Remain Faithful

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Give honor to marriage, and remain faithful to one another in marriage. God will surely judge people who are immoral and those who commit adultery.
– Hebrews 13:4 NLT

Hebrews 13:4-8 NLT

God warns us over and over not to participate in immoral sex because it is more than just a physical act. It involves the intertwining of the body, mind and spirit. Those illicit desires quickly become much too strong for the flesh to handle. Those who continue to participate in these sins will soon learn they have become captive to their fleshly lusts. It will become an abomination to our bodies, the very Temple of the Living God.

18 Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a person commits are outside the body, but whoever sins sexually, sins against their own body. 19 Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; 20 you were bought at a price.Therefore honor God with your bodies. – 1 Cor. 6:18-20 NIV
We need to flee from this sin and God always opens a door for us to leave if we choose to do so. The lust for money and power is almost as strong as the lust for sexual immorality, so we must be sure that our choices of how we use our finances and our positions honor God.  It is very easy to become addicted to any of these sins.  We don’t have to be millionaires or CEOs to misuse the resources God has entrusted to us.  We can sin in finances by refusing to help those in need around us. We need to watch for the opportunities that God gives each of us to do good in His name. It isn’t the amount or the “bigness” that impresses God, it is the willingness and the attitude with which we perform the tasks.
43 Calling his disciples to him, Jesus said, “Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others. 44 They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything—all she had to live on.” 
— Mark 12:43, 44 NIV

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

Post 05-24-2018

Just Say No to Fleshly Desires

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12 And we are instructed to turn from godless living and sinful pleasures. We should live in this evil world with wisdom, righteousness, and devotion to God – Titus 2:12 NLT
 
When we repented of our sins and received God’s forgiveness, it was the first step of a journey that will eventually take us to heaven to spend an eternity with our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.  Our salvation is secure because we are clothed in the righteousness of Jesus Christ. The change in us, at this point, is internal. Unless that change in our hearts’ desires is manifested externally those around us may not know that we have accepted Jesus. True repentance changes our hearts and our minds. Jesus set the example of what our lifestyle should be. The Holy Spirit, which now dwells in us, inspired the writers of the New Testament to write verse after verse telling us how our lives should change. We now say “no” to those fleshly desires that were once our way of life. Now we say “yes” to the Holy Spirit. Every day is a battle between evil (our flesh) and good (the Spirit). We are in a war and there is no neutral ground. If we aren’t moving forward, then we are losing ground. So, every day, we must arm ourselves with the full armor of God and fight the good fight.

8 Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. 9 Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings.10 And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong,firm and steadfast. 11 To him be the power for ever and ever. Amen — 1 Peter 5:8-11 NIV

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

Post 04-29-2018

“Always Respond With Kindness and Patient Endurance”

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11 To this very hour we go hungry and thirsty, we are in rags, we are brutally treated, we are homeless. 12 We work hard with our own hands.When we are cursed, we bless; when we are persecuted, we endure it; 13 when we are slandered, we answer kindly. We have become the scum of the earth, the garbage of the world—right up to this moment–1 Cor. 4:11-1​3​ NIV
Paul expands on the difference in attitude and lifestyle that he, Apollo, and Peter have as compared to the Christians in Corinth. They have given up all their earthly possessions and now they do not have an extra set of clothes nor a home of their own here on earth. They work hard physically so that they will not be a financial burden on the new converts. They respond to cursing, persecution and slandering with blessings, kindness and patient endurance. They are willing to be treated as the lowest form of life here on earth so that God might be glorified. Is it necessary for all of us to go through this kind of treatment? No, but we must have the attitude and the willingness to do it, if that is what Jesus calls us to do.
3 Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4 perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5 And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.—Romans 5:3-5 NIV
18 I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.—Romans 8:18 NIV

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

Post 02-08-2018

Clothed With His love and Righteousness!

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14 Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds us all together in perfect harmony.

— Col 3:14 NLT


Yesterday’s writing ended with us clothing ourselves in the characteristics of Jesus. The outer covering of all those characteristics must be Christ’s righteousness and 
love. The love of Christ wraps around us, reaches out and touches others and binds us all together in unity and perfect harmony. Jesus promised us a peace that passes understanding and we have that when Jesus is ruling our hearts. The Good News about Jesus fills our lives. Then we are to teach others that message using the wisdom He gives us. That love and unity is how we should represent Jesus to unbelievers. To quote Francis of Assisi, “Preach the Gospel and, if necessary, use words.” Most of all, we should always have “an attitude of gratitude” thanking God for all His love and blessings. That attitude comes from a heart filled with joy and causes our lips to sing His praises all day, every day!

 
10 I am overwhelmed with joy in the Lord my God!  For he has dressed me with the clothing of salvation and draped me in a robe of righteousness.
I am like a bridegroom dressed for his wedding

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Isaiah 61:10 NLT

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

Post 03-11-2017

Change Your Thought Patterns

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Think about the things of heaven, not the things of earth.
— Col 3:2 NLT

Paul tells us in Romans about the struggle he had with the flesh. He always wanted to do right, but found himself doing the wrong things. He knows what is right, but doesn’t always live up to that standard. We have the same struggle and as long as we are in this tent of flesh, we will always have it. We have to put to death our fleshly desires and focus on Jesus. The devil wants to keep us “sin-minded’”, but we need to follow after God’s Holy Spirit and be “Christ-minded”. If we have the mind of Christ, His attitude, and if we always try to see things through His eyes, then we can focus on things above and those fleshly desires will become less and less important. This does not mean that we live in some fantasy world, but rather, that the things of Christ become more real to us as we mature in our journey with Him.

