“I Will Not Let You Go…”

​​24 So Jacob was left alone, and a man wrestled with him till daybreak. 25 When the man saw that he could not overpower him, he touched the socket of Jacob’s hip so that his hip was wrenched as he wrestled with the man. 26 Then the man said, “Let me go, for it is daybreak.”  But Jacob replied, “I will not let you go unless you bless me.”—Gen. 32:24-26 NIV

There are people who pray and then there are people who really, really pray. Which one of these are we?  God is concerned about the biggest and the least little problem or issue that bothers us. He stands ready to send in a thousand angels to protect us, if that is necessary. But He wants us to ask and keep on asking until the answer comes. We may not get the answer we want, but He will always answer us. Jesus is our example and He prayed in the garden of Gethsemane until He sweat great drops of blood. Jacob refused to turn loose until He got His blessing. The woman with the issue of blood pressed through a  crowd of people just to be able to touch His garment. We, too, can really get serious about prayer when lives are at stake. What would happen if we just asked God every moment to take care of the little things? At His Mother’s request, Jesus turned the water into wine. Couldn’t we all use that kind of miracle in our daily lives?

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

“Greatness of God’s Power”

19 I also pray that you will understand the incredible greatness of God’s power for us who believe him. – Ephesians 1:19 NLT 

Incredible Power

It is impossible for the human mind to grasp the power that is available to each of us through Jesus Christ our Lord. The power that raised Jesus Christ from the dead is the same power that assures us of our hope of eternal life. If our hearts were totally in sync with God’s heart that we might see through His eyes and hear through His ears, the difference we could make in this age would be immeasurable. This is the truth that Jesus wanted us to get hold of when He said:

12 Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. 13 And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.–John 14:12 -14 NIV

We can grasp a part of the truth of this statement when we realize that it is still God doing the works and miracles today. . When our only motive becomes to glorify God and His Son, Jesus and we believe that the dunamis power of God, His Holy Spirit, resides in us, then I believe that we will begin to see those miracles occurring today, just as they did when Jesus and the disciples walked the earth.

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

“Think About Such Things”

8 Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. – Phil 4:8 NIV

Rejoice!


Some of the things that Paul wrote are hard for us to understand. “rejoice in the Lord always” and “pray without ceasing” come to mind. In our busy society how does one spend 15 minutes a day rejoicing and praying, much less continually, and still get everything accomplished. I believe that what seems impossible is the key to how we accomplish Paul’s admonitions. Happiness is caused by externals and is temporary. We sometimes confuse that with joy, which is internal and eternal because it is given to us by God. “The joy of the Lord is my strength.”  What God gives to us cannot be taken away from us. We can lose our focus on the joy but it is still there all the time. Praying is a gift from God as well as an attitude, not a body position. we can mentally pray while doing anything else. Verse 8 is the key to being prayerful and joyful all the time. We need to change our thought patterns so that they focus on the goodness and mercies of God instead of the sin in the world around us.  Then we can enjoy the joy and thank God for it.

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

“Things That Please the Spirit”

5 Those who are dominated by the sinful nature think about sinful things, but those who are controlled by the Holy Spirit think about things that please the Spirit. – Romans 8:5 NLT 

Romans 8:3-5 NLT

The Law was given as a  teacher. Its purpose was to teach us that we could not live perfect lives while in this flesh.  Since the forgiveness of sin required a perfect sacrifice, God supplied that for us. He sent His Son, Jesus, who lived a perfect, spotless life. Those who choose to live under the Law are still condemned by that Law. Their only hope, our only hope is to accept the gift of salvation bought and paid for by our kinsman Redeemer, Jesus Christ. When we do that, God places His Spirit inside us to convict, correct, and direct us in how we should live. Now, we are living in accordance with what the Spirit desires.  And the Spirit desires only what Jesus and the Father desire for us. The Spirit is perfect in His communications between us and God.  When God speaks to us through other Christians, we might question the message.  But, when the Messenger is the Holy Spirit, we must walk humbly before our God and deliver the message exactly as it is given to us by the Holy Spirit.

26 “When the Advocate comes, whom I will send to you from the Father—the Spirit of truth who goes out from the Father—he will testify about me. 27 And you also must testify, for you have been with me from the beginning.–John 15:26-27 NIV

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

“You Can Choose to Obey God”

16 Don’t you realize that you become the slave of whatever you choose to obey? You can be a slave to sin, which leads to death, or you can choose to obey God, which leads to righteous living. – Romans 6:16 NLT 

Romans 6:15-18 NLT

We were all born in sin into a sinful world, We live in a fleshly tent that desires to sin. In our own strength, we will never be free from those desires. The flesh lusts after money, power, and pleasures. When we lived a sinful lifestyle, we were being obedient to the flesh and the flesh was our master. Though we didn’t realize it at the time, we were slaves to sin and we were held in bondage by satan. But Jesus died and rose again that we might be free from that bondage.  Now, we can make a choice to live a life that is obedient to Jesus Christ. We are covered with His righteousness. But our freedom does not give us license to live a sinful lifestyle. We will all still sin occasionally, but our focus should not be on sinning, but on living a Christlike lifestyle. We used to have a carnal mind and followed after carnal things, Now, we have the mind of Christ and follow after Spiritual things.

