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Discussion Starter #461

Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.
—James 4:7

Are you running from God? Maybe you were raised in a Christian home, and you’re running from that. You’re saying, “I don’t want these values. I don’t want to live this way. I want to live my way. My family doesn’t know what they’re talking about.” And off you go.
How’s that working out for you? God will give us the freedom to make our own choices. And He will allow us to experience the repercussions of those choices.
Jonah found out that it was a really bad idea to run from God. The others on the ship called out to their gods, and ultimately Jonah called out to his God.
Would you rather have a nice easy flight and a crash landing, or a bumpy flight and a safe landing?
For nonbelievers, life on Earth is as good as it will get. That’s it. If Jesus Christ isn’t a part of their lives, it will get a lot worse.
But for the Christian, life on Earth is as bad as it ever will be, because the best is yet to come.
When Jesus told the disciples to go to the other side of the Sea of Galilee, a terrible storm hit. But they did make it to the other side.
Some people in life seem to have no suffering at all. Then there are others who seem to have more than their share of suffering. Why is this?
I don’t know. But I do know this: There is more than life on Earth. There is eternity.
As Christians, ultimately. we will live happily ever after. But there might be some rough seas along the way.
God loves you. His plans for you are better than your plans for yourself. So, don’t run from Him. Run to Him.
 

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Discussion Starter #462

You Never Plan to Fall
by Greg Laurie on Apr 24, 2020
Return, you backsliding children, and I will heal your backslidings.
—Jeremiah 3:22


Awhile back, I’d taken up racquetball again. I hate treadmills and cardio, but I will run endlessly around in circles to chase a silly little ball with a racket.

One time, I was running to get a shot, and somehow, I pivoted and landed flat on my back. Some guy who was on a treadmill stopped and said, “Are you okay?” I was okay, but I had to take some Tylenol afterward.

The thing was, I wasn’t planning on falling. And a lot of times that happens to us spiritually. People fall, and they weren’t planning on it. But maybe they were setting themselves up for a fall.

I think when a person falls away spiritually, it’s because there’s neglect in their spiritual life. Because they’re failing to move forward, they naturally (but not immediately) start going backward.

Then one day they wake up and say, “How did I end up in this state? How did I end up in this place I’m in? I don’t remember when this happened.” That’s because it happened gradually.

The Bible warns about backsliding in Jeremiah 2:19: “‘Your own wickedness will correct you, and your backslidings will rebuke you. Know therefore and see that it is an evil and bitter thing that you have forsaken the Lord your God, and the fear of Me is not in you,’ says the Lord God of hosts” (NKJV).

Then, in Jeremiah 3:22, God says, “Return, you backsliding children, and I will heal your backslidings” (NKJV).

We need to be on guard against this, because the Bible says that one of the signs of the last days will be people falling away from the faith. We want to be very careful that we don’t become those people. And if you’re not moving forward, then you’re automatically going backward.
 

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Discussion Starter #463

DEVOTIONSpiritual Hoarders
by Greg Laurie on Apr 27, 2020
For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many.
—Mark 10:45

I would describe myself as a microhoarder. I save pretty much everything, especially drawings that my children or grandchildren created for me over the years. But then I save random things, such as a single cord to a device I no longer have.

My wife, Cathe, will pick up a cord and say, “What does this go to?”

“I don’t know,” I’ll tell her, “but one day I may need it.”

So, I throw it in a box, where they are all tightly wound together into a big ball of cord madness. But every now and then, I find the very cord I was looking for.

I also save single socks, by the way. If I happen to lose one sock, I will save it in case the other sock returns somehow.

But some people are serious hoarders. We’ve seen the shows about them on television. Over the years, they have stacked books, newspapers, and magazines from floor to ceiling and collected weird junk.

Now people are hoarding other commodities: toilet paper and cleaning supplies.

I think Christians, too, can hoard. I’m not talking about stockpiling reading material or paper goods, however. I’m talking about when they look at church and think, “What’s in this for me? How are you meeting my needs?”

