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Thursday, October 30, 2014

When Heaven Comes to Earth

Notes: When Heaven Comes to Earth
Pastor Greg Laurie
Thursday, October 30, 2014 — 7:00 p.m
Harvest OC

Revelation 21 is where we will be studying tonight studying tonight.

Greg is talking about the expression "heaven on earth." How we have all used it. He says that one day there will literally be Heaven on earth.

God still has a plan for planet earth, one day God will restore this planet.

Acts 3:21 NKJV
[21] whom heaven must receive until the times of restoration of all things, which God has spoken by the mouth of all His holy prophets since the world began.

God is into restoration.

Ephesians 1:10 NKJV
[10] that in the dispensation of the fullness of the times He might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven and which are on earth-in Him.

It was said we won't go to Heaven to leave earth behind, God will demolish the wall between Heaven and earth. This is not something new, it is something that will be done again. It is a re-make.

Revelation 21:1-6 NKJV
[1] Now I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away. Also there was no more sea. [2] Then I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. [3] And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, "Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God. [4] And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away." [5] Then He who sat on the throne said, "Behold, I make all things new." And He said to me, "Write, for these words are true and faithful." [6] And He said to me, "It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. I will give of the fountain of the water of life freely to him who thirsts.

Looking at verse 5: Revelation 21:5 NKJV
[5] Then He who sat on the throne said, "Behold, I make all things new." And He said to me, "Write, for these words are true and faithful."

All bad things will be gone! No more ills, killing, disaster. All things will be new.

Greg is talking about being fans, like Apple fans, or a new television season, or a new car. We all like the new versions if certain things. God likes new.

In the rapture we go up, in the second coming we come down to earth with God.

Ten things missing 
No more sin, tears, death, mourning, pain, thirst, wickedness, no more night, no more closed gates, no more curse.

As far as God is concerned, this is a done deal. He is in the Eternal Realm, God lives in the future as we think of the past.

Greg is talking about the end times, he thinks the next event will be the rapture, the anti-Christ will come next, then peace, then a new Temple, then wars, then the second coming of Jesus Christ.

1 Corinthians 15:52-58 NKJV
[52] in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. [53] For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. [54] So when this corruptible has put on incorruption, and this mortal has put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written: "Death is swallowed up in victory." [55] "O Death, where is your sting? O Hades, where is your victory?" [56] The sting of death is sin, and the strength of sin is the law. [57] But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. [58] Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.

For us when we die, we go straight to Heaven, our souls will be in Heaven. After the Rapture, we will get our glorified bodies.

Greg is talking about the Millennium, and how we will rule over the mortals that will be here.

He is talking about the judgement and the Great White Judgement after.

2 Peter 3:10-11 NKJV
[10] But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up. [11] Therefore, since all these things will be dissolved, what manner of persons ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness,

He is talking about Heaven and Earth coming together.

After the millennial reign of Christ we enter into eternal timelessness - everything is now forever.

He says that is a very big thought for most of us to get our minds around.

He is talking about how it says the ocean will be gone. He is saying that sounds bad to surfers, but he knows that God will always replace what he takes with something better.

We will all be with all of the men and women of all times, for all eternity and we will be there with the Lord.

We will see God and that will be the lens in which we see everything else.

God has let some people no Him before Heaven, like Moses. He will then be letting all of His people dwell with Him.

Like when Adam would walk with the Lord in the Garden of Eden.

Greg is talking about when people would live if they got to chose, Greg says he would of lived when Jesus Christ was on Earth. 

Revelation 21:2 NKJV
[2] Then I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.

Greg is talking about how Jerusalem is a city of our past, present and future.

It is the only country, Israel, to have had its people go away and then come back after 100s of years of time.

The new Jerusalem will keep us all busy.

Revelation 7:15 NKJV
[15] Therefore they are before the throne of God, and serve Him day and night in His temple. And He who sits on the throne will dwell among them.

2 Peter 3:9 NKJV
[9] The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.

Greg is talking about how the broken bodies of people will be transformed.

