Sincere love

Peace to the brethren, and love with faith, from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Grace be with all those who love our Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity. Amen.
Ephesians 6:23-24 NKJV
http://bible.com/114/eph.6.23-24.NKJV

Grace for all those who truly love our Lord Jesus Christ.

Yes, grace is available to all,  it is a gift extended and avaliable. And grace isn’t just a promise of escape from consequences – it isn’t just an idea of a loving Father and merciful Savior. Grace is being born again, with a new seed of life planted within the tilled up soil of our old lives. Those of us who love Jesus Christ as the Lord of our lives, who seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness – yes, this grace is for us.

And what a simple, but complete requirement to receive the gift of life – sincere love of Jesus Christ as Lord of our lives. Yes, something like this takes faith.

Do you love Him?

That is my question. At its essence, that is the gospel. Because if we believe, then how could we not love Him? He is the light come into the darkness, not to condemn us for our chains of sin, but to deliver us to new life. Are we running from the light to hide, or running to the light in grattitude for His revelation, for His truth, for showing us the way?

Thank you, Lord, for opening our eyes to your love. For revealing your very nature to us. For bearing out your fruit in our lives as evidence of your life breathing within these dead bones. Thank you for welcoming us with open arms as the loving Father, when we were just hoping to come back to your house as a humble servant. Remind us that it isn’t about our works, but about your love, and our love in response. Teach us to love more today, so that others might find us peculiar enough to want a taste of this sweet grace, of this wonderful for of your love that is alive in us. Amen.

Love your wife

Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish. So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as the Lord does the church. For we are members of His body, of His flesh and of His bones. “For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the church. Nevertheless let each one of you in particular so love his own wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.
Ephesians 5:25-33 NKJV

I want to be a great husband and father. I want to lead my family by my example of love. I want to be obedient to God. And I’ll be honest with you – most days, my greatest struggles are not with temptations, or my job, or with what I face in the streets/jails/rehab. The greatest challenge daily usually comes from within my own closest circle – either my family or those closest friends in my life.

Many times the greatest struggles are between our closest friends. Besides Jesus, I consider my wife to be my closest friend. But I have to admit that life inside our house is not perfect and without its tension, disagreements, and misunderstandings. When the Lord is calling us out into ever deeper waters, and we are making decisions constantly to swim against the stream of the ways of the world, and we are giving up on the very security and safety that our nature is used to craving – there is going to be tension even if that was just a single person being affected. But when it is a whole family – now you’re facing a challenge.

So how can we best deal with these situations? I like to look at how Christ treated people.

He asked questions and listened intently to see past any emotions, posturing, manipulation, and defensive behavior to hear the heart of their issue – so that He could address the root cause, not just the symptoms.

Christ offered His love and His guidance and was the leading evangelist,  teaching His disciples, His church, how to live a life more like Him. Discussions with Him would inevitably bring up convictions in the lives of those around Him over the things that weren’t yet yielded and that were self serving instead of honoring God and serving others – not because He was preaching AT them, but He was walking it out, and telling them, and showing them a right life.

When someone was willful and prideful, wanting to pull in a different direction that He knew was leading them to destruction, He was firm and bold – even to the point of direct correction – but even His correction had a loving purpose.  When someone was scared and of little faith, not yet trusting in God’s faithfulness to provide getting the need, and walking a doubt filled and powerless life, He was patient, gentle, and encouraging – but He still pointed out their doubt and their need to press in further. He didn’t crush anyone with direct judgement and condemnation, because the truth of His words spoke to them clearly and their own hearts either convicted them into new actions, or testified against their unwillingness to yield to His will.

Yes, He used discernment to see what was happening on the inside,  the underlying issue, and then He determined what fuel needed to be added to the fire. If someone was full of the darkness of bitterness, He would flame the fire of forgiveness, saying,  “Father, forgive them. They know not what they do.” If someone was full of the darkness of self interest and concern for their own plans,  He would flame the fire of sacrifice and service unto others. If someone was full of the darkness of worry and anxiety,  He would flame the fire of faith through offering either they lay down their heavy burdens at His feet or expect promised trials and testing that they cannot bear on their own. Yes, all of this to humble us, to remodel us, into a new creation that more and more resembles Christ.

