Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Growing in Jesus - lesson 9 "Our Wages"

Growing in Jesus                         - lesson 9



Our Wages


     Sinning  earns a wage just like working for someone earns a wage. Wages add up and can be measured over time and so can the wages of sin.

     I’ve been thinking about this because it’s not like instant death for every bad thing we do. It is simply a guarantee that over time these will be the wages we have earned for our actions.
  We often think about how nothing good we can do will be what gets us into heaven. We think about how salvation is an amazing gift from God to us,  however what we choose to do on earth  does earn a wage. If we labor for sin the wages are death. Every sin has so many consequences. Think about how burned out a person becomes when their job is their whole focus on life. Or their drugs and alcohol are their passion. Or their quest for another lover tonight. The wages of sin are earned and paid out. If we spend our time gossiping we will reap wages for it. If we devote ourselves to the perfect house or the perfect vacation we will have payment for it. This is why we want to seek the Lord earnestly so that the wages we earn on a daily basis will be wages that lead to life and not death or a dead end.

     Every action bears fruit and earns a wage. This is why who we are in secret really matters. Every part of what we do earns a wage. The wages of sin will be death and the wages of obedience will be life not only for ourselves but for everyone around us. Just like if I buy food for my family with my wages than we all enjoy what my wages have paid for. If we serve the Lord both in secret and openly we will also be providing food that everyone around us will share in.

     What we do is where our wage comes from. If we seek out and pursue sin we will earn a steady build-up of death that will eat our lives away until eventually we die physically as well. We will earn bitterness, resentment, crude humor. We will earn anger, hate, swearing. We will earn emptiness, and depression. We will earn despair and hopelessness. We will earn life without meaning or purpose. We will earn children who leave us and go off and wreck their lives and destroy more lives around them. The wages of sin earn death.

     The wages of obedience to the Lord bring life. They lead to joy and peace and contentment. They lead to usefulness, unselfishness, diligence, patience, and love. They lead to a blessing for everyone around us. What we do in secret and in public is where our wages come from. 

     Let us seek the Lord earnestly so that everything we do will bear good fruit and reap wages unto life!


God bless!  
-Seth



Thursday, September 17, 2015

Growing in Jesus - Lesson 8 - Being Disappointed

Growing in Jesus        Lesson 8



Being disappointed


  Being disappointed by something not happening is a sign that our heart sincerely desired for it to happen.


    The other day I was talking to an old gentleman and he was sharing about how when he got saved as a young man he was dissatisfied with his Christian walk just being so uneventful and uninspiring and he wondered what that meant because he didn’t have any other Christians around who were living any different from himself and everything just seemed very dry. Then as he was reading his Bible through he read about the Holy Spirit in the book of Acts and he said to himself, “That’s what I need! I need the Holy Spirit!” So he scraped up enough money to go from Nova Scotia to a meeting that was happening down in the southern states that talked about having the Holy Spirit. After 4 days of being there he was disappointed that he hadn’t received what he had come for and he turned to the Lord and said well I guess maybe this just isn’t real or I can’t have it. The next day the Lord visited him and filled him with the Holy Spirit! I was struck by how pleasing to the Lord it was that this gentleman was disappointed. He was disappointed because he sincerely wanted what the Lord had said he was possible if he asked for it. I was thinking about how glad the Lord’s heart was that someone wanted His gift so much that he was disappointed at not receiving it. The disappointment was evidence that it meant something to the person.

     So often we try to not want anything to much so we won’t be disappointed. How many times do we not want to put our heart into something so that if it doesn’t happen it won’t really matter to us? It seems interesting to me that because we were disappointed it was a sign that it did matter and is that much more rewarding when it is fulfilled. When we are disappointed it is because nothing else can take the place of the thing we have set our hearts on. 

     Now, disappointment is often used to take our hearts off of things here on earth in order for the Lord to get our attention and set our affections on Himself. But it also can be God’s gauge to see how much you actually want the things you pray for here on earth or how earnest you are to be about the things He has told you that He has for you to do. Often it seems that the things He Himself tells us He is going to do fall into the same category of coming against endless disappointments.  I think about Abraham not receiving his son for so long so that taking Sarah’s maid and having children with her makes perfectly logical sense to both of them and the Lord doesn’t step in to intervene or to even suddenly make Sarah pregnant and speed up His plan so that Abraham won’t make any regretful decisions. It seems like the devil is always right there to give us a logical new solution that makes sense to us when the Lord doesn’t seem to be doing what He has told us. The devil gave Jesus logical ways out for each of the temptations in the wilderness and any one of them could have made so much sense to Jesus that He could have just done them. 

     So generally we have two reactions to disappointments. We can either trust that the delay’s come from a heart of love towards us and rejoice in faith while not letting go of God’s promises to complete His work or we can fall into despair and get angry and bitter at God or just silently depressed and than take the logical new course that the devil will be sure to offer us at that moment. Sin is always right at our door when we stand at this crossroad. It is a scary place because it is so hard to stand up against the devil’s temptations when we feel like God will never answer us. 

     Disappointment is a sure sign to the Lord that you care about what He has promised but it is not and excuse to then go and live like you will always be disappointed. This is not an excuse to have self pity or bitterness. It is merely a test to see if you care and is meant to remind you that the Lord is faithful and just like the old gentleman received the Holy Spirit the next day, so also the Lord is preparing to do all He has promised for you.

