“A New Spirit In Us”

9 “The human heart is the most deceitful of all things, and desperately wicked.  Who really knows how bad it is? — Jeremiah 17:9 NLT

We are all very familiar with this verse from Jeremiah.  Since this verse is true and God says that He will give us the desires of our hearts, how do we reconcile the two verses?  As is usual, there are very few verses in the Bible that stand alone and these verses are examples of this.  The verse from Jeremiah is describing the heart that we are born with. Those hearts belong to the master of sin and only desire those things that please the flesh.  So, to reconcile these verses, we need to have a change of heart. We find a clue to God’s solution to the enigma in a passage in Ezekiel. This is an Old Testament verse that points to a future event.

26 And I will give you a new heart, and I will put a new spirit in you. I will take out your stony, stubborn heart and give you a tender, responsive heart. 27 And I will put my Spirit in you so that you will follow my decrees and be careful to obey my regulations. — Ezekiel 36:26, 27 NLT

Before Jesus died, He made a promise to us to send a Comforter and a guide to lead us into all truth. After He arose and ascended, He sent us His Spirit as promised in Ezekiel and by Jesus Himself.  Once we receive Jesus as our Savior and Lord, we receive the Holy Spirit into our hearts.  It is at that point, that the reformation of the heart begins.  We now bow to a new Master, Jesus Christ. Our heart is changed so that the desires of our hearts are now pleasing to God.  First, He gives us a new heart with new desires and then He can give us what our hearts desire.  The heart is new, but the reformation does not come overnight. It takes a lifetime of mortifying the flesh and when we come to the end of our life as a human, we will still be fighting that battle.  

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

Post 03-10-2019

“Always Yes”

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20 For all of God’s promises have been fulfilled in Christ with a resounding “Yes!” And through Christ, our “Amen” (which means “Yes”) ascends to God for his glory. – 2 Cor. 1:19-22 NLT
 
There are testimonies upon testimonies of God’s faithfulness, not just in the Bible, but in the lives of Christians since the first century until today.  I am constantly amazed when reading the personal testimonies of our brothers and sisters who are persecuted, imprisoned and questioned by the authorities on a daily basis.  They tell story after story of how God strengthens them and comes to their rescue.  We have all of these testimonies plus the stories of modern day miracles with which God still so richly blesses us.  Then, of course, each of us have our own stories of how God saved us from eternal punishment and condemnation, the miracle of resurrection power. We can look back over our own lives and see how the hand of God has delivered us from bad situations and even saved us from physical death. If we don’t see any, perhaps, we are looking for what we consider to be “big” things.  Every good thing that happens to us is a fulfillment of the promises of God. The fact that we are alive today is a gift from God.

16 Don’t be deceived, my dear brothers and sisters. 17 Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. — James 1:16-17 NIV

He has promised that He will never leave us nor forsake us and He has kept that promise. Because He put His Spirit in our hearts, we can never go anywhere without Him. We are constantly surrounded by angels who watch over us and protect us.

16 “Don’t be afraid,” the prophet answered. “Those who are with us are more than those who are with them.” 17 And Elisha prayed, “Open his eyes, Lord, so that he may see.” Then the Lord opened the servant’s eyes, and he looked and saw the hills full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha. — 2 Kings 6:16, 17 NIV

We thank you, Lord, for your faithfulness and your mercies which are new every morning!

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

Post 05-30-2018

Keep Focused On Our Eternal Home

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13 All these people died still believing what God had promised them. They did not receive what was promised, but they saw it all from a distance and welcomed it. They agreed that they were foreigners and nomads here on earth. 
​- Hebrews 11:13 NLT
We, like the prophets and leaders of the past, should consider ourselves foreigners and aliens here on earth.  We need to hold onto the things of earth very lightly and be ready to let them go at the slightest urge of the Holy Spirit. God puts people in our path and gives us resources for a reason and a season.  The why, what, when and where are His prerogative.  Our love for Him requires us to allow Him to use us for whatever purpose and plan He has for us. It is our “reasonable sacrifice” to mortify our flesh and focus on Jesus.  We walk in faith and live in the hope that we are headed for a country and a city not made with human hands.  We have confidence in our hope because it is based on the same faith that Jesus had that He would be resurrected.  Because of His resurrection and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, we are assured that our hope is not just wishful thinking but a fact guaranteed by our Lord and Savior.13 And you also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation. When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, 14 who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession—to the praise of his glory. —Ephesians 1;13-14 NIV

When soldiers are fighting a battle in a foreign land, the hope that keeps them going is the thoughts of returning home. They talk often of the day they will be leaving their post and you can believe there are smiles on their faces during those conversations.  We should live our lives with that same anticipation of the fulfillment of every promise of God realizing that the joy we have when we receive earthly blessings are only small samples of the joy we will have when we get home.

