Stand Firm in Christ’s Righteousness

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water splashing

Eph. 6:14 Stand firm therefore… having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 

In every one of our lives, there is a moment we hope no one ever knows about. Something we fell into. Well at the time we chose it, but were quickly realized what a mistake it was. We were overwhelmed by guilt or shame that can hang over us a long time. In an age of social media we can live with low-grade fear that somewhere, sometime someone will call us out over a past moral failure.

Secret sins have great power over our hearts. They make cowards of us in moment when we should be strong. They cause us to fit in when we should step out. This happens to every follower of Christ who dares take up Jesus’ mission and engage the battle. If we are going to stand in those moments we need to embrace the righteousness of Christ.

This Matters because Satan Seeks to Trap You and Define You by Your Sin.

1Peter 5:8 Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. CF. Job 1-2

Personal sin makes us weak, vulnerable & guilty before God. But then, Satan who deceived us and invited us to sin immediately become our accuser. To Him, our sin is like blood in the water to a shark. He wants to overwhelm you with guilt that spiritually paralyzes. He attacks with tenacious accusations of our sin & identity. Satan finds a weakness and pick it to death!

One of the ways Satan holds believers back is with his constant whispers of accusation:  “I know what you did, who you are! If they knew what I know they would be anywhere near you. You’ll always be a … You’ll never get past this. You are really messed up! You don’t deserve a break. I really suck. I’ll never get past this.”

Satan knows your name but calls you by your sin…  He seeks to define you by your sin. He wants us to play hurt, limping along without the confidence you can have in Jesus. Which whispers plague you?

The answer is to stand firm in Jesus’ Righteousness.

Rom 8:1 Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.

Is 1:18 “Come now, and let us reason together,” Says the Lord, “Though your sins are as scarlet, They will be as white as snow; Though they are red like crimson, They will be like wool.  

1John 1:9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

Righteousness means being clean and clear of all accusation. Being right with God is ultimate security for the soul. Are we good enough on our own? NO! But Jesus makes us righteous through His sacrifice. When we stand in Him at the cross we are righteous. God knows your sin but calls you by your name.

To get it we simply agree with God about our sin & His holiness. We receive His gift of soul deep cleansing through the sacrifice of Jesus. Then we can live with confidence in his righteousness that keeps our conscious free of false guilt and the paralyzing accusations.

Through Jesus, we become new creations, we get new names, we receive a new nature! Simon became Peter, Saul became Paul. You become… NEW! Righteous in Christ.

We live on a spiritual battlefield. Like Goliath did to David, Like Job’s friends did to him, Satan whispers accusations in our ear. They are designed to neutralize our growth & impact. There is no need to listen to them. Jesus cross & resurrection set us free. The only question is where we stand. Solid ground or sinking sand? Satan will still accuse but we have power to shut it down. Stand Firm in the Righteousness of Christ.

To hear the whole lesson, go to www.parkviewfamily.com. Even better join us for the rest of the series each weekend at 9:00 or 10:45. @ 803 west 18th street in Lexington, NE.

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Stand Firm in Life’s Battles

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standfirm promoFinally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might. Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil.

I remember discovering the WWII section in my elementary school library. It was like finding a secret treasure. The first book I read was called Battle for the Atlantic, Then I read everyone one they had. There was something fascinating, noble heroic about that history.

That is what drew me to those stories? They speak to the human heart & condition? The struggle between good & evil, average people who rise, fight & sacrifice for a greater cause. The inner wish that we would be so noble and sacrificial in our own lives. The dream of being part of something truly significant.

For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. 

The truth is, We live in a war zone. If you have ever stepped up to really follow Jesus you have felt this. If not, you may not realize it yet. When you take your faith with Jesus seriously you become a target of His enemy. The whole purpose is to prevent us from going deeper in our relationship with Jesus, His family & especially His mission. He wants to disrupt Jesus’ work through us! This happens especially when you are on the verge of a spiritual breakthrough.

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What is Your Center?

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cross & thornsCol 3:1-3 Therefore if you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2 Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth. 3 For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God. 

