“Give Up Your Life”

24 If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake, you will save it. – Luke 9:24 NLT

Luke 9:22-24 NLT

After all the trials and the persecutions that Jesus went through on Thursday night, early Friday morning, He had to take up his Cross and carry it out of the city. Along the way, Simon of Cyrene was ordered to help carry the Cross for Jesus. While we can’t carry the actual wooden cross that Simon bore for Jesus, we each have a path that God has laid out for us. Somewhere along that path, we will meet Jesus. Then we will either accept Him or reject Him. If we accept Him, there will be a cross for us to bear. The cross may be financial, it may be physical, it may include rejection and persecution, but whatever cross we are called to bear, we can be sure that if we have listened to the whispers of the Holy Spirit and we have been obedient, we will be prepared for it. If the cross seems more than we can bear, it may be because we have not yet decided to die to our own desires. The only way to save our lives is to lose them for Jesus.

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

“Now That You Know God”

9 So now that you know God (or should I say, now that God knows you), why do you want to go back again and become slaves once more to the weak and useless spiritual principles of this world? – Gal. 3:9 NLT

Galatians 3:8-11 NLT

Before we accepted Jesus as our Savior, we were enslaved by our sinful flesh, just as the Galatians were back then. Before Paul came into Galatia, they worshiped idols made by men and were in bondage to all sorts of immoral acts. Once, they accepted the Good News, they were free from that bondage. Paul had started churches in the area earlier. After he left the area, the people started to fall back into their old worldly ways, practicing useless traditions of men. Eat this , don’t eat that, do this on this day and not any other day, etc. Paul was writing to them to encourage them to continue on their new Spiritual journey. We see the same thing still happening today when the founder of a new church retires or moves on. We have to focus on Jesus and the Gospel message, not on the messenger. Except for Jesus, there never has been, isn’t now, and never will be a perfect man. We all fall and come up short. Just don’t make falling a lifestyle. Ask for the forgiveness that Jesus has already paid for and move on. Let’s learn to be “Jesus conscious” and not “sin-conscious”. If satan can keep us focused on our failures, he has won the battle and we will live defeated lives, Focus on Jesus, our Champion and our Defender. We can be more than conquerors.

15 He said: “Listen, King Jehoshaphat and all who live in Judah and Jerusalem! This is what the LORD says to you: ‘Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army. For the battle is not yours, but God’s.—2 Chron. 20:15 (NIV)

“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

“Giving Thanks Always”

20 giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, – Ephesians​ 5:20 ESV

Give Thanks 

God knows that we have work to do and relationships to maintain, so how can we “always” be giving thanks? I think we have to put this verse with the verse in 1 Thess. 5:17 where Paul tells us to “pray without ceasing”. To give God thanks always and to pray without ceasing are not commands for us to go around orally praying and giving thanks at all times. Neither do our prayers and thanksgiving have to be with lots of fancy words. One of my favorite prayers in the Bible is Peter’s prayer when he takes his eyes off Jesus and starts to sink in the sea. “Lord, save me”. That prayer was very short and effective. Our lifestyle, which is determined by our thought patterns, should always be one that is ready to pray and give thanks. We should be as quick to say “Thank you, Lord” in the good times as we are to say “Save me, Lord” in the rough times.

​1. ​I will bless the Lord at all times;
His praise shall continually be in my mouth.–Psalm 34:1 (ESV)
3 Because your steadfast love is better than life,​ my lips will praise you.
4 So I will bless you as long as I live;​ in your name I will lift up my hands.
5 My soul will be satisfied as with fat and rich food, and my mouth will praise you with joyful lips,–Psalm 63:3-5 (ESV)
8 Bless our God, O peoples;​ let the sound of his praise be heard–Psalm 66:8 (ESV)


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

“They Kept Looking For Jesus”

56 They kept looking for Jesus, but as they stood around in the Temple, they said to each other, “What do you think? He won’t come for Passover, will he?”  – John 11:56 NLT

An Evil Plan

Yesterday, in verse 50 of John 11, we hear Caiaphas prophesying that one man must die for the nation. He thought his statement was about handing Jesus over to the Romans so that they would not take any authority away from the Sanhedrin, the ruling council of Israel. He did not realize the eternal implications of what he said, God used the most powerful Jew in Israel, at that time, to announce His salvation plan for the whole world. Had the Pharisees and the ruling council understood this, perhaps, they would not have been so determined to kill Jesus. Jesus, knowing their thoughts and intentions left Bethany and went to the town of Ephraim located in the mountainous area northeast of Jerusalem. It was approaching the time for the Feast of the Passover. Little did the people realize that this would be the Passover that marked the end of the Passover as they knew it. The perfect, sacrificial Lamb was in their midst and they did not recognize Him. Jesus had shown them who He was by His words and His works.They should have been honoring Him. Instead, they were trying to kill Him. He is still in our midst today, are we honoring Him? Does our lifestyle, our dreams, our hopes, our actions, our words reflect His presence in our lives? Or are we still killing Jesus today?

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

“The Truth Will Set You Free”

 32 Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

– John 8:32 NIV
Free

No matter how many times Jesus was rejected, He continued to try to get the people to believe Him. Jesus kept on saying what His Father had taught Him to say and some who heard believed Him. To those who believed, Jesus said “You are truly my disciples if you obey my teachings and you will know the truth and the truth will set you free.” The people replied that they had never been slaves, so how could they be set free? Jesus assured them that everyone who has a lifestyle of sin is a slave of sin. So it was with us, we were slaves to sin before we accepted Jesus as our Savior. He has set us free by making us a new creation in Christ Jesus. As soon as we accept Jesus, we become citizens of heaven and new creations. But living a holy lifestyle is a continuous process that we must work at everyday.

