21 You cannot drink from the cup of the Lord and from the cup of demons, too. You cannot eat at the Lord’s Table and at the table of demons, too. – 1 Cor. 10:21 NLT
When we take the Communion, we are all symbolically partaking of the same body and the same blood. This has been true ever since Jesus set the example with the disciples in the Upper Room. No matter what time it is in eternity, we are all bound together by that one body and one blood and it will be culminated in heaven when we all partake of the Communion at the great banquet table. So, we should never defile that practice by partaking of anything that has been sacrificed to idols or to demons of any sort. We cannot serve two masters and our God is a jealous God. We do not want to provoke Him.
13 But you shall destroy their altars, break their sacred pillars, and cut down their wooden images 14 (for you shall worship no other god, for the Lord, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God), —Exodus 34:13, 14 NKJV
While we may not bow to wooden or golden images, we can still have things that we treasure more dearly than our relationship with God. These things or people are just as much an idol as any graven image. Each of us needs to ask the Holy Spirit to show us the things in our lives that grieve Him. Those things are our idols.
23 Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me, and know my anxieties; 24 And see if there is any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting–Psalm 139:23, 24 NKJV
“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” -Anonymous
16 and you say, “Good-bye and have a good day; stay warm and eat well”—but then you don’t give that person any food or clothing. What good does that do? – James 2:16 NLT
We know that we are saved “by grace through faith, not by works, lest any man should boast”. We also know that everything we receive while we are here on earth is a free gift from God. So, what is the purpose of “good works” and why are they important? Well, there are at least two good reasons and probably more it you want to break them down. The first is this; now, that we are Christians, Jesus is our example and He went about doing good works.
38 And you know that God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power. Then Jesus went around doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with him.–Acts 10:38 (NLT)
The second reason is this; doing good works here on earth is how we store our rewards or treasures in heaven.
20 Store your treasures in heaven, where moths and rust cannot destroy, and thieves do not break in and steal. 21 Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be.–Matt 6:20,21 (NLT)
If we do good works for these two reasons, it will keep our hearts and minds focused on Jesus and our final reward of living an eternity with Him. If we focus on that, it will make the burdens lighter and we can walk the path with joy and thanksgiving in our hearts and a song of praise on our lips!
“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” -Anonymous
12 Does anyone want to live a life
that is long and prosperous? — Psalm 34:12 NLT
When I read this verse, my first thought is this: Is there anyone who doesn’t want to live long and prosper? Our bodies were originally designed in God’s image to last forever. Then sin entered the world bringing decay and death with it. Now, our bodies wear out and decay because sin still exists here on earth. God designed a garden where man could live forever and prosper. Sin entered that garden, seduced humankind, so God had to remove man and never allowed him to re-enter. So, living long and being prosperous has taken on a whole new meaning. Actually, it has taken on two meanings. One is defined from the worldly point of view and the other from the Godly point of view. We are bombarded on a daily basis with how the world defines prosperity. As Christians, we can be very prosperous in the Kingdom of God and the world will little know or pay any attention to the wealth we have built up in heaven. But God knows where we are laying up our treasures and He also knows that where our treasure is, there will our hearts be also. What is worldly will perish in the fire, that which is Godly will last throughout eternity. A worldly long life of a hundred years or more is nothing but a speck of dust compared to eternal life with God. We, as Christians, shall all live long and prosper! God has promised and so shall it be! So, let us join in a praise of thanksgiving!
Come, everyone! Clap your hands! Shout to God with joyful praise! — Psalm 47:1
6 So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, 7 rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness. — Colossians 2:6 7 NIV
The most important thing to be thankful for is salvation. So, from the very moment we are saved, our hearts should begin to be filled with gratitude. From that point on, all the blessings that we receive daily should continue to fill our hearts with thanksgiving and praise for our Savior and Lord, Jesus Christ. To the extent that we follow the leadership of the Holy Spirit, our evil thoughts and desires are changing to good thoughts and desires. There has/will come a day when we should be overflowing with joy and gratitude because of the goodness and greatness of the God that we serve. Each day should bring less complaining and more reason to give God praise and thanksgiving. The praise and gratitude that fills our hearts will be reflected in the words that we speak.
45 A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings forth evil. For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks. — Luke 6:45 NKJV
Every time we bring our petitions before the Lord, we need to remember to bring with them an offering of thanksgiving and praise!
4 Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, and into His courts with praise.
Be thankful to Him, and bless His name.
5 For the Lord is good;His mercy is everlasting,
And His truth endures to all generations. — Psalm 100:4, 5 NKJV
This is for now and all generations, not just the future when we enter into the gates of heaven and the courts of God. Every time, we speak His Name, we are entering into His gates and His courts. Let our hearts and our mouths overflow with praise for His goodness and mercy!
