We Have To Work While it is Yet Day

02/28/21 – 1 Thessalonians 5:1-11

5:1 But of the times and the seasons, brethren, ye have no need that I write unto you.
5:2 For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night.
5:3 For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape.
5:4 But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief.
5:5 Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness.
5:6 Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober.
5:7 For they that sleep, sleep in the night; and they that be drunken are drunken in the night.
5:8 But let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for an helmet, the hope of salvation.
5:9 For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ,
5:10 Who died for us, that, whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with him.
5:11 Wherefore comfort yourselves together, and edify one another, even as also ye do.

I am amazed every day how much more wicked the world has become from the day before, and how much more brazen the evildoers grow. We also see more signs of the Lord’s hand at work, but the lost ignore that because they don’t want to know the truth.

16:1 The Pharisees also with the Sadducees came, and tempting desired him that he would shew them a sign from heaven. 16:2 He answered and said unto them, When it is evening, ye say, It will be fair weather: for the sky is red. 16:3 And in the morning, It will be foul weather to day: for the sky is red and lowering. O ye hypocrites, ye can discern the face of the sky; but can ye not discern the signs of the times? 16:4 A wicked and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given unto it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas. And he left them, and departed.

This incident took place just after the times that Jesus fed the multitudes. The Pharisees had seen that and many other signs, but they wanted Jesus to give them a sign on their terms.

I had a friend I worked with years ago that was about to lose his job. The company we worked for had already let me go and they were about to close the plant. The economy wasn’t doing very well at the time either. A lot of people were looking for work. I asked him one day how his search was going. He told me that he had three job offers, but he was waiting for a sign from God. I told him God was offering him a choice, but he was too busy looking for a sign. Often when God opens a door, He expects us to take a step to go through it.

People think they have all the time in the world. Some say they believe in God and may even say they plan to follow Him someday. They may say they’re just sowing their wild oats while they’re young. None of us have the promise of tomorrow. We have to get about our Father’s business while it is still day. We can’t get sidetracked thinking those around us are getting ahead or because we see the wicked appear to prosper.

37:7 Rest in the LORD, and wait patiently for him: fret not thyself because of him who prospereth in his way, because of the man who bringeth wicked devices to pass. 37:8 Cease from anger, and forsake wrath: fret not thyself in any wise to do evil. 37:9 For evildoers shall be cut off: but those that wait upon the LORD, they shall inherit the earth. 37:10 For yet a little while, and the wicked shall not be: yea, thou shalt diligently consider his place, and it shall not be. 37:11 But the meek shall inherit the earth; and shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace. 37:12 The wicked plotteth against the just, and gnasheth upon him with his teeth. 37:13 The LORD shall laugh at him: for he seeth that his day is coming.

I expect we all know people that have done wrong by us or other people we love. It can be easy to let that fester into hate and wrath. We can’t do that. We have to turn those people over to the Lord. He will either put them through a rough enough time to save them, or He will repay them far more than we ever could.

Along with all the advertisements for sin and indulgence, we hear the message that man can save himself; that peace can come about by the efforts of men; that science will solve our problems, feed the hungry and heal the sick. One day, all these lies will be centered on one person. He will tell the world that he has all the answers, and many will be so brainwashed by our society that they will believe him.

2 Thessalonians
2:5 Remember ye not, that, when I was yet with you, I told you these things? 2:6 And now ye know what withholdeth that he might be revealed in his time. 2:7 For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way. 2:8 And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming: 2:9 Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, 2:10 And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. 2:11 And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: 2:12 That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness. 2:13 But we are bound to give thanks alway to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth: 2:14 Whereunto he called you by our gospel, to the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. 2:15 Therefore, brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions which ye have been taught, whether by word, or our epistle.

The world we know is melting away day by day. There is a new world rising based on the belief that man is his own god, and whatever each of us believes is right. That is, unless you believe that God is right. Then they don’t want to hear you.

The day is not yet lost. There have been dark days before in history and God has granted revival and pulled us back from the edge. We all have the light of God’s word inside us. We have to share that light with those around us.

12:35 Then Jesus said unto them, Yet a little while is the light with you. Walk while ye have the light, lest darkness come upon you: for he that walketh in darkness knoweth not whither he goeth. 12:36 While ye have light, believe in the light, that ye may be the children of light. These things spake Jesus, and departed, and did hide himself from them.

In many parts of the world, it is illegal to talk about God and Jesus. People risk their lives every day to spread the word. It seems almost unbelievable that could ever happen in this country, but look at the news. If you believe there is one standard of what is right and what is wrong, then you are labeled as a hater. They say you can believe anything you want, but that only applies to those who believe the same way they do.

All through time, some have used the word of God as an excuse to war and hate. We can’t do that either. There are battles to be fought, but we are not to fight them using the tools of the enemy. Hatred and violence don’t help people see that God loves them. We have to stand on the word of God and allow that light to reach those who will listen.

1 John
1:5 This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. 1:6 If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth: 1:7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin. 1:8 If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 1:10 If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.

Many look at the outside world and think they should shut them out because they’re sinners. We are all sinners and only by the grace of God are we able to say anything different. We can’t judge others no matter how they look to us. The world is drowning in false beliefs. We have to reach out the hand of truth. What they do with it is on them. We are responsible for what we do with the light we’ve been given.

33:7 So thou, O son of man, I have set thee a watchman unto the house of Israel; therefore thou shalt hear the word at my mouth, and warn them from me. 33:8 When I say unto the wicked, O wicked man, thou shalt surely die; if thou dost not speak to warn the wicked from his way, that wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at thine hand. 33:9 Nevertheless, if thou warn the wicked of his way to turn from it; if he do not turn from his way, he shall die in his iniquity; but thou hast delivered thy soul.

Keep your eyes open. The world is trying to fill your mind with the lies of the enemy. Get into the word. It will guide you in how to protect yourself and how you are to help others. We are each given some measure of the light. We have to be faithful to be working in that light.

