Lessons for Life: God’s Counsel to the Fearful

 

lightstock_325941_small_jamesDo you struggle with fear, anxiety, and worry? When you do struggle, where do you turn? When God created us, He created us dependent, and dependent on counsel, and we will be molded, changed and shaped by the counsel to which we listen?

 

Unfortunately, too many people turn to everyone and everything but God for counsel. In this podcast, listen to how God counsels those of us who are fearful. Hear these precious promises from God that can support you during the most times.

Follow this link to hear this Lesson for Life:

https://soundcloud.com/jameslongjr-com/isaiah-41-vs-10

Blessings.

 

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Come, Let Us Worship

lightstock_130485_small_jamesJohn Stott says that “true worship is the highest and noblest activity of which humanity, by the grace of God, is capable.” Do you ever wonder what is worship, or how to worship, or why we should worship? We get some of those answers in Psalm 95. This sermon is based on that psalm and is entitled Come, Let Us Worship. In this message, you will hear of the CALL to worship, the CONTENT of worship, the CONSECRATION of worship, and the CAUTION of worship. Follow this link to listen to hear the message. Blessings.

 

 

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Meditations on the Magnificat

lightstock_63894_small_jamesHow do you respond during times of crisis? How do you react when your plans are altered, and it seems as though everything is out of your control?

How did Mary respond to similar trials? She sang. Mary trusted. She praised…Mary worshiped.

Here is a message entitled “Meditations on the Magnificat.”

Blessings.

https://soundcloud.com/jameslongjr-com/meditations-on-the-magnificat

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Will You Choose Life?

Care Net logoI had the opportunity last evening to participate in the CareNet banquet for CareNet of Warren County NJ. During the evening we heard moving testimonies from women who struggled with an unwanted pregnancy. They shared how they felt fearful and confused. They shared how they were afraid to tell their families. However, as a Pastor, what I found particularly disheartening, is that they believed that their church would not be a place of support and help. In one woman’s case, she felt ostracized by her church. Is her sin any greater than others in that congregation? Where is the grace and mercy that is found in the gospel of Christ?

To be sure, I do not know all the details of their interaction with their church leaders. However, it got me thinking about my own family and my church. We do not want to minimize sin. God hates sin. We have no right to lessen what God hates. However, God is also full of grace and mercy. We have been granted amazing grace, a marvelous, matchless, and infinite grace. Should we not as pastor communicate the law to convict and the gospel to convert, comfort and change? I wonder how people would see me and my family and my church? Would they see me as a person who overflows with the gospel of grace?

MarcNewmanPortraitLast evening, we also heard from Dr. Marc Newman. He is the president of Speaker For Life, a training firm dedicated to equipping pro-life advocates nationwide with public speaking skills. He has spoken at nearly every major pro-life convention in the nation and is in demand as a banquet keynoter. He is the former Director of Speech and Debate at the University of California at Irvine and recently retired from teaching in the doctoral program in the School of Communication and the Arts at Regent University. He is a founding faculty member of the new Applied Bioethics program at Oklahoma Wesleyan University. He has trained speakers in public and private sectors for over twenty-five years. In addition to teaching, he heads MovieBibleStudy.com – a site that helps Christians use movies to reach out to others. He has appeared on Fox News and in Time magazine. He lives in North San Diego County in California with his wife, Sharon, and their youngest son, Joel.

Newman spoke on three key issues

  1. Knowledge
  2. Ability
  3. Willingness

Christ has come to give life and life abundantly. Do you have that life? Have you trusted in the Lord Jesus Christ as your Savior and Lord? Have you done something in your past that you believe can never be forgiven? Perhaps you are a burdened with fear, shame, despair, guilt over your choices. The gospel of Christ is the only hope for forgiveness and freedom for broken humanity. In the gospel, we find that we are loved, accepted, forgiven because of the person and the work of Christ. Will you trust Him today?

For many of us who are in Christ, are you also living under the burden of shame, fear, and guilt? Have you heard the gospel and trust Christ for your salvation but still believe you are condemned? Paul, in Romans 8, said that there is now, no condemnation for all who are in Christ. Added to that, he ends the chapter by saying there is no separation from the love of God in Christ for children of God. I encourage you to stand under the waterfall of God’s grace and mercy. Be saturated in His word of steadfast loving-kindness and His peace.

I encourage you to find a local Care Net resources center in your area and find ways to help. We can always pray. Many of you could give time or treasures to aid in the ministry. Will you consider how God may want to use you to help?

