Persevere


“Because you have obeyed my command to persevere, I will protect you from the great time of testing that will come upon the whole world to test those who belong to this world.” – Revelation 3:10 NLT


“Remain in me, and I will remain in you. For a branch cannot produce fruit if it is severed from the vine, and you cannot be fruitful unless you remain in me. “Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing.  Anyone who does not remain in me is thrown away like a useless branch and withers. Such branches are gathered into a pile to be burned.  But if you remain in me and my words remain in you, you may ask for anything you want, and it will be granted!  When you produce much fruit, you are my true disciples. This brings great glory to my Father. “I have loved you even as the Father has loved me. Remain in my love.  When you obey my commandments, you remain in my love, just as I obey my Father’s commandments and remain in his love.  I have told you these things so that you will be filled with my joy. Yes, your joy will overflow!  This is my commandment: Love each other in the same way I have loved you.  There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.  You are my friends if you do what I command.  I no longer call you slaves, because a master doesn’t confide in his slaves. Now you are my friends, since I have told you everything the Father told me.  You didn’t choose me. I chose you. I appointed you to go and produce lasting fruit, so that the Father will give you whatever you ask for, using my name.  This is my command: Love each other.” – John 15:4‭-‬17 NLT


“If the world hates you, remember that it hated me first.  The world would love you as one of its own if you belonged to it, but you are no longer part of the world. I chose you to come out of the world, so it hates you.  Do you remember what I told you? ‘A slave is not greater than the master.’ Since they persecuted me, naturally they will persecute you. And if they had listened to me, they would listen to you.  They will do all this to you because of me, for they have rejected the one who sent me.  They would not be guilty if I had not come and spoken to them. But now they have no excuse for their sin.” – John 15:18‭-‬22 NLT


From that time on, Esau hated Jacob because their father had given Jacob the blessing. And Esau began to scheme: “I will soon be mourning my father’s death. Then I will kill my brother, Jacob.” But Rebekah heard about Esau’s plans. So she sent for Jacob and told him, “Listen, Esau is consoling himself by plotting to kill you. So listen carefully, my son. Get ready and flee to my brother, Laban, in Haran. Stay there with him until your brother cools off. When he calms down and forgets what you have done to him, I will send for you to come back. Why should I lose both of you in one day?” – Genesis 27:41‭-‬45 NLT


“So humble yourselves under the mighty power of God, and at the right time he will lift you up in honor. Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you. Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour. Stand firm against him, and be strong in your faith. Remember that your family of believers all over the world is going through the same kind of suffering you are. In his kindness God called you to share in his eternal glory by means of Christ Jesus. So after you have suffered a little while, he will restore, support, and strengthen you, and he will place you on a firm foundation.” – 1 Peter 5:6‭-‬10 NLT


But Moses told the people, “Don’t be afraid. Just stand still and watch the Lord rescue you today. The Egyptians you see today will never be seen again. The Lord himself will fight for you. Just stay calm.” – Exodus 14:13‭-‬14 NLT


“So follow the steps of the good, and stay on the paths of the righteous. For only the godly will live in the land, and those with integrity will remain in it. But the wicked will be removed from the land, and the treacherous will be uprooted.” – Proverbs 2:20‭-‬22 NLT

Barely Saved

For the time has come for judgment, and it must begin with God’s household. And if judgment begins with us, what terrible fate awaits those who have never obeyed God’s Good News? And also, “If the righteous are barely saved, what will happen to godless sinners?
1 Peter 4:17‭-‬18 NLT

We have a lot going on right now. We are in the middle of so much change that I can barely keep up with all of the moving parts. I received a call in the middle of the day yesterday while I was at work and answered some questions without my full attention being on the call. After hanging up, and after thinking about what was asked, I realized that I had made a mistake in what I had said.

“Liar! Liar!”, the voice cried out in my head, “I’ve got you now!”

The old me wanted to hide from the mistake and attempt to cover it up – covering me in guilt by calling me a liar because I misspoke in a moment of the day’s fever pitched drone of work, stress,  etc. But there was another voice that spoke as well – convicting me that I needed to correct myself.

The enemy voice warned me that if I corrected myself,  it would look to the other person like I’m a liar even though I would know by making the correction that I was in fact, being honest. That voice wanted me to find a way to look honest to the person while remaining a liar in my heart.

Yes, this is the struggle. These are the types of challenges we face when we’ve let our guard down and are distracted. I was quick to speak without really listening and thinking about something – and as a result, I found myself in a trap. And the trap was whether I cared what I looked like on the outside or whether I cared enough to do what was right.

My decision was made, I would correct the situation. But how do I handle it in the best way? Do I try to explain myself in detail? Do I dance and make an over compensating effort to clean it up? Or do I just admit, do I just apologize for the lie – yes, a lie is a lie whether spoken with ill intent or good intent. Truth is truth, false is lying.

So, no sugar coating is necessary. I just need to swallow this pill and learn to pay closer attention to what I’m saying. It’s almost like this tongue is hard to tame unless I’m focused and intent. Imagine that. I think that I’ve read something about that before.

Dear brothers and sisters, not many of you should become teachers in the church, for we who teach will be judged more strictly. Indeed, we all make many mistakes. For if we could control our tongues, we would be perfect and could also control ourselves in every other way. We can make a large horse go wherever we want by means of a small bit in its mouth. And a small rudder makes a huge ship turn wherever the pilot chooses to go, even though the winds are strong. In the same way, the tongue is a small thing that makes grand speeches. But a tiny spark can set a great forest on fire. And among all the parts of the body, the tongue is a flame of fire. It is a whole world of wickedness, corrupting your entire body. It can set your whole life on fire, for it is set on fire by hell itself. People can tame all kinds of animals, birds, reptiles, and fish, but no one can tame the tongue. It is restless and evil, full of deadly poison. Sometimes it praises our Lord and Father, and sometimes it curses those who have been made in the image of God. And so blessing and cursing come pouring out of the same mouth. Surely, my brothers and sisters, this is not right! Does a spring of water bubble out with both fresh water and bitter water? Does a fig tree produce olives, or a grapevine produce figs? No, and you can’t draw fresh water from a salty spring.
James 3:1‭-‬12 NLT

Cornerstone or Stumbling Block

You are coming to Christ, who is the living cornerstone of God’s temple. He was rejected by people, but he was chosen by God for great honor. And you are living stones that God is building into his spiritual temple. What’s more, you are his holy priests. Through the mediation of Jesus Christ, you offer spiritual sacrifices that please God.

