Looking Ahead

> You can’t change the past, but you can respond to the present and prepare for the future. Let your past troubles fade. – unknown author

So many of us at time’s, look back and begin to dwell on our past failure’s. We think, why did i do that, knowing that it was not right in the eye’s of God. Philippians 3:14 explains the best. “Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead.” Praise God for new beginning’s! We have a place, a destination that i am going, and I do not want to be tied up in the past instead of living for God in the moment. I don’t want to dwell, i want to seek, I don’t want to complain, I want to Praise, I don’t want to look back, I want to look ahead! Somebody shout. So we must do what we have got to do, “Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us.” Hebrews 12:1. Be Ready, Stay Focused & Never look back.

I hear You speak…

but i won’t let go

 

A shoplifter wrote to a department store, saying, “I’ve just become a Christian, and i can’t sleep at night because i feel guilty. So here’s $100 that I owe you.”  – 1001 Illustrations that connect

 

When we have come to know the Truth, so that the Truth can and will set a person free, we sometime’s keep a little back for us. Let’s call it our “pet sin”. Yes, we know that we all have fallen short of God’s glory, so why not keep something back, right? When the Holy Spirit is convicting us that we need to get rid of “it”, it’s time to give it to God rather than holding onto “it”. When we have come to the place where we realize that He is all we need, there is no need to look back to pursue, take or to grab a hold of what had been broken off. Be ready, stay focused & never look back.

“Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead”. Phil 3:13

“No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.” Matt 6:24

The “Happy Meal” God

That very day two of them were going to a village named Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem, and they were talking with each other about all these things that had happened. While they were talking and discussing together, Jesus himself drew near and went with them. But their eyes were kept from recognizing him. And he said to them, “What is this conversation that you are holding with each other as you walk?” And they stood still, looking sad. Then one of them, named Cleopas, answered him, “Are you the only visitor to Jerusalem who does not know the things that have happened there in these days?” And he said to them, “What things?” And they said to him, “Concerning Jesus of Nazareth, a man who was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people, and how our chief priests and rulers delivered him up to be condemned to death, and crucified him. But we had hoped that he was the one to redeem Israel. Yes, and besides all this, it is now the third day since these things happened. Moreover, some women of our company amazed us. They were at the tomb early in the morning, and when they did not find his body, they came back saying that they had even seen a vision of angels, who said that he was alive. Some of those who were with us went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said, but him they did not see.” And he said to them, “O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into his glory?” And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself.  So they drew near to the village to which they were going. He acted as if he were going farther, but they urged him strongly, saying, “Stay with us, for it is toward evening and the day is now far spent.” So he went in to stay with them. When he was at table with them, he took the bread and blessed and broke it and gave it to them. And their eyes were opened, and they recognized him. And he vanished from their sight. They said to each other, “Did not our hearts burn within us while he talked to us on the road, while he opened to us the Scriptures?” And they rose that same hour and returned to Jerusalem. And they found the eleven and those who were with them gathered together, saying, “The Lord has risen indeed, and has appeared to Simon!” Then they told what had happened on the road, and how he was known to them in the breaking of the bread.  As they were talking about these things, Jesus himself stood among them, and said to them, “Peace to you!” But they were startled and frightened and thought they saw a spirit. And he said to them, “Why are you troubled, and why do doubts arise in your hearts? See my hands and my feet, that it is I myself. Touch me, and see. For a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have.” And when he had said this, he showed them his hands and his feet. And while they still disbelieved for joy and were marveling, he said to them, “Have you anything here to eat?” They gave him a piece of broiled fish, and he took it and ate before them.  Then he said to them, “These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you, that everything written about me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.” Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures, and said to them, “Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, and that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things. And behold, I am sending the promise of my Father upon you. But stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high.”   (Luke 24:13-49 ESV)

 Points >

> The two men could have easily have had Jesus keep on walking down the road.

– They stopped Him. And welcomed Him into their home.
Us too need to welcome Him into our lives each and every day, by asking Him to crucify our flesh. Have you ever realized how sensitive the Holy Spirit is? We have spoken of or have done an action that have hurt the Holy Spirit!

> Sup with Him ( “Stay dressed for action and keep your lamps burning, and be like men who are waiting for their master to come home from the wedding feast, so that they may open the door to him at once when he comes and knocks. Blessed are those servants whom the master finds awake when he comes. Truly, I say to you, he will dress himself for service and have them recline at table, and he will come and serve them. If he comes in the second watch, or in the third, and finds them awake, blessed are those servants!   (Luke 12:35-38 ESV)

– When we spend time at the table, to meet God, to have an expectation of what He can and will do in our lives if we obey His word and love Him with all of our heart, soul, and mind. To love on Him no matter what we are facing. There is always a God worth worshipping.

