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The Story of the Bible

The Story of the Bible

The Bible has 66 books, but it is 1 story.  The Bible hosts a multitude of characters, but it only has 1 main character.  By reading the Bible as one cohesive story your understanding of the Scriptures will deepen and you will see God working in the world like never before.

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Wannabe Slim? (Video)



">WannaBe Slim (WannaBe Series) from Liberty Baptist Church on Vimeo.


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Charles Finney

When God is pleased with a leader's life, his divine presence is unmistakable.  Charles G. Finney was a nineteenth-century evangelist whose life demonstrated the obvious presence of God.

During a visit to New York Mills in 1826, he visited a cotton manufacturing plant where his brother-in-law was superintendent.  As Finney passed through a spacious room in which many women were working at looms and spinning jennies, he noticed several young women watching him and speaking among themselves.

As Finney approached them, they became more agitated.  When Finney was about ten feet away, one woman sank to the ground and burst into tears.  Soon others were sobbing, overcome with conviction of their sin.  This outpouring of the Spirit spread rapidly throughout the building until the entire factory was singularly aware of God's presence.

The owner, an unbeliever, realized God was at work and temporarily closed the plant.  He asked Finney to preach to his employees and tell them how they might find peace for their souls.  Finney had not spoken to any of the laborers.  He had simply entered the factory.  God's powerful presence in Finney's life had been too overwhelming to ignore.

excerpt from Spiritual Leadership by Henry and Richard Blackaby

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6 - RECALCULATE TEMPTATIONS

For us to see the opportunity in adversity we must recalculate our expectations.  What is God doing in prayer?  What do expect Him to do?  Perhaps what you expect of God in the trial is not what He expects of you.
We must also recalculate our situation.  Our situation may change, but God never changes.  The good and the bad of my life circumstances is not indicator for the way God feels about me.  Don’t misinterpret your lack of health or lack of finances as a lack of God’s love.  It doesn’t equate.
Finally, to see the opportunity of adversity we recalculate temptation.    
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.
Do not be deceived, my beloved brothers. Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change. Of his own will he brought us forth by the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures.  (James 1:12-18 ESV)
In the trial a lot of people get bent out of shape with God.  Why is God doing this to me?  What did I do to deserve this?  In every trial there is a temptation to forsake faith.  And it is here that you see people fall flat.  
There are lots of things that are sinful to which this verse applies.  Some people would say that by God allowing something incredibly hurtful in their lives; some sort of evil abuse that victimized them, that God is evil.  Or, someone may say that because they have a propensity toward a certain kind of sin, that it means God created them that way and so their lifestyle choices shouldn’t be considered sinful.  This verse clearly refutes those ideas by declaring that God is not evil and therefore cannot be blamed for being the source of evil, in any circumstance, in any person’s life. 
But in context, the immediate temptation James encounters is the greatest temptation we face in adversity, giving up on faith.  James is teaching that walking away from faith may be tempting, but it is sinful.  
If your faith falls flat and you walk away, don’t think that is God’s fault, that’s your fault.  God doesn’t allow the trial to come to turn you toward evil.  God allows the trial to come to turn you toward something that is remarkably good.  
The TRIAL IS SOMETHING AROUND YOU.  
The TEMPTATION IS SOMETHING IN YOU.
Trials have a way of exposing our weaknesses.  But what does 2-3 say God’s design is in the trial?  Strength, completeness, to LIFE PROOF you to where you can hold up and stop falling prey to the same junk over and over again.  
This passage gives us a great teaching on temptation.  Sin is much like the conception, incubation, and birth of a child.  If you see someone fall in sin, know this - it wasn’t an overnight change.  They have been dabbling in it for a long time.  It is not a SITUATIONAL PROBLEM IT IS SYSTEMIC PROBLEM.
God allows the trial because He wants to do something good.  Look at verses 16-18.  It teaches us these truths:
  • You have a very special purpose - as the first fruits of his creatures.
  • You have a very faithful God - no shadow due to change, this means we can seek solid truth in our trials.  God gives good things.
Throughout the Book of James we will see the author constantly encounter the failed ends of man’s pursuits with the good things God gives when we trust Him by faith. 
Our temptation may be to walk away, but if we do that is failed faith.  It is not a failure of the faith God gives us, but it is a failure in a version of faith we have manufactured - a faith that cannot remain steadfast and stand up to the trial.

In times of trial, don’t rush to anger or to blame God.  Recalculate the temptation.  God has not required us to believe in something that is doomed to fail.  He has given us a faith that is good - one that when tested will mature and strengthen our lives.
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5 - Recalculate Your Situation

Let the lowly brother boast in his exaltation, and the rich in his humiliation, because like a flower of the grass he will pass away. For the sun rises with its scorching heat and withers the grass; its flower falls, and its beauty perishes. So also will the rich man fade away in the midst of his pursuits.  (James 1:9-11 ESV)
To help us see the opportunity of adversity we must not only recalculate our expectation (namely for how God answers prayer), but we must also recalculate our situation.
A lot of times we gauge God’s opinion of us based on the stuff we have in our lives.  
I am healthy.  I am blessed.
I am sick.  I am cursed.
I was promoted at work.  God loves me.
I lost my job.  God hates me.
A situational faith is fickle.
James chooses wealth to expose our miscalculation of the situation.  The wealthy person believes that he or she must be doing something right because they have so much.  A false pride and sense of security develops.  
The poor person believes that he or she must be doing something wrong because they have so little.  A false humility and a misguided spirituality develops.  
You can’t gauge God’s love based on your stuff.  According to James 1:9-11, we need to realize that situations quickly change.  
James teaches that the lowly brother doesn’t need to focus on his lack, but on the lift.  
He says that the rich brother doesn’t need to focus on his provision, but on his pursuit.  
What does this mean?  Whether we are healthy or sick.  Whether we are rich or poor.  Whether we are in good times or in hard times - it is all a trial of faith.  
There are lots of people with lots of money and God is displeased in the way they are handling it, why, because they are pursuing the wrong thing.  One day, life will drop, they may lose it all and in the meantime they lose their faith.  Why, because their faith was equal to their wealth - which is never enough.
A faith that is based on the blessings of wealth is far from life proof.  When the account dries up, that form of faith will also go bankrupt.
On the flip-side, there are lots of people with little money and God is equally as displeased in the way they are handling it.  Why?  God is displeased because we are so prone to believe in our moment of lack that our greatest need is money.  They think that it is money that will lift them up, but it isn’t.  It is God.  Until your pursuit becomes more about God than money, you will never have a LIFE PROOF faith.

A life proof faith remains steadfast in abundance as well as in lack.  The Word of God determines the truth about faith, not your situation.  Our health and bank accounts are volatile and vulnerable.  God never changes.  Our situations should not make determinations about our faith, instead a life proof faith make a determination in any situation to trust the Lord.  

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