Tuesday, December 7, 2010

That Place

How Can I Know God??
Sometimes we give simplistic answers to this very deep/thought provoking question; according to the Bible, there is only one way to know God, “Jesus answered, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life. The only way to the Father is through me.” (John 14:6) As Christians we believe that there is only one way to knowing God and that is through faith in Christ. We believe that Christ didn’t die on the cross for sins He committed, we believe, “he was wounded for the wrong we did; he was crushed for the evil we did. The punishment, which made us well, was given to him, and we are healed because of his wounds. We all have wandered away like sheep; each of us has gone his own way. But the Lord has put on him the punishment for all the evil we have done.” (Isaiah 53: 5, 6)
We also believe these Holy Spirit inspired passages that remind us to, “remember the message that I preached and that you believed and trusted. You will be saved by this message, if you hold firmly to it. But if you don't, your faith was all for nothing. I told you the most important part of the message exactly as it was told to me. That part is: Christ died for our sins, as the Scriptures say. He was buried, and three days later he was raised to life, as the Scriptures say. (1 Corinthians 15:1-4; CEV)
I say we give simplistic answers to questions about knowing  God because while there is only one way to having a relationship (knowing) with God, we all arrive to this one way (Christ Jesus) in many different ways. I came into my relationship with God, while reading the book Serprico, in a security booth in Jessup, Maryland. He changed my life that night; I realized my life was not luck that night; I proposed to my girlfriend at the time (now my wife, Tricia) that night; my life has never been the same since that night. I guarantee you that the road, method and means God used to reveal His truths about His Son to me, are different than most people. The one thing that was the same was what God has made known to me and everyone who enters into a relationship with Him, “God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast (brag) about it.” (Ephesians 2:8, 9; NLT).
How Can Knowing Who God Is Help Me Understand Who I Am? I Don’t Even Know If God or Anyone Cares I Am Alive!!! I Really Want to Know…
 Does God Care??? 
Yes, God Does Care. God Wants to Hear about Your Problems, Pains, and Plans for Life.
That Place
Are you stuck in that place where no one knows?
That place where fear, animosity, and bitterness grows
That place where you believe “no one cares”
When you are hurting and upset, but no one is there
To meet your needs or pull you through
You are looking for help, but you don’t know what to do
Or where to turn as life continues to turn up the heat
Dying inside—you just wish there was someone for you to meet
My God is right there, He is reaching out to you
You may not know it, but He is the one who got you through
The bad night, the argument—the moments of depression
The hurt heart, crushed dreams and emotions you’re repressing
Give all you worries and cares to God—Yes He does care for you
See that play, hear that song—trust  that friend He is reaching out to you
He wants you to know that He has saved many from this place
Those with bad thoughts, loneliness and despair—have all received His grace

1 Peter 5:7 (NLT) Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you.

If God Knew My Thoughts and Problems, He wouldn’t Accept Me
Food, Faith, Fun, Lost, Lust, Love...
God Knows Your Thoughts & Weaknesses; He Made You
Hebrews 4: 15-16 (CEV) Jesus understands every weakness of oursbecause he was tempted in every way that we are. But he did not sin! So whenever we are in need, we should come bravely before the throne of our merciful God. There we will be treated with undeserved kindness, and we will find help.
He Knows My thoughts and He Still Wants to Know Me??
God Doesn’t Hold Grudges—So We Don’t Have to Hide Who We Are or What We Do from Him
Psalm 103:9-14 (CEV) The LORD won't always be angry and point out our sins; he doesn't punish us as our sins deserve. How great is God's love for all who worship him? Greater than the distance between heaven and earth! How far has the LORD taken our sins from us? Farther than the distance from east to west! Just as parents are kind  to their children, the LORD is kind to all who worship him, because he knows we are made of dust.
Knowing God is more than knowing Scripture verses. Knowing God is more than knowing when the church service will begin or end. Knowing God is a personal matter that He reveals  to each person that believes what He says to them; not their mom, dad or the preacher. Knowing God for me was when He revealed Himself to me and let me know that my life was not luck and He wanted me to believe in Him and what he had done for me.
How do you know you know God? When and how did He reveal himself to you?

