If God Is For Us, Who Can Be Against Us?


Romans 8:28-31 (NIV) says28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

29 For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters.

30 And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.

WE ARE MORE THAN CONQUERORS!

31 What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?”

God works in “all things” - for our good. This does not mean that all that happens to us is good.

Evil is prevalent in our fallen world, but God is able to turn every circumstance around for our long-range good.

Note that God is not working to make us happy, but to fulfill His purpose. Note also that this promise is not for everybody. It can be claimed only by those who love God and are called according to His purpose.

Those who are “called” are those the Holy Spirit convinces and enables to accept Christ as their personal Savior and make Him Lord of their life. These people have a new perspective, a new mind-set on life.

They trust in God, not life's treasures. They look for their security in Heaven, not on earth. And, they learn to accept, not resent, pain and persecution because God is with them.

GOD'S ULTIMATE GOAL FOR US

God's ultimate goal is to make us like Christ.

1 John 3:2 (NIV) says “Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when Christ appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as He is.”

As we become more and more like Christ, we discover our true selves, the persons we were created to be.

HOW CAN WE BE CONFORMED TO CHRIST'S LIKENESS?

  • By reading and heeding the Word.
  • By studying His life on earth through the Gospels.
  • By being filled with His Spirit. And
  • By doing His work in the world.

WE WERE NOT AN AFTERTHOUGHT

God's purpose for us was not an afterthought. It was settled before the foundation of the world. We are to serve and honor God. If you have believed in Christ, you can rejoice in the fact that God has always known and loved you and God's love is eternal.

God's wisdom and power are supreme. If you let Him, he will guide and protect you until you one day stand in His presence.

ARE YOU GOOD ENOUGH TO BE SAVED?

Do you think you've been too bad for God to save you? Absolutely Not!

If God gave His Son for you, He isn't going to hold back His Free Gift Of Salvation. Christ gave His life for everyone (this includes you).

Romans 10:8-10 (NIV) says “But what does it say? 'The word is near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart', that is, the message concerning faith that we proclaim: If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.”

Hebrews 4:7 (NIV) says “Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts.” If you hear His voice, don't procrastinate. Accept Jesus Christ today.

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The American Mission Field

NOTE: This is a Guest Post used with permission from Richard Smith at www.theonlydoor.com.


In years past many individuals left the United States to travel to various destinations around the world to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ with those that were native to the continents they reached.

Even today there are some who continue this effort and go on to do great things for God in foreign lands. There is still a need for evangelism in many foreign lands, but America has now become a desperate mission field as well.

A nation founded and established on Biblical principles that has never been perfect, but yet rooted in Bible scripture in many ways has now become committed to eliminating the beliefs of the founding fathers.

Prayer has been removed from schools and the Bible outlawed in the classrooms and the results are an educational system in complete ruin and teaching atheistic beliefs to our children.

Lust and perversion portrayed in abominable entertainment has led our men to abandon their families for the pursuit of pleasure and young ladies have lost all sense of worth and allowed themselves to be degraded in humiliating ways.

Death and destruction has been glorified to the point some have chosen to imitate these acts and committed horrible atrocities.

Greed is bleeding the nation dry economically which reminds us of what we were told would occur, (because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold, Matthew 12:24). With no remorse some will rob you of all that you have worked for by utilizing financial schemes.

False prophets are running ramped telling the people what they want to hear for the sake of gaining riches, fame and notoriety. Due to their itching ears, (2 Timothy 4:3) many flock to hear the lies and words rooted in prosperity rather than Bible scripture.

The church fails to realize that if we would unite in prayer, seek God and cross denominational lines, we can be more than conquerors and push back the darkness that is consuming the nation.

Voting is valuable, but we look at our chosen political candidates as if they can save the nation when in reality only God can turn things around. So many decisions are being made by our leaders with no consideration of what pleases God and what He desires.

Many are dying each day without knowing Jesus Christ, and never accepting Him as Lord and Savior during their lifetime. Thousands of churches close permanently each year. People exit church doors daily never to return again. Many more have never stepped inside of a church before or had anyone come to them and personally share the Gospel.

