How Can I Have Purity, Peace, and Power?

How Can I Have Purity, Peace, and Power?

Date: 10/16/2010 
How Can I Have Purity, Peace, and Power?
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You know, the world produces a lot of garbage and not all the dumps are in landfills. Matter of fact, the biggest dump in the world is out in the ocean. It's called the pacific garbage patch and it gathers from all of the garbage that seems to float in from the rivers, from the coast, from the boats. They dump millions of tons of garbage in the ocean each year and a lot of it floats. And gradually the winds and the waves and the currents migrate all this garbage in the pacific into a zone that is north of Hawaii between japan and California.

It creates a virtual galaxy of garbage, a vortex of trash that is 1,000 miles across. In places, it's so thick you can walk upon it. Problem is a lot of animals get tangled in the nets, or fish that eat the little pieces of plastic think that it's shrimp, or birds that ingest these pieces of garbage and then they have the false sense that they're full and they die of starvation. And it's growing every year, 100 million tons of garbage swirling around in a galaxy that keeps getting bigger and bigger. The great pacific garbage patch.

You know, sometimes we feel like we're caught in a vortex of sin. God says he'll take our sins and cast them into the depths of the sea, and they don't float. So how do we escape that cycle of sin? We're gonna find out today on "M.I.Q.." How can I know that God is listening? Did I come from apes or prehistoric sludge? Can the Bible be trusted? What should I do with my life? College? Cars? A job? Can I ever be perfect? Can I make a difference? Do my parents need me? [Voices overlapping] "M.I.Q.," your questions, God's answers. Are we forever doomed to be sin-a-holics? Or can we break these addictive habits? Join us now for "M.I.Q.." Hello everybody, welcome again to "M.I.Q.," Amazing Facts for teens, and we're on this interactive search for truth. I'd like to welcome our audience who are watching online and on television.

Thank you for being a part of the program. And it's not too late to send in your Bible questions. You can go to the web site, M.I.Q.teens.com, and you can post your question online. You can also send us a text message and the number is 760-523-2287. That's 760-5-afacts.

Now friends, we have a theme song that we sing at the beginning of each of our programs and we're gonna do that right now, so I'm gonna invite our song leaders to please come forward. Immediately following our theme song, delancey will have our opening prayer. Let's stand as we sing. [Music] when I gaze up at the countless stars we're on an endless sea my mind may swim with questions bewildering to me but then I read the Bible and seek your face in prayer I'm satisfied remembering your loving grace and care whatever questions I may have whether great or small I know Jesus died to save me and that he forgave me Jesus is the answer to it all Jesus is the answer to it all I have so many questions I wonder in my heart how something comes from nothing when did forever start? Why can't I see your glory? Where is the promised land? I'll trust that you will lead me there if I can take your hand whatever questions I may have whether great or small I know Jesus died to save me and that he forgave me Jesus is the answer to it all Jesus is the answer to it all ♪ dear Jesus, thank you for this beautiful day, thank you for waking us all up. Thank you that [inaudible] had this opportunity of hosting "M.I.Q..

" And lord, help us all to get a blessing out of what Doug Batchelor has to say to us today. Please send your Holy Spirit and just envelop the church with your heavenly angels. Thank you for your love and forgiveness, lord, amen. [Music] amen. Good to see each of you here today.

And again, thank you kelly, to our singers. And I wanna welcome our friends to this special program, Amazing Facts for teens, alias "my-q," "M.I.Q.," or "my-iq." Deals with the most important questions. And so we're gonna be talking about some really important questions relating to how do young people relate to the truth and what are some of these Bible answers for the conundrums of life? Not gonna be dealing with the trivia, but the big questions. So are we ready? We're ready. Let's go ahead and take a look at our first question.

Hi, my name is brittany and my question is, if I'm going to church but I am not getting anything out of it, do I still have to go? Going to church, but you feel like you're not getting anything out of it, do you still need to go? Being part of the body of Christ is a commitment. It's like a marriage and they were baptized into the body of Christ. You know, there's always something that you can do to receive a blessing at church. Maybe I should back up and approach this differently. What is the principle reason that you go to church? To get something out of it or to give? Are you going to get or to give? Do we go to church to get? You know, I think that our culture today, because we're such an entertainment-oriented culture, that we automatically think church is another means of entertainment, and if the pastor and the service is entertaining, well, then I'll keep coming.

If not, they gotta win my ratings. But a Christian, really, biblically, you go to church to give God your love, your worship, to sing his praises, to give your offerings. And if you get something, that's gravy. Isn't that right? Don't we really go because we love God, to worship him? And so, if you go, Bible says, "it's more blessed to give than receive." If you go to church and your idea is, "I'm going to give God my thanks and my praise and my worship and my love," and you get somethin', that's the-- a benefit. But if you go with that attitude, you will receive.

And you know, if sometimes-- pastors sometimes can get monotonous. I'm one, I know. I know sometimes I fire blanks when I preach. Well, you got your Bible. I hope you bring your Bible to church.

If you don't bring it to church, where are you bringin' it? Bring your Bible to church and read the Bible while you're there. But go to worship God, that's the principle thing, and you will get a blessing. All right, thank you Pastor Doug. Let's take a look at our next question. [Music] this is a text question that's coming from louisville, Kentucky.

