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Archive for June 5th, 2017

from JO’s sermon tonight:

we all make mistakes, and do things we know that we shouldn’t. it’s easy to go around with a heaviness, feeling bad about ourselves, but living guilty doesn’t do anything productive; it doesn’t help you to do better, it causes you to struggle more. guilt drains you emotionally, physically. when we’re guilty, we don’t pursue dreams, believe to overcome challenges; we get stuck.

this is why the enemy works overtime in this area; he knows that guilt will keep you from your destiny. there is nothing that he would love any more than for you to go through life against yourself; focused on your failures, feeling unworthy. he’s called the accuser of the brethren; he’ll remind you of everything that you’ve done wrong for the last 30 years. before you get out of bed in the morning, he’ll replay mistakes that you’ve made, how you weren’t there for your children, lost your temper, gave into the temptation. but here’s the key; the moment you asked God to forgive you, He not only forgave you, He doesn’t remember your sins anymore:

Hebrews 8:12 (NKJV)
12 For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more.

that means, if someone is bringing up negative things from your past, that’s not God; that’s the accuser trying to deceive you into carrying a heavy load of guilt. do yourself a favor; say, “no thanks; I’m not perfect, but I am forgiven.” you can’t drag yesterday’s failures into today and live in victory. let it go; God’s mercies are fresh every morning. don’t spend another minute down on yourself, living in regrets; God has forgiven you, why don’t you forgive yourself? God is not pushing you down; why don’t you stop pushing yourself down?

the scripture talks about how God has made you righteous:

Corinthians 1:30 (CEB)
30 It is because of God that you are in Christ Jesus. He became wisdom from God for us. This means that he made us righteous

righteous means holy, blameless, honorable. it doesn’t say that you’re going to be righteous one day, when you perform better, get your temper under control; you are righteous right now, not because of what you’ve done, but because of what Christ has done. you can’t do anything to make you more righteous, in fact,

Isaiah 64:6 (MEV)
6 … all our righteousness is as filthy rags

meaning, we can never measure up on our own; no matter how hard we try, how disciplined we are, there will be times that we fail. Paul said:

Romans 5:17 (NIV)
17 … those who receive God’s abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ!

if you see yourself as unworthy, not deserving, you don’t measure up, you’re not receiving the gift. the accuser will tell you that you’ve made too many mistakes, failed too many times, you’ll never get it right; God says, “you are My holy, righteous, blameless, honorable, anointed, amazing child.” who are you going to believe? are you going to let the accuser deceive you into carrying the guilt, going around against yourself? no, start receiving the gift.

when those voices remind you of everything you’re not, one of the best things you can say is, “I am righteous, holy, blameless, honorable.” everything in your mind will say, “no you’re not: you have an addiction, you keep giving in to the temptation, you made those mistakes.” but when you declare, “I am righteous,” you are announcing to every force that’s trying to stop you, the accuser, the guilt, the heaviness, “you don’t control my life, determine my destiny. you can’t stop my purpose, the Creator of the universe made me righteous; He made me holy, blameless.” that’s receiving the gift of righteousness.

Proverbs 28:1 (NIV)
28 … the righteous are as bold as a lion.

when it comes to righteousness, you have to be bold. your own thoughts will tell you, “you’re not blameless. God is not pleased with you; look at what you’ve done, at your mistakes.” guilt and condemnation will come knocking. if you’re unsure, doubtful, intimidated, guilt will take over. this is where you have to be bold; “I may not feel worthy, but I know that God has made me worthy. I don’t feel righteous, but Father, by faith I receive Your gift; I thank You that I am righteous.” you used to be a sinner, but when you gave your life to Christ, you became a new creation; now, you’re a son/daughter of the most high God. if you’ll give up your guilt, regret, unworthiness, God will give you His righteousness.

“I should’ve raised my children better, finished school, I lost my temper yesterday”; we carry all these regrets, they weigh us down, and then we wonder why life is a struggle, we’re tired, can’t accomplish a dream. you weren’t created to live guilty, to have that nagging voice always telling you, “there’s something wrong with you, you don’t deserve to be happy”; those are weights that the accuser uses to try to keep you from your destiny. if he can’t get you off-course, he’ll at least try to weigh you down, so you don’t go as far as you should.

Hebrews 12:1 (KJV)
1 … let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us

are you carrying weights of guilt, regret, shame? it’s time to lay aside those weights. the accuser has held you back long enough; nothing that you’ve done in the past is too much for the mercy of God. you are redeemed, restored, holy, blameless; shake off the guilt, the accusing voices, and receive the gift of righteousness.

children know how to receive a gift; they don’t start debating whether or not they deserve it, have they earned it, have they been good enough. like a child, you have to receive the gift of righteousness; don’t start thinking about all that you did, or didn’t do, trying to figure out if you really deserve it, if you’re good enough. you can’t earn it, it’s a gift; just receive it.

sometimes, we think we have to pay God back for our mistakes by living down and discouraged, show Him that we’re sorry, remorseful. yes, there should be a conviction when we do something wrong, I’m not saying to do whatever you want and not feel bad about it; the point is that once you ask for forgiveness, you don’t have to pay God back, the price has already been paid. when you live guilty, you’re saying in effect, “the sacrifice that Christ made wasn’t enough, let me add something to it, do my part by paying some sort of penalty for this wrong that I’ve done.” living guilty and condemned doesn’t bring any honor to God. after all Christ did to pay the price, if you want to honor God, get rid of the guilt, quit listening to the accusing voices and move forward with your life.

