A Raging Wildfire!

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And among all the parts of the body, the tongue is a flame of fire. It is a whole world of wickedness, corrupting your entire body. It can set your whole life on fire, for it is set on fire by hell itself.  ​  – James 3:6 ​NLT

James 3:2-6 NLT

We all know the old saying: “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but names will never hurt me.” Or as I learned it in my childhood “words don’t bother me”.
Either way, it is wrong. With our tongues, we can speak words of life or words of death. The death might be a relationship or a lost opportunity. We can speak words of peace or words that stir up anger. We should always consider our thoughts carefully because those thoughts turn into words that can buildup, tear down or completely destroy. We can think of our thoughts as a text message we are about to send, once we hit the send button, there is no way to recall the message regardless of how much we regret the words. Our words can truly fan a small spark into a raging wildfire causing damages that may not be repaired. Regardless of how we feel about any  situation, it is our duty to speak words of peace and restoration.

 
9 God blesses those who work for peace, for they will be called the children of God.

​ – Matt. 5:9 NLT​


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

Post 06-02-2017

Faith Produces Good Works

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16 and you say, “Good-bye and have a good day; stay warm and eat well”—but then you don’t give that person any food or clothing. What good does that do? – James 2:16 NLT

We know that we are saved “by grace through faith, not by works, lest any man should boast”. We also know that everything we receive while we are here on earth is a free gift from God. So, what is the purpose of “good works” and why are they important? Well, there are at least two good reasons and probably more it you want to break them down. The first is this; now, that we are Christians, Jesus is our example and He went about doing good works.
38 And you know that God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power. Then Jesus went around doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with him.–Acts 10:38 (NLT)


The second reason is this; doing good works here on earth is how we store our rewards or treasures in heaven.

20 Store your treasures in heaven, where moths and rust cannot destroy, and thieves do not break in and steal. 21 Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be.–Matt 6:20,21 (NLT)


If we do good works for these two reasons, it will keep our hearts and minds focused on Jesus and our final reward of living an eternity with Him. If we focus on that, it will make the burdens lighter and we can walk the path with joy and thanksgiving in our hearts and a song of praise on our lips!


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

Post 05-31-2017

Worse Than Worthless Words

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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

Don’t Worry Yourself to Death

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10 And don’t grumble as some of them did, and then were destroyed by the angel of death. — 1 Cor. 10:10 NLT
As Christians, we don’t live lifestyles of continual sinning but since none of us are perfect, we still sin.  We commit sins of omission when we fail to move or speak when the Holy Spirit tells us to go or to speak to someone about Jesus.  We commit sins of omission when we don’t help those around us when we have the resources available to help them.  We also commit sins of commission when we fear, worry or grumble.  If God had written more than ten commandments, the next three might well have been “thou shalt not fear”, “thou shalt not worry” and “thou shalt not grumble”.   While they are not official commandments, when we read verses that contain words such as “have I not told you”or “God said” or “Jesus said” that should make them official enough for us to obey them.  The grumbling that the Israelites did that caused God to destroy them was their continual complaining about God’s provisions for them and the leaders He had chosen for them.  Well, yeah, we say, but worrying, fearing and grumbling are just natural things.  While that is true, therein lies the issue that God has with us when we do it.  He has given us access to the resurrection power that enables us to live above the natural.  When we refuse to access that power and live the abundant life, are we not refusing the gift God gave us at the cross?
Post 08-28-2016 

Pray, Prepare, Present

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12 Afterward Mordecai returned to the palace gate, but Haman hurried home dejected and completely humiliated.  — Esther 6:12 NLT
We are familiar with the story of Esther and how God exalted her to the position of queen in a most unlikely situation.  Besides Esther, there are three other people God had positioned strategically for this particular time. God needed a man with the the authority to make things happen so He had positioned Xerxes as king.  He needed a villain, He chose Haman for this role.  Haman was the perfect villain for this time, he hated Mordecai and all of the Jews. God needed a hero, someone who would refuse to bow to the villain and with the backbone to stand up for God’s people.  He chose Mordecai who had a little known history with the king.  In the past, he had warned the king about a plot to kill the king and for this he had never been rewarded (at least not  in earthly ways).  Mordecai was also a man of compassion.  We know this because he had taken his cousin, Hadassah, also known as Esther and raised her as his own daughter after his uncle died.  God had prepared and positioned each of these people to carry out His plan to free His people and destroy the enemy.  God is preparing each of us to do the same thing today.  Are we ready and willing to do our part when all the people involved come together?   If not, how do we get ready?
15 Work hard so you can present yourself to God and receive his approval. Be a good worker, one who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly explains the word of truth.  — 2 Timothy 2:15 NLT
Post 06-18-2016

