“God Will Use This Persecution”

5 And God will use this persecution to show his justice and to make you worthy of his Kingdom, for which you are suffering.— 2 Thess. 1:5 NLT

2 Thess. 1:3-10 NLT

Most Christians in the Western World have not experienced the kind of persecution to which Paul is referring. Probably the worst persecution that we receive is losing (temporarily, hopefully) the friendship of someone close to us because of our belief in the death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ. Here, Paul is talking about those early Christians who gave their lives for the Gospel. I would guess that most of us have wondered, at some time or other, how far we would go for the Gospel. Would I really lay down my life for Jesus?  Paul tells us that we should consider our physical bodies as dead already. 

3 For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.– Col. 3:3 NKJV

Since this is true, we should consider our physical bodies already dead. But our Spirit will always be alive because of what Jesus did for us at Calvary. So, if we are attempting to live the lifestyle that Jesus wants us to, isn’t the decision already made? We agreed to die with Christ and mortify (put to death) our fleshly desires so that we will be raised with Christ in our new immortal bodies. It is all about faith and trust. Will God do what He said or not? The answer is “Yes, of course, He will.” In His mercy, He will protect and perfect us and in His justice, He will repay the persecutors.

Romans 12:19-21 NLT

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

“People Telling Us About Your Faith in God”

8 And now the word of the Lord is ringing out from you to people everywhere, even beyond Macedonia and Achaia, for wherever we go we find people telling us about your faith in God. — 1 Thess. 1:8a NLT

1 Thessalonians 1:2-10 NLT

Paul, Silas, and Timothy had planted the church in Thessalonica and it had stirred up the Jews there, as well as the Thessalonians. Paul had been concerned about the young church and wanted to know how they were doing. Because of the unrest there, Paul had sent Timothy to visit with them and Timothy brought back a good report. This was the reason Paul wrote this letter complimenting them and encouraging them to continue in their work. The people that Paul, Silas, and Timothy witnessed to had received the Gospel with joy and were eager to spread the Good News. Their missionary work was reaping quite a harvest as the church there carried on the work of spreading the Gospel in Macedonia and Southern Greece. Are we being faithful in spreading the Good News of Jesus Christ to others? Are we blooming where we are planted? Are we laboring in the fields that are white with harvest? Each one should disciple one. That is our part in keeping the Word going and God’s church growing. 

2 These were his instructions to them: “The harvest is great, but the workers are few. So pray to the Lord who is in charge of the harvest; ask him to send more workers into his fields.–Luke 10:2 NLT

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

“Fulfill My Joy By Being Like-Minded…”

2 fulfill my joy by being like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. – Phil. 2:2 NKJV

Phil 2:1-8 NLT

Jesus came to set us free from the captivity of our sins. When we spiritually died with Christ and we were raised up again, we were set free from the powers of this world. Our lifestyles should reflect that death and resurrection. We should live our lives free from old laws and traditions. As Jesus instructed Peter in Acts 11: 9 The voice spoke again from heaven, ‘Do not consider anything unclean that God has declared clean.” But we must never let our liberty be a stumbling block to outsiders or those that are weaker. We should use our liberty in Jesus to attract others to Him. We are to be filled with the Spirit of the Living God and led by His directions. Only the love of God and His Spirit abiding in us can stop us from doing the evil things that the flesh continues to want to do. We should be Spirit-fed and Spirit-led. Will we be accused of trying to be little “Jesuses”? Probably so, but is there anyone better for us to attempt to imitate than our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ?

 Galatians 5:13-18 NLT

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

“Be Still…”

7 Be still in the presence of the Lord, and wait patiently for him to act. Don’t worry about evil people who prosper or fret about their wicked schemes. — Psalm 37:7 NLT

In our busy, busy world, how do we find the time to just sit in the presence of the Lord? Many times in the Scriptures, God admonishes us to just be still. Jesus set the example for us, He would often go out into the gardens and spend time alone communing with God. If He needed that, how much more do we need it? We not only need those times of rest and refreshing, but we need to know Jesus on a personal level. There is a huge difference in knowing about Jesus and really knowing Jesus. And to really know anyone, we have to spend time with them. Bask in His presence and you will start to get a grasp of the depth of His love for you. The knowledge of His love for us will sustain us through the tough times.

10 “Be still, and know that I am God!  I will be honored by every nation.  I will be honored throughout the world.”— Psalm 46:10 NLT

“Stay Alert”

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8 Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. — 1 Peter 5:8 NIV

Paul is telling us to be spiritually alert, sober minded and armed for battle. The demonic forces are well-trained in deception and guerrilla tactics. They are very good at creating illusions that deceive “even the elect”.

 

24 For false messiahs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect. 25 See, I have told you ahead of time. — Matt. 24:24, 25 NIV

So, what does it mean to be spiritually alert?   It means that we have to be prayed up, full of the Holy Spirit and well disciplined in our study of the Holy Scriptures. Jesus defended Himself against the devil by quoting scriptures to Him.  If Jesus needed the scriptures to ward off satan then we surely need them even more. We need to be aware of where we are weak. The demons know our weaknesses and they attack us in those areas. Don’t walk too near the edge of the cliff. If certain things cause you to be excessive or respond wrongly. stay a long way away from those things. Your pride will tell you that you can handle the situation but your Spirit knows better. Let the Spirit man rise up and mortify the flesh.

12 Therefore, brothers and sisters, we have an obligation—but it is not to the flesh, to live according to it. 13 For if you live according to the flesh, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live. 14 For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God. — Romans 8:12-14 NIV

The battlefield is the mind, if we allow the Holy Spirit to control our thoughts, then we can win the battles.

