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6/29/16 ­ Believers are children of God because of His love

See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him.  Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when Christ appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.   1 John 3:1-2

 

“See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God!”  This has to be one of the most profound and unbelievable statements made in the history of mankind.  There is a God who loves you so much that He thinks it is normal for you to be called a son/daughter of His.  Because of His love, you have been forgiven of your sins through the sacrifice of His one and only Son.  Because of His love, He has given you the opportunity to live with Him forever through His own death.  Of all the things ever created or have ever existed, the concept of unconditional love is the greatest, and it belongs only to the God who loves you. 

6/22/16 – God has a plan that cannot be changed

New book published and is now available.

I have recently published another book, “On the Inside Looking Out.” The entire book discusses the topic of how can Christians become more Christ-like in their attitudes and behaviors. There is a special section on how Christians should view the concept of death. It can be found at most online retail book outlets. A brief video trailer can be found at either of the following two web sites:

YouTube:https://youtu.be/C-0UDt2LieE

GodTube:http://www.godtube.com/watch/?v=Y7LDW7NX

 

The Lord Almighty has sworn, “Surely, as I have planned, so it will be, and as I have purposed, so it will happen. I will crush the Assyrian in my land; on my mountains I will trample him down. His yoke will be taken from my people, and his burden removed from their shoulders.” This is the plan determined for the whole world; this is the hand stretched out over all nations. For the Lord Almighty has purposed, and who can thwart him? His hand is stretched out, and who can turn it back?   Isaiah 14:24-27

If you believe there is an all-powerful God, then this passage from Isaiah sounds very scary. The Old Testament book of Isaiah is a gold mine of truth about God. It has also been called the “fifth” gospel, because of the large amount of passages that contain prophecy concerning the Messiah. Isaiah began prophesying in 740BC.  During the 1500’s, scholars assigned chapter and verse numbers to all the books of the Bible. Before then, it was continuous writing with no breaks. I think we are all glad they did that. What is interesting is the number of chapters assigned for the book of Isaiah is 66. This is also the total number of books in the Bible. In addition, there is a major section of Isaiah that ends with Chapter 39. Beginning with Chapter 40, Isaiah speaks of the comfort of the people after the Babylonian captivity. Similarly, the Old Testament contains 39 chapters and the New Testament contains 27 chapters. As we all know, the 39 chapters of the OT speak of the failures of the Hebrews to maintain a healthy relationship with God. The NT speaks of the coming of the Messiah, Jesus Christ, whose sacrifice on the cross has given us forgiveness of all of our sins. Isaiah is a very interesting book.

6/15/16 – Jesus prays for you before His death

“I am coming to you now, but I say these things while I am still in the world, so that they may have the full measure of my joy within them.  I have given them your word and the world has hated them, for they are not of the world any more than I am of the world.  My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one.  They are not of the world, even as I am not of it.  Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth.  As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world.  For them I sanctify myself, that they too may be truly sanctified. John 17:13-19

When I finally found Chapters 14-17 in the book of John, I thought I had found the greatest treasure in the world. Jesus begins to speak in Chapter 14 about preparing a place for us, and returning to take us with Him to heaven. He finishes in Chapter 17 by speaking to God about us, and our relationship with Him and God (see the passage above.) Every Believer should be aware of what Jesus says in these chapters. Try to read them once per month to remember the promises that Jesus made to you and me. These are the last words of Christ before His betrayal by Judas. He had only a short time left before His death, and these last words are extremely powerful.

6/8/16 – You have received the Spirit who is from God

What we have received is not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may understand what God has freely given us.  This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, explaining spiritual realities with Spirit-taught words. 1 Corinthians 2:12-13

It stretches our finite and simple minds to accept the spiritual fact that God has freely given us the Holy Spirit. When a Christian reaches this understanding, his/her entire world is turned upside down and inside out. It is a time of clarity of thinking, because the Holy Spirit begins to reveal spiritual realities in a way that we understand. 

The experience of salvation where we recognize and accept the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ for the total forgiveness of our sins is a “sky-high” moment in our life. Baptism is another spiritually superlative moment in our Christian life. However, to begin to see spiritual realities is a moment that rivals our salvation experience.

6/1/16 – Your future planning should always include God

Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.”  Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.  Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.”  As it is, you boast in your arrogant schemes. All such boasting is evil.  If anyone, then, knows the good they ought to do and doesn’t do it, it is sin for them.  James 4:13-27

All throughout the book of James, there is a comparison of worldliness and Godliness. These are given so that you can determine if your attitudes and behaviors are motivated by the world or by God. I encourage you to read the book of James to get an idea of where your worldview is positioned in all that you do.

6/24/15 - How God works in your life

“…you whom I have upheld since you were conceived, and have carried since your birth. Even to your old age and gray hairs I am he, I am he who will sustain you. I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you.Isaiah 46:3b-4

These verses are a great comfort if you ever think God does not care about you.  He does!  He is not a God who is somewhere out in space with no concern for this world.  God did not set everything up in this world, press a button, and sat back to see what would happen.  He is not a bystander looking on this world with indifference. God is involved in this world and in your personal life!

God became involved in your life when you were conceived…He made you! WOW!!  This is an amazing truth about God and about you!  He didn’t wait for you to get to an age where you could understand Him with your mind.  He began taking care of you the moment you were conceived!  Isn’t it interesting that, as Believers, we spend a lot of time trying to take care of ourselves without ever acknowledging God’s work in our life?  It’s as if what we think and do for ourselves is better than any work that God can do in our life.  Does this make sense?  I don’t think so.

