One Another

We are the light of the world and should take great joy from all the one another’s that are throughout the New Testament…

Love one another is in there often, honor one another, show hospitality to one another, submit to one another, be kind to one another, forgiving one another in compassion, bearing with one another, serve one another, encourage one another, be devoted to one another, confess to one another, pray for one another, comfort one another’s faith, build up one another, receive one another, wait for one another before eating, carry one another’s burdens, we belong to one another, live in harmony with one another, have mutual concern for one another, spur one another on to love and good works, don’t lie to one another, pursue what is good for one another, with wisdom teaching and admonishing one another…

These one another’s within the body of Christ make our light shine so bright, the world wants to cover it’s eyes for fear of going blind…

The world marveled at the followers of Christ during the time of the early church because of how their light shined in their unity with one another and love for one another.

Starting inside our congregations and building out to every congregation that claims to follow Jesus Christ, we need to stop grumbling and arguing about the crooked and perverse society and start living life in unity with one another exercising our spiritual muscles and shining bright as we live in the light, so the world sees the love of Christ manifest and wants to join us!

Be the Church! Be the light of the world!

Satan is not god!

In our Christian lives, we usually fall into two extremes when it comes to the evil one and his minions. We usually either marginalize them, creating them into powerless cartoon characters and deny their existence entirely. Or, we give them all the power, knowledge, and ability of God himself. Neither is a healthy view in light of what Scripture teaches.

First, Satan, also known as Lucifer and the devil, and his crew are fallen angels, aka demons…not gods, and not cartoons! Scripture says that the Evil One is the god of this age. Meaning that he rules the hearts and minds of those who do not belong to Christ and he can affect the world. He is also called the prince of the power of the air. See here in 2 Corinthians how Paul describes Satan and his work against the gospel of Christ and those who believe.

But even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled only to those who are perishing, among whom the god of this age has blinded the minds of those who do not believe so they would not see the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God. 2 Corinthians 4:3-4

However, Lucifer only has half the angels on his side that God does. They are created beings and inferior in every way to God himself. They are not all knowing, not all powerful, not omnipresent. They are not trapped in hell. They can’t make you do anything without fully possessing your body. However, they can affect your thoughts and the world around you. Make no mistake, as a Christian, with God’s indwelling Holy Spirit inside you, the power of Christ in you is always more powerful than them. Peter warns Jesus followers what the enemy’s tactics are and how to combat him.

Be sober and alert. Your enemy the devil, like a roaring lion, is on the prowl looking for someone to devour.  Resist him, strong in your faith, because you know that your brothers and sisters throughout the world are enduring the same kinds of suffering. And, after you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace who called you to his eternal glory in Christ will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. To him belongs the power forever. Amen. 1 Peter 5:8-11

The devil has used the same tricks since his time in the garden of Eden with Eve (Genesis 3:6). He uses the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life to tempt us to betray God and follow our own sinful desires rather than submitting to the will of God. He used these same things against Jesus in the desert (Matthew 4:1-11), and John warns us in 1 John, that his tactics have not changed. They haven’t changed, because they still work against us. See what John says,

Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him, because all that is in the world (the desire of the flesh and the desire of the eyes and the arrogance produced by material possessions) is not from the Father but is from the world. And the world is passing away with all its desires, but the person who does the will of God remains forever. 1 John 2:15-17

 

We need to know, we already have victory in Jesus. We have an Advocate before the Father, that pleads our case for us when we do sin (1 John 2:1-2). John also says that by living in forgiveness, by knowing the Father, by knowing and applying his Word, we have conquered the evil one (1 John 2:13-14). The enemy of our souls can’t make us do anything we do not have the desire to do ourselves. James 1:14 says,

“But each one is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desires.”

We must resist these impulses! We must fight temptation! Paul says,

“No trial has overtaken you that is not faced by others. And God is faithful: He will not let you be tried beyond what you are able to bear, but with the trial will also provide a way out so that you may be able to endure it.” 1 Corinthians 10:13

Turn to God and submit to His will and the devil will have no power over you…

The Big Secret

Part four of our series, Walking with Joy, in Philippians chapter 4 the Apostle Paul shares a secret that the world has missed or misunderstood for 2,000 years…

Today, we dig into the Scriptures and mine out the Big Secret that Paul shared that can lead to living a joyful and contented life, a life ruled by the power Holy Spirit through the forgiveness of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, and through the love of God the Father, Creator of the heavens and earth.

 

July 28 Reading

Shhh, “I have experienced times of need and times of abundance. In any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of contentment, whether I go satisfied or hungry, have plenty or nothing. I am able to do all things through the one who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:12-13

South Bend cops warn of ‘mass exodus,’ as morale tanks over Buttigieg handling of shooting | Fox News

Having lived in South Bend during part of this man’s term and having seen what a mess he made of the city, and now this…

He definitely didn’t have my vote then, and absolutely would not have it now!

Color is not an issue here.

