There is a sticky question many Christians struggle with: Is depression a sin?
This particular question is posed to me by more people than perhaps any other when trying to understand what is going on emotionally with themselves or with someone close to them. The situation isn't helped by well-meaning Christians who don't understand depression saying things like: "You just need to have more faith," or "There must be sin in your life, or you wouldn't feel like this," or even "If you'd pray harder (read the Bible more, have a deeper walk with the Lord), you wouldn't have this problem." To someone who already feels guilty about everything, this just piles on even more guilt.
I have found that sometimes it’s pastors who are most likely to suffer with depression. That’s because often times they are much more sensitive to sin and to evil in themselves and their world. They are also the ones most overcommitted in their service of the Lord, which makes them special targets for satanic attacks.
But are they right? Is depression a sin, or a picture of sin in our life? I answer that with an unequivocal no!
Where does this idea come from? We can trace this idea all the way back to John 9:3 where Jesus heals a blind man.
3 “Neither this man nor his parents sinned,” said Jesus, “but this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him. 4 As long as it is day, we must do the works of him who sent me. Night is coming, when no one can work. 5 While I am in the world, I am the light of the world.”
The man was thrown out after the Pharisees questioned him. Jesus replied,
35 Jesus heard that they had thrown him out, and when he found him, he said, “Do you believe in the Son of Man?”
36 “Who is he, sir?” the man asked. “Tell me so that I may believe in him.”
37 Jesus said, “You have now seen him; in fact, he is the one speaking with you.”
38 Then the man said, “Lord, I believe,” and he worshiped him.
Many people will ask this question, “What sin have I committed that has brought me depression?” We need to remember the word’s of Jesus. “Neither this man nor his parents sinned. This happened so that the power of God might be displayed in your life.
While sins in the past can contribute to depression, suffering from depression and its effects are not. Viewing depression as sin in and of itself prevents individuals from seeking treatment. There is a huge GUILT that comes into play. It also ignores the fact that many Christians may respond to depression in unhealthy ways.
Just because someone is feeling spiritually dark, does not necessarily bean there is a spiritual cause of these feelings. There are physiological components that come into play. Continue in ministry.
How do we deal with depression?
My favorite scripture. 1 Peter 2:9
9 But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.
Who is chosen? Who is a royal priesthood? Who is a holy nation? Who is God’s special possession?
Greater is He who is in me than he who is in the world. Jesus knows your suffering. He experienced more suffering than any of us will ever know. I want to give you hope. Hope that the Church has suffered from this and come out on the other side. Hope that your story will bring others hope in their lowest times. Hope that they can bring God glory in the darkness. I want to pray over you today.
The light is coming.
The weight is being lifted.
Our true identity is being revealed.
Our purpose is being revealed.
We are starting to feel strength rise up in us.
The fog is being lifted.
Chains are breaking.
Freedom is yours.
Victory is in reach.
Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love?
Does it mean he no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or hungry, or destitute, or in danger, or threatened with death? (As the Scriptures say, “For your sake we are killed every day; we are being slaughtered like sheep.” No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us. Romans 8:35-37
IF YOUR FAITH IS TIED TO THE REWARD OF THE PROMISE INSTEAD OF THE LOVE OF THE PROMISE, THEN YOUR FAITH WILL BE SURFACE, AND YOUR FAITHFULNESS WILL BE TEMPORARY!
MOST BELIEVERS NEVER WALK IN THE PROMISES OF GOD BECAUSE THEY WANT TO BYPASS THE REFINEMENT OF GOD!
These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold—though your faith is far more precious than mere gold. So when your faith remains strong through many trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world. 1 Peter 1:7
HE CANNOT BE A GOD THAT LOVES AND A GOD THAT IGNORES BECAUSE THEY CONTRADICT THEMSELVES.
We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. Romans 5:3-4
Purify me from my sins, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow. Oh, give me back my joy again; you have broken me— now let me rejoice. Don’t keep looking at my sins. Remove the stain of my guilt. Create in me a clean heart, O God. Renew a loyal spirit within me. Psalms 51:7-10
WE ARE FAITHFUL NO MATTER OUR CIRCUMSTANCES.
And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them. Romans 8:28
Not that I was ever in need, for I have learned how to be content with whatever I have. I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little. For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength. Even so, you have done well to share with me in my present difficulty. Philippians 4:11-14
2. WE ARE FAITHFUL BECAUSE WE STAY PERSISTENT WHEN NOTHING CHANGES.
hope means that we must trust and wait for what is still unseen. For why would we need to hope for something we already have? So because our hope is set on what is yet to be seen, we patiently keep on waiting for its fulfillment. Romans 8:24-25 TPT
One day Jesus told his disciples a story to show that they should always pray and never give up. “There was a judge in a certain city,” he said, “who neither feared God nor cared about people. A widow of that city came to him repeatedly, saying, ‘Give me justice in this dispute with my enemy.’ The judge ignored her for a while, but finally he said to himself, ‘I don’t fear God or care about people, but this woman is driving me crazy. I’m going to see that she gets justice, because she is wearing me out with her constant requests!’”
Then the Lord said, “Learn a lesson from this unjust judge. Even he rendered a just decision in the end. So don’t you think God will surely give justice to his chosen people who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off? I tell you, he will grant justice to them quickly! Luke 1-8
3. FAITHFULNESS STARTS SMALL AND BECOMES MONUMENTAL.
Elijah climbed to the top of Mount Carmel and bowed low to the ground and prayed with his face between his knees. Then he said to his servant, “Go and look out toward the sea.” The servant went and looked, then returned to Elijah and said, “I didn’t see anything.” Seven times Elijah told him to go and look. Finally the seventh time, his servant told him, “I saw a little cloud about the size of a man’s hand rising from the sea.” Then Elijah shouted, “Hurry to Ahab and tell him, ‘Climb into your chariot and go back home. If you don’t hurry, the rain will stop you!’” And soon the sky was black with clouds. A heavy wind brought a terrific rainstorm. 1 Kings 18:42-45
No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us. And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:37-39
· GOD DOESN’T EXPECT PERFECTION, BUT HE DOES DESIRE PROGRESSION.
Just as the body is dead without breath, so also faith is dead without good works. James 2:26
When I was living among you, you lived in responsive obedience. Now that I’m separated from you, keep it up. Better yet, redouble your efforts. Be energetic in your life of salvation, reverent and sensitive before God. That energy is God’s energy, an energy deep within you… Philippians 2:12-13 MSG
TAKE YOUR FAITH ONE DAY AT A TIME.
TODAY LET ME HONOR GOD BY THE WAY I LIVE.
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Romans 8:18-21 TPT
HOPE IS CHEAPENED IF IT IS DEFINED BY OUR CIRCUMSTANCES AND NOT BY OUR TRUST IN GOD.
✓ GOD RESPONDS TO OUR TROUBLES.
✓ GOD STILL HEALS.
✓ GOD RESTORES OUR SOULS.
2 Corinthians 5:17
✓ GOD DESIRES TO DO THE IMPOSSIBLE THROUGH US.
HOW DO WE WALK IN THE POWER OF GOD?
Romans 8:26 TPT
• THE HOLY SPIRIT KNOWS AND ASKS FOR WHAT WE NEED.
Romans 8:26 TPT
• THE HOLY SPIRIT KNOWS AND ASKS FOR GOD’S WILL.
Romans 8:27 TPT
• THE HOLY SPIRIT GIVES US CONFIDENCE DESPITE OUR CIRCUMSTANCES.
