Scriptures: Romans 8:35-39
Today's lesson is about understanding the cycle of defeat and how to break it in its early stages.
The cycle of defeat has five stages:
1) Disappointment- facing signficant loss, being made unhappy by circumstances or people and dealing with an injustice.
2) Disllusionment- our perception of life begins to be shattered.
3) Discouragement- in this stage a person experiences loss of hope, confidence and courage.
4) Dejection- to be overcome with a sense of futility.
5) Defeat- this is when a person is no longer willing to fight back.
To break the cycle of defeat there are several steps:
1) We must accept God's love, forgiveness and grace-we know that nothing can separate us from the love of Christ.
2) We have to break the cycle of negative thinking- we have to keep our minds on Jesus, Isaiah 26:3 says: "You will keep him in perfect peace, Whose mind is stayed on You,
Because he trusts in You."
3) We have to break the cycle of negative thinking- stop criticizing yourself and others. Its imperative to speak words of faith, hope and power.
4) Break the cycle of unforgiveness- We need to get rid of grudges daily. Release anger and leave all vengeance up to God.
5) Pray, praise and worship God- we have to contiually have a spirit of worship.
6) Make time for God's Word- in life we make time for the things we find important, we need to make sure the Bible is a priority!
7) Do with our hands and mind- Jesus said to occupy till He comes- we need to find something to do for God.
8) Stop trying to figure everything out- Only God knows everything, we need to limit our introspective time.
9) Learn to laugh- bring more humor into your life, the Bible calls it "good medicine."
10) Submit to God, resist the devil and he will flee from you- we have weapons: the name of Jesus, the spirit of God, scripture, testimony and praise!
11) With every victory praise!
Defeat is not something we are meant to live with, we are meant to live with praise and victory!
Scriptures: John 5:1-8
In these scriptures we read about a pool called Bethesda, which means "the house of mercy," that was surrounded with a great multitude of sick people. The sick man found his cure at the pool of Bethesda, because Jesus showed up. The house of mercy needed the mercy giver to show up.
The Bible tells us that a great multitude was waiting for the moving of the water. They were waiting because something was missing in their lives. They were waiting for what they wanted and their waiting had become a way of life. They had become trapped by their circumstance and their infirmity. Their situation was far from perfect, but they had put the rest of their lives on hold why they were waiting.
God may have special blessings for you in spite of your situation. He may have special work for you to do in spite of your condition. Are you sitting in the house of mercy waiting for someone or something to move the water? We can spend life waiting for something and miss what's happening all around us.
Jesus found a man who had an infirmity for 38 years. 38 years waiting for the moving of the water. Jesus asked him: "do you want to be made well?" The man answered: "Sir, I have no man." This man thought to be whole he needed someone or something else. Jesus said: "Rise, take up your bed and walk!" All the man needed was Jesus!
Are you ready to rise up or are you going to sit by the pool and continue waiting? Jesus is asking you if you are ready to be blessed, what will your answer be?
Scriptures: Matthew 10:29-31, Psalm 139:14-18
When we love God, we start learning to love ourselves and have a healthy attitude towards others. As humans we all have three basic needs: self-worth, intimacy with God and intimacy with others. Today we are going to look a the first: self-worth.
Self esteem is defined as what we think about ourselves and it basically comes from four sources:
1) The world around us: our life experiences shape how we see ourselves
2) Our inner world: our senses, emotions, intelligence and spirituality.
3) Satan: his desire is to use our fears and inadequacies to belittle us.
4) God and His Word: the only true and pure healing power to effect us.
So what happens when our self-esteem is damaged?
1) We begin to develop negative thinking patterns- we begin to believe harmful things about ourselves and they become part of our daily lives and thoughts.
2) We can adopt an opinion that is contrary to God's opinion- He sees us as His children and loves us for who we are and who we are becoming through His power.
3) We begin to produce pain in our lives: grief, oppression and a block aganist the flow of God's spirit in our lives.
So how do we accept ourselves and build a positive self esteem? The Bible says it this way: "I will praise you for I am fearfully and wonderfully made." We must remember that we were created by God's unique design. We must love ourselves like Jesus loves us: unconditionally. We must remember that the process of His workmanship is ongoing: He has begun a good work in us!
We need to learn to be gentle and patient with ourselves: allow ourselves to grow and change. Allow God to work and accept His opinion of us. He knows that we are valuable and He wants us! Learn to be honest with ourselves and be proud that we are children of the King! Finally share love with the people around us and help them along their way!
We can replace a negative self-image with a positive self-worth when we allow God in the equation!
Scriptures: Psalm 33:12
Most would agree that our nation has been blessed and today on July 4th we celebrate the birth of our nation. Many paid a high price for our freedom; 56 men signed the declaration of independence. Out of these 56: 5 were captured and tortured, 12 had their homes raided and burned, 2 lost sons in the war, 1 had his sons captured, 9 fought and died, and others died bankrupt. They paid a price for the freedom we have today.
As Christians we must do all we can to remain a nation that God can bless.
1) Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord: God looks for people who show Him reverance, who seek His plans and who do what the Word of God calls them to do.
2) Blessed is the nation that seeks righteousness: "Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people", says Proverbs 14:34. Righteousness is about doing things God's way. Humans are not righteous by nature, but we are made righteous by the blood of Jesus Christ. When we remove Jesus from our lives, we remove righteouness.
3) Blessed is the nation that trusts God: "In Him our hearts rejoice, for we trust in His holy name," Psalm 33:21. Trust has to be more than a slogan. Do you really trust Him to bless you, protect you, provide and heal you?
We can say today that God has blessed the United States of America, but what about tomorrow? Is Jesus still the God of our nation? We must decided that as for us we will continue to serve the Lord! We will seek His righteousness, trust in His name and serve Him unwaveringly, so that is can be said "blessed is the nation where God is the Lord."