“The Word Is Very Near You”

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14 No, the word is very near you—it’s within your mouth and heart for you to attain.” – Deut. 30:14 ISV

Deuteronomy 30:11-14 ISV


At this time, the Holy Spirit had not yet been given to us to remain on the earth until Jesus returns, so God gave the Israelis their instructions and commands through Moses.  In  the following chapters of Deuteronomy, we read that God instructed Moses to write all of these instructions in a Book.  That Book is now included as the first five books of the Bible.  Moses instructed the priests to keep the Book of Instructions beside the Ark of the Covenant at all times as a sign of remembrance to the Israelis of their covenant with God.  It would also serve as a witness against them in times of disobedience. It was to be read to the people, in its entirety, every seventh year during the Festival of Shelters.  God is a just God and never holds anyone accountable for things they can not know.  He can and does hold us responsible for those we could know but refuse to learn. Now, since Jesus has returned to Heaven, He has sent the Holy Spirit to abide in us and lead us into all truth.  We have no reason for our disobedience.  We may try to excuse ourselves because of a lack of knowledge, but that excuse won’t hold water since God has made the Holy Spirit available to be our Teacher. His love for us and our love for Him is more than sufficient reason to study, learn and obey as much as we possibly can.  The Lord, our God, is a jealous God and he is unhappy with anything less than a total commitment to our relationship with Him.

2 For I am jealous for you with the jealousy of God himself. I promised you as a pure bride to one husband—Christ.  ​ — 2 Cor. 11:2 NLT​

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

“Create In Me A Clean Heart”

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10  Create in me a clean heart, O God,And renew a steadfast spirit within me. — Psalm 51:10 NKJV

What is a clean heart, how do we get it and why is it important to be sure that we have clean hearts?  An unclean heart is a heart that contains bitterness, hatred, deceit, lust, envy, covetousness and the list goes on and on to include anything that would cause us to sin.  The opposite of that would be a heart that contains only love. It is impossible for us to clean our hearts.  We need the Holy Spirit, who is love, to do that for us.  We can make all the resolutions and follow all the self-help programs we can find, but in the end, without the Holy Spirit, we will still have unclean hearts.  Those programs may remove the filth from the heart but they will leave it empty.  An empty heart is what the evil spirits are searching for.

24 “When an evil spirit leaves a person, it goes into the desert, searching for rest. But when it finds none, it says, ‘I will return to the person I came from.’ 25 So it returns and finds that its former home is all swept and in order. 26 Then the spirit finds seven other spirits more evil than itself, and they all enter the person and live there. And so that person is worse off than before.”– Luke 11:24-26 NLT

Our hearts must be filled with love and that only comes from the Holy Spirit. Once we accept Jesus and His Spirit abides within us, He will keep our hearts clean, if we allow Him to do so.  Clean hearts are necessary because it is “out of the abundance of the heart that the mouth speaks”.  It is also where our thoughts come from, so we must be sure that the source is clean or our thoughts, words and actions will be displeasing to God. 

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

“Led Astray”

13 As a result, other Jewish believers followed Peter’s hypocrisy, and even Barnabas was led astray by their hypocrisy. – Gal. 2:13 NLT

Gal. 2:11-14 NLT

Paul continues his crusade to help people to understand the freedom they now have since Jesus fulfilled the law. New converts then and now are not compelled to travel to Jerusalem and make sacrifices each year nor are we expected to meet any requirements of the law. We are required to love the Lord, our God, with all our heart, strength, mind and body. If we do this, we will see changes in our lifestyle. Not because of some written laws but because the love of God constrains us. We respond to the love of God. It is His love for us that keeps us.

2 ​ ​fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him​ endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.–Hebrews 12:2 (NASB)

6 For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.—Philippians 1:6 (NASB)

Our focus is not to be on requiring others to take communion as often as we do or if they worship more reverently or loudly than we do (I could go on but you get the picture). We should be focused on making disciples that obey Jesus because they love Him, not in making clones that worship and/or serve like we do.

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

“Jesus Told Him”

18 “I tell you the truth, when you were young, you were able to do as you liked; you dressed yourself and went wherever you wanted to go. But when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and others will dress you and take you where you don’t want to go.” 19 Jesus said this to let him know by what kind of death he would glorify God. Then Jesus told him, “Follow me.”—John 21:18-19 (NLT)

Jesus is prophesying to Peter about how he would die. Peter was led to the cross by others and was crucified upside down at his request. Peter felt unworthy to be executed in the same method that Jesus was executed. At least eight of the twelve apostles died as martyrs with two, Peter and Andrew, being crucified. There are some leaders that teach that life as a Christian is free of stress and problems. This is not validated by a study of the Scriptures. In fact, just the opposite is taught.

33 I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.”–John 16:33 (NLT)

Jesus tells us in this verse that we will have trials and sorrows. Not just the normal troubles of those in the world, but more because we love and obey Him. But He also tells us that we can have total peace in Him. His peace is not a lack of trouble or violence, it is peace that we can access in the midst of all that. Jesus has overcome the world and we are overcomers through Him. We can’t be conquerors and overcomers if there are no problems to overcome or no mountains to conquer.

Conquerors

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

“But Take Heart”

33 I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.” – John 16:33

Take Heart 

​As Jesus spoke plainly to His disciples, they found it easier to understand the things He was telling them. Now they understood and believed that Jesus was the Son of God. Now Jesus tells them that each one of them will abandon Him in His time of suffering. But He assures them that He will not be alone, even when they all leave Him. Jesus explains to them that they will have trials and sorrows in this world, but they can still have peace because He has overcome the world. We will have our times of trials as well. But we have someone now that the disciples didn’t have until later. When Jesus left, the Holy Spirit came to take His place. The Holy Spirit is not another god, He is the same God in a different form to perform a different function. We should not fear the trials and temptations that will come our way, because we have someone inside us who is more powerful than anything in the world.

