“He Will Lift You Up”

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So humble yourselves under the mighty power of God, and at the right time he will lift you up in honor. 1 Peter 5:6 NLT
 
In today’s “me first” society, we are fed a steady diet of “it’s all about me”. Everything from billboards, ads, commercials, to the design of the clothing we wear screams “look at me”.  This worldly diet leads to death, not life.  If we can get past all the nonsense about atheism and “Jesus was just a good man, not a Messiah” arguments, we find that the real problem people have with Christianity is that it requires submission to a higher power. That word “submit” lights a fire under those who are proud and haughty. “I have come this far by myself, why should I submit to anyone?”  There is not one single vocation or avocation that does not require us to submit to someone sometime. Retailers submit to the demands of their customers. Designers submit to the whelms of modern society. In a peaceful society, we all submit to one another to some degree. Spouses and parents submit to each other and to the wants and desires of their children. Jesus submitted to death on a cross, the most painful and shameful way to die. Jesus humbled Himself, giving up all His glory in heaven to experience everything a human being experiences and He did so without sinning. His humbleness and humility defeated sin and satan and God exalted His Son above everything and every being, giving Him all authority in heaven and earth.  If we want to have great power in our lives, we must go through the valleys of humbleness and meekness. If it weren’t for the valleys, we wouldn’t have any mountains.

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

Post 04-21-2018

“Out of Darkness”

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But you are not like that, for you are a chosen people. You are royal priests, a holy nation, God’s very own possession. As a result, you can show others the goodness of God, for he called you out of the darkness into his wonderful light. 1 Peter 2:9 NLT
 
We were born in sin into a world filled with the darkness of sin. Some of us spent more years than others stumbling through the darkness thinking we could make it on our own.  Then the Holy Spirit called us out of darkness and into the wonderful light of Jesus Christ. It was then and only then, that we realized our inability to even walk upright without God’s help.  As new creations, we realized that we were foreigners and aliens in this world. Our fleshly desires had held us in bonds and chains, now we are free to live the good lives that God has called us to live. It should be our heart’s desire to please God in every way, every day. We are in a war and there is no neutral ground.  There is no standing still, if we aren’t making progress everyday, we are regressing. When we are in love with someone, we want to spend time alone with them. God is in love with each of us and He is overjoyed when we choose to spend time alone with Him. The time we spend with Jesus is the way we get the strength to wage the war. If we don’t spend time preparing for the battle, we will be defeated daily, even though the war was won at the Cross. Spend a minute with God right now and often throughout the day. He will give you peace in the middle of the chaos and strength to wage the war.


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

Post 04-17-2018

Press On Toward the Mark

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13 Therefore, with minds that are alert and fully sober, set your hope on the grace to be brought to you when Jesus Christ is revealed at his coming. 14 As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. 15 But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do;16 for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy.”  — 1 Peter 1:13-16 NIV

We are saved by grace though faith and that is the only way anyone can be saved. Good works and good intentions cannot save us, only the grace of God. That is our belief, that is our hope. That hope is eternal based on the mercy and grace of God. We will not know the fullness of His grace and mercy until Jesus Christ returns in all of His glory to receive us into heaven. The eternal hope that we have through the grace of God should fill us with so much love for Jesus that we choose to remain obedient to His teachings and example.  Our flesh desires to stay conformed to lusts and other evil desires.  But now that we know those are displeasing to our Savior, we should attempt to “abstain from the very appearance of evil”.  Is this a call for perfection? Yes. Will we attain perfection while we remain in this tent of flesh? No. But that does not excuse willful, deliberate sin nor is it an out for us to do whatever we desire and ask for forgiveness. Every moment of every day, we are making decisions. Those decisions will either lead us closer to Jesus or take us farther away from Jesus. Perfect? No.  Forgiven? Yes. But we must determine at every moment whether or not we will press on toward our goal.13 Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. ​ — Ph​il. 3:14,14 NIV

“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous
Post 04-13-2018

A Heart That Longs for God

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17 Each of you should continue to live in whatever situation the Lord has placed you, and remain as you were when God first called you. This is my rule for all the churches. 18 For instance, a man who was circumcised before he became a believer should not try to reverse it. And the man who was uncircumcised when he became a believer should not be circumcised now. 19 For it makes no difference whether or not a man has been circumcised. The important thing is to keep God’s commandments.—1 Cor. 7:17-19 NLT

When we are called by the Holy Spirit and we accept Jesus as our Savior, there most likely won’t be any great or significant changes in our appearance or our vocations. There probably won’t be any changes in the personality that God gave us when we were born. God is not too concerned with our outward appearance. Our outward appearance and situation have absolutely nothing to do with our salvation. What God does expect is a change of the heart. If we have truly accepted Jesus as our Savior and Lord, our desires will change. We will want to follow God’s commandments simply because we love Him too much not to do so. He takes out the old stony heart and replaces it with a heart that desires His presence.