Humble Ourselves and Pray

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12 Because Rehoboam humbled himself, the Lord’s anger was turned away, and he did not destroy him completely. There were still some good things in the land of Judah.
— 2 Chronicles 12:12 NLT
God is so good and merciful.  He gives us opportunity after opportunity to repent and return to worshipping Him and Him alone.  He had blessed all of Israel with forty years of peace and wealth beyond measure.  Yet, here they were, back to worshipping idols.  God had split the kingdom into Israel, the northern kingdom and Judah, the southern kingdom because of the iniquities of the people.  Rehoboam, the son of Solomon was the king of the southern kingdom and reigned in Judah from Jerusalem.  For a while, he was faithful to God, but then, he returned to idol worship and God sent Shishak and the Egyptian army to destroy Judah.  After Shishak had taken the fortified towns in Judah, he advanced on Jerusalem.  The king and the leaders of the people in Jerusalem humbled themselves so God did not allow Shishak to destroy Jerusalem, but He did allow Shishak to take all the wealth from Jerusalem and made the inhabitants his servants.  God saw that there were still some good things in the land of Judah, so He relented.  We need to pray that God will see that there are still some good things in our country and not destroy us yet.  We need to pray that we and our leaders will humble ourselves under the mighty hand of the one true and Almighty God.  We have had our warnings, let us pray fervently that God continues to show His great mercy and compassion on this nation.
Post 05-31-2016

Thoughts! Words! Actions!

even-smaller-bug-light1So when Christ came into the world, he said:

“You do not want sacrifices and offerings,
    but you have prepared a body for me.
6  You do not ask for burnt offerings    and offerings to take away sins. — Hebrews 10:5, 6 NCV

When Christ came into the world, He came with the full knowledge of what His mission was.  He was to give His body as a once-for-all times sacrifice.  No longer would God be pleased or accept burnt offerings or offerings of any other kind to take away sins.  All the old rituals are now worthless.  Remission of sin that required the shedding of blood was completely satisfied when Jesus gave up His blood and His life for us on the cross.  Belief in His free gift to us is the only way to salvation.  Once we have accepted Jesus and experienced the liberty in Him, there is no longer any requirement for anything to physically die to achieve salvation.  But we do need to offer our bodies as “a living sacrifice” to Jesus​. This is the only sacrifice that is acceptable to God.  To do that, means we have to be transformed by the renewing of our minds.  This is a process that we go through on a daily basis.  Just as Jesus gave His life for us on a cross, we also must take up a cross and follow Him.  Our sacrifice is not to take away our sins, but it is to give God the glory for all that He has done for us.  Our focus is now changed from the physical to the Spiritual, from things temporal to things eternal. We must “bring every thought captive”.  This requires us to walk out the consequences of every word and action before we speak or act.  Will our words and actions create life or destroy life?  

Post 03-10-2016

Trust and Obey

even-smaller-bug-light119 “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; 20 but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. — Matthew 6:19-21 NKJV

​We spend the majority of our time working to make money and another good portion of our time figuring out how we are going to spend that money. Plans, goals and budgets are good things. Our goal is to make it to heaven, but Jesus understood that it takes money to make the trip.  After all, Judas was the “treasurer” for Jesus and His disciples. But Jesus also told the rich young ruler to sell all that He had and give it to the poor.  So, the question is how much is enough and how much is too much.  The writer of Proverbs put it this way:
 

8 Remove falsehood and lies far from me;  Give me neither poverty nor riches— Feed me with the food allotted to me;
9 Lest I be full and deny You, and say, “Who is the Lord?”
Or lest I be poor and steal, and profane the name of my God. — Proverbs 30:9 NKJV

Jesus​ taught us to pray “give me this day my daily bread”.  When God sent manna from heaven, He instructed the Israelites to collect only enough for each day (except for the day before the Sabbath when they collected enough for two days). If they collected more, it rotted and was of no use.  How much is enough is a question each of us should ask the Lord.  We just need to remember who we are serving and be sure we allow Him to be Lord of our lives.  Then, when the bank account is overflowing, it won’t be too much and when it is empty, it won’t be too little.  He has promised to provide and if we are obedient, He will do just that. 
Post 01-05-2016

What A Wonderful World It Could Be!

even-smaller-bug-light111 Brothers and sisters, do not slander one another. Anyone who speaks against a brother or sister or judges them speaks against the law and judges it. When you judge the law, you are not keeping it, but sitting in judgment on it.12 There is only one Lawgiver and Judge, the one who is able to save and destroy. But you—who are you to judge your neighbor? — James 4:11, 12 NIV

​If there is an area in the life of a Christian where we sin daily, and shall I dare say it, deliberately, it is in our thoughts and our words.  It is hard to look at someone and not immediately form some sort of opinion of that person before we even get to know them.  We are told over and over how important first impressions are in this world.  As Chritsians, we need to pray for discernment and patience before forming opinions of others.  We need to predetermine that we are going to love the people we meet every day. When we love someone, we usually give them the advantage of any doubts we have about their goodness.  We need to assume that they are good and show them the same respect we want them to show to us. We should look at every person, regardless of their station or situation, with the assumption that they are innocent until proven guilty. We should assume everyone is worthy of our love and affection until they prove by their words and actions that they are not.  We need to pray that we will see others with the eyes of Jesus, hear their words with the ears of Jesus and above all, filter every thought through the love of Jesus. 
 

3 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, 4 not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.  5 In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: — Phil. 2:3, 4 NIV

What a wonderful world it could be, if each of us, each day, strived to have the same attitude toward others that Jesus has for us.

Post 12-03-2015

Life Full and Free

even-smaller-bug-light113 When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; 14 but each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed. 15 Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death. — James 1:13-15 NIV

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

Post 11-10-2015