“Love Each Other Deeply”

22 You were cleansed from your sins when you obeyed the truth, so now you must show sincere love to each other as brothers and sisters. Love each other deeply with all your heart. – 1 Peter 1:22 NLT 

1 Peter 1:21-25 NLT

In these verses, we are reminded of how limited the English language is in words to express love.  We have one word, the Greeks had at least six words expressing different levels and types of love. Philia which means friendly and/or brotherly affection and is the word used here for the “love for each other”.  The second word used here for love is agape which is the word that comes closest to expressing the kind of love Jesus showed for us when He chose to die on a cross for our sins. It is a totally selfless, unconditional love. It is a love that is unquenchable and no matter how much it gives, it is never satisfied.  It only wants to give more and more. It is the kind of love that God wants us to have for Him and our brothers and sisters, as well as our enemies. The last part, “love for our enemies” is the one that gets our flesh in an uproar.Our flesh screams out, we have been wronged by that person and there is no way that I will ever forgive or love that person or those people. But Jesus told us in His model prayer to pray “forgive us as we forgive others” and we are also told:

14 For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15 But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins. — Matt. 6:14-15 NIV

​This is a requirement for those of us who have been born again. Our flesh is perishing but we are being renewed daily by the living Word of God. So, we must mortify the flesh and follow the leadership of the Holy Spirit that so richly abides within each of us. That leadership will require us to love and to forgive at all costs.

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

“Like A Little Yeast”

9 This false teaching is like a little yeast that spreads through the whole batch of dough! – Gal. 5:9 NLT

Gal. 5:9-12 NLT

Just as it only takes a little bit of yeast to make the whole batch self-rising, it only takes a little untruth to make the whole message a lie. God does not need our help to make His glorious Good News any better. He doesn’t need us to stretch the truth to make His miracles any bigger and we don’t need to add anything to His plan of salvation to make it effective. We must be very careful in witnessing to others that we do not add to or subtract from what God has said. We must be confident in what we believe and share it with the love of Jesus Christ. Anything more or less than what Jesus said takes away everything that He did for us at the cross. We must saturate our efforts with prayer and the love of Jesus Christ. But, just as Paul was adamant about rebuking those that sowed confusion to the new converts, we must be courageous in sharing the Gospel. There are lines we do not cross and there is a stance from which we do not back down. Share the Gospel with love, pure and simple, with no apologies.

32 “Whoever acknowledges me before others, I will also acknowledge before my Father in heaven. 33 But whoever disowns me before others, I will disown before my Father in heaven.–Matt. 10:32-33 (NIV)

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

“You Were Running the Race So Well”

7 You were running the race so well. Who has held you back from following the truth? 8 It certainly isn’t God, for he is the one who called you to freedom.– Galatians 5:7-8 NLT

The new converts had started off “on fire” but now they were being hampered by those around them. Let each of us think back to the time that we accepted Jesus as our Savior and Lord. Now, let each of us compare our enthusiasm and boldness for telling others about Jesus then and our enthusiasm and boldness for doing that now. Who or what “cut in on us” or kept us from spreading the Good News about salvation. Was it the mocking of “friends” or the cares of this world that hampered us? Are we more concerned about other people’s opinions of us than we are about what Jesus thinks about us? Does it even matter if we tell others about Jesus and His mercy? Do we think that Jesus isn’t watching? Or do we do the things we do and act the way we act because we know that Jesus will forgive us but our family, friends and neighbors might not? That kind of thinking does not come from the Holy Spirit.

1​ ​Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us​.​–Hebrews 12:1​ (​NIV)

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

“We Refused To Give In”

5 But we refused to give in to them for a single moment. We wanted to preserve the truth of the gospel message for you. – Gal. 2:5 NLT

Gal. 2:1-5 NLT

Paul had been teaching in Antioch and then he went on his first missionary journey. This journey lasted about three years. When he returns to Antioch, he finds that the church at Jerusalem had sent messengers up to Antioch. They were sent to tell the Gentiles who had been converted to Christianity that it was necessary for them to be circumcised. Paul had not taught that to the new converts and did not believe that it was necessary. In fact, Paul taught that God did not require new Gentile converts to be circumcised. We still have people in our society who are bound by the traditions that they were taught. We must understand that God the Holy Spirit abides in us. He is our guide and our teacher. We have much liberty in Christ Jesus, but we are not to use that liberty to grieve the Holy Spirit or to mislead others. Jesus said that if you were bound by the law and did not fulfill every iota of the law, then you could not enter heaven, That is why God sent His Son as the perfect sacrifice for our redemption. From that time forward, there is no sacrifice required. If there were need for more sacrifice, then Christ died in vain.

