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

Knowledge, Wisdom and Understanding

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17 But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. 18 Peacemakers who sow in peace reap a harvest of righteousness. — James 3:17,18 NIV

As we read yesterday, wisdom is defined as more than just getting facts and knowledge of things, places and people,  It includes the ability to use that knowledge to make proper decisions that lead to correct actions.  We can have knowledge upon knowledge, but it is worthless, perhaps, even dangerous, if it is built on the wrong foundation, a foundation of inerrant knowledge. That is why the Holy Spirit, through the writer of Proverbs, tells us

7 The beginning of wisdom is this: Get wisdom. Though it cost all you have, get understanding. ​– Prov. 4:7
10 The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding. — Prov. 9:10
 
So, we lay the foundation with knowledge, we build walls with wisdom and the finishing touch is understanding.  Therefore, we must be very sure that our knowledge is based on a foundation of knowledge that includes The Holy One (Jehovah God) and Jesus Christ. Then we must be sure that our wisdom comes from heaven.  We can know this if it is ” first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere”‘  So, any so-called wisdom that advocates anything less than these qualities is not from heaven and is not of God. (Kind of reminds me of the parable of the houses — one built on the Rock and one built on the sand,) If we want others to recognize us as the children of God, then we must show love to our brothers and sisters.
10 This is how we know who the children of God are and who the children of the devil are: Anyone who does not do what is right is not God’s child, nor is anyone who does not love their brother and sister. — 1 John 3:10
Since the wisdom that is from above is impartial, we must show love to all of our fellow human beings. This love requires us to be peacemakers.

9 Blessed are the peacemakers,  for they will be called children of God. — Matt. 5:9
If we want to be obedient to our Father in heaven, we will endeavor to become peacemakers unless that action requires us to violate the Holy Scriptures. Jesus was/is the ultimate peacemaker, but He had limits as shown by His words to the Pharisees and His actions when chasing the traders out of the temple. He had perfect knowledge, perfect wisdom and perfect understanding.
“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous
Post 08-06-2018

Human Anger Does Not Produce Peace

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20 For human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires. – James 1:20 ISV
 
As the end of time draws nearer and nearer, satan seems to be reacting like the cornered, trapped animal that he really is. That same spirit of anger and violence seems to be permeating our society.  We see it in all the headlines, the senseless murders and crimes that are being committed on a daily basis. Yes, these things have been happening every since Cain slew Abel but the frequency and the intensity seems to be magnified more and more everyday. That is on a worldwide basis, but what about each individual?  There was a time when we could laugh at our mistakes and have a little fun with each other over those issues on which we disagreed.  But, more and more we have to be much more sensitive to these things.  Statements that once would have been seen as light humor are now taken seriously and great harm is done.  Even small, unintended injustices suddenly become someone’s newest campaign against whatever was mentioned.  We see over and over the truth of the verse that “human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires.”  Therefore, we, as Christians must put aside all our foolishness and fill our hearts and minds with the Word of God. Meditating on and storing God’s word in our hearts is our strongest defense against any kind of unacceptable behavior.  
 
11  I have hidden your word in my heart

that I might not sin against you.
12  Praise be to you, Lord; teach me your decrees. 
— Psalm 119:11, 12 NIV

In a world of violence and anger, we must stand as lighthouses to lead others to Jesus, the Prince of Peace. We must let the light of Jesus shine through us.  We must be the ones to show others that in the middle of the storm, there is a safe harbor, a place of calmness and peace. More and more, the world needs individual peacemakers. By blessing others with our examples of peacemaking, we ourselves receive God’s blessing.

 
Blessed are the peacemakers,

for they will be called children of God. — Matt. 5:9
“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous
Post 07-30-2018

Divine Discipline

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Since we respected our earthly fathers who disciplined us, shouldn’t we submit even more to the discipline of the Father of our spirits, and live forever? – Hebrews 12:9 NLT

As babes and young children, we submitted to the discipline of our human parents. We accepted their teaching and corrections on a daily basis.  Our human parents corrected us using the standards they thought to be best for us. As we grew older and our own personalities developed, some of us tended to disagree with some of the points and rebel to some degree.  In some points, we may have been right and in some points, we were probably wrong. As we grow older, we no longer look to our human parents to discipline us.  When we became (or become) babes in Christ, we need to submit ourselves to the teaching and corrections of the Holy Spirit. His discipline is always for our good, even though we may not agree with it at the time.  We may question the timing and the why of some of the discipline that God allows us to go through.  We need to understand that what we are going through is a part of the sanctification process   The two big differences in being children of human parents and being children of the living God are these:
1. Human parents are sometimes wrong, God is always right.
2. As humans, we grow more and need our parents’ corrections less and less. We study to get our degrees in various occupation. As Spiritual children, we mature and in that process, we learn that we need Jesus more and more, not less and less. When it comes to learning about God and His Word, I seriously doubt that many of us ever make it through kindergarten, much less earn any degrees.