 

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

Post 05-16-2018

Covenant – Agreeing Together

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17 This is what I am trying to say: The agreement God made with Abraham could not be canceled 430 years later when God gave the law to Moses. God would be breaking his promise. – Gal.3:17 NLT

Just as Jesus used everyday examples to teach, Paul does the same thing here. Everyone who had ever made a purchase of home or land, easily understood that once the transaction had been completed and witnessed, it became a legal contract. While contracts and covenants are both legal and binding, the big difference in the two is this; A contract is valid only as long as both parties do what they have bound themselves to do while a covenant is binding on one party even if the other party fails to keep their end of the deal. So, since God knew man would not keep up his end, He made a covenant that bound Him regardless of what man did. Once God made the covenant promises to Abraham, God was bound by His own word to keep it forever. Nothing man did or does or will do can change God’s plan. He was faithful to Israel even though they failed Him time after time. The new covenant is not a change in God’s plan, it was decided on long before the foundations of the world were laid. Under the new covenant, God is faithful to all who receive Jesus as Savior, even though, we, like Israel fail Him time after time, He is bound by His own Word to remain faithful to us.

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

Post 01-02-2017

Don’t Worry! Be Joyful!

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When everything is ready, I will come and get you, so that you will always be with me where I am. –John 14:3
 
​​We have a place that has been prepared for us by God Himself.. One day, Jesus will return and take us there to live with Him for eternity. Paul said that if Christians had hope only for this life and not for eternity, we should be pitied..
19 If our hope in Christ is for this life only, we should be pitied more than anyone else in the world.—1 Cor. 15:19 (NCV)
But because we have placed our faith in God and, in God alone, we can be assured of life eternal. We can know the way by accepting Jesus and being led by the Holy
Spirit. We are guaranteed that this promise will be kept. Because God has deposited the Holy Spirit in our hearts and He abides there to lead us.

21 Remember, God is the One who makes you and us strong in Christ. God made us his chosen people. 22 He put his mark on us to show that we are his, and he put his Spirit in our hearts to be a guarantee for all he has promised.—2 Cor. 1:21,22 (NCV)
If we truly believe that the Bible is inerrant and infallible and that Jesus is the truth, we have no reason to fear or dread anything that man can do to us. Jesus gave us a gift of His peace, not like the world’s peace that means no storms will ever come our way. His peace keeps us calm in the storm because we believe He is in perfect control of every situation.
10 God says, “Be still and know that I am God…”–Psalm 46:10a (NCV)

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

Post 11-02-2017

Every Promise Fulfilled

even-smaller-bug-light117 It was by faith that Abraham offered Isaac as a sacrifice when God was testing him. Abraham, who had received God’s promises, was ready to sacrifice his only son, Isaac ​– Hebrews 11: 17 NLT

Can you imagine the thoughts that must have gone through Abraham’s mind when God told Him to sacrifice his only son? Surely he wondered how God was going to fulfill His promise to make him a father of many nations, if he killed his son. But this matter was already settled in the mind of Abraham. This was the statement Abraham made in Genesis 22:5 

​”​Then Abraham said to his servants, “You stay here with the donkey while the boy and I go over there. We’ll worship. After that we’ll come back​”​ (GW)

At that moment, Abraham didn’t know how God would do it, but he trusted God to provide and take care of both he and his son, Isaac. Isaac trusted God to carry out His promise through his sons, so he blessed both of them. Jacob believed the promise and blessed his 12 sons. Those 12 sons would become the leaders of the 12 tribes of Israel. Joseph believed that God would rescue his people, so he made them promise that when God led them out of Egypt that they would carry his bones back to the Promised Land and bury them there. All these promises were fulfilled and written down for us so that we might be believers as well. God is faithful!!

