Tag Archives: Miracles

The God of Miracles

Peninsula Community Church 

September 1, 2019 

Daniel 6:19-22 Then, at break of day, the king arose and went in haste to the den of lions. As he came near to the den where Daniel was, he cried out in a tone of anguish. The king declared to Daniel, “O Daniel, servant of the living God, has your God, whom you serve continually, been able to deliver you from the lions?” Then Daniel said to the king, “O king, live forever! My God sent his angel and shut the lions’ mouths, and they have not harmed me, because I was found blameless before him; and also before you, O king, I have done no harm.”

As we begin this study, today, let me ask you a question. Have you ever experienced a real, true, genuine miracle? When I talk about a miracle, I am talking about much more than finding a good parking place at the mall, although that might be a real miracle, especially at Christmas. I am not talking about going to your favorite restaurant and finding out that you are getting the last serving of your favorite meal before they run out. I am talking about a full fledge no holds barred miracle. You see the word miracle has been abused much like the word love. In both cases, the power and majesty of the words have been lost or diminished.

Today, I want to assure you that miracles still happen and they can happen in your life. Before we get into the meat of the message, let me take a moment and define what a miracle is. The Bible does not use the word miracle too often, but when a miracle happens in Scripture there is no denying it and no mistaking it. The dictionary defines a miracle as a surprising and welcome event that is not explicable (understood) by natural or scientific laws and is therefore considered to be the work of a divine agency. Baker’s Dictionary of the Bible defines a miracle as “an event in the external world brought about by the immediate agency or the simple volition of God.” A miracle is not limited to the laws of matter or the mind, as a miracle interrupts fixed natural laws. C. S. Lewis defines a “miracle” as an interference with nature by a supernatural power.

Take creation for example. God supernaturally speaks the world into existence out of nothing. That is a miracle. By His words we have the earth, a miracle. The seas, oceans and land are divided, a miracle. We have birds, flora and fauna, and all sorts of creatures created, a miracle. We have the days measured by the sun and moon, a miracle. We have the complexity of humankind, a miracle. The truth is miracles always point to God as the instigator and provider. He steps outside of the boundaries of the natural and provides something that could not be provided or explained by any other means. 

Today, many are attempting to discredit the Bible by trying to explain the miracles of the Bible by way of natural means. Such miracles as creation, the parting of the Red Sea, the Virgin birth, the resurrection, and so on are all being tested by those who would seek explainable reasoning to define the miracles of the Bible. Here is the deal though, sometimes there is no explanation and no reason, that is why it is a miracle. 

Our story today is one more of God’s story where God brings a miraculous intervention on behalf of His children. In this case it was Daniel, the faithful and dedicated servant of God. When we read the first part of the story, we find Daniel is accepted by Darius, but is being setup by Darius’ cohorts. They were conniving in order to attack and destroy Daniel. They falsely accused him and when their accusations did not stick, they went after the one thing that defined Daniel the most, his faith in God. They in fact created a conflict that needed to be resolved. And of course they were the ones who had to resolve the problem. Please know that when people cannot attack your character they will try to attack you where it hurts the most. They will attack your beliefs and they will attack your family. When that fails they will create conflict. 

In their conniving, they tricked Darius into signing a 30 day decree that anyone making a petition of prayer would be cast into the lion’s den, where they would be eaten alive. Notice there was no command to worship Darius or any other God. They were not to pray. Does this sound familiar? Prayer is being removed from the public square in our day. The enemy of our souls knows that without prayer we become weak and easily persuaded to compromise and change. However, after the decree was given, notice that Daniel did not hesitate to continue to pray three times a day. You see laws can change, decrees can be made but remember you cannot legislate righteousness and obedience. We must be obedient to God, no matter the cost or the price. The secret is that when we are obedient and we are faithful, God comes through big time in big ways. What did Daniel do, he worshipped and he prayed? He could have played games, but he chose God and he chose faithfulness to his faith in God. 

This reminds me of Romans 12:2. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. Daniel did not conform to the world’s standard just to fit in, but he renewed his mind by going to God in prayer. Daniel did not conform to the ways of Babylon or the edicts of the king. He stayed true to the commands of God. You shall have no other gods before me. He loved God more than he loved being accepted by those who were godless. He trusted God more than he trusted the king’s advisors. Note that it is by testing that we discern the will of God. In testing our faith is assured. If we allow it, God shows us His will and what is right and is good.

