4 Steps to Handling Impossible Situations

Do you ever find yourself in impossible situations? As a Christian living in a post-Christian society, I’m always in impossible situations. It’s that moment when it all falls apart if God doesn’t show up in a big way. For those living by faith, this is a fundamental tension that followers of Christ must learn to navigate. 

I’ve been preaching through the book of Daniel on Sunday mornings at Reliant in a series we call “Unshakeable.” The way Daniel and his friends stand for God in Babylon encourages me to stand for Christ in our Babylon today. In Chapter two, Daniel faces an impossible situation. The King demanded that the wise men of Babylon tell him what he dreamed and the interpretation, or he would kill them all. What Daniel did next saved everyone and established a course we still follow today. 

First we Pray.

Daniel gathered his friends, and they hit their knees, begging God for mercy and wisdom in their impossible circumstances. 

The fact that God has given us full access to His wisdom in power anytime we need it is an incredible advantage for believers. Yet, in our pride, we withhold our prayers as the last option. God is not expecting you to work it out on your own. He wants you to draw close to Him in prayer and watch Him do what only God can do. 

After Prayer, we Praise.  

Daniel prayed in the expectation that God would give him the answers he needed, and sure enough, God came through. Daniel praised God for his mighty acts and gracious reply. I’m reminded of the story of the ten blind men that Jesus healed on the side of the road, and only one came back to give Him praise and thanksgiving. If you provide a gift for your child, don’t you expect or even demand a “thank you?” You want to teach the child gratitude for things done for them, yet we don’t practice the same courtesy with God. Praise the Lord for His mighty acts in your life.

Next, We walk in God’s Provision.

Daniel now had the wisdom and knowledge to accomplish the impossible task. So, he returned to the King and shared what God had given him. We pray in the expectation that God will answer. God answers our prayers in anticipation that we will act. Faith without works is dead. When God is faithful, we must be faithful as well. 

The final result is God’s Power.

The king rewarded Daniel with a place of honor and gifts because he did the impossible. Daniel ensured that God got all the credit, but God made certain Daniel’s influence grew in the kingdom. The faithful to God walk in the blessings of God. 

You might find yourself today in an impossible situation. You know what to do.

  • Humble yourself and Pray
  • Turn to the Lord in Praise
  • Walk in the Lord’s Provision
  • Rest in God’s Power

If you want to watch this sermon in its entirety, Click Here.

4 Determinations of a Resolute Heart

I woke up two years into the future after a world pandemic to find that I was living in a new country. I pulled up my podcast app to listen to “The Briefing,” and my fears were confirmed. No, this was not a dream but a new reality that I’m still trying to wrap my head around. Here is an excerpt from “The Briefing” with Albert Mohler:

“Well, it’s only been 30 days since the last season ended, and what a 30 days it has been, just one month. This points to something we have to see over and over again these days, and that is the increase in what is known as cultural acceleration, or a cultural velocity. It’s the change that comes so fast now in society, not just at the surface level, but at the deep moral level. This is something that truly is unprecedented in human history. Moral change has often taken centuries, sometimes multiple centuries, certainly decades to take place, but right now moral change seems to happen almost as if it’s an explosion. It’s this high velocity, high energy event that just changes everything, so much so that what was an old world, way back there in the past, can be something as recent as just a few years ago.” (The Briefing, Albert Mohler, August 1, 2022, Podcast

As a pastor, I immediately feel the weight of equipping the church to handle this new reality in which we find ourselves. How do we navigate this new post-Christian nation in which we live? I don’t think I’m the only one trying to figure this out, and I know throughout history that living in a post-Christian nation is the norm. It’s just not the norm for me. So, I started looking at the history of the Bible for the answers to this new normal. 

This past Sunday, we started a new series at Reliant through the book of Daniel entitled “Unshakable.” The book begins with an unrepentant Israel captured by king Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon. It focuses on four young men taken to serve in the king’s court against their will. Daniel’s response gave me the answers I needed to navigate this new world. 

