Thursday, July 24, 2014

God Knows What Sin Is!

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They want to be teachers of the Law of Moses. But they don't know what they are talking about, even though they think they do.

We know the Law is good, if it is used in the right way. We also understand it wasn't given to control people who please God, but to control lawbreakers, criminals, godless people, and sinners. It is for wicked and evil people, and for murderers, who would even kill their own parents.  The Law was written for people who are sexual perverts or who live as homosexuals or are kidnappers or liars or won't tell the truth in court. It is for anything else that opposes the correct teaching of the good news the glorious and wonderful God has given me.

1 Timothy 1:7-11

It is the same as the original dialogue between Adam, Eve and the Snake. God declares something to be a sin and the Snake contradicts the Creator, then you must make a choice!


The controversy today is not about kidnappers or murderers. We still believe that those sins are wrong. But the dispute today with God is about homosexuals and liars! God classifies both of these as sin. In the Western world today we celebrate homosexuality and totally tolerate liars. If you say that lying is a sin you are ridiculed or ignored. If you say that homosexual behavior is a sin you are persecuted!


At the risk of being the recipient of backlash from the modern wave of pro-homosexual sentiment let me say this: When we were born we all inherited from Adam an attraction to sin. The fact that you have had from your earliest time an attraction toward homosexual behavior does not mean that it is not sin. Most little children work hard at becoming expert liars, but that does not change God's opinion of lying!


God requires a radical change for those who practice homosexuality, but He requires a radical change for the rest of us as well! It is the "total transformation" required by God and powered by the Holy Spirit that leaves us free from the slavery of all sin!


So don't spend your life trying to justify your favorite sin, no matter what it is. Run hard after Jesus Christ and make it your goal to make every thought you think, word you speak and even every breath you take pleasing to God!


"Lord Jesus, I know that this body of flesh is attracted to sin. But I want to be even more attracted to You my Lord! Draw me to You more today than ever before! Praise You now and forever. Amen."

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Walk the Talk!

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When we told you the good news, it was with the power and assurance that come from the Holy Spirit, and not simply with words. You knew what kind of people we were and how we helped you.    So, when you accepted the message, you followed our example and the example of the Lord. You suffered, but the Holy Spirit made you glad.

I Thessalonians 1:5-6

I think I was still in my teens when I first heard the comment, "Your actions speak so loudly, that I cannot hear your words!" The believable man is the one whose deeds confirm the words that he says!


When Paul preached the Gospel of Jesus Christ, he did it with the "power and assurance that comes from the Holy Spirit," not simply with words! Let the illustrations for your sermons come from your own life, not just "made up" stories to make the point!


But isn't it "bragging" if I tell of how I am successfully walking with Jesus? Well, you don't have to tell about it. Your life will speak much louder than your words anyway! It's also called "practicing what you preach!" It's like the man who says he will sell you a "Get Rich Quick Scheme," but he gets rich by selling you the idea, not by doing it himself.


Here is the bottom line: When you live a fulfilled and victorious life with Jesus and enjoy the blessings that come from knowing Him, your life will powerfully support the Gospel message you speak.


Don't misunderstand. The Gospel is not made more powerful by your life. Jesus will save anyone who turns to Him in faith. But when you are faithfully walking with Jesus every breath you take and every word you utter point other men and women to the Lord! You are like a man with an unlimited supply of pure water who meets thirsty men and women during the day. Of course, he would give water to everyone he meets.


"Lord Jesus, thank You for quenching my thirst with Your pure and holy water! Give me today another opportunity to share Your water with thirsty men and women! And may You be praised forever. Amen."

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Too Little?

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I am not complaining about having too little. I have learned to be satisfied with whatever I have.   I know what it is to be poor or to have plenty, and I have lived under all kinds of conditions. I know what it means to be full or to be hungry, to have too much or too little.   Christ gives me the strength to face anything.

Philippians 4:11-13

When you thank the Lord for all the "blessings" He has given you, are you thinking about material things or spiritual blessings? I must confess that for most of my life the "things" that come from God have been on top of the list of "blessings." Since I live in an affluent country and have never seen people in this land who are starving it is easy for me to focus on physical blessings. I see them everywhere.


But the Apostle Paul says that he had been poor, hungry and had "too little" at times during his life. How could this be? The chosen messenger of God to the gentiles without resources to keep him going, or even enough food to eat!


I have always believed that if I am walking in "the will of God" I will not be poor or hungry. But that is not what happened to Paul. There were days in Paul's life when God did not give him resources and food, but rather Christ gave Paul the strength to face the problem of having "too little!"


Knowing Jesus Christ is a blessing that far exceeds having enough physical things to keep you going in this world. The richest man on earth and the poorest are both one heartbeat away from Eternity! And in fact Jesus even said that it is hard for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of Heaven!

So don't be surprised if there are times in your life when the physical blessings are in short supply! Those are the times when you can depend on the strength of Jesus who will help you endure anything!


"Lord Jesus, You are all I need in this world or the next! The blessing of fellowship with You is the greatest thing now and forever! Amen."

Monday, July 21, 2014

Brothers at War!

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The angel said, “Go back to Sarai and be her slave.  I will give you a son, who will be called Ishmael, because I have heard your cry for help. And someday I will give you so many descendants that no one will be able to count them all.  But your son will live far from his relatives; he will be like a wild donkey, fighting everyone, and everyone fighting him.”

Genesis 16:9-12

The sons of Abraham  (Ishmael and Isaac) were at odds with each other when they were children and they are still at war today!


Ishmael was Abraham's attempt to make God's promise of a son come true, but Isaac was the son that God had promised to the "Father of the Faithful."