Because he did not obey the edict, he was thrown into the lion’s den. The fact is when one was thrown into the lion’s den those days, the lions were often starved for days before hand. In this way, they were ready to devour whatever was thrown into the den. But instead of attacking him, a miracle took place. Rather than devouring Daniel, God shut their mouths so that he would not be eaten alive. What was a natural occurrence, being eaten by the lions, was instead a supernatural intervention and the mouths of the lions were shut so they would not harm Daniel!

Here is the amazing thing about this miracle. God not only saved Daniel, but God used that miracle to reach those who were engaged in the process of putting him in the lion’s den. An amazing thing happened when Darius returned to the lion’s den. Darius realized that God had saved Daniel and he wanted what Daniel had. Let me ask you this morning, when you go through deep difficulties and people witness you doing so, how do they respond? Do they turn to God or witness God doing something amazing or do you they turn from God because of your experience? You see that we can experience the miracles of God and yet still complain and grumble which diminishes the world’s view of God. In this case, because of the testimony of Daniel, Darius turned toward God. That was the second miracle. But notice what Daniel did. Rather than take any of the credit, he turned all of the praise and honor back to God. Notice that he stated “My God sent his angel and shut the lion’s mouths.” He gave credit where credit was due because he could take no credit for the work of God.

I love this. Listen to Daniel 6:21-23 Then Daniel said to the king, “O king, live forever! My God sent his angel and shut the lions’ mouths, and they have not harmed me, because I was found blameless before him; and also before you, O king, I have done no harm.” Then the king was exceedingly glad, and commanded that Daniel be taken up out of the den. So Daniel was taken up out of the den, and no kind of harm was found on him, because he had trusted in his God.

Notice the third part of this miracle. Notice how God defended Daniel. Those who had connived with Darius to make this happen were thrown into the lion’s den. Their entire family were thrown in and they were immediately devoured. God protects His people. God saves those who trust in Him no matter what. Daniel trusted God and God came through big time. 

As a result, Darius made a proclamation to the people in Daniel 6:25-27. Then King Darius wrote to all the peoples, nations, and languages that dwell in all the earth: “Peace be multiplied to you. I make a decree, that in all my royal dominion people are to tremble and fear before the God of Daniel, for he is the living God, enduring forever; his kingdom shall never be destroyed, and his dominion shall be to the end. He delivers and rescues; he works signs and wonders in heaven and on earth, he who has saved Daniel from the power of the lions.” 

As we close, listen to this. If God could close the mouths of lions for Daniel, part the Red Sea for Moses (Exodus 14:21), make the sun stand still for Joshua (Joshua 10:12-14), send ravens to feed Elijah (1 Kings 17:2-16), open a prison door for Peter (Acts 16:26), put a baby boy in the arms of Sarah (Genesis 21:2), and raise Lazarus from the dead (John 11:38-44) then He can certainly provide for you. You have no reason to despair or be hopeless today. Nothing you are facing today is too hard for Him to handle. Trust Him to take care of you, just like He took care of everyone that came before you. Remember the great cloud of witnesses in Hebrews (Hebrews 12:1-2). They are watching us. They are cheering us on. They have experienced the miracles of God and today they stand as a testimony to what God can do with the man whose heart is fully devoted to Him. 

So, let me ask you, what is your lion’s den? You may be facing some difficult times. You may feel betrayed and wounded. You may have had someone come against you and spread lies about who you are. You may be faced with having to hold onto your convictions in your workplace. What is your lion’s den? You can go quiet, blend in, compromise, or you can stand firm regardless of the consequences. When you choose to stand, you are choosing what’s harder. You are choosing the lion’s den. And that is okey because in this world, you will have trouble. But take heart, God has overcome the world (John 16:33). God will save you and He will protect you. Trust  Him! Give Him the credit He deserves! Amen!

For an audio of this message go to http://pccministry.org/messages.

