“Does Anyone Want to Live…?”

12  Does anyone want to live a life that is long and prosperous?  — Psalm 34:12 NLT

Psalm 34:11-18 NLT

When I read this verse, my first thought is this:  Is there anyone who doesn’t want to live long and prosper?  Our bodies were originally designed in God’s image to last forever.  Then sin entered the world bringing decay and death with it.  Now, our bodies wear out and decay because sin still exists here on earth.  God designed a garden where man could live forever and prosper.  Sin entered that garden, seduced humankind, so God had to remove man and never allowed him to re-enter.  So, living long and being prosperous has taken on a whole new meaning.  Actually, it has taken on two meanings.  One is defined from the worldly point of view and the other from the Godly point of view.  We are bombarded on a daily basis with how the world defines prosperity.  As Christians, we can be very prosperous in the Kingdom of God and the world will little know or pay any attention to the wealth we have built up in heaven.  But God knows where we are laying up our treasures and He also knows  that where our treasure is, there will be our hearts also.  What is worldly will perish in the fire, that which is Godly will last throughout eternity.  A worldly long life of a hundred years or more is nothing but a speck of dust compared to eternal life with God.  We, as Christians, shall all live long and prosper!  God has promised and so shall it be!  So, let us join in the praise of thanksgiving!

Come, everyone! Clap your hands! Shout to God with joyful praise! — Psalm 47:1

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

“If the Lord Wants Us to”

even-smaller-bug-light1

”15 What you ought to say is, “If the Lord wants us to, we will live and do this or that.” – James 4:15 NLT

James 4:13-17 NLT

We can look at nature and realize that God is very organized. He established the seasons and the natural order of dormancy in the winter, birthing of the new in the spring with the winds in March that help to be sure every plant is pollinated, the showers in April to prepare the soil for the flowers of May.  Then the summer for growth and the fall for maturity and harvesting.  That plan remains the same year after year since plants can’t make their own plans.  We need to have a plan for our lives but it needs to be flexible enough and held loosely enough to allow God to change us and our plans to fit His plan for our lives.  As Proverbs tells us, we make our plans, but God directs our steps and makes them sure. Each of us is only one little piece of the whole jigsaw puzzle.  Since we don’t have the boxtop, we can’t see the finished picture. So, we need to be sure that our plans fit into God’s big plan just as each piece of the puzzle must fit to complete the picture.

10 For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. — Eph. 2:10 NIV

So, if we know which good works God has prepared us to do, we need to do them with all our hearts, minds, and strength.  Because of all He has done for us, we should consider anything less as unacceptable.

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

“Hold Them In the Highest Regard”

even-smaller-bug-light1

12 Brothers, we ask you to show your appreciation for those who work among you, set an example for you in the Lord, and instruct you. 13 Hold them in the highest regard, loving them because of their work. Live in peace with each other.  – 1 Thess. 5:12-13 ISV

We are instructed to pray for and respect those that are in leadership positions and have authority over us. This is true in the natural and spiritual areas of our lives. It is God that has lifted them up or has allowed them to be lifted up to those positions. God can use these people, be they good or evil, to accomplish His plans and purposes. As long as their instructions to us do not violate man’s law or the Word of God, we should follow their directives.  So, it is imperative for us to pray for and support our pastoral staff as long as they hold to Biblical principles. Our support should not only be financial, but we should support them with our time and our presence at the activities they have planned for the church.  Love them, pray for them and  be there for them when they need someone. The leaders of the church are worthy of double honor. 

17 The elders who direct the affairs of the church well are worthy of double honor, especially those whose work is preaching and teaching. 18 For Scripture says, “Do not muzzle an ox while it is treading out the grain,” and “The worker deserves his wages.” — 1 Timothy 5:17-18

God has raised them up and if they are no longer worthy of that position, He is their judge and He will bring them down. We should live in peace, not only with the leaders of our congregation, but also with our brothers and sisters in our church, our community and throughout the world.

