Keep Doing Good

even-smaller-bug-light1

 So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up. – Gal. 6:9 NLT
 

While Jesus was hanging on the cross, He was mocked by the crowd, the soldiers and even one of the thieves that was hung with Him mocked Him. That thief died and went to hell. The other thief asked for forgiveness and ended up in paradise with Jesus. This is a glaring example of immediately reaping what we sow. Just as God spoke the world into existence, we can speak words that create and build up or we can speak words that destroy. Let us be sure that we are speaking words that edify one another and that our actions prove the words that we speak. We will not always receive immediate punishment for bad words and deeds nor will we always receive immediate rewards for good words and deeds. But if we are faithful in doing good works, we have a reward laid up in heaven. So, let us continue to do good works, not for earthly rewards, but because we love our Lord and Savior.
62 Jesus replied, “No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God.”—Luke 9:62 (NIV)
12 if we endure, we will also reign with him.–2 Tim. 2:12a (NIV)

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

Post 01-19-2018

Give and Give Generously

even-smaller-bug-light1

And God will generously provide all you need. Then you will always have everything you need and plenty left over to share with others–. 2 Cor. 9:8 NLT


It is important for us to remember that everything we have here on earth is a gift from God. It doesn’t matter who signs the paycheck, God is ultimately our resource. We are to be good stewards of all of the resources God gives us. This includes our time as well as our finances. Just as He has the authority to raise up leaders and put people in positions of authority, He can raise us up financially or He can bring us down if we trust only in our finances. Any gift that God gives to us is to be used not just for our benefit, but for the benefit of those He puts in our paths each day. The ultimate use of the resources God has put under our authority is to expand the Kingdom of God. It isn’t that God “needs” us or our finances, He has chosen to use us in His work. That requires us to be obedient to His precepts. Unless you are using more than 10% of your time and money for God, you haven’t started giving yet. Give generously and cheerfully and be prepared for a great blessing from the Lord.

38 Give, and you will receive. Your gift will return to you in full—pressed down, shaken together to make room for more, running over, and poured into your lap. The amount you give will determine the amount you get back. – Luke 6:38 NLT

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

Post 11-27-2016

Talk to Me!

even-smaller-bug-light1

27  Do not withhold good from those who deserve it  when it’s in your power to help them.
28  If you can help your neighbor now, don’t say,  “Come back tomorrow, and then I’ll help you.” — Proverbs 3:27, 28 NLT

Have you ever had this happen to you?  You are in a public place and you see someone and suddenly you have this strange notion that you should speak to them.  You don’t know this person, you may or may not have seen them somewhere before.  You think about speaking but you turn and walk away.  But minutes later, you come face to face with this same person and you feel that nudge to speak to them.  Looking at them, you can discern no particular need, but the urge to speak to them lingers.  No, I just don’t have time to engage anyone in conversation right now or he/she probably doesn’t have time or doesn’t want to be bothered is what we think.  So, we turn and we walk away.  If this should happen to you today or at anytime in the future, let me encourage you to just stop and simply say “Hello, how are you doing today?” and follow the leadership of the Holy Spirit from that point on.  You might well be surprised at the blessing both of you will receive from that simple start.  We have to understand that the command to “go and make disciples” is a constant command and Jesus would not have told us to “go and make” if He wasn’t going to give each of us an opportunity to do just that.  Going and making disciples starts with our next encounter with any person.   Just follow the example of Jesus who “went about doing good”.

Post 09-01-2016

God Is Still Blessing

even-smaller-bug-light119  God is not a man, so he does not lie.  He is not human, so he does not change his mind.  Has he ever spoken and failed to act?
Has he ever promised and not carried it through?
20  Listen, I received a command to bless;   God has blessed, and I cannot reverse it! — Numbers 23:19, 20 NLT

God is the Creator, we are the created.  We are bought and paid for with the blood of His Son, Jesus.  He has every right, legal and anywise, to do with us as He pleases.  He can, and does pour out blessings on those He chooses to bless and curses on those He chooses to curse. However, being a just God, He does not make random decsions out of anger or fits of jealousy.  His decisions were made before the foundations of the earth were laid ​and they are based on HIs foreknowledge of our actions. He is never taken by surprise by any thoughts that we have or any actions that we commit. ​ He can only reveal those decisions to us after the fact, so they often seem to be made in haste, but nothing could be further from the truth.  ​Because of His​ great love for all of His creation, He has and still does warn us over and over about the consequences of unbelief and disobedience.  The fact that He has complete foreknowledge of how we will respond has never and will never keep Him from warning us over and over and weeping over our disobedience.  Recall what Jesus said about Jerusalem, how God had sent all the prophets to warn them and yet, they refused to be obedient and even murdered the prophets. Jesus wept bitter tears over Jerusalem saying “how often I have wanted to gather your children as a hen gathers her chicks, but you would not” (Matt. 23:37).  He still gives us those warnings about greiving, bringing sorrow or rejecting the Holy Spirit. 

30 And do not bring sorrow to God’s Holy Spirit by the way you live. Remember, he has identified you as his own, guaranteeing that you will be saved on the day of redemption.