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Look Into My Heart

Look Into My Heart
Proverbs 14:10(NCV) “No one else can know your sadness, and strangers cannot share your joy.”
What if you saw the insides of my heart today?
If you looked deep inside of me I wonder what you would say
Would you be excited about the love that I have
For my God, my family, even the enemies that back stab
Maybe you would admire me for my love and dedication
To the Bible and God’s people; who I will serve without hesitation
You would probably be impressed by my faithfulness to my friends
No matter what comes I will be true to them until the end
You will smile when you hear that I trust Jesus and have avoided God’s wrath
That I delight to shun the broad way I try hard to stay on the narrow path
You will appreciate the part of me that is convicted of sin
Oh yeah, don’t forget that inner part that desires godliness within
But if you looked into my heart you would surely see the scars
That travel back to when I was young and my thoughts were my bars
You would see the part of me that was used to being laughed at
Whenever an awkward situation came up I never knew how to act
Trying to fit in and just feel like a normal human being
But no matter how hard I tried I couldn’t shake that awful feeling
If you looked into my heart you would definitely see
That sinful side that is always out to destroy me
You would see those things I hate to do when no else is around
Those things that we all swear would never bring us down
You would recognize that I always have struggles on the inside
A desire to always do right and hide my sinful side
And if you keep searching you will find something that permeates every part
From the beginning I always had a desire to make Christ home my heart
You would see that I am not willing to ever let go of the hand of my King
My Savior and Redeemer who has taken away death’s sting
If you looked into my heart you would see someone who is driven by God
To walk through this life even though it will be very hard
You would also see someone who is thankful for the gift of being alive
You would recognize that Christ is the reason I have so much drive
To keep smiling and living out His Words that give peace
For in my heart I fully recognize I am one of His sheep
1Corinthians 2:11(NCV) “Who knows the thoughts that another person has? Only a person’s spirit that lives within him knows his thoughts…”
Will Gilmer- I don’t have enough time to tell you about my heart, but if you hang around me long enough, I will show it to you.
William L. Gilmer
Knowing God can help you understand who you are, why you think the way that you think, where you are going and what you are doing. You may not know when and how you are going to get there, but if you grow to know Him, your understanding will become clearer and clearer.
1.       So, who are you?
2.       Why do you think the way you think (how do you form your opinions)?
3.       What are your dreams, desires or plans for life (what do you want to be and what led you to this decision)?
4.       How are you going to accomplish your dreams or goals?

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

I am What Ever You Say I Am!!!???

I am What Ever You Say I Am!!!???
Who Has Family Hero Traits?
Have you ever made the honor roll in school?
Made your mother and other family members proud by achieving something they asked you to do?
Been your teacher’s favorite?
Done something before a family member or teacher asked you to do it?
Been a leader in school, some sport, or your group of friends?
Have you ever been on T.V.?
Who Has Problem Child Traits?
Have you ever been punished?
Have you ever talked back to your parents or teacher?
Interrupted a class because you just felt like doing it?
Have you ever said, “I don’t care what anyone thinks?”
Have you ever been chased by the police or spent a night in jail?
Made your mom or dad mad just because you wanted to? 
Who Has Lost Child Traits?
Have you ever felt like you didn’t fit in with your family?
Have you ever said, “You just don’t understand me” to someone?
Have you ever fantasized about being someone or something else?
Have you ever felt intimidated by other people’s looks or talents?
Have you ever been afraid to go somewhere because of what others might say about you?
Have you ever felt like quitting or giving up just because you don’t like your life?

Who Has Class Clown Traits?
Have you ever acted like you were/are dumb to fit in?
Have you ever made fun of others so people wouldn’t make fun of you?
Have you ever worn something so people can pay attention to you?
Have you ever become jealous of someone else because they were the center of attention?

Who are You???
What Makes You, You and Me, Me?
Our Parents?
The things we do?
Our Neighborhood?
The people we hang out with?
The schools we go to?
The music we listen to?
The shows we watch?
The people we know?
How do you become the person you are/are becoming?

Romans 12:3 (The Message Version) The only accurate way to understand ourselves is by what (who) God is and by what he does for usnot by what (who) we are and what we do for him (God).

