Choose Carefully Who Speaks Into Your Spiritual Life

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18 Then three years later I went to Jerusalem to get to know Peter, and I stayed with him for fifteen days. ​- Galatians 1:18 NLT

Just as God had set Paul apart to be the apostle to the Gentiles, He has a plan for each of us. That plan has been in place since before the earth was created. Besides Ananias, Paul did not consult with other Christians until he had spent time in the Arabian desert. How long he stayed in the desert is unknown, but he returned to Damascus and preached there for three years. Then he went to Jerusalem to spend time with Peter (Cephas). Besides what God had imparted to Paul through the Holy Spirit, he was able to talk about Jesus with Peter. That would be a conversation worth listening to. It is also a good example for us to follow. We need to spend time alone with God and then we need a mature Christian to mentor us. We need both to become what God wants us to be. We need to choose carefully and not let just anyone speak into our spiritual lives. After making a careful choice of who that person or persons will be, we still need to verify every word by the WORD.
1 Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.–1 John 4:1 (NASB)

“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” -Anonymous

Post 12-21-2017

One and Only One!

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10 Obviously, I’m not trying to win the approval of people, but of God. If pleasing people were my goal, I would not be Christ’s servant. – Gal. 1:10 NLT

Paul tells us that if pleasing others, whether they be family, friends, neighbors or society at large, is more important than pleasing God, then we are not bond servants of Jesus Christ. Jesus is not happy with being number one in a race with some idols of our making.. He wants to be the one and only one in contention for our affections. This is the Gospel that was revealed to Paul by God. When we really get hold of this message, we understand that repentance is more than turning from an old way of life, it is turning to a new way of living. Old things have passed away and all things have become new.
Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.—2 Cor. 5:17 (NASB)
No matter how intelligent we are or what strata of society we come from, we must see ourselves and our righteousness as filthy rags before God. Nothing we have can save us and no one else can repent for us, we have to do it for ourselves.

“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous

Post 12-20-2017

One Way – Jesus!

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You are being fooled by those who deliberately twist the truth concerning Christ. – Gal. 1:7b NLT

In today’s world, it seems more and more that we hear about evangelists and preachers that have been caught in compromising situations. We know that now, just as in the first century, there are those who preach the gospel for the wrong reasons. Paul spoke about this in his writings.
18 But what does it matter? Here is the important thing. Whether for reasons that are right or wrong, Christ is being preached about. That makes me very glad. And I will continue to be glad.—Philippians 1:18 (NIRV)
Jude, the brother of Jesus, spoke about it as well.
4 For certain individuals whose condemnation was written about long ago have secretly slipped in among you. They are ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into a license for immorality and deny Jesus Christ our only Sovereign and Lord.–Jude 1:4 (NIV)
Once we have heard the pure word of God and accepted Jesus as our Savior and Lord, the battle has just begun. There will be those people who want to lead us astray for their own gain or fame. But, we must remember that true repentance is not only turning from sin but it is turning to Jesus. There is no turning back.Does this mean that we will never fall? No, but it does mean that we won’t return to our old lifestyle. Our focus has turned from pleasing our flesh to pleasing our Lord and Savior. We need to ask Jesus for forgiveness when we fail, but we don’t need to let the devil keep us “sin-conscious”. We need to stay “Jesus conscious”.

“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous

Post 12-19-2017

Grace and Peace

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This letter is from Paul, an apostle. I was not appointed by any group of people or any human authority, but by Jesus Christ himself and by God the Father, who raised Jesus from the dead. – Galatians 1:1 NLT

