Talk It! Walk It! Love It! Live It!

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16  Let us, your servants, see you work again;
    let our children see your glory. 
— Psalm 90:16 NLT


Psalm 90

Lord, we live in a sinful world where evil is magnified on a daily basis.  Our children are daily tempted with overdoses of “me first” and sexual innuendos. They see riots in city after city where people get what they want by protesting and violence rather than working through the legal system. The America we live in now is not the America that most of us were raised in.  It is more like Macedonia when Paul arrived. There is violence on the outside everywhere we look and there are people all around us living in fear. 2 Cor. 7:5, 6   Our kids and grand-kids see good people struggling everyday to make it. They see parents working too many hours because the parents live in fear of not being able to give their kids everything they think they want.  First, help us as parents and grandparents to live lives totally dependent on you.  Let us be the examples that show the younger generations that possessions and busyness do not bring peace and lasting joy.  Remind us of that daily by helping us to observe the work that you are doing in our world right now, all around us.  Then, Lord, let our lifestyles be a beacon to others to point the glory you receive from our obedience.  Open our eyes to see that you are still a God who works miracles on a daily basis. Let our children see your glory and the beauty of worshiping the only true and living God.  As Pastor Jack Graham says 
“YOU CANNOT EXPECT YOUR CHILDREN TO LEAD DYNAMIC, SPIRIT-FILLED CHRISTIAN LIVES IF YOU AREN’T LIVING A VIBRANT, DYNAMIC, SPIRIT-FILLED CHRISTIAN LIFE YOURSELF”.
Help us to live lives totally dependent on You and the leadership of the Holy Spirit. Help us to talk the talk and walk the walk before them that they may catch hold of Who you are and what you desire for each of us.  Your desire is for us to be joyful and content no matter what our present situation may be.
Father, thank you for protecting our kids and grand kids.  First of all and most importantly of all, thank you for protecting them spiritually so that they will spend an eternity with you.  Then, thank you for protecting them physically, mentally and emotionally and for providing for their every need.  All praise and glory be to our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, in whose name we pray. Amen
“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous
Post 12-06-2018

What Do People See In Us?

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65 Awe fell upon the whole neighborhood, and the news of what had happened spread throughout the Judean hills. 66 Everyone who heard about it reflected on these events and asked, “What will this child turn out to be?” For the hand of the Lord was surely upon him in a special way. — Luke 1:65, 66 NLT

These are the words Luke wrote to describe the reactions of the people on hearing about the birth of John the Baptist.  It was a miraculous event that Elizabeth should give birth at such a late age in life.  They were also in wonder that Zechariah would allow his son to be named John since no one in the family had ever been named that.  In those days, the carrying on of traditional family names was extremely important.  Because of these two things, they knew that God was involved in a special way and that John must have a special purpose to fulfill.   Once Zechariah was able to speak again, he prophesies about what that purpose is (vv 67-79).

In its own way, every birth is a miracle and every child has a special purpose in life.  God has a plan for every life and every one has been given a particular gift to accomplish that purpose.  Not all of us will be involved in what we call “full-time” ministries, but all of us are involved in full time witnessing for the Lord.  Every word and every action reflects positively or negatively on the Kingdom of God.  What is our lifestyle today telling people about Jesus and His Kingdom?  If someone observed us for a month, what do you think they would say about what we think is important?  Does our attitude and our demeanor tell others that we live in fear or that we have faith in a God who can and does do the impossible?  

 
10  Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand. — Isaiah 41:10 NLT

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

Post 11-11-2018

Repent, Relax, Remember, Repeat

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29 “Therefore since we are God’s offspring, we should not think that the divine being is like gold or silver or stone—an image made by human design and skill.30 In the past God overlooked such ignorance, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent. — Acts 17:29​, 30​ NIV

When we read scriptures about idol worship, we tend to think of those that worship statues or symbols of dead men or useless religions.  While we may not have an image of the dollar setting on the mantle of the fireplace, we can still be worshiping all the things that money can buy.  While we may not have statues of anyone in our homes or churches, we can still hold others in higher esteem than we hold Jesus. If someone asks you to do anything that makes you feel uncomfortable or violates your beliefs and you go ahead and do it, you have placed that person above Jesus. Our work here is to do the will of the Father, not the will of those around us.

