Songfire

Sometimes someone else’s “songfire” is just what we needed to set us ablaze!

So what do I mean by “songfire”?

It isn’t just about singing, but the power of song is something universal that most people will understand. We’ve all heard certain songs and singer’s performances that reach out and captivate us beyond the pretty sounds and melodies and harmonies — that somehow touch us deep inside personally.

And fire is also another concept that we can grasp and understand how a little spark when fueled and stoked by the winds can level whole forests. And we’ve all felt how those internal flames can at times burn white hot and uncontrolled — and leave scorched earth in the wake of our careless actions or words in a “heated moment”. That’s even what we call it — a “heated moment” — acknowledging this universally understandable concept of “internal flame”.

So what is “songfire”?

“Songfire” is your worship. And whether you are religious or not, we all “worship” something.  It is whatever sets you ablaze and lights up your being. It is whatever captivates us and drives us in that unique way that sets fire to us and to those around us.

We see this in movies about love stories where we are spectators to others “songfire” being poured out onto each other, and it inspires and influences us.

We see this in addictions where people’s whole lives have become clearly centered around one thing and it is clear where the “songfire” of their life is being sucked out of them and consumed by their addiction, and it convicts us and serves as a warning.

We see people passionate about certain causes and standing up for their side of an argument strongly against others who are passionate on another side of an argument spewing their “songfire” at each other like arrows, stones and hellfire, and it opens our eyes to how the proper source and use of our “songfire” makes all the difference in our own lives — and in how our lives will impact others.

What lights you up?

What gets you excited?

What is your “songfire”?

What do you worship?

If it is things of this world, those things will pass away, rot, rust, decay or be destroyed eventually.

If it is a person, they will eventually let us down when we set them upon a pedestal high enough for them to fall from.

If it is riches, they will prove a neverending chase, with less and less true satisfaction — proving the more that we gain, the more that we will desire — if that is our “songfire”.

If it is pride and honor amongst others, that is also fleeting vanity and will not last — as loyalty amongst men is only as faithful as,”What have you done for me lately?”

However, if your “songfire” comes from the eternal flame of the spirit of Almighty God, what could ever extinguish such a fire? And who could stand in our presence and not be touched by the tongues of these flames if we are ablaze with such “songfire”?

Are you hungry for this type of “songfire” in your life?

Have you had a taste of it yourself, or felt the tongues of someone else’s flame, and you want more of it for yourself?

“Songfire” is worship. And worship is abandoning those other things that have been hindering or distracting us — giving up what is bad — or even giving up what is good — for devotion to what is best.

Decide today the source and focus of your “songfire” friends. It really matters Decide, and time is valuable and fleeting..

Decide today who you will serve, what your life will worship, and consider how that will impact all around you as well.

Talk to Jesus about this, friend. He is a wise advisor, an authentic advocate for what is best for you, and a friend whose “songfire” is warm and freeing to your soul and to those around you. His “songfire” will not leave scorched earth, but will refine your heart and remove the impurities and poisons that have been holding you back and stealing your joy. Amen.

1 On the day of Pentecost all the believers were meeting together in one place. 2 Suddenly, there was a sound from heaven like the roaring of a mighty windstorm, and it filled the house where they were sitting. 3 Then, what looked like flames or tongues of fire appeared and settled on each of them. 4 And everyone present was filled with the Holy Spirit and began speaking in other languages, as the Holy Spirit gave them this ability.
Acts of the Apostles 2:1‭-‬4 NLT

23 But the time is coming—indeed it’s here now—when true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth. The Father is looking for those who will worship him that way. 24 For God is Spirit, so those who worship him must worship in spirit and in truth.”
John 4:23‭-‬24 NLT

1 And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him. 2 Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.
Romans 12:1‭-‬2 NLT

12 Since God chose you to be the holy people he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. 13 Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others. 14 Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds us all together in perfect harmony. 15 And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts. For as members of one body you are called to live in peace. And always be thankful. 16 Let the message about Christ, in all its richness, fill your lives. Teach and counsel each other with all the wisdom he gives. Sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs to God with thankful hearts. 17 And whatever you do or say, do it as a representative of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through him to God the Father.
Colossians 3:12‭-‬17 NLT

14 “You are the light of the world—like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden. 15 No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father.
Matthew 5:14‭-‬16 NLT

Consider ourselves Dead, New Life

So put to death the sinful, earthly things lurking within you. Have nothing to do with sexual immorality, impurity, lust, and evil desires. Don’t be greedy, for a greedy person is an idolater, worshiping the things of this world.
Colossians 3:5 NLT
https://bible.com/bible/116/col.3.5.NLT

We should consider ourselves dead and unresponsive to sexual immorality,
impurity, lust, evil desires, and greed.
Just like diseased limbs of a tree, these
practices must be cut off before they
destroy us. We must make a conscious,
daily decision to remove anything that
supports or feeds these desires and to
rely on the Holy Spirit’s power. ” – Life Application Study Notes

Unwanted advances in our lives do not have to be acknowledged or allowed or tolerated — and it is the same with temptations and desires that we know are not Godly.

