Tag Archives: pray

The Peter Promise Sin in our lives is not inevitable

Sin in our lives is not inevitable

Tags: Help, Holiness, Sin, Temptation
"If you do these things you will never fall" (2 Peter 1:10).

"He knew so much about the Bible; he had such a great ministry. How could this happen to him?"

People often have asked me such questions when a Christian leader has fallen because of money, sex, or pride.

The unasked question is left hanging in the air. "Since this happened to such a spiritual man (or woman), am I going to fall, too?"

I used to answer, "We’re all vulnerable. It could happen to anyone," echoing what other Christians have said in the past.

Some time ago I knew a middle-aged man in South America who was one of the most winsome evangelists that I have ever heard. But he had an attitude toward money that was unholy. He put away money that wasn’t his. Now he is no longer an evangelist. He is doing something else when he ought to be winning souls in the harvest field of Latin America.

As well, I was deeply grieved when I learned that a respected American youth evangelist with whom I had worked in the past had left his wife, his children, and his ministry for the passions of the flesh. It turned out that secretly, for years, he had been feeding a pornography addiction while preaching up a storm against immorality. Then, the inevitable happened. He started committing adultery. He had affairs going in city after city. Finally, the truth came out, and he walked out on his family.

When the truth came out, it shook me. It seemed to only prove the point: "We’re all susceptible to moral failure, right?"

I’m not so sure anymore. I now believe such thinking leads to fatalism, smacks of false humility, and flies in the face of Scripture.

Failure Is Not Inevitable
"We’re all vulnerable" isn’t true…if we’re staying in God’s Word, if we’re walking by the Spirit, if we’re obeying Jesus Christ. "If you do these things," 2 Peter 1:10 says, "you will never fall."

Peter isn’t using flowery language; he isn’t simply trying to make us feel better. These words are from the Bible; God Himself tells us, "If you do these things, you will never fall." What a wonderful promise!

Earlier in the same chapter, Peter tells us, "His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness" (2 Peter 1:3).

"All power" has been given to us through Jesus Christ, and His power is what enables us to live a godly life.

God doesn’t want us to shipwreck our faith, shatter our home, disgrace our church, or destroy the ministry He has entrusted to us. Instead, He has given us His indwelling presence and designed the Christian life so that we’ll succeed.

Walls of Protection
To keep us safe in His hand, God has established several strong walls of protection around us: the Word of God, including His moral laws; the Body of Christ, especially our local church; and His indwelling Holy Spirit, who is ever sensitive to sin in our lives.

But we can’t just sit around, hoping God will protect us when temptation comes our way. As John Wesley recognized during the Great Awakening, it is as Christians grow in grace and go on to maturity that they will be kept from falling.

"Paradoxically," Wesley biographer A. Skevington Wood reminds us, "to stand still is to be in danger of slipping back."

I encourage you to take action. First, don’t gossip and gloat when someone goes ahead and blatantly sins. We dare not secretly get a kick out of seeing someone else fail. Since temptations are common to us all, Scripture calls us to walk humbly in the fear of the Lord.

Second, make a radical decision to be holy as God is holy. Pray to God about your area of weakness. I did this early on in my ministry. I told God, point by point, how I behave in certain situations. I was embarrassed and recognized that God already knew how I acted, but it did me good to tell Him. Then I took Galatians 2:20 and reaffirmed with God my resolution to be crucified with Christ. I made a radical decision to be holy under every circumstance, without exception.

Third, begin a prayer group with one or more of your Christian friends. Let them know about your area of weakness–you don’t have to share in great detail. Ask them to hold you up in prayer before God as well as to hold you responsible for your actions. I meet each Wednesday with a group of respected, godly leaders in my city and have discovered great benefits.

Fourth, get back to reading the Bible. Several years ago when a rash of leaders were falling one after another, I asked my mentor, Dick Hillis, founder of one of the world’s leading missions organizations, "Why are all these guys falling away?"

Dr. Hillis thought and thought about my question. After walking with the Lord for sixty-some years, he’s no fly-by-night. Finally, he told me, "I think it’s because they were reading a lot of books about the Bible, but not the Bible itself."

The more I thought about it, the more I could see his point. Nothing can take the place of God’s Word, not even the best biblical commentaries. Sure, an evangelist or preacher or teacher needs to do his homework. He needs to read widely and deeply. But we need to saturate ourselves with God’s Word so, as the Psalmist wrote, "I might not sin against [God]" (Psalm 119:11).

As we read the Bible, associate with godly men and women, and follow the Holy Spirit’s leading, we are protected and kept safe in God’s hand.

Beware of Temptation
That’s not to say we won’t be tempted to climb over these divine walls of protection. For this reason we must beware of two seemingly innocent mistakes that make us vulnerable to Satan’s attacks: carelessness and opportunity.

Maybe we begin to hurry through our daily Bible reading or prayer time since we really don’t have much time. Perhaps we place ourselves in a tempting situation. Maybe we’re trying to serve God in our own power instead of in the power of the Spirit. It could be we’re feeling proud after gaining a victory over temptation. However it happens, carelessness creeps in and that’s when Satan strikes. The opportunity arises, and we fall into sin.

