“Are You Dressed For the Wedding?”

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24 and to clothe yourselves with the new nature, which was created according to God’s image in righteousness and true holiness. – Eph. 4:23 ISV
Jesus laid aside His glory, came to earth and clothed Himself in flesh for one purpose.  That purpose was to redeem the earth and its inhabitants from their fallen state. He lived a life here to set an example of how we should live. He died and rose again to fulfill His purpose of redeeming us.  We remain in the flesh, but we now have the opportunity to be clothed in His righteousness.

 

10  I delight greatly in the Lord; my soul rejoices in my God.  For he has clothed me with garments of salvation and arrayed me in a robe of his righteousness, as a bridegroom adorns his head like a priest, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels. — Isaiah 61:10 NIV

Think of the time the couple spends together getting to know each other and planning their wedding. Think of the hours, effort and money that earthly brides spend in preparation for their wedding.  Consider the excitement of the wedding party, the family, friends and acquaintances as the big day approaches. Then compare that to how much time we spend in preparing ourselves spiritually to meet our Bridegroom. Not only has our Bridegroom paid for the wedding, He has furnished us with the wedding clothes, prepared the wedding feast and has the home all ready to move into. That kind of love should behoove us to spend time every day getting dressed for the wedding. Spend some time each day with the Groom, get to know Him and put on the wedding garments He has given to each of us. You can’t wear them out, they will always be clean and ready.

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

Post 08-31-2018

Repent, Relax, Remember, Repeat

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29 “Therefore since we are God’s offspring, we should not think that the divine being is like gold or silver or stone—an image made by human design and skill.30 In the past God overlooked such ignorance, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent. — Acts 17:29​, 30​ NIV

When we read scriptures about idol worship, we tend to think of those that worship statues or symbols of dead men or useless religions.  While we may not have an image of the dollar setting on the mantle of the fireplace, we can still be worshiping all the things that money can buy.  While we may not have statues of anyone in our homes or churches, we can still hold others in higher esteem than we hold Jesus. If someone asks you to do anything that makes you feel uncomfortable or violates your beliefs and you go ahead and do it, you have placed that person above Jesus. Our work here is to do the will of the Father, not the will of those around us.

 

38 For I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of him who sent me.– John 6:38 NIV

We are not in a popularity contest.  Our goal should be to please our Father.  If we do that, He will take care of us.  If we are obedient and seek Jesus and His righteousness, He will handle all of the issues that satan puts in our way.

 

33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. — Matt. 6:33 NIV

“All these things” is everything that we need to live a Godly lifestyle. Everything means every thing.  Don’t stress out. Repent, Relax, Remember, Repeat.

 

“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous
Post 08-30-2018

“Revere Christ as Lord”

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15 But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, 16  keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander. — 1 Peter 3:1​5, 16 NIV

In the Old and New Testament, the word “heart” refers not to the physical organ, but to the center of all of our life processes.  The “heart” is the seat of our minds, emotions, and wills. Therefore, it refers to our thought patterns, our attitudes and our desires. Our thoughts become actions which become habits which become our lifestyle. The things and/or people that we spend the most time thinking about, in reality, are the things that control our lives.  This is characterized by the following verse:

45 A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of. — Luke 6:45 NIV
Revere can be defined as “honor, look up to, or  put on a pedestal”.  A throne is a pedestal and our “hearts” are the center of our lives.  So, if we revere God, we honor Him by putting Him on the throne of our hearts and make Him the center of our lives.  Our decisions and thus, our lifestyles, will be examples of the Person we love and admire the most.  We will want others to follow our Leader.  In light of all this, we need to spend the majority of our time thinking about our Savior and Lord, Jesus Christ.  If we do this, we will “always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have.”  We need to do this with love, gentleness and respect.  Just as our checkbooks show the patterns of our physical lifestyles, so our conversations show the patterns of our thought life and our spiritual lives. It is a law unto itself:
 

5 Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. — Romans 8:5 NIV

So, let us, along with the Psalmist, ask God to create a clean heart in each of us. We need clean hearts if we are going to fulfill the sole purpose for which we were created and that is to glorify God.

 
31 Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. — 1 Cor. 10:31 NKJV
 
“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous
Post 08-29-2018

Speak Carefully

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​1​0  “For the person who wants to love life    and see good days
must keep his tongue from evil
    and his lips from speaking deceit.  
​- 1 Peter 3:10 ISV​
 

