03/27/2015 § 1 Comment
02/24/2015 § Leave a comment
The act of forgiveness is very difficult. An unforgiving person may experience extreme anger, anxiety or hopelessness…or all of these emotions. Unforgiveness can cause others a lot of pain, as well—people may tend to avoid you. What about you? These unresolved issues are spiritually debilitating and can even make you physically ill.
There’s no need to avoid dealing with forgiveness any longer! If you are harboring animosity, resentment or dread over past hurts or injustices, then this two-day seminar is for you! We will discuss and share how forgiveness, with the healing power and grace of God, is the best way to conquer the past, free your mind and soul and experience true rest in Jesus Christ! Join us for lively conversation, prayer time and fellowship! The seminar is free (hotel stay extra)!
Friday, April 17 · Saturday, April 18
Hampton Inn Stow
4331 Lakepointe Corporate Drive • Stow OH 44224 • 330.945.4160
Special room rate for overnight stay (April 17) only $85.00 plus 15.25% tax.
When booking ask for the Akron Alliance Fellowship Church rate.
Book your reservation by Friday, March 20 (up to 4 guests per room).
A free hot breakfast is available for hotel guests
Free internet • pool • fitness center
comfortable and relaxing amenities • shopping and restaurants nearby
Availability will go quickly! Be sure to register today!
Questions? Call Melvin Gaines at 234.206.0345 or visit akronalliance.org
10/27/2013 § Leave a comment
There are moments when you are wrong about something and it would be wise to admit it openly. It’s times like this that you certainly wish that you were right, but everything points to you making a mistake (and hopefully it’s not a big one). Of course, you have a choice in this matter…you can readily acknowledge your mistake to someone, or say nothing, hide behind it and point the finger at someone or something else–in other words, play the blame game.
Have you ever been around someone who never admits when they have done something wrong? If you have, perhaps you remember the frustration that comes in having a relationship with such a person, especially if others around the person occasionally mess up. It can be very difficult to meet a person’s expectations if perfection is the only acceptable result. A person who readily points out that he or she is “mistake-free” will invariably do more harm in relationships than good, and it’s because human beings who make mistakes can never meet the standards of a “perfect” person.
It is rare when a person is seen taking responsibility for his or her actions, and perhaps even refreshing. In order to take responsibility, you have to check your pride at the door and humble yourself. This message is about the act of humility. Humility in action is the essence of godliness and the absence of pridefulness. Using the examples I have just provided, it takes little effort to exercise pride when claiming perfection or blaming others for your mistakes because both of these prideful actions are rooted in the flesh. Humility is in opposition to the desires of the flesh.
Humility is a character trait that must be learned and developed over time. It must be learned and developed because we are not, in our own nature, capable of humility. As a child, you were only capable of communicating your basic needs and desires with dependence on your parents to care for you. As you grew up, you had to learn about right and wrong, “please” and “thank you” and how to be courteous to others. Assuming that you have learned all of these things (chuckle), humility is something that we continued to learn as we got older, and we are still learning to master it.
There is grace in humility…both for you when you exercise it, and for the recipient who receives it. As we learn to master acts of humility, we are to be encouraged to grow in this area as it is a godly attribute.
But He gives greater grace. Therefore He says:
God resists the proud,
but gives grace to the humble.
The art of mastering humility will test six key areas of your life in your quest for godliness and living a Christlike existence. These are far from being inclusive of everything but these will say a lot about who you are and your growth in Christ:
1. Your honesty (trustworthiness)
2. Your kindness (generosity, compassion and forgiveness)
3. Your patience
4. Your perseverance
5. Your respect (for others, your self-respect, self-esteem)
6. Your self control (contentment, temper)
You may have picked up that these virtues make up a number of the fruits of the Holy Spirit:
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faith, 23 gentleness, self-control. Against such things there is no law. 24 Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 Since we live by the Spirit, we must also follow the Spirit. 26 We must not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.
Living a life of humility requires a believer crucifying the flesh. It is an ongoing struggle, but the Holy Spirit enables every single believer with the capability to overcome any fleshly influence or desires. By yielding to the Spirit, you will best be able to do the following:
- Rely less on your reasoning and rely more on your heart
Humility has a positive effect on your thought process. You will invariably take the approach that extends beyond your own reasoning, logic and understanding, and extend beyond the inherent barriers associated with human thoughts to those thoughts that can only come from the wisdom and knowledge of the Spirit:
8 “For My thoughts are not your thoughts,
and your ways are not My ways.”