Jesus said of Himself, “For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Mark 10:45 NLT).

A real mark of spiritual maturity is that you no longer perceive church, thinking about how you can be served. Instead, you look for ways to serve others. You have skin in the game. And that indicates you’re growing spiritually.

I guarantee that as you focus on helping others and ministering to others, you will be blessed.
 

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Discussion Starter #464

So We Can Help Each Other
by Greg Laurie on May 4, 2020
A spiritual gift is given to each of us so we can help each other.
—1 Corinthians 12:7


Have you ever received a gift you didn’t like?

At one time or another, we have all received gifts that we didn’t like very much. But if you’re a follower of Jesus Christ, the gift God has for you is a perfect gift that you’ll never want to return.

Therefore, you need to receive the gift and then develop and use that gift for the glory of God. This happens through the church.

I thank God for the church. I know we’re not perfect, but we’re still the best thing going. There’s nothing like the church. And let’s remember that Jesus started the church.

In a technical sense, it’s an organization, but it’s actually a family. As believers, as members of the family, we each have a role. Even when we can’t meet in person, we need the church, and the church needs us. It’s here that we discover and develop our spiritual gifts that we can use for God’s glory.

However, there’s a difference between spiritual gifts and natural abilities. We are all born with certain abilities. Some people are naturally athletic while others are artistic or have musical talent.

Some people are good at details or good at crunching numbers, but everyone is born with certain abilities and talents that God gave them. Although, there’s a difference between God-given talents and spiritual gifts from the Holy Spirit.

Here’s what the Bible says in Romans: “Just as our bodies have many parts and each part has a special function, so it is with Christ’s body. We are many parts of one body, and we all belong to each other. In his grace, God has given us different gifts for doing certain things well” (12:4–6 NLT).

We are not all the same. Aren’t you glad of that? And we all have a part to play through the church with our spiritual gifts.
 

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Disclaimer: I' am not the author the the works posted and make no claim, this is not for debating philosophy, or religion or anything like that and if you would pleas refrain from debating, doctrine, theology, origin, validity etc... it might make this test run last...

This is for the sole purpose of encouragement, and friendly advice from the Good book. I will post a link of the source every post, and will keep things light to reduce any conflict that will arise. I will not debate on this thread if it sticks, nor will i ever back any other religion of set of beliefs this is not what the thread is for. If you feel the need to correct me or want to discuss religion or similar topics feel free to P.M. me and we can chat via phone, email, pm's etc...


Please do not debate, I will not respond except with another verse of the day...







Limitless Riches

My God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:19)

Paul's God is our God and will supply all our need. Paul felt sure of this in reference to the Philippians, and we feel sure of it as to ourselves. God will do it, for it is like Him: He loves us, He delights to bless us, and it will glorify Him to do so. His pity, His power, His love, His faithfulness, all work together that we be not famished.

What a measure doth the Lord go by: "According to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus." The riches of His grace are large, but what shall we say of the riches of His glory? His "riches of glory by Christ Jesus"-who shall form an estimate of this? According to this immeasurable measure will God fill up the immense abyss of our necessities. He makes the Lord Jesus the receptacle and the channel of His fullness, and then He imparts to us His wealth of love in its highest form. Hallelujah!

The writer knows what it is to be tried in the work of the Lord. Fidelity has been recompensed with anger, and liberal givers have stopped their subscriptions; but he whom they sought to oppress has not been one penny the ~ nay, rather he has been the richer; for this promise has been true, "My God shall supply all your need." God's supplies are surer than any bank.

Sourced from writing of Charles H. Spurgeon:

Faith's Check Book--Spurgeon
Very nice to see scripture like that!
 

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Discussion Starter #466

Use Your Gift!
by Greg Laurie on May 5, 2020
Pursue love, and desire spiritual gifts, but especially that you may prophesy.
—1 Corinthians 14:1


Remember when you were a kid and couldn’t wait to see if your parents got you the Christmas presents you wanted? You went searching because all kids know where their parents hide the Christmas gifts.