"Can a homosexual repent and become straight again?" You know, we included this because we got a lot of questions around this theme. In our culture today, there is sort of an epidemic of people who are struggling with these tendencies and I think it's accentuated by a couple of things. One is the rate of people struggling with homosexual tendencies has gone up at the same rate as the deterioration of the home with two parents. It also happens in other situations, I realize. And also the media is really bombarding people with a message that is seeking to normalize these tendencies.

Well, the Bible's pretty clear and I wanna read you some verses that I think will give you some encouragement. And this is from 1 Corinthians 6:9. This is very plain, so listen here. "Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the Kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters," that's people who are having sex, you know, with--heterosexual sex, "nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the Kingdom of God.

" This can't be misunderstood. But keep reading, "and were," it says, "and such were some of you. But you have been washed, you have been sanctified, you have been justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God." So he says the church is composed of people who had all kinds of backgrounds. That means there were adulterers, idolaters, extortioners, homosexuals, and a few other things that are itemized. And he says, "such were," were, past tense, "some of you.

But you have been sanctified, you have been purified." Can God save us from every sin? Can he? Can you--how much can you do through Christ? All things are possible with God. I can do all things with Jesus. And people who struggle with these tendencies, you can get the victory, too, amen? All right. Thank you, Pastor Doug. Let's take a look at our next question.

Hi, my name is clay. Why is God referred to in the Bible as a guy and not a girl? Why is the Lord referred to in the Bible as a he and not a she? Because hes are better. [Laughing] I just did that to get a reaction. The Bible is written from a patriarchal perspective. In the beginning, God created man and men were designed by God to be the leader-servants in the families.

And so, you'll find all through the Bible the men offered sacrifice, the men were the patriarchs in the family, and when it follows the genealogies in the Bible, the men were to be the providers and the protectors. And so because God is our Father in Heaven, he's often referred to in that way. But you know, there's times in the Bible that God also shows the mother or the feminine side. He says, you know, "as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, so I sought to protect you, o Jerusalem. And as a mother cannot forget her children, how could I forget you?" And so, you know, the Lord, he doesn't--we often try and pin a gender on God.

God made both genders in his image, amen? Amen. Let's take a look at our next question. [Music] this is a question from Montana city, Montana. "Is dating a non-Christian bad?" Well, if you're a non-Christian, it's probably not that big an issue. You can be lost together.

But if you're a Christian, for you to date a non-Christian, it says in the book of Amos, "can two walk together unless they're agreed?" And what it means by that together, in the same direction. It's hard for people to go in two opposite directions if they don't agree. And matter of fact, you can read in 2 Corinthians, tells us in 6:14, "do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness? And what accord has belial," that's the devil, "has Christ with belial? Or what part has a believer with an unbeliever? What agreement has the temple of God with idols?" Your body becomes the temple of God. And so, no, it brings a whole basket load of problems when people--there's already challenges in marriage.

You multiply that times ten when you get somebody who says, "I don't believe in Christ, I don't want to go to heaven, I don't wanna follow the Bible," who is linking their life and becoming one flesh with someone who says, "I do." And you have to ask yourself, "does the Christian love God supremely or are they making an idol out of this other person and putting them ahead of God?" So, what do you think, that made sense? Made sense. Yeah, simple answer would be believers should not get emotionally involved with unbelievers. Now you should witness to unbelievers. I mean, God--that's what Jesus sent us to do. There's a difference between being a witness and being a friend, where you're influencing each other.

There is a big difference. All right. Well, thank you Pastor Doug. And again, it's not too late to send us your Bible question. Those of you who are watching, you can go to the M.I.Q. teens web site, M.I.Q.teens.

com, and you can post your question online or send us a text message, 760-523-2287. Pastor Doug, the time is yours. Thank you, Pastor Ross. And thank you again, friends, for being here today. For those who are watching, I wanna welcome you one more time to this special program, where we're going to be talking about the most important question.

Jesus came to save us from our sins. We all have a very serious attraction to sin. It's ingrained in our natures. It requires a miracle of heart and brain surgery to change us. So, even though it's true that Jesus died for the sins of the whole world, and once we come to Christ and we accept his forgiveness and we are justified and our past record of sin is washed away, we still live in a sinful world, we're surrounded by minions of evil that wanna tempt us and get us into trouble, we've already got this natural tendencies of sin in our selfish natures.

How do we break the cycle? How can we be free from sin and temptation? Or at least how do we survive in this world? Now, does everyone know as long as you're in this world, you're going to be tempted, there's going to be struggles? Some of you probably have gotten discouraged before or you have felt like you've been sort-of stuck in a cycle of you sin and you repent and you might have a little joy and peace for a while, and then you fall and you sin and you repent. And how do you break out of that and have a more consistent, victorious life? Well, first let me explain. Christians still make mistakes and sin and fall. That doesn't mean that you don't love and believe in the Lord. What I read in the Bible is what really makes the difference for a Christian is, once you accept Christ, sin no longer has dominion over you.