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

Post 03-09-2017

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

Boast Only in the Lord!

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24 But those who wish to boast  should boast in this alone:
that they truly know me and understand that I am the Lord
    who demonstrates unfailing love
    and who brings justice and righteousness to the earth,
and that I delight in these things.
    I, the Lord, have spoken! — Jeremiah 9:24 NLT
 


We may be well-educated and very intelligent but education and intelligence does not necessarily produce wisdom. God grants us wisdom when we ask humbly without wavering in our request. We may be in a position of authority, but if we are, God has elevated us to that position and can take us down quicker than He raised us up. We should humble ourselves under His mighty hand and He will lift us up in due time. God may have allowed you to amass great wealth, but that wealth can disappear like coins from a pocket with a hole in it or take flight like a bird and be gone before the day is over. There is only one thing that we can be sure of and that is God’s unchanging love. It can’t be earned or bought and once you have accepted Him as your Savior and Lord, you can not be separated from Him. So, if you must boast, boast in the fact that the King of Kings, the Lord of Lords, the Creator of the universe has chosen you to be His heir. That is a boast that you can take with you throughout eternity. You are safe and secure in His unchanging hands.

Post 10-23-2016

The Third Person

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30 And do not make the Holy Spirit sad. The Spirit is God’s proof that you belong to him. God gave you the Spirit to show that God will make you free when the final day comes. — Eph. 4:30 NCV
 
 
Maybe because His name is Holy Spirit we tend not to think of Him as a person.  But the third person of the Trinity is just as much a person and just as much God as Jesus, the second person and God the first person.  Each has a different office and duty but they are One and the Same.  When we ignore God or reject Jesus, we are doing the same thing to the Holy Spirit.  When we grieve God, we cause sadness in the whole Godhead.  When we are obedient and faithful, we bring joy to the Trinity.  There is a person living inside of every Christian who feels grief, sadness, pain and joy just as we feel those things.  None of us like to be ignored, neither does He.  How long would a friendship last if we walked with a human friend 24/7 and never acknowledged his/her presence or spoke to them?  What if we never invited them to join in our conversations and our mealtimes?  What if, for all practical purposes, our words and actions denied that we had a friend with us?  Yet, hour after hour, we treat the Holy Spirit exactly this way.  We deny that He is within us by our actions but more often by our lack of actions.  How many times and places do we have an opportunity to introduce our Friend but we don’t?  How many times does He asks us to introduce Him by that little nudge we feel but we won’t?  If we say that we have never felt that nudge, what does that say about our relationship with our Friend?  Let us all pray that the next time we feel that nudge, we will have the boldness to introduce Him to our other friends and acquaintances.
07-04-2016

Servant or Master?

even-smaller-bug-light110  You have tested us, O God;    you have purified us like silver.  — Psalm 66:10 NLT

Psalm 66:8-12 NLT

There are two things in life that we use on just about a daily basis and both of those things can be good or evil depending on our attitude toward them and our use of them.   One is fire, though we don’t actually build fires every day, we use things that are formed and molded as a result of heat and fire.  Fire is necessary in refining processes that allow us to have jewelry, coins and other valuable items.   But that fire, uncontrolled, can be very destructive.  Each year thousands of lives and homes and acres of forest are lost to fires.  The trials we go through are compared to fires that refine us.  We can use those times of refining to draw closer to God or we can use them as a reason to revel against God.   The other, of course, is money. Money can become our idol, our master, when we spend too much time focused on earining it and using it for the wrong reasons.   Or it can serve us well when we have the proper balance of work versus worship.   We can use it to spread the KIngdom of God here on earth in multiple ways or we can use to purchase useless items. Both fire and money can be great servants or destructive masters.  The choice is ours.

24 “No one can serve two masters. For you will hate one and love the other; you will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and be enslaved to money. — Matt. 6:24 NLT

 

Post 05-22-2016

“NOW”

even-smaller-bug-light128 So Jesus said, “When you have lifted up the Son of Man on the cross, then you will understand that I am he. I do nothing on my own but say only what the Father taught me. 29 And the one who sent me is with me—he has not deserted me. For I always do what pleases him.” 30 Then many who heard him say these things believed in him. — John 8:28-30 NLT  (Read John 8:12-30)

The Pharisees and the ruling class were still trying to find a way to be rid of Jesus.  They were always trying to catch Jesus in some error or saying something that they could define as blasphemy.  This would allow them to take Him to the Romans and ask for the death penalty.  As Jesus taught the people,  His words had again infuriated the Jewish leaders with His claim about who He was.  In this passage, He not only tells them who He is, He also prophesies that He will die by being hung on a cross.  He also refers to Himself as “I  AM” in this translation.  The same way God had always referred to Himself in the Old Testament.  God and Jesus both referred to themselves in the present tense, never in the past and never in the future.  We say God was, God is and God will always be. They just say “I AM”.   They live in and refer to life in the present or the “now”.   We should follow their example and live our lives the same way.  As Mother Teresa once said:  “Yesterday is gone. Tomorrow has not yet come. We have only today. Let us begin.”   Though Jesus knew that He would die on a cross in a few days, He did not let that deter Him from doing what our Father had sent Him to do.  We should not let regrets from yesterdays or worries and fears about tomorrow deter us from accomplishing God’s purpose and plan for us today.
Post 03-23-2016