America desperately needs individuals who will seek God for direction in evangelizing the citizens within its borders. The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few.

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Transitions – The Changes That Come In Life

NOTE: This is a Guest Post used with permission from Gloria Thomas Anderson, LMSW at http://www.hearttones.com.

Transitions are changes that come in life and often seem to be occurrences beyond our control. There are several well-known sayings that can be relevant in times of transition.

You’ve probably heard the Serenity Prayer: “God, grant me the Serenity to accept the things I cannot change, Courage to change the things I can and Wisdom to know the difference.”

Another popular saying is: “Let go and let GOD”.

Life, like the weather, can be unpredictable. Memorial Day just passed and some people planned for a picnic, but a thunderstorm came and canceled out their plans. Having all the ingredients for a successful outdoor event—good food, great people and a perfect venue—becomes irrelevant when the weather overrides the planned festivities.

Recently, I went through a transition where both of these sayings have relevance. I realize there are some things I cannot change. That includes other people. I cannot change what other people think, say or do—even when it isn’t what I want to hear or accept.

That’s where the wisdom kicks in and where I decided to “let go and let GOD”. I wrote this Prayer of Acceptance as I move forward, even in the midst of seemingly unpredictable change in my life. If you are going through a transition, whether it is desired or not, may this prayer encourage your heart and soul.

Thank you GOD for this release
I accept by faith, Your Peace
I choose to welcome and embrace
This new life season of Your Grace
I know that You are in control
And that You never make mistakes!

When we choose to let go and let God, change what we can, accept what we cannot change and have the wisdom to know the difference, we are better positioned to flow with whatever comes our way.

Blessings to you,

Gloria

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For Some, Father's Day Requires Some Delicate Preaching.

NOTE: This is a Guest Post used with permission from Dr. Sam Serio at

 
For some, Father's Day brings painful childhood memories. (iStock photo)

Father's Day is THE most difficult day of the year for millions of people who will be coming to church. Let's remember that as we prepare our sermons for this delicate day.

Not everyone wants to hear the command and admonition to honor and obey their father. Their dad wasn't the best dad in the world. We will have a wide range of listeners: there are some who don't even know their dad, and then there are some who know their dad far too well—in the biblical sense of the word.

June is the worst month of the year for many of your folks. They'll never tell you why it is. They've never told anyone …

There are some family secrets and sexual shortcomings that have been carefully tucked away for no one to ever discover. Remember the steamy story of David and Bathsheba, which was soon followed by the incomprehensible incest of Amnon and Tamar in 2 Samuel 11-13? This is must-reading and reviewing for Father's Day.

Brother Absalom did his best to keep it all a secret while Tamar remained a devastated woman for the rest of her days. Take note that there are Absaloms and there are Tamars who will be hearing you preach today—some who try to hide sin and some who try to hide sadness. As students of God's Word, we should be the least surprised at family dysfunction and sexual deception of all types!

I don't want to burst your balloon or rain on your parade. Yes, this is the one day to honor our fathers and also our single mothers who juggle both roles. However, this fatherhood concept is also one of the biggest obstacles that some face as they endeavor to live the Christian life.

Some fathers have provoked their children to anger which has lasted a lifetime. It's a time of humiliation, not celebration. Be mindful of the huge multitude of memories and emotions that are suddenly stirred up today! Some have been physically abandoned, psychologically wounded or sexually violated. Many would prefer to fast-forward this day since it re-opens wounds they tried to heal and restores memories they tried to erase.

Honoring your father who has done some dishonorable things is just not the easiest thing for us to do. Some end up leaving church with a ton of false guilt and misplaced shame as they're beat up by their pastor for not honoring their father.

Father's Day is the one day of the year that some people dread more than all others. They want it to be over. And it's not because they are less spiritual—maybe it's all because their father was too physical …

Cathy was molested by her father for 10 years. Dad would quote that Bible verse for her to obey and honor her father. He would whisper in her ear that this is what daddies and daughters do when they love each other. When she finally did ask him why he treated her like a wife instead of a daughter, he told her that she wanted it. He blamed her.

