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7/27/16 – A characteristic of the Kingdom of God (heaven)

24 Jesus told them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field.  25But while everyone was sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and went away.26When the wheat sprouted and formed heads, then the weeds also appeared.

27“The owner’s servants came to him and said, ‘Sir, didn’t you sow good seed in your field? Where then did the weeds come from?’

28“‘An enemy did this,’ he replied. “The servants asked him, ‘Do you want us to go and pull them up?’

29“‘No,’ he answered, ‘because while you are pulling the weeds, you may uproot the wheat with them.30Let both grow together until the harvest. At that time I will tell the harvesters: First collect the weeds and tie them in bundles to be burned; then gather the wheat and bring it into my barn.’” Matthew 13:24-30

This is one of about 30 parables told by Jesus to help people understand what the Kingdom of God is like. Matthew, Chapter 13, contains several parables that describe the Kingdom of God. This is one that is referred to as the “Parable of the Weeds.” There is one point to every parable, and this one is that evil will not exist in the Kingdom of God. People (as well as Satan and all of his demons) will be removed from the presence of Believers when Jesus returns.  Before Jesus returns, good and evil coexist in this world.

7/20/16 – God will judge America

Have no fear of sudden disaster or of the ruin that overtakes the wicked, for the Lord will be at your side and will keep your foot from being snared. Proverbs 3:25-26

Lately, when I am studying the Bible, the Holy Spirit gives me verses that make me stop and reflect on what the verses are saying. The above two verses stopped me in my tracks. There is so much evil happening in the world and America that makes most of us wish for the old days, or wish that someone would straighten everything out. Everything seems to have major consequences for our nation and our world. This is not God’s plan for the End Times. God makes it clear throughout the Bible that He will judge the nations and each individual person. Let me say it in another way, “God will judge!” 

Currently, Satan has temporary dominion over the world. People are being possessed by his demons. Satan is causing division in every institution that God has established. This is because Satan is appealing to the flesh in our leaders, our businesses, our churches, and our families. Judgment must occur. Believers should not be surprised that God will judge. He started with Adam and Eve. He judged the entire world with the flood. He destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah. Even in the New Testament, He judged Ananias and Sapphira.  

The verses above promises all Believers that the Lord will be at your side and He will keep you from being snared by the evil things of this world. Many well meaning Believers love America, but God will judge America. America as a nation is committing genocide of millions of unborn babies. America is slowly shutting God and His Word out of every institution. America is headed toward judgment.

However, God loves you unconditionally and will take care of you. In the judgment of the world using the flood, God saved Noah and his family from that judgment. In the judgment of Sodom and Gomorrah, God saved Lot and his two daughters. God has a history of protecting Believers from any judgment of His. I take great comfort from knowing this. But it does not stop there. I am put into a state of spiritual joy knowing how great our God is. I want to rejoice over His plans for the End Times. He plans to remove all evil (including Satan) and establish His kingdom that allows us to live in perfect joy and peace. 

In the mean time, you and I are living in the midst of evil, confusion, division, and hatred. I suggest you do not allow yourself to watch or read the news as it is only reporting the advances of evil promoted by Satan. Give me God’s Word over any newspaper, magazine, or TV news. I want to know Jesus, and I want to know more about Him. It does not bother me for some people to call me ignorant or uncaring about America or this world. All I can think is “Praise the Lord!” My soul is at peace and God will protect me from being ensnared with all of the world’s hatred and evil.

7/13/16 - A Spiritual view of the family

Someone told him, “Your mother and brothers are standing outside, wanting to see you.”  He replied, “My mother and brothers are those who hear God’s word and put it into practice.”  Luke 8:20-21

 

Jesus in one short statement changed the worldly definition of family.  Instead of those born into a family, Jesus placed those born of God as the highest definition of family.  Many of the most publicized news articles by the Christian community is what America is doing to destroy the family unit.  After reading, studying, and praying about the family unit, I am compelled to say that the Christian community is wrong about the family unit.  Do not misunderstand me when we encourage the unit of the family to consist of a mother, a father, and children.  It is the right thing to do.  However, the Bible, in particular Jesus, considers the family unit from an entirely different point of view.  I think all Believers should be made aware of how Jesus defined family.

