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Beatrix von Watzdorf on: Prayer – Let Go and Trust God
Is something too big for you to handle on your own? Let go and let God work things out for the best. He has plans to prosper you, not harm you – to give you hope and a future (Jeremiah 29:11). He longs for you to turn to Him and invite Him to take over. This 10 minute guided Christian prayer meditation asks the Great Creator to do what only He can do. He will make your Path straight (Proverbs 3:5-6). He will place you safely on high ground (Psalm 18:33). And He will use whatever you’re going through for good (Genesis 50:20). You have nothing to fear, for your God walks with you (Psalm 23:4).
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Sunday, 3rd of November 2019
Blog link: https://www.otakada.org/the-day-of-decision
Nuggets of Wisdom – Key extraction from today’s message.
“The decision you need to make now is one you may have made once before, but the vitality of it has died. It is the kind of decision that, if you have not made it before, you need to make now. You must either accept or reject it. It is the only decision that can give you the power to live the life you desire and that God desires for you.”
“Being a committed Christian does not mean that once we accept Christ, we will then begin immediately to live a godly life. We simply don’t have the power to do that anymore than we have the power to keep all those other resolutions we make. “
“You are probably saying, “I’ve already done that. I’ve accepted Christ and I still don’t have any power.” If you have truly accepted Him, the key question is: Have you let “rules and regulations” or the “relationship” with Christ guide your life? If you accept Christ and then try to live a list of “dos and don’ts,” you will fail. If, however, you live to know Him and cultivate a relationship with Him, then living a godly life will be the normal by product of that relationship. The way out of immorality is a process, too.”
“If we try to “live the list” simply because we are “supposed” to, but fail to develop a relationship with the Lord, then we will undoubtedly fail. This is precisely why a number of Christians have fallen into immorality: They are trying to live a list. And a list has no power. You don’t have devotions in order to end an immoral relationship; you have devotions in order to establish a strong relationship with Christ. Then the power and the love in the relationship with Him enables you to end the sexual affair”
“If all the people who say they are Christians really are, then how can we know who is for real? What are the elements of a genuine relationship with Jesus Christ? Here are five spiritual indications of a life committed to Christ:”- Full details in today’s message
“26-27 “But if you just use my words in Bible studies and don’t work them into your life, you are like a stupid carpenter who built his house on the sandy beach. When a storm rolled in and the waves came up, it collapsed like a house of cards.” – Jesus Christ – Matthew 7:26-27
“I can see it now—at the Final Judgment thousands strutting up to me and saying, ‘Master, we preached the Message, we bashed the demons, our God-sponsored projects had everyone talking.’ And do you know what I am going to say? ‘You missed the boat. All you did was use me to make yourselves important. You don’t impress me one bit. You’re out of here.’” – Jesus in Matthew 7:22-23
Key verses for Today:
Matthew 5:27-32 Message
Adultery and Divorce
27-28 “You know the next commandment pretty well, too: ‘Don’t go to bed with another’s spouse.’ But don’t think you’ve preserved your virtue simply by staying out of bed. Your heart can be corrupted by lust even quicker than your body. Those leering looks you think nobody notices—they also corrupt.
29-30 “Let’s not pretend this is easier than it really is. If you want to live a morally pure life, here’s what you have to do: You have to blind your right eye the moment you catch it in a lustful leer. You have to choose to live one-eyed or else be dumped on a moral trash pile. And you have to chop off your right hand the moment you notice it raised threateningly. Better a bloody stump than your entire being discarded for good in the dump.
31-32 “Remember the Scripture that says, ‘Whoever divorces his wife, let him do it legally, giving her divorce papers and her legal rights’? Too many of you are using that as a cover for selfishness and whim, pretending to be righteous just because you are ‘legal.’ Please, no more pretending. If you divorce your wife, you’re responsible for making her an adulteress (unless she has already made herself that by sexual promiscuity). And if you marry such a divorced adulteress, you’re automatically an adulterer yourself. You can’t use legal cover to mask a moral failure.
Matthew 7:21-23 The Message (MSG)
21-23 “Knowing the correct password—saying ‘Master, Master,’ for instance—isn’t going to get you anywhere with me. What is required is serious obedience—doing what my Father wills. I can see it now—at the Final Judgment thousands strutting up to me and saying, ‘Master, we preached the Message, we bashed the demons, our God-sponsored projects had everyone talking.’ And do you know what I am going to say? ‘You missed the boat. All you did was use me to make yourselves important. You don’t impress me one bit. You’re out of here.’