But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the king’s meat, nor with the wine which he drank: therefore he requested of the prince of the eunuchs that he might not defile himself.” (Daniel 1:8, AV)

That’s it! A purposed and resolute heart not willing to defile ourselves with the things of this world. The same determination Daniel made people have been making throughout the ages. If we are going to stand as God-fearing Christians amidst a crooked and perverse generation, we must resolve not to defile ourselves with the world around us but keep ourselves for God alone. 

So here are four things every Christian can do to have a resolute heart toward God.

Determine in your heart to love God. 

The greatest commandment is to love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength. (Luke 10:27a) Setting your affection on things above and not on the things of the earth is the first step of a resolute heart toward God (Col 3:2). What you focus on is what you love. 

Determine in your soul to please God. 

The only way to please God is through faith and trust in him. The resolute heart must trust in God and the Word of God for all life and practice. Daniel was willing to deny the good this world had to offer to stay pure in the eyes of God. Don’t get sucked into the lies this world has to offer. We are convinced God’s way is better than the ways of the world. 

Determine in your mind to serve God. 

Throughout the Bible, God has used his servants to call his people to choose which gods they will serve. When Joshua brought the people of Israel to the promised land, they had to choose. 

Now therefore fear the Lord and serve him in sincerity and in faithfulness. Put away the gods that your fathers served beyond the River and in Egypt, and serve the Lord. And if it is evil in your eyes to serve the Lord, choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your fathers served in the region beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” (Joshua 24:14–15, ESV)

Today’s Christian is no different. The god you choose is the god you will serve. 

Determine in your body to honor God. 

Many Christians are losing faith in the church and disassociating themselves from it. Jesus died and rose again for the formation of the church. The Bride has its problems, no doubt, but you can’t abandon who you are. Once we understand that we are all part of the body of Christ, we can honor him through it. When we choose to world over God, we dishonor the cross of Jesus and the Bride he established. When we live in the unity of the Spirit, we honor Christ and build a dwelling place for God on Earth. 

Purpose in your heart, like Daniel that you will not defile yourself with the king’s meat and drink. 

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.” (Proverbs 3:5–6, ESV)

You can view the entire message on the Reliant Ministries youtube channel

It Gets Worse Before It Gets Better

We live in a world of self-helps right at our fingertips. Just google it! Whatever you’re struggling with, I will guarantee there is an answer, if not multiple answers, you can find right now with a simple search of the internet. So why don’t we take the advice and change our lives for the better? This is a question I have pondered for many years as a pastor holding hundreds if not thousands of counseling sessions with people over the years. Truthfully, I don’t always take the advice readily available to me. Can you imagine what your life would be like if you headed every warning and implemented all the strategies of success that have already come to you? We would all be “Rock Stars” in society. 

There is a simple principle of life that no one likes to talk about because it doesn’t sell well. It gets worse before it gets better! 

Life begins from a place of brokenness. 

Brokenness is a fact of life. We are all born with a broken heart and mind into a broken world system that feeds on our brokenness. The sooner a person realizes their brokenness, the faster they can begin the mending process. 

Our lives are like broken bones. A doctor must reset the fractured bone to heal correctly when a person breaks their leg. But resetting hurts for a moment. If the bone is not reset properly or promptly, it can cause irreparable damage. It gets worse before it gets better. You must endure the pain so that healing can begin. 

So it is in life. Many would rather live in their brokenness than endure the pain necessary to reset for healing to begin. 

Jesus went to great link to heal our brokenness, but to do so, he had to endure the brokenness of the cross, knowing that healing would come on the other side of the pain. So, He endured. He pushed through the pain. And by his stripes, we are healed. It had to get worse before it could get better. 

Change doesn’t come easy.