Copyright © 2019 All Rights Reserved Robert W. Odom

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The Impossible Made Possible

Peninsula Community Church

The Impossible Made Possible 

March 26, 2017

Nehemiah 6:15-16 So the wall was finished on the twenty-fifth day of the month Elul, in fifty-two days. And when all our enemies heard of it, all the nations around us were afraid and fell greatly in their own esteem, for they perceived that this work had been accomplished with the help of our God.

When I was a younger, one of my favorite shows on TV was “Mission Impossible.” The basis of the show was that an elite covert operations unit carries out highly sensitive missions subject to official denial in the event of failure, death or capture. Remember the famous line. This tape will self destruct in 5 seconds.

Another memory I have is the song “to Dream the Impossible Dream.” For Joe Darion, the author of the song, being a one-hit wonder might be enough if your single stroke of genius turns out to be one of the most enduring, often recorded songs in the history of popular music. The song made its debut in the 1965 Broadway musical Man of La Mancha. The song has been sung by the Temptations, Elvis Presley, Frank Sinatra, and many more. Listen to the words. To dream the impossible dream. To fight the unbeatable foe. To bear with unbearable sorrow.  And to run where the brave dare not go. To right the unwritable wrong and to love pure and chaste from afar. To try when your arms are too weary to reach the unreachable star. This is my quest to follow that star, no matter how hopeless, no matter how far. To fight for the right without question or pause. To be willing to march, march into hell for that heavenly cause. And I know if I’ll only be true to this glorious quest that my heart will lie peaceful and calm when I’m laid to my rest. And the world will be better for this that one man, scorned and covered with scars, still strove with his last ounce of courage to reach the unreachable, the unreachable, the unreachable star. And I’ll always dream the impossible dream. Yes, and I’ll reach the unreachable star. 

When we first encountered Nehemiah and experienced his call to return to Jerusalem, those around him would have believed that rebuilding the wall would have been almost impossible. The city was in ruins, the people were discouraged, and the rulers were abusing and using those in Jerusalem through unfair trade practices. Rather than being encouraged toward a future hope and destiny, they were being held back and pushed down. The task seemed to be too big and beyond human capacity to accomplish or at least accomplish much that would make a difference. But Nehemiah was of a different mind set and a different heart. Rather than being discouraged or doubtful, he stepped up to the plate to lead the task of rebuilding the wall. How could he do this you might ask? He did so because he had a confidence and trust in God’s ability and power to do the impossible.

When we look at the passage before us we find a remarkable story. First of all, we see that the wall only took approximately fifty-two days to rebuild. What seemed impossible was made possible. How amazing is that? The walls that were in shambles and torn apart were rebuilt in less than two months. What is even more amazing is that this was accomplished without power tools or advanced equipment to assist them. They did this all by hand and with the animals that were at their disposal.

Even with the jeering, ridicule, false accusation, and the mocking hurled at them, they were able to do the impossible because they kept their eyes on God and trusted in His undeniable and unwavering ability to accomplish what He said He would. Together, they overcame the worst of difficulties to do the impossible and rebuild the wall.

It is also amazing when you look at the span of wall that we are talking about. It has been estimated that the wall in Nehemiah’s day would have been approximately 2.5 miles long. To put that in perspective our house is almost exactly one mile from the Maryland state line. So the wall would be more than two times that distance. The wall was also forty feet tall and in many places was more than twelve feet wide. Some have tried to minimize the miracle of this by suggesting that they did not have to rebuild the entire wall but just part of it. Even if that were so, it was  still amazing that in fifty-two days they cleared the rubble, dealt with the stoppage of work when they were discouraged, and were able to rebuild the wall.

Do you think God had anything to do with that? I am sure He did. In fact, even the enemies of Judah recognized that God had intervened. One of the lessons we learn from this miracle of God is that although the miracle is for us, it is not just for us. It serves to glorify God and to make His name know upon the earth. I suggest to you that Paul understood this when he proclaimed Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For as we share abundantly in Christ’s sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too. If we are afflicted, it is for your comfort and salvation; and if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which you experience when you patiently endure the same sufferings that we suffer. Our hope for you is unshaken, for we know that as you share in our sufferings, you will also share in our comfort (2 Corinthians 1:3-7). When we are comforted and when God does the impossible it is not just for us but is to be shared so that the world knows God’s power. You might easily replace the word miracle for the word comfort.

