Archive for July 2013

Daily Devotional – “What Steps Should You Take To Keep The Fire Burning?”

Today’s Daily Devotional from Pastor Andrew Bills

stir up the fire 

What Steps Should You Take To Keep The Fire Burning?”

While an out of control wildfire can have devastating effects in our environment, fire controlled and properly used has great advantages.  Fire cooks food, sterilizes medical instruments, boils water, heats homes, welds metal, refines gold and purifies against bacteria. Fire is one of the most forceful and needed natural elements in our world which, if properly used, can manufacture, produce change or give you the desired results.. 

So, in 2nd Timothy 1:6, The Apostle Paul instructed Timothy to “Stir up the gift of God that is within you,” because he knew that the word “stir” means to “fan the flames of the fire.” 

Evidently Timothy was struggling with discouragement from imprisonment and from facing other imminent dangers, so Paul wrote to encourage and strengthen him.  Therefore, that which Christ has placed inside of you, that which you’ve been called to do, “STIR IT UP!”

Paul exhorts Timothy to stand fast on God’s Holy Scriptures and to stir up the gift of God within him through the laying on of The Apostle’s hand, under the anointing of The Holy Spirit, when he was ordained by God.

The gift which Timothy had received was The Holy Spirit, and through Him, he received the anointing and the power to preach and teach the gospel of Jesus Christ.

While Timothy, like so many believers today, didn’t possess the tenacious or relentless zeal of The Apostle, Paul urged him to unleash the invincible power of God’s Spirit against all the various storms that will come to rise up against us.

Like Timothy, we are to rekindle the fire, blow on the coals, cause the flames to burn more brightly, be more zealous about what Christ has set you apart to do and keep adding more fuel to the fire.  

You do these things by keeping you mind renewed through The Word of God, remaining prayerful, keep piercing through the darkness, not quenching The Holy Spirit, listening to some inspirational gospel music and good Bible messages, recalling what God has done in your past and reading some inspiring articles and testimonies about what God is doing through the lives of others around the world.

God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of faith, love, courage and power to face and handle all the difficulties, dangers and adversities that will come our way.

When your flesh or the devil attempts to extinguish the fire within your heart, do all that you can to keep it ignited and burning.

If there is no fire, then there will be no excitement, no joy, no enthusiasm, no hope and no anointing.  And you can’t touch the lives of others around you with a discouraged, broken-hearted, depressed and defeated soul.

But underneath those gray dusty ashes, there’s still a spark that God’s able to set ablaze again, if you’re willing to start “fanning the flames within you.”

In Jeremiah chapter 20, the prophet grew weary and became so discouraged regarding the insults and the injuries that he was experiencing until he privately declared that he wouldn’t preach or prophesy anymore.  In His heart he even said, “I will not make mention of Him nor speak His name anymore.”

Jeremiah’s flesh, along with the devil’s attacks to his mind, convinced him that every time he spoke, his conditions worsen.  But as he attempted to take off his prophet’s robe, lay aside the Old Testament scrolls, cease, refrain, stop preaching  and quench The Spirit of God, the Word of God burned so hot and deep within his soul until he screamed, “It’s like a fire, shut up in my bones! And I cannot hold it in”  (Read Jeremiah 20:9)

It doesn’t matter what happened to diminish or put the fire out in your life.  Persecution, criticism, depression, burnout, sickness, divorce, abusiveness, financial hardships, an unforeseen event or accident or even the death of a loved one.

You will never recover, rise up or reach your potential unless you “fan the flames of the gift of God that’s within you.”

Daily Devotional – “What’s The Secret Towards Living A Fulfilled Life?”

Today’s Daily Devotional from Pastor Andrew Bills

secret 2 

What’s The Secret Towards Living A Fulfilled Life?”

Have some of your expectations gone unfulfilled or unrealized?  Have you experienced some disappointments that have left you drained?  Instead of having a rich deep fellowship with The Lord, has your joy become faint, weak and almost non-existent?

