Thursday, January 31, 2013

You can’t do it alone

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"For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but sent them to hell, putting them into pits of darkness to be held for judgment... (9)then the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from temptation...”    - 2 Peter 2:4, 9

A simple comparison of one's self to the righteousness of angels that have gone on before us will quickly bring us to a humility. But, consider that even some of these angels have been cast down to hell for their sins. What, angels sinned? Yes, even angels have sinned (reference the original fall of Lucifer and other angels or the reference in Genesis 6) and are not above the judgment of the Lord. We also find in Matthew 25:41 - Christ stating, "the eternal fire which has been prepared for the devil and his angels". We clearly see then that even the angels will be held accountable and judge by the Lord.

  In vs. 5 - 7 we also see:
      - He did not spare the ancient world (from a flood)
      - He did not spare Sodom and Gomorrah (from destruction)

  and God promises to judge the unrighteous in the days to come, especially those who indulge in the flesh in it's corrupt desires (v10).

  So, if the angels will be judged, how can we believe that we will not be judged. If we are to be judged, than how will we stand a chance of heaven if even the angels are cast down? One way and one way only - through the blood of Jesus Christ alone. For this purpose He was crucified, died and rose again. In doing so He took upon Himself our sins and our judgment. There will come a day when Christ will walk with you to the throne room and stand before the Almighty Lord of All on our behalf. His words echo through the heavens, "Father, this child is redeemed by my blood.", will quiet all of the demonic spirits scratching and vying for your soul on it’s way to eternity.  Followed by the loving voice of God the Father, "Welcome, good and faithful servant."

   How do you compare to the angels, to those before the flood that walked daily with God, to those in Sodom and Gomorrah? Do you still hang on to the belief that you alone can overcome God's judgment? Are you prepared to stand on your own before the Lord's judgment throne one day and claim more righteousness than even the angels. Christ is willing to stand in your place, if you will only let Him. This is one decision you have to make, and that choice will establish the outcome one way or the other, there is no middle ground on this one.  Regardless of what has happened up to this point in your life, God’s grace is sufficient to cover all unrighteousness.  Not some righteousness but all.  Not because we were good enough, but because there is no way we can be good enough.  None of us know how long we have, and then one day, it’s over and then it’s too late to make a decision.

© Sondove Enterprises, 2012
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Tuesday, January 29, 2013

When You Don't Believe

You ought to be sharing this.

“Immediately the boy’s father cried out and said, “I do believe; help my unbelief.”   - Mark 9:24

Have you ever found yourself applying human limitations on the Creator of the Universe?  Seriously, we think about problems in our life and immediately think about how difficult these problems are and how unachievable they might be.  We look at our own personal experiences and then try to determine how we will solve the difficult circumstance.  Often times, we go days, weeks and even months without looking to God for help.

The man in this scripture brought his demon possessed son before Christ to be healed.  In vs. 21 the man states to Christ, “IF You can do anything, …  Seriously.  To stand before the Son of God and ask Him if He can do something.  This man was grasping at every straw, taking every opportunity to rid his son of these demons.  He came to the disciples first, and they were unable to cast out the demon, so then he comes to Christ.  Where was his faith?  Where was his confidence in the authority and power of God and His Son?  Are there circumstances when you really question whether God can or will participate in a situation.  Are there times in your life when everything you know about the character of God tells you that He loves you and will help you through all circumstances, yet you look at the situation in front of you and are convinced that despite all of this knowledge, you really don’t trust that He can or will help?

We all come to this reality check at some point in our life.  The enemy plants a seed in our mind that God doesn’t really love us, or that He won’t forgive this sin or that sin, or that we aren’t good enough to deserve His love and grace.  The enemy will use these worldly thoughts to create areas of “unbelief” in your life and weaken your faith in the power and authority of God the Father.  Not one of us are worthy or deserving of God’s love, no not one.  But, in our filth and unrighteousness He provides us mercy and grace, forgiveness and love.  He stands beside us when we are weak and hopeless, to give us strength, courage and wisdom in times of need.  God is never turning from you or pulling away.  If you are feeling distant from God, you are the one who moved and chose not to believe with the full conviction of what He has done for you.  Trust in the Word, which tells us in Hebrews 13:5; “. . . because God has said,“Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.”  You have His promise, and you have His grace for all circumstances.  The first one you should turn to in every situation or circumstance is God the Father, and lay out your fears, concerns and worries before Him.  He will see you through it.