“If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” Which is another way of saying leave things the way they are. Don’t rock the boat. We are, by nature, creatures of habit. We don’t like change. But change is necessary if improvements are going to occur. Everyone knows that changing your life requires a change in your life. I have heard it said that insanity is doing the same thing repeatedly, expecting different results. And how many of us are living lives of insanity. There is a moment when the perception of change makes things worse before it gets better. You are going to rock the boat. The change will make people mad at you. You will be frustrated with yourself because change is never easy. Whether you are changing your diet, changing your bank account, or changing the music at church, there will be fallout and pain. You must stop doing something and start doing something else, and there is always friction in the transition. 

It does get better.

Most people are so used to their brokenness that they don’t believe it can get any better. A good friend told me, “You don’t know what you don’t know.” When you allow God to be the Great Physician in your life and the Bible to be your guide, you can diagnose the issues and see the solutions that will produce a better life. There will be blood, sweat, and tears as you reset and make the changes, but “no pain, no gain.” Like Jesus, we must endure the pain to experience the joy in front of us. 

Embrace your brokenness. It doesn’t matter how you got here or who caused the pain in the first place. It gets better when you take responsibility for your life and make the changes necessary for healing, growth, joy, and fulfillment. 

Ain’t Nobody Got Time for That

One thing is for sure in this life. We only have so much time. We know everyone has the same twenty-four hours in the day, no more, no less. But time is also our biggest variable because we are uncertain of how much time we have. Time is always on our minds. There are clocks everywhere we look. One of the first things you learn to say in a foreign language is, “What time is it.” You can’t escape it or deny it. 

Even in the Bible, Ecclesiastes tells us there is a time for everything under heaven. Paul instructs us to redeem the time, for the time is short. There have been countless books, podcasts, and blogs written on time management. All because it is an inescapable truth. We only have so much time. 

If there is anything I have learned in the ministry over the last thirty years, people spend their money on what they want and do what they want to do. Lousy time management will cause frustration because it steals your dreams and aspirations in life. Before we get into calendars and systems of time management, I would have you answer some fundamental questions.

What is important to you?

Every time management journey starts with goal setting. 

  • Do you want to start a business?
  • Do you want to be a godly or religious person?
  • Do you want to lay on the beach?
  • Do you wish to spend more time with your kids?
  • Do you want to help your community?

The list could go on and on. You might conclude that many things are essential to your fulfillment, forcing you to prioritize your time and efforts. 

Will you be proactive or reactive with your time?

Planning your time and activities puts you in the driver’s seat of life. When you don’t plan out your time, others will steal it from you. Being proactive in time management allows you to say “yes” or “no” to those wanting your time, even if the person wanting to steal it is you. I remember demanding my girls play one sport at a time because I didn’t want to spend all my time at the ball fields. I wanted them to play, but I didn’t want to give all my time to it. You might say that’s mean, but I would say it was proactive. 

When you work for someone, people think you become their slave, but this is not true. Employment is a negotiated contract. You will work so much for so much pay. If they want you to work more than you agreed upon, you can say no. The more you allow people to steal your time, the more of an enslaved person you become. 

How will you take charge of the clock?

Most people have a time management system of some sort. I’m a task-oriented type of guy. If I can get one major milestone done today, I will feel successful about the day. I used to be a calendar natzi. If it wasn’t on the calendar, it wasn’t getting done. I still use a calendar but more for memory than anything else. 

Everyone needs a system of time management that works for them. I might even write about some in future blogs, but I want you to take control of your life today. We all do things we have to do, but you want to tip the scales to the things that matter most. Do what matters to you the most. Time is not money. Time is priceless, and you never get it back. So, spend it wisely, and the true joys of life will follow. 

When Do I Need a Coach

People have asked me over the years what really gets me out of bed in the morning. For years I would say discipleship because I love to see the “lightbulb moments” as people begin to understand and fall in love with Jesus. But what I have come to realize is that I love one significant aspect of discipleship: coaching. 

There are three main helps that people need while on this journey of life, and I believe all three are necessary at different times in our lives. The big three are counseling, training, and coaching. But, before we talk about when you might need a coach, let’s define our terms.

