“Full of Joy In the Lord”

4 Always be full of joy in the Lord. I say it again—rejoice!— Philippians 4:4 NLT 

Philippians 4:4-9 NLT
If you spend any time talking with non-Christians about Jesus and why they have not accepted Him as their Savior, you soon learn that their views on Jesus are not the primary reason for not accepting Him.  It is their view of what they think Christianity is and what it requires them to do or not do. They have this idea that Christians have little or no fun and that to be a Christian, they are going to have to completely change their lifestyle. There will be some changes required.  For some, it will be a very dramatic change.  For others, it will only be a change in their mindset about why they do the good things they have been doing.  The “good” ones are usually the hardest ones to convince that they need a Savior.  Back to the point.  Have we ever considered where the outsiders get this view that Christians must live a dull, joyless life?  Since most of them don’t spend much time, if any, reading the Bible, they get it from watching us and listening to our conversations.  Do we show them that “the joy of the Lord is our strength” or do they see us as sad, beaten down people who are forced to stay home on Saturday night so we can go to church on Sunday morning?   Is our lifestyle a good advertisement for Jesus or does it turn others away from seeking Him? Think about it.

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

Post 04-12-2019

“Revere Christ as Lord”

even-smaller-bug-light1

15 But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, 16  keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander. — 1 Peter 3:1​5, 16 NIV

In the Old and New Testament, the word “heart” refers not to the physical organ, but to the center of all of our life processes.  The “heart” is the seat of our minds, emotions, and wills. Therefore, it refers to our thought patterns, our attitudes and our desires. Our thoughts become actions which become habits which become our lifestyle. The things and/or people that we spend the most time thinking about, in reality, are the things that control our lives.  This is characterized by the following verse:

45 A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of. — Luke 6:45 NIV
Revere can be defined as “honor, look up to, or  put on a pedestal”.  A throne is a pedestal and our “hearts” are the center of our lives.  So, if we revere God, we honor Him by putting Him on the throne of our hearts and make Him the center of our lives.  Our decisions and thus, our lifestyles, will be examples of the Person we love and admire the most.  We will want others to follow our Leader.  In light of all this, we need to spend the majority of our time thinking about our Savior and Lord, Jesus Christ.  If we do this, we will “always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have.”  We need to do this with love, gentleness and respect.  Just as our checkbooks show the patterns of our physical lifestyles, so our conversations show the patterns of our thought life and our spiritual lives. It is a law unto itself:
 

5 Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. — Romans 8:5 NIV

So, let us, along with the Psalmist, ask God to create a clean heart in each of us. We need clean hearts if we are going to fulfill the sole purpose for which we were created and that is to glorify God.

 
31 Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. — 1 Cor. 10:31 NKJV
 
“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous
Post 08-29-2018

The Battle Bleongs to the Lord

even-smaller-bug-light1

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

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.
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

Post 01-06-2018

Majestic Then, Now and Forever!

even-smaller-bug-light1

19 And Pilate posted a sign on the cross that read, “Jesus of Nazareth,
the King of the Jews. ​- John 19:19 NLT

Jesus went out bearing His own cross to the place called Golgotha, So Pilate causes an inscription to be written and attached to the cross. Pilate thinks he is mocking Jesus. The chief priests want Pilate to change the title, but he refuses. After all of his dancing around the situation, he now wants everyone to think that he is really in control. “What I have written I have written” states Pilate. Yes, you have Pilate and it is the truth that you have written, but it is long after God had written it. God had established that fact before the first human was ever formed.
1 Long ago God spoke many times and in many ways to our ancestors through the prophets. 2 And now in these final days, he has spoken to us through his Son. God promised everything to the Son as an inheritance, and through the Son he created the universe. 3 The Son radiates God’s own glory and expresses the very character of God, and he sustains everything by the mighty power of his command. When he had cleansed us from our sins, he sat down in the place of honor at the right hand of the majestic God in heaven.—Hebrews 1:1-3 (NLT)
Yes, Pilate, your title was true but incomplete, not only King of the Jews, but King of Kings and Lord of Lords! How majestic is Your Name!
9 O Lord, our Lord, how majestic is Your name in all the earth!—Psalm 8:9 (NASB)