7/6/16 – Run the spiritual race of encouragement

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Hebrews 12:1

Are you tired and run-down? Do a lot of little things keep coming up that keep you in a state of constant worry? Has something big knocked the air out of you? Do you not have any energy in your arms or legs to do anything? Does your mind tell you that everything is useless and nothing matters? Does your body feel heavy, and does not want to move? Do you feel like you are flat on the floor with people walking all over you? Welcome to a world controlled by Satan. Satan works hard to make your life miserable.  But, the simple spiritual truth is that we are more than conquerors because of Jesus Christ. There is no reason to allow the world to enter into our lives and drag us down.

7/29/15 God created man in three parts: body, soul, and spirit

May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. 1 Thessalonians 5:23

This is a wonderful prayer that Paul gave to the people in a city called Thessalonica.  Paul is asking for God to “sanctify” the people.  Sanctify means to work with the people to become different from the world.  To be made holy is another way of saying “to sanctify.”  God intends for every Believer to go through a metamorphosis to become more Christ-like in their behavior.  This will require a change in the soul that will be manifested in the body.  Someone with an unpleasing personality will not be easy to be around.  Someone who has a negative attitude will exhibit similar negative traits in their facial and body movements, and, especially, with what they say about others.  God expects a Believer to love God and to serve others as Christ lived on this earth. 

The verse continues with a definition of a human being as three parts: spirit, soul, and body.  A human being is a complex creation of God.  After God created Adam, the Bible says:Then the Lord God formed a man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.”  Genesis 2:7

“The breath of life” is unique to the creation of man.  God did not do this for any of His other creations. Consider the “breath of life” as your soul.  He had created the body out of dust, but instead of being a lump of clay, He went further.  In Genesis 1:26, the Bible records, “Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness,”  

In our likeness refers to the Trinity.  I know it does not say “Trinity” but we know that God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit is an eternal Trinity.  God made man and woman in that likeness.  This likeness is also unique to mankind. There is no other creation like mankind.  The angels, all of the animals, and everything that God created is not like a human being.  Mankind’s likeness is the ability to think and reason.  It is the need for relationships with others.  Just as the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are One, God intends all Believers to be as one (see Matthew 17). 

His likeness also includes a tremendous characteristic called the “free will”.  As we know man’s free will is a wonderful aspect of man.  We can choose to spend quality time with others.  We can choose to help someone else even if it requires a sacrifice on our part.  But, man’s free will has the potential for disaster, because man can reject God.  I will discuss each aspect of man (body, soul, and spirit) over the next few weeks.  I hope you will stay with me through this study.  It will change your perspective on several things about who you are.

7/22/15 – Do not neglect God’s Word

I delightin your decrees; I will not neglect your wordPsalm 119:16

When you are reading God’s Word, it is required of you to read slowly and reread what you have just read. After this, meditate on the words that you have read. Allow the Holy Spirit to reveal to you wonderful truths about life and relationships. God says that He has given you the Holy Spirit to lead and guide you into truth. You will not find God’s truth through your own intellect. It must come from the Spirit. 

Many Christians use the excuse that they cannot understand the Bible.  Read and study the parts you do understand and other parts of the Bible will begin to be revealed to you by the Holy Spirit.  For example, the birth of Christ in Luke, Chapters 1 & 2, is not that difficult, as most children know the story.  But, in that story is one of the most powerful verses about God, “For no word from God will ever fail.” (Luke 1:37) 

7/15/15 – Meditate on God’s Word to learn of Him

I meditate on your precepts and consider your ways. Psalm 119:15

Psalm 119 is the longest chapter in the Bible.  It takes a few days to read all of it; at least, it does for me.  The primary purpose of Psalm 119 is to talk about your relationship with God by thinking about His nature.  You can learn about His value system; about His ethics; and, the way He goes about judging.  If you find some verses difficult to understand, keep on reading.  If, however, you, as a Christian, do not take the time to read and study the Bible, how will you ever know more about God and His extreme desire to have a personal relationship with you?

7/8/15 - Finding rest for your soul

This is what the Lord says: “Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls.”  Jeremiah 6:16

Everyday, all of us are bombarded with decisions – “crossroads”…some simple and some life impacting.  When faced with decisions, God says to ask…this means to pray.  Isn’t it interesting that He tells you what to pray for…”the ancient paths” and “where the good way is”? 