Then the answer is very simple because God’s remedy or cure towards living a full and complete life can be found in the following insightful and victorious words expressed directly from our Lord.

Jesus said in John 15: 4-7:  “Abide in Me, and I in you.  As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me. I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in Me, he is thrown away as a branch and dries up; and they gather them, and cast them into the fire and they are burned.  If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.”

While many have read and even quoted this amazing passage of scripture, especially the beautiful promise of Jesus given in verse 7, many still don’t understand the true meaning and the wonderful blessings of “Abiding In Christ.”

While the dictionary defines the word “Abide” as to: remain, continue, reside, sustain, submit to, to act in accord with, to be faithful to or to steadfast with, it simple means to fully LIVE IN.”

The words of Christ are not to just be occasionally looked upon or merely recalled.  His promise is predicated upon His words being engrafted in your heart and “MADE ALIVE IN  YOU.”  “Abiding In Christ” is a marvelous ongoing experience or life-style which is just a foretaste of God’s Divine Eternal Glory

Christ gives us His assurance that if you want your prayers to be heard and answered then you first must permit or allow His word, His doctrine, His principles and His Spirit to be our wisdom, control our conduct, guide our affections and regulate our lives.

Therefore, “Abiding In Christ” is not quick sprint or a short lived emotional feeling.  It’s not a Sunday morning special emotional charge or fix that you get before you prepare to return to the mundane or routine duties of your other regular weekly activities.  “Abiding In Christ” is even much more than just having a local church membership.

“Abiding in Christ” is an unbroken, highly cherished, awesome communion with our Savior and Lord.   It’s a loving, faithful, compassionate and intimate fellowship in your relationship with Christ.  It’s an exciting LIFE IN THE SPIRIT,” walking in His Grace, standing on His word, a priceless bond between Christ and you, in which you have been given special access unto God.  It’s then you’ll hear, be led by His Holy Spirit and experience “joy unspeakable and the peace that passes all understanding.” 

It’s here you’ll find your needed direction, guidance, strength, and solutions to your problems.  It’s here that you’ll find God’s comfort, encouragement and love.

To “Abide In Christ” is to be made one with Christ, as He Is One With The Father.  (Read John 17:22).   Only “Abiding In Christ” brings peace to the troubled mind, joy to the wounded soul and rest to a troubled or stressed out heart.

“To Abide In Christ” is God’s personal invitation to you to enter into His presence and partake with Christ in all the majesty and glory of His royal life. 

Will you accept His amazing offer and lean on His Everlasting Arms?

 

Daily Devotional – “Are You Aware That God Has Allowed You To Be Where You Are To Impact Your Surroundings Through Him?”

Today’s Daily Devotional from Pastor Andrew Bills

impacting lives 

Are You Aware That God Has Allowed You To Be Where You Are To Impact Your Surroundings Through Him?”

 

 

So often believers complain about their current situations in life instead of bringing Faith To That Place then touching and blessing the lives of others under those same negative, adverse or distressful conditions and circumstances. 

 

Wherever The Spirit of God has you, He’s not only able to sustain you but you’re there to impact your surroundings for Christ.  While there is no place on earth free from trials, tribulations, unbelief, fear and temptations, whatever place you now find yourself in, you’re being allowed to pass through there to let your light shine in the midst of that darkness through His Word and Holy Spirit.

 

In the 12th chapter of the book of Genesis, we read of the calling and the leading of Abram who later became Abraham.

 

Genesis 12: 1-3 NIV says,The LORD had said to Abram, Go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you. I will make you into a great nation, and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing.  I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.”

 

God not only made this promise to Abram, but put His Word, Favor and Grace upon his life as he began his journey of faith.  Please take note again at God’s promise to Abram, especially where The Lord informed him that “you will be a blessing and I will bless those who bless you.”

