“So That I May Honor You…”

11  Teach me your ways, O Lord, that I may live according to your truth! Grant me purity of heart, so that I may honor you. — Psalm 86:11 NLT

Psalm 86:8-13 NLT

Our purpose while we are here on earth is to honor and glorify God.  As sinners, we had neither the knowledge, ability or desire to do that.  It was only after we accepted Jesus Christ as our Savior that we came to realize how weak and foolish we were.  As Christians, our knowledge and ability are still limited.  That is why we must daily call upon the Holy Spirit to teach us God’s ways.   Our flesh will rebel, so we need the power of the Holy Spirit to overcome those desires and to change the desires of our hearts.  He is waiting to guide us into all truth and to give us pure hearts that yearn for fellowship with Jesus.  There is an old hymn with these words that we should make a daily prayer: “Just a closer walk with thee, grant it, Jesus, let it be.”  Our hearts should long for Jesus more than anything else in this world.  Any day spent without a conversation with Jesus is a dark, lonely and misspent day.  Just as the sun rises in the east every morning to dispel the darkness, so must we allow the Son to arise in us each morning to dispel the darkness of evil that surrounds us. “Open wide the gates and let the King of glory come in”.

Psalm 118:19-21 NKJV

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

“Heathen at Heart and Deaf to the Truth”

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51 “You stubborn people! You are heathen at heart and deaf to the truth. Must you forever resist the Holy Spirit? That’s what your ancestors did, and so do you! — Acts 7:51 NLT

Acts 7:51-59

Stephen has just recited a short summary of all the things God had brought the Israelis through and the miracles He had performed in bringing them to the Promised Land.  Stephen also reminded them that God did this for them in spite of their unbelief and unfaithfulness.  He did it as a fulfillment of His covenant with their ancestors. Even though God was faithful, the Israelis were not, refusing to listen to Moses and any of the prophets God sent to them with messages warning them to repent and be obedient to God.  Instead they persecuted and murdered the prophets choosing to remain in their sinful ways and worship idols made by human hands.  The people Stephen was addressing were still following in their ancestor’s paths, choosing to kill the Messiah rather than to give up their worldly ways and repent.   If Stephen were here today, he could add the history of our country to his discourse and the accusation would still be true.  After all the years of God blessing this country with His abundance, we are still a “stubborn people, heathen at heart and deaf to the truth”. More and more, as each day passes by, we become a more sinful nation.  We refuse to believe that God will punish us just as He punished the Israelis.  We must pray that God will have mercy on this nation of ours, that He will replace our hearts of stone with hearts of flesh and write His name upon our hearts.

Ezekiel 36:25-27

Even though this was a promise God made to the Israelis, His chosen people, may He see fit to extend His mercies to us because, as Christians, we are a people chosen by Him as well.

1 Peter 2:9

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

“Worship In Spirit and In Truth”

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23 But the time is coming—indeed it’s here now—when true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth. The Father is looking for those who will worship him that way. 24 For God is Spirit, so those who worship him must worship in spirit and in truth.” – John 4:23-24 NLT

Our worship of our Lord and Savior should not be limited to a Sunday morning experience.  If that is all the time we spend at the feet of Jesus, then we need to examine our hearts and ask if that is truly worship.  Worship is defined as showing reverence and adoration for a deity.  If we take a look at our calendars and our checkbooks, we might be surprised to see who we really worship.  If we truly adore someone, it is only natural that we would want to spend more time in their presence.  We would be waiting to hear their voice and we would hang onto every word that they had to say.  When we had to leave their presence, we would be watching and waiting for opportunities to tell others what this great person had said.  We would make time to be with them and to let them know how much we adored them.  Our hearts would beat faster at the very thought of being in their presence.  If it were possible to live without ever being away from their presence, we would spend all of our time there.  This person would have to be the center of our world and deserve to have our highest loyalty.  This person would be someone that we would never hurt or betray for anyone or anything. This person’s name would be in our hearts, on our minds and on the tip of our tongues all day long, every day. This person would be someone that we worshiped in Spirit and in truth once a week, all week long.  Let each of us examine our thoughts, our words, our actions and our lifestyles and honestly determine who we worship.  If the answer isn’t  Jesus, and Jesus alone, then we need to take some time to ask His forgiveness and change our habits so that we mirror His glory.

18 Praise the Lord God, the God of Israel, who alone does such wonderful things. 19 Praise his glorious name forever!  Let the whole earth be filled with his glory.
Amen and amen!  ​ — Psalm 72:18-19 NLT​


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

“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