It is encouraging that we have a promise in the Word of God about resisting evil:

So humble yourselves before God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come close to God, and God will come close to you. Wash your hands, you sinners; purify your hearts, for your loyalty is divided between God and the world. Let there be tears for what you have done. Let there be sorrow and deep grief. Let there be sadness instead of laughter, and gloom instead of joy. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up in honor.
James 4:7‭-‬10 NLT
https://bible.com/bible/116/jas.4.7-10.NLT

And with this death to the old desires we see new life:

This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun! And all of this is a gift from God, who brought us back to himself through Christ. And God has given us this task of reconciling people to him. For God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself, no longer counting people’s sins against them. And he gave us this wonderful message of reconciliation. So we are Christ’s ambassadors; God is making his appeal through us. We speak for Christ when we plead, “Come back to God!” For God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin, so that we could be made right with God through Christ.
2 Corinthians 5:17‭-‬21 NLT
https://bible.com/bible/116/2co.5.17-21.NLT

Filled or Fooled?

Let the message about Christ, in all its richness, fill your lives. Teach and counsel each other with all the wisdom he gives. Sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs to God with thankful hearts. – Colossians 3:16 NLT

Time after time again in scripture, the anointing of the Holy Spirit is compared to anointing oil. Oil. This oil is not consumed, but it covers and spreads out, and clings to, and fills each little crack and crevice of what it touches. It transfers itself to everything it comes in contact with. It’s aroma was undeniable, and it even changed the way that things felt when they were touched. What was once rough and ragged now felt smooth and soft. Yes, this is how the presence of God in our lives, close and personal and present, changes us and our interactions with everything around us as well.

Oil. What happens if we further to put gasoline in our car and we run out and the car stops? We can walk to the store and buy some more gasoline and be back on pour way, right? But what if pour car runs out of oil and the engine stops because of no Oil? That’s a different problem altogether, and the car is probably headed tho the trash heap and we are probably looking for a new car altogether, right?

There are things we can go without and still survive, but this oil, this anointing presence of the Holy Spirit of God, without it filling our lives, we are headed to a 6 foot deep, worm invested scrap yard ourselves. But if we are filled, we habe much to tell about, much to teach about, much to sing and shout about, don’t we?

After dark one evening, he came to speak with Jesus. “Rabbi,” he said, “we all know that God has sent you to teach us. Your miraculous signs are evidence that God is with you.” Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, unless you are born again, you cannot see the Kingdom of God.” “What do you mean?” exclaimed Nicodemus. “How can an old man go back into his mother’s womb and be born again?” Jesus replied, “I assure you, no one can enter the Kingdom of God without being born of water and the Spirit. Humans can reproduce only human life, but the Holy Spirit gives birth to spiritual life. So don’t be surprised when I say, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows wherever it wants. Just as you can hear the wind but can’t tell where it comes from or where it is going, so you can’t explain how people are born of the Spirit.” “How are these things possible?” Nicodemus asked. Jesus replied, “You are a respected Jewish teacher, and yet you don’t understand these things? I assure you, we tell you what we know and have seen, and yet you won’t believe our testimony. But if you don’t believe me when I tell you about earthly things, how can you possibly believe if I tell you about heavenly things? No one has ever gone to heaven and returned. But the Son of Man has come down from heaven. And as Moses lifted up the bronze snake on a pole in the wilderness, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, so that everyone who believes in him will have eternal life. “For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through him. “There is no judgment against anyone who believes in him. But anyone who does not believe in him has already been judged for not believing in God’s one and only Son. And the judgment is based on this fact: God’s light came into the world, but people loved the darkness more than the light, for their actions were evil. All who do evil hate the light and refuse to go near it for fear their sins will be exposed. But those who do what is right come to the light so others can see that they are doing what God wants. ” – John 3:2‭-‬21 NLT

