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11-20-22  Spiritual Renewal and Awakening

Summary: Feeling dry? spiritually stagnant? lacking energy and motivation in your Christian walk? Seven simple, biblical principles will bring renewed fire to your spiritual life.

Over the years, I have known many Christians whose spiritual lives have ground nearly to a halt. Oh yes, they still love God and are determined to live their lives for Jesus Christ. But their inner fire seems to have gone out. Their devotional lives are dry, and ministry efforts feel more like a duty than a joy.

•• If that describes you (or someone you know and want to help), read on for a spiritual recharge, kind of a heavenly shot in the arm.

•• Here are seven simple, biblical prescriptions for a “jump start” to your personal spiritual journey.
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Mark 9:20-24  ...(23) [Jesus said,] “Everything is possible for him who believes.” (24) Immediately the boy’s father exclaimed, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!”

(1) ACKNOWLEDGE YOUR NEED.

•• The father did believe in Jesus’ ability to heal his son. But he also openly confessed that his faith wasn’t at the level he knew it should be. So he cried out to Jesus, “Help me overcome my unbelief!”

•• You know full well if you need a personal spiritual renewal. And it is just as certain that the Lord knows it! But as the father did in these verses, you would do well to voice your need to the Lord. Just be open and transparent before Him. Here are some possible examples.

• “Lord, I do love you, but I’m kind of dry right now, and I need your help to recover my joy.”

• “Lord, I believe the Bible, but I’m having a hard time really expecting some of its promises to work for me.”

• “Lord, I know I should pray; help me to get back on track and do it.”

•• God will certainly honor this type of humble confession to Him of our need for a personal spiritual awakening within.
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Psalm 85:6  Will you not revive us again, that your people may rejoice in you?

(2) ASK the Lord for a PERSONAL REVIVAL.

•• In essence you are saying, “Lord, I want revival, but it will have to start with a revival in my own heart. And only you can cause that to happen.”

• Make this appeal on the very personal level. Appropriate the verse for yourself: “Lord, will you not revive me again?”
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Psalm 51:1-4, 10  [King David, under conviction over his adultery with Bathsheba] Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love; according to your great compassion blot out my transgressions. [2] Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin. [3] For I know my transgressions, and my sin is always before me. [4] Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight ... [10] Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.

(3) Seek God to FORGIVE, to CLEANSE, and to burn out the CHAFF in your life.

•• This, of course, applies broadly to all of us who fall short of Jesus’ perfect stature. But the context of these verses is speaking of sin in our lives that has not yet been dealt with and repented of before God.

•• Like the Song of Solomon’s “little foxes that spoil the vines” (2:15), even seemingly small, often hidden areas of carnality can spoil our own personal vineyards.

• With all your heart, soul, and mind, cry out to God: “Create in me a clean heart, O God.” And the clear conscience resulting from genuine repentance can be a springboard to personal awakening, spiritual renewal, and growth. Without this clear conscience, it is not possible to move forward in a vibrant walk with God.
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Deuteronomy 8:2-3  Remember how the Lord your God led you all the way in the desert these forty years, to humble you and to test you in order to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep his commands. [3] He humbled you, causing you to hunger and then feeding you with manna, which neither you nor your fathers had known, to teach you that man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord.

(4) Are You Recognizing God’s HUMBLING, TESTING, and TEACHING?

•• You may be experiencing hard times in your personal “desert.” But not all hard times can be blamed on the devil. Sometimes God in His all-knowing wisdom is humbling us, testing us, and teaching us in the midst of troubling circumstances.

• A difficult time in your life may be permitted by God “in order to know what [is] in your heart” (vs. 2).

• The verses above show that at times God may even lead His people into a desert experience “to test you ... whether or not you would keep his commands” (vs. 2).

• Vs. 3 indicates that God is wanting “to teach you that man ... [lives] ... on every word ... of the Lord”. Have you begun to neglect your time in God’s word, the Bible? If so, remember God’s “teaching” lesson — that is, that we will find true life in God’s word.
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Philippians 4:4  Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!

(5) REJOICE in the LORD!

•• At first glance, if you are in need of a personal spiritual renewal, this may sound empty, like someone telling you, “Be warmed; be fed,” but failing to give you the clothing or food you need.

•• But in reality, according to Christian counseling professional Dr. Jay Adams, rejoicing in the Lord is a powerful prescription for recovery from a downward emotional or spiritual spiral.

•• If you are feeling spiritually dry, cast down, or stagnant, determine to rejoice in your heart before the Lord. Don’t dwell on your circumstances, but rather rejoice in Him. Praise Him, worship Him, declare to Him how blessed and glad you are to have Him as your heavenly Father, and Jesus as your Savior. And you will find that any heaviness of soul will begin to lift as you put on the “garment of praise” (Isaiah 61:3).
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1 Peter 5:7  Casting all your care upon Him; for He careth for you.

(6) Consciously CAST your CARES on the LORD.

•• This takes personal discipline, and it is not intuitive or easy for many of us who tend to internalize our worries, cares, and anxieties. But much relief can come to our souls as we deliberately cast our cares upon the Lord, asking Him to resolve them and to bring aid, comfort and encouragement to us.

•• If we don’t do this, the opposite process often takes place, and we are “choked with [the] ... cares of this life” (Luke 8:14, KJV), we are “choked by life’s worries” (Luke 8:14, NIV). And then our personal spiritual growth takes a distant back seat to the stresses of modern life.
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Matthew 3:11  I baptize you with water for repentance. But after me will come one who is more powerful than I, whose sandals I am not fit to carry. He [Jesus] will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire.

(7) Finally, look to JESUS for a RENEWED BAPTISM “with the HOLY GHOST and FIRE”.

•• There is a “fire” that is kindled within us via the baptism with the Holy Spirit.

•• If you’ve not received the powerful baptism with the Holy Spirit, with the evidence of speaking in tongues, look to Jesus to grant you that experience, with its heaven-sent infusion of power (Acts 1:5,8).

•• If you have already been baptized with the Spirit, ask Jesus for a rekindling in you of the fire you once felt.

• Jesus intends that we “keep our lamps burning” (Luke 12:35), so He will surely give us the ability to do that if we ask Him.

Summary of Seven Principles for Spiritual Renewal:

1) Acknowledge your need (Mark 9:24).

2) Seek the Lord for personal revival (Psalm 85:6).

3) Pursue forgiveness and cleansing from all sin (Psalm 51:1-4,10).

4) Consider if God is perhaps humbling, testing, and teaching you in your current “desert” experience (Deuteronomy 8:2-3).

5) Rejoice in the Lord (Philippians 4:4).

6) Cast your cares on the Lord (1 Peter 5:7).

7) Seek to be continuously  filled with the Holy Spirit and fire (Ephesians 5:18; Matthew 3:11).

Follow these principles while remaining faithful in prayer, Bible reading, and church attendance, and you will find that personal spiritual awakening and renewal are ready and waiting for you!
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I pray this message and the music this week have touched your heart.  If it has and you're ready to take Jesus as your Lord and Savior, you need to do the following four things:

1. Admit you're a sinner.
2. Repent of your sins and ask God to forgive you.
3. Believe in Jesus as your only hope of salvation.
4. Confess that Jesus is your Lord.

​Repeat the following prayer, which includes numbers 1-4 above.  It's got to be from your heart and not just your head.  You don't have to be in a church to say this prayer. You can say it right now, right where you are. But after you've said it I strongly urge you to find a local church and go to the very next service. Tell the pastor what great and wonderful thing has happened to you.

PRAYER 
Lord God, I come to you in the name of Jesus Christ. I come to you with all the sins I've committed. I admit I'm a sinner and I ask for your forgiveness. Please cleanse my body, soul and spirit from these sins with the precious blood of your Son, Jesus Christ. I believe Jesus died on the cross for my sins and for the sins of all those who believe in His name. I also believe that He rose from the dead so that I, too, may have victory over the works of the devil. I confess and accept Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior and ask Him to come into my heart and give me a new life that seeks after Your will and purposes. I want to serve You and obey all Your ways. I want to live for You every day of my life. Please lead and guide me into righteousness by Your Holy Spirit.

Thank you Lord, for the work of Your Son, Jesus, who shed His blood for me, and for hearing and answering my prayer. Thank you that I am now considered Your child through the work of Jesus. Thank you that I have a new life. Thank you that I've been born anew, and by faith I believe it. In the name of Jesus, Amen.


https://www.jimfeeney.org/spiritual-renewal-awakening.htm







The Holy Ghost Fire of God Can Burn Continually and Brightly in You

Summary: I don’t want my Christian life to be like a sputtering candle, but like a roaring bonfire. It takes effort to keep burning with holy fire, but the results are well worth it.

James 3:5-6  ...Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark. (6) The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole person, sets the whole course of his life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell.

•• This is a negative illustration of how a spiritual source (here, “hell”) can set a portion of a person on fire (here, the tongue), and how that in turn will affect the entire person.

•• Just change the source to heaven, change the affected portion to our hearts, and watch the holy fire burn!

•• The principle is clear: any portion of our lives that is “set on fire” has the potential to set our entire being on fire. We should be greatly desiring that our hearts be set on fire by God for Him and His work. If our hearts are on fire for God, we will begin to speak forth for Him with power and effectiveness, because “those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart” (Matthew 15:18). Lord, cause our hearts to burn with holy fire!

Zechariah 8:2  This is what the Lord Almighty says: "I am very jealous for Zion; I am burning with jealousy for her."

•• Even God Himself is said to be “burning” with His passion for that which He cares about.

•• Personally, I’m not content to plod along day by day, just waiting to die and go to heaven. I want to “burn” with zeal for the things of God in this life ... and then go to heaven in God’s good timing.

•• This much-to-be-desired holy fire of God, this sacred passion, comes into us in several ways. Let’s go see.

Matthew 3:11-12  ...He [Jesus] will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire ... gathering his wheat into the barn and burning up the chaff with unquenchable fire.

Acts 2:1-4  ...They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit...

•• A big measure of the holy fire of God comes in the baptism with the Holy Spirit. When I was filled with the Holy Spirit in Anchorage, Alaska, in 1971, I experienced a substantial and enduring increase in my excitement for the things of the Lord.

•• Matthew 3:11 tells us that it is a baptism with Holy Spirit fire (KJV: "with the Holy Ghost and...fire"). Professor D.A. Carson writes of the Greek grammar here: “...the one preposition [en] governs both ‘Holy Spirit’ and ‘fire,’ and this normally suggests a unified concept, Spirit-fire or the like” (The Expositor’s Bible Commentary on Matthew, p. 105). The Holy Ghost baptism is an impartation of Spirit-fire! (of Holy Ghost fire [KJV], as some Pentecostals call it). When the 120 were baptized in the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, the tongues of fire that appeared upon them was further evidence of this being an impartation of Holy Ghost fire.

•• Matthew 3:11f also indicates that the baptism with the Spirit will have the effect of burning out the chaff. So this Holy Spirit fire has also a beneficial cleansing effect in our lives.

