Live Free!

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34 Jesus answered them, “Truly, I tell all of you emphatically, that everyone who commits sin is a slave of sin. The slave does not remain in the household forever, but the son does remain forever. 36 So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed!” – John 8:34-36
Our lives are divided into times and seasons.  Since our finite minds cannot grasp infinite, eternal things in their fullness, God has divided time into seconds, minutes, hours, days, weeks, months, years and lifetimes.  There are good times and bad times, rough patches and smooth sailing, times of need and times of abundance, times of sickness and times of good health.  There are valleys of despair and there are mountains of joy.  This is true because we live in a sinful world and it will remain true until the Perfect One returns and restores us and all of nature to a perfect state.  James tells us that when sin has conceived, it brings forth death.  James 1:14, 15   There are more deaths than physical and spiritual that are brought on when we give into temptation and allow sin to rule in our lives.  There is financial death when we spend foolishly.  There is the death of abundance when we waste.  There is the death of relationships when we are unfaithful to God and/or others. But not all death is bad.  There is the death of anger and bitterness when we accept God’s forgiveness and forgive others.  There is the death of guilt and condemnation when we accept Jesus as our Savior.  That death frees us to live again.  To really live as we have never lived before!  Jesus showed us how to live free.  He put everyone in heaven and earth above Himself and His desires and He died to set us free!  Because He chose to do this, God has exalted Him above everyone and everything in heaven and on earth.  Have we killed our fleshly desires and allowed our spirits to be free?
Today would be a good day to deny all of our “self” and allow God to heal every hurt, pain and all the bitterness in our lives so that we can soar like eagles and live free!  I know, I know, we can’t.  But God can!

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

Post 11-30-2018

Think the Word, Pray the Word, Speak the Word

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19 But Peter and John replied, “Do you think God wants us to obey you rather than him? 20 We cannot stop telling about everything we have seen and heard.” — Acts 4:19

Acts 4:16-31

The council meeting in Jerusalem consisted of all the rulers, elders and teachers of religious law.  It also included the high priest and several of his relatives. They wanted to discredit Peter and John but the miracle of healing the lame man had been seen by too many and was too well known.  They would have preferred some harsh form of punishment but they were afraid that any such action would start a riot. So, they decided to just command them to stop talking about Jesus and never to speak to anyone again in the name of Jesus.  After telling Peter and John this and warning them of more harsh punishment in the future, they dismissed them. Peter and John told them they could not stop talking about everything they had seen and heard.  As soon as they were dismissed, they returned to the other believers and told them the whole story.  As soon as they had heard the story, all the believers lifted their voices and began to pray.  They asked God for boldness to preach His Word and that the preaching of the Word would be confirmed with miracles, signs and wonders.   When they had finished praying, the building where the meeting was taking place shook and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit.  They went forth and preached the Word with boldness.
When we are rebuked or offended because we mentioned Jesus, what do we do? Do we react with anger and unkind words or do we pray and respond with the love of Jesus?  If we take the time to whisper or even just think a prayer, the Holy Spirit will guide us, giving us the Words to speak and the boldness to speak those words.

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

Post 11-29-2018

What Do Our Actions Reveal to the World?

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13 The members of the council were amazed when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, for they could see that they were ordinary men with no special training in the Scriptures. They also recognized them as men who had been with Jesus. — Acts 4:13 NLT  

Acts 4:1-15

“For they could see that they were ordinary men with no special training”.  Using these ordinary men, God had drawn over 5000 men (plus the women and children} to Jesus.  Ordinary men and women are the ones that Jesus uses every day to draw others to Jesus Christ.  Ordinary men and women, people like you and me, are His choice to spread the Gospel.  Here are two ex-fishermen that Jesus has turned into “fishers of men”.  It is good to study and learn as long as our knowledge does not become our god.  It is good to study and learn as long as we remember why we are doing it.  Our studying and learning should be obedience-based and not outcome-based.  It is good to study and learn as long as we don’t use that as an excuse for not spreading the Gospel. The time is here to put all that studying and learning to the use for which God gave us the ability to do it.  We, as Christians, should have only one goal in our lives that overrides everything else that we do.  That goal is to do everything for the glory of God.  If we concentrate on that goal each and every day. perhaps we will one day receive the same compliment that Peter and John received here — “They recognized them as men who had been with Jesus”.  Do our lifestyles show others that “we have been with Jesus”?   Do people notice the presence of Jesus in our lives?  There is no higher compliment that we could pay a person than to tell them that we recognize they “have been with Jesus”.  

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

Post 11-28-2018

Power to Live Worry-Free!

