How To Avoid Sin: a Powerful Tool

How to Avoid Sin; A Powerful Tool

You’ve got to love a good Sunday Sermon to get your mind and heart moving.  All the worship, Holy Spirit and coffee, it’s a good time to be reminded of God’s perfect love for us. We are in a series about Jonah and dumb decisions and second chances. This story always brings me back to felt boards, whales, and remembering to obey if God tells you to do something as to not end up in the belly of a whale.

I love going back to the Old Testament as an adult. I was blown away by a simple detail I have always missed until today. Jonah 1:3 “but Jonah ran away from the Lord and headed for Tarshish. He went down to Joppa, where he found a ship bound for that port.”

HE FOUND A SHIP-ready to take him opposite of where God wanted him-remember that;)

Jonah was scared of where God wanted him to go. He was running from God. Jason Britt, I like to call him Preacher Man, pointed out that there is always a boat waiting to take you in the wrong direction. Preacher Man continued by saying the simple truth that, “getting on the boat seems so easy.”

This made me think about my own stupid choices and how true it is that there is/was ALWAYS a boat waiting to take me to a place opposite of where God wants me. At the time of the stupid choice, it seemed so easy!

Boats are usually Right. There. And nobody has to push me on them.

Now, we might not be just like Jonah, but sometimes our thoughts/actions are the literal opposite of what God desires for us. Consider Philippians 4:8 Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable-if anything is excellent or praiseworthy-think about such things. This is our encouragement. And let’s just be real folks….thoughts turn into actions. I like to use this compass to help me to identify sin in my life. It’s very easy to indentify boats with this passage:)

I struggled with fear in the past. I’d fear that God was mad at me, Joel would die in a car wreck, or that my children would get kidnapped in the park. All these things kept me from living the life God wanted for me.

There is no freedom in fear. And Jesus is freedom. Tweet that

Fear can also easily turn into a controlling attitude. I realized that I didn’t need to watch creepy shows about serial killers and kidnappers.

I needed to BURN THAT BOAT! I needed to think about what was TRUE-That God is my protector.

I also used to love the party scene a bit too much. With many one step forward two steps back, my desires began to change after learning how much God loves me. It took me a few years to learn that I need to guard my heart and mind in that area. For me, that was to BURN THAT BOAT! I needed to think about whatever is right, pure, and admirable. God helped me enjoy those things instead!

So what’s your boat? Do you struggle with comparing yourselves to others? You might need to burn the boat of social media and replace it by what is true. It is true that God loves you and not some future perfect version of you.

Do you struggle with lust? You might need to burn that boat of trashy movies and ask God to help you enjoy things that are pure. Do you struggle with gossip and negativity? You might need to burn that boat of conversation with negative people and change it things that are praiseworthy. Do you struggle with getting something out of sermons on Sundays? You might need to burn the boat of being hungover in church-Hello….and enjoy things that are noble.Whatever it is that is takes you away from what you know to be God’s truth, burn it.

I’ve learned that once you start burning boats, it gets easier and easier because it creates space for Jesus to show up. He is sooo Faithful to do so:)

Anyone who has known me for the last ten years can attest to the changing and constant JOY that has come as I have learned how to burn boats. I’ve asked and God has changed my desires to things that bring lasting joy. The proof is in the pudding. BURN THOSE BOATS people….

Philippians 4:9 ends with, whatever you have learned or heard from me, put into practice, and the God of peace will be with you.

People who have the peace of God, don’t run in fear from the Lord. People who know the peace of the Christ know He is the only lasting source of joy. People who know the peace of the Lord burn boats.

Dear Heavenly father, I thank you that you know the desires of our hearts. I thank you for making a way for us to have true joy this side of heaven through Jesus. Father, I pray that you reveal any boats in our lives that are keeping us from being able to hear your voice and live a life of obedience. Thank you for forgiving us when we try to do things our way. It’s only because of Jesus we have any hope in this world. Please help us to allow you to change our desires. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.