•• 1 Thessalonians 5:19  “Do not put out the Spirit's fire." Don’t quench it! Let it burn! Let the baptism with the Holy Spirit and fire cleanse you and empower you. Don’t resist it; “let it burn!”

Luke 24:30-32  ...[32] "Were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?"

•• Let your heart burn from the presence of Jesus. That’s what the men on the road to Emmaus experienced when, even unknowingly, they were in His presence.

• Hebrews 12:2-3  “Let us fix our eyes on Jesus.... Consider him...” Let that be your daily practice. Fix your eyes, your focus, your attention, your thoughts, on your Lord and Savior, Jesus. And begin to experience greater fire in your hearts from your awareness of His presence with you.

•• Invite Him (spiritually speaking) to sit with you and open the Scriptures to you as you read His word, the Bible. Your heart will burn within you.

Jeremiah 20:8-9  ...if I say, "I will not mention him or speak any more in his name,” his word is in my heart like a fire, a fire shut up in my bones. I am weary of holding it in; indeed, I cannot.

•• The purpose of this holy fire, of this godly passion, is expression. It must not, it “cannot”, be held in. The prophet experienced an inner pressure to speak, to declare, to express the name of God and the word of God. The bottled-up word of God was “like a fire” inside him, and he could not hold it in.

•• If you bottle up fire, pretty soon it dies out. So open up! Speak out His word from within you. Two things will happen: (1) the fire will touch others; and (2) God will feed and increase the fire within you.

Luke 12:35-36  Be dressed ready for service and keep your lamps burning, like men waiting for their master to return...

•• If left untended, every fire goes out. I enjoy camping, and I especially enjoy campfires in the evening. They blaze brightly and bring much cheer ... until you stop feeding them new logs, and pretty soon they go out. There is a spiritual lesson there.

•• Live a life of spiritual readiness. Tend your inner fire, keep it burning. Otherwise, it will fade out and end up being only faintly glowing embers.

• Treasure the Holy Spirit’s anointing ... stir it up.

• Fix your eyes on Jesus. Let Him talk to you and open His Word to you.

• Share the fire, express it, give it out, speak up.

•• Do these things, and God will keep His holy fire burning within you. And you will find yourself continually bearing fruit for Him, both in your own life and in the lives of others. And when growing numbers of God's people are stirred inwardly by Him, we will begin to see increasing Spirit-fire in the Church and see revival begin to break out. So keep your lamps burning for the Lord!

I pray this message and the music this week have touched your heart.  If it has and you're ready to take Jesus as your Lord and Savior, you need to do the following four things:

1. Admit you're a sinner.
2. Repent of your sins and ask God to forgive you.
3. Believe in Jesus as your only hope of salvation.
4. Confess that Jesus is your Lord.

​Repeat the following prayer, which includes numbers 1-4 above.  It's got to be from your heart and not just your head.  You don't have to be in a church to say this prayer. You can say it right now, right where you are. But after you've said it I strongly urge you to find a local church and go to the very next service. Tell the pastor what great and wonderful thing has happened to you.

PRAYER 
Lord God, I come to you in the name of Jesus Christ. I come to you with all the sins I've committed. I admit I'm a sinner and I ask for your forgiveness. Please cleanse my body, soul and spirit from these sins with the precious blood of your Son, Jesus Christ. I believe Jesus died on the cross for my sins and for the sins of all those who believe in His name. I also believe that He rose from the dead so that I, too, may have victory over the works of the devil. I confess and accept Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior and ask Him to come into my heart and give me a new life that seeks after Your will and purposes. I want to serve You and obey all Your ways. I want to live for You every day of my life. Please lead and guide me into righteousness by Your Holy Spirit.

Thank you Lord, for the work of Your Son, Jesus, who shed His blood for me, and for hearing and answering my prayer. Thank you that I am now considered Your child through the work of Jesus. Thank you that I have a new life. Thank you that I've been born anew, and by faith I believe it. In the name of Jesus, Amen.


https://www.jimfeeney.org/burning-holy-fire.html






Rivers of Living Water from God for Thirsty People

Summary: Feeling spiritually dry? in a personal desert place? God is ready and willing to pour out streams, springs, and rivers of life-giving spiritual water on your parched soul.

Deuteronomy 8:7  For the Lord your God is bringing you into a good land — a land with streams and pools of water, with springs flowing in the valleys and hills.

•• This is God’s intention for His people —

• to bring us into a good land

• to bring us to streams and pools of water

• to bring us to flowing springs

• to refresh us from the rivers of God

Psalm 78:15-17  He split the rocks in the desert and gave them water as abundant as the seas; [16] he brought streams out of a rocky crag and made water flow down like rivers. [17] But they continued to sin against him, rebelling in the desert against the Most High.

Psalm 78:19-22  They spoke against God, saying, Can God spread a table in the desert? [20] When he struck the rock, water gushed out, and streams flowed abundantly. But can he also give us food? Can he supply meat for his people?” [21] When the Lord heard them, he was very angry; his fire broke out against Jacob, and his wrath rose against Israel, [22] for they did not believe in God or trust in his deliverance.

•• Here we see God bringing His people towards the promised land —

• In the desert He gave them abundant water. It can be the same for your desert, if you’ll by faith seek and receive God’s living waters.

• In the desert He brought His people “streams out of a rocky crag”. If your life seems “rocky”, God is ready and willing to bring His streams of blessing into it.

• In their helplessness and need, God “made water flow down like rivers”. In your times of need, the refreshing, life-giving rivers of God’s blessing are available to you.

•• But watch the warnings here, too —

• They sinned and rebelled against God in the midst of His provision of rivers of water.

• They spoke against God, essentially and ungratefully saying, “Can’t God do more?”

• In their rebellion and disbelief, they “did not...trust in [God’s] deliverance.”

•• The lesson to us is: Don’t overlook and underappeciate the present rivers of living water in our lives, the present blessings of God, His present provision in our rocky places.

Isaiah 44:2-4  This is what the Lord says — he who made you, who formed you in the womb, and who will help you: Do not be afraid, O Jacob, my servant, Jeshurun, whom I have chosen. [3] For I will pour water on the thirsty land, and streams on the dry ground; I will pour out my Spirit on your offspring, and my blessing on your descendants. [4] They will spring up like grass in a meadow, like poplar trees by flowing streams.

•• God gave them natural water. More importantly, for them and us, He poured out on them Spirit-ual water. He poured out His Spirit and His blessing on His people. And God is the same today. He is ever ready to pour out His Spirit on you.

•• Where? On dry, thirsty ground. It is upon thirsty people that the living waters of God's Spirit are poured out. Jesus said, "Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink" (John 7:37).

• The result? God’s blessing.

Isaiah 41:17-18  The poor and needy search for water, but there is none; their tongues are parched with thirst. But I the Lord will answer them; I, the God of Israel, will not forsake them. [18] I will make rivers flow on barren heights, and springs within the valleys. I will turn the desert into pools of water, and the parched ground into springs.

•• "Search for" this water ... God will answer!

• Are your heights barren? Search for God’s water of life, and He’ll make His rivers of living water flow into your barrenness.

• Are your valleys parched? Seek after God’s water, and He’ll cause springs to burst forth in your parched land.

• Is your devotional life dry? Search for God’s water, and He’ll turn your personal spiritual desert into refreshing springs and pools.

Isaiah 43:18-21  Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. [19] See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland. [20] The wild animals honor me, the jackals and the owls, because I provide water in the desert and streams in the wasteland, to give drink to my people, my chosen, [21] the people I formed for myself that they may proclaim my praise.

•• Don’t dwell on the past. God likes to do new things in the lives of His people. Look ahead!

•• In the desert wasteland, God will “give drink to [His] people”.

• You say, “Well, it’s been awfully dry.” Remember, God says, “I am doing a new thing.... Don’t dwell on the past.” Get ready for God’s “new thing” in your life. Look for His water in your desert and His spiritually reviving streams flowing into your wasteland.

Jeremiah 17:7-8  But blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in him. [8] He will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.

•• Trust God. Have faith and confidence in Him.

• You’ll be like a tree rooted by His rivers of water.

• You’ll have no fears of the heat.

• Not only will you survive times of drought, you will stay green and continue to bear fruit.

John 7:37-39a  On the last and greatest day of the Feast, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink. [38] Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him.” [39] By this he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were later to receive.

•• You don’t need to travel to find the rivers of God. They are within everyone who will:

(1) Thirst for them...

(2) Believe in Jesus...

(3) Come to Him...

(4) and drink deeply of the Holy Spirit offered by Jesus. And that Holy Spirit, whom Jesus likened to “streams of living water,” will change your life.

I pray this message and the music this week have touched your heart.  If it has and you're ready to take Jesus as your Lord and Savior, you need to do the following four things:

1. Admit you're a sinner.
2. Repent of your sins and ask God to forgive you.
3. Believe in Jesus as your only hope of salvation.
4. Confess that Jesus is your Lord.

​Repeat the following prayer, which includes numbers 1-4 above.  It's got to be from your heart and not just your head.  You don't have to be in a church to say this prayer. You can say it right now, right where you are. But after you've said it I strongly urge you to find a local church and go to the very next service. Tell the pastor what great and wonderful thing has happened to you.

PRAYER 
Lord God, I come to you in the name of Jesus Christ. I come to you with all the sins I've committed. I admit I'm a sinner and I ask for your forgiveness. Please cleanse my body, soul and spirit from these sins with the precious blood of your Son, Jesus Christ. I believe Jesus died on the cross for my sins and for the sins of all those who believe in His name. I also believe that He rose from the dead so that I, too, may have victory over the works of the devil. I confess and accept Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior and ask Him to come into my heart and give me a new life that seeks after Your will and purposes. I want to serve You and obey all Your ways. I want to live for You every day of my life. Please lead and guide me into righteousness by Your Holy Spirit.

Thank you Lord, for the work of Your Son, Jesus, who shed His blood for me, and for hearing and answering my prayer. Thank you that I am now considered Your child through the work of Jesus. Thank you that I have a new life. Thank you that I've been born anew, and by faith I believe it. In the name of Jesus, Amen.


https://www.jimfeeney.org/rivers-waters-God.html








Draw Near to God | How to Get Closer to God

Summary: Most Christians want to know how to get closer to God. You can draw near to God and experience that desired intimacy with Him by following a few simple biblical principles.

Jeremiah 31:3  The Lord appeared to us in the past, saying: “I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with loving-kindness.

•• When you determine to get closer to God, be assured that you are not presuming or imposing, because God is “draw[ing] you”. He loves you, and He loves to draw you close to Him. That being the desire of His heart, it is good and uplifting for you to draw near to God often.

•• As you draw close to God in prayer, in worship, and in His Word the Bible, remember and be encouraged by the fact that He loves you!

•• And know that His love for you is “everlasting;” it won’t disappear because you’ve faltered or sinned.

Psalm 55:17, KJV  Evening, and morning, and at noon, will I pray, and cry aloud: and he shall hear my voice.

