WOL Newsletter 175: Let's Shake on It
February 7, 2016
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Edited by Stacie Thomas

Better late than never, right? As with this newsletter, as with this sermon message… Of course, claiming to be a Christian certainly doesn’t mean we’re without sin, or will never be tempted again. But it means that we accept that we can’t overcome sin without Jesus’ help; and that we want to overcome those sins; and we want His help… But, do we? Do we really want to give up all of our ‘stuff’, and let Jesus take complete control? I mean, that’s what the bottom line of this message is really. Get over yourself, and get into God. All in, or all out. By allowing yourself to indulge (mentally or physically), you’re allowing yourself to separate from God’s love. And what’s the point in only having part of His love? And what’s the point in only giving Him part of yours?
I don’t have time to mince words; I’ve got two newsletters to write this week, along with a blog; so I’ll get right to the point (also, I’m not as loving as Pastor Doug—and my words need some work when it comes to love)—get your act together people! It’s not about you (yet another message with this underlying theme); it’s about God.
Also- just for the record; I believe things happen for a reason. There’s a reason this newsletter didn’t go out last week. Maybe you’re that reason (maybe I am). When we accepted Christ, and Who He Is, we forfeited our lives to Him; and we no longer are slaves to sin. The shackles are broken, yet we continue to carry them with us; we refuse to give them up. (Hebrews 12:1-4) Are you finally ready to accept that you don’t know best, but Abba does? We are His children. (John 1:12-13, Romans 8:15, Galatians 4:6-7). Jesus acknowledged it; why can’t we? Aren’t we supposed to be ‘like Christ’? Mark 14:36: Jesus begged God to take His cup of suffering away (side note: Jesus was about to be crucified for God’s love; all you have to do is (insert: stop gossiping, stop taking drugs; lose your anger; etc…)); so you too can beg God to ease your suffering.
Doug talked about compromise: anything worth having costs something. We must be willing to pay any price to gain what is priceless—eternal life. What does your commitment to God cost you? Or rather, what should it cost you? It's not too late...

Let's Shake on It

The power of sin is most often in its subtlety and especially in its secrecy. (Ninjitsu sinning)… If you work that hard getting away with your sins, you have to ask yourself if your faith is real—do you really love God more than self? What you do secretly (that few or none know about) controls your level of intimacy and power in God; it greatly influences your relationship and attitude with others and truly shows who you are in your heart (you are as righteous as your secrets). Look what determined God’s approval and intimacy with some of His servants of the past: Genesis 6:9; Job 2:3; Acts 13:22. When you get beyond what we say and do for the sake of others (beyond what the world sees): 1 Corinthians 4:5: what do you think God thinks of you? We say we wouldn’t ‘shake with the devil’—but the word compromise means to make concessions in order to gain something—isn’t that the definition of making a deal? That’s what Satan has some of us doing everyday—compromising in ever-so-little ways. (we talk about a person’s problem and not talk to that person; tell white lies; disrespect and dishonor spouse; cheat on reports, tests, documents, etc.; dress inappropriately; hold onto anger/resentment in your heart; flirt emotionally; drink to intoxication (including drugs); inappropriate websites…) Compromise is ‘give to get’; look at what we get when we make these concessions: monetary gain, popularity or influence, self-pleasure; yet what you give: shows the condition of the heart already (Luke 12:34), it takes away your relationship with God: John 15:14; Matthew 12:50; John 14:23-24: for a time we can lose the closeness, joy peace of mind that we have when we are walking with God. Every little concession we make puts a barrier between us and God until we have made it right again; it creates a never-ending battle in our hearts for something that we should be decided and single-minded over, and we lose any power or work that Christ could possibly do in our lives: James 1:7-8; Luke 16:10.
Even if it stayed at this level (which it probably won’t), and it didn’t hurt you and your relationships (which it will)—what does living like this do for the unbeliever you could be working to save?: Romans 14:12-13; Proverbs 4:16; Matthew 18:7. And as if all of this ‘loss’ wasn’t enough in the so-called ‘trade’, small compromises, done repeatedly, never remain small. James 1:14-15.
Using the acronym A T.I.P.- here’s how it affects your life: A: admiration (v14): we know something is forbidden but we entertain the thought (‘thoughts’ hurt God, and any thought continually entertained has a high potential for going to the next level). T: taste (v15): anything entertained regularly will surface in some way in your life. I: indulge (v15): when you take the next step and taste the sin, at first there is guilt, but each time is easier as we begin to indulge more. P: possession (1 Timothy 4:2): you become obsessed with your sin. Everything you think, say and do has implications on other people.
There are Biblical, practical instructions for avoiding the slippery slope of compromise: 1) Be honest before God—choose God in reality (admit your fault, ask Him for help—He rewards those that seek righteousness: Matthew 5:6) 2) Familiarize yourself with what Scriptures say about your particular problem and commit to memory your weapons against it.(Ephesians 6:17) 3) Connect with an accountability partner (Proverbs 27:17; James 5:16) 4) It’s good to be chicken (commit yourself, beforehand, to running away from sin) (1 Corinthians 10:13, 1 Timothy 6:11) 5) Never assume that you are safe from that sin (remain aware and ever vigilante) (1 Corinthians 10:12). Until we learn to be more faithful to God in the small things of our everyday life—let our lives be a song to the Lord that we really do love Him—we aren’t going to get any further than we are now. We must be honest—don’t claim to love Christ and yet live in secret lives that prove it is a lie and hurts so many around you. If God is worth no more than this to you, get out of the program and stop hurting Him, and others.

Upcoming Events:

February 7: Super Bowl Party @ Garrett's: see Tracy or Jason
February 21: VBS organizational meeting
February 21: Luncheon
March 26: FLOCK Youth Ski Trip- see Jay
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