As the Scriptures say, “I am placing a cornerstone in Jerusalem, chosen for great honor, and anyone who trusts in him will never be disgraced.

Yes, you who trust him recognize the honor God has given him. But for those who reject him, “The stone that the builders rejected has now become the cornerstone.”

And, “He is the stone that makes people stumble, the rock that makes them fall.

They stumble because they do not obey God’s word, and so they meet the fate that was planned for them.

But you are not like that, for you are a chosen people. You are royal priests, a holy nation, God’s very own possession. As a result, you can show others the goodness of God, for he called you out of the darkness into his wonderful light. “Once you had no identity as a people; now you are God’s people. Once you received no mercy; now you have received God’s mercy.

Dear friends, I warn you as “temporary residents and foreigners” to keep away from worldly desires that wage war against your very souls. Be careful to live properly among your unbelieving neighbors. Then even if they accuse you of doing wrong, they will see your honorable behavior, and they will give honor to God when he judges the world.
1 Peter 2:4‭-‬12 NLT

This idea of grace, of forgiveness of sins, this testimony of Christ who is God come in the flesh that died on the cross for us – it will either be the stone that we build a new holy life upon – or it will be an excuse people use to continue in their lives of sin.

Knowing about Christ will either push us  into a life of grateful obedience – or we will use it as an excuse to justify our remaining in captivity.

And it all boils down to belief, true belief in our hearts,  not just that he existed as a good and wise teacher – but that He is who He said He is, and that is God come in the flesh, who is risen and who will judge the whole world on that day to come when we will be changed in an instant, when we will be in the presence of the Lord.

What is Christ for your life today?

Won’t you build upon the foundation that He had provided by walking His way in your life today?

Won’t you deny your flesh and surrender your life to produce the fruit of His nature?

Won’t you yield to His will and be His Kingdom representative to the world today?

Whatever you do today, let it be done in Truth and in Love, because our lives are that living sacrifice, that reasonable service, that true worship that we lift to Him in Spirit and in Truth.

Go, let your day be that worship. Let them see that YOU are the church,  and that Christ lives in you!

Conformed? Or Transformed?

And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God. – Romans 12:2 NKJV

The word conform means things like abide by, follow, accept, obey, go along with, fall into, fit in, age with, be like, and be consistent with. The original Greek word is συσχηματίζω (syschēmatizō) is used only twice in scripture and gives a very similar message in 1 Peter 1:1

Therefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and rest your hope fully upon the grace that is to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ; as obedient children, not conforming yourselves to the former lusts, as in your ignorance; but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, because it is written, “Be holy, for I am holy.”
I Peter 1:13‭-‬16 NKJV

Yes, Romans 12 as a chapter is about “Being a Living Sacrifice”(v1-2), “Serving God with Our Gifts”(v3-8), and “Behaving like a Christian”(v9-21).

In fact,  verse 9 tells us what Godly love looks like –

Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil. Cling to what is good. – Romans 12:9 NKJV

The world would ask us to be accepting, tolerant, and conformed to its evil ways – it would say that wickedness is love, because that enemy is a liar and there is no truth in the father of lies.

True, Godly love is to see the good and cling to it and encourage it in people,  and to resist the evil. It is to conform to the ways of Christ. Christ did not leave people in their same broken and sinful lives – His touch and His words changed lives. It either pushed the hard hearted enemies of truth and love into a deeper fury against Him – or it transformed and healed and delivered people’s life to something radically different than before and they grew more and more in His way.

Christ does not say,  come accept my religion,  say a prayer, get baptized in water,  and then go back to fitting in with the ways of the world. He doesn’t say,  keep doing evil and coming back again and again for forgiveness once a week or on holidays to hear about me.

He says,  come, surrender your whole life to me, turn away from evil,  and be transformed to be like me.

He says, come, be set apart for holy use, by the Lord God Almighty,  who loves you enough to pay an ultimate sacrifice to bring you into His family.

He says, I have a purpose today, for the world to see something quite peculiar and different in your life – because they will see Me, My ways, reflected in your transformed life.

A transformed heart and mind produces a different life – a sober, obedient, holy life. And if this type of life seems distasteful to you, then I encourage you to ask yourself who it is you are really deciding to serve today with your life. If you want to serve the Lord,  if you want to call upon His name, if you want Him to hear your prayers, do not remember that sinner of your past, repent, turn to Him, and walk in righteousness, you saints, you children of God. You are freed, your chains are broken. You need not walk powerless,  but strong and bold.

Then your light shall break forth like the morning, Your healing shall spring forth speedily, And your righteousness shall go before you; The glory of the Lord shall be your rear guard.
Isaiah 58:8 NKJV

I encourage you, do not doubt in the strength of the Lord to deliver you from the flesh to walk upright in the Spirit. Do not put on that old title of Sinner unless you have become a proud hypocrite. Put bear the title of Saint, Child of God, boasting only in what He has done for you. Stand tall,  not in your own power, but humbled by His mercy and His Godly love that is alive in you.

Judgement is WAY above our pay grade, but IT IS COMING

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I have to tell you that I hate the shirts, etc that have “Only God can judge me” – because the mentality of 99% who sport it have no genuine belief that they are going to face judgement. Many have bought into the lies of a twisted perversion of the truth telling them “say this prayer and do X and you’re saved from hell forever no matter what”. But that is NOT the gospel. You will NOT find that in the truth of the Bible. I don’t care what lies some false teacher told on TV or behind a podium to get your money. I don’t care what lies your friend told you to make you comfortable justifying things that you know in your heart are wrong. I care about you hearing and believing the truth.

Someone who believes, someone who loves God, someone seeking to walk that narrow path that leads to salvation and avoid that broad way that goes to destruction – Someone who is A NEW CREATION IN CHRIST should be examining and equipping and preparing themselves for their final destination, right? So wouldn’t someone headed to a holy, perfect, righteous place overcome in victory want encoragement to turn away from the flesh and walk in the Spirit?