•• Jesus modeled prayer, and He prayed extensively. He taught His followers to pray. Paul spoke often of his continual prayers. The apostles in Jerusalem “gave themselves to prayer” (Acts 6:4).

•• A suggestion from this verse — try a three-times-daily prayer schedule.

(1) Tape a note on the bathroom mirror to make morning prayer a priority, the first thing you do, if even briefly.

(2) Put a note on your bedside end table to pray last thing at night.

(3) Set aside one period of time during the day to pray.

• These can be short times; just try be faithful to them.

Psalm 119:164  Seven times a day I praise you for your righteous laws.

•• Consciously, deliberately cultivate the habit of uttering brief exclamations of praise and worship to God throughout the day.

• This develops a God- and Christ-awareness in us.

Matthew 11:28-30  Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. [29] Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. [30] For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.

•• “Come to [Jesus].” He wants you close to Him. He’s called “the Bridegroom” of the bride. That means He loves you.

•• Are you feeling “weary” and “burdened”? That’s the time, not to “zone out,” but to “come to” Jesus.

•• You’ll find gentleness there with Him, not scolding or reproof. He will “give you rest ... for your soul.”

• So come — and come often daily — to Jesus.

Hebrews 4:14-16  Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has gone through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. [15] For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are — yet was without sin. [16] Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.

•• As you come with confidence to Jesus on His throne of grace, remember that He sympathizes with your weaknesses; He does not despise them (or you!).

•• Remember that the Savior you are approaching has been through what you are going through. He was “tempted in every way, just as we are”, yet without sinning.

•• In the Son of God's presence you will find, not condemnation, but “mercy and ... grace”.

James 4:7-8a  Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. [8] Come near to God and he will come near to you.

8a, KJV  Draw nigh to God, and He will draw nigh to you.

•• “Submit yourselves, then, to God.” This means we basically abandon ourselves to Him and place ourselves totally in His hands.

•• “[You] draw nigh to God, and He will draw nigh to you.”

• Let your heart's desire echo the title of the famous hymn Nearer My God to Thee. God expects us to take some initiative in drawing closer to Him. As we do, He reciprocates — guaranteed! This means you can always be close to God, if you choose to draw near to Him.

I pray this message and the music this week have touched your heart.  If it has and you're ready to take Jesus as your Lord and Savior, you need to do the following four things:

1. Admit you're a sinner.
2. Repent of your sins and ask God to forgive you.
3. Believe in Jesus as your only hope of salvation.
4. Confess that Jesus is your Lord.

​Repeat the following prayer, which includes numbers 1-4 above.  It's got to be from your heart and not just your head.  You don't have to be in a church to say this prayer. You can say it right now, right where you are. But after you've said it I strongly urge you to find a local church and go to the very next service. Tell the pastor what great and wonderful thing has happened to you.

PRAYER 
Lord God, I come to you in the name of Jesus Christ. I come to you with all the sins I've committed. I admit I'm a sinner and I ask for your forgiveness. Please cleanse my body, soul and spirit from these sins with the precious blood of your Son, Jesus Christ. I believe Jesus died on the cross for my sins and for the sins of all those who believe in His name. I also believe that He rose from the dead so that I, too, may have victory over the works of the devil. I confess and accept Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior and ask Him to come into my heart and give me a new life that seeks after Your will and purposes. I want to serve You and obey all Your ways. I want to live for You every day of my life. Please lead and guide me into righteousness by Your Holy Spirit.

Thank you Lord, for the work of Your Son, Jesus, who shed His blood for me, and for hearing and answering my prayer. Thank you that I am now considered Your child through the work of Jesus. Thank you that I have a new life. Thank you that I've been born anew, and by faith I believe it. In the name of Jesus, Amen.

https://www.jimfeeney.org/drawing-closer-God.html






Seven Deadly Sins List Prophesied for the END Times

Summary: Most of the Book of Revelation is a book of prophecy (Rev. 22:7,10,18,19). In its 9th chapter there is an end-times list of seven deadly sins that is quite different from the traditional seven deadly sins list of anger, greed, sloth, pride, lust, envy, and gluttony. Come see these seven sins that will be so prevalent in the last days at the end of the world we live in.

Revelation 9:13-21  The sixth angel sounded his trumpet, and I heard a voice coming from the horns of the golden altar that is before God. [14] It said to the sixth angel who had the trumpet, “Release the four angels who are bound at the great river Euphrates.” ... [18] A third of mankind was killed by the three plagues of fire, smoke and sulfur that came out of their mouths.... [20] The rest of mankind that were not killed by these plagues still did not repent of the work of their hands; they did not stop worshiping demons, and idols of gold, silver, bronze, stone and wood — idols that cannot see or hear or walk. [21] Nor did they repent of their murders, their magic arts, their sexual immorality or their thefts.

•• The Book of Revelation, from chapter 4:1 on, was primarily a prophecy of the end of days. The apostle John prophesied of seven prevalent, deadly sins in the end times — (1) demon worship, (2) idolatry, (3) murder, (4) magic arts/witchcraft, (5) sexual immorality, (6) theft, and (7) refusal to repent. The context makes it clear that these are sins that will be especially prevalent among those living in the end times.

•• Notice first the key statement in these verses — “[They] did not repent.” This is both tragic and spiritually destructive, since it is sincere repentance, coupled with faith in Jesus Christ, that spares us from the wrath of God.

• Proverbs 28:13, KJV  “He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy.”

• Acts 3:19  “Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord.”

•• A reminder: the warning here for us is of seven deadly sins in the end times — (1) demon worship, (2) idolatry, (3) murder, (4) magic arts/witchcraft, (5) sexual immorality, (6) theft, and (7) refusal to repent.

• This is a list of seven sins that God singles out to the writer John that will characterize the blatant ungodliness of the latter days. It’s not that these will be the only sins at the end of the days of the Church age. But they will be prevalent ones, sins entirely inconsistent with and destructive to an upright walk with God.

• And that, of course, serves as a warning to us to be especially vigilant, lest these sins creep into our lives in these biblical “last days”.

•• Let’s now examine this list of seven deadly end-time sins and receive it as a relevant warning from the Lord.

• Proverbs 27:12  The prudent see danger and take refuge, but the simple keep going and suffer for it.

(1) “worshiping demons” — Man is made to worship. All human cultures show a tendency to worship, whether it be God or their own gods.

•• This was one of Satan’s temptations of Jesus in the desert — Matthew 4:8-10  Again, the devil took [Jesus] to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. [9] All this I will give you,” he said, “if you will bow down and worship me.” [10] Jesus said to him, “Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve Him only.’ ”

• Look at America today, and you’ll see much of this sin — occult practices, Satanist churches, witchcraft, etc. As a website designer, I spend time researching web statistics about areas of interest to the general public. I noticed this frequently-asked question in Google searches: "Is witchcraft a deadly sin?" Yes, yes it is, God's Word says.

• So watch for an increase of devil worship and spiritism in the last days, at the end of the age. Avoid like the plague such things as horoscopes, ouija boards, and the like.

(2) “Worshiping ... idols of gold, silver, bronze, stone and wood — idols that cannot see or hear or walk.”

•• This is a companion sin to #1 above. Demon worship and idolatry go hand in hand. And both sinful practices will be widespread signs of the end times.

• It is all leading up to the ultimate idolatry, the worship of the image of the Antichrist-Beast in Revelation 13. Such idolatry incurs God’s fierce wrath — Revelation 14:11  “And the smoke of their torment rises for ever and ever. There is no rest day or night for those who worship the beast and his image...”

•• Notice what happens when men choose not to worship the true God — they end up worshiping “the work of their hands” (20).

• The sinful tendency of man is to substitute his own creations, ideas, and preferences for those of God.

(3) “Murders” — Jesus called Satan a murderer (John 8:44). Adam and Eve's son Cain was a murderer (1 John 3:12). These days in which we live are a time of much murder.

•• Homicides have turned many of our nation’s cities into war zones.

•• Crazed suicide bombers, including the infamous 9-11-2001 terrorists in the USA, are frequently in the headlines.

•• In America a million and a half babies’ lives annually are snuffed out in the womb through the violence of abortion.

•• Violence short of murder is everywhere, even on our highways, where “road rage” has become a common occurrence.

(4) “Magic arts [NIV] or sorceries [KJV]” — The Greek word is “pharmakia”, the root of our English word “pharmacy”. There is a direct reference to drugs here.

•• Vine’s Greek dictionary says of pharmakia: “...primarily signified the use of medicine, drugs, spells ... In sorcery, the use of drugs ... was generally accompanied by incantations and appeals to occult powers...”

•• Witness the flood of illegal drug use today. Lives and families are being ruined by addictions that the Bible says will be prevalent at the end of the age.

(5) “Sexual immorality” — Again, remember the key: “They did not repent” of their immorality and these other named sins. Repentance brings forgiveness. So no matter how deeply you may have fallen into sexual sin, God is ready and willing to forgive those who are truly repentant and willing to confess and forsake those sins.

•• The Greek word used here covers the broad realm of sexual immorality — both adultery and fornication, heterosexuality and homosexuality, incest and other forms of sexual perversion.

•• Bible teacher Kevin Conner has written:  “These days under the sixth trumpet will be days of lust, sensuality, lewdness, abominations, adulteries, fornications, licentiousness and sex perversion. It will be a collapse of morals. It will be the breakdown of the institution and ordinance of marriage and the home.”

• His words have sadly proven true in our day. As just one example, some studies report that the divorce rate among Christians has now surpassed the divorce rate among the general population in the USA. The Hollywood scene flaunts its “love ‘em and leave ‘em” philosophy so openly that it has permeated our culture to its core.

•• In the face of all this, it is urgent that we be reminded of the Bible’s straightforward warnings:

• “Flee from sexual immorality” (1 Corinthians 6:18).

• “God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral” (Hebrews 13:4).

(6) “Thefts” —

•• This is a specific instance of the character trait of dishonesty. In the last days we will be increasingly unable to trust the truthfulness of other people’s words or actions. Contracts will be routinely violated, property becomes unsafe, swindlers will abound.

• In our day famous CEOs of major corporations have been indicted for fraud.

• Well-known accounting firms have been found to engage in deceitful practices.

(7) These people living at the end of the age “still did not repent” —

•• God’s mercy is vast; He forgives those who come sincerely to Him in repentance — “There is forgiveness with thee” (Psalm 130:4, KJV).

•• This seventh deadly sin of the end times essentially mocks the grace of God. Despite God’s offer of mercy and forgiveness, many last-days sinners will still not repent (vss. 20,21).

Some closing thoughts:

•• These seven sins and others will abound in the last days.

•• Their all-encompassing problem, which serves as a lesson for us living at the end of the age, was that they “did not repent.”

•• Notice the violation of most of the Ten Commandments:

• First = “Thou shalt have no other gods before me” — they will worship demons.

• Second = “Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image” — they will make idols and bow down to them.

• Sixth = “Thou shalt not kill” — they will commit “murders”!

