“Just As He Raised Our Lord…”

14 And God will raise us from the dead by his power, just as he raised our Lord from the dead.— 1 Cor. 6:14 NLT

1 Cor. 6:14-20 NLT

By the power of the Holy Spirit, Jesus was physically raised from the grave. Because of that, we can know that one day, He will raise all those who have trusted in Him.  We are members of the body of Christ and have been instructed to keep the Temple holy. Nothing sinful will be allowed to pollute the body of Christ. God the Holy Spirit abides in us now and one day we will be completely one in Spirit with Jesus Christ. We have been purchased and washed by the blood of Jesus Christ. If we want to honor Jesus, we must keep ourselves from the very appearance of sin. Our love for Him should cause us to want to keep our bodies pure, without spot or blemish.

Eph. 5:15-20 NLT

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

“Raised to New Life…”

12 For you were buried with Christ when you were baptized. And with him you were raised to new life because you trusted the mighty power of God, who raised Christ from the dead. — Colossians 2:12 NLT

Colossians 2:6-13 NLT

The Old Testament circumcision was of the flesh as an outward symbol of a covenant relationship with God. Our circumcision is of the spirit removing our sinful nature and replacing it with God’s Holy Spirit. Our hearts and desires were changed and God wrote His Name upon our hearts. Our baptism is the outward symbol of being buried with Christ and raised again to a new life.

“This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!”-2 Cor. 5:17

” Put on your new nature, created to be like God—truly righteous and holy.” – Eph. 4:24

We were spiritually dead in our sinful nature but now all things are made new. We are new creatures:

Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.”-Romans 6:4

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

“By God’s Grace and Mighty Power…”

7 By God’s grace and mighty power, I have been given the privilege of serving him by spreading this Good News.— Ephesians 3:7 NLT

Ephesians 3:2-9 NLT

Paul tells us that God’s plan is a mystery and He reveals it as He chooses. God has a timeline that is hidden to all but the Father. Even Jesus said that He did not know when the end would come. Here Paul is referring to the mystery of the plan of salvation. The Old Testament and the prophets pointed forward to a Messiah. This Messiah would come into the world and be rejected by the Jews. Because of their rejection, the door is now open to all people to receive the free gift of salvation. Jews and Gentiles can now be redeemed and share in the inheritance of Jesus Christ. We, along with Paul, have been given the privilege and the responsibility to spread the Good News. How well are we able to explain the plan of salvation, being born again, and living a Holy life? There are people who have attended church services all their lives and don’t understand it. It is a mystery, but it has been revealed to us. We need to exercise our privilege and fulfill our responsibility on a daily basis.

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

“…Fullness of Life and Power…”

19 May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God. — Ephesians 3:19 NLT

Eph. 3:14-21 NLT

God is love and everything that we experience is designed to show us His love.  In the rough patches, we don’t feel that that statement is true because we don’t and never will understand the greatness of His love.  God wants us to strive to get to the point that we realize His only motivation is His love for us.  He wants us to be like Christ whose only motivation for dying on the cross for our sins was love.  Not every lesson we learn will be enjoyable.  I am sure that being persecuted, beaten and hung on a cross was not an enjoyable experience for Jesus but it was necessary to show God’s marvelous love for us.  Learning to love the “unlovable” and those that mistreat us is a necessary lesson, not only for our completeness but to show others the immeasurable love of God.  Jesus showed His love for us by giving His life for all of us while we were still sinners.  We must show that same kind of love to those around us each day.  As Paul says in the passage above (and I paraphrase) God places the Holy Spirit in our hearts and our roots must grow down into God’s love which will enable us to show that love in every situation.