 

38 For I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of him who sent me.– John 6:38 NIV

We are not in a popularity contest.  Our goal should be to please our Father.  If we do that, He will take care of us.  If we are obedient and seek Jesus and His righteousness, He will handle all of the issues that satan puts in our way.

 

33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. — Matt. 6:33 NIV

“All these things” is everything that we need to live a Godly lifestyle. Everything means every thing.  Don’t stress out. Repent, Relax, Remember, Repeat.

 

“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous
Post 08-30-2018

Thoughts! Words! Actions!

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26 Those who consider themselves religious and yet do not keep a tight rein on their tongues deceive themselves, and their religion is worthless. 27 Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world. — James 1:26, 27 NIV

In the days that James lived and penned this book through the leadership of the Holy Spirit, people were weighed down with ritualistic religions. They were bound by rules that said “you must do this”and “you must not do that”, particularly, in the areas of eating and drinking. Those that did a decent job of following the rules considered themselves to be “religious”.  They attended the services at the temples or synagouges and prayed at the right times, etc. Much like today, when we go to church on Sunday morning for a couple of hours and mumble a few (if any) prayers or spend anytime reading the Holy Scriptures during the week.  We seem to feel that if we do those things, we are fulfilling our duties as Christians. We can spend the other 166 hours of the week doing whatever we please. We can gossip, criticize and say and do all kinds of things. We Christians would never steal, kill or destroy, we don’t commit the “big” sins. But the two areas in which we do fall short are in our speech and in our “not doing”.  Jesus gave us a solemn warning about the things we say:

10 Jesus called the crowd to him and said, “Listen and understand. 11 What goes into someone’s mouth does not defile them, but what comes out of their mouth, that is what defiles them.” — Matt. 15:10
We must take this warning seriously and be very careful of what we say. There are also many verses about how we should treat others. Jesus says that if we see a brother or sister in need and take care of that need for them, it is the same as doing it for Him. If we don’t take care of that need, it is the same as refusing to do it for Him.  Helping others is how we show them the love of Jesus Christ. It is these actions that will draw others to Jesus.

16 This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters. 17 If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person? 18 Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth. — 1 John 3:16, 17

 

“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous
Post 08-01-2018

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

“Like A Mother Cares For Her Child”

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Instead, we were gentle[ among you, like a nursing mother tenderly caring for her own children. – 2 Thess. 2:7b ISV
 
Paul sets a great example for us to follow when we are witnessing to others. We should be doing this because our hearts’ desire is to show others the love that we have for them. We have this love for them because of the love Jesus has for us. No other motive is needed, not money, not fame, not popularity.  Even while spending his life as a missionary, Paul worked as a tentmaker, so that his presence would not be a financial burden on those to whom he was speaking. He and his companions did their best to mirror the lifestyle of Jesus, their Lord and Savior. Because Jesus cared enough to die for us, Paul spent his life in caring for others, just like a Mother cares for her children.  Not only was he concerned about their physical welfare, but he cared even more about their spiritual welfare. He didn’t just preach the Gospel message and leave them, he spent time in explaining the scriptures to them and living an obedient lifestyle while he was there with them.  He encouraged, comforted and urged them to live lives worthy of God. In other words, he was “making disciples”, teaching them how to grow in the word and not leaving them as babies without food and no one to feed them. He exemplified God’s love even more by writing letters to them after he had left as well as sending some of his companions back to check on them at times. Jesus’ command was not to “love them and leave them” or to “save them and send them’, it was to make disciples.
 

19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” — Matt. 28:19, 20 NIV

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

Post 07-12-2018