Does My Love Reach the Mark?

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Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance. – 1 Cor. 13:7 NLT
 
What if our every thought had to pass a test before it could be converted to spoken words or to actions?
Does this thought show others that I have patience?
Does it show kindness?
Is it truthful?
Does it show concern?
Does it reflect my trust in God?
Does it show the hope I have in Jesus?
Will it help me or those around me to endure trials and persevere?

All the above should be answered with a “Yes”
All the below should be answered with a “No” 

Is it boastful? 
Does it make me appear to be envious?
Does it disrespect or harm others?
Is it just for my benefit?
Is it a knee jerk response to something that has angered me?
Is it a resentment caused by past actions?
If it fails in any area, we need to reconsider before we speak or act.

26 Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” ​ –​- Matt. 19:26 NIV

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

Post 04-05-2018

The Fruit Grows on the Branches

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“Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing. – John 15:5 NLT

Jesus is the true vine. He has fulfilled the law and now we are branches grown from a new and different vine. We are in Christ Jesus once we accept the words Jesus has spoken. Jesus has removed all the old fruit from us and has made us clean. But we still need something more if we are going to produce good fruit. The flesh cannot of itself produce love, joy, kindness, long-suffering, or any of the other fruits listed in Galatians. There is no goodness in our flesh. For us to produce Holy Spirit fruit, we must have that Holy Spirit flowing through us just as a branch must have the sap from the tree flowing through it to be productive. When Jesus was here in the flesh, He could not physically be inside us, but the Holy Spirit can and does abide in us. That is why Jesus said that He must go to the Father so God could send His Spirit. As we we meditate on the word, the more fruit we produce and the fruit that we produce will be more like the vine.


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

Post 11-07-2017

Caring for Jesus

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40 “And the King will say, ‘I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!’ — Matt. 25:40 NLT
 

If we all followed these instructions, our world would be a much better and happier place. We need to treat everyone with respect and love, particularly those that are less fortunate than we are. If each of us practiced this and handed down a tradition of helping to our children, God would be much more pleased with our lifestyles. Jesus said that not feeding the hungry, not clothing the naked, not giving drink to the thirsty, not visiting the sick and in prison, was the same as not doing it for Him.  The only way that we can show love and kindness to Jesus is to show love and kindness to those around us.

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

Post 03-30-2017

Give Thanks Daily

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We always pray for you, and we give thanks to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. — Colossians 1:3 NLT
We should always have an attitude of gratitude. Every good and perfect gift comes down from the Father above. (James 1:17) This starts with the Good News (salvation) and continues as long as we are in the flesh. We have a hope laid up for us in heaven and the blood of Jesus assures us of that inheritance. We can talk about God or gods and we may not get much reaction. But, when we mention the name of Jesus, there is always a reaction of some sort. The name itself calls for acceptance or denial. The name of Jesus always produces results one way or the other. With acceptance comes salvation and understanding of the love and kindness of God. So thank God continuously for his goodness and mercy toward us. If He did nothing more than save us, that is far more than we deserve. Jesus does not treat us as we deserve, but shows us mercy every day.
 

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

POst

What Voice Are We Hearing?

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Those who are dominated by the sinful nature think about sinful things, but those who are controlled by the Holy Spirit think about things that please the Spirit. — Romans 8:5 NLT

How can we know if we are being led by God’s Spirit or by our flesh? If we are giving in to the flesh, we will be prideful, we will harbor hate, anger, resentment and bitterness. The acts that our flesh produces are illicit sex, perversion, promiscuity, idolatry, drug use, hatred, rivalry, jealousy, angry outbursts, selfish ambition, conflict, factions, envy, drunkenness, wild partying, and similar things. If we are Spirit led, we will show others love and respect. God’s Spirit produces (in us) love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. We should all take a few moments alone with God and examine our actions for the last few days. What voice are listening to? Who are we following? Flesh? or Spirit?

“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” -Anonymous
Post 01-24-2017

Teach With Kindness

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 22 Now flee from youthful lusts and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart. — 2 Timothy 2:22 NASB
 
If we worship God with a pure heart, it will cause us to want to pursue faith. love, and peace. One of the quickest ways to turn a non-believer away is to get involved in discussions about doctrines and whether to eat meat, smoke or drink. We must be kind and lead them into a discussion about salvation. Until a person accepts Jesus Christ as His Lord and Savior, the rest of the Scripture is and will be a mystery to them. We are to offer them Jesus. Once they have accepted Him, God’s Holy Spirit comes to abide in them. It is His job to lead us and them into all truth. As we listen to His quiet, gentle voice, our hearts will turn to the Lord and we will follow Him because we love Him, not out of an obligation to do so. God’s Holy Spirit will free us from the snares of the devil and teach us God’s will.

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

Post 01-11-2017

An Oasis of Love

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8  But each day the Lord pours his unfailing love upon me, and through each night I sing his songs, praying to God who gives me life. — Psalm 42:8 NLT

This Psalm was written  by the descendants of Korah.  Korah, a cousin of Moses, was the one who led the rebellion against Moses during the journey from Egypt to the Promised Land.  He was the leader of the group that was killed when the earth opened up and swallowed all of the rebels.  Not all of the sons of Korah rebelled.  There was a remnant left to carry on the family name.  This family had experienced both the wrath of God and His loving kindness.  From these experiences, we can deduce that they understood that it is okay to complain to God as long as it is done in a respectful way. Just as this Psalm begins with how much they long for the goodness of God, then it proceeds to alternately complain and remember the blessings of God. 