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

“If You Can Help…”

27  Do not withhold good from those who deserve it  when it’s in your power to help them. 28  If you can help your neighbor now, don’t say,  “Come back tomorrow, and then I’ll help you.” — Proverbs 3:27-28 NLT

Have you ever had this happen to you?  You are in a public place and you see someone and suddenly you have this strange notion that you should speak to them.  You don’t know this person, you may or may not have seen them somewhere before.  You think about speaking but you turn and walk away.  But minutes later, you come face to face with this same person and you feel that nudge to speak to them.  Looking at them, you can discern no particular need, but the urge to speak to them lingers.  No, I just don’t have time to engage anyone in conversation right now or he/she probably doesn’t have time or doesn’t want to be bothered is what we think.  So, we turn and we walk away.  If this should happen to you today or at any time in the future, let me encourage you to just stop and simply say “Hello, how are you doing today?” and follow the leadership of the Holy Spirit from that point on.  You might well be surprised at the blessing both of you will receive from that simple start.  We have to understand that the command to “go and make disciples” is a constant command and Jesus would not have told us to “go and make” if He wasn’t going to give each of us an opportunity to do just that.  Going and making disciples starts with our next encounter with any person.   Just follow the example of Jesus who “went about doing good”.

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

“Solomon Did What Was Evil”

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6 In this way, Solomon did what was evil in the Lord’s sight; he refused to follow the Lord completely, as his father, David, had done. — 1 Kings 11:6 NLT

1 Kings 11:1-11

Just in case, we should think that we are capable of handling great wealth easily, look at what happened to Solomon in his old age.  The wisest man in the world turned from the God who had blessed him abundantly with worldly goods, wisdom, power and fame.  If he couldn’t handle it, then we need to be very careful in our walk in this world.  Sure, Solomon still had plenty of money, after all, what was there to buy or to do with all that cash?  Even with all of his wisdom, he was still, somehow, not fulfilled. We can’t imagine his abundance but with the guidance of the Holy Spirit, we can see that his failure was due to the desires of the flesh. Notice that in verse 4, it reads “they turned his heart to worship other gods”. Solomon came to the point that pleasing his wives was more important to him than being obedient to the God of Israel.  In all of his wisdom, Solomon forgot that God had said that the king must not take many wives or buy many horses. And the king must not accumulate large amounts of wealth for himself. But, the king must copy the scriptures and study them daily.

Deuteronomy 17:14-20

We have to wonder if Solomon had kept up the practice of reading God’s Word daily. It is only when we keep the Word of God first in our lives that we can overcome the desires of the flesh.  His Word must be our light, our guide and our advisor. Without His Word as a constant reminder of who He is and who we are, the flesh will dominate and we will end up in the same situation in which Solomon found himself in his old age. Daily, diligent meditation on His Word is our only hope for deliverance from evil.“​The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous

“An Inheritance That Can Never Perish”

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3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you, 5 who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. —– 1 Peter 1:3-5​ NIV

We should spend as much time as possible each day praying and praising God for all that He has done and is doing for us. We should make every effort to start and end our day with a conversation with God.  That prayer will lead us to praise and we will find that our days go so much better.  We, of all people, should be filled with praise and joy all day long.  We are the only ones with a hope of eternal life with a living Savior and Lord.  We have received this hope as a gift from God that was purchased with the death and resurrection of His Son. Through the blood of Christ, we have become sons and daughters of God and we have an eternal inheritance that “can never perish, spoil or fade”. No religion on this earth can make such an offer, a gift that is available to everyone but only received by those who accept Jesus Christ as their Savior.  Through faith in Jesus Christ, we are kept and shielded by God’s power.  That resurrection power will keep us until our “the coming of the salvation ready to be revealed in the last time”.  Until that comes for each of us, we should practice the three Rs of Christianity:

Recall all the good things that God has done and is doing for us.

Rest in His everlasting arms that will never fail to catch us.

Rejoice because you are filled with the Holy Spirit and have eternal life.  If this doesn’t fill our hearts with joy and our mouths with praise, perhaps we need to re-examine our relationship with Jesus.