Romans 8:28 TPT
HOW DOES THE HOLY SPIRIT PRAY FOR US?
• WE MUST BE BAPTIZED IN THE HOLY SPIRIT.
Acts 19:1-3 TPT
1 John 5:7-8
WE ARE DESTINED TO LIVE A SUPERNATURAL LIFE, NOT A NATURAL ONE.
HOW DO WE GET FILLED WITH THE HOLY SPIRIT?
1. REMOVE ALL OBSTACLES.
2. ASK FOR THE HOLY SPIRIT TO FILL YOU.
3. RECEIVE THE HOLY SPIRIT BY FAITH.
4. SEEK HIM DAILY.
2 Corinthians 13:14 MSG
Yes, just as you can identify a tree by its fruit, so you can identify people by their actions. Matthew 7:20
For the Holy Spirit makes God’s fatherhood real to us as he whispers into our innermost being, “You are God’s beloved child!” Romans 8:16 TPT
For his Spirit joins with our spirit to affirm that we are God’s children. Romans 8:16 NLT
3 WAYS THE HOLY SPIRIT AFFIRMS WE ARE GOD’S CHILDREN AS WE START MAKING LIFE-GIVING LIFESTYLE, HEART, & MINDSET CHOICES:
1. LIFESTYLE CHOICE - WE WAGE WAR AGAINST SIN.
So then, beloved ones, the flesh has no claims on us at all, and we have no further obligation to live in obedience to it. For when you live controlled by the flesh, you are about to die. But if the life of the Spirit puts to death the corrupt ways of the flesh, we then taste his abundant life. Romans 8:12-13 TPT
Hate what is wrong. Hold tightly to what is good. Romans 12:9
Listen, you lovers of God! Hate evil, for God can keep you from wrong and protect you from the power of wickedness. Psalms 97:10 TPT
YOU HAVE TO GET TO THE POINT WHERE YOU LOVE THE FREEDOM FROM YOUR SIN OVER THE CONVENIENCE OF YOUR TEMPTATION.
“Don’t sin by letting anger control you.” Don’t let the sun go down while you are still angry, for anger gives a foothold to the devil. Ephesians 4:26-27
Do what is good and run from evil so that you may live! Amos 5:14
Throw off your old sinful nature and your former way of life. Ephesians 4:22
✓ NEGATIVE OR INAPPROPRIATE RELATIONSHIPS
✓ NEGATIVE WORDS
✓ NEGATIVE ENVRIONMENTS
✓ NEGATIVE MINDSETS
2. HEART CHOICE - SUBMIT TO THE HOLY SPIRIT'S DIRECTION.
The mature children of God are those who are moved by the impulses of the Holy Spirit. Romans 8:14
Now, those who are mature in their faith can easily be recognized, for they don’t live to please themselves but have learned to patiently embrace others in their immaturity. Our goal must be to empower others to do what is right and good for them, and to bring them into spiritual maturity. For not even the most powerful one of all, the Anointed One, lived to please himself. Romans 15:1-3
Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:19-20
MINISTRY IS THE PATHWAY TO MATURITY.
What good is it, dear brothers and sisters, if you say you have faith but don’t show it by your actions? Can that kind of faith save anyone?; So you see, faith by itself isn’t enough. Unless it produces good deeds, it is dead and useless. Now someone may argue, “Some people have faith; others have good deeds.” But I say, “How can you show me your faith if you don’t have good deeds? I will show you my faith by my good deeds.” James 2:14;17-18
A spiritual gift is given to each of us so we can help each other. 1 Corinthians 12:7
3. MINDSET CHOICE - WE CRY OUT TO GOD OUR FATHER.
And you did not receive the “spirit of religious duty,” leading you back into the fear of never being good enough. But you have received the “Spirit of full acceptance,” enfolding you into the family of God. And you will never feel orphaned, for as he rises up within us, our spirits join him in saying the words of tender affection, “Beloved Father!” Romans 8:15
And since we are his true children, we qualify to share all his treasures, for indeed, we are heirs of God himself. And since we are joined to Christ, we also inherit all that he is and all that he has. We will experience being co-glorified with him provided that we accept his sufferings as our own. Romans 8:17 TPT
IS MY MOTIVATION IN BUILDING THE KINGDOM OF ME, OR THE KINGDOM OF GOD?
THE EIGHTH CHAPTER- Week 1
I have discovered this principle of life—that when I want to do what is right, I inevitably do what is wrong. I love God’s law with all my heart. But there is another power within me that is at war with my mind. This power makes me a slave to the sin that is still within me. Oh, what a miserable person I am! Romans 7:21-24
So who has the power to rescue this miserable man from the unwelcome intruder of sin and death? I give all my thanks to God, for his mighty power has finally provided a way out through our Lord Jesus, the Anointed One! So if left to myself, the flesh is aligned with the law of sin, but now my renewed mind is fixed on and submitted to God’s righteous principles. Romans 7:24-25 TPT
So now the case is closed. There remains no accusing voice of condemnation against those who are joined in life-union with Jesus, the Anointed One. Romans 8:1 TPT
1. WE HAVE A NEW RELATIONSHIP.
…Those who are joined in life-union with Jesus, the Anointed One. Romans 8:1 TPT
You don’t belong to yourself any longer, for the gift of God, the Holy Spirit, lives inside your sanctuary. You were God’s expensive purchase, paid for with tears of blood, so by all means, then, use your body to bring glory to God! 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 TPT
Since a great price was paid for your redemption, stop having the mind-set of a slave. 1 Corinthians 7:23 TPT
2. WE HAVE A NEW FREEDOM
For the “law” of the Spirit of life flowing through the anointing of Jesus has liberated us from the “law” of sin and death; God sent us his Son in human form to identify with human weakness. Clothed with humanity, God’s Son gave his body to be the sin-offering so that God could once and for all condemn the guilt and power of sin. So now every righteous requirement of the law can be fulfilled through the Anointed One living his life in us. And we are free to live, not according to our flesh, but by the dynamic power of the Holy Spirit! Romans 8:2-4 TPT
3. WE HAVE A NEW LEADERSHIP
Those who are motivated by the flesh only pursue what benefits themselves. But those who live by the impulses of the Holy Spirit are motivated to pursue spiritual realities. For the mind-set of the flesh is death, but the mind-set controlled by the Spirit finds life and peace. In fact, the mind-set focused on the flesh fights God’s plan and refuses to submit to his direction, because it cannot! Romans 8:5-7 TPT
WHATEVER MOTIVATES YOU NOW, OVER TIME YOU WILL MANIFEST.
Lord, I passionately love you and I’m bonded to you, for now you’ve become my power! Psalms 18:1 TPT
When I was at my weakest, my enemies attacked—but the Lord held on to me. His love broke open the way and he brought me into a beautiful broad place. He rescued me—because his delight is in me! Psalms 18:18-19 TPT
I’ve kept my integrity by surrendering to him. And so the Lord has rewarded me with his blessing. Psalms 18:24 TPT
4. WE HAVE A NEW POWER
But when the Spirit of Christ empowers your life, you are not dominated by the flesh but by the Spirit. And if you are not joined to the Spirit of the Anointed One, you are not of him. Now Christ lives his life in you! Yes, God raised Jesus to life! And since God’s Spirit of Resurrection lives in you, he will also raise your dying body to life by the same Spirit that breathes life into you! Romans 8:9-11 TPT
This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun! 2 Corinthians 5:17
➡ WE VALUE WHAT WE PRIORITIZE.
Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be. Luke 12:34
PAR·A·DOX: A SEEMINGLY ABSURD OR SELF-CONTRADICTORY STATEMENT OR PROPOSITION THAT WHEN INVESTIGATED OR EXPLAINED MAY PROVE TO BE WELL FOUNDED OR TRUE.
Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need. Matthew 6:33
THE PARADOX OF JESUS’ BEATITUDES Blessed are the peacemakers... Matthew 5:9 NIV
WHAT WE TEND TO BELIEVE: Blessed are those that are protestors; those that fire up their base!
PUBLIC CRITICISMS NEVER CHANGE ANYONE. HOWEVER, PRIVATE CONVERSATIONS IN LOVE DO.
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God. Matthew 5:9 NIV
ALL 3 VERSES ON ONE SLIDE
And the God of peace will swiftly pound Satan to a pulp under your feet! Romans 16:20 TPT
Now, may the God of peace and harmony set you apart, making you completely holy. 1 Thessalonians 5:23 TPT
Now may the God of peace—who brought up from the dead our Lord Jesus… Hebrews 13:20
And because we are his children, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, prompting us to call out, “Abba, Father.” Galatians 4:6
For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God. Romans 8:14
You have heard the law that says, ‘Love your neighbor’ and hate your enemy. But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you! In that way, you will be acting as true children of your Father in heaven. Matthew 5:43-45
AS GOD’S CHILDREN WE ARE CALLED TO STRIVE FOR PEACE AS WE…
LOVE OUR ENEMIES
But I say, love your enemies! Matthew 5:44
PRAY FOR THEM
Pray for those who persecute you! Matthew 5:44
REJECT SELECTIVE PEACE
If you are kind only to your friends, how are you different from anyone else? Even pagans do that. Matthew 5:47
STRIVE TO BE THE BIGGER PERSON
Do all that you can to live in peace with everyone. Romans 12:18
THE PARADOX OF JESUS’ BEATITUDES Blessed are those who are persecuted because righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Matthew 5:10 NIV
Our bodies are buried in brokenness, but they will be raised in glory. They are buried in weakness, but they will be raised in strength. They are buried as natural human bodies, but they will be raised as spiritual bodies. For just as there are natural bodies, there are also spiritual bodies. 1 Corinthians 15:43-44
“Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you. Matthew 5:11-12 NIV
If you were to give your allegiance to the world, they would love and welcome you as one of their own. But because you won’t align yourself with the values of this world, they will hate you. I have chosen you and taken you out of the world to be mine. John 15:19 TPT
“I know all the things you do, that you are neither hot nor cold. I wish that you were one or the other! But since you are like lukewarm water, neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth! Revelation 3:15-16
Be sure that your faith is in God alone. Do not waver, for a person with divided loyalty is as unsettled as a wave of the sea that is blown and tossed by the wind. Such people should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. Their loyalty is divided between God and the world, and they are unstable in everything they do. James 1:6-8
Then Jesus said to his disciples, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must give up your own way, take up your cross, and follow me. If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake, you will save it. And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul? Is anything worth more than your soul? Matthew 16:24
➡ DAILY INVITE GOD TO BE THE LORD OF YOUR ENTIRE LIFE.
I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him. Romans 12:1
PAR·A·DOX: A SEEMINGLY ABSURD OR SELF-CONTRADICTORY STATEMENT OR PROPOSITION THAT WHEN INVESTIGATED OR EXPLAINED MAY PROVE TO BE WELL FOUNDED OR TRUE.
THE PARADOX OF JESUS’ BEATITUDES: Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy. Matthew 5:7 NIV
WHAT WE TEND TO BELIEVE: Blessed are those that are forgiven, for they will be shown mercy.
'It is more blessed to give than to receive.' Acts 20:35
THE OPPOSITE OF MERCIFUL IS SELF-PRESERVATION AT THE COST OF OTHERS.
Later, Matthew invited Jesus and his disciples to his home as dinner guests, along with many tax collectors and other disreputable sinners. But when the Pharisees saw this, they asked his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with such scum?” When Jesus heard this, he said, “Healthy people don’t need a doctor—sick people do.” Then he added, “Now go and learn the meaning of this Scripture: ‘I want you to show mercy, not offer sacrifices.’ For I have come to call not those who think they are righteous, but those who know they are sinners.” Matthew 9:10-13
One day an expert in religious law stood up to test Jesus by asking him this question: “Teacher, what should I do to inherit eternal life?” Jesus replied, “What does the law of Moses say? How do you read it?” The man answered, “‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your strength, and all your mind.’ And, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’” “Right!” Jesus told him. “Do this and you will live!” The man wanted to justify his actions, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” Luke 9:25-29
Then a despised Samaritan came along… Luke 10:33
4 STEPS OF MERCY:
1. WE MUST SEE THE DISTRESS.
…Samaritan came along, and when he saw the man... Luke 10:33
2. RESPOND WITH COMPASSION.
…he felt compassion for him. Luke 10:33
3. COMPASSION LEADS TO ACTION.
…Samaritan soothed his wounds with olive oil and wine and bandaged them. Then he put the man on his own donkey and took him to an inn, where he took care of him. Luke 10:34
4. MERCY IS GIVEN DESPITE DIFFERENCES.
The next day he handed the innkeeper two silver coins, telling him, ‘Take care of this man. If his bill runs higher than this, I’ll pay you the next time I’m here.’ Luke 10:35
“Now which of these three would you say was a neighbor to the man who was attacked by bandits?” Jesus asked. The man replied, “The one who showed him mercy.” Then Jesus said, “Yes, now go and do the same.” Luke 10:36-37
Mercy (Greek word Eleos) is kindness or good will towards the miserable and the afflicted, joined with a desire to relieve them.
THE PARADOX OF JESUS’ BEATITUDES: Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God. Matthew 5:8 NIV
WHAT WE TEND TO BELIEVE: Blessed are God’s favorites, for they will see God.
Dear friends, since God loved us that much, we surely ought to love each other. No one has ever seen God. But if we love each other, God lives in us, and his love is brought to full expression in us. And God has given us his Spirit as proof that we live in him and he in us. 1 John 4:11-13
WHEN DISCIPLES PURSUE THE PRESENCE OF GOD, AND THEN START POURING OUT THE THINGS OF GOD INTO OTHERS INSTEAD OF HOARDING IT FOR THEMSELVES, A REVIVAL IS THE RESULT!
HOW CAN WE LOVE GOD WITH ALL OUR HEARTS?
And I will give you a new heart, and I will put a new spirit in you. I will take out your stony, stubborn heart and give you a tender, responsive heart. And I will put my Spirit in you so that you will follow my decrees and be careful to obey my regulations. Ezekiel 36:26-27
➡ INVITE THE HOLY SPIRIT TO SHOW YOU.
Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life. Psalms 139:23-24
➡ INVITE THE HOLY SPIRIT TO CHANGE YOU.
Create in me a clean heart, O God. Renew a loyal spirit within me. Psalms 51:10
➡ INVITE THE HOLY SPIRIT TO FILL YOU.
Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life. Proverbs 4:23
✓ WHAT WE CONSUME WILL EVENTUALLY CONSUME US.
PAR·A·DOX: A SEEMINGLY ABSURD OR SELF-CONTRADICTORY STATEMENT OR PROPOSITION THAT WHEN INVESTIGATED OR EXPLAINED MAY PROVE TO BE WELL FOUNDED OR TRUE.