You knew how to carefully peel back the wrapping and tape without ripping anything. Then, you would peek inside. Afterward you cautiously put it all back again. You could hardly wait until Christmas day to open your gift.

As Christians, that should be our attitude toward the gifts of the Spirit. In fact, the Bible tells us to “desire spiritual gifts” (1 Corinthians 14:1 NKJV), which means to especially want and cultivate them.

However, if we do not want these gifts, discover these gifts, and use these gifts, we could be quenching the Holy Spirit.

The Bible warns, “Do not quench the Spirit. Do not despise prophecies” (1 Thessalonians 5:19–20 NKJV). Or literally, don’t depreciate prophetic utterance or spurn the gifts.

To quench something means to extinguish it like putting out a campfire. When you break camp, for example, you extinguish the fire by pouring water on it and shoveling dirt over it. You quench the fire.

In the same way, if the Holy Spirit is working in your life and has gifts He wants you to discover and use, you can quench the Spirit by saying, “I don’t want any of that.”

In fact, this could even be a sin because James 4:17 says, “Therefore, to him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin” (NKJV).

Also, the Bible specifically tells us that we should “come short in no gift, eagerly waiting for the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Corinthians 1:7 NKJV).

So, let’s desire spiritual gifts and pray that God will send them.
 

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Discussion Starter #467

Be Honest with Yourself
by Greg Laurie on May 6, 2020
Because of the privilege and authority God has given me, I give each of you this warning: don’t think you are better than you really are. Be honest in your evaluation of yourselves, measuring yourselves by the faith God has given us.
—Romans 12:3


Some people love to talk about how well-educated they are or how successful they are or how wealthy they are. If you are having a discussion, whatever your story is, they will top your story. They know more than you do, and on and on it goes. They think they’re God’s gift to humanity.

But, as someone has pointed out, cemeteries are full of indispensable people. We’re not as great as we think we are.

The apostle Paul cautions us about this in Romans 12. He says, “Because of the privilege and authority God has given me, I give each of you this warning: Don’t think you are better than you really are. Be honest in your evaluation of yourselves, measuring yourselves by the faith God has given us” (verse 3 NLT).

In other words, think clearly. Start with an honest self-evaluation. Have a balanced, realistic view of yourself.

The problem is that we sometimes envy the spiritual gifts that God gives to someone else. Maybe God has called you to preach, but you really want to be a musician and a worship leader. Or maybe you’re a worship leader and really want to be a preacher.

Perhaps you’re working behind the scenes, but you really want to lead the class. Or you’re leading the class but really want to be working behind the scenes.

If God gave you a gift, then develop and use your gift. It’s disobedient not to use it. Don’t think you’re better than you are. On the other hand, don’t think you’re worse than you are. Instead, see yourself honestly.

He has given you a spiritual gift. So, receive the gift, thank God for the gift, and start developing the gift. And be content and thankful with the spiritual gift that God has given to you.
 

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It's the National Day of Prayer today, if there was ever a time the nation needed to come together in prayer and repentance it would be right now.
 

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Discussion Starter #469

Find Your Place at the Table
by Greg Laurie on May 7, 2020
Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I do not want you to be ignorant.
—1 Corinthians 12:1

All too often I think we overly mystify the Holy Spirit Himself, and as a result, we overly mystify the gifts of the Spirit.

Although it’s a very simple thing. First, we ask God to fill us with His Spirit. Then we ask Him to reveal to us what our gifts are.

The apostle Paul wrote to the church in Corinth, “Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I do not want you to be ignorant” (1 Corinthians 12:1 NKJV).

This is still a problem today. There’s a lot of ignorance about spiritual gifts.

Whether this is because we neglect our spiritual gifts or don’t understand them, we miss out on them. Maybe one reason is that we’ve seen excess in this area, causing us to recoil.

People sometimes do rather strange things in the name of the Holy Spirit. So we say, “Well, I don’t want that in my life.”