3 But if someone claims to be a prophet and does not acknowledge the truth about Jesus, that person is not from God. Such a person has the spirit of the Antichrist, which you heard is coming into the world and indeed is already here. 4 But you belong to God, my dear children. You have already won a victory over those people, because the Spirit who lives in you is greater than the spirit who lives in the world. 5 Those people belong to this world, so they speak from the world’s viewpoint, and the world listens to them. 6 But we belong to God, and those who know God listen to us. If they do not belong to God, they do not listen to us. That is how we know if someone has the Spirit of truth or the spirit of deception.—1 John 4:3-6 (NLT)
God is waiting to show you the Way.
We must be very careful who we let speak into our Spiritual lives. Are the people with whom we spend the most time encouraging us in our Spiritual life or are they more concerned with worldly activities, such as our social life? Do we spend more time on Facebook or in the Book? There are at least two very easy ways to find out where we are “laying up our treasures”. One is to look at our checkbooks to see where we spend our earthly treasure and the other is our phones/computers to see with whom we converse and what we converse about. Are we tithing our money and our time? We don’t need to be spiritual fanatics beating people over the head with the Bible, but we do need to be sure that our lives reflect the fact that we are redeemed and that Jesus Christ is our Lord, We need to listen to God, first of all, and then to those who belong to God. We need heavenly wisdom, not earthly wisdom.
18 Do not fool yourselves. If you think you are wise in this world, you should become a fool so that you can become truly wise, 19 because the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. It is written in the Scriptures, “He catches those who are wise in their own clever traps.” 20 It is also written in the Scriptures, “The Lord knows what wise people think. He knows their thoughts are just a puff of wind.”—1 Cor. 3:18-20 (NCV)
Our brains are the most fantastic computers ever designed and we all know the old GIGO principle about computers. So, we need to limit the amount of garbage the world puts in us and increase the amount of wisdom that God is so anxious to give to us. We do this by meditating on the Scriptures and listening to and spending time with the right people.
19 “Don’t store treasures for yourselves here on earth where moths and rust will destroy them and thieves can break in and steal them. 20 But store your treasures in heaven where they cannot be destroyed by moths or rust and where thieves cannot break in and steal them. 21 Your heart will be where your treasure is.–Matthew 6:19-21 (NCV)
God is waiting to show you the way.
Continuing yesterday’s thoughts on showing love. How do we show Jesus that we love Him? To love someone, it is necessary to get know that person, to get to know a person requires us to spend time with that person. When you love someone, you want to spend as much time as possible with them. How much time do you spend with Jesus each day? He has written a book full of love letters to us, have you read them? When we love someone, we think about them most of the time. How much time do you spend meditating and thinking about Jesus? If we examine our lifestyles and find out where our heart is, what treasures would we find? Don’t hang onto temporary, worldly “treasures”, fix your thoughts on eternity and Jesus. Nothing can separate us from God’s love and those treasures we lay up in heaven.
Malachi 3:13-15 (NLT) 13 “You have said terrible things about me,” says the Lord. “But you say, ‘What do you mean? What have we said against you?’ 14 “You have said, ‘What’s the use of serving God? What have we gained by obeying his commands or by trying to show the Lord of Heaven’s Armies that we are sorry for our sins? 15 From now on we will call the arrogant blessed. For those who do evil get rich, and those who dare God to punish them suffer no harm.’”
God is waiting to show you the way.
Have you ever experienced those feelings? You know, the ones where the devil comes to you and says something like this: “Look at that person over there, they don’t follow God’s commands and look how prosperous they are?” Or perhaps, he said: “Look how much fun they are having, they party all the time and indulge their fleshly lusts and it doesn’t look like God is punishing them? Been there, done that. And when I say “done that”, I mean the “party hardy” life. After committing my life to Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior, I also know the feeling of watching others prosper while living that old lifestyle. Doesn’t seem fair, does it?
But , you know what? I wouldn’t go back to that lifestyle. The view through the bottom of a glass might be great tonight, but what about tomorrow? You are still going to have the same problems plus a hangover. There is no relief in drugs or illicit sex. There is a perceived relief while you are participating in these things, but what about long-term? Aren’t you really looking for a Solid Rock to stand on? Aren’t you tired of walking on the slippery paths of deception? Do you really want to dig your way out of another mire of quicksand? Aren’t you really looking for long-term peace? The kind of peace that, even though you are cold sober, lets you fall asleep as soon as your head hits the pillow every night? The kind of peace that causes you to look forward to tomorrow morning and every day thereafter? Isn’t that what your heart and soul desire?
Then talk with those who fear (have a respectful awe of) the Lord? They can tell you how to find it. If they don’t ask you, then you should ask them about Jesus. They can tell you how to break the chains of bondage and be set free from satan and his insatiable demands. They can tell you about a Savior that satisfies you instead of you having to meet his demands. His yoke is easy and His burden is light. So light, in fact, that most days it won’t even seem like a burden. Take the time to ask Jesus and He will set you free. Those that the Son of God sets free are free indeed!