But no, most use this saying “Only God can judge me” to really say –

“I’m my own God and I set my own rules. You can’t teach me because I don’t want to learn or grow or change. I have no fear of God at all.”

That sounds more similar to the Satanic mantra of “The whole of the law is, do as you wish” than anything Christ would have said. I encourage you to know which master you are serving, which voice you are listening to.

That perspective of self as master is a scary, dark, confused place to live. I know, because I’ve walked that valley in the shadow of death myself. And by the grace of God, I stand delivered from that self serving mentality into a life loving, serving, growing, and learning.

Correction is not comfortable, but at least I can begin to appreciate it for its value in molding me and changing me. And I don’t resist it like I used to. People think that being “strong”, “hard”, and “real” is being immovable, unchangeable, like a rock. But you are not the rock, friend. Jesus Christ is the rock upon which a strong foundation can be built.  You might know about the rock. You might even know the rock. You might even love the rock. But we should make sure that He is sitting in that throne as the Lord of our lives instead of ourselves. Otherwise, you are right, I can’t judge you, but I can warn you, that if you don’t change and get yourself off of that throne and humble yourself before God, you will know His judgement.

If you say that you know and love Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, walk in light – or at least quit deceiving yourself if you are walking in darkness. Know today by the fruit of your life who it is you have been serving and who it is you will choose to serve from today forward. But never forget that you have chosen your master – not with your words or your religion, but with the testimony of your life.

I beg and plead for sinners to come to repentance, because the kingdom of God is not far away, death is right here at the door, and your time draws near – to either meet the Lord in salvation or in judgement.

I share this in love because so many have deceived themselves or been deceived by self serving false teachers. Those wolves have grown efficient at fleecing the flock and feeding off of them, getting fat and rich, when they were supposed to be the ones feeding and sacrificing and laying down their lives for the flock instead. Be careful, little child, this is a dark time, but the light can be found when you seek it, set your eyes firmly on it,  and see this race through to the end. Judgement -or- salvation.

Do we have ears to hear what is being aid in the questions from 1 Peter 4:

“If the righteous is scarcely saved, what will become of the ungodly and the sinner?”

Judgement is real. If you still doubt, I’ve provided for your reading pleasure:

John 8:12, 15-16, 21, 23-24, 31-32, 34-36, 42-47 ESV
Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”  You judge according to the flesh; I judge no one.  Yet even if I do judge, my judgment is true, for it is not I alone who judge, but I and the Father who sent me.  So he said to them again, “I am going away, and you will seek me, and you will die in your sin. Where I am going, you cannot come.”  He said to them, “You are from below; I am from above. You are of this world; I am not of this world.  I told you that you would die in your sins, for unless you believe that I am he you will die in your sins.”  So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples,  and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”  Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who practices sin is a slave to sin.  The slave does not remain in the house forever; the son remains forever.  So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.  Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love me, for I came from God and I am here. I came not of my own accord, but he sent me.  Why do you not understand what I say? It is because you cannot bear to hear my word.  You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies.  But because I tell the truth, you do not believe me.  Which one of you convicts me of sin? If I tell the truth, why do you not believe me?  Whoever is of God hears the words of God. The reason why you do not hear them is that you are not of God.”

Romans 14:10-12 ESV
Why do you pass judgment on your brother? Or you, why do you despise your brother? For we will all stand before the judgment seat of God; for it is written, “As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God.”  So then each of us will give an account of himself to God.

Revelation 20:11-15 ESV
Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. From his presence earth and sky fled away, and no place was found for them. And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Then another book was opened, which is the book of life. And the dead were judged by what was written in the books, according to what they had done. And the sea gave up the dead who were in it, Death and Hades gave up the dead who were in them, and they were judged, each one of them, according to what they had done. Then Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire. And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.

Psalm 9:7-20 ESV
But the Lord sits enthroned forever; he has established his throne for justice,  and he judges the world with righteousness; he judges the peoples with uprightness.  The Lord is a stronghold for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble.  And those who know your name put their trust in you, for you, O Lord , have not forsaken those who seek you.  Sing praises to the Lord , who sits enthroned in Zion! Tell among the peoples his deeds!  For he who avenges blood is mindful of them; he does not forget the cry of the afflicted.  Be gracious to me, O Lord ! See my affliction from those who hate me, O you who lift me up from the gates of death,  that I may recount all your praises, that in the gates of the daughter of Zion I may rejoice in your salvation.  The nations have sunk in the pit that they made; in the net that they hid, their own foot has been caught.  The Lord has made himself known; he has executed judgment; the wicked are snared in the work of their own hands. Higgaion. Selah  The wicked shall return to Sheol, all the nations that forget God.  For the needy shall not always be forgotten, and the hope of the poor shall not perish forever.  Arise, O Lord ! Let not man prevail; let the nations be judged before you!  Put them in fear, O Lord ! Let the nations know that they are but men! Selah

Hebrews 9:27-28 ESV
And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment, so Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him.

2 Corinthians 5:10 ESV
For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil.

John 3:16-21 ESV
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.”

1 Peter 4:17-19 ESV
For it is time for judgment to begin at the household of God; and if it begins with us, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God? And “If the righteous is scarcely saved, what will become of the ungodly and the sinner?”  Therefore let those who suffer according to God’s will entrust their souls to a faithful Creator while doing good.

Matthew 12:33-37 ESV
“Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or make the tree bad and its fruit bad,  for the tree is known by its fruit.  You brood of vipers! How can you speak good, when you are evil? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.  The good person out of his good treasure brings forth good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure brings forth evil.  I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak,  for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.”