Yet, every believer has been given gifts of the Spirit if he or she is filled with the Spirit.

Jesus said, “If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!” (Luke 11:13 NKJV).

God goes out of His way to find the most unexpected instruments to use for His glory. That includes you. He has given you spiritual gifts. Maybe you’ve never discovered them, so you need to start praying about what they are.

Make an effort, and see what you can do for God’s glory. Because the church needs you, and you need the church. We’re a family, though not a perfect one.

So, find your place, and when you do you’ll find that church will change radically for you.
 

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Discussion Starter #470

Serve Well
by Greg Laurie on May 11, 2020
If your gift is serving others, serve them well.
—Romans 12:7

Some time ago, I was actually at a fast-food restaurant getting some food with the grandkids. I placed a rather complicated order and couldn’t help but notice how well the employee handled it all.

Then she said, “Oh, you’re Greg Laurie!”

As we talked a little, I found out she was a Christian. Then I understood even more why she was so cheerful and polite. I asked her if she liked her job.

“I love my job,” she said.

I thought, “That’s how we all should be.”

Whatever you’re doing, whether you’re working at a fast-food restaurant, serving in church, or working in healthcare, serve well.

Here’s the mark of a person whom God has called to serve: they recognize a need and then jump in and do something about it.

On the other hand, I think some people have the gift of complaining. They just seem content with finding fault—all the things the church is doing wrong in their estimation.

But people with the gift of serving see a need and then meet that need because they want to help out.

Has God given you this spiritual gift? What a wonderful gift it is. So, if you’re checking on your neighbors and praying for them, that is great, and if you’re picking up the groceries for them, that is great too. Because whatever you’re doing to serve, it matters.

The Bible says, “Do not neglect the spiritual gift you received” (1 Timothy 4:14 NLT). Or, as The Message puts it, “Keep that dusted off and in use.”

Be faithful in the little things, and God will open up greater opportunities for you. Because, as Warren Wiersbe has said, “You can never be too small for God to use, only too big.”
 

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Discussion Starter #471
Be Encouraging
by Greg Laurie on May 13, 2020
If your gift is to encourage others, be encouraging.
—Romans 12:8

Some people don’t know how to pay compliments to others. They’re always critical, always critiquing this or that. And when they do pay a compliment, it’s more of the backhanded variety.

For instance, they’ll say, “Hey! You’re on time!” or “You look great for your age!” or “You’re so pretty. Why are you still single?”

While there is no spiritual gift of criticism, there is the spiritual gift of exhortation, or encouraging others. The Bible says, “If your gift is to encourage others, be encouraging” (Romans 12:8 NLT).

The word exhort relating to the spiritual gift of exhortation means to motivate, to stimulate, to excite, and when necessary, to correct. It’s urging someone on.

Someone with the gift of teaching will tell you how to do something, but someone with the gift of exhortation motivates you to want to do it.

Some people are great with the details of Greek and Hebrew, historical background, and so forth. It’s fantastic. Then others give messages that make you want to go and change the world. The church needs both gifts today.

I think Jesus gives us the model of how to properly exhort in His message to the seven churches of Revelation, and specifically to the church of Ephesus.

Loosely paraphrased, here’s what Jesus said to the Ephesian church in Revelation 2: “I know you guys work hard, and I know you’re discerning. I know all that you do for me, and I appreciate that. But I have this issue with you. You have left your first love. So, remember from where you have fallen, and repent and do the first works quickly.”

Jesus started with compliments and affirmation, followed by a word of criticism, and then the solution.

The church needs teachers, but we also need people with the gift of exhortation.



 

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Be Encouraging
by Greg Laurie on May 13, 2020
If your gift is to encourage others, be encouraging.
—Romans 12:8

Some people don’t know how to pay compliments to others. They’re always critical, always critiquing this or that. And when they do pay a compliment, it’s more of the backhanded variety.