Stop imitating the ideals and opinions of the culture around you, but be inwardly transformed by the Holy Spirit through a total reformation of how you think. This will empower you to discern God’s will as you live a beautiful life, satisfying and perfect in his eyes. Romans 12:2 TPT
THE PARADOX OF JESUS’ BEATITUDES:
Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth. Matthew 5:5 NIV
THE WORLD’S CREED IS MORE LIKE: Blessed are the unconquerable, for they will inherit the earth.
➡ MEEKNESS IS SIMPLY POWER UNDER CONTROL
But the meek will inherit the land and enjoy peace and prosperity. Psalms 37:11 NIV
Give God the right to direct your life, and as you trust him along the way you’ll find he pulled it off perfectly! Psalms 37:5 TPT
Quiet your heart in his presence and pray; keep hope alive as you long for God to come through for you. And don’t think for a moment that the wicked in their prosperity are better off than you Psalms 37:7 TPT
Stay away from anger and revenge. Keep envy far from you, for it only leads you into lies. Psalms 37:8
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 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. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30
THE PARADOX OF JESUS’ BEATITUDES: Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled. Matthew 5:6 NIV
THE WORLD’S CREED IS MORE LIKE: Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for success, for they will be filled.
He has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God’s work from beginning to end. Ecclesiastes 3:11
➡ THE QUESTION EVERY DISCIPLE MUST ANSWER IS: WHERE DOES MY SATISFACTION COME FROM?
Everything they do is for show. On their arms they wear extra wide prayer boxes with Scripture verses inside, and they wear robes with extra long tassels. And they love to sit at the head table at banquets and in the seats of honor in the synagogues. Matthew 23:5-6
If you love me, obey my commandments. John 14:15
O God of my life, I’m lovesick for you in this weary wilderness. I thirst with the deepest longings to love you more, with cravings in my heart that can’t be described. Such yearning grips my soul for you, my God! I’m energized every time I enter your heavenly sanctuary to seek more of your power and drink in more of your glory. For your tender mercies mean more to me than life itself. How I love and praise you, God! Daily I will worship you passionately and with all my heart. My arms will wave to you like banners of praise. I overflow with praise when I come before you, for the anointing of your presence satisfies me like nothing else. You are such a rich banquet of pleasure to my soul. Psalms 63:1-5 TPT
➡ I WILL SURRENDER NOT OUT OF DUTY OR OBLIGATION, BUT OUT OF DELIGHT AND OPPORTUNITY! SO WHERE DO I NEED TO SURRENDER?
If you cling to your life, you will lose it; but if you give up your life for me, you will find it. Matthew 10:39
But many who are first will be last, and the last first. Mark 10:31 NIV
Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Matthew 5:12 NIV
Makarios: Joy which has its secret within itself, that joy which is serene and untouchable, and self-contained that joy which is completely independent of all the chances and changes of life.
THE BEATITUDES ARE NOT SITUATIONS YOU FIND YOURSELF IN, BUT THEY ARE A SET OF CREEDS, MOTTOS, AND MINDSETS YOU LIVE BY!
Truly, deep within my true identity, I love to do what pleases God. But I discern another power operating in my humanity, waging a war against the moral principles of my conscience and bringing me into captivity as a prisoner to the “law” of sin—this unwelcome intruder in my humanity. Romans 7:22-23 TPT
THE WORLD’S CREED IS SELF-RELIANCE
“Trust thyself, every heart vibrates to that iron string. Discontent is the want of self-reliance. It is infirmity of will.” Ralph Waldo Emerson
GOD INSPIRED ACTION, NOT SELF INSPIRED ACTION.
The longings to do what is right are within me, but willpower is not enough to accomplish it. Romans 7:18 TPT
So who has the power to rescue this miserable man from the unwelcome intruder of sin and death? I give all my thanks to God, for his mighty power has finally provided a way out through our Lord Jesus, the Anointed One! So if left to myself, the flesh is aligned with the law of sin, but now my renewed mind is fixed on and submitted to God’s righteous principles. Romans 7:24-25
THE PARADOX OF JESUS’ BEATITUDES: Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. Matthew 5:3-4 NIV
“Since I have begun, let me speak further to my Lord, even though I am but dust and ashes. Genesis 18:27
But Moses protested to God, “Who am I to appear before Pharaoh? Who am I to lead the people of Israel out of Egypt?”…But Moses pleaded with the Lord, “O Lord, I’m not very good with words. I never have been, and I’m not now, even though you have spoken to me. I get tongue-tied, and my words get tangled.” Exodus 3:11;4:10
THIS MINDSET IS A PARADOX BECAUSE AT FIRST, YOU THINK IT IS INVITING SELF-DEPRECATION INTO YOUR LIFE, BUT IT IS ACTUALLY INVITING DIVINE APPLICATION INTO YOUR LIFE!
Then the Lord asked Moses, “Who makes a person’s mouth? Who decides whether people speak or do not speak, hear or do not hear, see or do not see? Is it not I, the Lord? Now go! I will be with you as you speak, and I will instruct you in what to say.” Exodus 4:11-12
“The biblical antidote to low self-esteem is not high self-esteem; it is sovereign grace.” John Piper
Because Abraham believed God’s words, his faith transferred God’s righteousness into his account… But no one earns God’s righteousness. It can only be transferred when we no longer rely on our own works, but believe in the one who powerfully declares the ungodly to be righteous in his eyes. Romans 4:3;5 TPT
Then I would still have this consolation—my joy in unrelenting pain— that I had not denied the words of the Holy One. Job 6:10 NIV
God is not a man, so he does not lie. He is not human, so he does not change his mind. Has he ever spoken and failed to act? Has he ever promised and not carried it through? Numbers 23:19
➡ SURRENDER- There must be an emptying of SELF before there can be a filling of God’s promises.
Live happily with the woman you love through all the meaningless days of life that God has given you under the sun. The wife God gives you is your reward for all your earthly toil. Ecclesiastes 9:9
FUN IS NOT A LUXURY IN YOUR MARRIAGE, IT IS A NECESSITY.
3 TYPES OF FUN EVERY MARRIAGE MUST HAVE:
1. FACE TO FACE FUN
How beautiful are your sandaled feet, O queenly maiden. Your rounded thighs are like jewels, the work of a skilled craftsman. Your navel is perfectly formed like a goblet filled with mixed wine. Between your thighs lies a mound of wheat bordered with lilies. Your breasts are like two fawns, twin fawns of a gazelle. Your neck is as beautiful as an ivory tower. Your eyes are like the sparkling pools in Heshbon. Song of Solomon 7:1-4
2. SIDE TO SIDE FUN
“Come, my love, let us go out to the fields and spend the night among the wildflowers.” Song of Solomon 7:11
2 TIMES A MAN IS MOST LIKELY TO TALK:
1. WHEN HE IS DOING SOMETHING HE LIKES
2. AFTER HE HAS DONE SOMETHING HE LIKES
3. BELLY BUTTON TO BELLY BUTTON FUN
“Come, my love, let us go out to the fields and spend the night among the wildflowers. Let us get up early and go to the vineyards to see if the grapevines have budded, if the blossoms have opened, and if the pomegranates have bloomed. There I will give you my love.” Song of Solomon 7:11-12
“Let your wife be a fountain of blessing for you. Rejoice in the wife of your youth. She is a loving deer, a graceful doe. Let her breasts satisfy you always. May you always be captivated by her love.” Proverbs 5:18-19
FEELINGS FOLLOW ACTIONS
Remember the height from which you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first… Revelation 2:5
When you are married will you have a goal to commit adultery?
Do you plan on getting addicted to porn?
How about having an emotional affair, you're not going to go all of the way, you're just going to give your heart to somebody else?
