Renewing the Mind (continued…)
I love the way the Message puts Psalm 119:11,
“I’ve banked your promises in the vault of my heart so I won’t sin myself bankrupt.”
It goes along with 1 Corinthians 10:13,
“No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.”
When Paul mentions temptation or tempted, another word for that would be testing or tested. So there is no temptation or testing that will catch us by surprise when we are saturating in the Word of God. There are verses specifically designed to combat different temptations. If we struggle with depression, we have Psalm 42. If we struggle with materialism and greed, we have 1 Timothy 6. If we have a tendency toward words that do not glorify God or an angry spirit, we have Ephesians 4. If lust is coming in on you then learn the first part of Ephesians 5.
The Bible is an offensive weapon, the sword of the Spirit. Why is it that we have a tendency to turn to it after we are in the midst of the battle? Don’t get me wrong, we need to turn to it before, during, and after every battle because spiritual warfare is constant.
Jesus, when being tempted in Matthew 4, would quote Old Testament texts that He’d memorized. He was premeditated in working on a good offense by striking down every temptation Satan flung at Him when He was in the thick of things. We can do the same. Determine your weakest links, search out the verses to combat those struggles, then put them to memory. You will be armed and dangerous.
Let me put it another way. In order to carry a handgun around you have to have a concealed carried license that proves you have been trained and are responsible to carry a weapon. When you became a child of God you received your concealed carry license to carry around the Word of God in your heart. It’s a dangerous weapon against the enemy of our soul and he knows it. He is going to do all that he can to have you fall to sin and keep you from the Bible. How about reversing the tables on him? Read and memorize the Bible and it will keep you from sin.
I pray that you will saturate in the Word of God today. Take a verse or a passage of Scripture and place it where you will run across it often. This Sunday will be my last sermon in the series, “Embracing Exile.” Come and learn what it is to be more than survivors.
Joy in Jesus!
Viv words are life related. Vivid means “full of life.” A vivacious person is someone who’s energetic and lively. Viv is at the heart of revival and it is life related. The prefix re – adds “again” to the mix. The suffix – al means “that which pertains to.” So the word revival is literally, “that which pertains to life coming back again.” Are you being revived in your walk with God?
Adam and Eve didn’t know how good they had it – the Bible says they actually walked with God in the cool of the day (Genesis 3:8). Enoch walked with God for 300 years and never died because God miraculously took him home (Genesis 5:21-24). Noah found favor in the eyes of the Lord and was a walking companion to the Lord (Genesis 6:8). What would it be like to walk with the Lord like those of the Old Testament?
I believe we get a taste of walking with God during weeks of authentic revival. We have seen and felt the presence of the Lord this week during our revival. Look with me in Genesis when the Lord appears to Abraham.
The Lord appeared to Abraham near the great trees of Mamre while he was sitting at the entrance to his tent in the heat of the day.2 Abraham looked up and saw three men standing nearby. When he saw them, he hurried from the entrance of his tent to meet them and bowed low to the ground. 3 He said, “If I have found favor in your eyes, my lord, do not pass your servant by. 4 Let a little water be brought, and then you may all wash your feet and rest under this tree. 5 Let me get you something to eat, so you can be refreshed and then go on your way—now that you have come to your servant.” “Very well,” they answered, “do as you say.” 6 So Abraham hurried into the tent to Sarah. “Quick,” he said, “get three seahs of the finest flour and knead it and bake some bread.” 7 Then he ran to the herd and selected a choice, tender calf and gave it to a servant, who hurried to prepare it. 8 He then brought some curd sand milk and the calf that had been prepared, and set these before them. While they ate, he stood near them under a tree.
God appears to us in many ways as we live this life He has provided for us. We encounter troubles, dry times, disappointments, and mountaintop experiences. Through it all, God is there to lead and guide us through to safe waters. It is during weeks like these that we realize that we can experience revival in the midst of the routine. All we have to do is to intentionally seek Him with all of our heart. Revival is not just something intellectual. Revival restores the feelings of love and joy we once knew when we first came into relationship with Jesus. But our revival is not based solely on feelings. It is based on God’s Word and our life intersecting to the point that we realize that God’s Word is living and breathing. It actually has breathed new life into dry bones. Not only do we experience revival on a personal level, we experience revival on a much bigger scale. The church is revived. You begin to feel closer to people you worship with on Sundays. Praise the Lord for His faithfulness. Can you get a glimpse of how God wants to move even more? May God’s Word and presence continue to be our driving force.
I want to encourage everyone to come out to our last scheduled revival service tonight at 6:30pm. Better yet, plan to come and enjoy a delicious taco salad prepared by our teens and their families at 5:30pm and meet someone else who is being revived. There will be a special emphasis tonight for our children called Farm Night in the FLC. There will be real animals from the farm here for them to pet. They will also be feasting on God’s Word as we all seek God with our families.
Come and experience revival and let it move out into your neighborhood.
Joy in Jesus!
