praying_man_at_altar

“Just hang in there.” “Things will get better.” “This too shall pass.” Crazy thoughts. Sometimes true, but sometimes horribly inaccurate. Things don’t just get better.

We often extend our trials unnecessarily. Impatiently waiting for the storm to pass so we can find some sense of comfort and relief. We nervously persist, waiting for things to change. We yearn for a reprieve from the current discomfort we find ourselves in.

What do we do when waiting isn’t working? When endurance simply falls short we must change our strategy. What if, we pray? What if we took a moment and talked directly to God about our situation? What if He is listening? What if He is interested in your circumstances and state of mind? What if He actually cares? What a mind blowing thought. Well, the truth is this. He does care and He wants to help.

Great news! Thank you, Jesus. Fix all of my problems right now, right? Wait a  minute, it doesn’t usually work out that way.  When we give our problems to Jesus what we don’t realize is that most of what we think are our problems are not our actual problems. You are usually your biggest problem. When you give it all to Jesus He takes control and begins a work in you. Sometimes He fixes the circumstances but usually He works on fixing you. He repairs our perspective and our attitude. He repairs our lack of trust and unwillingness to endure. He gives us patience when we want results. He gives us the supernatural ability to suffer long when we want an alleviation of discomfort.

When we pray, we surrender. We yield. We forfeit our rights and wants. We give up our strength and our weakness. When we empty ourselves of our wants, our rights and our privileges we will find ourselves full of His strength and righteousness and love.

Simply hanging in there changes very little. Hanging on to Jesus changes everything.

-Pastor Danny

Sermon: Identify

Who am I? What Difference Does It Make?

• Most of us have Identity Issues.

• Men often tend to identify with their work while women often identify through relationships.

• Some use race, social status, economic status, vocation, or bloodline.

• How do you answer when someone says, “Tell me about yourself?”

• Many don’t like who they are and want to change.

• Most have a very difficult time changing.

Proverbs 23:6-7 “Eat not the bread of him who has a hard, grudging, and envious eye, neither desire his dainty foods; 7 For as he thinks in his heart, so is he. As one who reckons, he says to you, eat and drink, yet his heart is not with you [but is grudging the cost]. Amplified

For as he thinks in his heart, so is he.

Hebrewfir think = Shaar: to calculate, reckon

You are what you think you are. You do what you think you will do.

1 John 3:10 “By this it is made clear who take their nature from God and are His children and who take their nature from the devil and are his children: no one who does not practice righteousness [who does not conform to God’s will in purpose, thought, and action] is of God; neither is anyone who does not love his brother (his fellow [a]believer in Christ).”

• Dr. Caroline Leaf is a cognitive neuroscientist with a PhD in Communication Pathology and a BSc in Logopedics and Audiology, specializing in metacognitive and cognitive neuropsychology. Since the early 1980‘s she has studied and researched the Mind-Brain connection and did some of the initial research back in the late 80s showing the neuroplasticity of the brain.

• Dr. Caroline Leaf states that 87-95% of our current mental, physical, emotional and behavioral problems today come from our thought life.

• Your brain is made up of thoughts which are real things.

• Thoughts create trees with trunks and branches that take up actual space in your brain. Every thought is changing the physical structure of your brain.

• We are always creating brain connections and pathways.

• The more you think about something the stronger it gets and the deeper the roots and the wider the branches.

• Thoughts actually rewire our brain physically.

• This knowledge makes Philippians 4:8 become even more important.

Philippians 4:8 “For the rest, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is worthy of reverence and is honorable and seemly, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely and lovable, whatever is kind and winsome and gracious, if there is any virtue and excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think on and weigh and take account of these things [fix your minds on them].” AMP

Habits

• Habits come from your identity

• Habits are identity on autopilot.

• New habits take 21 days to stick.

Main Point: We live out our identity.

1. We manifest externally the internal picture we have of ourselves.

2. We each have a set of personal expectations of ourselves based on the image we have of ourselves.

3. When people sabotage themselves, they do so because they have no personal vision of success. No internal picture to live up to.

4. This affects every relationship we have including our relationship with God.

5. We live out a version of our self-image: Identity.

6. Until your identity changes you will always revert to the picture you have about yourself.

Amnesia: loss of memory

What triggers amnesia?

• Usually due to brain injury, shock, fatigue, repression, or illness.

• It is a survival mechanism.

Spiritual Amnesia: loss of identity.

Renew your mind. Make it new again.

Vision (See it)

Proverbs 29:18 “Where there is no vision [no redemptive revelation of God], the people perish; but he who keeps the law [of God, which includes that of man]—blessed (happy, fortunate, and enviable) is he.

You have to see it before you can be it.

• Faith helps you see the unseen.

• Faith comes from rewiring your brain with the help of your spirit.

Romans 10:17 “So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.”