 

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

Post 05-09-2017

At the Appointed Time

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11 It was by faith that even Sarah was able to have a child, though she was barren and was too old. She believed that God would keep his promise. — Hebrews 11:11 NLT

God had promised Abraham that he would become the father of many nations, yet, he and Sara did not have a child. They were well past child-bearing age when God delivered on His promise to Abraham. Though, from a human standpoint, it was impossible, it was not hard for God to fulfill His promise. After all, when He speaks, the sound of His voice creates whatever He says. He spoke the universe into existence. So, bringing forth a child from an elderly couple would not be difficult for Him. This promise was passed down from generation to generation. Many of them died before the promise was realized, but they died knowing that God is faithful and He would fulfill every promise. They pressed on in obedience to God and arrived at a heavenly country where they will spend an eternity with God because they were faithful.

 20 But we are citizens of heaven, where the Lord Jesus Christ lives. And we are eagerly waiting for him to return as our Savior. ​ — Phil. 3:20 NLT​


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

Post 05-08-2017

Hold Tightly – Stand Firmly

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23 Let us hold tightly without wavering to the hope we affirm, for God can be trusted to keep his promise. — Hebrews 10:23 NLT

There is no remission of sin without the shedding of blood. Since Jesus was the perfect sacrifice, it is no longer necessary to offer sacrifices of blood for forgiveness of sin. Jesus fulfilled the old covenant law completely and established a new covenant for us. In the Old Testament, no one could go into the Holy of Holies except the chief priest and he could only go once a year. Now, because of the new Covenant, we can enter into God”s throne room at anytime. Our bodies have been washed and we are cleansed by His blood.

7 But if we live in the light in the same way that God is in the light, we have a relationship with each other. And the blood of his Son Jesus cleanses us from every sin.–1 John 1:7 (GW)


The blood of Jesus cleansed sin yesterday, it cleanses sin today, and it will cleanse sin tomorrow. We can hold on to our declaration because the One Who paid the price and established the New Covenant is faithful. Even in times of persecution, we can know that He will never let us go.


12 For this reason I also suffer these things; nevertheless I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep what I have committed to Him until that Day–1 Timothy 1:1​2 (NKJV)


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

Post 05-03-2017

WHY?

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12 God blesses those who patiently endure testing and temptation. Afterward they will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him. — James 1:12 NLT
Why do Christians have to endure trials and persecutions? I suppose people have been asking this question since the first century. The disciples never quite understood why Jesus had to suffer and die until after the Resurrection. God does not allow us to go through suffering so that He will know where we are on our journey, He allows it so that we will know. He allows it so that our “I can” will turn into “No, I can’t but God can”. “No pain, no gain” applies to spiritual growth as well as physical. Would understanding the “why” really make the pain any less real or painful?  I am sure that since Jesus was in on the plan of redemption, He understood the why, but that didn’t keep Him from asking His Father if there might not be another way. As he prayed in the garden of Gethsemane.
 

42 He went away a second time and prayed, “My Father, if it is not possible for this cup to be taken away unless I drink it, may your will be done.”–Matt. 26:42 NIV

 

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

Post 04-10-2017

No Help Needed!

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23 The son of the slave wife was born in a human attempt to bring about the fulfillment of God’s promise. But the son of the freeborn wife was born as God’s own fulfillment of his promise. — Galatians 4:23 NLT
God had made a covenant promise to Abraham that he would become the Father of many nations.  Abraham and Sarah were past child-bearing age and still Sarah had not conceived.  It was at this point that they decided to take things into their own hands.  Since the promise was to Abraham, he could Father a child by another woman.  In this case, Sarah’s servant Hagar was chosen as the Mother.  That decision has caused a lot of grief for a lot of people throughout the ages.  Years later, Sarah conceived and bore a son.  This son, Isaac, was the son God had promised.  But because of the impatience of Abraham and Sarah, the war was on between the sons and it continues today.   He will bring them about in His good timing.  If we wait, we will reap the rich benefits of the fulfillment of His promise.  If we try to fulfill His promise to us in our own way and in our own timing, the results will be nowhere near what God has planned for us.  When God gives us a vision or a promise, we must be patient and allow Him to fulfill it in His way and His timing.  Joseph spent years waiting for God to fulfill His promise,  He suffered loss of family, false accusations and imprisonment before he was made second in command of Egypt, the most powerful nation in the world at that time.  God doesn’t need our help to make His promises come true.  He just needs us to be patient and obedient.
 
Post 09-24-2016