“For This Is the Will of God”

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 3 For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you should abstain from sexual immorality;– 1 Thess. 4:3 ISV

1 Thess. 4:1-5 ISV

Paul, in his letters, to the churches reminds them of the things he has taught them about how to live a Christian lifestyle. He continually encourages them to study, to pray for and encourage each other.  These letters were written to churches whose members understood persecution.  They lived with it every day. He was a great example to them because of all the beatings and persecutions that he endured on an almost daily basis.  We don’t have to face those types of offenses every day like they did. But, the temptations of the flesh that Paul warns them against are just as real today as they were then.  As long as we are on this earth, we will be tempted to sin. But, we are also told that we will never be tempted above that which we can bear and there is always a way out, if we want to avoid the sin badly enough. Our flesh tempts in some many areas, we can sin when we gossip, when we hate others, when we withhold our abundance of worldly goods from those around us, when we see others hurting and don’t take the time to comfort them. When we think unkind thoughts about others, even though we don’t say the words, the harm is done to us and our relationship with God. The world is a cesspool of temptations for the flesh.  All of these sins are outside the body, except for sexual sin, which defiles the temple of the living God, Our bodies were created by God to glorify God.  When we participate in illicit sexual activity, whether in thought or action, our bodies and souls are bound with those bodies and desecrate the Temple.

15 Surely you know that your bodies are parts of Christ himself. So I must never take the parts of Christ and join them to a prostitute! 16 It is written in the Scriptures, “The two will become one body.” So you should know that anyone who joins with a prostitute becomes one body with the prostitute. 17 But the one who joins with the Lord is one spirit with the Lord.. — 1 Cor. 6:15-17 NC

So, we must be careful to avoid all temptations, but, especially sexual temptations.  So, when you feel that nudge to walk away from a situation, don’t just walk away, Run!

18 So run away from sexual sin. Every other sin people do is outside their bodies, but those who sin sexually sin against their own bodies. 19 You should know that your body is a temple for the Holy Spirit who is in you. You have received the Holy Spirit from God. So you do not belong to yourselves, 20 because you were bought by God for a price. So honor God with your bodies. — 1 Cor. 6:18-2​0

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

“We Have Been Transformed”

15 It doesn’t matter whether we have been circumcised or not. What counts is whether we have been transformed into a new creation. – Gal. 6:15 NLT

Gal. 6:11-18 NLT

Paul is still troubled by the religious leaders trying to get the new converts circumcised. They are only trying to impress others by an outward physical manifestation of their obedience to the law. If the people know they have been circumcised then they will assume that they still adhere to the tenets of the Old Testament law. This will keep the leaders and other non-believers from persecuting them. Since they didn’t keep the other points of the law, it really wasn’t about keeping the law at all. It was just something for the flesh to boast about.
Under the new covenant of grace, circumcision has no meaning. The only thing that matters is that now we are new creations. We must die daily and be transformed by the renewing of our minds. Our outward appearance is temporary and decaying daily. Once we shed this old tent, we will be like Jesus!

2 Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when Christ appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. 3 All who have this hope in him purify themselves, just as he is pure.—1 John 3:2-3 (NIV)

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

“Behold The Man”

5 Then Jesus came out, wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe. And Pilate said to them, “Behold the Man!” – John 19:5 NKJV

John 19:1-6 NLT

The mockery and the persecution goes on and on. A whip with jagged pieces of metal that literally tore the flesh from His back, a crown of thorns that was pushed viciously down upon His brow and then another slap across the face. All this plus the verbal mockery of His truthful claims as to who He really was. Then Pilate goes back out to the crowd and says “I find Him not guilty”. Pilate could have stopped the proceedings then and there, but he chose not to do so. He has Jesus brought out wearing the purple robe and the crown of thorns and Pilate speaks to the people.
“Ecce homo!” “Behold the man”!
The crowd wants Jesus crucified and they let Pilate know that loudly. Pilate tells the crowd they can take Jesus and crucify Him. He knows they can’t administer the death penalty. It is just a ploy to assuage his quilt. Today, I say to all of us, “Behold the Man”, what will we do with Jesus? Will our words and actions or the lack thereof scream ‘Crucify Him’ or will they plead for His acceptance?
Behold the Man”!!!

