“But Try Even Harder.”

1 Finally, my dear friends, since you belong to the Lord Jesus, we beg and urge you to live as we taught you. Then you will please God. You are already living that way, but try even harder.— 1 Thess. 4:1 CEV

1 Thessalonians 4:1-7 CEV

When it comes to living a Holy Life, I am learning to never say “I have learned”. I find it much more truthful to say “I am learning”. It seems that every time I think I have my mind wrapped around a Biblical concept, God opens each verse a little wider and I see there is more to it than I thought. I am not sure that I will ever graduate from Spiritual kindergarten. I believe that is why Paul carries the theme of learning, teaching, and encouraging throughout the book of 1 Thessalonians. We must continue to study and to mentor others until Jesus calls us home. To me, that is part of the beauty of Scriptures. They just never grow old or boring, Every day, God has something fresh, new, awesome, and wonderful for us to learn and to teach others.

Lamentations 3:22-24 NCV

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

“We Are Not Practicing the Truth.”

6 So we are lying if we say we have fellowship with God but go on living in spiritual darkness; we are not practicing the truth. — 1 John 1:6

1 John 1:5-10 NLT

On the first day of creation, God spoke the natural light into existence. He created the light to dispel the darkness. He called the light day and the darkness night. Later, He created the sun for light in the day and the moon and stars for light at night.  But God is greater than natural light, He is the spiritual light that illuminates the darkness of our hearts and exposes our sins. He does not do this to embarrass us, but to show us that we are unable to dispel the darkness for ourselves. Just as we need fire, electricity, or batteries to dispel the natural darkness, we need help dispelling the spiritual darkness in our hearts. He is that Light and He has come to do that for us. Once we have been made aware of our spiritual darkness and the fact that Jesus can provide us Light, we must make a choice to walk in God’s Light or continue to walk in the darkness. After the exposure, if we say that we are not in darkness, we are liars and only fooling ourselves. God has provided the Light, but we must decide to turn on the switch. It is not a decision that can be delayed. Refusing to turn on the Light is a decision and it will lead to deeper darkness.

12 Jesus spoke to the people once more and said, “I am the light of the world. If you follow me, you won’t have to walk in darkness, because you will have the light that leads to life.” — John 8:12 NLT

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

“…Spiritual Wisdom and Understanding.”

9 So we have not stopped praying for you since we first heard about you. We ask God to give you complete knowledge of his will and to give you spiritual wisdom and understanding. — Colossians 1:9 NLT

Colossians 1:9-14 NLT

Though we may have never met or heard about each other, it is still our duty to pray for one another. We need to pray fervently for God to fill each of us with His Spirit. His Spirit is the only way we will gain knowledge of God’s will and purpose for each of our lives. God has promised us wisdom if we ask for it sincerely without doubting or wavering. In Proverbs, we are reminded to get wisdom and knowledge and with all of our getting to get understanding. While we may never have complete knowledge of all of God’s plans that does not excuse us from asking for and receiving as much as God knows that we can handle. Wisdom is knowledge understood and applied to our lives. With God’s wisdom, we can live lives that please and honor Him. That type of lifestyle will produce good fruit and add souls to God’s kingdom. We must continue to study God’s Word and grow spiritually. As we do this, we can be assured that we have access to the same Resurrection power that brought Jesus back from the grave. That enables us to share in His inheritance and therefore we will be filled with joy. He has rescued us from the kingdom of darkness where we have been bound in the service of satan. Now, that He has purchased our freedom and forgiven us, we live in His kingdom and walk in the light. We can live without worry and fear, both of which are fruits of the lifestyle we had before we came into the Light.