Matthew 15:18-20 The Message (MSG)
16-20 Jesus replied, “You, too? Are you being willfully stupid? Don’t you know that anything that is swallowed works its way through the intestines and is finally defecated? But what comes out of the mouth gets its start in the heart. It’s from the heart that we vomit up evil arguments, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, lies, and cussing. That’s what pollutes. Eating or not eating certain foods, washing or not washing your hands—that’s neither here nor there.”
1 Corinthians 10:12-13 The Message (MSG)
11-12 These are all warning markers—danger! —in our history books, written down so that we don’t repeat their mistakes. Our positions in the story are parallel—they at the beginning, we at the end—and we are just as capable of messing it up as they were. Don’t be so naive and self-confident. You’re not exempt. You could fall flat on your face as easily as anyone else. Forget about self-confidence; it’s useless. Cultivate God-confidence.
13 No test or temptation that comes your way is beyond the course of what others have had to face. All you need to remember is that God will never let you down; he’ll never let you be pushed past your limit; he’ll always be there to help you come through it.
Exodus 20:14 –17
14 No adultery.
15 No stealing.
16 No lies about your neighbor.
17 No lusting after your neighbor’s house—or wife or servant or maid or ox or donkey. Don’t set your heart on anything that is your neighbor’s.
Note: If you are slow reader like me, you will be done in 33 minutes…trust me
The Pathway Back to Godliness – The Day of Decision
Step 1: Reestablishing a relationship with Christ
If you are now in the middle of an affair or in the process that could lead to one, you can’t muddle on any longer. Perhaps you have decided numerous times to stop, but you haven’t been able to give it up.
Not this time! This time a final decision must be made. No more fence-sitting. And, ironically, the decision is not to lead a godly life. The decision is not to change how you are. It isn’t a decision that will result in a neat, problem-free life.
The decision you need to make now is one you may have made once before, but the vitality of it has died. It is the kind of decision that, if you have not made it before, you need to make now. You must either accept or reject it. It is the only decision that can give you the power to live the life you desire and that God desires for you.
Before explaining this crucial decision, let’s summarize:
The problem — One of the growing problems that challenges the Christian community today is that of sexual immorality. It is damaging relationships between individuals, and between individuals and the Lord. The results are broken homes and broken lives. The Christian community is not immune to the devastation of sexual immorality. It can be, and is, infected by this sinful venom.
The awareness of a process—There is a process that leads a person from one step to another on the road to immorality. Aware ness of this process is the first step in dealing with the problem. Allot us are susceptible to becoming entangled in this process.
Now, what to do?
How many times have you “decided” to keep a New Year’s resolution? How many times have you decided to go on a diet? How many times have you decided to save a certain amount of money each month? How many times have you decided to exercise regularly, get organized, read, study, or pray? And how many times have you really succeeded in maintaining your decision? Most of us just decide to change, but then never act on that decision.
Being a committed Christian does not mean that once we accept Christ, we will then begin immediately to live a godly life. We simply don’t have the power to do that anymore than we have the power to keep all those other resolutions we make.
What we do have is the opportunity to enter into a new or renewed relationship with Jesus Christ. After entering into that relationship, it is with His power, and that of the Holy Spirit, that we are enabled to live godly lives.
You are probably saying, “I’ve already done that. I’ve accepted Christ and I still don’t have any power.” If you have truly accepted Him, the key question is: Have you let “rules and regulations” or the “relationship” with Christ guide your life?
If you accept Christ and then try to live a list of “dos and don’ts,” you will fail. If, however, you live to know Him and cultivate a relationship with Him, then living a godly life will be the normal byproduct of that relationship. The way out of immorality is a process, too.
In relating to people we care about, we are able to do the best for them because of our love for them. We are able to be self-sacrificing and giving because the relationship is more important than our own desires. If our relationship with Jesus Christ becomes also more important than our own desires, we will live more godly lives because we will try to please Him.
If we try to “live the list” simply because we are “supposed” to, but fail to develop a relationship with the Lord, then we will undoubtedly fail. This is precisely why a number of Christians have fallen into immorality: They are trying to live a list. And a list has no power. You don’t have devotions in order to end an immoral relationship; you have devotions in order to establish a strong relationship with Christ. Then the power and the love in the relationship with Him enables you to end the sexual affair.
