So Fresh and So Clean

so fresh and so cleanIn this life there are trials, temptations, troubles and hardships that we have to face. Life is not always easy and doesn’t always go our way. Maybe we have come from a broken home, maybe you have struggled with addiction your whole life, maybe someone broke your heart when all you have ever been was kind, maybe you struggle financially, maybe you didn’t get that job you wanted, maybe you struggle with loneliness or feelings of inadequacy. So many things in this life can leave you feeling hopeless and broken. But I am here to tell you that there is a hope for the hopeless, there is love, when you haven’t felt loved in a long time, there is peace you can find and it’s when you find and meet and begin a relationship with Jesus.
Jesus let us know in the bible in John 16:33 “I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.”
Isaiah 26:3 “You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you!”
You see the start to overcoming your trials and your troubles, your sorrows and your storms is to start that real relationship with Jesus. The relationship where you keep your eyes on him throughout each and every day you live. Not just on Sundays or here at Uprise, but it is an everyday real relationship. Jesus is referred to being a husband to the church. People who accept Jesus and live for him are considered the church, we are his bride. So just like a husband and wife relationship, it is an everyday relationship. Each day you think about that person, they are number 1 in your life, (aside from God). You grow to know them more and more, even to the point where you know what each other are thinking. That is the kind of intimate relationship I am talking about. Jesus will keep us full of peace and enveloped in his peace when our focus is on him, because we know this life will be tough, but we know someone who makes us strong when we are weak, who gives us grace to get through tough times, who reminds us that he is with us and he will never leave us.
*The Struggle is real, but Jesus is the strength to live a life that is full of peace.
We don’t need to go to God and tell him how big our problem is, but we need to speak to our problem, and tell it how big our God is.
I have a van that I drive, I’ve been driving it all winter long. I never really had any problems with it. But I did always drive it down to empty. In fact It was most of the time below a quarter tank and I drove it like that all winter. Come a few months down the road, last month sometime, my van started chugging, as if it was running out of gas, but there was gas in it, about a quarter haha. Any way it died out on me and wouldn’t drive. I had to get it towed to a shop. They looked at it and fixed the problem. It was a dirty carburetor. It became that way because I had been driving it all winter close to empty. Not to mention in the air filter there was what appeared to be a mouse’s nest with all kinds of hay, grass and even a good amount of foam. My car wasn’t running right and it’s because of my neglect to give it what it needed to run properly, and because something got into my car without me noticing that was draining my gas even faster and causing it to run improperly.
This is just like our lives. We can go days, months, even years without really giving our lives what they need and that is our focus on Jesus, our relationship with Jesus, the months may past and everything seems to be running fine, but one day you are going to find yourself not knowing what happened, you are out of gas, or you are broken down. Some things got into your life little by little that acted as a poison, you didn’t notice it because you weren’t staying focused and you weren’t intentional about your relationship with Jesus and now you find yourself alone. That thing that got into your life, maybe even a sin that has you restrained from finding true joy, that thing, whatever it was, was sucking away your time and your attention, from the one true source that will lead you to have true peace, joy, fulfillment, and strength.
When we live without Jesus as our daily source, some things can get in to our lives that can make us dirty and that can break us down. But when we give our lives to Jesus, he can make us So Fresh and So Clean and give us what we need to keep moving forward when life seems to be moving backwards.
*When we keep our focus on Jesus first, he gives us what we need to keep moving forward when life’s circumstances around us seem to be moving backward
Ephesians 1:7 “In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace,”
Jesus blood was shed as the greatest sacrifice to wash our sins away and to give us a new start on life. A new life with him.
Galatians 2:20 “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”
If and when we gave our life to Jesus Christ, we gave up our own lives and our old selfish desire, because he gave us his love and his life so that we can have strength in him and we can have eternity in heaven.
1 John 1:9 “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
It is only Jesus who makes us clean, this is not something that we can accomplish on our own because the bible says and we all know it to be true, that we have all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. We are all equal and in the same boat, all in need of a savior to set us free from sin and death. Our hearts are dirty, hard and stained without Jesus blood and sacrifice to wash it away.
Ezekiel 36:26-27 “And I will give you a new heart, and I will put a new spirit in you. I will take out your stony, stubborn heart and give you a tender, responsive heart. 27 And I will put my Spirit in you so that you will follow my decrees and be careful to obey my regulations.”
When we give our lives to Jesus, he gives us a fresh and clean heart that is responsive to him. He takes away our dirty hard hearts. Living for Jesus daily is what we need to feel clean, fulfilled, satisfied, and strong in this life. The more you know him, the more you will grow to love him.
*A relationship takes love, work and commitment, and our relationship with Jesus is the most important relationship we will ever have.

