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10/26/16 - Believers are all around you



One night the Lord spoke to Paul in a vision: "Do not be afraid; keep on speaking, do not be silent.  For I am with you, and no one is going to attack and harm you, because I have many people in this city." Acts 18:9-10




 Over the years, God has surprised me with people who identify themselves as Christians in all areas of life. It was my lack of confidence in the power of God that limited my Christian interaction with others. This is the reason why the verses above are so meaningful to me. I will probably be surprised at some people that I will meet in heaven. There are many that come to my mind that seem a “shoe-in”. But, I have this nagging feeling that there are some people who will come up to me and ask if I remember them. I am glad that shame will not exist in heaven, because I believe I would be full of shame at not recognizing them.

10/19/16 - You are God's feet and mouth

“Ah, Sovereign LORD,” I said, “I do not know how to speak; I am only a child.” But the LORD said to me, “Do not say, ‘I am only a child.’ You must go to everyone I send you to and say whatever I command you. Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you and will rescue you,” declares the LORD.  Jeremiah 1:6-8

 

The verses above come from God’s call on the life of Jeremiah, one of the major Old Testament prophets. What interested me about these verses is that I think they speak to every Believer living today. Jesus told His disciples to go into the entire world and make disciples (Matthew 28:19-20).  This statement was said to ALL Believers! What is also very interesting is Jeremiah’s response to God’s call: “I am only a child.” This sounds just like something that we would say. We do not know what to tell people about the things of God. Our thoughts are: “What if I say the wrong thing?” “What will they think of me?” “I’ll be called a religious fanatic.” “I’ll lose them as my friends”…and on and on with excuses. The problem is that our focus is on us and what others will think of us. We do not consider the ETERNAL aspect of the God of all creation leading us to say something to someone else that impacts his or her eternal life. I hope that by the time you have read this, you have a different view of why your life is so important to God.

10/12/16 - Encouragement through serving

“Because of the service by which you have proved yourselves, men will praise God for the obedience that accompanies your confession of the gospel of Christ, and for your generosity in sharing with them and with everyone else. And in their prayers for you their hearts will go out to you, because of the surpassing grace God has given you.  Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!” 2 Corinthians 9:13-15

I praise God for each of you, and the services that you render to others in the name of Jesus Christ.  This statement sums up the verses above. It would be nice if this were a common saying about all Believers. But, I am afraid that it is not that common. We need to make it more common in all of our Christian lives, so that others will see the confession of Christ manifested in our daily living.

In the verses above, I want you to consider all of the ramifications of your service to others in the name of Jesus. People will sit up and take notice of a person who is sacrificially serving others. They do this because this is not a common occurrence in the world today. Sacrificial service to others is a huge separation point between Believers and those of the world. Lives will the changed for an eternity because they hear your confession of the gospel of Christ. Others will praise God for the obedience that they see in you. 

Your motivation for this kind of sacrificial serving is grace. It will always be grace. We see the grace granted to you by God with Christ dying on the cross for your sins. It is this thought that should be in your mind on a daily basis, so that you will see the needs of others. Christ saw your need for salvation and willingly sacrificed Himself for you. 

Spiritual growth occurs when a person is confessing, serving, and giving.  People in your community are looking for someone who is “real” (has a sincere faith that is seen through a firm confession and genuine generosity.)  They are seeing and hearing about you. Others will be encouraged and will praise God for what you do with your relationship with God.  And, again, this can only be done with a pure heart realizing the grace that God has freely given to you. 

This grace is sufficient for any relationship that you may have with another. From an internal family conflict to a supervisor who abuses your good work, God has given you all the grace you need to serve anyone else. For the more difficult relationships, you will need to use the surpassing grace that God has given to you. Do not entertain the fleshly thoughts you have in your mind that say the person does not deserve your grace or your service. After all, you really do not deserve the grace that Christ demonstrated on the cross. But, He did it because He decided to do it. Christ did not wait to “feel” love for you.  He decided to love you. Decide to love others in the same way…do not wait on feelings.

Service to others is like breathing fresh air. There is a movement of the Holy Spirit that results in changed lives. When you see this, your motivation for living for God doubles or triples. There is nothing on this earth that can compare to the sacrificial giving to others, especially, those who are the most difficult to relate to and who probably need unconditional love given to them.