24 For Christ did not enter a holy place made with hands, a mere​ ​copy of the true one, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us; 25 nor was it that He would offer Himself often, as the high priest enters the holy place year by year with blood that is not his own. 26 Otherwise, He would have needed to suffer often since the foundation of the world; but now once at the consummation of the ages He has been manifested to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself.–Hebrews 9:24-26​ (NASB)​

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

“What I Say Is True”

37 Pilate said, “So you are a king?”  Jesus responded, “You say I am a king. Actually, I was born and came into the world to testify to the truth. All who love the truth recognize that what I say is true.”

– John 18:37 NLT
John 18:38-40 NLT

Jesus states that the purpose of His being born and coming into the world was to tell people the truth. Now, Pilate asks the ages-old question–“What is truth?”
(Maybe this is where the old cliche comes from–“You wouldn’t recognize the truth if it was standing right in front of you.) Before Jesus answers this question, Pilate turns to leave and goes out to the crowd again. Does this remind you of anything that we do on a regular basis? We pray and earnestly seek God, then we get up and go about our business without giving Him time to answer our prayers. When we get to heaven, we will find out that Jesus answered all of our prayers, we just didn’t hang around to hear the answer. How rude of us! What if we were having a serious conversation with someone and just when we were getting to our point, they just got up and walked out of the room. We do it to Jesus all the time. Instead of being in such a hurry, take the advice of the Psalmist.

13 Yet I am confident I will see the Lord’s goodness while I am here in the land of the living.​ 14 ​Wait patiently for the Lord. Be brave and courageous. Yes, wait patiently for the Lord.—Psalm 27:13, 14 (NLT)

Don’t talk to God, talk with God. The first few minutes after talking with God, we need to just “be still and know that He is God”.

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

“They Will All Be One”

20 “I am praying not only for these disciples but also for all who will ever believe in me through their message. 21 I pray that they will all be one, just as you and I are one—as you are in me, Father, and I am in you. And may they be in us so that the world will believe you sent me.–John 17:20-21 (NLT)

As we continue to listen in on this prayer, we find that all the things that Jesus asked our Father to do for the disciples, He asks Him to do for us as well. It is the very heart of Jesus that we be holy and that we be full of peace and joy. Earlier, He had told us that He would send another to replace Himself.

26 “But I will send you the Advocate—the Spirit of truth. He will come to you from the Father and will testify all about me.—John 15:26 (NLT)

This Advocate, this Counselor, Comforter, Teacher, Encourager guides us into all truth. Jesus was God in the flesh and as such, He could not physically enter into us, but this Advocate is God in Spirit. He could, would, and does dwell inside each believer reminding us of what Jesus did and said. He is our internal guidance system, installation charges prepaid by our Big Brother, no monthly fees, no interruptions and worldwide coverage with no breaks. Maybe that is why we say those that don’t have it are lost. It is our duty to tell the lost about this free guidance service. And like any good plan, you get a reward when you allow it to be installed! You get a blessing here and now! But, wait, there’s more! You get a reward when you get to heaven!

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

“The Message You Gave Me”

8 for I have passed on to them the message you gave me. They accepted it and know that I came from you, and they believe you sent me. – John 17:8 NLT

John 17:6-9 NLT

From verse one of this chapter, Jesus has been talking to the Father. He has been rehearsing to the Father all that He had done in obedience to the Father. Of course, God already knew all of this. But Jesus was specifically pointing out to His Father that the disciples had now accepted the truth of His words and the truth of who He really was. Jesus was leading up to His intercessory prayer for not only His disciples but for every person that would believe in Him from then until the end of this world. Starting tomorrow, we will be looking at THE most beautiful, powerful intercessory prayer that has ever been spoken by a human. And what makes it even more meaningful is the fact that it is only an example to show us what Jesus is doing in heaven right now.

