As Christians, the only person we can use as our example is Jesus Christ. He is the standard that we should strive to live up to. We, of course, will never reach that standard but, as Paul said, we should continue to “press toward the mark”.
13 No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, 14 I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.–Phil. 3:13-14 (NLT)
Any cases of injustice and offenses should be left in the hands of God. He will deal with those that are unjust in His own way and in His own time. We were once as helpless as sheep and needed a Shepherd and a Guardian. Jesus came to fulfill every need we have and He has done so abundantly. We are to walk in His steps. We will fall and when we do, He will carry us just like a shepherd carries a helpless lamb. We can lean on His everlasting arms and rejoice evermore.
11 But let all who take refuge in you rejoice; let them sing joyful praises forever. Spread your protection over them, that all who love your name may be filled with joy. 12 For you bless the godly, O Lord; you surround them with your shield of love.–Psalm 5:11-12 (NLT).
“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” -Anonymous
God never tempts us. So, if God isn’t tempting us, then where do those temptations originate? That’s right, they come from our fleshly desires and from satan. We know that satan was allowed to tempt Jesus with promises of wealth and grandeur. Jesus, being human, yet perfect, did not give in to those temptations. Why? Because Jesus had one desire and that was to please our Father, God. We are not perfect, so when satan tempts us with his beautiful pictures of what could be if we only let him in, we give into those temptations. Why? Because our fleshly desires are stronger and more immediate than our desire to please God. We are enticed and we allow our desires to mislead us. We think that we can turn our desires off and on like a water fountain. But, we find that once we have compromised with satan, we lose control. Then that sinful idea or thought starts to happen more often and soon it takes on a life of its own. So, we grab a little pleasure here and a little pleasure there. Suddenly, those little pleasures have grabbed us and we can’t shake them. That is when sin latches onto us, takes us further than we want to go, and keeps us longer than we want to stay. Pride says “I would never”. But reality says we did and we must confess our sins. Ask Peter.
God lifts up those that are humble and lowly, so they should be thankful. God brings down the rich, so that they realize they can’t help themselves. They need God just as much as those that are poor. When we go to the grave, we can take nothing with us. Rich or poor, when we meet Jesus face to face, the thing that matters is that we have accepted Him as our Savior. All the material things that we have on earth are meaningless when we reach heaven. We shall all be tested and made to endure temptations. If we endure those temptations and stand before God approved, we will be given the Crown of Life. Do not confuse the Crown of Life with salvation. Salvation is a free gift from God, the Crown of Life is something we earn while we are on earth and it is given to us in heaven. That is why we are admonished to lay up our rewards in heaven and not material things here on earth. Earthly rewards fade away, but heavenly rewards are eternal. The Crown of Life is one of 5 crowns that we can earn. These crowns are not for us to wear and strut around heaven showing them to everyone. The purpose of the crowns is for us to cast them at the feet of Jesus to give Him glory and Honor.
God sent His only Son to die a horrible death on a cross for our sins, He does not take lightly those who reject that Gift. In the Old Testament, the lawbreakers were put to death on the testimony of two or three witnesses. Those that have rejected Jesus will be put into the lake of fire forever. Their souls will suffer torment for all ages to come. Physical death can be painful for any human, but those that have not accepted Jesus have no hope for eternity. Their souls will endure punishment forever. “Every knee will bow and every tongue will confess”. We can choose to do it now and spend an eternity with God or wait and be banished from the presence of God forever.. Sin is a deadly disease and we know the cure. If your family, friend or acquaintance had a deadly disease and you had the cure, wouldn’t you share it with them? Take a moment to pray for those that are lost. God will prepare their hearts for you to speak to them. Don’t be afraid of rejection, it isn’t you they are rejecting, it is Jesus and He can handle it.
Since so many people heard the message that Jesus brought into the world, we have more than sufficient evidence to confirm His birth and His life. In John 1, we are told “the Word became flesh and dwelt among us”. Jesus, the second Person of the Trinity became a living human being in every aspect except sin. The angels brought this message to the shepherds and it was confirmed by the many signs and wonders that Jesus did while here on earth. Then at the crucifixion of Jesus every sin ever committed or that ever will be committed was poured into Him. Those sins were properly punished by His death as His blood poured out from His body. After the Resurrection, Jesus was seen by many people and then His message was again confirmed by miraculous acts from God. The believers spoke the words given to them by the Holy Spirit. Amazing, awesome things happened as the disciples spoke the truth and thousands upon thousands were saved. That same miracle-working power is still available to us today. God has given each of us a spiritual gift that we are to use for His glory and the edification of His church. Our lack of faith and refusal to believe that God is the “same yesterday, today, and tomorrow” has limited God in what He can do now, just as the children of Israel limited what He could do in their wilderness journey.