Cathy's father went to his grave without ever apologizing to her and she now lives a life of anger and confusion. Anyone that does anything that reminds her of her father instantly brings back such rage that has been repressed her entire life.

Todd had just the opposite dilemma with his Dad who would hardly ever show him any kind of affection. "Religious and rigid" were the words he used to describe his dad. He never remembers a father who physically hugged him or verbally praised him. He does remember a family picnic when his uncle hugged him. It felt SO amazing to this little boy who had never ever experienced the embrace of any man. Todd began looking for that same feeling that came from the first hug of his uncle. Yes, Todd is gay today.

Fred doesn't like Father's Day because it reminds him of the child he never had, because of the abortion. When she told him she was pregnant, he completely freaked out and went into panic mode. He will never forget driving her to the abortion clinic. He will always wonder what his little one looked like. He grieves. Fred knows he is a father but no one else at church knows. This one day totally unravels Fred.

Jim's father would show him the porn that he used to watch. They did this for his entire teenage years. He wanted his boy to become a real man, he said. Mom left home and got tired of the addiction and the affairs. She wanted nothing to do with her husband any longer. Unfortunately for Jim, what he truly remembers most about his dad are the adult magazines and videos. Happy Father's Day?

Sally was so young when she watched her Dad beat up her Mom when he would come home drunk. She vowed she would never endure what her mom did. Ask her why she has chosen women over men now. Father's Day is not easy for Sally. She remembers Mom crying a lot every night when she went to bed. That's what she remembers the most and she doesn't like to tell anyone lest she starts crying, herself.

Ministry, not controversy, is our goal on this and every Sunday. He is the God who gives all kinds of grace and He sympathizes with our feelings of being wounded, even from our family. God heals the brokenhearted and also the broken families. Speak softly and tenderly today. There's a lot of painful pasts and silent suffering going on today.

Today is a day of tears. I hope you allow them the chance to publicly grieve and privately confess. People are filled with such bittersweet emotions amid absolute outrage at God as people try to reconcile why their heavenly Father allowed these terrible things to happen with their earthly father. Let people know you do understand the fallen-ness of earthly fathers and today is the day where you point them to a perfect heavenly Father who only gives good gifts and who does no wrong.

Finally, they can have a Dad who is really a good One! Set the captives free, just like Jesus did. Father's Day is a golden opportunity for you to share this glorious gospel of truth and grace.

Dr. Sam Serio is a Christian counselor, author, speaker and teacher. His specialty and ministry is in healing the sexual hurts and habits of women, men and couples. He touches upon the taboo sexual topics that the church usually ignores. This article is taken from his contemporary website of healingsexualhurt.com where he is president and founder. He currently lives in Atlanta, Georgia.

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How God Can Heal Your Sexual Hurt


NOTE: This is a Guest Post used with permission from Dr. Sam Serio at

Sexual hurt can come in many forms. But remember, God can heal them all. (iStock photo)

God should be our first choice and not our last resort when it comes to healing our sexual hurt. This pain and ache is not something we can easily or quickly figure out or fix all by ourselves.

Time doesn't heal all wounds but God does. How? There is no sexual experience, memory, temptation or addiction that is too strong for Him. His grace is greater than our sin or sadness. Here are 10 reasons to include God in your deepest wounds or darkest secrets in life:

1. God knows what sex can do. He knows that sex can be beautiful or horrible. It can be exhilarating or humiliating, delightful or disgusting. It can bond a couple together and it can tear a person apart. God knows how we can be deeply hurt by unwanted sexual experiences and also by mutually consenting adults. He invented it and knows that it's just not as casual as we think. He knows how it hurts you now.