15 Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. — 2 Timothy 2:15 NIV

 

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

Post 05-21-2018

“Stay Alert”

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8 Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. — 1 Peter 5:8 NIV

Paul is telling us to be spiritually alert, sober minded and armed for battle. The demonic forces are well-trained in deception and guerrilla tactics. They are very good at creating illusions that deceive “even the elect”.

 

24 For false messiahs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect. 25 See, I have told you ahead of time. — Matt. 24:24, 25 NIV

So, what does it mean to be spiritually alert?   It means that we have to be prayed up, full of the Holy Spirit and well disciplined in our study of the Holy Scriptures. Jesus defended Himself against the devil by quoting scriptures to Him.  If Jesus needed the scriptures to ward off satan then we surely need them even more. We need to be aware of where we are weak. The demons know our weaknesses and they attack us in those areas. Don’t walk too near the edge of the cliff. If certain things cause you to be excessive or respond wrongly. stay a long way away from those things. Your pride will tell you that you can handle the situation but your Spirit knows better. Let the Spirit man rise up and mortify the flesh.

12 Therefore, brothers and sisters, we have an obligation—but it is not to the flesh, to live according to it. 13 For if you live according to the flesh, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live. 14 For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God. — Romans 8:12-14 NIV

The battlefield is the mind, if we allow the Holy Spirit to control our thoughts, then we can win the battles.

4 The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. 5 We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. — 2 Cor. 10:4, 5 NIV

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

Post 04-23-2018

“Teach Your Children Well”

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1 Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ. 2 I praise you for remembering me in everything and for holding to the traditions just as I passed them on to you. 3 But I want you to realize that the head of every man is Christ, and the head of the woman is man, and the head of Christ is God.—1 Cor. 11:1-3 NIV

Paul is encouraging the Corinthians to continue in following the practices of Christianity just as he has taught them to do. He has lived his life in front of them, as much as it is humanly possible, as an example of how Christ lived.  But there had been some reports of problems during the worship service.  Paul points to the fact that we are all to submit ourselves to Christ as the head of the Church, His body. We submit to Christ because He loved us enough to die for us.  So, this is the example for us to follow. Those who would be leaders in the Church must display the same kind of love that Christ did.  This is what Jesus was inferring to Peter when He asked Peter three times: “Will you feed my sheep?” Jesus was talking about more than physical food, He was asking Peter if He was willing to feed them spiritually, even to the point of death, if that became necessary. This is exactly the same kind of love that a husband should show for his wife and his family.  Husbands and Fathers need to ask themselves the same question that Jesus asked Peter.  “Will I feed this flock that Jesus has given me?  Will I not only provide for their physical needs, but also their spiritual needs?  Will I remind them daily how much Jesus loves and cares for them?”   If we do that, then we won’t have any problems being the “head” of the family.

6 “And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. 7 You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up.—Deut. 6:6,7 NIV

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

Post 02-28-2018

The King’s Kids

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10 So now we can tell who are children of God and who are children of the devil. Anyone who does not live righteously and does not love other believers does not belong to God. – 1 John 3:10 NLT

A child of God is anyone who accepts Jesus Christ as their Savior and Lord. When we do that, our sins are forgiven and we become a new creation. We are filled with God’s light and where there is light, there can be no darkness. Does this mean that if we sin or fail that we are no longer God’s children? Not at all, each of us will fail at times. The question is not about a single sin, but a lifestyle of sin. If our salvation experience does not change our lifestyle then we need to question whether it was a real life-changing event or merely an emotional experience that we had. Don’t be deceived, God is faithful and just. Getting saved is a rational, logical experience. There may be emotions and feelings involved, but the true experience is a decision that we make to trust our souls and our future to Jesus. If we have done this, then there will be changes in our lifestyle. Some immediately, some as we mature in our walk with Christ. Our lives will bear the fruit of the Spirit.

Galatians 5:22-26 NLT


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

Post 07-10-2017