12:35 Let your loins be girded about, and your lights burning; 12:36 And ye yourselves like unto men that wait for their lord, when he will return from the wedding; that when he cometh and knocketh, they may open unto him immediately. 12:37 Blessed are those servants, whom the lord when he cometh shall find watching: verily I say unto you, that he shall gird himself, and make them to sit down to meat, and will come forth and serve them. 12:38 And if he shall come in the second watch, or come in the third watch, and find them so, blessed are those servants. 12:39 And this know, that if the goodman of the house had known what hour the thief would come, he would have watched, and not have suffered his house to be broken through. 12:40 Be ye therefore ready also: for the Son of man cometh at an hour when ye think not.

The sky could split open any minute and we’d all be caught up with Jesus, or we could have something happen and not make it to see tomorrow. Either way, we have to be ready because we don’t know when our time will be up.

The world thinks that God isn’t real or doesn’t care because He hasn’t acted in their lives. They mistake His patience and longsuffering for license to do what they want. They think they can hide their wicked actions if no one see them, but the darkness of their own sin keeps them from seeing the light.

3:18 He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. 3:19 And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. 3:20 For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. 3:21 But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.

While it is day, that is while we are here, we have to let the Spirit guide us to clean up our sinful nature. The more we can put aside our own pride and the desires of the flesh, the more we’ll be able to stand in the light without fear.

We will fight many battles while we’re here. We have to use the armor God has provided and He will keep us safe. The breastplate of our faith in God and His love for us will keep our hearts safe, and the knowledge that we’re saved through Jesus will protect our minds.

6:10 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. 6:11 Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 6:12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. 6:13 Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.

We said earlier we’re not to use hatred and violence to fight. However, we are to stand in the power of God’s might. When we take our stand and let God fight our battles, He will prevail.

God doesn’t want any of us to fail. Jesus died for the sins of the whole world. The world just doesn’t want to accept the free gift they’re being offered. God loves and cares for all of us and has already paid the price to redeem us.

17:29 Forasmuch then as we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Godhead is like unto gold, or silver, or stone, graven by art and man’s device. 17:30 And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent: 17:31 Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead.

The Pharisees were seeking a sign, and in the end they got the biggest sign they could have asked for. They still rejected Jesus, and many today still reject God in spite of all the obvious signs around us.

We don’t have to wait until judgment day or when we die to enjoy our new life in the Lord. Even though we may have battles yet to fight here, we can rejoice even in hardship because we know that God has already won the victory.

118:16 The right hand of the LORD is exalted: the right hand of the LORD doeth valiantly. 118:17 I shall not die, but live, and declare the works of the LORD. 118:18 The LORD hath chastened me sore: but he hath not given me over unto death. 118:19 Open to me the gates of righteousness: I will go into them, and I will praise the LORD: 118:20 This gate of the LORD, into which the righteous shall enter. 118:21 I will praise thee: for thou hast heard me, and art become my salvation. 118:22 The stone which the builders refused is become the head stone of the corner. 118:23 This is the LORD’s doing; it is marvellous in our eyes. 118:24 This is the day which the LORD hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.

Each day and each hour is a gift from God. We have to keep our eyes open so we can find the purpose He has in giving it to us.

We are not alone. God is with us, and so are all other fellow believers. We are all one in the Spirit and we should remember that. Anything we do that hurts someone else hurts us, and anything we do that helps them is also helping ourselves. We all stumble and fall sometimes. We have to help those around us stand when they trip and lift them up when they fall. I often remind myself that I’m not perfect and I know that some days I’m the one that needs lifting up.

5:14 Wherefore he saith, Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light. 5:15 See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, 5:16 Redeeming the time, because the days are evil. 5:17 Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is. 5:18 And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit; 5:19 Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord; 5:20 Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ; 5:21 Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God.

Whether we’re talking about the end of this world or the end of our own lives, we’re all a little closer to that day than we were yesterday. We have to be working while it is yet day because the night is coming.

There is Only One Sacrifice

02/21/21 – 1 Peter 2:1-10

2:1 Wherefore laying aside all malice, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, all evil speakings,
2:2 As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby:
2:3 If so be ye have tasted that the Lord is gracious.
2:4 To whom coming, as unto a living stone, disallowed indeed of men, but chosen of God, and precious,
2:5 Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.
2:6 Wherefore also it is contained in the scripture, Behold, I lay in Sion a chief corner stone, elect, precious: and he that believeth on him shall not be confounded.
2:7 Unto you therefore which believe he is precious: but unto them which be disobedient, the stone which the builders disallowed, the same is made the head of the corner,
2:8 And a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence, even to them which stumble at the word, being disobedient: whereunto also they were appointed.
2:9 But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light;
2:10 Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy.

When we come to God, we can’t sit on the fence. We have to put aside our old ways and let God mold us into the new person we will become.

9:16 No man putteth a piece of new cloth unto an old garment, for that which is put in to fill it up taketh from the garment, and the rent is made worse. 9:17 Neither do men put new wine into old bottles: else the bottles break, and the wine runneth out, and the bottles perish: but they put new wine into new bottles, and both are preserved.

Jesus told Nicodemus “Ye must be born again”. That is where we’re at. When we’re saved, God has given us a new life. We get to put away the things of our old life and start again from the beginning.

Babies when they’re born need milk to grow. In the same way, we need to be taking in the Word of God. The more we take it in and make it a part of who we are, the stronger we will become.

18:2 And Jesus called a little child unto him, and set him in the midst of them, 18:3 And he said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. 18:4 Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven.

One of the first lessons of faith is that all strength and wisdom comes from God. In our own strength we can do nothing, but in God’s strength we can do all things. As long as we let the pride of life rule in us, we are limited to what we can do in our own power, which is nothing of any lasting value.

Once we can humble ourselves and set aside that sin of pride, God is willing and able to extend His grace to any of us. We just have to be willing to accept His word and will in our lives.

2 Peter
3:9 The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.

We sometimes look at other people and wonder why God doesn’t act on the sin in their lives. We sometimes look at the sin in our own lives and think we’re getting away with it. Either way, God is just being patient. He’s giving us a chance to realize we’re wrong and to repent.

God has provided one way to return to Him. If we listen to Him, that foundation will give us sure footing as we walk through this dangerous world.

1 Corinthians
3:11 For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ. 3:12 Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; 3:13 Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is. 3:14 If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. 3:15 If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.