This is the Lord’s declaration.
9 “For as heaven is higher than earth,
so My ways are higher than your ways,
and My thoughts than your thoughts.
1 Samuel 16:7
But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look at his appearance or his stature, because I have rejected him. Man does not see what the Lord sees, for man sees what is visible, but the Lord sees the heart.”
- Trend less towards anger and more towards peace
In order to understand the nature of peace, you need to go beyond the obvious (for example: no war, no yelling or screaming, a quiet room — these are all correct but you must consider the influence of Christ in your efforts of humility). Jesus Christ’s influence on you in your efforts of humility will remind you of God’s grace to you and how that grace is extended to others. When you recognize God’s grace in your life, you will readily extend that grace to others–even during those times when you have every right to be angry.
7 Our guilt has been terrible from the days of our fathers until the present. Because of our iniquities we have been handed over, along with our kings and priests, to the surrounding kings, and to the sword, captivity, plundering, and open shame, as it is today. 8 But now, for a brief moment, grace has come from Yahweh our God to preserve a remnant for us and give us a stake in His holy place. Even in our slavery, God has given us new life and light to our eyes. 9 Though we are slaves, our God has not abandoned us in our slavery. He has extended grace to us in the presence of the Persian kings, giving us new life, so that we can rebuild the house of our God and repair its ruins, to give us a wall in Judah and Jerusalem.
This is especially true in areas where forgiveness is necessary. True forgiveness is not on our own strength and ability. It comes only from God Himself through the Spirit. As God has forgiven our sins through grace and granted us an eternity of fellowship with Him, we are to extend the same grace to others and put aside our anger.
1 John 3:16-22
Love in Action
16 This is how we have come to know love: He laid down His life for us. We should also lay down our lives for our brothers. 17 If anyone has this world’s goods and sees his brother in need but closes his eyes to his need—how can God’s love reside in him?
18 Little children, we must not love with word or speech, but with truth and action. 19 This is how we will know we belong to the truth and will convince our conscience in His presence, 20 even if our conscience condemns us, that God is greater than our conscience, and He knows all things.
21 Dear friends, if our conscience doesn’t condemn us, we have confidence before God 22 and can receive whatever we ask from Him because we keep His commands and do what is pleasing in His sight.
3 Be on your guard. If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him. 4 And if he sins against you seven times in a day, and comes back to you seven times, saying, ‘I repent,’ you must forgive him.”
14 “For if you forgive people their wrongdoing, your heavenly Father will forgive you as well. 15 But if you don’t forgive people, your Father will not forgive your wrongdoing.
Don’t let your harshness that comes from an unforgiving spirit ruin your testimony before Jesus Christ and others. This is an area that is a stumbling block to many believers because they are failing to grasp the immeasurable grace that God has bestowed upon them in forgiveness for their own sin. As you grow and learn more about God and this grace, you will be less resentful, less angry, and be more ready and willing to extend grace and forgiveness to others. It’s an area that all of us need to work on, and it starts with humbling yourself before God and before others.
This also applies to how well you esteem yourself before God. Satan will trick believers into thinking that they are forever inadequate before God, when God assures us that we are made righteous before Him when we confess our sin and trust that He is true to His Word:
1 John 1:9
If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
1 Therefore, no condemnation now exists for those in Christ Jesus, 2 because the Spirit’s law of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death.
- Know that it is not about you and that it is more about Jesus
Your relationship with Jesus Christ should be far more important than those things that would keep you from living a life of humility: your ego, your reputation, your adversarial relationships, your finances or anything that has an adverse effect on your relationship with Jesus. A humble person is a godly person who is secure and content in himself, in his relationships and acknowledges a dependence on Jesus Christ.
1 Corinthians 8:5-6
5 For even if there are so-called gods, whether in heaven or on earth—as there are many “gods” and many “lords”—
6 yet for us there is one God, the Father.
All things are from Him,
and we exist for Him.
And there is one Lord, Jesus Christ.
All things are through Him,
and we exist through Him.
12 I know both how to have a little, and I know how to have a lot. In any and all circumstances I have learned the secret of being content—whether well fed or hungry, whether in abundance or in need. 13 I am able to do all things through Him who strengthens me.
