Monday, December 11, 2017

Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ!

Instructions for Christian Households ... 

How to be Husbands and Wives in the Body of Christ ~ Ephesians 5:21-33.

Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.

Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself.

After all, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the church for we are members of his body. “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.” This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church. However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.

Did you know that there are well intended intelligent people marrying for all the wrong reasons. At a recent wedding, for a beautiful young couple, hosted at an elegant golf course (dinner at 50$ a plate), the pastor read this, "Well, did you meet her at the bar or on the bar?" "And, bet you want him for richer than poorer."  The bride grabbed the mic and said, "you betcha". She added that she likes to have fun and likes laughing and that so so makes her laugh and he better keep doing it.

No one should marry anyone they met at a bar.  No one should marry because she is hot, gorgeous and smart or he is handsome, funny and has money. No one should marry thinking they will change the world or change him or her or move each other up the social status ladder. People should marry so that as one they can better serve the Lord and His Kingdom! And, the best way to do that is to submit to one another out of reverence for Christ and also to be fruitful and multiply raising up children in the Lord preparing them for His Kingdom come!

If you are already married and things seem to be falling apart at the seams for you and your spouse and your children too, then pray! Yes, pray in the Holy Spirit to God our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, pray for your spouse and for your children and let them know that you pray for them. You don't have to broadcast it or proclaim it to the world but in simple ways let them know... put a small note in their pocket or lunch saying, "God Bless you and Keep you, or I prayed for you my love this morning to bless you and keep you safe". 

Very soon, you will begin to see your life and their life turn around; yes, turn around for good and not for evil... for the evil one lurks looking for chances to break apart and or destroy what God the Father and Son Jesus Christ has purposed!

Prepare for your heart for the coming of the Lord ~ Jude 1:14-25 and Joel 2:11-13!

Enoch, who lived in the seventh generation after Adam, prophesied about these people. He said, “Listen! The Lord is coming with countless thousands of his holy ones to execute judgment on the people of the world. He will convict every person of all the ungodly things they have done and for all the insults that ungodly sinners have spoken against him.”

These people are grumblers and complainers, living only to satisfy their desires. They brag loudly about themselves, and they flatter others to get what they want.

But you, my dear friends, must remember what the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ said. They told you that in the last times there would be scoffers whose purpose in life is to satisfy their ungodly desires. These people are the ones who are creating divisions among you. They follow their natural instincts because they do not have God’s Spirit in them.

But you, dear friends, must build each other up in your most holy faith, pray in the power of the Holy Spirit, and await the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ, who will bring you eternal life. In this way, you will keep yourselves safe in God’s love.

And you must show mercy to those whose faith is wavering. Rescue others by snatching them from the flames of judgment. Show mercy to still others,i but do so with great caution, hating the sins that contaminate their lives.

Now all glory to God, who is able to keep you from falling away and will bring you with great joy into his glorious presence without a single fault. All glory to him who alone is God, our Savior through Jesus Christ our Lord. All glory, majesty, power, and authority are his before all time, and in the present, and beyond all time! Amen. ~ Jude 1:14-25.

The Lord is coming ... and, He is at the head of the column. He leads them with a shout. This is His mighty army, and they follow His orders. The day of the Lord is an awesome, terrible thing. Who can possibly survive?

That is why the Lord says, “Turn to me now, while there is time. Give me your hearts. Come with fasting, weeping, and mourning. Don’t tear your clothing in your grief, but tear your hearts instead.”
Return to the Lord your God, for he is merciful and compassionate, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love. ~ Joel 2:11-13.

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Do not work for food that perishes...

People waste time and money on things that will perish, things that will burn up on the last day: all social media, all sports, Hollywood gossip, world news, political talk including economic strategies, as well as jobs, clothes, shoes, pursues, hair styles, jewelry, furniture, cars, awards, achievements, and investments... "These will all perish with use, because they are based on human commands and teachings" ~ COL 2:22.

So... "Do not work for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you, for on Him the Father, God, has set His seal." ~ John 6:27.

