“Whiter Than Snow”

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so that he can live the rest of his mortal life guided, not by human desires, but by the will of God.– 1 Peter 4:2 ISV
 
 
We may look at the list of things that pagans choose to do and with great relief, say “I never gave in to any of those things.”.  But let’s take another look.  A synonym for debauchery is decadence which is defined as excessive self-indulgence. How much time and money do we spend on thngs that benefit no one but ourselves?  At what point do our “needs” actually become only our “wants”?   Then there is lust, usually taken in the sexual connotation, but let’s spread that out a little further.  How about the desire to control and to have a high position?  Or the desire for things? And then there is that ugly word, idolatry.  No statues or figurines in the house? How about things that we spend inordinate amounts of time and money trying to acquire?  How about persons on whom we spend inordinate amounts of time and money trying to please and/or appease?  How about things and events that we spend way, way too much time talking about?  If there is anything or any person in our lives that we feel so strongly about that those feelings would cause us to be unkind to and/or hurt others, those are idols. If we are guilty of any of these things and suffer in any area whether it be financially, emotionally, or spiritually, then we are not suffering for Christ, we are suffering from bad decisions and there is no reward for ourselves and no glory for God.  We need to decide that we are done with sin, commit to doing God’s will and then when we suffer for His sake, Christ will receive the glory and we will receive the reward in heaven. We have all seen those dirty cars where someone has written on them “Wash Me”.  When our lives become so cluttered and covered with things and issues, maybe we need someone to write on our our hearts, “wash me”.
 
Isaiah 1:18. Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool. 

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

Post 09-09-2018

Once and Once Was Enough!

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But we refused to give in to them for a single moment. We wanted to preserve the truth of the gospel message for you. – Gal. 2:5 NLT

Paul had been teaching in Antioch and then he went on his first missionary journey. This journey lasted about three years. When he returns to Antioch, he finds that the church at Jerusalem had sent messengers up to Antioch. They were sent to tell the Gentiles who had been converted to Christianity that it was necessary for them to be circumcised. Paul had not taught that to the new converts and did not believe that it was necessary. In fact, Paul taught that God did not require new Gentile converts to be circumcised. We still have people in our society who are bound by the traditions that they were taught. We must understand that God the Holy Spirit abides in us. He is our guide and our teacher. We have much liberty in Christ Jesus, but we are not to use that liberty to grieve the Holy Spirit or to mislead others. Jesus said that if you were bound by the law and did not fulfill every iota of the law, then you cold not enter heaven, That is why God sent His Son as the perfect sacrifice for our redemption. From that time forward, there is no sacrifice required. If there were need for more sacrifice, then Christ died in vain.
24 For Christ did not enter a holy place made with hands, a mere​ ​copy of the true one, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us; 25 nor was it that He would offer Himself often, as the high priest enters the holy place year by year with blood that is not his own. 26 Otherwise, He would have needed to suffer often since the foundation of the world; but now once at the consummation of the ages He has been manifested to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself.–Hebrews 9:24-26​ (NASB)​

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

Post 12-23-2017

God Is Able!

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12 That is why I am suffering here in prison. But I am not ashamed of it, for I know the one in whom I trust, and I am sure that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him until the day of his return.   — 2 Timothy 1:12 NLT

2 Timothy 1:9-12 NLT

God gave the law first knowing that we would not be able to keep every aspect of it. It was given to show us that we need a Savior and the appearing of Jesus Christ made God’s plan plain to us. Jesus and Jesus alone had the power to break satan’s hold on us and conquer death. By His death and resurrection, Jesus shows us the way to life and immortality. God has chosen some to be preachers, apostles and teachers. We will all suffer to some extent, some even to death. We are not to be afraid or ashamed of our suffering. God has promised us that He will keep us and no one can take us out of His hand. No thing or no one can ever separate us from the love of God.

39 No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.–Romans 8:39 (NLT)
He will keep us, guide us, and give us the words to speak as we need them. Fear not!


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

Post 04-05-2017

We Were There!

even-smaller-bug-light150 Then Jesus shouted out again, and he released his spirit. 51 At that moment the curtain in the sanctuary of the Temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. The earth shook, rocks split apart, 52 and tombs opened. The bodies of many godly men and women who had died were raised from the dead. 53 They left the cemetery after Jesus’ resurrection, went into the holy city of Jerusalem, and appeared to many people. — Matt. 27:50-53 NLT    (Read The Whole Story)

After the Lord’s Supper was completed, Jesus and the disciples went to Gethsemane. Jesus took His three closest friends and went a little further into the Garden. Leaving them there, He went a stone’s throw further and began to pray. In our darkest hours, we are sometimes separated from those who love us​, left alone with just us and our Father.  It is then that we can pray effectively and fervently. ​ ​Jesus​ prayed so fervently that He sweat great drops of blood.  Then Judas came with the religious leaders and soldiers.​  ​He came to betray​ Jesus with a kiss. A kiss, not of affection but of deceit and deception.​  What had begun as a farewell celebration for Jesus ended in a long night and day of sorrows for Jesus. 
​ A night and day of being denied by His friends, a night and day of being persecuted and falsely accused, a night and day of being mocked, beaten and spat upon. ​ ​The culmination was HIs being hanged on a cross until He gave up His spirit. ​ Nothing short of God’s love could cause a person to submit to such indignation and punishment.  ​Especially when that person was innocent of any sin. So, why would He do it?  He did it for you and for me.  We weren’t there physically, but every sin we ever committed or ever will commit was there separating Jesus from HIs Father for that short space of time.  Unthinkable! Unimaginable!   ​That anyone could love others so​ much that they would agree to suffer a death that was so horrible it defies imagination.  
Yet, that is exactly what Jesus did for us.

