Changed From the Inside out

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The Spirit of the Lord will come upon you, and you’ll prophesy with them and be changed into a different person. – 1 Samuel 10:6 
 After Moses and Joshua had died, God raised up Judges in Israel.  The Israelis would turn away from God and God would allow the enemies of Israel to be successful in battle against the them  When they wept and repented, God would raise up a judge to deliver them and to govern over them for a time.  Each time this happened, God had someone prepared to be the judge for the next few years.  Samuel was the last of the judges.  This was because the Israelis wanted a king over them, so they would be like the nations around them.  By asking God for an earthly king, they were rejecting God as their king.  Through Samuel, God warned them of the negative things that would happen if they chose an earthly king.  Still, that is what the people wanted and that is what God gave them. He chose Saul to be their king.  Before Saul could take his position as king, God gave him a new heart and filled him with His Spirit. God never chooses any of us to do something for Him and His Kingdom without the proper preparations.  If we are not already prepared, He will prepare us and give us everything we need to do His bidding. When we feel a special call from God, we may very well feel completely unprepared to complete the task.  But, we can be assured that by the time God puts His plan for us into action, He will have prepared us to do the job better than anyone else could possibly do it.  God chooses ordinary people and turns them into His extraordinary servants.  All He wants or expects from us is our willingness and obedience, He will do the rest.
10 For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago. — Eph. 2:10 NLT
“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous
Post 12-03-2018

Write It All Down

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18 “When he sits on the throne as king, he must copy for himself this body of instruction on a scroll in the presence of the Levitical priests. — Deut. 17:18 NLT

God knew that once the Israelis had settled in the land and become comfortable, that they would look around and desire what the other nations had.  They would grow tired of the judges and desire a king so they could be like the nations around them.  God had given Moses several guidelines for the king once he had been anointed.  Most of those were what not to do and had to do with position and possessions.  But the positive thing he was required to do was to copy the whole body of the instructions on a scroll.  To be sure, he did this himself, he had to do it in the presence of the priests.  Then he must keep it with him and read it every day.  One would think that this would have been sufficient to keep the kings in line with what God expected.  But that was not the case.  The majority of the kings were not godly and worshiped other gods.  The lesson that we can learn from this is that head knowledge is useless unless it affects the heart.  The devil knows the Bible but it doesn’t keep him from being the devil.  Just reading the Bible on a daily basis will not change us.  A heart change only takes place when we fully believe that Jesus, the Son of God, died for our sins.  Just saying the words does not make it happen.  We need confession and we need believing.

If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and if you believe in your heart that God raised Jesus from the dead, you will be saved. 10 We believe with our hearts, and so we are made right with God. And we declare with our mouths that we believe, and so we are saved   — Romans 9, 10 NCV​
“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous
Post 11-02-2018

“My Burden Is Light”

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28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”  — Matt. 11:28-30 NIV

God has made great promises to us if we will learn to lean on Him.  We get so wrapped up in our work and making our own plans for the future, that we have no time left to enjoy today.  We carry all this baggage with us all the time, physically, emotionally and spiritually.  We say we trust God, yet, we worry when the bank account is low and we feel we have to have weeks worth of food stored in the house. Remember when Jesus sent the disciples out?  He told them not to take anything with them, no food, no money, not even a change of clothes.  I must ask myself, “would I be willing to start out on a trip like that?”  Sadly, the answer is no.  We are so concerned about things that we rarely ever get a good night’s rest. We worry about things over which we have no control and a lot of those things never happen anyway.  The scriptures above are not meant to be just some “pie in the sky”, future event.  They are for now. They are the way we should be living our lives today.  We wear ourselves out trying to do God’s job.  Just as the Israelis who refused to believe and were not allowed to enter in Canaan physically, we never reach a place to rest here on earth because of our unbelief.

16 Who were they who heard and rebelled? Were they not all those Moses led out of Egypt? 17 And with whom was he angry for forty years? Was it not with those who sinned, whose bodies perished in the wilderness? 18 And to whom did God swear that they would never enter his rest if not to those who disobeyed? 19 So we see that they were not able to enter, because of their unbelief. — Hebrews 3:16-19 NIV

When life seems more than we can bear, we have a place of quiet rest prepared for us, near to the heart of God. “Come unto me and I will give you rest”.

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

Post 09-11-2018

A Never-Ending Gift

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2  The Spirit of the Lord will rest upon him, ​- Isaiah 11:2a ISV​
This passage from Isaiah is one of the many prophecies about Jesus in the Old Testament.  It gives us several of the characteristics of Jesus; wisdom, understanding, counsel, might, knowledge and the fear of the Lord.  Notice that not only did He have the “fear of the Lord”, but He delighted in that fear.  Though, He was God, He came to us as all man.  As a man, His access to divine knowledge was limited.  He did this voluntarily so that He might live as all man so that He might be an example to us.  

