“Foreigners and Exiles”

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11 Dear friends, I urge you, as foreigners and exiles, to abstain from sinful desires, which wage war against your soul. 12 Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us. — 1 Peter 2:11,12 NIV
 
As sons, daughters and heirs of God, we should act accordingly.  Jesus gave up all of His glory in heaven, came to earth and lived as a human and an exile here. He did this so that He might become the first born of the new covenant and the head of the church.

 

18 And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy. 19 For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, 20 and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross. — Col. 1:18-20 NIV

As the first born, He is our example to follow.  He lived a sinless life.  We, as humans, cannot obtain perfection as long as we live in these fleshly tents.  We are in a daily battle to overcome our fleshly desires. It should be our hearts’ desire to get as close to that goal as we can.  Not only are we foreigners and exiles, but we are ambassadors of God and our home country, heaven. Our thoughts, words and actions should reflect the character of the leaders of that country.  If we strive to do that on a daily basis, under the leadership of the Holy Spirit, God will be glorified.  When we do this with humility and love, it will cause others to want what we have.  As souls are added to the Kingdom, God will receive more and more glory.  When a soul is saved, it is as if God has visited us because there is a little more of heaven on earth.

 

“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous
Post 08-25-2018

Mercy, Grace, Forgiveness

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13 For the one who has shown no mercy will be judged without mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgment. – James 2:13 ISV
 
God gave the Old Testament law to the children of Israel to show them that it was impossible for a mere human to live a life free of sin. No one was able to live a life without sin, so God, in His mercy established rituals and procedures for them to keep.  As long as they stayed obedient to these rituals, they were not punished for their sins. Mercy is the lack of or a lesser punishment than our sins deserve(d).  Just as the people back then received mercy, we can and do receive mercy without receiving salvation. It is God’s mercy that allows us to go on living, even when we choose a lifestyle of sin.  We live under the law or covenant of grace. This does not mean that we don’t sin, it just means that we have a way of being forgiven without the rituals. Grace is God choosing to bless us even though we don’t deserve it. It is our faith in His grace that saves us.  When we feel that someone has wronged us in any way, we must show them mercy because of the mercy that God has shown us. We must temper our judgment with mercy, realizing that we have received so much more than mercy from Jesus Christ. We should also show them grace, in the sense that it means showing them affection and kindness even though they are not worthy of it. Neither were/are we worthy of God’s mercy and grace, yet He went so far as to die for us.
 

6 You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. 7 Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. 8 But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. — Romans 5:6-8 NIV

This is why we must show mercy, grace and forgiveness to those around us. We can and must forgive them of their sinful acts toward us. But only God can forgive us for all of our sins. Our mercy and grace is limited to what is done to us. God’s mercy and grace is unlimited.  Only His grace can restore our relationship with God the Father. We must ask for His forgiveness believing that by grace through faith we have been saved, are being saved and will be completely saved.
24 but because Jesus lives forever, he has a permanent priesthood.25 Therefore he is able to save completely[ those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them.– Hebrews 7:24, 25 NIV
“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous
Post 08-03-2018

Planning Is Good!

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15 What you ought to say is, “If the Lord wants us to, we will live and do this or that.” – James 4:15 NLT

Although, none of us are promised tomorrow, it is still a good idea to have a plan. God has set that example for us. He had a plan for all His children collectively, before He laid the foundations of the earth.

34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the creation of the world.–Matt. 25:34 (NLT)


He also has plans for each of His children individually.

11 For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.–Jeremiah 29:11 (NLT)


So, it is not wrong to have plans. They are only a problem and a boast when we plan without asking God about it. Or if we think that we can accomplish anything good without God. We are only here on this earth for a very small portion of time and then we are gone. So, we need to spend our lives “redeeming the time”, in other words, making good use of it to further the work of the Kingdom of God. This was His plan when He created the world and us.

10 For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.–Eph. 2:10 (NLT)


So, we see that God planned us, formed us, and then created us anew to do His good works for His glory. If we plan anything less, it does not honor our Creator and if we plan anything greater, it is presumptuous and sinful. When we know to do good and refuse to do it, it is a sin against God and our fellowman.


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

Post 06-08-2017

Created for His Glory!

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16b.  Everything was created through him and for him.

