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

Rejoice! Pray! Give Thanks! Repeat!

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18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. 1 Thess. 5:18 ISV
 
 
If we rejoice all the time, pray continually and give thanks in all circumstances, that doesn’t leave us any time to be idle. Of course, we can’t literally do these things all the time, but we can develop habits that will allow us to spend more time actually doing these things.  We can take all of our thoughts captive and bring them into submission under Jesus Christ.
 

5 We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.– 2 Cor. 10:5 NIV

When we find our thoughts wandering into areas that lead us into temptation, doubt and worry, we need to immediately bring them back into submission. If we do this, then we will always have an attitude of gratitude.  We will always be in an attitude of prayer regardless of what we are doing physically.  We are not bound by our circumstances or feelings, but by our knowledge of Jesus Christ and who we are in Him.  When we feel those little nudges of the Holy Spirit, we will be ready to act on them and do what God is asking us to do minute by minute. We will also find that our days are full of peace and joy as we are being sanctified daily by the Holy Spirit.  We cannot do this in the flesh, God knows that.  But the God that called us to repentance is able and He is faithful to finish what He has started in our lives. We are saved by grace through faith and we must live our daily lives walking by faith.

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

Post 07-20-2018

Thoughts Eventually Lead to Actions

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Each of you must know how to control his own body in a holy and honorable manner, not with passion and lust like the gentiles who do not know God. – 1 Thess. 4:4 ISV
 
 
Paul, in his letters, to the churches reminds them of the things he has taught them about how to live a Christian lifestyle. He continually encourages them to study, to pray for and encourage each other.  These letters were written to churches whose members understood persecution.  They lived with it every day. He was a great example to them because of all the beatings and persecutions that he endured on an almost daily basis.  We don’t have to face those types of offenses every day like they did. But, the temptations of the flesh that Paul warns them against are just as real today as they were then.  As long as we are on this earth, we will be tempted to sin. But, we are also told that we will never be tempted above that which we can bear and there is always a way out, if we want to avoid the sin badly enough. Our flesh tempts in some many areas, we can sin when we gossip, when we hate others, when we withhold our abundance of worldly goods from those around us, when we see others hurting and don’t take the time to comfort them. When we think unkind thoughts about others, even though we don’t say the words, the harm is done to us and our relationship with God. The world is a cesspool of temptations for the flesh.  All of these sins are outside the body, except for sexual sin, which defiles the temple of the living God, Our bodies were created by God to glorify God.  When we participate in illicit sexual activity, whether in thought or action, our bodies and souls are bound with those bodies and desecrate the Temple.

 
 15 Surely you know that your bodies are parts of Christ himself. So I must never take the parts of Christ and join them to a prostitute! 16 It is written in the Scriptures, “The two will become one body.” So you should know that anyone who joins with a prostitute becomes one body with the prostitute. 17 But the one who joins with the Lord is one spirit with the Lord.. — 1 Cor. 6:15-17 NCV

So, we must be careful to avoid all temptations, but, especially sexual temptations.  So, when you feel that nudge to walk away from a situation, don’t just walk away, Run!

 

18 So run away from sexual sin. Every other sin people do is outside their bodies, but those who sin sexually sin against their own bodies. 19 You should know that your body is a temple for the Holy Spirit who is in you. You have received the Holy Spirit from God. So you do not belong to yourselves, 20 because you were bought by God for a price. So honor God with your bodies. — 1 Cor. 6:18-2​0

 

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

Post 07-15-2018

WDP- Weapons of Divine Power

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We destroy every proud obstacle that keeps people from knowing God. We capture their rebellious thoughts and teach them to obey Christ. -2 Cor. 10:5 NLT
 
After admonishing the Corinthians for allowing impurities in their worship service and then expressing his joy because of their repentance, Paul expresses his concern that some of them still haven’t gotten the full message. They are still trying to bring the world into the church instead of carrying the church into the world. Just as with the Corinthians, our actions do not always back up our teachings.  Paul starts teaching the Corinthians and us about where the problem is and how we should attack it. The problem is our mindset and that is not a battle that can be won with worldly weapons. The world and satan hits us with a constant barrage of violence, sexual innuendos, and all manners of chaos.  To protect our minds, we need to fill them with the knowledge of God and be constantly filled with the Holy Spirit.  Every thought that comes to our mind, must be immediately processed and either deleted or stored in our arsenal of divine weapons.  We can’t dilly-dally or play games or we will be overpowered with fleshly desires. Be on the alert! Be ready to punish and cast out every vile and sinful thought.