A man (it could be any perpetrator) was breaking the law and came at a police officer (any police officer) brandishing a knife. Is it sad that this perpetrator’s life went the direction it did, yes. Is it sad the guy gave the officer no other option than deadly force, yes. Is it sad he didn’t have an opportunity to repent before he died, yes. This police officer did nothing wrong. This wannabe president has done nothing right in handling the situation. Period!

https://www.foxnews.com/politics/south-bend-cops-warn-of-mass-exodus-as-morale-tanks-over-buttigiegs-handling-of-shooting

Strive with Endurance

In part three of our series, Walking with Joy, we walking with Paul through Philippians 3.

We started our time together watching God’s Chisel, by the Skit Guys…

Then, we dove head first into chapter 3.

Craig Gross Has High Praise for the Idea of ‘Christian Cannabis’, and is flat biblically wrong!

I am sorry Craig, but on this issue, you are flat biblically wrong.

I had great respect for the ministry this man has, and he continues to do good work in the name of the Lord, but he is way off base here.

Throughout the Old Testament and the Book of Acts, you will read where, in the KJV, witchcraft or sorcery is condemned. For New Testament study it is found listed in Galatians 5:20 as the works of the flesh, but here both our modern and archaic English translations fall short.

In Greek, the word is φαρμακεία, it is where we get our English word pharmacy and the word pharmaceuticals. In ancient times, it was drug use to induce higher realms of thought and induce a spiritual trance to commune with the gods. Basically, getting high! But, not just getting high, getting high to talk to god better.

Sorry Craig, you can put whatever “Christian” spiritual spin on it that you want, but you are still endorsing exactly what our both our Old Testament and first Christian leaders called SIN; no ifs, ands, or buts about it.

There is no spiritual benefit to any Christian in getting high, and God will never require us to sin in order to get into closer contact with him.

Period!

https://churchleaders.com/podcast/355555-craig-gross-space-talk-christian-cannabis.html

Glorifying God

When we love God, we should want to do things to glorify him.

Not to earn his love, but out of gratitude for his love for us. 1 John 4:19 says, “We love because he loved us first.” So, our motive in all we do should be to glorify God.

When we turn to live in God’s will, both as individuals and congregations, there is no amount of hurt that God will not heal, there is no transgression that God will not forgive. There is always hope when we rest on God and live according to his will.

More than 20 years ago, a dear friend and mentor to many in AA, gave me three short phrases that when put together remind me how to glorify God and how to have a vibrant, living, and growing faith, to them, I added the first one…

Your first phrase is “HAVE FAITH”.

Why have faith? Because withoutfaith it is impossible to please God. Hebrews 11:6 says, “Now without faith it is impossible to please him, for the one who approaches God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.” We cannot glorify God unless first we have faith. But, have faith in what?

The Bible makes this very simple for us. Have faith in Jesus, who he is and what he did. Jesus, the Son of the Living God, himself God, lived, died, was buried, and rose again on the third day to make us right with God by taking the punishment for our sin, making it possible for us to have a relationship with God as our Father.

Why Jesus? Who is this Jesus guy anyway? The historical accounts written in the Gospels, which are confirmed by the letters of the New Testament, and outside historical sources confirm that Jesus really did exist. Jesus is the Son of God.

John 3:16 says, “For this is the way God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.”

God himself confirms that Jesus is his Son at Jesus’s baptism. We read in Matthew 3:17, “And, a voice from heaven said, ‘This is my one dear Son; in him I take great delight.’” If Jesus really is the Son of God as the Scriptures state, then he is the only one that has any authority and he says so, in Matthew 28:18. Jesus said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.” And, he says in John 14:6, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”

I could go on and on, but I think you get the point… Jesus is the only way to the Father, and it is through belief and faith in him, his saving work on the cross, and his resurrection that we are saved from an eternity without God.

Ephesians 2:8-9 says, “For by grace you are saved through faith, and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God; it is not from works, so that no one can boast.” Remember, grace is the unearned, unmerited, gift of God, it is free and available to everyone. Romans 10:9-10 puts it in simple terms, “If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and thus has righteousness and with the mouth one confesses and thus has salvation.” Salvation is available to each of us. It is available to you. You can take this vital step, right now, where you sit. In your heart, have faith in Jesus, who he is and what he did. Agree with God that you’re not perfect and he is, and accept his love and forgiveness. Ask him to live in you and guide you from here on out. If you have done so, congratulations! You are on a new path to a vibrant and growing faith.

Once we “have faith” and have started our journey toward a vibrant, living, and growing relationship with our creator; we now have some work to do.

Your second phrase is “DO GOOD”.

Whoa, wait…, you just told me that I have to do something?! YES! In James 2:26, in a section on living a godly lifestyle, it says, “For just as the body without the spirit is dead, so also faith without works is dead.” We work, not to earn God’s love. Not to earn salvation, because that is a gift of grace… Remember, we just looked at Ephesians 2:8-9, yet Paul tells us in the very next verse, verse 10 “For we are his workmanship, having been created in Christ Jesus for good works that God prepared beforehand so we may do them.” This word, workmanship, in Greek means, handiwork or masterpiece. It is also where we get our English word, poem. We are built to be his poem, his masterpiece, and do his work. We also have a purpose, a purpose that he planned out for us. When we love God, our response to his love and grace should be that we want to glorify him. We glorify him through good works. We glorify God by showing others the same kind of grace that God has shown us. By being his Body at work here on Earth. The writer of Hebrews tells us “And let us take thought of how to spur one another on to love and good works,” (Hebrews 10:24) Here it is again, work. One more time, Paul told Titus, “showing yourself to be an example of good works in every way.”(Titus 2:7), as we boil this down, we are to “have faith”, we are also to “do good”.