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

“Then Annas Bound Jesus”

24 Then Annas bound Jesus and sent him to Caiaphas, the high priest. – John 18:24 NLT

Beaten and Bound – NLT

 With His first answer to the high priest, Jesus receives a slap in the face from one of the temple officials. Thus begins the mockery that is called a trial. This type of questioning and cruel treatment would continue through the night. When the  Annas finished questioning Jesus, he bound Him and sent Him to Caiaphas the high priest.  Jesus never claimed to be anyone but who He was. He never wavered or changed His story. He understood and accepted the reason He was being mistreated. He is our example of how we should respond when we are mistreated for His name’s sake. No matter how we suffer, if we are called to suffer, Jesus has already been there and worse. He will be there to carry us through. We should remember what Paul wrote to Timothy:

11 And of this gospel I was appointed a herald and an apostle and a teacher.12 That is why I am suffering as I am. Yet this is no cause for shame, because I know whom I have believed, and am convinced that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him until that day.–2 Timothy 1:11,12 (NIV)

We too are appointed as heralds and teachers of the gospel of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

11 It is a faithful saying: For if we be dead with him, we shall also live with him:​ 12 If we suffer, we shall also reign with him: if we deny him, he also will deny us: –2 Timothy 2:11,12 (NIV)

We must be ready to die for Him now, if we expect to reign with Him in heaven.

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

“You Also Will Live”

19 Soon the world will no longer see me, but you will see me. Since I live, you also will live.  – John 14:19 NLT

John 14:18-24 NLT

Jesus was always teaching His disciples and encouraging them. He knew that until the Holy Spirit came, they would feel alone and discouraged. He assures them and us that we will never be alone. He isn’t here physically with us now, but He is here abiding in our hearts and guiding us. If we love Jesus, we will be obedient children and the Father loves all of those who love Jesus. Every word that Jesus spoke came straight from the Father, so it is Truth. Everyone has the same opportunity to answer the call to come to Jesus. It is difficult for us to understand why some do and some don’t. God doesn’t send anyone to hell, a person has to work hard to get to hell. The wages (salary, pay) of sin is death. It is hard to understand why anyone would continue on that path when the plan of salvation is free and open to all who will accept. So, each of us has a choice to make, we can accept salvation full and free or we can earn our way to hell.

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

Post 06-03-2020

“If the Lord Wants Us To”

15 What you ought to say is, “If the Lord wants us to, we will live and do this or that.” – James 4:15 NLT

James 4:3- 17 NLT

Although, none of us are promised tomorrow, it is still a good idea to have a plan. God has set that example for us. He had a plan for all His children collectively, before He laid the foundations of the earth.

34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the creation of the world.–Matt. 25:34 (NLT)

He also has plans for each of His children individually.

11 For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.–Jeremiah 29:11 (NLT)

So, it is not wrong to have plans. They are only a problem and a boast when we plan without asking God about it. Or if we think that we can accomplish anything good without God. We are only here on this earth for a very small portion of time and then we are gone. So, we need to spend our lives “redeeming the time”, in other words, making good use of it to further the work of the Kingdom of God. This was His plan when He created the world and us.

10 For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.–Eph. 2:10 (NLT)

So, we see that God planned us, formed us, and then created us anew to do His good works for His glory. If we plan anything less, it does not honor our Creator and if we plan anything greater, it is presumptuous and sinful. When we know to do good and refuse to do it, it is a sin against God and our fellowman.

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

Post 01-02-2020

“Stay True to What Is Right”

16 Keep a close watch on how you live and on your teaching. Stay true to what is right for the sake of your own salvation and the salvation of those who hear you. – 1 Tim. 4:16 NLT

1 Timothy 4:11-16 NLT

We should not only teach the Word, we should live the Word, so that those around us will want to know Jesus. Our age, be it young or old chronologically, should not be a handicap to our living a Holy lifestyle. There are people who accept Jesus Christ as their Savior but they make little or no progress from that point. We are to focus on studying the Scriptures and using the spiritual gifts that God has given to each one of us. If any of us refuse to do our part as a member of Christ’s body, then the body is not whole and it is weak. As Paul told Timothy “give your complete attention to these things and throw yourself into your tasks so that everyone will see our growth”. For our own sake and the sake of those around us, we must stay true to what we know to be the truth. Our walk and our talk should be holy. As Francis of Assisi said “Preach the Gospel, even if you have to use words.”