Christ is now on the throne of your heart. He is your lord. It is not ruling you. You are not enslaved. Before you're set free by Jesus, you can't really control yourself.

You're just drug around wherever temptation and the devil takes you. But when the Lord comes into your life, you then begin to experience victory and he makes changes. And you know, I always like to put it this way. Do you believe that the devil can tempt you to sin? Let me see, you believe that? I do, right? Do you believe that Jesus can keep you from temptation? If you believe that the devil can tempt you, but you doubt that Jesus can keep you, you in effect are saying, "I think that the devil's more powerful than Christ." Or at least you're--you've got more faith in the devil than you do in Jesus. "Greater is he that is in you than he that is in the world.

" Believe in God. How are we saved? "The just shall live by faith." We are saved by grace through faith. Don't underestimate the power of faith in God and what he can do to set you free. Well, we need to get into our lesson or I can become distracted by my own ramblings here. Question number one, why do I sometimes get trapped in cycles of destructive behavior? Answer, Jeremiah 17:9, "the heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked.

Who can know it?" After man fell, something happened to our hearts. We've got this addiction to sin. Before, man was motivated by love, it was natural for him to love. But then after we fell, it became very natural to be selfish and to think only about ourselves. It's a miracle of grace that teaches us to love again.

You can read in the book of job 5:7, "yet man is born to trouble, as the sparks fly upward." You've seen sparks in the fire. You know, if you've got a fire and coals going, you toss another piece a wood in, sparks will fly up. They go up with the heat. We have this magnet in our lives and temptation pulls on us--sin, and it says we always are gonna feel in this life this attraction of your lower nature towards sin. Well, how do you get out of that? By just trying a little harder? There is something you need to do.

The biggest responsibility for a person in getting the victory over sin is coming to the Lord and maintaining a relationship with him. He is the power. When I was in russia years ago, we were in this town of stavropol and they had a lot of buses there that were powered by electricity. They had these bars that ran along these wires and the wires would go around the turn, the bus would go around a turn. They had no gas in the bus.

It all was powered by the wires overhead. And I don't know what happened, but one day a driver got a little too happy going around a turn and he drove out from underneath the wires. So the people had to climb off the bus. And they decided, "well, we don't have any power anymore, let's just push the bus to our destination." Is that what they did? No, they said, "let's push the bus back underneath the wires and reconnect the lever overhead, then we'll get back onboard the bus." Their effort was is reconnection. I'm embarrassed to tell you that I was hooking up a computer one day and I got all these components.

You know, I got the printer and I've got the computer and I got the monitor and different things. And you have a power strip. Everyone here know what a power strip is? Got all the plugs and then one plug that, you know, goes into the wall. And after hookin' it all up, I went back up there and I couldn't get anything to turn on. And I thought, "what's the matter, what am I doing wrong?" And I checked everything, I kept pressin' all the different buttons, nothin' would turn on.

I went down and got under the desk, I looked, I'm embarrassed to tell you, when it came time to plug in the power strip, I had plugged it into itself. [Laughing] now in case you didn't know, that doesn't work! And sometimes we think, "you know, if I just try a little harder," and then we just plug into ourselves for the power, and nothing's gonna happen. There is no power. You've gotta be plugged into the Lord if you want that power. While I'm at it--now I didn't do this, but you know, I heard something pretty funny.

A lady, her first experience with a computer, she decided to do some online shopping. And as she went to make her purchase and check-out, it said--it asked for a credit card. She opened up the dvd bay and stuck her credit card in it. [Laughing] and wondered why it wasn't working. I've heard some interesting stories.

Anyway, so we gotta break that cycle of sin by staying plugged into the power that Jesus provides. Number two, how does the Bible describe this condition? We've all got this natural sin in our natures. Paul puts it this way in Romans 7:19, "for the good that I will to do, I do not do; but the evil I will not to do, that I practice." You know, when we don't have the Lord in our lives, we may have some desire to want to do the right thing, but without the power of the Holy Spirit, we don't know how to do it. We keep gravitating back towards the wrong thing. It becomes so automatic.

It's like these parents that gave their 8-year-old boy an axe for his birthday and said, "now just don't chop anything." What do ya think he did? He just began to quiver in his hands as soon as he held it. He just said, "chop, chop, chop, chop," had to chop something. Or it's like the man, had a problem with his weight and part of the problem was because he stopped at the doughnut shop every day on the way to work. And so he thought, "well, I'm gonna pray about that." So he prayed and he said, "lord," he says, "I know that I'm probably eating too many doughnuts," but on the way to work he knew he had to drive by the doughnut shop and he really started cravin' those doughnuts 'cause he was in the habit of eating doughnuts every day and he felt this great battle going on. And he finally prayed, he said, "all right, lord, maybe it's your will for me to eat the doughnuts.

And if it's your will for me to eat the doughnuts, then there'll be a parking place directly in front of the entrance when I drive by, and that I'll take as a sign," because he knew it was so busy during rush hour, there was never any parking. And he told his friends at work, "it must be God's will for me to eat doughnuts because there was a parking place there after I went around the block eight times. I found it!" [Laughing] and we keep looking for openings to sin because we've got this carnal nature inside that gravitates towards it. And so it takes an outside power to give us that victory. the Lord has to be the center of our lives, which brings us to question number three.