 Somehow, somewhere, it seems that we have gotten the idea that it is not necessary for us to be careful of the words we speak and the tone of voice we use when we speak those words.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  When I become frustrated and/or angry, I hear myself speaking unkind words in a tone that I should not be using.  I am always convicted of the words and the attitude that caused me to speak those careless words.  Not always immediately, but the Holy Spirit does not leave me alone until I agree with Him and confess my sin. I am so grateful that God loves me enough to discipline me, no matter how long it takes. The passage of scripture quoted here in 1 Peter (originally from Psalm 34:12-16) reminds me that as a Christian, I should not be guilty of speaking words in that tone of voice.  If I truly “love life” and want to “see good days”, I must “keep my tongue from evil and my lips from deceitful speech”.  I must “seek peace and pursue it”, then God’s eyes will be on me and He will hear my prayers.  If I continue to rebel against God with unkind words and a bad attitude,  I have no basis to expect Him to do anything for me. God seems to be teaching me a lesson that “bad things happen to good people” sometimes because He disciplines His children.  The obverse of this is that He doesn’t discipline those that are not His children, but they will receive the full brunt of His wrath in the fullness of time.  Our part, then, is to remain obedient and faithful and He will do His part. As the Psalmist puts it:

8  Refrain from anger and turn from wrath; do not fret—it leads only to evil.  9  For those who are evil will be destroyed, but those who hope in the Lord will inherit the land.  10 A little while, and the wicked will be no more; though you look for them, they will not be found.  11  But the meek will inherit the land and enjoy peace and prosperity— Psalm 37:8-11 NIV

 

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

 

Post 08-28-2018

A Never-Ending Gift

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2  The Spirit of the Lord will rest upon him, ​- Isaiah 11:2a ISV​
This passage from Isaiah is one of the many prophecies about Jesus in the Old Testament.  It gives us several of the characteristics of Jesus; wisdom, understanding, counsel, might, knowledge and the fear of the Lord.  Notice that not only did He have the “fear of the Lord”, but He delighted in that fear.  Though, He was God, He came to us as all man.  As a man, His access to divine knowledge was limited.  He did this voluntarily so that He might live as all man so that He might be an example to us.  

 

6 who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7 but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men.– Phil 2:6, 7 ESV

We, as humans, have access to that same Spirit.  In fact, that Spirit lives inside each of us.  He gave us this Spirit as a gift.  So, our lives should exhibit those same characteristics, at least to some degree.  To what degree depends completely on our commitment to spend time in His presence praying, meditating on His Word, and listening to His voice.  The reason we need to do this is that there is so much more Jesus wants to give us but He will not force it upon us, we have to ask Him for it and delight in receiving it.  How can we know that He will give us more?
 

32 He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? — Romans 8:32 NIV

4 Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart. — Psalm 37:4 NIV

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

 

Post 08-27-2018

Sharing in His Suffering

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19 For it is commendable if someone bears up under the pain of unjust suffering because they are conscious of God. 20 But how is it to your credit if you receive a beating for doing wrong and endure it? But if you suffer for doing good and you endure it, this is commendable before God. 21 To this you were called,because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps. — 1 Peter 2:19-21 NIV


As we look back and honestly assess the hard times in our lives, we can attribute most of them to bad decisions that we have made.  Those decisions may have involved unkind words that we spoke causing ill feelings and anger between us and others.  The decisions may have been based on our fleshly desires and caused us to commit acts that we should not have committed.  The decisions could have been bad financial decisions we made because we did not want to wait until we were able to afford certain things.  We get no credit or praise for enduring those times that were brought on by our own wrong doing.  I cannot recall one time in my life when I had to suffer because of a good deed that I had done.  I read the horror stories of our brothers and sisters being abused and persecuted for the good deeds they have done and are doing and I pray for them.  Those events seem so far away and foreign to me.  And I wonder what my reaction to that kind of treatment would be.  Would I stay faithful to God and endure the pain?  We are called to and warned to be ready for such acts.  We have the examples of those in the Bible and in our daily news of those who do endure.  They are the ones who make up the “cloud of witnesses” that surround us.  I shed tears of grief as I listen to their stories and I feel so small and unworthy knowing that the tears they are shedding as they tell their stories are tears of joy, the joy of sharing in suffering with our Savior.  

“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous
Post 08-26-2018

“Foreigners and Exiles”

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11 Dear friends, I urge you, as foreigners and exiles, to abstain from sinful desires, which wage war against your soul. 12 Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us. — 1 Peter 2:11,12 NIV
 
As sons, daughters and heirs of God, we should act accordingly.  Jesus gave up all of His glory in heaven, came to earth and lived as a human and an exile here. He did this so that He might become the first born of the new covenant and the head of the church.

 

18 And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy. 19 For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, 20 and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross. — Col. 1:18-20 NIV

As the first born, He is our example to follow.  He lived a sinless life.  We, as humans, cannot obtain perfection as long as we live in these fleshly tents.  We are in a daily battle to overcome our fleshly desires. It should be our hearts’ desire to get as close to that goal as we can.  Not only are we foreigners and exiles, but we are ambassadors of God and our home country, heaven. Our thoughts, words and actions should reflect the character of the leaders of that country.  If we strive to do that on a daily basis, under the leadership of the Holy Spirit, God will be glorified.  When we do this with humility and love, it will cause others to want what we have.  As souls are added to the Kingdom, God will receive more and more glory.  When a soul is saved, it is as if God has visited us because there is a little more of heaven on earth.

 

“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous
Post 08-25-2018