Prisons of Our Own Making

3 Pray for us, too, that God will give us many opportunities to speak about his mysterious plan concerning Christ. That is why I am here in chains.  — Colossians 4:3 NLT

Colossians 4:2-6 NLT

Paul was in an actual prison in Rome requesting prayer for opportunity, strength, and boldness to continue witnessing for Jesus. He wanted to carry on the work that God had called him to do. He was chosen as the apostle to the Gentiles and wanted to set the example for unbelievers. Even in that situation Paul wanted to be kind and pleasant. Even though his cell was cold and uncomfortable, He refused to complain so that his lifestyle would attract others to Christ. Even though we live in the land of abundance, we are in prisons of our own making. We are held captive by our own fleshly desires, pride and public opinion. Our fear of what others think of us has sealed our lips. We are more concerned with pleasing our families and our friends than we are with pleasing Jesus. We need to pray that we will be like Paul, he didn’t witness because of an obligation, he witnessed because of his love for his Lord and Savior. Pray that God will release us from our fleshly prisons and that our love for Him will override our doubts and fears and our lips will be loosed to praise Him.

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

Post 08-03-2019

Tempted Just As We Are

13 When the devil had finished tempting Jesus, he left him until the next opportunity came.  — Luke 4:13 NLT

Luke 4:1-13 NLT

Jesus was tempted for 40 days by satan. We are not told how long each temptation lasted or how often the temptation was repeated. Since satan has probably not changed his pattern of tempting humans, it was probably a constant nagging to just go ahead and do it. When the first temptation fails, he tries another tactic, always going about like a roaring lion, but having no power. The first temptation that Jesus faced was one we are all familiar with; pride: “you don’t need God, just do it yourself”. The second temptation was idolatry and greed: “just worship me and I will give you everything you want”. Why should you wait and go through all the pain and suffering when you can have it now, just by bowing down to sin? The third temptation is the sin of presumption: “You know God is going to take care of you, just go ahead and do what you want to do, it doesn’t matter”. We are told in Psalm 19:13 “Keep back thy servant also from presumptuous sins; let them not have dominion over me: then shall I be upright, and I shall be innocent from the great transgression.”  Yes, God will take care of us in dangerous situations, but to think that we can do outrageous things of our own choosing and expect God to always react is presumptuous and deadly. It is one thing to test God’s faithfulness but it is completely different to tempt Him with our foolishness.  Be sober, be alert, satan is just waiting for his next opportunity to test us.

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

Post 07-25-2019

“Be Careful Not To Fall”

12 If you think you are standing strong, be careful not to fall. — 1 Corinthians 10:12 NLT
1 Cor. 10:12-17 NLT

No matter whether we are new Christians or have served God most of our lives, we still have faults and weaknesses.  Not one of us has a corner on the depths of the meaning of the Holy Scriptures.  We need to always have a teachable spirit and attitude.  When pride leads us to the point that we think we can’t be tempted, watch out, we are about to fall.  When we think “oh, I would never get to that point”, be very careful that you are so proud of your discernment.  The evil one knows our weaknesses and exploits them with amazing dexterity and cleverness.  The sly old fox is always lurking around us waiting for that moment of weakness when he can shoot an arrow through the chink in our Spiritual armor.  One of his favorite tactics is compromise.  A little of this, just this time, won’t hurt and anyway, who’s going to know?  The devil is very adept at showing us beautiful things that turn out to be nothing but illusions. “It’s just a little lie, it’s just a little sin” is a big lie that he wants us to believe. Be very careful, it is “the little foxes that spoil the vines” – Song of Solomon 2:15

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

Post 04-25-2019

More of Jesus, Less of Me

30 He must become greater and greater, and I must become less and less. — John 3:30 NLT


John 3:27-36 NLT


John’s disciples came to tell him about Jesus baptizing people and how everyone was going to Jesus and not coming to John.  John explains to his disciples that this is how things should be.  Using the wedding analogy, John explains to them how he is the friend of the bridegroom and Jesus is really the bridegroom. John also tells them that he is filled with joy at the success that Jesus is having in baptizing the people.  John knows that Jesus must become greater and greater and that he, John, must become of lesser importance.  All of us should pray that we see and understand God’s plan for us as clearly as John saw and understood God’s purpose for his life.  John knew the importance of being where and doing exactly what God had planned for him. John had no desire to be anything less or anything more than what God had planned for him.  How many ministries, large and small, have failed because their leaders decided they had become so important they no longer needed to be obedient to God’s plan?  How many of us have failed because we reached the point that we thought we had a better plan than God or we thought we were no longer required to do things God’s way?  How many of us have fallen because we thought we were above giving into temptations?  Let us pray that God will keep us humble and that we do not succumb to the temptation to be God in our little corner of the world.  Those of us who are thinking “that could never happen to me” are in the most danger.  Pride is the main ingredient in the recipe for failure

