Worse Than Worthless Words

even-smaller-bug-light1

26 If you claim to be religious but don’t control your tongue, you are fooling yourself, and your religion is worthless. –James 1:26 NLT

I wish I had never said that! Sound familiar? Unfortunately, our spoken words are like our texts and our emails, once we have hit the send button, we can’t get them back. Words can pierce us to depths of our heart and the wounds are slow to heal, if they heal at all. In the carpenter trade (which Jesus was very familiar with), they have a saying” “measure twice, cut once”. Of course, the implication is that if you take the time to measure correctly, you want have to cut the lumber again. That would be a good rule for us to follow in our conversations. Think twice about what we are about to say before we say it and maybe no one will get cut to the bone. We should choose words that build up and create rather than destroy. We need to show our faithfulness to Jesus by caring for those around us that need our help. Not just physically and materially, but also spiritually. We need to walk carefully so that we are not corrupted.

Galatians 6:1-4 NLT


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

Post 05-27-2017

“Lord of All”

even-smaller-bug-light1

10 God, for whom and through whom everything was made, chose to bring many children into glory. And it was only right that he should make Jesus, through his suffering, a perfect leader, fit to bring them into their salvation.
— Hebrews 2:10 NLT



Why does the Creator even consider the created? Why would God create us knowing that in the future, He would have to give His only Son as a sacrifice for our sins? He caused His son to give up the glory of heaven and become lower than the angels He had created. This is love that human beings cannot understand. Through His kindness, God allowed His son to suffer and die for us. Then, because Jesus was obedient even to death on that cross, God crowned Him with glory and honor and established Him as ruler over all things. When Jesus returns, He will use the authority given to Him to rule and reign. At that time, those who have refused to bow before Him will be cast into an everlasting hell. Those who have chosen to receive His salvation will be with Him in the new heaven and the new earth forever. We will cast our crowns at His feet and He will be crowned King of Kings and Lord of Lords.


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

Post 04-19-2017

God Remains Faithful

even-smaller-bug-light1

13 If we are unfaithful, he remains faithful,
    for he cannot deny who he is. — 2 Tim. 2:13 NLT
 
We are told in Isaiah 55:11 that God’s Word will not return to Him void but it will accomplish that which He has sent it out to do. Therefore, no matter in what situation we find ourselves, we should always be witnessing. If we listen to our Christian brothers and sisters in such places as Eritrea, China, Korea, and other countries where they are being persecuted, it seems that perhaps, the worse the situation, the more effective is God’s Word. These brothers and sisters consider it an honor to be chosen to bear the Cross of Jesus, even unto death. We need to reach that point in our spiritual walk that we would give our lives rather than deny Jesus. Paul said this:

21 To me the only important thing about living is Christ, and dying would be profit for me.–Philippians 1:21 (NCV)

We should understand that Jesus’s faithfulness brought Him to death on the cross. Should the created expected to be treated better than the Creator?

 

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

Post 04-06-2017

Restored by Him for His Glory

even-smaller-bug-light1

20 and through him God reconciled    everything to himself.
He made peace with everything in heaven and on earth
    by means of Christ’s blood on the cross.  — Col. 1:19 NLT


Everything that was created was created to praise God and give Him glory. But, because of sin, we were in a fallen state and separated from God. All of nature is in a fallen state as well. It has always been God’s plan to restore us and the world to Himself. Nature groans waiting on the return of Jesus to restore it to its original condition. Humanity, however, rebelled against God and began to worship idols. The only thing that would meet the requirements for forgiveness was the sacrifice of blood because the life is in the blood. In the Old Testament, that was a process that was repeated over and over. But when Christ Jesus came in human flesh, it was His obedience that led Him to shed His blood on the cross. Jesus was perfect and His blood was pure, so it satisfied the requirement for redemption for all ages. Now, we are washed in His blood, clothed in His righteousness so that we can approach God without a blemish. No one, absolutely no one can separate us from the love of Christ Jesus.

 
Romans 8:35-39 NLT


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

Post 03-03-2017

Give Me the Sense to Obey

even-smaller-bug-light1

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

Home Alone? – Never Again!

even-smaller-bug-light1

30 There is only one God, and he makes people right with himself only by faith, whether they are Jews or Gentiles. — Romans 3:30 NLT
 
 
“There is only one God”, the great “I AM that I AM”, Yahweh.  Yahweh is the third person form of the Hebrew root word, haya.  It actually could be translated as “I am present with you”.  God has been with us in one way or another ever since He created us.  No religion can make that claim about the god they serve regardless of what name they call their deity.  We come to know our God through Jesus Christ.  We are saved by grace through faith in Jesus Christ.  Jesus said there is only one way to the Father and that was through Him.  Jesus also said that to know Him was to know the Father as well.  John 14:6, 7 NLT  The Holy Spirit calls all of us regardless of what we may call ourselves here on earth.  He calls us to come to Jesus, accept Jesus and become one of the family of God.  Once we have done this, the Holy Spirit abides within us.  Though we sometimes may feel lonely because of a lack of being with those we love, we can never truly be alone again.  We are a new creation, we have a new family and we have a new friend who is with us constantly.  This new friend is unique in many ways. He is really three friends in one.  He is our Father, our Brother and our constant Companion.  If we allow Him to do so, He can fill every void in our heart.  
Post 08-03-2016

