041: All Things New

Part 1: A New & Living Way

I know I need to quit! This habit is going to destroy me. I’ll join a support group or go through counseling. If I can just stop, I’ll be a better person. Sound familiar? Maybe, by the grace of God, you don’t suffer from a life controlling addiction, but you’ve got problems just the same. You want a better life for yourself and your family. You want to do better, but all your efforts have failed.

God hasn’t called you to be a better person. In fact, God’s purpose can’t even be fulfilled in your life until you get out of the way. Self has to die! You can’t be better! None of us . . . not in this human flesh . . . not by our own efforts . . . No human can live up to the standards of a Holy God. You must die to yourself and let Christ take over.

Have you lost hope in trying to make things right? Tune in to this podcast episode. As you listen, understand that God doesn’t want to make you better. He wants to make you brand new by the blood of Jesus.

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040: Hinder Me Not

It’s the number one priority of your life! Honor and glorify Jesus Christ with all that you have. It’s no longer your life, but His to do what pleases Him.

It’s always the priority, or at least it should be . . . even if you don’t feel like it . . . even if you have a different plan . . . even when it makes no sense!

You have to get out of the way! Let all your opinions go! Let all your ideas and preferences go! Clear the way for the Holy Spirit to prepare you to be acceptable, to be transformed into a bride the Father will want to present to His Son.

Maybe you’re not quite ready to surrender that much to the Lord. You’d like to have a little say in what goes on in your life, . . . maybe hang on to a few of those earthly pleasures and avoid anything that brings too much pain.

Anything we give up, or have to endure is nothing compared to what Jesus Christ went through to secure us. Jesus gave up everything for the furtherance of the Kingdom! When He left Heaven to live and die on this earth, His commitment superseded His opinions, His preferences, His feelings, and even His rights. He could’ve protested!

I’m not guilty! I don’t deserve this cruelty! It hurts too much!

But He didn’t! He didn’t because He wanted to secure you and me, and whosoever will call on Him, to be His bride for all eternity.

But the Father won’t allow a bride that’s not worthy of His Son. Tune in to this podcast episode if you’re not sure where you stand. Ask yourself: Is there anything I’m doing to hinder the Spirit of God from accomplishing His work in me? Is there something in my flesh hindering what needs to be done?

Surrender to the Lord! Don’t hinder the process! The moment you see Jesus, face to face, it will be worth it all for you, and for Him!

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039: Grafted by Grace

God, this is not what I planned for my life! I don’t even know who I am anymore! Have you ever been there, wondering how in the world your life took this turn?

I’m sure Esther felt totally out of her comfort zone too. An ordinary Jewish girl suddenly finds herself submersed in the palace of the Persian king. She has no other choice but to go through a twelve-month purification program just to be presentable to the king. I’m sure there were days Esther longed to go back to her old Jewish life, to the comforts of familiar surroundings. But God had other plans for her!

When chosen out of all the other maidens to be queen, Esther probably struggled with submission, maybe even sympathized with the previous Queen Vashti’s rebellion to the king.

I’m not the right person for this! I have no idea how to be a Persian queen! I don’t feel like submitting to the demands of a king!

You know the story . . . God chose Esther to be an instrument to save the Jewish people, but it was up to Esther to surrender and trust God’s plan, even if it didn’t feel right or make any sense. A Jewish girl living in a Persian palace, . . . she was not supposed to be there . . . she was not supposed to be the queen . . . she wasn’t even supposed to go before the king uninvited. No, none of it made sense! All natural circumstances declared Esther was the wrong person, in the wrong place, at the wrong time, but divinely, she was right in the center of God’s will!

What about you? Is your life not making a lot of sense right now? You carefully planned it all out (even if it was only in your dreams), and now you just don’t understand why things have gone so wrong.

No matter what you’ve done or where you’ve been, whatever is going on in your life, God has brought you to this point for a purpose. Like Esther, even if it doesn’t make sense, you have a choice to surrender your life to God and trust that He will work it all out for His honor and glory and for your good.  Tune in to this podcast episode and be encouraged to press on for the Kingdom of Christ. You can’t afford to give up! As you listen, consider what could have happened in the story of Queen Esther if she had chosen to give up.

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038: As It Is Written

How’s life treating you? We’ve all been asked the question, but how are you supposed to answer it? How do you measure how your life is going?

We all go through ups and downs . . . good times and bad times. When things are going well, we feel good about ourselves, accomplished, happy. Then there’s the trying times . . . nobody is without trials! There are times you feel like a failure . . . when nothing is going right! Those times when you question, is it really worth it? Each of us have regrets, and shortcomings. So how do you gauge whether your life has been a success or a failure?

Have you made your mark in this life? Were you elected to serve in office? Did you write a great documentary, or piece of literature? Did you climb the corporate ladder? Or star in a leading role? So maybe you’re not famous . . . 