For instance, they’ll say, “Hey! You’re on time!” or “You look great for your age!” or “You’re so pretty. Why are you still single?”

While there is no spiritual gift of criticism, there is the spiritual gift of exhortation, or encouraging others. The Bible says, “If your gift is to encourage others, be encouraging” (Romans 12:8 NLT).

The word exhort relating to the spiritual gift of exhortation means to motivate, to stimulate, to excite, and when necessary, to correct. It’s urging someone on.

Someone with the gift of teaching will tell you how to do something, but someone with the gift of exhortation motivates you to want to do it.

Some people are great with the details of Greek and Hebrew, historical background, and so forth. It’s fantastic. Then others give messages that make you want to go and change the world. The church needs both gifts today.

I think Jesus gives us the model of how to properly exhort in His message to the seven churches of Revelation, and specifically to the church of Ephesus.

Loosely paraphrased, here’s what Jesus said to the Ephesian church in Revelation 2: “I know you guys work hard, and I know you’re discerning. I know all that you do for me, and I appreciate that. But I have this issue with you. You have left your first love. So, remember from where you have fallen, and repent and do the first works quickly.”

Jesus started with compliments and affirmation, followed by a word of criticism, and then the solution.

The church needs teachers, but we also need people with the gift of exhortation.



Nothing quite like "religious" people to do it backwards. They're often quick to point out your faults, then even more often failing to remember the exhortation. We're going to start doing home church just because it's so hard to find a congregation that accepts and encourages everyone. Or worse they accept everyone without pointing out (in love) the sins and solution.
 

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Discussion Starter #473
The Gift of Giving
by Greg Laurie on May 14, 2020
Remember this—a farmer who plants only a few seeds will get a small crop. But the one who plants generously will get a generous crop.
—2 Corinthians 9:6

Research has found that it’s actually good for you to do an act of kindness or generosity for someone else. Scientists have discovered that our brains release neurotransmitters that make us feel good when we do good.

Psychologists refer to this as the “helper’s high.”

The Bible tells us there is actually a spiritual gift of giving: “If your gift is to encourage others, be encouraging. If it is giving, give generously” (Romans 12:8 NLT).

You don’t have to be wealthy to have the gift of giving. I know some wealthy people who are very generous and have this gift, but I also know people living on a more moderate income who also have the gift of giving. They’re just always doing things for other people. If you have that gift, then use it for God’s glory.

While it’s true that God has given certain people the gift of giving, it is also true that every Christian should give to the Lord on a regular basis. Have you discovered the joy of giving? Jesus said, “It is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35 NLT).

I’m not saying we should do this for endorphins; rather, we should do this because the Lord has told us to do it.

God makes this amazing promise to the faithful giver: “‘Bring all the tithes into the storehouse so there will be enough food in my Temple. If you do,’ says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, ‘I will open the windows of heaven for you. I will pour out a blessing so great you won’t have enough room to take it in! Try it! Put me to the test’” (Malachi 3:10 NLT).

If we would obey God in this area, it could revolutionize our finances. And it could revolutionize our lives.


 

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Discussion Starter #474
The Blessing of Compassion
by Greg Laurie on May 15, 2020
Just as our bodies have many parts and each part has a special function, so it is with Christ’s body. We are many parts of one body, and we all belong to each other.
—Romans 12:4–5

can think of times when I’ve walked into a hospital room and haven’t had the words to say, or I haven’t known what to do. But my wife has simply walked up and said just what they needed at that moment.

The Bible tells us there is a spiritual gift of showing kindness and mercy. Romans 12:8 says, “And if you have a gift for showing kindness to others, do it gladly.”

Some people have an extraordinary, supernatural ability from God to show mercy, compassion and kindness to those who are in need.

When you’re in a hospital bed you don’t necessarily need a Bible expositor. You don’t necessarily need an evangelist unless you’re not a Christian. Then it would come in helpful of course.

When you’re hurting, you need someone who has the gift of mercy, compassion, and showing kindness. When you’re in pain, you don’t always want a sermon. In fact, sometimes the last thing you want at the time is a sermon.