And I’m supposed to show this kind of love towards my wife. And I’m supposed to lead my family in this same manner, making disciples of my children so that they can go out and bear their crosses and face opposition from the world. If we didn’t believe, we would laugh in the face of such nonsense and maybe settle for a Sunday morning religious practice to keep Good off of our backs so that we can spend our lives with the idol that we really love most, ourself.

But if we believe, there is work to be done daily. There is examination and guidance, and correction,  and firm leadership of the family that is expected from our fathers. There are difficult discussions and decisions that have to be has and made for the sake of our families – even in times where there is not yet agreement and unity, we must stand up and lead in love.

And we must learn to care enough about our families not to drag them along kicking and screaming, but to identify what they need and determine how we can best fill that need. To realize that what we think that we want is not always the same as what we need and what is best for us. We as fathers must strive to determine the true needs, and to provide for their needs, to make sure that an outpouring of His nourishing fruit is being fed to our families daily.

Love is not all puppies and balloons and cakes and ice cream. It takes work and sacrifice – and sometimes the very people you love and are trying to help would be happy with nothing less than hammering the nails into you themselves to watch you “die on the cross of your self righteousness” – but as long as it isn’t self righteousness and your only righteousness comes from Crust who lives in you, Jesus tells us –

Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.
John 15:13 NKJV

Lord, help us to feed our families with the fruit that they truly need from an eternal perspective, with a discerning eye, and with a loving heart. Amen.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.
Galatians 5:22-23 NKJV

But if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.
I Timothy 5:8 NKJV

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.”

Created for Good Works

And you He  made  alive,  who were dead in trespasses and sins, in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience, among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others. But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it  is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.
Ephesians 2:1-10 NKJV
http://bible.com/114/eph.2.1-10.NKJV

It is not our good works that earn our salvation, but through good works are a blessing and an opportunity to participate in His Kingdom come on earth as it is in heaven. Yes, we are familiar with the wages of sin. We have walked that path before and we have experienced the consequences of that life. But God has offered us a new, abundant life in Christ – one of forgiveness, fellowship and relationship as we learn and grow in a new life,  following His example.

Lord, do not let us forget our past, otherwise we might become proud thinking that we have accomplished something on our own. Do not let us be paralyzed by guilt and shame of our past disobedient ways,  otherwise we might miss out on the glorious opportunity to serve you now. Let us remember the redeeming powerofthe Blood of the Lamb, and the strength and power of your Holy Spirit. Help us to realize the value of this amazing gift of grace and to walk in grattitude today, Lord. We love you. Amen.

Obscene, foolish, coarse – or thankful?

Obscene stories, foolish talk, and coarse jokes—these are not for you. Instead, let there be thankfulness to God.
Ephesians 5:4 NLT
http://bible.com/116/eph.5.4.NLT

I have had a rebellious nature that ruled my life and controlled me and led me into all kinds of bad decisions and unwanted consequences in my life. If someone told me, “You can’t do that” – an urging deep inside would tempt me to want to do it. It would tell me,  “There’s nothing really wrong with X, it isn’t hurting anyone,  there’s no reason you shouldn’t be able to do it. It isn’t going to hurt you.”

Yes, for many,  this is  a familiar voice. A voice that starts out saying, “It’s okay to do X as long X as it is in moderation – as long as it doesn’t control you” and then continues on with “just one more time” or “just a little more” once it has a foothold in our lives.

And if our prose and direction is all based on ourselves and what might be good or bad for me,  it is easy for us to listen to this voice. It is easy for us to fall into the dangerous trap of moral relativism where our minds can justify all kinds of things based on the situation, because there is no firm foundation in what is true – no firm foundation for what is right and wrong regardless of situation and circumstance. When we make ourselves the center and the focal point of our decisions,  we will be pushed this way and that way by the winds of spiritual influences (both bad and good) as they fight for control, and we will be battered like a small boat among crashing waves of the storms of our circumstances.

But when we decide that we love God, and that we are thankful for His offer of grace – thankful for grace made known to us through His coming in the flesh as Jesus Christ, His death upon the cross, and His resurrection to Heaven – thankful for His blood sacrifice that washes us clean from our sin, and clothes us in His righteousness – this changes or perspective.

