A New Heart

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51 “You stubborn people! You are heathen at heart and deaf to the truth. Must you forever resist the Holy Spirit? That’s what your ancestors did, and so do you! — Acts 7:51 NLT
Stephen has just recited a short summary of all the things God had brought the Israelis through and the miracles He had performed in bringing them to the Promised Land.  Stephen also reminded them that God did this for them in spite of their unbelief and unfaithfulness.  He did it as a fulfillment of His covenant with their ancestors. Even though God was faithful, the Israelis were not, refusing to listen to Moses and any of the prophets God sent to them with messages warning them to repent and be obedient to God.  Instead they persecuted and murdered the prophets choosing to remain in their sinful ways and worship idols made by human hands.  The people Stephen was addressing were still following in their ancestor’s paths, choosing to kill the Messiah rather than to give up their worldly ways and repent.   If Stephen were here today, he could add the history of our country to his discourse and the accusation would still be true.  After all the years of God blessing this country with His abundance, we are still a “stubborn people, heathen at heart and deaf to the truth”.  More and more, as each day passes by, we become a more sinful nation.  We refuse to believe that God will punish us just as He punished the Israelis.  We must pray that God will have mercy on this nation of ours, that He will replace our hearts of stone with hearts of flesh and write His name upon our hearts.

Even though this was a promise God made to the Israelis, His chosen people, may He see fit to extend His mercies to us because, as Christians, we are a people chosen by Him as well.
 

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

Post 12-17-2018

Accepting Others

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4 Who are you to judge someone else’s servant?  ​- Romans 14:4a ISV​
The Scriptures caution us over and over to watch out so that we will not be deceived. We should pray for discernment, so that we are not swept away by every new and foolish doctrine that comes along.  But we also need to be careful that in our discerning, we don’t give in to a habit of criticism and judgment. It is very easy for our righteousness to turn into self-righteousness.  If God had wanted one person to corner the market on all of His truth, our New Testament would contain only one book. The Scriptures and the truths that they present to us never change. but, thank God, that as we mature, our perception of the Scriptures does change. As we follow the leadership of the Holy Spirit and meditate on God’s word, He opens up new meanings for us. We must be very sure that our discernment is not clouded by our flesh but that it is guided by the Holy Spirit. God made each of us different in many ways, then He did a wonderful, amazing thing — He died on a cross so that we all could become like Him.

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

Post 12-01-2018

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

“Like Autumn Leaves”

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6  We are all infected and impure with sin.  When we display our righteous deeds, they are nothing but filthy rags. Like autumn leaves, we wither and fall,
    and our sins sweep us away like the wind.
7  Yet no one calls on your name or pleads with you for mercy. Therefore, you have turned away from us and turned us over to  our sins.
 — Isaiah 64:6, 7 NLT

We were born in sin into a sinful world and as long as we live in this flesh, we will be affected by sin.  In the flesh, we can do good deeds, but those good deeds will not get us into heaven.  We can wash and clean the exterior but only the righteousness of Jesus Christ can cleanse the inside.  Doing good deeds without Godly direction can be compared to painting a wooden house without repairing the rotten areas.  It looks good to the world but soon the house will fall.  When we look at our nation, there are still a lot of good things that we can observe but there are fewer and fewer God things.  We have been blessed abundantly for so long that we have become comfortable and complacent in who we are.  To worship means to honor and to honor requires obedience.  When we aren’t obedient to God, we are putting ourselves in His place and trying to do His job.  When we put other things above God and his commands, He cannot be Lord of our lives.  Our God is a jealous God, He will be Lord of all or He will not be Lord at all.  He has not and will not change.  He does not negotiate nor bargain with us.  But when we come to the end of the rope, if we reach out for His hand, He is always there to take our hand and carry us to safety.  Let us examine our positions and agree with God.  When we do, we will fall on our faces and plead for His forgiveness and mercy.

