The Kingdom of God. NOW, in YOU

One day the Pharisees asked Jesus, “When will the Kingdom of God come?” Jesus replied, “The Kingdom of God can’t be detected by visible signs.  You won’t be able to say, ‘Here it is!’ or ‘It’s over there!’ For the Kingdom of God is already among you. ”
Luke 17:20-21 NLT
http://bible.com/116/luk.17.20-21.NLT

When examining your life, are you aware of the Holy Spirit’s work within your life, and around you touching the lives of others?

Much of the work of the Kingdom of God is not miraculous signs and wonders. Much of the work is only evident in the change occurring inside hearts and lives that takes time to be seen – just like a seed planted in the soil that will one day grow into a large,  fruit bearing tree.

But the Kingdom of God is either come in your life and you are flowing with the life giving waters of the Holy Spirit alive in you as a new creation – or you are dead. Yes, a physical body can be up and walking around and participating in this physical world, but if there has been no death of the old nature and birth of a new,  Christ nature – then those persons are like lifeless zombies or robots,  there is no real life in them.

You see,  we don’t have to wait until death to experience and participate in the Kingdom of God. This Jesus thing isn’t about buying a ticket that you have to wait until death to ride on the train. No, this Christian walk is about His Kingdom come to earth in your life today – that His will be done through you today – that His imprint, His mark upon your life, His Holy Spirit alive in you,  shine through the darkness of this world like a great light on a hill. You are His messenger, you are His ambassador,  you are part of His royal priesthood,  you are a son or daughter of God.

And you must choose to believe what is true about you and learn to ignore those attacks by the enemy who want you to be weak in faith – because you have a purpose. Until His triumphant return is complete and the world is reconciled fully into His final judgement, or until you are absent from the body and return into His presence, You are His Kingdom come on earth, You are part of the living body of Christ at work in this physical world.

The Kingdom of God is already among you. The Kingdom of God is at hand. Do you not feel His voice urging you even now at this moment? Do you not feel the touch of His hand upon your life? Do you not see the opportunities before you to demonstrate His love in the challenges that today and overcome them through faith?

I pray that we will all have healthy spiritual eyes to discern the challenges and trials of our day and see them overcome by our faithfulness – resulting in an outpouring of love, joy,  peace,  patience,  kindness,  goodness, self control, and hope.

I pray that we will believe who Christ tells us that we are,  and that we will be truly alive today,  and that we will be equipped with this new heart and with this Word of God written upon the tablets of our hearts – so that His Kingdom will be manifest through the body of His church today – so that His will is done today and not our own.

I pray that we will experience the change in this world that comes when people can see past the veil of c religious practice and lay hands upon the very presence of the living God and changing them from the inside out,  touching their lives with the very imprint of his Holy Spirit as He reforms us into His own likeness,  as we are transformed to become more like our teacher.

I pray that we will be redeemed into His holy ministry of the reconciliation of this world into His grace for, His glory and honor.

I pray that we would all know Him as our Heavenly Father.
I pray that we would all begin to grasp the holiness of His name,  of His being,  of His nature.
I pray that we would all choose to participate in His Kingdom work come to earth in the work of his humble and faithful servants.
I pray that we would all follow His will and not our own,  for His purpose and design is to prosper us and lift us up and to provide for us a greater and more perfect life eternal.
I pray that we would trust Him to provide for all of our needs,  so that we will be open handed to all those in need and want.
I pray that we will all both receive forgiveness and extend forgiveness,  for the Lord seeks mercy in our hearts and not just sacrifice in our deeds.
I pray that we will all know personally the touch of His power and glory and honor as His Kingdom work is evident in us today as well as for all eternity.
Amen.

Come, drink, and live

Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, bright as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb through the middle of the street of the city; also, on either side of the river, the tree of life with its twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit each month. The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.
Revelation 22:1-2 ESV
http://bible.com/59/rev.22.1-2.ESV

The life giving waters flowing from the throne of God and the Lamb. Jesus talks of these living waters,  telling us that once we drink of the living waters,  we will thirst no more.

John 4:14 ESV
But whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.

And not only are we, able to stand beside the river of living waters and drink from them,  we are able to tap into the living waters and flow with living waters ourselves.