How can I make God the center of my life? You know, we often hear questions during a program like this, "how do we fit God into our lives?" And really, you're asking the wrong question. Make God the foundation. Make sure that he permeates everything. He is the water that you drink, he is the air that you breathe, and then from there you say, "how do I fit everything else in?" I remember where I was--I'm embarrassed again to tell you. Someone asked me to take care of an appointment one time and I said, "I can't take care of an appointment because Karen is gone that day and I'm babysitting.

" And she looked at me and she said, "if they're your kids, you're not babysitting. It's called parenting." I said, "oh yeah. That's supposed to be a priority, isn't it?" And sometimes we act like we've gotta fit in these important things. We've gotta remember what are the most important things? If Jesus is the middle of your life, that means that-- start the day with him. First thing you do.

When I open my eyes, many times before I even get outta bed, I don't even want my feet to hit the floor without the Lord. And I thank God that I'm alive another day. And then one of the first things I do, I usually get up and get my scruples together, get a cup of hot water, then I get on my knees and I pray. Sometimes it's hard to pray when you're too sleepy, 'cause you're still kinda driftin' off. So I walk around for a second, I wake up, and then I pray.

And prayer isn't just talking to God, saying, "here's my list for the day." I like to listen. And I wanna hear if the Holy Spirit's reminding me of something God wants me to do. So you have a relationship where God is with you in the day, he's your friend, you communicate with him. It's not that he's a thing out there, it's not that he's a philosophy or an idea, and you go through this ritual of saying these prayers over and over again. You know, in our family, we've seen it with our kids.

You've got the wake-up prayer--we have worship in our family. And then you got the prayer, "dear lord, thank us--we thank you for the food." Then you go to sleep at night and you say, "thank you for a good day. Keep us through the night, keep us safe." And you know, we get into the habit of prayer sometimes where--I've done it, our kids do it. We kneel down and we're having our goodnight prayer, and one of the kids will say, "dear lord, thank you for this food. Please bless it.

" Because it's such a habit, "is this prayer number one, prayer number two, or prayer number three?" And you know, that's not really prayer, is it? You wanna open your heart to God, tell him what's on your heart. And you know, if you can't think of anything, say, "lord, help me pray." There's nothin' wrong with that. Be honest with him, he's real. But you need an ongoing relationship with him. How do you make him the center of your life? You can read in Jeremiah 29:13-14, it says, "you will seek for me and you will find me, when you search for me with all of your heart.

" What is the great commandment? "Thou shall love the Lord your God with all of your heart." If you don't love the Lord, you can't obey him. Now how many of you expect to fall in love someday? I'm not asking you if you're in love now. If you are, you can still raise your hand. But how many of you are hoping to fall in love someday with somebody? I mean, that's natural, that's normal. I hope that you have that feeling, okay.

Do you expect to be experiencing love at first sight? Do you think that you'll just be walkin' around one day and all of a sudden, you'll look at somebody and you'll-- violin music and bells in the background. And they'll have a halo around 'em and you'll hear an inner voice saying, "this is the one." [Laughing] is that how you're expecting it to happen? Oh, you know, you might have attraction at first sight. And you know, God can sometimes reveal a person supernaturally, "this is the one for you," I'm not doubting that. I think more times than not, it's not love at first sight. I think sometimes it's lust at first sight, you think they're just really good lookin', and you think, "wow, that's the one!" But do you know how it usually happens? You begin to talk to somebody and they talk to you, and you say, "you know, I really like the essence of who this person is.

" And they say, "I really like this person." You get to know their character. And you love who they are. Well, if you know God, you will love God. Jesus said, "if you love me, keep my commandments." You cannot keep God's commandments if you don't love him. A lot of people struggle in being Christians, and you know why they're havin' a hard time? Because they don't love the Lord.

You know what makes loving the Lord so easy? When you get to know him. How do you get to know somebody? How are you gonna fall in love? Communication. Someone will be talkin' to you, you'll be talkin' to them, you'll be spending time together, you develop a love relationship, and then you'll say, "boy, I wanna be with you forever. I don't wanna do anything to hurt you 'cause I love you." When you have communication with God, you talk to him through prayer, he speaks to you through His Word, through providence, when you have that relationship with God, you're gonna fall in love with him, you're gonna get to know who he really is. Not just listenin' to what the preacher's telling you about God, but you're really gonna have a personal experience with him and know him as an individual.

You'll love him and you'll want to obey him. And that will change everything in your life. Better you know him, the more you'll love him. The more you love him, the better you'll serve and obey him. So take time to get to know him.

Hey, we've got a text question that's come in. [Music] this is from bermuda, and it says how do you know if the Holy Spirit has forsaken you? How do you know if you've grieved away the Holy Spirit? You know, a lot of people feel that way because they just feel like, "you know, I don't feel God's talking to me." Usually when you are living in defiance to God's will, it seems like the voice of the Holy Spirit gets quiet and we begin to wonder if he's given up on us. Typically, when a person is asking that question, God has not given up on you because you have an interest in the question. I especially worry about people who are not even asking that question, they don't even care to ask it. In most cases, when someone is wondering, "have I grieved away the Holy Spirit? How come I can't hear the voice of the Lord?" That means he's still calling you, but it's a still, small voice.