Does your life ever feel like a child in a dark basement?
You know where you are but you don’t have secure placement
You are afraid to walk through it because of what may get you
Others have said it’s not that bad, but you don’t think you will make it through
In the basement it’s dark and filled with creepy things
You can’t always see what’s going on, but you are always ready to scream
You hear a noise and wonder, “what is that over there?”
You bump into an object and wonder if it is a person or a chair
You stumble over an object while straining to gain your sight
You walk briskly through the basement trying to find the light
In a panic you rushed into something that you could have missed
And now you are not only scared, you are also miffed
Mad that others told you the basement “was not that bad”
Distraught because you don’t seem to have the wisdom they had
So in a fit of rage you scream “can somebody help me?”
“I’m overtaken by the dark and I cannot see”
At that moment you are scared and feel all alone
And then your Dad turns on the light and you realize you are home
He calms your fears by letting you know that He was always there
He rushes to your side, hugs you, just to show you He cares
He lets you know that without Him you cannot reach the light
And if you go into the basement, just ask and He will give you sight
“You never have to worry about being in the basement alone
As long as I’m your Father and this place is my home”
Psalm 116:1-6 (NCV) “I love the Lord, because he listens to my prayers for help. He paid attention to me, so I will call to him for help as long as I live. The ropes of death bound me, and the fear of the grave took hold of me. I was troubled and sad. Then I called out the name of the Lord. I said, ‘Please, Lord, save me!’ The Lord is kind and does what is right; our God is merciful. The Lord watches over the foolish; when I was helpless, he saved me.”
William Gilmer
Doesn’t life feel like this at times, dark, scary and lonely? You are not quite sure where you are going, what or why you are doing what you are doing, how you got to this place in your life, when you will understand many of the questions and things you struggle with in life, and most importantly, you look inside and cannot figure out who you are. You are confused one day and excited the next. Some mornings are filled with fear, anxiety and stress, while others you are bursting with joy, anticipating the things you are going to do or be involved in. Life can be a confusing journey at times, but with the guidance of the Lord (and the people He has placed in your life), He will be the Light that clears up much of the fog that covers those areas of life where we are challenged and confused.
So, who are you? How did you figure this out? Let’s talk about who you are.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

I Hear You, but Do You Hear Him?

I Hear You, but Do You Hear Him?

Psalm 4: 2, 3, 7, 8 (MSG) “You rabble—how long do I put up with your scorn? How long will you lust after lies? How long will you live crazed by illusion? Look at this: look who got picked by God! He listens the split second I call to him. Why is everyone hungry for more? "More, more," they say. "More, more." I have God's more-than-enough, more joy in one ordinary day than they get in all their shopping sprees. At day's end I'm ready for sound sleep, for you, God, have put my life back together.”

Will Gilmer- Rumors, lies and gossip; why do we enjoy spreading so much of it? Why do we take pleasure in hurting people with our words? Why do we “lust after lies” and are hungry for more?

Sin is a very powerful disease; there are many times when we don’t realize the depth of its grip on us or the affect that it has on our lives. I believe our sin nature is what allows us to take pleasure in spreading lies about someone else (even if it is under the guise of soliciting prayer). The nature we are born with delights to see someone else in misery and takes joy that someone has fallen in some area of their life. The nature we are born with is very twisted and depraved; Satan, who is the epitome of depravity, takes full advantage of this nature that we are born with and uses our carnal natural desires to draw us into these deadly conversations over and over again; with no regard to who we hurt or the relationships we damage.

If you have been the victim of one of these attacks don’t lose heart. Oh, I am not saying that the words that are spoken will not hurt, they will; what’s being said about you may be true and constant reminders of your actions will cause you grief,  but look at the verse of Scripture above, look at what the psalmist is saying, “Look at this: look who got picked by God! He listens the split second I call to him.” Do you see it; do you see who got picked by God? Do you see who God listens to? He doesn’t listen to the liar or the person who is spreading the gossip; He listens to the one who was being scorned (talked about).

Why would God pick the scorned people who are being talked about; why would God choose to listen to you even if some part of what people were saying about you was true… “Then Levi (Jesus newly appointed disciple) gave a big dinner for Jesus at his house. Many tax collectors and other people were eating there, too. But the Pharisees and the men who taught the law for the Pharisees began to complain to Jesus' followers, "Why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners?" Jesus answered them, "It is not the healthy people who need a doctor, but the sick. 32 I have not come to invite good people but sinners to change their hearts and lives." (Luke 5:29-31) Jesus was eating with people who were used to being talked about, misunderstood and lied on. Jesus was spending intimate time with people who the religious people of that time would have never spent time with; Jesus was spending time with people who needed their lives put back together because of the nature they were born with (sin nature) and what was being said about them.

So Why would God listen to you? God would listen to you because…
·        He Cares for you…” Give all your worries to him, because he cares about you (1 Peter 5:7; NCV)”.
·        Those who rely on His grace cannot brag about their lives or talk bad (gossip) about the lives of others… “Take a good look, friends, at who you were when you got called into this life. I don't see many of "the brightest and the best" among you, not many influential, not many from high-society families. Isn't it obvious that God deliberately chose men and women that the culture overlooks and exploits and abuses; chose these "nobodies" to expose the hollow pretensions of the "somebodies"? That makes it quite clear that none of you can get by with blowing your own horn before God. Everything that we have—right thinking and right living, a clean slate and a fresh start—comes from God by way of Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 1:26-30; MSG).
·        He wants you to have His joy, peace and to enjoy life in all the fullness that He intended it to be…  “I have told you these things so that you can have the same joy I have and so that your joy will be the fullest possible joy… I leave you peace; my peace I give you. I do not give it to you as the world does. So don't let your hearts be troubled or afraid… A thief comes to steal and kill and destroy, but I came to give life—life in all its fullness.” (John 15:11; 14:27 and 10:10, NCV), because He has put your, “life back together”, through His grace.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Knowing You're Not Alone

Knowing You’re Not Alone
Psalm 25:16-18 “Turn to me and have mercy on me, because I am lonely and hurting. My troubles have grown larger; free me from my problems. Look at my suffering and troubles, and take away all my sins.