• Seventh = “Thou shalt not commit adultery” — they will engage in “sexual immorality”.

• Eighth and Tenth = “Thou shalt not steal ... not covet” — they will covet what belongs to others, and that leads to thefts.

•• Biblical signs of the end times are appearing with more frequency and clarity. As the literal last days draw closer, let these Scriptures on seven deadly sins in the end times lend an urgency to the need to strengthen our own walks with the Lord.

In summary, watch out for seven deadly sins that will be prevalent in the latter days:

1. worshiping demons
2. worshiping idols, the work of man’s hands
3. murders
4. magic arts, sorceries, drugs
5. sexual immorality
6. thefts, dishonesty
7. failure to repent of sin

I pray this message and the music this week have touched your heart.  If it has and you're ready to take Jesus as your Lord and Savior, you need to do the following four things:

1. Admit you're a sinner.
2. Repent of your sins and ask God to forgive you.
3. Believe in Jesus as your only hope of salvation.
4. Confess that Jesus is your Lord.

​Repeat the following prayer, which includes numbers 1-4 above.  It's got to be from your heart and not just your head.  You don't have to be in a church to say this prayer. You can say it right now, right where you are. But after you've said it I strongly urge you to find a local church and go to the very next service. Tell the pastor what great and wonderful thing has happened to you.

PRAYER 
Lord God, I come to you in the name of Jesus Christ. I come to you with all the sins I've committed. I admit I'm a sinner and I ask for your forgiveness. Please cleanse my body, soul and spirit from these sins with the precious blood of your Son, Jesus Christ. I believe Jesus died on the cross for my sins and for the sins of all those who believe in His name. I also believe that He rose from the dead so that I, too, may have victory over the works of the devil. I confess and accept Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior and ask Him to come into my heart and give me a new life that seeks after Your will and purposes. I want to serve You and obey all Your ways. I want to live for You every day of my life. Please lead and guide me into righteousness by Your Holy Spirit.

Thank you Lord, for the work of Your Son, Jesus, who shed His blood for me, and for hearing and answering my prayer. Thank you that I am now considered Your child through the work of Jesus. Thank you that I have a new life. Thank you that I've been born anew, and by faith I believe it. In the name of Jesus, Amen.

https://www.jimfeeney.org/seven-deadly-sins-end-times.htm






Christian Parenting | How to Raise Godly Children in an Ungodly World,
Part 2

Summary: Raising godly children is one of the great challenges of Christian parenting, but it's also a great privilege. Knowing how to raise children to love and serve God and obey their parents and others in authority is not automatic. It's a matter of faithfully applying biblical parenting principles. Follow these three keys to raising godly children, and they will be a delight to you for a lifetime! And you'll leave them a valuable spiritual legacy, an inheritance for eternity.

(3) DISCIPLINE your children —

Proverbs 13:24  He who spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him is careful to discipline him.

•• Discipline them diligently, consistently, and early in life.

•• You say, “I love them too much to discipline them.” No! You don’t. The Bible says that you “hate” them if you neglect the discipline they need.

•• Start early. Years ago a family that had successfully raised godly children told me that they taught their children the meaning of the word “no” beginning at 6 months. [Note: I am not saying to spank babies.]

• You’re preparing your children, in obedience to Titus 2:11-12, to be able to say “no” to sinful inclinations — “...the grace of God ... [12] teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions...”

•• Notice that love and discipline go hand in hand — “...he who loves him is careful to discipline him.”

• Remember our threefold key: love, training, and discipline. All three are needed, in a good balance.

Proverbs 22:15  Folly is bound up in the heart of a child, but the rod of discipline will drive it far from him. (KJV: “the rod of correction”)

•• The Hebrew for “rod” is “a stick”. Some parents have done well spanking with a light wooden spoon that will sting, but not do tissue damage. Many parents have used the traditional spanking by hand as the "rod" of discipline.

•• Your children and mine begin life with rebellious hearts.

• The Bible says it takes spanking to correct that! Child rearing styles that neglect spanking when needed are not effective, biblical parenting.

•• Some years ago a pediatrician was talking about child discipline. Here was his astonishing comment: “Yes, the Bible does teach spanking. But the Bible is wrong!” At least he was honest enough to admit what the Bible teaches, even though he went on to disagree with it.

•• Here is our current Oregon state law, as of this writing in the year 2012 — 161.205 Use of physical force generally. The use of physical force upon another person that would otherwise constitute an offense is justifiable and not criminal under any of the following circumstances:

      (1)(a) A parent, guardian or other person entrusted with the care and supervision of a minor or an incompetent person may use reasonable physical force upon such minor or incompetent person when and to the extent the person reasonably believes it necessary to maintain discipline or to promote the welfare of the minor or incompetent person. (underlining and bold type added by me for emphasis) I strongly advise you to check your state laws to see how they read, and be very wise in your approach to physical discipline.

• “Reasonable physical force” — ask God for wisdom to apply that wisely. In no case should a spanking injure a child or leave lasting marks.

• I am reluctant to commit to writing a “recommended” method for spanking. Inevitably someone might read it wrongly and think that I have justified child abuse. I am adamantly opposed to child abuse — physical, verbal, sexual, or any other kind.

• At the same time, I do believe — and my wife and I practiced — the biblical recommendations for spanking. Do it with wisdom, self-control, and consistent with the laws of your state. Thanks to the Lord, He has blessed our having followed His biblical principles on child rearing — love, training, and discipline in a godly balance. Our four now-adult children are happily married, all serving the Lord, and successfully raising their children to serve the Lord. All four are college graduates. Two have advanced degrees, from UCLA and Harvard. They are productive citizens and are well respected in their business and educational jobs. God has graciously shown my wife and me the good fruit of raising children by His biblical principles.

•• Be consistent, make discipline count, do not injure the child.

•• When to spank (here are some definite “spanking offenses”) —

• disobedience

• defiance

• open sin, such as lying to you

• bad attitudes

•• Expect children to obey the first time. Does God expect us to obey Him the first time? Yes!

•• What about temper tantrums? With our children, that was an automatic spanking offense. Think about it — we’re helping them learn to overcome the carnal nature. Get through to them as children ... can you imagine adults having temper tantrums just because we are tired, irritated, etc.?

•• How much fussing and whining should you tolerate from your children at bedtime? Very little. You are the adult, you are in charge, and you know what’s best for them. Set up a nighttime routine and expect it to be obeyed.

•• Should siblings be allowed to argue or tease? No. Otherwise, you’ll allow those habits to be cemented into their personalities as adults.

Proverbs 29:15, 17  The rod of correction imparts wisdom, but a child left to himself disgraces his mother.... [17] Discipline your son, and he will give you peace; he will bring delight to your soul.

•• You can’t afford not to discipline your children. Do it in combination with much love and godly training ... and they will “bring delight to your soul”.

I have focused above primarily on the spanking aspect of child discipline. There are additional methods of discipline as well, such as “timeouts”, removing privileges, and more. But they should be used in conjunction with spanking-as-needed, not in place of it. Ask God for wisdom to implement a well-balanced approach to discipline. I would be remiss if I failed to emphasize that, at least in your children’s earlier years, your discipline program will be less than fully effective if it does not include spanking for what I have listed above as spanking offenses.

Some thoughts about AGE LEVELS for discipline —

• BABIES —

•• Teach them “no” with loving firmness (not spanking babies). Some successful parents recommend starting this verbal training at about age 6 months.

•• Don’t overly “baby proof” your home. The home is their training ground. Just remove cherished and dangerous items. Children must learn that there are “NOs” in this world.

• I can go into a home and tell within just a few minutes if it’s the parents or the children who are in charge in that home! Dads and Moms, you are the adults, you are in charge and accountable to God.

• TODDLERS —

•• Lots of consistent training and appropriate discipline are generally needed.

•• Self-test: Does my child obey me the first time I ask? If not, there is work to do.

•• Do it right at this stage and it will be much easier later on. Training and discipline done now will most likely help you to not have difficult teens.

•• Teach them boundaries, enforce those boundaries, and give them much freedom within those boundaries. That teaches independence, but also self-control and respect for authority.

• PRESCHOOL AND ELEMENTARY —

•• Continue the trio of training, love, and discipline.

•• Work hard at this stage on developing right attitudes and good character.

• PRETEENS AND TEENS —

•• Spankings are pretty much over with. Continue to use other forms of discipline (remove privileges, etc.).

## SOME FINAL SUGGESTIONS —

• Public discipline? It is unwise to spank your child in public. Deal with the transgression at home.

• Ask yourself, do you believe it is acceptable for children to be loud, running, jumping, and out of control in the house? Enforce what you determine is right in the home.

• Again, expect obedience the first time, every time, as God does.

• Don’t let children “play” one parent against the other.

• Don’t conflict openly with your spouse about discipline.

• Don’t provoke your children. Be fair and just.

• Don’t tempt them to lie — “Did you do that?!!” — when you already know that they did it!

• Don’t make idle threats, such as: “One more time and I...”

• Be consistent. A rule is a rule. Enforce it consistently.

• When you do spank, make it count — but never abusively, injuriously, or in a way that leaves lasting marks. Then pray together, look for repentance, then forgive and drop it.

• Don’t compare children openly — “Why don’t you act like...?”

• Don’t belittle them, because “the glory of children are their fathers” (Proverbs 17:6, KJV).

• Don’t nag. You shouldn’t have to nag a well-trained child.

• Don’t keep putting them off. Put down the paper, or close the laptop, and listen to them.

• Spend quality time with them. But don’t let it put your spouse into a secondary place of priority.

In sum, TRAIN them, LOVE them, and DISCIPLINE them as needed. You will have lifelong delight watching your children live out their lives as productive, godly adults.

Some closing thoughts: If I were to be asked, "Can you recommend a good book on raising godly children?" I would reply, "The best book on raising godly, Christian children is the Bible." Or if asked, "What are some good Christian parenting resources?" I would reply, "Look around for some Christian parents who have succeeded in raising godly children, and go seek their advice." Successful parents who have raised God-fearing children according to the Bible's teachings are an invaluable resource to mentor you in raising your children.

Postscript: I have shared this message on biblical Christian parenting with the desire of helping you in the God-pleasing call to raising godly children. If you raised your children without knowing these biblical truths, or perhaps applied them incompletely, we still serve a loving God who answers prayer. Continue to pray for your children, even long after they have become adults. God loves all your children and desires to reach them and to continue to shape their character at any age. Thank you for all your love, work, and sacrifice in your roles as Christian parents. Continue to seek God on behalf of your children, that they will draw ever closer to God and will fulfill all of God’s purposes in their lives.


I pray this message and the music this week have touched your heart.  If it has and you're ready to take Jesus as your Lord and Savior, you need to do the following four things:

1. Admit you're a sinner.
2. Repent of your sins and ask God to forgive you.
3. Believe in Jesus as your only hope of salvation.
4. Confess that Jesus is your Lord.