Yes, one can make the argument that as long as you do not obsess about worldly things, you can indulge in worldly things. Really?  One does not have to have an 'obsession'. It is enough to find oneself regularly (not wanting to miss out on) reading and watching the latest political and economic agendas and or thinking about the next big sale at Macy's with its line of new pursues, or predicting how their favorite team is going to do this season, or what their favorite restaurant/health food store is offering, what exotic vacation to take and or what new cars are coming off the lot, what stocks/bonds to invest in, which school to send their children too and even what church to attend rather than thinking about their eternal salvation then they 'people' do spend too much time and in vain with the things of this world. Things that will perish.

"Why do you spend money for what is not bread, And your wages for what does not satisfy? Listen carefully to Me, and eat what is good, And delight yourself in abundance ~ Isaiah 55:2. There is no doubt such abundance is in/of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Light, Darkness, Sin and Forgiveness ~ Part II

Light and Darkness, Sin and Forgiveness ~ 1 John 1:5-10 

This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. If we claim to have fellowship with him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live out the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.

If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word is not in us ~1 John 1:5-10

An eighth-century Christian named Alcuin of York prayed: "Almighty and merciful God, the fountain of all goodness, who knows the thought of our hearts, we confess that we have sinned against you, and done what you see as evil. Wash us, we implore you, from the stains of our past sins, and give us grace and power to put away all hurtful things so that, being delivered from the bondage of sin, we may produce the good fruits of repentance."

From this prayer, we understand 3 key truths. First, a foundational truth: "God is light; in Him there is no darkness at all" ~ 1 John 1:5. Second, an applied truth: We must walk in the light (vv.6-7). Our lives are the evidence of our faith. If we claim to have a relationship with God but do not choose holiness and truth, we prove ourselves liars.

Being God's children means we need and want to be where He is and where fellow believers are. If we claim to have a relationship with God, it will also be seen in our unity and fellowship with one another. Third, the truth of grace: Confession is an essential spiritual discipline (vv.8-10) On our earthly pilgrimages, we are unable to walk in the light perfectly. We still sin, and if we think otherwise we are self-deceived.

Thankfully, when we confess, He forgives, always! He is faithful and never gives up on us. He is just as Christ already paid the price. When we stray, He restores us and brings us back into the light (v.9).

* A Moody Commentary taken from ~ Today in the Word, August 2017, pg. 28.

Light, Darkness, Sin and Forgiveness ~ Part I

Jesus Christ ~ The Light of the World! 
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life ~ John 3:16. Some people think that we are loved by God because of His Son, that would mean that God did not love us prior to Jesus. But, when you read John 3:16, you discover otherwise. He loved us even before and because of that sent His Son to Redeem us from the darkness of this fallen world.

One question we might have is should we let those in appear to be in darkness, continue in darkness because Jesus has already redeemed them? The answer should be that if they know why God sent His Son, then they will no longer be in darkness.  Should we be then be concerned when we see a person in Christ backsliding? Can someone in Christ backslide? 

Paul described 'backsliding' in Romans 7:15-19, "For I do not do the good I want to do. Instead, I keep on doing the evil I do not want to do"; and, we read about backsliding in Galatians. "For the flesh craves what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are opposed to one another, so that you do not do what you want" ~ Galatians 5:17.

From infancy you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for instruction, for conviction, for correction, and for training in righteousness ~ 2 Timothy 3:15-17.

"They prove the truth of this proverb: "A dog returns to its vomit." And another says, "A washed pig returns to the mud."~ 2 Peter2:22. Is that judgement? Not at all...isn't it better that those in Christ intervene with forgiveness and instruction those that backslide so that they leave their sin once and for all, leading them from darkness. In other words, we should point to scripture so that we/they realize what is wrong in our lives. Scripture corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right.

In 2 Peter 2:22, we understand that the dog is turned to his own vomit again, and the sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire; which expresses the filthy nature of sin, signified by vomit, mire, and dirt, than which nothing is more abominable and defiling; and also the just characters of these apostates, who are filly compared to dogs and swine and likewise their irreclaimable and irrecoverable state and condition, it being impossible they should be otherwise, unless their natures were changed and altered ~ Gill's Exposition. 