8 Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. 9 Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the ​world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings. — 1 Peter 5:8, 9 NIV

 

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

Post -6-20-2018

Praise! Pray! Rejoice! Rejoice! Rejoice!

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Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!  – Phil. 4:5​ NIV

Rejoice!

Some of the things that Paul wrote are hard for us to understand. “rejoice in the Lord always” and “pray without ceasing” come to mind. In our busy society how does one spend 15 minutes a day rejoicing and praying, much less continually, and still get everything accomplished. I believe that what seems impossible is the key to how we accomplish Paul’s admonitions. Happiness is caused by externals and is temporary. We sometimes confuse that with joy, which is internal and eternal because it is given to us by God. “The joy of the Lord is my strength.”  What God gives to us cannot be taken away from us. We can lose our focus on the joy but it is still there all the time. Praying is a gift from God as well as an attitude, not a body position. we can mentally pray while doing anything else. Verse 8 is the key to being prayerful and joyful all the time. We need to change our thought patterns so that they focus on the goodness and mercies of God instead of the sin in the world around us.  Then we can enjoy the joy and thank God for it.


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

Post 03-27-2018

One Example – Jesus and Only Jesus

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4 Each one should test their own actions. Then they can take pride in themselves alone, without comparing themselves to someone else, 5 for each one should carry their own load. 6 Nevertheless, the one who receives instruction in the word should share all good things with their instructor.—Gal. 6:4-6 (NIV)
Every word we speak and every action that we commit should be tested. Do the words and/or the action(s) align with the Scriptures? It is a good idea to find more than one passage of Scripture to test our thoughts and actions. If we don’t have a peace about it after that, then we either need to discard the idea or ask someone that we trust spiritually for their opinion of what we are about to say or do. We should ask them to pray with us about it. If we still don’t have peace about it, we should either delay the action until we do have peace or completely discard it. There is only one standard to use for comparison of our words and actions, That is Jesus Christ. Don’t try to be be anyone or anything more than what you can determine that Jesus wants you to be. We should always do our part of the labor and the praying. We should support those that God has placed over us and from whom we derive a benefit because of their instructions. Not just with our finances but also with our time and our prayers.

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

Post 01-18-2018

“For the Glory of God”

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But when Jesus heard about it he said, “Lazarus’s sickness will not end in death. No, it happened for the glory of God so that the Son of God will receive glory from this.”  – John 11:4 NLT

Lazarus and his sisters were dear friends of Jesus. Mary and Martha sent a messenger to tell Jesus that Lazarus was sick. The messenger and the disciples must have been very surprised at what Jesus said when he heard the message. “This sickness will not end in death, it is for the glory of God”. How could sickness be for the glory of God? They, like us today, look at things from the human standpoint. Why should a friend of Jesus, the Great Physician, or a child of God have to suffer? A better question might be, “Why don’t wretched sinners like us have to suffer more than we do now?” Sin came into the world when man disobeyed God and it will remain in the world until Jesus comes back to establish His Kingdom here on earth. Until that time of restoration comes, we remain under the curse of sin. God gets glory by overcoming the curse of sin. While Jesus was here on earth, He overcame the curse of sin one act at a time. Yes, Jesus could have just spoken a word right where He was when He heard the message or He could have left immediately and gone to Lazarus. He chose not to do either of those things, but waited for 2 days before He left to go to Lazarus. God’s timing is not our timing and His answer is not always what we want to hear, but they are always exactly what is necessary to bring glory to Himself.
8 The Lord says, “My thoughts are not like your thoughts.Your ways are not like my ways. 9 Just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts–Jeremiah 55:8, 9 (NCV)
Now we aren’t able to see and understand these things, but one day we will know and understand.
12 It is the same with us. Now we see a dim reflection, as if we were looking into a mirror, but then we shall see clearly. Now I know only a part, but then I will know fully, as God has known me.—1 Cor. 13:12 (NCV)
Until then, we can be comforted with God’s promises and the many gifts He gives each day, 

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

Post 10-10-2017