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Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Choices (Pt. 2)

“Today I have given you the choice between life and death, between blessings and curses. Now I call on heaven and earth to witness the choice you make. Oh, that you would choose life, so that you and your descendants might live!”-Deuteronomy 30:19

God has given us the ability to choose a path that leads to life or choose a path that leads to death. Today, I want to focus in on six areas in which you’ve been given the ability to choose. Choices that can impact your life everyday: love, joy, peace, forgiveness, serving God and salvation.

Believe it or not, love is a choice!  Infatuation is certainly an emotion, but love is a choice. Romans 5:8 declares that God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us. His love for us was demonstrated through His sacrificial death and not through an emotional expression. In fact, in Luke 10:27, we are commanded to love the Lord with all of our heart, soul, strength, and mind. You cannot command someone to be infatuated with someone else, but yet the Lord commands us love Him and to love our neighbors. He even goes as far in Matthew 5:43-44 to tell us to love our enemies; something most of us would have a difficult time doing, if love were merely an emotion. Love isn’t a feeling it is a demonstration of Christ’s goodness, service, and sacrifice towards others.

Joy is a choice! Don’t confuse happiness and joy. Happiness is tied to our circumstances, joy is tied to our relationship with Christ. James 1:2 states: “Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy.” You can either choose to be miserable and play the victim or you can rejoice in your relationship with God. Joy reminds us that we are not moved by our circumstances, but by our faith in God.

Peace is a choice! Romans 12;18 declares:  “If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men.” A wise man once told me: “Just because someone calls for a war, doesn’t mean you have to show up to fight.” The passage is clear. I cannot control everyone, but I can certainly control how I respond. As far as it depends on you, live at peace.

Forgiveness is a choice! Matthew 6:14-15 states: “For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.” Each one of us has the power and the prerogative to forgive. Forgiveness isn’t just something God hopes for us but it is something He expects from those who have received His forgiveness.

Serving God is a choice! Joshua declared it best in Joshua 24:15: “And if it seems evil to you to serve the Lord, choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” Choosing to serve God is a daily decision!

However, the greatest choice you will ever make is choosing Jesus! Salvation is a gift secured for us by Jesus that we must choose to receive. It should not be a decision we make once you’ve eliminated every other option, but a willful distinct life-altering choice that will direct your life.

Romans 10:9-“If you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.” You can choose to sin and live for self, or you can choose to repent and live for Christ! The choice is yours!

Pastor Scott Burr
Dayspring Community Church

Thursday, December 28, 2017

Choices (Pt.1)

“Who are those who fear the Lord? He will show them the path they should choose.”-Psalm 25:12 (NLT)

Choices! I read an article recently about a Columbia researcher who has found that the average person makes about 70 conscious choices everyday. That amounts to 25,500 choices a year. Meaning that over 70 years a person will make 1,788,500 choices on average.

As I searched the internet I found what, at first, I thought was information that was countering her findings. Multiple other sites say that the average person makes 35,000 decisions per day. This may sound contradictory, however, choosing and making decisions are not necessarily the same thing.

Decisions are made as we eliminate options compared to making a choice which involves empowering ourselves to choose.

Let’s say I am approaching  fork in the road. Both roads take us to our destination, one appears to be paves and well maintained, the other is a dirt road and extremely difficult to navigate. As we approach the fork in the road, upon looking at the options we decide that dirt road looks too difficult to pass, so we veer right, we’ve made a decision. If we approach the fork in the  road and stop to consider the ramifications of taking each path and ultimately decide that going left will produce in us something that will strengthen our character, then we’ve made a choice. Most of what we face each day are not choices, but decisions. In fact, most of our decisions are informed by our emotions or preferences, where choices are rooted in values and beliefs. Things can get sticky when we make choices based on emotions and preferences.

We can spend our lifetime making all sorts of decisions, yet we spend little time, if any, making distinctive life choices. If it is true that we make 35,000 decision per day and only 70 distinct life choices; then it would be easy for those important life changing moments to get swallowed up by decisions that are fleeting.

According to Psalm 25:12, God has empowered us to choose! In one of my favorite verses in the Bible, God is speaking to Israel and declares in Deuteronomy 30:19:

“Today I have given you the choice between life and death, between blessings and curses. Now I call on heaven and earth to witness the choice you make. Oh, that you would choose life, so that you and your descendants might live!”

God has given us the ability to choose a path that leads to life or choose a path that leads to death. Next week I want to focus in on six areas in which you’ve been given the ability to choose that can impact you life everyday: love, joy, peace, forgiveness, serving God and salvation.