RT: We don’t need to tell God how big our problems are, we need to tell our problems how big our God is. #Godiswithus
RT: Jesus paid the ultimate sacrifice by dying for our sins, the least we can do is to give and live our life for Him #becausehefirstlovedus

Don’t be a Zombie

zombieI could have went two different ways with my title because I am talking about a two step process, but “Dont be a Zombie” just seemed right haha. My other title was “Noise Complaint”, so take both of those into consideration. I want to talk to you today about voices. So many voices in this world, in your personal life, in your head that we hear playing over and over again and again all throughout our day everyday. Whether we are voluntarily choosing to listen to someone or something or involuntarily. We have radio, tv, friends, family, commercials and so much more that is constantly feeding us with who we are supposed to be, what we are supposed to do, why we need to do this or that, etc. When there is only one true voice that should be piercing through all of the noise that is going on. That is God’s voice, the one we should be keen on listening to. He has a still small voice that beams through all the noise and it comes from the inside of us. It could come in the form as a strong desire or passion to do something. It could be a scripture from the bible that sticks out to you and stays with you through whatever you are going through. It could be an encouragement from somebody that keeps you strong at your lowest point. These are just a few of the ways that God talks to us. He is trying everything possible to reach you and to connect to you and to walk with you in life. So many distractions in life that are telling us who to be and what to do. For example, instagram is telling us we need to have these super awesome fun cool lives that we need to share in order to show other people that we are super awesome fun cool people. But what does that get you, we are looking to show off to people, when we should be searching and seeking to glorify God. I am not saying that instagram is bad, I love it and share sweet awesome super cool photos myself, but when that is what is speaking to us most and becomes a priority to want to please people, then that is a voice that we need to quiet down in our lives. Same goes with facebook, twitter, tv, magazines and anything else we are feeding ourselves that takes away from us hearing the voice of God and hearing his leading personally in our lives.

Things that can be easily innocent, can also be things that slowly chip away at the person God is leading us to be.

Psalm 37:4-5 “Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him, and he will act”

We need to make a decision to seek God’s voice and leading in our lives and not only to hear it, but to follow it. When we choose to follow God and his voice, you are going to be following in the will of God for your life and then you are going to be able to witness God do mighty miracles through your life. Miracles like, seeing other people’s lives changed because you listened to God and obeyed and because you bought someone’s meal they are eager to listen to what you have to say about God, or because you took a step to serve in the church nursery, lives are being saved because a single mom got to come to church and hear God’s word in a way she never heard it before and in touched her in a way that she dedicates her life and her family to serving God for the rest of her life, and so many more scenarios that could play out.

What I am saying is, when you listen to God, he always has a plan and a purpose for you doing what he wants you to do and if you do it, the miraculous can happen. God can use you, no matter who you are or where you are, you are a disciple of Jesus and are called to be a light to the world. Don’t let life pass you by without ever realizing that God has a voice and he is talking to you, don’t let all of the distractions in life keep you in a zombie like state never realizing that God has a huge plan for you to change the lives around you that he has put there. Steven Furtick said it like this “Most believers aren’t in imminent danger of ruining their lives. Their facing a danger that is far greater. Wasting them.” It is time that you and I and we as a church, stand up and listen to God, listen to what step he would have you take next. If you notice that life is passing you by, day in and day out, then change something, make a decision to take a step of faith and follow God and his word.

Joshua 1:8 “Study this Book of Instruction continually. Meditate on it day and night so you will be sure to obey everything written in it. Only then will you prosper and succeed in all you do.”

Yes you can watch tv, listen to decent music, read books, get on your social networks, but make sure that God has his place in your life and in your ear and heart. Listen to sermon podcasts, read your bible, talk with God in prayer time and let his voice take precedent in your life. Make a decision to listen, shut the world out for a bit and listen. God says “Be still and know that I am God.” Make sure his voice is the one leading you to action, and not the voice of your friends telling you who you should be. God made you the way you are for a purpose and only he can tell you how to be, who to be and so on. And know that his voice inside of you, the Holy Spirit’s voice, will always line up with the word of God. God is not telling you to do something that includes sinning in it, he is usually telling you to do something that is going to change your life for the better of it, or to do something that is going to change someone else’s life for the better. He has a plan.

Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

Proverbs 16:9 “The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.”

So let your heart plan your way in the way of the Lord and let him guide your steps.

Don’t be a zombie living life by basic instinct and wondering about aimlessly, but be moved to action by listening to God’s voice.

My challenge to you today is to make a decision to cut out all the extra noise and make room to listen to God’s voice, and not only listen but be moved to action, follow his leading, be someone who he uses to change lives. That can look like anything, no small thing you do is unseen, God appreciates it all and even a small step like giving someone a glass of water is a step toward following God’s voice. I challenge to listen to God and follow what he says. He is speaking to you right now about something he wants you to do, so DON’T Be A ZOMBIE and get off your hinder and do it 😉 haha, but for reals though. Listen and follow.

