Romans 3:23, 6:23
Since we recently experienced BLACK FRIDAY I thought I would give you a different twist.
· Have you ever noticed how life can change in the blink of an eye?
· Genesis 1-3 Everything went from GOOD to BAD...LIGHT to DARKNESS. So what happened?
· Romans 5:12 (interesting note - the word “sin” is not even mentioned in Genesis 3 when Adam sinned but that’s where it all began.) Genesis 6:5-7, Ezekiel 18:20, Isaiah 59:1-2
· Mark 15:33-34 - The Darkest Day in Human History was Black Friday because of our Sin.
1. Sin is personal : Romans 3:23
a. Check out these New Testament words for sin:
i. “Hamartia” – to miss the mark (Rom. 3:23)
ii. “Parabasis” – transgressing or overpassing a line (Gal. 3:19)
iii. “Paraptoma” – falling where one should have stood (Rom. 4:25)
iv. “Anomia” – lawlessness (Matt. 7:23)
v. “Adikia” – bending the right and making it crooked (2 Tim. 2:19)
b. We are all personally guilty of sinning (Romans 3:23)
2. Sin Enslaves Personally: Romans 6:16-17
b. It shackles you.
c. The reason we need freedom is because we are personally bound.
3. Sin is personally hard to overcome: Colossians 3:8-11
a. However, we can overcome sin through the strength of Jesus Christ.
· Black Friday was without a doubt the worst day in human history. Crucifying Jesus was
humanity’s worst moment and it was extremely dark (Mark 15:33-39, 2 Corinthians 5:21, Isaiah 53:6).
· God Hates Black Friday but He Loves SALVATION SUNDAY!!
“Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!” -- The Apostle Paul
If you were reading the Old Testament, you would learn that there were GIANTS on earth in those days (Genesis 6:4). In Numbers 13:33, we learn about GIANTS who were descendants of Anak. In Deuteronomy 2:20 we read about “a land of GIANTS.” We are told “For only Og king of Bashan remained of the remnant of the giants. Indeed his bedstead was an iron bedstead. (Is it not in Rabbah of the people of Ammon?) Nine cubits is its length and four cubits its width, according to the standard cubit.” (Deuteronomy 3:11). And, the most familiar GIANT is the Philistine GIANT, Goliath, the one that David killed prior to his Kingly reign (1 Samuel 17).
As you browse through these passages in the Old Testament their presence is impressive. When you read over in the New Testament there isn't the slightest mention of them...silence. One would conclude that there weren't any in New Testament times and that there are not any now. That would be a fair and reasonable conclusion!!
I'm convinced that there are GIANTS today and I have known them, been blessed by them, have walked with them, and it is equally exciting and impressive to be in their presence. Of course I am talking about SPIRITUAL GIANTS.
There are many SPIRITUAL GIANTS mentioned in Hebrews chapter 11 and their faith, commitment, sacrifice, and obedience to God is massive in every way.
SPIRITUAL GIANTS pass from this life to the next and leave us with a lasting and large footprint. Think about the spiritual mentors, friends, leaders, preachers/teachers, ministers, elders, evangelists, and servants from the past that have touched us spiritually and made us stronger!! Think about the ones who are spiritual GIANTS now helping us on our journey toward heaven.
Thanks be to our God for the gift of His SPIRITUAL GIANTS (James 1:17)!!
“But now they desire a better, that is, a heavenly country. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for He has prepared a city for them.” — Hebrews 11:16
Thanksgiving this year might be tough for some during 2020. It will certainly be a little different this year. Many of us will experience the holidays with family, friends, plenty of food, memories, and traditions but some will decide to stay home. Keeping a spirit of gratitude should be our motivation for everyday life. We are such a blessed people in so many ways. God gives so many wonderful gifts (especially His Son, the GREATEST GIFT) to experience and enjoy while on this side of eternity. (James 1:17)
It’s easy to notice that there are a lot of people around us who do not have the same experiences spiritually and relationally that we are blessed to enjoy. Because of this we will have the opportunity to share our faith, invite others to church, and help them to experience the love of Jesus.