Pastor Scott Burr

Dayspring Community Church

Monday, December 11, 2017

The receiving end of resentment (Pt.2)

“And David behaved wisely in all his ways, and the Lord was with him.”-1 Samuel 18:14

It’s important to understand that when the spears began to fly, David did not stick around to be pierced through by Saul. He removed himself whenever he could from these difficult moments.  However, removing ourselves is not always an option and so David adopted another way of handling Saul’s persistent attacks. He behaved wisely in all his ways!

The bible is clear about how we should respond to those trying to harm us:

“Repay no one evil for evil. Have regard for good things in the sight of all men. If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men. Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord. Therefore “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; If he is thirsty, give him a drink; For in so doing you will heap coals of fire on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”-Romans 12:17-21

The Bible says not repay evil for evil, but rather we are to let God take care of bringing about justice. It’s not enough that we simply don’t wish bad things to happen to our enemies, but He goes so far as to say that we should demonstrate compassion towards those who wish to do us harm. Jesus takes the idea even further in Matthew 5:44-45: 

“But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.”

Through each of these passages God is challenging us to choose honor rather than vengeance, something David chose in regards to King Saul:

“And David said to Saul: “Why do you listen to the words of men who say, ‘Indeed David seeks your harm’? Look, this day your eyes have seen that the Lord delivered you today into my hand in the cave, and someone urged me to kill you. But my eye spared you, and I said, ‘I will not stretch out my hand against my lord, for he is the Lord’s anointed.’ Moreover, my father, see! Yes, see the corner of your robe in my hand! For in that I cut off the corner of your robe, and did not kill you, know and see that there is neither evil nor rebellion in my hand, and I have not sinned against you. Yet you hunt my life to take it. Let the Lord judge between you and me, and let the Lord avenge me on you. But my hand shall not be against you.”-1 Samuel 24: 9-12 

David chose the path of honor. One which each of us is called to follow:

“Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.”- Philippians 2:3-4 

This is a noble pursuit, but what happens if they persist. Remember King Saul tried to spear David three times, sent messengers to kill him, pursued him in the wilderness repeatedly in an attempt to capture and kill him and yet every time David demonstrated honor.

In fact, David refused even to rejoice in his enemies ultimate demise:

“Therefore David took hold of his own clothes and tore them, and so did all the men who were with him. And they mourned and wept and fasted until evening for Saul and for Jonathan his son, for the people of the Lord and for the house of Israel, because they had fallen by the sword.”-2 Samuel 1:11-12

I never see it recorded that David ever bad mouthed, gossiped, or slandered King Saul in any way. Choosing honor protected David’s heart from becoming bitter and from becoming resentful himself!

Pastor Scott Burr
Dayspring Community Church 

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

The receiving end of resentment (Pt.1)

“Now when he had finished speaking to Saul, the soul of Jonathan was knit to the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as his own soul. Saul took him that day, and would not let him go home to his father’s house anymore. Then Jonathan and David made a covenant, because he loved him as his own soul. And Jonathan took off the robe that was on him and gave it to David, with his armor, even to his sword and his bow and his belt. So David went out wherever Saul sent him, and behaved wisely. And Saul set him over the men of war, and he was accepted in the sight of all the people and also in the sight of Saul’s servants. Now it had happened as they were coming home, when David was returning from the slaughter of the Philistine, that the women had come out of all the cities of Israel, singing and dancing, to meet King Saul, with tambourines, with joy, and with musical instruments. So the women sang as they danced, and said: “Saul has slain his thousands, And David his ten thousands.” Then Saul was very angry, and the saying displeased him; and he said, “They have ascribed to David ten thousands, and to me they have ascribed only thousands. Now what more can he have but the kingdom?” 9 So Saul eyed David from that day forward.”-1 Samuel 18:1-9

How are we to behave when we are on the receiving end of someone else’s resentment? So often when we discuss resentment, we are discussing the dangers of holding it ourselves and how that impact our lives. However, we also need to look at how to respond to resentment when we have become the target of it. 

David became the source of great displeasure for Saul, when greater victories and successes were attributed to David rather than to himself. In fact, vs.9 tells us that Saul began to eye David. Saul could bot appreciate the praise being heaped on David and it soon became the seed of his resentment. 

Resentment is a feeling of indignant displeasure or persistent ill will at something regarded as a wrong, insult, or injury. 

The displeasure Saul felt toward David swelled into a desire to destroy him by any means:

“And it happened on the next day that the distressing spirit from God came upon Saul, and he prophesied inside the house. So David played music with his hand, as at other times; but there was a spear in Saul’s hand. And Saul cast the spear, for he said, “I will pin David to the wall!” But David escaped his presence twice. Now Saul was afraid of David, because the Lord was with him, but had departed from Saul.”-1 Samuel 18:10-12

This would not be the only time that Saul would attempt to pin David to the wall with his spear (1 Samuel 19:9-10). However, pinning someone to the wall isn’t always done with a spear; in our lives it is done mostly with words and vicious behaviors. Nevertheless, Saul’s wickedness is not the focus of our study. What we are looking to glean from is David’s response to Saul’s attacks. 