John 7:38 ESV
Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’”

This living water is the very Spirit of God,  the Holy Spirit, that we become aware of,  that we are able to communicate with even more closely and directly as we continue seeking and growing in our faith. The living waters are the anointing of the Spirit of the Lord upon our lives, changing us, and molding us,  and guiding us,  and teaching us – once we are surrendered to Christ,  once we believe,  once we are decided to follow His will and purpose, not just our own.

It is when we grow thirsty in life that we begin to understand our need for these living waters. It is when we are trapped in darkness that we begin to understand our need for light. It is when we are broken that we understand our need for healing to take place within our lives. So we are never “too far from God” to come to Him. He has never left our side,  even though we were unaware of His presence. He is no closer or further away from you than the great saints and His rain falls upon the parched and dry earth the same as it does on the fertile forests – for all life depends on life giving water and a forest was once empty land before life first sprung forth.

Isaiah 44:3 ESV
For I will pour water on the thirsty land, and streams on the dry ground; I will pour my Spirit upon your offspring, and my blessing on your descendants.

Christ calls out to us,  making us aware that He has the very life giving water that we need to nourish our soul and provide healing to our body,  mind,  and soul. So we have no excuse for remaining thirsty when the water is available for us to come and drink.

John 7:37 ESV
On the last day of the feast, the great day, Jesus stood up and cried out, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink.

This living water,  He gives to us without payment,  it is a gift, and we cannot work to earn it, nor does it once received allow us to remain the same.

Revelation 21:6 ESV
And he said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give from the spring of the water of life without payment.

The Lord asks two things of his people, to love Him and to love one another. Jesus Christ explained that, all of the law and words of the prophets grow from this central truth,  that all of it points to this central relationship between ourselves and the living God. That He is available to us to see His face,  to hear His voice,  to walk with Him, to experience life with Him.

They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads.
Revelation 22:4 ESV
http://bible.com/59/rev.22.4.ESV

“Blessed are  the pure in heart, for  they shall see God.
Matthew 5:8 ESV
http://bible.com/59/mat.5.8.ESV

John 10:27
My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.

But the problem is that we ignore the voice and we have continued our lives chosing evil instead.

Revelation 2:4
But I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first.

And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil.  For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed.  But whoever does what is true comes to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that his works have been carried out in God.”
John 3:19-21 ESV
http://bible.com/59/jhn.3.19-21.ESV

We have chosen darkness over light, and we have chosen to value things and self more than God.

Jeremiah 2:13 ESV
For my people have committed two evils: they have forsaken me, the fountain of living waters, and hewed out cisterns for themselves, broken cisterns that can hold no water.

It is never too late to turn to Him,  to seek Him, to drink of the living waters. To be washed in the blood of the Lamb,  and to know both salvation and the hand of the Lord upon your life, friend. We, the believers, the bride of Christ,  are inviting you to come,  drink of the waters.

Revelation 22:17 ESV
The Spirit and the Bride say, “Come.” And let the one who hears say, “Come.” And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who desires take the water of life without price.

Isaiah 12:3 ESV
With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation.

Revelation 7:16-17 ESV
They shall hunger no more, neither thirst anymore; the sun shall not strike them, nor any scorching heat. For the Lamb in the midst of the throne will be their shepherd, and he will guide them to springs of living water, and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.”

Isaiah 58:11 ESV
And the Lord will guide you continually and satisfy your desire in scorched places and make your bones strong; and you shall be like a watered garden, like a spring of water, whose waters do not fail.

Isaiah 41:17-18 ESV
When the poor and needy seek water, and there is none, and their tongue is parched with thirst, I the Lord will answer them; I the God of Israel will not forsake them. I will open rivers on the bare heights, and fountains in the midst of the valleys. I will make the wilderness a pool of water, and the dry land springs of water.

Isaiah 55:1-2 ESV
“Come, everyone who thirsts, come to the waters; and he who has no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without price. Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread, and your labor for that which does not satisfy? Listen diligently to me, and eat what is good, and delight yourselves in rich food.

Come, drink.

And live.

Judge? No. Rebuke? Yes. Forgive? ALWAYS!

When someone repeats their past mistakes and hurts us again and again, our tendency is to no longer forgive them – because we listen to the voice that tells us we must protect ourselves from them.