Paul reminds the Galatians and us that he is an apostle sent by Jesus Christ and God the Father. Paul did not, in his own flesh, decide to be an apostle to the Gentiles. He was chosen by God for this specific task.
I am talking to you Gentiles. Inasmuch as I am the apostle to the Gentiles, I take pride in my ministry—Romans 11:13 (NIV)
Then Paul goes on to remind them and us that we have grace and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Encouraging each other is something we should practice everyday until it becomes a habit. In the turbulent society that we live in today, we all need encouragement and a reminder that there is a safe harbor for us to come to when we need rest and peace.
8 In peace I will lie down and sleep, for you alone, Lord, make me dwell in safety.—Psalm 4:7 (NIV)
10 He died for us so that, whether we are awake or asleep, we may live together with him. 11 Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.​—1 Thess. 5:10, 11 (NIV)
Peace and rest are just two of the gifts we receive because we are joint heirs with Jesus. His obedience to death on the cross brought glory to the Father. Our obedience in living for Jesus will bring more glory to the Father forever and ever.

“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” -Anonymous

Post 12–18-2017

Focus on Following Jesus

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22 Jesus replied, “If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you? As for you, follow me.”  – John 21:22 NLT

Jesus seems to be saying to Peter​, mind your own business. Your duty is to follow me, not to be overly concerned about what others are doing. That is good advice for us in today’s world as well. We need to stay focused on Jesus and not those around us. Yes, we need to respect those that are in spiritual authority over us, but we are not to make them idols. Sooner or later, the flesh will fail, but Jesus never has failed and He never will fail. What we need to do is accept Jesus as Lord of our life, obey His commands, follow His example and do what He has called and gifted us to do in His Kingdom. If we stay faithful in doing that, we will  have ​little, if any, time to criticize and judge our brothers and sisters. Doing this means we cannot and do not accept blindly the words of others. We must make sure they are aligned with the Holy Scriptures.
20 Do not scoff at prophecies, 21 but test everything that is said. Hold on to what is good. 22 Stay away from every kind of evil.–1 Thess. 5:20-22 (NLT)

“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” -Anonymous

Post 12-17-2017

Conquerors by His Power

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18 “I tell you the truth, when you were young, you were able to do as you liked; you dressed yourself and went wherever you wanted to go. But when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and others will dress you and take you where you don’t want to go.” 19 Jesus said this to let him know by what kind of death he would glorify God. Then Jesus told him, “Follow me.”—John 21:18,19 (NLT)
Jesus is prophesying to Peter about how he would die. Peter was led to the cross by others and was crucified upside down at his request. Peter felt unworthy to be executed in the same method that Jesus was executed. At least eight of the twelve apostles died as martyrs with two, Peter and Andrew, being crucified. There are some leaders that teach that life as a Christian is free of stress and problems. This is not validated by a study of the Scriptures. In fact, just the opposite is taught.
33 I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.–John 16:33 (NLT)
Jesus tells us in this verse that we will have trials and sorrows. Not just the normal troubles of those in the world, but more because we love and obey Him. But He also tells us that we can have total peace in Him. His peace is not a lack of trouble or violence, it is peace that we can access in the midst of all that. Jesus has overcome the world and we are over-comers through Him. We can’t be conquerors and over-comers if there are no problems to overcome or no mountains to conquer.

“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” -Anonymous

Post 12-16-2017

Giving It All Up For HIS Sheep

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Jesus said, “Then feed my sheep. – John 21:17a NLT
 

 

They had caught 153 fish in one haul, talk about an abundance! Jesus came that we might have abundant life (John 10:10). This was the third time they had seen Jesus since the Resurrection, so they knew who He was. Now, Jesus asks Peter a simple question. “Do you love me more than these?” Peter answers “Yes, Lord, you know I love you”. Jesus then said to Peter “take care of my sheep”. It is as if Jesus is saying to Peter, do you love me enough to leave these other disciples to go and feed my sheep. The third time Jesus asks He uses a different word for love that is asking Peter how deeply do you love me? Jesus says for the third time, “Feed my sheep”. The question for us then is this: Do we love Jesus enough to leave family, friends and home to feed His sheep? We come to the same question that we must ask ourselves everyday. Are we willing to give up everyone and everything to follow Jesus?
23 Then he said to the crowd, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross daily, and follow me. 24 If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake, you will save it.—Luke 9:23, 24 (NLT)

“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” -Anonymous

Post 12-15-2017

Whatever You Need, It’s On It’s Way to You Now!