None of these are your goals!
Statistics say that well over half, closer to 75% of married couples will experience at least one or more of those things in their marriage.
Today we are going to learn how to defeat those odds.
Scripture says that purity matters to God & purity matters in your marriage.
Would you believe that 90% of Americans say adultery is wrong?? Only 90%?!
The University of California did a study & found that in just one decade between the years 1998 and 2008, the percentage of people committing adultery in our country had increased by over 50%.
Why is impurity increasing in marriages?
Because there are more temptations today
Facebook, instagram, snapchat... People meet old BF/GF on there & it just naturally starts something... Or they friend a girl and start Direct Messaging one another.
There are entire websites and apps devoted to helping people successfully cheat and have affairs discreetly. I cant even find an accurate weather app, but there are secret affair society apps to help you cheat!?
The biggest game changer in my opinion of temptation might be the smart phones and iPads and such. When I was a kid you had to sneak in and steal a magazine from one of your friends who had a dad who had a stash or go on the big family computer that sat out in the open and connected to that slow dial up... Now you have 24 hour access & can do it discreetly...
47% of American homes say that pornography is a problem in the home. Studies also show that pornography increases the chances of marital infidelity by 300%!
There's a growing sense of entitlement.
2 types of purity - inward and outward
1. Outward Purity: The Behavior
What is impurity? Basically, it's poison. We don't want any kind of poison in our marriage.
We are not just talking about having sex with someone that is not your spouse either...
looking a pornography... That’s a hint
Watching Magic Mike and lusting... That’s a hint
Dressing provocatively... That’s a hint
Watching inappropriate movies or reading inappropriate books... That’s a hint
Stay far away from the HINTS
1 Corinthians 6:18, 19-20
Flee! RUN AS FAST AS YOU CAN! Because it will poison and destroy you...
I love the line where its says YOU ARE NOT YOUR OWN... Have you ever heard someone say “Its my body and I will do whatever I want” That is true when you are of this world, but when you are a follower of Jesus everything changes...
You were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body.
You must create healthy boundaries in your marriage.
Im never alone with another girl, I don’t counsel girls without my wife, If some girl texts or emails me about a personal issue my wife is ALWAYS brought into the conversation,
Emails, FB messages, phone calls, etc of the opposite sex are never secret
My wife has all my passwords. She can get on my phone at anytime, Facebook, email, etc...
I have accountability partners that aren’t my wife...
That all of these apply to you too.
YOU MUST CREATE HEALTHY BOUNDARIES....
Pastor Craig Groeschel says “why resist a temptation tomorrow that you can eliminate today”
Don’t set yourself up for failure. Prepare yourself for success!
The biggest thing with boundaries is this though…
You cant rely on rules to protect your marriage!
Outward purity is effected by…
2. Inward Purity: The Heart
We don’t have the strength alone to be outwardly pure... We need a deeper strength that only comes from God or we will be destined to fail...
David is saying the closer you get to God, the more he changes your heart. The closer you get to God the more disgusted you are towards sins that used to be something that drew you in
The heart MATTERS!!!
Purity is less about NOT doing something and way more about doing something.
Purity is about positioning your heart and spirit in a place where that isn’t even appealing to you because its not honoring to God and its not honoring to your spouse and therefore its not honoring to your heart.
Three common responses to impurity:
Repent and Don’t Give Up the Fight
You cant fully restore your marriage unless you are restored through the love and mercy of Jesus Christ.
If you have a spouse that repents, think about the courage it took. And I pray that their confession would be met with forgiveness and not judgment.
If you have been in a struggling marriage let this verse give you hope.
And if you are a struggling individual in here…
2 Chronicles 7:14
Remember purity is about action – HUMBLE themselves and pray…SEEK my face and turn from their ways of sin….I will restore their land
HEALTHY COUPLES FIGHT FOR RESOLUTION, UNHEALTHY COUPLES FIGHT FOR VICTORY.
Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, for man's anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires. James 1:19-20
SO HOW DO YOU FIGHT FAIR?
1. YOU HAVE TO STOP AND LISTEN.
A fool finds no pleasure in understanding but delights in airing his own opinions. Proverbs 18:2
STEPS TO LISTEN:
A. REPEAT BACK TO YOUR SPOUSE WHAT THEY JUST SAID.
B. VALIDATE EACH OTHERS’ FEELINGS.
2. GUARD YOUR WORDS.
Watch your tongue and keep your mouth shut, and you will stay out of trouble. Proverbs 21:23 NLT
A. SHOULD IT BE SAID?
B. SHOULD IT BE SAID NOW?
RULES OF FIGHTING:
Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry... James 1:19
In your anger do not sin. Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold. Ephesians 4:26-27
FOUR SIGNS YOU AREN’T FIGHTING FAIR:
• DON’T REACT IN EMOTION, RESPOND IN THE SPIRIT.
Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. Rom 12:21
• CONFRONT TO HEAL NEVER TO WIN.
Finally, all of you, live in harmony with one another; be sympathetic, love as brothers, be compassionate and humble. Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult, but with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing. 1 Peter 3:8-10
• FORGIVE. APOLOGIZE.
2 reasons for this series: 1) we believe that to have a thriving life you have to have thriving relationships. 2)I wanted to this series because this month me and my wife will celebrate our 15 year anniversary this year and I thought it was appropriate. amber and i have a great relationship (now) and it is very healthy, but it is far from perfect! there are things we have to work through and things we have to constantly strive to be better at. we don’t always see eye-to-eye on everything, especially…lunch.
and oftentimes we have the misconception that, and us guys really tend to lean this way. we think we only need marriage series, or marriage retreats, or books on marriage, or counseling if our marriage is in shambles or hanging by a thread. Now you do need those things if your marriage is at that point, but it is a flat out lie of the devil if you think you only need those things if your marriage is at that point. all joking aside, i don’t want a good relationship i want a great relationship. this is the most important relationship we have on earth, shouldn’t it be the greatest relationship we have on earth? The only way that will happen if daily we strive to be better. phil. 3 says
“i don’t mean to say that i have already achieved these things or that i have already reached perfection. but i press on to possess that perfection for which christ jesus first possessed me. no, dear brothers and sisters, i have not achieved it, but i focus on this one thing: forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, i press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which god, through christ jesus, is calling us.” philippians 3:12-14
marriage retreats/marriage series/marriage books and yes even counseling is to me like holistic medicine. holistic medicine can treat illnesses and sickness, but are better at preventing.. they are considered to be more effective as preventive medicine and developing your body so it does not get sick instead of just treating sickness. that is the way our marriages should be!!! we should focus more on continuing to have a healthy marriage instead of just fixing problems and putting out fires like many of us do.
and if you are not married in here… who is not married, raise your hands? this marriage message is for you because i am sure you want to be married someday and, unless your desire is to be a celibate isolated hermit, you will develop into the person that will have a thriving relationship from day one!
so over the next several weeks we are going to talk about 5 commitments that you must make to have a thriving marriage. we title this series “cupid needs more ammo” because butterflies, passion, emotions…they just aren’t enough to sustain a healthy marriage.
girls, dreaming about their wedding. (songs, decorations, dress, names) Boys, not so much. (worried if so). sex 2 a day, 3 on weekends. who’s living out those dreams? “many are disappointed-Is it even possible to have a thriving marriage? not if we base if off culture.