We need to stop thinking about the here and now. We need to focus on Heaven.

Death for the believer is no the end, but just a continuation some where else.

Greg was asking, will there be tears in Heaven. he says the Bible says there will be.

He is saying when we get to Heaven we will have a spiritual perspective, not a spiritual lobotomy.

Greg is talking about how there is death and sadness on earth. How sometimes less is more when you deal with someone that is suffering.

One day pain and suffering will be gone.

2 Corinthians 5:17 NKJV
[17] Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.

Psalm 103:12 NKJV
[12] As far as the east is from the west, So far has He removed our transgressions from us.

Greg says when you know God, your wants and desires change. If those things haven't changed, then do you really know Christ.

He is saying that Heaven is not the default destination of everyone. It is for every believer though.

Revelation 21:8 NKJV
[8] But the cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death."

Abominable means to be wholly caught up in wickedness. The sexually immoral.

The only place God will bless sex is in a loving marriage between a man and a woman. 

Greg is saying all the funny things he hears by couples that live together.

He is now talking about sorcerers and how this is talking about drugs.

Greg said he believes that the legalization of marijuana is a huge mistake.

Greg is saying now, that you take Jesus Christ as He is.

1. This helps us to keep perspective during times of trial.

Romans 8:18 NKJV
[18] For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.

2. It helps us to be truly heavenly minded and to live Godly lives.

Colossians 3:1-2 NKJV
[1] If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. [2] Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth.

3. It motivates us to want to take as many people as possible with us

Greg says if we really believe these things, shouldn't we want to tell people about Heaven?

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Armed and Dangerous with the Holy Spirit

Notes: Valor - Armed and Dangerous
October 28, 2014
Harvest OC - Valor Mens Study
John Collins
Acts 4

John is talking about going out with a buddy buying a real fast boat and then taking that boat out on the water, it was called Armed and Dangerous.

He is talking about how the first century Christians were like that boat. They were explosive with faith. We get to witness the original Jesus Christ Movement in Acts.

Acts 4:1-4 NKJV
[1] Now as they spoke to the people, the priests, the captain of the temple, and the Sadducees came upon them, [2] being greatly disturbed that they taught the people and preached in Jesus the resurrection from the dead. [3] And they laid hands on them, and put them in custody until the next day, for it was already evening. [4] However, many of those who heard the word believed; and the number of the men came to be about five thousand.

The church is exploding with believers.

1. The Danger of Sound Doctrine

The secret to church growth is preaching the whole accurate description of Jesus Christ.

Many people have a hard time with sound doctrine.

It was said all wrong behavior stems from all wrong belief in God.

These believers taught who Jesus Christ was and verified it with the Old Testament scriptures.

Isaiah 9:2-7 NKJV
[2] The people who walked in darkness Have seen a great light; Those who dwelt in the land of the shadow of death, Upon them a light has shined. [3] You have multiplied the nation And increased its joy; They rejoice before You According to the joy of harvest, As men rejoice when they divide the spoil. [4] For You have broken the yoke of his burden And the staff of his shoulder, The rod of his oppressor, As in the day of Midian. [5] For every warrior's sandal from the noisy battle, And garments rolled in blood, Will be used for burning and fuel of fire. [6] For unto us a Child is born, Unto us a Son is given; And the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. [7] Of the increase of His government and peace There will be no end, Upon the throne of David and over His kingdom, To order it and establish it with judgment and justice From that time forward, even forever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this.

People had a hard time believing this. Yet disciples stayed true to the message of the truth of the resurrection.

In 1998 there was a study that many Protestants did not believe in the Virgin Birth of married.

John says is there any doubt of why churches are failing..

Acts 4:5-7 NKJV
[5] And it came to pass, on the next day, that their rulers, elders, and scribes, [6] as well as Annas the high priest, Caiaphas, John, and Alexander, and as many as were of the family of the high priest, were gathered together at Jerusalem. [7] And when they had set them in the midst, they asked, "By what power or by what name have you done this?"