Phil. 2:1-5 NLT

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

“Never Pay Back Evil”

17 Never pay back evil with more evil. Do things in such a way that everyone can see you are honorable – Romans 12:17 NLT

Romans 12:17-21 NLT

When we feel that we have been wronged by someone, usually the first thing we feel is anger. Where we go from there depends on the habit patterns we have developed. Our flesh rises up and demands retribution. It takes a lot of prayer and practice to learn to respond and not react.  Most of us will never get it completely right and certainly not all the time. Nevertheless, our commitment to Jesus Christ requires us to keep trying. We must learn to make every attempt to bring about a peaceful resolution to the issue.  If the other(s) involved won’t allow this, then we must pray for them.  Never, never, never hold a grudge which will eventually become a root of bitterness in your life. The longer the root is allowed to stay there, the harder it is to remove. Revenge is God’s business, not ours and He never fails to take care of His business. God, alone, is good and He is the only one that can completely overcome evil. Forgive immediately, pray for as long as it takes and trust God with the rest.

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

“Live In Harmony”

16 Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited..—Romans 12:16 NIV

To live in harmony or peace requires us to put the needs of others above ours. To develop and maintain a relationship requires giving from both sides. It isn’t give and take, it is give and then give some more. To do this requires each of us to be humble, not just with those close to us, but with the strangers we meet on the street. We should never presume that we are better or of higher position than those that God brings across our path. Our birth and our address do not give us, as Christians, any right to feel or act better than others.  In fact, it requires us to do just the opposite. It requires us to love the “unlovable” and to touch the “untouchables”, just as Jesus did. If ever, we should meet someone and presume that we are of higher or better position than they are, it is pride that makes us feel that way.  Presumption and pride are sins.

12  People cannot see their own mistakes. Forgive me for my secret sins. 13 Keep me from the sins of pride; don’t let them rule me. Then I can be pure and innocent of the greatest of sins. Psalm 19:12-13 NCV

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

“Rejoice; Mourn”

15 Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.–Romans 12:15 NIV

It appears that most of us do a decent job of mourning with others in times of the loss of life of a loved one.  We support them with cards, meals and our presence at the home or other places.  We even do a fair job of supporting those who lose their homes or jobs.  But, how do we score in rejoicing with others?  Are we as diligent in being available to celebrate the joyous times in their life? We get good scores on weddings and if it is close family, we do okay on birthdays. But, if you are like me, (and I hope that you aren’t), I can’t tell you a single date of a wedding anniversary of anyone in my family or any of my friends. In today’s society, maybe the divorce rate would be lower if we made a big deal of wedding anniversaries. When was the last time we sent a card or email congratulating someone on their new job or new home?
Or the most important time of all, when have we sent a note, card or email welcoming someone to the family of God?  Maybe we could make a huge deal out of celebrating our second birthday by giving gifts to others. If we don’t remember the date, we could just pick one and celebrate that date every year. I definitely need to work on rejoicing with others, maybe we all need to give it some thought. If we rejoiced more, perhaps. others would want what we have–the joy of the Lord.

10 Nehemiah said, “Go and enjoy choice food and sweet drinks, and send some to those who have nothing prepared. This day is holy to our Lord. Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.”–Nehemiah 8:10 NIV

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

“Bless And Do Not Curse”

14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse.—Romans 12:14 NIV​

Praying for and blessing those who persecute us is hard.  The flesh wants to scream, strike back and get revenge. Paul tells us this is a constant battle and we know from our own experiences that that is true. Why? Because the flesh wants what it wants and it doesn’t give up easily.

18 For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. 19 For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing.–Romans 7:18-19 NIV 

We were born in sin into a sinful world. We are constantly tempted by the things we see, hear and read. That old father of liars, satan, knows where the chinks in our armor are and he pokes at us through those holes continuously. We are taught the “it’s all about me” philosophy on a daily basis. “You’re okay, I’m okay”  is a lie from the pits of hell. No one is okay without Jesus and no one can do Godly things without the leadership of the Holy Spirit. As long as we live in this old decaying tent of flesh, we will be tempted and we will have to fight a daily battle against those temptations. But, God has not left us alone to do this, He has made provisions for us. There is always a way out. 

12 So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall! 13 No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.–1 Cor. 10:12-13 NIV

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

“Practice Hospitality”

13 Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.–Romans 12:13 NIV

God has appointed each of us to be stewards of certain resources.  We should always remember that those resources originated from and belong to Him. We, as His children, are the distribution system He has chosen to use. How well we do that can have a direct result on how much of His resources we are allowed to manage.

21 “His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’–Matt. 25:21 NIV

Our love and charity should begin at home.

8 Anyone who does not provide for their relatives, and especially for their own household, has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.–1 Tim. 5:8 NIV

Then, each church congregation should take care of its members.

9 Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. 10 Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.–Gal. 6:9-10 NIV

Then, we are instructed to love our neighbors, which, in Biblical context, is everybody. We show this love by practicing hospitality to everyone. It behooves each of us to ask the Holy Spirit to show us how to be better stewards of the resources God has given us.

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