“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

“He Never Tempts Anyone”

13 And remember, when you are being tempted, do not say, “God is tempting me.” God is never tempted to do wrong and he never tempts anyone else. – James 1:13 NLT

James 1:13-16 NLT

God never tempts us. So, if God isn’t tempting us, then where do those temptations originate? That’s right, they come from our fleshly desires and from satan. We know that satan was allowed to tempt Jesus with promises of wealth and grandeur. Jesus, being human, yet perfect, did not give in to those temptations. Why? Because Jesus had one desire and that was to please our Father, God. We are not perfect, so when satan tempts us with his beautiful pictures of what could be if we only let him in, we give into those temptations. Why? Because our fleshly desires are stronger and more immediate than our desire to please God. We are enticed and we allow our desires to mislead us. We think that we can turn our desires off and on like a water fountain. But, we find that once we have compromised with satan, we lose control. Then that sinful idea or thought starts to happen more often and soon it takes on a life of its own. So, we grab a little pleasure here and a little pleasure there. Suddenly, those little pleasures have grabbed us and we can’t shake them. That is when sin latches onto us, takes us further than we want to go, and keeps us longer than we want to stay. Pride says “I would never”.  But reality says we did and we must confess our sins.  Ask Peter.

Luke 22:60-62 NLT

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

Post 12-17-2019

“Worthy of His Kingdom”

5 And God will use this persecution to show his justice and to make you worthy of his Kingdom, for which you are suffering.— 2 Thess. 1:5 NLT

2 Thess. 1:3-10 NLT

Most Christians in the Western World have not experienced the kind of persecution to which Paul is referring. Probably the worst persecution that we receive is losing (temporarily, hopefully) the friendship of someone close to us because of our belief in the death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ. Here, Paul is talking about those early Christians who gave their lives for the Gospel. I would guess that most of us have wondered, at some time or other, how far we would go for the Gospel. Would I really lay down my life for Jesus?  Paul tells us that we should consider our physical bodies as dead already. 

3 For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.– Col. 3:3 NKJV

Since this is true, we should consider our physical bodies already dead. But our Spirit will always be alive because of what Jesus did for us at Calvary. So, if we are attempting to live the lifestyle that Jesus wants us to, isn’t the decision already made? We agreed to die with Christ and mortify (put to death) our fleshly desires so that we will be raised with Christ in our new immortal bodies. It is all about faith and trust. Will God do what He said or not? The answer is “Yes, of course, He will.” In His mercy, He will protect and perfect us and in His justice, He will repay the persecutors.

Romans 12:19-21 NLT

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

Post 10-14-2019

“God Has Already Taught You”

9 We do not need to write you about having love for your Christian family, because God has already taught you to love each other. — 1 Thess. 4:9 NCV

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

Post 10-12-2019

“He Lives In All of Us”

11 In this new life, it doesn’t matter if you are a Jew or a Gentile, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbaric, uncivilized, slave, or free. Christ is all that matters, and he lives in all of us. — Col. 3:11 NLT 

Col. 3:1-12 NLT

God’s Holy Spirit abides in us and we abide in Christ. We are now filled with and fully clothed by God Himself. Therefore, we have access to the same attributes as Christ Jesus Himself. Just as we accepted God’s Gift of salvation, we can accept (access) His attributes or we can use our own vain imaginations. The question is this: What thoughts are we going to allow to control our words and actions? “Wrong” or “right” thinking, that is the question.  Will we continue to let our old fleshly nature control our thoughts and actions or will we allow the Holy Spirit to do His work in us?  Will we allow Him to teach us and guide us into all truth?  Will we allow Him to sanctify us on a daily basis?  The flesh says “no” so we must put to death the flesh and follow after the Spirit.  Jesus wants to be Lord over every area of our lives, not just part.  The journey begins when we accept Jesus as our Savior and continues until we meet our Savior.  It is onward and upward and it gets sweeter every day.

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

Post 07-24-2019

Oil to Keep Our Lamps Burning

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1 The Lord said to Moses, “Command the people of Israel to bring you pure oil of pressed olives for the light, to keep the lamps burning continually. — Leviticus 24:1 NLT

Consider the olive.  The tree grows in stony soil where other trees cannot grow.  A new tree is started with a seed or a cutting and then transplanted.  It grows for seven years before it has any berries on it and it is about fourteen years before the crop reaches maturity.  In Old Testament times, the fruit was harvested by shaking and beating the tree with a reed or a stick.  This injures the tree so much that it will only produce fruit every other year.  Once it starts to produce fruit, it will continue to produce fruit for centuries.  After the fruit is harvested, it is pressed to get the oil from it.  This oil was then used to keep the light in the Tabernacle lamps burning continually.  Jesus said that we are now the light of the world.  For us to be the pure light that we should be, we must go through much of the same process as the olive.  God transplants us from the kingdom of darkness to the Kingdom of Light  and we start on a journey.  It will take some time for us to mature and produce fruit. We need to be shaken at times to get us out of our comfort zones.  We need to be disciplined at times to get us back on the straight and narrow path.  We have sinful, fleshly desires and those desires are not going to go away without a fight.  So, God allows us to be pressed down until there is nothing left but a heart with pure motives.  Then and only then are we able to be the light to the world and deliver it from the darkness of sin.

8 We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed. We are perplexed, but not driven to despair. 9 We are hunted down, but never abandoned by God. We get knocked down, but we are not destroyed.10 Through suffering, our bodies continue to share in the death of Jesus so that the life of Jesus may also be seen in our bodies.– 2 Cor. 4:8-10 NLT
“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous
Post 10-09-2018

“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

“The Right To Do Anything”

even-smaller-bug-light1

12 “I have the right to do anything,” you say—but not everything is beneficial. “I have the right to do anything”—but I will not be mastered by anything. 13 You say, “Food for the stomach and the stomach for food, and God will destroy them both.” The body, however, is not meant for sexual immorality but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body. —1 Cor. 6:12,13 NIV

When we accepted Jesus as our Savior, we were set free from the bondage of sin. We no longer were bound to satan and the flesh. Just as our physical freedom has limits, so does our Spiritual freedom have limits.  The physical limits are set by the laws of the land.  Our Spiritual limits are set because of our love for our Lord and Savior. Free to do anything?  Yes, but would doing just anything the flesh wanted glorify our Lord? No, of course not.  The flesh is weak and if we give into fleshly desires, they will become our master. We are free to choose who we serve. We can serve Jesus and live or we can serve the flesh and die. We are free to give into temptations, but that doesn’t mean that we should. There are dire consequences to choosing a sinful lifestyle.

14 But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust. 15 Then when lust has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and when sin is accomplished, it brings forth death.–James 1:15 NASB

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

Post 02-15-2018