There are many, many practical ways we can “do good” congregationally, individually, both for the Church and in outreach to the rest of the world. Brainstorm, you’ll easily come up with something…Make a habit of trying to do something good for someone else without being caught in the act and don’t tell anyone about it, pay it forward at every opportunity…

Our next phrase is, “SHOW LOVE”.

When the religious people of Jesus’s day tried to trap him with a question, Matthew 22:36-40, “Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?” They asked this because in the law of Moses, all 613 commandments were to have equal weight, not just the big 10 at the beginning… Jesus instead answered in a way they could not dispute. He said, “Love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. The second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself. All the law and the prophets depend on these two commandments.” Have faith, do good, show love.

Jesus said, “I give you a new commandment – to love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. Everyone will know by this that you are my disciples – if you have love for one another.” (John 13:34-35) Here, Jesus is speaking specifically to his disciples, speaking directly to the Church. Telling them the first place that they should show love is between one another. So, for those of us who are disciples of Christ, where is the first place that we should show love? The first place that we show love is right here. Right here, in our local church, then to other believers outside of this local church in the global Church, then to the world at large. The command to love is repeated throughout the New Testament. John tells us that we love because God loved us first. This is agape love, unconditional love, love that surpasses understanding, Fruit of the Spirit love. If a member of our congregation is starving, but we take meals to the poor, what kind of people are we? It is very true; the millennials and Gen Z are very socially conscious generations and want to know what the church is doing for the oppressed and the heavy laden. They are also very conscious of when we don’t walk the talk coming out of our mouths. We need to work on building unity and promoting healing, inside our families, our congregations, our denominations, and the global Church.

Make no mistake though, love does NOT mean approval! Our culture has this point very confused… I can love you, I can show you the same love that Jesus has for you, I can show you mercy, forgiveness, love, and grace; but I do NOT have to approve of your behavior in order to do so. After all, God doesn’t approve of our behavior at times, but he offers us forgiveness and restoration because of his loving kindness.

So far, we’ve got “have faith, do good, show love”, now we add “DO THE NEXT RIGHT THING”.

But how do we know what the next right thing is???

In Scripture. Paul tells Timothy “Every scripture is inspired by God and useful for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the person dedicated to God may be capable and equipped for every good work.” (2 Timothy 3:16-17) Here it is again, equipped for every good work. We have work to do. It is through knowledge of God’s word that we can discern what the next right thing is. We don’t all need to be Greek and Hebrew scholars of the original biblical text because God has used those people to give his Word to us in our own language, in many different translations, so that we can understand it. However, we do need to know the Word, if we are going to live according to God’s will for our lives.

Many people say, “I don’t need all that religious stuff, I don’t need to attend a worship service, I just need to follow the Ten Commandments.” Okay, can you name all ten? Do you realize those ten are the tip of the ice burg and that there are 613 commands in Exodus and Deuteronomy? Others may say, “Okay then, I try to live by the Golden Rule, treat others the way I want to be treated…” That’s a good start.

However, doing what is right in our own eyes, is not the same as living according to God’s will. As humans, we always miss the mark.

The point is we learn to live a life of obedience. Oops, I lost half of you right there with the word obedience. Well, even Jesus was obedient to the will of his Father, why should we be an exception?

There are a few places in Scripture where it comes right out and says, “This is the will of God.” For instance, 1 Thessalonians 4:3 and 5:17-18; other times it comes as a simple imperative command: Philippians 4:3, Ephesians 4:2, or Romans 12:16; other times it gives us a list of guidelines, what is beneficial and what isn’t: Galatians 5:19-26, 1 Corinthians 6. Sometimes, doing the next right thing is to do nothing at all, sometimes, it is to pray over a situation, but it is always a step of obedience to God’s will over our own will, especially when the Scriptures are clear on an issue.

JW von Goethe once said, “Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Willing is not enough; we must do.” What in our lives have we known without applying and what have we said we have been willing to do without acting?

If someone came undercover… into our house, into our work place, followed us at the store, or in our car; if they were to ask those we run into or associate with on a regular basis, is there something different about us or are we just like everyone else? If they ask, could we be identified as a Christian by the way we act toward others and the things we do? What would the answers be?

I pray in each of our lives, we are able to have faith, do good, show love, and do the next right thing on a daily basis. If we are able to do so, we will be glorifying God in all we do and we will also stay on good terms with our fellows here on Earth.

Have a blessed day!

Live in the Light

LIVE in the LIGHT is the second message in our series, Walking with Joy.

We talk about what it means to live in the light, as the light of the world, and how we can workout our spiritual muscles.

 

verse for 14th