A Simple Plan For Joy

7 “Oh, what joy for those whose disobedience is forgiven, whose sins are put out of sight.
8 Yes, what joy for those whose record the Lord has cleared of sin.”  
— Romans 4:7, 8 NLT 

Romans 4: 8-10 NLT

God, because of His great love, mercy and grace made the plan of salvation so simple that a child can understand it.  Because of the simplicity of the plan, it often brings the question, “Is that really all I need to do to be saved?’.  And the simple answer is yes.  So, we can just keep doing what we were doing?  No! and again No!  But now we are talking about sanctification which is a lifelong process.  The good works we do are not to gain a greater salvation.  If we could do enough good works to be saved then Jesus died in vain.  We might as well still be living under the law and all of its impossible requirements.  But Jesus did not die in vain. His death and resurrection fulfilled the law and opened the gate to heaven so that all that chose Him in faith could come in.  When Paul tells the Philippians to “work out your own salvation”, he is not telling them to look for another way to be saved.  He is telling them to do good works to show the world the results of their salvation.

Phil, 2:12-15 NLT  

Jesus “went about doing good”.  He is our example of how we are to live our lives as His brothers and sisters.  As Christians, our response to certain things should be so different from the response of the worldly that it gets their attention. Our good works not only attract others to Jesus but they are also how we “lay up rewards in heaven”.

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

Post 04-01-2019

“Disorder and Every Kind of Evil”

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16 For wherever jealousy and rivalry exist, there is disorder and every kind of evil. – James 3:16 ISV
 
Wisdom is defined as “the quality or state of being wise; knowledge of what is true or right coupled with just judgment as to action; sagacity, discernment, or insight”.  So, what we consider wisdom is largely determined by whatever belief system we adhere to.  Since worldly religious systems are based on beliefs that do not believe in and accept Jesus Christ as their Savior and Lord are laid on an erroneous foundation, then any wisdom based on those beliefs will have error in it. So, it is very possible to be religious, have tons of knowledge, be worldly-wise and still be wrong.  Such wisdom is considered foolishness by God.

 

18 Do not deceive yourselves. If any of you think you are wise by the standards of this age, you should become “fools” so that you may become wise. 19 For the wisdom of this world is foolishness in God’s sight. As it is written: “He catches the wise in their craftiness” — 1 Cor. 3:18, 19

This difference between beliefs in worldly wisdom and Christianity is used by satan to create chaos and violence. The people committing the acts of violence do so because in the “wisdom” of their religion it is “just judgment” to those who do not adhere to their beliefs. This “wisdom” does not come down from heaven. . The wider and deeper the differences in Christianity and any particularly world religion, the more problems and issues it will create. Some worldly religions teach their followers to hate and destroy the enemy.  We should be thankful every second of every day that we serve a Savior who teaches us to love.  His love for us not only requires that we love Him, our family and our friends, but also our enemies.  

 

43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. — Matt. 5:43-45

“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous
Post 08-05-2018

“Godly Sorrow Brings Salvation”

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10 For the kind of sorrow God wants us to experience leads us away from sin and results in salvation. There’s no regret for that kind of sorrow. But worldly sorrow, which lacks repentance, results in spiritual death.  – 2 Cor.7:10 NLT
 
In his letters to the church at Corinth, Paul had admonished them to take corrective action against those members that were not living a Christian lifestyle  They were participating in sexual sins and not showing proper respect when taking communion. He wanted the church to be a shining light in a dark city.  Although, he spoke to them firmly, it was because he loved them as his own children and wanted to see them maturing in the faith. When we have erred, we need to accept correction from those who love us and want us to be stronger Christians. If we feel guilty and condemned, we should remember that condemnation comes from satan, not from the Lord. Condemnation is “worldy” sorrow that leads to death.  Conviction is “godly” sorrow that leads to repentance and life. When we feel convicted of an error, we ask God for His forgiveness.  We all fall down at times, but God is waiting to pick us up and restore us to Himself. It just requires us being honest with ourselves and with Him.
If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word is not in us. — 1 John 1:8-10 NIV

Once we have accepted God’s forgiveness for our sins, we need to forgive ourselves and move on.  We must never allow satan to use past sins to condemn us. This only leads to pain and confusion. Rejoice in the freedom that comes with confession and forgiveness and live in the truth of God’s Word.


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

Post 06-16-2018

Seek Godly Wisdom

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19 For the wisdom of this world is foolishness to God.  – 1 Cor 3:19a NLT

Compared to the wisdom of God, anything that we call wisdom here on earth is nothing but foolishness. Divine wisdom far exceeds anything we can think or imagine, not only in quality, but also in quantity. Men who think themselves wise and try to deceive others will be dealt with by God.
12 He ruins the plans of those who trick others so they have no success. 13 He catches the wise in their own clever traps and sweeps away the plans of those who try to trick others.—Job 5:12 NCV
Admitting that our wisdom is useless for getting into heaven is part of the humbling process. It is also one of the objections that worldly wise people have to becoming a Christian. That is why so many of us do not accept Jesus until He has allowed us to get to the end of our resources, then we will turn to Him. We can see Job as an example of this. He lost everything here on earth and was advised by His wife to curse God and die, Job refused and his “wise” friends tried to counsel him. but it took a confrontation with God himself for Job to humble himself and be redeemed.
25 “As for me, I know that my Redeemer lives, and at the last He will take His stand on the earth.” Job 19:25 NASB

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

Post 02-03-2018

Take Up Your Cross

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14 And then, dear brothers and sisters, you suffered persecution from your own countrymen. In this way, you imitated the believers in God’s churches in Judea who, because of their belief in Christ Jesus, suffered from their own people, the Jews.
— 1 Thessalonians 2:14 NLT
We can talk about a lot of different things and different “gods” and most people may not even pay attention to what we are saying. But when we talk about the Good News, which is “the very Word of God”, we will get some sort of reaction. The Name of Jesus is not neutral and when it is spoken, it requires that a decision be made by the hearer. No response or not accepting is still a decision. If we allow the Word to continue its work in us, we will be persecuted by the worldly factions. Since the Creator was persecuted, even to death, how can we, the creation, expect not to be persecuted?
 