As clouds hinder the light of the sun, so do these darken counsel by words wherein there is no truth. Seeing that these such people increase darkness in this world, it is very just that the mist of darkness should be their portion in the next. When men are entangled, they are easily overcome; therefore Christians should keep close to the word of God, and watch against all who seek to bewilder them. 

A state of apostasy is worse than a state of ignorance. To bring an evil report upon the good way of God, and a false charge against the way of truth, must expose to the heaviest condemnation. How dreadful is the state here described! Yet though such a case is deplorable, it is not utterly hopeless; the leper may be made clean, and even the dead may be raised. Is thy backsliding a grief to thee? Believe in the Lord Jesus, and thou shalt be saved ~ Matthew Henry Commentary.

Friday, November 17, 2017

Be Steadfast and You Will Grow in Endurance!

Dear Brothers and Sisters, when troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So, let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing. And, do not waver, Be sure that your faith is in God alone. You cannot be divided between God and the world for you will be unstable in everything you do ~ James 1: 2-8.

If you follow the way of the world with its: technology, social media, labels, brands, distinguished groups, glamour and glitter, you will descend deeper and deeper into a very dark abyss. Sadly, as you struggle to find a way out, there will be those who appear to have Christian voices saying, "You must do this/that or you won't be saved." No, there is no work that you can do to be saved. 

All you need to do is believe in the one who sent Him; and, be at peace in that knowledge found in the Word of God. In His Word, you will find the truth which is that God so loved the world He gave His only Son Jesus Christ who died for your sins, there is no condemnation in Him. In this radical freedom, you will be at peace and free indeed in the One who came to give you life eternal - Jesus Christ.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

God's Love and His Dicipline for us in Love!

“My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline, and do not lose heart when He rebukes you, because the Lord disciplines the one He loves, and He chastens everyone He accepts as his son.” ~ Hebrews 12:5-6.

Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as His children. For what children are not disciplined by their father? If you are not disciplined and everyone undergoes discipline then you are not legitimate, not true sons and daughters at all. Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of spirits and live! They disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, in order that we may share in his holiness ~ Hebrews 12:7-10.

In Hebrews God's Love is clear in His role as Father. His discipline is love in that we are His children and in His discipline we re given strength to overcome this world, this flesh, and thus we are to endure hardship as His discipline in order to live a different way and not to live in the flesh as we think and want to be loved in it as it is - fallen. "God made this way and He loves me this way" i.e. Today, however, too many Christians think like this... and sadly they are deceiving themselves. In His love, His discipline, we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, for our “God is a consuming fire.” ~ Hebrews 12:28-29.

In hearing this, many cry out - "What about God's love for us... doesn't He love the sinner?" Yes, He does without a doubt but the sinner must realize his/her fallen condition and see that in him/herself as we are yet still in sin but rejoice because of God's Love and His Mercy and Grace toward the sinner. In this way, we are no longer seen in our sin - though it is still there on the 'surface'. For some, this is not easy to comprehend. We want to think that God loves us as we are for the sinners we are in this fallen world its ok to be sinners and in that kind of love our sin just goes away. If that were true, why did God send His only Son to redeem us from sin so that when God looks at us, He does not see our sin but His Son Jesus Christ?

God does not want us to be sinners nor to see our sin or us in our sin. He wants to see us redeemed. When He looks upon us He wants to see us redeemed 'resurrected from sin and death; and does when we receive Christ His Son; and we in humility of such Great Love, His Love, His Great Almighty Love, Mercy and Grace we are made new and thus able to pursue a holiness we could not have pursued before. 

There is no condemnation put upon us accepting His Love, and in that love His discipline for us in our fallen condition. God's love is boundless, because we are His creation even though in a fallen condition. Because of His boundless love (it has to be) we are unbound in Jesus Christ to live as a new creation in Christ in this fallen state. In accepting such love for our sin, our fallen condition, we are by obedience through discipline bound to Jesus Christ - God sent His only Son because God so loved the world - His creation and God wants to save the world. 

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms. For He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world to be holy and blameless in His presence. In love He predestined us for adoption as His sons through Jesus Christ, according to the good pleasure of His will ~ Ephesians 1:3-5.