Is it how much money you’ve been able to accumulate? The car you drive? The house you live in? The circle of friends you’ve established?

Or could it be about family? Have you been able to keep your marriage together? Are your kids doing right? Does everybody still get along and act like a family should?

What makes a person a success, or a failure?

What this world deems successful is a far cry from God’s idea of a life well spent. So when we stand before a Holy God, how’s He going to judge our life?

If you want to know more about what God expects out of your life, if you want to know what you should be striving towards, tune into this podcast episode. It’s really not that complicated because it is written!

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037: Go In Peace

The woman was determined to reach Jesus no matter what the cost. She was a sinner, probably a prostitute, and viewed by society as nothing more than a piece of merchandise. She could be stoned for what she was about to do, but her devotion far surpassed any fear of what might happen. Despite her reputation, holding on to her alabaster box, somehow she pressed through the crowd and made it inside the Pharisee’s house where Jesus was dining. Nothing would keep her from serving the Lord! She’d heard about the miracles Jesus had performed so maybe He could help her. The minute Jesus spoke to the woman, she knew she’d made the right decision.

Thy sins are forgiven . . . Thy faith hath saved thee; go in peace.

Luke 7:48-50

Have you experienced true peace that only comes from knowing your sins are forgiven and God has a plan and purpose for your life? As you listen to this podcast episode repent, if you need to. Make Jesus the center of your life, and feel the peace of God cover you like never before.

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036: You Backsliding Heifer

Are you enjoying all the blessings of the Lord? Whether you acknowledge God or not, we all benefit from His loving hand each and every day. Sadly, even those who claim to be Christian take God’s blessings for granted.

I want God in my life! I need His mercy and grace, His protection and provision . . . but . . . can’t I still make my own choices? Pursue my own plans? Do my own thing?

Can you relate?

In the Old Testament, God’s chosen people, the Israelites, enjoyed all the blessings God had to offer. They never lacked anything! God was faithful to meet their every need. They were promised victory against every foe. There wasn’t a king, nation, or army strong enough, or clever enough to defeat the children of The Living God. The Israelites were the chosen, the apple of God’s eye. God loved them and longed to fellowship with them. God wanted to be their God, and yearned for them to be His people. The children of Israel had so much going for them, yet they weren’t satisfied!

Despite all the benefits and blessings, Israel refused to fully submit to God.

For Israel slideth back as a backsliding heifer . . .

Hosea 4:16

In today’s vernacular, this verse may be comical, but it’s no laughing matter. Why would God call His own chosen people a backsliding heifer?

Not even sure what a backsliding heifer is? Tune in to this podcast episode to find out, and as you listen, examine your own devotion to God. Are you fully surrendered to the will of God? Are you closer to Jesus today than you were yesterday?

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035: An Incurable Consequence

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God is so good. I’m sure every Christian will testify that no matter how many times we mess up, no matter how many times we stray, God always gently picks us up, dusts us off, and puts us back on track. God is a loving, merciful God, but do we take this marvelous grace for granted? Is there a point of no return?

Thank God we live in an age of grace. But there is a danger of abusing this grace. Grace isn’t cheap! The bill was paid for in blood, Christ’s blood that He shed on Calvary.

Yet many grumble . . . I want to live a little, at least while I’m young. Let me sow a few wild oats, then I’ll settle down and get serious with God later on in life. He’ll forgive me. Right?

Maybe that’s not you. You’re saved, and you try to do what’s right. You would never admit it to anyone, but deep down you regret your decision to serve Christ. You’ve lived right and tried to serve the Lord, but feel cheated. While the ungodly prosper, you feel like you’ve been slapped in the face. You question why God would allow so many bad things to happen to you. You know Jesus gave His life for you, yet you feel a temptation to give in, to partake of worldly pleasures.

Saved or not, God knows you better than you know yourself. He loves you with an unfailing love. God has a glorious eternity planned for you that far exceeds any pleasure you could experience on earth. Why would anyone flirt with disaster and put their eternity at risk? Tune in to this podcast episode and realize the stakes are too high. You can’t afford to gamble because how you exit this life determines where you will spend eternity.

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034: The Gospel Is . . .

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The Gospel . . . It’s the good news!

Oh yeah, I heard the Gospel once. I walked down the aisle of a church many years ago and said the sinner’s prayer. It felt good at the time . . . relieved my guilty conscience. I’m glad I did it, but I’m a very private person. I just can’t show up every time the church doors are open.

Can you relate?

I made my peace with God so I’m set, right? I don’t want to get too fanatical about Jesus. I mean I respect those who do, but it’s just not my style.

Why is it that some devote a whole lifetime to spreading the Gospel of Jesus Christ, while others treat it as nothing more than an insurance policy to protect themselves from destruction?

