“But By the Will of God”

even-smaller-bug-light1

2 so that he can live the rest of his mortal life guided, not by human desires, but by the will of God.– 1 Peter 4:2 ISV 

1 Peter 4:1-13 ISV

We may look at the list of things that pagans choose to do and with great relief, say “I never gave in to any of those things.”.  But let’s take another look.  A synonym for debauchery is decadence which is defined as excessive self-indulgence. How much time and money do we spend on things that benefit no one but ourselves?  At what point do our “needs” actually become only our “wants”?   Then there is lust, usually taken in the sexual connotation, but let’s spread that out a little further.  How about the desire to control and to have a high position?  Or the desire for things? And then there is that ugly word, idolatry.  No statues or figurines in the house? How about things that we spend inordinate amounts of time and money trying to acquire?  How about persons on whom we spend inordinate amounts of time and money trying to please and/or appease?  How about things and events that we spend way, way too much time talking about?  If there is anything or any person in our lives that we feel so strongly about that those feelings would cause us to be unkind to and/or hurt others, those are idols. If we are guilty of any of these things and suffer in any area whether it be financially, emotionally, or spiritually, then we are not suffering for Christ, we are suffering from bad decisions and there is no reward for ourselves and no glory for God.  We need to decide that we are done with sin, commit to doing God’s will and then when we suffer for His sake, Christ will receive the glory and we will receive the reward in heaven. We have all seen those dirty cars where someone has written on them “Wash Me”.  When our lives become so cluttered and covered with things and issues, maybe we need someone to write on our hearts, “wash me”.

18 Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool. – Isaiah 1:18. 

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

“Abstain From Evil Desires”

even-smaller-bug-light1

11 Dear friends, I urge you, as foreigners and exiles, to abstain from sinful desires, which wage war against your soul. 12 Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us. — 1 Peter 2:11-12 NIV

As sons, daughters and heirs of God, we should act accordingly.  Jesus gave up all of His glory in heaven, came to earth and lived as a human and an exile here. He did this so that He might become the first born of the new covenant and the head of the church.

18 And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy. 19 For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, 20 and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross. — Col. 1:18-20 NIV

As the first born, He is our example to follow.  He lived a sinless life.  We, as humans, cannot obtain perfection as long as we live in these fleshly tents.  We are in a daily battle to overcome our fleshly desires. It should be our hearts’ desire to get as close to that goal as we can.  Not only are we foreigners and exiles, but we are ambassadors of God and our home country, heaven. Our thoughts, words and actions should reflect the character of the leaders of that country.  If we strive to do that on a daily basis, under the leadership of the Holy Spirit, God will be glorified.  When we do this with humility and love, it will cause others to want what we have.  As souls are added to the Kingdom, God will receive more and more glory.  When a soul is saved, it is as if God has visited us because there is a little more of heaven on earth.

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

“By His Own Desires”

even-smaller-bug-light1

14 But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed.– James 1:14 NKJV

James 1:12-15 ISV

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.

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

“Into His Wonderful Light”

9 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 

Strangers 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

“For the Good of Others”

24 Don’t be concerned for your own good but for the good of others. – 1 Cor. 10:24 NLT

1 Cor. 10:23-26 NLT

We are born with a free will, but as we get older we realize that our choices are controlled by our fleshly desires.  If we wish to be truly free, we need someone to free us from the bondage of sin and fleshly desires.  Jesus came to do just that, When we accept Him as our Savior and Lord, we are free indeed and can choose to do whatever we please.  We have the right to do anything, but we will soon learn that that attitude is not pleasing to God because He realizes that not all things are good for us or the body of Christ. Some choices are destructive and harmful to ourselves and others. As we mature in our spiritual walk, we start to understand that our love for Him should constrain us from making those bad choices. Yes, we can eat anything and we can do anything. But are those choices beneficial to us and the Kingdom?  The Kingdom of God is not about our fleshly desires, it is about serving others. We should show our love for God by loving others and showing that love by our actions.

17 For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit, 18 because anyone who serves Christ in this way is pleasing to God and receives human approval.–Romans 14:17-18 NIV


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

“Remove the Evil Person”

13 God will judge those on the outside; but as the Scriptures say, “You must remove the evil person from among you. – 1 Cor. 5:13 NLT

1 Cor. 5:9-13 NLT

Paul is not suggesting that we never associate with worldly people whose lives are controlled by their fleshly desires. Just as Jesus said, we “are in the world but not of the world”. We hold ourselves to different standards. We are not to think of ourselves as “better than” nor are we to think of ourselves as “holier than” anyone. What we are to do is to separate ourselves from our Christian brothers and sisters who have chosen to live unholy lifestyles. We are as Paul puts it to “expel the wicked person from among you.” This seems harsh to us. We had rather hide behind verses such as “judge not lest you be judged” and “pull the plank out of your own eye before you point out the toothpick in your brother’s eye”. (my paraphrase) We must keep the Temple of Christ clean and holy.