Jude 1:3-25 ESV
Beloved, although I was very eager to write to you about our common salvation, I found it necessary to write appealing to you to contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints. For certain people have crept in unnoticed who long ago were designated for this condemnation, ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into sensuality and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.  Now I want to remind you, although you once fully knew it, that Jesus, who saved a people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed those who did not believe. And the angels who did not stay within their own position of authority, but left their proper dwelling, he has kept in eternal chains under gloomy darkness until the judgment of the great day— just as Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding cities, which likewise indulged in sexual immorality and pursued unnatural desire, serve as an example by undergoing a punishment of eternal fire.  Yet in like manner these people also, relying on their dreams, defile the flesh, reject authority, and blaspheme the glorious ones. But when the archangel Michael, contending with the devil, was disputing about the body of Moses, he did not presume to pronounce a blasphemous judgment, but said, “The Lord rebuke you.” But these people blaspheme all that they do not understand, and they are destroyed by all that they, like unreasoning animals, understand instinctively. Woe to them! For they walked in the way of Cain and abandoned themselves for the sake of gain to Balaam’s error and perished in Korah’s rebellion. These are hidden reefs at your love feasts, as they feast with you without fear, shepherds feeding themselves; waterless clouds, swept along by winds; fruitless trees in late autumn, twice dead, uprooted; wild waves of the sea, casting up the foam of their own shame; wandering stars, for whom the gloom of utter darkness has been reserved forever.  It was also about these that Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied, saying, “Behold, the Lord comes with ten thousands of his holy ones, to execute judgment on all and to convict all the ungodly of all their deeds of ungodliness that they have committed in such an ungodly way, and of all the harsh things that ungodly sinners have spoken against him.” These are grumblers, malcontents, following their own sinful desires; they are loud-mouthed boasters, showing favoritism to gain advantage.  But you must remember, beloved, the predictions of the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ. They said to you, “In the last time there will be scoffers, following their own ungodly passions.” It is these who cause divisions, worldly people, devoid of the Spirit. But you, beloved, building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ that leads to eternal life. And have mercy on those who doubt; save others by snatching them out of the fire; to others show mercy with fear, hating even the garment stained by the flesh.  Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy, to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen.

Romans 1:18-32 ESV
For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things.  Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen.  For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error.  And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done. They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips, slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless. Though they know God’s righteous decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them.

Romans 2:1-16 ESV
Therefore you have no excuse, O man, every one of you who judges. For in passing judgment on another you condemn yourself, because you, the judge, practice the very same things. We know that the judgment of God rightly falls on those who practice such things. Do you suppose, O man—you who judge those who practice such things and yet do them yourself—that you will escape the judgment of God? Or do you presume on the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance? But because of your hard and impenitent heart you are storing up wrath for yourself on the day of wrath when God’s righteous judgment will be revealed.  He will render to each one according to his works: to those who by patience in well-doing seek for glory and honor and immortality, he will give eternal life; but for those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, there will be wrath and fury. There will be tribulation and distress for every human being who does evil, the Jew first and also the Greek, but glory and honor and peace for everyone who does good, the Jew first and also the Greek. For God shows no partiality.  For all who have sinned without the law will also perish without the law, and all who have sinned under the law will be judged by the law. For it is not the hearers of the law who are righteous before God, but the doers of the law who will be justified. For when Gentiles, who do not have the law, by nature do what the law requires, they are a law to themselves, even though they do not have the law. They show that the work of the law is written on their hearts, while their conscience also bears witness, and their conflicting thoughts accuse or even excuse them on that day when, according to my gospel, God judges the secrets of men by Christ Jesus.

John 3:16-18 ESV
“For  God so loved  the world,  that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not  perish but have eternal life.  For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.  Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.

Romans 4:3-8 ESV
For what does the Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness.” Now to the one who works, his wages are not counted as a gift but as his due. And to the one who does not work but believes in him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted as righteousness, just as David also speaks of the blessing of the one to whom God counts righteousness apart from works:  “Blessed are those whose lawless deeds are forgiven, and whose sins are covered;  blessed is the man against whom the Lord will not count his sin.”

Ezekiel 36:22-38 ESV
“Therefore say to the house of Israel, Thus says the Lord God : It is not for your sake, O house of Israel, that I am about to act, but for the sake of my holy name, which you have profaned among the nations to which you came. And I will vindicate the holiness of my great name, which has been profaned among the nations, and which you have profaned among them. And the nations will know that I am the Lord , declares the Lord God , when through you I vindicate my holiness before their eyes. I will take you from the nations and gather you from all the countries and bring you into your own land. I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean from all your uncleannesses, and from all your idols I will cleanse you. And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules. You shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers, and you shall be my people, and I will be your God. And I will deliver you from all your uncleannesses. And I will summon the grain and make it abundant and lay no famine upon you. I will make the fruit of the tree and the increase of the field abundant, that you may never again suffer the disgrace of famine among the nations. Then you will remember your evil ways, and your deeds that were not good, and you will loathe yourselves for your iniquities and your abominations. It is not for your sake that I will act, declares the Lord God ; let that be known to you. Be ashamed and confounded for your ways, O house of Israel.  “Thus says the Lord God : On the day that I cleanse you from all your iniquities, I will cause the cities to be inhabited, and the waste places shall be rebuilt. And the land that was desolate shall be tilled, instead of being the desolation that it was in the sight of all who passed by. And they will say, ‘This land that was desolate has become like the garden of Eden, and the waste and desolate and ruined cities are now fortified and inhabited.’ Then the nations that are left all around you shall know that I am the Lord ; I have rebuilt the ruined places and replanted that which was desolate. I am the Lord ; I have spoken, and I will do it.  “Thus says the Lord God : This also I will let the house of Israel ask me to do for them: to increase their people like a flock. Like the flock for sacrifices, like the flock at Jerusalem during her appointed feasts, so shall the waste cities be filled with flocks of people. Then they will know that I am the Lord .”