26 And I will give you a new heart, and I will put a new spirit in you. I will take out your stony, stubborn heart and give you a tender, responsive heart. 27 And I will put my Spirit in you so that you will follow my decrees and be careful to obey my regulations.—Ezekiel 36:26,27 NLT

“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” -Anonymous
Post 02-18-2018

From Bondage to Freedom

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31 So, dear brothers and sisters, we are not children of the slave woman; we are children of the free woman.- Gal. 4:31 NLT
Just as Ishmael mocked Isaac, the crowds had mocked and persecuted Jesus. Both Isaac and Jesus were born to fulfill a promise. Isaac was the fulfillment of God’s promise to Abraham. Even though both Abraham and Sara were well past child-bearing age, Isaac was born to them. Even though, Mary had never known a man she conceived and brought forth a Son. Jesus was a fulfillment of the promise that God would provide a Redeemer for His people. He would also be a Redeemer and Savior for all who would call upon His Name and accept Him as Lord of their life. Because of that, we who have accepted Jesus are children of the promise. Accepting Jesus and turning from the world, (the slave woman) we are no longer slaves in bondage to our fleshly desires. Even though we sometimes fail, it should be our heart’s desire not to stay fallen and return to our old habits. Jesus died that we might be free from those entanglements.
1 Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, 2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3 Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.–Hebrews 12:1-3 (NIV)

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

Post 01-12-2018

“Perfect Love Expels Fear”

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11 Then Jesus said, “You would have no power over me at all unless it were given to you from above. So the one who handed me over to you has the greater sin.” – John 19:11 NLT
 

Which of the laws had Jesus broken that He should be sentenced to death? Yes, it was against the law to blaspheme the name of God or to lie, but Jesus was, in fact, God and the Son of God just as He claimed, He had done neither. The crowd says that Jesus claimed to be the “King of the Jews” and, in fact, He was all that and more. This claim seemed to bother Pilate quite a bit. He had already said that he finds Jesus not guilty under the Roman law and Pilate has no concern about the Jewish laws. He is still looking for a way to release Jesus without upsetting the crowd. How many of us are guilty of wanting to serve Jesus as long as it is popular and doesn’t upset the crowds? We go to church and we feel safe in discussing our belief in Jesus Christ. But what happens when we are back out in the world again? If our other people’s opinions of us are more important than what Jesus knows about us, then we are guilty of idol worship. We have placed others above God in our lives. This is a sin and we need to repent. It is time that we believed that what Jesus said about Himself to Pilate is also true for us. “You would have no power over me at all unless it were given to you from above”. If we truly believe that nothing and no one has any power over us unless God allows them to have it then we should be mighty warriors for our Lord and Savior. If we truly believe that nothing can separate us from the love of God, then why don’t we love Him back with everything we are and have? God the Holy Spirit is God and God is Perfect Love and He dwells inside us. His desire is that we be fearless.

18 Such love has no fear, because perfect love expels all fear. If we are afraid, it is for fear of punishment, and this shows that we have not fully experienced his perfect love.—1 John 4:18 (NLT)

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

Post 12-07-2017

True Freedom

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1 So Christ has truly set us free. Now make sure that you stay free, and don’t get tied up again in slavery to the law. – Galatians 5:1 NLT
 
When we were born physically, we were born into a sinful world. We live in bodies of flesh that have carnal desires.  Because sin is still in the world and we are all infected and affected by it, we follow(ed) after those fleshly, carnal desires. The lifestyles that we live(d) are/were not pleasing to God. Jesus sent His Son to redeem us from this fallen state.  When we accept Jesus as our Savior, we are born again spiritually, we become new creations in Christ Jesus. We get a new heart with new desires but, the flesh does not just automatically and instantly give up and die. The old desires are still there and it is a constant, second by second battle to defeat the desires of the flesh.  To kill those fleshly desires, we not only need open heart surgery, but we need major brain surgery.  Our mindset and our attitudes have to be changed. When carnal, evil, unkind, sinful thoughts “pop up” in our minds, we can be sure that those thoughts do not come from God, but, rather from satan and his minions. We must always remember that they are liars and they are here only to destroy us.
 
8 Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. — 1 Peter 5:8
We are tempted by these evil thoughts.  If we allow ourselves to be enticed and follow those fleshly desires, they lead us to sin and sin eventually leads to death. But we have a way out, we have a redeemer and a High Priest who has suffered those same temptations and understands our weaknesses. He defeated satan at the cross, so that we could live full, abundant lives.

 

10 The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly. — John 10:10 NKJV

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

Post 07-04-2017