Isaiah 43:25 (NIV)
25 “I, even I, am he who blots out
your transgressions, for my own sake,
and remembers your sins no more.

God is an all-knowing God. He knows everything that’s ever going to happen, past, present, and future, yet when we ask Him to forgive us, this all-powerful, all-knowing God, in a sense steps out of character, and says, “I’m going to delete that event, I’m not going to keep any record of it.” (His love and mercy are even more powerful than His omniscience.) He chooses not to remember. if God forgets it, why don’t you forget it? if God let it go, why don’t you let it go?

some people keep asking God to forgive them for the same thing over and over for years; they don’t realize that the first time they asked, God not only forgave them, but He doesn’t remember it anymore. when you bring it up, it’s as if God is saying, “what are you talking about? I don’t remember that mistake, failure, the time you gave into temptation.” quit remembering what God has forgotten, telling Him how bad you are, how you messed up, lost your temper. He forgave you way back when you asked the first time; all that’s doing is making you feel guilty, condemned, bad about yourself.

instead of asking for forgiveness for the same thing, start receiving God’s mercy; mercy covers our mistakes, gives you what you didn’t deserve. you were guilty, it was your fault, you deserve judgment, but mercy says, “you’re forgiven, redeemed, restored.” when you’re tempted to ask forgiveness for the same thing, turn it around; “Father, thank You for Your mercy in my life.”

this is what Jonah had to do; he’d just made the biggest mistake of his life:

Jonah 1:1-3 (NIV)
1 The word of the Lord came to Jonah son of Amittai: 2 “Go to the great city of Nineveh and preach against it, because its wickedness has come up before me.”
3 But Jonah ran away from the Lord and headed for Tarshish.

Jonah ended up almost losing his life:

Jonah 1:17 (NIV)
17 Now the Lord provided a huge fish to swallow Jonah, and Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights.

Jonah 2:10 (NIV)
10 And the Lord commanded the fish, and it vomited Jonah onto dry land.

you would think that God would say, “Jonah, you need to sit on the sidelines and think about your mistake. you need to pay some kind of penalty for that wrong; maybe one day I’ll use you again, give you another chance.” no, as soon as Jonah was on dry ground, safe:

Jonah 3:1-2 (NIV)
3 Then the word of the Lord came to Jonah a second time: 2 “Go to the great city of Nineveh and proclaim to it the message I give you.”

God didn’t say a single word to Jonah about what he had done wrong. He was saying, in effect, “Jonah, you repented, asked for forgiveness, now get back in the game. you don’t have to sit around defeated for a week, month, year; I’ve forgiven you, now do what I asked you to do.”

a lot of times, we categorize our mistakes; if it’s something small, we think we have to pay God back by living down and discouraged for a day or 2, if it’s something medium, maybe a week or two, but if it’s something big, like with Jonah, we really messed up, brought the trouble on ourselves, we think we have to give up our joy, peace, dreams, for at least a year or 2, after all it was our fault. but like with Jonah, God doesn’t say, “go sit on the sidelines, you blew it, caused Me a lot of trouble, I’m not going to have anything to do with you for years”; that’s not the way God is. the accuser will work overtime, telling you, “God’s not going to bless you, you can’t expect His favor, to accomplish dreams, you owe God a whole lot for that mistake.” no, the price has been paid; don’t believe those lies.

God can’t use you in the way He wants to when you live guilty, feeling condemned, down on yourself; we’re not a good witness, we don’t pursue dreams, take steps of faith. God needs you confident, secure, feeling good about yourself; He has an assignment for you.

can you imagine when Jonah stood up in front of the entire city of Nineveh, and told them to repent? every voice in his ear whispered, “Jonah, you’re a hypocrite, you just repented yesterday, you’re no better than these people, you have no right to be up here.” Jonah had to do what we all must do; he ignored the accusing voices, shook off the guilt, and received the gift of righteousness.

God was going to destroy the city of Nineveh, but because Jonah asked them to repent, instead of sitting on the sidelines trying to pay God back for his mistake, the whole city repented, and:

Jonah 3:10 (NIV)
10 When God saw what they did and how they turned from their evil ways, he relented and did not bring on them the destruction he had threatened.

are you letting a mistake you made, some way that you failed, convince you that God won’t have anything to do with you right now? maybe one day He’ll use you, help you accomplish a dream. no, God is saying to you what He said to Jonah, “get back in the game; I have something for you to do right now. that mistake didn’t stop your destiny; you don’t have to sit on the sidelines, so start moving forward.”