So watch yourselves! “If another believer sins, rebuke that person; then if there is repentance, forgive.  Even if that person wrongs you seven times a day and each time turns again and asks forgiveness, you must forgive.”
Luke 17:3-4 NLT
http://bible.com/116/luk.17.3-4.NLT

We are to be a voice of encouragement and accountability into the lives of other believers. If we choose to stop being that voice in their lives because we have grown weary, either from the repeated pain or from the hopeless feeling that they refuse to change, then we are choosing the path of last resistance, the broad path that is easy and is chosen by many.

That path offers less testing and proving through the faith that refines us. In fact,  the resulting lack of exercise and testing of out hearts results in the love of many waxing cold. It is not healthy, in fact,  it is quite dangerous for us to turn to the cold, exacting,  judgemental nature of a legalistic and religious person who measures and judges people and offers sacrifices at their altar of religion,  but who produces no love in their life and in the lives of others. Yes, Jesus tells us to even love our enemies, so we do not have the excuse of someone being our enemy to release us from the obligation of loving and forgiving them.

And fellow believers need accountability, they need a gentle rebuke when gentleness is called for,  and they need a more clear and direct rebuke when their rebellion puts them in the path of death – but it must always be done from the stance of love,  with the intent of encouraging them towards repentance,  and the hope of seeing them restored.

Even though there are many unfaithful who would claim the name of Jesus Christ today falsely, by cling to the promise of grace and forgiveness while ignoring repentance and following Christ – that doesn’t mean that we are to be silent and let them continue blindly into the darkness. The same ones who respond,  “You can’t judge me. You aren’t perfect either.” As they cling boldly to their sin with no fear of God whatsoever are the blind that need the healing touch of the truth. And that is exactly what a rebuke is – it is speaking truth into the life of someone who is confused,  misled,  lost,  and struggling – it is done in love to provide assistance and guidance in hopes they will step back onto the narrow path.

But broad is the way that leads to destruction, and many will refuse to follow the path with their actions even though they will try to claim Him with their words. But it is our hearts that are weighed,  my friends.

“Not everyone who calls out to me, ‘Lord! Lord!’ will enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Only those who actually do the will of my Father in heaven will enter.
Matthew 7:21 NLT
http://bible.com/116/mat.7.21.NLT

‘These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me.
Matthew 15:8 NLT
http://bible.com/116/mat.15.8.NLT

People may be right in their own eyes, but the Lord examines their heart. The Lord is more pleased when we do what is right and just than when we offer him sacrifices.
Proverbs 21:2-3 NLT
http://bible.com/116/pro.21.2-3.NLT

Then he added, “Now go and learn the meaning of this Scripture: ‘I want you to show mercy, not offer sacrifices.’ For I have come to call not those who think they are righteous, but those who know they are sinners.”
Matthew 9:13 NLT
http://bible.com/116/mat.9.13.NLT

Show mercy,  friends – for that is where Christ is found,  that is where His love is demonstrated, and that is how your life can be used as a vessel of His glorious grace.

Find mercy and love for those who persecute you and you will soar like on the wings of eagles where their actions can no longer touch or harm you in the places that matter. For we are temporary residents of this foreign land,  and we return to our home eternal soon enough. What can mere men take from us that we are not willing to give in exchange for our eternal life with Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior?

Then Jesus said to his disciples, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross, and follow me.  If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake, you will save it.  And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul? Is anything worth more than your soul?  For the Son of Man will come with his angels in the glory of his Father and will judge all people according to their deeds.
Matthew 16:24-27 NLT
http://bible.com/116/mat.16.24-27.NLT

1 Thessalonians 5:11 ESV
Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.

Isaiah 41:10 ESV
Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

A scary prayer? Or blessed assurance?

“Lord, if we need anything to further your ministry and to serve you,  provide all of it,  along with the responsible hearts to manage it effectively for your glory and honor. Bless us and give us increase in all areas of our lives that can be used to lift up your name – our love for you, our love and service unto others, our wisdom and understanding, our testimony, our spiritual gifts, our exercising your authority upon this earth, our health, our families, our homes, our food, our property, our very breathe within our bodies. It is all yours not truly ours, only lent to us for your purpose, and with it comes a responsibility to be a good steward. But if we are going to use it to glorify ourselves or anything other than your name, take it all from us, and instead give us yourself. Take it all if you must. Let your will be done, not ours. Amen.”