4 But you belong to God, my dear children. You have already won a victory over those people, because the Spirit who lives in you is greater than the spirit who lives in the world.—1 John 4:4 (NLT)

​How can we be called “over-comers” and “more than conquerors”, if we never have any problems to overcome or battles to win?

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

“By This We Know”

 5 But whoever keeps His word, truly the love of God is perfected in him. By this we know that we are in Him. – 1 John 2:5 NKJV

1 John 2:3-8 NLT

The religious leader asked Jesus: ” What is the greatest commandment?” Jesus answered with two commandments instead of one. Jesus said to love the Lord your God with all your heart and your neighbor as yourself. He went on to say that all the law hinged on these two commandments. God has put His light in us to light the world and dispel darkness. The way we let our light shine is to obey these two commandments. We must spend time with Jesus to get to know Him better so we can love Him better, Then, by loving our neighbors, we demonstrate the love of God in our lives. When we accepted Jesus, we became aliens to this world and citizens of heaven. As ambassadors of heaven, we represent Jesus. It is our duty to reconcile others to Christ by giving them the Good News. We want to wait for some big thing to do, but we shouldn’t wait for grand opportunities. Start by doing a good deed today and you will give life and light to someone. As the old song says:

Do not wait until some deed of greatness you may do,
Do not wait to shed your light afar,
To the many duties ever near you now be true,
Brighten the corner where you are.

Ina D. Ogdon, 1913

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

Post 01-27-2020

No Complaining, No Arguing

14 Do everything without complaining and arguing,— Phil. 2:14 NLT

Phil. 2:12-18 NLT

Joy is contagious and it attracts other people to us when we are joyful. No one wants to spend all day, every day, with a complainer. So, if we want to attract others to Jesus, we should serve with a heart full of joy. That joy should be as pure as the joy of a small child. It should have no pretense, people can easily see through that. We want to be bright lights leading others to Jesus. We should be the kind of lights that cause as much excitement and joy as a lighthouse on a shore that is being beaten by crashing sea waves causes when it is seen by the lookout on a ship. Our lights should warn people of the dangers of sin just as surely as the lighthouse warns sailors of the danger of rocks. Keep your lights trimmed and burning bright by studying and meditating on God’s Word daily. Spend time each day with just you and Jesus.

Matt. 5:14-16 NLT

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

Post 09-19-2019

“But The Lord Looks At The Heart”

7 But the Lord said to Samuel, “Don’t judge by his appearance or height, for I have rejected him. The Lord doesn’t see things the way you see them. People judge by outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”— 1 Samuel 16:7 NLT

1 Samuel 16:6-13 NLT

Society and the world wants us to “dress for success”. Commercial after commercial emphasizes how we should continue to try to look young and beautiful (or handsome). All those things are temporary and fleeting. Good looks, great physiques and great wealth can be gone over night. None of that is guaranteed, so why do we spend so much time and money on those things? The important thing is this: What does God see when He looks into our hearts? What is in our heart will determine where we spend eternity. It is much more important to please God than to please man. We need to ask God to “create in us a clean heart” and “renew a right Spirit within us”. What does God require of us?

Micah 6:6-8 NLT

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

Post 09=14=2019

Repetition Fosters Results

10 For it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with God, and it is by openly declaring your faith that you are saved — Romans 10:10 NLT

Romans 10:9-15 NLT

We, who have been chosen by God and saved by His gift of Jesus dying on the cross, have a great responsibility to carry the message forward. We have received the commission and we must go forth. Not everyone will be glad to hear the Good News and not everyone will accept Jesus as their Lord and Savior. But that does not relieve us of our responsibility to tell it everywhere we go. We are told that the angels in heaven rejoice greatly when a lost soul comes home. So, let’s make it our goal to keep the angels rejoicing continuously by leading people to Jesus Christ. Then when Jesus welcomes us home, we can just join in the festivities.

Luke 15:8-10 MSG

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

Post 07-14-2019

“With All Of Your Heart”

5  Trust in the Lord with all your heart;  do not depend on your own understanding.  — Proverbs 3:5 NLT

 Proverbs 3:5-8 NLT

This may well be one of the best known and most repeated verses in the Bible.  What exactly does God want each of us to take away from this verse? Does it mean that we should realize that God is much more intelligent than we are?  He is, of course, but is there more here in this verse?  Could it be a rebuke to all of those self-help programs that people spend so much time, effort and money on only to find that when they have finished those programs nothing has really changed?  Is this verse a directive that says, you can’t help yourself, you need Jesus?  Could it be the first step in our coming to salvation?  After all, if we could help ourselves, if we could clean ourselves up, then it would have been totally unnecessary for Jesus to die. Jesus died on the cross to accomplish for us what we can never do for ourselves.  The natural, carnal mind will never understand this.  We must be willing to allow the Holy Spirit to teach us to have faith in God and to trust Him with all of our hearts.  Without the Holy Spirit’s guidance we will never understand the depth nor the width of what God wants to do for us and through us.  Our understanding is a broken reed that will support little or no weight.  God’s wisdom is a staff of strength that will bear up under any burden.  Learn to lean on Him, His wisdom and His understanding in the good times as well as the rough patches.

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

Post 05-27-2019