Paul encourages us to help bear the burdens of those who need help (Galatians 6:2) and also to do good to all men (Galatians 6:10). In other words, we should strive to make this a season of GIVING (action) and allowing others to offer THANKS (gratitude) to God (Matthew 5:16)!
God will present us with plenty of opportunities to help make a difference in the lives of others during this Thanksgiving Season...my prayer is that we will seize the moment and honor the experience by giving thanks to God. Even in difficult times.
 Rejoice always,  pray without ceasing,  in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. — 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
Do you ever look back and wonder how you got to the place where you are now? You ponder all the roads you traveled, the many places you stopped, and the adventures along the way and you feel unbelievably blessed.
God gives so many wonderful blessings in this life. One of the best blessings He gives are friends. Companions to share adventures and struggles with. God puts these beautiful people in our lives to help build, strengthen, and share our faith.
The only catch to this blessing is that in order to have friends we must be friendly (Proverbs 18:24)! We must be willing to invest in people and unselfishly seek their best interests. When we are friendly, we experience the best from people. If we are willing to give of ourselves, we gain encouragement to succeed, support during difficult times, and a motivation to keep us from quitting.
One of the best reasons for God giving us friends is to remind us that He is our friend. Jesus, the Son of God, chose to be our FRIEND. He emptied Himself, to provide for His friends. This love should motivate us to be His friend and be a friend to all mankind.
Jesus our Friend is the reason we are blessed to be together and in this place!
“ Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one's life for his friends.  You are My friends if you do whatever I command you.  No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I heard from My Father I have made known to you.  You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask the Father in My name He may give you.  These things I command you, that you love one another.” — John 15:13-17
“Make a joyful shout to the LORD, all you lands! Serve the LORD with gladness; Come before His presence with singing. Know that the LORD, He is God; It is He who has made us, and not we ourselves; We are His people and the sheep of His pasture. Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, And into His courts with praise.” Psalms 100:1-4
Psalm 100 is all about coming into God’s presence in a way that honors Him and puts our hearts in the right place. While each line fairly bursts with joy and can be meditated on individually, the psalm as a whole is a call to worship. As we begin to gather, the psalm provides inspiration and direction. Coming before His presence with singing is more than an outward action; it’s a heart that’s already blessing the Lord. To enter His gates with thanksgiving begins before we enter worship. A thankful heart is a sign of connection with our Lord; it is a heart poised to receive from God.
In the Old Testament language, coming into His courts means we are getting closer to the temple’s inner room where God’s presence dwelt. But in the New Testament experience, we already have access to God because Jesus’ death removed the veil separating us from His presence. (Matt. 27:51) Now, we press in closer to God, giving Him the praise He deserves for who He is and what He has done.
There is no “formula” for entering God’s presence. Some of you may say in private, “I don’t know how to talk to God,” but our God is not impressed by fancy words and sees the intent of the heart. The HEART! Psalm 100 inspires us to prepare our hearts and mind as we prepare our bodies and clothes. It reminds us that we are not just ‘going to church’ or praying; we are coming into the presence of a living, giving God to whom we owe the deepest gratitude and worship. Let us hear this call to worship as clearly as they did thousands of years ago and press into Him with thanksgiving, praise, blessing, and prayer.
God has listened and heard our voices in prayer. Praise be to God, who has not rejected our prayers or withheld His love from us! In our present time, many are seeking ways to approach God and can’t find the words. In prayer your words may be those of the Bible, church tradition, an inspirational writer, or spoken from the depths of your heart. Whatever words you use be meek, pray humbly, pray trustingly … pray daily ... pray thankfully.
“Before they call I will answer, while they are still speaking I will hear, says the Lord.” Isa.65:24-25