2. God wrote a book for you. Reality TV is nothing compared to the real life stories in the Bible! God included family sexual dysfunction, honeymoon night romance, violent rape scenes, tender physical fondling, seductive deadly attraction, sneaky sexual assault and devastating emotional trauma. It's all there in the Bible to let us know that God is not a prude but keeps it real and has real answers for us.

3. God knows what you went through. You think He wasn't there when it happened but He was. Nothing escapes Him. You weren't alone then and you're not alone now. He knows all the exact details of who, how, when, why, where and how long—more than anyone else. He can give you clarity and closure like none other. Include Him in your healing because He knows everything that happened to you.

4. God does what we can't do. He offers you strength and peace that the world can't give to you. No self-help book can accomplish what He can do. No one can whisper to you the truths He will tell you when you're quiet in His presence. If He can calm a raging storm, walk on water, make blind people see, get the lame to walk and raise the dead—is there anything God can't do in helping you to heal today?

5. God knows what hurt feels like. Jesus was betrayed and abandoned by people who promised loyalty and protection, much like we are. He was stripped naked, physically violated and sexually humiliated. Maybe the same happened to you… He was acquainted with grief and a man of sorrows. He's been there and done that with life's trauma, injustices and suffering. He hurt just like we do now.

6. God came to bring you life. He came to bring freedom to those who are held captive. Does that describe how you feel today? You can't forget and you won't forgive. It doesn't go away… Jesus came to rescue us from thoughts that will destroy us. His truth will set you free and He will guide you into truth. God is not the killjoy; rather, He came to give joy. He brings light to those who are living in darkness.

7. One day, He will right all wrongs. It's tough to handle your hurt because it seems like you lose and they win. They got away with it and fooled everyone. Maybe they're still fooling people to this day. Remember, it will all be reversed. Those who do or did wrong will not get away with their secrets or sins. One day, everything will be exposed. One day, He will wipe away all your tears and erase the memories.

8. Your heart is in His hands. That's great news to know that it's not all up to you to heal yourself. God can restore and soften your heart. Jesus told us we would find rest in Him for our weary souls and heavy burdens. He can mend our hearts to be strong again and mold our heart so you feel clean once again. You may feel like you are damaged goods but God can help you see you are a new creation in Christ. There is no human heart that is too addicted or wounded for Him to change. It's what He does best.

9. Forgiveness comes from God. This is probably the last thing you want to think about at this time. Sooner or later though—when you're ready—there will come a time when it will be wise and healthy for you to forgive the person who deceived or disappointed you. You'll need God's help to do this because an apology will probably never come from the lips of the person who hurt you so deeply. Jesus talked a lot about forgiveness and extended it to people who abused and assaulted Him on the way to the cross. He'll show you how to forgive the person/s who changed your life so you can get on with life afresh.

10. His ways are above our ways. People let us down. They disappoint us, deceive us and some even try to destroy us. God is in a totally different category. He doesn't lie and He doesn't leave. And He doesn't stop loving His children. He will never do anything wrong to you. He is someone you can finally trust. He might actually be the only person you will ever trust in your life as a result of the sexual hurt.

Maybe you were treated sexually horribly as a child. Your Father in heaven is different. Maybe your significant other took advantage of you, betrayed you, left you or scarred you. Your Bridegroom in heaven is different. When you've got shattered dreams, broken promises, family dysfunction, panic attacks, powerful addictions, health issues, overwhelming rage, childhood lost, trust stolen, false guilt or permanent memories, God is your very best shot in this life of becoming completely whole again.

Dr. Sam Serio is a Christian Counselor, Author, Speaker and Teacher. His specialty and ministry is in healing the sexual hurts and habits of women, men and couples. He touches upon the taboo sexual topics that the church usually ignores. This article is taken from his contemporary website healingsexualhurt.com of  where he is president and founder. He currently lives in Atlanta, Georgia.

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8 Winning Principles For
Rebuke, Confrontation, And Discipline.


The following 8 Principles and their related scriptures show the importance of this approach by the Apostle Paul in his own ministry.