Whatever we do, it has to start with the cornerstone of Christ. No other foundation will last.

The sacrifices of the Old Testament were to pay for sins. If you came to the temple to offer a sacrifice, you were supposed to be repenting of your sin and doing it in obedience to God’s word. If you just brought something to be seen of men, or to try and bribe God, it was worthless. God knows our hearts and our motives and that’s where He wants us to obey Him.

1 Samuel
15:22 And Samuel said, Hath the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams. 15:23 For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because thou hast rejected the word of the LORD, he hath also rejected thee from being king.

All sin is equal to God because it all starts with the pride of thinking we know best. The first act of obedience God is looking for now is for us to admit that we’re sinners and accept the sacrifice of His son. After that, we have to begin to turn away from the sin in our lives and allow God to rebuild us from the inside out.

Just as people would go to the temple and go through the motions thinking it did something for them, many people go through the motions now and think they are ok with God. Many of them are what we would think of as good people, but we can only judge the outside.

7:21 Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. 7:22 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? 7:23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity. 7:24 Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: 7:25 And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock. 7:26 And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand: 7:27 And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it.

God has provided one path and one foundation that we can use to build our lives. Anything else will be swept away when the storms of life come.

Many in this world consider the Bible a book of fables. They may say Jesus was a good man, or even say they try to follow His principles in their lives. They think they are too sophisticated or too civilized for the cross.

Others think the path of the cross is too simple. That they have to clean themselves up before God will accept them. We have to realize, there’s nothing we can do to save ourselves. God has already made the ultimate sacrifice to save our souls, and only He could do it. Once we know that, we can truly see how much He loves us.

1 Corinthians
1:18 For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God. 1:19 For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent. 1:20 Where is the wise? where is the scribe? where is the disputer of this world? hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world? 1:21 For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe. 1:22 For the Jews require a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom: 1:23 But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness; 1:24 But unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God. 1:25 Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men.

Jesus often confronted the Pharisees about their mistaken beliefs. They didn’t want to believe Him because He was going to take away their position, power and pride. Many people don’t want to believe Him today because they don’t want to give up whatever pet sin they hold.

21:42 Jesus saith unto them, Did ye never read in the scriptures, The stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner: this is the Lord’s doing, and it is marvellous in our eyes? 21:43 Therefore say I unto you, The kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof. 21:44 And whosoever shall fall on this stone shall be broken: but on whomsoever it shall fall, it will grind him to powder.

When we surrender and fall on the stone of Christ in repentance, He will break the old man and allow us to begin our new life. If we try to stand on our own pride, one day that stone will fall and show us how small and powerless we really are.

We are all brothers and sisters in Christ. We have to begin to show love to the world by first showing it to other believers. In First John we’re asked, “if we don’t love our brother that we have seen, how can we love God that we haven’t seen?” We’re given a blueprint for our behavior in First Peter…

1 Peter
3:8 Finally, be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another, love as brethren, be pitiful, be courteous: 3:9 Not rendering evil for evil, or railing for railing: but contrariwise blessing; knowing that ye are thereunto called, that ye should inherit a blessing. 3:10 For he that will love life, and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips that they speak no guile: 3:11 Let him eschew evil, and do good; let him seek peace, and ensue it. 3:12 For the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and his ears are open unto their prayers: but the face of the Lord is against them that do evil.

We’ve all heard “Charity begins at home”. In God’s word, charity means love. Our love has to begin in the household of faith, and then extend to the unsaved world.

Through Christ, we are all united into a single family. We all have the same Father, and we all have our jobs to do. We should also remember that we have a common enemy and we are to help each other in time of need. Even in those times of trouble we can still have peace. We know that God is in control and He is working everything out for our eternal good and His glory.

1 Peter
5:6 Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time: 5:7 Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you. 5:8 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: 5:9 Whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world. 5:10 But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you. 5:11 To him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.

Know Where Your Strength Lies

02/14/21 – Romans 12:1-9

12:1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.
12:2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.
12:3 For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.
12:4 For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office:
12:5 So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another.
12:6 Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith;
12:7 Or ministry, let us wait on our ministering: or he that teacheth, on teaching;
12:8 Or he that exhorteth, on exhortation: he that giveth, let him do it with simplicity; he that ruleth, with diligence; he that sheweth mercy, with cheerfulness.
12:9 Let love be without dissimulation. Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good.

Sometimes when we’re lost in the woods it can be hard to find blessings to thank God for. The enemy uses the cares of this world to blind us. We have to open our eyes and hearts. Just pick anything and start counting your blessings and they will build up fast. God has given us each new day, the people we love, the food on our table and the very planet we live on. Beyond that, He has given us His Son and through Him the promise of eternity.

17:24 God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands; 17:25 Neither is worshipped with men’s hands, as though he needed any thing, seeing he giveth to all life, and breath, and all things; 17:26 And hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation; 17:27 That they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after him, and find him, though he be not far from every one of us: 17:28 For in him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring. 17:29 Forasmuch then as we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Godhead is like unto gold, or silver, or stone, graven by art and man’s device. 17:30 And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent: 17:31 Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead.

God is not far off and high above. He is with us and around us every day and He cares what happens to us.

The flipside is; often when things are going well, we can get our focus too much on the things around us and forget where they came from. We can’t think that we’re right with God just because things are going the way we want. Any good thing we have has come from God, but we may not always know what is good and what is bad. If we judge by the standards of this world, we will often be wrong. We can’t have our confidence in anything of this world.

3:4 Though I might also have confidence in the flesh. If any other man thinketh that he hath whereof he might trust in the flesh, I more: 3:5 Circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, an Hebrew of the Hebrews; as touching the law, a Pharisee; 3:6 Concerning zeal, persecuting the church; touching the righteousness which is in the law, blameless.

Basically, what Paul is saying is; if anyone can save himself he did it. He grew up in a Godly nation. He was raised by God fearing parents. He lived out his religion to the best of his own power and followed the commandments perfectly as far as he understood them, but watch what he says next…

3:7 But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. 3:8 Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, 3:9 And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith: 3:10 That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death; 3:11 If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead. 3:12 Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus. 3:13 Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, 3:14 I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.

