Friday, March 30, 2012

Facebook Games

When I wrote the sermons I have shared in the previous few posts God brought me through something which I shared in the 10.00am service as an example.

I spend a lot of time on the computer – too much time
I am addicted to some of the games on Facebook. One was called Egg Buddies.

While staying at Titoki I thought I would use that time to break the habit.
There is a computer there you can use and I was on it a couple of times.
I prayed about it and asked God to help me break the addiction.
While I was there God showed me and had some things put to me, that showed me a glimpse of what he has in store for me if I am obedient to Him
When I got home I deleted egg buddies, word buddies, a farm game and gardens of time from my profile.
But I couldn't stop do I started another user to just play games. I thought this would help hide what I was doing.
Over the next few weeks God showed me the stupidity of the games. It’s playing with pixels. It’s stealing my time. Part of me had this secret desire to be better than everyone else. To be the winner and beat them all. I would play nicely sometimes and then other times wouldn’t give points, gold coins or eggs to any other players so I wouldn’t help them because I wanted to beat them. I would stay up late just to gain a higher score. I would get cross if I couldn't get on the computer to play the games.
I was addicted to the games.

God showed me the realization of this. Was I prepared to be this addicted to Him.
I so wanted to.
I deleted the games user I had created and other games off my user.
Its been nearly two months since then and I had to ask one of my daughters what one of the games were I had forgotten it.

I have found more time and God is using me.

This became my prayer
 1 To you, O LORD, I lift up my soul;
 2 in you I trust, O my God. Do not let me be put to shame, nor let my enemies triumph over me.
3 No one whose hope is in you will ever be put to shame, but they will be put to shame who are treacherous without excuse.
4 Show me your ways, O LORD, teach me your paths;
5 guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Saviour, and my hope is in you all day long.
6 Remember, O LORD, your great mercy and love, for they are from of old.
7 Remember not the sins of my youth and my rebellious ways; according to your love remember me, for you are good, O LORD.
8 Good and upright is the LORD; therefore he instructs sinners in his ways.
9 He guides the humble in what is right and teaches them his way.
10 All the ways of the LORD are loving and faithful for those who keep the demands of his covenant

Thursday, March 29, 2012

What are You Hiding From

This is the second sermon I preached on the first Sunday in Lent. It was for the 20.00am service which is a different to the early morning one.
This time I have not put in all the bible references but the links over the reference will take you to it so you can read them.

Last year I went for a week stay and rest at Titoki. While I was there I would do readings and studies and write it all in a journal.  One was from The Word for Today Saturday on 3 December 2011.
As I journaled it God gave me a lot more to it and I felt I was to share it.
So here it is.
It’s titled
Stop Hiding!
Written by Bob & Debby Gass,
'The Lord God called to the man, "Where are you?"' Genesis 3:9 NIV 

The reading is from
The Fall of Man
 1 Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the LORD God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?”
 2 The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, 3 but God did say, ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.’”
 4 “You will not surely die,” the serpent said to the woman. 5 “For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”
 6 When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it. 7 Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves.
 8 Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the LORD God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the LORD God among the trees of the garden. 9 But the LORD God called to the man, “Where are you?”
 10 He answered, “I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid.”
 11 And he said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?”
 12 The man said, “The woman you put here with me—she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it.”
 13 Then the LORD God said to the woman, “What is this you have done?”
   The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.”