​Repeat the following prayer, which includes numbers 1-4 above.  It's got to be from your heart and not just your head.  You don't have to be in a church to say this prayer. You can say it right now, right where you are. But after you've said it I strongly urge you to find a local church and go to the very next service. Tell the pastor what great and wonderful thing has happened to you.

PRAYER 
Lord God, I come to you in the name of Jesus Christ. I come to you with all the sins I've committed. I admit I'm a sinner and I ask for your forgiveness. Please cleanse my body, soul and spirit from these sins with the precious blood of your Son, Jesus Christ. I believe Jesus died on the cross for my sins and for the sins of all those who believe in His name. I also believe that He rose from the dead so that I, too, may have victory over the works of the devil. I confess and accept Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior and ask Him to come into my heart and give me a new life that seeks after Your will and purposes. I want to serve You and obey all Your ways. I want to live for You every day of my life. Please lead and guide me into righteousness by Your Holy Spirit.

Thank you Lord, for the work of Your Son, Jesus, who shed His blood for me, and for hearing and answering my prayer. Thank you that I am now considered Your child through the work of Jesus. Thank you that I have a new life. Thank you that I've been born anew, and by faith I believe it. In the name of Jesus, Amen.

https://www.jimfeeney.org/Christian-parenting.html







Christian Parenting | How to Raise Godly Children in an Ungodly World Part 1

Summary: Raising godly children is one of the great challenges of Christian parenting, but it's also a great privilege. Knowing how to raise children to love and serve God and obey their parents and others in authority is not automatic. It's a matter of faithfully applying biblical parenting principles. Follow these three keys to raising godly children, and they will be a delight to you for a lifetime! And you'll leave them a valuable spiritual legacy, an inheritance for eternity.

Genesis 1:28  God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it.”

•• Children are the natural result of marriage, which God blesses.

•• In the very beginning, in the Garden of Eden, God created marriage, blessed it, and encouraged the bearing and raising of children. The role of the parent is a sacred trust from God.

Psalm 127:3-5a  Sons are a heritage from the LORD, children a reward from him. [4] Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are sons born in one’s youth. [5a] Blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them.

•• Regard your children for what they are — that is, God-given blessings!

•• “...a heritage...reward...blessed is the man” — God blessed my wife and me with four children and, at the time of this writing, five grandchildren with another on the way. Our four children are married adults now, and they have proven to be a blessing and a continual source of joy.

Let’s look together at what I call the “three keys” to raising kids into responsible adults who will effectively serve God, their families, and their society.

These 3 keys are TRAINING, LOVE, and DISCIPLINE.

(1) TRAIN your children —

Proverbs 20:11  Even a child is known by his actions, by whether his conduct is pure and right.

•• A child’s conduct is important to God and should, therefore, be of great importance to parents.

•• “A child is known by his actions...” — Believe me, your children’s conduct is obvious to onlookers. It is actually a part of your total testimony.

• Once in Florida, my wife and I and another Christian couple took our total of seven young children to a local restaurant. We had to split up into seating at two adjacent tables. We put the five older children (none of them older than about age 10) by themselves at the second table. The manager hovered nervously nearby for a short time, until he noticed — I think to his great surprise! — that all the kids were quiet, polite, and well-behaved. I share this story to illustrate the fact that it is entirely possible to follow biblical parenting principles and raise godly children who can act responsibly in public at an early age, with a minimum of supervision.

Proverbs 22:6, NKJV  Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.

•• This is the Bible’s promise, period. Treasure this principle, apply it, hold onto it.

• Training up a child in godly ways involves repetition, reinforcement, encouragement, sometimes over and over. But in the end, it is worth it!

•• The training your child most needs is in two areas: (1) in character, and (2) in the things of the Lord.

•• It has been said that until approximately age 8 (and that will vary with the child), the training of children is comprised mostly of input from us. After that, children can begin increasingly to make sound moral judgments from that godly input you have been giving them over their earlier years.

Deuteronomy 6:6-7  These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. [7] Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.

•• The home is the primary training environment. The church is only a helper to you in the accomplishing of your primary responsibility for effective Christian parenting with the goal of raising godly children.

•• We parents are entrusted with taking our children from 0% to 100% responsibility for their lives.

•• Home is the ideal place for children to:

• learn to get along with others

• learn work skills, social skills, manners, good attitudes, and much, much more.

•• Home is where parents model being a Christian and, in turn, present to their children the knowledge and practical opportunities to develop that in their own lives.

•• One thing Christian parents must not do, and that is to believe the ancient saying that it "takes a village" to raise a child. Absolutely not! The "village" around you — often unsaved neighbors, secular government-run schools, ungodly media, and the like — cannot be allowed to have significant influence on your Christian children. Otherwise, they will steadily erode the biblical values and truths that you parents are building into your children. It is not wise, or even possible, to isolate your children totally from the outside world. But faithfully fulfill your responsibility as parents to ground them in biblical values and character formation. Then they will be increasingly ready to face the carnality of our secular cultures and will be a positive influence rather than becoming victims of worldly value systems.

Ephesians 6:4  Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.

•• Christian parents — including Dads! — it is your responsibility to ensure that your children know and serve the Lord.

• Bible reading (more on that below) ... prayer at meals, at bedtimes, for needs ... relating the Lord to their everyday lives and activities.

•• A lady in our church, who raised three godly daughters to adulthood, shared this wisdom with me. She said be sure to expose children continually to the presence of the Lord. We can do that in a variety of ways, including:

• Be part of a good, Bible-believing, worshiping church, and teach your children to love being “in church”.

• Spend devotional time with them personally. Pray with them, read the Bible with them.

• Let your home be filled with Christian music. Sing to the Lord with your children. Teach them worship songs.

•• Don’t “exasperate” your children. Home is not a Marine boot camp! Rigid, harsh parenting will often lead to rebellion rather than the desired results.

•• But do present to them, day after day, in a positive and encouraging way, the “training and instruction of the Lord”.

•• (1) Character training — Address conduct and attitudes that are inappropriate, and instruct them in God’s approach to each character issue. You don’t necessarily need set times of character teaching. It works just fine to seize upon “learning moments” in the midst of their everyday lives.

•• (2) Bible training! You must...must...must read the Bible to your children ... and discuss it with them.

• With my firstborn child, every day I would read Scriptures from an age-appropriate Bible to him. As he matured, I transitioned from a very basic children’s Bible to editions appropriate for his age and current understanding. We enjoyed this time together, and over his young years we went through many Bibles together. Today he is a successful businessman, family man, and a lay pastor in a large church in his city.

• As our family grew, my wife and I had to be more creative in the Bible training. For a number of years, I would read the Bible to several of the children at once. I would stop often and give little verbal “pop quizzes” on what I had just read. The kids enjoyed it, and we kept it light-hearted, with the result being that they paid close attention. These family devotions, along with praying with our children at all meals and at bedtime, bore much fruit in their lives. They are now raising their own children in the things of the Lord.

(2) LOVE your children —

Titus 2:3-4  Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good. [4] Then they can train the younger women to love their husbands and children...

•• Children thrive on love. The story is told of an English hospital in the 19th century. There were young, orphaned children there who received medical attention but little or no emotional support. Many of those ill children would simply languish and die. But a lady janitor who worked the hospital night shift asked for permission to carry a declining child in a sling on her hip while she worked. She would lavish attention and love upon the child while she swept and cleaned. And, lo and behold, some of those children who had been “failing to thrive” and were expected to decline and die, reversed course and responded to her love by rallying back to health. Love is powerful!

•• Tell your children and show them often that you love them.

• Be sure to affirm them. Praise them.

•• Show physical affection. Hug your children, hold them. One study of pregnant 13-year-old girls discovered that a prevailing common trait was that while growing up they had received little or no pure, wholesome physical affection from their fathers. They told the researchers that their craving for this lack of wholesome touches and hugs in the home drove them to seek it elsewhere. And unfortunately they too often found it in illicit sexual encounters.

•• “Give” yourself to your children, even as “...Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her” (Ephesians 5:25). Love is at its best when it is giving.

• Give your children portions of your time. Give them your full attention when they talk to you.

•• Be involved in their lives and interests ... listen to them ... spend time with them ... include them in housework (you can’t always play with them).

•• But love your spouse first and foremost! My first pastor wisely taught us: “Dads, the best thing you can do for your kids is to love their Mom.”

CONTINUED NEXT WEEK WITH PART 2


I pray this message and the music this week have touched your heart.  If it has and you're ready to take Jesus as your Lord and Savior, you need to do the following four things:

1. Admit you're a sinner.
2. Repent of your sins and ask God to forgive you.
3. Believe in Jesus as your only hope of salvation.
4. Confess that Jesus is your Lord.

​Repeat the following prayer, which includes numbers 1-4 above.  It's got to be from your heart and not just your head.  You don't have to be in a church to say this prayer. You can say it right now, right where you are. But after you've said it I strongly urge you to find a local church and go to the very next service. Tell the pastor what great and wonderful thing has happened to you.

PRAYER 
Lord God, I come to you in the name of Jesus Christ. I come to you with all the sins I've committed. I admit I'm a sinner and I ask for your forgiveness. Please cleanse my body, soul and spirit from these sins with the precious blood of your Son, Jesus Christ. I believe Jesus died on the cross for my sins and for the sins of all those who believe in His name. I also believe that He rose from the dead so that I, too, may have victory over the works of the devil. I confess and accept Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior and ask Him to come into my heart and give me a new life that seeks after Your will and purposes. I want to serve You and obey all Your ways. I want to live for You every day of my life. Please lead and guide me into righteousness by Your Holy Spirit.

Thank you Lord, for the work of Your Son, Jesus, who shed His blood for me, and for hearing and answering my prayer. Thank you that I am now considered Your child through the work of Jesus. Thank you that I have a new life. Thank you that I've been born anew, and by faith I believe it. In the name of Jesus, Amen.


https://www.jimfeeney.org/Christian-parenting.html







How to Marry Well by Finding the Right Spouse for You

Summary:  Entering into marriage can be one of life’s greatest blessings if you marry well … or one of life’s biggest disappointments if you choose unwisely. You can greatly improve your chances of having a lifelong, blessed marriage by following biblical wisdom in choosing the right husband or wife. A good marriage will bring joy for a lifetime! A bad one will bring much grief and misery. To those contemplating marriage, I exhort you from the bottom of my heart: choose your mate wisely and biblically.

Genesis 2:18, 22  The Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him” … [22] Then the Lord God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man.

•• God arranged the first marriage. Since that time He has involved us in the process of finding a mate (Proverbs 18:22). It is important to ask God for His help to do this wisely. There are a number of Scriptures that will give much sound wisdom as you men seek to find a wife or you ladies seek to find a husband who will be a blessing to you over many years of serving the Lord together. Let’s go see.

Mark 10:6-9  “But at the beginning of creation God ‘made them male and female.’ ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.”

•• God made marriage sacred, and He made it to be permanent, for life. Jesus reminded His hearers that it was God who had created us “male and female … a man [and] his wife.” God has blessed this union. Therefore, let “no one separate it.”