2. The Danger of Religion

These men were asking who's power were they acting under. They were implying that they didn't have authority. These men had been making themselves powerful under the Roman rulers. From a religious perspective they were acting in their duties, but it was in politics that they derived their power.

Karl Marx said that religion is the opiate of the masses.

Religion is not a walk with God. It as actions, you need a relationship with God.

Religion can blind you from the relationship that you are seeking.

It was said by someone, they wanted three dollars of God. They wanted ecstasy not transformation. He doesn't want a living breathing God he wants a plastic one that he can put in the corner.

Religion is a toy replica of the real Jesus Christ and that is what these leaders were like in the first century.

A living vibrant faith is not an exercise in religion, it is a relationship.

Acts 4:8-14 NKJV
[8] Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them, "Rulers of the people and elders of Israel: [9] If we this day are judged for a good deed done to a helpless man, by what means he has been made well, [10] let it be known to you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead, by Him this man stands here before you whole. [11] This is the 'stone which was rejected by you builders, which has become the chief cornerstone.' [12] Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved." [13] Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated and untrained men, they marveled. And they realized that they had been with Jesus. [14] And seeing the man who had been healed standing with them, they could say nothing against it.

3. The Danger of Truth

These leaders were not looking for truth, they were avoiding the consequences of the truth.

That would mean they would need to be converted. Jesus Christ was crucified by these men.

The more these men had tried to quench the story of Jesus Christ the more it spread.

They were in the midst of a political storm.

You can do many things but you can not divert from the truth.

John was talking about the mayor in Texas wanting to subpoena pastors to see if their messages spread hate towards homosexuals. He said men can do many things but we must protect the truth that God had written.

John 1:14 NKJV
[14] And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.

Acts 4:15-22 NKJV
[15] But when they had commanded them to go aside out of the council, they conferred among themselves, [16] saying, "What shall we do to these men? For, indeed, that a notable miracle has been done through them is evident to all who dwell in Jerusalem, and we cannot deny it. [17] But so that it spreads no further among the people, let us severely threaten them, that from now on they speak to no man in this name." [18] So they called them and commanded them not to speak at all nor teach in the name of Jesus. [19] But Peter and John answered and said to them, "Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you more than to God, you judge. [20] For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard." [21] So when they had further threatened them, they let them go, finding no way of punishing them, because of the people, since they all glorified God for what had been done. [22] For the man was over forty years old on whom this miracle of healing had been performed.

4. The Danger of Compromise

You can not compromise in the Word of Jesus Christ.

Men that did not compromise in their faith have had a great impact on the world.

He is speaking about Martin Luther how he would not recant anything that he had written because he would not follow anything that contradicted the scriptures of the Bible.

Peter always leaned on scripture for his authority. The devil can do miracles, so it is scripture we must turn to.

Acts 4:23-31 NKJV
[23] And being let go, they went to their own companions and reported all that the chief priests and elders had said to them. [24] So when they heard that, they raised their voice to God with one accord and said: "Lord, You are God, who made heaven and earth and the sea, and all that is in them, [25] who by the mouth of Your servant David have said: 'Why did the nations rage, And the people plot vain things? [26] The kings of the earth took their stand, And the rulers were gathered together Against the LORD and against His Christ.' [27] "For truly against Your holy Servant Jesus, whom You anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles and the people of Israel, were gathered together [28] to do whatever Your hand and Your purpose determined before to be done. [29] Now, Lord, look on their threats, and grant to Your servants that with all boldness they may speak Your word, [30] by stretching out Your hand to heal, and that signs and wonders may be done through the name of Your holy Servant Jesus." [31] And when they had prayed, the place where they were assembled together was shaken; and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and they spoke the word of God with boldness.

5. The Danger of Asking God to Fill You with the Holy Spirit

There is power in the Holy Spirit. Its what gives us the boldness and the authority to spread the word of Jesus Christ.

It was said, do not pray for easy lives, pray for the strength to face life.