     When the Lord comes through it will teach us that it is right to press forward in all that He has said and shown and when we are the most discouraged is when we should probably be praising Him the most because it is the surest sign that He is doing something wonderful.  “Blessed are those who mourn for they shall be comforted.” Matt. 5:4 


-Seth




Thursday, September 10, 2015

Growing in Jesus - lesson 7 "Serving the Lord in secret (continued)"

Growing in Jesus      - lesson 7



The eye is directed by what we do in secret


     “The lamp of the body is the eye, if therefore your eye is clear, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in you is darkness, how great is that darkness.  Matthew 6:22-23


     This lesson carries on from the last lesson on serving the Lord in secret. The eye is governed by our secret life. If our secret life is to pursue all manner of sin than the eye is always full of darkness and whatever it sees is colored by it’s desires.. However if our secret life is to be diligently serving the Lord and in doing all manner of things that He approves of, then our eye will be looking for what is good and joyful and full of life! Our eye will be looking for ways to be doing acts of kindness and love and will be continually seeing others needs.


     If we sin in secret will we not serve the Lord in secret? This is a good question to ask ourselves over and over again. Our secret life is our real life and everything we do springs up from it. Who we are in appearance to everyone is our fake life in comparison. Eventually our secret life will come out and take over our outward life.  Everything we have actually been striving for and pursuing will come forth and bear visible fruit.


     Have you ever seen someone do something worthy of being rewarded and then wanted to be the one who gave the reward? This is how our Heavenly Father is. He wants to take care of rewarding every thing you do that nobody sees, or ever will see. This is the part that He personally loves to take care of and oversee. He is not worried about the things you do that other people reward you for. He is concerned with the things you do that no one will ever know about or see. So many times it seems like our greatest struggles and accomplishments are ones that nobody will ever see. All the times when we chose to leave what we were doing in order to stop and help someone. All the times when we overcame an inner struggle to do what is right when no one was watching. All the times we had patience instead of getting upset. All the times when we fought to surrender something God was asking us to let go of. These are the things that will not lose their reward. Every secret thing that you do is known by your Heavenly Father and He has made it His own personal care in order to bless each of those hidden things. In other words, those secret victories you win are the ones most blessed by the Lord!
     Every time you take a thought captive or hold your tongue or refrain from saying something that you know will only stir up strife, these are the victories that no one will know about because they didn't happen. No one can thank you for something they didn't know you didn't say. Most of the time we fail at this point because then we go on to tell them what we could have said and hadn't... You see, we are always trying to make our obedience to the Lord visible instead of secret. But when you take every thought captive and do what is right in the face of difficulty, the Lord is watching and He will not let your victories go unrewarded. These hidden victories matter more to Him pretty much than anything else you can do, because they refine your character and are the tests He lays out for you. Tests that show what He can trust you with because you have proved yourself faithful in the littlest of things.


     Next time you sit down to pray and read your Bible think about these things. Your secret life is the most real part of your life. Every time you do what is right in secret it will not be in vain. Those are the things the Father Himself is watching over to bless and reward.


God bless!
-Seth



Thursday, September 3, 2015

Growing in Jesus - lesson 6 "Serving the Lord in secret"

Growing in Jesus       - lesson 6



Serving the Lord in secret


     “And whenever you fast, do not put on a gloomy face as the hypocrites do, for they neglect their appearance in order to be seen fasting by men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full. But you, when you fast, anoint your head, and wash your face so that you may not be seen fasting by men, but by your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will repay you.” - Matthew 6:16-18


                         If we sin in secret, will we not serve the Lord in secret?

     Lying is sinning in secret because we are trying to cover something up. We always steal in secret or else it will get taken back from us. We lust in secret. We covet in secret. We break rules in secret. Then why do we want public recognition for the things we do for God when is seems to be that the things we do in secret are the ones that matter most to us and are closest to our heart?

     So much of what God would have us to do is in secret. So many sacrifices of our time, help, money, care, work, and endurance are made with no one noticing unless we tell them. Our heavenly Father says that it is right and blessed by Him to do these things in secret that He Himself might be the one who rewards us. If we do things hoping to be recognized for our labors we rob ourselves of God’s rewards. However if we do things to be seen by Him He will bless us in another way. The thing about the Lord is that He is the master of giving good gifts.


     What do we think His good gifts are? Think about what some of them might be.

                  Some of His good gifts are:

     _ His help in getting hard jobs accomplished.
     _ Arguments smoothed out.
     _ Providing for our needs on time.   (Particularly ones we don’t know we have yet because they come upon 
         us suddenly)
     _ Beautiful weather when there are outdoor things that can’t be put off for even one more day.
     _ Sudden opportunities to minister.
     _ Answers to prayer.
     _ Getting this lesson prepared.


     What does it mean to have your reward in full when we have done it for earthly recognition? 

     One of the problems is that the minute someone says we have done something amazing, we pretty much stop what we were doing because there isn’t any further reward to go on and because we find the reward only temporarily satisfying.  Or if no one thanks us for our work we stop because it feels like the job is too thankless to bother finishing and we just give up and become depressed. If our motives are other people’s opinion then we will soon find whatever we are doing to be unsatisfying.