Someone who understands how to show compassion and empathy can make a huge difference. You might have that gift. It’s an awesome spiritual gift, by the way. So, develop it, cultivate it, and use it.

The Bible says, “Just as our bodies have many parts and each part has a special function, so it is with Christ’s body. We are many parts of one body, and we all belong to each other” (Romans 12:4–5 NLT).

Some people are outgoing, while others are more reserved. Some people have what we call “the gift of gab,” but others don’t have a lot to say. Some people see the big picture, and others see the details.

God has created us all differently, but we all have something to contribute with the spiritual gifts He has given us.



 

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Discussion Starter #475
The Most Persecuted People in the World
by Greg Laurie on May 18, 2020
God blesses you when people mock you and persecute you and lie about you and say all sorts of evil things against you because you are my followers.
—Matthew 5:11

Who are the most persecuted people in the world? Pew Research Center surveys say that Christians are. By persecution, I don’t mean global crises that affect us all. I’m talking about discrimination, verbal assault, physical attacks, and arrests.

Every day our Christian brothers and sisters suffer barbaric treatment in nations all around the world. People hound, torture, and execute them simply for their belief in Jesus Christ.

Make no mistake, persecution is alive and well.

Yet the Bible says, that “everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution” (2 Timothy 3:12 NLT).

We wish that verse wasn’t there, but it is. And it’s true. Every follower of Jesus will, in time, suffer persecution in some form. It might be financial, physical, or verbal.

So, what should we do when it happens?

Jesus said, “God blesses you when people mock you and persecute you and lie about you and say all sorts of evil things against you because you are my followers. Be happy about it! Be very glad! For a great reward awaits you in heaven. And remember, the ancient prophets were persecuted in the same way” (Matthew 5:11–12 NLT).

By the way, let’s make sure we’re suffering for the right reasons. Sometimes Christians are persecuted not for righteousness’ sake, but because they say or do offensive things. They’re rude and mean. They’re cranky.

And when someone calls them on it, they think, “Praise God! I’m suffering persecution for righteousness’ sake.”

No, they’re suffering persecution because they’re being obnoxious.

So, if you’re experiencing persecution because of your faith in Jesus, take heart. God sees what you’re going through. The Bible tells us, “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good” (Romans 12:21 NKJV).

And remember this: the Christian faith not only is worth dying for, but it’s also worth living for.



 

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The Most Persecuted People in the World
by Greg Laurie on May 18, 2020
God blesses you when people mock you and persecute you and lie about you and say all sorts of evil things against you because you are my followers.
—Matthew 5:11

Who are the most persecuted people in the world? Pew Research Center surveys say that Christians are. By persecution, I don’t mean global crises that affect us all. I’m talking about discrimination, verbal assault, physical attacks, and arrests.

Every day our Christian brothers and sisters suffer barbaric treatment in nations all around the world. People hound, torture, and execute them simply for their belief in Jesus Christ.

Make no mistake, persecution is alive and well.

Yet the Bible says, that “everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution” (2 Timothy 3:12 NLT).

We wish that verse wasn’t there, but it is. And it’s true. Every follower of Jesus will, in time, suffer persecution in some form. It might be financial, physical, or verbal.

So, what should we do when it happens?

Jesus said, “God blesses you when people mock you and persecute you and lie about you and say all sorts of evil things against you because you are my followers. Be happy about it! Be very glad! For a great reward awaits you in heaven. And remember, the ancient prophets were persecuted in the same way” (Matthew 5:11–12 NLT).

By the way, let’s make sure we’re suffering for the right reasons. Sometimes Christians are persecuted not for righteousness’ sake, but because they say or do offensive things. They’re rude and mean. They’re cranky.

And when someone calls them on it, they think, “Praise God! I’m suffering persecution for righteousness’ sake.”

No, they’re suffering persecution because they’re being obnoxious.

