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V2H In India First Couple Of Days

Originally posted on vision2hear:

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Vision 2 Hear is in India until March 10th working with our partner Sion Assembly Church in Vijayawada. We are very excited to be here and assist in sharing the gospel of Christ through preaching and meeting needs of people. The travel took us about 42 hours ( including the layovers) to get to our final destination for the next several days. Aside from a few minor challenges, our trip was uneventful, but long. Having spent yesterday and today recovering and catching up on much needed sleep, we have ventured out into the community already to visit some of the church locations and see some of the people.

DSC_0024This small sanctuary hosts the first services for SAC on Sunday mornings at 6am. With about 40 or more people sitting inside and then more outside, Pastor Ravi kicks off the day with the first of 7 services!

Pastor Rajendra and his…

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day 4

Ephesians 4:17-24 Day 4 Lent

17 day 4With the Lord’s authority I say this: Live no longer as the Gentiles do, for they are hopelessly confused. 18 Their minds are full of darkness; they wander far from the life God gives because they have closed their minds and hardened their hearts against him.19 They have no sense of shame. They live for lustful pleasure and eagerly practice every kind of impurity.

20 But that isn’t what you learned about Christ. 21 Since you have heard about Jesus and have learned the truth that comes from him, 22 throw off your old sinful nature and your former way of life, which is corrupted by lust and deception. 23 Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes. 24 Put on your new nature, created to be like God—truly righteous and holy.

There’s a new way to live. You don’t have to live like you “used” to live. Sometimes this requires breaking away from people, relationships, habits, or jobs that are associated with the “old” life. 

Confusion is not from God. God is clear and direct but also mysterious in some things; not confusing. God has given many clear directives about living and life. Following those directives will help clear up any other confusing things. Sometimes I may want a “why” before doing what god wants and that’s what I would call “confusion” but God says to “do” and then the confusion will evaporate. 

Before Christ, there was no power to see the Light. Christ has come and allowed there to be Light in that darkness. People have to choose to turn on the light in their lives. 

It’s easy to simply “wander” in the wilderness. Look at the Israelites. Wandering is for lost people. People of Christ should not wander for they have purpose and meaning in life. If we wander it is because we have been drawn away by the delights of this world.

Have I closed my mind, hardened my heart to anything God is saying to me? Am I living with any sense of shame? Am I finding pleasure in the wrong ways? Am I practicing the wrong things? Christ has called me to a different life and these are questions I must address continually as life moves along.

It is important to take the things I learn about Christ and His life and put them into practice.

Learning is demonstrated in actionable ways.

Christ wants me to live out my faith, to put Christ on display through how I live.

Throw off the old, put on the new. The idea is there has to be a transition from old to new. There has to be a letting go and a taking up. There has to be a putting “off” and a putting “on”. This is the principle of Replacement. Everywhere God tells us to get rid of something, He also tells us to take on something else.

If there is a void in our lives, it is because we have failed to replace something old with something new. 

Renewing your mind and thoughts each day is important. It is essential to the life that overcomes.

Allow new thoughts, perspectives and directives to come from the Lord as you embrace each new day. 

God created me to be holy and righteous and therefore it is possible. It will not happen because of my “self-will” but by His Spirit and power I can become all God created me to be: holy and righteous.

 

day 3

Lent Day 3: Galatians 5:16-26

day 3

16 So I say, let the Holy Spirit guide your lives. Then you won’t be doing what your sinful nature craves. 17 The sinful nature wants to do evil, which is just the opposite of what the Spirit wants. And the Spirit gives us desires that are the opposite of what the sinful nature desires. These two forces are constantly fighting each other, so you are not free to carry out your good intentions. 18 But when you are directed by the Spirit, you are not under obligation to the law of Moses.

19 When you follow the desires of your sinful nature, the results are very clear: sexual immorality, impurity, lustful pleasures, 20 idolatry, sorcery, hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, dissension, division, 21 envy, drunkenness, wild parties, and other sins like these. Let me tell you again, as I have before, that anyone living that sort of life will not inherit the Kingdom of God.