6/17/15 – No place for worry in a Believer’s Life

“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?. . . But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”  Matthew 6:25-34

These verses clearly puts the world up against the spiritual realm and concludes that only the spiritual things should be a major part of a Christian’s life.

The passage comes in the middle of what is called the “Sermon on the Mount” spoken by Jesus.  There is not much more to say than what Jesus says about our priorities in living a life here on earth.  He turns everything upside-down and inside out.  It comes down to your perspectives of how to live life on this earth.  If you, as a Christian, lived by these verses of the Bible, your life would be so different from other people.  You would definitely be thought of as from another world.  I don’t think that would be too bad.  I hope you don’t either.

6/10/15 – Created to be like God!

“You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.”   Ephesians 4:22-23

These verses talk about a major change that must occur in a Believer’s life.  The “old self” is what you would call your selfish ways (it has to be my way; what can I get out of it; why does everything happen to me; no one knows or even cares what I am going through; I need this; I need that).  Everything that has to do with self has to be “put off” – removed; eliminated; broken off; not thought about; denied; not to be given into. 

6/3/15 – How strong is your foundation?

“For from him and through him and to him are all things.  To him be the glory forever!”   Romans 11:36

Do you believe this verse with all of your heart and mind? 

Being a Believer at the time of Jesus Christ was not easy.  Throughout history, Christians have been persecuted for their beliefs.  Currently, just saying the name of Jesus is almost taboo in America.  The top six countries where severe persecution of Christians occurs now are North Korea, Somalia, Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, and Sudan.  I think we are at a time where every confessing Christian needs to search their souls for how deep are their beliefs, and their willingness to stand on those beliefs.

The Book of James: The Behavior of Christians - It will hurt you!

The book of James, most likely the brother of Jesus, was one of the first books written in the New Testament.  Tradition says that James became a Christian after Jesus¹ resurrection.  The Bible provides evidence that James was recognized as the leader of the Christian churches in and around Jerusalem.  The spiritual truths contained in James clearly describe how a Christian should live.  In particular, James describes the need for faith and works in a Christian¹s life; the importance of Godly wisdom; and, the potentially devastating impact when Christians behave badly.  There is a strong comparison of the world and the spirit.

Fathers: Do not exasperate your children

In your struggle against sin, you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. And have you completely forgotten this word of encouragement that addresses you as a father addresses his son? It says, “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.” 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.

Hebrews 12:4-8

Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. “Honor your father and mother”—which is the first commandment with a promise— “so that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth.” Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.

Ephesians 6:1-4

I cannot express strongly enough how disgusted I am when a Father makes fun of one of his children. I do not know where men got the idea that ridicule would strengthen their children so that they could face the world of reality. Fathers who aggravate their children have no sensitivity to the feelings of their children. I do not believe God is pleased with such Fathers. Mothers, on the other hand, are not as flippant about making fun of their children. Call it the “love” of the Mother, but there is a tremendous difference in the discipline offered by fathers versus mothers.

Fathers: How to Discipline Your Children

And the Word of God says:

People were also bringing babies to Jesus for him to place his hands on them. When the disciples saw this, they rebuked them. But Jesus called the children to him and said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.”  Luke 18:15-18

Whoever spares the rod hates their children, but the one who loves their children is careful to discipline them.  Proverbs 13:24

Discipline your children, and they will give you peace; they will bring you the delights you desire.  Proverbs 29:17

This is Part 2 of a three part series on the accountabilities of Fathers for their children.  Last week, the title of the discussion was “Fathers: You have not obeyed the words of the Bible.”  It was a tense discussion for the need for the Father to be spiritually oriented and spiritually strong.  There must be a firm and deep foundation for the Father to be able to take the action that God would approve.  If you have not read last week’s, I strongly recommend you do.  This week, the discussion will be more specific about disciplining your children.

Does God Expect Men to be Spiritual Leaders

The following is a live radio broadcast on the Moody Radio Network.  Due to the "God and Men: No-Holds-Barred" book, I was asked to participate in a debate that asked the question, "Does God expect Men to be Spiritual Leaders?"

Although it is approximately 45 minutes in length, I think you will find the discussion lively and informative.

Moody Radio - Does God Expect Men to be Spiritual Leaders? -https://t.co/uEXUtwHhSm #iTunes

 

Up for Debate

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Preview and download the podcast Up for Debate on iTunes. Read episode descriptions and customer reviews.

After the broadcast, I received an email from the Moody Radio informing me that this particular broadcast received the highest ratings of any of the last 46 shows.

 

Fathers: You have not obeyed the words of the Bible

“Go and inquire of the Lord for me and for the people and for all Judah about what is written in this book that has been found.  Great is the Lord’s anger that burns against us because our fathers have not obeyed the words of this book; they have not acted in accordance with all that is written there concerning us.”  2 Kings 22:13

 

A spiritual discipline for every maturing Believer is the reading and studying of God’s Word, the Bible.  There was a time in the history of the Jewish nation that the “book” was lost.  The verse above provides a brief description of the finding of the Bible (“Book of the Covenant” as it was known at that time.)  The entire book was read to all of Judah and they realized how far away from God they were.  For the same reason, we all need to read the Bible on a consistent basis.  The Words of God, the Bible, are living and powerful. They will bring life to your soul and purpose to your life.