It doesn’t matter where you’ve come from. Paul took part in the stoning on Stephen and was probably present during Jesus’ trial and crucifixion, but God used him. It doesn’t matter where you are. God knows you’re not perfect. What matters is who you’re following and where He will lead you. When you follow Jesus, God will use your circumstances and those around you to mold you into the person He knows you can become.

Often we try to judge others in order to make ourselves feel better. If someone else appears to be doing worse, it can make us feel better about our own shortcomings. We have to be honest with ourselves and know that we’re no better than the worst sinner we know. Only God’s grace stands between us and Hell. As they say, the first step to solving a problem is to admit you have one. We all have a sin problem, and there is only one way to solve it.

2 Corinthians
4:6 For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. 4:7 But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us. 4:8 We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; 4:9 Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed; 4:10 Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body.

We can’t lose faith when we fail. In our own strength, we are frail and weak. We are here to learn how to lean on God’s wisdom and strength. When we’re in the midst of a struggle and we can remember to trust in The Lord, He will give us His peace. Nothing that happens here is permanent. Everything is for our instruction and training.

Part of the comfort of God’s peace is that we are to know that we aren’t alone. Everyone that is saved is part of the same body of Christ. When you’re saved, the Holy Spirit moves into your heart. This isn’t a private thing. There is only one spirit that we all share.

1 Corinthians
12:12 For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ. 12:13 For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit. 12:14 For the body is not one member, but many.

We are all sharing the same spirit, but we don’t all have the same work to do or lessons to learn. We all have our own special place God is calling us to be and works He has called us to do.

Just as we can’t judge someone else’s sin, we can’t judge someone else’s works either. We don’t know how important any given job is in God’s plan. Every thing has a part. Many people look down on garbage collectors. In the 1980s there was a garbage strike in New York. I remember seeing pictures on TV of mountains of garbage lining the streets. In just 17 days so much trash piled up that it was declared a public health emergency and the city was forced to reach an agreement to end the strike. New York learned then that every job is important and deserves respect. Whether we look down on someone else or if we don’t think much about what we have to offer God, either way we’re wrong. Little is much with the Lord.

4:11 And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; 4:12 For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: 4:13 Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ: 4:14 That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; 4:15 But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ: 4:16 From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.

If we’re looking to the head of the body, that is Jesus Christ, then we can be content in the work He has given us and appreciate the work of our brothers and sisters around us.

Whatever gift you’ve been given, it is from God and is to be used for His purposes. No matter what your gift is, it won’t prosper unless you use it according to God’s will.

15:3 Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you. 15:4 Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. 15:5 I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing. 15:6 If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned. 15:7 If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you. 15:8 Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples. 15:9 As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: continue ye in my love.

We are to be using God’s gifts according to His will, in the spirit of His love. He has given to us freely and abundantly and that’s how we are to share it with others. ?
A ministry can be any job that needs to be done. We are all ministers to serve God by serving the people we can reach and showing them His love.

10:42 But Jesus called them to him, and saith unto them, Ye know that they which are accounted to rule over the Gentiles exercise lordship over them; and their great ones exercise authority upon them. 10:43 But so shall it not be among you: but whosoever will be great among you, shall be your minister: 10:44 And whosoever of you will be the chiefest, shall be servant of all. 10:45 For even the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.

We are to follow Jesus’ example in our service. He didn’t come here reluctantly and drag around doing His work. He didn’t do what He did to be seen of men. Often, Jesus did witness to multitudes, but when He witnessed to the Samaritan woman at the well, everything was over by the time His disciples got there. He did everything with energy because He knew His time was limited and He knew who He was really working for. We should know those things too.

Whatever you do during each day, keep your eyes open as to how God would want you to use it. Everything that happens to you is for a reason. Some of you may be surprised to hear it, but by nature I am a very impatient person. God has taken me through some hard lessons to get to where I am now, and I still get new lessons every day. However, I learned a long time ago to stop getting too wound up if I get stuck in traffic or something else like that happens. It could be saving me from an accident down the road.

You’ve probably heard this interesting example in recent news. A lot of people up north were stranded on the roadway by snow. Along with them was a group of doctors transporting COVID vaccine. Since the vaccine has to be stored below a certain temperature, it was in danger of going bad. Rather than let it go to waste, the doctors gave the shots out to their fellow motorists that were stranded. For most of those people, they wouldn’t have had a chance for the vaccine for several months. Only God knows how many lives were saved by this.

When you’re stuck in any situation, stop and look for God. If your car dies in the middle of nowhere, maybe God has something to say to you and that’s the only way He can get you to be quiet enough to listen. Whatever we’re doing, God wants us to keep our focus on Him and His will and not to be doing things to serve ourselves or to be seen by other people.

6:1 Take heed that ye do not your alms before men, to be seen of them: otherwise ye have no reward of your Father which is in heaven. 6:2 Therefore when thou doest thine alms, do not sound a trumpet before thee, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. 6:3 But when thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth: 6:4 That thine alms may be in secret: and thy Father which seeth in secret himself shall reward thee openly. 6:5 And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. 6:6 But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.

We’ve all heard that God knows our secret sins. He also knows our secret obedience. Some say the definition of character is what you do when no one is looking. God knows your true character no matter how good or bad the world thinks you are.

This means we are to make sure our love and our works are pure. We are to love our neighbors as ourselves. If we’re doing things for people because we hope to make some gain from it, then we’re acting out of selfish motives. Check your own motives and desires. Sit down with God and His word. He will help you see the parts of you H e wants to change. It won’t happen overnight, but God will clean us from the inside out. That begins when you surrender your life to God through Jesus and it ends when it’s your time to go home. God wants to work in you and through you for the rest of your life. It is a process that happens every day and every hour of the day.

3:16 For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work. 3:17 But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy. 3:18 And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace. 4:1 From whence come wars and fightings among you? come they not hence, even of your lusts that war in your members? 4:2 Ye lust, and have not: ye kill, and desire to have, and cannot obtain: ye fight and war, yet ye have not, because ye ask not. 4:3 Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts. 4:4 Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God. 4:5 Do ye think that the scripture saith in vain, The spirit that dwelleth in us lusteth to envy? 4:6 But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble. 4:7 Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. 4:8 Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded. 4:9 Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep: let your laughter be turned to mourning, and your joy to heaviness. 4:10 Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up.