It changes or perspective from:

What can I do?

To

What can I do?

And you’ll say, “But there is no difference in the two. They are the same words.” Yes,  they are the same words, but the two sentences couldn’t be any further from each other in their meaning and their message and their intent.

When I say “What can I do?” And I’m focused on myself – when I only see the world as my playground – the question becomes about what I’m allowed to do versus what I’m restricted from doing. The law becomes a curse that is keeping me from the things that I want to do because my life is only about my own desires and the fulfillment of my own life through the pleasures that I can grasp hold off during this short life.

But when my focus is on thankfulness towards God, then the question “What can I do” becomes about loving and serving God and loving and serving others. It starts a journey of discovering the certainty and narrow direction of God’s divine instruction that we would not choose if we were only concerned about ourselves.  It reveals the stumbling block of “freedom in Christ” that reveals the true desires of our hearts. Because if we want to use the promise of grace to cover our sins and continue in them (so that we will not be punished) then we are foolish, and in error,  and we do not really know God or love Him – we are just filling ourselves about who is the Lord of our lives and who it is that we truly serve.

You see, how can we hate the divine instruction of the Word of God,  but say that we love the Word of God that came in the flesh to walk among us as Jesus Christ? How can we decide that it is okay to twist and pervert,  to add and subtract from the Word of God,  so that it fits our own opinions and purposes and selfish desires and tell ourselves that we are walking in light and not stumbling blind in the darkness? Only a liar, only a deceitful heart, only those slippery words sliding off the tongue of a prideful enemy of God – only someone deceived could take that position as they try to lay waste to the firm foundation of the Word of God. Only someone not interested in serving God and seeing God’s Kingdom Come,  His Will being done in their lives – but instead seeking their own way,  their own will.

Haven’t we all fallen guilty of this at times? Isn’t the enemy tricky? Doesn’t He try to twist the Weird of God and use it against us so that we justify our own will and desires over what is right in the eyes of the Lord?

And don’t get me wrong, you cannot earn your way into heaven by trying to earn God’s favor because of your “good works” – because He tells us there is only one that is good, and that is God. But you can say,  “God, come live in my life, lead me along your narrow path, guide me in your ways,  use me for your work. Send me out and go with me. I am grateful for your grace and I want to learn to love you and serve you more each day. Thank you,  Lord. My life is yours.”

And this is a different perspective. This is a perspective of loving and serving others. This is the perspective that comes from belief – not belief in our head about an idea or concept of God or Jesus Christ,  but belief in Jesus Christ,  in the Word of God, in a relationship with a living Christ who commune with us and teaches us and guides us through this gift of the Holy Spirit.

So when it comes to coarse jokes, or cursing, or gossip, or lying, or anything else that we know is not glorifying to God – don’t we want to avoid them and instead demonstrate our thankfulness to God?

But you say, “That will just make others uncomfortable around me if I’m acting self righteous and won’t participate in things like that.” There is a difference between being righteous and being self righteous. Being righteous means that we have put on His righteousness,  undeserved and unmerited,  and that we are thankful and that we walk in a spirit of grattitude for what Christ has done and is doing in our lives. This perspective, one of humility,  does not offend others – in fact, many will recognize their own struggles in your wanting, and striving, and trying to live a better andnote faithful life while not judging others for their own imperfections.

Self righteous look much different than the humble,  gentle,  kind servant that Jesus Christ presented as our example. Self righteous looks like a pointed finger, condemnation,  accusation,  pride – someone feeling comfortable trying to sit in the judgement seat themselves over others. Self righteous pride is what got Satan cast down from heaven with a third of the angels – and he goes about roaring like a lion looking for someone to devour. So we don’t have to bite and tear like wolves or roar and devour like a lion, we are meant to leave the judgement to Him.

