Plant+Feed+Water Daily=Reaping

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37 He answered, “The one who sowed the good seed is the Son of Man. 38 The field is the world, and the good seed stands for the people of the kingdom. The weeds are the people of the evil one, 39 and the enemy who sows them is the devil. The harvest is the end of the age, and the harvesters are angels. — Matt 13:37-39 NIV

We are warned over and over in the Bible, that as the end draws nearer, there will arise more and more false prophets even in the church. They will seem genuine to those who do not have the Holy Spirit abiding in them and therefore, have no discernment.  They will preach and teach a “cheap” grace.  A grace based on head knowledge and not on what we have in our hearts.  They will expound doctrines that do not require holy lifestyles or they will add man-made rules that require more than the Bible requires for salvation.  Whether they add to or subtract from the Biblical requirements for salvation, they are both wrong.  When we have truly accepted Jesus Christ as our Savior and He gives us the Holy Spirit, we are saved.  We are clothed in His holiness and righteousness.  There is nothing we can do to make ourselves more holy or more righteous than He made us.  A Christlike lifestyle is the external proof of what we believe in our hearts not what we know in our minds.  Our thoughts and actions are the fruit of the Spirit, a good tree will bear good fruit and a bad tree will bear bad fruit.  It is a natural and a spiritual law that we cannot change.  For fruit trees to bear an abundant crop, they require a lot of care.  So, everyday, fertilize the tree with scripture and wash it with the water of the Word.

 
“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous
Post 09-14-2018

“Be Holy”

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16 For it is written, “You must be holy, because I am holy.” – 1 Peter 1:16 ISV

1 Peter 1:13 -16 ISV

God has made each of us different, but there is one thing that every human has in common, we were all born in sin into a sinful world.  We have all succumbed to those fleshly desires that kept us from enjoying the freedom that Jesus died to purchase for us.  When we have those thoughts that we might be better than others we need to be reminded that there was a time when we lived in ignorance of the goodness and the graciousness of God. Paul warns us in Romans not to think of ourselves as better than others.

 
3 For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you. — Romans 12:3 NIV

In Philippians, Paul takes it a step further and advises us to put others and their interests above ourselves and our interests.

3 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, 4 not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. –Phil. 2:3, 4 NIV

If we practice doing this instead of being judgmental, we will be following the example that Jesus set for us.  If we have this mindset and focus on the fact that the only difference in us and them is the grace that God has so generously given unto us, it will cause us to show those around us the same kind of grace and forgiveness that God has shown to us. That is a step toward being holy even as God is holy.

“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous
Post 08-20-2018

Mercy, Grace, Forgiveness

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13 For the one who has shown no mercy will be judged without mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgment. – James 2:13 ISV
 
God gave the Old Testament law to the children of Israel to show them that it was impossible for a mere human to live a life free of sin. No one was able to live a life without sin, so God, in His mercy established rituals and procedures for them to keep.  As long as they stayed obedient to these rituals, they were not punished for their sins. Mercy is the lack of or a lesser punishment than our sins deserve(d).  Just as the people back then received mercy, we can and do receive mercy without receiving salvation. It is God’s mercy that allows us to go on living, even when we choose a lifestyle of sin.  We live under the law or covenant of grace. This does not mean that we don’t sin, it just means that we have a way of being forgiven without the rituals. Grace is God choosing to bless us even though we don’t deserve it. It is our faith in His grace that saves us.  When we feel that someone has wronged us in any way, we must show them mercy because of the mercy that God has shown us. We must temper our judgment with mercy, realizing that we have received so much more than mercy from Jesus Christ. We should also show them grace, in the sense that it means showing them affection and kindness even though they are not worthy of it. Neither were/are we worthy of God’s mercy and grace, yet He went so far as to die for us.
 

6 You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. 7 Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. 8 But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. — Romans 5:6-8 NIV

This is why we must show mercy, grace and forgiveness to those around us. We can and must forgive them of their sinful acts toward us. But only God can forgive us for all of our sins. Our mercy and grace is limited to what is done to us. God’s mercy and grace is unlimited.  Only His grace can restore our relationship with God the Father. We must ask for His forgiveness believing that by grace through faith we have been saved, are being saved and will be completely saved.
24 but because Jesus lives forever, he has a permanent priesthood.25 Therefore he is able to save completely[ those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them.– Hebrews 7:24, 25 NIV
“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous
Post 08-03-2018

Works Are Necessary for Kingdom Growth

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25 But the one who looks at the perfect law of freedom and remains committed to it—thereby demonstrating that he is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of what that law requires—will be blessed in what he does. – James 1:25 ISV

Do works save us? Certainly not!

8 For it is by grace you have been saved,through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9 not by works, so that no one can boast.  — Eph. 2:8, 9

Then why are works important? If we look back at the Great Commission that Jesus gave us in Matt. 28:18-20, we find that He tells us to do more than just get people to confess their sins. Jesus commands us to “go and make disciples.” What is a disciple?  Webster defines “disciple” in this way:

someone who accepts and helps to spread the teachings of a famous person

One can be a Christian without actually being a disciple. You can accept Jesus as your Savior and go on with your lifestyle pretty much unchanged (I don’t know how that is possible, but some claim to be able to do so).  But a true disciple follows after his chosen leader, uses His life as an example to follow, spreads His doctrines and teachings and encourages others to do the same. Those who are disciples of sect leaders and worldly religions take the idea of being a disciple much more serious than a lot of us Christians. Some of them take it so far as to be considered “militant” in their actions.  Their actions are governed by anger and hate and wrong teachings.  Our actions are governed by love, but that just means that we have to be kinder in spreading the Gospel of Jesus, not less active or effective. We have a message of perfect love and freedom, which is what the world really desires. We have the Holy Spirit inside us and working with us using the same resurrection power that raised Jesus from the dead. If we are obedient to Jesus’s words that we should “make disciples” then we will “be about our Father’s business”.  That requires us to do the same works that Jesus did when He was here on earth. As Christians, we are not called to be spectators but, rather to be participators, in the work.