Little Children

Do you ever ponder over the things of God? Do you wonder about His ways? What about the little children? What is their fate? What is ours?

children-are-innocent-childrens-world-16382924-670-405

INNOCENCE

See, this alone I found, that God made man upright, but they have sought out many schemes. – Ecclesiastes 7:29 ESV

But Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven.” – Matthew 19:14 ESV

And said, “Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. – Matthew 18:3 ESV

But when David saw that his servants were whispering together, David understood that the child was dead. And David said to his servants, “Is the child dead?” They said, “He is dead.” Then David arose from the earth and washed and anointed himself and changed his clothes. And he went into the house of the Lord and worshiped. He then went to his own house. And when he asked, they set food before him, and he ate. Then his servants said to him, “What is this thing that you have done? You fasted and wept for the child while he was alive; but when the child died, you arose and ate food.” He said, “While the child was still alive, I fasted and wept, for I said, ‘Who knows whether the Lord will be gracious to me, that the child may live?’ But now he is dead. Why should I fast? Can I bring him back again? I shall go to him, but he will not return to me.” – 2 Samuel 12:23 ESV

Autosomal-recessive-inheritance

INHERITANCE

The soul who sins shall die. The son shall not suffer for the iniquity of the father, nor the father suffer for the iniquity of the son. The righteousness of the righteous shall be upon himself, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon himself. – Ezekiel 18:20 ESV

For the unbelieving husband is made holy because of his wife, and the unbelieving wife is made holy because of her husband. Otherwise your children would be unclean, but as it is, they are holy. – 1 Corinthians 7:14 ESV

And as for your little ones, who you said would become a prey, and your children, who today have no knowledge of good or evil, they shall go in there. And to them I will give it, and they shall possess it. – Deuteronomy 1:39 ESV

Knowledge

KNOWLEDGE

For before the boy knows how to refuse the evil and choose the good, the land whose two kings you dread will be deserted. – Isaiah 7:16 ESV

So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin. – James 4:17 ESV

Even a child makes himself known by his acts, by whether his conduct is pure and upright. – Proverbs 20:11 ESV

The wicked are estranged from the womb; they go astray from birth, speaking lies. – Psalm 58:3 ESV

I was once alive apart from the law, but when the commandment came, sin came alive and I died. The very commandment that promised life proved to be death to me. For sin, seizing an opportunity through the commandment, deceived me and through it killed me. – Romans 7:9-11 ESV

Everyone who is numbered in the census, from twenty years old and upward, shall give the Lord’s offering. – Exodus 30:14 ESV

The Lord looks down from heaven on the children of man, to see if there are any who understand, who seek after God. They have all turned aside; together they have become corrupt; there is none who does good, not even one. – Psalm 14:2-3 ESV

That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. – John 3:6 ESV

For we know that the law is spiritual, but I am of the flesh, sold under sin. – Romans 7:14 ESV

quote-David-Herbert-Lawrence-this-is-the-very-worst-wickedness-that-90120

SIN

The Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. – Genesis 6:5 ESV

Remember that you were at that time separated from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. – Ephesians 2:12 ESV

salvation

SALVATION

For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. – 1 Corinthians 1:18 ESV

What then shall we say was gained by Abraham, our forefather according to the flesh? For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but not before God. For what does the Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness.” Now to the one who works, his wages are not counted as a gift but as his due. And to the one who does not work but believes in him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted as righteousness, – Romans 4:1-25 ESV

And when the Lord smelled the pleasing aroma, the Lord said in his heart, “I will never again curse the ground because of man, for the intention of man’s heart is evil from his youth. Neither will I ever again strike down every living creature as I have done. – Genesis 8:21 ESV

Knowing that you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your forefathers, not with perishable things such as silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot. – 1 Peter 1:18-19 ESV

Zech4_6

POWER

For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control. – 2 Timothy 1:7 ESV

That according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being – Ephesians 3:16 ESV

For the kingdom of God does not consist in talk but in power. – 1 Corinthians 4:20 ESV

May you be strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy, – Colossians 1:11 ESV

That your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God. – 1 Corinthians 2:5 ESV

He gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might he increases strength. Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted; but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint. – Isaiah 40:29-31 ESV

repentance

REPENTANCE / RIGHTEOUS JUDGEMENT

Ezekiel 18:1-32
The word of the Lord came to me: “What do you mean by repeating this proverb concerning the land of Israel, ‘The fathers have eaten sour grapes, and the children’s teeth are set on edge’? As I live, declares the Lord God, this proverb shall no more be used by you in Israel. Behold, all souls are mine; the soul of the father as well as the soul of the son is mine: the soul who sins shall die.

“If a man is righteous and does what is just and right— if he does not eat upon the mountains or lift up his eyes to the idols of the house of Israel, does not defile his neighbor’s wife or approach a woman in her time of menstrual impurity, does not oppress anyone, but restores to the debtor his pledge, commits no robbery, gives his bread to the hungry and covers the naked with a garment, does not lend at interest or take any profit, withholds his hand from injustice, executes true justice between man and man, walks in my statutes, and keeps my rules by acting faithfully—he is righteous; he shall surely live, declares the Lord God.

“If he fathers a son who is violent, a shedder of blood, who does any of these things (though he himself did none of these things), who even eats upon the mountains, defiles his neighbor’s wife, oppresses the poor and needy, commits robbery, does not restore the pledge, lifts up his eyes to the idols, commits abomination, lends at interest, and takes profit; shall he then live? He shall not live. He has done all these abominations; he shall surely die; his blood shall be upon himself.

“Now suppose this man fathers a son who sees all the sins that his father has done; he sees, and does not do likewise: he does not eat upon the mountains or lift up his eyes to the idols of the house of Israel, does not defile his neighbor’s wife, does not oppress anyone, exacts no pledge, commits no robbery, but gives his bread to the hungry and covers the naked with a garment, withholds his hand from iniquity, takes no interest or profit, obeys my rules, and walks in my statutes; he shall not die for his father’s iniquity; he shall surely live. As for his father, because he practiced extortion, robbed his brother, and did what is not good among his people, behold, he shall die for his iniquity.

“Yet you say, ‘Why should not the son suffer for the iniquity of the father?’ When the son has done what is just and right, and has been careful to observe all my statutes, he shall surely live. The soul who sins shall die. The son shall not suffer for the iniquity of the father, nor the father suffer for the iniquity of the son. The righteousness of the righteous shall be upon himself, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon himself.

“But if a wicked person turns away from all his sins that he has committed and keeps all my statutes and does what is just and right, he shall surely live; he shall not die. None of the transgressions that he has committed shall be remembered against him; for the righteousness that he has done he shall live. Have I any pleasure in the death of the wicked, declares the Lord God, and not rather that he should turn from his way and live? But when a righteous person turns away from his righteousness and does injustice and does the same abominations that the wicked person does, shall he live? None of the righteous deeds that he has done shall be remembered; for the treachery of which he is guilty and the sin he has committed, for them he shall die.