Summary

For some, God is a “Happy Meal” God. Whenever you need a “pick me up”, for instance, a trial occurs in our life, we have a bad report from the doctor; we expect Him to answer by spending a few minutes in prayer or going to a church service besides Easter and Christmas, and we expect God to fix our problems? Rather, than going to the table and opening Him up and getting to know Him on a personal level, rather than a ritual. He is a faithful God; we should be attracted by His presence, not of what He can offer to us alone.

To find on going peace and freedom in our lives, we must stay as close to Him as our surrenderance to obtain selflessness in the eyes of a holy God.

Today is the day of Salvation

“what took place yesterday is not too late for us to intercede and Have God step in and save this generation today”. Today is the day of Salvation.

As the Holy Spirit spoke these words to me one evening in my study of Habakkuk; of a man who had questions, Why? Why is God letting evil overrun good, why are the wicked getting away with their sin. As Habakkuk cried out, “why do you make me see iniquity…” (Hab 1:3) this reason alone to always be in a constant state of prayer. “Pray without ceasing” (1 Thes 5:17) is the key to seeing God save this Nation. God’s answer to Habakkuk’s prayer was “Look among the nations, and see; wonder and be astounded. For I am doing a work in your days that you would not believe if told”. Let’s have a spirit of expectancy and not doubt God by asking “why?”

What Faith Is

Good works aren’t good enough to earn God’s acceptance, to find peace with God, or to pay the debt for sin. No matter how hard we try and how sincere our efforts, our consciences will never be cleansed “from acts that lead to death” (Heb. 9:14). Instead we must come to God on his terms, not by works but by trust in the finished work of his Son.

by Luis Palau

Be Ready

Be Ready, Stay Focused & Never Look Back

Series 1 of 3

Genesis 18:1-22

It was hot, during the day the temperature could reach well over 100 degrees. With Abraham’s small village sitting on top of a hill that gave him a bird’s eye view in every direction; Abraham could see the whole valley even the city of Sodom and Gomorrah. With being a leader of his camp and having two dozen servants who watched over his herds and worked around the camp doing anything to help out the 99-year-old Abraham.

As Abraham was sitting in the shade, having the flap of his tent being propped up to keep his face from the blistering sun, looking out as the normal work of everyday care of the camp took place. One of his servant’s said “Look, Master….” Pointing down the trail, “Three travelers are coming this way.”

With Abraham living on top of the hill, making travel for any visitor difficult and out-of-the-way. With the main route that caravans took which was 20 miles away, Abraham knew that it must have been important.

Abraham rose up as his aging bones crackled as he said to a servant of his, “come…”Everyone were stirred because of the excitement of the travelers.

After Abraham greeted the visitor’s with water, a morsel of bread and a feet washing from the brutal trail, he pointed them to a tree for shade and rest.

Abraham then asked one of his servants to start preparing a meal for the guests, With 89-year-old Sarah kneading flour for fresh bread. “Get butter for the bread Abimelech, prepare us a table.” As Abraham rushed to prepare an exquisite meal. “Get the best cups…” he pointed to a servant. “Kill this young tender calf” Abraham said.

After the meal, the leader of the three offered appreciation to Abraham for the meal. With the children watching in the background being ready to snatch up the leftovers, they scrambled to the table to devour the leftover food and scraps.

As Abraham visited outside the tent with Sarah inside, trying to hear the conversation taking place. Abraham wanted to talk about what news the travelers knew, but they were there for other reasons, that Abraham was soon to notice. As the leader of the travelers began to speak, Abraham knew that he was in a company with deity, God in flesh and two angels who accompanied Him. After God asked Abraham where Sarah was, he then told Him that she was inside the tent. God began to tell Abraham that Sarah would soon bore a son, the promised child had finally happened! That Abraham and Sarah was disbelief in. Sarah laughed once more in disbelief, God heard and responded “Is there anything too hard for the Lord?”

How do we expect god to move if we don’t step out of the tent?

Key Points

1. God will go out of His way to show you that He is ready for you to make the next move.

We are not always waiting on God, sometimes He is waiting on us.

2. Everyone was in their comfort zones.

It was hot right? so they should-be inside? the question to ask, are we staying busy? or are we being so complacent that we have the lost the passion to further advance His Kingdom?

