Letters Read By Everyone

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1 Therefore, since through God’s mercy we have this ministry, we do not lose heart. 2 Rather, we have renounced secret and shameful ways; we do not use deception, nor do we distort the word of God. On the contrary, by setting forth the truth plainly we commend ourselves to everyone’s conscience in the sight of God. — 2 Cor. 4:1​, 2  ​NIV
When we hear the word minister or ministry, we tend to think of pastors. evangelists, missionaries and offices of that sort.  But, God has given each of us a ministry. Each one of us has been called to service by God. Our mission field is where we live, work or go to school.  Our congregations are our families, neighbors, fellow workers and/or fellow students. Just as surely as a pastor is responsible to proclaim the message of Jesus Christ and His resurrection to his congregation, we are to do the same for those God has placed in our circle of influence. Just as surely as a pastor should pray for those in his congregation, we are responsible to pray for those around us. Just as surely as a church staff should minister to the needs of the congregation, we should minister to the needs of those God has put in our “congregations”. Whether those needs be spiritual, emotional, physical or financial, we have a responsibility to use the resources God has given us to comfort others.  3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, 4 who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.– 2 Cor. 1:3, 4 NIV

Our lifestyles should reflect the truth that we are letters sent from Christ written on hearts of flesh by the Holy Spirit and read by everyone who knows us.

2 You yourselves are our letter, written on our hearts, known and read by everyone. 3 You show that you are a letter from Christ, the result of our ministry, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts. — 2 Cor. 3:1, 2 NIV

We should use every ministry opportunity to contend for the faith that has been entrusted to us by God Himself.


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

Post 06-07-2018

“Love The Lord Thy God…..”

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9 Do not be carried away by all kinds of strange teachings. It is good for our hearts to be strengthened by grace, not by eating ceremonial foods, which is of no benefit to those who do so. 10 We have an altar from which those who minister at the tabernacle have no right to eat. — Hebrews 13:9, 10 NIV

Ever since lucifer revolted and was thrown out of heaven, there have been those who disagree with God.  This will continue to be true until Jesus returns to establish His Kingdom here on earth.  They teach all kinds of differing philosophies in an effort to deceive people.  Some are openly opposed to the Bible and easily discerned. There are those that are very subtle in the way they teach their beliefs and the misconceptions are hard to discern.  Everyone needs to believe in something and therefore everyone establishes someone or something as their “god”.  There are those who will never consciously admit that they have an allegiance to some false deity because they do not want to be accountable to anyone or anything.  They choose to think that they are “in control” of their lives. No matter what we hear, it is our responsibility to pray for a discerning Spirit so that we will not be misled. It is up to each of us to decide who our god or gods are going to be.  Do not be deceived there is only one true and living God.  

7 Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows.8 Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction;whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. — Gal. 6:7, 8 NIV

29 “The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. 30 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ — Mark 12:29, 30 NIV

He created us and loves us so much that He sent His Son to die on a cross for us. Our Savior, Jesus Christ, is now at the right hand of God interceding for us. He is the one God has chosen as worthy to be Lord. He and He alone is worthy of our allegiance, our praise and our worship.

11 “You are worthy, our Lord and God,
to receive glory and honor and power,
for you created all things,  and by your will they were created and have their being.” 
— Rev. 4:11

 

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

 

Post 05-25-2018

Remain Faithful

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Give honor to marriage, and remain faithful to one another in marriage. God will surely judge people who are immoral and those who commit adultery.
– Hebrews 13:4 NLT

Hebrews 13:4-8 NLT

God warns us over and over not to participate in immoral sex because it is more than just a physical act. It involves the intertwining of the body, mind and spirit. Those illicit desires quickly become much too strong for the flesh to handle. Those who continue to participate in these sins will soon learn they have become captive to their fleshly lusts. It will become an abomination to our bodies, the very Temple of the Living God.

18 Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a person commits are outside the body, but whoever sins sexually, sins against their own body. 19 Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; 20 you were bought at a price.Therefore honor God with your bodies. – 1 Cor. 6:18-20 NIV
We need to flee from this sin and God always opens a door for us to leave if we choose to do so. The lust for money and power is almost as strong as the lust for sexual immorality, so we must be sure that our choices of how we use our finances and our positions honor God.  It is very easy to become addicted to any of these sins.  We don’t have to be millionaires or CEOs to misuse the resources God has entrusted to us.  We can sin in finances by refusing to help those in need around us. We need to watch for the opportunities that God gives each of us to do good in His name. It isn’t the amount or the “bigness” that impresses God, it is the willingness and the attitude with which we perform the tasks.
43 Calling his disciples to him, Jesus said, “Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others. 44 They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything—all she had to live on.” 
— Mark 12:43, 44 NIV

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

Post 05-24-2018

“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

“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

“Render Unto Caesar…”

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17 Respect everyone, and love the family of believers. Fear God, and respect the king.– 1 Peter 2:17 NLT
We should obey the laws of the land unless they contradict the Scriptures. We do this so that people who are watching will not have a reason to criticize the body of Christ. We are free to live as we choose, but that does not give us a license to go around violating the laws of the land. Violation of the law is a sin in God’s eyes. Our lives should reflect the example that Jesus showed us while He was here on earth. As hard as the religious leaders looked, they could not find one legitimate reason to arrest and/or imprison our Savior much less put Him to death on the cross.  They had to resort to hiring people to lie against him on the witness stand. We may or may not agree with the official holding the office, but we are still to respect the office and give due honor to it. Paul shows us this example in the book of Acts:

4 Those who were standing near Paul said, “How dare you insult God’s high priest!”  5 Paul replied, “Brothers, I did not realize that he was the high priest; for it is written: ‘Do not speak evil about the ruler of your people.’ — Acts 23:4,5 NIV

We must constantly battle the flesh to show love and respect for those with whom we disagree. But we must never use the freedom we have in Christ Jesus to do anything that would cast the slightest shadow on His Name. Fearing God requires us to show others respect and love.

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

Post 04-18-2018

Show Sincere, Deep Love

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22 You were cleansed from your sins when you obeyed the truth, so now you must show sincere love to each other as brothers and sisters. Love each other deeply with all your heart. – 1 Peter 1:22 NLT
 
In these verses, we are reminded of how limited the English language is in words to express love.  We have one word, the Greeks had at least six words expressing different levels and types of love. Philia which means friendly and/or brotherly affection and is the word used here for the “love for each other”.  The second word used here for love is agape which is the word that comes closest to expressing the kind of love Jesus showed for us when He chose to die on a cross for our sins. It is a totally selfless, unconditional love. It is a love that is unquenchable and no matter how much it gives, it is never satisfied.  It only wants to give more and more. It is the kind of love that God wants us to have for Him and our brothers and sisters, as well as our enemies. The last part, “love for our enemies” is the one that gets our flesh in an uproar.Our flesh screams out, we have been wronged by that person and there is no way that I will ever forgive or love that person or those people. But Jesus told us in His model prayer to pray “forgive us as we forgive others” and we are also told:

14 For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15 But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins. — Matt. 6:14, 15 NIV
This is a requirement for those of us who have been born again. Our flesh is perishing but we are being renewed daily by the living Word of God. So, we must mortify the flesh and follow the leadership of the Holy Spirit that so richly abides within each of us. That leadership will require us to love and to forgive at all costs.


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

Posr 04-15-2018