© Sondove Enterprises, 2012
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Monday, January 28, 2013

I Remember When

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“Create in me a pure heart, O God,  and renew a steadfast spirit within me.  – Psalm 51:10

We know right from wrong.  From the moment of conception, while still in the womb we were fellowshipping with God the Father and being taught what righteousness looks like.  Yet, our lives are filled with the temptations and sin filled actions that completely contradict what He has placed inside of us.  Paul stated it in Romans 7:15, “I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do.”  We are all born into a sinful world and learn the ways of the world through our upbringing and conforming to other’s expectations of us.

King David was no different.  As we recall his life we think about his courage in taking on Goliath and his compassion and love for God through his youth.  We think about his maturing to become the King of Israel and his loyalty to those around him.  Then we must also think about his transgressions and unrighteousness through adultery, lust, murder and self proclamation.  By no means was David perfect in his actions, but what set him apart as God’s chosen King and “a man after My own heart” (Acts 13:22) was his understanding of who he was in God’s eyes.

You see God can look past the sin, the unrighteousness and the transgressions.  His grace is sufficient for all of these shortcomings and behaviors.  God knows your heart, your soul and what it is that keeps you from Him.  He has given you everything you need to fully follow in His footsteps, but He has also given you the choice to refuse His grace if you so desire.  Notice how David states here in Psalm 51 – “…renew a steadfast spirit within me.”  The Holy Spirit never leaves you.  When you accept Jesus Christ as your savior and Lord, you can receive the Holy Spirit.  He dwells within your soul, within your mind and heart.  He will never leave you, despite the choices we make in life.  David is reaching out to the Lord to renew that compassion, desire and loyalty to the Lord that he once held so dear in every decision he would make.  You and I need to do the same, and seek the renewing of our faith, trust and obedience to His word in our lives.  
Loving Father,
We come before You and acknowledge Your sovereignty Lord.  We ask Your forgiveness for our transgressions and our iniquities in life.  Help us to find the passion, the fire and the desire to serve You with the zeal of new lovers.  Build within each of us a compassion to live for You and to give back to You the praise, glory and honor that You so deserve.  In Your name I pray – Amen.

(c) Sondove Enterprises, 2012

Friday, January 25, 2013

It's Not about the Money

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“I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing”   - 1 Corinthians 13:3

His wealth was talked about in every country around the globe.  He had made a name for himself through his innovation and ability to pursue the right business model at the right time and deliver exactly what the customer wanted at the right time.  The burdens that come with wealth are significant in the eyes of the beholder.  Taxes of course are one of those, and the realization that the legacy that is potentially left behind can cause enormous stress and complications for the recipients.  In 2008, Bill Gates, former CEO of Microsoft, made the public statement that he and his wife, Melinda, would be giving all of their $58 billion to charity rather than leaving it to their children.

In a June 2008 interview Bill was quoted, “We've chosen not to pass it on to our children.  We want to give it back to society in the way that it will have the most positive impact.”  It is a wonderful thing that the Gates family has chosen to do this, and many will benefit as a result.  But, they are not alone in the area of philanthropic billionaires; Warren Buffet, Stewart Rahr, George Soros and Ted Turner just to name a few.  All have been known to give away billions to help the impoverished, the hungry, the homeless and the ailing.

 Mother Teresa gave everything she had for 49 years to help, in her words, “ the hungry, the helpless, the naked, the crippled, the blind, the lepers and those people who feel unwanted, unloved, uncared for throughout society “.  Drawn to this service from a calling from the Lord, she quotes, "I was to leave the convent and help the poor while living among them. It was an order. To fail would have been to break the faith."  Extending beyond her death; her missions, schools and shelters have spread across 120 countries, continuing to relieve the pain and suffering of people around the globe.

We look to the Lord’s word and discover that serving and suffering without love is worthless in the Kingdom of God.  Without a doubt, there are benefits to those receiving such charity that can be life changing.   But, charity founded in the love of the Lord though has the ability to change a person’s life for eternity.  The risk of charity without love is self promotion and gratification.  We are bombarded with examples of entertainers and celebrities hosting charity telethons and then leveraging that work in their own publicity.  Paul reminds us of this in 1 Corinthians 13:3.  God’s love is a quiet, selfless love that seeks out the needy and the helpless to pour out the charity upon them in a way that is representative of His Kingdom.  We are all called to serve and to love one another as Jesus loved us with humility and grace.  Seek those opportunities to change the world for Him, and like Mother Teresa, He will see to it that your work is your legacy.

© Sondove Enterprises, 2012
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