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

“Who Are You Looking For?”

4 Jesus fully realized all that was going to happen to him, so he stepped forward to meet them. “Who are you looking for?” he asked. – John 18:4 NLT

John 18:1-4 NLT

Jesus was fully aware of what would happen this night and every night until He ascended into heaven. But, because He loved us so much, He was willing to face the persecution, the ridicule, the mockery, the beatings and the agony, that was the cross. Jesus had known this from time immemorial, yet He came to earth and dwelt among us in the flesh. Our finite minds cannot grasp or understand this infinite, unconditional love. But there is a void in us that can only be filled with this love. The world is looking for this love without knowing or understanding why. There was a time in each of our lives when we were in the same place as the lost people around us. We were looking for something or someone. If we had been asked, “Who are you looking for?”, we probably would not have understood that we were looking for Jesus and our answer would not have been so quick and sure. But then, someone took the time to share with us about the love of Jesus and we realized that He was who we were looking for. Even if we are staring death in the face just as Jesus was at that time, are we willing to take the time today to ask someone “Who are you looking for?” and then share the love of Jesus with them?

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

Even If It Means Suffering”

​21 For God called you to do good, even if it means suffering, just as Christ suffered for you. He is your example, and you must follow in his steps. – 1 Peter 2:21-25 NLT

1 Peter 2:21-25 NLT

As Christians, the only person we can use as our example is Jesus Christ. He is the standard that we should strive to live up to. We, of course, will never reach that standard but, as Paul said, we should continue to “press toward the mark”.

13 No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, 14 I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.–Phil. 3:13-14 (NLT)

Any cases of injustice and offenses should be left in the hands of God. He will deal with those that are unjust in His own way and in His own time. We were once as helpless as sheep and needed a Shepherd and a Guardian. Jesus came to fulfill every need we have and He has done so abundantly. We are to walk in His steps. We will fall and when we do, He will carry us just like a shepherd carries a helpless lamb. We can lean on His everlasting arms and rejoice evermore.

11 But let all who take refuge in you rejoice;​ let them sing joyful praises forever.  ​Spread your protection over them,​ that all who love your name may be filled with joy.​ 12 For you bless the godly, O Lord; you surround them with your shield of love.–Psalm 5:11-12 (NLT).

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

Post 01-18-2020

“Whose Souls Will Be Saved”

39 But we are not like those who turn away from God to their own destruction. We are the faithful ones, whose souls will be saved. ​ — Hebrews 10:39 NLT

Hebrews 10:32-39 NLT

Early Christians had to suffer various kinds of persecution. They were beaten, imprisoned and insulted. They were also dressed in animal skins and used as prey for the dogs and the lions in the Coliseum to entertain the ruling class in Roman society. Eleven of the twelve disciples were martyred. We here in America know little or nothing about being persecuted for our beliefs. Until recently, we have enjoyed true freedom of worship and religious expression. That is changing now, Christians are being forced out of their jobs because they refuse to accept immoral principles that are in direct conflict with our Biblical beliefs. We need to stay in prayer, studying God’s Word and encouraging one another. Jesus told us that the time was coming when we would be tested

9 “Then they will hand you over to those who will torture and kill you. All nations will hate you because you are committed to me. 10 Then many will lose faith. They will betray and hate each other. 11 Many false prophets will appear and deceive many people.–Matthew 24:9-11 (GW)

We already see this happening in many parts of the world. But remember what Paul said to encourage us. If we remain faithful. God is faithful to do what He has promised.

Romans 8:37-39 NLT

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

Post 11-29-2019

“Some Will Turn Away”

1 Now the Holy Spirit tells us clearly that in the last times some will turn away from the true faith; they will follow deceptive spirits and teachings that come from demons.–1 Timothy 4:1 NLT