 21 The LORD God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife and clothed them. 22 And the LORD God said, “The man has now become like one of us, knowing good and evil. He must not be allowed to reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life and eat, and live forever.” 23 So the LORD God banished him from the Garden of Eden to work the ground from which he had been taken. 24 After he drove the man out, he placed on the east side[e Or placed in front] of the Garden of Eden cherubim and a flaming sword flashing back and forth to guard the way to the tree of life.
The first recorded question God ever asked was, '[Adam]...Where are you?' And it's a question you need to stop and ask yourself today: 'Where am I - really?'
If you don't know the answer, or you do but you don't like it, then today's sermon is for you.
When God asked Adam, 'Where are you?' he responded by saying, 'I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid' (Genesis 3:10 NIV).
It's amazing the lengths we will go to in order to hide.
We'll bury ourselves in work or get obsessed with a sport, a television programme, constantly go out maybe drinking or avoiding being on our own, building wrong relationships, getting involved in an affair or building a wall around our hearts - anything but face the truth.
God wasn't trying to find Adam; God knew where Adam was. He knew what he looked like. He knew everything about Adam.
God knows all things but He wanted Adam to come to a place of admitting the truth and discovering ‘himself’.
Until you do that, you're truly lost. And the problem is, when you hide you become a phoney. Have you any idea how much emotional energy it requires to keep up a charade for others? Only two things are worse: being a phoney with yourself and being a phoney with God. Furthermore, you'll find it difficult to be honest with others or look them in the eye. Why? Because you'll be afraid they might look into your heart and see the real you. 
God just wanted Adam to find himself.
We hear so often in the New Age of people escaping to ‘find themselves”.
This is fine as long as we escape to God and find who we are in Christ.
God knows- he wants us to know.
To know the truth – not only of where we are at but how He sees us.
We look at the faults so easily in ourselves and others; what has been out ‘lot’ in life. But God knows us intimately.
He doesn’t make trash or mistakes, so what you may see as faults are His design, the way He has ordained your life even the things we do of our own wills, to make us into the people God wants us to be.
He uses all circumstances to mold us into His people.
1Thessalonians 5:18 give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. 29 For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.
He is a God of love. He loved us so much He allowed His son, Jesus to die for us to pay for our sins and set us free.
Free to be who He has made us to be.
1Peter 3:18 For Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive by the Spirit
If you are not happy at what you see about yourself, it is the sin you see – not the child God made you to be
Deal with the sin; confess it, repent of it and be free from it.
Too much energy is wasted in trying to hide from it.
To much energy is used to be a phoney. Its living a lie; the devil does that, he lies and deceives us. That is what we do when we try to hide it. Hiding or lying requires a lot of energy. To be a liar you must have an extremely great memory or you will trip over yourself.
Is that what you want?
Don’t tempt the devil by entertaining this flee from it.
11 But you, man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness. 12 Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses. 

Today is the first Sunday in Lent.
Lent is a forty-day period before Easter beginning on Ash Wednesday. We skip Sundays when we count the forty days, because Sundays commemorate the Resurrection and is a time of joy and praise.  By observing the forty days of Lent, the individual Christian relives the major events in Jesus’ life in real time and  imitates Jesus’ withdrawal into the wilderness for forty days.
Lent originated in the very earliest days of the Church as a time of preparation for Easter, when the faithful rededicated themselves and when converts were instructed in the faith and prepared for baptism. 
Lent is a season of soul-searching and repentance.
It is a season for reflection and taking stock.
The readings set for today talk about the covenant - the promise God made for His people.

These are from the story of Noah...
We read before this in Genesis 6:5-13
God grieved and was in pain at what was happening to what he created. (v11 Now the earth was corrupt in God’s sight and was full of violence.) So he decided he would destroy all except Noah, his family and two of every kind of living animal - because Noah had found favour in the eyes of God.
Don’t we all long for that?
After the flood God made a covenant that “never again will there be a flood to destroy the earth.”
A covenant is a solemn agreement or written promise to engage in or refrain from a specified action. It is commonly found in religious contexts, where it refers to sacred agreements between God and human beings.
The rainbow is a sign of that first covenant and God is always faithful to it as we sometimes see when it has rained. Do you realise that? All these thousands of years and his promise is still the same. It never changes.
God makes a new covenant with us through Jesus. He will take away all the wrong things we have done. So we can become God’s friends and gain eternal life. But remember the covenant is a promise between two or more. God and us. So we have to stand by our agreement. So where are you hiding? What are you hiding behind? 
16 “No one lights a lamp and hides it in a jar or puts it under a bed. Instead, he puts it on a stand, so that those who come in can see the light. 17 For there is nothing hidden that will not be disclosed, and nothing concealed that will not be known or brought out into the open. 
We are the candle, the Holy Spirit is the light – the flame.
If we hide under a jar the flame goes out. We – the candle are still there but we are in darkness. But when we come out and don’t hide away in our sin we can receive the Holy Spirits’ flame again to be a light or beacon for others to be drawn on and so too be lit by that flame.
Luke 8:18 Therefore consider carefully how you listen. Whoever has will be given more; whoever does not have, even what he thinks he has will be taken from him.”
Is that where you are today? Afraid to look into your own heart? The good news is, Genesis 3:21 The LORD God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife and clothed them.
Adam was naked but God clothed him; he was guilty but God cleansed him; he was anxious but God comforted him. And if you come to Him today God will cleanse you, clothe you and comfort you. He's just waiting for the opportunity to do it!
Make time in the rush of the world to ask God
“What am I hiding from? What is separating me from You? You know all about me – even when I sin I want to be free from it. I do not want to hide or separate myself from You, God…
I confess………………….
Clothe me with your Righteousness and help me to not pick ‘it’ up again so as to hide/separate myself from you. Help me to [James 4:7] Submit myself [yourselves], then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from me [you.]
Come out of your hiding place and let the glory of God – His light in your life shine so that others will be drawn to it.