 
“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous
Post 10-07-2018

“Your Will Be Done”

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42 “Father, if you are willing, please take this cup of suffering away from me. Yet I want your will to be done, not mine.” 43 Then an angel from heaven appeared and strengthened him. — Luke 22:42, 43 NLT

As we read about all the miracles that Jesus performed while He was here on earth we sometimes forget and need to be reminded that He, like us, was fully human.  He did all of His works as a man, not as God.  He even told us that He could do nothing in and of Himself but that He could only do the works of the Father.(John 5:19).  We are told by the writer of Hebrews that even though Jesus was the Son of God, He still offered prayers and pleadings to the One who could rescue Him from death (Hebrews 5:8).  Jesus knew and understood His mission because He had been in on the planning session that occurred before the foundations of the earth were laid. But in the flesh, He was not looking forward to the experience of being separated from His Father for the first and only time in His life.  Separated because when He took our sins upon Himself, the Father could not look at Him or comfort Him in any way.  While Jesus was in the flesh as a man, God sent Moses and Elijah to talk with Him about His death on the Cross (Mount of Transfiguration, Luke 9:31).  As Jesus prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane, God sent an angel to strengthen Him.  What we need to realize is that God does the same thing for us.  If we listen carefully and heed His words, we will find that there is nothing that happens to us that He has not carefully prepared us to bear.
Jesus lived every day knowing the cruel death that awaited Him on the cross.  Yet, He set His face toward Jerusalem and never turned back. Do we live every day prepared to die for what we know is true?  If we do, then we can die prepared to live forever and that knowledge should remove any fear of death that we have.

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

Post 10-05-2018

God Does Not Tempt Us

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13 When someone is tempted, he should not say, “I am being tempted by God,” because God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone.  – James 1:13 ISV
When we were born physically, we were born into a sinful world. We live in bodies of flesh that have carnal desires.  Because sin is still in the world and we are all infected and affected by it, we follow(ed) after those fleshly, carnal desires. The lifestyles that we live(d) are/were not pleasing to God. Jesus sent His Son to redeem us from this fallen state.  When we accept Jesus as our Savior, we are born again spiritually, we become new creations in Christ Jesus. We get a new heart with new desires but, the flesh does not just automatically and instantly give up and die.  The old desires are still there and it is a constant, second by second battle to defeat the desires of the flesh.  To kill those fleshly desires, we not only need open heart surgery, but we need major brain surgery.  Our mindset and our attitudes have to be changed. When carnal, evil, unkind, sinful thoughts “pop up” in our minds, we can be sure that those thoughts do not come from God, but, rather from satan and his minions. We must always remember that they are liars and they are here only to destroy us.

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

We are tempted by these evil thoughts.  If we allow ourselves to be enticed and follow those fleshly desires, they lead us to sin and sin eventually leads to death.
But we have a way out, we have a redeemer and a High Priest who has suffered those same temptations and understands our weaknesses. He defeated satan at the cross, so that we could live full, abundant lives.

 
“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous
Post 07-28-2018

Only His Power Is Perfect

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Examine yourselves to see if your faith is genuine. Test yourselves.

 – 2 Cor.13:5a NLT​
 


Each of us needs to make it a habit to go back over our actions of today to see if we have added any new sins. This is not for condemnation, it is for confession and forgiveness. Every day, we are tempted and tested.  Since we are humans with fleshly desires, it is impossible for us to make it through a day without an impure or unkind thought of some kind.  satan makes sure that we have plenty of opportunities. Since we have Christ Jesus dwelling in us, it is not possible for us to fail the test, but we will miss a few answers on the test. Those missed answers remind us that we are not and never will be perfect.  But God has already taken care of those wrong answers by covering them with the blood of Jesus.  When we see and confess the errors, they are immediately redacted from our record.  God doesn’t keep score, the sins are all wiped away. All He sees is the righteousness of Jesus Christ. We are weak and helpless but God is waiting to strengthen and restore us. Whatever happens, the end result is to glorify God. His grace is sufficient, His power is perfect.

 9 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 10 That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong. — 2 Cor. 12:9, 10

As long as we remain in these tents of flesh, we will fail some of the time. But because all things are possible through and in Christ, we are not failures. We are conquerors and overcomers because His blood and His power perfect and protect us.

But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us.— Romans 8:37

 

“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous
Post 06-24-2018