Counseling

Counseling helps you resolve issues in your past to move forward in life. The hurts and heritage of the past produce certain thoughts and actions that might not be healthy for you or others and often become self-sabotaging and destructive to your future. A professional counselor has studied things like psychology and knows the right questions to ask, helping you become self-aware of your issues. Once the source is uncovered, they give you the skills to overcome those issues. Counselors answer the question, “Why am I the way I am?”

Training

Training is the development of competencies and skills necessary to accomplish specific tasks in life. No matter your calling in life, training will be essential to get you to the next level. There is an old saying, “You don’t know what you don’t know.” And how can you know unless someone is willing to invest in your knowledge? Trainers answer the question, “How do I accomplish the necessary task?”

Coaching

Coaches are usually not the star of the show but the maker of stars that shine. Coaching is forward-thinking that helps you realize your potential and path to be the best version of yourself. A good coach can pull out your passions for life and help you organize a plan to accomplish your dreams. The coach answers two questions: 1) Why am I doing it? 2) What do you need to do next?

The distinction between these three has helped me set limitations in my ministry. It’s not good for me to play the “Jack of all trades” when lives hang in the balance. For example, I’m not a counselor. I have never been trained to see the signs or ask the right questions to help people stuck in their past. After 30 years of ministry, I know people and can give sound biblical advice, but I’m not an actual counselor, and I don’t want to be. I am a trainer in church planting, spiritual growth, public speaking, leadership development, and team building. I have had the opportunity to train people in many places worldwide. These training events have been some of the greatest moments of my carrier. I am a coach. Some of the best trainers have taught me the competencies and skills of coaching as part of the Maxwell Leadership Team.

Now that we’ve established a working definition of a coach, here are five questions you should ask yourself:

  1. I need to dive deep into my soul to find my passion and purpose. 
  2. I’m ready to take it to the next level. (Whatever it is.)
  3. I am worth investing in my future and success. 
  4. I’m prepared to unscramble my thoughts and form a viable growth plan.
  5. I desire some caring accountability as I move my life forward. 

If you answered “yes” to all of these questions, you are ready for a life coach that will bring out the best version of yourself as you press forward in life. I would love to walk this journey with you. Let me help you realize your goals and dreams. And let me be the first to say, “You are worth it.”

Click the button below to schedule a free consultation about your future. 

Finding and Fixing Your Blindspots

There is a vineyard not too far from my house where my family likes to meet. I immediately scooped up one of my grandkids and showed her the vineyard when we got there. My daughter loved the moment enough to snap a picture of the two of us. When she sent me the picture, I could only see the glaring bald spot on the back of my head and thought to myself, “Is that true, or is something wrong with the camera?” So, I went straight to the bathroom, picked up a mirror, and positioned myself to see the back of my head. Sure enough, there it was! I didn’t know because I could see it. The back of my head is not only a bald spot but a blind spot to me. 

We all have blind spots in our lives. Areas that we are unable to see. Like my bald spot, some are harmless and even humorous, but other times blind spots can be deadly. One of the first things taught when driving is to check your blind spots because if you don’t, it can be fatal.

The same is true in life. Everyone has emotional, physical, and spiritual blind spots that can be dangerous for themselves and those around them. People constantly run into each other because they have no perception of their blind spots.

Navigating through life without hurting yourself or others demands that you find and fix your blind spots and become aware of yourself and your soundings. 

Let me give you three easy steps to find and fix your blind spots:

Check your Mirrors.

First, take an honest look in the mirror and see how you interact with others and how people respond to you. If you are not willing to look at yourself, it doesn’t matter what others say. The more you look, the more you will discover your blind spots. 

Next, surround yourself with trusted friends and family that will tell you the truth. Ask them to speak into your blind spots and listen when they do. Your vulnerability will open the door to their honesty. 

Finally, let God’s Word reveal who He is and who you are. 

Seeing then that we have such hope, we use great plainness of speech: And not as Moses, which put a vail over his face, that the children of Israel could not stedfastly look to the end of that which is abolished: But their minds were blinded: for until this day remaineth the same vail untaken away in the reading of the old testament; which vail is done away in Christ. But even unto this day, when Moses is read, the vail is upon their heart. Nevertheless when it shall turn to the Lord, the vail shall be taken away. Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.