I am also reminded of Jesus’ words at the tomb of Lazarus. When those around Him became excited about the fact that He did not seem to be responding fast enough, He made the following statements. “This illness does not lead to death. It is for the glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified through it” (Luke 11:4). What seemed like a delay was actual in God’s design so that He could get the glory. Much of what God does is so that His name is glorified and we just happen to receive the benefits of His actions.

The second statement in the passage is Then Jesus told them plainly, “Lazarus has died, and for your sake I am glad that I was not there, so that you may believe. But let us go to him (Luke 11:14-16). When God does the impossible it is so that our faith in Him is strengthened. By way of the miracles of God we are encouraged and challenged to move forward.

In this, we recognize that when God does the impossible it is often outside our time table. It is beyond what we think should happen most of the time. I am amazed in the book of Mark at how many times the term “immediately” is used. There are times when God moves in ways that seems so slow and then there are times where He moves so quickly that we are amazed when it happens. Too often, when we have to wait for the immediacy of God it can feel like His has forgotten us. But know this, God is at work in you and in your circumstances no matter the speed of His answers.

In reading this passage, it is noteworthy that the people who were against the building of the walls and those who were the enemies of Judah were afraid and their self esteem was impacted. After all, they had been in the city and had power, rulership, and authority which was now being tested and in fact they were losing their power. Here is a fact. Not everyone will receive the impossibilities of God in the same way. Even in the best of circumstances fear can be the result.

The Bible is replete with the stories of the impossible situations that God intervened in and the impossible became possible. In each case, God did what He did so that He could get all of the glory and the honor. Imagine the surprise of Sarah, Elizabeth, and Mary who were all promised miraculous births. Sarah and Elizabeth were too old and Mary in essence was too young, but God did the impossible in them. He opened the barren womb and brought life to that which was dead. I do not think these miracles were a mistake in the Bible because they teach us that God can bring life out of that which is dead. God can bring hope when things seem hopeless.

Both of these ladies desired nothing more than to have children. Sarah was given a promise and without a son that promise could not be fulfilled. While she thought God had forgotten her, He did not. Elizabeth was left with the scar of barrenness which was a thing of disgrace in her day. The hope of every Jewish woman was to give birth because their son might be the Messiah. In both cases, in the natural things seemed hopeless but God intervened and brought forth life out of that which was dead. In Genesis 18:4, God asked a question that He already knew the answer to but He needs our reply. “Is there anything too hard for God?” The answer He deserves and the answer He wants is there is nothing too hard for Him.

When the angel Gabriel approached Mary, Elizabeth was already pregnant. This was a testimony to what God could do. It also provided the backdrop of Mary’s miracle. And behold, your relative Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son, and this is the sixth month with her who was called barren. For nothing will be impossible with God” (Luke 1:36-37). The angel was saying “If God can touch a barren womb that has already passed its prime I can do a miracle in you.”  Chuck Swindoll said “Elizabeth’s barrenness and advanced age was a double symbol of  hopelessness which became the means by which God would announce to the world that nothing  is impossible for Him.”

Remember the old song we used sing. “God will make a way where there seems to be no way. He works in ways we cannot see and He will make a way for me.” This morning I believe that God wants you to know that there is nothing impossible with God. Whether it is a wall that needs to be built (Jerusalem) or one that needs to be torn down (Jericho) God can do it. Whether there is a need to quicken a womb that is deadened by age and barrenness (Elizabeth and Sarah) or it is one that is young with hope and life (Mary), God can do the impossible. Whether it is to bring forth life or to raise the dead (Lazarus), God can do the impossible. It is not a question of whether He will, but whether we will position ourselves for a miracle.

Nehemiah trusted God in the midst of incredible odds. Sarah laughed but she trusted God. Mary realized that God was about to do something bigger than herself and proclaimed “Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.” May we like Mary proclaim I am your servant and let the miracle be according to your word. 

Here is the bottom line. Trust God. Surrender to His will. Be patient. Do not lose hope. If He  made a promise He will fulfill His purpose in us. I found this statement by Robert G Ingersoll, in his book “The Ghosts and Other Lectures.” “Take from the church the miraculous, the supernatural, the incomprehensible, the unreasonable, the impossible, the unknowable, the absurd, and nothing but a vacuum remains.” What is noteworthy about Ingersoll was that he was known as the Great Agnostic. He was agnostic in his belief which meant that he simple did not know or want to know, therefore did not believe but what a profound and powerfully truthful statement by a nonbeliever.