2 Do not be shaped by this world; instead be changed within by a new way of thinking. Then you will be able to decide what God wants for you; you will know what is good and pleasing to him and what is perfect.–Romans 12:2 (NCV)

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

Post 04-23-2020

“Who Are You?”

22 “Then who are you? We need an answer for those who sent us. What do you have to say about yourself?” — John 1:22 NLT

John 1:19-22 NASB

John the Baptist stayed faithful to His calling. He was sent to prepare the people to receive the Messiah. Because of the message he was preaching, people would ask, “Who are you?”, his answer was “I am a voice shouting in the wilderness, clear the way for the Lord’s coming.” John’s boldness in standing for the truth eventually got him beheaded. The same thing is happening, on a daily basis, to our Christian brothers and sisters around the world. Does our daily lifestyle cause people to wonder who we represent?  Every second of every die, our words and actions are a testimony.  Would the world know that we represented Jesus by the way we walk and talk? Do our actions deny or affirm that we know Jesus?  If we were confronted with the choice: “Deny or die!”, what would our answer be? Would it be: “I am a follower of Christ, I have come to tell you about the Lord’s return”? Or would we hang our head in shame and walk away?

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

Pot 02-27-2020

“More and More Mercy”

2 May God give you more and more mercy, peace, and love.

Jude 1-4 NLT

Jude opens his letter with great humility. He identifies himself as a slave of Jesus Christ, which is how we should all feel. His heart is to deliver a message of salvation to the unknown community of people that he is addressing. But, because some false teachers had started teaching that God’s grace allows us to go on sinning as much and as often as we want to, he feels it is much more important to rebuke these teachers and correct their teaching. These teachers had not had a real experience of salvation that changed them from their sinful ways, they were not “new creatures” in Christ Jesus. While forgiveness and grace are certainly there for those of us who fall, it is not meant to allow us to live a sinful lifestyle. This would be in direct conflict with Romans 6:

1​ Well then, should we keep on sinning so that God can show us more and more of his wonderful grace? 2 Of course not! Since we have died to sin, how can we continue to live in it? 3 Or have you forgotten that when we were joined with Christ Jesus in baptism, we joined him in his death? 4 For we died and were buried with Christ by baptism. And just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glorious power of the Father, now we also may live new lives.–Romans 6:1-4​ ​(NLT)

Those who do these sinful things and teach this false doctrine are making a mockery of God’s grace that He has shown to us. As we are told in Galatians 6:

7 Don’t be misled—you cannot mock the justice of God. You will always harvest what you plant. 8 Those who live only to satisfy their own sinful nature will harvest decay and death from that sinful nature. But those who live to please the Spirit will harvest everlasting life from the Spirit.– Gal. 6:7-8 (NLT)

So we must stand firm in what we know to be the truth. When we accept Jesus, we are no longer slaves to the flesh, we are “New creations” and now we are slaves to Christ Jesus and we walk in the Spirit. Do not be deceived by every “new” philosophy that comes along. Stand on the Rock and teach the Truth, even though it is no longer popular to do the right thing.

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

Post 02-18-2020

“Don’t Slip Back Into Your Old Ways”

14 So you must live as God’s obedient children. Don’t slip back into your old ways of living to satisfy your own desires. You didn’t know any better then. – 1 Peter 1:14 NLT

1 Peter 1:13-16 NLT

When we accept Jesus as our Savior, we become a new Creation. Before that change, we were controlled by fleshly lusts. We did what “self” wanted to do without exercising self-control. Now that we are a new creation, we walk in the Spirit and do those things that are in obedience to Christ. Are we now perfect? No! But we are striving toward that mark. Will we fall short? Yes, but the blood of Jesus has covered those sins. Now that we know the right things to do, we must pursue them and not go back to our old ways. Our lifestyle should reflect our new destination. People who have known us should be able to see a difference in the way we walk and talk. The things that used to occupy the highest priorities in our lives should be further down the list. There are some things we should want to give up immediately and others need to be moved way down our list of priorities. We need to take an inventory and honestly find out where Jesus is on our list of priorities. Jesus is not in a contest with other “gods”. He will accept nothing less than the top shelf, He is either “Lord of all” or He is not “Lord at all” in our lives.

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

Post 01-09-2020

“Surrender to God”

7 So then, surrender to God. Stand up to the devil and resist him and he will turn and run away from you. – James 4:7 TPT

James 4:4-7 TPT

The Greek word (moi-kho’s) that is translated as adulterers has more than just a sexual connotation. It is anyone committing an act of infidelity or unfaithfulness to God. These actions are what depict us as “friends” of the world. If we live a lifestyle that is filled with these kind of actions, then we show by our actions that we are “enemies” of God. Our flesh is constantly warring against the Spirit that God has placed inside us. We need to be guided by God’s Holy Spirit not by our fleshly desires.

16 This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil​l​ the lust of the flesh.17 For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.–Gal. 5:16,17 (KJV)

We cannot win the war by ourselves, the flesh is too strong. But God gives us grace and mercy. He is made strong in our weaknesses. If we are faithful to walk “in the Spirit”, God will fight and win every battle for us.

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

Post 12-31-2019