Faith not Flesh

02/07/21 – Romans 8:5-11

8:5 For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit.
8:6 For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.
8:7 Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.
8:8 So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God.
8:9 But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.
8:10 And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness.
8:11 But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.

Going along in our daily lives, it can be easy to get our focus set on the needs of this world. When you’re hungry, that gets a lot of your attention. When you’re cold, it can be hard to think about anything else. We have to learn to look past the comforts and discomforts of this present world, and set our sights above.

2 Peter
3:9 The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. 3:10 But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up. 3:11 Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness, 3:12 Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat? 3:13 Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.

These bodies, and even this entire world are temporary. One day, they will fade away. We have to learn to follow God and perform our work while we’re here, so we’ll have something that will last later.

If we focus too much on the carnal things of the flesh, we will miss the blessings and lessons God is trying to give us. This world is a training ground. God is teaching us how to handle the spiritual gifts He has in store.

16:10 He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much: and he that is unjust in the least is unjust also in much. 16:11 If therefore ye have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon, who will commit to your trust the true riches? 16:12 And if ye have not been faithful in that which is another man’s, who shall give you that which is your own? 16:13 No servant can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.

God has given us all gifts and placed us in a position to use them. The more we are faithful to perform the work He has given us, the more He will provide. If we only use what He has given for ourselves, or aren’t grateful, we will lose something, either here or on the other side.

In our flesh, we cannot please God. We can’t drum up some work we want to perform and tell ourselves that we did it for God. Anything we do in the flesh is going to be motivated by fleshly motives. We will do it to somehow make some gain. Maybe we even think if we do certain things, we will make God obligated to give us what we want. We have to set aside our own pride and willfulness and let the Spirit guide us.

6:1 What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? 6:2 God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein? 6:3 Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? 6:4 Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. 6:5 For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection: 6:6 Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. 6:7 For he that is dead is freed from sin.

We are presented with many choices every day. The body will clamour and cry to get what it wants. The Spirit will speak to us in that still, small voice. We have to turn our back on the flesh so we can hear what the Spirit is telling us.

We can’t fight the flesh with the flesh. We can’t try and convince ourselves to do right. Anything we do in the flesh, even denying ourselves fleshly desires, is doomed to fail. We have to learn to lean on God and let Him fight our battles in His strength.

2 Corinthians
10:3 For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: 10:4 (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) 10:5 Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;

Only by allowing the Spirit of God to rule in our hearts and minds can we have any real victory.

The most sure way to find the will of God is to get into His word. In it, we’ll find the one true way to salvation and eternal life. If you have any doubts about your salvation, take them to God. I used think I was saved, but I wasn’t always sure. It felt like I was doubting God if I questioned it. If you have any doubt, it’s not God that’s weak, it’s your flesh. God won’t mind if you confess your sins and ask Jesus to save your soul a second or a tenth time. He wants to make sure your heart is right. We should want that assurance too. Many think they’re saved, but they aren’t believing in the right things.

13:24 Strive to enter in at the strait gate: for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able. 13:25 When once the master of the house is risen up, and hath shut to the door, and ye begin to stand without, and to knock at the door, saying, Lord, Lord, open unto us; and he shall answer and say unto you, I know you not whence ye are: 13:26 Then shall ye begin to say, We have eaten and drunk in thy presence, and thou hast taught in our streets. 13:27 But he shall say, I tell you, I know you not whence ye are; depart from me, all ye workers of iniquity.

The more you study God’s word, the more you will find you’ve had wrong. That’s part of what spiritual growth is about. We have to find and remove the dead wood of our false beliefs. If we start with Jesus Christ and Him crucified, we can build on that foundation.

Just because we’re saved, that doesn’t mean the desires of the flesh will stop. The enemy will still use the flesh to attack us. He will try to use it to distract us from our work and to ruin our testimonies. We have to guard against the flesh and let God rule our lives.

6:12 Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof. 6:13 Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God. 6:14 For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace.

The desires of the flesh are strong, but God is stronger when we learn to turn everything over to Him.

Just as God was powerful enough to break the grip of death and raise Jesus from the dead; He is able to break the grip of sin and raise us up from our dead works and lives. He has already won the victory. All that remains is for us to let go of that old dead life and grab hold on the new life He offers.

10:27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: 10:28 And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. 10:29 My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand. 10:30 I and my Father are one.

Keep Your Focus on Jesus

01/31/21 – Isaiah 55:1-7

55:1 Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye, buy, and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price.
55:2 Wherefore do ye spend money for that which is not bread? and your labour for that which satisfieth not? hearken diligently unto me, and eat ye that which is good, and let your soul delight itself in fatness.
55:3 Incline your ear, and come unto me: hear, and your soul shall live; and I will make an everlasting covenant with you, even the sure mercies of David.
55:4 Behold, I have given him for a witness to the people, a leader and commander to the people.
55:5 Behold, thou shalt call a nation that thou knowest not, and nations that knew not thee shall run unto thee because of the LORD thy God, and for the Holy One of Israel; for he hath glorified thee.
55:6 Seek ye the LORD while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near:
55:7 Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the LORD, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.

God through Jesus has issued an open invitation to the entire human race. All we have to do is accept His free gift. There is no price we can pay ourselves.

7:37 In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink. 7:38 He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. 7:39 (But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.)

When we’re saved, the Holy Spirit moves into our hearts. As long as we’re in fellowship with God, He will provide renewal and strength. We are to hunger and thirst after His word, and we will be filled.

We spend our time, energy and money chasing the things of this world. God knows we need to eat, but He tells us that isn’t to be our focus.

4:2 And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was afterward an hungred. 4:3 And when the tempter came to him, he said, If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread. 4:4 But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.

We have to put our focus on things above. The best way to do that is to read, study and pray. The word of God will teach, correct and guide us in all things.

Jesus came in the line of David as a sign to verify who He was. His blood has paid the price for our sins and is the foundation of the New Covenant we have with God.

26:26 And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed it, and brake it, and gave it to the disciples, and said, Take, eat; this is my body. 26:27 And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, Drink ye all of it; 26:28 For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.