1 Peter 5:6
Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time.
Above all, humility is necessary for a person to come to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ.
“Repent,” Peter said to them, “and be baptized, each of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
For Yahweh takes pleasure in His people; He adorns the humble with salvation.
9 If you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 One believes with the heart, resulting in righteousness, and one confesses with the mouth, resulting in salvation. 11 Now the Scripture says, Everyone who believes on Him will not be put to shame, 12 for there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, since the same Lord of all is rich to all who call on Him.
7 Therefore, submit to God. But resist the Devil, and he will flee from you. 8 Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, sinners, and purify your hearts, double-minded people! 9 Be miserable and mourn and weep. Your laughter must change to mourning and your joy to sorrow. 10 Humble yourselves before the Lord, and He will exalt you.
Copyright © Melvin Gaines
05/13/2011 § Leave a comment
Doctors and nurses in hospitals are trained to treat patients with various ailments, and in their training one of the more conscious efforts of their care is to help the patient deal with pain. In fact, depending on the philosophy of the doctor, the management of pain will likely be the utmost concern in making sure that the patient is as comfortable as possible, especially in the event that the ailment is inoperable or terminal, or both.
Pain is certainly not an enjoyable experience for the person who must endure it. There are different types of pain, of course. Depending upon your headache and the level of pain that you are experiencing, you may decide to take Excedrin, Tylenol or Advil. Muscle aches may require a heating pad or even a muscle relaxer. All of these remedies are designed to manage the physical pain in your life. While these things are part of the course of life, we also experience emotional pain. The emotional pain we go through may have several outside sources, or it could be self-inflicted due to our own sin, remorse, and dealing with its consequences. The pain may come from one person in your life who, day in and day out, makes you absolutely miserable. Emotional pain, which is derived out of the stress and strain of contentious, prolonged relationships, can be debilitating and destructive, and even cause physical ailments to surface and become prominent if they remain unresolved.
Emotional pain seems to be more and more a part of our society. With that pain comes abuse, and while there are many cases of physical abuse, emotional abuse is just as damaging. In some cases, both may be occurring at the same time in a bad family relationship. I’ve been speaking in general terms, but let’s personalize this message for the purpose of bringing it home to the sufferer of emotional, or even physical pain or abuse, and how to break through and overcome the feelings of despair, depression, and loneliness that comes from the prolonged exposure to pain.
We now need to learn how to manage this pain. Who is the person that we need to turn to and to look to for a step-by-step recovery from the ongoing persecution and suffering that you are experiencing? The answer to all of this is Jesus Christ. This is not intended to be just a pat answer, either. The answer is indeed Jesus Christ, for He is the source of our recovery and endurance through the hardship of pain. This, in addition, is not a short-term solution. For those of us who have been involved in what appeared to be a loving relationship that turned into something you now recognize as anything but wholesome and nurturing, you have a profound understanding of the emotional pain that you have had to endure, or perhaps you know a loved one who has had to go through such an experience. Whether you are in the midst of this or observing someone close to you go through this, there is a profound feeling of helplessness and various degrees of hopelessness and despair.
One of the first things that is to be done in the process of recovery is to be honest about your feelings when you are in emotional pain. First, you need to acknowledge that you are angry. While James 1:19 reminds us that we are always to be “slow to speak and slow to anger,” we are not to seek staying angry because we can’t justify it in the long run. Anger needs to be acknowledged and dealt with. Dealing with it means acknowledging its presence in the midst of your pain. Ephesians 4:26-27 gives us the limit to our anger…
Be angry and do not sin. Don’t let the sun go down on your anger, and don’t give the Devil an opportunity.
Taking your acknowledged anger and turning it into a productive energy will move you into the direction of recovery. Next, take the steps to move in the right direction to calm yourself down. Pain has an effect on us where we need to respond to it. A severe headache forces us, in most cases, to slow down our pace considerably. In our pain, we need to slow ourselves down and calm ourselves in order to hear how Jesus Christ, our Advocate, can speak to us in the midst of our pain. We need to remember how everything we are going through is nothing new to Him:
He was despised and rejected by men, a man of suffering who knew what sickness was. He was like one people turned away from; He was despised, and we didn’t value Him. Yet He Himself bore our sicknesses, and He carried our pains; but we in turn regarded Him stricken, struck down by God, and afflicted. But He was pierced because of our transgressions, crushed because of our iniquities; punishment for our peace was on Him, and we are healed by His wounds.