You need to listen to that voice and come to him, call out to him. He's still very real. Question number four, how can I be sure that God wants a relationship with me? Well, you know, there's a lot of evidence in the Bible for this. A good Scripture is Jeremiah 31:3, where the Lord tells us, "the Lord has appeared of old to me, saying, 'yes, I have loved you with an everlasting love. Therefore with loving kindness I have drawn you.

'" God draws us with him because he loves us with an everlasting love. Years ago, there was a boy that lived in one of these midwestern towns and he became good friends with a local blacksmith. He liked to watch the blacksmith work. He was so strong and he just really enjoyed watching him operate the billows and shaping the horseshoes and making different things out of steel and forging metal. And the blacksmith grew pretty fond of the boy because he'd stay there every day after school and they'd talk together and they got to be pretty good buddies.

Then one day, while the blacksmith was working, he heard the alarm of a fire. They were ringing the bell, calling for the volunteer fire department to come together, and he was part of that. And he ran to the place in town where a 3-story house was on fire and it was timmy carpenter's house, the boy that he had become friends with, and there he was, on the top floor of the house, out sticking his head out of the window. Smoke was billowing out, black smoke above his head, and he was calling for help. It was a little too high to jump.

Well, it was a brick building and there was actually a iron fire railing steps that had been engraved in the side of the building. If you lived in New York city, you know what I'm talking about. They have those on all those brownstone buildings. And several people tried to go up and get the boy, but the fire had made the iron staircase, or the iron ladder, too hot. Well, the blacksmith, his hands were pretty used to it and he still had his gloves on running from the shop.

He said, "hang on, timmy, I'm coming." And even though the ladder was red hot, he went up. His shoes were beginning to melt under his feet, his hands were burning even through his leather gloves, but he got up to the third floor and he said, "jump! Jump timmy! Jump to my back!" Timmy was able to jump. He got about halfway down, he couldn't hang on anymore because the burning was too bad. He let go and they fell to the ground but they both survived. Well, the tragedy was in the fire his mother and his father had been killed.

And they had no relatives that lived anywhere close by. And so they had some proceedings in the town to find out who was going to adopt timmy. Things were very simple back then. And the carpenter--or the blacksmith showed up and he said, "I'd like to have timmy carpenter as my son." And timmy said, "I'd like to go with him too." And the judge says, "you know, you don't have a very good income," he said to the blacksmith, "and you know, there's other families that have offered to take him. They can provide a much better education.

" And it was just breaking the heart of the blacksmith because he loved the boy so much and they had a relationship. And finally, as a last plea, when the judge says, "is there any other evidence that you can offer that he should live with you?" He says, "you don't have a wife. You don't make enough money." And you know what he did? He held out his hands that were terribly scarred from the burns of saving the boy. He says, "this is all I can offer." He says, "I love him." And you know, this is what Jesus is telling us. He says, "if you have any doubts about how much I love you, just look at my hands.

Look at how much I paid to save you." What more would you ask of a person to prove their love for you than giving their life? Sometimes we give little gifts to show people we love them. But what more can you give than your life? I'll tell you there's something more. If you give the life of your son, you give the life of your child, "God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son." The only time that God became a man was in God The Son, Jesus. And God The Father allowed-- the greatest love he has for any being in the cosmos was the love he has for Jesus. And he allowed Jesus to come and to suffer because he loves you so much.

The devil wants to destroy you. The only thing the devil loves is himself. You get to choose which family you want, the one who loves you or just follow the devil who is offering you the fleeting pleasures of the world that will leave you empty and grieved. Question number five, can just praying and reading my Bible change me? Does that really work? Seems like it's just a shallow effort. Answer? Matthew 4:4, Jesus said, "it is written, 'man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.

'" There is power in the word of God. It is not simply black ink on white paper. These are the words of God. It's different from any other book. And when you pray for the Holy Spirit and you ask God to guide you and you read this sacred book, the words come alive.

Keep in mind, this is Jesus. This is the bread of life. The Bible says Christ was the word and he said, "unless you eat my flesh and drink my blood, you have no life in you." When you are reading the Bible, you are in a sense eating his flesh. You are taking Christ within you, this bread of life, and it does something for you. And you may not notice the difference right away, but you keep doing it, you'll notice a big difference.

You see, you have two natures that are at war inside of you. Now some sports hero was arrested a couple of years ago because he was engaging in dog fights. And that's kind of brutal, but it's more common in other parts of the world. Now if you take two dogs, just as an illustration, same breed, two male dogs, same height, same weight, same age, and you take one and you put him in a yard and you chain him 3 inches of chain from his neck in the middle of the yard out in the sun and for 4 days you don't give him any food or any water or any exercise, now that would be terrible. Illustration.

You take the other dog, you give him the best food, you give him exercise, plenty of water. At the end of 4 days, you have those 2 dogs fight. Which one do you think is going to win? The one that has been cared for the best. The one that's going to have the strength and the energy. You might think, "well, the other one's more ferocious.