So you don’t hear me using the word obedience that much by itself,  because to the lost it is a word that reminds them off the curse of the law because they don’t yet understand the beauty of it. They, areonly thinking oftheir attempts at outward compliance to thelaw that hasalways failed them and been a curse and a burden because of their fallen nature. Instead, I speak of thankfulness and grattitude, because these will overcome the darkness,  they will overcome the hatred of the letter of the law which leads to death – and replace it with a love for the Word of God, a love for God,  a love for the Spirit of the Law. And once we decide to walk in that Spirit, the law is fulfilled by the fruit that it now bears.

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. Let us not become conceited, or provoke one another, or be jealous of one another.
Galatians 5:22-26 NLT
http://bible.com/116/gal.5.22-26.NLT

Showered, washed, covered, anointed

He is so rich in kindness and grace that he purchased our freedom with the blood of his Son and forgave our sins. He has showered his kindness on us, along with all wisdom and understanding.
Ephesians 1:7-8 NLT
http://bible.com/116/eph.1.7-8.NLT

Truth
We are all vile,  sinful people. Every last one of us falls short of perfection. Even if you believe that you are a “good” person, when we examine ourselves beside the example of Jesus Christ,  when we measure ourselves by the law,  and when we investigate the details of our heart’s desires we will see that we are vain,  selfish,  prideful creatures.

A friend of mine,  Rhonda Hand writes:
If you read the word of God or someone speaks it and you feel small, low, belittled. GOOD! That’s what it is suppose to do. We are shown by the gospel we are nothing but filthy dirty sinners before a Holy, Just God. And that’s why we need Jesus. That’s why he had to die! We are nothing and he is EVERYTHING! There is NO ONE good! Our hearts are wicked and deceitful. When he shows you what you really are before him then you will have no problem with the true undefiled truth of the Lord! Repentance is key! We all have to do this! The Lord calls for repentance!

Hope
Jesus Christ is our only Hope for salvation. The promise of grace is extended by and through Jesus Christ and He alone has the power to save us. Our participation in this Hope, in this acceptance of this free gift of grace, in this picking up and unwrapping of this salvation found at the foot of the cross is simply turning our eyes and our attitude and our perspective towards Christ.

It is not a prayer alone, because prayers said with physical eyes closed do not necessarily insure that spiritual eyes are turned to Christ. It is not a baptism in water alone, because a physical cleansing in water is only an outward demonstration of what being born again spiritually entails. It is not even emotional response alone, which can be evidence of remorse even when there is not yet repentance. So if our confidence is based on these things,  we should examine ourselves to make sure that we are not deceiving ourselves.

Christ alone is the source of our hope. And our knowing Him,  not just knowing about Him, is the foundation of Hope upon which we can firmly build our lives.

Faith
Faith is that process of growing closer to the one that we love and serve. For the Child of God, it is that process of being drawn ever closer in fellowship to the Lord – surrendering our ways and our will for His,  serving Him faithfully by following His commandments,  learning about Him by reading and studying the Word of God,  talking with Him and building a personal relationship through heartfelt and humble prayer.

Faith is about maintaining and strengthening the bond that tires us to God.  Faith is about believing,  it is about “now”, it isn’t about resting upon a once upon a time religious or spiritual experience, and it isn’t about a “some day” in the future kind of unveiling of God to us. Faith is about sharing our lives with God now, today, in this moment, in this decision, in this action,  in these words. And when we are faithful in the individual moments,  when we participate with God in our lives intimately,  when we walk in the Spirit of, Christ who lives in us and through us – our lives are quite different than when they are simply lived out in the flesh – our lives begin to produce something in this world that is wonderful and beautiful.

Love
Love is the result of Christ alive and moving and active in our lives – not religious judgement that condemns and beats down others with righteous indignation – not puffed up spiritual pride that has knowledge of the theology but no wisdom or understanding of the power that could make them holy.

You see His Holiness,  His righteousness exceeds even the perfect fulfillment of a list of legal requirements. This is why Christ raised the bar from a list of laws – instead pointing to the underlying issues of the state of a man’s heart and the reasons unseen behind his why, behind his desires,  behind the very motivation that guides choices.

So those who stop at outward obedience, or religious practice, or good works, or anything short of love are nothing and have nothing – because they haven’t grasped hold of grace, they have settled for a way that seems right to man but leads to destruction.

