Redemption and Restoration

even-smaller-bug-light11 Dear brothers and sisters, if another believer is overcome by some sin, you who are godly should gently and humbly help that person back onto the right path. And be careful not to fall into the same temptation yourself. Share each other’s burdens, and in this way obey the law of Christ. If you think you are too important to help someone, you are only fooling yourself. You are not that important. — Galatians 6:1-3 NLT

Yesterday, I wrote about witnessing by spending time with sinners.  We are called to do just that, but in doing so, we need to use wisdom and discernment.  Being saved and filled with the Holy Spirit does not keep us from making bad decisions.  If we have weaknesses of the flesh, we need to avoid those situations where we would be needlessly tempted.  We don’t put ourselves in harm’s way unless we are sure that we have been called to do that.  Just as it would be foolish to step into the street in front of a speeding truck to try to prove that God always protects us, it is foolish for us to put ourselves in dangerous situations if God has not called us to do so.  Not many of us are David Wilkersons (The Cross and the Switchblade) who can successfully face the dangers of the worst parts of New York City to witness to gang members.  Nevertheless, we all have a calling to witness to those around us.  The mission field starts in the home and goes outward from there.  We do not want to be like the seven sons of Sceva (Acts 19) who ended up battered and naked.  We must use discernment in where, when and to whom we witness, but that is never to be used as an excuse not to witness.  We may not be sure of all of God’s will for each of our lives but there are two things we can be sure of in this journey with Jesus.  We are to make disciples as we go, we all have our marching orders to do that.  We are supposed to restore the fallen as well, but do so circumspectly avoiding the very appearance of evil.

19 Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations,  baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. 20 Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”– Matt. 28:19,20 NLT
Post 01-30-2016

Preparations and Plans

even smaller bug light

20 Yes, each of you should remain as you were when God called you. 21 Are you a slave? Don’t let that worry you—but if you get a chance to be free, take it. 22 And remember, if you were a slave when the Lord called you, you are now free in the Lord. And if you were free when the Lord called you, you are now a slave of Christ. 23 God paid a high price for you, so don’t be enslaved by the world. 24 Each of you, dear brothers and sisters, should remain as you were when God first called you.—1 Cor 7:20-24 NLT

​God calls us right where we are.​ He will never ask us to do something He has not prepared us to do. If we know nothing about missionary work and have not been trained to do it, we won’t be leaving for the mission field the day after we are saved (at least, not with God’s blessing). Except to tell others that you are saved, you probably shouldn’t be preaching or teaching until you have become grounded in the Scriptures. Jesus had forty days in the desert and withstood great temptations before He started His work here on earth. If Jesus needed some training, we can rest assured that all of us do as well. We can also look at Paul’s experience for an example. After his conversion on the Damascus road, God sent him to the desert of Arabia for three years to be trained by the Holy Spirit. God paid a high price for each of us and He is not going to waste our time. He will send us when He knows we are ready to go, not when we think we are. So until He calls and/or sends, we should just stay where we are doing what we are doing and rest in the knowledge that our salvation and calling were not by accident or coincidence, but for a higher purpose.

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.—Ephesians 2:10 NLT

Post 05-26-2015

“It Is Finished”!

God is waiting to show you the Way.

God is waiting to show you the Way.

