“We Urge You to Love Even More.”

10 And it’s evident you learned that lesson well by the way you love all the people of Macedonia. Brothers and sisters, we urge you to love even more. – 1 Thess. 4:10 The Voice

1 Thess. 4:9-12 NCV

Before we accepted Jesus as our Lord and Savior, we were ruled by our own fleshly desires. Flesh does not want to love others or help them in any way. Flesh is a “selfie”, it is all about me, me, me. After we accepted Jesus, God’s Spirit came to abide in us. Now, we are walking after the Spirit and not the flesh. God’s Spirit teaches us to love one another. As we mature in our walk with God, we should be learning to love more and more. As we love others more, we learn to first look at our faults and the areas we need to improve. If we do this in light of the Scriptures, we find that we have less time to meddle and gossip. This leads to a more peaceful life. We need to stay focused on Jesus and what He has called us to do, so that outsiders see the love we display and they will be drawn to Jesus.

1 John 4:7-12 NCV

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

“Alive and Powerful”

12 For the word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires.– Hebrews 4:12 NLT

Hebrews 4:12-16 NLT

God knows our hearts and our innermost thoughts. His Spirit searches our heart and minds to reveal any sinfulness or sinful thoughts that we might have. He reveals that anger we have been harboring and we have to deal with it. God wants us to be totally committed to Him. He will not accept being the #1 God in the race, He wants us to understand that He is the only God  He can ask this of us because of what Jesus did for us on the cross. He understands that we will fail. If we could accomplish this on our own, then Jesus died in vain. But He has made a way for us by allowing us to come into the throne room and ask His forgiveness. He is always faithful to forgive us and help us when we repent and return to Him. He is ALWAYS there to help when we need Him and especially when we need Him the most.

10 For you are great and perform wonderful deeds. You alone are God.​— Psalm 86:10 NLT

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

“Subject to God’s Anger”

3 All of us used to live that way, following the passionate desires and inclinations of our sinful nature. By our very nature we were subject to God’s anger, just like everyone else.Ephesians 2:3 NLT

Ephesians 2:1-7 NLT

None of us have lived a sinless life, we all were once dead spiritually because of our sins and failures. Not knowing any better because we were born in the flesh, we allowed our lives to be ruled by satan. Under his dominion, we followed the desires of our flesh. These desires caused us to mistreat others and live lives that were disobedient to God. All of us deserved to die because of our disobedience. We were dead in sin, but God already had a plan in place to redeem us and bring us back to Himself. Because of His great love for us, He sent Jesus to die for us. When He raised Jesus from death to life, He made a way for us to be made alive together with Christ. We should live a lifestyle that is pleasing to God, not because of obligation or debt, but because we love Him deeply and want to please Him.

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

“…To Satisfy Their Ungodly Desires.”

18 They told you that in the last times there would be scoffers whose purpose in life is to satisfy their ungodly desires. — Jude 18 NLT

Jude 17-21 NLT

If you have been keeping an eye on the Middle East, you can see that God’s clock is ticking down the minutes until Jesus returns.  All over the world and especially here in our great country, we can see the signs of the “last times”.  We hear people more and more saying that there is no God, scoffing at Biblical principles and the words spoken by our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Atheists are becoming more outspoken and militant with their comments.  When people say there is no God, what they are really saying is they don’t accept the truth of the God of the Bible.  Their pride is saying “I will not accept any god that I have to be accountable to. Everyone has a “god”, someone or something that they are devoted to, even if it is themselves.  False prophets will rise up with such convincing truths that even the most devout Christian can be deceived unless we are “rooted and grounded” in the truths of the Bible. We must spend more time with our God.  If you are having trouble finding answers, do not dig a wider hole or forsake your first Love, just dig deeper into the Holy Scriptures and meditate on them. The answer is there and God is waiting to reveal it to you.

Galatians 1:6-10 NLT

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

“…Escape the World’s Corruption…”

4 And because of his glory and excellence, he has given us great and precious promises. These are the promises that enable you to share his divine nature and escape the world’s corruption caused by human desires. — 2 Peter 1:4 NLT

Divine Nature

God created Adam and Eve in His image.  They did not have the advantage of having the Holy Spirit abide within them. After we accept Jesus as our Savior and Lord, we are daily being transformed by the Holy Spirit.  As we learn to follow His leadership more closely each day, we become more and more like Jesus.  In this way, we can share in His divine nature.  It is only as we learn to listen to that still, small voice and heed its teachings that we slowly escape the corruptions that are caused by our human desires.  As we grow Spiritually, we become less like the world around us and more like Jesus.  We are a part of the body of Christ.  He is the head and the same blood that flows through the head flows through the body.  So, we are “partakers of His divine nature”.  We are forever connected to the Divine source.  Just as a branch can produce nothing without the nutrients that flow from the root through the vine to the branch, we can do nothing in and of ourselves.  It is only as we drink and eat the goodness of God that we can become more like Him each day. If we are what we eat then we need to feast daily on His word and drink deeply of His Holy Spirit.

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

“May He Grant Your Heart’s Desires…”

4 May he grant your heart’s desires  and make all your plans succeed. — Psalm 20:1 NLT

Psalm 20 NLT

When we  read verses like the one above  and others throughout the Bible, what thoughts go through our minds?  Does this mean that we can ask God for anything and expect to get it?  Is there any requirements for prayers to be of a certain form or prayed in a certain way?  Is God like a huge dispensing machine where we deposit a prayer and out comes everything we asked for?  Is/are there some particular thing(s) we must do before this is true?  Suppose a non-Christian reads the Bible, reads these verses and prays?  What answer could that person expect?  Is God obligated to answer every prayer?  if so, why? If not, why not?  There are two categories of people that pray; the unsaved and the saved.  I believe it could easily be proven that the only prayer from an unsaved person that God is obligated to answer is a prayer of repentance.  None of God’s promises besides salvation apply to the lost or unsaved.  Those of us who have prayed the “sinner’s” prayer and are now the redeemed are in a different place entirely.  Tomorrow a deeper look at some of these questions.

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

“But By the Will of God”

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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”

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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”

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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