So, if you’re experiencing persecution because of your faith in Jesus, take heart. God sees what you’re going through. The Bible tells us, “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good” (Romans 12:21 NKJV).

And remember this: the Christian faith not only is worth dying for, but it’s also worth living for.



That's why I don't understand the spoiled western Church and their wrong belief in a pre-trib rapture. They teach that we won't see any tribulation because we are spared the "wrath" of God. Well with reading and studying you see the "wrath" comes after the last trumpet. That sounding also says the mysteries are revealed and the saints are rewarded. Jesus said in Matthew that after the tribulation at the sound of the trumpet His angles gather His elect. Paul said that "day" will not comes except first comes the rebellious stand and the man of sin is revealed. We are just in the beginning of the end times. I think we are in for some tough times ahead, but a martyr's crown is probably the greatest gift you can give back to the King.
 

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Discussion Starter #477
Leave Payback to God
by Greg Laurie on May 19, 2020
Repay no one evil for evil. Have regard for good things in the sight of all men.
—Romans 12:17


“Never hate your enemies,” said Michael Corleone in The Godfather, Part III, “It affects your judgment.”

Our job is to forgive; God’s job is to avenge. When someone hits us we want to hit back, don’t we? And if someone hurts us we want to hurt them. We want to settle the score. We want payback.

If you’re a Christian, however, that is not the way you should live. God says, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay” (Romans 12:19 NKJV).

The apostle Paul knew what it was like to be mistreated. I think no other leader in the first century suffered more than he did.

Yet it was Paul who wrote, “Repay no one evil for evil. Have regard for good things in the sight of all men” (Romans 12:17 NKJV).

And he modeled this as well. When he was arrested with Silas for preaching the gospel, the jailer was especially cruel. He beat them and tore open their backs with a whip. Then he fastened their feet in stocks and put them in the deep recesses of a filthy, horrible dungeon.

Then we read, “At midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them. Suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken; and immediately all the doors were opened and everyone’s chains were loosed” (Acts 16:25–26 NKJV).

The jailer, realizing he would be executed for escaped prisoners, was about to kill himself. But Paul called out to him, “Do yourself no harm, for we are all here” (verse 28 NKJV).

He extended grace to this man. And ultimately, he led the jailer and his family to Christ.

His example shows us that when we’re hurt or offended, we need to let God settle the score.



 

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Discussion Starter #478
Sometimes Saying Less Is More
by Greg Laurie on May 20, 2020
Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep.
—Romans 12:15


This may surprise you coming from a preacher, but people don’t always need a sermon. Sometimes, they just need a friend. They need someone to show a little compassion.

The Bible tells us to “rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep” (Romans 12:15 NKJV).

For instance, remember the calamities that befell godly Job? He didn’t know the Lord had been bragging on in him in front of the angels and Lucifer, but he woke up one morning and one disaster after another struck his life.

He lost his children. He lost his livelihood and his possessions. He even lost his health. When his body was covered head-to-toe in massive boils, his wife came along and said, “Do you still hold fast to your integrity? Curse God and die!” (Job 2:9 NKJV).

When someone you know is in pain sometimes saying less is more because sometimes when we’re trying to encourage someone, we actually say the wrong thing. We always feel like we have to have the answer or a Bible verse for each situation. But, there’s a time and a place for everything.

When our son Christopher went to be with the Lord I had a lot of people try to say things that would help me. Some things helped, and some things didn’t help as much. But, I learned a lot about what it was like to be on the receiving end of those words.

I was always the person saying things to try and bring some comfort. Then suddenly I was the one listening to those things, and I understand that people don’t always need to hear a sermon. They just need a little compassion.

The reality is that sometimes we say things to help, and they can actually end up hurting. That’s why we have to choose our words carefully.