" Well, he'll be weak. You've got two natures that are at war inside of you. It's called the Spirit and the flesh. We all have it. You know what makes the biggest difference? When you're tempted, which side is going to win? Who are you feeding? Which dog are you taking care of? If you continue to feed your mind onto, you know, the reading of the world and the videos and dvds and the music of the world and you're just filling your mind with that and you're wondering, "why do I keep getting overcome by temptation?" You're feeding the wrong dog! And you're not feeding the Spiritual side of your nature.

You've got to starve one and feed the other. And then it will be strong when temptation comes. That's why Christ was able to say, "it is written, it is written, it is written," when the devil tempted him, because he had spent his life feeding his spiritual nature. "He that sows unto the flesh will of the flesh reap death." In other words, if you're spending your time feeding and nurturing and taking care of the carnal side of your nature, it's going to end in death. But if you resist that natural tendency and say, "lord, I'm going to plug into your power and I'm going to do what I can do to feed on spiritual things, what--the people I hang around with--" that doesn't mean you don't witness to everybody, "but the friends I choose, what I read, what I watch, what I study, what I listen to.

" Even the food you eat. Your lifestyle in every way, you can say, "I want to live by the Spirit." Well, from the Spirit reap everlasting life. So you're choosing every day which dog to feed. And that's where, when temptation comes, and when there is a fight, you can tell ahead of time who's going to win. We're training every day for those battles.

Number six, what if I don't feel like I'm connecting with God? You know it tells us, Luke 8:5, "a sower went out to sow his seed. And as he sowed, some of the seed fell by the wayside; and it was trampled down and the birds of the air devoured it." In this parable the Lord is saying some seed falls on the path and the birds of the air eat it up. I actually want to talk about how a path is formed. If you see a normal, open field, you'll see that, you know, there's just a field. If you want a path in that field, you've got to walk more than once across the grass.

You ever heard signs--you might have them on campus here. "Please keep off the grass." And sometimes the concrete path doesn't always go where you want to go. And the concrete path is the long way and you want to make a new path across the grass. One trip across the grass is not going to do it. It takes multiple trips.

And then pretty soon you wear a groove. That's how it is in your life. You might say, "I'm just not used to thinking this way. I just don't see a path in my life of spiritual things." First trip you're not going to find one. But you keep making up your mind, "I am going to keep doing what God says and I'm going to keep making this decision," pretty soon it gets easy, it gets natural.

You know, on the road where-- we live up in the hills. We have a house way up in the hills, and Karen and I have to take care of 2 miles of driveway to our house. The county--no one takes care of it but us. And it's a dirt road and in the winter we get puddles in it and they get pretty deep and you got to maintain it or those puddles will swallow a four wheel drive. They get pretty ferocious.

And sometimes I'll ride down the road and I have a pick on my quad to maintain the road. You know what I do? When there's a big old puddle that's forming in the road and sometimes they're, you know, 15 feet across, full of water, low spot. I want to ditch the puddle and drain the water out so it runs off the road. And what I do is I take the pick and I start digging. And at first I get a little trickle and it starts to drain out.

And the water begins to work with me. And if I dig a little deeper, more water is going in the ditch that I just dug and it's making the drain for the puddle go faster. And the more I dig, the more the water erodes. And every time I make a stroke with that pick, the ditch gets deeper and the puddle is drained. It's through repetition and I think a lot of people get discouraged with Christianity because everyone wants instant gratification.

"Let me just say this prayer and then all my problems will go away." That's--the Bible doesn't teach that. There's challenges in life. There's temptation in life. There's tribulation. Jesus said, "be of good cheer, though.

I have overcome the world." But you're going to find it gets easier if you stay at it. Don't get discouraged. You may not feel him in your life right now, but you keep doing what God says and you're going to find things start to change. New patterns, new habits, new feelings. You know, when I first came to Christ, I told you.

You heard my story. I was a zero on steroids. I mean, you couldn't be a bigger nothing than I was. Just all the wrong habits, wrong background. I had to just form a new way of thinking.

And you know what I used to think? "I'd like to be a Christian, lord, but Christians don't have any fun." And I used to smoke. And I didn't smoke so much. I mean, I was in good shape. I didn't smoke so much that I was feeling the side effects. I was 17, 18 years old.

And I felt convicted God wanted me to stop. I mean, after all, it says on every pack this stuff's going to kill you eventually. So that kind of was a hint. But I said, "lord, I like smoking. And it's not that expensive," because I used to roll my own.

Back then, it was pretty cheap. I'm pretty good at burritos, I just go bloop. Because I rolled a lot of cigarettes and other things. And I didn't want to quit! And you know what? I heard a little voice say, "well, doug, I'm not going to stop you." So I kept smoking. And girls told me my breath tasted like a wet ashtray.

And I nearly ran a car off the road and killed myself because the head of the cigarette fell in my lap while I was driving. Well, that will wake you up in a hurry. And I panhandled and spent my last $2 on a can of tobacco when I had nothing to eat. And the Lord said, "doug, are you enjoying yourself?" And it gradually began to dawn on me--I'm slow. I said, "lord, I don't want to give up drinking.