Today's news, the rockets, the dispute over land, the kidnappings, and the turmoil in general in Israel all come from the two sons of Abraham! All other family feuds pale in comparison to the ongoing trouble between the Arabs and the Jews. Well meaning politicians campaign for peace and put forth proposals to solve the conflict, but nothing seems to make any difference at all. Cease fires break down and the trouble starts all over again!


There is one "Peace Maker" who can stop all the violence! In fact, He is called the Prince of Peace. When two men who are at war with each other turn their hearts to Jesus Christ, then they are transformed from enemies into brothers who love each other!


So is it just Arabs and Jews that need to be touched and transformed by the power of Jesus? Oh no, it is every man, woman and child who has ever been born. The touch of Jesus changes the dynamite of a man's heart into precious and pure gold.
From reading the Scripture I can tell you for sure that Jesus loves the Jews and He loves the Arabs! But Jesus doesn't stop there, because Jesus loves you and He loves me! He wants us to be Brothers at Peace, not Brothers at War!


"Lord Jesus, thank You for bringing the "peace that passes understanding" to all those who call on Your name! And may You be praised forever! Amen."

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Worship only at the Feet of Jesus!

 

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Remember, I am coming soon! God will bless everyone who pays attention to the message of this book.

My name is John, and I am the one who heard and saw these things. Then after I had heard and seen all this, I knelt down and began to worship at the feet of the angel who had shown it to me.

But the angel said,

Don't do that! I am a servant, just like you. I am the same as a follower or a prophet or anyone else who obeys what is written in this book. God is the one you should worship.

Revelation 22:7-9

Even the Apostle John, while receiving the message of the Book of Revelation was tempted to fall down and worship at the feet of the messenger! That temptation is still active in the world. When a "wonderful Christian evangelist" brings you a stirring and convicting message that goes deep into your spirit and changes you, it is easy to esteem the messenger too much. That improper esteem then becomes a stumbling block and temptation for the man or woman of God who delivered the message!


If you are the minister who delivers God's Word to those who will listen the warning is this: Never believe that it was your own strength or righteousness that accomplished anything good. God works through you and He deserves all the glory. Keep no acclaim for yourself.


If you are a seeker, and a man of God brings you a wonderful message of truth that reaches to the depths of your soul, don't give that man any more honor than you would a "delivery man" who brings you a great treasure. The treasures of Heaven come from God not an evangelist!


"Lord Jesus, I want to focus my heart totally on You. Keep me from the temptation to worship the one who brings the Good News. And Lord, I do hope to see You soon! Praise only You forever! Amen."

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Muslims, Christians and Jews!

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When the dragon realized it had been thrown down to the earth, it tried to make trouble for the woman who had given birth to a son.   But the woman was given two wings like those of a huge eagle, so she could fly into the desert. There she would escape from the snake and be taken care of for a time, two times, and half a time.

The snake then spewed out water like a river to sweep the woman away.  But the earth helped her and swallowed the water that had come from the dragon's mouth.   This made the dragon terribly angry with the woman. So it started a war against the rest of her children. They are the people who obey God and are faithful to what Jesus did and taught.

Revelation 12:13-17

If you really are a follower of Jesus Christ, then you are the enemy of Satan! And, of course, if you are the enemy of Satan, he will do whatever he can do to defeat you! These verses quite clearly say that when you rescue Jews from the attacks of the Devil you then become the target of Satan! When you help Israel you get both the blessing of God and the anger of Satan!


You may say, "But the Jews rejected and still reject Jesus. How can they be special to God?" Those who ask that question have forgotten about the love any father has for a wayward child. Jews did not become special to God by their faith and they do not lose that status by their lack of faith.


You may wonder, "If God loves Jews then He must hate Muslims!" Oh no, not at all! The Cross of Jesus was for everyone! If your "theology" is correct in every way, Jesus invites you to come to Him. And if your theology is totally confused, Jesus still died for you and wants you to call on Him. He is the only way to God and is the expert at correcting the errors of understanding for those who give their hearts to Him!


The fundamental message of the Gospel is that Jesus loves you! It doesn't matter who you are or what you have been, the love of Jesus is focused on your heart. Coming to Jesus is not about "religion," it is about "relationship!"


"Lord Jesus, I want to know You better today. Correct my understanding as You draw my heart ever closer to You. And may You be praised forever! Amen."

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

God Knows What You are Thinking!

 

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In certain ways we are weak, but the Spirit is here to help us. For example, when we don't know what to pray for, the Spirit prays for us in ways that cannot be put into words.  All of our thoughts are known to God. He can understand what is in the mind of the Spirit, as the Spirit prays for God's people.

Romans 8:26-27

God knows what you are thinking!  From the very beginning, men have been trying to hide from God when they sin.  But hiding from God is an impossibility.  God knows where you are, who you are, what you are doing and even what you are thinking!  I suppose many who choose not to yield their lives to God would rather pretend that God does not exist at all!  If God is there and you oppose Him the odds against you are overwhelming!

I am not an atheist, but I am regularly tempted to believe that God does not know what I am thinking.  Other people hear what I say and may see what I do, but God even knows what I am thinking.  If people knew what thoughts are harbored in your heart would they see you any differently?  I remember as a child hearing someone say: "You can't keep a bird from flying over your head, but you can keep him from making a nest in your hair!" 

The battlefield for righteousness, if you are a Christian is often not your words or actions.  The struggle is with your "private" thoughts!  You see it may be true that physically "you are what you eat," but it is also true that spiritually "you become what you think!"

"Lord Jesus, help me today to really believe that You know my every thought!  You Lord are there even in my most secret place!  And may I glorify and praise You there as well!  Amen."