​. — Ephesians 4:30 NLT​
So, let each of us today, make a new commitment to listening to and following the leadership of the Holy Spirit so that God will be pleased with us.
Post 02-27-2016

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

Somebody’s Watching!!!!!

even-smaller-bug-light18 Finally, all of you, be like-minded, be sympathetic, love one another, be compassionate and humble. 9 Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult.On the contrary, repay evil with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing. 10 For,
“Whoever would love life
and see good days
must keep their tongue from evil
and their lips from deceitful speech.
11 They must turn from evil and do good;
they must seek peace and pursue it. — 1 Peter 3:8​-11 NIV

After the fact that Christmas is a celebration of the birth of our Savior and Lord, Jesus Christ, the next best thing is the acts of love and kindness that we see this time of year.​​ I would imagine that there is more compassion shown in the days from Thanksgiving through Christmas than there is in the other eleven months total.  There are more smiles in the malls and more greetings spoken than at any other time of the year. It is a time of remembering old friends and family. Through this season, we can even tolerate those we would normally find abrasive.  Everyone, even those who don’t profess to be Christians, is affected by and participate in the charitable acts and greetings.  Perhaps, if we lived this lifestyle all year round, we might attract more unbelievers to Jesus.  Maybe, this year, our gift to Jesus on His birthday should be a covenant to show His love all year long, to seek peace and pursue it on a personal level as well as “world peace”.   After all it isn’t Santa who is watching us all the time!
12 For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous
and his ears are attentive to their prayer,
but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.” ​ — 1 Peter 3:12 NIV
Post 12-17-2015

From the Inside Out

even-smaller-bug-light11 Therefore, rid yourselves of all malice and all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander of every kind. 2 Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation, 3 now that you have tasted that the Lord is good. — 1 Peter 2:1-3 NIV

​When we buy a new house​ and start making plans to move in, the first thing we want to do is make sure the inside of that house is clean from top to bottom.  We also have a vision of what we want that house to look like in the future.  As we live in that house, it begins to reflect our likes and dislikes. The neighbors who are familiar with that house will notice the changes that are being made. Maybe, not so much the ones inside, but when the outside starts to change they will notice those.  Even those just driving by on a daily basis will start to notice the changes that are being made as your new house becomes a home to the new resident. Friends and neighbors will start to comment on how much better the house looks and what a great thing it is for the neighborhood.  When we accept Jesus as our Savior and the Holy Spirit moves into our hearts, He does the same thing.  He wants His new residence to be cleansed from all the fleshly desires and attitudes. He desires that His new home will start to reflect His likes and dislikes.  The work starts inisde, in our hearts.  With time and His leadership, the outside will start to change to reflect the changes that have occurred in our hearts.  Cleaning and maintaining a home requires a lot of cleaning products and time spent with those products. The cleansing and renewing of our hearts and minds requires a lot of time spent with God and using the cleansing power He provides for us.
 

26 to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, 27 and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. — Eph. 5:26, 27 NIV

7 Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow. — Psalm 51:7 NIV  ​

Just as the original cleaning of the new home doesn’t last and has to be followed by daily cleanings, so it is with our hearts, they need to be washed in the word every day. If we remain faithful in spending our daily time with Jesus, friends and neighbors will start to notice the difference the new resident in our heart is making in our daily lives.

​ ​

Post 12-12-2015

Great and Mighty is the Lord, Our God

even-smaller-bug-light1​1​  Come, let us sing for joy to the Lord; let us shout aloud to the Rock of our salvation. 2 Let us come before him with thanksgiving and extol him with music and song.  3 For the Lord is the great God, the great King above all gods.  4 In his hand are the depths of the earth, and the mountain peaks belong to him.  5 The sea is his, for he made it, and his hands formed the dry land.  6 Come, let us bow down in worship, let us kneel before the Lord our Maker;  7 for he is our God and we are the people of his pasture, the flock under his care. — Psalm 951-7a NIV

This morning, before we get all caught up in feasting, football, and other frivolities, we need to be sure that we spend some time with the Maker of all things.  The greatest commandment is to  “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind“.  So, let’s spend some time in doing just that before we get distracted by all the worldly things. Just as we need to bathe and dress physically before we attend a banquet, we need to do the same thing spiritually. Let us allow the Holy Spirit to prepare us before we present ourselves to God, our Father. Then we can truly enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise. Let’s stuff our minds and hearts with His Word before we stuff our bodies with the bounty of His goodness. Let us partake heartily of the cornucopia of His Spirit before we partake of the cornucopia of the natural.  Above all, throughout the day, shout or whisper your thanksgiving for His tender, loving care.

Post 11-26-2015

A Call To Action

even-smaller-bug-light126 Those who consider themselves religious and yet do not keep a tight rein on their tongues deceive themselves, and their religion is worthless. 27 Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world. — James 1:26, 27 NIV

​In the days that James lived and penned this book through the leadership of the Holy Spirit, people were weighed down with ritualistic religions.​ They were bound by rules that said “you must do this”and “you must not do that”, particularly, in the areas of eating and drinking. Those that did a decent job of following the rules considered themselves to be “religious”.  They attended the services at the temples or synagouges and prayed at the right times, etc. Much like today, when we go to church on Sunday morning for a couple of hours and mumble a few (if any) prayers or spend anytime reading the Holy Scriptures during the week.  We seem to feel that if we do those things, we are fulfilling our duties as Christians. We can spend the other 166 hours of the week doing whatever we please. We can gossip, criticize and say and do all kinds of things. We Christians would never steal, kill or destroy, we don’t commit the “big” sins. But the two areas in which we do fall short are in our speech and in our “not doing”.  Jesus gave us a solemn warning about the things we say:
10 Jesus called the crowd to him and said, “Listen and understand. 11 What goes into someone’s mouth does not defile them, but what comes out of their mouth, that is what defiles them.” — Matt. 15:10
​We must take this warning seriously and be very careful of what we say. 
There are also many verses about how we should treat others. Jesus says that if we see a brother or sister in need and take care of that need for them, it is the same as doing it for Him. If we don’t take care of that need, it is the same as refusing to do it for Him.  Helping others is how we show them the love of Jesus Christ. It is these actions that will draw others to Jesus.

16 This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters. 17 If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person? 18 Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth. — 1 John 3:16, 17

Post 11-14-2015