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

“…Empty Philosophies…”

8 Don’t let anyone capture you with empty philosophies and high-sounding nonsense that come from human thinking and from the spiritual powers of this world, rather than from Christ — Col. 2:8 NLT

Col. 2:4-10 NLT

With so much information available today, it is almost impossible to get through a day without hearing a lot of high-sounding nonsense.   As I go about running my errands each day, I see billboards, listen to talk radio and watch the opinion shows on TV, I am amazed at the amount of nonsense that is sent out everyday.   I sometimes wonder if the producers of these things think everyone in this country is of low intelligence.  Empty philosophies and words abound everywhere.  How does one keep him/herself from being overly influenced by this worldly chatter?  Those of us that have accepted Jesus Christ must understand that there is a spiritual battle being waged 24/7.  It is just as real as any military operation and it has consequences that last for an eternity.  The mind is the battlefield and that is where we win or lose each battle.  We must keep our spiritual eyes and ears focused on Jesus.  We must put on the full armor of God each morning before we hear the first human voice speak.  God is the Commander of the Heavenly armies and we are a part of that army.  Before you leave home each day, check in with the Commander and see where He needs you to be today.  He is looking for warriors to stand in the gap for families, neighbors, and our country.  Christ is the ruler and authority over the whole universe.  Be committed to Jesus and be so convinced that nothing can change your mind. If we suffer with Him here, we will reign with Him there.  Show the world Jesus by helping and loving those around you today.

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

“Be Devoted to One Another”

10 Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. 11 Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord.–Romans 12:10-1​1​ NIV

We should always be humble in allowing others to go before us, that is one way we can show our love for them and for Jesus. Jesus is our example. He left all of His glory in heaven, came to earth as a “man of sorrows” and had a servant’s heart. Though He never sinned, He was obedient even to death on the cross. In those days when someone was hanged on a tree, He was considered to be cursed by God. This curse by God for our sins was the agony that Jesus wanted to avoid, but He could not be disobedient to the Father. There are times when love calls us to be meek and lowly just as Christ demonstrated.  But there are other times when love and devotion to God calls for another kind of action. Jesus also demonstrated this when He drove the money changers from the Temple. His zeal for the Father’s house consumed Him. God is love, Jesus was all God, so Jesus was love, but that never caused Him to compromise His stand against wickedness and evil. He sometimes spoke very harshly to the scribes and Pharisees.  God doesn’t need us to defend Him or His Word.  He needs us to be His representative and stand for Him.

13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.–Ephesians 6:13 NIV


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

“For I Became Your Father”

15 For even if you had ten thousand others to teach you about Christ, you have only one spiritual father. For I became your father in Christ Jesus when I preached the Good News to you. – 1 Cor. 4:15 NLT

1 Cor. 4:14-17 NLT

Paul has not been trying to shame the Christians at Corinth, but rather his intention is to teach them as a Father would teach his children. He wants them to have a closer relationship with Christ and to do this, they are going to have to have a change of attitude. He tells them that although they may have legions of angels watching over them, they have only one Spiritual Father and that is himself. Spiritual parents are the people who prayed for us and brought us to repentance through the preaching and/or teaching of the Gospel. They have, as it were, birthed us into the Gospel. Then as our spiritual parents, they feel a great responsibility to teach us how to live a Holy lifestyle. So, Paul wants the Corinthians to imitate his lifestyle of humility and obedience. Paul has sent to them Timothy, who is his Spiritual son, to help them to stay on course. Paul is reminding them that he not only talks the talk but he walks the walk. Again, it is a message, not only to the Corinthians but to us today.

14 As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. 15 But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do;16 for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy​.​”​​​-​– 1 Peter 1:14-16 NIV

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

“She Is Our Mother”

26 But the other woman, Sarah, represents the heavenly Jerusalem. She is the free woman, and she is our mother. – Gal. 4:26 NLT

Gal. 4:21 -26 NLT

As we have seen in the earlier verses, the Jewish leaders have been trying to convince the new converts to return to the old Jewish traditions. Paul is making the point here that they need to consider the hardships and severity of the law before they turn back to it. He is using the birth of Issac and Ishmael to demonstrate the difference in natural and spiritual things. Those that return to worldly things (the natural Jerusalem) are still in slavery to those things. But since Issac was born to fulfill a divine promise, there is now a choice that we can make. We can follow the fleshly lineage and remain slaves or we can follow the divine lineage, accept Jesus and become citizens of the Jerusalem which is above.

20 But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ​, 21 who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body.–Phil. 3:20 (NIV)

But one day, New Jerusalem will come down to earth and all those that have chosen the divine lineage (Jesus) will be citizens of the New Jerusalem.