So Close to You but Far From Others
Psalm 25:16-18 “Turn to me and have mercy on me, because I am lonely and hurting. My troubles have grown larger; free me from my problems. Look at my suffering and troubles, and take away all my sins.”
Lord, loneliness is an empty place
An empty waste land with not a smiling face
There are so many days when I feel so alone
So many days when no place feels like home
Lord, how do I change—this feeling that I have
No one seems to understand me I am always accused of being bad
A misfit, a freak, or some other wrong description
No one knows me all they see are my addictions
The things that I do just get me the attention that I want
Yes I will talk loud, make jokes I don’t care if I am caught
I am accused of not caring and not really listening
But what they don’t see is my relationships are missing
I hang with people who don’t really know me
How could I know so many people and still be so lonely
God, this doesn’t make any sense why are things this way?
Is loneliness something that I should feel each day?
Lord, I don’t know what to say can You lead me to someone who is true
So loneliness isn’t a place that I become used to         Will Gilmer

   I.        Loneliness Is Normal
Everybody feels lonely at times. It’s normal and natural. Sometimes we want to be alone, but nobody wants to feel or think that they are alone.
Does anyone here ever feel lonely?
Complete the following sentences:
I’m most lonely when…
I wouldn’t get so lonely if I could just…
 II.        Loneliness Is More Than Being Alone
Did you know that you can be lonely in a crowd of people—loneliness is more than just being alone.
We all visit, work or attend places where there are many people; write down where you feel the loneliest and if you can why you feel lonely in this place.
A friend’s house:
Which one of the places listed above make you feel like an outsider or outcast?

III.        People Usually Feel Lonely for Three Reasons
1)   They don’t feel valued. Feeling lonely often comes when we feel like we don’t matter to someone or a group of people. Do you ever feel like you are not important to anyone?

2)   They believe their life has no purpose. There are many people who feel lonely when they believe or think that there life doesn’t have a purpose. Have you ever believed or felt like your life or life in general is pointless?

3)   They believe no one cares for or about them. Loneliness can be a result of believing that no cares or cares for you the way you want them to. Name three people who care about you and write down how they show they care about you.

God Values You Because He Made You
Psalm 139:14, 17 I praise you because you made me in an amazing and wonderful way. What you have done is wonderful. I know this very well… God, your thoughts are precious to me. They are so many!

  • Sometimes it's easy to forget that God made/created us; we live in a world where the voices we hear, even our own, dominate this truth. Knowing that God's thoughts are precious towards us can get us through some rough periods in life. Meditate on this truth and pray for God to connect you with people who will value God's creativity in you. 
God Knows What My Life Will Be
Psalm 139:15, 16  You saw my bones being formed as I took shape in my mother's body. When I was put together there, you saw my body as it was formed. All the days planned for me were written in your book before I was one day old.
  • It is nice to have a plan for life; to know what you want or are going to be when you grow up. What happens when you don't know? Do you feel awkward? Envy those who seem to know where they are going and are taking steps to get there? Or do you trust the God who knows what your life will be? God has your life planned; draw near to Him and He will reveal it to you as you grow closer to Him.
God Will Support You With…
Psalm 27:10 If my father and mother leave me, the Lordwill take me in.
  •  There are times when we believe the people closest to us don't care about us; only God and the people you are in relationships with know if that is true. God wants you to know that if that is true, He will bring you into His family and care for you. He will love you in a way that only He can. Pray, ask God to heal your heart; cry out to Him and let Him know your pain. He will not ignore you; He understands your heart and any hurt that has been done to you.
  People Who Care
Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 Two people are better than one, because they get more done by working together. If one falls down, the other can help him up. But it is bad for the person who is alone and falls, because no one is there to help. If two lie down together, they will be warm, but a person alone will not be warm. An enemy might defeat one person, but two people together can defend themselves; a rope that is woven of three strings is hard to break.
  • One of the best things about being in a relationship with God is the connections you will make; God does not play favorites or want to keep people isolated from each other. He has designed us to be in relationships with each other so that we can share in His love and the love of those He has made. Pray that God will bring people into your life that will help you to see the beauty of who He is and why He has made you; God truly cares for you and He doesn't want you to feel alone.