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32 “So don’t be afraid, little flock. For it gives your Father great happiness to give you the Kingdom. — Luke 12:32 NLT

Most Christians are very familiar with this passage of Scripture. We are probably more familiar with the version in Matthew 6. These passages are about how God will take care of us and all of our needs.  We are warned not to be concerned about our needs for tomorrow.  Rather, we are to be concerned with our thoughts and activities for today.  In the above verse, God extends that promise to include not only our needs but the whole Kingdom of God.  We assume that that is a promise for the future and it is.  But, if we put this verse in the context of what Jesus is teaching the disciples and us, then it becomes a promise for now and later.  Particularly, in the Matthew version, this teaching follows closely after Jesus has taught the disciples what we call “The Lord’s Prayer”.  In that prayer,  Jesus teaches us to pray,”Your Kingdom come, Your will be done on earth even as it is in heaven.”   We are a part of the Kingdom of God that exists on earth now. Not in its perfect state, that will come later, nevertheless, it exists now and God wants us to enjoy the benefits of living in the Kingdom now and much more later. It gives God great joy when we accept His gifts and live lives that are full of joy and worry-free. When Jesus tells us not to worry and not to fear, His words are not just empty words, they carry the weight of the Resurrection Power of God behind them! They are more than a mere suggestion! They carry power that we can access to live worry-free!

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

Post 11-28-2016

One Jesus – One Way – One Story

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19 Now repent of your sins and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped away. — Acts 3:19 NLT        

 Acts 3:17-21 ISV

Except for Jesus, all humans were born with a sinful nature. We, including Jesus, were brought into a sinful world.  Before the death and resurrection of Jesus, most of the people could use the excuse of ignorance of that fact as a reason not to accept His story.  Even in today’s world of high tech and instant communications, there are still some who can legitimately say that they have never heard the name of Jesus.  Although the Gospel has been preached in every country, it is believed that there are more than 6550 people groups that have never heard the gospel.  There are even more groups who have heard the Gospel but don’t have established Christian organizations to witness to each and every one of the people. Even in our own country and in a lot of our own neighborhoods, there are those who may have heard the name of Jesus but have little or no idea of His story of eternal life.

Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.If you have known me, you will also know my Father. From now on you know him and have seen him.”​ – John 14:6-7 ISV
“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous
Post 11-27-2018

Victory in Jesus

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27 For you will not abandon my soul to Hades or allow your Holy One to experience decay. ​- Acts 2:27 ISV​
 


Our story never changes.  It is the old, old story that is new every morning.  It is our anthem, our song, our strength and our hope.  Jesus voluntarily gave up His glory in heaven temporarily.  He was born into the world, He was fully man and fully God.  He went about doing good and God performed miracles, wonders and signs through Him.  Not everyone believed the story then and not everyone believes the story now.  But God, knowing what would happen, already had a plan in place.  Jesus came to this earth to redeem a fallen people from their sins and nothing, no one, nor any force of any kind would prevent that from happening. Over and over, the religious leaders conspired to kill Jesus before His time and in a manner that would not be sufficient for redemption.  God would not allow it.  Jesus was the perfect man, God had the perfect plan and now we are redeemed.  Just as God had a plan for Jesus, He has a plan for each of us to participate in the redemption story.  We are not perfect, God already knows that, so when we fail, He understands.  But His plan for each of us takes our weaknesses and failures into account.  He is never surprised by our failures and He never gives up on us.  We are chosen, we are called and we will succeed in the plan Jesus has for each of us.  So, when satan, the father of lies, comes to shame us with all of our failures, we just need to tell him to take it up with Jesus, stand up. let God clean us up and press on.  The battle is not ours, it’s the Lord’s and He won the war years ago at the cross.  We may suffer losses and temporary setbacks, but we cannot be defeated.  

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

Post 11-26–2018

Be Continually Filled With the Holy Spirit

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17 ‘In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on everyone.
Your sons and your daughters will prophesy,
    your young men will see visions,
        and your old men will dream dreams.
​- Acts 2:17 ISV​


The pouring out of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost was a beginning of the fulfillment of this prophesy from Joel in the Old Testament.  God continues to pour out His Spirit on His people even today.  This will continue until Jesus returns to take all of His children home.  Then the Holy Spirit will be removed from the earth and satan will reign. When will this be?  Only God the Father knows.  If we are saved, it doesn’t really matter when it happens, we will be ready.   What does matter is how we spend our time until then.  When we accepted Jesus, we were saved and we are still saved.  Works will not make us more saved, they are an outward sign of who we serve as Master and Lord. The works we do here are also how we earn our rewards in heaven.  We are not to live as we used to live, but through the direction of the Holy Spirit and studying of God’s Word, we are to determine those things that please God and do those things only.  When we see sinful things going on, we are to expose them, not participate in them. We must learn to live wisely and not as fools. We are to spend our time, not in grumbling, whining and complaining, but in joyfully serving the Lord doing everything He asks us to do wherever He has planted us.

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

Post 11-25-2018