Remove the miraculous and all you have is a void that will be filled by something but if we reach out to God for the miraculous He will come and He will touch our lives. Edwin Cole once commented that “Expectancy is the atmosphere for miracles.” So do we expect God to do the impossible? Do we expect God to show up? He does the impossible to touch the expectant heart. Today what impossible task do you need God to handle? He is ready. Call to Him. Trust Him. He will work and He will do what only He can do. The impossible can be made possible by God. To God be the glory.

For an audio of this message go to http://pccministry.org/media.php?pageID=14

Copyright © 2017 All Rights Reserved Robert W. Odom

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5 Commitments for 2014

Peninsula Community Church

5 Commitments for 2014

January 5, 2013

Philippians 3:12-16 Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Let those of us who are mature think this way, and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal that also to you. Only let us hold true to what we have attained.

In preparing for this message I began to consider the idea of making New Years resolutions. As you might guess, the idea of making New Years resolutions is nothing new but I wondered where the concept of making resolutions come from. In researching this, I found that the ancient Babylonians made promises to their gods at the start of each year that they would return borrowed objects and pay their debts. If you were the one who loaned an item that would be a great resolution for someone else to make. The Romans began each year by making promises to the god Janus, for whom the month of January is named. In the Medieval era, the knights took the “peacock vow” at the end of the Christmas season each year to re-affirm their commitment to chivalry. (From Wikipedia).

I am sure that each of us has in some way considered the idea of making resolutions going into this new year. Perhaps you have considered losing weight which by the way is the most popular resolution made each year. For others, it could be the idea of being nicer. For others it could be the idea of doing more for others. It could be watching less TV and spending more time in the Word and in prayer. While all of these are good ideas it is interesting to note that 88% of all resolutions made end in failure. It has also been noted however that 22% more resolutions are kept when they are shared with someone else. 

For us as believers, who are passionate followers of Christ, the idea of resolutions can also be a part of our lives. To come to the end of one year and begin another year is very much a time of evaluation and renewal. For me personally, I try to use the week between Christmas and New Years as a time to reevaluate where I am. What are my goals? How did I do with my goals from the previous year? When I was growing up it was a common event to have watch night services where we would close the year with thanksgiving and a commitment to follow Christ with a renewed spirit of trust and faith. 

As I thought about this idea of resolutions, I would like to suggest a couple of commitments for you consideration. Now I will quickly say that this is not an inclusive list. In fact, if you were to be in my place and were sharing this message, you might share a different list and that would be fine. In fact, if I were to preach this same message at some point in the future, I might use a different list. The idea is that this is not an inclusive list but are simple some key commitments for us to consider.

The first consideration is to commit to seeing the miracles and blessings of God around you. This is important for us as we can get sidetracked by the circumstances and cares of life. A heart that looks for the miracles and blessings of God around us is one that is filled with gratitude and thankfulness. There is so much in our world that can pull us down and create in us a ungrateful heart. When we don’t look for the miracles of God around us, our hearts can be filled with grumbling, complaining, and ungratefulness. We see this in the life of the Children of Israel. It is amazing to me that there appears to be a huge cycle of gratefulness and then murmuring and complaining. You see God would meet their need and would provide for them. Miracles were happening all around them, and yet they would fall into a grumbling and complaining attitude. One day they are angry with God. On another day they are trying to get rid of Moses as their leader. But when we commit to see the miracles of God around us we will be less likely to complain and grumble. When we focus on God’s blessings and on what He has done for us, we are more likely to be filled with a heart of gratitude and blessings.