1Timothy 4: 1-5 NLT

As time passes and the return of Jesus gets closer and closer, we can expect that satan will increase his efforts to turn people away from the Gospel of Jesus. He will do this by increasing persecution, deception, and false teachings. We see these things increasing all over the world each day. More and more of our brothers and sisters in Christ are being imprisoned and martyred each day. We even read of things here in our country that earlier generations would have thought impossible. There are so many people whose consciences have become”seared” over. This speaks to a condition where people have gotten to the point that they feel no remorse for the wrongs that they do. Everything God created is good, but some of those things can be used for evil. Money. power, authority, sex were created to be used for good, but in the hands of some, they become evil. We must be very careful not to require more for a person to be saved than what Jesus requires. Believe that He was born of a virgin, lived a sinless life, was crucified on a cross, was buried, arose after 3 days and later ascended to heaven where He sits at the right hand of God. That is all that is necessary for salvation. Anything else, is doctrine or works, which may or not be good, but they certainly can’t save you. We need to spend time with Jesus each day so that we are not easily deceived.

Jude 1:10-13

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

Post 10-20-2019

“Worthy of His Kingdom”

5 And God will use this persecution to show his justice and to make you worthy of his Kingdom, for which you are suffering.— 2 Thess. 1:5 NLT

2 Thess. 1:3-10 NLT

Most Christians in the Western World have not experienced the kind of persecution to which Paul is referring. Probably the worst persecution that we receive is losing (temporarily, hopefully) the friendship of someone close to us because of our belief in the death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ. Here, Paul is talking about those early Christians who gave their lives for the Gospel. I would guess that most of us have wondered, at some time or other, how far we would go for the Gospel. Would I really lay down my life for Jesus?  Paul tells us that we should consider our physical bodies as dead already. 

3 For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.– Col. 3:3 NKJV

Since this is true, we should consider our physical bodies already dead. But our Spirit will always be alive because of what Jesus did for us at Calvary. So, if we are attempting to live the lifestyle that Jesus wants us to, isn’t the decision already made? We agreed to die with Christ and mortify (put to death) our fleshly desires so that we will be raised with Christ in our new immortal bodies. It is all about faith and trust. Will God do what He said or not? The answer is “Yes, of course, He will.” In His mercy, He will protect and perfect us and in His justice, He will repay the persecutors.

Romans 12:19-21 NLT

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

Post 10-14-2019

“You Suffered Persecution”

14 And then, dear brothers and sisters, you suffered persecution from your own countrymen. In this way, you imitated the believers in God’s churches in Judea who, because of their belief in Christ Jesus, suffered from their own people, the Jews.— 1 Thessalonians 2:14 NLT

1 Thess. 2:13-16 NLT

We can talk about a lot of different things and different “gods” and most people may not even pay attention to what we are saying. But when we talk about the Good News, which is “the very Word of God”, we will get some sort of reaction. The Name of Jesus is not neutral and when it is spoken, it requires that a decision be made by the hearer. No response or not accepting is still a decision. If we allow the Word to continue its work in us, we will be persecuted by the worldly factions. Since the Creator was persecuted, even to death, how can we, the creation, expect not to be persecuted?

Luke 9;23-26 NLT

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

Post 06-08-2019

“If The World Hates You”

18 “If the world hates you, remember that it hated me first.- John 15:18 NLT

John 15:18-25 NLT

Today, instead of focusing on our “problems”, I am asking you to join me in prayer for our brothers and sisters in Christ that have real problems, not imagined. we have such a super-abundance of “things” and we, at least still today, have the freedom to meet together and worship our Lord and Savior. Each of us spends in one day more than most of these people make in a year. We are so blessed that our lips should never utter a complaint and our voices should never stop singing praises to our Almighty God. so, as part of your worship to him, offer up a sacrifice of praise and prayer.
“So today we pray for persecuted church members who are suffering severely from Satan’s tactics of deceit and intimidation: loss of family members (Nigeria), economic deprivation (India), incarceration in metal shipping containers (Eritrea), lack of personal peace (Pakistan), fear of discovery (Middle East). As we pray, we can rest in the fact that they (and we) are part of God’s wise and caring plan, no matter how inscrutable that plan may appear to human eyes. There is hope because He hears the cry; He sees the misery; He is concerned about the suffering. When it seems dark and hopeless, the persecuted testify “God is good—all the time!”” (Excerpt from Standing Storm Through the Storm, 02-15-14)

 23 Then he said to the crowd, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must give up your own way, take up your cross daily, and follow me. – Luke 9:23 NLT

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

Post 08-01-2019