We need to ask the Lord to fill us with the power to demonstrate the love of Jesus Christ.

The best defense against this corrupt world is to be bold in the Holy Spirit.

We are all called to do the work and to bring the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Great God

Notes: Great God
Psalm 139
Guest SPEAKER:Pastor James Merritt
Sunday, October 26, 2014 — 10:00

In today's message, guest pastor Dr. James Merritt, pastor of Cross Pointe Church in Georgia, speaks on the greatness of God and His love for us.

Greg introduced James as one of the best Gospel teachers today. He says James is very quotable.

James came out to speak and said Greg is one of the best pastors in America. He said Greg stands by the Word of God.

James is talking about trying to figure out what he was going to preach today. He said he prayed with his son about what to preach. Lord spoke to James that he should talk about God.

He is showing us a picture of a blue whale and how big it is. He then showed us how big Mt Everest is, then the earth, then the sun, then a giant star, the the Milky Way, then the universe. He says the universe is filled with billions of Galaxy.

Psalm 33:6 NKJV
[6] By the word of the LORD the heavens were made, And all the host of them by the breath of His mouth.

God is great.

It was said that what we think about God is the most important thing about us. 

Do you have a big God, or do you think bad things about God?

Too many of us have little faith in a little God. We need to have great faith in a great God.

Psalm 139:1-4 NKJV
[1] O LORD, You have searched me and known me. [2] You know my sitting down and my rising up; You understand my thought afar off. [3] You comprehend my path and my lying down, And are acquainted with all my ways. [4] For there is not a word on my tongue, But behold, O LORD, You know it altogether.

The greatest knowledge we can have is knowledge of just how great our God is.

1. God is omniscient, He know me.

He knows everything about everything all the time.

1 John 3:20 NKJV
[20] For if our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and knows all things.

God doesn't just know about you, God knows you.

Psalm 139:1 NKJV
[1] O LORD, You have searched me and known me.

He sees right through us. There is nothing we can hide. He knows you from the bottom of your own heart.

If you think you are a nobody and unknown. God knows you and He loves you.

Psalm 139:2 NKJV
[2] You know my sitting down and my rising up; You understand my thought afar off.

God can read your mind easier than you can read email. You can't keep a secret from God.

Psalm 139:3 NKJV
[3] You comprehend my path and my lying down, And are acquainted with all my ways.

God knows it all, His eyes are on you. He knows you better than we say St. Claus knows our kids.

Proverbs 15:3 NKJV
[3] The eyes of the LORD are in every place, Keeping watch on the evil and the good.

2. God is busy watching everyone. 

Psalm 139:4 NKJV
[4] For there is not a word on my tongue, But behold, O LORD, You know it altogether.

He knows what you say and what you are going to say before you say it.

Psalm 139:5-6 NKJV
[5] You have hedged me behind and before, And laid Your hand upon me. [6] Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; It is high, I cannot attain it.

Gods mind blows my mind. He knows you, yet he still loves me.

Psalm 139:7 NKJV
[7] Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence?

You can't hide from Him.

Psalm 139:8-9 NKJV
[8] If I ascend into heaven, You are there; If I make my bed in hell, behold, You are there. [9] If I take the wings of the morning, And dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,

Psalm 104:3 NKJV
[3] He lays the beams of His upper chambers in the waters, Who makes the clouds His chariot, Who walks on the wings of the wind,

You are always as close to God as your u can be.

Psalm 139:10-12 NKJV
[10] Even there Your hand shall lead me, And Your right hand shall hold me. [11] If I say, "Surely the darkness shall fall on me," Even the night shall be light about me; [12] Indeed, the darkness shall not hide from You, But the night shines as the day; The darkness and the light are both alike to You.

We can appreciate that there is no difference between light and dark to God.

Jeremiah 23:23-24 NKJV
[23] "Am I a God near at hand," says the LORD, "And not a God afar off? [24] Can anyone hide himself in secret places, So I shall not see him?" says the LORD; "Do I not fill heaven and earth?" says the LORD.