     However, if we do anything for the Lord we will have a reward that doesn’t seem to be one that we can measure. Abraham’s reward is still growing and it seems to me that all of the Lord’s rewards are the same no matter what area of our lives it is in. 
     If you plant one seed of wheat and carefully watch over it, it will produce 50 seeds. (aprox.)  Then if you take those 50 seeds and carefully plant them they will turn into 2500 seeds. If you again plant those they will turn into 125,000 seeds and continue exponentially from there! This is the fruit from just 3 growing seasons! This is how the Lord thinks and works This is why doing things for Him in secret is the reward we should be looking for. His rewards are not shallow like a person congratulating you. Think about how if you ate the first seed you would have nothing to plant or if you ate the 2500 seeds the growth would stop there but by the third season there is so much available that now you can eat of it and have plenty to give away besides! Receiving the praise of man is like just eating the first seed. 
     We crave to have some immediate gratification for our labor so we eat it instead of planting it. Doing things in secret is to not eat the seed but to plant the sacrifice that it might grow into more seed. We may go hungry for 2 seasons of growing but by the third season there will spring up a reward for our secret labors unto God that is abundant beyond anything we can imagine. 

     If we think of any of our labors for the Lord in the 3 season rule we will have a much easier time understanding the seasons of waiting to be satisfied by our labors. But by the end of the third season there should be an abundance to give out to many as well as enough for ourselves!






     application


     _  What do we think His good gifts are? Think about what some of them might be and write them out.


     _  Write out a verse or two that have spoken clearly to you either over the years or recently that helped you 
          hold fast to the Lord’s promises when you have waited for the Lord’s reward for your labors.

     _  What are some of the other earthly rewards we could look to that would seem to satisfy us but only will 
          for a moment instead of long term like what the Lord offers us?





Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Growing in Jesus - lesson 5 "Playing with the devil’s bait"

Growing in Jesus                        - lesson 5



Playing with the devil’s bait


     “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will hold to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.” - Matthew 6:24


     This verse is again dealing with where our treasure is there will our heart be also. What our hearts are set on is what we serve.

     Every day it seems like there is always something trying to turn our attention back to some desire for the world. Some little thing grabs our attention and we step back into thinking that those things are more important than they are, again. What a battle it is to keep our hearts fixed on our Heavenly Father! Why does it seem to be so easy to step back and forth all the time. Going back to our old distractions (or some new one) is like taking a flower and carefully planting it in  fertile and well watered soil and then uprooting it suddenly and putting it in sandy and dry soil and then repeating the process over and over again. Then we  wonder why their seems to be no growth! This is how we are when we spend time letting go of our old lives and start spending time with the Lord and then get distracted and put the Lord to one side and focus back on the old things again. Then we wonder why we have no joy or growth in our Christian walk!

     Our adversary is continually trying to slip things into our lives to see if we will bite for his bait again. If we do it will be inevitable that we will also get the hook and line that goes with it. This line is impossible to get free from in ourselves. Just like the fish could have a full understanding about the fishing line to, but it has no physical way to free itself and quickly discovers again that it has no will in the matter as to where it goes from then on. It can’t stop itself from being pulled up. It’s will has no overriding authority on the hook and line. So we don’t want to be enticed by the bait anymore do we? Because at some point the hook will grab us again if we keep playing with the bait.

     This is why it is so important not to look back at our old lives and to be careful and watchful for any new ways that will come up to lure us in again. We don’t want to trade the good soil Jesus has just planted us in, for dry dusty sand. We will never grow in that environment but will wither up and die. 




     application
     _ Write out a list of things you know are stealing your time. Things that come up every time you had planned to enjoy being with the Lord. These are the things that the devil is using to rob you of the water you need to survive. What can you do to not let these things get in the way anymore?
     _  Write out a verse or two that illustrates how your time with the Lord will change your life.


Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Growing in Jesus - lesson 4 "Our treasure in heaven"

Growing in Jesus                              Lesson 4



Our treasure in heaven


     “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust destroys, and where thieves break in and steal. But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal; for where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” - Matthew 6:19-21


     What makes us complain? What makes us get upset or angry with God? What makes us get upset or angry with another person? Is it because our will has been crossed? Is it because something we have wanted has been delayed? Examine what makes you upset. Is it something that helps others or is it something that helps you? Do we spend a lot of time being upset about what happens to us? Do we spend much time being upset about what happens to others?

     Our treasure in heaven is made up of things that happen to others and our treasure on earth is made up of things that happen to us. As long as we are consumed with despair and anger about things that happen to us, we have our hearts fixed on treasure on earth. And as much time as we are in sorrow and concern for others our treasure is in heaven. So the more time our thoughts are consumed with others the more we are setting our treasures in heaven. For Jesus said that if we give even a cup of cold water in His name to the least of these, we are doing it to Him.

     The devil would have us to be continually consumed with going in circles in our own troubles and we could be caught up in that forever. But Jesus would have us consumed with concern for others. It always comes back to setting our hearts on serving others instead of ourselves. How can we help someone today? Who am I helping today? Who’s need is my most pressing concern today? Who needs me the most? These are the thoughts of those who’s treasure is in heaven.

     It always comes down to how much time we will step out of ourselves and what is bothering us and how much time we will give to the needs of others. If we let the devil fill our thoughts with what makes us upset then we will never have the time to step out and be a blessing to others. If our hearts are struggling with resentments or self pity, we are in no good spirit to brighten someone else’s day. We can only brighten someone’s day if we have given all of our own struggles to Jesus and allowed Him to be our peace and confidence. Then we will be a blessing to others and it will be the fact that we have difficulties in our lives and yet are full of joy that will draw people to want Jesus in their lives to! They will see that He really does have the power to give us peace and joy in the midst of real problems.