We have to take the bread, that is, the Word into our hearts. When we open our minds and hearts the Spirit will guide us to understand how the whole word is one message. We can’t pick and choose. We have to take all of it.

Especially in these times, we have to keep our focus on Jesus. He is the author of our salvation and should be the captain of our souls. If we believe the Word of God can save our souls from Hell, shouldn’t be also believe that it can guide us in our everyday lives? Jesus and God can’t just be a Sunday thing. We have been given a new life through Jesus. We have to live that life in Jesus.

1 John
1:5 This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. 1:6 If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth: 1:7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin. 1:8 If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 1:10 If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us. 2:1 My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: 2:2 And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for our’s only, but also for the sins of the whole world.

Jesus died for the saved and for the lost. The price has already been paid. That’s what makes it a true choice. Everyone was lost before He paid the price. There’s nothing special about me that allowed me to be saved. I am a sinner saved by the grace of God. Anyone that thinks they are saved on any other basis is fooling themselves.

The Jews were used of God to bring Jesus into the world. They were far from perfect, and yet God used them. Even though we are each far from perfect, God can use us to bring the word to those around us.

15:7 Wherefore receive ye one another, as Christ also received us to the glory of God. 15:8 Now I say that Jesus Christ was a minister of the circumcision for the truth of God, to confirm the promises made unto the fathers: 15:9 And that the Gentiles might glorify God for his mercy; as it is written, For this cause I will confess to thee among the Gentiles, and sing unto thy name. 15:10 And again he saith, Rejoice, ye Gentiles, with his people. 15:11 And again, Praise the Lord, all ye Gentiles; and laud him, all ye people. 15:12 And again, Esaias saith, There shall be a root of Jesse, and he that shall rise to reign over the Gentiles; in him shall the Gentiles trust. 15:13 Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost.

Whether the time of the end is upon us or not, we all have a limited time. We are given each day and our portion of work to perform in it. We have to be obedient to God and do what He asks when He asks.

We are all blessed to be born in this Age of Grace. However, this age will one day come to an end.

13:11 And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed. 13:12 The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light.

Everyone since Paul has been looking for Jesus’ return, but the fact that it hasn’t happened yet doesn’t mean that it won’t.

24:42 Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come. 24:43 But know this, that if the goodman of the house had known in what watch the thief would come, he would have watched, and would not have suffered his house to be broken up. 24:44 Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh. 24:45 Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his lord hath made ruler over his household, to give them meat in due season? 24:46 Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing. 24:47 Verily I say unto you, That he shall make him ruler over all his goods.

We have a choice to make. We can live for ourselves, or we can live for God. When we live for God, He will use us to spread His light into the lives of those around us. If we live to ourselves, we will spread our own darkness into them. Humble yourself before the Lord and He will not turn you away.

51:5 Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me. 51:6 Behold, thou desirest truth in the inward parts: and in the hidden part thou shalt make me to know wisdom. 51:7 Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean: wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. 51:8 Make me to hear joy and gladness; that the bones which thou hast broken may rejoice. 51:9 Hide thy face from my sins, and blot out all mine iniquities. 51:10 Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me. 51:11 Cast me not away from thy presence; and take not thy holy spirit from me. 51:12 Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free spirit. 51:13 Then will I teach transgressors thy ways; and sinners shall be converted unto thee. 51:14 Deliver me from bloodguiltiness, O God, thou God of my salvation: and my tongue shall sing aloud of thy righteousness. 51:15 O Lord, open thou my lips; and my mouth shall shew forth thy praise. 51:16 For thou desirest not sacrifice; else would I give it: thou delightest not in burnt offering. 51:17 The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.

Who Do You Love?

Romans 13:8-14

13:8 Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that lovethanother hath fulfilled the law.

13:9 For this, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Thou shalt not covet; and if there be any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.

13:10 Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.

13:11 And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed.

13:12 The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light.

13:13 Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying.

13:14 But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof.


When we’re saved, we are no longer bound by the old rule of obedience, but are given liberty in the Lord. This was partly symbolized in Peter’s vision on the rooftop.

10:9 On the morrow, as they went on their journey, and drew nigh unto the city, Peter went up upon the housetop to pray about the sixth hour: 10:10 And he became very hungry, and would have eaten: but while they made ready, he fell into a trance, 10:11 And saw heaven opened, and a certain vessel descending upon him, as it had been a great sheet knit at the four corners, and let down to the earth: 10:12 Wherein were all manner of fourfooted beasts of the earth, and wild beasts, and creeping things, and fowls of the air. 10:13 And there came a voice to him, Rise, Peter; kill, and eat. 10:14 But Peter said, Not so, Lord; for I have never eaten any thing that is common or unclean. 10:15 And the voice spake unto him again the second time, What God hath cleansed, that call not thou common.

This was done to show Peter that the Gentiles were allowed in the Church, but the symbol of meats no longer being forbidden is used elsewhere. To paraphrase Jesus’ correction of the Pharisees, it’s not what you put in your mouth that defiles you, but what comes out.

However, we’re not to use this liberty to satisfy our own selfish desires.


5:13 For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another. 5:14 For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. 5:15 But if ye bite and devour one another, take heed that ye be not consumed one of another. 5:16 This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh.

The Holy Spirit will allow us to walk in such a way that we’re not living to fulfill the desires of our flesh, but to serve the Lord in love.


This is a simple summary of the “man facing” portion of the 10 Commandment, but it is not new. Leviticus is one of the books of the Bible that explains The Law in more detail.


19:17 Thou shalt not hate thy brother in thine heart: thou shalt in any wise rebuke thy neighbour, and not suffer sin upon him. 19:18 Thou shalt not avenge, nor bear any grudge against the children of thy people, but thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself: I am the Lord.

God has been showing man that salvation is simple from the beginning. We want to make it complicated. In our pride, we want it to be something we can do ourselves.


Love is easiest to see when we act in love toward each other. However, we’re also to love God more than ourselves. That is, more than the life we live here in the flesh. In Mark, Jesus gives an advanced lesson in the Law to a young scribe.