Love is the good fruit that is nourishing and healing and that is produced from good trees. Love can be recognized as joy,  peace,  patience,  kindness, goodness,  faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Love is the very act of taking His righteousness upon ourselves and wearing it as our own. And it is poured out on both the ones who we might think deserve it and the ones who we might think do not. Love is the light of this world that cuts through the darkness and that fulfills the law, because it overcomes sin,  it gives us the power to live with a right attitude, perspective, and actions towards God and towards others – because it keeps us humble, serving at the feet of those that He loves and that we are learning to love.

And it is only this work that is done in love that will stand the purifying fires of the trials and tribulations and sufferings of our temporary time in these bodies of flesh that are dig and returning to the grave. Nothing that is built upon a different foundation, or built using different materials will last – no matter how religious or right in the eyes of men. Because we are not to be judged by men, nor are our actions alone what is weighed,  but our heart.

Pray
So let’s pray today that we will know Truth, Hope, Faith, and, Love in our lives Now and Forevermore – and in doing so,  that we will see His Kingdom Come,  His Will being done in our lives on earth as it is in Heaven,  confident that He will give us today’s nourishment and fill our every need,  and that He will not lead us into temptation,  but He will deliver us from evil, because He is the one that is in authority and power,  and His glory and His honor, are forever and ever in eternity. Amen.

Application
Walk with Him now. It’s that simple. Baby steps are the way to walk the narrow path – like a little child,  holding onto is Father’s hand for guidance and assistance. Don’t think that you are wise and mature,  just cling to His hand. Don’t decide that you know what is right and strike out on your own,  just cling to His hand. Because, you see – getting to some eventual destination isn’t meant to be your only goal – He isn’t far away to one day be experienced at the end of your journey – He is right here with you,  hoping you will enjoy the, walk with Him,  holding onto His hand,  spending time with Him,  now.

Love, Love, Love

It’s very easy for us to become critical of each other, noticing and pointing out flaws, maybe even talking about others behind their backs. But this is not love, nor is it letting Christ shine forth through our lives.

For the whole law can be summed up in this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”  But if you are always biting and devouring one another, watch out! Beware of destroying one another.
Galatians 5:14-15 NLT
http://bible.com/116/gal.5.14-15.NLT

Even if we see someone who is trapped in sin that the Word of God promises that they will NOT inherit the Kingdom of God and that will lead them to hell – do you realize that we are given warnings about not falling into the trap of spiritual pride when dealing with these situations? That we are meant to be acting in love towards one another with hopes not just to catch and expose imperfections,  but to help others overcome and be freed from the sin that binds them.

When we stop look for good in people and start examining them for faults,  we are bound to find them. And when we recognize sin in the lives of others, it is usually because we are familiar with that evil spirit ourselves. Whether we are looking in love, forgiveness,  and mercy, hoping to serve our neighbor – or whether we are looking with condemnation, accusation, and judgement,  hoping to catch our neighbor – it’s an important difference.

There is one that waits for the opportunity to devour people because of their sin – and his wolves are very good at biting and tearing at one another, weakening the prey and preparing them for death, slaughter, and destruction.  But there is another who heals,  who offers forgiveness, who reconciles us to be more like Himself – and His followers are very good at loving one another, and building each other up, and sharing one another’s burdens. And the difference between the two comes down to perspective. One’s followers look down on the others in pride,  while the followers of Christ look at others equally and in unity. These followers of Christ see neighbors and friends in need of the very same unmerited and undeserved grace that their own walk of faith is materializing and bearing witness to in their life of serving and loving others.

So we have to ask ourselves,  are we motivated by love towards others or do we enjoy the pride of being critical toward others? Are we aiming our examining eye inward at ourselves,  using the Word of God a surgical instrument or are we using it as a sword to slay our brothers and sisters? Do we know how to target the real enemy who is not flesh and blood, or have we comforted our thirst with the blood of the innocent instead of tasting of the living waters that fill our lives to overflowing?

It is easy for me to point out warnings and scriptures that identify those lost and trapped in sin and headed to destruction – and if all that I offer is a warning, is a statement of the impending danger, and I don’t offer the Good News of Jesus Christ that leads to Hope,  Faith,  and Love – can I say that I’ve shared Truth or just that I’ve lifted my stone in the air?

