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HEAVENLY “PRACTICE”…….

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HEAVENLY “PRACTICE”…..

I’ve been wondering about this word, PRACTICE, for quite some time now.

A short definition: Do something over and over to get better.

I’ve always wondered why people say that a Doctor is “Practicing” medicine or why Attorneys are “Practicing” the law. Shouldn’t they know what they are doing? I’ve always thought to myself that I would just prefer a Doctor, instead of one still “Practicing” or an Attorney that knows what they are doing, instead of still “Practicing.”

So, I decided that they are still “Practicing”, doing things over and over, so they get better at what they are doing (sure hope by the time I need one, that they would know what they are doing). Then, I thought, why don’t we have “Practicing” teachers, sales people, secretaries, business owners, preachers, coaches, etc.?

In athletics, we have, football, basketball, volleyball, hockey, soccer, and track “Practice” so the players can get better by doing the same thing over and over, until they get them right. All that “Practice” is done so they can be prepared for the events they compete in, and hopefully, they can win their event.

The next question I had was, why are Christians just called Christians? Shouldn’t we be called “Practicing” Christians? After all, doesn’t God want us to get better at what we do for Him? Shouldn’t we “Practicing” for Heaven? Thus the Sermon name of Heavenly “Practice”.

Let’s look at some of the scriptures that will show what we are supposed to be “Practicing”, to be better Christians, and how to show ourselves approved in order to gain that home in Heaven, that God promises those, who are obedient and “Practicing” Christianity.

James 1:1-2
Be joyful in your various trials–Faith

1st Corinthians 10:13
No temptation beyond what you can handle–Faith

Hebrews 10:24-25
Fellowship
Attendance–Not forsaking the assembly

1st Timothy 6:9-12
Be careful of greed

Romans 13:13-14
Walk properly
Put on Christ
No provision for the flesh

Ephesians 4:31-32
Be kind to one another

Philippians 2:1-4
Let nothing be done through selfish ambition

2nd Peter 1:5-9
The building tree for the “Practicing” Christian

SMILE, God loves YOU!! Have a GREAT day all.

THE NECESSITY OF FELLOWSHIP……

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FELLOWSHIP:

Not something we just fit into our Christian lives
Fellowship is important
Fellowship will challenge us
Fellowship will keep us accountable
Fellowship is showing obedience to God and His Word
Fellowship is not to be neglected

FELLOWSHIP SHOWING LOVE TO OTHER CHRISTIANS::

Ephesians 5:2
Walk in love

Colossians 2:1-2
Knit together in love

Philippians 2:1-2
Be of same mind
Have same love
Be in full accord and of one mind

1st Peter 4:9
Be hospitable

FELLOWSHIP WITH GOD:

1st John 1:7
Fellowship with one another and God

1st Corinthians 1:9
Called into fellowship of Jesus

1st Corinthians 12:12
One body in fellowship with Christ

Fellowship is vital for growth and stability in our Christian lives.

SMILE God loves YOU!! Have a GREAT day.

So…NOW WHAT??

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We have heard God’s Word, Believed it, Confess Christ as the Son of God, Repented from our sins, and was Baptized. So….NOW WHAT??

Here is Paul’s instruction to the Church at Rome in Romans Chapter 12.

I. Offer ourselves as living sacrifices to God (1-2)

II. We are to use each of our unique God-given gifts for His glory (3-8)

A. Because what we have is from God, we ought to be humble (3)

B. Each member of the body has a different role (4-5)

C. We are to use our God-give gifts (6)

D. Use each specific gift to the fullest (6b-8)

III. Qualities of the complete Christian (verses 9-21)

A. Love (9-10)

B. Passion (11)

C. Heavenly-minded (12)

D. Hospitable (13)

E. Forgiving (14)

F. Encouraging (15)

G. Others-centered (16)

H. Upright (17)

I. Peaceful (18octr

J. Patient (19

K. Generous (20)

L. Victorious (21)

Live the life that God wants, not what you want.
Have a GREAT day all!! SMILE God loves YOU.