“Yet you say, ‘The way of the Lord is not just.’ Hear now, O house of Israel: Is my way not just? Is it not your ways that are not just? When a righteous person turns away from his righteousness and does injustice, he shall die for it; for the injustice that he has done he shall die. Again, when a wicked person turns away from the wickedness he has committed and does what is just and right, he shall save his life. Because he considered and turned away from all the transgressions that he had committed, he shall surely live; he shall not die. Yet the house of Israel says, ‘The way of the Lord is not just.’ O house of Israel, are my ways not just? Is it not your ways that are not just?

“Therefore I will judge you, O house of Israel, every one according to his ways, declares the Lord God. Repent and turn from all your transgressions, lest iniquity be your ruin. Cast away from you all the transgressions that you have committed, and make yourselves a new heart and a new spirit! Why will you die, O house of Israel? For I have no pleasure in the death of anyone, declares the Lord God; so turn, and live.”

Freedom “from” not “to”

Questions regularly come up from those wanting to discuss “freedom” and “no condemnation for those in Christ”. And usually, the question doesn’t come from someone seeking relief from the heavy burden of trying to live a pure and perfect, pious life which is only resulting in their own spiritual pride and striving through good works – usually, this question comes from someone who is trying to justify their own sinful ways and build a mental argument that they can use against the conviction that the Holy Spirit is giving them about some area still not surrendered in their lives.

So if we are considering the divine instruction of the Word of God discussing freedom and no condemnation, shouldn’t we ask ourselves which ditch we are closer to? Shouldn’t we say to ourselves – “When examining the actions and example of my life, am I closer to being a legalistic hypocrite with the outward appearance of piety but with no love (ditch 1) – or am I living a life that is confirmed to this world,  still involved in sinful things, and worldly practices and pleasures that aren’t bringing glory to God (ditch 2)?” You see,  there are wide,  broad ditches on either side of the narrow path – and they lead to destruction. One is legalism without love or mercy – and another is lasciviousness without repentance or righteousness.

And if we know which ditch our lives are closest to, then we should also know which direction is leading us back towards the narrow path and which is just our deceitful hearts and the trickery of the enemy twisting andpervertingandstealingaway the truth while pointing us back towards that old,  familiar ditch.

I don’t want you to forget, dear brothers and sisters, about our ancestors in the wilderness long ago. All of them were guided by a cloud that moved ahead of them, and all of them walked through the sea on dry ground. In the cloud and in the sea, all of them were baptized as followers of Moses. All of them ate the same spiritual food, and all of them drank the same spiritual water. For they drank from the spiritual rock that traveled with them, and that rock was Christ.
Yet God was not pleased with most of them, and their bodies were scattered in the wilderness. These things happened as a warning to us, so that we would not crave evil things as they did, or worship idols as some of them did. As the Scriptures say, “The people celebrated with feasting and drinking, and they indulged in pagan revelry.”  And we must not engage in sexual immorality as some of them did, causing 23,000 of them to die in one day.
Nor should we put Christ to the test, as some of them did and then died from snakebites. And don’t grumble as some of them did, and then were destroyed by the angel of death. These things happened to them as examples for us. They were written down to warn us who live at the end of the age.
If you think you are standing strong, be careful not to fall. The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure.
1 Corinthians 10:1-13 NLT
http://bible.com/116/1co.10.1-13.NLT

What am I trying to say? Am I saying that food offered to idols has some significance, or that idols are real gods? No, not at all. I am saying that these sacrifices are offered to demons, not to God. And I don’t want you to participate with demons. You cannot drink from the cup of the Lord and from the cup of demons, too. You cannot eat at the Lord’s Table and at the table of demons, too. What? Do we dare to rouse the Lord’s jealousy? Do you think we are stronger than he is?
You say, “I am allowed to do anything” —but not everything is good for you. You say, “I am allowed to do anything”—but not everything is beneficial. Don’t be concerned for your own good but for the good of others.
1 Corinthians 10:19-24 NLT
http://bible.com/116/1co.10.19-24.NLT

It is God’s will that your honorable lives should silence those ignorant people who make foolish accusations against you. For you are free, yet you are God’s slaves, so don’t use your freedom as an excuse to do evil.
1 Peter 2:15-16 NLT
http://bible.com/116/1pe.2.15-16.NLT

Well then, should we keep on sinning so that God can show us more and more of his wonderful grace? Of course not! Since we have died to sin, how can we continue to live in it? Or have you forgotten that when we were joined with Christ Jesus in baptism, we joined him in his death? For we died and were buried with Christ by baptism. And just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glorious power of the Father, now we also may live new lives. Since we have been united with him in his death, we will also be raised to life as he was.
We know that our old sinful selves were crucified with Christ so that sin might lose its power in our lives. We are no longer slaves to sin. For when we died with Christ we were set free from the power of sin. And since we died with Christ, we know we will also live with him.
We are sure of this because Christ was raised from the dead, and he will never die again. Death no longer has any power over him. When he died, he died once to break the power of sin. But now that he lives, he lives for the glory of God. So you also should consider yourselves to be dead to the power of sin and alive to God through Christ Jesus.
Do not let sin control the way you live; do not give in to sinful desires. Do not let any part of your body become an instrument of evil to serve sin. Instead, give yourselves completely to God, for you were dead, but now you have new life. So use your whole body as an instrument to do what is right for the glory of God. Sin is no longer your master, for you no longer live under the requirements of the law. Instead, you live under the freedom of God’s grace.
Well then, since God’s grace has set us free from the law, does that mean we can go on sinning? Of course not! Don’t you realize that you become the slave of whatever you choose to obey? You can be a slave to sin, which leads to death, or you can choose to obey God, which leads to righteous living. Thank God!
Once you were slaves of sin, but now you wholeheartedly obey this teaching we have given you. Now you are free from your slavery to sin, and you have become slaves to righteous living. Because of the weakness of your human nature, I am using the illustration of slavery to help you understand all this. Previously, you let yourselves be slaves to impurity and lawlessness, which led ever deeper into sin. Now you must give yourselves to be slaves to righteous living so that you will become holy. When you were slaves to sin, you were free from the obligation to do right. And what was the result? You are now ashamed of the things you used to do, things that end in eternal doom. But now you are free from the power of sin and have become slaves of God. Now you do those things that lead to holiness and result in eternal life. For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord.
Romans 6:1-23 NLT
http://bible.com/116/rom.6.1-23.NLT

Hospitality or Entertaining?