 

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Discussion Starter #479
I swear this thought process has been racing through my mind more and more every week for the past few years. Am I spiritually asleep or awake? Am I really living wisely with the time I have. It could honestly be today or 50 years from now but you just really never know. I'll admit I do not live each day as its my last but I am slowly trying more and more. Whether your a parent, single, baby sitter or CEO everything you do matters so do it to the best of your abilities. There are trips I want to make, people I want to see, and things I want to do. But, how much of that is more loving the idea of doing something vs being more aware of where you are right now. Your neighbors, family, friends, church, coworkers, people you meet in line. Every day is a day to live wisely and enjoy even during hardship. I don't understand it completely but a verse that always played true to me is Ecclesiastes 2:24 There is nothing better for a man, than that he should eat and drink, and that he should make his soul enjoy good in his labour. This also I saw, that it was from the hand of God. In a way it reminded me that God has me right where he wants me and there is more in store if I would try to see things the way he does. We know life is more than eating and drinking. There will be hard times, good times and every part in between. But find enjoyment in your life through him in everything you do.




Make Each Day Significant
by Greg Laurie on May 21, 2020
See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil.
—Ephesians 5:15–16


Have you ever gotten a phone call in the middle of the night? When the phone rings your heart jumps because no one wants a call at that hour. And then for some strange reason, the caller usually asks, “Did I wake you?”

I don’t know why, but generally, we deny it. Why can’t we just say, “Yes, I was asleep. It’s nighttime”?

In Romans 13 the apostle Paul warned Christians to wake up and stop living in denial about the fact that some of them were actually sleeping spiritually. He wrote, “And do this, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep; for now our salvation is nearer than when we first believed” (verse 11 NKJV).

The J. B. Phillips translation puts it this way: “Why all this stress on behaviour? Because, as I think you have realised, the present time is of the highest importance—it is time to wake up to reality. Every day brings God’s salvation nearer.”

What is the present time that Paul is referring to? I believe Paul is alluding to the fact of Christ’s return. Do you believe that Jesus could come back today? That’s good if you do. It means you’re very astute theologically. He could come back today, so be aware of that reality.

Yet, there’s another thing I would add: Be aware of the fact that you don’t know how long you will live. I know many young people who have passed on. My son Christopher went to Heaven at the age of 33.

Let’s live every day as though it could be our last because one day it will be. That is why Scripture says, “So teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom” (Psalm 90:12 NKJV). Especially at this time, keep perspective, and make each day count. Make each day significant.



 

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Discussion Starter #480
Walk in the Daylight
by Greg Laurie on May 26, 2020
Let us walk properly, as in the day, not in revelry and drunkenness, not in lewdness and lust, not in strife and envy.
—Romans 13:13

Much of the entertainment industry wants to make bad things look good and good things look bad. They’ll take something that’s forbidden, something we know is sinful, and make it look very appealing by the way they present it.

Then they’ll take something that’s good, virtuous, and wholesome, and make fun of it or even outright attack it.

Yet the Bible tells us, “Let us walk properly, as in the day, not in revelry and drunkenness, not in lewdness and lust, not in strife and envy” (Romans 13:13 NKJV).

Let me put that into the modern vernacular: Don’t party and drink. Have you ever been in a place where a group of people are drinking, and they get louder and louder? Pretty soon no one even knows what they’re laughing at.

The Christian should be under the control of the Holy Spirit not alcohol or drugs. Ephesians 5:18 tells us, “Don’t be drunk with wine, because that will ruin your life. Instead, be filled with the Holy Spirit” (NLT).

Then there is the word: lewdness, which comes from a Greek term that simply means “bed.” It holds the same connotation as two people going to bed together. We understand that doesn’t mean taking a nap.

The word lust in this verse doesn’t merely describe a person given over to immorality. It describes someone who is living immorally but is incapable of feeling shame. It’s shameless excess and the complete absence of restraint.

In other words, this is a person who not only lives immorally, but they proclaim it. They flaunt it. They’re proud of it.

It frightens me when I hear of Christians engaging in sexual activity outside of God’s constraints, having affairs, extramarital sex, and premarital sex.

The Bible is saying that should not be true of us. So, don’t live that way.



 
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