(2 Corinthians 3:12–18, AV)

The glass in the passage speaks of the reflection of a mirror. Once you are willing to open your eyes and see, the Spirit begins molding you into his image and removing the blind spots.  

Evaluate your current condition.

As you reveal the blind spots, it’s essential to determine if there is anything that you need to do about it. Sometimes awareness is enough to live with or avoid making things worse. Other times change is necessary to move forward. Then determine if you need the help of others to make the changes. Do you have a clear path to change? Do you know the right questions to ask? Are you able to see the situation from all angles? This is where a counselor or spiritual guide can come in handy. 

Proceed with caution.

There will always be new blind spots to look for on the journey. It would be best if you kept using your mirrors. Fear only comes from the unknown. The more you know yourself, the more you can make the changes that will get you to your destination in life. 

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If you are in need of personal coaching please visit my Maxwell Team Member website. I would love to help you reach your greatest potential.

What does God Think About Money?

“For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs.”

1 Timothy 6:10, ESV

It’s funny to me that pastors are so quick to preach on the evils of money and, at the same time, pass the offering plate. Parishioners walk away, confused about money. Is money good or bad?

The answer is money is neither good nor bad; it’s just a tool. God doesn’t speak of money in a negative light but rather the attitude that people have toward money. To some money has become a god to be worshiped and the end-all of life. There is no doubt that God uses the money to provide things needs for life and ministry in this fallen world. (Although I feel I could argue that money was not God’s commodity from the beginning.) 

Jesus had much to say about money in the New Testament as well. He felt the need to address the attitude of money as he started his public ministry. 

“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

Matthew 6:19-21, ESV

“No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.”

Matthew 6:24, ESV

It is so easy to slip into serving money instead of using money. I even think people use their relationship with God to gain wealth, i.e., blessings from the Lord. In such cases, they are still worshipping wealth instead of God. 

Here are three determinations you need to make about money. 

Determine the treasure of your heart.

Only you can choose God over money. Jesus makes it very clear that you can’t serve both. Money is an inanimate object that can’t receive worship. Therefore, what you’re choosing is self-worship or God worship. What you value the most becomes the worship of your heart. In Matthew 6:26, we read that God values his children more than the birds of the air and the lilies of the field.

Let God’s value of you drive your value of Him. 

Pastor Bill Sizemore

Determine the source of your provision. 

According to the rest of this passage in Matthew six, trusting in money causes you to live in anxiety because all the responsibilities to provide ultimately fall back on you. Trusting in God removes the stress of your life because he can provide what is needed. Once you decide to believe and worship God, you can turn your anxiety into prayers. (Phil. 4:6)

Determine the focus of your life. 

Serving money usually means the love of stuff, and the flesh is never saticfied. Someone asked John D. Rockefeller, “How much money is enough?” his reply was, “Just a little bit more.” At that time, He owned 90% of all the oil and gas in America. Jesus commands His followers to “seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added unto you.” 

The value of money will never compare to the value of God’s love. Use money as the tool it is meant to be, and love God will all your heart, soul, mind, and strength. Love the commodity of God. The man that is loved by God and others is the richest in the world. 

If you would like to watch this message in its entirity, Click Here. If this blog has blessed you in some way, please leave your comments below.

Are You A Hypocrite?

“For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.”

Matthew 5:20 (ESV)

If you attend a church, more than likely, you have been told that church is full of hypocrites. Church people have even agreed and said we are all hypocritical to some extent. When you think of a hypocrite, you might think of “one that says one thing and does another.” And although this may be true, the heart of a hypocrite is a little more complicated.

An actor or a pretender was called a hypocrite. It was not a negative word but a clarifier of the role someone was playing. Hypocrites are sometimes falsely accused of being liars, deceivers, and manipulators. Make no mistake. There are liars, deceivers, and manipulators in the church. But that’s not a hypocrite in most churches. 