•• As you contemplate marriage, remember that it is God’s intention that a couple be joined together, not separated by divorce. So choose your life partner wisely! It is a tragedy that the Christian divorce rate in America is roughly the same as the rate of divorce among unbelievers.

Amos 3:3, KJV  Can two walk together, except they be agreed?

Genesis 2:18  The Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him”

•• Compatibility is very important. God desires that a married couple be “suitable” for each other. Take time in the period of dating and courtship to get to know each other well. Little irritations will not just disappear after the wedding. More likely, they will grow into bigger irritations. Marrying well after a mutually honest and discerning courtship will head off a lot of potential problems down the road.

•• Do you love him? love her? Good! More on that later. But do you also like him/her? Do you enjoy being in his or her presence? Are you comfortable with each other?

•• Do you have common agreement on important issues? Do you have the same religious values? Do you agree on how you will handle finances? Do you both want children? Do you agree on how to raise and discipline them? These and more are important issues that require much discussion during your courtship.

•• Are you seeking a husband? a wife? Then be absolutely certain that you seek someone of godly character (Galatians 5:22-23). If he or she has major character flaws, then that person does not presently qualify as God’s “suitable” person for you to marry. I understand and am thankful that God can take lowly sinners (all of us without Christ) and make them into shining examples of godliness. But if that sanctifying process is not occurring in the one you hope to marry, I strongly urge you to hold off on marriage until you see genuine, consistent character change from the Lord in him or her.

2 Corinthians 6:14  Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness?

1 Corinthians 7:16  How do you know, wife, whether you will save your husband? Or, how do you know, husband, whether you will save your wife?

•• The #1 recommendation I will make in this message is this: the most important compatibility a husband and wife can have is a mutual dedication to Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.

•• I cannot emphasize this strongly enough: do not marry an unbeliever! God calls that an “unequal yoking.” If you do, the stark difference in morals, in values, in worldview, will bring into your daily life a series of conflicts that will get worse and worse as they add up over the years.

•• But, you say, “Surely I’ll be able to lead him (or her) to the Lord over time.” Perhaps, but it is more likely that you will not. Researcher George Barna published a 2004 study showing that only 23% of the saved population had come to Christ after their 21st birthday. The apostle Paul spoke realistically: “How do you know … whether you will save your [spouse]?” Young people especially, consider this: if your husband/wife-to-be is already 21 and is not saved, the statistical probability is that he/she will not ever accept Jesus as Savior.

•• The apostle Paul reiterated the importance of marrying a believer. In counseling widows considering remarriage, he wrote by the Holy Spirit: “…if her husband dies, she is free to marry anyone she wishes, but he must belong to the Lord” (1 Corinthians 7:39). Again, do not marry an unbeliever! You are only setting yourself up for much spiritual heartache.

Proverbs 18:22  He who finds a wife finds what is good and receives favor from the Lord.

•• It seems that the Lord considers it primarily to be the man’s responsibility to “find” a wife. And God calls that a “good” thing that incurs His favor — assuming, as we saw above, that she is a believer.

•• But it’s not all the man’s responsibility. The lovely story of the young widow Ruth, who ended up married to Boaz (Ruth 3:1-13), shows us that a woman can make herself “findable”! She can take good care of her health and her appearance. She can be creative in placing herself in situations where she will be able to get to know godly single men — church would probably top this list! Conversely, a bar might be among the worst places to look for an honorable potential mate.

Genesis 24:1-4  Abraham was now very old, and the Lord had blessed him in every way. He said to the senior servant in his household, the one in charge of all that he had, “Put your hand under my thigh. I want you to swear by the Lord, the God of heaven and the God of earth, that you will not get a wife for my son from the daughters of the Canaanites, among whom I am living, but will go to my country and my own relatives and get a wife for my son Isaac.”

•• Yes, later in chapter 24 the servant prayed to God for guidance in finding a wife for Isaac. But don’t overspiritualize what happened. Remember that right at the outset (vss. 1-4) Abraham had given him specific instructions on seeking Isaac’s wife — “…my own country … my own relatives.”

•• Genesis 24 shows us the proper blending of two perspectives in seeking a mate — (1) using natural wisdom (vs. 4) and prayerful guidance from the Lord (vss. 12-14).

•• Also not to be overlooked in this story is that the young woman Rebekah (vs. 58) still had free will to accept or decline the marriage overtures. Young people, don’t ever feel “pressured” into marriage. I was 29 when I married my wife Mickey, and we were blessed with a 38-year marriage before she went on to her heavenly reward. (P.S. God was once more good to me in my widowed state, and my wife Linda and I are now enjoying our third year of marriage.)

Genesis 29:20-28  So Jacob served seven years to get Rachel, but they seemed like only a few days to him because of his love for her … [27-28] Finish this daughter’s bridal week; then we will give you the younger one also, in return for another seven years of work.” And Jacob did so. He finished the week with Leah, and then Laban gave him his daughter Rachel to be his wife.

•• The point I draw from this biblical story is this: if you believe you have found a potential spouse worth pursuing, do that! Don’t be half-hearted; don’t get weary. If you’ve found someone that you believe God would be pleased to have you marry, then go for it. Men, “find” a wife. That speaks of effort. Ladies, proactively live in such a way that you are likely to be “found” by a good, godly man.

Genesis 29:17-18, Amplified Bible  Leah’s eyes were weak and dull looking, but Rachel was beautiful and attractive. And Jacob loved Rachel; so he said, I will work for you for seven years for Rachel your younger daughter.

•• Physical attractiveness alone is not enough. Recall the words of the Proverb: “…beauty is fleeting, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised” (31:30). However, it is important that you do feel a genuine attraction to the person you hope to marry. Jacob noticed Rachel’s beauty and attractiveness, and it was part of the reason that he “loved Rachel.” Otherwise, you can end up in a marriage that quickly turns platonic and will lack the full measure of fulfillment that God intends for marriage — compatibility in body, soul, and spirit.

Some specific hints for the man seeking a godly wife:

Proverbs 31:10-11, 28, KJV  Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies. The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her, so that he shall have no need of spoil … [28] Her children arise up, and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praiseth her.

•• Men, get to know her before you commit. Be sure that she shows herself to be someone you can totally trust and whose character you can praise to others and to God.

Ephesians 5:25  Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.

•• Men, is this a woman you can truly love? What about if she’s grumpy today? How about if you have a disagreement? The ability to willingly choose to love her, in good days and not-so-good, will be one of the absolutely most important contributors to your having a victorious marriage. In fact, my personal opinion is that this verse may be the bible’s most important key to a happy marriage — after, of course, the preeminent issue of both of you together serving Jesus Christ as your personal Savior.

Ephesians 5:28-29, KJV  So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself. For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church.

•• Men, determine to “cherish” her. Treasure her, show her love and sincere affection, and you will be amazed at how greatly she will love you in return. So ask yourself: is this a woman I can truly cherish and treasure?

Some specific hints for the woman seeking a godly husband:

Titus 2:4, KJV  …that they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children.

•• As with women, men thrive on being genuinely loved. Ladies, is the man you are considering someone you can love sincerely and deeply? Or is he simply a “good guy” who might provide you some security in life? That’s not enough. Marriage is a covenant of committed love between a man and a woman. Examine your heart to be certain that you truly love him.

Ephesians 5:22  Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord...

•• Although this idea is repugnant to modern Feminists, it is thoroughly biblical. Ladies, is your intended spouse a man to whom you can willingly submit as head of your home? Are you and he “equals”? Of course you are, in value to the Lord and love by Him. But as far as God-assigned human roles, do you feel comfortable pondering submitting to him as the future head of your home? If this makes you uncomfortable, I would suggest that you are not ready to marry this specific man.

Ephesians 5:33  …and the wife must respect her husband.

•• Do you truly respect him? If not, don’t marry him! Don’t! It will only lead to heartache for both you and him down the road, as this lack of respect erodes other areas of your relationship.

1 Timothy 5:8, KJV  But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel.

•• Is he qualified to be a good provider for you and the future children of the marriage? Does he have either a marketable degree or a marketable skill? If not, you are increasing the likelihood of your marriage experiencing the potentially disabling effects of poverty within your family.

In closing, let me repeat: marriage is a wonderful thing to pursue. I have been happily married, then widowed, and now happily married again. Both relationships have been of immeasurable value and blessing to me. The biblical principles I’ve shared above have been keys for both successful marriages. And they will be for you, too! Don’t just settle! Follow God’s blueprint and you will greatly increase the likelihood that you will have a lifelong, wonderful marriage. May the Lord bless you in this godly pursuit.

I pray this message and the music this week have touched your heart.  If it has and you're ready to take Jesus as your Lord and Savior, you need to do the following four things:

1. Admit you're a sinner.
2. Repent of your sins and ask God to forgive you.
3. Believe in Jesus as your only hope of salvation.
4. Confess that Jesus is your Lord.

​Repeat the following prayer, which includes numbers 1-4 above.  It's got to be from your heart and not just your head.  You don't have to be in a church to say this prayer. You can say it right now, right where you are. But after you've said it I strongly urge you to find a local church and go to the very next service. Tell the pastor what great and wonderful thing has happened to you.

PRAYER 
Lord God, I come to you in the name of Jesus Christ. I come to you with all the sins I've committed. I admit I'm a sinner and I ask for your forgiveness. Please cleanse my body, soul and spirit from these sins with the precious blood of your Son, Jesus Christ. I believe Jesus died on the cross for my sins and for the sins of all those who believe in His name. I also believe that He rose from the dead so that I, too, may have victory over the works of the devil. I confess and accept Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior and ask Him to come into my heart and give me a new life that seeks after Your will and purposes. I want to serve You and obey all Your ways. I want to live for You every day of my life. Please lead and guide me into righteousness by Your Holy Spirit.

Thank you Lord, for the work of Your Son, Jesus, who shed His blood for me, and for hearing and answering my prayer. Thank you that I am now considered Your child through the work of Jesus. Thank you that I have a new life. Thank you that I've been born anew, and by faith I believe it. In the name of Jesus, Amen.

https://www.jimfeeney.org/choosing-mate-marry-well.html






Overcoming Temptation--Is It Your Master or Your Slave?  Part 2

Summary:  We are all tempted. Even Jesus had temptations (Hebrews 4:15). But unlike us, He never gave in to them and sinned. Thankfully, God in His bible shows us how to overcome temptation and to make it our slave, not our master.

How Do We Overcome Temptation?

Galatians 5:16, KJV  This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh.

• A spiritual walk tends to give you the victory over your carnal nature. Prayer, Bible study, worship, church attendance, and similar spiritual exercises strengthen you within to overcome the world, the flesh, and the devil. Ongoing spiritual growth will increasingly fortify you against temptations from within and without.

Matthew 26:41  “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.”

• Specifically, watchfulness and prayerfulness, said Jesus, will help us not to fall into temptation. He reminded them (and us) that our spirit may indeed be willing to follow God and serve Him, but we must be ever mindful of the fact that our flesh is weak. So we are exhorted to “watch and pray so that [we] will not fall into temptation.”

