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No Corners Cut, No Pacifying, No Round-About Way

“My Mind Says Yes…But My Body Says No!”

Lou Coleman

Lou Coleman

By Lou Coleman

Paul summarizes it in [Romans 7:15-16, 18], “My own behavior baffles me. For I find myself doing what I really hate, and not doing what I really want to do…” Can you relate to this? He’s saying all the things I don’t want to do I end up doing and all the things I do want to do I end up not doing. I want to do what’s right, but I don’t. I don’t want to do what’s bad, but I do. Even though I know what the right thing to do is, why can’t I bring myself to do it?

Struggling with sin is frustrating. You want to change. But you just can’t. You have the motivation. But you don’t have the determination. You have the desire to do what is right. But for some reason, you can’t do it. Paul says it’s because evil is right there alongside of us. Evil — not just bad choices, Evil itself. We live in that kind of world. A world where the force of Sin, the force of Evil has rubbed off on us. We’re affected by it, tainted by it and we can’t help it. We can’t avoid it, we can’t outwit it. No matter how much we may wish to serve God in our minds, we find ourselves sinning in our bodies. As Paul describes his frustration in [Romans 7], with his mind he desires to serve God. He wants to do what is right, but his body will not respond. He watches, almost as a third party, as sin sends a signal to his body and as his body responds, “What would you like to do?” Paul finds, as we do that while our fleshly bodies refuse to obey God and do that which we desire and which delights God, it quickly and eagerly respond to the impulses and desires aroused by sin. The interaction between the soul (mind, will, emotions) and our Spirit and our Body is where the decisive battles take place. It is a battle of rulership.

It is one thing to have our body not do what we tell it to and quite another to realize that our body is very obedient to something else. That is the frustration of Paul in [Romans 7]. Every Christian who reads [Romans 7:14-25] should immediately identify with Paul’s expression of frustration and agony due to the weakness of his fleshly body: “Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from the body of this death?” [Romans 7:24]. We are confronted with a dilemma as we try to live righteously. Thanks be to God though, there is a solution!

Jesus said in [Mark 14:38], “The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak.” If you’ve felt this way, have I got good news for you! You can change. The power is there. The Bible makes the principles very clear. GOD’S PROMISE… “Jesus said, ‘When you know the Truth, the Truth will set you free. ’Set you free.” Jesus said that the way you break free from a hurt, from a hang up is by knowing the Truth. How? The way you think determines the way you feel. The way you feel determines the way you act. God says you start with the way you think. Bad beliefs cause bad behavior. Everything you do, good or bad, is based on a belief. If you want to change the way you act, you have to change the way you believe, the way you think. You’ve got to have the truth. And what is the Truth? Jesus declared, “I am the way, the truth and the life; no man comes to the Father but by Me” [John 14:6]. Truth personified. He is the source of all truth, the embodiment of truth and therefore the reference point for evaluating all truth-claims. Who wants to be free? Jesus is on the mainline, tell Him what you want… You just call Him up and tell Him what you want!

 

 

“It’s Not About You!”

Lou Coleman

Lou Coleman

By Lou Coleman

Always want to be front and center. Well, not today, tomorrow or the day after that. Get over yourself! It’s not about you! It’s about God. He is front and center. Today, tomorrow and always, and He WILL NOT share his glory with no one. You got that?

Listen; to be effective in ministry you need to learn one thing – don’t take yourself too seriously. Don’t get stuck inside your own ego, because over time it will become your prison. Pride is one of the most common of all human errors and shortcomings. A person who is too filled with pride is arrogant, self-important, egotistic, big-headed, egocentric, boastful and cocksure. Pride puffs us up and makes us think that we are bigger and more important than we really are. That is not the mark of Christianity. Ephesians tells us again and again that the life of a Christ-follower is not about us but about Him. So don’t get it twisted… It’s not about you!

You ought to know that throughout the Bible virtually every part of it condemns the proud. For example, in the Psalms, the writer said that pride is the necklace worn by the wicked. In the book of Job pride is considered the force that blocks people from hearing and responding to God. Not only is pride a universal sin, but the Bible points out the consequences of pride. What happens to a person who is too full of himself or herself? The people filled with pride shall be humbled and brought low. As the Old Testament prophet Obadiah said: “Your proud heart has deceived you … Though you soar aloft like the eagle, though your nest is set among the stars, from there I will bring you down, says the Lord.” And the greatest prophet of them all Isaiah, speaking for the Lord, told the proud that they will be forced to make their bed with worms and maggots. There is no pulling of punches when it comes to describing the fate of the proud in the Bible. Pride is a deadly sin that causes those filled to overflowing with themselves great sorrow and grief.