I encourage you to continue to grow spiritually and commit to allowing God to use your life for His glory.  When you see God at work in others, you will also be given a glimpse of what God is doing in your life. If there are times that you do not feel like you are growing spiritually, evaluate your service to others. It is probably lacking. Ask God to recharge your service attitude, so that you will not miss any and all blessings that God has prepared for you. There is not a better life to be lived! (FromLife-Changing Verses – Volume 3, Chapter 15)

10/5/16 - Praise the Lord

"Blessed be your glorious name, and may it be exalted above all blessing and praise. You alone are the LORD. You made the heavens, even the highest heavens, and all their starry host, the earth and all that is on it, the seas and all that is in them. You give life to everything, and the multitudes of heaven worship you.” Nehemiah 9:5b-6

Words such as these that describe how to praise God are all throughout the Bible.  I picked this passage because of the event that prompted such an outpouring of praise to God. 

Before I tell you about that event, think about the following questions as they apply to you:  How many times do you think about God?  How often would you be willing to worship God?  How often do you read the Bible?  How often do you in agreement with God about your sins?  The majority of people would answer these questions in the order listed: once/day, once/week, once/month, and once/year.   The answers to these questions are an indication of the strength of a person’s relationship with God.

10/28/15 – Fellowship of Believers

And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.  Hebrews 10:24-25

One of the distinguishing characteristics of Believers is that they exercise fellowship; i.e., meeting together with a purpose to encourage one another. The verse above clearly states that God encourages this activity among Believers. 

An over simplification is to describe two extremes of fellowshipping.  One is worldly where the goal is to eat, drink, and be merry (get drunk).  At the opposite extreme is the Christian fellowship where the purpose is to grow in encouragement about living a life sold out to God.  There are plenty of fellowships that fall between these two extremes but God’s expectations are for Him to be recognized and honored at a fellowship with a heavy emphasis on Christians encouraging one another.

10/21/15 Relationship with God

And God spoke all these words: “I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery. “You shall have no other gods before me. “You shall not make for yourself an image in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below.  You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God. Exodus 20:1-5

All activities, works, thoughts, and plans of God are to achieve one purpose and only one purpose: have a strong and healthy relationship with you as a Believer.  Most of you will recognize the above passage from Exodus that identifies the 10 Commandments.  These are the first two commandments.  They describe God’s expectations of a relationship with every man, woman, and child.  The setting is at Mt. Sinai where all of the Hebrews that Moses led out of Egypt were camped.  They spent about two years at Mt. Sinai to learn more about God.  It had been 400 years since God had any direct dealings with the Hebrews until He empowered Moses to deliver them from slavery. 

10/14/15 – One Hundred Percent Guarantee that God is love.

This is how we know that we live in him and he in us: He has given us of his Spirit.  And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world.  If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in them and they in God.  And so we know and rely on the love God has for us.  God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them.  1 John 4:13-16

Reread each sentence carefully to receive the full impact of God’s voice through His Word.

God has given you His Spirit.  See John 14-16.  He gave you His Spirit as a down payment guaranteeing that all of His future promises will come true.  He has given you His Spirit so that you will KNOW that you live in God and God lives in you.  Because He has given you His Spirit, you can be assured that God sent His Son to be the Savior of the world.  Let me be cautious with God’s Word.  It will be settled (100% guarantee) in your spirit that God sent His Son if you have the Spirit living in you.  Reread the previous sentence and truthfully answer the question within your own spirit.  Do you have a 100% guarantee of God sending His Son to be the Savior of the world?

10/7/15 - The difference between the soul and the spirit

For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.  Hebrews 4:12

This verse provides a description of man as being body (joints and marrow), soul, and spirit. 1 Thessalonians 5:23 also identifies man as three parts: body, soul, and spirit.  It is imperative for a Believer to understand the difference between their soul and their spirit.  The soul is not the spirit and the spirit is not the soul.  The soul consists of the mental intellect and the emotions that a person uses to decide their actions.  The soul is what makes humans different from all other created beings.  The soul is what makes humans different from the angels who are spirits only – they have no souls. The soul is what gives a person a unique personality.  The soul is who a person is and gives them their individuality.  If you think about the soul in this way, one can easily see that this is where the “flesh” resides in a person’s life. 

10/29/14: Wisdom from Christ Shatters What You Know about Eternity

Two major events have occurred since last week. 1) Based on significant input, I have decided to reduce what I write by about 2/3. People will find it easier and quicker to read. 2) I have totally lost my email distribution list to about 1,000 people. Therefore, no one will receive an email with this week's and succeeding week's "Life-Changing Verses". I apologize but I have never considered myself a PC technician. If someone wishes to send me their email address, I will start a new list.

