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#1 luke

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Posted 01 August 2006 - 05:41 PM

Living a life in Christ can sometimes seem like too much of an uphill struggle. I keep repeating the same sins; I keep abusing my relationships with other people; I keep chasing after money; etc.; etc. Iím never going to change!

Well, thatís not the case. It may seem a little trite of me to say that, but itís true. And the reason itís true is because God is involved!

We are going to spend some time in this exhort reminding ourselves that change is possible in our lives Ė and itís possible because God is involved. This should encourage us to continue to keep fighting this fight against sin, and continue on growing to be more like God and Jesus.

#2 luke

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Posted 01 August 2006 - 05:49 PM

If it was a case of us being left on our own to try to sort these problems out in our lives then, yes, we would never ultimately change. But when God is involved we can change because He is shaping us.

God’s plan for us is that we grow spiritually to become more like His son (Eph. 4:13). And God helps us to do this through His Word, recorded for us in the Bible, and through the loving discipline He gives us in our lives (John 6:63 & Heb. 12:5-11).

God is highly involved with us - we are His children, after all (1 John 3:1). And God is so powerful, so change is nothing to Him. It may seem to us like it is impossible for us to change, but this is not the case for God. Let’s take a look at some parts of Scripture to remind ourselves of this.

Edited by luke, 01 August 2006 - 05:57 PM.


#3 luke

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Posted 01 August 2006 - 05:50 PM

There are many images and examples of God’s strength in the Bible. One of my favourite ones is in Job 38:32.

Here in the book of Job God is talking to Job about His great power. God talks about various bit of Creation – massively more impressive than little Job – and questions Job if he could control these various things. Here in Job 38:32 God points to the stars in the night sky and asks Job if he could have made them. He points at various stars and settles in v32 on a star system called the Bear, and says: -

Can you bring forth the constellations in their seasons
or lead out the Bear with its cubs?


Imagine it: from out of the night sky a Bear appears, and it’s coming straight towards Job. But this one is not your average bear (which would be bad enough) – it’s made of stars, and it’s a million miles high! This thing could destroy the whole earth, not to mention each of us individually. There’s no way that Job could lead it out and tame it. It’s one big, mean bear.

And, yet, God has it tamed.

Here we have God leading out the biggest bear in the universe. It’s tootling along behind him, calm and peaceful. And not only that, but its cubs are following along happily, too. A bear with cubs is one of the meanest things you could come across. But, God is in control. This is how mighty God is. And there are many other examples like this in the Bible that show God’s awesome power (I mean, He can even raise the dead! That is powerful).

That is how mighty God is. If we think it’s too hard for us to move away from sin (if we see it as big and scary as a bear), then remember Who’s on our side, and how powerful He is.

Edited by luke, 01 August 2006 - 06:06 PM.


#4 luke

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Posted 01 August 2006 - 05:51 PM

Another example of how powerful God is is seen right in the very first chapter of the Bible. The fact that this is in the first chapter of the Bible shows us how fundamental this attribute is to God. In Gen. 1:3 we are told the following: -

And God said, "Let there be light," and there was light.


This is staggering. From nothing God makes light. There is only darkness all around, with no light already available to compare light to, and yet God makes light. That in itself shows how powerful God is. But that’s not even what we are going to focus on here in Gen. 1:3! We are focusing on how God made light.

When God made light He didn’t have to hire a digger and a cement mixer. When God made light He didn’t have to work at it for years, straining away. Nope. All that God had to do was speak and light was created. See if you can make something appear out of nothing by just saying its name. There wasn’t any kind of messing around or delay but, as soon as God spoke, ‘there was light.’ And He does that with the sky (v6-7), and with the land and the sea (v9-10), and the plants (v11-12), etc., etc. He speaks and it happens; He doesn't even need to roll up his sleeves to work, or strain His muscles. That’s how mighty God is: He is so powerful that the breath from His mouth is all He needs to create a whole world and a whole universe!