1 Therefore, since we have these promises, dear friends, let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God.—2 Cor. 7:1 NIV

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

“Following Their Own Desires”

3 Most importantly, I want to remind you that in the last days scoffers will come, mocking the truth and following their own desires.– 2 Peter 3:1-4 NLT

2 Peter 3:1-4 NLT

We are to be in the world, but “not of this world”. While it is true that we need to be cognizant of the things going on around us everyday, we should not allow those things to weight us down. With all the bad news we are subjected to everyday, how do we avoid negative thinking? We do what Peter suggested here, we refresh our memories of all of God’s promises and how He has never failed or gone back on His word. When satan tempted Jesus, Jesus rebuked him with the Word of God. We must be so grounded in the Word, that we do the same thing. We must remember that even Jesus said He did not know when the end would come.

32 “However, no one knows the day or hour when these things will happen, not even the angels in heaven or the Son himself. Only the Father knows. 33 And since you don’t know when that time will come, be on guard! Stay alert!—Mark 13:32,33 (NLT)

Yes, there are those that mock and say “Oh, I have heard that for years and Jesus still hasn’t come back.” While that statement is true today, it may not be true tomorrow. We do not need to waste our time trying to figure out when Jesus will come back. We have plenty to do while we wait. We must be on guard against the wiles of the devil and we must stay alert! Do not be deceived, Jesus will come back at the appointed time. We just need to stay ready.

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

Post 01-19-2020

“Don’t Slip Back Into Your Old Ways”

14 So you must live as God’s obedient children. Don’t slip back into your old ways of living to satisfy your own desires. You didn’t know any better then. – 1 Peter 1:14 NLT

1 Peter 1:13-16 NLT

When we accept Jesus as our Savior, we become a new Creation. Before that change, we were controlled by fleshly lusts. We did what “self” wanted to do without exercising self-control. Now that we are a new creation, we walk in the Spirit and do those things that are in obedience to Christ. Are we now perfect? No! But we are striving toward that mark. Will we fall short? Yes, but the blood of Jesus has covered those sins. Now that we know the right things to do, we must pursue them and not go back to our old ways. Our lifestyle should reflect our new destination. People who have known us should be able to see a difference in the way we walk and talk. The things that used to occupy the highest priorities in our lives should be further down the list. There are some things we should want to give up immediately and others need to be moved way down our list of priorities. We need to take an inventory and honestly find out where Jesus is on our list of priorities. Jesus is not in a contest with other “gods”. He will accept nothing less than the top shelf, He is either “Lord of all” or He is not “Lord at all” in our lives.

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

Post 01-09-2020

“Elijah Was As Human As We Are”

17 Elijah was as human as we are, and yet when he prayed earnestly that no rain would fall, none fell for three and a half years! ​ – James 5:17 NLT

James 5:13- 18 NLT

Of course, we know that God already knows our needs and our situation, but He has instructed us to ask and keep on asking. Jesus told the story of the persistent woman and the unjust judge. She kept pestering the judge until he gave her what she was requesting. God does not always give us what we ask, because sometimes we ask for things that we don’t need. Psalm 37:4 tells us that if we delight ourselves in the Lord, He will give us the desires of our hearts. Have you ever noticed that sometimes, when you pray fervently that what you end up asking from God is not what you were thinking about when you first started praying? That is when you can know that “the desires of your heart” have aligned with God’s Word and His will. Then the answer is always yes. But, if our desires don’t line up, then we often get a “no” or “wait”. Some people say that it is a cop out to pray “nevertheless not my will, but Yours be done”. But that is what Jesus prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane. So, if He set the example, it is a good pattern to follow.

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

Post 01-05-2020

“Your Motives Are All Wrong”

3 And even when you ask, you don’t get it because your motives are all wrong—you want only what will give you pleasure.– James 4:3 NLT

James 4:1-3 NLT

God always answers our prayers. He answers us in one of four different ways.

1. Do it now–and of course that is the answer we want so we recognize it right away.
2. Delay–It wasn’t what we wanted to hear so we assume God didn’t answer our prayer.
3. Don’t do it – I’m not hearing that so God must not have answered
​.
4. Dynamically Different–He answers in such a better and highly effective way than what we anticipated that we don’t recognize it as His answer.

When our prayers are from wrong motives and for selfish reason, His answer is always no. Then, because of our pride, we get angry with God and accuse Him of all sorts of things. God understands that anger and when you get through pouting and ask Him, He will forgive you. God is not bound by our desires or our timetable. Even the “yes” answers are not always immediate. We have to wait on His timing. Do we really want our answer or would we prefer God’s answer?  Remember in​ ​1 Kings 19:3-5  when Elijah prayed “I have had enough, Lord, just take my life.”?  Then think of how God answered that prayer in 2 Kings 2:9-12 when God took him up in a chariot of fire!  If God had taken Elijah’s life when Elijah wanted him to, Elisha would not have been trained to become Elijah’s replacement and Elisha would never have seen all the great miracles. God answered Elijah’s prayer in a way far better than Elijah could have thought of or dared to ask. So when we don’t get the answer we want or it is not in the time frame we wanted relax, God is still in control.

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

Post 12-30-2019