Don’t you realize that those who do wrong will not inherit the Kingdom of God? Don’t fool yourselves. Those who indulge in sexual sin, or who worship idols, or commit adultery, or are male prostitutes, or practice homosexuality, or are thieves, or greedy people, or drunkards, or are abusive, or cheat people—none of these will inherit the Kingdom of God.
1 Corinthians 6:9-10 NLT
http://bible.com/116/1co.6.9-10.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.
Galatians 5:19-21 NLT
http://bible.com/116/gal.5.19-21.NLT

Outside the city are the dogs—the sorcerers, the sexually immoral, the murderers, the idol worshipers, and all who love to live a lie.
Revelation 22:15 NLT
http://bible.com/116/rev.22.15.NLT

You can be sure that no immoral, impure, or greedy person will inherit the Kingdom of Christ and of God. For a greedy person is an idolater, worshiping the things of this world. Don’t be fooled by those who try to excuse these sins, for the anger of God will fall on all who disobey him. Don’t participate in the things these people do. For once you were full of darkness, but now you have light from the Lord. So live as people of light! For this light within you produces only what is good and right and true. Carefully determine what pleases the Lord. Take no part in the worthless deeds of evil and darkness; instead, expose them. It is shameful even to talk about the things that ungodly people do in secret. But their evil intentions will be exposed when the light shines on them, for the light makes everything visible. This is why it is said, “Awake, O sleeper, rise up from the dead, and Christ will give you light.” So be careful how you live. Don’t live like fools, but like those who are wise. Make the most of every opportunity in these evil days. Don’t act thoughtlessly, but understand what the Lord wants you to do. Don’t be drunk with wine, because that will ruin your life. Instead, be filled with the Holy Spirit, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs among yourselves, and making music to the Lord in your hearts.
Ephesians 5:5-19 NLT
http://bible.com/116/eph.5.5-19.NLT

For the law was not intended for people who do what is right. It is for people who are lawless and rebellious, who are ungodly and sinful, who consider nothing sacred and defile what is holy, who kill their father or mother or commit other murders. The law is for people who are sexually immoral, or who practice homosexuality, or are slave traders, liars, promise breakers, or who do anything else that contradicts the wholesome teaching that comes from the glorious Good News entrusted to me by our blessed God.
1 Timothy 1:9-11 NLT
http://bible.com/116/1ti.1.9-11.NLT

Work at living in peace with everyone, and work at living a holy life, for those who are not holy will not see the Lord.
Hebrews 12:14 NLT
http://bible.com/116/heb.12.14.NLT

A slave is not a permanent member of the family, but a son is part of the family forever.
John 8:35 NLT
http://bible.com/116/jhn.8.35.NLT

And if your eye causes you to sin, gouge it out. It’s better to enter the Kingdom of God with only one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into hell,  ‘where the maggots never die and the fire never goes out.’
Mark 9:47-48 NLT
http://bible.com/116/mrk.9.47-48.NLT

Someone asked him, “Lord, will only a few be saved?” He replied, “Work hard to enter the narrow door to God’s Kingdom, for many will try to enter but will fail.  When the master of the house has locked the door, it will be too late. You will stand outside knocking and pleading, ‘Lord, open the door for us!’ But he will reply, ‘I don’t know you or where you come from.’  Then you will say, ‘But we ate and drank with you, and you taught in our streets.’  And he will reply, ‘I tell you, I don’t know you or where you come from. Get away from me, all you who do evil.’
Luke 13:23-27 NLT
http://bible.com/116/luk.13.23-27.NLT

For again I say, when righteous people turn away from their righteous behavior and turn to evil, they will die.
Ezekiel 33:18 NLT
http://bible.com/116/ezk.33.18.NLT

No, and I tell you again that unless you repent, you will perish, too.”
Luke 13:5 NLT
http://bible.com/116/luk.13.5.NLT

Yes,  and these warnings are true because the Word of God does not lie.

I cry out warnings in love each day. I’m sowing the seed of this Good News that Jesus Christ can come into your life, and change you. But many are too wrapped up in the ways of this world and don’t really want their eyes to be opened yet. I know,  because that used to be me.