In the Old Testament, God spoke to His people through prophets, Theophanies, angels, and, at least, once through an animal. In the New Testament, He sent angels to specific people and also spoke to His people through John the Baptist. But, after Jesus was born, God the Father spoke to humans through God the Son. Jesus was present at the creation. He is the exact likeness of God and He is the reflection of God’s glory.. Once he had been obedient to the cross and completed His earthly mission, He was exalted to His present position, which is next to God in heaven. He intercedes for us there. He is greater than all the angels and His Name is superior to all other names. His Name is the only Name in heaven and on earth or under the seas, whereby we can receive eternal salvation.
We hear it almost every day. Why do bad things happen to good people? Why do good things happen to bad people? Truth is that good and bad things happen to good and bad people. Is God still in charge? Why does God allow these seemingly paradoxical things to happen? Of course, God is still in charge and yes He does allow bad things to happen in good people’s lives. We can look at Job and see that this is true. God knows where we are spiritually at all times. I believe that God allows tests in our lives so that we can know where we are spiritually. The one thing we can know for sure and hang onto is this: Whatever God allows in our lives is for our benefit. Our experiences are how we learn and grow. We can be assured that God will not allow any temptation that we can not overcome and He always provides a way of escape.The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience.
13 And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure.–1 Corinthians 10:13 (NLT)
God sends rain on the just and the unjust. It is not our business to determine who gets what, when or why they get it or don’t get it . Earthly stuff is temporary, we are to work to lay up rewards in heaven. The rest is God’s business and He always takes care of His business.
12 The wicked plot against the godly; they snarl at them in defiance. 13 But the Lord just laughs, for he sees their day of judgment coming –Psalm 37:12-13 (NLT)
“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” -Anonymous
Every day we see and hear about more and more evil. The spirits of discord, deception, violence and disobedience are more and more apparent and open. All of us seem to be more concerned about ourselves and our possessions and less concerned about our neighbors. We are filled with pride. Society scoffs at the idea of a God, yet our actions show that we worship our bodies, our families, our careers and our entertainment to the point of making them our “gods”. We have become an ungrateful, unloving, unforgiving people. We take no responsibility for our own actions, always blaming things on others. We say we believe in Jesus Christ but we refuse to be accountable to Him or to obey Him. We speak about religious things but we deny the power of the Holy Spirit, not allowing Him to change our lives. We need to bend our knees, ask God for forgiveness, repent and start living a lifestyle that lets the world know that we love Jesus and will remain faithful to Him.
12 That is why I am suffering here in prison. But I am not ashamed of it, for I know the one in whom I trust, and I am sure that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him until the day of his return. — 2 Timothy 1:12 NLT
God gave the law first knowing that we would not be able to keep every aspect of it. It was given to show us that we need a Savior and the appearance of Jesus Christ made God’s plan plain to us. Jesus and Jesus alone had the power to break satan’s hold on us and conquer death. By His death and resurrection, Jesus shows us the way to life and immortality. God has chosen some to be preachers, apostles and teachers. We will all suffer to some extent, some even to death. We are not to be afraid or ashamed of our suffering. God has promised us that He will keep us and no one can take us out of His hand. No thing or no one can ever separate us from the love of God.
39 No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.–Romans 8:39 (NLT)
He will keep us, guide us, and give us the words to speak as we need them. Fear not!“
The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” -Anonymous
As time passes and the return of Jesus gets closer and closer, we can expect that satan will increase his efforts to turn people away from the Gospel of Jesus. He will do this by increasing persecution, deception, and false teachings. We see these things increasing all over the world each day. More and more of our brothers and sisters in Christ are being imprisoned and martyred each day. We even read of things here in our country that earlier generations would have thought impossible. There are so many people whose consciences have become”seared” over. This speaks to a condition where people have gotten to the point that they feel no remorse for the wrongs that they do. Everything God created is good, but some of those things can be used for evil. Money. power, authority, sex were created to be used for good, but in the hands of some, they become evil. We must be very careful not to require more for a person to be saved than what Jesus requires. Believe that He was born of a virgin, lived a sinless life, was crucified on a cross, was buried, arose after 3 days and later ascended to heaven where He sits at the right hand of God. That is all that is necessary for salvation. Anything else, is doctrine or works, which may or not be good, but they certainly can’t save you. We need to spend time with Jesus each day so that we are not easily deceived.