When God’s people are in need, be ready to help them. Always be eager to practice hospitality.
Romans 12:13 NLT
http://bible.com/116/rom.12.13.NLT

Today, instead of my own commentary I’m sharing directly a few of the resources that I use when studying a topic:

1) Life Application Study Bible
2) http://www.OpenBible.info
2) http://www.WhatChriatiansWantToKnow.com

Life Application Study Commentary
REF: https://www.bible.com/reading-plans/59-life-application-study-bible-devotion

“Christian hospitality differs from social entertaining. Entertaining focuses on the host: The home must be spotless; the food must be well prepared and abundant; the host must appear relaxed and good-natured. Hospitality, by contrast, focuses on the guests. Their needs-whether for a place to stay, nourishing food, a listening ear, or acceptance-are the primary concern. Hospitality can happen in a messy home. It can happen around a dinner table where the main dish is canned soup. It can even happen while the host and the guest are doing chores together. Don’t hesitate to offer hospitality just because you are too tired, too busy, or not wealthy enough to entertain.”

OPENBible.info Topical Search
REF: http://www.openbible.info/topics/hospitality

Matthew 25:34-46 ESV
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.’

What does the Bible say about Hostility? A study by Derek Hill
REF: http://www.whatchristianswanttoknow.com/what-does-the-bible-say-about-hospitality-a-christian-study/

Hospitality is a term that seems to be fading away in today’s culture.  People are becoming much more reliant on themselves.  Unfortunately, this is creating a mindset of “I don’t want someone to have to do something nice for me.”  I remember growing up and going to visit my grandma.  I realize now that I am older that I loved going to her house so much because of her hospitality.  She always fed us three square meals a day and she let us use her home as if it were our own.  She loved us through action and not just by saying “I love you.”  Now-a-days, people would rather go out to a restaurant than invite people over and cook for them.  Entertaining can be a chore with all that goes into it, but the benefits outweigh the pains.  Let us look into scripture and see what God says about hospitality:

Hospitality Requires Kindness
1 Peter 4:9 says, “Show hospitality to one another without grumbling.”  Have you ever watched someone do something because they had to and not because they wanted to?  Most of the time people will neither show joy nor gladness when they are doing something simply out of duty.  I remember working in the fast-food industry.  I served people food all of the time.  I was usually doing it out of duty because that was my job.  I also found myself complaining about my job sometimes.  I wasn’t being hospitable towards my customers at all.  Hospitality requires sincerity and kindness.  I should have served my customers with the mind-set of “I care about you as a person.”

Hospitality Should Be Shown To Everyone
Leviticus 19:34 says, “You shall not treat the stranger that sojourns with you as the native among you, and you shall love him as yourself, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt: I am the Lord your God.”  Every single person on this planet deserves love because we have been shown the ultimate love  through Jesus’ death and resurrection for our sins.  Jesus showed us the perfect model for hospitality because “while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8)  Before you and I accepted Christ, He already paid our debt on the cross.  He loved us enough to die for us all.  I can’t even love someone enough to give them a ride somewhere sometimes.  God calls us to love everyone and hospitality goes a long way, especially to those who don’t expect it from us.  So, give your co-worker a ride home, even if you don’t know them very well.  Share your lunch with other people that have none.  Invite some friends over to your house and entertain them.  You will plant a seed that God can grow.

Hospitality Goes Further Than You Think
God calls us to love everyone, including strangers, but you may be doing much more than you thought when you do this.  Hebrews 13:2 says, “Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.”  What a phenomenal passage of scripture!  When we show genuine hospitality to a stranger, we may be serving an angel of God.  This is absolutely amazing!  There are stories of angels appearing before men all throughout scripture, but angels still appear before us today.  How amazing will it be when you are in heaven and an angel says, “thank you”, to you because of your hospitality?

Hospitality is the Velcro that Joins us Together
Hospitality comes from deep within your soul.  It is a symptom of the joy that is in your heart.  When you hold the door open for someone, help an elderly person with their groceries, offer to babysit for free, buy the person’s food behind you in the drive-through lane, or any act of kindness, the reaction is almost always the same.  The person that you have helped will usually say, “thank you”, and they will feel good deep inside their soul because of your kindness.  Doing good for others many times makes them want to do good for someone else too.  It feels good to serve others.  Serving others makes them want to be around you more and it makes them better people too.  Look in the New Testament.  Read the Gospels.  Jesus is the model of hospitality.  He had crowds in the thousands following Him because of His compassion for them.  Matthew chapters 5, 6, and 7 all encompass the sermon that Jesus gave on a mountain.  He came down the mountain in chapter 8 and healed a leper.  Then He healed a Centurion’s servant.  Then He went into Peter’s house and healed Peter’s mother-in-law.  That evening He healed many who were oppressed by demons.  Then He calmed a raging storm while He crossed the Sea of Galilee.  When He got to the other side of the Sea of Galilee, He healed 2 men with demons.  He left there immediately because He was asked too, so He went back to Capernaum and then He healed a paralytic man.  After that He calls Matthew to be His disciple, and the story keeps going.  Do you see what I mean?  Jesus was hospitable to everyone.  He had compassion to keep going on and healing the sick while spreading His story of redemption.  Look at how many people joined around Jesus because of His “Velcro.”

Conclusion
Hospitality is an action of love shown to those we love and those we do not love.  It is contagious and warms the hearts of those it touches.  I encourage you to be as hospitable as possible while you are still here on earth.  God calls us to it and He deserves our all.  God bless you as you continue to live a life worthy of the calling.

Walking dead?

And since we died with Christ, we know we will also live with him. We are sure of this because Christ was raised from the dead, and he will never die again. Death no longer has any power over him.
Romans 6:8-9 NLT
http://bible.com/116/rom.6.8-9.NLT

Have you died with Christ?