12:28 And one of the scribes came, and having heard them reasoning together, and perceiving that he had answered them well, asked him, Which is the first commandment of all?  12:29 And Jesus answered him, The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord: 12:30 And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment. 12:31 And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these.

Here we have both the God facing and man facing sides of the Commandments boiled down to the most basic elements. Love God more than anything, and your neighbor as yourself. If you could live up to that, you would fulfill the Law. It’s a good “short version” to use as a guide.


Whether we meet the Lord in the air as a group, or if we depart before then and meet Him individually, every day brings us closer to that time. By design, none know when that will be.


13:33 Take ye heed, watch and pray: for ye know not when the time is. 13:34 For the Son of Man is as a man taking a far journey, who left his house, and gave authority to his servants, and to every man his work, and commanded the porter to watch. 13:35 Watch ye therefore: for ye know not when the master of the house cometh, at even, or at  midnight, or at the cockcrowing, or in the morning: 13:36 Lest  coming suddenly he find you sleeping. 13:37 And what I say unto you  I say unto all, Watch.

Jesus has left this house for a season. He’s left us all to do our work until He returns.


The darkness of this world has an end. The day will soon dawn when Jesus will return. Until then, we are to strengthen ourselves in the armor of God and keep the faith. We are all engaged in battle every day and must be prepared.


6:12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. 6:13 Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.


This world is in darkness and the rats and roaches are at play. We’ve probably all been in a place where they run away when the lights are turned on. God has given us this example to show how wicked men react to His light.


3:19 And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. 3:20 For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. 3:21 But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.

Many try to pick apart the Bible and the Church, not because they have a real issue with the truth, but because they love their sin too much and don’t want to let go of it.

I ran into an interesting example of a hidden truth of the Bible the other day.


6:6 Go to the ant, thou sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise: 6:7 Which having no guide, overseer, or ruler, 6:8 Provideth her meat in the summer, and gathereth her food in the harvest.

Now, like all the Proverbs, this is terrific advice, but there’s more here than first meets the eye. Almost all ants are female. All the workers are female, and even when the nest “queens” and the flying male and female ants emerge, most of those are female. So how did Solomon 2700 years ago know that? He didn’t of course, but when God gave him this little piece of wisdom, He placed an extra little nugget of truth in there for us to find.

To get back on message then, none of us are perfect. However, if we desire to be in the light, God will use His Word to show us what we need to work on and help us to become the true image of the Father we were created to be.



12:29 And seek not ye what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink, neither be ye of doubtful mind. 12:30 For all these things do the nations of the world seek after: and your Father knoweth that ye have need of these things. 12:31 But rather seek ye the kingdom of God; and all these things shall be added unto you. 12:32 Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom. 12:33 Sell that ye have, and give alms; provide yourselves bags which wax not old, a treasure in the heavens that faileth not, where no thief approacheth, neither moth corrupteth. 12:34 For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. 12:35 Let your loins be girded about, and your lights burning; 12:36 And ye yourselves like unto men that wait for their lord, when he will return from the wedding; that when he cometh and knocketh, they may open unto him immediately. 12:37 Blessed are those servants, whom the lord when he cometh shall find watching: verily I say unto you, that he shall gird himself, and make them to sit down to meat, and will come forth and serve them. 12:38 And if he shall come in the second watch, or come in the third watch, and find them so, blessed are those servants. 12:39 And this know, that if the goodman of the house had known what hour the thief would come, he would have watched, and not have suffered his house to be broken through. 12:40 Be ye therefore ready also: for the Son of man cometh at an hour when ye think not.

All together, or one by one, Jesus is coming for us some day, maybe even today. We are to try to use each day for the purpose God gave it to us. If we’re having a hard day, we should learn the lesson God is giving us. If we’re having a good day, we should thank God for the rest he’s provided before the next battle. There is a reason you have today. Use it to draw closer to God and seek His will.

Works Won’t Save You

Romans 3:19-26

3:19 Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God.

3:20 Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin.

3:21 But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets;

3:22 Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference:

3:23 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;

3:24 Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus:

3:25 Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God;

3:26 To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.


Anyone that thinks they can be good enough to save themselves is wrong. The Law was given to show man that he can’t do it by himself.


3:10 For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse: for it is written, Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them. 3:11 But that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, it is evident: for, The just shall live by faith. 3:12 And the law is not of faith: but, The man that doeth them shall live in them.

If you’re going to claim salvation by The Law, you have to live in all of it. There is no “good enough”. God sent Jesus to make a better way. However, Jesus doesn’t do away with The Law, He is part of the plan. As He tells us in Matthew…


5:17 Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. 5:18 For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.

That is, The Law and prophets will be fulfilled right down to the dot of every i, and the cross of every t.


Even in the Old Testament, they knew they couldn’t keep The Law. In the Psalms David says…


143:1 Hear my prayer, O LORD, give ear to my supplications: in thy faithfulness answer me, and in thy righteousness. 143:2 And enter not into judgment with thy servant: for in thy sight shall no man living be justified.

In other words, please don’t judge me according to my works, but by your grace. I know I would fail a true judgment.


Now, a fuller picture of God’s plan has been revealed in Christ, but it is still based in The Law and prophets to show the truth of it.


3:23 But before faith came, we were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed. 3:24 Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. 3:25 But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster.

The Jews were given the sacrificial system. The sacrifices pointed ahead to Christ as a symbol of what He had to do.

As Jesus told two of His disciples on the road to Emmaus after His resurrection..


24:25 Then he said unto them, O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken: 24:26 Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into his glory? 24:27 And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself.


Some say the Old Testament was to the Jews and the New Testament is to everyone else. However, the Old Testament teaches that God will save all peoples, not just the Jews.


24:44 And he said unto them, These are the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning me. 24:45 Then opened he their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures, 24:46 And said unto them, Thus it is written, and thus it behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day: 24:47 And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.


1 John

1:8 If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

This is what verse 22 meant by “there is no difference”. All are equal at the foot of the cross because we can’t do anything to raise ourselves up. Jesus has to do that work in us through the Holy Spirit.


Justice: To get what you deserve. When standing before a perfect, sinless, Holy God, this should strike fear into our very bones.