But we don’t have to go that route. The Bible promises, "God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it" (1 Corinthians 10:13). We are not helpless victims of Satan’s whims. He can defeat us only if we let him. Remember the Peter Principle: "If you do these things, you will never fall."

The Lord doesn’t want us to panic, to be fearful that we’ll be the next to fall. He "is able to keep you from falling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy" (Jude 24).

Let’s not go around cringing, frightened we’re going to fall. We don’t need to be afraid of the world, scared that our sexuality or whatever is going to destroy us. If we are walking and growing in Christ, the Scripture says we will never fall–and that’s a promise!

Prayer
"Lord Jesus, I have the desire to do such-and-such, and I am settling the matter with you. By your power, I will not dishonor Your holy name. I’m going to live for Your glory. I am committed to live a pure life. Amen."

When faced with temptation, do you recognize the way of escape explained in 1 Corinthians 10:13? "No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it."

What is tempting you? Talk to another Christian today and learn how to fight temptation.

Alan Zibluk Markethive Founding Member

Do You Have to Go to Church?

Let’s find out the true meaning of church.

Written by Joy on 30/11/2014
Series: Weekly Devotional
Tags: Church And Community
“Do not give up meeting together as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near.” Hebrews 10:25

There are church services on television and the Internet. But is it ok to stay at home and watch a church service? Or do we have to go to a physical church building? Let’s find out the true meaning of church.

Church: The Body of Christ
When God talks about the church, he isn’t talking about a physical building. The church is all the people in the world who have put their faith in Jesus, sometimes called the body of Christ.

Christians are instructed to meet together regularly. (Hebrews 10:25) Many Christians go to church buildings (local churches). But if there isn’t a local church near you, don’t worry. You can meet in a house church, a secret meeting place or a public place where you can fellowship. The important thing is to meet with other Christians so you can learn, fellowship, and work together to teach others about God.

Divide and Conquer: Enemy Strategy
It’s not easy to overpower a group of people because there’s strength in numbers. But if you divide them, you can easily conquer. The Bible even talks about the benefits of being with another person instead of being alone. “Two are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed. If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble.” (Ecclesiastes 4:9-10)

As Christians, we have an enemy who wants to divide us. “Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour.” (I Peter 5:8). Satan tries to separate you from other believers because he knows you are weaker when you are alone. When we are in a group, we can support each other, hold each other accountable and pray for each other. Satan will not be able to drag one of us off into the wilderness of unbelief, doubt, or despair.

United in Love: Jesus’ Prayer
Jesus prayed for us to be united. (John 17:9-11). He told us to “Love one another” (John 13:34) and “Encourage one another” (I Thessalonians 5:11). You’ll be able to do all of that and more when you’re united with other believers by meeting together. If you haven’t put your faith in Jesus yet, become a part of the body of Christ today and you can begin meeting with other believers too!

Pray this week:
That God will direct you to a local church where you can belong and how you can be an encouragement to other believers.

Alan Zibluk Markethive Founding Member

Is Online Church Enough?

Online church services are a great resource — make sure they don’t become your only community

Written by GodLife on 04/09/2018
Series: Weekly Devotional
Tags: Church, Church And Community, Fellowship, Online Church
And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.

Hebrews 10:24-25
Balancing Online and Physical Church 
My husband and I found a great church. This place has excellent, Bible-based teaching, opportunities to serve, with a young, growing membership. The church offers multiple service times and great music. Unfortunately, we ended up moving. “No problem”, we both thought. “We can just go online and watch the services. At least that way we can still get great teaching while we look for a church in our new town.” 

Here’s what we discovered. Finding a church can be hard! Especially when the one you attended before was so great. Some weeks it was easy to say, “let’s just watch online today.” That counts, right? 
No matter where you live, you have to decide what to do about church and community, both online and in-person. The reality today is the online church community has so much to offer and may feel like an easier place to fit in. Many people are a part of multiple communities, online and offline. How do you balance them? Can one substitute for the other? 

The purpose of going to church
Notice I didn’t say “the purpose of church” because ‘church’ is not a physical place. the church is made up of people who follow Jesus. As Christians, we work together as “the church” to share the love of Jesus with others. Acts 2:42 provides some of the reasons for church. “And they devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.” 

You can do many of the same things online and offline. You can share Jesus’ love, learn about Jesus, and read the Bible. With so many sermons and studies online, it is easy to find just about any material you need to help you grow spiritually. Online church allows you to build community fellowship globally and expand your perspective, while your local church may be limiting your connections to people who are just like you. So why go to a physical church rather than bonding and worshipping only in an online community? Physical touch, serving and gathering are just three reasons.