Ephesians 6:13-18a  Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray…

• Put on God’s full armor! Take advantage of every offensive and defensive spiritual weapon He has made available to you. You can repeatedly “stand firm … [in the] day of evil” if you put on:

• the belt of truth

• the breastplate of righteousness

• the gospel of peace

• the shield of faith

• the helmet of salvation

• the sword of the spirit, which is the word of God

• and prayer

James 4:7-8  Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.

• When it’s the devil doing the tempting, we are told to “resist the devil.” But notice that we resist him successfully (“he will flee”) when we are continually submitted to God (vs. 7) and are living a life of drawing near to God (vs. 8).

Ephesians 4:27  Do not give the devil a foothold.

• This one is quite clear. Give the devil and your flesh no opportunities to tempt you. Stay away from immoral movies. Don’t read trashy books or magazines or watch TV shows that glorify evil. Control your eyes (Job 31:1) and do not set “wicked things” before them (Psalm 101:3). Take your thoughts captive (2 Corin. 10:5).

1 Corinthians 15:33, NASB  Do not be deceived: “Bad company corrupts good morals.”

• Very important! — Watch out for bad company. It will have a corrupting influence on you. Yes, of course, you might influence them positively with your testimony. But this doesn’t seem to be referring to some type of biblical witnessing situation. Rather, my sense of the verse is that it is forbidding us from establishing casual, ongoing relationships and spending time with those openly living a wicked life. If you think you are too strong to be negatively affected by this, then the Scripture we quoted tells you that you are “deceived.”

Matthew 4:5-7  Then the devil took him to the holy city and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. “If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down. For it is written: “‘He will command his angels concerning you, and they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.’” Jesus answered him, “It is also written: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’”

• Three times in the wilderness temptations by Satan, Jesus countered the temptations with “It is written!” The word of God from the Bible is a powerful weapon in resisting temptation. Learn the word and quote it in the face of your temptations. That is how Jesus conquered the devil's strategies, and that is how you can too.

1 Corinthians 10:12-14  So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall! No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.

• Each temptation may be different from the last. But these verses give three good keys for conquering all of them.

(1) “Be careful … take heed (KJV)”. Be wise, be vigilant, expect temptations to come, be alert, and don’t be blindsided by them.

(2) Realize that you can be an overcomer, that “you can bear” up under the temptations and conquer them. Don’t be a pessimist, a defeatist. God is ready and willing to give you victory in times of temptation.

(3) In temptations, God will give you “a way out … a way to escape (KJV)”. Oftentimes the way to escape will be, like Joseph, simply to flee! For example:

• Flee fornication (1 Corinthians 6:18).

• Flee from idolatry (1 Corinthians 10:14).

• Flee the love of money (1 Timothy 6:10-11).

• Flee youthful lusts (2 Timothy 2:22)

Hebrews 2:18; 4:14-16  Because [Jesus] himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted… [4:14] Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has ascended into heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are — yet he did not sin. Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.

• I remind you that “Jesus the Son of God … [is] touched with the feeling of our infirmities … [having been] in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin” (vss. 14-15, KJV). Jesus faced an onslaught of temptations, as we do, and in every instance he overcame them and did not sin. In light of Jesus' victory, He wants us to come boldly to Him, to the throne of grace to “find grace to help us” in our own temptations.

• The ultimate help in overcoming temptation is to come to Jesus Christ for help.

• “He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Cor. 15:57).

• “[God] always causes us to triumph in Christ” (2 Cor. 2:14, KJV).

• “We are more than conquerors through him who loved us” (Romans 8:37).

I pray this message and the music this week have touched your heart.  If it has and you're ready to take Jesus as your Lord and Savior, you need to do the following four things:

1. Admit you're a sinner.
2. Repent of your sins and ask God to forgive you.
3. Believe in Jesus as your only hope of salvation.
4. Confess that Jesus is your Lord.

​Repeat the following prayer, which includes numbers 1-4 above.  It's got to be from your heart and not just your head.  You don't have to be in a church to say this prayer. You can say it right now, right where you are. But after you've said it I strongly urge you to find a local church and go to the very next service. Tell the pastor what great and wonderful thing has happened to you.

PRAYER 
Lord God, I come to you in the name of Jesus Christ. I come to you with all the sins I've committed. I admit I'm a sinner and I ask for your forgiveness. Please cleanse my body, soul and spirit from these sins with the precious blood of your Son, Jesus Christ. I believe Jesus died on the cross for my sins and for the sins of all those who believe in His name. I also believe that He rose from the dead so that I, too, may have victory over the works of the devil. I confess and accept Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior and ask Him to come into my heart and give me a new life that seeks after Your will and purposes. I want to serve You and obey all Your ways. I want to live for You every day of my life. Please lead and guide me into righteousness by Your Holy Spirit.

Thank you Lord, for the work of Your Son, Jesus, who shed His blood for me, and for hearing and answering my prayer. Thank you that I am now considered Your child through the work of Jesus. Thank you that I have a new life. Thank you that I've been born anew, and by faith I believe it. In the name of Jesus, Amen.

https://www.jimfeeney.org/temptation-master-slave-overcoming.html






Overcoming Temptation--Is It Your Master or Your Slave?  Part 1

Summary:  We are all tempted. Even Jesus had temptations (Hebrews 4:15). But unlike us, He never gave in to them and sinned. Thankfully, God in His bible shows us how to overcome temptation and to make it our slave, not our master.

How Are We Tempted?

James 1:13  When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone.

• Let’s be very clear on this first point — God does not tempt us with evil. We can never blame God for our temptations. Forget about excuses like, “Well, God, you made me this way.”

James 1:14  Each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed.

• We are tempted by our “own lusts” (KJV). In the garden of Eden, Adam and Eve brought sin into the human race. Temptation in most cases simply originates from our “own evil desires” that proceed from our fallen nature.

Matthew 4:1  Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.

• Sometimes it’s a direct temptation from the devil, as Jesus experienced here. Verse 3 specifically calls the devil “the tempter.” Satan has a long history in this, going all the way back to the garden of Eden and his enticement and successful entrapment of Adam and Eve (Genesis 3:1-6).

Acts 5:1-4  Now a man named Ananias, together with his wife Sapphira, also sold a piece of property. With his wife’s full knowledge he kept back part of the money for himself, but brought the rest and put it at the apostles’ feet. Then Peter said, “Ananias, how is it that Satan has so filled your heart that you have lied to the Holy Spirit and have kept for yourself some of the money you received for the land? Didn’t it belong to you before it was sold? And after it was sold, wasn’t the money at your disposal? What made you think of doing such a thing? You have not lied just to human beings but to God.”

• At times our temptations come from the combined influence of Satan (who “fill[s] your heart” — vs. 3) and our own carnal natures (“What made you think of doing such a thing?” — vs. 4).

Proverbs 1:10, GNT  My child, when sinners tempt you, don't give in.

• Another source of temptation is the evil influence of other people upon us.

• I recall as a teenager falling in for a short time with a bad crowd, who successfully tempted me into several episodes of illegal, underage drinking.

What Is the Nature of Temptation?

1 John 2:15-16  Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in them. For everything in the world — the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life — comes not from the Father but from the world.

• This very important verse reveals that temptation often comes from any one (or more) of three sources:

• the lust of the flesh, of our carnal natures inherited from Adam and Eve

• the lust of the eyes, a common source of downfall to many

• the pride of life, which leads to a fall (Proverbs 16:18)

Genesis 3:1-6  …When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it.

• All three of these sources of temptation were experienced by Eve:

• She saw that the fruit of the forbidden tree “was good for food” — the lust of the flesh.

• The fruit that God had forbidden was “pleasing to [her] eye” — the lust of the eye.

• And she felt it was “desirable for gaining wisdom” — the pride of life, in that instance trying to be like God in knowing good and evil.

How Do We React to Temptation?

2 Samuel 11:2-4  One evening David got up from his bed and walked around on the roof of the palace. From the roof he saw a woman bathing. The woman was very beautiful, and David sent someone to find out about her. The man said, “She is Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam and the wife of Uriah the Hittite.” Then David sent messengers to get her. She came to him, and he slept with her.

• King David was tempted and fell. Look at the process: first, from his roof he saw with his eyes a woman bathing. He should have resisted this tantalizing situation then and there and turned away, but he did not. Then with his fleshly desires now stirred up, he sent someone to find out more information about the woman. And finally, he sent for her and took her to bed. Although not directly stated, I think it is a reasonable assumption that he thought his royal position somehow gave him a sense of entitlement — the “pride of life.” I leave that conclusion to your own judgment and discernment.

Genesis 39:7-12  And after a while his master’s wife took notice of Joseph and said, “Come to bed with me!” But he refused… [10] And though she spoke to Joseph day after day, he refused to go to bed with her or even be with her. One day he went into the house to attend to his duties, and none of the household servants was inside. She caught him by his cloak and said, “Come to bed with me!” But he left his cloak in her hand and ran out of the house.

• A clear contrast to King David’s fall is the account of the patriarch Joseph successfully resisting the seductive, adulterous advances of his master’s wife. He steadfastly refused her overtures and, very wisely, refused “even [to] be with her.”

• James 1:14-15, NASB  But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust. Then when lust has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and when sin is accomplished, it brings forth death. This verse is very important. Just having a temptation come at you is not yet a sin. How you respond to that temptation makes all the difference.

• David was tempted by seeing the woman Bathsheba bathing. His lusts were stirred, and he proceeded to pursue the object of his desires. In his case, “when lust [had] conceived, it [gave] birth to sin.”

• Joseph reacted in an opposite, victorious way. Surely we can imagine that the temptation was great. His master’s wife was openly soliciting him for a sexual union. But Joseph did not allow the temptation itself to develop into sin. He refused her advances and even refused to “be with her.” This was a very wise and godly response. He chose to flee temptation, rather than to stay there and see if he was strong enough to overcome it. He practiced what we used to call in my youth “avoiding the near occasions of sin.”

Continued next week in Part 2 with “How Do We Overcome Temptation?”

I pray this message and the music this week have touched your heart.  If it has and you're ready to take Jesus as your Lord and Savior, you need to do the following four things:

1. Admit you're a sinner.
2. Repent of your sins and ask God to forgive you.
3. Believe in Jesus as your only hope of salvation.
4. Confess that Jesus is your Lord.

​Repeat the following prayer, which includes numbers 1-4 above.  It's got to be from your heart and not just your head.  You don't have to be in a church to say this prayer. You can say it right now, right where you are. But after you've said it I strongly urge you to find a local church and go to the very next service. Tell the pastor what great and wonderful thing has happened to you.

PRAYER 
Lord God, I come to you in the name of Jesus Christ. I come to you with all the sins I've committed. I admit I'm a sinner and I ask for your forgiveness. Please cleanse my body, soul and spirit from these sins with the precious blood of your Son, Jesus Christ. I believe Jesus died on the cross for my sins and for the sins of all those who believe in His name. I also believe that He rose from the dead so that I, too, may have victory over the works of the devil. I confess and accept Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior and ask Him to come into my heart and give me a new life that seeks after Your will and purposes. I want to serve You and obey all Your ways. I want to live for You every day of my life. Please lead and guide me into righteousness by Your Holy Spirit.

