“This Is the Key To Your Life”

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19 “Today I have given you the choice between life and death, between blessings and curses. Now I call on heaven and earth to witness the choice you make. Oh, that you would choose life, so that you and your descendants might live! 20 You can make this choice by loving the Lord your God, obeying him, and committing yourself firmly to him. This is the key to your life. — Deut. 30:19, 20a NLT

This choice was given to the children of Israel under the old covenant.  They lived under the old covenant and the law.  We live under the new covenant and grace.  The covenants have changed but the choices are still the same, we can choose life or death. We can choose to accept the sacrifice of Jesus as our redeemer or we can reject that sacrifice and choose death.  We were born in sin into a sinful world, we choose death by continuing that lifestyle.  We choose life by accepting Jesus, loving God, obeying Him and committing ourselves firmly to Him. This choice is “the key to life”.  Choosing Jesus and life unlocks doors so that we can access the abundant life.  Life is more about “being” than about doing. We are called human beings not human doers.  Before we do anything, we need to be in the presence of God. To be in His presence means we spend time at His feet learning His teachings and allowing Him to disciple us.  Maybe that is why all the “blessed are” verses in Matthew 5 are called the “be-attitudes”.  We need to learn to have the same attitude that Jesus has so we can be like Him. If we spend enough time “being” in His presence, the “doing” will be a natural outflow of our “being”.  Then we can live the abundant, blessed life He desires to give us.

10 The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life. — John 10:10 NLT

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

Post 11-09-2018

Choices, Decisions, Consequences

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25 He chose to share the oppression of God’s people instead of enjoying the fleeting pleasures of sin. – Hebrews 11:25
Every day, we make choices about the things in our lives.  A lot of those decisions are almost robotic or habitual.  We do this at this time because we always have.  Some decisions require us to actually consciously think about them before we decide what to do.  Every now and then, we have what we refer to as “big” decisions.  These are the things that affect our lives today and in the future. Some of those decisions will be irreversible and affect all the people in our circles of influence whether we want them to or not.  Some of us will be given opportunities to make world-changing decisions, maybe all of us.  Do you think Moses had any idea that his decision that day was a world changer?  To him at that time, it was probably a small decision that only affected the lives of a few people. But, consider this, “what if” Moses had not made the decision he made. “What if”, he had decided that he liked the riches and the glory of Egypt more than his people, what would have happened? Reminisce with me today. Let’s think back over our lives, how many “what if” times have we had?  How many times has God given us opportunities to change our little corner of the world and we made the wrong decision?  The next person the Holy Spirit nudges us to witness to could be God’s choice to be the Moses or the Billy Graham of the next generation. “What if” we don’t follow the leading of the Holy Spirit and talk to that person about salvation?  Today, let’s make a renewed commitment to be faithful in following the leadership of the Holy Spirit and encourage those around us. Let’s be faithful in the “little” things because “what if” there aren’t really any “little” things in our lives?  Now is “the time” and where you are is “the place” to make that “big” decision!

 

14 For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father’s family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?” — Esther 4:14 NIV

 

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

Post 05-19-2018

Choose Carefully Who Speaks Into Your Spiritual Life

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18 Then three years later I went to Jerusalem to get to know Peter, and I stayed with him for fifteen days. ​- Galatians 1:18 NLT

Just as God had set Paul apart to be the apostle to the Gentiles, He has a plan for each of us. That plan has been in place since before the earth was created. Besides Ananias, Paul did not consult with other Christians until he had spent time in the Arabian desert. How long he stayed in the desert is unknown, but he returned to Damascus and preached there for three years. Then he went to Jerusalem to spend time with Peter (Cephas). Besides what God had imparted to Paul through the Holy Spirit, he was able to talk about Jesus with Peter. That would be a conversation worth listening to. It is also a good example for us to follow. We need to spend time alone with God and then we need a mature Christian to mentor us. We need both to become what God wants us to be. We need to choose carefully and not let just anyone speak into our spiritual lives. After making a careful choice of who that person or persons will be, we still need to verify every word by the WORD.
1 Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.–1 John 4:1 (NASB)

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

Post 12-21-2017

Don’t Give Up, Give In!

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8  Give thanks to the Lord and proclaim his greatness.
    Let the whole world know what he has done.

— 1 Chronicles 16:8 NLT
 
 
This song of praise and thanksgiving was composed by David after the successful movement of the Ark of the Covenant from Obed-Edom’s house to the tent David had prepared especially for the Ark.  On the first attempt at getting the Ark to Jerusalem, a man had died because he touched the Ark. David and his men had attempted to do the right thing the wrong way.  This time David appointed priests to carry the Ark.  They researched the proper way to transport the Ark and were able to bring it safely to Jerusalem.  How many times in our lives have we failed when we were sure we were hearing from God and doing what He wanted us to do?  When God gives us a work to do, we need to inquire as to how we are to accomplish this work.  When we are sure that God has given us a specific work and we fail in trying to do that work, we need to stop and listen to God to determine how He wants His work done.  We make a lot of mistakes because originally, we want to do our thing, our way.  When we are saved, we want to do God’s thing, our way.  As we listen to the Holy Spirit and mature in our walk with God, He brings us to the point that we want to do God’s thing, God’s way.  So, when we are sure of God’s purpose for us in life, but we keep failing in our attempts to accomplish that purpose, we need to stop, look and listen.  We don’t give up, we give in.  When we do this, God is able to use us to accomplish His work His way.  Then, we will be successful in His eyes whether the world recognizes it or not.
Post 05-21-2016

