18 Don’t let anyone condemn you by insisting on pious self-denial or the worship of angels, saying they have had visions about these things. Their sinful minds have made them proud — Colossians 2:18
Condemnation comes from satan and weighs us down with guilt for things that we have done in the past or things that we are doing now. If satan can keep you feeling guilty, he has defeated you because you will not be able to do good works when you are weighed down with guilt. Remember that there is no condemnation for those of us who are in Christ Jesus. Condemnation is different from conviction. God’s Holy Spirit will bring conviction upon us but it will lead us to repentance. Once we have repented, our relationship with Jesus is restored and we can again be effective working for Christ. Man should not add any requirements for salvation to what God has already laid out in His Word. No matter what anyone tells you, we cannot be good enough to earn salvation or bad enough to lose our salvation. Our salvation depends on Jesus and His shed blood. God tells us in Romans that nothing, absolutely nothing, can separate us from Him and His love. Why? Because it is a gift from God and gifts cannot be bought or earned.
All the rules and precepts are shadows of what is coming. It is our responsibility to use discernment and cross check what people say with the Holy Scriptures. If the two do not agree, then we must always go with the Word. Just as our physical bodies are controlled by our brains (head) and nourished by the blood flowing through it , so is the Spiritual body controlled by the head, who is Christ Jesus. The whole body is held together by the power of His Word and is nourished by His Spirit flowing through us.
6 In this way, Solomon did what was evil in the Lord’s sight; he refused to follow the Lord completely, as his father, David, had done. — 1 Kings 11:6 NLT
Just in case, we should think that we are capable of handling great wealth easily, look at what happened to Solomon in his old age. The wisest man in the world turned from the God who had blessed him abundantly with worldly goods, wisdom, power and fame. If he couldn’t handle it, then we need to be very careful in our walk in this world. Sure, Solomon still had plenty of money, after all, what was there to buy or to do with all that cash? Even with all of his wisdom, he was still, somehow, not fulfilled. We can’t imagine his abundance but with the guidance of the Holy Spirit, we can see that his failure was due to the desires of the flesh. Notice that in verse 4, it reads “they turned his heart to worship other gods”. Solomon came to the point that pleasing his wives was more important to him than being obedient to the God of Israel. In all of his wisdom, Solomon forgot that God had said that the king must not take many wives or buy many horses. And the king must not accumulate large amounts of wealth for himself. But, the king must copy the scriptures and study them daily.
We have to wonder if Solomon had kept up the practice of reading God’s Word daily. It is only when we keep the Word of God first in our lives that we can overcome the desires of the flesh. His Word must be our light, our guide and our advisor. Without His Word as a constant reminder of who He is and who we are, the flesh will dominate and we will end up in the same situation in which Solomon found himself in his old age. Daily, diligent meditation on His Word is our only hope for deliverance from evil.
11 Then the Lord said to me, “Look, Jeremiah! What do you see?”
And I replied, “I see a branch from an almond tree.”
12 And the Lord said, “That’s right, and it means that I am watching, and I will certainly carry out all my plans.” — Jeremiah 1:11, 12 NLT
The almond tree is particularly significiant in the Holy Scriptures. It is a sign of hope because it blossoms in the middle of the winter on a leafless tree. It reminds us that there is life even in our darkest hours. It is connected with charity in the book of Numbers becasue Aaron’s rod was from an almond tree and it blossomed and brought forth fruit overnight. Charity because the Levitical tribe lived on the gifts of the people, they had no earthly possessions. In the original KJV, the branch was called a “rod” which symbolizes power or leadership. In Old Testament times, the fruit of the almond tree was beleived to be the external expression of the goodness that is in all of us. Here in Jeremiah, the branch or “rod” of the almond tree is associated with God watching over HIs word and HIs people with power to perform. It means that He will carry out His plans and nothing nor anyone can stop Him from doing so. Our part is to spread His word among the people. Just as Moses told Aaron to take the incense and go between the dead and the living to stop the plague, we are to take the Word and stand in the gap to stop the advance of sin. We speak the Word and stand, God’s Word accomplishes and produces the fruit.
11 It is the same with my word. I send it out, and it always produces fruit.
It will accomplish all I want it to,
and it will prosper everywhere I send it. — Isaiah 55:11 NLT
19 My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, 20 because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires. 21 Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you. — James 1:19-21 NIV
As the end of time draws nearer and nearer, satan seems to be reacting like the cornered, trapped animal that he really is. That same spirit of anger and violence seems to be permeating our society. We see it in all the headlines, the senseless murders and crimes that are being committed on a daily basis. Yes, these things have been happening every since Cain slew Abel but the frequency and the intensity seems to be magnified more and more everyday. That is on a worldwide basis, but what about each individual? There was a time when we could laugh at our mistakes and have a little fun with each other over those issues on which we disagreed. But, more and more we have to be much more sensitive to these things. Statements that once would have been seen as light humor are now taken seriously and great harm is done. Even small, unintended injustices suddenly become someone’s newest campaign against whatever was mentioned. We see over and over the truth of the verse that “human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires.” Therefore, we, as Christians must put aside all our foolishness and fill our hearts and minds with the Word of God. Meditating on and storing God’s word in our hearts is our strongest defense against any kind of unacceptable behavior.
