Learning Obedience Through Suffering

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Even though Jesus was God’s Son, he learned obedience from the things he suffered. ​- Hebrews 5:8 NLT
Jesus suffered many things in His walk here on earth. He was exposed to every temptation that we are exposed to but never sinned.  Again, we sometimes forget that Jesus was completely human when he suffered these temptations.  We need to be very careful in assuming that Jesus did not sin because He was all God as well as all man.  He suffered as a human. His sufferings taught Him obedience because he was totally submitted to the will of His Father. We might say that Jesus knew He was going to be tempted and suffer here on earth, so He had an advantage. But if we read, study and really believe the Scriptures, we also know that we are going to suffer. The difference is that we often give into the desires of the flesh rather than trust our Father to deliver us. Suffering is not to let God know what our response will be, He already knows.  It is so that we will know where we are in our walk with God. Our sufferings are not to be avoided, they are to be embraced. Testing and temptations are stepping stones to maturity and to help us become more intimate with Jesus.

 

2 Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. 4 Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. – James 1:2-4 NIV

17 Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory. 18 I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.— Romans 8:17, 18 NIV

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

 

Post 05-08-2018

“Render Unto Caesar…”

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17 Respect everyone, and love the family of believers. Fear God, and respect the king.– 1 Peter 2:17 NLT
We should obey the laws of the land unless they contradict the Scriptures. We do this so that people who are watching will not have a reason to criticize the body of Christ. We are free to live as we choose, but that does not give us a license to go around violating the laws of the land. Violation of the law is a sin in God’s eyes. Our lives should reflect the example that Jesus showed us while He was here on earth. As hard as the religious leaders looked, they could not find one legitimate reason to arrest and/or imprison our Savior much less put Him to death on the cross.  They had to resort to hiring people to lie against him on the witness stand. We may or may not agree with the official holding the office, but we are still to respect the office and give due honor to it. Paul shows us this example in the book of Acts:

4 Those who were standing near Paul said, “How dare you insult God’s high priest!”  5 Paul replied, “Brothers, I did not realize that he was the high priest; for it is written: ‘Do not speak evil about the ruler of your people.’ — Acts 23:4,5 NIV

We must constantly battle the flesh to show love and respect for those with whom we disagree. But we must never use the freedom we have in Christ Jesus to do anything that would cast the slightest shadow on His Name. Fearing God requires us to show others respect and love.

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

Post 04-18-2018

“Search My Heart, O Lord”

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21 You cannot drink from the cup of the Lord and from the cup of demons, too. You cannot eat at the Lord’s Table and at the table of demons, too. – 1 Cor. 10:21 NLT
 
When we take the Communion, we are all symbolically partaking of the same body and the same blood. This has been true ever since Jesus set the example with the disciples in the Upper Room. No matter what time it is in eternity, we are all bound together by that one body and one blood and it will be culminated in heaven when we all partake of the Communion at the great banquet table. So, we should never defile that practice by partaking of anything that has been sacrificed to idols or to demons of any sort. We cannot serve two masters and our God is a jealous God. We do not want to provoke Him.
13 But you shall destroy their altars, break their sacred pillars, and cut down their wooden images 14 (for you shall worship no other god, for the Lord, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God), —Exodus 34:13, 14 NKJV
While we may not bow to wooden or golden images, we can still have things that we treasure more dearly than our relationship with God. These things or people are just as much an idol as any graven image. Each of us needs to ask the Holy Spirit to show us the things in our lives that grieve Him. Those things are our idols.

23 Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me, and know my anxieties; 24 And see if there is any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlastingPsalm 139:23, 24 NKJV

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

Post 02-24-2018

Obedience and Self-Control

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Afterward, you should come together again so that Satan won’t be able to tempt you because of your lack of self-control. – 1 Cor. 7:5b NLT

Since we don’t know the exact questions that the Corinthians had asked Paul, it makes it harder to understand his answer. There are two things we can know from the history of the church at that date. One thing is that some of the Corinthians had taken Paul’s teaching on sexual immorality to the extremes. Husbands and wives were using the teachings to completely deny each other. Some were even using it as an excuse to divorce unbelieving mates. The second thing is that about this time in history, Stoics were teaching complete celibacy for everyone. But, either way, Paul says that because this was causing a great deal of sexual immorality, it was better for a couple to stay married and fulfill their conjugal duties to each other rather than commit sin by having sex outside of marriage. Inside the marriage, each spouse should always consider the needs and desires of the other spouse to be more important than their own desires. Everything concerning the sexual relations of a married couple should be by common consent with no pressures or demands made by either. It’s not about the husband nor the wife, it’s about the couple being obedient to God.