 

6 who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7 but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men.– Phil 2:6, 7 ESV

We, as humans, have access to that same Spirit.  In fact, that Spirit lives inside each of us.  He gave us this Spirit as a gift.  So, our lives should exhibit those same characteristics, at least to some degree.  To what degree depends completely on our commitment to spend time in His presence praying, meditating on His Word, and listening to His voice.  The reason we need to do this is that there is so much more Jesus wants to give us but He will not force it upon us, we have to ask Him for it and delight in receiving it.  How can we know that He will give us more?
 

32 He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? — Romans 8:32 NIV

4 Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart. — Psalm 37:4 NIV

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

 

Post 08-27-2018

The Uncontrollable Tongue

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but no one can tame the tongue. It is an uncontrollable evil filled with deadly poison. – James 3:8 ISV

James 3:7-12 ISV

These verses come at the end of a passage that speaks of the tongue and how our inability to control it causes us some many problems.  No human can tame his or her tongue. We can pray about it and we can strive to do it, but it is an impossible task for a human.  Only one man was able to do so and that was Jesus, the God-Man.  Nevertheless, that does not relieve us of the responsibility of asking the Holy Spirit to help us do better every day.  Our goal is to be that person who would never say or do anything to hurt someone else and that is the mark at which we should be aiming. Words that we speak without any intention of hurting anyone are often taken in the wrong way and cause pain to others.  Our prejudices, and we all have them, sometimes lead to a “slip of the tongue”.  Our thoughts lead to words and actions that show our true feelings and attitudes about others.  We need to always pray this prayer

14 May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight,  Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer. — Psalm 19:14

The things that we talk about most are the things that are truly important to us. The words and actions that we say and do are the fruits of our mindset and our hearts’ desires.  Just as a tree produces fruit after its kind, we will produce like fruit, be it good or evil. Our tongues were made to give praise, glory and honor to our Father in heaven.  Just as He spoke creation into existence, we have the power to speak words of life or death.  Let us always speak the words of life.

 

68 Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. 69 We have come to believe and to know that you are the Holy One of God.” — John 6:68, 69

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

Post 08-04-2018

Where Is Your Heart?

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11 Also, make it your goal to live quietly, to mind your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we instructed you, – 1 Thess. 4:11 ISV
 

God hates sin, all sins, but He loved sinners enough to send His Son to die for us. And not just die, but to be crucified cruelly and mocked publicly.  This is His example to us of how much we should love others, not just family and friends, but also strangers and enemies. The people that Paul was writing to at this time were those who gave of their resources to others who had needs and also gave to support Paul in his missionary work so that he could meet the spiritual needs of others and spread the gospel.   How do we show our love for Jesus? By being obedient and helping those in need.  Not just physical needs by giving of our resources, which we should do, but also giving of our time in caring for those with spiritual and emotional needs. A smile, a handshake, a hug, a word in season, a minute listening are all gifts that we can give each other and they are often much more appreciated than any monetary gift that we could give. These gifts we can give over and over since they don’t affect our budgets. So, we can do more and more.  We need to be very careful of how we spend the time God has given us. The majority of our time should be spent in doing those things that will win the respect of outsiders and build up the Kingdom of God. By making it a habit to do these things, we will soon find that it is our heart’s desire to do them more and more. Not only will we receive a great blessing here and now, but we will also be laying up treasures in heaven.
 19 “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 20 But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. — Matt. 6:19-21 NIV
“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous
Post 07-16-2018

Give Gladly and Graciously

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12 Whatever you give is acceptable if you give it eagerly. And give according to what you have, not what you don’t have. – 2 Cor. 8:12 NLT


2 Cor. 8:8-12 NLT

God is not impressed by the amount of money that we give.  He is impressed by the attitude that we have toward giving into His work.  We see this from the story of the widow who gave her mite. A mite is thought to be equal to about one half of one of our pennies.  Regardless of what the world thought about it’s worth, because of the attitude and the sacrifice the woman made, Jesus thought it was much more valuable than the gifts of those who gave out of their abundance.  God doesn’t need us to return a portion of the money He has allowed us to be stewards over.  He wants us to give out of love and a grateful heart.  He wants us to give with joy and hilarity because of our relationship with Him. Just as we give gifts of time and money to those around us that we love, we should offer up the best of both to Him. Would we invite a special guest to dinner and give him/her leftovers? We have the most special guest that lives with us all the time. Why do think that He is happy with our leftovers? He gave His life, we must make every effort to give Him the best of what we have simply because we love Him.


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

Post 06-17-2018