— Colossians 1:16b NLT


We were born with a sinful nature and born into a sinful world. But God, because of His omnipotence, omniscience, and His great love already had a plan in place to rescue us. The plan called for His Son, Jesus, to be born sinless, live a perfect life, and die a horrible death on a cross to redeem and reconcile us to Himself. When we accept this plan, our sins are forgiven and we are placed in right standing with God. Jesus was resurrected from the grave as the firstborn of all creation to live eternally. Everything was created through Him and for Him. Without Him, nothing exists or can exist. He raises up leaders and kings and He brings down those leaders and kings for His own purpose. We are created to glorify God and to one day be raised in His image, changed from mortals to immortals, from corruption to incorruption, to worship and praise Him throughout eternity.


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

Post 03-02-2017

What Voice Are We Hearing?

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Those who are dominated by the sinful nature think about sinful things, but those who are controlled by the Holy Spirit think about things that please the Spirit. — Romans 8:5 NLT

How can we know if we are being led by God’s Spirit or by our flesh? If we are giving in to the flesh, we will be prideful, we will harbor hate, anger, resentment and bitterness. The acts that our flesh produces are illicit sex, perversion, promiscuity, idolatry, drug use, hatred, rivalry, jealousy, angry outbursts, selfish ambition, conflict, factions, envy, drunkenness, wild partying, and similar things. If we are Spirit led, we will show others love and respect. God’s Spirit produces (in us) love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. We should all take a few moments alone with God and examine our actions for the last few days. What voice are listening to? Who are we following? Flesh? or Spirit?

“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” -Anonymous
Post 01-24-2017

Response or Reaction?

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1 Dear brothers and sisters, if another believer is overcome by some sin, you who are godly should gently and humbly help that person back onto the right path. And be careful not to fall into the same temptation yourself. — Gal. 6:1 NLT
When we see others doing things that appear to be sinful in our eyes, what is our response? Are we quick to think the wrong thoughts or do we remember that we have made mistakes as well? Do we criticize or do we correct? Criticism is most often a knee-jerk reaction and usually destroys. If it destroys, then it mus have come from the destroyer (satan) himself. Our reaction should be to pray and then humbly help that person back to the narrow path. To do that requires us to be a channel of God’s love to those around us. This helps us to understand that when we feel condemnation, it comes from satan, but when we feel conviction, it comes from God’s Holy Spirit. God doesn’t condemn Christians for their failures, but He doesn’t wink at sin, either.

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

Post 12-17-2016

Complacency

even-smaller-bug-light16  We are all infected and impure with sin.  When we display our righteous deeds, they are nothing but filthy rags.
Like autumn leaves, we wither and fall,
    and our sins sweep us away like the wind.
7  Yet no one calls on your name or pleads with you for mercy.
Therefore, you have turned away from us
    and turned us over to our sins. — Isaiah 64:6, 7 NLT

We were born in sin into a sinful world and as long as we live in this flesh, we will be affected by sin.  In the flesh, we can do good deeds, but those good deeds will not get us into heaven.  We can wash and clean the exterior but only the righteousness of Jesus Christ can cleanse the inside.  Doing good deeds without Godly direction can be compared to painting a wooden house without repairng the rotten areas.  It looks good to the world but soon the house will fall.  When we look at our nation, there are still a lot of good things that we can observe but there are fewer and fewer God things.  We have been blessed abundantly for so long that we have become comfortable and complacent in who we are.  To worship means to honor and to honor requires obedience.  When we aren’t obedient to God, we are putting ourselves in His place and trying to do His job.  When we put other things above God and his commands, He cannot be Lord of our lives.  Our God is a jealous God, He will be Lord of all or He will not be Lord at all.  He has not and will not change.  He does not negotiate nor bargain with us.  But when we come to the end of the rope, if we reach out for His hand, He is always there to take our hand and carry us to safety.  Let us examine our postions and agree with God.  When we do, we will fall on our faces and plead for HIs forgivenss and mercy.
Post 02-10-2016

Stand Firm—Defend the Faith

God is waiting to show you the Way.

God is waiting to show you the Way.