 

Post 03-25-2016

His Sake or Our Mistake?

even-smaller-bug-light120 Do you remember what I told you? ‘A slave is not greater than the master.’ Since they persecuted me, naturally they will persecute you. And if they had listened to me, they would listen to you. — John 15:20 NLT

In His lifetime here on earth, Jesus suffered rejection, ridicule, mockery, and finally death on a cross.  While he was living out His life as an example to us, He promised us that we would be offended and suffer persecution as well.  When we suffer for His sake, we should be happy that He has chosen us to suffer with and for Him because we will receive a blessing here and a reward later​.

 

11 “God blesses you when people mock you and persecute you and lie about you and say all sorts of evil things against you because you are my followers. 12 Be happy about it! Be very glad! For a great reward awaits you in heaven. And remember, the ancient prophets were persecuted in the same way.– Matt. 5: 11, 12 NLT

God also disciplines His children and the discipline is for our benefit so that we grow and mature in His service.
 

19 I correct and discipline everyone I love. So be diligent and turn from your indifference. — Hebrews 3:19 NLT

I like the NLT translation of this verse because the way most of us Chrisitians sin is through indifference.  So what, if my neighbors are lost, I am not going to get involved.  Yeah, I felt that little nudge to speak or act but I am not going to do anything.  Yes, I should visit the sick but I just don’t have the time. Woe unto us!!  Jesus will not ignore these sins of indifference, there will be discipline for His children in this world, not in eternity.  The kids of satan may prosper here because they are not God’s children to discipline but they will suffer punishment, the full wrath of God’s anger, for an eternity.  So, we don’t need to concern ourselves with how God handles them. 
We need to be concerned over why we are suffering:  Is it persecution for His sake or discipline for our mistake?
Post 01-21-2016

Blessings Now, Rewards Later!

God is waiting to show you the Way.

God is waiting to show you the Way.

1 You foolish Galatians, who has bewitched you, before whose eyes Jesus Christ was publicly portrayed as crucified? 2 This is the only thing I want to find out from you: did you receive the Spirit by the works of the Law, or by hearing with faith? 3 Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh? 4 Did you suffer so many things in vain—if indeed it was in vain? 5 So then, does He who provides you with the Spirit and works miracles among you, do it by the works of the Law, or by hearing with faith?—Gal. 3:1-5 (NASB)
​There were religious leaders and teachers that were trying to convince the new converts that the Gospel was not true. They taught that you must still obey the law to please God. But the Good News is that we are now saved by grace through faith, not by works. Once we have accepted this truth, then the Holy Spirit comes to indwell us and lead us into all truth. The Holy Spirit could not be obtained by works or by obedience to the law. There is only one way to receive the Holy Spirit and that is by hearing the Word of grace and ,by faith, accepting Jesus as our Savior. Adding anything to God’s plan is nothing but vanity and man’s pride. We still have to answer the same question today. Are we saved by God who works miracles among us and provides us with His Holy Spirit? Yes, yes, we are! And once we accept Jesus, is there some great work we must do to be sure make it to heaven? The answer is no, works still cannot obtain our salvation. There are works that we should do, yes, but they do not add to our salvation. Our works are how we store up rewards in heaven.
26 For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul? 27 For the Son of Man will come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and then He will reward each according to his works.-Matt. 16:26​,​27(NKJV)
Post 03-26-2015

To Live Or To Die, Which Would Be Better?

God is waiting to show you the Way.

God is waiting to show you the Way.

9 A large crowd of Jews heard that Jesus was in Bethany. So they went there to see not only Jesus but Lazarus, whom Jesus raised from the dead. 10 So the leading priests made plans to kill Lazarus, too. 11 Because of Lazarus many of the Jews were leaving them and believing in Jesus. —John 12:9-​11​ (NCV)
​Sin always takes us further than we want to go. The leaders had planned to kill Jesus and now they would have to kill Lazarus as well. How many others would have to die before the movement was stopped? We don’t know because Christians are still being killed today for their faithfulness to Jesus. The persecuted church of today will tell you that it is much harder to live for Jesus than it is to die for Him. Would we suffer and die for Jesus? Jesus said that we must be willing to do that.
34 Then Jesus called the crowd to him, along with his followers. He said, “If people want to follow me, they must give up the things they want. They must be willing even to give up their lives to follow me. 35 Those who want to save their lives will give up true life. But those who give up their lives for me and for the Good News will have true life.–Mark 8:34-35 (NCV)
Have we made that commitment? ​ Can we say along with Paul:
10 I want to know Christ and the power that raised him from the dead. I want to share in his sufferings and become like him in his death.11 Then I have hope that I myself will be raised from the dead.–Philippians 3:10, 11 (NCV)
The great thing is that for us, it is a win-win situation. Paul put it this way:
21 For to me, living means living for Christ, and dying is even better.–Philippians 1: 21 (NLT)
Post 01-14-2015