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

Post 02-17-2018

“I Ain’t Got Nobody”

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“I can’t, sir,” the sick man said, “for I have no one to put me into the pool when the water bubbles up. Someone else always gets there ahead of me.” ​ – John 5:7 NLT
 

This is an amazing story in more than one way. The name of the pool, Bethesda, can be translated as “house of grace” or “house of mercy”. It tells us of an amazing event that happened at certain times when the angel came down and stirred the water. It shows us God’s amazing grace when Jesus healed this man. But the most amazing thing is the man’s answer to Jesus’ question. “Do you want to be made well?” Here is a man who had been sick for thirty-eight years. You would have thought his answer would have been more along the lines of “I certainly do” or “Yes, yes, yes, I do” But instead he goes in a completely different direction and says “I have no”. Does this type of answer sound vaguely familiar? When Jesus asks us to help with His work, is our answer, “I can’t talk to people about that”, I don’t have any abilities” or I don’t have the resources”? To those responses, Jesus says to us: “Take up your ______ and walk” We can fill in the blank with whatever excuse we used, our weakness, our inability, our brokenness, our lack. Just as Jesus healed this man, He will provide whatever we need to do whatever He has asked us to do. It is not about our abilities, but it is about our availability. Pray that the Lord of the harvest will send more workers into the field.

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

Post 08-23-2017

Fellowship Requires Obedience

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28 And now, dear children, remain in fellowship with Christ so that when he returns, you will be full of courage and not shrink back from him in shame. – 1 John 2:28 NLT

We need to remember that we are always in God’s presence. He is omnipresent, there is no escaping His eye as it roams to and fro over the earth. We must strive to live holy lives every day.

17 I see everything they do. They cannot hide from me the things they do; their sin is not hidden from my eyes–Jeremiah 16:17 (NCV)


While our sins are forgiven, any unconfessed sins in our lives temporarily breaks our fellowship with God. That was the reason for the prayer that Jesus prayed in Gethsemane. He knew that when all the sin of the world was put upon Him, His fellowship with Our Father would be temporarily broken. That would be the one and only time that would be true and it caused Him great anguish. We should feel that same anguish when we fail. When we fail, we should never let satan use that as a weapon to bring us down. What we should feel is not guilt or condemnation, but conviction that causes us to repent. But that is not the end of the story. Just as Jesus was restored to full fellowship with God, so will we be. When God looks at us, He sees us through the blood of Jesus. So, He sees us as righteous just as Christ is righteous. Hopefully, as we strive to live obedient lifestyles, we won’t have to suffer through many of those times of broken fellowship.


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

Post 07-07-2017

Live As Obedient Children

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14 So you must live as God’s obedient children. Don’t slip back into your old ways of living to satisfy your own desires. You didn’t know any better then. – 1 Peter 1:14 NLT


When we accept Jesus as our Savior, we become a new Creation. Before that change, we were controlled by fleshly lusts. We did what “self” wanted to do without exercising self-control. Now that we are a new creation, we walk in the Spirit and do those things that are in obedience to Christ. Are we now perfect? No! But we are striving toward that mark. Will we fall short? Yes, but the blood of Jesus has covered those sins. Now that we know the right things to do, we must pursue them and not go back to our old ways. Our lifestyle should reflect our new destination. People who have known us should be able to see a difference in the way we walk and talk. The things that used to occupy the highest priorities in our lives should be further down the list. There are some things we should want to give up immediately and others need to be moved way down our list of priorities. We need to take an inventory and honestly find out where Jesus is on our list of priorities. Jesus is not in a contest with other “gods”. He will accept nothing less than the top shelf, He is either “Lord of all” or He is not “Lord at all” in our lives.


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

Post 06-15-2017