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

Post 03-16-17

Meditating on God and His Word

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1 Blessed is the one    who does not walk in step with the wicked
or stand in the way that sinners take
    or sit in the company of mockers,
2 but whose delight is in the law of the Lord,   
and who meditates on his law day and night. — Psalm 1:1-2 NIV
 

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.

Post 01-03-2017

Who Is My Enemy?

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44 But I say, love your enemies![r] Pray for those who persecute you! — Matt.5:44

Jesus is the difference-maker.  Not just the fact that He is the only person ever resurrected to eternal life but in the way we think and live.  In every aspect of life, His view was diametrically opposed to the views of the world and of the flesh.  The law said to love your neighbor and hate your enemy. Jesus said to not only love our enemies but to show that love by praying for them.  How often do we fervently pray for our families, friends and neighbors, much less our enemies?  But I don’t have any enemies, you say. Even here, Jesus has a different view.  If the world and those that hold worldly views are not our enemies, then they are our friends and that makes us an enemy of God.  James 4: 4-7 NLT  The Holy Spirit that God has placed inside us does not agree with sin in any way.  Those around us that would tempt us to disobey God are our Spiritual enemies.  If we can’t resist the temptations they offer, they will lead us into destruction,  That sounds like an enemy to me.  We must pray for them fervently and continuously and for ourselves to have the Spiritual strength to resist the devil, humble ourselves before God and accept His definition of sin and the enemy.

Post 09-11-2016

A Chosen People, A Royal Priesthood

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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
Stephen has just recited a short summary of all the things God had brought the Israelites through and the miracles He had peformed 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 Israelites 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 Israelites.  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.
Even though this was a promise God made to the Israelites, 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.
Post 04-22-2016

Keep Giving Thanks

even-smaller-bug-light11  Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children; 2 and walk in love, just as Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as afragrant aroma. 3 But immorality or any impurity or greed must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints; 4 and there must be no filthiness and silly talk, or coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks. — Ephesians 5:1-4 NASB

W​e are going through a time of thanksgiving and praise for all the blessings that God has poured out on us and also for His grace in bringing us through the rough times in our lives.  Most had a few days off and/or our regular routine was changed for a few days.   When we are at family gatherings and places of worship, it is much easier for us to praise God and give thanks.  We have been surrounded by those who love us and we feel a kind of insulation from worldly influences. But what do we do when we retrun to our jobs or schools?  We will be around those who are more concerned about worldly things than spiritual.  We will be more likely to hear the kind of talk that Paul describes here in this passage. It is this kind of mindset and conversation that causes us to focus on the world and not on Jesus.  This can cause our attitudes to change from thanksgiving back to the worldly attitude of greed and coveteousness. As we go back into those situations. we need to remember that where we are or what we are doing does not change who God is or what He has done for us.  In the face of all that satan confronts us with out in the world, we need to show others the love of God by keeping our conversations pure.  We just need to keep practicing the attitude of love and thanksgiving until it becomes a lifestyle, not just a season in our lives.

Post 11-29-2015

 

The End is Victory!

God is waiting to show you the Way.

God is waiting to show you the Way.

1 Brothers and sisters, I could not address you as people who live by the Spirit​ ​but as people who are still worldly—mere infants in Christ. 2 I gave you milk, not solid food, for you were not yet ready for it. Indeed, you are still not ready.3 You are still worldly. For since there is jealousy and quarreling among you, are you not worldly? Are you not acting like mere humans? 4 For when one says, “I follow Paul,” and another, “I follow Apollos,” are you not mere human beings?—1 Cor. 3:1-4 (NIV)
​Up until the death of Jesus​, the people would follow after certain Rabbis, the great teachers of religion in that time. These Rabbis taught the Old Testament laws and rules, as well as those who taught idol worship. Now there was a new plan of salvation instituted with the death and resurrection of Jesus. In a sense, it is understandable that the people, at that time, would have been inclined to follow the teachers and not just their teaching. Paul is telling the Corinthians that they aren’t yet able to understand the message. They must first learn that it is the message that is important and not the messenger. Until they understand this and have accepted Jesus as their Savior and Lord, he is not able to teach them in more depth. We still have the same thing happening in our society today. We have people who are misled and think that the messenger is the savior, thus we have cults and incidents such as Jim Jones, where people follow their leaders even unto death. Paul was concerned that the people in Corinth would turn back to the law or false religion. He wanted to be able to get them grounded in the faith by teaching them about living a Holy life after being saved, so that they, in turn, could make disciples of others. Today, we have many people who are saved and then become unsatisfied with Christianity because we don’t teach them to live holy lives. They drop out of church because we don’t teach them that living for Jesus is hard, but the joy and the end result is more than worth the effort.
57 But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.–1 Cor. 15:57 NIV