Because He understands our pain, He can provide us with comfort if we call on Him. We need to examine ourselves and have a heart for repentance as we seek Him. When you slow yourself down, it is an act of humility.
1 Peter 5:6
Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, so that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him, because He cares about you.
Jesus truly does care. His care is not like taking an aspirin to wipe out your pain. His care means that you must grow in your relationship with Him while He provides healing in your painful experience. The essence of your recovery is the desire that you will have to be in the presence of God over time. The sorrow and depression may still be present, but God does not leave you alone in the experience.
As a deer longs for streams of water, so I long for You, God. I thirst for God, the living God. When can I come and appear before God? My tears have been my food day and night, while all day long people say to me, “Where is your God?” I remember this as I pour out my heart: how I walked with many, leading the festive procession to the house of God, with joyful and thankful shouts. Why am I so depressed? Why this turmoil within me? Put your hope in God, for I will still praise Him, my Savior and my God. I am deeply depressed; therefore I remember You from the land of Jordan and the peaks of Hermon, from Mount Mizar. Deep calls to deep in the roar of Your waterfalls; all Your breakers and Your billows have swept over me. The Lord will send His faithful love by day; His song will be with me in the night— a prayer to the God of my life.
God wants your fellowship in the midst of your pain.
With your fellowship, He wants you to continue to seek Him in prayer. There are many verses that describe prayer and its importance, but I will focus specifically on the mature prayers here to underscore the importance of the growth and development of your prayer life as you manage the pain in your life. First, the prayers must be consistent.
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
Rejoice always! Pray constantly. Give thanks in everything, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
Next, be persistent in your prayers.
It is your act of continually seeking solutions to deal with your pain that helps you to bear it because God is present in the process.
Keep asking, and it will be given you. Keep searching, and you will find. Keep knocking, and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who searches finds, and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.
Then, develop your prayers to the point where they are selfless. True growth comes when we develop our prayer life even in that we can find a heart for God to pray for those who brought about the pain in our life. As our prayer life develops, it becomes our way of life.
You have heard that it was said, Love your neighbor and hate your enemy. But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. For He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. For if you love those who love you, what reward will you have? Don’t even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet only your brothers, what are you doing out of the ordinary? Don’t even the Gentiles do the same? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.
In order to be able to pray for your enemies, the act of forgiveness must be at the forefront of your thinking.
And whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him, so that your Father in heaven will also forgive you your wrongdoing. [But if you don’t forgive, neither will your Father in heaven forgive your wrongdoing.”]
Here are verses that continue after the section that refers to anger without sin:
No rotten talk should come from your mouth, but only what is good for the building up of someone in need, in order to give grace to those who hear. And don’t grieve God’s Holy Spirit, who sealed you for the day of redemption. All bitterness, anger and wrath, insult and slander must be removed from you, along with all wickedness. And be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving one another, just as God also forgave you in Christ.
After reading these verses and all of this talk about prayer and forgiveness, how can we pray and forgive others or even conceive of doing this when we are in pain? The answer is that we can’t do it on our own. Look at who we have as our Advocate in all of this…the Holy Spirit. He desires for us to rely upon Him in all of the pain and suffering that we go through, and He enables us to withstand and overcome our pain because He indwells those who believe in Jesus Christ—He reveals to us the truth.
1 John 2:27
The anointing you received from Him remains in you, and you don’t need anyone to teach you. Instead, His anointing teaches you about all things, and is true and is not a lie; just as it has taught you, remain in Him.
With that truth comes one more area where we need to rely upon God’s wisdom. He wants us to be smart and wary of situations where we may come under harm or persecution.
Matthew 10:16, 19-20
Look, I’m sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as serpents and as harmless as doves. But when they hand you over, don’t worry about how or what you should speak. For you will be given what to say at that hour, because you are not speaking, but the Spirit of your Father is speaking through you.
Note the references used here about the people who more often than not are our adversaries. Wolves are predatory animals. Sheep represents innocent prey for wolves. We also remember that sheep also refers to those who listen to the Great Shepherd’s commands. Serpents represent the craftiness, or shrewdness, of those that are operating in the world. Doves are symbols of peace. Jesus wants us to be peace loving in our thoughts and actions yet be smart and savvy enough to be able to use good judgment when we are in difficult relationships or areas where we face opposition, especially from those that we know who wish to cause us pain.