 

Upon his arrival, the land of Canaan which had been very fruitful, was now experiencing a severe drought and famine.  Abram, who had left his land where there were plenty of provisions, now arrives in a place where there’s only lack.   The appearance of those severe or negative conditions led his mind to think that this could not be the place of blessing or where God was leading him. 

 

So instead of believing God’s word, impacting the surrounding by faith, trusting in The Lord to make changes in that land and telling the others about His God, Abram flees.

 

He journeyed on southward, from where God wanted him to be, into Egypt where he fell into sin, error and encountered new troubles, which could have cost his life if not for the divine intervention of God.  Then once he was ordered out of Egypt, he returned back into the land of Canaan.

 

Just like Abram, all believers have been called to walk by faith, trust God despite the appearence of negative circumstances and impact our world through God.  Can the unbelievers around you see The Living Christ within you?   The only way they’ll see God is through your life.  Are you giving them a good view of Christ? 

 

Instead of complaining, crying, cursing, taking matter into your own hands and doing negative things, believers should be bringing inspirational to a dying world.  Colossians 1:27 says that “Christ in you is the hope of glory.”

 

Whatever you’re going through or have been delivered from, The Lord is giving you the opportunity to share your testimony about His Love, Power and Grace to impact others around you.

 

Therefore allow Christ, through His Word and Holy Spirit, to reign in your life.  Christ in you and you in Christ makes the difference as you go through diverse situations in this life.  Regardless of the trials that may come your way, let your light shine and remain faithful unto Him that you may receive the crown of life through Jesus Christ. 

 

 

 

 

Daily Devotional – “Have You Experienced The Transforming Power Of The Holy Spirit?”

Today’s Daily Devotional from Pastor Andrew Bills

 transforming power of God

Have You Experienced The Transforming Power Of The Holy Spirit?”

 

The disciples of Jesus Christ were just ordinary men.  While they all left their occupations to follow Jesus, the gospel stories reveal just how weak, confused, argumentative, fearful and doubtful they all were even as they followed The Lord.

But within weeks after the resurrection of Jesus Christ, exactly on the day of Pentecost, their lives were forever dramatically changed.  Not by reading self-help books, attending motivational seminars or participating in any 12 step programs to get rid of any bad habits.  They were all filled with The Holy Ghost!!!

In Acts 1:8, just before His Ascension, Jesus said, “But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and in Samaria and unto the uttermost part of the earth.”

Their lives were not changed by the mere mental remembrance of Jesus’ earlier words to them, NO!!!   The same Lord and power that once walked among them, NOW DWELT WITHIN AND UPON THEM!!!    With His living words ever burning now within their hearts.

No longer weak, fearful, confused or doubtful, they now spoke with the same power, in the same Spirit and with the same authority that was in the earthly ministry of Jesus Himself.    They had seen Him crucified and buried, but they also saw Him in His resurrected body and then ascend into Heaven.  Now they no longer knew Him after the flesh but were filled and empowered by His Spirit, just like He had promised.

Now when talked about, misunderstood, lied upon and even threatened, they boldly stood preaching the resurrection of Jesus and the grace of God.  They rejoiced in the midst of suffering, believed in the power of prayer, received visions, experienced divine encounters with Christ and kept the scriptures in front of them.

As a result of their transformation and obedience, sinners were being saved, demons were cast out, the sick were healed, they shared their resources with one another, widows were cared for, the weak were strengthened, the church grew daily by the thousands and the very foundation of the Roman Empire and world were shaken to the core by the preaching of the gospel of Christ.

Throughout their ministries, even when they later traveled their separate ways as led by The Lord, they never recanted, denied or renounced their faith in Jesus Christ and continued preaching the gospel, leading many to God.  As a result, many of them suffered violent deaths by stoning, hanging, beheading, burning, stabbing and dying on crosses upside down.

While they were not criminals, the world was not worthy of their lives and the lives of their converts of whom many also died violent deaths at the evil hand of Caesar.  But they all looked beyond their suffering, to an Eternal Kingdom with our Glorified King.