Continue reading “A scary prayer? Or blessed assurance?”

Only a few?

Someone asked him, “Lord, will only a few be saved?”
He replied, “Work hard to enter the narrow door to God’s Kingdom, for many will try to enter but will fail.  When the master of the house has locked the door, it will be too late. You will stand outside knocking and pleading, ‘Lord, open the door for us!’ But he will reply, ‘I don’t know you or where you come from.’
Luke 13:23-25 NLT
http://bible.com/116/luk.13.23-25.NLT

The way of religion promises “say this sinner’s prayer and join our group and be once saved always saved for all of eternity” to earn your way out of Hell. The way of religion sells daily practice of rituals and repeated sacrifices at the altar to earn your way into heaven. The way of religion sells a country club membership to complacency and prosperity and moral compromise while telling you that there is no work to be done because you already have grace,  just send your money to buy your way into heaven. And many will fall to the evils of religion because their hearts have grown cold and they have no desire or love for God that compares to their love for themselves, nor love for their brothers and sisters – even though they know in their hearts that He expects us to be doers of the Word and to bear the burdens of one another in love and service unto Him.

Then you will say, ‘But we ate and drank with you, and you taught in our streets.’  And he will reply, ‘I tell you, I don’t know you or where you come from. Get away from me, all you who do evil.’
Luke 13:26-27 NLT
http://bible.com/116/luk.13.26-27.NLT

He first tells us, there is work to be done. Then He tells those who do evil to get, away from Him. Yes,  the Lord offers forgiveness and mercy and grace – but not so that we can return to the slop with the pigs.

Then Jesus stood up again and said to the woman, “Where are your accusers? Didn’t even one of them condemn you?” “No, Lord,” she said. And Jesus said, “Neither do I. Go and sin no more.”
John 8:10-11 NLT
http://bible.com/116/jhn.8.10-11.NLT

He tells us,  take up our cross,  follow, Him,  repent,  learn from the forgiveness that we have received,  be healed and delivered from our old lives – “Go,  and sin no more.”

There are many who will become angry over this verse from the Bible, as they cling to their sins and they shrink back from grace,  holding tightly onto their flesh while afraid to let go and cling to the life that is available to them in Christ. They will say, but no one can walk without sin but Christ. And I tell you that it is true that any man who says that He has no sin is a liar – because we each have a past,  a life of walking in the flesh. But Christ bids us to come to Him,  to have faith in Him,  and to walk in the Holy Spirit in the kind of Godly love that fulfills the law. To those who find conviction in this message, these words do not come to condemn you,  but to make you aware that you were already condemned and that each must be born again in Christ in order to enter the Kingdom of Heaven,  you must be a new creation,  set apart from the world, no longer clinging to the ways of the flesh,  but running to God.

Because if we love God with each of our thoughts,  our words,  and our actions,  then how can we defile Him or choose to not bring Him honor and glory – unless we find it true that we do not love God quite as much as ourselves – unless we find that we have been practicing empty religion with no real relationship with God – unless we find that we are removed from His presence and not even knocking. We are either in,  or we are out. We are either loving and serving and participating in the celebration of His Kingdom, or we are outside and need a way in. Let’s not wait too long and find the door locked,  my friends.

And if we love our brother and sisters with each of our thoughts, words,  and actions, how can I choose to stumble them with the pitiful example of an unfaithful testimony while claiming the name of Christ and continuing in my sin? How can I lie to my brother? Steal from my brother? Gossip about my brother? Curse my brother? Withhold good from my brother when I am able to help? Isn’t it because many have no Christ alive in them even though they would lay claim to His name?

“Son of man, your people talk about you in their houses and whisper about you at the doors. They say to each other, ‘Come on, let’s go hear the prophet tell us what the Lord is saying!’ So my people come pretending to be sincere and sit before you. They listen to your words, but they have no intention of doing what you say. Their mouths are full of lustful words, and their hearts seek only after money. You are very entertaining to them, like someone who sings love songs with a beautiful voice or plays fine music on an instrument. They hear what you say, but they don’t act on it! But when all these terrible things happen to them—as they certainly will—then they will know a prophet has been among them.”
Ezekiel 33:30-33 NLT
http://bible.com/116/ezk.33.30-33.NLT

I plead with you,  friends. Seek the Kingdom of God while there is still time. Equip yourselves for the work that He has laid out before you. He has a prose for your life and it does not have to be destruction and fire and gnashing of teeth – unless that is what you choose.