So I just keep sharing truth and hope and faith and love – trusting that those that are His will hear His voice before it is too late.

And some are lost and need hope (a turn to God – change of attitude).

And some are babes and need faith (a focus and dedication and ongoing growth in His will).

And some are among leaven and need love (a remembrance of His undeserved, unmerited mercy and grace as opposed to spiritual pride).

And many are headed for destruction and need truth (it is truly a narrow path with ditches on both sides – in misunderstood grace as a license to sin – and in misunderstood works as a stairway to heaven).

When the crowds came to John for baptism, he said, “You brood of snakes! Who warned you to flee God’s coming wrath? Prove by the way you live that you have repented of your sins and turned to God. Don’t just say to each other, ‘We’re safe, for we are descendants of Abraham.’ That means nothing, for I tell you, God can create children of Abraham from these very stones. Even now the ax of God’s judgment is poised, ready to sever the roots of the trees. Yes, every tree that does not produce good fruit will be chopped down and thrown into the fire.”
Luke 3:7-9 NLT
http://bible.com/116/luk.3.7-9.NLT

But if wicked people turn from their wickedness and do what is just and right, they will live.
Ezekiel 33:19 NLT
http://bible.com/116/ezk.33.19.NLT

2 Chronicles 7:14 ESV
If my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.

1 John 1:9 ESV
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

Acts 3:19 ESV
Repent therefore, and turn again, that your sins may be blotted out,

Ezekiel 18:21-23 ESV
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?

Acts 17:30 ESV
The times of ignorance God overlooked, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent,

Proverbs 28:13 ESV
Whoever conceals his transgressions will not prosper, but he who confesses and forsakes them will obtain mercy.

James 4:8-10 ESV
Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Be wretched and mourn and weep. Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you.

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.

Let’s take a walk…

…will you stay with me to the end?

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SINNING = LAWLESSNESS = DEATH

Everyone who makes a practice of sinning also practices lawlessness; sin is lawlessness. You know that he appeared in order to take away sins, and in him there is no sin. No one who abides in him keeps on sinning; no one who keeps on sinning has either seen him or known him. Little children, let no one deceive you. Whoever practices righteousness is righteous, as he is righteous. Whoever makes a practice of sinning is of the devil, for the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil. No one born of God makes a practice of sinning, for God’s seed abides in him, and he cannot keep on sinning because he has been born of God. By this it is evident who are the children of God, and who are the children of the devil: whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is the one who does not love his brother.
1 John 3:4-10 ESV
http://bible.com/59/1jn.3.4-10.ESV

UNRIGHTEOUS = NO HEAVEN

1 Corinthians 6:9-10 ESV
Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God

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DEFILED = POISON FROM EVIL HEART

Mark 7:20-23 ESV
And he said, “What comes out of a person is what defiles him. For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, coveting, wickedness, deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride, foolishness. All these evil things come from within, and they defile a person.

SIN = WORKS OF THE FLESH

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.
Galatians 5:19-21 ESV
http://bible.com/59/gal.5.19-21.ESV

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SLAVE TO FLESH/SIN = DEATH

Ephesians 5:5 ESV
For you may be sure of this, that everyone who is sexually immoral or impure, or who is covetous (that is, an idolater), has no inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God.

SLAVE TO SIN = NOT A SON = DEATH

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.”
John 8:34-36 ESV
http://bible.com/59/jhn.8.34-36.ESV

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WASHED = JOINED = SANCTIFIED
DOMINATED BY SIN = SEPARATED

And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.  “All things are lawful for me,” but not all things are helpful. “All things are lawful for me,” but I will not be dominated by anything. And God raised the Lord and will also raise us up by his power. But he who is joined to the Lord becomes one spirit with him.
1 Corinthians 6:11-12, 14, 17 ESV
http://bible.com/59/1co.6.11-17.ESV

WASHED = LIFE
DEFILED = DEATH

Blessed are those who wash their robes, so that they may have the right to the tree of life and that they may enter the city by the gates. Outside are the dogs and sorcerers and the sexually immoral and murderers and idolaters, and everyone who loves and practices falsehood.
Revelation 22:14-15 ESV
http://bible.com/59/rev.22.14-15.ESV