One thing you can not leave behind is God. You may be lonely but you are not alone, 

3. God is Omnipotent
God can't do things that are contradictory to Himself. 

David looked at the human body to prove God existed.

Psalm 139:13 NKJV
[13] For You formed my inward parts; You covered me in my mother's womb.

One person said the human body is a statistical monstrosity.

Psalm 139:15-16 NKJV
[15] My frame was not hidden from You, When I was made in secret, And skillfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth. [16] Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed. And in Your book they all were written, The days fashioned for me, When as yet there were none of them.

In Hebrew, intricately woven, is a beautiful phrase. Describing the wonderful work that God has done and it is a miracle that the human body is what it is.

Psalm 139:14 NKJV
[14] I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Marvelous are Your works, And that my soul knows very well.

Your body contains 30 trillion cells. If you were to catalogue the information in just one cell, it would take 40,000 books. 

Psalm 139:17 NKJV
[17] How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God! How great is the sum of them!

Psalm 139:18 NKJV
[18] If I should count them, they would be more in number than the sand; When I awake, I am still with You.

King David is saying that he can't even get his mind around the mind of God.

Isaiah 55:8-9 NKJV
[8] "For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways," says the LORD. [9] "For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways, And My thoughts than your thoughts.

When God said that to Isaiah, He is saying that His thoughts are so high above a humans mind, it is not possible to comprehend. To put that in science terms, His thoughts are about 12.3 Billion light years above ours.

What does all this mean to us? If God is really this great God, then what problem do we have that God can not solve.

God is so great, you can not only trust him on earth but for all eternity.

Psalm 139:23-24 NKJV
[23] Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me, and know my anxieties; [24] And see if there is any wicked way in me, And lead me in the way everlasting.

King David wrote this understanding that God sees all of his faults, lust, greed, envy. King David may have been thinking how can God love me as I am.

God came to us as a human being through Jesus, to excuse us of all of our sins. 

He didn't do any of those great things through our technology. 

We serve a God that is a being so great that the universe can not contain Him, yet He is so loving that He will live right in our hearts with us.

Sent from my iPad

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Stewardship from God's Perspective

Notes : Stewardship from Gods Perspective
Tony Amaradio
Company: Select Portfolio Management
Ministry: Faithful with Finance
Family Matters Series at Harvest OC
October 25, 2014 

Tony is giving his testimony. Talking about how he grew up in Detroit. He was selling fresh produce for the family when he was 6 years old.he was 11 when he had a very successful paper route. Played a lot of basketball. When he was a sophomore in college, he went to a prayer committee. He was raised in a Catholic Church home. But he was born again when he was 20 years, he is now 62 years old. 

After he was saved he became a prodigal son. He put all of his focus on becoming rich, he said that was a horrible goal. He got really successful and rich in New York. He said he then fell flat on his face. Left the huge Wall Street company, and got into a huge legal battle with them. It drained all of his bank accounts and he was broke.

He fell to his knees and prayed to God admitting that he was worshiping a false god. He gave up his business which was destroyed any how. That next morning he got a phone call saying the company would settle with him.

At that time God accepted his prodigal son back.

He is now back in the business. He went to a conference that was called Generous Givers. They challenged him to give all of his wealth to God. 

He felt called by God, to give all to Him. He realized that God has called him to manage money. God didn't need his money. God owns him, so he is there to serve God. He did not like to work with Christians at the time. But now he said God called him to work with Christians and Christian ministries. 

He said some years later he felt lead to work with Christians that had no money. 27% of Christians are considered broke. 51% of the country are getting support from the government. Faithful Finances. He is called to help others be faithful stewards regardless of their incomes.

Gods perspective on stewardship. Three parts we all have, time, talents and treasures.

Tony says Treasures is the most neglected part.

Psalm 24:1 NKJV
[1] The earth is the LORD's, and all its fullness, The world and those who dwell therein.

Over 2000 references to many in the Bible.

16 out of 38 parables speak about earthly treasures.