 

And God Word says,

It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God—that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption. Therefore, as it is written: “Let him who boasts boast in the Lord.” 1 Corinthians 1:30-31

After you became a Believer, God did something for you that was astounding! He gave you the wisdom of Christ. Don’t miss the deeper meaning of this wisdom of Christ. This wisdom is the spiritual discernment to see the world as it really is: good and evil. It is also the wisdom to be spiritually discerning about others…their joys and their hurts. This wisdom gives you a peace of knowing the unknown about life and things of eternity. You can rest at night knowing with full assurance that God, our Creator, is in total control of everything that is happening. You can see all current worldly events from the perspective of eternity. This wisdom is absolutely essential to grow Christ-like!

10/22/14 – God: Reveals Himself to Everyone

All of the following Bible passages come from the Book of John, Chapter 9.

It is one of my all time favorite stories from the Bible. If you have not read this story from your own Bible, I strongly encourage you to read the entire story. It is a fascinating story loaded with spiritual growth items. This week I want to track the life of the man who was born blind to see how Jesus revealed Himself just like He would today.

9:7 “Go,” he told him, “wash in the Pool of Siloam” (this word means Sent.)  So the man went and washed, and came home seeing.

Although the Bible does not say so, I am confident that the blind man had either heard of Jesus or parts of the conversation between Jesus and His disciples about himself. The blind man was obedient and did as Jesus said. I think it is important that Jesus has introduced Himself to the blind man just as He does to every single living human being. Jesus, in His own way, says I am who I say I am. Now, it’s up to the blind man and every other single human being to come to a faith in Jesus. When Jesus is introduced to a child, the child almost always has accepting faith in believing Jesus. It is only when the child is older that skepticism and doubts come in to his mind. The grown-up child and/or adult now begins to think on his or her own about whether Jesus exists or not and whether he is who he says he is. This is why there is so much skepticism in the late teens and twenties about God.

 

10/15/14 ­ Your Life: God¹s Will Versus Man¹s Happiness ­ Part 2

And the Word of God says,

"As he went along, he saw a man blind from birth.  His disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” “Neither this man nor his parents sinned,” said Jesus, “but this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him.”  John 9:1-2

Last week, I introduced the story of the man who had been blind from birth.  The disciples asked Jesus if the man’s blindness was caused by someone’s sin: the man while a baby in the womb or the parents?   Several questions were raised regarding sins and God.  Does God use sin to give someone a physical or mental defect?  Is it fair for God to allow suffering so that He can explain His Will to us?  Is God’s Number One priority to make people happy regardless of sins?  These are some tough questions with answers that will not sit too well with many Christians. 

10/8/14 - ­ Your Life: God¹s Will Versus Man¹s Happiness ­ Part 1

And God's Word says:

 

As he went along, he saw a man blind from birth.  His disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” “Neither this man nor his parents sinned,” said Jesus, “but this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him.”

 

In the verses above, the disciples asked Jesus about a man being born blind.  They thought that the man’s blindness was caused by someone’s sin: the man while a baby in the womb or the parents.  This situation raises several questions regarding sins and God.  Does God use sin to give someone a physical or mental defect?  Is it fair for God to allow suffering so that He can explain His Will to us?  Is God’s Number One Priority to make people happy regardless of sin?  These are some tough questions that need to be settled in the hearts of all Christians.

10/1/14 - God: Do you RESPECT God?

You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God, for the Lord will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name. 
Exodus 20:7

The Almighty is beyond our reach and exalted in power;
 in his justice and great righteousness, he does not oppress. Therefore, people revere him,
 for does he not have regard for all the wise in heart?”
Job 37:23-24

Then the Lord spoke to Job out of the storm. He said: “Who is this that obscures my plans 
with words without knowledge? Brace yourself like a man; I will question you,
 and you shall answer me.  “Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundation?
 Tell me, if you understand.
  Job 38:1-4

“God Almighty!”  Ever heard that used in an inappropriate way.  I would say that most of the time this phrase is used in a slang way.  “Oh my God!”  This is an all too common phrase used by non-Christians and by Believers.  It is used to express shock or surprise.  It is definitely not used to revere God.  “Thank God It’s Friday (TGIF)” has been used for years to celebrate the end of a work week.  A new TV show has the title, “Thank God It’s Thursday!”  I am writing about the name of God because all of us are using it too much as a slang phrase with no intention of honoring the Creator of the Universe.