As Christians, we are not usually tempted to go out and do what the world normally perceives as sin. No, satan has to be a little sneaky when he comes after us. Every decision we make has a consequence, either for good or for bad. Do not be deceived, there is no neutral ground in spiritual warfare. How can we know when we have “missed the mark”? God sent His Spirit to lead us into all truth and convict us when we have erred. Our sins are usually those of the presumptive type. We presume to know answers to things that are too hard for us to know. The reason presumption is a sin, is because it is a fruit of being prideful. We would never be so bold as to say out loud that we can make decisions without the leadership of God’s Holy Spirit. But, have you ever had that thought cross your mind or do you act out of habit without consulting God? Jesus said if we consider the thought, we are guilty of the sin. Those thoughts lead to ideas which lead to actions and those lead to bad habits. When this happens, sin is trying to get dominion over us. We should ask God’s Holy Spirit to correct us and ask for forgiveness, so that we can be blameless and innocent of great transgression. We set alerts so that certain websites send us a notification if we are about to cross a line. Set an alert with God’s Holy Spirit and ask Him to notify You before You cross the line.
23 Jesus took the blind man by the hand and led him out of the village. Then, spitting on the man’s eyes, he laid his hands on him and asked, “Can you see anything now?” 24 The man looked around. “Yes,” he said, “I see people, but I can’t see them very clearly. They look like trees walking around.” 25 Then Jesus placed his hands on the man’s eyes again, and his eyes were opened. His sight was completely restored, and he could see everything clearly. — Mark 8:23-25 NLT
John tells us that if all the miracles that Jesus did were written down, all the books in the world would not be enough to hold them (John 21:25). What we read about is a sampling of the things He accomplished while He walked the earth as one of us. Those samples are given to show us not only His great love and mercy toward us but, also to show us that He uses all kinds of methods and people to demonstrate that love. Sometimes the healing was immediate, sometimes they were a process. Some required only a touch of the hem of His garment, others required a word and others a word and a touch from Him. He has the authority to answer our requests in any way or time frame He chooses. But know this, He always answers. Just because the answer wasn’t what we wanted to hear or did not come in the expected time does not mean that He didn’t hear and answer. Paul prayed three times for his “thorn in the flesh” to be removed. Paul could have said that God didn’t answer his prayer, but after the third time, Paul accepted “No” as the answer. God’s answers can be compared to a traffic light, green is “go”, yellow is “go slow” and red is “no”. We always want the green light, but when we have the red light, it gives others the opportunity to move. We must wait our turn. When we see the yellow light, we know that there is danger in proceeding, so we must be careful and prepare to wait, but be prepared to go when God gives us the green light. (Isaiah 40:31) The old saying that hindsight is 20-20 is true. When we look back over our lives, we can see clearly that God’s answer was the correct answer. The times we refused that answer is the times we experienced our troubles and sorrows.
“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous
When Jesus was still here on earth, He warned His disciples about being fooled by false prophets that would arise. These false prophets would claim that Jesus is coming this year or they may even claim to have seen Jesus.
23 At that time, someone might say to you, ‘Look, there is the Christ!’ Or another person might say, ‘There he is!’ But don’t believe them. 24 False Christs and false prophets will come and perform great wonders and miracles. They will try to fool even the people God has chosen, if that is possible. 25 Now I have warned you about this before it happens.— Matthew 24:23-25 NIV
We have been forewarned of the danger of taking our salvation lightly. We need to study the Word, pray and meditate on it daily. Our flesh is weak and can be easily tempted to return to its old sinful ways. It is up to us to “put on the full armor of God” every day. The armor of God is designed to fight the spiritual battle that goes on in our minds all day long, every day.
3 For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. 4 The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. 5 We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.— 2 Cor. 10:3-5 NIV
Each day, we need to encourage each other and support each other with our prayers, so that we can persevere.
36 You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised. — Hebrews 10:35 NIV
“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous
God sent His only Son to die a horrible death on a cross for our sins, He does not take lightly those who reject that Gift. In the Old Testament, the lawbreakers were put to death on the testimony of two or three witnesses. Those that have rejected Jesus will be put into the lake of fire forever. Their souls will suffer torment for all ages to come. Physical death can be painful for any human, but those that have not accepted Jesus have no hope for eternity. Their souls will endure punishment forever. “Every knee will bow and every tongue will confess”. We can choose to do it now and spend an eternity with God or wait and be banished from the presence of God forever.. Sin is a deadly disease and we know the cure. If your family, friend or acquaintance had a deadly disease and you had the cure, wouldn’t you share it with them? Take a moment to pray for those that are lost. God will prepare their heart for you to speak to them. Don’t be afraid of rejection, it isn’t you they are rejecting, it is Jesus and He can handle it.
The Greek word “sozo” that is translated as “whole” here in this verse appears over one hundred and ten times in the KJV. It is sometimes translated as heal, save, or rescue. If translated properly, it means to deliver out of danger and into safety. The biblical meaning is that God is rescuing us from the power of sin and into His divine safety. When Jesus healed people, the crowd saw the external effects of that healing, but Jesus was actually saying to each of those He healed: “You are made whole”. It was more than a physical healing, it was a complete healing of soul, mind and body. Notice that the word has two aspects. First, it moves you out of danger. This would be the physical healing. But the people still died at a later date, so they were not freed from physical death. Secondly, it moved you to a place of divine safety. The recipients of sozo were not left in limbo. The divine safety was forever. God doesn’t always heal the physically sick. Ask Paul. Those that are truly repentant and call upon the name of Jesus are always delivered from sin and into divine safety. In the resurrection, we will all be made completely whole.
1Dear brothers and sisters, if another believer is overcome by some sin, you who are godly should gently and humbly help that person back onto the right path. And be careful not to fall into the same temptation yourself.2 Share each other’s burdens, and in this way obey the law of Christ.3 If you think you are too important to help someone, you are only fooling yourself. You are not that important. — Galatians 6:1-3 NLT
Yesterday, I wrote about witnessing by spending time with sinners. We are called to do just that, but in doing so, we need to use wisdom and discernment. Being saved and filled with the Holy Spirit does not keep us from making bad decisions. If we have weaknesses of the flesh, we need to avoid those situations where we would be needlessly tempted. We don’t put ourselves in harm’s way unless we are sure that we have been called to do that. Just as it would be foolish to step into the street in front of a speeding truck to try to prove that God always protects us, it is foolish for us to put ourselves in dangerous situations if God has not called us to do so. Not many of us are David Wilkersons (The Cross and the Switchblade) who can successfully face the dangers of the worst parts of New York City to witness to gang members. Nevertheless, we all have a calling to witness to those around us. The mission field starts in the home and goes outward from there. We do not want to be like the seven sons of Sceva (Acts 19) who ended up battered and naked. We must use discernment in where, when and to whom we witness, but that is never to be used as an excuse not to witness. We may not be sure of all of God’s will for each of our lives but there are two things we can be sure of in this journey with Jesus. We are to make disciples as we go, we all have our marching orders to do that. We are supposed to restore the fallen as well, but do so circumspectly avoiding the very appearance of evil.
19 Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.20 Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”– Matt. 28:19,20 NLT