Blessings.

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A Commitment to Peacemaking and Reconciliation

lightstock_80329_small_jamesWe live in a world filled with conflict. Most of us cannot even make it through a day with having to deal with interpersonal struggles. Conflict can impact our work relationships, family relationships, friendships, and even our church relationships.

It should be our desire is to build a “culture of peace” that reflects God’s peace and the power of the gospel of Christ in our lives. From John 13:34-35; Eph. 4:29-32; Col. 3:12-14, we see many biblical principles that can help us in our relationships. From these passages, we find that as we “stand in the light of the cross, we realize that bitterness, unforgiveness, and broken relationships are not appropriate for the people whom God has reconciled to Himself through the sacrifice of His only Son” (Peacemaker Ministries).

In this message, we will discover ways to deal better with conflict and find peace and reconciliation in our relationships.

Blessings

Follow this link to listen to the message – A Commitment to Peacemaking

 

 

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We Must Reject Using Sinful Forms of Communication

Lou PrioloPastor Lou Priolo provided many of these sinful forms of communication

Interruption

Proverbs 18:13 ESV

If one gives an answer before he hears, it is his folly and shame.

Not Communicating

Ephesians 4:25 ESV

Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another.

Name Calling

Proverbs 30:11 ESV

There are those who curse their fathers and do not bless their mothers.

James 4:11 ESV

Do not speak evil against one another, brothers. The one who speaks against a brother or judges his brother, speaks evil against the law and judges the law. But if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge.

Inattentiveness

Proverbs 18:2 ESV

A fool takes no pleasure in understanding, but only in expressing his opinion.

Judging motives

1 Corinthians 4:4–5 ESV

For I am not aware of anything against myself, but I am not thereby acquitted. It is the Lord who judges me. Therefore do not pronounce judgment before the time, before the Lord comes, who will bring to light the things now hidden in darkness and will disclose the purposes of the heart. Then each one will receive his commendation from God.

Some judgment is appropriate

Matthew 7:1–7 ESV

“Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you. Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye. “Do not give dogs what is holy, and do not throw your pearls before pigs, lest they trample them underfoot and turn to attack you. “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.

1 Corinthians 13:7 ESV

Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

James 4:11–12 ESV

Do not speak evil against one another, brothers. The one who speaks against a brother or judges his brother, speaks evil against the law and judges the law. But if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge. There is only one lawgiver and judge, he who is able to save and to destroy. But who are you to judge your neighbor?

What happens if you suspect that their motives are wrong? What do you do?

•     You cannot judge their motives, but you can ask them to judge their own motives

Not communicating willingly

Proverbs 20:5 ESV

The purpose in a man’s heart is like deep water, but a man of understanding will draw it out.

“Draw it out.”

• Ask the right question

• Respond appropriately

• We do not have the right not to engage our spouse in communication

Talk about

• problems in the relationship

• your spouse’s personal issues

• struggles with the children

• family finances

• friends

• in-law

An unwillingness to discuss these things with your spouse is usually sin

Ephesians 4:25 ESV

Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another.

Sweeping generalization

• “You never listen to me.”

• “You are always dissatisfied with everything I do.”

• “The only time you are nice to me is when you want something from me.”

• “You are the worst ___________ I have ever known.”

These statements are harsh, unloving but also dishonest

A better way to approach your spouse with a concern would be…

• Honey, I think you tend to _________

• Honey, I think you have a pattern to __________

• Honey, I think you have a habit of ___________

When you use inaccurate language, you hinder open communication with your spouse

Blame-shifting

Pride blinds us to our sin, but it also looks for someone else to blame. We ought to be willing to assume 100% responsibility for our sin.

Humility tends to beget humility

Unearthing

Digging up things that are buried from the past is a sign of bitterness.

When your spouse sins against you, you can

• Cover it with love (overlook and forgive the transgression)

• Confront in love

Using put-downs

Proverbs 30:11 ESV

There are those who curse their fathers and do not bless their mothers.

James 4:11 ESV

Do not speak evil against one another, brothers. The one who speaks against a brother or judges his brother, speaks evil against the law and judges the law. But if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge.

Ephesians 4:29 ESV

Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.

Other types of unbiblical speech:

  • Belittling
  • Biting sarcasm
  • Condescension
  • Contemptuous speech
  • Derogatory
  • Harshness
  • Innuendos
  • Insult
  • Name-calling
  • Unfair comparisons
  • Use of profanity
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