I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband—Rev.21:2 (NIV)

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

“For They Loved Human Praise”

43 For they loved human praise more than the praise of God. – John 12:43 NLT

John 12:37-43 NLT

 Isaiah had prophesied many years earlier that the people would not believe or receive Jesus. Because their traditions and praise from men had come to mean more to them than God’s law and God’s approval, God had chosen to blind their spiritual eyes and close their minds to spiritual understanding. Many of the people did believe in Jesus but were afraid to say so. They were fearful that they would be put out of the synagogue. If this happened they would be ridiculed and treated as outcasts in the villages. Their fleshly desires outweighed their faith that Jesus was who He said He was. Jesus had told the people earlier that they would have to confess Him before men.

32 “All those who stand before others and say they believe in me, I will say before my Father in heaven that they belong to me. 33 But all who stand before others and say they do not believe in me, I will say before my Father in heaven that they do not belong to me.—Matt. 10:32, 33 (NCV)

How many of us have felt that little nudge from the Holy Spirit to speak out but we have remained silent? We were afraid of being ridiculed by society and our flesh wanted acceptance from our little clique. How did you feel after that happened? Guilty? Don’t let satan beat you up because you failed. We can take a lesson from Peter. If we feel condemnation, it is from satan. If we feel conviction, it is from the Holy Spirit.

1 So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus.–Romans 8:1 (NLT)

God is still in the forgiving business no matter how many times we fail Him.

8 If we say we have no sin, we are fooling ourselves, and the truth is not in us.9 But if we confess our sins, he will forgive our sins, because we can trust God to do what is right. He will cleanse us from all the wrongs we have done.—1 John 1:8, 9 (NCV)

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

“The Father Set Me Apart”

36 why do you call it blasphemy when I say, ‘I am the Son of God’? After all, the Father set me apart and sent me into the world. – John 10:38 NLT

John 10:30-36 NL

The Jewish leaders just could not grasp the fact that Jesus was the Word incarnate, God in human flesh. Even though they knew that a Messiah was coming, this was not at all what they had expected. When Jesus truthfully claimed to be the same as God.

6​ ​ I said, “You are gods, And all of you are sons of the Most High.—Psalm 82:6 (NASB)​

Because of their spiritual blindness, this made no sense to them. Christ was first to be chosen. Those that hear God’s message, receive it and believe it become the sons of the Most High God. God had chosen Jesus to be the first-born of many sons and daughters to be raised and glorified.

28 We know that in everything God works for the good of those who love him.​ ​They are the people he called, because that was his plan. 29 God knew them before he made the world, and he chose them to be like his Son so that Jesus would be the firstborn of many brothers and sisters. 30 God planned for them to be like his Son; and those he planned to be like his Son, he also called; and those he called, he also made right with him; and those he made right, he also glorified.—Romans 8:2​8​-30 (NCV

The message is still the same today, God is still calling others.Those that answer “Yes” will be made like His Son and those that are made right will be glorified. This resurrection and glorification is the hope that we have in Jesus Christ. Paul says that without it. We Christians, of all people, would be most pitiful.

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)
12 Be joyful because you have hope.​–Romans 12:12a (NCV)​

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

Post 05-06-2020

“You Claim You Can See”

41 “If you were blind, you wouldn’t be guilty,” Jesus replied. “But you remain guilty because you claim you can see. – John 9:41 NLT 

If You Were Blind

Although, we cannot now see Jesus physically, we can see Jesus in a spiritual sense because the Holy Spirit opens our spiritual eyes to the reality of who Jesus is. Then we realize, as the former blind man did, that not only can we see the reality of Jesus but that He is speaking to us as well. Hopefully, our reaction will be the same as this man’s was. We will believe and worship Jesus as our Savior and Lord. Jesus not only opens the eyes of those who are physically blind, but He wants to open the eyes of all of us who are/were spiritually blind. If we are asking the same question as the Pharisees that were there that day, we should carefully consider the answer that Jesus gave them to their question. “If you were blind, you wouldn’t be guilty, but you remain guilty because you claim you can see.” There are many religions in today’s world, all claiming to have the truth, but no religion has the truth. We can only know the truth once we establish a relationship with Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit leads us into all truth.

Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me.—John 14:6 (NLT)
13 When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all truth. He​ will not speak on his own but will tell you what he has heard. He will tell you about the future.–​-​John 16:13 (NLT)

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

Post 05-02-2020