23 When the soldiers had crucified Jesus, they divided his clothes among the four of them. They also took his robe, but it was seamless, woven in one piece from top to bottom. 24 So they said, “Rather than tearing it apart, let’s throw dice for it.” This fulfilled the Scripture that says, “They divided my garments among ​themselves and threw dice for my clothing.” So that is what they did.​ 25 Standing near the cross were Jesus’ mother, and his mother’s sister, Mary (the wife of Clopas), and Mary Magdalene. 26 When Jesus saw his mother standing there beside the disciple he loved, he said to her, “Dear woman, here is your son.” 27 And he said to this disciple, “Here is your mother.” And from then on this disciple took her into his home.​ 28 Jesus knew that his mission was now finished, and to fulfill Scripture he said,“I am thirsty.”​ ​ 29 A jar of sour wine was sitting there, so they soaked a sponge in it, put it on a hyssop branch, and held it up to his lips. 30 When Jesus had tasted it, he said, “It is finished!” Then he bowed his head and released his spirit.-John 19:23-​30​ (NLT)
​Even while hanging on the cross in agony, Jesus​ was still concerned about others. He instructed John to take care of His mother. A sip of sour wine from a hyssop branch and then came the last words from the cross, “It is finished!”. Three words that are so full of meaning that men have spent the years since trying to understand the extent of what was said. What was finished? His life? No, this was just an interlude between humanity and heavenly. His work on earth? Yes, but exactly what was His work? If it was just to redeem us by dying on a cross, then what was the rest of it about? Jesus was sent to fulfill prophecy, there is no doubt about that. But a majority of His work was to be an example to us and show us how to live for Him. Our persecuted brothers and sisters will tell you that dying for Jesus is the easy part, it is living for Him that is hard. But with his death on the cross, Jesus paid the price for everything that we need to live and die for Him. There are over 200 names for Jesus in the Bible. Each one either gives us an attribute of Jesus, the work He (as the Holy Spirit) does on earth for us or a need that He fulfills for us. There is nothing He left undone. His part as God the man was truly complete. “It is finished”!
Post 03-08-2015

In Eternity Past

God is waiting to show you the Way.

God is waiting to show you the Way.

1 In the beginning there was the Word. The Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was with God in the beginning. 3 All things were made by him, and nothing was made without him. 4 In him there was life, and that life was the light of all people. 5 The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overpowered it. 6 There was a man named John who was sent by God. 7 He came to tell people the truth about the Light so that through him all people could hear about the Light and believe.8 John was not the Light, but he came to tell people the truth about the Light. 9 The true Light that gives light to all was coming into the world!—John 1:1-9 (NCV)
​Before God created the world and divided time into night and day, They existed. God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit were there as One and yet separately. Jesus was the Word and was there with God. He participated in the creation of all things and all things were made for Him. He is Life and He is Light. He came into the world as the Word made Flesh. John was sent to announce His coming and John was faithful in carrying out that mission. John was the prophet foretelling the birth of Jesus. John was looking forward to that day even though John knew that when Jesus comes, “I must decrease and He must increase”. Now, we are the prophets looking back and looking forward, we tell of the future return of Jesus. We should pray that we will be as faithful as John was in carrying out our part of the mission. It is up to each of us to carry out the plan and the purpose that God planned for each of us to do. This was decided before the beginning of the world.
10 It is God himself who has made us what we are and given us new lives from Christ Jesus; and long ages ago he planned that we should spend these lives in helping others.—Eph. 2:10 (TLB)
​​Post 10-20-14

God Equips Us To Do His Work

God is waiting to show you the way.

God is waiting to show you the way.

20 Now may the God of peace—who brought up from the dead our Lord Jesus,​ the great Shepherd of the sheep, and ratified an eternal covenant with his blood—
21 may he equip you with all you need ​ for doing his will.
May he produce in you,​ through the power of Jesus Christ,
every good thing that is pleasing to him. ​ All glory to him forever and ever! Amen.
22 I urge you, dear brothers and sisters,​ ​to pay attention to what I have written in this brief exhortation.​–Hebrews 13:20-22 (NLT)

​When God is calling people to help spread His Word, He is not necessarily looking for the beautiful, the talented, the rich, or the strong. He is looking for people who are willing to be available and obedient. When He calls us, He prepares us and equips us to carry out the mission. Through the same power that raised Jesus Christ from the dead, He is more than able to provide everything we need for the journey. Remember, when He sent the disciples out He told them to take nothing for their journey.
3 “Take nothing for your journey,” he instructed them. “Don’t take a walking stick, a traveler’s bag, food, money, or even a change of clothes. 4 Wherever you go, stay in the same house until you leave town.–Luke 9:3,4 (NLT)
​Our part is to be​ obedient, the success of the mission isn’t dependent on us or our abilities.
10 “The rain and snow come down from the heavens and stay on the ground to water the earth. They cause the grain to grow, producing seed for the farmer and bread for the hungry. 11 It is the same with my word. I send it out, and it always produces fruit. It will accomplish all I want it to, and it will prosper everywhere I send it.–Isaiah 55:10,11 (NLT)
​When we are​ obedient to God, He is faithful to fulfill every promise. It is all for His glory and honor. Post 08-11-14

The Lord Helps Us To Understand

God is waiting to show you the way.

God is waiting to show you the way.