4 The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. 5 We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. — 2 Cor. 10:4, 5 NIV

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

Post 04-23-2018

No One is Too Bad to be Saved

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23 All they knew was that people were saying, “The one who used to persecute us is now preaching the very faith he tried to destroy!” – Gal. 1:23 NLT

Paul assures those to whom he is speaking then and us, with God as his witness, that what he is saying is true. He leaves Jerusalem and goes into the regions of Syria and Cilicia. He was very successful in his early ministry and the people rejoiced that God was being glorified because of the work of one who had been persecuting the Christians. Sometime after this, Barnabas found Paul and took him to Antioch to teach and convert the Greeks. Soon after this, Paul and Barnabas are sent out on their first missionary journey. We know that from this beginning, Paul became one of, if not the, greatest missionary in history.This is a great example to those who think that God won’t or can’t save them because they have been “too bad”. The blood of Jesus can make the vilest sinner clean. To those who think they have been “too bad” and also to those who think they have been “good enough”, we have to get the message out that everyone needs Jesus. He is the only way to heaven.
Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.—John 14:6 (NASB)

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

Post 12-22-2017

“It Is Finished”

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30 When Jesus had tasted it, he said, “It is finished!” Then he bowed his head and gave up his spirit. – John 19:30 NLT
Even while hanging on the cross in agony, Jesus was still concerned about others. He instructed John to take care of His mother. A sip of sour wine from a hyssop branch and then came the last words from the cross, “It is finished!”. Three words that are so full of meaning that men have spent the years since trying to understand the extent of what was said. What was finished? His life? No, this was just an interlude between humanity and heavenly. His work on earth? Yes, but exactly what was His work? If it was just to redeem us by dying on a cross, then what was the rest of it about? Jesus was sent to fulfill prophecy, there is no doubt about that. But a majority of His work was to be an example to us and show us how to live for Him. Our persecuted brothers and sisters will tell you that dying for Jesus is the easy part, it is living for Him that is hard. But with his death on the cross, Jesus paid the price for everything that we need to live and die for Him. There are over 200 names for Jesus in the Bible. Each one either gives us an attribute of Jesus, the work He (as the Holy Spirit) does on earth for us or a need that He fulfills for us. There is nothing He left undone. His part as God the man was truly complete. “It is finished”!

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

Post 12-10-2017

You Just Can’t Hide It!

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13 Nothing in all creation is hidden from God. Everything is naked and exposed before his eyes, and he is the one to whom we are accountable.  ​ – Hebrews 4:13 NLT


We are told in the first chapter of John that “the Word became human and dwelt among us”. That Word was and is Jesus Christ. He is still alive and active. He stands at the right hand of the Father and intercedes for us. His Holy Spirit searches our hearts and minds and knows our very thoughts. We can all “talk the talk” but only each of us and God know whether or not we are “walking the walk”.

He knows our thoughts and judges our intentions. We cannot fool Him, we cannot hide our thoughts from Him and we cannot physically hide from Him. He sees all, hears all, and knows all about us. And one day, “every knee shall bow and every tongue shall confess” that He is Lord. We can do it now and spend an eternity with Him or we can wait until judgment day and spend an eternity in hell. Jesus wants everyone to go to heaven, but He knows that not every one will choose to go. The choice is ours.
 
10 ​ But I, the Lord, search all hearts and examine secret motives.
I give all people their due rewards, according to what their actions deserve.”
​– Jeremiah 17:10 NLT​


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

Post 04-25-2017

Focus Our Thoughts on Jesus

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And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. — Phil. 4:8 NLT
If we follow Paul’s advice, we will pray and be thankful for all things that God has done for us. We must continually guard our thoughts and the desires of our hearts. We need to focus on things that are true, honorable, right, pure, lovely, excellent and worthy of praise. Then we will become God-conscious. Witnessing for Jesus will be a natural outflow of this kind of thinking. Our actions will be Christ-centered and people will know that we have something they don’t have. If we let our guard down, satan will rush in and have us thinking about the pleasures of the flesh. Then, satan will keep telling us about all the things we don’t have. After listening to that for a short while, we become sin-conscious. In that state of mind, we are of little use to God, ourselves or anyone else. Fight the good fight and stay focused on Jesus. Then we will enjoy God’s peace, joy will overflow and it will be completely natural for us to praise Him for His goodness.

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

Post 01-01-2017

We’ve Only Just Begun!

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 11 In this new life, it doesn’t matter if you are a Jew or a Gentile, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbaric, uncivilized, slave, or free. Christ is all that matters, and he lives in all of us. — Col. 3:11 NLT
 
God’s Holy Spirit abides in us and we abide in Christ. We are now filled with and fully clothed by God Himself. Therefore, we have access to the same attributes as Christ Jesus Himself. Just as we accepted God’s Gift of salvation, we can accept (access) His attributes or we can use our own vain imaginations. The question is this: What thoughts are we going to allow to control our words and actions? “Wrong” or “right” thinking, that is the question.  Will we continue to let our old fleshly nature control our thoughts and actions or will we allow the Holy Spirit to do His work in us?  Will we allow Him to teach us and guide us into all truth?  Will we allow Him to sanctify us on a daily basis?  The flesh says “no” so we must put to death the flesh and follow after the Spirit.  Jesus wants to be Lord over every area of our lives, not just part.  The journey begins when we accept Jesus as our Savior and continues until we meet our Savior.  It is onward and upward and it gets sweeter every day.
“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” -Anonymous
Post 11-28-2016