Rehearse What God Has Done For You!

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3 At one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures. We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another. 4 But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, 5 he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit. — Titus 3:3-​5a ​NIV

We are often reminded of the things we did in the past. The thing that causes us to remember can be a single word, a song, a picture, a place, a taste, or a chance meeting with someone we used to know.  Even though there is no situation that can ever be duplicated exactly as we remember it, the memories sometimes cause a great longing in us for “the good ole days”. But, as Christians, we need to be very selective in the memories we hold onto. Very few memories are neutral, they remind us of good times or bad times.  They also remind us of the evil that was in us before we accepted Jesus as our Savior and hopefully, as our Lord. If we can use our memories and experiences to glorify God, that is a wonderful thing. But we should be careful that when rehearsing our memories that they don’t give more glory to a sinful way of life than they do to the one who gave His life that we might have a glorious future with Him.

38 The man from whom the demons had gone out begged to go with him, but Jesus sent him away, saying, 39 “Return home and tell how much God has done for you.” So the man went away and told all over town how much Jesus had done for him. — Luke 8:38, 39 NIV

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

Post 04-30-2018

Just Say No to Fleshly Desires

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12 And we are instructed to turn from godless living and sinful pleasures. We should live in this evil world with wisdom, righteousness, and devotion to God – Titus 2:12 NLT
 
When we repented of our sins and received God’s forgiveness, it was the first step of a journey that will eventually take us to heaven to spend an eternity with our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.  Our salvation is secure because we are clothed in the righteousness of Jesus Christ. The change in us, at this point, is internal. Unless that change in our hearts’ desires is manifested externally those around us may not know that we have accepted Jesus. True repentance changes our hearts and our minds. Jesus set the example of what our lifestyle should be. The Holy Spirit, which now dwells in us, inspired the writers of the New Testament to write verse after verse telling us how our lives should change. We now say “no” to those fleshly desires that were once our way of life. Now we say “yes” to the Holy Spirit. Every day is a battle between evil (our flesh) and good (the Spirit). We are in a war and there is no neutral ground. If we aren’t moving forward, then we are losing ground. So, every day, we must arm ourselves with the full armor of God and fight the good fight.

8 Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. 9 Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings.10 And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong,firm and steadfast. 11 To him be the power for ever and ever. Amen — 1 Peter 5:8-11 NIV

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

Post 04-29-2018

Blemishes, Divisions, and Obstacles

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17 And now I make one more appeal, my dear brothers and sisters. Watch out for people who cause divisions and upset people’s faith by teaching things contrary to what you have been taught. Stay away from them.  – Romans 16:17
 
From the first century church until now, there have been those who use the Gospel for their own benefit. No matter what size the congregation, satan seems to always have one of his minions involved.  Whether they are misleading people for financial gain, power or popularity, the reason really doesn’t matter.  We must be aware of anyone whose message doesn’t quite align with the scriptures. Even more dangerous are those whose words ring true but their actions do not agree with what they say. These people are usually easy on the eyes and their speech is very eloquent. It is extremely hard for the flesh to resist them. But, as we have learned, following them leads to death. Sometimes spiritual death, other times both spiritual and physical death. We need to pray for discernment so that we will be aware of these deceivers. We are warned over and over in the Bible that these people will abound more and more as the second coming of our Lord and Savior grows ever nearer.12 These people are blemishes at your love feasts, eating with you without the slightest qualm—shepherds who feed only themselves. They are clouds without rain, blown along by the wind; autumn trees, without fruit and uprooted—twice dead. 13 They are wild waves of the sea, foaming up their shame; wandering stars, for whom blackest darkness has been reserved forever.— Jude 12​-13​

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

Post 04-28-2018

One Story – One Hope

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Such things were written in the Scriptures long ago to teach us. And the Scriptures give us hope and encouragement as we wait patiently for God’s promises to be fulfilled. – Romans 15:4 NLT
 
