Why Are We Persecuted?

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20 Remember what I told you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you. If they kept my word, they will also keep yours. – John 15:20 ISV
In His lifetime here on earth, Jesus suffered rejection, ridicule, mockery, and finally death on a cross.  While he was living out His life as an example to us, He promised us that we would be offended and suffer persecution as well.  When we suffer for His sake, we should be happy that He has chosen us to suffer with and for Him because we will receive a blessing here and a reward later.
 
11 “God blesses you when people mock you and persecute you and lie about you and say all sorts of evil things against you because you are my followers. 12 Be happy about it! Be very glad! For a great reward awaits you in heaven. And remember, the ancient prophets were persecuted in the same way.– Matt. 5: 11, 12 NLT
 
God also disciplines His children and the discipline is for our benefit so that we grow and mature in His service.

 

19 I correct and discipline everyone I love. So be diligent and turn from your indifference. — Hebrews 3:19 NLT

I like the NLT translation of this verse because the way most of us Christians sin is through indifference.  So what, if my neighbors are lost, I am not going to get involved.  Yeah, I felt that little nudge to speak or act but I am not going to do anything.  Yes, I should visit the sick but I just don’t have the time. Woe unto us!! Jesus will not ignore these sins of indifference, there will be discipline for His children in this world, not in eternity.  The kids of satan may prosper here because they are not God’s children to discipline but they will suffer punishment, the full wrath of God’s anger, for an eternity.  So, we don’t need to concern ourselves with how God handles them.
We need to be concerned over why we are suffering:  Is it persecution for His sake or discipline for our mistake?

 
“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous
Post 09-17-2018

The Mystery is the Victory

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12b Even angels long to look into these things. ​- 1 Peter 1:12b ISV

When the Holy Spirit would come upon the Old Testament prophets, they would prophesy about the coming Messiah, His suffering, His resurrection and the magnificence of His glory.  How their hearts must have longed for the day that He would come, But it was revealed to them, that they would not see it with their eyes. Even the angels longed to look into the mystery of this plan of salvation. But only hints and shadows would be revealed to each prophet, that the complete plan would be kept a mystery until the exact time that God chose to reveal more of it. God had a reason for not revealing the whole mystery any earlier than He did.  If satan had been aware of God’s plan, the crucifixion would never have taken place.

 

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. 2:7, 8 NIV

The revelations that the Holy Spirit was giving them were for our benefit that we might understand the faithfulness of God in keeping His promises. It is also a lesson to us that there is a reason that God sometimes delays the answer to our prayers. We measure time by seconds, minutes, hours, days, etc.  The eternal God has planned eternity and knows exactly when we to give us the things we need.   Just as the Old Testament prophets prophesied and longed for the first appearance of the Messiah, we should be longing for and telling the world that Jesus is coming again. Just as Ezekiel (read Ezekiel 33) and the other prophets were the “watchmen on the wall” to spread the warning, so are we the modern day watchmen.  We are to just keep telling the “Old, Old Story” until Jesus comes back!

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

Post 08-19-2018

Give Me the Sense to Obey

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73 You made me; you created me. Now give me the sense to follow your commands.
— PSALM 119:73
This verse is a prayer that I need to pray every day.  When I find myself getting irritated, I need to pray this verse so that I do not hurt others with unkind words.  When I find myself judging others, I need to pray this verse.  When I find myself criticizing, I need to pray this verse.  When I see someone in need and I don’t take the time to help them, I need to pray this verse.  When I feel the nudge of the Holy Spirit to speak to someone about Jesus and I refuse to do it, I need to pray this verse.  When I spend money for things that I don’t need, I need to pray this verse.  When God says “no’ or “wait” and I run ahead of Him, I need to pray this verse.  Most of all, I need to pray this verse when I think that Jesus has done something or allowed something to happen in my life that is not for my benefit.  Because that thought violates the highest command to “love the Lord your God with all of your heart”.  You get the idea, I need to pray this verse a lot.  Hopefully, the rest of you are better at allowing the Holy Spirit to control your thoughts and words than I am, if not, then just join in and pray this with me, “Now give me the sense to follow your commands”.
Post 08-23-2016

His Sake or Our Mistake?

even-smaller-bug-light120 Do you remember what I told you? ‘A slave is not greater than the master.’ Since they persecuted me, naturally they will persecute you. And if they had listened to me, they would listen to you. — John 15:20 NLT

In His lifetime here on earth, Jesus suffered rejection, ridicule, mockery, and finally death on a cross.  While he was living out His life as an example to us, He promised us that we would be offended and suffer persecution as well.  When we suffer for His sake, we should be happy that He has chosen us to suffer with and for Him because we will receive a blessing here and a reward later​.

 

11 “God blesses you when people mock you and persecute you and lie about you and say all sorts of evil things against you because you are my followers. 12 Be happy about it! Be very glad! For a great reward awaits you in heaven. And remember, the ancient prophets were persecuted in the same way.– Matt. 5: 11, 12 NLT

God also disciplines His children and the discipline is for our benefit so that we grow and mature in His service.
 