When we are complaining to God, it is good to mix in a little worship with the whining.  It is good to recount the times He has blessed us and thank Him for those times.  The writers of this Psalm question themselves.  What reason do they have to be sad and discouraged ?  We need to ask the same question and arrive at the same conclusion they did.  If we put our faith and our hope in God, we won’t be sad and discouraged, but we will be filled with joy and praise for God and His goodness.   We will long for His presence just as a thirsty deer longs for a drink of cool water.  God’s presence is like an oasis in a desert of depression.  Spend time in that oasis, drink deeply from the healing springs and thank Him for His goodness.
Post 07-24-2016

His Faith – Not Ours

even-smaller-bug-light16 And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, 7 in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. 8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9 not by works, so that no one can boast. — Eph. 2:6-9 NIV

This is a familiar passage to most Christians, yet I wonder if we really grasp everything it says to us.  It explains to us why God saved us and raised us up. It was not just for our benefit, though that would have been more than enough.  He did it so He could show to us and the world the “incomparable riches of His grace”.  The greatest expression of that grace was God allowing Jesus Christ, His only begotten Son, to die on a cruel cross for our sins. It is that grace that has saved us, through faith.  Not our faith, His faith, His gift to us. That is why we can be sure that our salvation is eternal.  Thanks be to God that my salvation is not based on my faith, which is not always steadfast. It is based on His faith, which is steadfast and eternal.  If it were based on my faith, I could be saved today and lost tomorrow.  His faith is everlasting!
89 Your word, Lord, is eternal;  it stands firm in the heavens.
90 Your faithfulness continues through all generations;  you established the earth, and it endures. — Psalm 119:89, 90

15 Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift! — 2 Cor. 9:15

Post 01-27-2016

Harvest Season

even-smaller-bug-light13 For the appeal we make does not spring from error or impure motives, nor are we trying to trick you. 4 On the contrary, we speak as those approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel. We are not trying to please people but God, who tests our hearts. 5 You know we never used flattery, nor did we put on a mask to cover up greed—God is our witness. 6 We were not looking for praise from people, not from you or anyone else, even though as apostles of Christ we could have asserted our authority. 7 Instead, we were like young children among you. — 1 Thessalonians 2:3-7 NIV

Each of us has been approved by God to spread the Gospel. Some of us have large audiences and some of us have small audiences, nevertheless, we are all instructed to “go and make disciples”.  God knows where we can be the most effective. Whether we realize it or not, we are “witnessing” all the time.  The question is this: “For whom are we witnessing and what word are we spreading?”  We​ must always be sure that when we speak or act, that our motives are pure and that we are speaking truthfully.  This is particularly true when we are preaching, teaching or witnessing for God. When we are laboring for God, we should always remember that it is Him we are trying to please. We should never water down the message the Holy Spirit gives us to speak. Our mission is to spread the Word of God, not to get rich or famous, nor are we in a popularity contest. The world hears enough about those kind of things every day, yet they are still unhappy and stressed out, they are looking for some kind of relief from all those daily pressures.  They are looking for something to fill the void that is inside them.  We have the answer and it should be our hearts’ desire to give the answer to others. We must present the message with love and kindness,  We should be as innocent as little children. We are to go out “as lambs among wolves”.

2 He told them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field. 3 Go! I am sending you out like lambs among wolves. — Luke 10:2, 3 NIV

Post 10-24-2015

Forgiveness Is More Than Words

even-smaller-bug-light112 Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. 13 Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. 14 And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.. — Colossians 3:12-1​4​ NIV

​The characteristics that Paul talks about here​ are totally contrary to the flesh. Yet, these are the goals that we should be striving toward in our daily walk with Jesus. All of us have certain areas in which God has gifted us and the change from natural to spiritual in these areas are easier for us than for others.  The flesh is stubborn and wants to hold onto the old ways. Nevertheless, we must strive every day to improve in all of the areas. Being humble is hard for the flesh. When we do good deeds, we want to be recognized and praised for those good deeds. But, we must remember that we are doing these things for Jesus and laying up our rewards in heaven.  

2 “So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. 3 But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, 4 so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. —  Matt. 6:2-4

Probably the toughest of all of these things is to learn to truly forgive.  We say that we have forgiven those who have hurt us, but how do we treat that person after we have said those words.  Does remembering the incident still cause you to act differently toward that person?  Forgiveness is not a pardon for the person’s wrong,  It is not saying that what they did is okay.  It is saying that we all make mistakes and we all need forgiveness at times, so we should forgive others because of the forgiveness we have experienced in our lives, particularly, the forgiveness of our sins by Jesus. We need to forgive for our own benefit and not allow a root of bitterness to grow in our hearts that satan can use to destroy relationships with others and eventually destroy us.

31 Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. 32 Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you. — Ephesians 4:31

Post 10-17-2015