Small Groups, Prayer, and Miracles -The Power of a Story

I recently listened to a teaching on the power of a testimony. It had me going back and forth from Matthew to Luke studying the chronology of the story of the woman who touched the edge of Jesus’ cloak and was healed by the power coming out of Jesus. (Super human moment… I always feel like some sort of serious detective when I flip between two gospels and pay attention to events chronologically:) Anyway… Prior to this story, you can read that people were crowding Jesus.

Luke 6:18: A large crowd from all over “who had come to hear him and to be healed of their diseases. Those troubled by evil spirits were cured, and the people all tried to touch him, because power was coming from him and healing them all.”

This woman had heard that power was coming from him. She had heard the stories of Jesus healing people. Hearing these stories increased her faith in Jesus. She knew Jesus was so powerful that if she could only touch the EDGE of his cloak, she could be healed. Matthew 9:21 “if I only touch his cloak, I will be healed.” Jesus turned and saw her “Take heart, daughter,” he said, “Your faith has healed you.” And the woman was healed from that moment.

A story can build faith for repetition.

This reminded me that stories are powerful…. and I have a ton:)

In my very first small group my friend, Rebecca, had a condition called keratoconus. Basically, it’s degenerative cornea. The affects of this are permanent and irreversible. She suffered from extreme sensitivity to light, extreme dryness, and blurred vision, and she couldn’t see clearly for more than a few feet, even with her glasses on. She would need a cornea transplant and was basically going blind.

I was about to join the prayer ministry at church and I had just finished a book on prayer. It went through the Lord’s prayer and talked about praying “on Earth as it is in Heaven” over situations. One night I was simply saying my prayers, and Rebecca came to my mind. I spent the next hour praying for her eyes!! I don’t know what came over me!! I couldn’t sleep. I just kept praying, “there are no degenerative corneas in Heaven, so I pray there are no degenerative corneas in Rebecca’s eyes in Jesus’ name.” I knew God had prompted me to pray, but this was the first time I couldn’t sleep because of praying for someone.

Soon after, I saw her facebook post where she announced that her Dr. said he had no medical explanation for why her eyes and vision were better! Her eyes had been healed!!!….. and the doctors had No. Medical. Explanation. Well, you can imagine my excitement!! I was GEEKING OUT! I had never prayed for a miracle before. It opened my eyes to recognize things that are wrong with people can be turned into opportunities for King Jesus to be amazing. This story increased my faith greatly and was the catalyst to the prayer life I have now.

The outcome is not my business. I have faith knowing Jesus can heal and leave the rest up to God.

This story happened years ago. Since then, I have been a part of many small groups. I have prayed for God to move in many situations. I have seen MANY prayers answered. I am still praying for some. I hope this story encourages you to not simply touch the EDGE of his cloak, but to grab it! Let’s cry out to Him! Let’s have the courage to SHARE what the Lord has done in our lives! Let’s pray Heaven down on situations in Jesus’ name!

Hear me tell you that Jesus is Mighty to Save! Mighty to Heal! Hear my story of how Heaven invaded Earth and healed my friend. Be encouraged to pray until something happens. Have the faith to pray the big prayers and trust in Jesus when you don’t get the answer you desired.

What He can do for others, He can do for you!
So join that small group! Pray for miracles! Hear how God has moved in peoples’ lives! Be encouraged! Pray for others! Share your stories! Your story might just be the one that someone needs to hear.

Dear Heavenly Father, Thank you for your word that teaches us about you and your character. Thank you for healing Rebecca’s eyes. Thank you for showing us how powerful you are and how much you love us with Jesus. Help us Lord to share your goodness. Help us to encourage one another as we continue to strive to seek you and find you!! I pray that all that read this come to know you in a way that keeps them in awe of you! We love you King Jesus. In Jesus’ name Amen.