Was their faith more real that ours today?  How far are you willing to go for Jesus?

With the exception of some 3rd world or hostile religious countries, few of us face the same type of persecution as the early Christians did.  But despite our freedom to worship and believe in our Lord, there is now growing opposition to deny, resist, reject and even rebel against the Church and the teachings of Jesus Christ.

So if Christianity were outlawed today and you knew you would be arrested and put in prison for worshipping or sharing your faith in Jesus, Would You?”

 

Daily Devotional – “Aren’t You Glad You Don’t Look Like What You’ve Been Through?”

Today’s Daily Devotional from Pastor Andrew Bills

a merry heart

Aren’t You Glad You Don’t Look Like What You’ve Been Through?”

 

As a believer in Christ, I’ve personally discovered that “while we’ve been through hell, we don’t have to look like the hell that we’ve been through.”  God is still in the business of bringing us out of the fire without any outward evidence that you’ve been in the flames.

When I was a young teenager, one of the first things that I noticed about the older saints in my church was how much joy they had despite all the hardships they testified they’ve been through.  Then I noticed they appeared more “radiant” than those that were outside of Christ who were going through very similar circumstances.

Over the many years since, while I’ve learned that no one is exempt from “the school of hard knocks,” those who trust Christ and are led by The Spirit of God are on a journey from “being a victim to having the victory.”

Psalms 30:5b says “….weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.”   When trials and afflictions are the most severe, pressing or heavily upon us, we rejoice that we are comforted by His promises in His Word and by His presence that His Light cannot nor will not be overcome with darkness.

Despite what believers are going through, we rejoice because of all the great things that The Lord has done and what we believe by faith that he will do. 

So instead of looking stressed out, beat down, worn out, despondent and talking defeat, believers realize that “though we be cast down we will not be destroyed” and maintain hope eternal as we go through any fiery trial surrounding us. 

We believe that we too shall be brought “Up From The Ashes” just like the 3 Hebrews in Daniel chapter 3.  We place our full confidence in His Promise as quoted in Hebrews 13:5, “That I Will Never Leave Thee and Never Forsake Thee.”   Believers constantly sing songs of encouragement that “this too shall pass.”

Just this past week, I met a wonderful and dynamic man of God who was really praising The Lord.  This anointed minister briefly shared his testimony that he had undergone two kidney transplants and because his body rejected them, he went into a coma for 90 days. 

While others made plans for his funeral, the saints of God kept praying.  He’s now taking daily medication to keep his kidneys properly functioning but he’s rejoicing all over the church.  He has this huge, radiant, glowing and smiling face as he’s walking, talking, preaching and encouraging people everywhere about the love of Christ.   There wasn’t any outward physical evidence showing that he’d ever recently been through that ordeal.

Yes, while we’ve been through hell, we don’t have to look like the hell that we’ve been through.”  Again I say that God is still in the business of bringing us out of the fire without any outward evidence that you’ve been in the flames.

THEREFORE, HAVE FAITH IN GOD!

 

Daily Devotional – “The Darkness That You’re Experiencing Is Not Of Me”

Today’s Daily Devotional from Pastor Andrew Bills

lighthouse 

The Darkness That You’re Experiencing Is Not Of Me

 

“I AM The Light Of The World” saith The Lord.  “And the darkness that you’re experiencing IS NOT OF ME.” 

These were the prophetic words uttered by The Holy Spirit of God that impacted, revolutionized and forever altered my life.  Yet these soul-shaking words weren’t just for me, but a direct message to all that will listen and look to Christ Jesus.

No matter what you’re experiencing, CHRIST IS GREATER than the darkness that’s in your very midst.  Are you looking to Him, seeking His face and trusting Him to impact your life and situation through the power of His Word and Holy Spirit?

We all must come to the full conclusion that Jesus Christ was either a deceiver, imposter or a lunatic or HE IS who He really claimed to be:  “The Son of God.”