50% make it(less if married young) -the ones that do, a lot are miserable and only stay together for the kids-when/where else are u ok with those odds? 50 odds of a car accident-walking, 50 odds pill swelling heads/hands/feet 3x size-wouldn’t take, 50 chance of losing a check and never finding-new bank
yet for some odd crazy reason we are ok with those odds in marriage and do nothing to shift those odds in our favor. let’s ask God to help us because we don’t want to just “get by”, we want to thrive!
when we get married we say vows like this…
i, matt, take you, amber, to be my wedded wife, my constant friend, my faithful partner and my love from this day forward. in the presence of God, our family and friends, i offer you my solemn vow to be your faithful partner in sickness and in health, in good times and in bad, and in joy as well as in sorrow.
many times we don’t seek god before our marriage, we focus instead on the spouse. because we have this stupid thought that we won’t be happy until we meet “the one”. you know what i mean when i say “the one”? that perfect guy or girl that makes all your dreams come true. we think fulfillment is only found in “the one” and that’s true, but we have labeled the wrong person “the one”
god is your one your spouse is your two.
what did jesus say was the most important commandment?
“the most important commandment is this…you must love the lord your god with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength.” mark 12:29-30
not your spouse, your god!
the commitment for people who are not married…
in the interim, in the meantime i want to challenge you to have a mindset of:
i will seek the one while preparing for the two.
seek god, know god, pursue god, trust god, love god and watch your life soar
“trust in the lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take.” proverbs 3:5-6
single people-i’m gonna live it up, do what i want…when i decide to get married, then i’ll straighten up, then i’ll get right w god. Problem: when the time comes u carry emotional baggage & trauma-marriage
become the person you want to marry today.
the commitment for people who are married…how do I stay healthy/grow w my spouse? What can i do today to make a difference moving forward?
i will always seek the one with my two. when spouses become our 1, they become idols-bc we think theyre our source of joy/happiness
we idolize our spouses and then we demonize them when they let us down.
idolize-set an impossible bar so high that they must meet all our needs/fulfill/sustain us & when they can’t live up to this impossible expectation we demonize them.
when we are dating…i love how she is so independent…driven…put together…her life is in order.
then we get married & we say she is a control freak, all she does is nag, and she only wants it her way!
The girl will say I love how laid back he is…easy going…comforts me…listener…cares about my problems.
then married he is lazy…always trying to fix my problems…doesn’t do anything…not a leader.
that’s what happens when we don’t seek our 1 w our 2
i wanna talk real quick about the most important spiritual discipline in a relationship to seek god…
theres a lot, but one can lead to them all. “the power of habit” by charles duhigg-keystone habit-habit that leads to other good habits or habit that, if you don’t do it, creates negative momentum and leads to negative habits.
example: gym-eating healthy-energy-having great days. not going to the gym-not eat healthy-gain weight-new wardrobe-no energy at work: lose job-depressed-gain more weight-need more new clothes-no money-shirts fit like tube tops
keystone habit to set marriage on a path of health and holiness:
keystone marriage habit: pray together every day!
“then if my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, i will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and restore their land.” 2 chronicles 7:14
people in here: land restored in their marriage-humble themselves and hear from heaven-his presence in your marriage will make it thrive. girls in here-stoked. dudes-cmon bro
ways to pray with your “two”
don’t be intimidated: start! today! can’t guarantee success w/o prayer-devil doesn’t want you praying together.
“ confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. the earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results.” james 5:16
“i also tell you this: if two of you agree here on earth concerning anything you ask, my father in heaven will do it for you. for where two or three gather together as my followers, i am there among them.” matthew 18:19-20
god in the midst of your relationship? pray. pray together-church together-involved at church-life group-life giving friendships w great couples-raise kids in a godly environment. hard to divorce someone you’re seeking god with. “hard” take the odds! “family life” mag-1000s of christian couples, <8% prayed together daily-years later, those couples: <1% got divorced. <1%!!! That’s stacking the odds in your favor!
crazy spiritual together! fight! don’t settle, thrive! thriving is not divorcing and starting over, seeking god together with your 2!
“seek the kingdom of god above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.” matthew 6:33 grab hold of your 2 and never stop seeking the 1 together!
-share a bit about our story. redemption. hope in a hopeless situation. “it was over…through the grace and glory of god he created something brand new. you may feel like you’re hanging by a thread, on the brink of martial destruction, but I promise that, if you seek him as your one, put him as the center of your relationship (matching tattoos), your marriage will soar!”
-invitation- (“i’ve made my two my one, and i don’t even know my one…i have no idea how to do this because i don’t know how to do this because i’ve never made my one…number 1 in my life. all of that can change today, right now! your god, creator of the heavens and the earth, the one who sent His son to die for every sin you’d ever commit so He can have a relationship with you, wants nothing more than for you to come home today! he’s waiting. and all you have to do is repeat a simple prayer we’re all about to repeat together. “sounds too easy!”…never meant to be hard, but it does have to be chosen, accepted by you. and today is your chance. don’t miss this: your everything can change right now…bow your heads…
Now may the God of peace— who brought up from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great Shepherd of the sheep, and ratified an eternal covenant with his blood— may he equip you with all you need for doing his will. May he produce in you, through the power of Jesus Christ, every good thing that is pleasing to him. All glory to him forever and ever! Amen.
1. HE IS THE GOD OF PEACE.
Now may the God of peace… Hebrews 13:20
“I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid.”
GOD WANTS TO GIVE YOU A SUPERNATURAL PEACE THAT CAN WITHSTAND TIME, TRAGEDY, & ADVERSITY.
Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.
2. HE IS THE GOD OF RESURRECTION.
….who brought up from the dead our Lord Jesus… Hebrews 13:20
For if there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ has not been raised either. And if Christ has not been raised, then all our preaching is useless, and your faith is useless.
1 Corinthians 15:13-14
…The scripture cannot be broken.
John 10:35 KJV
“We’re going up to Jerusalem, where the Son of Man will be betrayed to the leading priests and the teachers of religious law. They will sentence him to die. Then they will hand him over to the Romans to be mocked, flogged with a whip, and crucified. But on the third day he will be raised from the dead.”
Then Jesus said to them, “You foolish people! You find it so hard to believe all that the prophets wrote in the Scriptures. Wasn’t it clearly predicted that the Messiah would have to suffer all these things before entering his glory?” Then Jesus took them through the writings of Moses and all the prophets, explaining from all the Scriptures the things concerning himself; Suddenly, their eyes were opened, and they recognized him. And at that moment he disappeared! They said to each other, “Didn’t our hearts burn within us as he talked with us on the road and explained the Scriptures to us?”
Luke 24:25-27; 31-32
The Spirit of God, who raised Jesus from the dead, lives in you. And just as God raised Christ Jesus from the dead, he will give life to your mortal bodies by this same Spirit living within you.
3. HE IS THE GOD THAT IS OUR SHEPHERD.
…the great Shepherd of the sheep… Hebrews 13:20
The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life. “I am the good shepherd.
Acknowledge that the Lord is God! He made us, and we are his. We are his people, the sheep of his pasture.
My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish. No one can snatch them away from me, for my Father has given them to me, and he is more powerful than anyone else. No one can snatch them from the Father’s hand. The Father and I are one.
4. HE IS THE GOD OF COVENANTS.
…and ratified an eternal covenant with his blood. Hebrews 13:20
He always stands by his covenant— the commitment he made to a thousand generations.
So now I live with the confidence that there is nothing in the universe with the power to separate us from God’s love. I’m convinced that his love will triumph over death, life’s troubles, fallen angels, or dark rulers in the heavens. There is nothing in our present or future circumstances that can weaken his love.