22 But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!

24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have nailed the passions and desires of their sinful nature to his cross and crucified them there. 25 Since we are living by the Spirit, let us follow the Spirit’s leading in every part of our lives. 26 Let us not become conceited, or provoke one another, or be jealous of one another.

Thoughts and Reflections

16 So I say, let the Holy Spirit guide your lives. Then you won’t be doing what your sinful nature craves. 17 The sinful nature wants to do evil, which is just the opposite of what the Spirit wants. And the Spirit gives us desires that are the opposite of what the sinful nature desires. These two forces are constantly fighting each other, so you are not free to carry out your good intentions. 18 But when you are directed by the Spirit, you are not under obligation to the law of Moses.

day 3.1

We must let the Spirit guide. He doesn’t force Himself; we must surrender to His lead.

He wants to lead our entire life, not just a part or segment of life.

The sinful nature craves to consume, not to contribute. It seeks to devour and to please self not to promote serving and love.  

Do you consume or contribute to the world around you?day 3.2

Opposites do not always attract. The two natures within are always warring and fighting.

Whichever nature you feed is the one that will breed in your life. 

Oftentimes we have such good intentions but Hell is paved with good intentions. We must act. We must discipline ourselves. We must live intentionally. 

day 3.3If you don’t like your fruit, you’d better check your root.

Lent is a time to be prayerfully directed. Even the Spirit led Jesus into the wilderness. But the fact remains that Jesus did not sin. With Christ as my example, I too do not have to sin. I am under no obligation to sin. I am free to choose to live for Christ and allow the nature of Christ to rule my heart, mind, body and soul.

19 When you follow the desires of your sinful nature, the results are very clear: sexual immorality, impurity, lustful pleasures, 20 idolatry, sorcery, hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, dissension, division, 21 envy, drunkenness, wild parties, and other sins like these. Let me tell you again, as I have before, that anyone living that sort of life will not inherit the Kingdom of God.

It is easy to think we are in control but we are not. We are “following” our desires. They can control us and fool us into thinking that we “got this”, all the while leading us to destruction. It is very important to submit to the leadership of the Spirit and allow Him to lead, as we follow.

The list includes natural sins which are evident to see and notice. They are not easily mistaken. People who are following the desires of their hearts where the natural man rules, will bear the fruit listed.

The issue is not that people sin, or yield occasionally. The point that Paul is making is that people who habitually, intentionally live this way do so in rebellion to Christ. It is those who reject the Spirit’s control in their lives who will not inherit the Kingdom.

Inheritance is something that happens usually to members of the same family or some close connection to the loved one who died. A non-believer is not part of the family and is not close to the one who died .i.e. Jesus.

22 But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!

24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have nailed the passions and desires of their sinful nature to his cross and crucified them there. 25 Since we are living by the Spirit, let us follow the Spirit’s leading in every part of our lives. 26 Let us not become conceited, or provoke one another, or be jealous of one another.

The Holy Spirit produces fruit. This takes time. No seed grows overnight. Produce like oranges, apples, etc. take time to produce. The seed contains everything for life but it must be nurtured and cared for to produce the best fruit possible.

There is no law against doing good. So why don’t more people do good then? Because they do not live by the Spirit. We are selfish. We are consumed with what we get instead of what we can give.

What have you nailed down? What needs to be nailed down? There must be commitments and promises made. There have to be resolutions and responses to God’s Spirit. If you do not make a plan, you will fail.

If you do not take your life seriously, everyone will know you are a joke.day 3.4

How you are living will show up in what you chase after. What you chase after is what you follow because it’s in front of you. It consumes your thoughts, attitudes, and affections. 

Christ wants to be in control of every aspect, not just the visible things but the unseen things. The things no one else knows. He wants control of those things. 

Day 3.5Leaders must learn to lead themselves well if they are to lead others well.

tale of two sinners

A Tale Of Two Sinners: Sermon Notes From Ash Wednesday

tale of two sinners

Luke 18:9-14

9And He also told this parable to some people who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and viewed others with contempt:

 10“Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector.