James 1:22-25 NLT

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

Post 10-21-2019

Be Continually Filled With the Holy Spirit

even-smaller-bug-light1

17 ‘In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on everyone.
Your sons and your daughters will prophesy,
    your young men will see visions,
        and your old men will dream dreams.
​- Acts 2:17 ISV​


The pouring out of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost was a beginning of the fulfillment of this prophesy from Joel in the Old Testament.  God continues to pour out His Spirit on His people even today.  This will continue until Jesus returns to take all of His children home.  Then the Holy Spirit will be removed from the earth and satan will reign. When will this be?  Only God the Father knows.  If we are saved, it doesn’t really matter when it happens, we will be ready.   What does matter is how we spend our time until then.  When we accepted Jesus, we were saved and we are still saved.  Works will not make us more saved, they are an outward sign of who we serve as Master and Lord. The works we do here are also how we earn our rewards in heaven.  We are not to live as we used to live, but through the direction of the Holy Spirit and studying of God’s Word, we are to determine those things that please God and do those things only.  When we see sinful things going on, we are to expose them, not participate in them. We must learn to live wisely and not as fools. We are to spend our time, not in grumbling, whining and complaining, but in joyfully serving the Lord doing everything He asks us to do wherever He has planted us.

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

Post 11-25-2018

Believe, Receive, Live!

even-smaller-bug-light1

15 This High Priest of ours understands our weaknesses, for he faced all of the same testings we do, yet he did not sin. – Hebrews 4:15 NLT
 
Sometimes when we sin, whether intentionally or not, we are overwhelmed with guilt. We walk around for days carrying that heavy load, too ashamed to face our actions, confess our sins and ask God for His forgiveness.  That is exactly what satan wants us to do because in that condition, we are useless in witnessing for the Kingdom.   What we need most we are ashamed to ask for because we don’t deserve it. True, we don’t deserve forgiveness but God gives it to us because of His great love and mercy. Humans deserving forgiveness was never a part of God’s plan. Getting us to waste time trying to earn forgiveness is satan’s plan. As usual, satan couldn’t come up with anything original so he just takes the opposite stand on what God has done for us. We need to understand that the Holy Spirit does not make us feel guilty, what He brings to us is conviction that we have sinned and God is waiting, even longing to forgive us.  The times in our lives when we feel guilt is the most “needy” times in our lives. We need to be forgiven and restored so that we can fulfill the plan God has for each of us. Jesus came that we might have abundant lives which start with and always include forgiveness of our sins. Jesus wants us to live, really live a vibrant life for Him. If you spell “live” backward, you get “evil” which comes from satan and guilt is one of his most useful tools for defeating Christians. Don’t let satan cheat you out of an abundant life, get forgiven and get going. We have a Champion on our side who will never be defeated and we are covered with His righteousness.
10 I delight greatly in the Lord; my soul rejoices in my God.  For he has clothed me with garments of salvation and arrayed me in a robe of his righteousness, as a bridegroom adorns his head like a priest, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels ​– Isaiah 61:10 NIV

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

Post 05-06-2018

Got Faith? – Show It! – Live It!

even-smaller-bug-light1

1 Faith shows the reality of what we hope for; it is the evidence of things we cannot see. Through their faith, the people in days of old earned a good reputation.
— Hebrews 11:1-2 NLT
 

God spoke to Noah and told him to build an ark for his family because God was going to send a flood on the earth to destroy it completely. At this time, the earth was watered with dew from the ground, There had never been a rain, nevertheless, Noah obeyed God and built the ark. Because Noah was faithful to be obedient, he, his family and the animals were saved to renew the earth after the flood. Abram was 75 years old and had no idea where Canaan was when God told him to leave his home in Haran and go to a land that God had promised him. Abram was renamed Abraham which means “the father of many”. Although Abraham made many mistakes, he always returned to his trust and faith in God. Because of his faithfulness, he was able to purchase a burial plot in the land of Canaan and years later, Moses, then Joshua, led the children of Israel to the Promised Land.

20 I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me. ​ — Galatians 2:20 NIV​

 

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

Post 05-07-2017