“Hypocrisy is the overcompensation of a sinful heart through good deeds.”

-Bill Sizemore

The heart attitude of a hypocrite is to “Fake it ’til you make it.” They desire to live righteous before the Lord, but their heart hasn’t caught up to their will. There is an internal struggle to do good and be right, but deep down, the battle is raging. Many Christians feel stuck in the “Fake it ’till you make it” syndrome with no guidance on how to change it. 

As Jesus taught the disciples in the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7), He set an expectation of righteousness that exceeded the hypocrisy of his day. Let me offer a working definition of righteousness. 

“Righteousness is the people of God taking on the heart of God to accomplish the will of God.”

Moving from hypocrisy to righteousness requires a transplant of God’s heart into the heart of God’s people. Then the actions of the person are genuine and sincere and not hypocritial. 

Jesus gave three examples of hypocrisy in this passage: charity, prayer, and fasting. All of which were done to be seen and rewarded by people and not God. Righteousness doesn’t need the show because God ‘sees in secret and rewards them openly.’

I want to give you three steps you can take to move from a “fake it ’til you make it” mentality to a heart of righteousness before the Lord.  

Transformational Steps from Hypocrisy to Righteousness. 

1. Check the condition and love of your heart toward God.

“And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.”

Matthew 22:37 ESV

A genuine love for God is essential for a heart of righteousness. Holding back pieces of your heart from God will cause the inconsistency we call hypocrisy. No one is perfect, but we do have the ability to love God with our whole heart. Honesty is the first step to righteousness.

“‘This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me;”

Matthew 15:8

Questions to ask yourself:

  • Am I taking on the heart of God through my relationship with God?
  • How is my love for God expressed through my sacrifice for others?

2. Seek the approval of God more than the approval of men. 

God sees the motives of the heart behind our actions. He knows the why behind the what. Therefore, we must strive to please God and not men. 

Ask yourself these questions as you decern your own heart:

  • If no one is around, will I still worship you?
  • Why am I doing these religious acts? 
  • Is it to get closer to God or closer to people?

3. Build an intimate relationship with God from your heart and not your religious actions. 

The gospel (good news) of Jesus and the Kingdom of God does not promote a religion of God but a relationship with God. The more you cultivate your relationship with God, the more you will take on his heart and characteristics. God is a real person that desires to have a relationship with you through His Word, prayer, and His people. The more God reveals to you about himself, the more you can take on His heart and mind. 

Questions to ask yourself: 

  • Do I want the rewards of men more than I want the rewards of God? 
  • Do I desire an intimate love relationship with God that is real and personal?

You don’t have to “fake it ’till you make it.” God can transform your heart if you are willing to let him in. 

This blog was derived from the Sermon entitled “Secret Rewards” by Bill Sizemore. If you would like to watch the message in its entirety Click Here.

9 Characteristics of Kingdom Warriors

“Seeing the crowds, he went up on the mountain, and when he sat down, his disciples came to him. And he opened his mouth and taught them, saying: “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth. “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied. “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy. “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God. “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. “Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”

Matthew 5:1–12, ESV

For years Christians have taught the Beatitudes as a list of character traits that will bring blessing into your life if you perform them. And although that may be true, I believe Jesus is emphasizing a much stronger point in this passage. 

Jesus has just begun His earthly ministry by healing the sick and casting out demons (Matthew 4:23-25) and had gotten pretty popular. There is now a huge crowd following him as well as some disciples. 

Jesus separates himself from this big crowd and goes up the mountain. The crowd is not what he wants and not what is going to change the status quo. He is looking for people that will be resolved to share the gospel even when times get tough. 

“Imagine how the crowd’s attention was riveted on Jesus when He uttered His first word: “Blessed.” (The Latin word for blessed is beatus, and from this comes the word beatitude.) This was a powerful word to those who heard Jesus that day. To them, it meant “divine joy and perfect happiness.” The word was not used for humans; it described the kind of joy experienced only by the gods or the dead. “Blessed” implied an inner satisfaction and sufficiency that did not depend on outward circumstances for happiness.”