Maybe this doesn’t make much sense to you at the moment, but you’re curious because you’ve heard “religious people” talk about things like good, bad, law, rebellion, grace, godliness, etc. But all you’ve heard is talk, you just haven’t yet seen anyone actually walking out their lives in any real similarity to how they speak (or how you know the Bible says people should live if they indeed love God). Maybe you’ve wondered to yourself, “I love this Christ you speak of, but not this ‘twice the child of hell’ that some seem to testify to by their lives even as they call themselves by the name above all names.” Maybe you’ve seen the tares amongst the wheat wherever the religious gather. Maybe you’ve seen the synagogue of Satan intermingling amongst the children of God and you’ve longed for the true children of Abraham, the true church of God, the truly Holy Spirit filled and loved by God to “come our from her”, to be separated from the hypocritically and circumstantially and mockingly religious who are a stench in the nostrils of a holy and righteous God because they clearly never knew Him and He never knew them — He no more abided in them and supped with them than they ever loved and forgave and prayed for “their enemies”.

Yes, I understand. And I’m not calling you to join in with that sort, with that type, with those who seek the honor of men and who long to serve themselves and their own pride. No, let them have their religious ceremonies and dogma with God far away from their actual lives and safely boxed into a Sunday morning time slot, and let us have the Lord present and real and close and intimate in our moment to moment, because TODAY is the day of salvation, we are walking and living it.

Let us pray not just with our mouths, but from our thankful hearts, in spirit in truth. Yes, Lord, come fill us today to overflowing with that oil of yuppie presence that perseveres us to the end — by your power in us, which is greater than any enemy that dare oppose the army of the Lord. The victory is won, ordained before the creation of the heavens and earth, revealed in Jesus Christ, and testified to in the lives touched, healed, changed, redeemed, and restored by grace through Faith in Jesus Christ as both Savior and Sovereign Lord over our surrendered lives, as we die to self, sin and worldliness to live by the Holy Spirit, not by the flesh.

Some will say that we are foolish and “full of it” — and if we are fools, like Paul said, let us be “fools for Christ” — and if we are full of something, let us be “full of Christ”.

My conscience is clear, but that doesn’t prove I’m right. It is the Lord himself who will examine me and decide. So don’t make judgments about anyone ahead of time—before the Lord returns. For he will bring our darkest secrets to light and will reveal our private motives. Then God will give to each one whatever praise is due. Dear brothers and sisters, I have used Apollos and myself to illustrate what I’ve been saying. If you pay attention to what I have quoted from the Scriptures, you won’t be proud of one of your leaders at the expense of another. For what gives you the right to make such a judgment? What do you have that God hasn’t given you? And if everything you have is from God, why boast as though it were not a gift? You think you already have everything you need. You think you are already rich. You have begun to reign in God’s kingdom without us! I wish you really were reigning already, for then we would be reigning with you. Instead, I sometimes think God has put us apostles on display, like prisoners of war at the end of a victor’s parade, condemned to die. We have become a spectacle to the entire world—to people and angels alike. Our dedication to Christ makes us look like fools, but you claim to be so wise in Christ! We are weak, but you are so powerful! You are honored, but we are ridiculed. Even now we go hungry and thirsty, and we don’t have enough clothes to keep warm. We are often beaten and have no home. We work wearily with our own hands to earn our living. We bless those who curse us. We are patient with those who abuse us. We appeal gently when evil things are said about us. Yet we are treated like the world’s garbage, like everybody’s trash—right up to the present moment. I am not writing these things to shame you, but to warn you as my beloved children. For even if you had ten thousand others to teach you about Christ, you have only one spiritual father. For I became your father in Christ Jesus when I preached the Good News to you. So I urge you to imitate me. That’s why I have sent Timothy, my beloved and faithful child in the Lord. He will remind you of how I follow Christ Jesus, just as I teach in all the churches wherever I go. Some of you have become arrogant, thinking I will not visit you again. But I will come—and soon—if the Lord lets me, and then I’ll find out whether these arrogant people just give pretentious speeches or whether they really have God’s power. For the Kingdom of God is not just a lot of talk; it is living by God’s power. Which do you choose? Should I come with a rod to punish you, or should I come with love and a gentle spirit?
1 Corinthians 4:4‭-‬21 NLT

It’s Monday again.

It’s Monday. And it matters whether I see myself as “putting on my slave clothes” to go out and work for “the man”, or whether I get to go out and be a bearer of Christ’s spirit and nature even in my workplace.