Romans 8:38 TPT
5. HE IS THE GOD THAT EQUIPS.
…may he equip you with all you need for doing his will...
For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus,
so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.
WE LET THE LIES OF OUR INSECURITIES CANCEL OUT OUR POTENTIAL.
In his grace, God has given us different gifts for doing certain things well.
6. HE IS THE GOD THAT SANCTIFIES.
May he produce in you, through the power of Jesus Christ, every good thing that is pleasing to him.
But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control; Since we are living by the Spirit, let us follow the Spirit’s leading in every part of our lives.
All glory to him forever and ever! Amen.
Lives That are Not Built on the Prayerful Direction of God Struggle.
We might check the worship box at church and somehow think we’re good for the week. And all the while, with souls distant and cold, we sing words, we listen to music, then we go home.
Sometimes it really is a sacrifice to offer praise. We may not feel like it. We’re struggling. We're weary. Or maybe, we feel like He let us down. We think God seems distant, like he's far away, or doesn't really care about what's troubling us. Painful life blows and losses might have recently sent us spiraling.
People That Thrive Have a Proper Perspective on God.
Here’s what can make a lasting difference. When we make that decision to fix our eyes on Him, and daily give Him praise, no matter what's staring us straight in the face, we suddenly realize that God has already begun to release the grip those struggles can have over us.
8 Things the Power of Praise Can Do:
In our often “selfie” focused world, we need this constant reminder - life is not all about us. We may know that in our heads, but yet our hearts think differently so often. We're prone to selfishness, He desires our eyes be set firmly on Him, because that's where our true hope is found. He is worthy of our praise, no matter what we face from day to day.
When we praise we understand that:
We Own Our Perspective and Let God Own Our Circumstances.
Praise him for his mighty works; praise his unequaled greatness!
Psalms 150:2 NLT
Then I won’t be able to hold it in—everyone will hear my joyous praises all day long! Your righteousness will be the theme of my glory-song of praise!
Psalms 35:28 TPT
2. Praise Brings Us to a Place of Humility.
C.S. Lewis said:
True humility is not thinking less of yourself; it is thinking of yourself less. -C.s. Lewis
We remember our dependency on God, as we acknowledge our need for Him. As we praise Him as Creator and King of this world, we admit and recognize that we’re not in control, but He is. He is above all.
James 4:10 says
Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up. James 4:10
3. Praise Makes the Enemy Flee.
Praise pushes back the darkness that surrounds, and blocks the attacks and lies over us. Evil will not stick around if we are praising our God, who will fight our battles for us.
In 2 Chronicles 20, we find the account of one of many mighty miracles performed by God for His people. It’s an exciting story that holds a wonderful lesson for us.
During the reign of King Jehoshaphat, word came that the armies of the Moabites, Ammonites, and some of the Meunites had declared war against Judah. The messenger brought the daunting news that the enemy was marching out with a vast army, ready to attack. Though the king was terrified, knowing his tiny army didn’t stand a chance against such a monumental force, his humble response is what ultimately secured the victory. Rather than allying himself with other surrounding nations, counting on them for help, Jehoshaphat bowed low before the Lord and pleaded with Him for guidance and rescue. He also ordered all the people of Judah to fast and seek the Lord.
Early in the morning they left for the Desert of Tekoa. As they set out, Jehoshaphat stood and said, “Listen to me, Judah and people of Jerusalem! Have faith in the Lord your God and you will be upheld; have faith in his prophets and you will be successful.” After consulting the people, Jehoshaphat appointed men to sing to the Lord and to praise him for the splendor of his[c] holiness as they went out at the head of the army, saying:
“Give thanks to the Lord, for his love endures forever.” As they began to sing and praise, the Lord set ambushes against the men of Ammon and Moab and Mount Seir who were invading Judah, and they were defeated. The Ammonites and Moabites rose up against the men from Mount Seir to destroy and annihilate them. After they finished slaughtering the men from Seir, they helped to destroy one another. 2 Chronicles 20:20-23
When we acknowledge who it is that fights for us, it will both terrify the enemy, and strengthen our resolve.
Only by Your power can we push back our enemies; only in Your name can we trample our foes. I do not trust in my bow; I do not count on my sword to save me. You are the One who gives us victory over our enemies; You disgrace those who hate us. Oh God, we give glory to You all day long and constantly praise Your Name. Psalms 44:5-7
4. Praise Leaves No Room for Complaining and Negativity.
Sometimes even within our prayers, we can tend to complain about our problems. God knows our hearts. And He cares about all that concerns us. But through praise, we’re focused on Him, no longer allowing too much attention to be centered around the struggles. We’re reminded of what He has already done in our lives. We’re reminded that He knows what concerns us, and is capable of taking care of all that burdens us and all that stretches us, all that grows us.
Henry Kissinger said “A diamond is a chunk of coal that did well under pressure.”
Let all that I am praise the Lord; may I never forget the good things he does for me. He forgives all my sins and heals all my diseases. 4 He redeems me from death and crowns me with love and tender mercies. Psalms 103:2-4 NLT
Therefore, let us offer through Jesus a continual sacrifice of praise to God, proclaiming our allegiance to his name. Hebrews 13:15
5. Praise Makes Room for God’s Blessings Over Our Lives.
He will not hold back His goodness, praise opens the gateway of blessing as we come into the Presence of our King.
Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise! Give thanks to him; bless his name! Psalms 100:4
I see praise as planting seed in preparation for the harvest.
When we praise in our prayer time we are declaring the outcome of the harvest.
This is how you begin preparing for your blessing. Whatever you are believing God for, plant seeds in the ground for the harvest you’re expecting. You must also tend to your seed by watering them. Every gardener understand that you must water your seed even when you don’t see the growth. They know if they water it consistently it will produce a harvest.
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ: Ephesians 1:3
6. Praise Invites His Presence and Brings Us Joy.
God dwells close to us when we praise Him. He lives there. He looks for it. He inhabits the praises of His people.
But you are not like that, for you are a chosen people. You are royal priests, a holy nation, God’s very own possession. As a result, you can show others the goodness of God, for he called you out of the darkness into his wonderful light. 1 Peter 2:9
We're strengthened by His peace and refueled by His joy. Through a heart of praise, we realize that God doesn’t just change our situations and work through our problems, He changes our hearts.
In His presence, there is fullness of joy. Psalm 16:11
Our Source of Joy Should be a Mixture of Gratitude and Expectation.
"Because your love is better than life, my lips will glorify you. I will praise you as long as I live, and in your name I will lift up my hands." Psalm 63:3-4
7. Praise Gives Us Unwavering Confidence.
There is oftentimes a gap between the prayers and the answers. During that gap it’s important to spend it in praise. Praise keeps your confidence that God is working on your behalf and to keep trusting and keep believing.
This is the reason I urge you to boldly believe for whatever you ask for in prayer- be convinced that you have received it and it will be yours. Mark 11:24
So keep your thoughts continually fixed on all that is authentic and real, honorable and admirable, beautiful and respectful, pure and holy, merciful and kind. And fasten your thoughts on every glorious work of God,[a] praising him always. Philippians 4:8 TPT
8. Praise Paves the Way for the Miraculous.
One of the best pictures of how praise can allow God’s power to be displayed is the story of Paul and Silas in Acts chapter 16. (set the story up)
People's lives are affected and changed. God shakes things up through praise. As Paul and Silas sat in prison, shackled, and chained, they kept right on praising God. And God sent an earthquake that shook the cells and broke the chains. The jailer and all his family came to know Christ that very night.
