By Lou Coleman
You need to know that God isn’t happy with how you are living. He declares that things will not be pretty until you acknowledge your guilt and seek [his] face [Hosea 5:15-16]. Our brothers, Amos, Isaiah, and Jeremiah tell us the same thing in so many words…“You think God is impressed with your worship? You think God is impressed with your prayers? You think God needs your sacrifices? You think that if you’re loud enough or earnest enough or put a little extra in the offering plate that God owes you attention? You’ve got it all twisted! God says, “Stop bringing him meaningless sacrifices! Your incense is detestable to him. New moons, Sabbaths and consecrations, he cannot bear your evil assemblies. Your New moon, festivals and appointed feasts, his soul hates. They have become a burden to him.” [Isaiah 1:13-14]. “You come near to him with your mouth and honor him with your lips, but your heart is far from him. Your worship of him is made up only of rules taught by men.” [Isaiah 29:13]. Paul says, Stop it right now! Start to change by renewing your mind with God’s truth. In the Old Testament God wanted His people to serve Him with ALL their heart, soul, mind and strength (Deut. 6:5). I tell you, you must sacrifice your selfish desires and live for God every day. You must put to death the selfish tendencies that rise up and push your agendas, your plans and desires over God’s.
God desire is that we live a righteous life which is the best life we can live. God told Israel to: Wash themselves and make themselves clean. To put away their evil doings. To suit it up… To get the sin out of their lives, and today He is telling us the same truth. What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin so that grace may increase? May it never be! I don’t know who you are trying to please with your life, but today you are being challenged to live lives which are pleasing to God. You must come to yourself and realize that you are God’s own and created for His purposes. You must come to yourself and forsake the foolishness in your life, the vain pursuits, that carry you farther and farther away from God.
Now I don’t know whether you know or not, but more than 60 times the New Testament tells us that something either is or is not God’s will for His people. Four of those times are in Peter’s letter written to hurting believers. In verse 2 of chapter 4, Peter says, instead of living for “evil human desires” followers of Christ should live “for the will of God.” He tells us that we have spent enough time living as pagans, but now we need to live for God. Don’t desire sin as much as you desire God. Don’t desire sin’s lie as much as you desire God’s truth. As Romans verse 1 chapter 12 says, “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, and acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and the perfect, will of God.”
I want to encourage you to give yourself to God. Don’t let your mind get twisted to where you refuse to take godly instruction from God’s Word. I know what I’m talking about. You see when you live for the devil your mind gets warped to where you can’t think right. You begin to think God is expecting too much out of you, making too much of a demand upon your life. The Devil is a liar! Seek Him while He may be found. “Be transformed, not conformed to the world.” For God has called you to live a separate life, to be a peculiar people unto Him. Therefore, come out from amongst them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; so that God will receive you, and will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be His sons and daughters.
Learn from Jonah’s example. Jonah was a man who decided he wasn’t going to do what God had told him to do: He wasn’t going to go to Nineveh, where God had called him to go. So, he decided to take a ship for Tarshish rather than going to Nineveh as God said. Off he went, sailing in the wrong direction. He made life miserable, not only for himself but for everybody else that was on that ship. When you’re out of the will of God, nothing goes right. You can’t be blessed when you’re out of God’s will for your life. And you certainly won’t have a smooth running life when you’re doing your own thing, rather than obeying the Lord. While Jonah was out to sea, he thought he was running away from the Lord, but God blew up a storm while he was on that boat. The mariners didn’t know what to do. They expected the storm to break up the ship at any moment and destroy them all. Those mariners also knew that somebody on that ship wasn’t right with God. They were all praying to find out what was wrong. Jonah’s interest had disappeared, and his disobedience was causing such misery to those around him. I tell you, life can become one continuous storm when you’re out of the will of God, tossing you to and fro. The only way to stop the storm is to enter into God’s will for your life.
Consider the following scripture regarding choice. Deuteronomy 30:15 through Deuteronomy 30:20 (NKJV) “See, I have set before you today life and good, death and evil, in that I command you today to love the Lord your God, to walk in His ways, and to keep His commandments, His statutes, and His judgments, that you may live and multiply; and the Lord your God will bless you in the land which you go to possess. But if your heart turns away so that you do not hear, and are drawn away, and worship other gods and serve them, I announce to you today that you shall surely perish; you shall not prolong your days in the land which you cross over the Jordan to go in and possess. I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live; that you may love the Lord your God, that you may obey His voice, and that you may cling to Him, for He is your life and the length of your days; and that you may dwell in the land which the Lord swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, to give them.”
I want you to know that not only did God admonish the people to choose life; He also gave them a good reason for doing so, namely life. God has given us His Word, which reveals His Way. Why not learn it and graft it into your heart and live your life accordingly? May what you’ve read have a practical effect in your daily life… You needed to know!
By Johnni Matthews
The Los Angeles Sparks ended a tough three game road trip in New York on Sunday against the New York Liberty losing 79-70 in another hard fought battle with only eight players available to run on the hardwood. With All-Star, Nneka Ogwumike back from injury, starting her second straight game another veteran All-Star teammate, Kristi Toliver made her debut this season for the Sparks leading her team in scoring with a career high 30 points on 9-15 from the field. Oliver was 3-5 from the long range three ball and a perfect 9-9 from the charity stripe. Jantel Lavender, the most consistent Sparks player this season had another strong game with 14 points and 6 rebounds.
It was a very competitive game for thirty five minutes of the forty minute game as the Liberty took control in the last 5:07 minutes of the game. The game was tied at 63 a piece with 5:07 in the fourth quarter, but the Sparks had another melt down as the Liberty outscored the Sparks 16-7! As one Sparks commentator said, “The Sparks ran out of gas; their out of town and out of luck!”
Guard, Sugar Rodgers was special for the Liberty with a team high 23 points. Sugar got help from teammates, Tina Charles and Tanisha Wright respectively with 14 and 12 points.
The win kept the New York Liberty above .500 with a 5-4 record, while the LA Sparks head home 0-7 to get acquainted with each other and regroup to get ready for the San Antonio Stars who come to town on Thursday, July 2 to play the Sparks. It is a 7:30 p.m. tip off from Staples Center.