“We Urge You to Love Even More.”

10 And it’s evident you learned that lesson well by the way you love all the people of Macedonia. Brothers and sisters, we urge you to love even more. – 1 Thess. 4:10 The Voice

1 Thess. 4:9-12 NCV

Before we accepted Jesus as our Lord and Savior, we were ruled by our own fleshly desires. Flesh does not want to love others or help them in any way. Flesh is a “selfie”, it is all about me, me, me. After we accepted Jesus, God’s Spirit came to abide in us. Now, we are walking after the Spirit and not the flesh. God’s Spirit teaches us to love one another. As we mature in our walk with God, we should be learning to love more and more. As we love others more, we learn to first look at our faults and the areas we need to improve. If we do this in light of the Scriptures, we find that we have less time to meddle and gossip. This leads to a more peaceful life. We need to stay focused on Jesus and what He has called us to do, so that outsiders see the love we display and they will be drawn to Jesus.

1 John 4:7-12 NCV

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

“This Task of Reconciling People to Him.”

18 And all of this is a gift from God, who brought us back to himself through Christ. And God has given us this task of reconciling people to him.  — 2 Cor. 5:18 NLT

2 Cor. 5:16-21 NLT

God’s plan of salvation is simple. If we believe that Jesus was born to a virgin, lived a sinless life, died on the cross for our sins, was buried, arose from the tomb three days later, ascended into heaven where He is today interceding in prayer for us, we are saved. Nothing more, nothing less. You have taken the first step on your journey to heaven. Once we have asked Jesus to forgive us of our sins, God’s Holy Spirit takes up residence and abides in us. This causes us to look at everyone and everything differently. We are now a new creation, our old life is gone and we are now in Christ Jesus. As we continue on our journey, we need to spend time talking with Jesus and meditating on God’s Holy Word. This is a free gift from God and we are now restored in our relationship with Jesus Christ. Now, we have become His ambassadors to the world. God is asking each of us to join His work in bringing others into reconciliation with Him. The more we practice this lifestyle, the sweeter our relationship with Jesus becomes. We find that He truly does “grow sweeter and sweeter as the days go by”.  Jesus becomes everything to us and provides everything for us.

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

“His Holy People…”

18 I pray that your hearts will be flooded with light so that you can understand the confident hope he has given to those he called—his holy people who are his rich and glorious inheritance.   — Ephesians 1:18

Eph. 1:15-20 NLT

We have access to all wisdom and revelation.  Having access to something does not mean that you already have it.  Access means we have the right to enter into a particular building or room. In the computing world, it can mean that we have the right to obtain and examine a file. I think this definition fits the passage here.  So, having that right, we need to enter into studying and examining God’s Word.  As we do that, God gives us more wisdom and revelation. As we receive that, the eyes of our hearts are enlightened.  In other words, we have a deeper understanding of the blessed hope that God has called us to receive.  We have access to that same resurrection power that was exhibited when God raised Jesus from the dead.  It is freely given to us, because God loved His Son and made Him the head of the church.  We, as Christians are all a part of the body of Christ.  So this wisdom, revelation, and power flows from the head to the body.  Jesus gives it to each of us in proportion to the call He has placed on us. It is a free gift, it is not something you can work to earn. We must walk humbly before our God.

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

“Called To Be His People”

1 Paul, called to be an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and our brother Sosthenes,​ 2 To the church of God in Corinth, to those sanctified in Christ Jesus and called​ ​to be his holy people, together with all those everywhere who call on the name​ ​of our Lord Jesus Christ—their Lord and ours:​ 3 Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.—1 Cor. 1:1-3 (NIV)

Paul founded the Church at Corinth on his second missionary journey in A.D. 50 -51. While he was in Ephesus on his 3rd missionary journey, he received some negative reports concerning the morality of the believers there. He immediately sent Timothy to correct the situation at Corinth. He also wrote this letter to the church, probably thinking that it would arrive before Timothy got there. The members of the church were starting to return to the old ways of idol worship. In particular, the immorality with the temple prostitutes and overindulgence in both food and drink. But, if we read verse 2 very carefully, we find that under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, Paul wrote this letter to me and you. It reads: “to those sanctified in Christ Jesus and called to be his holy people, together with all those everywhere who call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ—their Lord and ours.” That includes us and we should take it as a stern warning not to go back to our old ways. While we may not have shrines where all types of immoral acts are carried out, we have more than enough idols of our own making. Each one of us needs to take a few minutes and ask God the Holy Spirit to reveal to us the idol(s) that are standing between us and our God.

8 If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word is not in us.1 John 1:8-10 (NIV)

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

“I Would Not Be Christ’s Servant”

10 Obviously, I’m not trying to win the approval of people, but of God. If pleasing people were my goal, I would not be Christ’s servant. – Gal. 1:10 NLT

Galatians 1:10-14 NLT

Paul tells us that if pleasing others, whether they be family, friends, neighbors or society at large, is more important than pleasing God, then we are not bond servants of Jesus Christ. Jesus is not happy with being number one in a race with some idols of our making.. He wants to be the one and only one in contention for our affections. This is the Gospel that was revealed to Paul by God. When we really get hold of this message, we understand that repentance is more than turning from an old way of life, it is turning to a new way of living. Old things have passed away and all things have become new.

Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.—2 Cor. 5:17 (NASB)

No matter how intelligent we are or what strata of society we come from, we must see ourselves and our righteousness as filthy rags before God. Nothing we have can save us and no one else can repent for us, we have to do it for ourselves.