Matthew 25:14-30 NKJV
[14] "For the kingdom of heaven is like a man traveling to a far country, who called his own servants and delivered his goods to them. [15] And to one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one, to each according to his own ability; and immediately he went on a journey. [16] Then he who had received the five talents went and traded with them, and made another five talents. [17] And likewise he who had received two gained two more also. [18] But he who had received one went and dug in the ground, and hid his lord's money. [19] After a long time the lord of those servants came and settled accounts with them. [20] "So he who had received five talents came and brought five other talents, saying, 'Lord, you delivered to me five talents; look, I have gained five more talents besides them.' [21] His lord said to him, 'Well done, good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.' [22] He also who had received two talents came and said, 'Lord, you delivered to me two talents; look, I have gained two more talents besides them.' [23] His lord said to him, 'Well done, good and faithful servant; you have been faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.' [24] "Then he who had received the one talent came and said, 'Lord, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you have not sown, and gathering where you have not scattered seed. [25] And I was afraid, and went and hid your talent in the ground. Look, there you have what is yours.' [26] "But his lord answered and said to him, 'You wicked and lazy servant, you knew that I reap where I have not sown, and gather where I have not scattered seed. [27] So you ought to have deposited my money with the bankers, and at my coming I would have received back my own with interest. [28] Therefore take the talent from him, and give it to him who has ten talents. [29] 'For to everyone who has, more will be given, and he will have abundance; but from him who does not have, even what he has will be taken away. [30] And cast the unprofitable servant into the outer darkness. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.'

1. God trusted us with assets and resources.
2. God expects a return 
3. God holds us accountable
4. God will reward us based on results 

Tony said he is expecting rewards in heaven. 

7 steps to successful stewardship

1. It's not optional
2. Write a mission statement
3. Create. Plan using discernment and prayer.
4. Formulate a plan.
5. Build a spiritual and tech team
6. Develop your implementation plan.
7. Review and update your plan annually.

You need to plan your giving. The average American Christian only gives 2.2%

Portfolio Design
1.Cash for emergency - Cash
2. Taxable investments - 100% liquid
3. Tax advantaged investments - not liquid till 59 and a half
4. Real property - Non liquid

Tony says they teach people and plan for them how to give more money and not change their lifestyle at all. Doing tax advantaged charitable giving.

He says we should not give more to taxes then we should. 

He said he likes Dave Ramsay but there is not much logic in tax advantages with him.

He says most people are not allocating their funds appropriately. 

The importance of investment diversification and portfolio management. 

Investments can be used to hedge against uncertainty in the uncertain economy,

Insured MUNIs:
Tax Free
Nationally diversified or state issued
Guaranteed Interest and Principal Payments.

High Yield Alternatives
Prefer securities 

High dividend stocks have been valuable holdings for decades. Dividend yield is one of the main factors to consider investing in dividend paying sticks.

Equity Index Annuities:
Principal never goes down, but still can participate in the stock market.

The importance of financial planning:
It is critical for safeguarding your family's future.

People don't plan to fail, they fail to plan. 80% of Americans do not have a financial plan.

Gather Data, analyze data, create plan, implement plan, monitor plan, review goals. 

With a plan, many can give more.

What is financial planning?
It is becoming good stewards. What are you doing in these areas.

Legal, tax, investments, insurance, stewardship.

Are you "planning" your taxes or "doing" your taxes.

One of the most neglected areas in the US is uninsured men, leaving their families unprotected if they die without life insurance.

He says they work with the broke, normal people and the wealthy.

Tony is offering a Free Consultation. 800-445-9822

They have online video class called marriage and Money. Ministry is called Faithful with Finance.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

The Hatred of Mind Tricks of an Addiction

Jesus answered them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, whoever commits sin is a slave of sin. — John 8:34 NKJV

As a freedom fighter from slavery to sin, I have put these words on paper before I get so far removed from them that I will not be able to remember them any more.

It was not long ago I was a slave to a master that I could not see but always followed, that I could not hear but always listened to, that could not speak but would not stop commanding me, had no teeth but was chewing me up alive.

Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. 1 Peter 5:8 NKJV

560 days ago I had stopped drinking for the last time. Prior to that I had never been able to stop for more than three to six months using all my greatest efforts. The reason I would go back to drinking is because I truly felt like I enjoyed drinking, I thought it relaxed me; I would say that it was “my off switch”. I was a workaholic and “it was the only way that I could truly stop thinking about work and relax”. These statements were all lies that I told everyone just to protect my abusive master.
“The heart is deceitful above all things, And desperately wicked; Who can know it? Jeremiah 17:9 NKJV
My freedom came when a hero came in and exposed my addiction of all its lies and sins and evil ways. I accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior and He filled me with the Holy Spirit and He did not let any other abusive master tell me what to do.
Sin will not be your master. Law does not rule you. God’s grace has set you free. Romans 6:14 NIRV
The power of the Holy Spirit opened my eyes to the tricks that sin had been playing on me. There are so many different ways for me to describe it; I could say it was like having the curtain pulled back or being shown how a magic trick works. It was worse than that though, it was more like seeing a graphic scene, it was like witnessing a crime, seeing a bully, or a child abuser... it was horrible to see that I was being abused by a substance.
For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death. Romans 8:2 NKJV
Once it was shown to me, I could look back at my life and see how it has manipulated and abused me for years. It was so clear to me: I was being abused, and I don’t let people abuse me, and I sure was not going to let a substance abuse me any more.
Those who are dominated by the sinful nature think about sinful things, but those who are controlled by the Holy Spirit think about things that please the Spirit. Romans 8:5 NLT
The exposure was to the manipulation of my thought process. It was just a short ten days after I had truly submitted to Jesus Christ and had not had a drink of alcohol in that time. But then, the Holy Spirit exposed my old master and abuser to me so clearly that I still remember it like it was yesterday.
      And we know that the Son of God has come and has given us an understanding, that we may know Him who is true; and we are in Him who is true, in His Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God and eternal life.1 John 5:20 NKJV
Here is the thought process that I had, like I had so many times before and never really paid attention to it: Only ten days had gone by since I had my last drink, my wife was happy with me and I was feeling pretty great about it too. But then just as always, the sin decided to creep back in my life. It was a Saturday and there was a pay per view professional fight that night. There was also a birthday party for my wife’s friend and then we were going to do something the following morning after we went to church. We were supposed to go out to dinner with them and a few of their friends. They pretty much all drank. That gave my sinful nature the great idea of how I was going to start drinking again.

It just came to me like a great idea, and the Holy Spirit exposed it as the horrible idea it really was. Sin and addiction took all those things and said to me, lets drink tonight! I thought, no way, I can’t! I am doing so good. God loves me, my wife is happy with me and no way would she let me get away with it. Unless I could blame someone else!
                                          I am watching them closely, and I see every sin. They cannot hope to hide from me. 
Jeremiah 16:17 NLT
I had a great idea: I would blame her. She wanted to go to dinner with her friend for her birthday, they would all be drinking, and I would order a drink and tell her that I felt pressured to drink. She would be okay with just one, and then I would order another one. When she said something I would tell her that she knows I can’t have just one. Then I would order a third one, that would really make her mad and then I would tell her that it was all her fault, that I didn’t even know these people, it was her fault for letting me be around them when she knew I was trying to stop.

After that, she would really be mad at me and I would have reason to take off. I would go drop her off at home with the kids because we were fighting and she wouldn’t want to see me anyhow. Then I would go meet up with my buddies who didn't know I was not drinking any more and watch the professional fight with them and get drunk again for the first time. Then I would get really drunk so that I couldn’t drive, and then I would stay out till the bar closes, because I would not be able to drive. I would then take a cab home. When she wakes me in the morning I would tell her I am sleeping in because I was out so late because she made me mad and I had no way home after I drank because I would not drink and drive. That would get her mad again; she would leave for church and go to the event afterwards. I would get to watch the daytime basketball game and drink again without her seeing.