It’s important to understand that when the spears began to fly, David did not stick around to be pierced through by Saul. He removed himself whenever he could from these difficult moments. 

However, removing ourselves is not always an option and so David adopted another way of handling Saul’s persistent attacks: 

“And David behaved wisely, in all his ways, and the Lord was with him.”-1 Samuel 18:14. 

Pastor Scott Burr
Dayspring Community Church

Monday, November 27, 2017

Soon!-All Things New

" But the day of the Lord will come as unexpectedly as a thief. Then the heavens will pass away with a terrible noise, and the very elements themselves will disappear in fire, and the earth and everything on it will be found to deserve judgment. Since everything around us is going to be destroyed like this, what holy and godly lives you should live, looking forward to the day of God and hurrying it along. On that day, he will set the heavens on fire, and the elements will melt away in the flames. But we are looking forward to the new heavens and new earth he has promised, a world filled with God’s righteousness. And so, dear friends, while you are waiting for these things to happen, make every effort to be found living peaceful lives that are pure and blameless in his sight."-2 Peter 3:10-14

As we conclude our study on the last days and the return of Jesus Christ, let's review where our studies have taken us. The birth pains/signs of the times, the rapture of the church, the Tribulation, The Battle of Armageddon/2nd Coming of Jesus, and the 1,000 year reign of Christ. Today we want to look at the New Heavens/New Earth through the eyes of two different prophets. One found in the Old Testament and one found in the New Testament. 

In the Book of Isaiah 65:17 the prophet writes: 

“Look! I am creating new heavens and a new earth, and no one will even think about the old ones anymore."

According to the remainder of that chapter, the new heavens and new earth will be a source of joy and happiness (65:18-19); there will be no premature death and people will enjoy long lives (65:20); a place where God's people will live in prosperity free from misfortune (65:21-23); a place where God will hear and answer their prayers (65:24), a place where nature and the animal kingdom will operate free from the curse brought on by sin (65:25). 

In the New Testament the Apostle John wrote in Revelation 21:1-4:

"Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the old heaven and the old earth had disappeared. And the sea was also gone. And I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven like a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. I heard a loud shout from the throne, saying, “Look, God’s home is now among his people! He will live with them, and they will be his people. God himself will be with them. He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever.”

John’s vision of a new heaven and new earth begins with a declaration that the old is gone! The new is come! God is making His home with mankind. His presence means no more sorrow, death, or pain. All these things will be gone forever! It will be a perpetual place of righteousness. There will be no place, according to vs. 8, for sin or those who embrace sinful lifestyles:

“But cowards, unbelievers, the corrupt, murderers, the immoral, those who practice witchcraft, idol worshipers, and all liars—their fate is in the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death.”

There will be a new Jerusalem that will come down out of heaven (vs. 10) and will possess some very unique qualities and dimensions. According to Revelation 21 it will shine with God’s glory (vs. 10) and have 12 gates with the names of the 12 tribes of Israel written on each gate (vs. 12). The wall will be made of jasper and the city pure gold (vs. 18); the wall of the city will have 12 foundations with the name of the twelve apostles written on them (vs. 14) and each wall will be 216 feet thick and 1,400 miles in length and width on each side (vs. 15-17). There will be no temple in the city, for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple (vs. 22). The glory of God will illuminate the city (vs. 23) and nothing evil will be allowed to enter, nor anyone who practices shameless idolatry and dishonesty; but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life (vs. 27). 

After describing all these things, Jesus declares in Revelation 22:7: “Look, I am coming soon! Blessed are those who obey the words of prophecy written in this book.” In fact, three times in Revelation 22 Jesus declares He is coming soon; to which John replies: “Amen! Come, Lord Jesus!”

Do you have that kind of assurance of faith? Or would your response to this revelation be more like “Oh no! Wait! I’m not ready yet, Jesus!” You don’t have to live in fearful expectation of His coming, rather you can live in joyful expectation if you receive Christ as your Lord and Savior. 

Pastor Scott Burr
Dayspring Community Church

Monday, November 20, 2017

Soon!-The Millennial Reign of Christ (Pt. 2)

“Now when the thousand years have expired, Satan will be released from his prison and will go out to deceive the nations which are in the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together to battle, whose number is as the sand of the sea. They went up on the breadth of the earth and surrounded the camp of the saints and the beloved city. And fire came down from God out of heaven and devoured them. The devil, who deceived them, was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone where[a] the beast and the false prophet are. And they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.-Revelation 20:7-10

Satan upon his release will once again go out an deceive the nations. There will be a new generation of people, who although they have lived on earth during this amazing time of peace, will still buy into Satan’s lies and will join him in battle one last time against God. 