Party Time!

even-smaller-bug-light1

“And the answer will be, ‘Because his people abandoned the Lord their God, who brought their ancestors out of Egypt, and they worshiped other gods instead and bowed down to them. That is why the Lord has brought all these disasters on them.’” — 1 Kings 9:9 NLT
God had fulfilled all of His promises and particularly those He had made to David and Solomon up to this point.  God blessed David and allowed him to amass all the wealth that Solomon would need to build the temple.  He had anointed David and then Solomon to be king over Israel.  He gave Solomon peace from all of his enemies for the time it took to build the temple and his own palace.  But the Creator of the universe knows the flesh.  He knew that as time passed, the people would become complacent and return to their idol worship.  So, even in this time of great celebration, God reminded them of what would happen if they abandoned Him and worshipped idols and honored created things as gods.  When we forget God and when we no longer worship Him as the only true and living God, He allows things in our lives to remind us of Who He is.  When God has blessed us, we must not become complacent and allow things or people to replace Him in our lives.  We must continually take inventory of our attitudes and actions to be sure they are God-honoring.  He is still the Creator of the universe, He is still the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.  It is up to us to be sure He  is sitting on the throne of our lives.  If we forget and stray away, He will remind us of who He is and who we are.  That’s the bad news.  The good news is that He will coming looking for us and bring us home on His shoulders. When He has returned us to the fold, there will be a party in heaven.
Post 04-30-2016

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

Why? You Ask

even-smaller-bug-light122 Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. 23 Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror 24 and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. 25 But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do. — James 1:19-21 NIV

Do works save us?​ Certainly not! 
 

8 For it is by grace you have been saved,through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9 not by works, so that no one can boast.  — Eph. 2:8, 9

Then why are works important? If we look back at the Great Commission that Jesus gave us in Matt. 28:18-20, we find that He tells us to do more than just get people to confess their sins. Jesus commands us to “go and make disciples.” What is a disciple?  Webster defines “disciple” in this way: 

someone who accepts and helps to spread the teachings of a famous person

​One can be a Christian without actually being a disciple. You can accept Jesus as your Savior and go on with your lifestyle pretty much unchanged (I don’t know how that is possible, but some claim to be able to do so).  But a true disciple follows after his chosen leader, uses His life as an example to follow, spreads His doctrines and teachings and encourages others to do the same. Those who are disciples of sect leaders and worldly religions take the idea of being a disciple much more serious than a lot of us Christians. ​Some of them take it so far as to be considered “militant” in their actions.  Their actions are governed by anger and hate and wrong teachings.  Our actions are governed by love, but that just means that we have to be kinder in spreading the Gospel of Jesus, not less active or effective. We have a message of perfect love and freedom, which is what the world really desires. We have the Holy Spirit inside us and working with us using the same resurrection power that raised Jesus from the dead. If we are obedient to Jesus’s words that we should “make disciples” then we will “be about our Father’s business”.  That requires us to do the same works that Jesus did when He was here on earth. As Christians, we are not called to be spectators but, rather to be participators, in the work. Why did God give us the gift of being saved by grace through faith?
8 For it is by grace you have been saved,through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9 not by works, so that no one can boast. 10 For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.​ –​ Eph. 2:10  (emphasis mine)
Post 11-13-2015

How Majestic is Your Name!

God is waiting to show you the Way.

God is waiting to show you the Way.

17 They took Jesus, therefore, and He went out, bearing His own cross, to the place called the Place of a Skull, which is called in Hebrew, Golgotha. 18 There they crucified Him, and with Him two other men, one on either side, and Jesus in between. 19 Pilate also wrote an inscription and put it on the cross. It was written, “JESUS THE NAZARENE, THE KING OF THE JEWS.” 20 Therefore many of the Jews read this inscription, for the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city; and it was written in Hebrew, Latin and in Greek. 21 So the chief priests of the Jews were saying to Pilate, “Do not write, ‘The King of the Jews’; but that He said, ‘I am King of the Jews.’” 22 Pilate answered, “What I have written I have written.”—John 19:17-22 (NLT)
​Jesus went out bearing His own cross​ to the place called Golgotha, So Pilate causes an inscription to be written and attached to the cross. Pilate thinks he is mocking Jesus. The chief priests want Pilate to change the title, but he refuses. After all of his dancing around the situation, he now wants everyone to think that he is really in control. “What I have written I have written” states Pilate. Yes, you have Pilate and it is the truth that you have written, but it is long after God had written it. God had established that fact before the first human was ever formed.
1 Long ago God spoke many times and in many ways to our ancestors through the prophets. 2 And now in these final days, he has spoken to us through his Son. God promised everything to the Son as an inheritance, and through the Son he created the universe. 3 The Son radiates God’s own glory and expresses the very character of God, and he sustains everything by the mighty power of his command. When he had cleansed us from our sins, he sat down in the place of honor at the right hand of the majestic God in heaven.—Hebrews 1:1-3 (NLT)
​Yes, Pilate,​ your title was true but incomplete, not only King of the Jews, but King of Kings and Lord of Lords! How majestic is Your Name!
9 O Lord, our Lord, how majestic is Your name in all the earth!—Psalm 8:9 (NASB)

Post 03-07-2015