What do you choose today,  friend?

Are you running the good race to prove yourself faithful? Are you fighting the good fight?

Let’s remember the words of Paul to Timothy and let’s work to make them our own –

As for me, my life has already been poured out as an offering to God. The time of my death is near. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, and I have remained faithful. And now the prize awaits me—the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give me on the day of his return. And the prize is not just for me but for all who eagerly look forward to his appearing.
2 Timothy 4:6-8 NLT
http://bible.com/116/2ti.4.6-8.NLT

Mine, Mine, Mine

The world tells us about its riches,  it’s wealth,  it’s pleasures – and entices us to purchase them for ourselves, to pile them up for ourselves, to take comfort in them.

Then he said, “Beware! Guard against every kind of greed. Life is not measured by how much you own.”
Luke 12:15 NLT
http://bible.com/116/luk.12.15.NLT

Continue reading “Mine, Mine, Mine”

You are valuable

And the very hairs on your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are more valuable to God than a whole flock of sparrows.
Luke 12:7 NLT
http://bible.com/116/luk.12.7.NLT

You are valuable to God.

Just think about that for a moment.  The creator of all things, the God of the universe values you and has created you for a purpose. The universe is not filled with examples of chaos and randomness, but it is designed with a beautiful order and complexity,  with each component playing it’s part in the greater whole. If we examine with a microscope,  we find a world of particles and order and logical design where every part has a purpose and where they work together in unity.

Even the world around us,  and not just the Word of God points us to the undeniable conclusion that there is a design,  a plan,  an order for everything. And we should understand that in that plan,  we have a purpose,  we have a value to the creator. In fact, He loves us enough to make us self aware,  capable of thought,  capable of choice,  capable of deciding whether or not to praise and honor Him. Isn’t that amazing that we as humans are able to reflect upon ourselves and upon the greater things of life and are not beings wired only for the simple purposes of living,  reproducing,  and dying? Isn’t it wonderful that these physical bodies hold something oh so much more valuable?

When a loved one takes their last breath, it is not their physical body that we value. It is not their physical presence of their body that we miss,  but the ability to interact with that soul,  that life,  that thing of value that was carried around in their earth bound vessel. Yes,  we know the part that God values,  because we can see the value ourselves. We can know the difference between the valuable eternal soul and the perishable physical body.

So we schools know where those things truly valuable exist,  and they are not in this physical body or in the things that tickle and please it – but in the things that are pleasing to our soul,  the things that nourish our eternal spiritual nature,  not our temporary, carnal,  flesh nature.

So why do we find ourselves worrying more over the things of this physical world – what we will eat,  what we will wear, where we will sleep?  When we should know that these things are temporary and not nearly as important as those things eternal. Why do we let ourselves become distracted by our senses of touch,  taste,  smell, hearing and seeing in the physical – and forget that we have a more important spiritual component of our lives that allows for a connection to the one true God that is far more important.

If you have not yet received the gift of the Holy Spirit annointing upon your life,  I encourage you to ask, seek, and knock at the gate in prayer until your eye is opened to see and your ears are restored to hearing the voice of your Lord and Savior,  the Good Shepherd, the Word of God, Jesus Christ who sits in the authority of God the Father Almighty,  and who lives in those of us who are Chosen as Sons and Daughters of God.

You see,  you have a value that far surpasses your title, or your possessions,  or your wealth,  or your beauty, or your knowledge,  or your strength – for all of those things will pass away and your body will be c returned to the ground to root and decay upon your death. And if all you have done during your brief time in this physical body is to feed the desires of your flesh,  to fulfill the urges and fancies of this temporary physical body – what good will that serve your eternal soul?

And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul? Is anything worth more than your soul?
Matthew 16:26 NLT
http://bible.com/116/mat.16.26.NLT

So I encourage you to understand what is valuable and eternal,  friend. Know your value, know your purpose. Learn to love God and love each other. Choose to walk with Him today.

Jeremiah 29:11 ESV
For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.

Romans 8:28 ESV
And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.