When we slip into an attitude of not being grateful, we can begin to grumble and complain and not bear the light of the Lord in our workplace and in our lives. We can sometimes find ourselves compartmentalizing our joy – bring thankful for one area of our life but dissatisfied with another. This dissatisfaction is a signal that something needs to change.

Many times it is our own attitude that needs to change – not our circumstances or surroundings.

Bondservants, obey in all things your masters according to the flesh, not with eyeservice, as men-pleasers, but in sincerity of heart, fearing God. And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for you serve the Lord Christ. But he who does wrong will be repaid for what he has done, and there is no partiality.
Colossians 3:22‭-‬25 NKJV

Bondservants, be obedient to those who are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in sincerity of heart, as to Christ; not with eyeservice, as men-pleasers, but as bondservants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart, with goodwill doing service, as to the Lord, and not to men, knowing that whatever good anyone does, he will receive the same from the Lord, whether he  is a slave or free. And you, masters, do the same things to them, giving up threatening, knowing that your own Master also is in heaven, and there is no partiality with Him.
Ephesians 6:5‭-‬9 NKJV

Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure. Do all things without complaining and disputing, that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, holding fast the word of life, so that I may rejoice in the day of Christ that I have not run in vain or labored in vain. Yes, and if I am being poured out as  a  drink  offering on the sacrifice and service of your faith, I am glad and rejoice with you all. For the same reason you also be glad and rejoice with me.
Philippians 2:12‭-‬18 NKJV

Lord, we thank you for the opportunities that we have to provide for our families and help others. We thank you that we can be one who rises early to prepare for the day and who can diligently work for you,  whether it is in the ministry of a cubicled office, a field of crops, building and repairing things for others, or service unto others that is more visibly recognized by others as self sacrifice. Help us to endure the trials,  to stand firm in our service to others – whether it is the business owner and authority, or whether it is the needy and helpless. Help us to serve faithfully and diligently in all circumstances, without grumbling and complaining – but gratefully bringing you honor and glory. Amen.

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.”

Beautiful Feet

And how will anyone go and tell them without being sent? That is why the Scriptures say, “How beautiful are the feet of messengers who bring good news!”
Romans 10:15 NLT
http://bible.com/116/rom.10.15.NLT

Jesus demonstrated the importance, even after having washed the whole body, of continually washing each others’ feet. He is talking about after baptism and a profession of faith, there should be a continual walk of fellowship, service, accountability, correction, and building each other up in the Word of God. Our hearts and desires are to be touched and changed.

Jesus replied, “A person who has bathed all over does not need to wash, except for the feet, to be entirely clean. And you disciples are clean, but not all of you.”  For Jesus knew who would betray him. That is what he meant when he said, “Not all of you are clean.”
John 13:10-11 NLT
http://bible.com/116/jhn.13.10-11.NLT

We are rescued and set upon the rock of Jesus, Christ,  our hope and our salvation.

Psalm 40:2 ESV
He drew me up from the pit of destruction, out of the miry bog, and set my feet upon a rock, making my steps secure.

As part of the full armor of God in Ephesians 6, the readiness in the gospel of peace is given as protection for our feet.

Ephesians 6:15 ESV
And, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace

The Word of God is divine instruction from God that will guide us in the c way we should walk.

Psalm 119:105 ESV
Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.

And His angels will guard and deliver us from temptations and the attacks of the enemy.

Psalm 91:11-13 ESV
For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways. On their hands they will bear you up, lest you strike your foot against a stone. You will tread on the lion and the adder; the young lion and the serpent you will trample underfoot.

And He does these things to protect us, but also to grow us and prepare us for going out,  for being sent.

2 Samuel 22:32-35 ESV
“For who is God, but the Lord? And who is a rock, except our God? This God is my strong refuge and has made my way blameless. He made my feet like the feet of a deer and set me secure on the heights. He trains my hands for war, so that my arms can bend a bow of bronze.

And His purpose is for us to go forth and for others to have the opportunity to hear this Good News.

Isaiah 52:7 ESV
How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him who brings good news, who publishes peace, who brings good news of happiness, who publishes salvation, who says to Zion, “Your God reigns.”

Because we are not to be wicked like the traitor Judas, nor like the fallen one who turns His back on God.

Psalm 1:1-6 ESV
Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers. The wicked are not so, but are like chaff that the wind drives away. Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous;

Remember, we are given authority and power over the enemy to step on their heads and crush them – to free people from their captors through the Word of God,  the gospel of peace,  the name of Jesus Christ.