Wiersbe, W. W. (1996). The Bible exposition commentary (Vol. 1, p. 21). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.

“To recieve the “beatus” blessings you must be a warrior for the kingdom.” @pastorsizemore | billsizemore.blog

Jesus lists out nine characteristics needed to bring His kingdom’s influence here on Earth. Those that are willing to answer this call would receive a divine blessing for their sacrifice. So it is today! The “beatus” blessing is still offered to those that will answer the call to build God’s Kingdom influence here on Earth. 

9 Characteristics of Kingdom Warriors

  1. Humble (care more for others than yourself)
  2. Willing to suffer loss (committed)
  3. Meek (power under self-control)
  4. Spiritually Motivated (caring more for spiritual things than physical things)
  5. Merciful (loving your enemies)
  6. Kingdom-focused (mindset on heavenly things)
  7. Gospel-Centered (bring peace to situations through the gospel)
  8. Righteous (living set apart unto God)
  9. Resilient (able to withstand the slander and lies of the wicked). 

Now, we get a clear picture of what Jesus was asking of his disciples. These concepts will be expanded throughout the rest of His ministry as he illustrates the sacrifice through the cross.  After looking through the list above, take a few minutes and answer the questions below. 

Which one of these traits do you feel you excel at the most?

Which one of these traits do you feel you need to work on the most?

What is one thing you can do this week to improve your salt and light in this world? 

This blog was dirived from the Sermon entitled The Blessed Struggle by Bill Sizemore. If you would like to watch the message in its entirety Click Here.

How to Prepare for Temptations

“Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him. Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God,” for God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no one. But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death.”

James 1:12-15, ESV

Trials and temptations are all around us every day. We feel them when we wake up and are bombarded by them until we go to bed. For most Christians, they are a daily battle that they don’t plan on winning. But what if there were a way to prepare for your temptations and meet them head-on?

3 Ways to Prepare for Your Temptations.

Prepare through Prayer and Fasting.

“Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. And after fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry.”

Matthew 4:1-2, ESV

Prayer and fasting is a lost art among most Jesus followers today. Fasting is more than the denial of physical things like food but a focus of your mind on spiritual matters. Jesus spent 40 days focusing his heart and soul on God and the things of God.

We can do the same thing in a practical sense by starting our day with prayer and meditation, focusing on our relationship with God. There might even be times when intense trials are coming that fasting is appropriate to build your spiritual strength.

Stand on the Word of God

“Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace.” (Ephesians 6:13–15, ESV)

In each of the temptations, Christ used scripture to combat the lie of the trail. He didn’t try to trick or outsmart the temptation. Instead, he was ready to answer with the truth of God’s Word. They only way to be equipped with the Word of God is to learn the Word of God. You can’t cheat off of someone else’s understanding of the scripture. Either you know it in your heart, or you don’t. The only way to combat temptation is with the truth. Once you identify the lie, you can apply the truth.

Draw Close to God through the Trial

“And he said to him, “All these I will give you, if you will fall down and worship me.” Then Jesus said to him, “Be gone, Satan! For it is written, “‘ You shall worship the Lord your God and him only shall you serve.'” Then the devil left him, and behold, angels came and were ministering to him.”

Matthew 4:9-11

When temptations come, people tend to run because they are not prepared to face them. The whole reason for the trail is to draw you away from God in fear or pride. Jesus drew closer to God with each trial until the devil had to flee the presence of God. The more secure you are in your relationship with God, the more He will be a safe place for you to run. There God will protect you from evil and refresh your soul.

“Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.”

James 4:7-8, ESV

Preparation through prayer and fasting, scripture, and the presence of God will cause you to be victorious over your trials and temptations. Don’t fear them; be ready for them.

This blog was derived from the message entitled, “Passing the Test.” You can watch the sermon in its entirety by visiting http://www.reliant.church/sermons.

If this blog has blessed you in some way, please leave a comment for Pastor Bill below.