In Matthew 12:35, it says, “A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in him, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in him.” The way to become a good man is by storing up good inside of you. The way you store up good inside of you is by feeding on the Word of God. For some reason, the Lord has just given me a passion to know His word more and more. He is reminding me that it is no accident that the thoughts of the mind and the meditation of the heart are what they are. It is done on purpose by what we choose to dwell on.
At the beginning of Jesus’ ministry, when faced with temptation from the enemy, He quoted verses He’d learned from the Old Testament. For example, when He was tested in the wilderness following His fast, Jesus quoted from Deuteronomy. The interesting thing is that the Devil also quoted Scripture. He quoted from Psalm 91 but took it out of context. If you want to read the scene, then go to Matthew 4:1-11. The conclusion was that Jesus stayed on course by not only quoting the Scripture but He placed it in His heart and His life reflected that.
Even in the last painful moments of Jesus’ life when He was dying for our sins, He quoted from the Old Testament when He said, “Into Your hands I commit My spirit” (Luke 23:46). It was God’s Word that brought clear thinking and the ability to run the race to its final victory. The devil couldn’t rob Jesus of the joy set before Him.
How are you doing memorizing Scripture? Have you intentionally taken steps to memorize God’s Word throughout your day?
Revival begins this Sunday. Jeremiah Bolich will join us for our services in the morning and then at 6pm on that day. Then Monday through Wednesday will be at 6:30pm with supper starting at 5:30pm. On Sunday and Wednesday there will be special emphasis for the kids. On Monday and Tuesday our elementary kids will be in the worship service with the adults. It is going to be a wonderful week. Plan now to set aside this time to come and revive your spirit with other faithful followers of Jesus Christ.
Saturate in these verses today and may God grant you this kind of hope today:
“For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope. May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you the same attitude of mind toward each other that Christ Jesus had, so that with one mind and one voice you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ” Romans 15:4-6.
Joy in Jesus!
As I was praying and reading this morning, I began to think how God not only created the universe and everything in it, but He created our minds and all the intricate parts of our brain. It is bigger than any computer or any devise that humans have created with the creativity given to us by God. We will never outdo God. One scientist said that the number of connections within one human brain rivals the number of stars and galaxies in the entire universe.
From the very beginning of our life, before we were conceived in our mother’s womb, Scripture says that we were carefully knit together in our mother’s womb (Psalm 139). After we are born, God gave us everything we need to glorify His name by faithfully following Him with every capacity afforded our little minds.
Now take note, the enemy is all about distracting, tempting, and enticing us. As we begin to grow, there are opportunities to follow the Spirit and then there are opportunities to follow the flesh. Paul said to the Church of Corinth that the temptation we face is common to all mankind. But God will provide a door of escape for each of us (1 Corinthians 10:13). Some have fallen to temptation, made wrong decisions, followed impure paths or listened to discouraging influences. As a matter of fact, the Scriptures deal with sin in 1 John 1:1-9. Then in the next chapter it says that this was written so you do not sin. My point is that our mind is the battleground of the soul. We can never say we have arrived and yet we don’t give in to the ways of this world.
Hebrew 3:1 says we should, “fix [our] thoughts on Jesus, whom we acknowledge as our apostle and high priest”; and Philippians 4:8 says, “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.”
In other words, Scripture memory and meditation is a key to a healthy mind. It will begin to clean up the damage that has been done as we have developed and been impacted by the influences of this world. Every word in the Bible is meant to set us free from any earthly oppression caused by stinking thinking. Look with me at a few verses that remind us of the impact of God’s Word.
7 The law of the Lord is perfect, refreshing the soul. The statutes of the Lord are trustworthy, making wise the simple. 8 The precepts of the Lord are right, giving joy to the heart. The commands of the Lord are radiant, giving light to the eyes. 9 The fear of the Lord is pure, enduring forever. The decrees of the Lord are firm, and all of them are righteous.
2 Timothy 3:16
16 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness,
1 Blessed is the one who does not walk in step with the wicked or stand in the way that sinners take or sit in the company of mockers, 2 but whose delight is in the law of the Lord, and who meditates on his law day and night. 3 That person is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither— whatever they do prospers.
24 Your statutes are my delight; they are my counselors. 25 I am laid low in the dust; preserve my life according to your word. 26 I gave an account of my ways and you answered me; teach me your decrees. 27 Cause me to understand the way of your precepts, that I may meditate on your wonderful deeds. 28 My soul is weary with sorrow; strengthen me according to your word.
God’s Word is a doses of Truth that lodges God’s wisdom into our reasoning. I am just scratching the surface. Oh how I am falling in love with God’s Word over and over again. May you be encouraged to saturate in His Word today.
Begin to pray for Revival that will be starting on Sunday, October 15 and go through Wednesday, October 18. I believe God wants to do a new thing amongst us.
Joy in Jesus!
Rev. Mike McClurg
Senior Pastor, Findlay First Church of the Nazarene