3. Excuses, excuses.

We all have excuses right? they were inside to keep away from the heat. So when things get heated up where do we go?

4. You may feel comfortable,but God wants to stir you up.

At the time of His arrival, the village got busy. Only at His arrival! “We must work the works of him who sent me while it is day; night is coming, when no one can work.” (John 9:4 ESV)

At the Table

The meal was set. The finest cups, delicious food, and the company that Abraham was with that evening as he began to eat with the King. A setting place that should have taken place in a large banqueting room in a castle. But God chose the place which was under a large oak tree. God does not ask of us of what we don’t have, He works with what we have. So the next time you think you have to be a pastor, a missionary to reach the World for Jesus, just start at the house next door to you.

Summary

always be ready for an encounter with God

Stay attentive and be ready for the next task that He places in front of you.

Salvation Recognized

So many people do not accept Christ because they know they can’t be perfect, they will fail Him at some point. And is this why Jesus came? Why yes it is! We cant be perfect, impossible. And what to think of a God, the only God that aligned the stars and gave names to each of them who looked down upon creation and knew that they needed a savior; Someone that can be an intercessor whenever they fail God. Not only that, but a comforter when they are hurting, a counselor when they need someone to talk to, a healer for when they need to be healed, a teacher whenever they need to be taught, a financial advisor for there finances. He does not only do that through His Son, but breaks the chains off the alcoholic that takes the hurt out onto his wife, the drug addict that spends his fortunes on the next high, or for the homosexual that believes they were made that way. It is all here, everything we need is in Him, when are we going to realize to surrender our life to give Him glory and fame for what He can do in our own life?

Why wait until tomorrow?

Recognize the Salvation and submit to Him.

Dead Religion

Religion, it’s not of God. It is the motive behind Jesus’ death. The rulers, Pharisees, Sadducees of His day’s were all about rituals, routine’s, man-made rules that are carried out in a vain behavior that is never pleasing to God but rather a foul smell in the nostrils of God.

But God, sent is Son for one purpose and that is to set the captive free. Whether you are an alcoholic, addicted to drug’s, a speed baller, or any situation that you are not serving God, the “good person” morals don’t cut it. It takes a one on one relationship with the only Jesus Christ that came down so that you may have life.  “choose this day whom you will serve” (Joshua 24:15 ESV)

The Spirit of Expectancy

The Spirit of Expectancy

While Moses was on Mount Sinai, as God began to engrave instructions on the Ten Commandments with His finger.  The people down below began to lose patience with Moses as he was on the mountain for 40 days and forty nights.

Exodus 32:1-3

When the people saw that Moses delayed to come down from the mountain, the people gathered themselves together to Aaron and said to him, “Make us gods who shall go before us. As for this Moses, the man who brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we do not know what has become of him.” So Aaron said to them, “Take off the rings of gold that are in the ears of your wives, your sons, and your daughters, and bring them to me.” So all the people took off the rings of gold that were in their ears and brought them to Aaron.

  1. Just as the return of Jesus, for some is hype. This generation has already begun to turn away and make their own gods.
  2. They say “there is no God, we shall make our own god’s”
  3. Even though the people went on to make their own god, Moses was in the spirit of Expectancy knowing that God would save his generation.

What took place yesterday is not too late for us to intercede and have God step in and save this generation today.  “Today is the day of salvation”

Dependency

Dependency is the reliance on or requiring the aid of another for support.

Dependency, countless times a day we depend on things to help us. Our phones for instance that constantly demands our attention. The e-mail’s, fb updates, Tweets, etc. The Information age has finally begun.

With all the technology that revolves around us, how much are we cutting out, pushing to the side to experience a deeper relationship with the King?

Are we depending on Him to lead us to a deeper relationship by pushing the demands of our life to the side? or do we depend on ourselves ?  There is a way that seems right to a man,   but its end is the way to death.   (Proverbs 14:12 ESV)

Super Bowl Sex-Trafficking

by Justin Holcomb, co-author with Lindsey Holcomb of Rid of My Disgrace

On February 5th, 2012, over a hundred million people will watch Super Bowl XLVI. Few of them will know about the horrific crimes that will be committed during and around the event in Indianapolis.

The Super Bowl is the most-watched program on TV every year. But many people don’t know about its dark underside: the Super Bowl, as are other large sporting events, is also a magnet for sex trafficking and child prostitution. It is possibly the largest sex trafficking event in the US. As more than 100,000 football fans descend on Indianapolis, sex traffickers and pimps will also arrive in droves to take advantage of the demand.