The second consideration is to be less judgmental and more understanding of others. I have been reading a couple of books here lately. One of the books is by Pastor Jack Graham, the senior pastor of Prestonwood Baptist Church in Dallas Texas. In his book, Unseen, Jack makes an observation about his life as he is getting older. He stated that as he is aging, there is a tendency for him to be more judgmental. He commented that he can begin to judge the way others act, what they say, how they dress, and so on. I too have recognized this tendency in my own life. As we get older, we have the potential to believe that we have arrived and can develop “a know it all attitude.” I am sure that I am not the only one with such a mentality as they get older. When we experience a judgmental attitude we can miss out on seeing others for who they are or from understanding where they are coming from and why they do what they do. For me, I never want to become John and Max from “Grumpy Old Men.” These two men are played by Walter Matthau and Jack Lemmon. John and Max have habitual complained and argued so much in their life that they do not know how to live without arguing and fighting and trying to one up each other. While they fought you also realize that inwardly they are miserable and unsatisfied with life. They are grumpy old men. May we never become grumpy old men.

The third consideration is to have a greater commitment to sharing your faith with others. Studies have shown that those believers who share their faith are happier and more grateful for their own relationship with Christ. To clarify, this applies to those who have developed a commitment to share their faith as a lifestyle rather than a legalistic need to accomplish some task so they can check that action off of their spiritual list of things to do. Sharing our faith can come in many styles, ways, and ideas. For example, sharing an encouraging word to one who is discouraged is one way we share our faith. Sharing our faith has as much to do with our attitude as it does our words. When we share our faith with others we are more appreciative of our own relationship with others. There is a principle that applies here that says as we give away to others we understand the value of what we have. We also appreciate what we have in Christ even more.

The fourth consideration is to determine to live as one forgiven and as a forgiver of others. A second book I have been reading highlights this idea of forgiveness. Forgiveness initiates healing and right focus. The story is of Abraham Lincoln who attempted to walk in forgiveness to the best of his ability. Secondly the author rehearsed a story from the civil war that has always been a powerful story in my mind. When the war was over and the surrender documents had been signed, there were a couple of actions taken by the northern army that changed the course of American history. Because of the pain and death exhibited by the civil war, Grant and those under him could have been antagonistic and demoralizing to the southern army. 

After the signing of the surrender documents by Lee and Grant, we see Grant do something that expressed honor and forgiveness to General Lee. As Grant stood on the porch of the McClain home, Grant tipped his hat to Lee as Lee mounted his horse. In those days this was a sign of respect and honor. Even though Lee had been the enemy, Grant recognized that a greater result would come from moving forward with honor more than dishonor. Grant realized that the nation could only heal as forgiveness was given freely whether Lee and the army of the South would ever receive the act of forgiveness or whether they deserved it for that matter. By accomplishing this act, Grant not only released Lee from the past but Grant himself was releasing himself from the burden of the past experiences and the past hurts of the war. Grant was also an example to his troops, as well. For example, John Chamberlain, commander of the 20th Maine, who stood against the charge of the Alabama troops at Gettysburg also showed great honor to Lee and his men. As Lee was retreating from the McClain house, Chamberlain without a thought and in a spontaneous manner called his troops to attention and a salute. It was these acts that began to bring to healing to a divided nation. For us too, the act of forgiveness can begin that process of healing broken lives and broken hearts. Remember, forgiveness is always about the one doing the forgiveness (Matthew 6:12-14). Jesus Himself says that when we forgive we too are forgiven. When we forgive there is a reciprocal spiritual act of forgiveness in us. You see when we forgive others, we are released from our own issues of failure, regret, and guilt. With that said, it is often harder to forgive ourselves than it is to forgive others. We are driven by our guilt, fear and failures than by the wholeness we have through forgiveness. But, forgiving others is the start to forgiving ourselves.

The fifth consideration is to commit to renew or deepen your love for God. As we read the Book of Revelation, we see in the letters to the Seven Churches that one of the complaints against the Church of Ephesus was that they had lost their first love (Revelations 2:2-4). They were no longer motivated by love and by the gifts that God had given them. They were motivated more by legalism and a regimented fulfillment of the law than by God’s love as a motivator. Their actions were not aligned with the love that had been given them and that should be the motivator of their heart. The result was that they were good about keeping the law but the growth of their heart was stunted. They were much like the Israelites in the Old Testament who were condemned for offering sacrifices without the heart to back it up (Isaiah 29:13-14 and Matthew 15:8-9).

Are you ready? Do any of these resonate with you today? Are any of the above doable for you? Are there other prospects for change to make your life more effective for Christ? You can do it. You can change. You can be an effective warrior for Christ.

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