     I’ve been contemplating how unforgiveness is at the heart of every despair and discouragement that we have. Jesus says in verses 14 and 15 of Matt. 6 that if we don’t forgive each other of our transgressions  our heavenly Father will not forgive ours. Did you realize that when you doubt God’s goodness toward you and His answers to prayer its because you have unforgiveness in your heart towards Him? It is unforgiveness that makes us not want to turn our hearts to joyful expectancy because we want to be upset with Him. Unforgiveness is at the root of every depression and despairing countenance because if we don’t hold onto any unforgiveness than we intentionally believe the best of people and of God and from that mind-set, joy springs up.  The minute we begin to believe good of God we can’t be anything but joyful from then on! 





     application


_ Our treasure in heaven is made up of things that happen to others and our treasure on earth is made up of things that happen to us.  Find some verses that illustrate this point.


_ Give some ways that can help us be pulled out of our own problems so that our hearts can be fixed on the problems of others.


_ Encourage at least one person or talk to at least one person about Jesus that you don’t normally come in contact with.




Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Growing In Jesus - lesson 3 "Going the second mile"

Growing In Jesus                                                Lesson 3




     “And whoever shall force you to go one mile, go with him two.” Matt. 5:41


     None of us like to be forced to do anything against our will, but if our will is involved we are quite happy to be doing whatever the task is. Just think about the last thing you wanted that was impossible to get and how somehow you managed to achieve it in spite of all the obstacles. Think of how many obstacles the Lord puts in our way of things that would get us into trouble and yet we are able to override them to... There are are quite a few verses in the Bible telling of the nature of man to keep pressing on in sin in spite of the discipline the Lord has sent to be a deterrent to it.

     I used to tell my employees when they would start complaining about a job I had given them, that if they would just change their words and say, “I love doing this” and then begin to put their heart into it, that suddenly the job would be fun and not a hardship. I remember having to use this on myself quite a few times to! One of my friends used to work for me and we had an understanding between us that when things were really stressful in the restaurant, we would check in with each other and give each other the thumbs up and say “it's going great” with that smile that says we will make it through yet again! That got me through a lot of stressful nights and added quite a bit of humor and encouragement at the same time.



     This verse is a good way to be instructed on this very principle. When we are being forced or taken advantage of, if we will commit ourselves to doing more than we have been made to do, our will, will suddenly be engaged and whatever it is we are being forced to do will no longer seem unbearable to us.


     Jesus is always wanting our hearts to be free of resentments. He is always wanting to make it clear to us that there are no resentments in His heart and there must be none in ours either. So in His way of showing us how to live, He explains that there is no such thing as considering yourself too good to be forced to do something against your will. We are to have the mindset of being a joyful servant in the midst of any unfairness that might come upon us. It’s amazing to think that Jesus has the very heart that He expects us to have. A heart of joyful unselfishness that is already committed to going the extra mile before it has even been required of it.


     So now instead of every new and challenging circumstance causing us to grumble and complain, we will already be prepared to go forward joyfully and with no bitterness or resentment to mar our countenance. Going the extra mile has the ability to affect how we live every day!




     application


_ Give an example of something you have been praying about and that God has been giving you victory in.


_ Find another verse or two in the Bible that also illustrate having a joyful attitude when hard things have been required of us. Share your thoughts on how they apply to you.



Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Growing in Jesus - Lesson 2 "Turning away"

Growing In Jesus                                                Lesson 2




     “Give to him who asks of you, and do not turn away from him who wants to borrow from you.” - Matt 5:42




                    What do we consider our own and what belongs to God? 

     First let us understand that if Jesus tells us this verse is how to live than this is the way He lives towards us. He is always ready to do things simply because we have asked Him. Many times what we ask is not even important but He answers because we went to Him about it. In these verses there are no stipulations made as to what qualifies for an answer. Jesus doesn't say give to him who asks because he is worthy of your answer or because he will make good use of what you give him. It's just give to him who asks. He doesn't say lend to him because he will bring your property back in one piece or he is always making the best use of what he borrows. Jesus just says don't turn away. It's a good thought for when you are feeling discouraged about your own requests to the Lord. It is good to know that He thinks like this to.

     Beginning to do things that others have asked is the thing that stirs our heart to their needs and pulls us out of our own world for a moment. It also challenges our selfish nature on what we consider our own. It challenges us on what we have said belongs to God and causes us to discover what really belongs to Him. It is only when we are asked to surrender things that we begin to understand how much those things matter to us. It might be our time, our things, or people, or it might be combination that includes all of them. 

     “Turning away” is a great definition to ignoring a need because it takes a person physically turning away from helping someone in order not to help them. It is a choice made in the moment. It is a choice made when we look the other way and don't stop to help. It is a choice that is a response to a direct request or plea. In other words, it’s not accidental and we must claim ownership of what happens if we did not do it.