IMPORTANCE OF PRAYER…..

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Prayer is an all important part of the Christian life.

PRAYER

1) Praying together:

Matthew 18:19
2 Praying together

Luke 1:10
The whole multitude Praying

Acts 1:14
All continued together in one accord

2) Why should I pray?

Develop relationship with God
Communication with God

Matthew 26:41
Watch and Pray, lest you enter into temptation

John 15:7
Ask what you desire and it shall be done for you

Luke 18:1
Pray and not lose heart

Ephesians 6:18
Praying always

3) Attributes for a successful Prayer:

2nd Chronicles 7:14
Humble Heart

Jeremiah 29:13
Whole Heartedness

Mark 11:24
Faith

James 5:16
Righteousness

1st John 3:22
Obedience

SINGING IN WORSHIP…..

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Singing is one part of Worship Service and it is important to get it right. The following are scriptures to show how God wants it done.

Sing: To produce musical tones by means of the voice. (Webster Dictionary)

Psalm: A sacred song or poem used in the praise or Worship of the Deity. (Webster Dictionary)

Hebrews 2:12
Congregation singing

1st Corinthians 14:15
Sing with spirit–Sing with the mind

Colossians 3:16
Teach–Admonish one another

Ephesians 5:18-20
Address one another–Make melody in the heart

Romans 15:9
Sing to God’s name

Acts 16:25
Singing hymns to God

Matthew 26:30
Sang a hymn

James 5:13
Suffering-Pray—-Cheerful-Sing

Singing plays a very significant role in Worship Service as we admonish one another and also use it as a teaching tool. We sing praises to the Lord, and we are told to sing with Spirit and understanding. In Ephesians we see that we are to address on another and sing with the heart.
If you take the definition of the word Psalm, add that to the definition of Sing, then couple that to the fact there is no example of instruments used in Worship Services in the New Testament Church, that leaves no doubt about the usage of instruments in Worship Services.

HAVE an AWESOME day all!! SMILE, God loves you.

LIVING RIGHTEOUSLY….

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The Bible is full of instruction about how to live after Baptism. Here are a few of the scriptures I wanted to share.

RIGHTEOUS LIVING

Romans 12:12
Patient in tribulation–Steadfast in prayer

James 1:19-27
Swift to hear–slow to speak–slow to wrath–lay aside all filthiness–doers of the Word

Colossians 3:5-10
Put to death: fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil desires, and covetousness.
Put off: anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy language
Put on: tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering, forgive one another-above all put on love.

Galatians 5:16-26
Walk in the Spirit, not in the flesh.
Walking in the flesh: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions,heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the such.

Galatians 6:7-8
You reap what you sow

Revelation 22:11-12
Don’t be unjust or filthy. Be righteous, and holy.

2nd Peter 1:5-8
Faith + virtue +knowledge +self-control + perseverance + Godliness + brotherly kindness + love

Philippians 4:8-9
Do whatever things: are true, noble, just, pure, lovely, good report. Meditate on these things.

SMILE God loves YOU!! Have a GREAT day.

HOW NOT TO BE SAD……

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How Not To Be Sad.

Sing and be Happy. (Read the words to the song)

Covid issues
Political unrest
Loved one lost
Job loss
Money issues

Worry over things we have no control over makes us sad and can lead to depression. If our joy depends on circumstances, we are in trouble, because circumstances are

always changing. There are too many variables for them to remain the same.

Romans 8:31-39
No matter how bad things seem, nothing separates us from God’s love.

2nd Corinthians 1:3-4
God will comfort us in our afflictions.

Hebrews 13:5-6
God will not forsake you.

Philippians 4:4-7
Have no anxiety about anything. PRAY!!

Philippians 4:11-13
Be content with what we have.

1st Timothy 6:6-12
Reread 10,11, and 12

James 5:10-11
Endure!!

Count Your Many Blessings. (Read the words to the song)

2 main ways to not be sad–1) BE CONTENT and 2) Quit worrying about things you can’t control.

