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Why Not Let God Choose For You?

Pastor Andrew SchankAs a citizen of the United States of America, you are afforded certain rights. These privileges are guaranteed by our Constitution and are upheld by Local, State and Federal Law Enforcement. Tens of thousands of individuals are employed for the sole purpose of helping to insure that every citizen is able to utilize his or her rights each day. Couple that with the plethora of organizations and action groups dedicated to the daunting task of seeking to be an extra layer of protection for the purpose of maintaining the integrity of Civil Rights, one might well think that being a U.S. Citizen is something quite unique and special. Indeed it is!

In spite of the high and bloody cost that has been paid for every United States Citizen to exercise his or her rights, these same rights have shackled many Christians from experiencing God’s best for their lives! Now don’t misunderstand this observation. Having rights are a great thing, but the liberty afforded by them are not always the avenue of God’s will for your life. Why not let God choose for you rather than you making the choice? It could make the difference in occupying God’s good for your life or LIVING in God’s BEST for your life!

This principle is seen many times in the Scriptures. One is found in Genesis 13:8-12 where Abraham and Lot parted company due to the growing hostility between each man’s herdsmen. Abraham, by all rights, should have availed himself of the land he would desire to occupy and Lot should have gone the other direction. Instead, Abraham allowed Lot to chose and resigned his own will to whatever God sovereignly allowed. Again, Abraham let God choose and, as a result, he enjoyed God’s BEST! Things could have turned out much differently had Abraham demanded his rights!

The Apostle Paul is another great example of this in Acts 16. When incarcerated in Phillipi, he and Silas, were beaten unjustly and kept in prison. The wise Apostle did not solicit the aid of a mob to protest nor did he try to start a prison riot. Instead, he and Silas sang praises! As a result, the jailor and his family were saved by God’s amazing grace. The next day, word was sent to allow Paul and Silas to go free. It was then and only then that the Apostle Paul availed himself of his rights as a Roman Citizen. It is quite probable that at this point he used the violation of his civil rights as an occasion to help other Roman believers from being so flippantly abused. Things might have turned out very differently had Paul and Silas demanded their rights at the beginning like so many do today!

Life is full of decisions. Each one is unique from the other and they seemingly grow more complex the older you get. While there are many choices to make, one is paramount! We must make the decision, each day, to let God choose for us. It is hard and not always the easiest thing to do. While it is usually the road less traveled, it is still the BEST path!

What do you think?

Morality: Immutable Truth Or Subjective Ideology?

Pastor Andrew SchankIf we are to believe the articles and interviews published by media outlets in our nation today, then we would have to resolve that morality is no longer absolute truth. Rather, it is fluid and changes with the determination of the so-called majority. Contrary to this increasingly popular and heretical axiom, morality is not a subjective ideology, but a code of conduct which is as changeless as God’s own character.

Seasons come and go, skies change from overcast to clear and temperatures rise and fall, but God’s moral law does not vacillate one inch. Governments can be organized, tyrants can dictate and anarchy can prevail, but neither can alter the timeless treasure of morality. Indeed, people fall short of it’s expectations, but it does not diminish the luster emanating forth from it’s holy rays! Morality is not morality because man chooses to acknowledge its existence or not. The truth is that morality is because God is!

(Psalms 119:142) “Thy righteousness is an everlasting righteousness, and thy law is the truth.” (KJV)

In an age when there is an ever increasing attempt to emancipate, extricate and eradicate the fetters of moral restraint, one must resolve to look to God’s Word for strength! While individuals may seem to distance themselves from their God-given conscience and realign to an artificially re-calibrated moral compass, they, in effect, authenticate Biblical morality by their depraved and darkened moral philosophy.

The old saying, “Actions speak louder than words” rings true here. A person’s moral compass directly affects his/her actions. Outside of salvation in Jesus Christ, every person’s morality has some depravity issues. When a person becomes a child of God, they have the indwelling Holy Spirit to guide them in the daily walk. Thus, they are more in tune with Biblical morality than an unbeliever. As new creatures in Christ, a believer’s actions should demonstrate the changeless moral values as taught in the Holy Scriptures.

The bottom line is that each person must seek to shelter themselves under the pavilion of God’s moral law. It cannot be improved upon, nor can it be effectively replaced with any man-made dogma. Willfully yielding to it’s authority does not bring salvation, but it does provide a tremendous opportunity for God’s Spirit to bring about the conviction of sin and urgency for repentance!

Are You Living Victoriously?

Pastor Andrew SchankWhat is victorious Christian living? How does one determine they are living victoriously? Is it okay to surmise that one had a day, week, or a season of victory? Are you living victoriously? These are questions you may have had since you became a child of God. I am sure there are other thoughts about the subject of victorious Christian living you may have had, but were too timid to ask someone for clarity. Join the club!

The ultimate source of victory in a believer’s life is always through Jesus Christ! He is our source of victory. Man, when left to himself, apart from God’s benevolent grace, will live a defeated life. Though he or she may do a great job of masking their disastrous circumstances, they cannot hide it forever. The fact is… we do not have to live a defeated life!

The Apostle Paul reminded the Corinthians believers about the bedrock of Christianity, and the source of victorious Christian living in I Corinthians chapter fifteen when he spoke of the ramifications of Christ’s Resurrection. On the heels of exclaiming Christ’s triumph over death and the grave, he makes specific application to each Corinthian believer. His inspired words of encouragement ring true with each believer today. We can be STEADFAST, UNMOVABLE and ABOUNDING in our lives as God’s child!