19 I correct and discipline everyone I love. So be diligent and turn from your indifference. — Hebrews 3:19 NLT

I like the NLT translation of this verse because the way most of us Chrisitians sin is through indifference.  So what, if my neighbors are lost, I am not going to get involved.  Yeah, I felt that little nudge to speak or act but I am not going to do anything.  Yes, I should visit the sick but I just don’t have the time. Woe unto us!!  Jesus will not ignore these sins of indifference, there will be discipline for His children in this world, not in eternity.  The kids of satan may prosper here because they are not God’s children to discipline but they will suffer punishment, the full wrath of God’s anger, for an eternity.  So, we don’t need to concern ourselves with how God handles them. 
We need to be concerned over why we are suffering:  Is it persecution for His sake or discipline for our mistake?
Post 01-21-2016

Love Will Never End

God is waiting to show you the Way.

God is waiting to show you the Way.

1 It was almost time for the Jewish Passover Feast. Jesus knew that it was time for him to leave this world and go back to the Father. He had always loved those who were his own in the world, and he loved them all the way to the end. 2 Jesus and his followers were at the evening meal. The devil had already persuaded Judas Iscariot, the son of Simon, to turn against Jesus. 3 Jesus knew that the Father had given him power over everything and that he had come from God and was going back to God.—–John 13:1-​3 ​(NCV)
​Jesus ​never had any question about what His purpose was here on earth. This was decided before the beginning, He had laid aside all of His royalty in heaven and come to earth as Love incarnate. He lived a simple life doing what He saw the Father do and saying what the Father said. Now, the time for Him to return to His glory in Heaven was quickly approaching. He loved people with a love that our human minds cannot fully embrace. Even knowing that Judas would betray Him, He allowed Judas to be one of His disciples. The Father had given Him all authority over all things and He could have used it at any time. Yet, He stayed the course and died a cruel death for our redemption. He was love clothed in human flesh for our benefit. Through the blood of Jesus, we have access to that same love. Jesus was perfect and could love perfectly, we are imperfect and so we love imperfectly. But one day, we will love as He loves. Then we will know fully just as God knows us now. We need to practice showing love to others every day so they will be attracted to Jesus. Love will never fail.
12 It is the same with us. Now we see a dim reflection, as if we were looking into a mirror, but then we shall see clearly. Now I know only a part, but then I will know fully, as God has known me. 13 So these three things continue forever: faith, hope, and love. And the greatest of these is love.–1 Cor. 13:12,13​ (NCV)
Post 01-22-2015

Love Requires Discipline and Discipline Requires Love

God is waiting to show you the way.

God is waiting to show you the way.

5 And have you forgotten the encouraging words God spoke to you as his children? He said,
“My child,​ ​don’t make light of the Lord’s discipline,
and don’t give up when he corrects you.
6 For the Lord disciplines those he loves,
and he punishes each one he accepts as his child.”
7 As you endure this divine discipline, remember that God is treating you as his own children. Who ever heard of a child who is never disciplined by its father? 8 If God doesn’t discipline you as he does all of his children, it means that you are illegitimate and are not really his children at all.—Hebrews 12:5-8 (NLT)

​We must understand that God disciplines us because He loves us. Just as we discipline our children for their benefit. If we don’t discipline our children then they grow up to be disobedient. An undisciplined lifestyle brings trouble and chaos to their lives as well as ours. The problem is that our human discipline is imperfect and doesn’t always bring about the desired results. Sometimes that is true because proper discipline takes a lot of time and must be reinforced over and over. As humans we sometimes fail at this, But God is not restricted by time and He loves us perfectly, so His discipline is perfect. He is patient and continues to discipline until we get it right. As Joyce Meyer says; “You can choose to obey or you can go around the mountain one more time.” No matter how God chooses to discipline us or how often, we can be assured that is the proper amount and the right kind. It will bring about the desired results. God is “the author and the finisher” of our faith. And He won’t stop until we are a finished product. That doesn’t mean that we will reach perfection here on earth but it does mean that we must stay on the path to spiritual maturity.
Post 08-05-14

Christ is the Head

God is waiting to show you the way.

God is waiting to show you the way.

19 I also pray that you will understand the incredible greatness of God’s power for us who believe him. This is the same mighty power 20 that raised Christ from the dead and seated him in the place of honor at God’s right hand in the heavenly realms. 21 Now he is far above any ruler or authority or power or leader or anything else—not only in this world but also in the world to come. 22 God has put all things under the authority of Christ and has made him head over all things for the benefit of the church. 23 And the church is his body; it is made full and complete by Christ, who fills all things everywhere with himself.–Eph. 1:19-23 (NLT)
​God has made Christ the head of all things and has put all thing under the authority of Christ for the benefit of the church. We are the body and the body is a transport, if you will, to carry the head around and to use its various parts to do what the Head commands. Because we are connected to the head, we have access to The Source of knowledge, wisdom and power. The same power that raised Jesus from the dead. Since the body was made imperfect by sin, in the transmission of these things from a Perfect Head to an imperfect body, there is a great loss of power, wisdom, and knowledge. As we meditate on God’s Word, we find an increase in the flow of these things from the Head to the body. That is why we don’t do the miracles that Jesus did, It isn’t that we can’t, it is that the flow is inhibited by sin. As we grow closer to Jesus by allowing God’s Spirit to lead us, we find that we have access to more and more of God’s power, wisdom, and knowledge. We can choose to stay in the edge of the River that flows or we can choose to do our best to get to the current and enjoy more of what God has for us. The choice is ours.
Do we really have access to this power? 32 Since he did not spare even his own Son but gave him up for us all, won’t he also give us everything else?-Romans 8:32 (NLT) (emphasis mine)
Post 04-07-14