“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous
Post 07-31-2018

“Be Holy For “I AM” Is Holy!

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12 It trains us to renounce ungodly living and worldly passions so that we might live sensible, honest, and godly lives in the present age – Titus 2:12 ISV
 
We who have accepted Jesus are saved by grace through faith.  That offer is made available to everyone.  Once we accept the gift of salvation, there will be a change in the desires of our hearts. Worldly, material things will mean less and less to us as we allow the Holy Spirit to change us.  There will be things that we used to do, that will no longer hold any attraction for us. Whereas, before the flesh was in control and we followed after the things of the flesh, now, the Spirit is in control and we follow the leadership of the Holy Spirit.  We now want to live a lifestyle that is upright and Godly.  If we have truly repented and turned from our sins, we will now focus on Jesus and use His lifestyle as an example for us to follow.  As Christians, we have a living God and Savior, a claim that no religion can make.  We have a high Priest who became flesh and has endured the same temptations that we endure.  Our hope, the hope of an eternity with Jesus, cannot be offered by any religion.  God, as Jesus, gave Himself to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify us. This purification process starts after we accept Him and continues as long as we are in the flesh.  We are being changed from “me first” creatures to “Jesus first, others second and us last”  images of the living God. The death and resurrection of Jesus fulfilled the law and brought the dispensation of grace.  There are those who will choose not to believe, but others will believe and turn to the Lord,  It is God’s desire that everyone should be saved and transformed into His image.

15 Even to this day when Moses is read, a veil covers their hearts. 16 But whenever anyone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. 17 Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. 18 And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit. — 2 Cor. 3:15-18 NIV

 

“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous
Post 07-22-2018

“Seasoned With Salt”

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5 Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. 6 Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone. — Colossians 4:5,6 NIV

As Christians, we need to be constantly reminded that the “outsiders” , those that have not yet accepted Jesus as their Savior, are watching every move we make and listening to every word we say.  Not only to what we say but the tone of voice we use when we say it.  Every day, everywhere we go, we are witnessing.  Will our lifestyles attract others to Christ or cause them to turn away? Our conversations and our attitudes must be full of grace. The grace of God, in giving us Jesus as our Redeemer and Savior, is the one great difference between Christianity and worldly religions.  We are different.  We are the only ones who serve a living God.  No worldly religions make that claim. The fact that we serve a living Savior makes us accountable to Him.  That is why the name of Jesus always requires a decision.  When you hear that name, you either accept or reject Him, there is no middle ground.  This is a stand from which we cannot back down.

 

32 “Whoever acknowledges me before others, I will also acknowledge before my Father in heaven. 33 But whoever disowns me before others, I will disown before my Father in heaven. — Matthew 10:32, 33

 We must hold our position and do it with grace and love. We must study the Scriptures so that we will be instantly ready to answer anyone and everyone who questions us.  Our whole lifestyles should be seasoned with salt, the great preservative and flavor enhancer.  If we are seasoned with salt, we will attract others to our living God and they will remain forever.
“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous
Post 07-08-2018

Sin is Sin is Sin!

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16 There are six things the Lord hates—
    no, seven things he detests: – Proverbs 6:16 NLT

Somewhere at sometime, satan deceived someone into thinking and/or believing that God has a prioritized list of sins ranging from “little” to “big”.  That lie has been propagated throughout the generations, much to satan’s delight. A short study of Scripture will quickly prove that untrue.The above verses in Proverbs and this one from The Revelation are good examples.
 

8 But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars—they will be consigned to the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death.” — Rev. 21:8

God doesn’t see lies as black and white, to Him, lies are lies, period.  While the external effects of some sins are greater than others, the internal effect to each of us committing those sins is the same.  Sin, any sin, separates us from the love of God.

2 ​But your iniquities have separated

you from your God;
your sins have hidden his face from you,
so that he will not hear.
 — Isaiah 59:2
 

As long as there is unconfessed sin in our lives, we limit what God can do for us and through us.  Just as the rebellion of the children of Israel limited God in the wilderness, we do the same thing. If we continue to live a lifestyle of rebellion and unconfessed sin, God has no choice but to withdraw His blessings and protective covering over our lives. The children of Israel were defeated in battles when they were disobedient to God.  We live defeated lives, when we refuse to obey and confess our sins.

 
40 How often they provoked Him in the wilderness,
And grieved Him in the desert!
41 Yes, again and again they tempted God,
And limited the Holy One of Israel. — Psalm 78:40, 41
God knows every minute part of us and every thought that we have, we cannot hide it from Him. When we have sinned, instead of running from Him, we need to run to Him, He is waiting with outstretched arms.
 
16 Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need. — Hebrews 4:16

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

Post 06-26-2018