Romans 12:2 “Do not be conformed to this world (this age), [fashioned after and adapted to its external, superficial customs], but be transformed (changed) by the [entire] renewal of your mind [by its new ideals and its new attitude], so that you may prove [for yourselves] what is the good and acceptable and perfect will of God, even the thing which is good and acceptable and perfect [in His sight for you].” Amplified

If you want to change what you are, you must change what you think about who you are. God has decided who you are. Agree with Him.

Say this:

I am love. I am grace. I am redemption. I am help. I am forgiveness.

I am healing. I am a tangible demonstration of the character of God.

I am a creation of God. I am created to do good works. I am the proclamation and demonstration of the power of the love of God.

Humanity is marching and protesting and fighting and griping and complaining over misconceptions and wrong thinking. I am a human. I am white. I am male. I am a sinner. I am messed up. I need a savior. Other men and women are black or brown or red or albino. All are sinners, messed up and in need of a savior.

The roots of all of the garbage on the news is pride and ego and an over inflated sense of self. Society will always divide us by race, gender or social status as long as we allow it. There is one race on earth. The spirit race. We are spirits that live in bodies. The look of our bodies vary but what matters is that we all sin and fall short of the glory of God. It is time to stop allowing the enemy of us all to continue to divide us based on pigment, culture and class.

Do you think God looks at us and sees race, color, or hue? He sees us as wounded, broken, and needy. We are united by our weakness. We need Jesus Christ to take over our lives. We need His spirit to live in us and to love through us.

Then there is no us vs them…only us. We are designed to love but we choose hate because we are foolish and insecure. We don’t know who and what we are. We are sons and daughters of the one true God. It is time to act like it. God is love. We are His children. Children of love. Nothing on earth will satisfy us until we live from that knowledge.

Jesus said, “If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. 1 John 4:20

To God there is no black and white only sheep and goats. Think about it.

Fathers: you have a great responsibility to teach your children and lead your family in the ways of God. If you don't do it, who will?

If a father won't lead his family to God it is only because of one of three reasons.

Number 1. He is lazy.
Number 2. He is a coward.
Number 3. He is lost and doesn't know God Himself.

If this makes you angry. Then you know it's truth.

Repent.
The word repent means to change your direction. If your leading your family away from God, turn around.

It starts with a simple conversation with God. Acknowledge Him and ask for help in knowing Him and following Him.
He loves you. Your family is at stake.

It doesn’t work. Fighting depression. Resisting sadness. Trying to be happy at all times and in every situation is not realistic or healthy. Grief is an essential part of human emotion process. We tell ourselves and others, “Don’t be sad.” “Look for the positive.” 
Sadness is not failure. Sadness can actually help us to appropriately come to terms with loss. Depression is often prolonged because we fight sadness with all that is in us. We resist and we strain and we try so hard to avoid sadness because we are trying to avoid pain.
Believe it or not, it is necessary to grieve. We will grieve eventually. It will not be denied. Those who believe that they have gotten away with avoiding grief don’t realize that the hardness of heart they now carry is robbing them of true relationship with those who need them to be open and honest and vulnerable. 
When you turn off and deny unpleasant emotions you inhibit your emotional health and eventually physical health. We often avoid sadness with anger, with humor, with addiction, or any number of other distractions. The toll it takes eventually becomes unbearable and we have meltdowns and we lash out and we cause pain to not only ourselves but those we love.
When you feel sad or melancholy give yourself permission to be sad for awhile. Feel the emotions instead suppressing them. Deal with what they bring up.
Cry if you need to. Tears actually help release pain. Give those around you some time to feel sad sometimes. When we release pain it allows us to begin to heal. Our God is a comforter. His Spirit will sit with you in your sadness and He will not rush you. As you allow yourself to feel what you really feel he will not pressure to “get over it.” He will help you get through it and will be with you each step of the way.
People who realize the truth that emotions are God given and serve a spiritual purpose are healthier and free to lay their baggage at the foot of our Lord.
Take your sadness to our Heavenly Father and rest in His healing presence.

Yes, Christians are dead to sin.
Stop obsessing over it.

Romans 6:5-11 “Since we have been united with him in his death, we will also be raised to life as he was. 6 We know that our old sinful selves were crucified with Christ so that sin might lose its power in our lives. We are no longer slaves to sin. 7 For when we died with Christ we were set free from the power of sin. 8 And since we died with Christ, we know we will also live with him. 9 We are sure of this because Christ was raised from the dead, and he will never die again. Death no longer has any power over him. 10 When he died, he died once to break the power of sin. But now that he lives, he lives for the glory of God. 11 So you also should consider yourselves to be dead to the power of sin and alive to God through Christ Jesus. 
Since you are forgiven, walk in it the grace and beauty of what you have received. 

Receive His mercy and become what you have received. (walk in it.) 

Receive His love and become what you have received (walk in it.)

Under the law I forgive, to be forgiven. Under Grace I forgive, because I am forgiven.