Running

As a Christian we are faced a lot of times with the reality of the battle of good and evil. Although this may sound cliche to some people, be aware that this is very evident and real in the lives of every human being. It also may sound way to deep or way over your head. The reality of the war, not against flesh and blood, but against  rulers, dark powers in this world, against evil spirits in high places (Ephesians 6:12). Think about it, how many times did the “Real You” want to do something and pass up on temptation and yet there were driving forces urging you to give into temptation. That is the battle that we face daily, that is the battle called “spiritual warfare”. Whether the temptation being smoking, drinking, sex, pornography, cheating, lying, drug addiction, shopping addiction even white lies, even the inward sins, like lusting after women, thinking up lies, strategizing how to get your self a promotion or ladies for you a boyfriend maybe, by ruining someone else’s reputation and so much more. These are all things that I am sure you don’t want in your life truly, but we battle with these things, and that is real. This is not what I am talking to you about today, I just wanted to lay some groundwork on the realities of what we face everyday and that is sin. It is all around us and we need to be strong in the Lord and in the power of his might. We need to learn to yield to God and his word and his call to holy living. This is something that we need to strive for every single day!

    But trust me, I do realize that nobody is perfect. God knows that we are not perfect. There is another choice. That is after maybe you fall into a sin, there is a temptation to run from God and try to hide out in more sin, but let me tell you from experience that there is a better way! That is running to God for he is so merciful, so forgiving, so loving with open arms that he will pick you up like a father and tell us its ok, we can try again, I will never give up on you or leave you. There is a choice to either run from God or run to God, anytime we sin. I have done both in my lifetime, It is so much better to run to God. His yoke is easy and his burden is light. What that means is sin and guilt can weigh on you so heavily, especially when you are to the point where you know God has called you to a better life, when you know that God has a plan to use you for his glory. This is what I want you to realize today. If you screw up, God is not going to turn you away, God will not run from you, but he will be there with loving arms to grab you and hold you. We just have to choose to run to him rather than away.

1 John 1:9 says “But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness.”

God knows what we have done, but it is part of a healing process that he has set up, his ways are higher than our ways, that we should confess it to him and get it off of our chests and out of our lives. He is so forgiving!

Lamentations 3:22-23 says “22 The faithful love of the Lord never ends! His mercies never cease.
23 Great is his faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each morning.”

God has new mercies for us every morning. I am talking to YOU! You can start today a brand new day as if you have never sinned in God’s eyes. *Don’t live life looking to your past, look at life through God’s eyes and see the future he has planned for you and follow after that(that is good preacing right there haha)!God is looking at your past mistakes, so you shouldn’t either. God is looking at the new you and the you He know you can be through him! God is here to love you and guide you and forgive you. The Bible is full of scripture that talks of how merciful God is and we should find great comfort in that! So I urge you and challenge you to the next time you screw up and you feel like maybe you want to run from the situation or that you want to run from God and back into sin, just don’t! It is so much better to run to God and his forgiveness. He knows that you messed up, but that doesn’t mean he will ever give up on you. He loves you to much and will welcome you back with his eager love!

Now there is an issue I would like to address and that is that God’s mercy and grace does not give us a license to sin. He calls us to a holy life, he calls us to take up our cross daily and follow him.

Romans 6:1-2;15-18 says “Well then, should we keep on sinning so that God can show us more and more of his wonderful grace? Of course not! Since we have died to sin, how can we continue to live in it?………15 Well then, since God’s grace has set us free from the law, does that mean we can go on sinning? Of course not! 16 Don’t you realize that you become the slave of whatever you choose to obey? You can be a slave to sin, which leads to death, or you can choose to obey God, which leads to righteous living. 17 Thank God! Once you were slaves of sin, but now you wholeheartedly obey this teaching we have given you. 18 Now you are free from your slavery to sin, and you have become slaves to righteous living.”

As we see here, God’s grace is not a license to sin, but it is his grace that gives us power to overcome lives full of sin. Of course we are humans and we still battle against temptation, sin, and our fleshly desires and we will fall time and time again. But we are called to run the race and strive towards perfection. We are called to put off the old man and put on our new nature, we are called to be more than conquerors and put on the full armor of God so that we can be overcomers. God’s grace is not there for you to go out into the world and intentionally sin and think that its ok. No his grace is there for those who truly follow him, but obviously screw up from time to time. God knows your heart better than you know yourself. He knows your intentions and your heart decisions, so don’t try to sneak one past him! 🙂

    Another good verse to look at when talking about RUNNING to God and not from God is…

James 4:7-10 “So humble yourselves before God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come close to God, and God will come close to you. Wash your hands, you sinners; purify your hearts, for your loyalty is divided between God and the world. Let there be tears for what you have done. Let there be sorrow and deep grief. Let there be sadness instead of laughter, and gloom instead of joy. 10 Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up in honor.”

    This verse tells us to resist the devil, it is only by God’s grace and power working in our lives that we are able to do this. God is our strength when we are weak. And then it says that when we draw close to God, he draws close to us! He will always be there for you, we just have to turn to him rather than run from him to truly experience his love that forgives and heals our guilty hearts. We are to humble ourselves before God. We need to take a real look at our lives and our hearts and be completely and totally honest with God, We are nobody’s, who deserve nothing without him. We need to be wholly surrendered to him, and then he will lift us up, he will pick us up, he will love us and show us how to love. I challenge you once again if you have messed up from the even the smallest way to the biggest way, Run to God, not from him. His mercies are new every morning, His grace covers you and is sufficient for you. His love holds you and never lets you go. He will never leave you nor forsake you. Run to him!