And if you conclude that Jesus Christ IS THE SON OF GOD, then you must also conclude that He has the right to lay claim on your heart, soul and mind.  The issue is:  “Have you fully surrendered to The Lord or are you still wrestling with God?”

Many are in the trouble that they’re in because they acted outside of God’s will.  You must come to realize that Jesus isn’t just someone that you traditionally worship on Sunday Mornings between 9 to 12?   He desires to fully reign supreme as Lord in your life. 

Are you passionate about His Living Word?  Have you and are you still daily surrendering, committing and submitting yourself to Him?  Are you walking in obedience to His Will?  Are you living in expectation of His Promises?   Where are you in your relationship to Christ Jesus?

In John 8:12 NIV Jesus said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”

True Christianity is “New Life” or eternal life with God within the heart of every believer.  We serve a RISEN SAVIOR & LORD not a corpse  that is buried somewhere over in Jerusalem. Through His Resurrection and the indwelling of The Holy Spirit, we don’t know Him as just a mere historical religious figure, “NO!!!”   Believers have encountered, experienced and are indwelt by THE LIVING CHRIST!!!      

The gospel of Jesus Christ is not some cleverly invented fable.  HE LIVES!!!  He reigns on high and though invisibly, He’s mightily orchestrating in the affairs of man.

Therefore, He is able to save, deliver, comfort, heal, encourage, strengthen, provide for and guide you through any adverse circumstance, negative situation, painful condition or any dark demonic activity that may be surrounding you life.  All of these adverse things are “death in operation,” but He has come as The Light of The World to shine in and overpower all  of the darkness that’s surrounding your life.

Do you believe and trust Him?

 

Daily Devotional – “Are You Ready To Go To A Higher Level In Your Faith?”

Today’s Daily Devotional from Pastor Andrew Bills

facing challenges 

Are You Ready To Go To A Higher Level In Your Faith?”

The Lord wants to take you to “another level in faith” but are you ready to go?  Many of us are just like Martha in John Chapter 11.  When she heard that Jesus was coming, she ran out to meet him.  Martha loved Jesus, had faith in him and she trusted him.  But her life had been shattered, her heart torn and her spirit crushed because of the pain and grief she was experiencing as of the result of the death of her brother Lazarus.

Regarding of what she was feeling or going through, Christ came to take her to another level in her faith.  He walked into their situation to do something and to reveal something that they had never before encountered.   She just like many of us today, don’t fully recognize just how AWESOME our Lord truly is.  We’ve limited or restricted Him to what we only can comprehend.  But He wants to take your faith to an entirely new level in Him.

Jesus, who was more aware of the distressing circumstances than Martha and Mary knew, came and upon engaging Martha in a brief conversation, to enlarge her  expectations and take her faith to another level, declared Himself to be the Resurrection and the Life.  Are you believing and trusting Christ regardless of what you’re physically seeing or experiencing?

At first when Jesus told her that her brother shall rise again, she was thinking about the end time general resurrection from the dead.  Christ knew exactly where her thinking and heart were but He entered into her situation to draw her out, broaden her expectation, elevate her faith and heighten her understandingby demonstrating His Authority, Power and Grace over all the circumstance regarding man.

In John 11: 25-26 NASB Jesus uttered these most inspiring words,“I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me will live even if he dies, and everyone who lives and believes in Me will never die. Do you believe this?”

The Lord knows what you’re experiencing at this very moment.  He’s more aware of your adverse circumstance, negative situation, hard time and painful condition than you will ever know.  But despite the dictates of your intellectual mind, emotional condition, natural thoughts or even the Satanic suggestions, He’s come in the power of His Living Word and Holy Spirit to take your faith to another level by trusting Him despite all the things that you see surrounding you.

Are you open to Jesus Christ as The Resurrection, your true and only source, the main substance, the first fruits, your redeemer and our everything?

