Pure Joy

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Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy.  – James 1:2 NLT​
 


Why do Christians have to endure trials and persecutions? I suppose people have been asking this question since the first century. The disciples never quite understood why Jesus had to suffer and die until after the Resurrection. God does not allow us to go through suffering so that He will know where we are on our journey, He allows it so that we will know. He allows it so that our “I can” will turn into “No, I can’t but God can”. “No pain, no gain” applies to spiritual growth as well as physical. Would understanding the “why” really make the pain any less real or painful?  I am sure that since Jesus was in on the plan of redemption, He understood the why, but that didn’t keep Him from asking His Father if there might not be another way. As he prayed in the garden of Gethsemane.

42 He went away a second time and prayed, “My Father, if it is not possible for this cup to be taken away unless I drink it, may your will be done.”–Matt. 26:42 NIV

It is not a sin to wonder or to question “why?”. It is only a sin when we take it to the point of being disobedient. We need to pray for wisdom, but when we pray for wisdom, we need to understand that acquiring wisdom requires experiencing a lot of things and some of them will be painful.

23 Then he said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.–Luke 9:23 

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

Post 3-11-2018

Love Rules

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But you must be careful so that your freedom does not cause others with a weaker conscience to stumble. ​- 1 Cor. 8:9 NLT


Paul continues his narrative on whether or not we, as Christians, are free to eat meat sacrificed to idols.  The point he is making is that when we exercise our liberty in Christ Jesus, we need to be sure that others are not offended or misled by watching us.  Though we have the knowledge that we have liberty because Jesus Christ died to set us free from the law and from sin, others do not have that knowledge.  They are accustomed to not eating meat sacrificed to idols because that is what the law has taught them. Just as some of the disciples still taught that you had to be circumcised because they did not yet have the understanding of their freedom in Christ. We, being the stronger, should then give up our freedom to do certain things.  Not because the action itself is a sin, but because it causes our brother or sister to stumble and we have sinned against them. Any sin against anyone is a sin against Christ. So we should use our knowledge, spoken in love, to edify our brothers and sisters and not to harm them.


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

Post 2-20-2018

The Body of Christ Should Settle It’s Own Disputes

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If you have legal disputes about such matters, why go to outside judges who are not respected by the church? – 1 Cor. 6:4 NLT
 

Can you imagine what it would be like to attend a congregation where everyone agreed to take their complaints against each other to the congregation and accept their decision? Wouldn’t this be a good example for the world to see? Paul says we should be able to judge the trivial things ourselves. Anything short of salvation is trivial. Why do we ask the world to judge between us? Is it ego, greed, or revenge? Since we have access to heavenly wisdom, who could be wiser in judging than God’s children? We are all one family, the family of God. For us to ask the world to settle our disputes is somewhat like hanging out the family’s dirty laundry. The world is probably never going to recommend that we just forgive each other and move along since they look on humility and meekness with scorn. But that is exactly what the Holy Spirit recommends for members of the body.

31 Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. 32 Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.—Eph. 4:31,32 NIV


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

Post 02-13-2018

“He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands”

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21 So then let no one boast in men. For all things belong to you,​ ​22 whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas or the world or life or death or things present or things to come; all things belong to you, 23 and you belong to Christ; and Christ belongs to God—1 Cor. 3:21-23 NASB
 
All things in heaven and earth belong to God the Father. Jesus Christ the Son belongs to the Father. Since Christ gave His life on the cross to purchase us, we who have accepted Him as our Savior belong to Him and therefore we belong to the Father. God sees eternity without beginning and without end. With Him, there is no past or future and it all belongs to Him. He is gracious enough to let us be stewards of the earth and everything in it, but it all still belongs to Him. We have nothing in and of ourselves, what wisdom we have is as foolishness to God. What righteousness we may think we have is as dirty rags to God. So, what does man have that he could possibly boast about? Absolutely nothing!

15 The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. 16 For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. 17 He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.—Col. 1:15-17 NASB

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

Post 02-04-2018

Seek Godly Wisdom

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19 For the wisdom of this world is foolishness to God.  – 1 Cor 3:19a NLT

Compared to the wisdom of God, anything that we call wisdom here on earth is nothing but foolishness. Divine wisdom far exceeds anything we can think or imagine, not only in quality, but also in quantity. Men who think themselves wise and try to deceive others will be dealt with by God.
12 He ruins the plans of those who trick others so they have no success. 13 He catches the wise in their own clever traps and sweeps away the plans of those who try to trick others.—Job 5:12 NCV
Admitting that our wisdom is useless for getting into heaven is part of the humbling process. It is also one of the objections that worldly wise people have to becoming a Christian. That is why so many of us do not accept Jesus until He has allowed us to get to the end of our resources, then we will turn to Him. We can see Job as an example of this. He lost everything here on earth and was advised by His wife to curse God and die, Job refused and his “wise” friends tried to counsel him. but it took a confrontation with God himself for Job to humble himself and be redeemed.
25 “As for me, I know that my Redeemer lives, and at the last He will take His stand on the earth.” Job 19:25 NASB

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

Post 02-03-2018

“A Message of Wisdom”

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6 We do, however, speak a message of wisdom among the mature, but not the wisdom of this age or of the rulers of this age, who are coming to nothing.7 No, we declare God’s wisdom, a mystery that has been hidden and that God destined for our glory before time began. 8 None of the rulers of this age understood it, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.—1 Cor. 2:6-9 (NIV)
God’s plan has never changed. It existed in eternity and before time as we know it. Eternity was, is and always will be. God was, God is and God ever more will be. He knew our finite, human minds would be unable to grasp and understand eternity and endless space. So, He spoke the earth into existence somewhere in space and some time in eternity. By doing so, He divided space and time into small chunks of universes and days. This allowed humans to have something finite that we could grasp and understand. This is wisdom beyond our understanding. Then He created us and breathed life into us. Then we rebelled against God by doubting His love and provisions for us. This was no surprise to Him. He had already made provision to redeem us before we ever fell. The how and the when was a mystery until Jesus came and died for us on the Cross. It was prophesied over and over throughout history but people refused to see and /or believe. Had satan and his demons understood the plan and the time, they would not have crucified Jesus on the Cross. But God was, is and always will be in control. Jesus helped to design the plan of salvation and He finished it at Calvary.
2 looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.–Hebrews 12:2 NKJV

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

Post 01-28-2018

Foolish and Weak or Wise and Powerful

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25 This foolish plan of God is wiser than the wisest of human plans, and God’s weakness is stronger than the greatest of human strength. – 1 Cor. 1:25 NLT

The Jews wanted to see miracles to prove the truth of the Gospel. Jesus had performed many signs and wonders but they still refused to accept Him as the Messiah. When the Pharisees had requested a sign, Jesus answered them:
39 He answered, “A wicked and adulterous generation asks for a sign! But none will be given it except the sign of the prophet Jonah–Matt. 12:39 (NIV)
They had seen that sign because after three days, Jesus arose from the grave. We are not saved by signs, miracles or wisdom, we are saved by grace through faith. Head knowledge has to become heart knowledge before we receive saving grace. The power that resurrected Jesus from the grave is more powerful than any earthly force and is still available to each of us today. The foolishness of Jesus Christ is wiser than anything in the world and it is still available to us today. We just need to persevere in our faith and ask the Holy Spirit to grant us wisdom.
4 Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. 5 If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.—James 1:4, 5 (NIV)

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

Post 01-26-2018