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Then he said, “Throw out your net on the right-hand side of the boat, and you’ll get some!” So they did, and they couldn’t haul in the net because there were so many fish in it. – John 21:6 NLT
 
As the disciples head for shore, someone on the beach, calls to them and asks if they have had any success. They tell Him “no” . So, He says throw your net on the right side of the boat. Put yourself in their situation. Here is a boat with at least seven highly experienced fishermen in it and someone (at this point, they haven’t recognized that it is Jesus) on the beach is telling them that all they need to do is throw the net on the right side of the boat. What do you suppose quick tempered Peter was thinking about now? What would you have been thinking? Whatever the discussion might have been, they decide to follow His suggestion and they catch so many fish they can’t haul in the net. At this point, John recognizes Jesus and tells Peter. Peter has his normal reaction and jumps into the water, the others stayed with the boat. (Does that sound familiar?) Jesus is waiting on the shore with breakfast ready. Just as they had given up, Jesus shows up and there is an abundance of fish. then he serves them breakfast. At our lowest point and when we have given up, Jesus comes to us with his abundance and serves us with all we need and more. No matter how you feel right now, Jesus knows about it, He is waiting to fill our nets. He is never late, He will show up on time.

“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” -Anonymous

Post 12-14- 2017

Doing Without Direction is Frustrating

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Simon Peter said, “I’m going fishing.”  “We’ll come, too,” they all said. So they went out in the boat, but they caught nothing all night. – John 21:3 NLT

After some few days (at least 9, possibly more), the disciples decided to go fishing. They had seen Jesus and knew that He had risen from the grave, but the Holy Spirit had not yet come. For three years they had had a leader and a constant companion. Now, they were like sheep without a shepherd. As most of us do when we don’t know what else to do, we go back to doing what we used to do. Peter, having the strongest personality, seems to have become the temporary leader by default. They fished all night without success. “Busyness” for the sake of being busy is not usually very productive or satisfying.. They were most likely feeling very tired, alone and frustrated. When we have been with Jesus for a while and then we drift away, we have had that feeling. Kinda like you are lost at sea and just bobbing around on the waves. We may not know where we are or which direction to go, but Jesus knows exactly where we are and what we need. We have an advantage the disciples didn’t have at that time. We have God the Holy Spirit living inside of us. Unlike them, we are never alone. If you have these kind of feelings now or any time, just stop and let Jesus wrap you in His arms. He is waiting for us, just as the disciples will discover that He is waiting for them.

“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” -Anonymous

Post 12-13-2017

Overcoming Our Fears

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38 Afterward Joseph of Arimathea, who had been a secret disciple of Jesus (because he feared the Jewish leaders), asked Pilate for permission to take down Jesus’ body. When Pilate gave permission, Joseph came and took the body away. – John 19:38 NLT

After the death of Jesus, Joseph of Arimathea asked for permission to take the body and bury it. Joseph was a man wealthy enough to have his own tomb dug for him. He was also a member of the Sanhedrin, as was Nicodemus. Nicodemus was wealthy enough to purchase the hundred pounds of myrrh and aloes, both of which were very expensive items in that day. It would have taken someone influential and well-known to approach Pilate and ask for the body of Jesus. Though they were both influential and wealthy men, they were both secret disciples of Jesus because they feared both the Romans and the other Jewish leaders. They could have been imprisoned (as Joseph was in later years), beaten or sentenced to death. The question we need to ask ourselves today is this: “What are the fears that keep us from openly serving Jesus?” What keeps us from telling family, friends and neighbors about Jesus?

“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” -Anonymous

Post 12-12-2017