 
All of the Scriptures, both Old and New are a continuing story of hope. In the Old Testament, the Jews were constantly reminded of the hope they had that God was with them and would deliver them in His timing. The prophets also told of a time when the Messiah would come to deliver not only the Jews but also the Gentiles. The New Testament continues that story of hope with the birth, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior. We still look forward to the time when Jesus will come again to receive all of His children to be with Him in heaven. That is the hope we have that gives us encouragement to endure the time we spend as aliens here on earth.  While we are here, we are instructed to follow the example that Jesus set in His time here as a stranger and an alien. We are to accept one another as He accepted us, love each other as He loves us, edify and encourage each other.  We do this to bring glory, honor and praise to God, our Father. This is not possible in the flesh unless we mortify the flesh and submit to the leadership of the Holy Spirit, even unto death, if necessary.
23 Then he said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. 24 For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will save it.25 What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit their very self? — Luke 9:23-25 NIV

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

Post 04-27-2018

Redeeming the Time

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11 This is all the more urgent, for you know how late it is; time is running out. Wake up, for our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed. – Romans 13:11 NLT
 
Over the centuries, Christians have received a lot of criticism because many have tried to predict the time when Jesus will return.  Jesus specifically told us in His Word that no one but the Father knew the day and the hour. Even so, it is our eternal hope and we look forward expectantly for His return.  It is certainly true that regardless of when, we know that the completion of our salvation “is nearer now than when we first believed”.  We don’t need to waste our time and energy on trying to figure out when Jesus will return.  We don’t need to waste out time trying to gratify the flesh which can never get enough. Yes, everyone needs to earn a living and take care of those things that God has made us stewards over, But, and much more importantly, we need to spend a lot more of the time God has allotted us here on earth in worshiping God, praising God and disciplining others to be ready at all times. We are never on neutral ground, we are in a war zone constantly.  We need to fight the good fight clothed with the armor of God and the righteousness of Jesus Christ.

36 You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised. 37 For, “In just a little while, he who is coming will come and will not delay.” — Hebrews 10:36, 37 NIV

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

Post 04-26-2018

“Love is A Debt We Owe”

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8 Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for whoever loves others has fulfilled the law. 9 The commandments, “You shall not commit adultery,” “You shall not murder,” “You shall not steal,” “You shall not covet,” and whatever other command there may be, are summed up in this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”  10 Love does no harm to a neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law. — Romans 13:8-10 NIV

God is love, Jesus was God in the flesh, so Jesus is love and therefore He was the fulfillment of the law. The death of Jesus on the cross for our sins was love beyond our comprehension.  It wasn’t just love squared or love cubed, it was, and still is love to the power of infinity. The flesh is incapable of love in any degree, much less to the level of love that God has for us. Yet, we are instructed to work toward that goal. Is it a work  of futility?  For the flesh, yes.  For the Holy Spirit, no. While there is a plethora of emotions associated with love and acts of love, those feelings and emotions are not the reason we love. It is a decision we make. The death of Jesus on the cross was not a result of some emotional explosion in heaven, it was a decision made by the Trinity. Jesus paid all of our sin debt and we can never repay Him for that.  But, we still have a continuing debt that we can never pay in full. It is somewhat like a “full life” insurance policy. As long as you live, you owe regular payments on it.  Our debt of love will never be marked “Paid in Full”.  But we still need to be sure that it stays “paid up to date”.  Are we making regular, daily payments on our debt of love?

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

Post 04-25-2018

“All Glory, Majesty, Power and Authority”

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11 All power to him forever! Amen. -1 Peter 5:11
 
We must remember that we are in a war at all times. We must continually resist the devil and not give him any hold on us in any way. That means that our daily lifestyle should be one that “shuns the very appearance of evil”.  We must stand firm in the faith, not murmuring or complaining about the situations we find ourselves in. If we are where we are because of our own bad decisions, we certainly don’t need to complain. If God has put us where we are, there is a reason for it and we should endure it with joy.  We are not experiencing anything that thousands before us have not already experienced and remained faithful. Our sufferings are to make us strong and steadfast and to bring glory to God. As Paul said.

18 I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. 19 For the creation waits in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed. — Romans 8:18, 19 NIV

Our suffering here is but a very short time, then God will deliver us from it all.  He has all power and authority to do so and He has never failed on a promise to us.
24 To him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy— 25 to the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore! Amen.— Jude 24, 25  NIV


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

Post 04-24-2018