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

Post 12-09-2017

Deify or Crucify? – The Choice is Yours

even-smaller-bug-light1

15 “Away with him,” they yelled. “Away with him! Crucify him!” “What? Crucify your king?” Pilate asked. “We have no king but Caesar,” the leading priests shouted back. – John 19:15 NLT

John 19:12-16 NLT

 

After a minimum of 12 hours of verbal abuse, lashings, and being questioned in 6 different settings, Jesus is handed over to the crowd to be hung on a cross. Pilate is still trying to “wash his hands” of the blood of Jesus because Pilate had pronounced Jesus “not guilty”. Nevertheless, he hands Jesus over anyway. Pilate could have stopped the crucifixion but he did not. The crowd had chosen a temporary, earthly king over the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords. Approximately eighteen hours earlier, the crowd pushed on by the religious leaders, had started down a path from which there would be no turning back. That is what unbelief and sin does to us. When the flesh lusts and we start to feed it, it always takes us further than we want to go and keeps us longer than we want to stay.
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. 16 Do not be deceived, my beloved brethren.—James 1:14-16​ (NASB)
Will we choose the earthly, fleshly king that leads us to death or the King of Kings who offers us life everlasting?

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

12-08-2017

Is He Your King and Lord of All?

even-smaller-bug-light1

33 Then Pilate went back into his headquarters and called for Jesus to be brought to him. “Are you the king of the Jews?” he asked him. – John 18:33-37

”Are you the King of the Jews?” The question that Pilate asked or similar questions are still being debated today. Jesus answers with a question of His own. “Is that your question or did others tell you about me?” It is almost as if Jesus is asking Pilate, “do you care or are you just curious because others have asked that question?” Do you really want to know who I am? Pilate avoids answering the question by saying he is not one of the Jews and asks Jesus another question. “What have you done wrong?” Jesus answers by telling Pilate about His kingdom and His servants. He explains that His kingdom is in another place. Pilate responds with “So you are a King!” What is our response today? We may say, “Of course, Jesus is the King of the Jews!” But that answer avoids the real question: “Is Jesus the King in our lives here and now?” He is Lord of all or He is not Lord at all. He will not accept being the Number One God in our lives, He will only accept being the only God in our lives. Jesus died for our sins, how could we offer Him anything less than everything we have and everything we are?

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

Post 12-04-2017

Turn and Be Cleansed!

even-smaller-bug-light1

Come close to God, and God will come close to you. Wash your hands, you sinners; purify your hearts, for your loyalty is divided between God and the world.
– James 4:8-10 NLT

We need to make up our minds are we for the Lord or are we for the world. How long will we waver between two opinions? This was the recurring problem that the children of Israel had.

21 Then Elijah stood in front of them and said, “How much longer will you waver, hobbling between two opinions? If the Lord is God, follow him! But if Baal is God, then follow h​​im!” But the people were completely silent.–1 Kings 18:21 (NLT)


Since we know that God is God, we need to allow Him to be Lord of every part of our life. He will accept nothing less. We need to repent of our sins and God will restore us. God does not wink at sin and He doesn’t have a list that ranges from “little” sin to the “biggest” sin. He puts liars in the same category with thieves and murderers. We need to allow Him to “create in us a clean heart and renew a right Spirit within us”. Unconfessed sin in our lives breaks our relationship with God. We are still saved but until we repent, God is unable to bless us the way He longs to. We need to humble ourselves before Him and allow Him to cleanse us and revive us again.

So humble yourselves under the mighty power of God, and at the right time he will lift you up in honor.–1 Peter 5:6 (NLT)


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

Post 06-07-2017