I like drinking, it's what I do with my friends. It's exciting, it's relaxing, forget my troubles." God said, "well, I won't make you stop." So I kept drinking. And I'd wake up, find out that I'd done something terribly ridiculous to embarrass myself, or I'd wake up and I was hung over. And I don't know if you've ever had the privilege of worshiping there at that porcelain altar. Or I'd wake up in jail and say, "what did I do to land here?" And I heard this little voice saying, "are you enjoying yourself, doug?" And I'm slow, but eventually God got through to me.

He only wants us to give up the things that are going to take away our happiness. And now I have more fun than you can dream. I mean, I've gone parachuting. Karen and I scuba dive. Got a pilot's license.

We go riding and camping and I travel around the world. I have so much fun as a Christian. You don't have to do the dirty, sinful, destructive things of the world to have an abundant, fun, full life and you don't have a hangover and a guilty conscience. You can be a new creature! Now I'm getting a little bit behind here, but--oh, I see there's another-- I got another text question. We'll take one more text question that came in.

And this one looks like it's from Sacramento, California, our neighborhood. What should I do when my past sins haunt me? Now that's a good question. You ever worried? You say, "lord, I prayed, but I can't forget my past sins." Well, you know, don't worry that God will not forgive you. If you have repented and confessed from your past sins, and if you've turned from your past sins--maybe I'll just ask this way. How many of you have done things in the past that you're ashamed of, you ask God to forgive you, but you keep thinking about it? It still bothers you.

Do not allow yourself to think that you are a higher court than God. If God has ruled in his tribunal that you are forgiven, then do you have your own little court that's more important than God's court, where you say, "well I know that his court has said I'm forgiven, but I got my own little court that's more important than God's court"? If God has forgiven you, then you can forgive yourself. You know what helps me? He says, "you are a new creature." Boy, I tell you, if you knew what I had done during my life, you don't know the half of it. What's in my testimony is the g-rated version. I don't want you to know.

I'd be ashamed. The only way in my own conscience I can stand before you and preach the gospel is because I really believe that person's dead. I am now born again. I am a different person. I am a new creature.

And so I feel some separation from the guilt of everything that happened back then because that was a different person! And so you become a new creature! Amen? That's good news! All right, question number seven. What if there's something I'm afraid or not willing to give up for God? Well, I think we all struggle with that. We've got these pet sins or things that we don't want to let go of. How do we do that? You probably panic when you begin to think about that. James 4:7-8, "therefore submit to God.

Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and he will draw near to you." This is so important. You do what you can do humanly to resist the devil, and as you use the human strength and wisdom and intellect and power that God has given you, say, "i, lord, am trusting to follow you." And you take that step. Then God says, "I will run to you as soon as you show that you're taking the first step that you really want me." But we must take a step. We can't stand there and expect that we're just going to fold our arms and say, "lord, you gotta do this.

I'm not going to even make an effort to come to you. I'm making no human effort to obey you." When you draw near God, he will draw near you. It's like the prodigal son. As soon as The Father saw him coming, he ran to meet him. The Father couldn't drag him home.

The Son had to be willing to come. Story in the Bible, Luke 17, 10 lepers dying of leprosy. They come to the brow of a hill and they call to Jesus, they can't get too close because they've got leprosy. They say, "son of David, have mercy on us!" And Jesus looks up at them, and he says, "go and show yourself to the priest and make the offering for cleansing from leprosy." Well, that didn't make any sense at all because you're not supposed to show yourself to the priest for an examination until you're leprosy is gone. They still had leprosy.

Why would you go and be pronounced clean when you still have leprosy? But Jesus said, "go." So they looked at each other and they said, "all right. We're not--this is not the way it's supposed to work, but we still got leprosy." And they took the first steps to do what Jesus said and you know what it says in the Bible? "In going they were cleansed." As you make an effort to do what God has told you to do, a miracle can take place. It's true! That's the way it works. You know, one time Christ told the disciples to cross the sea. And he said, "I'll catch up with you.

" They didn't know how. Halfway across the sea, they're out there in the middle, they're rowing with all of their might, but the wind was against them and they're not getting anywhere. They're stationary, just rowing, not going anywhere. I remember one time I was flying a small plane up by mount shasta, California, flying over interstate 5. And there was a headwind that was 100 miles an hour over mount shasta.

And the plane was only going about 105 miles an hour, which means I was going 5 miles an hour. And I looked at the cars down on interstate 5 and here I am in an airplane and the cars are passing me. I wasn't getting anywhere. And that's how the disciples were. They're rowing and they're just not going anywhere and they're arms are becoming tired.

And they thought, "we're going to drown out here on the ocean." And then Jesus came to them, walking on the water. And it says in John 6 something interesting happened. When they received Jesus into the boat, instantly they were at their destination. He came to them while they were doing what he had told them to do and he said, "I'll work a miracle for you, but are you going to use the God-given brains and brawn that I've given you do to my will? Or are you just going to sit there, fold your arms, and ask me to drag you along?" God wants you to cooperate with him. And he will then work a miracle for you and give you a new heart.