          Here is the convicting part

     Someone or many people are hurting because we are disobeying the Lord. While we are seeking our own happiness and self fulfillment very often we are turning a deaf ear to what God would have for us to be doing or sacrificing for Him. As a result of this there are people suffering who did not have to be. Because we have refused to leave the comfort of our own things and our own plans, we have made ourselves unavailable to go and help those the Lord had intended for us to help. How many people right now could point to you and say why have I suffered for no reason because you didn’t come when God called? Why have I suffered needlessly for years because you refused to leave your TV and pursuits and would not heed the call your Heavenly Father had made to you in order to rescue me? 
     These are sobering words and ones that the Lord has been bringing to my attention. There are so many people in distress who could turn and complain to the Lord that their rescuer never came. They could cry to the Lord and ask why I refused to heed His will, and had not come. In their their distress they could cry to the Lord and say how they could have been free from their misery so much sooner if I had obeyed. How many people have that claim upon me right now before God because I am in Christ. I have a very responsible position as an older brother. The minute we get saved we become an older brother or sister to someone.

     So what are we doing that actually changes someone’s life? What are we doing that pulls them out of their horrible circumstances, their griefs and their despairs?

     I’ve been thinking that if people come here and immediately feel a deep compassion and need to be helping someone, so much so that when they leave here they are anxious to go and find the first person they meet in order to help them, than we have done our job as a Bible School.




          So the question is, who and I helping today?



application


_ Pray for opportunities to help at least one person today that you don’t normally come in contact  with.


_ Share what God opened up and gave you as an opportunity.



Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Growing in Jesus - lesson 1 "Our place of rest and answers"

          Growing in Jesus



               Our place of rest and answers



     Therefore do not be like them; for your Father knows what you need, before you ask Him. - Matt. 6:8 

     Read Matthew 6:5-15


     So many times we find ourselves in hard circumstances or overwhelming circumstances or situations that we just don’t have an answer to. Often we don’t even know what we should ask for that would actually change or fix things. 

     Our Father knows what we need before we ask. He knows what we need before we know what to ask.

 
 Three points we feel when we get in these situations

              1. We want to fix our problems.  (We just want to jump in and fix everything the way we think they should be fixed)

               2. We want to make statements that we think will clear up the situation.    (We are always right in our own mind and want to just make a simple solution that everyone should just agree with and accept)

               3. We don’t know how to make our side or position heard or to show that we are right.    (We think our answer will fix everything if people would just understand us)

     We just want to make our situation more understandable so that others know what we are trying to say and try as we might,  everything just gets overwhelming and our voice doesn’t carry the day.   - Verse 6 is our great encouragement.  “But you, when you pray, go into your inner room, and when you have shut the door, pray to your Father who is in secret, and your Father who sees in secret will repay you.”



     This means that if we don’t know what to do. If we don’t know what to say. If we don’t know how to fix things and our voices do nothing but fail us, it means that we don’t need an outward voice or to even know what to ask besides the word help. The secret, quiet, room is our place where every answer is given and every help obtained. Not with persuasive words or many words, but with a humble heart coming before the Lord who already knows the solution to what we don’t even know how to ask. He has the answers. He has the solution. He will carry us through and take care of every challenge. And He will give us a way to move forward. This does not mean that we will have no part in the answers that He has for us and that He will do everything without us. It means that He will show us the way and guide us through every difficult challenge and help us to overcome with His help.      (Many times we find that the change must take place in us and the overwhelming situation was straight from the Lord's hand to cause more of the dross to be refined out of us. the Lord never wastes any situation we are in. He is always using everything to train us up to be more like Him.)

     The beautiful thing about the secret place with the Lord is that He already knows why you are there. You need no convincing arguments to bring Him to your side on an issue. You don't have to tell your story one more time to someone who has no ability to help but will try to pass you on to someone else who can. HaHa! There are no middle men and no skeptics who won't believe you. Only the Father, who cares about you and already knows what is going on better than you do. Anxiety is having no one who listens or understands you... with Jesus there is no anxiety over these things. Amazing isn't it. This is the place of real peace and refuge where the answers are to be found and to obtain the peace that passes understanding. And the best part is we all can go to it! No one is excluded! Our heavenly Father is glad to have the same relationship with you as He has with me! We are all free to get as close to Him as we possibly can!


     Spend some time just grabbing hold of this thought. You can have as sweet a relationship with our Heavenly Father as you possibly can. All you have to do is go to Him. He is there waiting for you. He is longing to be your peace and rest and comfort. Don't wait and seek everything else but Him, for your help and comfort and peace. It will only delay real peace and the things you run to for peace besides the Lord will always lead you into new lows and despairs. They seem to comfort for a moment and then their true affects begin. Nothing in this world can take the place of our Heavenly Father, not people, places, things, or experiences. But we can all have our Heavenly Father if we will go to Him.

               Application

_  Take some time to pour out your heart before the Lord. Bring Him your questions and your troubles, but     also bring Him the things you don’t know to ask. He has a solution to the things we don’t know how to ask about.

_  Share at least one thing that the Lord spoke to you about while you were praying.




       God bless!     -Seth







Wednesday, July 8, 2015

A City Set On A Hill



     You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do men light a lamp and put it under a peck-measure, but on the lamp stand; and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father in heaven. - Matt. 5:14-16

                    A city set on a hill

     It’s funny that we think we can pick and choose when and where we will shine the light of Christ. Maybe we will talk to that person over there or lead by example in that group over there but the reality is that a light is meant to be always in the open. 