Have a GREAT day all!
SMILE God loves YOU!!

What Is True Repentance?

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REPENTANCE:

1) A repentant person is appalled by sin.
Isaiah 6: 1-8
They’re humble, grieve the pain caused to God, and cut to the heart in their conviction.

2} They make amends.
Luke 19: 1-10
Story of Zacchaeus.

3} They accept consequences.
Luke 23: 39-43
Including – Losing trust of God (salvation)

4) They don’t expect or demand forgiveness.
Genesis 32: 1-11
Have you ever heard, “If you don’t forgive me, God won’t forgive you?”. That is a threatening posture and indicates an insincere repentance. It’s unsolving and and manipulative.
Jacob didn’t expect mercy or compassion.
He had fear and distress (V 7), unworthy of kindness (V 10), and anticipated an attack (V 11).

5) They feel the depth of the pain caused.
Isaiah 64: 6
They don’t try to minimize their actions, downplay, or find excuses for what they have done.
They don’t point to all their good works to cancel out the bad.
Righteous acts are viewed as filthy rags.
They take responsibility and acknowledge the damage done and express remorse.

6) They change their behavior.
Acts Chapter 9 tells the changes Paul made from persecutor to preacher.
Realize they need God.
They will diligently work to change behavior and avoid temptation and sin.

7) They will create space to heal.
Galatians 5: 22-24
They will have patience, kindness, grace and self-control. A truly repentant person will show these qualities consistently.
As a sinner, they loved their sin more than God. As a repentant sinner, they will show love to God instead of sin and pride.

8) They’re amazed by forgiveness.
Genesis 33: 6-11
Repentance and forgiveness are from God.

SMILE God loves YOU!! Have a good day all.

THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN FAITH AND BELIEF…….

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If you ask most people, they’ll tell you that faith and belief are the same thing. I used to think so myself. And that leads to all sorts of confusion.

The trouble is they are interrelated, which makes them very close in meaning. So close, in fact, that many modern Bible translations don’t always differentiate clearly between the two. And that leads to even more confusion.

When we equate faith and belief it can make Jesus seem a little contradictory. For example here is how the New Living Translation presents Matthew 17:20.

“You don’t have enough faith,” Jesus told them. “I tell you the truth, if you had faith even as small as a mustard seed, you could say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it would move. Nothing would be impossible.” — Matthew 17:20 (NLT)

Reading that, it seems like Jesus is telling his disciples that their problem is they don’t have enough faith. I mean what else can “you don’t have enough faith” mean, right?

But then he goes on to explain that by saying that we barely need any faith at all to see great things happen. Huh?

That doesn’t make sense. Why would he acknowledge that they had any faith at all if his lesson from that “teachable moment” was that they only needed a tiny amount of faith?

How much “small as a mustard seed” faith is enough? Presented that way it makes it seem like we need some standard to measure microscopic faith in amounts even smaller than a mustard seed.

Don’t know about you, but I can’t make any sense of that.

Now let’s look at how the New King James Version translates that same verse.

So Jesus said to them, “Because of your unbelief; for assuredly, I say to you, if you have faith as a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you. — Matthew 17:20 (NKJV)

Here that same passage is a whole lot less contradictory. Jesus is telling his disciples that they have a belief problem which can be countered with faith, even in small amounts.

Now that’s something we can work with. All we have to do is figure out what belief and faith really are and then we can apply that lesson to our lives.

What Is Belief?

To explain the difference, let’s start with belief. What does it mean?

You can go to a dictionary to look up belief if you like. Here’s a good working definition:

Belief – An opinion or judgement in which a person is fully persuaded.

So our beliefs are things that we are thoroughly convinced of. Usually (but not always) they are ideas, concepts that we gather through acquiring information and experience. Because of that, our beliefs can change over time as we gain more knowledge and experience more things throughout our lives.

How Is Faith Different?

Again, you can go to a dictionary and look up the meaning of faith.

To me, this is an easier way to understand it.