These are the ways that God interacts with you through His Creation.  For example, Genesis 3:8 says, “Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the Lord God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day.”  Do you take the time to hear God?  I believe the “ancient paths” are all the ways God has interacted with people throughout history. 

7/1/15 - A small group of ten Christians

Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God, and everyone who loves the father loves his child as well.  This is how we know that we love the children of God: by loving God and carrying out his commands.  In fact, this is love for God: to keep his commands. And his commands are not burdensome, for everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith.  Who is it that overcomes the world? Only the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God. 1 John 5:1-5

Imagine a small Bible study group of ten people that meet once per month in one of the attendee’s homes.  The group is composed of five married couples.  They have been studying the commands of Christ.

One Saturday, a guest speaker was invited to lead the group.  It just so happened that on the same night, one of the couples invited another couple to join them.  When it came time to meet, the new couple arrived and it was a same-sex couple.  At first, there was significant tension and eyes moved quickly from one person to another.  Everyone seemed to be waiting on someone else to do something.

At this time, the guest speaker arrived who turned out to be Jesus.  He said that He knew the group was discussing His commands, and said that His teaching goal for that night was to identify those who did not obey His commands.  When He said that the ten original members knew immediately that He was talking about the same-sex couple.  Many thought that Jesus would take command and politely ask the couple to leave.  However, the ten people were in for a surprise.

Part 1 of 3 – Babylon: Should be understood by every Believer

And God’s Word says,

“So the Lord scattered them from there over all the earth, and they stopped building the city.  That is why it was called Babel—because there the Lord confused the language of the whole world. Genesis 11:8-9

This is Part 1 of a three part series on the idea of “Babylon” in the Bible. The is Bible full of how God views Babylon in relation to humanity.  God develops the term “Babylon” continuously through the Bible to describe man’s activity.   The purpose for this write-up is to provide an educational background on what the Bible says about the word “Babylon” and its significance to End times.  This is one of the more unusual Life-Changing Verses that I have written. 

Death: The Last Enemy Christ Destroyed

Then the end will come, when he hands over the kingdom to God the Father after he has destroyed all dominion, authority and power. For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. The last enemy to be destroyed is death. 1 Corinthians 15:24-26

There have been a very few people in history who have tried to avoid death.  All of them failed.  All anyone can do is prolong the inevitable.  You, me, and everyone you know will die.  With the introduction of sin into our bodies, we will all eventually suffer physical death separation from this earthly life.  The verses above make it clear that Jesus Christ has defeated man’s last enemy…death.  As tough as this may sound, all Believers have an urgent need to understand, appreciate, and praise God for the significance of Christ defeating death.  Let me give you a personal example.

God: Provides fruit of the Holy Spirit

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

I love these verses.  When the world has me tied up in knots…when my insides are like a washing machine or a cement mixer…when all I have heard from others are negative thoughts…when the news (CONTINUES) to be bad and is getting worse…when I feel so beat up on the inside…when all these things and more seem to be attacking me right and left with no end in sight, I need something to change my perspective.  These verses change my perspective, and I hope they will yours.

Your Life: A Powerful Witness for God

Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us.  1 Peter 2:12

I was sued one time attempting to do the job that my company had assigned me as the supervisor of a small group of eight employees.  It was my first-ever management position, and I did not know if I could handle it.

After a few months, I discovered an extremely poor work ethic involving one of the employees reporting to me.  I sought advice from the Personnel Department on what to do.  What began as documenting late arrivals and no-shows to work quickly grew into documenting almost every incident involving this employee.  This took so much time that I could not spend the time needed to supervise the work of the other seven employees.  I was spending over 50% of my time documenting in detail the performance of the employee.  As a last resort to help the employee, the Personnel Department asked me to complete the employee’s working along side them as a joint effort.   We were inseparable for the final three months before the employee was fired.  A few months later, the Personnel Department informed me that the employee had sued the company and me (personally) for wrongful dismissal.

Unforgiving: NOT a Christ-like attitude

For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.”  Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?” Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.  Matthew 18:20-22

People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God   2 Timothy 3:2-4