Proverbs 16:9 ESV
The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.

Acts 26:16 ESV
But rise and stand upon your feet, for I have appeared to you for this purpose, to appoint you as a servant and witness to the things in which you have seen me and to those in which I will appear to you,

John 15:16 ESV
You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you.

Matthew 28:19 ESV
Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,

Ephesians 1:11 ESV
In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will,

1 Corinthians 6:19-20 ESV
Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.

Ecclesiastes 12:13 ESV
The end of the matter; all has been heard. Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man.

Let this be our testimony –

“But he knows where I am going. And when he tests me, I will come out as pure as gold. For I have stayed on God’s paths; I have followed his ways and not turned aside. I have not departed from his commands, but have treasured his words more than daily food.
Job 23:10-12 NLT
http://bible.com/116/job.23.10-12.NLT

Got Power?

Whether a lamp glows because of fire or electricity, it has a source of power that is creating the light.

“No one lights a lamp and then hides it or puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where its light can be seen by all who enter the house. “Your eye is a lamp that provides light for your body. When your eye is good, your whole body is filled with light. But when it is bad, your body is filled with darkness.  Make sure that the light you think you have is not actually darkness.  If you are filled with light, with no dark corners, then your whole life will be radiant, as though a floodlight were filling you with light.”
Luke 11:33-36 NLT
http://bible.com/116/luk.11.33-36.NLT

Continue reading “Got Power?”

Actively working, or resting in opposition

“Anyone who isn’t with me opposes me, and anyone who isn’t working with me is actually working against me.
Luke 11:23 NLT
http://bible.com/116/luk.11.23.NLT

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This passage, from Luke 11:14-28 is talking about two things. First,  it is confirming that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and is working against evil,  because there were those who would twist the truth to the point of accusing Him to be the enemy of God. This is the same anti-Christ spirit we are warned of that does not acknowledge that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh and is from God.

By this you know the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God, and every spirit that does not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is not of God. And this is the spirit of the Antichrist, which you have heard was coming, and is now already in the world.
I John 4:2-3 NKJV
http://bible.com/114/1jn.4.2-3.NKJV

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Second, it is teaching us that if we are not actively working with Christ,  then we are in opposition to God’s will. We reach have an active purpose and a calling in His Kingdom. We are each called to belief and action.

Afterward he appeared to the eleven themselves as they were reclining at table, and he rebuked them for their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they had not believed those who saw him after he had risen. And he said to them, “Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation.  Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.  And these signs will accompany those who believe: in my name they will cast out demons; they will speak in new tongues;  they will pick up serpents with their hands; and if they drink any deadly poison, it will not hurt them; they will lay their hands on the sick, and they will recover.”  So then the Lord Jesus, after he had spoken to them, was taken up into heaven and sat down at the right hand of God. And they went out and preached everywhere, while the Lord worked with them and confirmed the message by accompanying signs.]]
Mark 16:14-20 ESV
http://bible.com/59/mrk.16.14-20.ESV

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Jesus found them reclining and rebuked them for their inaction and their lack of belief,  their lack of faith. If He appeared to you today,  would He find you reclining? Would He find you in lack of faith? Would He find you proclaiming the gospel to the whole world? Would He find you active and alive in good works being done to bring honor and glory to His name?

“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden.  Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house.  In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.
Matthew 5:14-16 ESV
http://bible.com/59/mat.5.14-16.ESV

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I encourage you to life,  friends. I encourage you to action. I pray that my encouragement,  or even my words of correction of that is needed in your life will be received as a valuable message from Jesus Christ your Lord and Savior – rather than you find yourself dead and lacking the very Holy Spirit that brings life.

What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.
James 2:14-17 ESV
http://bible.com/59/jas.2.14-17.ESV

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Would He have a rebuke for you,  or would He welcome you as His good and faithful servant?

I encourage you today into action. Be blessed as Jesus explains in the end of this passage in Luke 11 that we began examining –

But he said, “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and keep it!”
Luke 11:28 ESV
http://bible.com/59/luk.11.28.ESV

The blessings are in serving and loving others. Don’t miss out on the blessings,  friends,  thinking that you’ve bought your ticket to heaven and your salvation is complete. Test yourself and prove yourself worthy.