By the word of the LORD were the heavens made,
their starry host by the breath of his mouth.


To do anything remotely well I have to work up a great sweat, or at least it takes me ages and ages to do (essays at university used to take me months and months). But God can just say a word and a whole universe is made. His breath can create stars … imagine what He is like when He uses His physical strength! This is how powerful God is.

God created the world and everything in it. He is master of it all. He can have supremacy over it all. So, when we think that our problems are too big for us to overcome, remember how powerful God is – no problem is too big if we are with Him. With God, nothing is impossible (Mat. 19:26). It may take time, but we can grow away from our sins because God is with us.

Edited by luke, 01 August 2006 - 06:07 PM.


#5 luke

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Posted 01 August 2006 - 05:52 PM

We now know that God sure is powerful enough to help us change. But, how do we know that He is actually with us? It’s useless following a God who is so strong that He could create the universe if He isn’t concerned with us.

We really have nothing to fear here, either, because God is full of care for us. In Ps. 62:11-12 it mentions God’s strength, but it also mentions something else; it says: -

One thing God has spoken,
two things have I heard:
that you, O God, are strong,
and that you, O Lord, are loving. …


As much as God is strong He is also loving! (You could even be forgiven for saying that He is even more loving than He is mighty!) Imagine that. We’ve already seen His strength, and His love is equally as powerful.

Edited by luke, 01 August 2006 - 06:08 PM.


#6 luke

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Posted 01 August 2006 - 05:52 PM

God is powerful enough to help us change and, not only that, but, also, He wants us to change. Here are some other verses that prove this to us: -

And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.


Notice what Paul says here: ‘I am sure of this.’ There is no doubt here. The apostle, Paul, says that he is absolutely confident – no doubt about it – that God will continue to work with us. He’s started a good work in us, and He’s not a quitter. He’s going to stick at it. And not only that, but He’s going to bring it to completion. If we stick with God then there’s no worry: He is working with us, and He will change us. The good work He’s started with us will be completed. No doubt about it.

Edited by luke, 01 August 2006 - 06:09 PM.


#7 luke

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Posted 01 August 2006 - 05:53 PM

Another verse says this: -

May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. The one who calls you is faithful and he will do it.


Here is another passage from Paul. Here he prays that us believers will be completely sanctified. This is what we want. We want to grow away from our sinful lusts. And in the context of this book we want to be sanctified through and through from our sinful sexual lusts. Paul prays that God will bring about this cleansing; and then Paul says that ‘the one who calls us is faithful and He will do it.’ Notice here again there is no doubt. There is no doubt that God will do this - why? Because God is faithful, it says. God won’t quit on us and walk away because He can’t be bothered to help us. He is faithful; He will stick with us. And, if we stick with God then He will change us and make us holy. We can move away from our sinful desires. And we can do it because God is consistently and continually with us. He is faithful; He will do it.

This is how involved God is in our lives. As the Psalmist say, He is both powerful and loving. This is the combination we need in a God. He can change us, and He wants to change us because He loves us.

Edited by luke, 01 August 2006 - 06:11 PM.


#8 luke

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Posted 01 August 2006 - 05:55 PM

Finally, lets take a look at the most compelling evidence that God is with us to change us. As with most things, the most compelling evidence here is found at the Lord Jesus’ death and resurrection. Take a read of Rom. 8:32, which says: -

He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all--how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?


God gave His only begotten son to save us. Let’s repeat that again: God gave His only begotten son to save us. Most of the time we find it difficult to give up anything to help somebody else out, but God gave His only son. Here in Rom. 8 Paul uses this very fact as evidence that God will be with us and that He will give us everything we need spiritually. Jesus’ life, given for us, is enough evidence in itself that God will be with us and help us change. If God willingly gave the most precious thing to Him (i.e. His only son) then He’s definitely going to give us everything else that we need. There is no doubt about it. God’s in this for keeps. He’s serious about it.