They will surround Jerusalem and once again the devil will be defeated, but this time he will be cast into the Lake of Fire (eternal punishment) for all eternity. 

It is hard to fathom how after 1,000 years of peace and Jesus reigning on the earth, how the devil could deceive anyone into following him into a battle against Jesus. However, it is important to remember that generations will be born that did not know the days that we live in, nor will they recall the rapture, the tribulation or Armegeddon. 

Knowing that this is going to happen, why would God even allow this to begin with? I think it is to teach us an important truth-Our sinfulness is not Satan’s fault! He is a liar, thief, tempter and bent on destruction; however for a 1,000 years he is held captive and yet men’s hearts still wax cold. They cannot blame Satan for their sinful hearts, but it is only when Satan is released that their true heart condition is revealed. They reject Christ’s kingship over their lives to follow their own sinful desires. This proves what God has been declaring from the very beginning; mankind needs a Savior! 

Once Satan is defeated and cast into the Lake of Fire, then comes God’s final judgment on wicked mankind:

“Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away. And there was found no place for them. And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God, and books were opened. And another book was opened, which is the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books. The sea gave up the dead who were in it, and Death and Hades delivered up the dead who were in them. And they were judged, each one according to his works. Then Death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire.”-Revelation 20:11-15

The dead, both small and great, are raised. They will be judged according to the books, but it is because their names are not recorded in the Lamb’s Book of Life; they too will be cast into the Lake of Fire for all eternity. It is a place of eternal punishment and torment that is described in Mark 9:48 as where ‘Their worm does not die and the fire is not quenched.’ It is known as the second death, but it never ends. 

It will be occupied, according to Revelation 21:8, by the cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, murders, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars; by those who have rejected the free gift of salvation offered to us through Jesus Christ. 

All of us will one day stand before Jesus. The question is will we stand before the Judgment Seat of Christ to receive our eternal rewards or will we stand before the Great White Throne judgement only to receive eternal death. It all hinges upon one decision! Did you accept Jesus Christ as the Lord and Savior of your life?

Pastor Scott Burr
Dayspring Community Church 

Friday, November 17, 2017

Soon!-The Millennial Reign of Christ (Pt.1)

“Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven, having the key to the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand. He laid hold of the dragon, that serpent of old, who is the Devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years; and he cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal on him, so that he should deceive the nations no more till the thousand years were finished. But after these things he must be released for a little while.”-Revelation 20:1-3

Last week we looked at the Battle of Armageddon and the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. We learned how the nations of this world will drawn to the doorsteps of Jerusalem for a great battle at which the Lord Himself will return and will destroy them with the Word of His mouth (Rev. 19:11-16). The Anti-Christ and False Prophet will be thrown into the Lake of Fire and the nations will be judged. After the carnage of that day, Jesus will take His rightful place as King of Kings and Lord of Lords upon this earth.

Then the seventh angel sounded: And there were loud voices in heaven, saying, “The kingdoms[a] of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever!”-Revelation 11:15

This will be a very unique time in the history of humanity as Christ will reign on the earth for 1,000 years. However, it will also be unique as Satan will have no influence over mankind for 1,000 years. According to Revelation 20, an angel will come down and bind Satan with a chain for 1,000 years. He will be cast into the bottomless pit. It will be shut and sealed so that he cannot deceive the nations until the 1,000 years is finished. But, after it, he will be released for  a little while.

According to Revelation 20:4-6, at the beginning of the 1,000 years there will be a resurrection of the dead:

“And I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was committed to them. Then I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for their witness to Jesus and for the word of God, who had not worshiped the beast or his image, and had not received his mark on their foreheads or on their hands. And they lived and reigned with Christ for a[a] thousand years. But the rest of the dead did not live again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy is he who has part in the first resurrection. Over such the second death has no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with Him a thousand years.”

This is a resurrection of those who believed in Christ during the tribulation and were killed for their faith. The rest of the dead will not live again until the end of the 1,000 years.

What then will life be like during the 1,000 year reign?
The 1,000 years will be an unprecedented time of peace and healing with Jerusalem at the epicenter of worship:

“Now it shall come to pass in the latter days that the mountain of the Lord’s house shall be established on the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow to it. Many people shall come and say, “Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob; He will teach us His ways, and we shall walk in His paths.” For out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. He shall judge between the nations, and rebuke many people;
They shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore.”-Isaiah 2:2-4

Harmony will once again be restored in nature. Life will continue on earth. It will look vastly different, however, with Jesus reigning on the earth, Satan bound for 1,000 years, world-wide peace and nature back in balance. 

Nevertheless, at the end of the 1,000 years something mind-boggling happens!

Pastor Scott Burr

Dayspring Community Church