Sanctity of Human Life Sunday
On this annual remembrance day in support of the pro-life movement, a volunteer for CareNet, and member of City Central, Natalie shared with us how God sanctifies every stage of life. This overtly Christian Ministry desires to see women in crisis pregnancy circumstances get completely free help with health testing and one-on-one counseling. Once a woman decides to have her baby, she gets access to parenting classes and practical assistance by way of the Baby Boutique where she can get diapers, high chairs, car seats, formula, etc. Additionally, Healing Tides is a holistic ministry of CareNet providing peer support for women who’ve already had an abortion and are seeking healing. Learn more about this commemorative day and the ministry of CareNet at https://carenetps.org/sohls/
Romans 12:1-2 “Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. 2 Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.” (NIV)
Pastor Chris was away teaching a cadre of doctors about the freedom principles God has revealed and put into practice through City Central. We heard a positive and powerful exhortation from Pastor Dennis Gibson. Dennis shared how we can enter this third week of the Awaken Fast with a plan to finish strong – a principle we can extend to our whole life as Christians.
How can we finish strong in life? Usually we ask, “Where do I begin?” The best starting point is to ask God what He is expecting you to do. Begin with remembering what Christ has done for you on the cross. With that sober reminder, we can orient our time and prayers to press-in through life’s joys and difficulties. Here is the summary testimony of how God has worked in my life. Saved at 27 yrs. old. Grew up in the church, but hated it, so at age 12 I poured myself into the family business. Married at 20 to my high school sweetheart. Our first 7 years of marriage were turbulent. After we had our first daughter, one day before I went to work I looked over at my 2 year-old daughter and heard a voice ask, “do you want her to grow up like you?” It was nearly audible, so answered, “No, I’m miserable inside.” The voice asked, “What are you going to do about it?” Before I left for work, I asked Deb if she had thrown away the bible her sister gave us (I’d told her to get rid of it); she hadn’t. I read the bible cover to cover over the next year. This was key, getting the revelation from God’s word. I focused on reading Matthew to the end. In that reading God challenged me with Romans 12:1-2, “Offer your bodies as a living sacrifice …this is your spiritual service of worship.” Right then, I offered my life to the Lord. But, I said, “I have a concern. What about the hypocrites? How do I avoid being like them?” God replied, “You’ll have to give an account of your life to me. (Romans 14:12)” I asked, “How can I know you’ll keep me?” He turned me to focus on verse 2, “No longer be conformed to the pattern of this world.” I said, “OK. If you can change my life and keep me, I’ll give my life to you completely.” I committed to go to church the next day, by myself, since the family was sick. I waited at the end, but there was no altar call. Undeterred, I talked with the pastor and I discovered that I must be committed to the truth to finish strong.
14 May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which[a] the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.” Gal. 6:14 (NIV)
Five Ways to Finish Strong
- Revelation of God’s Word – revelation leads to transformation (Joshua 1:8 – meditate on the book of the law day and night)
- Commit to the Truth – live your life by God’s word everyday (Matthew 22:37 – “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.”)
- Don’t give up – understand spiritual warfare, Don’t let the enemy point out your sin (instead, trust the Holy Spirit to convict) –the enemy opposes the work of God (Matthew 11:12
- Press-in to Jesus every day – desire to know Christ more, (Philippians 10:16), experience the power of His resurrection (Philippians 3:14 – “I press on toward the goal…”
- God has made you for His purposes – when we fail know that He is merciful
“13For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. 14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made….” Psalms 139:13–14
23Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. 24 See if there is any offensive way in me” Psalms 139:23-24
Search me Lord, see if there be any offensive way in me – pray this every day, God will reveal some to you today and some sin from weeks before. He restores us gently. He needs us to be open to hear the truth and change when he reveals it. His grace is sufficient. Repent and God is faithful to forgive. His lovingkindness leads us to repentance (Romans 2:4 – “God’s kindness is intended to lead you to repentance…”
- What does it look like to others for a person to be double-minded?
- When you see other believers press-in to Jesus, what stands out in their behavior, speech, and attitude?
- According to Pastor Dennis’ testimony and teaching why is it important to finish strong in in our Christian walk?
- How is it different in your mind if you “allow the enemy to point out your sin” instead of the gentle conviction of the Holy Spirit?
- This week, what are some ways that you will ‘press-in’ to Jesus?
- Will you commit to finish strong in this Awaken Fast?