That’s how loving God is in regard to us: He’s so loving that He even gave up His only son. And God is also so powerful (so we can change when we are with Him): He is so powerful that He could even raise a dead person back to life! We see this when the Lord Jesus was raised form the dead. Death is a massive problem (like some of the problems in our lives might be massive); Jesus couldn’t get round this problem – but God could!

During the days of Jesus' life on earth, he offered up prayers and petitions with loud cries and tears to the one who could save him from death, and he was heard …


God raised Jesus from the dead – that’s how powerful God is. You try raising someone from the dead and see how you get on; then realise how mighty God is.

If the struggle against sin seems too strong, remember that God is with us. He is so loving – so He will be with us and help us – and He is so strong – so we will change when we are with Him. No doubt about it.

So keep on going.

Edited by luke, 01 August 2006 - 06:05 PM.


#9 Tinkerbell

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Posted 01 August 2006 - 10:04 PM

thanks Luke, this is great stuff. I'm sure you'll have really helped a lot of people with this! :w00t:
I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me - Philippians 4v13

Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom - Luke 12v32

we should respect others for how they're different from us, not how they're similar - Jim Henson

#10 nsr

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Posted 02 August 2006 - 04:40 PM

Thanks Luke, I found this very helpful :parakaleo:
"But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, to an innumerable company of angels, to the general assembly and church of the firstborn who are registered in heaven, to God the Judge of all, to the spirits of just men made perfect..." (Heb 12:22-23)

#11 Martyn

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Posted 02 August 2006 - 04:48 PM

Imagine it: from out of the night sky a Bear appears, and itís coming straight towards Job. But this one is not your average bear (which would be bad enough) Ė itís made of stars, and itís a million miles high! This thing could destroy the whole earth, not to mention each of us individually. Thereís no way that Job could lead it out and tame it. Itís one big, mean bear.

And, yet, God has it tamed.

Here we have God leading out the biggest bear in the universe. Itís tootling along behind him, calm and peaceful. And not only that, but its cubs are following along happily, too. A bear with cubs is one of the meanest things you could come across. But, God is in control. This is how mighty God is.

Luke, my dear fellow, that may just rank as one of the best pieces of prose ever written. Certainly the best about a bear, anyway. :thank:

I think Mike should consider using it as the new tagline for the magazine. Who needs 'Dedicated wholly to the hope of Israel' when you could have 'God is mightier than a big, mean bear'?

Awesome.

:parakaleo:

#12 Adanac

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Posted 02 August 2006 - 07:53 PM

God is bigger than the boogie man
He's bigger than Godzilla and the monsters on TV
God is bigger than the boogie man
And he's watching out for you and me.
Housework has been a snap since I realized... "Hey! I'm a guy!".

#13 sarah

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Posted 02 August 2006 - 08:38 PM

God is bigger than the boogie man
He's bigger than Godzilla and the monsters on TV
God is bigger than the boogie man
And he's watching out for you and me.


you're a poet
and i think
you know it.

#14 Martyn

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Posted 03 August 2006 - 08:25 AM

God is bigger than the boogie man
He's bigger than Godzilla and the monsters on TV
God is bigger than the boogie man
And he's watching out for you and me.

That would sound pretty good set to a hip-hop beat. :parakaleo:

#15 luke

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Posted 03 August 2006 - 05:03 PM

Who needs 'Dedicated wholly to the hope of Israel' when you could have 'God is mightier than a big, mean bear'?

HA HA! That nearly had me off the chair!

#16 Martyn

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Posted 03 August 2006 - 05:32 PM

:parakaleo:

#17 Deborah

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Posted 15 November 2006 - 04:21 PM

Just read this. Very good Luke. Thanks.
"Though we can't always see it at the time, if we look upon events with some perspective, we see things always happen for our best interests. We are always being guided in a way better than we know ourselves.".

"The Bible is like a prisoner of war -- if you torture it long enough you can get it to say anything"

#18 sarah

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Posted 15 November 2006 - 09:02 PM

thanks Luke and Deborah




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