 11“The Pharisee stood and was praying this to himself: ‘God, I thank You that I am not like other people: swindlers, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector.

 12‘I fast twice a week; I pay tithes of all that I get.’

 13“But the tax collector, standing some distance away, was even unwilling to lift up his eyes to heaven, but was beating his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, the sinner!’

 14“I tell you, this man went to his house justified rather than the other; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but he who humbles himself will be exalted.”

Self-examination

11“The Pharisee stood and was praying this to himself: ‘God, I thank You that I am not like other people: swindlers, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector.

Things to take away:

Being religious doesn’t make you right with God.

Not being like others doesn’t make you like God/Jesus.

Questions:

Are you self-righteous?

Do you compare yourself to others or to Christ?

Where do you stand when you pray? Do you ever kneel?

Self-denial

12‘I fast twice a week; I pay tithes of all that I get.’

Things to take away:

Doing the minimum is not a sacrifice.

Giving and giving up should be an act of love not duty

Questions:

Do you keep track to be impressive or justified?

Do you ever do more than is required or asked?

What do you do out of love?

God had one son on earth without sin, but never one without suffering.
Augustine

Spirit-controlled

 13“But the tax collector, standing some distance away, was even unwilling to lift up his eyes to heaven, but was beating his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, the sinner!’

Things to take away:

God invites the humble in and up close.

God is merciful to those who admit they are sinful

Questions:

Do you feel distanced from God?

Have you confessed your sin to God lately?

Are you willing to humble yourself before God and man?

The confession of evil works is the first beginning of good works.
Augustine

God became like me so that I might become like Him.

He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.

2 Corinthians 5:21

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Ash Wednesday Thoughts, February 18 2015

thoughts ash wednesday header

9And He also told this parable to some people who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and viewed others with contempt:

 10“Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector.

 11“The Pharisee stood and was praying this to himself: ‘God, I thank You that I am not like other people: swindlers, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector.

 12‘I fast twice a week; I pay tithes of all that I get.’

 13“But the tax collector, standing some distance away, was even unwilling to lift up his eyes to heaven, but was beating his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, the sinner!’

 14“I tell you, this man went to his house justified rather than the other; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but he who humbles himself will be exalted.” Luke 18:9-14

As I prepared for the Ash Wednesday service, here a few things that popped into my head as I read this passage for tonight’s reflection.

God doesn’t compare us to others.

In an attempt to be spiritual, I can become involved in the comparison game. What I have to remember is that I am not in competition with anyone trying to achieve some status that will please God. God is not in heaven measuring me up against anyone other than His Son. Practices like Lent exist to remind me of the love and sacrifice of Christ, not to prove my worthiness of His love or attention.

Spirituality is not something I obtain.

Attending church or sharing in practices like Lent do make me more “spiritual”. I partake in these things because I am spiritual and I have a need to connect with God. Spiritual disciplines and practices help me to become aware of my Creator and allow me to connect with Him, reviving my soul which in essence is “spiritual”. I don’t spiritual practices to learn to “breathe”; I do them to breathe deeply.

Doing all the right things doesn’t make me right.

In a world where being right is the epitome of success and satisfaction, this passage reminds me once again that I can be “right” do “good” and still come short of God’s glory. God is not happiest when I am right or better than another. God is happy when I delight myself in His great love for me believing that He loves me in spite of who I am. God is happy when one sinner repents and comes “home”. God is happy when one, even though sinful and wrong, looks to Him for forgiveness and reaches out to their Heavenly Father for a hug. I become the “right”eousness of God because of what Christ has done, not being right.

He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. 2 Corinthians 5:21

How has God spoken to you about Ash Wednesday or thoughts on Lent?

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2 Timothy 3:16 Thoughts and Reflections

Originally posted on vision2hear:

2015-02-16 13.18.59

What does it mean to say the scripture is “God-breathed”?

How does scripture prove to be profitable for teaching? reproof? correction? training in righteousness?

How do people “mishandle” God’s Word? How have you mishandled God’s Word?

How important is God’s Word to you and your daily life?

What Source do you look to most for instruction? correction? training?

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