When the seventy-two disciples returned, they joyfully reported to him, “Lord, even the demons obey us when we use your name!” “Yes,” he told them, “I saw Satan fall from heaven like lightning!  Look, I have given you authority over all the power of the enemy, and you can walk among snakes and scorpions and crush them. Nothing will injure you.  But don’t rejoice because evil spirits obey you; rejoice because your names are registered in heaven.”
Luke 10:17-20 NLT
http://bible.com/116/luk.10.17-20.NLT

So it is important that we pay attention to how we are walking.

Ephesians 5:15-16 ESV
Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil

Even if we are unsure exactly where the Lord is taking us or how He is going to bring us through.

2 Corinthians 5:7 ESV
For we walk by faith, not by sight.

So what is our part? Will we use these feet to walk? Will we run?

Ephesians 5:8 ESV
For at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light

So what does that walk look like? Are we keeping in step or have we fallen behind?

Colossians 3:16 ESV
Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God

.

Romans 12:2 ESV
Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call— one Lord, one faith, one baptism,
Ephesians 4:1-5 ESV
http://bible.com/59/eph.4.1-5.ESV

But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.  If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.
Galatians 5:16-26 ESV
http://bible.com/59/gal.5.16-26.ESV

I encourage you,  friend,  to walk in love.

Ephesians 5:2 ESV
And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.

Love and serve one another.

For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” But if you bite and devour one another, watch out that you are not consumed by one another.
Galatians 5:13-15 ESV
http://bible.com/59/gal.5.13-15.ESV

Our life is an example and an influence upon others. How will you walk today? How will you serve? Will you wash the feet of your brother or drag Him into the fiery pit?

Why study?

If being a follower of Jesus is a heart change and not just head knowledge, then why do we focus our time on studying scripture?

Joshua 1:8 ESV
This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.

Psalm 119:11 ESV
I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you.

Psalm 119:105 ESV
Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.

2 Timothy 2:15 ESV
Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth.

The Word of God is a valuable tool for the Christ follower.

Hebrews 4:12 ESV
For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.

We who follow Christ are seeking to discern what choices are good and acceptable and perfect. We are c sering to examine our own thoughts and desires and take control of them.

Romans 12:2 ESV
Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

This understanding of the difference between our carnal desires and the right will of God grows as we renew our minds with the Word of God and the things of heaven – and as we apply these instructions within our lives when the opportunities come to prove our faith (trials). That is why we set our thoughts on the things of heaven,  not just the things of this world.

Colossians 3:2 ESV
Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.

We are putting on Christ,  learning to rightly divide the Word of God, learning to walk in the Spirit not in the flesh,  we are training and competing in a race for a prize.

Christ did not say, “Claim me in name once and you will receive all the rewards of heaven.” No, He said, “Follow in my footsteps” and “Bear the burdens of one another” and “if you turn back you are not fit for the kingdom of God”.

You see,  He wants us to be fit for the Kingdom of God,  focused and unwavering in our faith and in our dedication to a life following His example. He sets the bar so high,  telling us that even to be angry with someone to the point of hatred is committing murder in our heart, telling us that to look at a woman with lust in our heart is the same as committing adultery. He is wanting us to reach higher than where we are today, He wants to make us fit,  He wants to refine us and grow our strength through trials.

Yes, this is the point of Christianity – not to raise your hand once,  or pray a sinners prayer once, or to get dunked in water once, or to have an emotional reaction to the Word of God once – only to realize later that you had only become a “religious convert” and not truly a follower of Christ. The point is to decide today whether or not you will serve the Lord – and to mean it, to Believe. And when we believe, it changes us. It changes our desires and our motivations, not just for a season, but for eternity. An emotional reaction to the Word of God can cause someone to spring up and chase after the promises of freedom from consequences. But belief results in a life chasing after freedom from sin,  following in the footsteps of Christ.