Faith = ( Belief × Action × Confidence )

Faith includes our beliefs, but it is bigger than that. Faith requires action. If it doesn’t move us to do something or say something – actually take some kind of action – it’s not really faith at all. James said it this way.

So you see, faith by itself isn’t enough. Unless it produces good deeds, it is dead and useless. James 2:17

Until we take action our “faith” is just a bunch of words. James says that unless faith produces action is in fact dead, or not faith at all.

As a side note, some people get confused and turned around on this point and try to do good things to generate faith. However James didn’t say the good things we do produce faith. He said our faith, if it is real and alive, will naturally move us to do good things.

But I digress.

The last part of that whole faith equation is confidence.

Confidence – Trust that is based on knowledge or past experience

Basically confidence is a measure of how firmly we hold to a particular belief.

Putting It All Together

So now you can see how belief and faith are interrelated. The difference between the two is subtle. But understanding it makes things that Jesus said like in Matthew 17:20 above make a whole lot more sense.

When we believe the truth with enough confidence to take action we exercise faith. And it doesn’t take much of that faith to see huge things happen.

And you can see where unbelief, that is believing things that aren’t true – believing lies – completely clogs up the working of our faith. Unbelief prevents us from ever seeing the miraculous in our lives.

Too often we spend time and energy trying to increase our faith when Jesus said that’s not really our problem. We pray and plead with God, begging him to give us more faith.

This is an explanation given by Cris Cree. I thought it to be spot on.

ARE TEMPTATIONS DIFFERENT TODAY?

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This discussion seems to come up many times in today’s world. Do Kids have more temptation today than 10, 20, 30, 40, or even 50 years ago. I’m going to answer this by my own experience and also with what God has to say.

First is my own experience. I was fortunate to have grown up in a Christian home with Christian values in the 60’s. We gathered around the table for meals, played games as a family, watched TV together, and took family vacations. We kids were always involved. My parents were interested in what was going on at school and asked questions about how we/things were going and THEY LISTENED!! On Sundays we were always in Worship as a family. That being said the temptations were there, as they are today. I grew up in a small town of about 350 people with approximately 60 Kids total in High School (Frosh-Senior). Alcohol was available, there were those with a trash mouth, those who skipped school to create trouble, homosexuality was talked about, but made fun of, there was adultery going  on (Just not talked about much), and if you looked hard enough, drugs were available. In the 60’s we had to deal with the Veit Nam war and all the protests + the political unrest.  We had teachers that would slide in comments about Evolution and other religious connotations. This all sounds to me like what is going on today.

What does God have to say about what is going on?

Jude 1:7 gives the account of Sodom and Gomarrah being destroyed because of sexual immorality and perverse sexual activities. Homosexuality was going on then and is still going on today.

John chapter 4 talks about Jesus encountering a prostitute at a well. Prostitution was going on then and is going on now.

Take a look at the history of cities like Corinth and Ephesus and you will encounter prostitution, adultery, homosexuality, perverse sexual activities, foul mouthed people, and drunkenness. All of these things were going on in cities then, just as they are now.

Every letter the Apostle Paul wrote tells us to be aware of false teaching. People distorting and perverting God’s Word just as they are doing today. If there isn’t false teaching going on, then why are there so many different religious affiliations. Why is there not just the one Church Jesus established on the Day of Pentecost?

It’s been said that kids today deal with a bigger “Gray” area than they used to have to deal with. I would challenge anyone to show me in God’s written Word where there is any “Gray” area. God’s Word tells us exactly what is good and what is bad, what is light and what is darkness, what is Godly and what is of Satan. There is no “Gray” to be found in God’s Word. Yes, kids today have challenges and issues to deal with, but they are not any different than the were in Old Testament times, 1st Century Church times, 50 years ago, or today.

I’m going to end this with what Solomon said in Ecclesiastes 1:9
“That which has been is what will be. That which is done is what will be done. And there is nothing new under the sun.” If you believe God and what He has to say, then let’s quit making excuses for those who wish not to be obedient to God.

SMILE God loves YOU!! Have a GREAT day all.