This is where many fail. You take the steps, you draw near to God, and then he'll draw near to you. Do something tangible to show you trust him. I've seen a lot of people get the victory over alcohol or cigarettes and you know what we do? We pray together. And I say, "would you like to be free?" They say, "yes!" Maybe they're struggling with pornography or drugs.

I say, "do you want to be free?" They say, "I want to be free." "Do you believe that God wants you to quit drinking?" "Yes, I believe it!" I said, "do you believe God will help you do what he wants you to do?" "Yes, I believe it!" I said, "okay, here's your first step. Do you have any alcohol in the house? Any cigarettes? Any dirty magazines?" "Well, yeah." I said, "go get them. Let's throw it away. Let's destroy it. Flush it down the toilet.

You take a step right now. And then we're going to pray. And I'm not going to pray until you take that step." That's the key. A lot of people say, "but we could pray that God will give them the strength to take the step." Nothing wrong with that. I said, "but if you really want to see a miracle, you choose to take the first step.

You draw near to God and you see if he doesn't set you free." And this is where millions fail! They don't take the first step of saying, "lord, I'll do what I can. I'm willing to throw it away and to pray." And don't get discouraged if you fail. I've told you, you know how many times I threw away my cigarettes before I stopped digging them out of the garbage can? Or I'd throw them in the stove. Or I'd throw them in the outhouse. That usually worked.

I wouldn't go after them there. But then I'd go buy another pack. I'd say, "oh, lord!" He'd say, "doug, draw near to me." I'd throw them away again. I'd pray. And you know, the last time I threw them away, I threw them away and he gave me the victory.

He worked a miracle and that's been 30-something years now. Praise God, I haven't had one cigarette in my mouth and I was addicted! And he did that for me with alcohol and he did that for me with cursing and he did it-- he'll do it in every area of your life. Yes, you can! Don't believe you can. You are insulting Jesus if you don't think that he can save you. You have a pretty high estimate of yourself if you think you are a better sinner than he is a Savior.

He can save you from your sins. Question is, do you believe that he has a heaven to offer you? Do you believe and love him so much because he died for you? Will you trust him? Are you willing to take the first step? You know, I'm going to jump ahead here. I'm going to go to number 11. Do I have to be perfect for God to accept me? No, nobody is perfect. He wouldn't accept anybody.

He will receive you when you come to him right now, just like you are. Revelation 22:17, the Bible ends with a desperate appeal. God wants you in heaven. Listen to the Lord. "The sprit and the bride say, 'come! And let him who hears come! And let him who has a thirst for this living water, whoever desires, let him take the water of life freely.

" Whosoever believes, whosoever desires, you can come to God. You can have a new life. And you know, friends, as I'm winding up this presentation, I think I'd be making a mistake if I did not give you an opportunity to respond in some way. I'm going to ask you to do something very simple. And I'm just going to ask you to stand.

Now listen carefully. We all are sinners. You, me, everybody, we all have sinned. We all have things in our lives that are chaining us to the world. But I believe some of you are willing to take those first steps to be set free.

You can make a decision right now by the grace of God to say, "lord, I know there's something in my life you want to change." Maybe a few things. And you're willing to say, "lord, by your grace, I'm willing to take that step and draw near to you, to resist the devil." And he says, "I will run to you." He'll run to embrace you. He'll give you his power. He'll work a miracle of breaking the chains and liberating you. But we need to take a step and say, "I believe that you love me, Jesus.

" Now I believe there are some of you here, there may be specific things. Those of you who are watching, you've got a sin in your life. There may be several things, something you need to change. Are you willing to say, "lord, by your grace, I'm going to go back to my home, I'm going to go to my closet or my cupboard or my glove box or wherever it happens to be and I'm going to throw this thing away. I'm going to place it on the altar.

And I'm going to then pray and say, 'lord, save me. Set me free. Give me a new heart.'" And then start feeding our souls. Before I close with prayer, if there are some of you here who say, "I've got something I want to bring to Jesus and I want to be set free," I'm going to ask you to stand in his presence. Don't worry about others who are around you.

This is really between you and the Lord. And he can work a miracle in your life. Praise God for those here at great lakes academy. I hope that there are some who are watching that are having that same voice speak to their spirit that want to be set free. You come to Jesus just like you are and he'll do it.

Can I pray with you right now? Dear loving father, lord, we're so thankful for the good news that we can be new creatures, that we can have a new birth, that we can have that gift of everlasting life and a loving, saving relationship with you. Lord, I pray you will work miracles of your power right now in the lives of all these young people who have made these decisions. You know what it means in each one of their hearts. You know what the specifics are. Break the chains, set them free.

I pray that they will be cleansed as they walk and go and grow towards you because we're asking in the mighty name of Jesus, amen. [Music] thank you for watching this episode of "M.I.Q.." During our next presentation, we will be taking a look at the church and what it really means to be born again. See you then. [Music] video games, television, shopping, they all eat up precious time. Well, why not take a much needed time out and get connected with God with the most important questions DVD series, a boxed set that includes ten 1-hour presentations and a 126 page companion guide to the most frequently asked questions on God, the Bible, and living a Christian life, presented by TV evangelist Doug Batchelor? To get your copy, visit store.amazingfacts.org.

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