It all seemed so brilliant at the time. What a great well thought out plan. Except for the fact that it was all a horrible idea with one goal in mind, to get drunk! 
And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:38-39 NLT
The Holy Spirit being inside me was not going to let that happen. That plan sat in my head for hours in the morning and into the day. Then I decided to tell my wife I wasn’t going. I let her know that I was feeling tempted and did not want to be around alcohol that night. Then the next day I had told her some more details of my plans so I could go get drunk. She was amazed at how far I would have taken it. Quite frankly, so was I!
Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world.  But may the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you.  To Him be the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen. 1 Peter 5:9-11 NKJV
It has put hatred in me towards alcohol and addiction to sin. The biggest thing that the Holy Spirit has given me the power to understand is that I was not in control of me. Sin was controlling my thought processes. That is the truth or I would not have been debating myself over what I should be doing. While I knew my wife and family were happy with me and I was not out making myself look like a fool on a regular basis, I still wanted to do it. That made no sense; it still makes no sense, if you don’t want to do something then why would you be doing it?

The Bible says in Romans 7:13-25 ESV — Did that which is good, then, bring death to me? By no means! It was sin, producing death in me through what is good, in order that sin might be shown to be sin, and through the commandment might become sinful beyond measure. For we know that the law is spiritual, but I am of the flesh, sold under sin. For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate. Now if I do what I do not want, I agree with the law, that it is good. So now it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me.  For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me. So I find it to be a law that when I want to do right, evil lies close at hand. For I delight in the law of God, in my inner being, but I see in my members another law waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members. Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself serve the law of God with my mind, but with my flesh I serve the law of sin.

The fact is, that we all serve a master that no one sees.  It can be Jesus Christ or it can be some other sin, an addiction, a hobby, a “passion”, pride, power, money, food, they are all false gods or idols. God has put that void and desire in us in the hopes that we find Him. When we are lost and don’t know God we fill it with something else. 
For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.  

Jeremiah 29:11 NKJV
Only the believer is filled with the Holy Spirit, also known as the Living Water. If we are not believers then we will fill it with something else. That is because deep down we need it. I was once told, true or not, that a source of obesity for many people is that we don’t know how to read our own bodies. That so many people eat when they are actually only thirsty and they have trained themselves that when their body is telling them it needs water that they mistakenly seek food. That is why it is important to always drink water, not just because we need so much but because we can’t intelligently decide to only drink and not eat when that signal is sent out.

I believe the water concept is the same thing with our need for Jesus Christ; if we don’t know Him, we don’t seek Him, so we seek other things to fill that void. The Bible teaches about the woman at the well in John 4:13-14 NKJV—Jesus answered and said to her, “Whoever drinks of this water will thirst again, but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life.”

“No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.
Matthew 6:24 NKJV
Just like always drinking water when you are trying to retrain your body to become healthy. As a sinner you need to always seek Jesus Christ’s Living Water when you are trying to retrain your mind not to sin. For a new believer that could be going to church daily, reading the Bible constantly, praying several times a day, serving in a church, being around other Christians, or something else Christ centered. The basic idea is that you will eventually get your mind to understand it is Living Water that the signal is being sent out of your head looking for, not sin.

As a dog returns to its vomit, so a fool repeats his foolishness. 
Proverbs 26:11 NLT
We all know water takes care of physical thirst immediately; you are replacing the water you have already used and need more of it. In sin you may be dying from dehydration. Replacing deep-rooted sin and addiction may require a great amount of Living Water, but once that thirst is quenched it is immediate relief with Jesus Christ. Do not let your mind tell you that you are hungry for your sin when you are thirsting for Living Water. Just like drinking extra water when you are becoming physically healthy, you need to spend more time with Jesus Christ because your mind is not able to intelligently decide if you need the Living Water or sin.

Christ has set us free. He wants us to enjoy freedom. So stand firm. Don’t let the chains of slavery hold you again. — Galatians 5:1 NIRV


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