About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them, and suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken. And immediately all the doors were opened, and everyone's bonds were unfastened. Acts 16:25-26
Build a Gratitude List
There is something about taking the time and energy to write down all you are grateful for. Seeing it triggers something in us.
Once you have your list then start your prayer time praising Him for all that you have and all that he is doing in your life.
-Start Your Prayer Time with Praise.
We have a choice every day in this life. To live absorbed in worry and stress, on the fast track of busy, focused only on what surrounds us, tuned into the roar of the world.
Or, we can ask God to help us take our eyes off all that may be swirling around, our problems and mess, or the voices of others. And we can look up...to Him, the One who holds it all together, and who holds us in his hands.
God desires our whole heart. He waits for us to return. He longs for us to know the power of His presence over our lives. He desires to bless us more than we could imagine. His Spirit urges us onward, calling us closer.
May He help us to look up...open our mouths...and sing.
To be a Christian without prayer is no more possible than to be alive without breathing. —Martin Luther King JR
You live fully in me and now I live fully in them so that they will experience perfect unity, and the world will be convinced that you have sent me, for they will see that you love each one of them with the same passionate love that you have for me. John 17:23 TPT
The mature children of God are those who are moved by the impulses of the Holy Spirit. And you did not receive the “spirit of religious duty,” leading you back into the fear of never being good enough. But you have received the “Spirit of full acceptance,” enfolding you into the family of God. And you will never feel orphaned, for as he rises up within us, our spirits join him in saying the words of tender affection, “Beloved Father!” For the Holy Spirit makes God’s fatherhood real to us as he whispers into our innermost being, “You are God’s beloved child!” Romans 8:14-16 TPT
UNCOMMON PRAYERS ARE LESS ABOUT THE WORDS THAT YOU SAY, BUT THE MINDSET THAT YOU ATTACH TO YOUR PRAYERS!
6 Mindsets of the Lord's Prayer
1. Make it Personal.
Our Father, dwelling in the heavenly realms Matthew 6:9 TPT
“I tell you the truth, anyone who believes in me will do the same works I have done, and even greater works, because I am going to be with the Father. You can ask for anything in my name, and I will do it, so that the Son can bring glory to the Father. Yes, ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it! John 14:12-14
2. Honor the name of God.
May the glory of your name be the center on which our lives turn. Matthew 6:9 TPT
But you are God’s chosen treasure—priests who are kings, a spiritual “nation” set apart as God’s devoted ones. He called you out of darkness to experience his marvelous light, and now he claims you as his very own. He did this so that you would broadcast his glorious wonders throughout the world. 1 Peter 2:9 TPT
3. Seek God’s agenda.
Manifest your kingdom realm, and cause your every purpose to be fulfilled on earth, just as it is fulfilled in heaven. Matthew 6:10 TPT
Stop imitating the ideals and opinions of the culture around you, but be inwardly transformed by the Holy Spirit through a total reformation of how you think. This will empower you to discern God’s will as you live a beautiful life, satisfying and perfect in his eyes. Romans 12:2 TPT
We have become his poetry, a re-created people that will fulfill the destiny he has given each of us, for we are joined to Jesus, the Anointed One. Even before we were born, God planned in advance our destiny and the good works we would do to fulfill it! Ephesians 2:10 TPT
4. Ask God to be your source.
We acknowledge you as our Provider of all we need each day. Matthew 6:11 TPT
Give me neither poverty nor riches! Give me just enough to satisfy my needs. Proverbs 30:8
Jesus said to them, “I am the Bread of Life. Come every day to me and you will never be hungry. John 6:35 TPT
5. Full circle forgiveness.
Forgive us the wrongs we have done as we ourselves release forgiveness to those who have wronged us. Matthew 6:12 TPT
“And when you pray, make sure you forgive the faults of others so that your Father in heaven will also forgive you. But if you withhold forgiveness from others, your Father withholds forgiveness from you.” Matthew 6:14-15 TPT
6. UNDERSTAND THAT GOD IS YOUR REFUGE.
Rescue us every time we face tribulation and set us free from evil. Matthew 6:13 TPT
The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure. 1 Corinthians 10:13
If two of you agree to ask God for something in a symphony of prayer, my heavenly Father will do it for you. For wherever two or three come together in honor of my name, I am right there with them!” Matthew 18:19-20 TPT
Your lives are like salt among the people. But if you, like salt, become bland, how can your ‘saltiness’ be restored? Flavorless salt is good for nothing and will be thrown out and trampled on by others. Matthew 5:13 TPT
WHEN WE PRAY WITH PURPOSE, IT MOVES US TO LIVE WITH PURPOSE.
“Revival is not anything mysterious. Revival comes in response to the amount of prayer we pray.” D.L. Moody
Every believer was faithfully devoted to following the teachings of the apostles. Their hearts were mutually linked to one another, sharing communion and coming together regularly for prayer. A deep sense of holy awe swept over everyone Acts 2:42-43 TPT
1. THERE IS POWER INSIDE OF YOU.
“And now I will send the Holy Spirit, just as my Father promised. But stay here in the city until the Holy Spirit comes and fills you with power from heaven.” Luke 24:49
“You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. And you will be my witnesses, telling people about me everywhere…” Acts 1:8
The Spirit of God, who raised Jesus from the dead, lives in you. And just as God raised Christ Jesus from the dead, he will give life to your mortal bodies by this same Spirit living within you. Romans 8:11
Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, ________ Ephesians 3:30 ESV
Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us. Ephesians 3:30 ESV
WE MUST RECOGNIZE THE HOLY SPIRIT LIVES IN US, ADMIT WE NEED HIS POWER IN OUR PRAYERS, DESIRE UNITY WITH GOD, AND SUBMIT TO HIS LEADING.
The Holy Spirit takes hold of us in our human frailty to empower us in our weakness. For example, at times we don’t even know how to pray, or know the best things to ask for. But the Holy Spirit rises up within us to super-intercede on our behalf, pleading to God with emotional sighs too deep for words. God, the searcher of the heart, knows fully our longings, yet he also understands the desires of the Spirit, because the Holy Spirit passionately pleads before God for us, his holy ones, in perfect harmony with God’s plan and our destiny. Romans 8:26-27 TPT
2. HEAVEN MOVES POWERFULLY THROUGH OUR PRAYERS.
And when the twenty-four elders and the four living creatures saw the Lamb had taken the scroll, they fell facedown at the feet of the Lamb and worshiped him. Each of them had a harp and golden bowls brimming full of sweet fragrant incense—which are the prayers of God’s holy lovers. Revelation 5:8 TPT
(The Angel) was given a great quantity of incense to offer up, consisting of the prayers of God’s holy people, upon the golden altar that is before the throne. And the smoke of the incense with the prayers of the holy ones billowed up before God from the hand of the angel. Then the angel filled the golden incense burner with coals of fire from the altar and hurled it onto the earth Revelation 8:3-5 TPT
CONTINUAL PRAYERS CAUSE A RELEASING OF THE MOVE OF GOD.
So above all, constantly chase after the realm of God’s kingdom and the righteousness that proceeds from him. Matthew 6:33 TPT
Ask, and the gift is yours. Seek, and you’ll discover. Knock, and the door will be opened for you. For every persistent one will get what he asks for. Every persistent seeker will discover what he longs for. And everyone who knocks persistently will one day find an open door. Matthew 7:7-8 TPT
Tremendous power is released through the passionate, heartfelt prayer of a godly believer! Elijah was a man with human frailties, just like all of us, but he prayed and received supernatural answers. James 5:16-17