Our greatest comfort can ONLY be found in Christ Jesus, in His Eternal Words and in the power of His Holy Spirit.  Today, HE STILL IS “THE GREAT I AM” and forever will be.  Will you trust Him even if you don’t understand or can’t see what He’s doing in your very midst?

Ephesians 3:20 NLT reminds us that God is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think.”

THEREFORE, HAVE FAITH IN GOD!

 

Daily Devotional – “Have You Ever Had A Negative Experience While Trying To Share Christ?”

Today’s Daily Devotional from Pastor Andrew Bills

 

 bad experience 2

 

Have You Ever Had A Negative Experience While Trying To Share Christ?”


One day while going door to door to share Christ, a woman answered her front door who was very interested in the gospel of Jesus Christ.  But, within moments she kept telling me to whisper because she didn’t want her husband to know that she was listening to a preacher.  So as I continued sharing, she constantly kept looking back over her shoulder in fear.  So, I finally inquired as to what was the matter.

 

She told me that her husband hates preachers, the Bible and God and even threatens Christians throughout the city and again she motioned for me to whisper to her.  As her face filled with fear and stress, I told her that Christ loved her and died to set her free.  The more I shared, she cried and began to reach out for Jesus Christ.  But, suddenly I began to hear this loud animal like growling in the background.  Then she screamed “please run” and quickly motioned me away from the door.   The sound grew louder, then as I backed up a few steps, her husband came bursting through the door like a manic to get me. 

 

I quickly thought about The Apostle Paul and how he went from city to city preaching the resurrection of Jesus Christ.  Some of the cities received his message but others threw him out and one even stoned him.  What compelled him to later return to those cities, even the more hostile ones?    It’s the love of Christ Jesus which is shed in our hearts that compels us to go onward and take the good news to the world, even despite the dangers of persecution.

 

Romans 10: 13-14 NIV says, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved. How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard?  And how can they hear without someone preaching to them?”

 

Rejection, slander, criticism, mockery, unkind words and ungodly gestures are just a few of experiences that no one likes having as you’re trying to share the good news of Christ to people.  Although you’re concerned about their eternal life, because they’re dead in their sins, they think that you’re trying to shove your religion down their throats and may even attempt to say or do ungodly things to scare or stop you.

Having preached on the streets, door to door witnessing, park rallies and through a variety of other methods, while I’ve encountered numerous negative experiences, none can compare with the overwhelming joy when you lead a sinner to Jesus Christ or encourage a person, whose faith has been shipwrecked, to return back to the church and begin studying the Bible again.

Are you aware that all Heaven rejoices when a sinner comes to Christ?  Heaven isn’t moved by the NBA Finals, the World Series, the Stanley Cup or even the Academy Awards.   No, all Heaven rejoices when a sinner opens his or her heart to Christ and a multitude of sins have been repented of and forgiven by God.

The reason for negative reactions to our witness is that people are bound in the sins in which they actually believe that they love or are held prisoner too and they don’t want to be told or reminded of God’s eternal judgment that’s to come.  They want to walk in their own will and have things their way, so they do all that they can, as they’re influenced or led by Satan to try to withstand the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Continuing with my experience, repulsed by my message, the husband came bursting through the front door after pushing his wife to the side, growling like a wild animal in an attempt to scare me.  He suddenly got right up into my face and angrily told me what he thought of God, the Bible, preachers and especially me.

I looked him straight in the eyes and told him about the love of Jesus and the blood that was shed on Calvary’s Cross just for him.  (I had earlier thought that if I’m going down, I’m going down lifting up my Lord and Savior).

He ceased the growling and told me that he was a Muslim and rejected the foolishness that Jesus was God.  Again, I kept sharing Christ as his frightened wife kept watching from the door. 

He finally shook my hand but said that he didn’t want anything to do with Jesus, asked me to leave his premises, not to come back and walked away into the house.  I stood out on his walkway and prayed for a few moments then left.