Mercy: To not receive the punishment you are due. The sacrifices of the Old Testament pointed to Christ, but were just a way to plead for mercy.

Grace: To be given gifts that you do not deserve. Jesus came not just to save us, but to restore us to our place as sons of God and joint heirs in Jesus.


1:12 But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:  1:13 Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. 1:14 And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth. 1:15 John bare witness of him, and cried, saying, This was he of whom I spake, He that cometh after me is preferred before me: for he was before me. 1:16 And of his fulness have all we received, and grace for grace. 1:17 For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.


Religion, any religion, won’t save you. Religion says “do”. God wants a relationship with you through Jesus. He says “I did it for you”. Our part is just to believe and accept the free gift.


10:8 Above when he said, Sacrifice and offering and burnt offerings and offering for sin thou wouldest not, neither hadst pleasure therein; which are offered by the law; 10:9 Then said he, Lo, I come to do thy will, O God. He taketh away the first, that he may establish the second.

That is, the Old Testament sacrifices have been done away with, because the perfect sacrifice of the New Testament has come in Jesus.

… continuing in Hebrews

10:10 By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. 10:11 And every priest standeth daily ministering and offering oftentimes the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins: 10:12 But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God; 10:13 From henceforth expecting till his enemies be made his footstool. 10:14 For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified. 10:15 Whereof the Holy Ghost also is a witness to us: for after that he had said before, 10:16 This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, saith the Lord, I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them; 10:17 And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more. 10:18 Now where remission of these is, there is no more offering for sin. 10:19 Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, 10:20 By a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh; 10:21 And having an high priest over the house of God; 10:22 Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water.

All the Old Testament sacrifices were to show that we can’t live perfection in ourselves and that a sacrifice must be made. In the end, only His sacrifice is sufficient.


Jesus is our savior. He died for us. He is our high priest.He made the sacrifice once and for all time. He is also now sitting on the Father’s right hand as the only just judge, so that none can deny they were given a fair chance. He was tempted as we are, yet without sin. Jesus tells us…


5:20 For the Father loveth the Son, and sheweth him all things that himself doeth: and he will shew him greater works than these, that ye may marvel. 5:21 For as the Father raiseth up the dead, and quickeneth them; even so the Son quickeneth whom he will. 5:22 For the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son: 5:23 That all men should honour the Son, even as they honour the Father. He that honoureth not the Son honoureth not the Father which hath sent him. 5:24 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life. 5:25 Verily, verily, I say unto you, The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live. 5:26 For as the Father hath life in himself; so hath he given to the Son to have life in himself; 5:27 And hath given him authority to execute judgment also, because he is the Son of man. 5:28 Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, 5:29 And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation. 5:30 I can of mine own self do nothing: as I hear, I judge: and my judgment is just; because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me.

The world comes down to two choices. You can choose The Way, The Truth and The Life, or you can choose something else. Jesus has already paid the price and made The Way. We judge ourselves by our choices.

May we help those around us make the right choice.

Jesus Is God

Colossians 1:12 – 18

1:12  Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light:

1:13  Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son:

1:14  In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins:

1:15  Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature:

1:16  For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him:

1:17  And he is before all things, and by him all things consist.

1:18  And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence.


God’s light comes from His righteousness. Darkness comes from sin. What has God done to make us “meet”, that is to make us worthy? This comes through the blood of His sacrifice in Jesus Christ.

1 John

1:5 This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. 1:6 If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth: 1:7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.


After John the Baptist was cast into prison, Jesus went to Capernaum, which is on the border of two Gentile lands. This was in fulfillment of prophecy, which Matthew quotes…


4:15 The land of Zabulon, and the land of Nephthalim, by the way of the sea, beyond Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles; 4:16 The people which sat in darkness saw great light; and to them which sat in the region and shadow of death light is sprung up. 4:17 From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.

That is, Jesus came to bring light and life to both the Jews and the Gentiles.


In Christ, we have our salvation through the sacrifice of His blood. In the opening of Revelations, John describes Jesus this way..


1:5 And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood,


God is a spirit and cannot be seen. Jesus is the visible face of God. As He tells His disciples…


14:6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. 14:7 If ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also: and from henceforth ye know him, and have seen him. 14:8 Philip saith unto him, Lord, shew us the Father, and it sufficeth us. 14:9 Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? he that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Shew us the Father? 14:10 Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me?  the words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works.


One of my favorite Bible passages is found in the first chapter of John…


1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 1:2 The same was in the beginning with God. 1:3 All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. 1:4 In him was life; and the life was the light of men.

Jesus is the Word of God in person. When God speaks, things happen. His Word has power.

If He wanted to create everything in seven seconds, He could. He did it the way He did for His purposes. Genesis isn’t meant to be a full history of the creation of the Universe. It’s an outline to give us the important parts. He was there. He made it. We came along. We messed it up. He had to provide a Savior.


We saw how Jesus, as the Word, was in the beginning with God, and how all things were done by Him and through Him, according to the plan of God the Father. The New Testament is a revealing of more of the plan. The main part being how The Word became flesh and died to save sinful man. Hebrews starts out this way…


1:1 God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, 1:2 Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds; 1:3 Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high: 1:4 Being made so much better than the angels, as he hath by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they.


Just as Jesus is the image of The Father, so are we to become the image of Christ. When we’re saved, the Holy Spirit begins to work in us, to purge the old man and shape us,


8:29 For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. 8:30 Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.

God makes an honest appeal to sinners. All who believe can be saved. He already knows who they will be and has plans for how He intends to use us to build the body of Christ. God’s glory is to shine through us in such a way as to make the lost world thirsty for what we have. If they thirst, He will fill them with living water.

Faith is the Key to Salvation

Romans 3:23   For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;

No one is free from sin. We are all human. It doesn’t matter if it’s the addict in the street or the pope in the Vatican. We all live inside these bodies of flesh and bone, and we all sin. It doesn’t matter if the sin doesn’t show on the outside. We all know what we are on the inside. God knows too.

That’s why he sent his Son to die on the cross. By believing that God did this for us, we have access to what really moves God, faith. Even in the old testament, when the law was all man had to believe in, God said he would forgive those who had sinned, but had asked forgiveness and had returned to the law. Continue reading