Be The Difference — Lesson 7: Hate Your Sin (excerpt)

Maybe you have never given much, or any, thought to what it means to hate your sin or why. Let me give you five reasons why you must hate your sin. First, the simple answer is because God hates sin. We must learn to hate what God hates and love what God loves. God hates sin because it is the very opposite of His nature. The psalmist describes God’s hatred of sin this way: “For You are not a God who takes pleasure in wickedness; no evil dwells with You.” The Bible describes sin as putrefying sores, defiling filth, darkness and a scarlet stain. Also, some sins that are often winked at separate us from God just as much as the so-called “biggies.” “But your iniquities have separated you from your God; your sins have hidden His face from you, so that He will not hear.” Sin always separates. God hates sin because He hates being separated from us. Second, sin tempts us to focus on worldly pleasure instead of God’s blessings. The psalmist says that those who have their sins forgiven can say, “You will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.” […]

Be The Difference — Lesson 6: Practice Repentance Daily (excerpt)

About one hundred fifty years ago, a man named Charlie Peace was arrested and convicted of murder. He was sentenced to die in Armley Jail in Leeds, England. On the morning of his scheduled execution, he slowly walked behind the prison chaplain on his way to the gallows, as the chaplain rather routinely and sleepily read some Bible verses. Charlie touched the chaplain and asked him what he was reading. “The Consolation of Religion,” was the reply. Charlie was shocked at the way he professionally read about hell. Could a man so unmoved under the very shadow of the scaffold as to lead a fellow-human there and yet, dry-eyed, read of a pit that has no bottom into which this fellow must fall? Could the chaplain possibly believe the words that there is an eternal fire that never consumes its victims, and yet slide over the phrase without any emotion whatsoever? Is a man human at all who believes in a literal hell, but can say without tears, “You will be eternally dying and yet never know the relief that death brings?” All this was too much for Charlie to take. So, he preached to the chaplain. “Sir,” he said, […]

Be The Difference — Lesson 4: Rely On God’s Power (excerpt)

In an article from “Spirit of Revival” magazine, from years ago, the author Del Fehsenfeld, Jr. stated four reasons why we don’t have a divine fire burning in our lives and churches today: Reason 1: Because we don’t think we need it. According to the author, we are content to live without it. We have lost sight of the fact that our greatest need is for God Himself. The author wrote, “We have sinned against God and He has withdrawn His manifest presence from us. But our eyes have grown accustomed to the darkness. We have gotten used to functioning in our own efforts… We have become blinded to our true spiritual condition and need. Like the Laodicean church, we think we are “rich, increased with goods, and have need of nothing.” “As long as we think we are doing alright,” he continues, “we will never be motivated to cry out to God to send fire from heaven.” What fools we are to think that we can “do” church without the power of God, while we’re just busying ourselves playing church games. Reason 2: We really don’t want it. We only want the kind of fire “that will draw attention […]

BE THE DIFFERENCE – Lesson 3: Set God Honoring Goals (excerpt)

It’s been said that of all the great tragedies that occur to men and women everywhere, the greatest tragedy of all is that of a wasted life. There’s a story I came across, which you may have heard, about a man that found an eagle’s egg and put it into the nest of a prairie chicken. The eaglet hatched with the brood of chicks and grew up with them. All of his life the eagle, thinking he was a prairie chicken, did whatever the other prairie chickens would do. He scratched in the dirt for seeds and insects to eat. He clucked and cackled. And he flew in a brief thrashing of wings and feathers no more than a few feet off the ground for a short distance. After all, that’s how prairie chickens were supposed to fly. Years passed, and the eagle grew old. One day, he saw a magnificent bird, far above in the cloudless sky, hanging with graceful majesty on the powerful wind currents. It soared with scarcely a flap of its strong golden wings. “What a beautiful bird!” said the eagle to his neighbor. “What is it?” “That’s an eagle, the chief of the birds,” the […]

BE THE DIFFERENCE – Lesson 2: Live In God’s Presence (excerpt)

  The following is an excerpt from “Be The Difference” “We should fix ourselves firmly in the presence of God by conversing all the time with Him…we should feed our soul with a lofty conception of God and from that derive great joy in being his. We should put life in our faith. We should give ourselves utterly to God in pure abandonment, in temporal and spiritual matters alike, and find contentment in the doing of His will, whether he takes us through sufferings or consolations.” Brother Lawrence Whenever I read about men and women of faith there seems to be one constant that keeps them grounded. Even though they face incredible hardship, suffering and persecution at times, they remained true to their commitment to God. Elijah was like that. He was an ordinary man with human weaknesses, but who was firmly grounded in his faith. One of the qualities that enabled Elijah to be the difference in his world was living consistently in the presence of God.  Now Elijah the Tishbite, of Tishbe in Gilead, said to Ahab, “As the Lord, the God of Israel, lives, before whom I stand, there shall be neither dew nor rain these years, except […]

BE THE DIFFERENCE – Lesson 1: No Compromise (excerpt)

Excerpt From “Be The Difference” The Gallup Organization has regularly conducted polls on various aspects of religious life in America. In 2017 they asked Americans, “Would you describe yourself as a ‘born-again’ or ‘evangelical’ Christian?” 42% answered “yes.” In 1992 36% answered in the affirmative. So, there’s been a little growth over those twenty-five years. Personally, I don’t think that 42% figure is accurate. I believe it’s much less than that. Here’s why. Jesus said that His followers are “the salt of the earth.” Let’s suppose that 42% of Americans do actually confess to being born again, evangelical, regular church-going followers of Jesus. If you had 42 parts salt and mixed it with 58 parts of ground beef, would that 42 parts, or 42% make a difference in the way the ground beef tasted? You better believe it would! If you took a bite of a hamburger mixed with that much salt in it, you would immediately know it. If 42% of this country were truly born-again Christians, I don’t believe this country would be in the mess it is right now. In fact, if 25%, or just 20% of the people in this country were committed Christians we would […]