(1 Corinthians 15:57-58) “But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.” (KJV)

The source of victory for born again children of God is not found in themselves, man made institutions, or even in human government. Victory is not measured by the tallies of the ballot box, the sum total of a person’s net worth, or in how large a ministry someone has been a part of. The truth is that VICTORY is and and will be measured by JESUS CHRIST! He is the source, sustenance and standard for victory in a saved person’s life! Hallelujah!

It is very easy to slide into the mentality and/or philosophy of thinking that victory is based upon our works. The energy of the flesh is nothing more than a hot air balloon. The ride up is awesome, but trip down can be traumatic. God’s people must be broken vessels like Gideon’s pitchers and let the light of Jesus Christ shine forth. Gideon’s battle serves as an example for each of us today in that victory was not secured by man! Victory comes from God alone! Rest, rely and resolve to depend upon Jesus Christ for your victory and you WILL HAVE VICTORY!!!

How To Be An Accountability Partner

Pastor Andrew SchankDo you like being held accountable? Before you answer the question, you had better think about it a minute or two. Each of us like to be lauded and bragged upon for doing something well. We like receiving raises at our place of employment. We even like getting bonuses for doing a swell job for someone. While each of the aforementioned scenarios are desirable forms of accountability there is another side of the equation that few really want to explore.

Accountability is something that God is very much involved in and carries out in our life whether we like it or not. It is so needful in our lives as believers that Jesus used various parables illustrating the numerous aspects of it to teach spiritual truths. From a very young age we learn about accountability from our loving parents and we try to pass along its importance to the next generation of young people as we mature. It is safe to say that most know how accountability works and why it is important even though we detest it when we do not measure up.

Every believer needs accountability and God desires that His children help each other in the process. Many verses can be cited to drive home this precept. We will focus on one such passage. Consider Galatians 6:1…

(Galatians 6:1) “Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted.” (KJV)

The Apostle Paul, under inspiration of the Holy Spirit of God, made it absolutely clear that Spirit led children of God were to restore folks that had fallen into sin. In the context of the previous chapters this error could be both doctrinal and/or other fruits of carnality.

In view of this passage, I would like to make the following recommendations as to how each of us can be an effective accountability partner…

  1. An accountability partner must know Christ as their own personal Savior. The word “brethren” is used and it implies the brotherhood of believers. It is futile to ask someone to help hold you accountable in a particular area if they do not have the Spirit of God in them. Accountability requires more than just clever psychology from an unsaved individual, it demands insight from a Spirit-filled child of God.
  2. An accountability partner must be filled with the Holy Spirit (Compare with Ephesians 5:18). This nowhere implies that one must be or is perfectly mature, nor does it suggest that age has anything to do with being spiritual. It does carry the idea of an even-natured response where the accountability partner has his or her emotions under control. It suggests that there is not only a desire on the part of the accountability partner to live a holy life, but there is ample evidence in their own life that this desire is bearing fruit.
  3. An accountability partner must have a Biblical view of the sin in question. If someone is overtaken by a sin or by a false teaching, then the partner must have a proper understanding of the layout. This can be easily illustrated by a recovery vehicle attempting to winch an automobile from a muddy ditch. The tow truck driver has to have a keen grasp of the situation. So it is with spiritual matters. An accountability partner must not be a soul who is ignorant of Biblical teaching. Thus, it would be very unwise to seek accountability concerning the consumption of strong drink from a drunkard.
  4. An accountability partner must exercise “tough love”. The Scripture specifically uses the word “restore” as a job description of the accountability partner. It carries the idea of bringing something back to its original condition. The same word is used where the disciples were said to be “mending” their nets. (Matthew 4:21 & Mark 1:19) It has often been described that to restore is much like a doctor setting a broken limb. The doctor has to be firm, but gentle at the same time. If people are to be matured or perfected from a “fault”, then it will take an individual who will be both honest with Biblical truth and share it firmly in a loving spirit! (Ephesians 4:15)
  5. An accountability partner must have the right attitude. A Christian must not condemn nor criticize a fallen brother, but rather seek to bring them back into a proper position in the spirit of meekness. (Compare with II Timothy 2:25) The idea here is that one must control their speech, attitude/demeanor, and overall response while seeking to restore. If not, then the very sin in question could easily be found in the accountability partner.

God calls each of us into a loving relationship with Himself. When we respond in repentance towards God and faith in the merits of the Lord Jesus Christ and His finished work on the cross we can be redeemed. From this New birth experience we are called to walk of life characterized by holiness and faith. At times people fail to live up to this and fall into the traps of sin. It is the responsibility of spiritually minded believers to act as accountability partners in an effort to restore those overtaken into proper fellowship with God and the brethren, as well as to lead them to such a place as they can enjoy their relationship with God. This cannot be done apart from the leadership of God’s Holy Spirit.

If these suggestions have helped you see the need of being a better accountability partner or if you have been shown by the Holy Spirit that you need to be one in order to help a brother or sister in Christ, then please feel free to let us know. It would be an encouragement to us. Also, if this helped you… it could help someone else. Share it on your favorite Social media site or email to a friend or colleague.