Pockets With Holes

even-smaller-bug-light112  The heavens are shocked at such a thing and shrink back in horror and dismay,” says the Lord.  13  “For my people have done two evil things:  They have abandoned me — the fountain of living water.  And they have dug for themselves cracked cisterns that can hold no water at all! — Jeremiah 2:12, 13 NLT

We look around us and see all the violence, evil and chaos and we wonder why?  Why is this great nation that God has so abundantly blessed  for over two hundred years in such disarray?  Could it be that we, as a nation, have “abandoned the fountain of living water”?  We, like King Solomon have gone out over all the earth looking for pleasures and “new” things only to find that every earthly thing is really meaningless.  Solomon, the wisest man in the world “set out to learn everything from wisdom to madness and folly”.  His discovery was that greater wisdom brings greater grief and more knowlege brought more sorrows.   He learned that nothing was really new, it only seemed new because we did not learn from history and that there is little hope that future generations will learn from  our mistakes.  In the end, Solomon found that  it is best to “accept the way God made things for who can straighten what He has made crooked?”   

Let us be wise and learn from Solomon’s misadventures.  Any thing we do on earth that does not advance the kingdom of God is like pouring water into a broken bowl or putting our money into pockets that have 
holes in them.  All of those efforts will net us nothing in eternity.  Instead of spending our time and money seeking earthly pleasures and adventures, let us do the works of the Father which wll make us rich in rewards in eternity.

19 “Don’t store up treasures here on earth, where moths eat them and rust destroys them, and where thieves break in and steal. 20 Store your treasures in heaven, where moths and rust cannot destroy, and thieves do not break in and steal. 21 Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be. ​ — Matt.6:19-21 NLT​

Post 02-10-2016

Not There Yet

even-smaller-bug-light120  Indeed, there is no one on earth who is righteous, no one who does what is right and never sins. — Eccel. 7:20 NIV

Verses like the one above are meant to encourage us not to give us an excuse to “do it my way”.   Mr. Sinatra was a great singer, but the writer of that particular song had some bad theology.  We all fall, but we don’t stay fallen.  I am encouraged by Paul whose claim to be the “chief of sinners” could be contested by some of us in today’s society. He clearly knew who he was, Whose he was and where he was on his journey. He lets us know that he is not there yet, but he is on his way and he is determined to arrive there. 

12 Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. 13 Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. — Phil. 3:12-14 NIV
​”Forgetting what is behind”​ is the example Paul sets for us. That is a hard thing for humans to do.  But, if we don’t practice that, then satan will use those memories of our failures to condemn us and make us feel unworthy to approach God and ask for His forgiveness.  If we allow this to continue, we will soon become beaten down with guilt.  Condemnation is from the devil, conviction is from the Holy Spirit.  Rebuke satan and his condemnation.  Accept the conviction of the Holy Spirit and ask for His forgiveness.  Accept that forgiveness and “press on toward the goal to win the prize”​.

8 If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. 9 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

  No, we are not perfect, but we are being perfected day by day.​

Post 01-06-2016

External Symptoms, Internal Issues

even-smaller-bug-light120 Since you died with Christ and were made free from the ruling spirits of the world, why do you act as if you still belong to this world by following rules like these: 21 “Don’t handle this,” “Don’t taste that,” “Don’t even touch that thing”? 22 These rules refer to earthly things that are gone as soon as they are used. They are only human commands and teachings.23 They seem to be wise, but they are only part of a human religion. They make people pretend not to be proud and make them punish their bodies, but they do not really control the evil desires of the sinful self. — Col. 2: 20-23 NCV

We think we are far advanced from the first century AD. In technology, dress, and the comforts of life, we are.  But human nature itself has not changed much. We still have those who want to regulate everything that each individual does or wants to do.  That is why we have so many laws that we can fill numerous buildings storing all the paperwork. But, as Jesus knew and we should have learned, external laws don’t keep us from sinning.   ​Jesus pointed out to the religious leaders of His day that they kept adding man-made rules and regulations to the laws God had given them. These had no spiritual value since what goes into us that makes us obedient or disobedient, it is what comes out of us.

10 After Jesus called the crowd to him, he said, “Listen and understand what I am saying. 11 It is not what people put into their mouths that makes them unclean. It is what comes out of their mouths that makes them unclean.” — Matt.15:10, 11​

As Christians, we have liberty, but we must use that liberty wisely in choosing what we do and what we don’t do.  We must be sure that we are not adding to what God has said is right and/or wrong.  We must not allow the things that we have chosen to rule our lives to the extent that they become our “god”‘ and we impose those things on others as if they were laws or commandments.

12 “I am allowed to do all things,” but not all things are good for me to do. “I am allowed to do all things,” but I will not let anything make me its slave. — 1 Cor. 6:12

​Wrong choices are external symptoms of an internal problem. The problem is that we have not allowed God’s Word to conform our thoughts. If we bring all of our thoughts into captivity to God, we will not need external “dos” and “don’ts”. It will be our hearts desire to do what God wants us to do and not do the things He doesn’t want us to do.
 
4 We fight with weapons that are different from those the world uses. Our weapons have power from God that can destroy the enemy’s strong places. We destroy people’s arguments 5 and every proud thing that raises itself against the knowledge of God. We capture every thought and make it give up and obey Christ. — 2 Cor. 10:4, 5 NCV
Post 10-15-2015