That next Sunday, the wife came to church with her teenage son and they both gave their lives to Jesus Christ.  She told me that she knew her husband would be upset about it but she needed Jesus. 

Again, although some people will be repulsed by us and our message, we must continue to share our hope with gentleness and grace and believe that Christ will change hardened hearts and set people free from their sins.

 

Daily Devotional – “Do You Really Believe In The Power Behind The Cross Of Jesus?”

Today’s Daily Devotional from Pastor Andrew Bills

cross 2 

Do You Really Believe In The Power Behind The Cross Of Jesus?”

On July 1, 1824, Charles Finney, an ordained Presbyterian minister, appeared in a number of churches and other buildings to lead revivals over the next few decades throughout New York and Pennsylvania.

Preaching three times on Sundays and three more times during the week throughout the “red light district”areas in these states, great revivals broke out as Finney taught that the atoning blood of Jesus Christ was all that was needed to open up the way for God to pardon people of their sin and only by repentance and the acceptance of Christ in one’s soul could one be saved from damnation and Hell’s fires and be assured of a place in Heaven.

A great decrease of the criminal activity in these areas was solely attributed to his gospel preaching and leading of thousands of sinners to Christ.

On one particular occasion, as Finney was about to enter the church he was to preach at, a man approached him and asked if he could privately speak with him after the service.  Finney said yes and after entering the building, a deacon pulled him quickly to the side and said, “Do you know who that man is?”  Finney said no.  The deacon said, “Don’t have anything to do with him.  It’s rumored that he’s the one responsible for all the gambling, drugs, prostitution and murders in this city.  He’s a really bad man!  Don’t have anything to do with him!”

Finney said that he had given his word to meet him after the service and must keep his word to see what he wanted, and entered the church.

After the service, that man was waiting for Finney on the doorsteps of the building.  Finney greeted him and the man said, “I would like to speak privately with you.  Can you come to my office?”  Finney said yes and began following him.

They walked a couple of blocks, then suddenly turned down a dark alley, before coming to a door that led downwards into a small room in the cellar.  In the room were just an old desk and one chair. 

As the man sat down, looking up at Finney he said, “Do you know who I am?” And Finney responded, “Yes.”   Then, the man slowly reached into his desk drawer and pulled out a gun and laid it on top of the desk and said, “I’d like to ask you a question.”

He proceeded, “It has been said that I’m the one responsible for all the gambling, drugs, prostitution and crime in this city.  Can God forgive a man for having done all of these things?”  Finney replied, “In First John 1:9 it says, if we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” 

The man just nodded, then said, “There are several families that have been ruined because I’ve had their husbands or fathers murdered.  Can God forgive a man for having done all of these things?”  Finney again responded, “In First John 1:9 it says, if we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”  Again, the man just slightly nodded his head.

Then the man said, “I’m married and have a little daughter that I rarely see because I’ve been with several other women.  Can God forgive a man for all of this?”  Once again Finney declared, “In First John 1:9 it says, if we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” 

Finally the man just looking up from his desk at Finney in the dimly lite room said, “You can now go.”  And without another spoken word from either, Finney departed.

After sunrise the next morning, the man went home.  Upon hearing the front door unlock, the man’s wife quickly told her daughter that “Your daddy’s home but whatever you do, stay out of his way.”  The man entered his home, upon smelling the scent of the breakfast, he entered into the kitchen where they were nervously standing.  He walked over to his little daughter and picked her up and held her for the first time in his arms and kissed her cheek and told her how much he loved her.  Then he proceeded to embrace his wife and after kissing her, he asked her forgiveness for all that he’d ever done to her and announced that their lives would never be the same again because of Christ.

You don’t get to Heaven by being “good” or go to Hell for being “bad.”  The Bible says we’re ALL born in sin or all bad, and we’ve ALL fallen short of the Glory of God and in need of a savior.  God therefore saves those who believe in His Son, that He died on the cross for them and washed their sins away.  Then God not only forgives our sin, but also purifies our heart. 