The Gospel is more than just a one-time experience. It’s a story that never grows old! The Gospel is ever unfolding, full of mystery and wonder, treasured by all those who pursue its truths. If you think you know all there is to know about the Gospel of Jesus Christ, I challenge you to tune in to this podcast episode. A whole lifetime of study and devotion could never exhaust the richness of the Gospel.

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033: A Far Country

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It’s getting late, way past your bedtime, but Friday night only comes once a week! The family begs you. Please! Oh please stay up and spend some time with us!

You’re exhausted, but can’t resist! You love spending time with the family and can’t say no.

Can anybody relate?

You try to engage, but can barely keep your eyes open. After a few minutes, when nobody is watching, you kick back the recliner. Before you know it, you have relaxed your way into a comfort zone, drifting in and out of sleep.

I mean you’re not sound asleep. You can still hear the voices, the giggling, and the bustling about in the kitchen. Oh no, not the kitchen! I pray they don’t make a big mess! Then you smell it . . . okay, it’s just popcorn.

Half asleep, with eyes closed, you can still keep up with your family’s conversations. Jolted by an outburst of laughter, you peek through squinted eyelids to see what all the commotion is about. You don’t know what’s so funny, but force your eyes wide open long enough to participate in the amusement anyway. Then off you go, back into your blissful rest.

We’ve all reached this point of exhaustion . . . too tired to focus on anything but sleep.

How much of our spiritual lives do we experience in this same state of lethargy?

Wherefore he saith, Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light.

Ephesians 5:14

Are we awake to all that’s going on in the Spiritual realm? Or have we been lulled to sleep by the pomp and circumstance of this life? Is it a pursuit of pleasure that has captured your attention? Or is it more like a burden of hurts, hardships, and struggles that has overtaken you?

We tend to judge everything by what we experience in these fleshly bodies. But what if the most important things of this life, the things that really matter for all eternity, can’t be experienced in this flesh?

Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God . . . Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.  That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.

John 3:3-6

Unless you are born again, born of the Spirit, you will never see this Kingdom of God. We all are just passing through this physical world in our body of flesh. However, the real world, the spiritual, is what’s going to outlive this life.

Some spend their lifetime focusing on earthly pleasures that satisfy for a season, never considering the eternal implications. However, for the child of God, the greatest pleasures experienced here can’t even compare to what will be experienced over there.

What about you? Have you been so distracted by the here and now that your senses are dulled to the spiritual?

If you are a born again Christian, although you live on this earth, you are a stranger to this world (or at least you should be). The Bible says God’s children are a peculiar people!

 Is there something peculiar about the way you live, or do you blend right in with this world? Does your life stand out as a foreigner, or are you recognized as a worldly citizen?

If you belong to Christ, your citizenship is in another country— A FAR COUNTRY!

This heavenly land holds great eternal promises that far exceed any on earth.

Whether you are a born again believer or not, whether you know it or not, there is a spiritual battle raging over you. The devil is determined to distract and detach you as far as he can from the Kingdom of God.

If you would like to learn more about this unseen spiritual world and how it affects you, then tune in to this podcast episode.

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032: Let Down

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I shouldn’t have done it, but I trusted them! I let my guard down, and they hurt me!

Can you relate?

Nobody likes being vulnerable. Even the best of us build up barriers around our lives, and occasionally, open up and let someone in . . . until they hurt us. Then the wall goes right back up!

Or maybe it’s not people, but you’ve put your trust in a world of other things that is just as sure to fail.

People will let you down . . . careers will let you down . . . things will let you down! Whatever your passion, it will eventually let you down. And yes, you will eventually let your own self down.

Have you been there? One disappointment right after another. There are times in our lives we get let down, places that God allows us to go through. Sometimes it may seem so unfair, but God is a good, loving, perfect God. You can trust Him with everything!

Maybe you are a Christian, but still feel like you must stay guarded for fear of being hurt or disappointed. You’re afraid to commit all you’ve got. You feel like you’ve got to have a plan B, a way out, just in case this God thing doesn’t work out.  

Is that you?  

People will hurt and disappoint you, and you will do the same to them. But when you’re secure in Christ, you have nothing to lose. You can let everything down! No more reservations! No more guards! No more fears of being let down! Because unlike people, Christ will never fail you. You can trust Him because He loves you with a perfect love!

If you’ve tasted the goodness of the Lord, you know there’s nothing worth going back to. No matter how great the hurt, even when the pain seems unbearable, it’s still better than a life without God.

 Like Elisha, in I Kings 19:19-21, burn the oxen, the yoke, and the plow! Don’t leave yourself anything to go back to! Let all the past hurts and disappointments go! Let all your preconceptions about life go! Let all your plans go because Christ is the only way that will lead to life.

Tune in to this podcast episode and make up your mind to live for Christ! There’s no turning back!

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