This is very important in your development as you manage the pain in your life. Use God’s available wisdom and guidance through the presence of the Holy Spirit to keep you out of harm’s way.
To summarize—pain management requires the following steps:
- Acknowledging and channeling your anger
- Allowing God to speak to you
- Humbling yourself
- Persistent prayer with a heart of forgiveness
- Using the wisdom of the Holy Spirit to guide your steps and avoid further harm
All of these steps are a long, and sometimes arduous process. Some days will invariably be better than others, but a consistent approach with the steps noted above, you will be able to manage your pain and add salve to your wounds over time. God is gracious even in our pain and difficulty, and He never leaves us alone in it.
Be strong and courageous; don’t be terrified or afraid of them. For it is the Lord your God who goes with you; He will not leave you or forsake you.
Copyright © Melvin Gaines. All rights reserved.
02/22/2010 § Leave a comment
The following is a summary and commentary of a sermon that I presented to Akron Alliance Fellowship Church in 2006.
Last week we were in Hebrews Chapter 3 learning about the relationship between Jesus Christ and us. We learned that Jesus Christ was appointed by God to be in charge of His household, which refers to all of us within the body of Christ, and His church. God created all of us, and Jesus was put in charge of us by His divine appointment.
Therefore, holy brothers and companions in a heavenly calling, consider Jesus, the apostle and high priest of our confession; He was faithful to the One who appointed Him, just as Moses was in all God’s household. For Jesus is considered worthy of more glory than Moses, just as the builder has more honor than the house. Now every house is built by someone, but the One who built everything is God. Moses was faithful as a servant in all God’s household, as a testimony to what would be said [in the future]. But Christ was faithful as a Son over His household, whose household we are if we hold on to the courage and the confidence of our hope.
There is a role for all of us within God’s household that we must be mindful of, however, and that important piece of our relationship within Jesus Christ is revealed here beginning in Hebrews 3:6 where it states “But Christ was faithful as a Son over His household, whose household we are IF WE HOLD ON TO THE COURAGE AND THE CONFIDENCE OF OUR HOPE.” Some manuscripts add the words “Hope in Christ” or “firm to the end.” So it is our responsibility, as members of God’s family, in the body of Christ, within our church and in our Christian community, for us to hold onto the courage and confidence of our hope for the rest of our lives in Christ Jesus. It is by doing this that we remain as members in “good standing” within His household. What do I mean by members in “good standing”? Well, you can be a member of an organization, but as a member there are certain things (at the very least minimum requirements must be met) that must be done within the organization in order to fulfill the terms and conditions of your membership. Members that do these things are regarded as members in “good standing.” If one fails to meet these requirements, it does not mean that your membership is automatically cancelled or that you were being kicked out of the group, but it does mean that you may be a member “not in good standing.” You can also be a member of the body of Christ, God’s family, and yet you are not doing the things that God would have you to do. Here is where your relationship with God may be tenuous. God has one standard for all of us to meet, and if we fail to meet that standard, our membership is classified as “not in good standing.” God does not cancel our salvation or break His promises to us. If we are not in good standing it is because we have failed Him or broken our promises to Him when we accepted Christ.
We fail God, and yet He does not fail us. We fail Him because all too often we succumb to the temptations of the flesh, the world we live in, and we put God in a place far removed from first place in our lives. We fail to obey His laws and precepts and we fall victim to our own selfish desires…pridefulness, jealousy, envy, anger with sinful behavior. No, we don’t lose our membership in God’s family, but we systematically remove ourselves from God’s fellowship because we find the ways of the devil as more attractive. All of this occurs because we fail to listen to what He has to say to us.
In Hebrews 3:7, this is exactly why the voice that we are to listen to, in the form of the Holy Spirit, makes a strong and firm declaration.
Therefore, as the Holy Spirit says: Today, if you hear His voice, do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion, on the day of testing in the desert, where your fathers tested Me, tried [Me], and saw My works for 40 years. Therefore I was provoked with this generation and said, “They always go astray in their hearts, and they have not known My ways.” So I swore in My anger, “They will not enter My rest.”
We need to listen to His voice, and not just listen, but also trust in His voice. We get ourselves in trouble because of our inconsistency in trusting in Him and our failure to truly believe in Him. We are distracted all too easily by the flesh.