The message is clear from beginning to end in the Bible – the proud will ultimately be brought low. The proud will ultimately fall. The proud must live with the consequences of their actions and their deeds. Perhaps this is a good day to say sorry to God for the pride in your heart. Perhaps today is a good day to begin to put right those things that your pride has caused. Perhaps today is a good day to clothe yourself with humility and to start to live the Christ-like life God has shown to you.

So what do you say? Do you want to overcome pride in your life? Do you want to get rid of the arrogant and disdainful conduct which is plugging up your life? Do you want to have a more realistic opinion of yourself and be less conceited? Do you want to eliminate your smug, egomaniacal, over proud attitude? If so, then become the servant of others. Second, come to appreciate the wonderful gift of God’s creative and sustaining power. Third, learn about Jesus and celebrate what he has done for your life.

You know, Paul wrote that if we claim to be Christian, we cannot continue to live our lives as anything but. We can either walk through life focused on ourselves, our wants and supposed needs, or can we walk according to the Holy Spirit with God’s will in our sight.

Today, I call heaven and earth to witness against you, that I have set before you life and death, the blessing and the curse. So choose life in order that you may live, you and your descendants, by loving the LORD your God, by obeying His voice, and by holding fast to Him; for this is your life and the length of your days, that you may live in the land which the LORD swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, to give them” [Deuteronomy 30:19-20].

 

“I Want to Know!”

Lou Coleman

Lou Coleman

By Lou Coleman

“What have you done for Me lately?” Jesus asks.  Fed the hungry?  Visited the sick? Entertained strangers? Nope! So why you bothering Me? What you want from Me? You want me to give you what you want, but you don’t want to do what I command you to do? Forget about it! If you can’t keep My Commandments, should I let you inquire of me at all?” (Ezekiel 14:3). I think not! Too busy pursuing temporal (temporary) rather than eternal things. Don’t you know that only those things that relate to Me, done My way, will count in Heaven! “If you love me, you will obey what I command. Whoever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves me. He is the one that gets My blessings.

Bottom-line: As Christians, we need to put God first in our lives. If you’re doing that, God does hear your prayers, and he answers them. Jesus said, “If you remain in Me and My words remain in you, ask whatever you wish and it will be given to you” (John 15:7). We must belong to God before we can communicate with him. “He who belongs to God hears what He says” (John 8:47).  The wonderful truth is, God blesses those who walk in faithfulness – He shows favor to those who favor Him. Many, however, don’t have a clue that Jesus Christ is calling their life.

What has happened? Self-interest has replaced God’s interests! Consider your ways!” “Wake up – think about what you’re doing!” You know in the book of Haggai: When the people put God’s interests first, He provided their food and shelter. Indeed, they were cared for by Him in every way: Their vineyards grew, their grapes were heavy. They slept peacefully at night, and their children danced in the streets. None of their enemies prevailed against them. It was a marvelous time of God’s blessing. But then the people became absorbed with their own interests!

Today, so many “Christians” are concerned about their own careers and families – too busy with their own interests!  So wrapped up in making money; trying to improve their life-style. Suddenly, their interests have over-whelmed the interests of God. God says you will pay a high price for putting self-interests first! (Haggai 1:6-9). “Running after material things – houses, land, money – which take up all your time and energy! God says, when you were consumed with doing [His] work, you had joy and satisfaction. But now you are empty, disillusioned, unsatisfied. And no matter what you do, nothing will ever satisfy you!”

So what does the Lord require of you? [Acts 9:6]: The Lord’s answer is “Arise, and go…” For God has not saved you to be idle–to watch others serve while you do nothing.  I suggest you read the book of Haggai. It is a marvelous lesson on how to get and keep the blessing and favor of the Lord. In utter simplicity the prophet Haggai outlines how God’s children can live and walk under God’s continual blessing and favor. Yet Haggai also shows the causes and reasons why people lose God’s blessing – and what they must do to come back into His favor!

I urge you – become faithful once more, putting God’s interests first and seeking Him with all your heart.         Hallelujah!