     As I drive up our road to our house on the hill, here on PEI, I have been excited that the first thing you see is a sign saying PEI Bible Institute. It is set on a hill for all to see and as we step into these dark days ahead, just driving home will remind me that my place is to be visible to all. Not hiding or trying to slip around unnoticed by the world, but rather, openly stating who I belong to. Am I a child of the Living God? Yes, He is my Father! One of the most amazing things the Lord has been teaching me lately is that there are several reasons Jesus died for us on the cross, but one of the most amazing reasons is that He was proud of His Heavenly Father and wanted to show the world that every Word that the Father has given to men is true and that we can follow them even unto death and be raised up from there. Jesus wanted men to know that they could trust their Heavenly Father in all things and that He was faithful! Are we that proud of our Heavenly Father that we also would set out to show the world that He is faithful and true? Will we lay our lives down that Jesus might have more fruit for His death? Will we make Jesus’ heart glad today? 

     I was marveling that Jesus says that every seed bears like seed when it grows up and if Jesus laid His life down to be the seed that would spring up in me, then I will actually become just like Him someday. There will be nothing else I could possibly grow into because it is His seed that has been planted in my heart! 

     Will we be lights today that will not tolerate being covered? Will we just try to choose where we will shine once in a while or will we be unashamed of Jesus and be a light that guides all who see us, to their Savior! 


                God bless!



Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Offering Our Best To The Lord

Offering Our Best To The Lord

     “And when you offer the blind as a sacrifice, is it not evil? And when you offer the lame and the sick, is it not evil? Offer it then to your governor! Would he be pleased with you? Would he accept you favorably?” Says the Lord of hosts.  - Malachi 1:8

     “For from the rising of the sun, even to it’s going down. My name shall be great among the gentiles; In every place incense shall be offered to My name, and a pure offering; For My name shall be great among the nations,” says the Lord of hosts. - Malachi 1:11

     For I am a great King,” says the Lord of hosts, “And My name is to be feared among the nations.” - Malachi 1:14

     I was thinking about how when Jesus comes back to reign over us it will not be hard to do all kinds of good work for Him to try and please Him and win His favor and blessing. He will be visible to all and will be the One everyone knows is in charge and the One we should be serving with all our energy. It will be considered the most sensible way to live and will find acceptance with all men because it is no secret that He is now King, and having His favor is the smartest way to live. But what about right now? Jesus is not looking for friends who only want to seek out His friendship now that they can see that it makes sense to do so. He is looking right now for true friends who will gladly stand with Him in the humiliation that His Father has allowed to be upon Him in order to test men’s hearts. He is looking for those who will stand with Him in the face of all the world saying that it is foolish to follow after Him and live like He tells them to. He is looking for those who love Him when it is not the way to live comfortably or with all the best things now. He is looking for friends who actually love Him no matter what the cost to themselves physically. Did you know that Jesus lead the way in all things and that He was not willing that Peter or any of His other followers who would come after Him, should be killed for His name without He Himself going forth first. He is first and foremost our commander and He has never been afraid to face pain for being obedient to His Father. He has never been afraid to face pain for rescuing us either. He is fearless and rightfully so! Why would He let Peter do something He Himself was unwilling to do? Jesus lead the way! He is our commander! Should we also be afraid to endure pain for His sake? 

     So as I have been thinking on these things they have filled my heart with fresh desire to serve my Jesus with all my heart! I will be a fool for Him in the eyes of the world and join myself by His side! I’m so proud of Him! He is everything I want to be! I will gladly bear the shame the world heaps on Him and on all who follow Him. And when He comes back to take His place on the throne I want to be a friend He knows is with Him no matter what. 

                           I want to make His heart glad!     -Seth



Monday, May 4, 2015

Jesus Has A Radical Love For People!

Jesus Has A Radical Love For People

     Jesus has a radical love for people! The other day during a concert in Maine it seemed to me that Jesus came right into the room with me and held out His arms toward me. He was so full of love and compassion and as I looked at His nail scarred hands I was struck by how He wears His love for us on His own body. So often we are tempted to believe that Jesus doesn't love us or that He doesn't know what we are going through or that if He does know what we are enduring He doesn't seem to want to come to our rescue. These despairs and accusations that come from our hearts toward Him are so far from the truth. The minute He holds out His hands they tell the love He has for us that words could never do justice to. How could a person tell Him to His face that He doesn't care about them? His hands and feet bear the deepest marks of a love that is beyond comprehension. While we were putting him to death on the cross, He was redeeming our lives from hell. He placed His own body on that cross and would rather be called a sinner and take our penalty than see us die eternally separated from Him. His love for us is far above what we understand.


     I just want to share Him with the world! He died that many might be saved! What can I do to help? How can I bless His heart today? I just want to bring many to Him!


     Jesus please help me to take full advantage of Your sacrifice. Your death has already paid the price. Please show me how to make better use of the gift you have given to men. Jesus I want You to see more fruit from Your labors. Holy Spirit please use me today for your glory. If You are seeking to be poured out on people please help me to be an avenue You can use to do it. Please rescue many and let nothing hold You back from bringing full transformation to peoples lives! Please help me to bring glory to Jesus today! Holy Spirit let us go to work! Thank You that You are here to do all things that will bring men to Jesus! Thank You for Your tireless service unto men! Thank You! Please make use of me today.


     I want to see men women and children suddenly understand the gift that we have been given through Jesus sacrifice. I want to see people walking down the street, suddenly meet the Lord, and walk into wherever they were going a different person. Just radically changed and bursting with a love for Jesus that they just want to share with everyone they meet!