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

“A Living Hope”

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3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you, 5 who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. —– 1 Peter 1:3-5​ NIV

We should spend as much time as possible each day praying and praising God for all that He has done and is doing for us. We should make every effort to start and end our day with a conversation with God.  That prayer will lead us to praise and we will find that our days go so much better.  We, of all people, should be filled with praise and joy all day long.  We are the only ones with a hope of eternal life with a living Savior and Lord.  We have received this hope as a gift from God that was purchased with the death and resurrection of His Son. Through the blood of Christ, we have become sons and daughters of God and we have an eternal inheritance that “can never perish, spoil or fade”. No religion on this earth can make such an offer, a gift that is available to everyone but only received by those who accept Jesus Christ as their Savior.  Through faith in Jesus Christ, we are kept and shielded by God’s power.  That resurrection power will keep us until our “the coming of the salvation ready to be revealed in the last time”.  Until that comes for each of us, we should practice the three Rs of Christianity:

Recall all the good things that God has done and is doing for us. Rest in His everlasting arms that will never fail to catch us. Rejoice because you are filled with the Holy Spirit and have eternal life.

If this doesn’t fill our hearts with joy and our mouths with praise, perhaps we need to re-examine our relationship with Jesus.

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

“Delight in the Law of the Lord”

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1 Oh, the joys of those who do not follow the advice of the wicked, or stand around with sinners, or join in with mockers.
2 But they delight in the law of the Lord, meditating on it day and night.
3 They are like trees planted along the riverbank, bearing fruit each season.  Their leaves never wither, and they prosper in all they do.– Psalm 1:1-3 NLT

There are thousands of books written in an attempt to make us feel better about ourselves. Do this and get rich, do this and influence people, do this and look better. Money, power and good looks do not come with bags of joy that can be opened at any time we need to feel good. All of these things are external and have nothing to do with the real problems of today.The changes we need are from the inside out. It isn’t our natural diet that makes us who we are, contrary to what we have been told, we are not what we eat. The diet that determines whether we will be full of peace and joy is our Spiritual diet. Be filled with the Holy Spirit! The third person of the Trinity really is a person. He abides inside us to give us all the peace, joy and hope we need or desire. He knows our every need and is waiting patiently to give it to each of us. He weeps with us and when our hearts are broken, so is His. He feels the pain that we feel and He wants to restore our joy and hope when we are down and out. We need to learn to praise God and tell others what He has done for us. While we are praising Him, we will find that our joy will start to flow out from us to those around us. Praise and pray! God hears the praises and the prayers. He will not reject our prayers or withdraw His love from us. Eat your fill of Spiritual food each day, it is non-fattening, fulfilling and it purges us, pushing out all the sadness, worry and fears. Start with a taste and soon you will find that it takes a lot of Spiritual goodness to keep you satisfied!

8 Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in him. —​Psalm 34:8

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

“So Humble Yourselves”

6 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

 1 Peter 5:5-6 NLT

In today’s “me first” society, we are fed a steady diet of “it’s all about me”. Everything from billboards, ads, commercials, to the design of the clothing we wear screams “look at me”.  This worldly diet leads to death, not life.  If we can get past all the nonsense about atheism and “Jesus was just a good man, not a Messiah” arguments, we find that the real problem people have with Christianity is that it requires submission to a higher power. That word “submit” lights a fire under those who are proud and haughty. “I have come this far by myself, why should I submit to anyone?”  There is not one single vocation or avocation that does not require us to submit to someone sometime. Retailers submit to the demands of their customers. Designers submit to the whelms of modern society. In a peaceful society, we all submit to one another to some degree. Spouses and parents submit to each other and to the wants and desires of their children. Jesus submitted to death on a cross, the most painful and shameful way to die. Jesus humbled Himself, giving up all His glory in heaven to experience everything a human being experiences and He did so without sinning. His humbleness and humility defeated sin and satan and God exalted His Son above everything and every being, giving Him all authority in heaven and earth.  If we want to have great power in our lives, we must go through the valleys of humbleness and meekness. If it weren’t for the valleys, we wouldn’t have any mountains.

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