Why do we fail to believe in Him? We show a lack of courage versus the world.
Courage is the ability to act on what we know is right and good, and to dare to do what we should or must. While fear paralyzes, it is courage that helps us move ahead.
The Lord is my light and my salvation— whom should I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life— of whom should I be afraid?
Do not fear, for I am with you; do not be afraid, for I am your God. I will strengthen you; I will help you; I will hold on to you with My righteous right hand.
We lack confidence in God and who He is in our lives. Confidence has many meanings. It also can imply our level of faith, our level of hope, and our level of trust in Him. Note that I refer to having confidence in Jesus Christ and not just confidence in us, which is completely different.
The other reason why we don’t listen to His voice is that we listen to other voices. We have been studying in Sunday school about our first enemy who is all-powerful…the flesh. We can never allow the flesh to get the upper hand.
Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body, so that you obey its desires. And do not offer any parts of it to sin as weapons for unrighteousness. But as those who are alive from the dead, offer yourselves to God, and all the parts of yourselves to God as weapons for righteousness. For sin will not rule over you, because you are not under law but under grace.
Pride creates an adversarial relationship with God.
Come, let us worship and bow down; let us kneel before the Lord our Maker. For He is our God, and we are the people of His pasture, the sheep under His care. Today, if you hear His voice: “Do not harden your hearts as at Meribah, as on that day at Massah in the wilderness where your fathers tested Me; they tried Me, though they had seen what I did. For 40 years I was disgusted with that generation; I said, ‘They are a people whose hearts go astray; they do not know My ways.’ So I swore in My anger, ‘They will not enter My rest.’ ”
Anger must be subdued.
In the course of time Cain presented some of the land’s produce as an offering to the Lord. And Abel also presented [an offering]—some of the firstborn of his flock and their fat portions. The Lord had regard for Abel and his offering, but He did not have regard for Cain and his offering. Cain was furious, and he was downcast. Then the Lord said to Cain, “Why are you furious? And why are you downcast? If you do right, won’t you be accepted? But if you do not do right, sin is crouching at the door. Its desire is for you, but you must master it.”
We are to avoid these failures and heed the warnings in Hebrews 3 and 4. Notice the emphasis–in triplicate–within these Scriptures to bring the point home:
Hebrews 3:7-8, 14-15, 4:7
Therefore, as the Holy Spirit says: Today, if you hear His voice, do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion, on the day of testing in the desert…For we have become companions of the Messiah if we hold firmly until the end the reality that we had at the start. As it is said: Today, if you hear His voice, do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion…again, He specifies a certain day—today—speaking through David after such a long time, as previously stated: Today if you hear His voice, do not harden your hearts.
In Hebrews 4:7, the emphasis is not to put off listening tomorrow (which is the response that the flesh will always present to you when it is time to make a decision). The importance of doing it today as referenced means “DO IT NOW!” Today is the day, not tomorrow, not next week, not when you get older and more settled in…today!!!
We run away from God when our life is not right. Look at the evidence of this in Genesis 3:8-11:
Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden at the time of the evening breeze, and they hid themselves from the Lord God among the trees of the garden. So the Lord God called out to the man and said to him, “Where are you?” And he said, “I heard You in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked, so I hid.” Then He asked, “Who told you that you were naked? Did you eat from the tree that I had commanded you not to eat from?”
God ignores no one. He knows each and every one of us, and we cannot and will not escape His judgment.
For the word of God is living and effective and sharper than any two-edged sword, penetrating as far as to divide soul, spirit, joints, and marrow; it is a judge of the ideas and thoughts of the heart. No creature is hidden from Him, but all things are naked and exposed to the eyes of Him to whom we must give an account.
Lord, You have searched me and known me. You know when I sit down and when I stand up; You understand my thoughts from far away. You observe my travels and my rest; You are aware of all my ways. Before a word is on my tongue, You know all about it, Lord.
Watch your thoughts and heed your actions.
You can fool others with your false sincerity.
You can even try to fool yourself.
God will not be fooled.
Turn your heart to Him, and give it all that you’ve got!
But from there, you will search for the Lord your God, and you will find [Him] when you seek Him with all your heart and all your soul.
What about overcoming a lack of courage or the lack of confidence?
Haven’t I commanded you: be strong and courageous? Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”
We are commanded by God to do this. Listen to His command. Remain faithful to the end.