Our baptism in water signifies this very event that is spiritual and eternal and invisible to others. It is an outward testimony that is physical and temporary and visible to others. The water baptism is important as an act of obedience. 

Acts 2:38 ESV
And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

Acts 22:16 ESV
And now why do you wait? Rise and be baptized and wash away your sins, calling on his name.’

John 3:5 ESV
Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.

1 Peter 3:21 ESV
Baptism, which corresponds to this, now saves you, not as a removal of dirt from the body but as an appeal to God for a good conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ,

Mark 16:16 ESV
Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.

So again,  I ask,  have you died with Christ?

Are you ready to live with Him?

Our lives and how we live each day,  even with each breath, are preparing us for our final destination. We are choosing to either do life with Christ,  learning to draw closer and closer to Him – learning and growing in our faith and our new areas of surrender and obedience and love in our lives – or we are practicing being without Him,  practicing being separated from God’s will and purpose for our lives, practicing for that final and eternal separation that some will know at judgement.

So I ask you again, are you ready to live with Him?

And if we are ready, and if we are already learning to live with Him,  if we are becoming more aware of His presence in our lives, day by day,  lesson by lesson,  prayer by prayer – aren’t we given an assurance by His faithfulness,  by the amazing way in which He orders our steps and brings us into such amazing places of inner peace – even amidst the fiery trials of this world. You see,  He is the solid foundation that we can stand on,  and watch those same winds and waves that used to control us and send us scattering this way or that – we can now watch those spiritual forces at play in the world around us and we can discern the ways of the enemy.

You see,  death has no power over Him,  and now that He is in us,  it has no power over us either.

Luke 10:19 ESV
Behold, I have given you authority to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall hurt you.

He is our rock. He has given you a new name. He has blessed us. And this truth was not revealed by men of flesh and blood, but was revealed to you by God Himself. Know wroth confidence and assurance that if you are His vessel set aside for His special purpose that the gates of hell shall not prevail against you. Also remembering and testing yourself to prove yourselves not bound for destruction.

Matthew 16:15-19 ESV
He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Simon Peter replied, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” And Jesus answered him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven. And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”

John 20:19-23 ESV
On the evening of that day, the first day of the week, the doors being locked where the disciples were for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.” When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord. Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you.” And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you withhold forgiveness from any, it is withheld.”

John 6:67-71 ESV
So Jesus said to the Twelve, “Do you want to go away as well?” Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life, and we have believed, and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God.” Jesus answered them, “Did I not choose you, the Twelve? And yet one of you is a devil.” He spoke of Judas the son of Simon Iscariot, for he, one of the Twelve, was going to betray him.

But before they were born, before they had done anything good or bad, she received a message from God. (This message shows that God chooses people according to his own purposes; he calls people, but not according to their good or bad works.) She was told, “Your older son will serve your younger son.”  In the words of the Scriptures, “I loved Jacob, but I rejected Esau.”
Are we saying, then, that God was unfair? Of course not! For God said to Moses, “I will show mercy to anyone I choose, and I will show compassion to anyone I choose.” So it is God who decides to show mercy. We can neither choose it nor work for it. For the Scriptures say that God told Pharaoh, “I have appointed you for the very purpose of displaying my power in you and to spread my fame throughout the earth.”  So you see, God chooses to show mercy to some, and he chooses to harden the hearts of others so they refuse to listen.
Well then, you might say, “Why does God blame people for not responding? Haven’t they simply done what he makes them do?” No, don’t say that. Who are you, a mere human being, to argue with God? Should the thing that was created say to the one who created it, “Why have you made me like this?”
When a potter makes jars out of clay, doesn’t he have a right to use the same lump of clay to make one jar for decoration and another to throw garbage into? In the same way, even though God has the right to show his anger and his power, he is very patient with those on whom his anger falls, who are destined for destruction. He does this to make the riches of his glory shine even brighter on those to whom he shows mercy, who were prepared in advance for glory. And we are among those whom he selected, both from the Jews and from the Gentiles.
Concerning the Gentiles, God says in the prophecy of Hosea, “Those who were not my people, I will now call my people. And I will love those whom I did not love before.” And, “Then, at the place where they were told, ‘You are not my people,’ there they will be called ‘children of the living God.’”
Romans 9:11-26 NLT
http://bible.com/116/rom.9.11-26.NLT

Jesus also told them other parables. He said, “The Kingdom of Heaven can be illustrated by the story of a king who prepared a great wedding feast for his son.  When the banquet was ready, he sent his servants to notify those who were invited. But they all refused to come! “So he sent other servants to tell them, ‘The feast has been prepared. The bulls and fattened cattle have been killed, and everything is ready. Come to the banquet!’  But the guests he had invited ignored them and went their own way, one to his farm, another to his business.  Others seized his messengers and insulted them and killed them. “The king was furious, and he sent out his army to destroy the murderers and burn their town.  And he said to his servants, ‘The wedding feast is ready, and the guests I invited aren’t worthy of the honor.  Now go out to the street corners and invite everyone you see.’  So the servants brought in everyone they could find, good and bad alike, and the banquet hall was filled with guests. “But when the king came in to meet the guests, he noticed a man who wasn’t wearing the proper clothes for a wedding.  ‘Friend,’ he asked, ‘how is it that you are here without wedding clothes?’ But the man had no reply.  Then the king said to his aides, ‘Bind his hands and feet and throw him into the outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’ “For many are called, but few are chosen.”
Matthew 22:1-14 NLT
http://bible.com/116/mat.22.1-14.NLT

Disobedience? Compliance? Obedience? Grace?

Disobedience? Compliance? Obedience? Grace?

Disobedience
Do we know what disobedience is these days? Isn’t it choosing to do our own will instead of the will of God? What does scripture tell us about disobedience?

Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, everyone who sins is a slave of sin.  A slave is not a permanent member of the family, but a son is part of the family forever.  So if the Son sets you free, you are truly free.
John 8:34-36 NLT
http://bible.com/116/jhn.8.34-36.NLT

John 14:15 ESV
If you love me, you will keep my commandments.

Luke 6:46 ESV
“Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do what I tell you?

Continue reading “Disobedience? Compliance? Obedience? Grace?”