What is the distinction between living a list based on our own determination and living a godly life as a result of a relationship with Jesus Christ? What is the decision to be made? In order to better understand this, let’s investigate how Jesus and His disciples related.
Matthew 4:18-20 describes the first calling of the disciples: “As Jesus was walking beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon called Peter and his brother Andrew. They were casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. ‘Come, follow me,’ Jesus said, ‘and I will make you fishers of men.’ At once they left their nets and followed him.”
Jesus must have presented to them a life better than the one they were leading for them to drop their nets and immediately follow Him. Jesus offers us a better life, too. In fact, eternal life. He invites us to follow Him—to change direction and walk with Him.
We must decide to follow Him and enter into a meaningful relationship with Him, or to return to what we were doing when He first became known to us.
Walking with Him
“Jesus went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the good news of the kingdom, and healing every disease and sickness among the people. . . . When he saw the crowds, he went up on a mountainside and sat down. His disciples came to him, and he began to teach them . . .” (Matthew4:23, 5:1-2).
Early in their relationship with the Lord, the disciples were with Him and listened to His teaching. Today, as we establish a relationship with the Lord, we can also walk with Him and listen to His teaching. We do this by reading the Bible, praying, learning from more mature Christians, and fellowshiping with other believers.
The early disciples walked with Jesus because of Jesus. They saw Him face-to-face and were given the ability to believe that He was who He said He was.
We do not see Jesus Christ face-to-face, but we do have the Holy Spirit to reveal Him to us. Jesus said, “When he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth” (John 16:13)- The power to live godly lives comes with the genuine commitment to enter into a
relationship with the Lord.
What Jesus taught
In Matthew 5-7 (the Sermon on the Mount), Jesus Christ taught many of the core principles necessary for living the Christian life. The disciples had already entered into a relationship with Him by the time He delivered that sermon. Living out what He taught was based on their established relationship with Him, not on their ability to live what He taught
The disciples undoubtedly wanted to obey what their Master taught because of Him, not just because of the teachings, for the Pharisees had been teaching the law for centuries. The result of their teaching was dry legalism.
At the end of the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus issued a warning to those who would not follow His teachings:
“Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. But everyone who hears those words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.”
When Jesus had finished saying these things, the crowds were amazed at his teaching, because he taught as one who had authority, and not as their teachers of the law. (Matthew 7:24-29)
The relationship the disciples had with Jesus was not threatened by His teachings. He taught about the blessings of obeying Him, as well as the consequences of not obeying. But the relationship, because it was real, was still there.
Jesus also made it clear that apart from a relationship with Him, there is no access to God. The keeping of the law alone would account for nothing. That takes care of the “lists”!
Elements of a genuine relationship with Christ
“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your m-me drive out demons and perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!”’ (Matthew 7:21-23).
If all the people who say they are Christians really are, then how can we know who is for real? What are the elements of a genuine relationship with Jesus Christ? Here are five spiritual indications of a life committed to Christ:
The disciples believed. In Matthew 8:23-26, we see the disciples with Jesus in a boat. When a storm comes up, the disciples are afraid. They awaken Jesus. “He replied, ‘You of little faith, why are you so afraid?’ Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm.” The friends of the paralytic man believed. “Jesus stepped into a boat, crossed over and came to his own town. Some men brought to him a paralytic, lying on a mat. When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “Take heart, son; your sins are forgiven’” (Matthew 9:1-2).
The woman believed. “Just then a woman who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years came up behind him and touched the edge of his cloak. She said to herself, ‘If I only touch his cloak, I will be healed.’ Jesus turned and saw her. ‘Take heart, daughter,’ he said, ‘your faith has healed you.’ And the woman was healed from that moment” (Matthew 9:20-22).
Committed, active faith is the beginning of a genuine relation ship with Christ. It is a faith that believes that Jesus is who He says He is, and that what He says is true.
In our relationships with others, it is essential that we can be able to believe what they say. If not, the relationships will deteriorate. If we say we have a relationship with Christ, but do not believe, or if we behave in a manner that shows we don’t truly believe, then we need to reevaluate the genuineness of our relationship. Jesus is faithful. If there is doubt, it is our fault.
“These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. They worship me in vain; their teachings are but rules taught by men’” (Matthew 15:8-9).
“Hearing that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, the Pharisees got together. One of them, an expert in the law, tested him with this question: ‘Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?’ Jesus replied: ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.” This is the first and greatest commandment’” (Matthew 22:34-38).