.1 Thess. 5:20-25 NLT

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

Post 01-04-2018

Total Submission

even-smaller-bug-light1

Therefore, submit yourselves to God.  – James 4:7a ISV​

The Old Testament law was given to show man that he could not live up to the perfection required for redemption.  Man could not and cannot do anything to save himself.  Those living in that time who thought they were doing a good enough job to satisfy God’s requirements for redemption were caught up in prideful thinking. They became so full of pride that they actually added laws to the ones God had already given.  We can only assume that they thought they were improving the situation, when, in fact, they were putting burdens on the people.  So, God sent His Son, Jesus Christ, who was full of grace and mercy.
 

14 The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. — John 1:14 NIV

We are saved by grace through faith and Jesus wants to continue to give us grace upon grace.


16 For of His fullness we have all received, and grace upon grace. — John 1:16 NASB

It is this continued gift of grace that allows us to overcome the flesh and submit ourselves to God. Without it, we would be like the religious leaders of ancient times and become so full of pride that we would be useless in spreading the word of God. There is nothing in this world that is worthy of praise when it is compared to the joy and the hope that we have through Jesus Christ.


30 It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God—that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption. 31 Therefore, as it is written: “Let the one who boasts boast in the Lord.” — 1 Cor. 1:30, 31 NIV

If anything or anyone in this world brings us greater joy, pleasure and happiness than knowing Jesus, then we are double-minded.  We should mourn and wail while asking God to forgive us and bring our focus back on Him and Him alone.

 
“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous
Post 12-13-2018

“Warning: Return To Me”

even-smaller-bug-light1

10 They tell the seers,  “Stop seeing visions!”
They tell the prophets,   “Don’t tell us what is right.
Tell us nice things.  Tell us lies. — Isaiah 30:10 NLT
 
 

For too many years, our country has been headed down a path that is leading us further and further from God. Over and over, we have seen and ignored the warning signs. God is calling this nation to repentance.  The Bible shows us over and over that God keeps all of his promises, promises for good and His promises to discipline.  God has blessed this country for centuries because we were His “light on a hill”, a beacon and an example for other nations to follow.  But those times have come to an end. We are now a country in chaos because we have chosen to stray from the path of righteousness and follow after other gods.  Gods of greed, violence, hate all because of our pride.  Our unwillingness to admit when we are wrong and listen to reason.  God is calling us saying “Come, let us reason together” and we are refusing to listen. He said the same thing to Israel and they refused to listen and they paid a huge price for their disobedience.  If we continue to walk the path of disobedience, we too will pay a huge price.  Only God can “Make America Great Again”.  He is calling us to return to Him and be saved. Only in returning to Him and resting in Him will we be saved. Let us return to Him or we, like Israel, will be disciplined severely for our prideful disobedience.

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

Post 06-30-2018

Do Not Be Conceited

even-smaller-bug-light1

16 Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited..—Romans 12:16 NIV

To live in harmony or peace requires us to put the needs of others above ours. To develop and maintain a relationship requires giving from both sides. It isn’t give and take, it is give and then give some more. To do this requires each of us to be humble, not just with those close to us, but with the strangers we meet on the street. We should never presume that we are better or of higher position than those that God brings across our path. Our birth and our address do not give us, as Christians, any right to feel or act better than others.  In fact, it requires us to do just the opposite. It requires us to love the “unlovable” and to touch the “untouchables”, just as Jesus did. If ever, we should meet someone and presume that we are of higher or better position than they are, it is pride that makes us feel that way.  Presumption and pride are sins.12  People cannot see their own mistakes. Forgive me for my secret sins.
13 Keep me from the sins of pride; don’t let them rule me. Then I can be pure
and innocent of the greatest of sins. 
Psalm 19:12,13 NCV

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

Post 03-23-2018