2 You have heard me teach things that have been confirmed by many reliable witnesses. Now teach these truths to other trustworthy people who will be able to pass them on to others. 3 Endure suffering along with me, as a good soldier of Christ Jesus. 4 Soldiers don’t get tied up in the affairs of civilian life, for then they cannot please the officer who enlisted them. 5 And athletes cannot win the prize unless they follow the rules. 6 And hardworking farmers should be the first to enjoy the fruit of their labor. 7 Think about what I am saying. The Lord will help you understand all these things.—2 Timothy 2:2-7 (NLT)
​When​ God, through His Holy Spirit gives us wisdom and understanding, it isn’t just for our own enlightening. He wants and expects us to share it with those He puts in our path each day. God’s Kingdom will spread as 1 teaches 1 teaches 1 teaches 1, well, you get the idea. We don’t “own” the understanding that God gives to us It is given for us to use in glorifying and worshiping Him. As spiritual warriors, we should not be weighed down with the cares of this world. God goes before us and follows after us, He has prepared the way for us and the hearts that we are to speak into. Just as good farmers sow, weed, water and fertilize before they are rewarded with the fruits of their labor, so must we do the same things. Every time God prompts us to speak to someone, we are either sowing, watering, weeding, or fertilizing the mission field God has given to us. It has been determined that it takes 7 (on average) encounters with the Gospel to bring a soul to Christ. Everyday, we should be one of the 7.
Post 06-20-14

Planting and Harvesting

God is waiting to show you the way.

God is waiting to show you the way.

4 Brothers and sisters, God loves you, and we know he has chosen you, 5 because the Good News we brought to you came not only with words, but with power, with the Holy Spirit, and with sure knowledge that it is true. Also you know how we lived when we were with you in order to help you. 6 And you became like us and like the Lord. You suffered much, but still you accepted the teaching with the joy that comes from the Holy Spirit. 7 So you became an example to all the believers in Macedonia and Southern Greece. 8 And the Lord’s teaching spread from you not only into Macedonia and Southern Greece, but now your faith in God has become known everywhere. So we do not need to say anything about it–1 Thessalonians 1:4-8 (NCV)
​Paul​, Silas, and Timothy had planted the church in Thessalonica and it had stirred up the Jews there, as well as the Thessalonians. Paul had been concerned about the young church and wanted to know how they were doing. Because of the unrest there, Paul had sent Timothy to visit with them and Timothy brought back a good report. This was the reason Paul wrote this letter complimenting them and encouraging them to continue in their work. The people that Paul, Silas, and Timothy had witnessed to received the Gospel with joy and were eager to spread the Good News. Their missionary work was reaping quite a harvest as the church there carried on the work of spreading the Gospel in Macedonia and Southern Greece. Are we being faithful in spreading the Good News of Jesus Christ to others? Are we blooming where we are planted? Are we laboring in the fields that are white with harvest? Each one should disciple one. That is our part in keeping the Word going and God’s church growing.
Post 05-17-14

Work for a Bountiful Harvest

God is waiting to show you the way.

God is waiting to show you the way.

9 That night Paul had a vision: A man from Macedonia in northern Greece was standing there, pleading with him, “Come over to Macedonia and help us!” 10 So we decided to leave for Macedonia at once, having concluded that God was calling us to preach the Good News there. 11 We boarded a boat at Troas and sailed straight across to the island of Samothrace, and the next day we landed at Neapolis. 12 From there we reached Philippi, a major city of that district of Macedonia and a Roman colony. And we stayed there several days. Acts 16:9-12 (NLT)
In earlier verses, Paul had wanted to go into the province of Asia and preach the Gospel. It doesn’t seem like there would be anything wrong with that, but God had other plans for Paul. This is a good example of how God works. He has a specific plan for each of us. That plan includes the what, the when, and the where. He has prepared certain hearts to hear and respond to His word. That word must be spoken at the exact time and place He has prepared. As we are told in the Psalms 127:1 Unless the Lord builds a house, the work of the builders is wasted. Unless the Lord protects a city, guarding it with sentries will do no good Unless, we follow God’s plan, our work is in vain. Yes, God will honor it because His Word does not return void, but it won’t produce the harvest He had intended for you to produce. Complete obedience is the difference in 30 fold, 60 fold, or 100 fold.
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