A person with a heart that loves God does not see a list of strict rules to follow. He or she sees a relationship with a perfectly faithful and loving friend. Instead of restriction, there is freedom. Instead of pain, there is comfort. Instead of things to do, there is a person for whom to do them.
Loving Jesus Christ will produce a life of willing obedience, i Though obedience will never be perfect in this life, the love behind it will motivate a believer toward godliness.
‘“But what about you?’ he asked. ‘Who do you say I am?’ Simon Peter answered, ‘You are the Christ, the Son of the living God’” (Matthew 16:15 16).
It is important to realize that the object of our faith and love is actually God Himself. Jesus, in His relationship with His disciples, made it clear to them that He was God the Son. When Peter said, “You are the Christ,” Jesus responded by saying, “Blessed are you. . . .” In our relationship with Christ, we have no grounds to believe that He could begin to do what He claims He can do if He is not God.
“From that time on Jesus began to explain to his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, chief priests and teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life” (Matthew 16:21).
Understanding the mission of jesus allows us to understand why we can be free. If we do not understand what Jesus did for us, we will not be able to have a lasting commitment to Him.
Because of who He is and what He did, our personal relationship with Him is not like any other we experience. It is not a temporary friendship with a wonderful person. It is a permanent commitment with the living God, resulting in eternal life.
“Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thorn bushes, or figs from thistles? Likewise every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them” (Matthew 7:15-20).
“We know that anyone born of God does not continue to sin; the one who was born of God keeps him safe, and the evil one cannot harm him. We know that we are children of God, and that the whole world is under the control of the evil one. We know also that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding, so that we may know him who is true. And we are in him who is true—even in his Son
Jesus Christ. He is the true God and eternal life” (1 John 5:18 20). Obedience is the fruit of a genuine relationship with Jesus Christ. The obedience we attempt is less than perfect. So what do we do when confronted with a particular sin? The account of Peter is a classic example of a true believer caught in the sin of denying Christ. When Peter realized what he had done he “went outside and wept bitterly” (Matthew 26:75).
If we have a true relationship with Jesus Christ and we become aware of a sin in our lives, we will weep bitterly. The work of repentance will cause the true believer to want to change. If there is no feeling of sorrow over hurting our Lord, we need to really evaluate if Jesus is really our ford at all.
We see that Peter was restored to fellowship with the Lord. He was with the disciples when Jesus appeared to them after His resurrection. After they saw Him, they (including Peter) worshiped Him.
“If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:8-9). As we seek to walk obediently, we are motivated out of love for Christ. When we fail, we are able to ask forgiveness and begin again.
You can begin to win the battle of immorality only by having a new or renewed relationship with Jesus Christ. This is not a decision assuring that you will never be tempted again. But it does show that you desire to put the relationship with Christ above your own desires. Just as there is a process that leads to immorality; there is also a process that leads away from it toward a godly lifestyle. The first step of the process back to God is to make the relationship with Christ number one in importance in your life. The decision is not to stop immorality, but to follow Him. Decide now to commit to Jesus—or decide not to. If you claim to belong to Him, decide to make that relationship a priority. If you don’t want to do that, stop claiming that you belong to Him and stop further degrading His name by your behavior.
Jesus said, ‘‘He who is not with me is against me . . .” (Matthew 12:30). When you say that you are with Christ, you are not making a commitment never to sin again. You are making a commitment to make your relationship with the living God the number-one priority in your life.
The difference between this commitment to Christ and any you may have made in the past is that this time you are putting your relationship with Him in the forefront of your awareness. The first time your commitment may have been to gain eternal life. But with this commitment you are saying to the Lord that He is important to you . . . that you desire a meaningful relationship with Him . . . that living as He says to live is important to you because it is important to Him . . . that He will be the Lord of all you say, think and do. . . the Lord of your life.
If He is first, then relationships with others will only be fulfilling if they are ones He would approve of. If Christ is Lord of your life, there will be a power present to begin the process of turning from situations that are ungodly. When you decide to establish (or reestablish) a relationship with Christ, you have taken the first step in the process back to godliness.
Questions for reflection and application:
- Do you desire to make a change today based on information presented above?
- The wrong relationships have to go As you have said yes to the above, He will then release the grace to stand for Him as He perfects all that concerns you.
Dear Lord God, we bring before You those who have desired and have made a decision to make amends today. Lord, grant grace, Lord lead, Lord bring them into awesome relationships that glorifies You in Jesus name, Amen
Monday Ogwuojo Ogbe
E – Discipleship @ Otakada.org