“We Are Without Excuse”

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14 No, the word is very near you—it’s within your mouth and heart for you to attain.” – Deut. 30:14 ISV
At this time, the Holy Spirit had not yet been given to us to remain on the earth until Jesus returns, so God gave the Israelis their instructions and commands through Moses.  In  the following chapters of Deuteronomy, we read that God instructed Moses to write all of these instructions in a Book.  That Book is now included as the first five books of the Bible.  Moses instructed the priests to keep the Book of Instructions beside the Ark of the Covenant at all times as a sign of remembrance to the Israelis of their covenant with God.  It would also serve as a witness against them in times of disobedience. It was to be read to the people, in its entirety, every seventh year during the Festival of Shelters.  God is a just God and never holds anyone accountable for things they can not know.  He can and does hold us responsible for those we could know but refuse to learn.

Now, since Jesus has returned to Heaven, He has sent the Holy Spirit to abide in us and lead us into all truth.  We have no reason for our disobedience.  We may try to excuse ourselves because of a lack of knowledge, but that excuse won’t hold water since God has made the Holy Spirit available to be our Teacher. His love for us and our love for Him is more than sufficient reason to study, learn and obey as much as we possibly can.  The Lord, our God, is a jealous God and he is unhappy with anything less than a total commitment to our relationship with Him.

For I am jealous for you with the jealousy of God himself. I promised you as a pure bride to one husband—Christ.  ​ — 2 Cor. 11:2 NLT​

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

Post 11-08-2018

Using Our Talents to Witness

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and I’ve filled him with the Spirit of God, with wisdom, understanding, knowledge, and all kinds of craftsmanship – Exodus 31:3 ISV
 
 
Not only did God choose these specific men to make all the things needed to fulfill the laws of worshiping Him, but He gave each a special skill.  God is still doing the same thing with those He has chosen.  He has called each one of us and filled us with the Holy Spirit.  Not to sit on the sidelines but to accomplish a specific task for His glory.  If we are unwilling to do that task, whether it be cleaning the bathrooms or preaching the sermon, then the worship service is incomplete.  Most of our sins are those of omission rather than commission.  Our choices of what we do and/or don’t do and the attitude with which we do them preaches a message that is louder than words. That message is seen and heard by everyone we pass by each day.  Does our message draw people closer to Jesus or does it leave them wondering if they even want to be a part of His Kingdom? As we go along life’s journey, are we more like the priest, the temple assistant or the good Samaritan?  Do we soothe and bandage wounds or do we cross the street rather than taking the time and effort to help those who are hurting? (Parable of the good Samaritan- Luke 10:30-37)

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

Poat 09-30-2018

The Mystery is the Victory

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12b Even angels long to look into these things. ​- 1 Peter 1:12b ISV

When the Holy Spirit would come upon the Old Testament prophets, they would prophesy about the coming Messiah, His suffering, His resurrection and the magnificence of His glory.  How their hearts must have longed for the day that He would come, But it was revealed to them, that they would not see it with their eyes. Even the angels longed to look into the mystery of this plan of salvation. But only hints and shadows would be revealed to each prophet, that the complete plan would be kept a mystery until the exact time that God chose to reveal more of it. God had a reason for not revealing the whole mystery any earlier than He did.  If satan had been aware of God’s plan, the crucifixion would never have taken place.

 

7 No, we declare God’s wisdom, a mystery that has been hidden and that God destined for our glory before time began. 8 None of the rulers of this age understood it, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. — 1 Cor. 2:7, 8 NIV

The revelations that the Holy Spirit was giving them were for our benefit that we might understand the faithfulness of God in keeping His promises. It is also a lesson to us that there is a reason that God sometimes delays the answer to our prayers. We measure time by seconds, minutes, hours, days, etc.  The eternal God has planned eternity and knows exactly when we to give us the things we need.   Just as the Old Testament prophets prophesied and longed for the first appearance of the Messiah, we should be longing for and telling the world that Jesus is coming again. Just as Ezekiel (read Ezekiel 33) and the other prophets were the “watchmen on the wall” to spread the warning, so are we the modern day watchmen.  We are to just keep telling the “Old, Old Story” until Jesus comes back!

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

Post 08-19-2018

Knowledge, Wisdom and Understanding

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17 But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. 18 Peacemakers who sow in peace reap a harvest of righteousness. — James 3:17,18 NIV

As we read yesterday, wisdom is defined as more than just getting facts and knowledge of things, places and people,  It includes the ability to use that knowledge to make proper decisions that lead to correct actions.  We can have knowledge upon knowledge, but it is worthless, perhaps, even dangerous, if it is built on the wrong foundation, a foundation of inerrant knowledge. That is why the Holy Spirit, through the writer of Proverbs, tells us

7 The beginning of wisdom is this: Get wisdom. Though it cost all you have, get understanding. ​– Prov. 4:7
10 The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding. — Prov. 9:10
 
So, we lay the foundation with knowledge, we build walls with wisdom and the finishing touch is understanding.  Therefore, we must be very sure that our knowledge is based on a foundation of knowledge that includes The Holy One (Jehovah God) and Jesus Christ. Then we must be sure that our wisdom comes from heaven.  We can know this if it is ” first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere”‘  So, any so-called wisdom that advocates anything less than these qualities is not from heaven and is not of God. (Kind of reminds me of the parable of the houses — one built on the Rock and one built on the sand,) If we want others to recognize us as the children of God, then we must show love to our brothers and sisters.
10 This is how we know who the children of God are and who the children of the devil are: Anyone who does not do what is right is not God’s child, nor is anyone who does not love their brother and sister. — 1 John 3:10
Since the wisdom that is from above is impartial, we must show love to all of our fellow human beings. This love requires us to be peacemakers.