     Lord Jesus we want You! We love You and we want to live for You every moment of our lives!





Wednesday, April 22, 2015

In Love With God - lesson 12

In Love With God - lesson 12

Living In Jesus’ Love

Believing and accepting Jesus’ love

  Living in Jesus’ love. I’ve been thinking lately how easy it is to fall into thinking that Jesus’ answers to prayer are signs of His love and that when we are seeing things come to pass, that we are abiding in His love and when we are seeing adversity and trials then we are not abiding in His love because the circumstances are so overwhelming us that we have no peace.

  Now the reality is that we are always going to be in a battle or struggle of some kind because that is the very nature of going forward in Christ. There will always be something new coming at us in order to not only shape our character but to win victories on behalf of others. I often remind the Lord that I love Him and trust Him but that I’m also in the middle of a battle that affects my every day life. If king David was standing outside a city God had told him to conquer and the fighting was intense, he would still be in the will and love of God even though he was in a challenging battle that God had called him to. Abiding in the Lord also meant fighting the battle in front of him, and if the battle seemed to be taking longer than he had expected or was more painful than he had expected, how does this affect his relationship with the Lord? Does his peace with God get tested and he begin to complain to the Lord that He should have never asked him to fight this battle because it just isn’t going well and all his men are weary of the fight? Or does he say in his heart, “how this battle seems to be going is just impossible but it will have no affect on my relationship and peace in the Lord.” 

  It is so easy to say that if the battle is going well than we are in a good place with the Lord and abiding in Him, but if the battle is causing us extreme exhaustion and wounds, then we must not be doing well in the Lord.

  Separating the battle from our love and trust in the Lord seems to be the real challenge. The Lord is not our battle. He is the person with whom we are developing a real relationship with. The battle may send us back to Him repeatedly for instruction to know if we are fighting correctly and are doing all according to His plans, but the relationship with Him is what we want to focus on the most. He is not the battle and the battle is not Him. He is the commander and we are His willing servants. He has been reminding me lately that He is not the battle and that I need to actually let Him love me. 
  “And behold the Lord was passing by! And a great strong wind was rending the mountains and breaking in pieces the rocks before the Lord; but the Lord was not in the wind. And after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire; and after the fire a sound of gentle blowing.” 1 Kings 19:11-12

  Whether the battle is going good or bad. Whether it is exhausting or triumphant. It doesn’t change my relationship with Him. He is glad that my heart is fixed firmly on Him and doing His will no matter what. All the endurance and trust please Him, but it is in the area of letting Him love me that I seem to fall so short in. Somehow it is easy to get caught up in the struggles of what He asks and not have time to actually let Him love me. He holds out His arms and says, “Let Me love you. My love is not in the battle or even in your service to Me. My love is between you and I. Rest in My love and be at peace. I hold all things in the palm of My hand and will not let go.”




Wednesday, April 15, 2015

In Love With God - lesson 11

In Love With God - lesson 11

The only thing that I want for this semester 
is for us to be in love with and on fire for God

“Cast away from you all your transgressions which you have committed, and make yourselves a new heart and a new spirit! For why will you die. O house of Israel? For I have no pleasure in the death of anyone who dies,” declares the Lord God. “Therefore, repent and live.”  - Ezekiel 18:31-32

“But if the wicked man turns from all his sins which he has committed and observes My statutes and practices justice and righteousness, he shall surely live; he shall not die. All his transgressions which he has committed will not be remembered against him; because of his righteousness which he has practiced, he will live. Do I have any pleasure in the death of the wicked,” declares the Lord God, “rather than that he should turn from his ways and live?  - Ezekiel 18:21-23

     These are amazing verses to ponder for a while. God’s forgiveness is so overwhelming to me. Did you know that there actually can’t be any desire to see a person harmed in order to have full forgiveness? This does not mean that there won’t be pain from discipline, but the actual harm from choosing to live in sin and reaping the consequences of it. The Lord must have no desire to see a person die in order to stand fully ready to receive anyone who would turn back to Him. Bitterness or revenge could never be in His heart or else when a person turned back to Him for forgiveness He actually wouldn’t be glad they did because of the desire to see them pay for their actions. This kind of reminds me of Jonah when He was upset with the Lord for so easily forgiving the people of Nineveh. God’s forgiveness and love are constantly free from anything that would hinder Him from whole-heartedly welcoming back the prodigal son.
     This does not mean that discipline is not required in our lives simply because we are forgiven, but it does mean that all that takes place after turning back to Him will be for our good and will cause His character to be molded deeper into our lives. “For those whom the Lord loves He disciplines, and He scourges every son whom He receives.” Hebrews 12:6

     I want us to think about this whole-hearted forgiveness. It is good to dwell on really understanding how fully we are forgiven because this is our example of how we are also to forgive others. It is a forgiveness that has no bitterness or resentment. We must know how fully we have been forgiven in order to understand how fully we are to forgive. I don’t know about you, but I have a lot of things in my past that I want forgotten. Lately I’ve been telling the Lord, please forget all that I have done before, both good and bad. I don’t want what has gone on before to influence how things go on in the future. The bad I want left behind as a life I never want back and the good I want left behind because it is merely filthy rags as it says in the Bible, (Isaiah 64:6) and has had so many selfish things mixed in with it that I don’t want to go back to that either. I want a deeper walk with the Lord that makes anything good I might have done, seem as not good because of how much more vibrant and full of life my work for the Lord is now! I want a new story full of a deeper passion for Christ! Full of a deeper love for the people around me! Full of a deeper character of Christ etched into my very being! Full of a forgiveness that is as real as the forgiveness God has offered to me!