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PASS THE TEST = LIFE
FAIL THE TEST = DEATH

Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you fail to meet the test! I hope you will find out that we have not failed the test.
2 Corinthians 13:5-6 ESV
http://bible.com/59/2co.13.5-6.ESV

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CONTROL & DISCIPLINE= PRIZE
LACK OF DISCIPLINE = DISQUALIFIED

Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it. Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. So I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air. But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified.
1 Corinthians 9:24-27 ESV
http://bible.com/59/1co.9.24-27.ESV

LIVE BY FLESH = DEATH
LIVE BY SPIRIT = LIFE

For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.
Romans 8:13-17 ESV
http://bible.com/59/rom.8.13-17.ESV

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LAW = KNOWLEDGE OF SIN

as it is written: “None is righteous, no, not one;  no one understands; no one seeks for God.  All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one.” 
“Their throat is an open grave; they use their tongues to deceive.”
“The venom of asps is under their lips.” 
“Their mouth is full of curses and bitterness.” 
“Their feet are swift to shed blood;  in their paths are ruin and misery,  and the way of peace they have not known.” 
“There is no fear of God before their eyes.” 
Now we know that whatever the law says it speaks to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be stopped, and the whole world may be held accountable to God. For by works of the law no human being will be justified in his sight, since through the law comes knowledge of sin.
Romans 3:10-20 ESV
http://bible.com/59/rom.3.10-20.ESV

THE LAW DOES NOT JUSTIFY
FAITH & LOVE = OBEDIENCE
GODLY LOVE FULFILLS THE LAW

You are severed from Christ, you who would be justified by the law; you have fallen away from grace. For through the Spirit, by faith, we ourselves eagerly wait for the hope of righteousness. For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision counts for anything, but only faith working through love.  You were running well. Who hindered you from obeying the truth? This persuasion is not from him who calls you. 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 5:4-8, 13-15 ESV
http://bible.com/59/gal.5.4-15.ESV

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BELIEF RECEIVES GRACE
GRACE PRODUCES LIFE

“For  God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.
John 3:16 ESV
http://bible.com/59/jhn.3.16.ESV

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GRACE = FREE GIFT
GRACE = JUSTIFICATION BY FAITH
FAITH UPHOLDS THE LAW

But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it— the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. Then what becomes of our boasting? It is excluded. By what kind of law? By a law of works? No, but by the law of faith. For we hold that one is justified by faith apart from works of the law. Do we then overthrow the law by this faith? By no means! On the contrary, we uphold the law.
Romans 3:21-25, 27-28, 31 ESV
http://bible.com/59/rom.3.21-31.ESV

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BATTLE = FLESH DESIRES VS SPIRIT
HOLY SPIRIT LED = GRACE COVERED

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.
Galatians 5:16-18 ESV
http://bible.com/59/gal.5.4-18.ESV

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GRACE PRODUCES FRUIT
FRUIT = LOVE

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 5:22-26 ESV
http://bible.com/59/gal.5.4-26.ESV

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LOVE RESULTS IN OBEDIENCE

“If you love me, you will  keep my commandments.  And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever,  even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you.  Whoever has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me. And he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him.”
John 14:15-17, 21 ESV
http://bible.com/59/jhn.14.15-21.ESV

BELIEF = PEACE IN CHRIST
BELIEF = TRIAL IN THE WORLD

Jesus answered them, “Do you now believe?  Behold, the hour is coming, indeed it has come, when you will be scattered, each to his own home, and will leave me alone. Yet I am not alone, for the Father is with me.  I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”
John 16:31-33 ESV
http://bible.com/59/jhn.16.31-33.ESV

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TRIAL SEPARATES TRUE FROM FALSE

But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people. For among them are those who creep into households and capture weak women, burdened with sins and led astray by various passions, always learning and never able to arrive at a knowledge of the truth. Just as Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses, so these men also oppose the truth, men corrupted in mind and disqualified regarding the faith. But they will not get very far, for their folly will be plain to all, as was that of those two men.
2 Timothy 3:1-9 ESV
http://bible.com/59/2ti.3.1-9.ESV

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?

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?”