Live a life that brings honor and glory to His name. And do it under the power and authority of Christ who lives in you, not just under your own striving for rewards or titles or self exaltation.

Choose today to serve God even more committed than you have before, and not just in words,  but in actions.

We know what real love is because Jesus gave up his life for us. So we also ought to give up our lives for our brothers and sisters. If someone has enough money to live well and sees a brother or sister in need but shows no compassion—how can God’s love be in that person? Dear children, let’s not merely say that we love each other; let us show the truth by our actions. Our actions will show that we belong to the truth, so we will be confident when we stand before God.
1 John 3:16-19 NLT
http://bible.com/116/1jn.3.16-19.NLT

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Clinging to the blessings, or clinging to God?

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When it comes to the physical “bread” that the Lord provides,  I wonder how many of us cling to that for security instead of trusting in the Lord to always provide?

Each day the Lord provides what is necessary for us to do His work, to be the body of Christ,  to love and serve others. And He gives us enough for that day’s work and He will give us enough tomorrow for that day’s work as well. He doesn’t expect us to hold onto it,  to horde it, He expects us to use it for His glory and honor each day. It is all His,  He is just entrusting us to be good stewards and use it wisely to meet our needs and to love and serve others.

Give us  each day our daily bread,
Luke 11:3 ESV
http://bible.com/59/luk.11.3.ESV

Notice that I say to meet our needs,  not our wants. I wonder how many times my wants get in the way of how these physical blessings are meant to serve God’s will and to help fulfill others’ needs? I wonder how many of us isolate ourselves from becoming aware of the need of others so we have an easier excuse for the piled up, unused physical blessings that we are clinging to for security?

Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.  For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me,  I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’  Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink?  And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you?  And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’  And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’
Matthew 25:34-40 ESV
http://bible.com/59/mat.25.34-40.ESV

But you see, the physical blessings are nothing,  they are worthless,  they will rust and root and disappear into the dust of the earth just like our physical bodies. The physical blessings are a vehicle,  a vessel,  an opportunity for those greater blessings to be manifest – an opportunity for the work of the, Holy Spirit to touch lives and bear fruit – love, joy,  peace,  patience,  kindness,  goodness,  faithfulness, self control. And these spiritual blessings nourish our eternal soul and the eternal souls of others through our witness, our testimony,  our life as a living sacrifice to honor the Lord – while the physical blessings only nourish our temporary flesh of we are clinging to them as our own.

I wonder how many times we miss out on the greater blessings,  that we miss out on the miraculous, because we are so intent on clinging to the vessels,  the vehicles,  the thing that is meant to produce the true blessing when it dies and breaks open to reveal the spiritual blessings within.

Each of us is to take this gospel of Christ, that He died on the cross,  that He was buried, c and that He is raised to life – and we are to follow in His footsteps. There are many things that we cling to that need to be cut out of our lives and removed from our lives,  that need to be cast off into the grave,  so that in their place new life,  new righteousness in Christ,  new eternal blessings can be realized.

And yes, it takes faith, and yes, there is a cost. But if you do not believe the Lord, aren’t you already lost and separated from His eternal glory?

So I say to you,  if you will refuse the Lord,  if you will deny Christ and have made your choice to be partakers of iniquity and inhabitants of the lake of fire – then come,  you oppressers of the poor, you murderers of your own brothers, you witholders of the needs of others – come,  and take from me what is the Lord’s and instead give me Jesus. Hand over to me your eternal birthright for a bowl of soup if you must.

“Then he will say to those on his left,  ‘Depart from me, you  cursed, into  the eternal fire prepared for  the devil and his angels.  For I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink,  I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not clothe me, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.’
Matthew 25:41-43 ESV
http://bible.com/59/mat.25.41-43.ESV

But I beg you instead to lay down your treacherous life of serving self, surrender and die to Christ,  and find life eternal and know the true blessings and purpose that is meant for your life.

Decide today who you will serve.

“No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and  money.
Matthew 6:24 ESV
http://bible.com/59/mat.6.24.ESV

Decode today who you will trust.

Decide today if you are intent on feeding the flesh,  or nourishing your spirit.

Decide not just in your mind but in your heart,  and commit yourself to this walk.

Take up your cross and bear it today,  friends. And pay that the Lord will give me the strength to do the same.

I love you.

So we should ask ourselves,  am I more