24 But because Jesus lives forever, his priesthood lasts forever. 25 Therefore he is able, once and forever, to save those who come to God through him. He lives forever to intercede with God on their behalf.—Hebrews 7:24, 25 (NLT)

Just think about that for a minute, Jesus, Himself, is praying for us right now!

27 The eternal God is your refuge, and his everlasting arms are under you. He drives out the enemy before you; he cries out, ‘Destroy them!’ —Deuteronomy 33:27 (NLT)“

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

“I Tell You the Truth”

12 “I tell you the truth, anyone who believes in me will do the same works I have done, and even greater works, because I am going to be with the Father.  John 14:12 NLT

John 14:12-17 NLT

It is hard to imagine doing greater things than Jesus.I don’t know of a greater miracle than raising someone from the dead, so Jesus must have been talking about “greater” in quantity, not “greater” in quality. He could only be in one place physically while He was here on earth, now that the Holy Spirit abides in each of us, He can be all over the world at the same time. We now have access to the same power that Jesus had. If we ask for and believe that we receive it, we can actually have it. I once asked a Pastor since this is true, why do we not see more miracles today? He answered that it was because we don’t love like Jesus loved. While that is true, I think it is because we don’t believe like Jesus believed. If we truly believed that we had access to the same power that Jesus had when He was here and has now in heaven, we would ask for and receive it.

6 The Lord said, “If your faith were the size of a mustard seed, you could say to this mulberry tree, ‘Dig yourself up and plant yourself in the sea,’ and it would obey you.–Luke 17:6 (NCV)

We, like the Israelites in the desert, have limited what God can do for us and through us.

40 How often they provoked Him in the wilderness,And grieved Him in the desert! 41 Yes, again and again they tempted God, And limited the Holy One of Israel. 42 They did not remember His power:—Psalm 78:40-42a (NKJV)

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

Post 06-02-2020

“A Rich and Satisfying Life”

10 The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life. ​. – John 10:10 NLT

“I AM” – The Truth

Jesus explains to the people that He is telling the truth and He is the gate, there was only entrance to the sheepfolds. There is only one way in to the safety and security that the fold provides for the sheep. Jesus explains that others before have claimed to be the Messiah, but they were thieves and robbers. They were there to lead the sheep astray, but the true sheep, the elect, would not listen to them. Later on, Jesus makes this statement,

Jesus answered, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. The only way to the Father is through me.–John 14:6 (NCV)

Only those who come to the Father through Jesus will be saved.We must come through the cleansing blood of Jesus Christ, there is no other way, The thieves and the robbers had come to take what wasn’t theirs and destroy all those that they could deceive. Following them would lead to death.

12 There is a way which seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death.—Proverbs 14:12 (NASB)

Jesus came that we might have full, abundant life. The Greek word used here in verse 10 is zoe and one of the definitions of zoe is that it is” life real and genuine, a life active and vigorous, devoted to God, blessed, in the portion even in this world of those who put their trust in Christ.” It also carries the idea that there is more to come than we have here and now. Zoe points forward to our life with Jesus after the final resurrection. This is the hope that makes Christianity totally different from those other beliefs that the world calls religion. When we walk through the door called Jesus, we have a relationship that will lead to a better life eternal. No more sorrow, no more pain, better everything than we can imagine.

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

Post 05-03-2020

“My Message Is Not My Own”

16 So Jesus told them, “My message is not my own; it comes from God who sent me. – John 7:16 NLT

Truth

It doesn’t seem to matter how many miracles Jesus had performed or how many times He had spoken, the people were always surprised when they heard Him. Jesus told them that the message He was giving them was not His own but it came from God the Father who had sent Him. Jesus reminded them that they had Moses law which said “Thou shalt not kill” but the leaders were determined to have Him killed, thus disobeying the law handed down by Moses. In today’s world, we must follow the example Jesus set. We must deliver a message based on truth as given to us by the Holy Scriptures. Our message should not glorify us, but it should glorify our Father, who is in heaven. As John the Baptist said:

30 He must become greater and greater, and I must become less and less.–John 3:30 (NLT)

When we speak the truth as it is given to us by the Holy Spirit to speak and that message is rejected, it is not us that is being rejected, but, rather, it is Jesus that is being rejected. So, don’t be concerned about being offended, just speak the truth in love and God will take care of the results.

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

Post 04-14-2020