a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. This census first took place while Quirinius was governing Syria. So all went to be registered, everyone to his own city.

Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be registered with Mary, his betrothed [a]wife, who was with child. So it was, that while they were there, the days were completed for her to be delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling cloths, and laid Him in a [b]manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.

Glory in…

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God and Baseball

Decided to go a little lighter for Throwback Thursday this week. This is a fun post I wrote about baseball and God from 2019. I remember how much I enjoyed writing this entry.

The Good Word

Summer is officially here so it’s the perfect time to write an entry combining two of my biggest passions.  Today I’m writing about God and Baseball.

When something occurs on the field that seems miraculous or like justice is occurring in favor of a wronged player or team people often times like to use the term, “the baseball god’s”. When these things happen I prefer to say God is a Baseball fan.

Rather than discussing memorable Baseball moments there is a quote and a joke I love that I want to discuss.

First the quote, “Baseball is like Church. Many attend few understand.” -Leo Durocher, Hall of Fame Baseball Manager.

I think that’s a brilliant quote and it is very true. In church many do attend but often times miss the point of the Gospel or misquote the Gospel to get a point across that fits their view.

I know…

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Who God Uses

Scandals are everywhere in church leadership right now. Moral failures, abuse, coverups.

I am also noticing a problem in stubbornness, pride and arrogance from some of the most famous Bible teachers of the day. 

They’re nasty to people who disagree with them, speak in arrogance, give their opinions on things that they are ignorant on.

All the while their followers build them and lash out at those who disagree with the Pastor or teacher. 

They mock, put words in others mouths, misrepresent the other side, call people heretics and just behave so far away from what the Bible teaches.

They do this under the guise of glorifying God but in reality they’re just glorifying their own perceived intellectual superiority.

Quite frankly all this gets me angry and it grieves me.

It’s helped me come to realize why God uses the fisherman, the tax collector, the Sheppard boy, the stutterer and so on.

He doesn’t just find the smartest and brightest.

Look at the smartest and brightest religious leaders of Jesus time on Earth, they looked in His face and cursed Him. 

They stared in the face of God and didn’t recognize Him, they didn’t know Him.

Yet the people thought they were the most holy because of their knowledge but they lacked humbleness, mercy, grace and love.

I’m not saying God doesn’t use intellectual people of course, Paul was a pharisee. God uses every type of person but I see a pattern that those willing to be humbled and have faith get used by God for His glory.

Of course you may say but all those people still failed.

But what stands out is all those dealt with their failures, humbled themselves and repented.

Jesus said, “The humble will exalted and the exalted will be humbled”

Truth is getting angry at other Christians failures and arrogance is easy and satan I’m sure loves that.

Because while your focusing on them you get distracted and won’t focus on your own sins and failures.

Which is why I must focus on my own sin and flaws and pray that God humbles me before I fall.

God help me, I pray You humble me, take away my anger and grief and help me focus on my own sins, and be a helpful hand to those who need restoration.

In Jesus name I pray, amen.

Have a Blessed Week,

Chris 

Scripture Reading Plan:

Monday – Amos 8:1-12

Tuesday – Psalm 15

Wednesday – Colossians 1:15-28

Thursday – Luke 10:38-42