And he told them many things in parables, saying: “A sower went out to sow.  And as he sowed, some seeds fell along the path, and the birds came and devoured them.  Other seeds fell on rocky ground, where they did not have much soil, and immediately they sprang up, since they had no depth of soil,  but when the sun rose they were scorched. And since they had no root, they withered away.  Other seeds fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked them.  Other seeds fell on good soil and produced grain, some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.  He who has ears, let him hear.”  Then the disciples came and said to him,

“Why do you speak to them in parables?” And he answered them, “To you it has been given to know the secrets of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been given.  For to the one who has, more will be given, and he will have an abundance, but from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away.  This is why I speak to them in parables, because seeing they do not see, and hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand.  Indeed, in their case the prophecy of Isaiah is fulfilled that says:  “
‘“You will indeed hear but never understand,  and you will indeed see but never perceive.”   For this people’s heart has grown dull,  and with their ears  they can barely hear,  and  their eyes they have closed,  lest they should see with their eyes  and hear with their ears  and  understand with their heart  and  turn, and I would heal them.’   But  blessed are your eyes, for they see, and your ears, for they hear.  For truly, I say to you, many prophets and righteous people longed to see what you see, and did not see it, and to hear what you hear, and did not hear it.  

“Hear then the parable of the sower:  When anyone hears the word of the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what has been sown in his heart. This is what was sown along the path.  As for what was sown on rocky ground, this is the one who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy,  yet he has no root in himself, but endures for a while, and when tribulation or persecution arises on account of the word, immediately he falls away.  As for what was sown among thorns, this is the one who hears the word, but the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and it proves unfruitful.  As for what was sown on good soil, this is the one who hears the word and understands it. He indeed bears fruit and yields, in one case a hundredfold, in another sixty, and in another thirty.”
Matthew 13:3-23 ESV
http://bible.com/59/mat.13.3-23.ESV

Love like Christ?

So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other.
John 13:34 NLT
http://bible.com/116/jhn.13.34.NLT

The NEW part of this commandment is not to “Love each other”. Even in the Old Testament, the Jewish people we instructed to love their neighbors as themselves.

Leviticus 19:18
You shall not take vengeance or bear a grudge against the sons of your own people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the LORD.

God’s voice did not change in the new testament, the message has been the same all along – it’s just that Jesus Christ came to demonstrate it fully revealed, and to open our eyes to what real love looks like, and to teach us what the Spirit of the Word of God looks like in contrast to the Letter of the Law. He came to open our eyes from a perspective of obligation and sacrifice – to a perspective of mercy, faith, and opportunity.

The NEW part of Christ’s commandment is “Just as I have loved you, you should love each other.” It’s about us being like Christ. — Hold on, hit the brakes, are you really saying that I need to follow in His footsteps? — Yep, I sure am, but let’s hold onto that meat for a moment while we drink some milk and prepare ourselves for a hearty meal. Let’s talk about “our way” for a moment.

You see, we can make asking us to love our neighbor easy on ourselves, because we look at the word love, examining the letter of the law, and we start to tear it down into a measuring stick where we say to ourselves, “Well, I don’t really know my neighbor or care about them, but I don’t steal from them or cause them any problems, so that’s loving in a way.”

Mankind is very good at arguing whether or not we’ve met the “requirements of the law” – we even have a lucrative profession whose whole purpose is to tear apart the wording of the law and speak for us in a court of law. But when it comes to the things that matter, it doesn’t matter if our tongues are silver enough to argue how well we measure up to the requirements. In fact, Christ expects us to be truthful and for our words to flow from our heart and from the Holy Spirit who guides and teaches us.

Luke 6:45
The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure produces evil, for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.

When you are arrested, don’t worry about how to respond or what to say. God will give you the right words at the right time.  For it is not you who will be speaking—it will be the Spirit of your Father speaking through you.
Matthew 10:19-20 NLT
http://bible.com/116/mat.10.19-20.NLT

So Christ expects us to love like He loves. He reveals something revolutionary. He wants us to be like Him. In fact, He sets the bar amazingly high, telling us to give open handedly to others without expecting payment in return, He tells us to turn the other cheek to those who hurt us, He tells us to love and forgive those who consider themselves our enemies, He tells us to not be angry with others, to not even look at someone in lust. And He does this so that if we decide to measure ourselves by the law, it should become immediately clear to us that we will fall short of perfection.

For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard.
Romans 3:23 NLT
http://bible.com/116/rom.3.23.NLT

And it isn’t that the law itself is bad, but that man’s perspective about the law was perverted, was twisted:

Psalm 19:7
The law of the LORD is perfect, reviving the soul; the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple

Obviously, the law applies to those to whom it was given, for its purpose is to keep people from having excuses, and to show that the entire world is guilty before God. For no one can ever be made right with God by doing what the law commands. The law simply shows us how sinful we are.
Romans 3:19-20 NLT
http://bible.com/116/rom.3.19-20.NLT

The law of Moses was unable to save us because of the weakness of our sinful nature. So God did what the law could not do. He sent his own Son in a body like the bodies we sinners have. And in that body God declared an end to sin’s control over us by giving his Son as a sacrifice for our sins. He did this so that the just requirement of the law would be fully satisfied for us, who no longer follow our sinful nature but instead follow the Spirit.
Romans 8:3-4 NLT
http://bible.com/116/rom.8.3-4.NLT

He makes us right through faith.