9 Blessed are the peacemakers,  for they will be called children of God. — Matt. 5:9
If we want to be obedient to our Father in heaven, we will endeavor to become peacemakers unless that action requires us to violate the Holy Scriptures. Jesus was/is the ultimate peacemaker, but He had limits as shown by His words to the Pharisees and His actions when chasing the traders out of the temple. He had perfect knowledge, perfect wisdom and perfect understanding.
“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous
Post 08-06-2018

“Disorder and Every Kind of Evil”

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16 For wherever jealousy and rivalry exist, there is disorder and every kind of evil. – James 3:16 ISV
 
Wisdom is defined as “the quality or state of being wise; knowledge of what is true or right coupled with just judgment as to action; sagacity, discernment, or insight”.  So, what we consider wisdom is largely determined by whatever belief system we adhere to.  Since worldly religious systems are based on beliefs that do not believe in and accept Jesus Christ as their Savior and Lord are laid on an erroneous foundation, then any wisdom based on those beliefs will have error in it. So, it is very possible to be religious, have tons of knowledge, be worldly-wise and still be wrong.  Such wisdom is considered foolishness by God.

 

18 Do not deceive yourselves. If any of you think you are wise by the standards of this age, you should become “fools” so that you may become wise. 19 For the wisdom of this world is foolishness in God’s sight. As it is written: “He catches the wise in their craftiness” — 1 Cor. 3:18, 19

This difference between beliefs in worldly wisdom and Christianity is used by satan to create chaos and violence. The people committing the acts of violence do so because in the “wisdom” of their religion it is “just judgment” to those who do not adhere to their beliefs. This “wisdom” does not come down from heaven. . The wider and deeper the differences in Christianity and any particularly world religion, the more problems and issues it will create. Some worldly religions teach their followers to hate and destroy the enemy.  We should be thankful every second of every day that we serve a Savior who teaches us to love.  His love for us not only requires that we love Him, our family and our friends, but also our enemies.  

 

43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. — Matt. 5:43-45

“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous
Post 08-05-2018

Power Is For Witnessing, Not Wasting

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Do not get involved in foolish discussions about spiritual pedigrees or in quarrels and fights about obedience to Jewish laws. These things are useless and a waste of time. – Titus 3:9 NLT
Paul’s advice to Titus was given at a time when the discussion about the law was the single most divisive issue in the new church.  Did Jesus fulfill the law or abolish the law?  We have grace but don’t we still need to be circumcised? Even the apostles had differing opinions on some of these things. In today’s church, we get involved in foolish controversies over things not nearly as important as the law. Carpet colors, steeple or no steeple, immersion or sprinkling and the list goes on and on. Not one of these discussions will lead a soul to Christ but they may very well turn people away from the church altogether. They are definitely unprofitable and useless.  Jesus instructed us to “go and make disciples”.  He did not instruct us to go and make denominations, etc.  When we are in front of outsiders, our conversations and teachings should be limited to instructing people in how to be saved. All true Christians agree on the plan of salvation. That is the story Jesus wants us to tell. It is simple and powerful. Wherever we are or whomever we are speaking to, our sentiment must be the same as Paul’s:2 For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. 3 I came to you in weakness with great fear and trembling. 4 My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, 5 so that your faith might not rest on human wisdom, but on God’s power. — 1 Cor. 2:2-5 NIV

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

Post 05-02-2018

Pure Joy

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Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy.  – James 1:2 NLT​
 


Why do Christians have to endure trials and persecutions? I suppose people have been asking this question since the first century. The disciples never quite understood why Jesus had to suffer and die until after the Resurrection. God does not allow us to go through suffering so that He will know where we are on our journey, He allows it so that we will know. He allows it so that our “I can” will turn into “No, I can’t but God can”. “No pain, no gain” applies to spiritual growth as well as physical. Would understanding the “why” really make the pain any less real or painful?  I am sure that since Jesus was in on the plan of redemption, He understood the why, but that didn’t keep Him from asking His Father if there might not be another way. As he prayed in the garden of Gethsemane.

42 He went away a second time and prayed, “My Father, if it is not possible for this cup to be taken away unless I drink it, may your will be done.”–Matt. 26:42 NIV

It is not a sin to wonder or to question “why?”. It is only a sin when we take it to the point of being disobedient. We need to pray for wisdom, but when we pray for wisdom, we need to understand that acquiring wisdom requires experiencing a lot of things and some of them will be painful.

23 Then he said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.–Luke 9:23 

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

Post 3-11-2018