God corrects us, gets us on the right course, and says to move forward. now here’s where you have to be bold, because those thoughts will tell you, “you knew the right thing, and you did the wrong thing; God’s not going to bless you.” just say, “no thanks, I’ve asked for forgiveness, received God’s mercy. I’m not going to live condemned, down on myself, I’m going to keep moving forward. I know that I have a destiny to fulfill.”

in the scripture, Samson made a lot of mistakes. an angel told his mother:

Judges 13:3-5 (NIV)
3 The angel of the Lord appeared to her and said… 5 You will become pregnant and have a son… He will take the lead in delivering Israel from the hands of the Philistines.”

Samson started off good; he had supernatural strength, couldn’t be defeated by his enemies, but he let his guard down, started compromising, one thing led to another, and this powerful, influential man ended up being captured by his enemies:

Judges 16:21 (NIV)
21 Then the Philistines seized him, gouged out his eyes and took him down to Gaza. Binding him with bronze shackles, they set him to grinding grain in the prison.

you would think that after all of Samson’s poor choices, God would be done with him; after all, Samson knew better, it was his fault. but God never gives up on us; don’t believe those lies that you’ve gone too far off course, made too many mistakes.

Judges 16:23-30 (NIV)
23 Now the rulers of the Philistines assembled… to celebrate… 25 … they called Samson out of the prison, and he performed for them… 26 Samson said to the servant who held his hand, “Put me where I can feel the pillars that support the temple, so that I may lean against them.” 27 Now the temple was crowded with men and women; all the rulers of the Philistines were there, and on the roof were about three thousand men and women watching Samson perform. 28 Then Samson prayed to the Lord, “Sovereign Lord, remember me. Please, God, strengthen me just one more time, and let me with one blow get revenge on the Philistines for my two eyes.” 29 Then Samson reached toward the two central pillars on which the temple stood… he pushed with all his might, and down came the temple on the rulers and all the people in it. Thus he killed many more when he died than while he lived.

you may have made mistakes, and the accuser is telling you that you’re all washed up; no, like with Samson, God has a one more time for you. you have not seen your greatest victories; you wouldn’t be alive unless God has something amazing in front of you. will you get back in the game, get your fire, passion, dreams back? life is too short to go through it against yourself. you may have made mistakes, we all have; God is saying, “you’re forgiven.” since He forgives you, why don’t you forgive yourself? as long as you’re beating yourself up, reliving failures, dwelling on disappointments, that’s going to keep you from your one more time. shake that off, this is a new day; it’s time to say goodbye to guilt, condemnation, heaviness.

Romans 8 (KJV)
1 There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.

when you make a mistake, if you’re in the flesh, you beat yourself up, feel unworthy, try to pay God back by living down and discouraged; when you do that, you’ll feel guilty, condemned. but when you walk in the spirit, you say, “yes, I made a mistake, it was my fault, but I asked God for forgiveness, and I know that He not only forgave me, but He doesn’t remember it, so I’m not going to sit around beating myself up, I’m saying goodbye to guilt, condemnation, the accusing voices. I’m getting ready for my one more time.” that’s when there’s no condemnation, when you don’t wallow around in defeat, believe the accuser’s lies. you may have made mistakes, gotten off course, but that is not how your story ends; If you’ll shake off the guilt, God has a one more time coming your way, something bigger, more rewarding, than you’ve ever imagined.

just because you feel guilty doesn’t mean that you are guilty. you can’t go by your feelings; feelings don’t always tell us the truth. I may not feel forgiven, holy, but I know that I am forgiven, holy. I don’t perform perfectly all the time, but I know that I am righteous, blameless, honorable, because I have received the gift of righteousness.”

James 4:7 (NIV)
7 Resist the devil

to resist means to not agree with what he’s telling you. when you hear him whisper, “you’re all washed up, you failed too many times, made too many mistakes,” the way you resist him is by saying, “no thanks, I know that my best days are still in front of me, God’s mercy is bigger than any mistake.” don’t assist him; resist him. he’ll tell you, “you don’t deserve to be blessed; look what you’ve done.” instead of assisting him, “yes, you’re right, what was I thinking?” resist him; “I am the righteousness of God, forgiven, redeemed.”

“you failed, you blew it, you should’ve done better”; he always talks to you about your past. talk to him about your future; “God’s plans for me are for good, the path of the righteous keeps getting brighter and brighter. I know one more time is coming my way; until then, I’m going to live guilt-free.” are you carrying something that’s weighing you down today, assisting the accuser by believing his lies? it’s time to start resisting him; believe what God says about you. we’ve all made mistakes, but remember, you don’t have to pay God back; the price has already been paid. I’m asking you to receive His forgiveness, mercy; you have enough against you in life as it is, don’t be against yourself. if you’ll do this, weights of condemnation are lifting off of you right now: you’re going to live guilt-free, confident, secure, holy, blameless, honorable, righteous.

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