1 This letter is from Jude, a slave of Jesus Christ and a brother of James.​ I am writing to all who have been called by God the Father, who loves you and keeps you safe in the care of Jesus Christ.​ 2 May God give you more and more mercy, peace, and love.​ 3 Dear friends, I had been eagerly planning to write to you about the salvation we all share. But now I find that I must write about something else, urging you to defend the faith that God has entrusted once for all time to his holy people. 4 I say this because some ungodly people have wormed their way into your churches, saying that God’s marvelous grace allows us to live immoral lives. The condemnation of such people was recorded long ago, for they have denied our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.–Jude:1-4 (NLT)
​Jude​ opens his letter with great humility. He identifies himself as a slave of Jesus Christ, which is how we should all feel. He further identifies himself as a brother of James. This James is thought to be the half-brother of Jesus which would mkae Jude a half-brother of Jesus as well. They all have the same mother, Mary, but, of course, Jesus has a different Father. His heart is to deliver a message of salvation to the unknown community of people that he is addressing. But, because some false teachers had started teaching that God’s grace allows us to go on sinning as much and as often as we want to, he feels it is much more important to rebuke these teachers and correct their teaching. These teachers had not had a real experience of salvation that changed them from their sinful ways, they were not “new creatures” in Christ Jesus. While forgiveness and grace are certainly there for those of us who fall, it is not meant to allow us to live a sinful lifestyle. This would be in direct conflict with Romans 6:
1​ Well then, should we keep on sinning so that God can show us more and more of his wonderful grace? 2 Of course not! Since we have died to sin, how can we continue to live in it? 3 Or have you forgotten that when we were joined with Christ Jesus in baptism, we joined him in his death? 4 For we died and were buried with Christ by baptism. And just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glorious power of the Father, now we also may live new lives.–Romans 6:1-4​ ​(NLT)
​Those who do these sinful things and teach this false doctrine are making a mockery of God’s grace that He has shown to us. As we are told in Galatians 6:
7 Don’t be misled—you cannot mock the justice of God. You will always harvest what you plant. 8 Those who live only to satisfy their own sinful nature will harvest decay and death from that sinful nature. But those who live to please the Spirit will harvest everlasting life from the Spirit.– Gal. 6:7,8 (NLT)
​So we must stand firm in what we know to be the truth. When we accept Jesus, we are no longer slaves to the flesh, we are “New creations” and now we are slaves to Christ Jesus and we walk in the Spirit. Do not be deceived by every “new” philosophy that comes along. Stand on the Rock and teach the Truth, even though it is no longer popular to do the right thing.
Post 10-14-14

Buried and Raised Up With Christ

God is waiting to show you the way.

God is waiting to show you the way.

11 When you came to Christ, you were “circumcised,” but not by a physical procedure. Christ performed a spiritual circumcision—the cutting away of your sinful nature.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. 13 You were dead because of your sins and because your sinful nature was not yet cut away. Then God made you alive with Christ, for he forgave all our sins.–Col. 2:11-13 (NLT)

​The Old Testament circumcision was of the flesh as an outward symbol of a covenant relationship with God. O​ur 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
Post 05-09-14

Obedience is Better

God is waiting to show you the way.

God is waiting to show you the way.

22 But Samuel replied, “What is more pleasing to the Lord: your burnt offerings and sacrifices or your obedience to his voice? Listen! Obedience is better than sacrifice, and submission is better than offering the fat of rams.
23 Rebellion is as sinful as witchcraft, and stubbornness as bad as worshiping idols. So because you have rejected the command of the Lord, he has rejected you as king.”—1 Samuel 15:22-23 (NLT)

​When our plans go awry or when we are having a bad day, do we stop and consider that perhaps what we are doing in not pleasing to the Lord? Maybe our failures have more to do with our reasons for doing something than we want to believe. Saul was doing a “good” thing, but because he didn’t complete it as God had instructed, it was not a “God” thing.​ We start down the Godly path but then we see something that the flesh desires and we hang on to that instead of God. That “thing” or “person” becomes our “god” because we desired it or them more than we desired God. When this happens we are guilty of rebellion and stubbornness. Just as this led Saul to worship idols later in his life, so will our rebellion lead us into idol worship. We would deny that we have idols in our lives, but most every home is full of the signs and symbols of who our “gods” really are.
Post 04-14-14