11 I have hidden your word in my heart
that I might not sin against you.
12 Praise be to you, Lord; teach me your decrees. — Psalm 119:11, 12 NIV
In a world of violence and anger, we must stand as lighthouses to lead others to Jesus, the Prince of Peace. We must let the light of Jesus shine through us. We must be the ones to show others that in the middle of the storm, there is a safe harbor, a place of calmness and peace. More and more, the world needs individual peacemakers. By blessing others with our examples of peacemaking, we ourselves receive God’s blessing.
9 Blessed are the peacemakers,
for they will be called children of God. — Matt. 5:9
32 Then John testified, “I saw the Holy Spirit descending like a dove from heaven and resting upon him. 33 I didn’t know he was the one, but when God sent me to baptize with water, he told me, ‘The one on whom you see the Spirit descend and rest is the one who will baptize with the Holy Spirit.’ 34
God is waiting to show you the Way.
I saw this happen to Jesus,
so I testify that he is the Chosen One of God.–John 1-32-34 (NLT)
This is the faithful witness of a faithful servant. He saw all the messages he had preached come to life in one Man/God.
1 In the beginning the Word already existed. The Word was with God, and the Word was God.–John 1:1 (NLT)
14 So the Word became human and made his home among us. He was full of unfailing love and faithfulness. And we have seen his glory, the glory of the Father’s one and only Son.–John 1:14 (NLT)
Not only do we have the witness of John the Baptist, but we have the witness of God Himself.
16 When He had been baptized, Jesus came up immediately from the water; and behold, the heavens were opened to Him, and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting upon Him. 17 And suddenly a voice came from heaven, saying, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.”—Matt. 3:16,17 (NLT
Let us use these examples as an inspiration to be faithful witnesses. We do not need to worry about what we will say or do, if we are questioned about our Christianity. God has promised us over and over that He will never forsake us nor leave us. He goes before us, He is with us, and He is our rearguard. He has also promised to give us the words to say
19 But when they deliver you up, do not worry about how or what you should speak. For it will be given to you in that hour what you should speak; 20 for it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father who speaks in you.—-Matt 10:19,20 (NLT)
Although these words were spoken to the twelve disciples as Jesus sent them out to witness, I believe they are just as true for us today when we make ourselves available for God to use. We need to store the Word in our heart by meditating on the Scriptures. Then whenever and wherever we go, we should remember God’s words to Joshua.
9 Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”—Joshua 1:9 (NLT)
1 In the beginning there was the Word. The Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was with God in the beginning. 3 All things were made by him, and nothing was made without him. 4 In him there was life, and that life was the light of all people. 5 The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overpowered it. 6 There was a man named John who was sent by God. 7 He came to tell people the truth about the Light so that through him all people could hear about the Light and believe.8 John was not the Light, but he came to tell people the truth about the Light. 9 The true Light that gives light to all was coming into the world!—John 1:1-9 (NCV)
God is waiting to show you the Way.
Before God created the world and divided time into night and day, They existed. God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit were there as One and yet separately. Jesus was the Word and was there with God. He participated in the creation of all things and all things were made for Him. He is Life and He is Light. He came into the world as the Word made Flesh. John was sent to announce His coming and John was faithful in carrying out that mission. John was the prophet foretelling the birth of Jesus. John was looking forward to that day even though John knew that when Jesus comes, “I must decrease and He must increase”. Now, we are the prophets looking back and looking forward, we tell of the future return of Jesus. We should pray that we will be as faithful as John was in carrying out our part of the mission. It is up to each of us to carry out the plan and the purpose that God planned for each of us to do. This was decided before the beginning of the world.
10 It is God himself who has made us what we are and given us new lives from Christ Jesus; and long ages ago he planned that we should spend these lives in helping others.—Eph. 2:10 (TLB)
1 The Word of life existed from the beginning. We have heard it. We have seen it. We observed and touched it. 2 This life was revealed to us. We have seen it, and we testify about it. We are reporting to you about this eternal life that was in the presence of the Father and was revealed to us. 3 This is the life we have seen and heard. We are reporting about it to you also so that you, too, can have a relationship with us. Our relationship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ. 4 We are writing this so that we can be completely filled with joy. 5 This is the message we heard from Christ and are reporting to you: God is light, and there isn’t any darkness in him.—1 John 1:1-5 (GW)
God is waiting to show you the Way.
The Word existed in the beginning. The Word was with God and the Word was God.