1. Be Firm And Bold:

2 Corinthians 7:9 (NIV) says “Yet now I am happy, not because you were made sorry, but because your sorrow led you to repentance. For you became sorrowful as God intended and so were not harmed in any way by us.”

2 Corinthians 10:2 (NIV) says I beg you that when I come I may not have to be as bold as I expect to be toward some people who think that we live by the standards of this world.”

2. Affirm All That You See That Is Good:

2 Corinthians 7:4 (NIV) saysI have spoken to you with great frankness; I take great pride in you. I am greatly encouraged; in all our troubles my joy knows no bounds.”

3. Be Accurate And Honest:

2 Corinthians 7:14 (NIV) says I had boasted to him about you, and you have not embarrassed me. But just as everything we said to you was true, so our boasting about you to Titus has proved to be true as well.”

2 Corinthians 8:21 (NIV) saysFor we are taking pains to do what is right, not only in the eyes of the Lord but also in the eyes of man.”

4. Know The Facts:

2 Corinthians 11:22-27 (NIV) saysAre they Hebrews? So am I. Are they Israelites? So am I. Are they Abraham’s descendants? So am I. Are they servants of Christ? (I am out of my mind to talk like this.) I am more. I have worked much harder, been in prison more frequently, been flogged more severely, and been exposed to death again and again. Five times I received from the Jews the forty lashes minus one. Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was pelted with stones, three times I was shipwrecked, I spent a night and a day in the open sea, I have been constantly on the move. I have been in danger from rivers, in danger from bandits, in danger from my fellow Jews, in danger from Gentiles; in danger in the city, in danger in the country, in danger at sea; and in danger from false believers. I have labored and toiled and have often gone without sleep; I have known hunger and thirst and have often gone without food; I have been cold and naked.”

5. Follow Up After The Rebuke, Confrontation, Or Discipline:

2 Corinthians 7:13 (NIV) says By all this we are encouraged. In addition to our own encouragement, we were especially delighted to see how happy Titus was, because his spirit has been refreshed by all of you.”

2 Corinthians 12:14 (NIV) saysNow I am ready to visit you for the third time, and I will not be a burden to you, because what I want is not your possessions but you. After all, children should not have to save up for their parents, but parents for their children.”

6. Be Gentle After Being Firm:

2 Corinthians 7:15 (NIV) says And his affection for you is all the greater when he remembers that you were all obedient, receiving him with fear and trembling.”

2 Corinthians 13:11-13 (NIV) says “Finally, brothers and sisters, rejoice! Strive for full restoration, encourage one another, be of one mind, live in peace. And the God of love and peace will be with you. Greet one another with a holy kiss. All God’s people here send their greetings.”

7. Speak Words That Reflect Christ's Message,
Not Your Own Feelings Or Ideas:

2 Corinthians 10:3 (NIV) saysFor though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does.”

2 Corinthians 10:12-13 (NIV) says “We do not dare to classify or compare ourselves with some who commend themselves. When they measure themselves by themselves and compare themselves with themselves, they are not wise. We, however, will not boast beyond proper limits, but will confine our boasting to the sphere of service God himself has assigned to us, a sphere that also includes you.”

2 Corinthians 12:19 (NIV) says Have you been thinking all along that we have been defending ourselves to you? We have been speaking in the sight of God as those in Christ; and everything we do, dear friends, is for your strengthening.”

8. Use Discipline Only When All Else Fails:

2 Corinthians 13:2 (NIV) says I already gave you a warning when I was with you the second time. I now repeat it while absent: On my return I will not spare those who sinned earlier or any of the others.”

Sometimes rebuke, confrontation, and discipline is necessary, but use them with caution. As a Christian, your purpose for any rebuke, confrontation, or discipline should be to help the person(s), not hurt them!

And, you may need to humble yourself and receive rebuke, confrontation, and discipline from your brothers and sisters in the Lord who may see shortcomings in your life that you don't clearly see.

The Point Of All This

That we may all be refined and conformed to the image of God's Son, Jesus Christ and improve our relationships with fellow Christians and others we know.

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