We are made right with God by placing our faith in Jesus Christ. And this is true for everyone who believes, no matter who we are.
Romans 3:22 NLT
http://bible.com/116/rom.3.22.NLT

And this is because He is changing us, reconciling us back to God, so that we are living for God and loving others like He demonstrated love for us.

He died for everyone so that those who receive his new life will no longer live for themselves. Instead, they will live for Christ, who died and was raised for them. So we have stopped evaluating others from a human point of view. At one time we thought of Christ merely from a human point of view. How differently we know him now! This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun! And all of this is a gift from God, who brought us back to himself through Christ. And God has given us this task of reconciling people to him. For God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself, no longer counting people’s sins against them. And he gave us this wonderful message of reconciliation. So we are Christ’s ambassadors; God is making his appeal through us. We speak for Christ when we plead, “Come back to God!” For God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin, so that we could be made right with God through Christ.
2 Corinthians 5:15-21 NLT
http://bible.com/116/2co.5.15-21.NLT

Yes, He is making us like Him. He is revealing to us this great mystery. He is restoring the relationship that is the very essence of our being alive and freed from death.

God has given me the responsibility of serving his church by proclaiming his entire message to you. This message was kept secret for centuries and generations past, but now it has been revealed to God’s people. For God wanted them to know that the riches and glory of Christ are for you Gentiles, too. And this is the secret: Christ lives in you. This gives you assurance of sharing his glory. So we tell others about Christ, warning everyone and teaching everyone with all the wisdom God has given us. We want to present them to God, perfect in their relationship to Christ.
Colossians 1:25-28 NLT
http://bible.com/116/col.1.25-28.NLT

So we should ask ourselves – am I following His commandment to love others like He demonstrated? Am I still a slave to sin? Am I a son being reconciled to be like Him? And I don’t have the excuse of “I can’t” to fall back on, because “He can”. The question them becomes “Do I believe? Have I fully accepted His Lordship over my life? Do I have this relationship with a living Christ who is in me?”

It’s a pretty important question, friend – one with eternal consequences. Yes, now we are past the milk and getting into the meat. Are you still a slave, or are you a son?

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

And you, dear brothers and sisters, are children of the promise, just like Isaac. But you are now being persecuted by those who want you to keep the law, just as Ishmael, the child born by human effort, persecuted Isaac, the child born by the power of the Spirit. But what do the Scriptures say about that? “Get rid of the slave and her son, for the son of the slave woman will not share the inheritance with the free woman’s son.”  So, dear brothers and sisters, we are not children of the slave woman; we are children of the free woman.
Galatians 4:28-31 NLT
http://bible.com/116/gal.4.28-31.NLT

So Christ has truly set us free. Now make sure that you stay free, and don’t get tied up again in slavery to the law. But we who live by the Spirit eagerly wait to receive by faith the righteousness God has promised to us. You were running the race so well. Who has held you back from following the truth? It certainly isn’t God, for he is the one who called you to freedom. For you have been called to live in freedom, my brothers and sisters. But don’t use your freedom to satisfy your sinful nature. Instead, use your freedom to serve one another in love. For the whole law can be summed up in this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”
Galatians 5:1, 5-5, 7-8, 13-14 NLT
http://bible.com/116/gal.5.1-14.NLT

So I say, let the Holy Spirit guide your lives. Then you won’t be doing what your sinful nature craves. The sinful nature wants to do evil, which is just the opposite of what the Spirit wants. And the Spirit gives us desires that are the opposite of what the sinful nature desires. These two forces are constantly fighting each other, so you are not free to carry out your good intentions. But when you are directed by the Spirit, you are not under obligation to the law of Moses.
Galatians 5:16-18 NLT
http://bible.com/116/gal.5.16-18.NLT

When you follow the desires of your sinful nature, the results are very clear: sexual immorality, impurity, lustful pleasures, idolatry, sorcery, hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, dissension, division, envy, drunkenness, wild parties, and other sins like these. Let me tell you again, as I have before, that anyone living that sort of life will not inherit the Kingdom of God. But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things! Those who belong to Christ Jesus have nailed the passions and desires of their sinful nature to his cross and crucified them there. Since we are living by the Spirit, let us follow the Spirit’s leading in every part of our lives.
Galatians 5:19-25 NLT
http://bible.com/116/gal.5.19-25.NLT

In battle, do we lift up our eyes, or just charge blindly?