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

“Bringing Salvation to All People”

11 For the grace of God has been revealed, bringing salvation to all people. — Titus 2:11 NLT

Titus 2:11-15 NLT

Jesus gave His life so that we might live lives free of sin. He cleansed us and made us His very own. when we need more wisdom to accomplish His purpose, He freely gives it to us. We are covered and bathed in His righteousness. There are certainly days when we almost lose sight of the hope that we have in Christ Jesus. But because of all He has done and is doing for us, we should live lives that are devoted to Him holding on to the hope that we will see Him one day and we will spend an eternity with Him. We must not only hold on to this hope, but we must teach and encourage our Christian brothers and sisters to do the same.

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

Post 08-23-2019

“God Has Done This”

4 “After the Lord your God has done this for you, don’t say in your hearts, ‘The Lord has given us this land because we are such good people!’ No, it is because of the wickedness of the other nations that he is pushing them out of your way— Deuteronomy 9:4 NLT

Deut.9:4-6 NLT

We are blessed to live in a beautiful country where we are free to travel from the Pacific Coast to the Atlantic Coast without having to stop at any border stations. We are also free to work, play, and worship without police or military interruption. We are free to accomplish most anything we have the ability and the desire to do. But, just as the children of Israel became full and fat in the land of Canaan and forgot Who it was that gave them the land, we are guilty of the same sin. We have done absolutely nothing to merit being born and raised in a country established on Judeo-Christian principles. God established this nation and has maintained it because we have been a nation “under God”. When we, as a nation, depart from those ways and turn to wickedness, God will discipline us just as surely as He disciplined the Jewish people when they disobeyed. We have been blessed because we have always blessed Israel. If that doesn’t remain true, we will be a cursed nation. God’s Word is true and He will not be mocked.

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

Post 08-14-2019

“Teach These Truths”

 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.– 2 Timothy 2:2 NLT

2 Timothy 2:14-20 NLT

In Paul’s second letter to Timothy, he is encouraging Timothy to continue his witnessing. He urges Timothy to avoid foolish arguments. We have all gotten into those discussions where no one is going to win and we are all worse off for our effort. As Benjamin Franklin put it: “A man convinced against his will is of the same opinion still.” We need to study and be ready to witness to those God puts in our paths. 

As Paul tells Timothy later in 2 Timothy 4:2 (NCV)

2 Preach the Good News. Be ready at all times, and tell people what they need to do. Tell them when they are wrong. Encourage them with great patience and careful teaching,

We are not to be ashamed of the Gospel or change it to make it more acceptable. But every word we say must be spoken in love which will draw others to Christ and not push them away. Wrong or evil teaching will spread through the Church (body of Christ) just like a sickness spreads through the body.

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

Post 08-04-2019

Building Relationships

1  Blessed is the man  Who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly,
Nor stands in the path of sinners,
Nor sits in the seat of the scornful;– Psalm 1:1 NKJV

Psalm 1 NLT

Verse 1 of Psalm 1 shows a progression of acts;  walking, standing, sitting.  Isn’t this how we usually progress in making friends with people?  First, it is a casual meeting where a few words are exchanged.  If we find that enjoyable, the next encounter, we spend a little more time with them. After the casual greeting, we start a conversation about something that is of interest to both of us so we stand around and chat.  After a few of these sessions, we decide to have coffee (or whatever your preferred beverage is) and we sit together.  By this time, the relationship has developed to the point that our words and opinions are influencing the other person.  Either they are influencing us to agree with them or we are influencing them to agree with our opinions and beliefs.  We may do this without any conscious knowledge of it as it happens.  That is the warning in verse 1.  Don’t do these things with the wrong people.  As new Christians, we need to spend our time meditating on God’s Word so that we will be prepared to witness to sinners.  Once God has prepared us, then we can sit and talk with sinners for a while.  As we mature spiritually, there are still times that we need to withdraw from worldly conversations to pray and meditate, just as Jesus did on several occasions.  We need to refuel for the next encounter that God has planned for us. On this earth, there will never be a time that we are so mature spiritually that we can abandon the reading of God’s word.  It we think that we have reached that point, that is pride and we are headed for a fall.

“The closer I get to the end of my life, it seems the only question that matters, Is the life I am living pleasing to God?” – Ken Gire In “Sacred”

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

Post 02-16-2019

A New Heart

even-smaller-bug-light1

51 “You stubborn people! You are heathen at heart and deaf to the truth. Must you forever resist the Holy Spirit? That’s what your ancestors did, and so do you! — Acts 7:51 NLT
Stephen has just recited a short summary of all the things God had brought the Israelis through and the miracles He had performed in bringing them to the Promised Land.  Stephen also reminded them that God did this for them in spite of their unbelief and unfaithfulness.  He did it as a fulfillment of His covenant with their ancestors. Even though God was faithful, the Israelis were not, refusing to listen to Moses and any of the prophets God sent to them with messages warning them to repent and be obedient to God.  Instead they persecuted and murdered the prophets choosing to remain in their sinful ways and worship idols made by human hands.  The people Stephen was addressing were still following in their ancestor’s paths, choosing to kill the Messiah rather than to give up their worldly ways and repent.   If Stephen were here today, he could add the history of our country to his discourse and the accusation would still be true.  After all the years of God blessing this country with His abundance, we are still a “stubborn people, heathen at heart and deaf to the truth”.  More and more, as each day passes by, we become a more sinful nation.  We refuse to believe that God will punish us just as He punished the Israelis.  We must pray that God will have mercy on this nation of ours, that He will replace our hearts of stone with hearts of flesh and write His name upon our hearts.

Even though this was a promise God made to the Israelis, His chosen people, may He see fit to extend His mercies to us because, as Christians, we are a people chosen by Him as well.
 

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

Post 12-17-2018