For me, Jesus is life, PERIOD. I can’t image approaching life without Him, I can’t imagine facing a day without being centered on Him. He gives light in the darkest days and perspective to the brightest ones. This study has been a great reminder sinking even deeper in my own heart. As we wrap up this series, I hope is has in yours as well.

Before you move on, ask yourself one more time: What is the center of your life? Not the answer you think I want, but the truth. What trumps everything on your schedule, in your wallet, in your weekend? How has it been working? What if you got even more aligned with Jesus as the center? What would that look like? What would it take? What is He asking of you? Here is one final look at the big picture of what we gain when we are centered on Jesus.

Centering on Jesus Restores our Lives to His Original Intention.

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My Prayer for You

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praying manGod’s Word is amazing, powerful, relevant, convicting and encouraging. We turn to it in tough times, make wall plaques, posters & t-shirts of our favorite verses. We memorize some of it and quote it to each other. Still, other parts seem strange, old fashioned, and just boring. We are tempted to skip over them in our personal study. This week’s passage is kind of like that.

But buried in this final paragraph of Colossians is an astounding verse that will reignite any Jesus’ follower’s prayer life. After you work through the conviction of it, it can renew your passion and sharper your focus in prayer. Let’s take a look:

Col 4:12 Epaphras, who is one of your number, a bondslave of Jesus Christ, sends you his greetings, always laboring earnestly for you in his prayers, that you may stand perfect and fully assured in all the will of God. 

Stop reading and let these three words sink in:

…Always laboring earnestly…

…Always laboring earnestly…

…Always laboring earnestly…

…Always laboring earnestly… WOW!

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Apologizing as Gospel Practice

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Back form Mexico mission trip last night. heading for a week of vacation with family tomorrow. Enjoy this significant and practical post in the meantime. thank you for sticking with me for ongoing thoughts that emerge from preparing biblical messages.

Shield Your Heart

Our outrage culture has produced a great number of apologies. Every week someone will say or do something that angers people. Some of these outrages are warranted and some are not. Pressure will mount and the masses will call for blood. Usually, the figure in question will offer some form of apology that fails to please the masses but is enough to dissipate the situation.

The main problem is that most of our apologies, both public and private, fall short. Part of the reason for this is that no one likes to apologize. Who would? Every apology requires one person to admit that they have erred in some way, shape, or form. This is an act of humility that lowers our own standing and elevates the person or persons to whom we are apologizing.

The issue is that apologies are important because they reveal what we believe about ourselves, others…

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Where Will We Stand?

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umbrella in stormHebrews 12:1-3 Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 

I am taking a break from the blog while traveling for both mission work and a family vacation through the rest of July. Our church family recently began to wrestle with the reality of sin and the power of the Gospel in a way that jarred many of our hearts. I want to share my first raw thoughts as I sought to settle my heart in Christ the next morning after this part of our journey began.

This is our Gettysburg address. It is time to acknowledge the reality of our condition with unified hearts & voices. It is time for the captives to come free from sin. It is time for us to shake our complacency about sin & holiness & purity. It is time to recognize we live on a spiritual battlefield with a real enemy who with full knowledge of what our Creator offers, promises much out of pure hate for our Creator, knowing if we turn away from God’s truth to his deceitful offers that we will be further wounded & enslaved by darkness.

We must decide whether we believe the gospel or not.

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Discipline & Restoration

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ship under waterGal 6:1-5 Brethren, even if anyone is caught in any trespass, you who are spiritual, restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness; each one looking to yourself, so that you too will not be tempted. 2 Bear one another’s burdens, and thereby fulfill the law of Christ. 3 For if anyone thinks he is something when he is nothing, he deceives himself. 4 But each one must examine his own work, and then he will have reason for boasting in regard to himself alone, and not in regard to another. 5 For each one will bear his own load.

A handful of times in my service as a pastor, we have faced the situation of what to do when a ministry leader is no longer qualified for leadership because of personal, relational sin. Thankfully the Bible gives clear direction for such times if we have the courage to follow. In this entry, I want to point you to those passages with some overview thoughts to get you started.

Why are Some Dealt with Publicly & Not Privately?

ANSWER: Serious Leadership Sin Must be Confronted & Confessed as the First Step Towards Further Discipline Or Restoration to Jesus, His Family & His Mission.

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