Physical touch
Britain recently appointed its first ‘minister for loneliness’ acknowledging how isolated many people have become. Part of that isolation is not simply mental loneliness but a lack of connection physically, too. I remember my mom saying several years after my father died that one of the hardest things she faced was not having daily physical contact with anyone – hugging, a touch on the hand, and just close proximity to another person in the room. There were those around Jesus who needed to hear His message in this way because there are people who are best wired to receive communication about love by physical touch. "And behold, a leper came to him and knelt before him, saying, 'Lord, if you will, you can make me clean.' And Jesus stretched out his hand and touched him, saying, 'I will; be clean.' And immediately his leprosy was cleansed." (Matthew 8:2–3)

Going to church is a way to physically connect to followers of Jesus and remind ourselves that we are not just mental or spiritual beings but we exist together and have a common purpose. 

Serving in your community
Sure, you can give money through your phone to help others – even those in your neighborhood. The community church makes it more personal. As the church opens its doors in times of disaster or through helping local families with specific needs, Jesus can shine through your face when you participate in service. James 1:27 tells us: “Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.” 

Gathering
We are here to gather with other believers in Christian fellowship, and a smartphone can never completely replace that. The term “church” in Greek (ekklesia) means a called assembly. In ancient times when a city called its people together for a certain purpose, this was always called an ekklesia. My husband and I once had a “Skype dinner” with some friends who had moved away. We just wanted to see their faces and eat together like we did when they lived near us. While it was fun, it wasn’t the same as being together. 

Balancing your online church practices with your physical ones can be a challenge. Both have so much to offer, it can be tempting to replace one for the other. How you use those resources God provided in a balanced way is a decision you have to make. “Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise.” (Ephesians 5:15)

Pray this week:
Father, show me how to serve you. Lead me to more fully be a part of the church in all areas, through worship, teaching, giving, fellowship and prayer.

Do you struggle with balancing your life online and offline? Do you view your community church differently than online church?

Alan Zibluk Markethive Founding Member

Forgive Those Who Hurt You Long Ago

No matter how difficult a situation, you can remember that God wants us to forgive one another “just as God through Christ has forgiven you”

Written by Hope on 07/07/2013
Series: Weekly Devotional
Tags: Forgiveness, Hurt
"Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior. Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.” (Ephesians 4:31-32)

When someone hurts you or you experience an injustice, God knows about it. In fact, of course, He knows every wrong that has ever occurred on earth, as well as the good things. "His understanding has no limit" (Psalm 147:5), and He knows that, as with all human action, "it has all been done before" (Ecclesiastes 1:9).

Earthly Injustice
King Solomon wrote, “I observed all the oppression that takes place under the sun. I saw the tears of the oppressed, with no one to comfort them. The oppressors have great power, and their victims are helpless” (Ecclesiastes 4:1). He noticed that people should not “be surprised if you see a poor person being oppressed by the powerful and if justice is being miscarried throughout the land” (Ecclesiastes 5:8). He said this because, "not a single person on earth is always good and never sins (Ecclesiastes 7:20), so we need to recognize that we, too, are sinners in need of forgiveness.

God's Justice
No matter how difficult a situation, you can remember that God wants us to forgive one another “just as God through Christ has forgiven you” (Ecclesiastes 4:32). And because “The Lord loves righteousness and justice”(Psalm 33:5) , you can rely on God to help you overcome injustice by being a loving and forgiving person. It will probably be difficult, but “those who are wise will find a time and a way to do what is right, for there is a time and a way for everything, even when a person is in trouble” (Ecclesiastes 8:5-6).

Prayer, Care, and Share Jesus
Have bad things ever happened to you or the people close to you? Whether these things have happened recently or long ago, we know God is very serious about us forgiving others, just as in Christ, God forgave us.

Maybe you’ve experienced something like this or similar:

Somebody caused an accident and someone close to you died or was injured for life;
A parent, school teacher or another authority figure abused you or someone close to you;
A criminal killed or injured someone close to you in a robbery or attack;
Someone close to you betrayed you. Whether or not you know the person that hurt you, your friend or family member, it is very tempting to harbor anger, hate or bitterness towards them – even if you’re close to God.
There’s nothing wrong with feeling angry in your loss. Jesus understands your pain and anger because He suffered on your behalf. Because of the sacrifice He made for you, and the forgiveness He has already granted you, Jesus asks you to forgive people who bring hurt and pain into your life.

You may not even know where to start when you realize you need to forgive someone. You might ask, “How can I forgive?” Well, here are some suggestions:

Realize and accept you have the anger or bitterness in your heart about the incident (however deeply buried in your memory;
Accept from the Scripture that you have to forgive as you are forgiven;
Surrender the hurt and anger to Jesus in prayer – If possible, pray this out loud with a friend
Forgive the person(s) in the Name of Jesus;
Start praying the Lord's blessing on the person that you need to forgive.
A Helpful Tip: Don't worry if you don't know the name of the person that wronged you or if they may not even be alive now. Forgive them anyway – the Lord knows them. If the process is very difficult, – get help from trusted friend or a counselor.

Pray this week:
You will forgive people who hurt you and start to pray for the Lord to bless them.

Roots of bitterness grow deep and spread to cover all areas of a person's life. Have you chosen to 'forgive' those who have done evil to you in your past? You should ask God to forgive them for you and through you. Forgiveness is for your healing. Do you have a situation you're having a hard time with? Talk to a caring Christian about it.

Alan Zibluk Markethive Founding Member