When Joshua was by Jericho, he lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, a man was standing before him with his drawn sword in his hand. And Joshua went to him and said to him, “Are you for us, or for our adversaries?” And he said, “No; but I am the commander of the army of the Lord . Now I have come.” And Joshua fell on his face to the earth and worshiped and said to him, “What does my Lord say to his servant?”
Joshua 5:13-14 ESV
http://bible.com/59/jos.5.13-14.ESV

How often do we see the world as men and women of flesh and blood who are either for us or against us?  But the Bible tells us about our real enemies –

For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.
Ephesians 6:12 ESV
http://bible.com/59/eph.6.12.ESV

Joshua “lifted up his eyes and looked” and gained something very valuable for His battle. He didn’t charge blindly into battle because the enemy was nearby – he “lifted up his eyes and looked”.

This commander of heaven’s armies demonstrates to Joshua clearly that his loyalty is to God, not to a nation of people  – when Joshua asks a question expecting an A or B answer and instead gets a whole new answer outside his original frame of reference.

I lift up my eyes to the hills.
From where does my help come? 
My help comes from the Lord ,
who made heaven and earth.
Psalm 121:1-2 ESV
http://bible.com/59/psa.121.1-2.ESV

You see,  sometimes our frame of reference reverts to this physical world and the ways that it operates and we don’t have the spiritual vision or awareness to understand what it means from that higher perspective. If this battle was just about one people against another, then men receive glory from each other for the victory. But Joshua was not called to receive glory for himself or even for Israel. He wasn’t called to be loyal to men but to God. The glory of the battle was meant to be for God.

If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.
Colossians 3:1-2 ESV
http://bible.com/59/col.3.1-2.ESV

When we lift our thoughts out of the distractions of this world and remember that we are not at battle against men of flesh and blood, but that we do battle against principalities and evil forces that work through those around us who are still in chains of bondage – we begin to realize that it’s about the Lord being glorified in our choices, our decisions,  our reactions.

Each moment of opposition felt from another person is actually an opportunity to show them love, mercy,  forgiveness, gentleness,  kindness, and self control in return. It is an opportunity to demonstrate that Christ has won yet another battle in our lives and that we are not simply walking in the flesh,  reacting the way that the world expects.

But when he heard it, he said, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick.  Go and learn what this means, ‘I desire mercy, and not sacrifice.’ For I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.”
Matthew 9:12-13 ESV
http://bible.com/59/mat.9.12-13.ESV

When struck in the face by another, when accused unjustly, when shamed and spit upon by the world, the world reacts in kind – but Christ calls us out to be set apart as a peculiar people. He tells us to turn the other cheek. He tells us to give and love even to those who would steal from us. He tells us that lost souls in need of love are more valuable to win over as friends of Christ than to let die as enemies.

“What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he has lost one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the open country, and go after the one that is lost, until he finds it?  And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing.  And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and his neighbors, saying to them, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep that was lost.’  Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.
Luke 15:4-7 ESV
http://bible.com/59/luk.15.4-7.ESV

Yes, He tells us to pick up our cross and bear it for one another. Not to bear it for those we think are deserving of His love and forgiveness,  because none of us, are deserving. Not me. Not you.

But we love because He first loved us.

Our battle is not against one another.

And our loyalty is not to self.

He is Lord, He is Savior, He is Redeemer, and He has won the victory!

To God be the Glory in our lives today.

Participation Matters

One of the more common teachings that I hear some share is to simply “say a sinners prayer one time” and then “rely on Christ to change you”, as if it takes no effort,  no sacrifice,  no work on our part to participate in the Kingdom of God. While this wording has truth and value explaining what is happening within a genuine born again Christian, it can get twisted into deception when people say things like, “Christ did all the work” and then they use grace as an excuse to continue in their sinmaking no genuine effort to participate in the Kingdom of God.

What a dangerous teaching when misunderstood by those veiled to the truth of the narrow path!

If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.  Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. On account of these the wrath of God is coming. In these you too once walked, when you were living in them. But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth. Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator.
Colossians 3:1-10 ESV
http://bible.com/59/col.3.1-10.ESV

Continue reading “Participation Matters”