The Eternal Son put on flesh and blood and died to wash us from our sins in his own atoning blood that we may have a new relationship and intimate fellowship with Christ and be destined for Heaven.

God Himself has provided the sufficient and effectual Sacrifice for sin that is needed throughout all the generations of mankind, without which a person is lost forever.

 

Daily Devotional – “Do You Believe That Someone Else Is Responsible For Your Situation?”

Today’s Daily Devotional from Pastor Andrew Bills

blaming others 

Do You Believe That Someone Else Is Responsible For Your Situation?”

Casting the blame onto others or “passing the buck”is quite common in our world since the beginning of time.  It is a person’s fleshly, sinful and cowardly act of failing to take the responsibility for one’s very own wrongful act as they attempt to attribute it to another person or group.

 History has revealed young people blaming their parents, and/or parents blaming their society for their lack of values or good upbringing.   Our political arena is in shambles because each party accuses one another instead of seeking a common ground for the benefit of all the people.  

How many husbands have had affairs because they tried to blame their spouse for being cold, unloving or not able to satisfy their emotional or sexual needs.  Satan’s temptations are not only attractive but deceptive.  For the wages of sin is still death.

The rich blame the poor and the poor blame the rich for the ill conditions in our society.  Bigotry and gender bias is on the rise again as situations are about to re-ignite on the scene with everyone pointing the finger at the other person or group.   Then if that’s not enough,  recently in the news, a convicted murderer tried to blame his evil activities on the fast foods and pastries that he had earlier consumed! 

Rather than holding yourself personally accountable and then seeking forgiveness, deliverance, healing and guidance, many attempt to cast the blame on others to ascribe or cover up their sins.  But God holds each individual personally responsible for their own disobedience, failures, sins and lack of faith.   

The Lord has given you “the power of choice.”  Now as God seeks to influence your choice, Satan also seeks to influence your actions and decisions. God has created man to be a free moral agent, whose individual decisions will determine their destiny.   Such was the case back in the Garden of Eden.

God created Adam and Eve and placed them in a paradise environment with the simple instructions NOT to eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for in the day they would, they would die.

Once Eve was tempted and ate the forbidden fruit she quickly turned to Adam and he, not weakened, impaired or deceived, immediately knowingly and deliberately ate of the same.    Adam plainly showed contempt for what God had done for him by placing a higher value on his relationship with his wife than on his relationship and communion with his creator.

Then Genesis 3:7 NIV says, “Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves.”  Then they ran and tried to hide from God.

Then in Genesis 3:9, God calls out, “Adam, where are you?”    Adam and Eve did not manage to hide themselves in a place where God couldn’t see them, for where can you go to avoid His Presence?   NO, this indicates that God wanted them to bring themselves out as He came searching for those who were now lost.  But out of disobedience, they were now afraid of God’s holiness.  Before they sinned they welcomed God’s gracious visits with joy, but now he was a terror to them.

Their answers to God’s questions only revealed that neither was willing to accept that they had failed.  Adam no longer referred to Eve as “bone of my bone and flesh of my flesh” but now blamed God for her presence and actions.

Genesis 3: 12-13 NIV says, The man said, the woman you put here with me, she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it.”  Then the LORD God said to the woman, “What is this you have done?” The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.”

Adam and Eve both tried to excuse the sin by laying the blame and shame on others.  Satan may tempt, but he cannot force you to do anything contrary to your will.  He may suggest, persuade or entice you to sin but he cannot “make” you do it.  If his subtlety draws you into sin, then you must rightfully admit to your sinful activities.

When a child messes up and honestly comes and admits it, what loving parent would not forgive and embrace the child?  There may be a punishment, yes, but that only serves to strengthen the child’s character.  How much more will your loving Father in Heaven, who gave His only Son to die for your sins, embrace and love you?  The final question is, will you run  away from the Father’s immense loving forgiveness by trying to shift the blame, when He who knows all and sees all, already knows the truth?