     This is what the Lord’s pardon has truly brought to me. This is the affect of His forgiveness to me. The ability to never look back, and with a clear and devoted, conscience, be able to love and serve the Lord with all my heart. This is just a little window of what forgiveness means. This is just one or two facets to the many sides of what God’s forgiveness is for us.

     Will we not stand in the fullness of what Jesus has done for us and forgive others just as He has forgiven us? Will we also give people the ability to begin brand new with us and have no grudge or bitterness to overcome when they come to us?  Forgiveness is not dependant on whether someone has asked us to forgive them. It must be already done in our hearts or else bitterness will always stand between us even if there is an outward look of reconciliation. Forgiveness is not waiting for the right moment to forgive. It is already done in our hearts. This is the forgiveness offered to us by the Lord. It is already done but we must turn from the stubbornness of our own ways and desire to walk in His ways with all our heart. It is our own unwillingness that keeps us separated from the Lord, not His lack of forgiveness. It is our own unwillingness to want to leave our sin behind in order to be forgiven.

     When God offers us forgiveness it really is too big to comprehend all that it means. When He says He forgets and casts our sins away as far as the east is to the west which is infinite, it is hard to believe because it is so easy for us to remember our own sins or the hurts someone has caused to us. Just think what total forgiveness means. If you have your license to drive and have made a bunch of infractions which go onto your account just think about how when those years go by and the points are removed, how free you feel! They are no longer being held against you. It’s as if you never made any mistakes while driving before! When you see a police officer you no longer worry that this might be the last time you drive for a while. No, your record is clear! With God, our record becomes clearer than that! Will we also clear others wrongs off of our own records?

     Spend some time thinking about these things. They will change your life. The Lord’s prayer says Father forgive us as we forgive others. We simply must forgive. It is not an option. But the truth is, think about what the Lord’s forgiveness really means to you. It will change the way you live, forever!

-Seth



Thursday, April 2, 2015

In Love With God - lesson 10

In Love With God - lesson 10

The only thing that I want for this semester 
is for us to be in love with and on fire for God


      Is the Lord the first love of our life?

     Did you know that if you rejoice in the Lord for His answers to your prayers before they come to pass that you have just transitioned from the answer to your prayer being your first love to the Lord being your first love? If you are worried that the thing you are praying for is becoming more important to you than the Lord, this is a good way to be sure that it has been put back properly into it’s place. If the thing you are praying for has started leaving it’s proper place in your life you will fall into despair at every discouraging impasse. You can only truly rejoice in the Lord for victory if He has obtained His rightful position in your heart as your first love. You can only grab hold of His promises with all your heart and survive every discouragement if He has come into His rightful place in your life. Only true trust and love in the Lord will give you the strength to rejoice in the midst of every discouragement.

     Just try truly rejoicing from the bottom of your heart in the midst of your hard circumstances. I bet you can’t. Why not? Because first we will have to let go of our self pity. We will have to believe that the Lord is good and that He is a rewarder of all who diligently seek Him, and this is impossible as long as we want to hang onto our self pity and despair. We have to believe for real that the Lord loves us and is doing and planning the best for us in the midst of our storm.
     And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him. Hebrews 11:6

     The other day the Lord told me to rejoice. He would not let me enter into any doubts or despair. He literally put a barrier between me and any doubts or even the smallest fear. He said, “You rejoice.” So I got up on my feet and attempted to begin rejoicing and He said to me, “You call that rejoicing?”  I had to laugh at that remark. So I attempted to rejoice more earnestly and again He said, “Do you really call that rejoicing? How would you really rejoice if all I had told you had already taken place?” I had to admit that my attempt at rejoicing still lacked some of the joy of whole hearted believing. This is a good measure of our real trust in the Lord. If His word to us is as real as it would be if it had already been done.

     The Lord has given us the weapon of rejoicing but only our new spiritual man can pick it up and use it. Our old nature of self pity and despair cannot pick up the sword of rejoicing. It is out of reach to it. Only the new man can let go of self pity and despair in order to grab hold of it. It requires a whole hearted love and trust in the Lord to use it effectively. But if our hearts are set on Him than we will find it a very effective weapon against every demonic adversary. It will radically change the entire world around us!
     This morning the Lord had me singing a song I wrote several years ago and when I got to the line
                         “Christ our redeemer is mighty, His victory is here”
I felt my adversary try to overcome me with an extreme darkness that could be felt. So I began singing that line again over and over and immediately my spirit soared into the heavens. The Lord just took me into the fullness of the reality that Christ is mighty and our victory is now! It seems that our adversary always wants us to be in doubt of the actual power of our God and of His ability to actually destroy the enemy right this very moment if we will rise up and praise the Lord in victory.

     Again, the sword of rejoicing can only be handled by the new man in Christ. The old man of self pity and despair must be put to death in order to take it up. So let us take up the sword of rejoicing! It is available to all who truly believe and have confidence in Jesus! He is able to do exceedingly and abundantly above all we have hoped or dreamed!      

          Will we stand with confidence in our Savior today?!


-Seth