Thank you Lord, for the work of Your Son, Jesus, who shed His blood for me, and for hearing and answering my prayer. Thank you that I am now considered Your child through the work of Jesus. Thank you that I have a new life. Thank you that I've been born anew, and by faith I believe it. In the name of Jesus, Amen.

https://www.jimfeeney.org/temptation-master-slave-overcoming.html






Why Does God Allow Suffering?

Summary:  The question has been asked for thousands of years: “Why do bad things happen to good people?” Committed believers have wondered why Christians experience suffering. Thankfully, the Bible does shed some light on this ages-old question of human suffering.

John 16:33  [Jesus said] “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

• Jesus shared with His followers two important insights: (1) we will have trouble in this world. But (2) in the midst of this trouble we can have peace, because Jesus has overcome the world.

• It is a naive and erroneous belief to think that when we come to Jesus in faith as our Savior, all our troubles are over. Far from it! To the contrary, the apostle Paul reminds us that “everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted" (2 Timothy 3:12).

• It is part of life in this fallen world to experience “trouble [NIV] … tribulation [KJV] … tribulation and trials and distress and frustration [Amplified] … suffering [NET] … affliction [LEB] … trials and sorrows [TLB] … difficulties [MSG] … persecution [NRSV] … oppression [WEB]” (vs. 33).

• The key for us as believers is to see this through Jesus’ eyes. He promises us that, since He “has overcome the world,” we may find peace in Him, come what may in our lives.

Genesis 1:31a; 2:15-17  God saw all that he had made, and it was very good… [2:15] The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it. And the Lord God commanded the man, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will certainly die.”

• God’s creation, including Adam and Eve, was perfect, “very good” [1:31], at the beginning. Then Genesis 3 records the fall of Adam and Eve into sin through their disobedience of God’s command.

• God had given them free will: “…you are free to eat … but you must not eat” from that one tree that God had placed off limits. Sad to say, they wrongly exercised their free will and chose the path of sinful disobedience.

• The result was catastrophic [2:17] for Adam and Eve and for all the human race since then. Sin and death had now entered the world of mankind, along with the sickness and suffering and many other troubles associated with that fall.

• It is vitally important that we establish this point strongly — that is, that the entrance of evil, suffering, and death entered into the lives of human beings because of the sinful disobedience of human beings, not because God desired these things to happen. God had laid out the proper boundaries for man, but man (Adam and Eve) violated these and brought all the subsequent evil and suffering into the world. In sum, the presence and problem of evil in our world are man’s fault, not God’s!

Genesis 6:5-7  The Lord saw how great the wickedness of the human race had become on the earth, and that every inclination of the thoughts of the human heart was only evil all the time. The Lord regretted that he had made human beings on the earth, and his heart was deeply troubled. So the Lord said, “I will wipe from the face of the earth the human race I have created — and with them the animals, the birds and the creatures that move along the ground — for I regret that I have made them.”

• Only a few more chapters into Genesis, we see the tragic result of the sin in Eden. Now the human race had become wicked and “only evil all the time.” Sadly, human sin had taken its toll.

• So the primary reason that humans, including Christian believers, suffer is the disastrous effects of sin — not just that of Adam and Eve, but our sins as well.

• However, in specific instances, as we will see below, there are sometimes other explanations for human suffering, and some of those are for positive purposes.

John 9:1-3  As he went along, he saw a man blind from birth. His disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” [Jesus replied] “Neither this man nor his parents sinned,” said Jesus, “but this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him."

• Jesus and His disciples came upon a blind man. The disciples asked whose sin had been responsible for his blindness. Now we know that sickness and death were in the world since the sin of our original parents, Adam and Eve. But in this case Jesus said that God had a special, positive purpose in mind. Jesus went on to heal the blind man and thereby to bring glory to God.

• Be careful to discern something here. It was not the blindness that would bring glory to God, but the healing! So sometimes our sufferings of one sort or another can be opportunities for God to move mightily and to bring great glory to Himself.

James 1:2-3  Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.

• Sometimes sufferings, trials, testings can be used by God to help us to persevere in our faith. Yes, evil entered the human race through sin. But God can take bad situations and turn them to good for the believer (Romans 8:28). And we can grow in our Christian maturity through these trials, not necessarily by escaping them. A right response to suffering produces endurance, James tells us.

1 Peter 4:12-13; 5:8-10  Dear friends, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come on you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice inasmuch as you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed… [5:8] Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings. And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.

• There is rich truth here. Yes, we will have some “fiery ordeals” and testings. But remember, this is not unique to you. Rather, believers all over the world are “undergoing the same kind of sufferings.”

• Remember also that Jesus suffered greatly, and it is our privilege likewise to endure some hardships, some persecutions, even violence against us for Jesus’ name. We can “rejoice … as [we] participate in the sufferings of Christ.”

• The upside of this is that suffering experienced with faith and victory can restore us and make us strong, firm, and steadfast (vs. 10).

• The record of the early Church shows that it was strengthened and grew, even in the midst of persecutions and martyrdom. You can grow in hard times. They don’t have to defeat you.

1 Peter 4:19  So then, those who suffer according to God’s will should commit themselves to their faithful Creator and continue to do good.

• Two thoughts: (1) suffering can at times be “according to God’s will” and (2) can lead us to a greater commitment to the Lord and a closer walk with Him.

Hebrews 12:6-10  …the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and he chastens everyone he accepts as his son.” Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as his children. For what children are not disciplined by their father? If you are not disciplined — and everyone undergoes discipline — then you are not legitimate, not true sons and daughters at all. Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of spirits and live! They disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, in order that we may share in his holiness. No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.

• Discipline! Chastening! Nobody likes these things. And yet they can be beneficial. For example, a loving human father chastens and disciplines his children in order to shape their character for good.

• It is even more so with God. He “disciplines us for our good”! Are you perfect yet? Of course not; neither am I. So we need God’s hand of discipline on us. For what? “For our good!” God desires to shape us into greater holiness (vs. 10). If we submit to and are trained by God’s corrective chastening, it will produce in us a “harvest of peace and righteousness.” Submission to disciplinary suffering builds character.

• Do you know a brother or sister who is suffering? Then the appropriate response may be to pray for them and seek to see them released from that (seemingly undeserved) suffering. But! … it is possible that the suffering may actually be God disciplining and chastening them for their good, perhaps to help them overcome some sinful habit or some other situation that God is intending to purge from their lives. So there is not just a one-size-fits-all approach to our own hardships or those of other people. Prayerfully seek God to see how and what He is working in each situation.

• Disclaimer: I am not suggesting that God disciplines or chastens His children by making them sick. To the contrary, Jesus consistently healed the sick in the four Gospels. Promises of healing to God's faithful are found throughout the Scriptures.

James 5:13a  Is anyone among you in trouble? Let them pray.

• Should we pray for deliverance from the trouble? Perhaps. But more importantly, pray to get a sense of God’s intentions for each situation.

• Let’s create a hypothetical scenario. Let’s say that a Christian brother feels led to start a small business and does so. Then the business begins to struggle and he experiences much suffering and distress. There could be any one or several reasons for his struggles. For example:

• It could be God chastening him for sin. Perhaps he is cheating on his business’s taxes.

• Or it could, on the positive side, be God working and developing in him a greater dependence on the Lord.

• Perhaps it is God leading him into more fervent prayer.

• Maybe God is using this to strengthen the business owner’s walk of faith.

• God could be simply (via one of more of the above) drawing the man closer to Him.

• Or it could be just as simple as the man practicing inefficient business practices!

2 Corinthians 4:16-18  Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.

• Try to view distress and suffering from an eternal perspective. Our earthly troubles are “light and momentary.” Our coming through them with victory leads to an “eternal glory that far outweighs them all.”

• So what should be do? “Do not lose heart” (vs. 16) … keep a heavenly, not an earthly, perspective (17) … fix your eyes (18) on the things that truly matter: God the Father, Jesus His Son, and the eternal promises of God. This life is short; eternity with our Lord is forever.

Romans 8:28, 35-39  And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose… [35] Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written: “For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.” No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

• We may not know all the answers to suffering. I certainly don’t. We cannot always see a clear answer to the ages-old question, "Why does God allow suffering?" We can’t always explain each instance of trials and distress as we would like to. But remember (vs. 28) that God can bring good even out of bad circumstances.

• In “all these things” God makes us “more than conquerors.” Victors over hardship, persecution, famine, nakedness, danger, the sword, death, demons, malignant enemies, and more. “IN all” these things God will give us the victory.

• Suffering is a fact of human life. It is experienced by our fellow believers throughout the world (1 Peter 5:9). Jesus told us that in this world we will have troubles (John 16:33). In light of this, allow me to close by quoting three of my favorite “victory” scriptures. These verses will give you great hope, whatever trials you may be facing.

Romans 8:37  We are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.

1 Corinthians 15:57  He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

2 Corinthians 2:14, KJV  [God] always causeth us to triumph in Christ…

I pray this message and the music this week have touched your heart.  If it has and you're ready to take Jesus as your Lord and Savior, you need to do the following four things:

1. Admit you're a sinner.
2. Repent of your sins and ask God to forgive you.
3. Believe in Jesus as your only hope of salvation.
4. Confess that Jesus is your Lord.

​Repeat the following prayer, which includes numbers 1-4 above.  It's got to be from your heart and not just your head.  You don't have to be in a church to say this prayer. You can say it right now, right where you are. But after you've said it I strongly urge you to find a local church and go to the very next service. Tell the pastor what great and wonderful thing has happened to you.

PRAYER 
Lord God, I come to you in the name of Jesus Christ. I come to you with all the sins I've committed. I admit I'm a sinner and I ask for your forgiveness. Please cleanse my body, soul and spirit from these sins with the precious blood of your Son, Jesus Christ. I believe Jesus died on the cross for my sins and for the sins of all those who believe in His name. I also believe that He rose from the dead so that I, too, may have victory over the works of the devil. I confess and accept Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior and ask Him to come into my heart and give me a new life that seeks after Your will and purposes. I want to serve You and obey all Your ways. I want to live for You every day of my life. Please lead and guide me into righteousness by Your Holy Spirit.

Thank you Lord, for the work of Your Son, Jesus, who shed His blood for me, and for hearing and answering my prayer. Thank you that I am now considered Your child through the work of Jesus. Thank you that I have a new life. Thank you that I've been born anew, and by faith I believe it. In the name of Jesus, Amen.

https://www.jimfeeney.org/christians-suffering.html















The Truth ​Internet Church​
A church of God, Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit


We are a Christian church, serving all who know Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior and those who would like to know Him.  We meet only on the Internet.  ​​We have no walls; we have no pews; we have no restrictions, ​except to always tell
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