What is human trafficking?
Human trafficking is modern-day slavery and the fastest-growing criminal industry in the world. It is the recruitment, transportation, harboring, or taking of people by means of threat, force, coercion, abduction, fraud, or deception for the purpose of exploiting them.

The United Nations estimates that 2.5 million people are trafficked annually. The U.S. State Department estimates an even higher number: about 12.3 million adults and children “in forced labor, bonded labor, and forced prostitution around the world.” It deprives people of their human rights and freedoms, it is a global health risk, and it fuels organized crime. Victims of trafficking are forced or coerced into labor or sexual exploitation. Sex trafficking is one of the most profitable forms of trafficking and involves many kinds of sexual exploitation, such as prostitution, pornography, bride trafficking, and the commercial sexual abuse of children. It’s the fastest-growing criminal activity in the world, according to the United Nations, bringing in an estimated $32 billion a year. In the US, sex trafficking brings in $9.5 billion annually.

Trafficking in the United States
The United States is a destination country for international trafficking: foreign women and children are transported into the United States for purposes of sexual and labor exploitation. The US State Department estimates that approximately eighteen thousand foreign nationals are trafficked annually into the United States.

Victims are brought to the United States from Asia, Latin America, Eastern Europe, and Africa. Most women and children brought to the United States find themselves forced to work in massage parlors, commercial or residential brothels, escort services, and strip clubs.

Sex trafficking also happens to United States citizens residing within US borders. The Department of Justice estimates that more than 250,000 American children are at risk for trafficking into the sex industry annually. The average age of girls who enter into street prostitution is between 12 and 14 years old.

Traffickers coerce women and children to enter the commercial sex industry through a variety of recruitment techniques in strip clubs, street-based prostitution, and escort services.

From victim to slave
Domestic sex traffickers particularly target vulnerable young girls, such as runaway, homeless, and foster care children. In the United States, the average age of entry into prostitution is thirteen. Incest and other forms of abuse often drive children to run away from home, making them vulnerable to the slick tactics of sex traffickers.

The pimp seduces a recruit with the lure of love, protection, wealth, designer clothes, fancy cars, and exclusive nightclubs. Pimps move from city to city looking for children and young women who are easy prey: alone, desperate, and alienated. Once a pimp moves a victim from her hometown into a strange city, the pimp can easily force her to work as a prostitute. Thousands of children and women are victimized in this way every year.

Super Bowl
Large sporting events like the Super Bowl are prime targets for sex traffickers because of the high demand generated by thousands of men pouring into an area for a weekend of fun. The 2010 Super Bowl saw an estimated 10,000 sex workers brought into Miami. Despite efforts to crackdown on sex trafficking at the 2011 Super Bowl in Dallas, there was still a tremendous amount of women and children sexually exploited. In the past, attempted crackdowns by law enforcement have misfired by treating prostitutes as criminals to be locked up rather than victims to be rescued, but new efforts are gaining traction: a bill moving through the Indiana legislature aims to toughen the state’s sex-trafficking law before the Super Bowl.

Human trafficking is an attack on God
Human trafficking is a sin against the victim and a sin against God. Evil is anti-creation, anti-life, and the force that seeks to oppose, deface, and destroy God, his good world, and his image bearers. Simply put, when someone defaces a human being—God’s image bearer—it is ultimately an attack against God himself.

The victim’s experience of trafficking is not ignored by God or minimized by the Bible, and it is not outside of the scope of healing and hope found in redemption. God’s response to evil and violence is redemption, renewal, and re-creation because of the gospel of Christ. And that should be the church’s message.

Christians and churches need to be awakened to the modern-day slavery occurring in our cities. Convinced of the problem? Here are some practical ways you can make a difference:

6 Ways You Can Fight Human Trafficking
Get informed and inform others. A recommended reading list can be found here.
Read Rid of My Disgrace to earn about the effects of sexual assault and sex trafficking and the hope and healing for victims found in the person and work of Jesus Christ.
Support organizations fighting trafficking:
International Justice Mission
Not For Sale
Unearthed Pictures
Abolition International
Get involved
Be an informed consumer
Join a local or state anti-trafficking group
Justin Holcomb is a pastor at Mars Hill Church, the Executive Director of the Resurgence, and the author (with his wife Lindsey) of Rid of My Disgrace: Hope and Healing for Victims of Sexual Assault.