1 In the beginning the Word already existed. The Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was already with God in the beginning.–John 1:1 (GW)
This Word of Life was revealed to us in human form as Jesus Christ, the Messiah. Hundreds, no, even thousands witnessed His walk here on earth. Biblically and historically, there is no doubt that a man named Jesus lived and walked on this earth approximately 2,000 years ago. He was seen, He was heard and we have read the reports. It is now up to each individual to accept or reject this truth. Those who accept it can have a real relationship with the Living Word. The Word is God is Light is life is Jesus is the Holy Spirit. If we have one, we have Them all. We cannot choose to have One without accepting them altogether. How much of each we access and the effect they have on our lives is up to each of us. The fullness of our joy and the absence of fear in our lives is the measure of how much of All of Them we have accepted. Walk in the Light and there can be no darkness, walk in Love and there is no fear.
18. No fear exists where his love is. Rather, perfect love gets rid of fear, because fear involves punishment. The person who lives in fear doesn’t have perfect love.—1 John 4:18 (GW)
5 They deliberately forget that God made the heavens long ago by the word of his command, and he brought the earth out from the water and surrounded it with water.6 Then he used the water to destroy the ancient world with a mighty flood. 7 And by the same word, the present heavens and earth have been stored up for fire. They are being kept for the day of judgment, when ungodly people will be destroyed. 8 But you must not forget this one thing, dear friends: A day is like a thousand years to the Lord, and a thousand years is like a day. 9 The Lord isn’t really being slow about his promise, as some people think. No, he is being patient for your sake. He does not want anyone to be destroyed, but wants everyone to repent.—2 Peter 3:5-9 (NLT)
God is waiting to show you the Way.
God spoke everything into existence. Everything is held in place by the power of His word. Because everyone was “doing what was right in their own minds”, God destroyed the earth with the same water that had once covered the earth. Then He placed a rainbow in the sky as a sign to us that He would never again destroy the earth with water. Instead, the day is coming when He will destroy the present heavens and the earth with fire. We have once again arrived at that point where “everyone is doing what is right in their own mind” and not obeying the Lord. The Holy Spirit will not always strive with man and the time will come when God’s promise of destruction by fire will come. When? No one but the Father knows, but He is not bound by time, as we understand it. Our finite minds need eternity broken into small pieces so we can grasp it. That is not necessary for God. The One who is coming will come. While He is being patient with us, we need to be laboring in the fields that are white with harvest. It is not His will that any should perish and everyone will have more than ample opportunity to accept Him as Savior and Lord. But, we know that no matter how long He waits, there will be those who choose to go to hell rather than accept His free gift of salvation. Fill your lamps with oil, trim them to keep them burning and buy extra oil. Be alert! Be ready! The bridegroom is coming soon!
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. 23 For you have been born again, but not to a life that will quickly end. Your new life will last forever because it comes from the eternal, living word of God. 24 As the Scriptures say, “People are like grass; their beauty is like a flower in the field. The grass withers and the flower fades. 25 But the word of the Lord remains forever.” And that word is the Good News that was preached to you.—1 Peter 1:22-25 (NLT)
God is waiting to show you the Way.
The only way we can show our love for Jesus is by showing that love to others. Before we were cleansed from our sins, we only knew how to love the way the world loves. When we showed our love we expected love in return, it was a conditional love. I will love you if you love me. I will do things for you if you will do things for me in return. That is not the way Jesus loves us. His love is unconditional. He always loves us regardless of what we do or whether we ever return that love to Him. That is deep, heartfelt love. It is an eternal love that cannot be destroyed because its foundation is the love of Jesus Christ. Physically, we will all pass away unless the Lord comes back before that happens. Just as we see plants wither away every year, so will our physical bodies, but the love of Jesus and His Word are eternal. We have received and believed that Word, so we will be raised again to enjoy eternal life and love with our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. While we wait, let us show sincere love for each other, not only in our words, but in our actions.
17 And remember that the heavenly Father to whom you pray has no favorites. He will judge or reward you according to what you do. So you must live in reverent fear of him during your time here as “temporary residents.” 18 For you know that God paid a ransom to save you from the empty life you inherited from your ancestors. And it was not paid with mere gold or silver, which lose their value. 19 It was the precious blood of Christ, the sinless, spotless Lamb of God. 20 God chose him as your ransom long before the world began, but now in these last days he has been revealed for your sake. 21 Through Christ you have come to trust in God. And you have placed your faith and hope in God because he raised Christ from the dead and gave him great glory.—1 Peter 1:17-21 (NLT)
God is waiting to show you the Way.
We will all be judged for what we do and we will all be judged by the same standards. Jesus paid the exact same price for each of us. No one person is more valuable to Him than any other person. Because of the price He paid, we all owe Him everything. Giving Him everything does not even scratch the surface of what we owe Him. He paid a debt that we could never pay. While we were still leading those sinful lives filled with nothing, He loved us enough to shed His blood for us. Because of that and the example He set for us, we have come to trust in God. The God that has never broken a single promise and has never gone back on His Word. He is the Rock on which we can plant our feet and never be moved. He holds the future in His hands, therefore we have eternal hope because He raised Christ from the dead. He can also raise us from the dead and one day He will do just that. Without that hope, we of all people would be the most miserable.
So let us continuously give Him praise and glory all day, every day!